Leadership News

Friday, October 31, 2008

Finding Leadership

Stop the presses! (or, the bytes)

My question is – have you done everything possible to make your print edition as successful as possible? The business of writing is like any other business. You have different streams of sales. Each of those streams has a maximum capacity. By adding an electronic version of your book you are concentrating on adding capacity, but not maximizing capacity in existing streams.

BTW, I have published through large houses and self-published. My last book I sold to two different publishers (one small press and one medium), but I didn’t like the deal – they didn’t share my vision and it was obvious their marketing efforts weren’t going to at least match mine. So, I self-published. The first anniversary of that book past on October 27th. We sold 1400 copies in that first year.

Since you have both a website and an Amazon listing, here are ten things you can do to make those streams work together.

1. Search engine optimize (SEO) your website. Yes, you have written a book that readers will read, but you need to design a website that search engines will find. Many authors have their sites SEO for their own names or the title of their book. Okay, who searches for you? I mean if they already knew about your book or you they would have bought it. You will need to do some research and find out what people are searching for that closely matches what your book is about. As an example, Google “
leadership book” and “leadership books.” The site for my leadership book should appear, for “book” on the first page of Google; for “books” the second page; and for the word “leadership” four or five pages back. You can see as a search term becomes more valuable (in terms of potential site visitors) my site (www.pokerleadership.com) descends the list.

a. Make a list of three word, two word and then single words that people search for and when they do would make your book a potential sale.
b. Begin with the three word combinations and adjust your website (title, meta data, content and links, etc) to reflect those words. As time passes, you can work on making the two word, then the single “hot” word push you to the top of the search engines.

2. Sell your book – make the “purchase now” button or whatever super super easy to find. On my home page there are at least five different ways to “click to buy” People simply see things differently.

3. Become an Amazon Affiliate. Make any book purchases through your site go through Amazon.

a. You will pick up, minimally, an addition 6.5% on each sale.
b. You will increase your own Amazon rating.
c. You can now “book bundle” on your own.
4. Add some mechanism for purchasing a signed copy. I use a paypal function.

5. Offer similar books somewhere on your website. First, if you are an affiliate, a sale a is a sale. Second, if someone buys your book and one other that you recommend, Amazon begins to bundle those purchases. They will, in some manner, offer your book as an alternative to the other book. They have some secret formula, but Amazon has actually sent out an email recommending my book, based on purchases of other books – how do I know? Well, a two day spike in sales along with someone forwarding what they received to me.

6. Use Amazon.

a. Ask every reader you know or meet to write an Amazon review. Good, bad or indifferent, reviews create content which is findable by Amazon as well as third party search engines. BTW, everyone you know is everyone who can type – your spouse, children, etc.
b. Tag your book and encourage others to do so.
c. Make an Amazon list, with your book at the top.

7. Set a “Goolge Alert” on your name, book title and the key word phrases you identified when doing your SEO homework. This is really cool.

a. As an example, I set them up. Two months ago Google emails me and tells me that the title of my book has appear on a university website. I click on that and find that the book has been adopted (yes, the self-published book) by the President of the university for use in a course he teaches in the Anderson School of Management. I send him an email thanking him and making myself available for lecture. The result was: 1) a speaking fee 2) firming up the books use in four subsequent years 3) referrals to other professors teaching similar courses 4) the library buying a copy 5) referrals to other people in the industry.

b. Every time my “key words” come up in an alert I go and visit the site. I look for: 1) is this a site that can possibly list my book 2) is this person a potential reviewer 3) should I ask this person for link to my site. You see, the search engine has already identified the site by the alert as being meaningful to you – that means a link, listing, adoption, review, etc by that website owner is pre-qualified as valuable to the search engine and your SEO efforts.

8. Google those key words – look for courses, websites, people, etc. that can potentially use your book. Sometimes, I ask them if I can send them a review copy. Open a dialogue with that person and make them a salesperson of your work.

9. On your website, find a mechanism for “fresh content.”

a. Rotate small excerpts for your book.
b. Make sure you have google ad words, they change and create shifting content.
c. Use some RSS for news feed.

10. Start a “revision” or “new edition” file. On the “contact” page on your website, let readers know you have this file. People love to help, or at least think they are helping. They will find the errors, omissions and suggest new content. Open a real dialogue with your readers by telling them you have this file and are saving their comments for future editions.

Well, that’s a lot of information. If you think my comments are valuable and you want to ‘repay me’ 1) forward this to someone 2) link to my site 3) buy my bookJ


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gates Honors Career Civilian Employees for Service, Dedication

By Donna Miles

American Forces Press Service

Oct. 21, 2008 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today honored career civilian employees from throughout the department, crediting them with providing extraordinary support to warfighters and their families while improving efficiency and saving taxpayer dollars. Gates presented seven employees the Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the highest department honor recognizing exceptional contributions by a civil servant. He also presented the David O. Cooke Excellence in Public Administration Award that recognizes a nonmanagerial department employee who exhibits potential as a future federal executive.

"It has been an honor to work with the people in this department – professionals whose overriding priority is the defense of our nation," Gates told the honorees.

He noted the broad range of pursuits in which the group has excelled: providing housing for troops, fielding new weapons systems while ensuring support for troops in the field, teaching safety training to foreign partners, helping to stand up U.S. Africa Command, negotiating treaties with allies and training new leaders.

Gates conceded that it's not always fashionable in Washington to honor federal government employees, and that some politicians have been elected by criticizing the people they seek to lead.

"During my career, however, I have dealt with governments all over the world, and have found that the United States has the most dedicated, most honest and most capable public servants of any," he said.

The secretary praised dedicated career employees he said provide stability through leadership changes. "You are the foundation that allows the Defense Department, the largest and most complex organization on the planet, to operate smoothly and efficiently," he said.

"Public service can often seem to be a thankless job," he said, adding that he counsels young people to accept the challenges because, "in truth, the satisfactions far outnumber the difficulties."

Gates told today's honorees their decision to dedicate themselves to public service "is to the betterment of our 2.7 million men and women serving in the active and reserve armed forces and to our leaders here."

Michael L. Rhodes, acting director for the DoD Office of Administration and Management and host of today's awards ceremony, said the award recipients demonstrate the tremendous dedication public servants take on every day.

The winners were selected through an extensive review process that culminated in 25 nominations, Rhodes said. Ultimately, those chosen for honors today "have truly set themselves apart and proved themselves worthy," he said.

Honorees awarded today were:

-- Stephen A. Fleet, director of Missile Defense Agency's Warfighter Support Center, who was recognized for excellence in leading the center through rapid changes while providing vital support to the warfighter community;

-- Steven M. Huybrechts, a director in the DoD Networks and Information Integration Office, for championing the strategy that provided precision targeting, secure unmanned aerial vehicle operations while denying these capabilities to the enemy;

-- Frank D. Kenlon, a director in the DoD Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Office, for his roles as the lead negotiator on the Joint Strike Fighter memorandum of understanding and in drafting and negotiating the U.S.-United Kingdom and U.S.-Australia Defense Trade Cooperation Treaties.

-- Claudia S. Knott, the Defense Logistics Agency's acquisition management director, for leading programs that transformed the agency's business practices while improving customer service in its global logistics mission.

-- Barbara Estock Mays, deputy intelligence enterprise manager for the Defense Intelligence Agency, for applying innovative approaches to transfer responsibilities and design an intelligence enterprise for the new U.S. Africa Command.

-- John K. Russell, tactical safety specialist for Marine Corps Base Hawaii's Base Safety Center, for developing the Marine Corps' forward-deployed ground safety program during Operation Iraqi Freedom II that provided a model for follow-on operations there; and

-- Edmund G. Zelnio, an engineer in the Air Force Research Laboratory's Sensor Automatic Target Recognition Technology Division, for contributions leading to the successful deployment of new sensor and sensor exploitation technologies in numerous weapons systems.

Gates also presented Umit A. Spencer the David O. Cooke Excellence in Public Administration Award. Spencer, housing maintenance contract monitor with the 354th Civil Engineering Squadron at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, was honored for excellence in improving and maintaining 1,474 military family housing units, 48 playgrounds and five athletic courts.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Army Secretary Announces 2009 Will Be 'Year of NCO'

By C. Todd Lopez

Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 6, 2008 - The Army will recognize the value of its enlisted leaders at all levels of command as it observes "The Year of the Noncommissioned Officer" in 2009, Army Secretary Pete Geren said today. Geren made the announcement during his keynote address at the opening of the 2008 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition here.

"At the front of every Army mission in the United States or overseas, you'll find a noncommissioned officer," he said. "They know their mission, they know their equipment, but most importantly, they know their soldiers."

The secretary said that during the year, the Army will develop new initiatives that enhance the training, education, capability and use of the NCO corps, showcase the NCO story to the Army and the American people, and honor the sacrifices and celebrate contributions of the NCO corps, past and present.

"Today's NCO operates autonomously, and always with confidence and competence," he said. "Our NCOs are empowered and trusted like no other NCO in the world, and most advanced armies in the world today are going to school on our model."

Geren noted he came to the Pentagon late in the summer of 2001, and that he was in the building during the Sept. 11 attack.

"And for seven years, I've watched soldiers go off to war, and watched their families stand with them," he said. "I've been inspired by the service of our soldiers, and humbled by the sacrifice of their families -- spouses and kids, moms and dads. And it's the privilege of a lifetime to work with and for soldiers and Army families."

The Army's first priority, Geren said, are the loved ones in harms way.

"They are front of mind 24 hours a day, and we're committed to meeting with urgency the ever-changing, life-and-death needs and demands of our soldiers in Afghanistan and in Iraq," Geren said. "And not just meet their needs and meet the evolving threats, but anticipate, and do everything we can to get ahead of the threat. And care for those who have borne the battle, and their loved ones. These are moral duties of the highest order for our nation and our Army."

The secretary also talked about an often unseen portion of the military -- those who deliver goods and services to the fighting force: the Army logisticians.

"We have 250,000 soldiers in 80 countries, and we've been at war for seven years, with 140,000 soldiers in theater today," he said. "Nobody ever asks, 'Who feeds those guys?'

"Our logisticians are victims of their own success," he continued. "Their work is so good it is invisible -- it's a given. Wherever our Army goes, whatever our soldiers need, whenever they need it, they get it -- the miracle of Army logistics."

Geren said the Army logistics community repairs more than 14,000 vehicles every year -- a number equal to the number of yellow cabs in New York City. They also move more than 700,000 personnel in and out of theater, equal to the entire population of Charlotte, N.C. And each day, he said, Army logisticians provide 750,000 meals in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq. They also dispense enough fuel in the combat theater to fill up 750,000 cars -- nearly four times the number of vehicles registered in Washington, D.C.

"We talked much about the surge -- 15,000 more Soldiers in Iraq -- but nobody ever mentioned that Army logisticians would serve 45,000 more meals each day, and ship 120,000 more gallons of water each day," he said. During operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, 619 sustainment and support soldiers have given their lives, the secretary said.

Geren also pointed out the historic anniversaries the Army has celebrated in 2008, including the 25th anniversary of the Army Family Action Plan, the 30th anniversary of the disestablishment of the Women's Army Corps, and the 60th anniversary of the integration of the U.S. military.

"Sixty years ago, our Army did not stand as one," he said. "It was not a single band of brothers, rather, a collection of bands of brothers divided by race."

The policy then, he said, was that the Army was separate, but "hardly equal."

"[It was a] cruel irony of our nation sending soldiers to fight for freedom against the Germans -- yet affording privileges to white German prisoners of war held in the United States that were denied to the African-Americans soldiers who guarded them," the secretary said.

On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, declaring "there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin."

"With the stroke of a pen, President Truman launched the Army on the path to the color-blind institution we know today," Geren said. "The Army moved slowly and stubbornly at first, but now stands as the model for equal opportunity in our nation. Today, we have an Army where the only colors that matter are red, white, and blue."

Geren also took time to reiterate another priority of the Army -- the elimination of sexual assault within the ranks.

"The brothers and sisters of our Army must be able to count on each other, wherever they are, in the battlefield or in the barracks, and whenever, on duty or off, no matter the cost," he said. "We will create a climate of zero tolerance for gender-based misconduct -- in attitude, word, and deed, and become fully, as our values demand, a band of brothers and sisters."

(C. Todd Lopez works at the Soldiers Media Center.)