Leadership: How to bring people together

Free beer.

Seriously.

No need to make it all complicated; trust me, free beer will attract a crowd, even if it’s not top shelf.

Did you really expect me to have something profound to say? I do speak from experience however. I kiddingly say I’m the working homeless; showing up at every networking event where there is free drink and food. And I have been to some god-awful networking events, but as long as you feed me, you can have some of my time.

Are the young gay Nazi’s for Christ really a 501c3 organization? 

Did he just say that? I don’t think he’s that young…

What does this have to do with leadership?

Not much I suppose. However, if you are buying the beer and it comes down to a flip of the coin who you want to be in charge, I’m guessing the beer guy will pull a few more votes.

Can I let you in on a little secret?

I have 4 posts in draft just waiting for me to pull the trigger. The more they sit the less likely they will ever see the light of day. The other dilemma I face as that black dot I have become keeps getting smaller and smaller and smaller, it truly is to the point, who cares?

This is not a boo hoo, who will miss me when I am gone post. Everything I have achieved or not achieved in here I am happy to say I have earned every bit of it.

Obviously, this post was done on a whim primarily so I would have something to post this week. Thanks goodness for Carolyn (bless her little ol’ heart), she saved me from crickets last week. When, not if the day of zero arrives, it truly might be my tipping point.

You can fish with crickets, my daddy taught me that.

I hope you are having a lovely summer so far.

My top 10 best comments of the week

Some bloggers think it is advantageous to re-purpose their older posts because these prior endeavors were obviously literary works of awesomeness, but for some reason maybe didn’t get the full play they deserved. Well, I looked back through mine and believe I got about as much run as I could so better let those sleeping dogs lie. However, I do have some gems from my comment section that found their way to that special folder and never saw the light of day, but obviously these people know me very well.

For your pleasure, here is the best of the best:

1 – Could you write about Physics so I can pass Science class? Obviously, this person recognized my brilliance right off the bat. 

2 – The genius store called, they’re running out of you. Once again, it ain’t bragging if you can back it up, right? 

3 – For the love of God, keep writing these articles. Now we are calling on a higher power so maybe I better stay in the game, huh? 

4 – Hey would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a hard time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.

P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask! And everybody chided me for having a free site; this will show ya. 

5 – Impressive brain power at work! Great answer! So obvious, will someone please tell my wife. 

6 – Clear, informative, simple. Could I send you some e-hugs? I’m a hugger, I guess e-hugs are good too. 

7 – Howdy my family representative! I want to state that this particular article rocks !, awesome composed you need to include approximately many considerable infos. I’m going to view additional discussions in this way . Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and all. Nevertheless think about if you added some great pictures or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”!

Your content is excellent but with images and clips, this blog could undeniably be one of the greatest in its niche.

Amazing blog! I would include more pictures of me, but every time I try to take a good pic this old cat keeps showing up and ruining the shot; maybe one day I can beat him to the punch. 

8 – An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who had been conducting a little homework on this. And he actually bought me breakfast because I found it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to talk about this matter here on your web page. See, I’m bringing some value; I’m feeding my followers now. 

9 – Hey there! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog. Is it difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any points or suggestions? Thank you - My friend Carolyn would be impressed, they are asking me for ‘techincal’ advice; maybe they know me too well. 

10 – Your honesty is like a beacon. See, I told you what you see is what you get. Other than the fact I look much better in person, this is really who I am. 

Top 10 indeed

Well, there you have it. I made the mistake of letting my spam folder accumulate too many of these gems before I tried to clean it out. I think I’m going to start releasing them as regular comments to keep my popularity numbers up.

I was a little disappointed though; it seems back in the day I had some really spicy ones but those seem to have gone by the wayside. Oh well, my friends now joke we are at the age that not only do the girls not see us anymore when we are out, they can’t hear us either.

Say what? 

What are you gonna do; we’ll see who will be diggin’ on me when I win the lottery, won’t we?

Scoreboard.

Now I know how Hootie must have felt

Hootie who? Hey, where did everybody go?

You know, Hootie and the Blowfish. And no, Darius Rucker was not Hootie even though he was the front man for the band.

There was a period of time, this band was the hottest thing around. What started out as essentially a garage band playing on college campuses blew up big time. How big?  Big as a blowfish

In interviews, they will tell you this was not their end-game and all the fame and fortune was somewhat surprising for them. They would have been perfectly content to keep playing smaller, more intimate venues while flying under the radar.

And then they were gone….

Did they run out of talent?

My guess would be no; maybe they just ran out of fresh ideas or desire once they hit the big time.

I know how they feel.

Back in the day when I was wildly popular and some considered me the next big thing, all I could see were clear, sunny skies on the horizon. It was incredible; there were some days I would have thousands er, uh hundreds several visitors a day and it was becoming a real challenge to maintain my lofty status because the bar had been set so high.

Where did they all go?

Well, I certainly didn’t become less talented; maybe I did get a little fat and lazy because the success came so easy to me….ok, ok maybe a lot fat and I have lazy down to a science.

But I still like to perform

Darius Rucker still goes out on the road and is perfectly content to perform for significantly smaller crowds, in fact he prefers it that way.

Of course, I would be content too if I hadn’t blown all my money I made in here the first time around.

There is a big difference doing something because you love it versus doing something because you have to and are desperate. And the smell of desperation is similar to stale BO, not a pleasant smell indeed and very noticeable.

But you didn’t pay your dues

What?

I was hangin’ and bangin’ with the best of them….ok, maybe not hanging with them but some actually knew me by name.

Well, that and $5 will get you a cafe latte at Starbucks. 

Let me ask you this question; do you like to read, listen to music? I certainly do, and think I am pretty good at both. It might not always be culturally correct material, but I can still do it with the best of them.

But just because I am really good at doing both does not mean I have the same level of talent on the production side. About the only instrument I could play would be a kazoo or a cow bell and even though I can write a blog post doesn’t necessarily mean I should, huh?

Did I say I was lazy?

I’m sorry if I disappointed you

I know you expected me to maintain my greatness, but I found it so hard to keep running with the big dogs. I was either going to have to start drinking much more heavily than I do now, quit my job, or start my own meth clinic like Walter White.

Therefore, that is the main reason I have decided to slide back into relatively obscurity; content to play the smaller venues and have the occasional patron come up and say “didn’t you used to be somebody?”

One thing I do know, if you set the bar low enough you will never be disappointed.

No wonder everybody left

Hopefully you know this is a tongue in cheek post, much ado about nothing.

The real genius behind this post was the fact my efforts last week looked like it might be my first where there was a real chance of not having a single comment.

And guess what? I didn’t freak out or rail against the social hierarchy for not including me on one of their lists or for never stopping by to visit.

Other than for my obvious brilliance I should expect no less considering how little effort I have tried to maintain any semblance of a social presence these days.

Maybe I’ll just stick to my reading and listening of music knowing I was destined to be a better consumer than a producer. Somebody’s got to buy this stuff, right?

Is this the one?

Let’s see if this gets less play than my last post; if it does, I will toast it, roast it, but certainly not boast it and just find somewhere else to be awesome for awhile.

Just remember, fame is fleeting so make sure you are well grounded to minimize the drama which allows you to just be your awesome self. I know I try to, hope you do too.

Ok, I’ll stop typing before you are tempted to grab a ballpoint pen and stick it in your ear…provided you got this far down the page.

I hope your summer is going well; mine is….see ya….

How ‘manly man’ are you?

Sorry ladies, this is really a gender neutral post but I had to stick with the title because it was so clever…..:).

So then, do you mean hairy knuckles and the cro-magnon look?

Ok, maybe not that manly and typically not a good look on my lady friends, but then again if you wear it well I might not be too judgmental.

I guess the big question is, how far are you willing to push the envelope; how much of a risk taker are you?

You take the challenge

What got me thinking about this topic was from one of my mountain bike rides. The disclaimer is, everybody knows there are no mountains in Florida, but where I live there was extensive phosphate mining at one time and it left some really nice hills in its wake.

I normally ride in the afternoon, but during the summer when we get in the rainy season it can be hit or miss. Therefore, I have been sneaking out before work on Friday’s to take the weather out of play.

The biggest advantage to this is the temperature is much cooler (relatively speaking) so it is a very pleasant ride from that perspective.

Another advantage/disadvantage is I am usually the first one out there.

The advantage to that is I don’t have to worry about other people on the trails.

The disadvantage is I become the spider-web catcher and some of the critters are still on the trails (alligators, snakes, raccoon’s, and turtles).

Being a native Floridian and one who spends a lot of time outdoors, critters don’t bother me. I know how to respect their space and they typically do the same with mine.

So what’s the problem?

Because most of the trails are the remnants of old phosphate mines, you have bodies of semi-stagnant water called phosphate pits, and steep slippery slopes for the trails. This also happens to be an excellent breeding ground for some really big country-sized critters.

And most of the less elevated trails are right on the water. The elevated ones, it’s just a longer slide into the pit. More times than not, if you are going to take a spill you will get wet.

Knock on wood, I have not been wet yet, but went over the handle bars for the first time last weekend so I’m sure that wet day is waiting out there for me somewhere. One of my riding partners took his first plunge a couple of weeks ago.

Did I say it was stagnant water

Anyway, I feel my technical ability has increased tremendously since I started trail riding and I am now very comfortable on all the intermediate trails and starting to be bold enough to start trying most of the advanced trails.

Well, I was feeling pretty confident last Friday morning and as I had maneuvered through most of the course there are 3 advanced trails toward the end and these are called fingers. They jut out into the water and the entrance and exit to these trails from the road are essentially at the same place.

As I approached the entrance to the first finger I knew I needed momentum because it is on a steep incline and the second part of the incline has a narrow passage-way that you need neutral pedals to get through. Well, apparently I did not have enough mo and right as I got to the narrow entrance I could tell it was not enough to make it and just hit my back brake to put my foot down and walk myself through.

Well, that sounds pretty easy then. 

As soon as I put my foot down I heard this huge splash to my left on the exit trail and knew immediately it was either somebody getting rid of a dead body or a huge gator rolling off his (or her) perch. I softly chuckled to myself and thought ‘I don’t think so,’ and turned myself around and just went right back out the way I came.

You big sissy.

You damn right; even though the gator was getting off the perch and not likely to come back for awhile, I took that as a sign ‘not today pal.’ Have you ever heard of the saying “there are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are never any old, bold pilots?”

I might be somewhat less risk averse in my golden years, but hopefully some of this wisdom I have accumulated can still be put to good use.

What risks are you willing to take?

My wife is not in favor of this mountain biking gig, at all. She thinks I am too old and it is way too dangerous.

There is certainly an element of danger too it, but age is just a number and I am a reasonably coordinated and athletic person, so I liken it to downhill snow skiing. The more I ride the better I get, which can be good and bad I suppose; it all depends on how far you push it.

I will also tell you I have a high level of self-preservation too. I’m looking to test my abilities and make myself feel alive at times, but I certainly want to see tomorrow because it’s still good to be Billy.

I like to let my hair down but most would consider me a pretty conservative person. I mean, if you stay in one job and marriage for 31+ years, how wild and crazy have you really been?

Where do you stand; are you more willing to push the envelope with your hobbies than you are your finances or your career?

What is the riskiest thing you have ever done or are doing? Any regrets?

10 reasons to include me on your bucket list

Without stating the obvious of actually getting to meet me in person and buying me drinks, there are actually 10 good reasons to visit Lakeland, Florida, where I live; on purpose.

Where?

10 reasons to visit Bill Dorman Lakeland, Florida

1. Duh, it’s in Florida… I have lived in the F.L.A. all of my life and I think there maybe was one day I couldn’t go outside because of the weather and it was like 32 degrees or something and I was afraid the roads might ice up.

Yes, it gets hot as balls during the summer but there are plenty of other places that get hot and humid in the summer too. Even though it’s the Sunshine State, where I live is almost semi-tropical and we have plenty of greenery and shade. I am very adept at Florida parking which is good as long as you don’t mind bird shit spots on your car.

2. Location – Lakeland is pretty much in the center of the state on the I-4 corridor which means you can travel to the big cities of Tampa and Orlando in less than a hour. We have the benefit of being able to enjoy the amenities the larger cities have to offer but able to come back home and still be able to drive in normal traffic.

3. World Famous Architecture – Lakeland is home of Florida Southern College which houses the largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture in the world . In 2011 and 2012, the Princeton Review designated Florida Southern College the most beautiful campus in the country.

Located on the shores of Lake Hollingsworth, it is truly a scenic setting. Lake Hollingsworth is located close to downtown with a 2.87 walking/riding path around its entire circumference and some of the nicest homes in Lakeland dot its shoreline.

4. Beaches – not in Lakeland, but because of its central location you can be in Daytona or Cocoa on the Atlantic or Tampa, St Petersburg/Clearwater or Sarasota on the Gulf in a little over an hour. The beaches on the Gulf are some of the finest in the world.

5. Theme parks – if you are into this kind of torture entertainment, we are once again in driving distance of less than a hour to pretty much every type of theme park known to man.

I gladly welcome tourist who spend their money and help our economy and it’s the biggest reason we.do.not.have a state income tax.

Within the confines of Polk County we have Legoland, Bok Tower and Fantasy of Flight.

6. Professional sports – We have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Orlando Magic within one hour. Depending on the time of year, one of the teams should be playing.

The Bucs have won a Super Bowl; the Lightning have won a Stanley Cup, the Rays have been in the World Series and the Magic have played in the NBA finals. Can your city/region say this?

7. Golf – Yes, because it’s Florida there are plenty of places to play golf; however, the Streamsong Resort is located within Polk County and its Red and Blue courses are already rated in the top courses of the world by Golf Digest.

Even if you don’t play golf there is plenty to do at the resort and it is world class indeed.

8. Bike trails – there are several rail to trails opportunities and over 100 miles of track available to enjoy. In addition to the rails to trails there are nature preserves and mountain biking available too.

Lakeland puts a big emphasis on making it a bike friendly town.

9. Lakes and orange trees – there are many lakes within the confines of Polk County and Winter Haven has the Chain of Lakes which has 10 connecting lakes on the northern chain and 16 connecting lakes on the southern chain.

Yes, there is probably an alligator or two along some of the banks and it is a rarity not to see one if you spend enough time around the water.

Orange trees and plenty of them. You are not really supposed to, but it’s very easy to park your car and just pick one or two ripe oranges from the tree. Some people even have them in their yard, but being a low maintenance guy I don’t need to be picking fruit from the tree or the ground.

10. The Polk Museum of Art - one of Lakeland’s and Polk County’s gems. The Polk Museum of Art is a nationally accredited art museum in Lakeland. It is a member of the Florida Association of Museums and is ranked among the top art museums in the state of Florida.

It is widely renowned and highly respected. There is world class talent on display at all times. If you are into this, you definitely need to put it on your list of must places to see.

So whadda ya think, it would be better than a sharp poke in the eye; is that enough for you to give Lakeland a try and pay me a visit and buy some drinks?

Can you tell I’m thirsty?

C’mon down; I’ll leave a light on for you.

Sharing is caring, but does it really help

If you are involved in any type of athletics that require skill have you ever noticed the difference in style from the people who started playing/practicing early in life versus the ones who picked it up as adults? That is not to say those who don’t start playing a particular sport (golf, tennis) as an adult can’t be as good as the early starters but you can almost always tell who is who just by their style of play.

That is the way I feel about social at times.

When I say I am old school, I ain’t lying; social tends to give the impression we are all about the same age, but other than the fact I am still a kid at heart if you were to count my rings, I have a few.

I grew up playing outside. All day. Without the parents wondering where you were or what you were doing. You just knew when to show up if you wanted dinner.

Because of this, I think it is a big reason I still play outside quite a bit. Also because of this, when the gaming and computers started to become more popular with the kids my time had already passed.

Therefore, I see some in here who have totally embraced this realm and it is very obvious they look a lot better doing it than most of my efforts. Once again, not to say I could not achieve that same level of competence, but it will always look different.

What’s your point then?

Maybe I was destined to be the outsider looking in. It doesn’t intimidate me anymore and I can bounce around just enough to stay one step ahead of the invisible label.

But I am socially lazy.

If you want me to show up and eat your food and drink your good stuff; count me in. However, if you start moving furniture or something I might have to go get my hair did.

I belong to Triberr which is a blog sharing platform. It is very easy for me to go in every morning and share posts. Most of these are posts from people who I have had some connection with along the way.

Unfortunately, I read very few of them. Why? because I am socially lazy remember, and actually have a day job too.

So that begs the question, is this method helping my blogging friends at all? Because I have a somewhat limited network, does it even really matter one way or the other?

I also post through my LinkedIn network and have had people drop me because they think it clutters up their stream too much.

Margie Clayman thought there was very little benefit to her through Triberr just for the very reason too many people are doing the same thing I am doing.

I figure if you don’t lose an eye or something, how bad can it really be?

Because of Triberr I know my posts are shared a lot more than they normally would be but my guess is, it really isn’t driving up readership.

Did you know there are a lot of blogs out there? I’ll bet the number could be as high as one thousand. Crazy stuff, huh?

You take the test

Good or bad; am I just wasting my time? What is better, mass sharing or cut it down to 3-5 and actually read the posts before putting your name on it?

Did I tell you I was socially lazy? I have told you about my mountain biking? Did you know in Florida there are very, very few days you can’t go outside and play?

What’s a brother to do?

Is your cheese still being moved?

Is it ever, make it stop; this is an edited version of my original post from February 6, 2012; back when I used to be somebody…

If you are familiar with the bestselling book, ‘Who Moved My Cheese‘ you know it deals with change and how to deal with it in work and life. Sometimes too much change and turmoil makes me want to cut some cheese, that’s for sure. One thing I have come to expect, and that is don’t get too comfortable, whether it is life or business these days because change is just around the corner.

Most know my day job is commercial insurance sales; this is an old-school traditional job if there ever was one. The original model was you work extremely hard your first 3-5 years, ‘grow’ a book of business and put it on cruise control from there.

If you plan on that being your model today I would advise to not even bother because you might have a better chance of taking care of your career by picking a winning lottery number.

Change can be good

Change, because it has an element of the ‘unknown’ typically brings about a certain level of stress. And whereas too much stress might not be a good thing, it can actually work for you.

Although relaxation ought to be, um, relaxing, stress management has somehow become yet another pressing item on our to-do lists. We’re made to feel like failures if we can’t live in a state of balance. But some stress is good; great, even. The discomfort of stress is a sign that you are tackling life’s problems head-on. Stress also improves productivity and performance – at work, the gym – and your body will be stronger if you alternate periods of calm and heart-pounding excitement.

Some know of my trail bike riding exploits these days and you certainly have enough oh-shit, heart-pounding excitement moments just about every ride.

How it has worked for me

Some of you might also know I have been doing this ‘insurance gig’ for 30+ years……….all at the same place. Talk about a breeding ground for complacency. The good news is we have forward thinking management and try to be pro-active and relevant in a fast-paced information overload society. This means don’t get too comfortable in your chair, because you might have to move soon if they even let you keep your chair.

I certainly don’t want to be the ‘that’s the way we always did it‘ guy but try to set the example and lead the charge if I truly think it will benefit the corporation. We are an ESOP (employee owned – employee stock option plan) corporation so everybody’s performance impacts not only our success, but our ‘retirement’ account as well. If everybody has some skin in the game it’s a lot easier to hold everyone accountable.

Has all this change made me uncomfortable at times? Absolutely, but it has also kept it interesting, challenging and fresh. I feel my eagerness to learn and adapt also keeps me young at heart and always growing.

Other changes I see

There are quite a few of us in my community who entered the ‘social’ journey at about the same time. When we jumped on the hamster wheel we were led to believe more followers and more comments are how you succeed. There is nothing wrong with that per se, but you do have a tendency to ‘chase’ under that model; and it’s circular.

Just about everybody I know has varied from that model now they are deeper into their journey, and some have just given up. We are all smart enough to copy and emulate what we perceive as ‘success’ in here, but I feel we have come to the realization there really is no ‘right way’ or ‘wrong way’; it’s ultimately only ‘our way’.

Just like life, if you are going to be a survivor in here don’t get too comfortable in your seat. What is working for you today could be totally different in 30 days…or less; that is how fluid social is.

This is what keeps me going

Numero uno – it has to be fun; fun is a great motivator for me. I work plenty hard in my day job. In my ‘spare time‘ I’m a volunteer Guardian ad Litem and sit on several boards; all non-paying positions. Therefore, it’s important to find a fun factor in all, even if there is hard work involved.

The jury is still out for me if I have the motivation to take any of this social stuff any further than I already have. Not that I made any lists in the first place, but I don’t expect to make many in the future as well unless somebody is doing a ‘whatever happened to‘ list.

What about you?

Has traditional blogging run it’s course? Do you feel there are greater opportunities to be successful with a social platform now or has the newness worn off and most are on the other side of the curve right now?

Is the continual moving of cheese the new norm, or will we ever get back to being able to take a deep breath and actually enjoy the fruits of our labor before running off to the next big thing?

At the end of the day, what is important to you?