February 27

The question that clarified my purpose to engage people and effectively communicate value

shutterstock_72176353As the fog lifts, my journey continues with a sense of clarity and purpose. It’s exciting, invigorating, and feels like starting over again. This post shares details from my three-year journey, introduces my focus on effectively communicating value and explains my vision to benefit those struggling to address challenges related to people, value and communication. I realize it’s a bit long for a conventional blog post, but after a year of silence, some things needed to be written… each with sincere gratitude and an open invitation to engage with me. I’m back and ready to rock.  

Word Count: 1644 words

Reading time: a little under 8 minutes

In December of 2009, a few weeks before we embarked on our RV Adventure, a friend called, unexpectedly. He quickly explained that I was on his mind, and he felt that he needed quote Bruce Lee to me, “I do not fear the man who practices 1000 kicks, but I fear the man who practices one kick 1000 times.”

He then asked, rhetorically, which I was, and which I wanted to be. At the time, I was definitely the man who practiced 1000 kicks. Discovering my “one kick” to practice for a lifetime is the question that fueled a personal quest of discovery.

The first stop on our journey was Myrtle Beach. Intending to rest for the night before heading to Florida, we ended up spending three months at a beautiful campground surrounded by nature, great people, hot showers and campfire conversations. I used daily walks around a spring-fed lake, marveling at bald eagles, counting turtles and talking to myself.  The now-external monologue recounted my history, experiences and marked the early stages of the search for my purpose.

Looking back, focusing on effectively communicating value is obvious. But isn’t that the beauty of important discoveries? In hindsight, it’s obvious.

As with the best laid of plans, our intention to leave Myrtle Beach was thwarted by a small fire in the inverter. Ultimately, we’ve remained here among the tourists, gardens and the call of the ocean. According to the local chamber of commerce, every day is 85 degrees, sunny, and with a perfect breeze. For me, the ocean is the perfect backdrop upon which to ponder and explore my purpose, to narrow down to one kick.

While this journey was mine to take, I’ve never been alone. Beyond my soul mate, countless friends, colleagues and clients have reached out, shared meals, entertained discussions and helped to guide my focus. Turns out most of the folks on the journey saw in me what I now recognize in myself. To those who participated in this journey, I am forever in your debt.

This January marked 11 years of running Security Catalyst. I took a moment to quietly celebrate and reflect back. In the process, it was clear realize that my quest produced an answer, and the time to move forward had come.  I feel like I’m starting over – but with more clarity, experience, energy and drive than I had over a decade ago.

My passion, my purpose and my focus is to work with individuals, teams and organizations to capture, distill and effectively communicate value. This allows us to engage people, connect them to the consequences of their actions (by modeling positive behavior) and influence behavior change. 

It turns out the underlying challenge in most organizations is how to engage people, influence behavior change, demonstrate value and effectively communicate that value – internally, with partners and into the marketplace.  It’s more than a noble challenge; it’s an essential component of successful organizations.

Despite persistent myths that suggest communication improvement is out of reach, I’ve found a way to blend the science of human ecology with the principles of effective communication… and a dash of common sense.

The result: a system to effectively communicate value

For over a decade, my practice has centered on the role of people in security. For almost as long, clients have called on me to help craft communication to connect with people and improve the outcomes of security initiatives, projects and programs. Whether speaking, training, writing or directly leading efforts to engage people and influence change, I started to sense common underlying elements.

From the beginning, it was clear to me that the key to working with people was communication; more importantly, we needed to realize and demonstrate value while improving the ability to communicate effectively. As a result, I began to research and develop models, methods, frameworks and simplified approaches that made it easier for my clients to improve in any situation by modeling what to do, showing how to do it – and most importantly, explaining why it worked.

The result of over a decade of effort is a flexible, adaptable and scalable system that I use, teach and improve that allows any person to capture, distill and effectively communicate the value of any topic to any audience. Based on some astute feedback, I named it the Effectively Communicating Value System.

I realize this is a bold claim, but the system works. In the coming weeks and months, I’ll share insights, resources and models to prove it. But there’s no need to wait – schedule a call with me and we’ll talk. I’m happy to share.

The benefit: solve three core challenges every organization faces

People are at the core of each organization, and rightly so, the core of the Effectively Communication of Value System.

By searching for better ways to engage people, I learned better ways to assess the impact of actions on people, but also the influence of people on actions. That understanding leads to more accurate realization and demonstration of value, and ultimately the ability to effectively communicate value.

As a result, the Effectively Communicating Value System is a standardized way to address the challenges of:

  • Working with people: by bridging the gap and unifying people, business and technology, we’re able to connect people to the consequences of their actions by modeling and amplifying good behaviors, inspiring, easing and influencing behavior change. This covers a lot of terms and concepts that deal with people.
  • Realizing, demonstrating and connecting value: an elusive, shifting concept, we work to realize, demonstrate and connect value to audiences, outcomes and in most cases, business benefit (what I call the three pillars and two supports)
  • Capturing, distilling and effectively communicating value: a systematic approach to creating the right message, delivering it in the right way, at the right time and navigating to understanding

I’m fired up, and I need some help

It’s time for me to focus on writing, speaking, training and applying these concepts. To that end, I’m working on a series of resources and opportunities to help anybody in any situation. The plans are still forming, and I easily have a few years worth of work, content and opportunity to share.

As I embrace this focus, I seek:

  • Clients: organizations that realize the status quo isn’t working, and the key to success requires influencing people by demonstrating and effectively communicating value
  • Referrals: personal introductions to people struggling to successfully address these challenges with the suggestion to explore how this approach benefits them is a huge help and supports my efforts to benefit everyone
  • Discussions and insights: while I’m not a fit for every organization, most experience these challenges – and I look forward to conversations that allow me to share and explore how to help more people.

I believe in my ability to make a difference in any organization. I also understand that working with me requires an investment, and a lot of folks are still skeptical on solving what appear to be elusive challenges.  The natural fear, then, is that by reaching out to me, the conversation focuses on a hard sell.

Except that’s not how I roll.

Like most, I enjoy buying the right solution, but dislike the process of “being sold.” While I have to sell to build the business, I’m not interesting in selling as much as I prefer to share, educate and explore. In my experience, if I’m the right fit to solve a challenge, we’ll find a way to work together. If not, then I’ll do what I can to make a difference in the time and space available to us.

To learn about what I’ve been working on and how it might work in different settings, simply reach out and we’ll speak.

No strings, no sales pitch. Seem too good to be true?

Best way to find out is to call me on it; well, to schedule some time to speak with me.  If during the conversation, it seems I might be a fit, then we can either shift the call or schedule a follow-up to explore working together.

My intention is a call worth more than the time invested.

What to expect in the coming weeks and months

Here is some of what I have planned for the immediate future:

  • More consistent content production to include writing, speaking, podcasts, resources and other ways to share and support people addressing these challenges
  • Along the way, I plan to experiment with different ways to create, deliver and navigate understanding
  • More opportunities to engage; besides what I have planned, I’m open to ideas and suggestions
  • A new look and feel to the website, complete with better navigation and more clear explanations of what I do and how to work with me
  • Bringing back some old ideas with a new twist (catalyst community… but different)

The journey has just begun; join me?

As I shift from figuring out my purpose to fulfilling my destiny, my goal is to serve others to make them more successful. My journey, then, is the destination. I gratefully accept where I am and am receptive to where the path leads.

Driven by a belief that everyone has a story, each story is worth telling and deserves to be heard, I am focused on liberating and amplifying the narrative in each of us.

Let’s talk, swap some stories and find a way for a better tomorrow.


influence, value

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