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Combat Ageism With Leadership and Marketing

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This blog is a companion to the interview with Karen Sands on VoiceAmerica “Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations” on October 24, 2017 Navigating the Graying Demographic: Rock Your Age and Manage Inter-generationally. It was written by Karen Sands.

Once in an Engage Boomers article on Mediapost.com, Expressing Herself: What Marketers Can Learn
When Madonna Tackles Ageism, Mark Bradbury discusses how cultural attitudes about age commonly shift as people enter their 50s. Sharing negative ageist comments (e.g. “old hag”) made about, of all people, the vibrant, successful 56-year-old performer, Madonna, he inquires as to whether ageism is the last acceptable prejudice. He suggests that our satisfaction in life correlates to our feelings about aging, which should serve as a clarion call to marketers to provide realistic, positive images of dignified aging which ensure that Boomers can more easily embrace all aspects of growing older.

For decades, I have spoken at length about, and coached clients regarding, the need for marketing products and services to serve the fast-expanding over-40 demographic. I even devote a chapter to the subject of over-40 business wisdom in my #1 Amazon Best Seller, The Ageless Way. Here are just a few *sneak peek* excerpts below.

Everyone from solopreneurs to large corporations needs to recognize that this market is essential to staying in business in the future, or even in the present. Especially important is that Ageless Women themselves are in a unique position to serve this market just as they are in this market to be served. In other words, Gray is the New Green!

As pioneering David Wolfe observed, “I believe companies are largely ignoring the largest and richest customer group in history for three reasons. First, stereotypical beliefs about older customers paint them as resistant to change, so why bother. Second, there is widespread uneasiness about how to market to older customers, so let’s spare ourselves the pain of failure. Third, people under 40, who are not in the same mental space as members of the new adult marketplace majority, dominate marketing processes. They relate most comfortably to customers of their own ages or younger.”

Yet, the economy, business, and the workplace are all undergoing glacial change from the status quo, despite a combination of massive upheavals and a constant media focus on the aging Boomer population. Throughout history, chaos and major shifts have always been accompanied by renewed attempts to hold on for dear life to the (false) security of How Things Have Always Been Done. There is an ongoing conflict between the stories of our past and the stories of our future, and the battlefield between them is inevitably our present story…

My message continues to be “Here’s how to stay in sync with the generation that keeps you in business.” I present to professional and corporate marketers, strategists and entrepreneurs (experienced and newbies) across many sectors. I attempt to wake up those who have the most to gain or lose in market share and reach if they close their eyes to the forty-plus market potential. While sharing my perspective on the truth about their future if they stay youth-focused, I cajole them by quoting popular lyrics like Fleetwood Mac’s “Yesterday’s Gone…Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.” I warn them that they best get on board fast because their ability to monetize going forward will be based on their willingness to serve this enormous force field of new Boomer demand in the workplace, the United States marketplace, and around the globe.
No matter your industry or field, those who recognize the new rules of the game will reap the benefits and gobble up market share. For starters the new rules are customer-centric, not product-centered, as has been the case for eons. At least until Millennials turn forty, youth no longer rules! But “Prime Time Women” do! Let’s get back to the here and now stats that should blow your socks off! Based on a briefing paper prepared by Oxford Economics for AARP it is estimated that “…a 106 million-plus market is expected to grow by over 30% in the next 20 years.” If you snooze, you lose. Any entrepreneur or service professional that ignores the enormous power of the Big Gray already on our threshold might as well kiss their business goodbye. To anyone not paying attention I must ask, are sure you want to leave money on the table by ignoring this forty-plus market?

If you are not already serving or planning to serve the forty-plus market, you are not only missing out financially—you are missing out on the chance to align what matters with an audience that is consciously choosing companies that are making a difference as well as a profit.

The aftermath of the Great Recession can seem like the worst possible time to focus your business on your values, but the opposite is true. Boomers are an indication of how your clients are changing. Living your values and focusing on what matters in your business is not only what you need, it’s what the world needs—and it’s what the world is willing to pay for.

Businesses that want to tap into this trend must shift their focus from value to values, from the bottom-line to the Triple Bottom Line: People, Planet, Profits…

A finding in a Nielsen study projects that by 2017 Baby Boomers will control seventy percent of the country’s disposable income. Whether or not you like Madonna’s style… or that of the millions of other active, engaged, energetic, successful performers over 50 (for starters: Michael Jordan, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Betty White, Denzel Washington, Hilary Clinton, Mitt Romney, Barack and Michelle Obama, Oprah, Nascar Driver Morgan Shepherd, or Yoga Teacher Tao Porchon-Lynch, 96…), there is no doubt that the new emerging story will be written by those marketers and product makers who recognize that it is worthwhile to get beyond the rampant malevolent ageism and misogyny in corporate marketing and product development decision-making.

What ways do you think the over-40 demographic can be best served by businesses? Have you seen examples of marketers already reaching out to this age group and doing it well? Have you seen examples of how savvy leaders and organizations leverage this workforce?

About the Author:
Karen Sands, MCC, BCC is a Visionary Game Changer and Leading GeroFuturist™ on the Longevity Economy, the Business of Aging, and Ageless Aging. An advocate for The New Story of Our Age, she is a “visionary with wrinkles” who empowers people to rock their AGE. High-impact Certified Master & Mentor Coach for visionary world shakers, conscious entrepreneurs, sacred activists and change makers 40+ who are ready to shape the world and their role in it. A Trusted Advisor and expert authority on careers post 40, midlife reinvention, Boomers and women 40+ in the new business of aging for go-getters who want to stay in sync with the people who keep them in business. #1 Amazon Best Selling Author, Firecracker Speaker and All-Around Trailblazing Game Changer.

The Gift of Values By Cynthia Brian

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The Gift of Values By Cynthia Brian

The Gift of Values

Teens talk and the world listens every Tuesday NOON PT on the Voice America Kids Network. Produced by StarStyle® Productions, LLC and Cynthia Brian, these young adults know how to rock and express their unique views. Join the fun!

What are values?
The dictionary states that values are
the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something. Or a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.
Host Maria Wong tackles the subject of values with personal perspectives as a teen who deciding on the next step towards college choices. Your values are things that you prioritize and think are important in defining your life and work. Maria interviews Robin Roe with her novel, A List of Cages, who has written a raw, emotional, powerful novel with a strong message of kindness. Robin discusses her writing process, how she writes, her love for her former students, and her upcoming novel. Maria provides a Book Smart segment about her all time favorite book, Kira Kira by Cynthia Kadohata, a book that shaped many of her personal values and helps readers reflect on how experiences, family, culture, and location shape one’s value system.
“If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values – that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control”. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Value yourself! You have self worth!

·      Bio Robin Roe has a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s from Harvard. She counseled adolescents in Boston before she moved to Dallas to run a mentoring program for at-risk teens.

Listen at Voice America Kids Network

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Express Yourself! Teen Radio is produced by Cynthia Brian of Starstyle Productions, llc as an outreach program of Be the Star You Are! charity. To make a tax-deductible donation to keep this positive youth programming broadcasting weekly to international audiences, visit http://www.bethestaryouare.org/donate.htm. Dare to care!

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Keywords: – – Robin roe, values, a list of cages , empathy, Cynthia kadohata, kira, kira ,be the star you are for millennials, communication, collaborating, motivation,express yourself, starstyle, be the star you are, Cynthia brian, voice America kids

Begin with the End In Mind – Updated Leadership Vision by Maureen Metcalf

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Welcome to 2016! To begin your year, I recommend revisiting (or creating) your vision.

As part of my December routine (birthday and New Year’s both in the same month), I revisit and update my personal vision over the New Year’s break. My vision and values serve as an important foundation for who I am and how I live my life. As the CEO of my company and also as a leadership faculty member, it is important for me to live what I teach. This is one of the core practices. I also revisit it regularly to ensure I am living what I say.

Simply put your vision and aspirations help you decide where best to invest your time and energy. Clarifying them helps you define a manner of contributing to the world that authentically honors who you are. Your vision and aspirations further help you clarify what you want to accomplish over time.

For those of you who resist this process, it is true that you will not spend an hour over the weekend and suddenly determine your life purpose. It is true, however, that capturing your general direction is a great start and you can refine it over time.

A colleague and friend, Mike Sayre, CEO of NexDefense, talks about how he used his personal vision to select his current role. He has been a strong proponent of the importance of knowing and living your personal vision and sharing it with others so they know what to expect of you. You can listen to Mike talk about his vision as well as his company in a Voice America Interview. He is a great example of a leader who follows his vision as the foundation for his choices.

The following exercise is drawn from the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Global Leaders focusing on defining your personal vision

Follow the steps defined below:
Step 1: Create a picture of your future. Imagine yourself at the end of your life. You are looking back and imagining what you have done and the results you have created. •What is the thing you are proudest of?
•Did you have a family?
•What would your family say about you?
•What did you accomplish professionally?
•What would your friends say about you?
For the rest of this exercise, let that future person speak to you and help you set a path that will enable you to look back with pride and say things like, “I feel fulfilled and at peace. I lived my life well.”

Step 2: Write a story. Now that you have that image of what you will accomplish, write a brief story about your successful life. Include details about the questions above. Make it a story of what you went through to accomplish each of the results for the questions you answered. What you are trying to create is a roadmap for your journey that gives you more insight into what you want if you had the option to design your perfect life. •Who helped you along the way?
•What did you enjoy about your daily life?
•Who was closest to you?
•What feelings did you have as you accomplished each milestone along the way?
•How did you mentor others and contribute to the success of others?
•What did you do to maintain your health?
•What role did spirituality or religion play in your journey?
•What job did you have?
•What role did material success play in your life?
•What type of person were you (kind, caring, driven, gracious)?

Step 3: Describe your personal vision. Given the story you have written and the qualities you demonstrated as a person, write a two to five sentence life purpose statement—a statement that talks about your highest priorities in life and your inspirations. This statement should capture the essence of how you want to live your life and project yourself.

An example – I develop myself to my greatest capacity and help others develop and thrive in all aspects of their lives. I am wise, conscious, compassionate and courageous, and contribute to making the world a better place.

Step 4: Expand and clarify your vision. If you are like most people, the choices you wrote are a mixture of selfless and self-centered elements. People sometimes ask, “Is it all right to want to be covered in jewels, or to own a luxury car?” Part of the purpose of this exercise is to suspend your judgment about what is “worth” desiring, and to ask instead which aspect of these visions is closest to your deepest desire. To find out, ask yourself the following questions about each element before going on to the next one: If I could have it now, would I take it?

Some elements of your vision don’t make it past this question. Others pass the test conditionally: “Yes, I want it, but only if…” Others pass, however are clarified in the process.

As you complete this exercise, refine your vision to reflect any changes you want to make.

After defining and clarifying your vision, it is time to consider your personal values. The combination of these two exercises will help you create the foundation of what you want to accomplish and the core principles that guide your actions as you work toward your vision.

In the next blog post, we will explore defining personal values. I encourage you to enjoy exploring the process of creating a personal vision and even more important – reference it daily. Let your vision be a foundation that guides your actions.

Tune in live every Tuesday at 11am PST to Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations

Are Your Company’s Values Making An Impact?

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Are Your Company’s Values Making An Impact?

values 2

Many companies have a values statement on the wall. But ask employees or even top managers what these values are and, yes, some can rattle them off. But then go further and ask this question: How would I know it if I see it? Then you probably will get a blank stare of some mumble jumble answer.

So how do you bring life to the values in your company?

CPR: is the Answer. Here’s How!

1.Describe Your Values
Organizations often tout their values – accountability, innovation, integrity, quality, respect, teamwork – but when is the last time you asked if these values have been defined in behavioral terms? Do the people know for example what, “respect” looks like, feels like or smells like?

In a leadership development program for a growing hospitality company, each training module included an exercise called “Values in Action”. Here’s an example. Your customers would see “integrity” because you would:
• Deliver what‘s advertised – “don’t feel scammed”.
• Attentively listen to complaints and move to solve the problem.
• Do what you say you were going to do – and if you can’t, say why.

2. Practice Your Values
This involves actually doing what you say you value. A critical part of strong leadership is the degree to which what you profess and what you practice are in alignment. Here’s an exercise to do each week.

• Pick one value you want to practice. Don’t be an over-achiever and try to accomplish more. Start small and then build.
• Ask how can I demonstrate this value? For example, if it’s “respect”, then who are the folks I want to show respect to and how will I do it? It could be as simple as not interrupting Mary when she gets long winded.
• Assess the end of the week what specific things you did to exemplify this particular value? What might have been opportunities you missed? For example, when Joe came in to my office and said…. I could have said this…..
• Pick another value and go through the same process the following week. What you’ll find is awareness plus focus plus motivation leads to change.

3. Reinforce Your Values
Reinforcement involves recognition and possible reward for specific behavior. This can be done through positive feedback when you see an employee treating a customer with integrity; or it could be part of the annual performance appraisal process. And it can be by storytelling – a powerful way to communicate what we value and how we behave around here.

The $125,000 Thank You
All companies go through tough times but it’s the way they handle it that makes a difference. For example, Armstrong International, a number of years ago, had to put a wage freeze into effect to get through what looked like a very difficult year. Right from the start, management was up front with the employees talking about how they plan to handle this challenge.

He then lifted the sheet and everyone saw, to their amazement, a table covered with $10 bills; some 12,500 of them – stacked two feet high. One by one, each employee came up and was told, “Thank you for your understanding and commitment to Armstrong.” Each walked away with forty crisp, new $10 bills

This story has been told over and over again by employees and by the media because it demonstrates very clearly the values of the company – Honesty – Fairness – Respect – Trust – Loyalty.

Smart Moves Tip:

Values are important. They describe how you relate to your staff, customers, investors and suppliers. Numbers tell you how much there is of something, not if it is right. Values tell you whether something is right for you and your organization. And when values have been defined in behavioral terms then you, as a leader, can manage the people and processes more effectively

Marcia Zidle:

The Business Edge with Marcia Zidle, your Smart Moves Coach, delivers practical advice to help business leaders take the growing pains out of growth. Are you facing overwhelming demands on your time? Are costly mistakes eating into your profits? Are you facing increased expectations from customers and clients and the need to strike a better balance in your life? Now’s the time to stop spending your energy managing problems and start doing your real work: growing your business to the next level and beyond. Learn to create a growth agenda to get your business on the right track and keep it there. Rev up your growth engine with exceptional talent. Develop the right kind of leadership to move it forward fast. Start by tuning in to The Business Edge, airing live every Wednesday at 11 AM Pacific Time.

Creating a Culture of Integrity By Marcia Zidle

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Creating a Culture of Integrity By Marcia Zidle


Recently I asked a leader on The Business Edge what are some of the lessons learned from your years of experience. He answered this:

The Lesson:
You need a high level of personal integrity. As you move higher up in the organization, your actions gain more meaning and impact, so you need to be true to your core, which is shaped by your values, upbringing and business experiences. You’ve got to stick to that core and when you don’t, you can get negative or undesirable outcomes.

My whole philosophy centers on the impact I have on others. I believe it’s important to be honest and to establish trust between management and employees. People follow leaders and if you violate their trust, people won’t follow you anymore.

 How I Learned It:
I once asked a respected leader what advice he’d give to young executives. He said, “Always do what’s right for the company first, what’s right for the work group second and what’s right for you third.” If you practice this, people will never challenge your motives. It all comes back to staying true to your core and having a high level of personal credibility.

How I Pass It On:
Role models need to walk the talk. Many of our jobs have stressful moments where you have to make decisions and sometimes the right decision is more challenging. People are expecting you to do the right thing; you absolutely have to, even if it’s difficult.

Leaders must be accountable and take responsibility for their actions. There might be cases where I am at fault, and at these times more than ever, I have to be transparent and truthful. This neutralizes the situation so that we can focus on finding solutions to the problem.

Smart Moves Tip:
Actions of the leadership will have more effect on how employees behave than any vision statement or corporate policy which tells them how they are ‘supposed’ to behave. Chances are they already know how they are ‘supposed’ to behave. Create a culture of integrity by way of your own actions will have more effect on your people to behave in the way you want them to.

Marcia Zidle, the smart moves executive coach and speaker, is host of The Business Edge  on the Voice America Business Network. The show features the Smart Growth System providing small to medium sized businesses the proper foundation for expansion: a Growth Agenda that becomes their roadmap, a Growth Engine that attracts and engages the best talent and Growth Leaders that make it happen. Marcia, the CEO of Leaders At All Levels, brings street smarts to help businesses get on the right track and not get sidetracked on their path to higher performance and profitability.

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