Making Time For Evolution

Altitude Branding - Making Time for EvolutionHave you heard or uttered something like this?

But I don’t have time for social media. I’m already doing 5,231 things, and I just can’t add something else.

Here’s what you have to face down. You make time for what matters.

Once upon a time, we didn’t think we had time for email, either. But gradually as we adopted it in pieces, it replaced and evolved the forms of communication we were using when it was more effective and efficient to do so. If we’d never given ourselves time to explore what it was capable of by somehow wedging it in, we’d never have realized a shred of its potential.

We’re at a similar place with social media. When we’re fighting upstream about finding time, what we’re really saying is that we’re afraid to spend time on something that won’t bear out in the long run, because then we will have wasted our efforts. Or we’ll be blamed for chasing windmills, and our judgment will stand in question. I can make a case all day long for no learning being a futile one, but I digress…

Harnessing Potential

You’re not going to have a guarantee of anything mattering in terms of “I’m absolutely certain this won’t fail.” You never, ever have those guarantees in business, even if there are years of precedent to back you up. You can always be the anomale, or the one with the fatal flaw in execution. Yes. It can happen to you.

Things that have potential need time for exploration. Which means that, in order to lead, you may have to tuck new stuff in among the other things you’re doing. Pick one thing to try. Sacrifice something. Test a hypothesis on a finite basis. Analyze what isn’t working super well, and take a chance on replacing it with something different.

If you’ll only carve out time for something when you have a guarantee of success, or when someone else gives you permission to drop something else, you’re going to be waiting a while.

Embracing the Unknown

Creating change requires a certain amount of dedication in order to seek out what’s possible, and that change needs time to incubate, take hold, and bear fruit. Recognizing that is a critical thing.

Social media often starts off as an “and”, something we need to tack on. So, too, with most new and unfamiliar things. We have to do a little more now in order that we can look at everything together later, and decide what to keep.

The very act of exploring new territory implies that you aren’t certain where you might end up, and accepting a bit of the unknown.

If you’re content to wait until someone else has gone before you, by all means, hang out and see what gives. But me? I’m an explorer. And if I see the glimmer of a new path, I’ll find the time to explore where it might lead.

What do you say? Could that explorer be you?

image credit: Adam_T4

  • http://scottgould.me Scott Gould

    Amber – so glad to have you back.

    Yesterday I was writing up content from the Like Minds Summit in Feb, and a lot of it can be summarised by what you’re saying here.

    I had very unrealistic expectations, that one could plan a beautiful, 12 step strategy, execute it, and then it was done. I’ve realised more and more, as you say, that it is actually about making time for evolution.

    I guess then, my framework thinking starts going to how we evolve!

    Best,
    Scott

    • http://scottgould.me Scott Gould

      LOL -and I’ve jus seen you commented on my post just now too! Weird!
      .-= Scott Gould´s last blog ..Let Attendees Be Participants =-.

  • http://scottgould.me Scott Gould

    Amber – so glad to have you back.

    Yesterday I was writing up content from the Like Minds Summit in Feb, and a lot of it can be summarised by what you’re saying here.

    I had very unrealistic expectations, that one could plan a beautiful, 12 step strategy, execute it, and then it was done. I’ve realised more and more, as you say, that it is actually about making time for evolution.

    I guess then, my framework thinking starts going to how we evolve!

    Best,
    Scott

    • http://scottgould.me Scott Gould

      LOL -and I’ve jus seen you commented on my post just now too! Weird!
      .-= Scott Gould´s last blog ..Let Attendees Be Participants =-.

  • http://www.crossingmarketingandit.com Elmer Boutin

    Change is never easy, and it’s often not welcome. But, change we must if we’re to stay ahead of the curve. I like your analogy of how many of us adopted email as a communications tool over time.

    It’s true that change can be implemented in stages rather than all at once. Even the early explorers didn’t just jump out there, they went out a little at a time building on their experiences and the experiences of others. It takes time, but it’s time well spent.
    .-= Elmer Boutin´s last blog ..Marketers: Package It Up =-.

  • http://www.crossingmarketingandit.com Elmer Boutin

    Change is never easy, and it’s often not welcome. But, change we must if we’re to stay ahead of the curve. I like your analogy of how many of us adopted email as a communications tool over time.

    It’s true that change can be implemented in stages rather than all at once. Even the early explorers didn’t just jump out there, they went out a little at a time building on their experiences and the experiences of others. It takes time, but it’s time well spent.
    .-= Elmer Boutin´s last blog ..Marketers: Package It Up =-.

  • http://benefitsgrowthnetwork.com Kevin Trokey

    The lack of immediate result may also be a deterrent for some, but for those who find a vision of how to use social media, this may play to their advantage. Remember, the same challenges we face in taking on a new initiative are also faced by our competitors. By creating a strategy with a clear outcome in mind and then building a plan that we will consistently execute, we can leave our competitors in our dust.

    The first to arrive always enjoy the greatest rewards. If you are going to wait to know for certain that this will work in your industry, that means you have given the upper hand to one of your competitors.

  • http://benefitsgrowthnetwork.com Kevin Trokey

    The lack of immediate result may also be a deterrent for some, but for those who find a vision of how to use social media, this may play to their advantage. Remember, the same challenges we face in taking on a new initiative are also faced by our competitors. By creating a strategy with a clear outcome in mind and then building a plan that we will consistently execute, we can leave our competitors in our dust.

    The first to arrive always enjoy the greatest rewards. If you are going to wait to know for certain that this will work in your industry, that means you have given the upper hand to one of your competitors.

  • EJ Ellis

    I’ve been a business practitioner for more years than I care to share. Luckily I started with a solid foundation–a BBA in marketing, an MBA in management, and out-of-the-gate experience working for a consulting firm built and ran by IBM’s first female executive. She was an interpersonal giant and a cutting edge thinker.

    I transitioned to corporate America and while I moved up quickly in a Fortune 100 firm, I found myself often frustrated by management teams that were relentlessly slow to embrace cutting edge change. Or change of most kinds for that matter.

    Fast forward to today and I still find that same mentality in corporate America, although the change velocity is increasing a bit. There are people in the trenches of corporate America making waves, pushing for application of social media. And soon their agenda will win out, if by no other reason than attrition.

    How to increase the change velocity remains a challenge for many. Understanding the obstacles is truly the first step to removing them. I’ll soon be blogging my thoughts such subjects. When I do, I hope you’ll stop by to read & comment.

    Thanks for all you do, Amber, to champion the adoption of social media in American business. If they only knew what they were missing, they’d be all over it!

    My best to you,
    EJ Ellis
    @EllisTweet

  • EJ Ellis

    I’ve been a business practitioner for more years than I care to share. Luckily I started with a solid foundation–a BBA in marketing, an MBA in management, and out-of-the-gate experience working for a consulting firm built and ran by IBM’s first female executive. She was an interpersonal giant and a cutting edge thinker.

    I transitioned to corporate America and while I moved up quickly in a Fortune 100 firm, I found myself often frustrated by management teams that were relentlessly slow to embrace cutting edge change. Or change of most kinds for that matter.

    Fast forward to today and I still find that same mentality in corporate America, although the change velocity is increasing a bit. There are people in the trenches of corporate America making waves, pushing for application of social media. And soon their agenda will win out, if by no other reason than attrition.

    How to increase the change velocity remains a challenge for many. Understanding the obstacles is truly the first step to removing them. I’ll soon be blogging my thoughts such subjects. When I do, I hope you’ll stop by to read & comment.

    Thanks for all you do, Amber, to champion the adoption of social media in American business. If they only knew what they were missing, they’d be all over it!

    My best to you,
    EJ Ellis
    @EllisTweet

  • http://www.startupdaddy.com/ Ian Gordon

    As a small business owner, I started paying attention to social media sites because I could see it was a new way to connect with peers, customers and potential customers. Sites like Twitter, helped me discover people like you, who are generous with what they know and eager to help and teach people.

    Employing what I have learned has not only helped my businesses, it has led to people approaching me to help them reach their customers in a new way. This was unexpected and unintended, but nice all the same.

    The best part of exploring, is that you can never know for sure where the path will lead. Being open to learning new things has only benefited me. I have had failed attempts and unsuccessful ventures, but they have always, always, led to a more successful attempt or ventures later.
    .-= Ian Gordon´s last blog ..To Succeed In Business Be A Chef, Not A Cook =-.

  • http://www.startupdaddy.com/ Ian Gordon

    As a small business owner, I started paying attention to social media sites because I could see it was a new way to connect with peers, customers and potential customers. Sites like Twitter, helped me discover people like you, who are generous with what they know and eager to help and teach people.

    Employing what I have learned has not only helped my businesses, it has led to people approaching me to help them reach their customers in a new way. This was unexpected and unintended, but nice all the same.

    The best part of exploring, is that you can never know for sure where the path will lead. Being open to learning new things has only benefited me. I have had failed attempts and unsuccessful ventures, but they have always, always, led to a more successful attempt or ventures later.
    .-= Ian Gordon´s last blog ..To Succeed In Business Be A Chef, Not A Cook =-.

  • Polly Wade

    I don’t know why, but it seems like “exploring” is more overwhelming than before. Is it because we’re moving/innovating faster, giving us more things to experiment with? Is it because as I get older I’m more set in my ways and fear the unknown?

    Even starting small can give me heart palpitations. Despite all the things I tell myself (“how bad can it be?” “even if it doesn’t work, you’ve learned something”, etc. etc.), it’s still a struggle. Anyone else experience this? How have you coped and moved forward?

    Great post, Amber.

  • Polly Wade

    I don’t know why, but it seems like “exploring” is more overwhelming than before. Is it because we’re moving/innovating faster, giving us more things to experiment with? Is it because as I get older I’m more set in my ways and fear the unknown?

    Even starting small can give me heart palpitations. Despite all the things I tell myself (“how bad can it be?” “even if it doesn’t work, you’ve learned something”, etc. etc.), it’s still a struggle. Anyone else experience this? How have you coped and moved forward?

    Great post, Amber.

  • http://ariwriter.com Ari Herzog

    You make time for what matters.

    Easier said than done, unfortunately. I’ve had numerous conversations with the director of the local chamber of commerce which is dabbling in Facebook and Twitter — along with everything else a chamber does to advocate economic development and tourism for its 600 members — but because they are understaffed and thus under-resourced, it’s not possible to devote the time to be evolve beyond mere broadcasts of this or that event.

    At the same time, their members join the chamber because their members don’t have the time or resources to do social media initiatives on their own, either.

    It’s noble to suggest an organization makes time for what matters, a concept I 100% agree with, but it’s not that simple.
    .-= Ari Herzog´s last blog ..Blogging with Influence in 5 Steps =-.

  • http://ariwriter.com Ari Herzog

    You make time for what matters.

    Easier said than done, unfortunately. I’ve had numerous conversations with the director of the local chamber of commerce which is dabbling in Facebook and Twitter — along with everything else a chamber does to advocate economic development and tourism for its 600 members — but because they are understaffed and thus under-resourced, it’s not possible to devote the time to be evolve beyond mere broadcasts of this or that event.

    At the same time, their members join the chamber because their members don’t have the time or resources to do social media initiatives on their own, either.

    It’s noble to suggest an organization makes time for what matters, a concept I 100% agree with, but it’s not that simple.
    .-= Ari Herzog´s last blog ..Blogging with Influence in 5 Steps =-.

  • http://rickmorganconsulting.com/blog Rick Morgan

    There is more at work than being “afraid to spend time on something that won’t bear out in the long run….” Even when someone can see potential, opportunity or value they may resit. Why? They are being asked to step out of their comfort zone an change. Change is almost always scary, viewed as having to give something up, and resisted. Many small business owners are Boomers and are hoping to “slide” through the next few years and then sell or pass the business on. Having to deal with a new paradigm and learn new tools is disrupting the flow, elicits fear, and causes pain. It is easy to dismiss this group and assume they are doomed to fail but their numbers are large. So, it will be necessary to ease them through the process and educate them to the long term value change will usher in. Also, help them realize that much of the new “social work” is an on-line extension of what they already do and in many instances new work replaces the old vs piling on additional work.

  • http://rickmorganconsulting.com/blog Rick Morgan

    There is more at work than being “afraid to spend time on something that won’t bear out in the long run….” Even when someone can see potential, opportunity or value they may resit. Why? They are being asked to step out of their comfort zone an change. Change is almost always scary, viewed as having to give something up, and resisted. Many small business owners are Boomers and are hoping to “slide” through the next few years and then sell or pass the business on. Having to deal with a new paradigm and learn new tools is disrupting the flow, elicits fear, and causes pain. It is easy to dismiss this group and assume they are doomed to fail but their numbers are large. So, it will be necessary to ease them through the process and educate them to the long term value change will usher in. Also, help them realize that much of the new “social work” is an on-line extension of what they already do and in many instances new work replaces the old vs piling on additional work.

  • http://johnpaulaguiar.com John Paul

    Exploration let’s you realize that things you think are so complicated/hard are really not.

    Living your life and your online life with your eyes wide open is the best way to get a taste of everything around you.

    Social media makes this very easy with so much info and people coming at you each day, you have no reason to not be that explorer we all were when we were kids.

    When I was 10 you could drop me off in the woods alone with a juice box and I would be good for days lol

    Wonder when we lose that freedom to explore. I think it was when the word “bills” worked into my vocal..lol
    .-= John Paul´s last blog ..Breaking Into The Top 20 Internet Marketers Online With No List =-.

  • http://johnpaulaguiar.com John Paul

    Exploration let’s you realize that things you think are so complicated/hard are really not.

    Living your life and your online life with your eyes wide open is the best way to get a taste of everything around you.

    Social media makes this very easy with so much info and people coming at you each day, you have no reason to not be that explorer we all were when we were kids.

    When I was 10 you could drop me off in the woods alone with a juice box and I would be good for days lol

    Wonder when we lose that freedom to explore. I think it was when the word “bills” worked into my vocal..lol
    .-= John Paul´s last blog ..Breaking Into The Top 20 Internet Marketers Online With No List =-.

  • http://www.ccgriffin.net Carol Griffin

    Excellent post; very well said. Anything worth having always involves some type of risk. Thanks for reminding us.
    .-= Carol Griffin´s last blog ..Test Post for blog =-.

  • http://www.ccgriffin.net Carol Griffin

    Excellent post; very well said. Anything worth having always involves some type of risk. Thanks for reminding us.
    .-= Carol Griffin´s last blog ..Test Post for blog =-.

  • http://www.buchananpr.com Anne Buchanan

    Two comments to add to this spot-on post and lively discussion:

    1. Mastering social media is hard. I have not worked this hard to learn a new skill set since I left college 20-some years ago. It’s that difficult, and it takes that much discipline. There’s no way to white wash this piece of it. Thanks for saying so, Amber.

    2. I no longer think of social media as a separate discipline, as I did when I first started “exploring” two years ago. I now view it as a bunch of other tools in the PR toolkit that I need to have familiarity with and know when to pull out and use. That has helped validate the amount of time we are spending on this. To me, it’s an extension of good PR. If you think of it that way, how can you afford NOT to learn this?

  • http://www.buchananpr.com Anne Buchanan

    Two comments to add to this spot-on post and lively discussion:

    1. Mastering social media is hard. I have not worked this hard to learn a new skill set since I left college 20-some years ago. It’s that difficult, and it takes that much discipline. There’s no way to white wash this piece of it. Thanks for saying so, Amber.

    2. I no longer think of social media as a separate discipline, as I did when I first started “exploring” two years ago. I now view it as a bunch of other tools in the PR toolkit that I need to have familiarity with and know when to pull out and use. That has helped validate the amount of time we are spending on this. To me, it’s an extension of good PR. If you think of it that way, how can you afford NOT to learn this?

  • http://www.techguerilla.com/ Matt Ridings – @techguerilla

    A lot of what I do in the social media world are specialized workshops. Generally the leader of a company selects someone whose opinion they trust and sends them to me, with the expectation that when that person returns they’ll have the answer about whether they should be “making time” at that point. They always go back educated, but many times the answer is, and will always be “it depends”. It’s frustrating, for them, and for me. The question isn’t whether time spent on social media has value, that can be easily overcome, the question is when does it have more value than what you’re already doing? That’s tricky, because it turns out most companies cannot tell you the value of the things they are already doing.

    It’s easy to pretend that because you cannot show distinct *predictive* return metrics on social media its value is in question, yet the bulk of what they do every day isn’t quantified either….but it apparently has value to them. Many times the education that these people receive from me has little to do with social media, and more to do with perspective.

    They leave with two mantras from me. 1) You cannot determine the value of something you do not try 2) If you’re not going to be a leader, at least be a smart follower.

    To that end, Ambers blog is a great place to learn how to execute both of those mantras.

    Cheers, and glad to see you broke your writers block :)

    -Matt
    .-= Matt Ridings – @techguerilla´s last blog ..The Interactive Audience – Are You Ready? =-.

  • http://www.techguerilla.com/ Matt Ridings – @techguerilla

    A lot of what I do in the social media world are specialized workshops. Generally the leader of a company selects someone whose opinion they trust and sends them to me, with the expectation that when that person returns they’ll have the answer about whether they should be “making time” at that point. They always go back educated, but many times the answer is, and will always be “it depends”. It’s frustrating, for them, and for me. The question isn’t whether time spent on social media has value, that can be easily overcome, the question is when does it have more value than what you’re already doing? That’s tricky, because it turns out most companies cannot tell you the value of the things they are already doing.

    It’s easy to pretend that because you cannot show distinct *predictive* return metrics on social media its value is in question, yet the bulk of what they do every day isn’t quantified either….but it apparently has value to them. Many times the education that these people receive from me has little to do with social media, and more to do with perspective.

    They leave with two mantras from me. 1) You cannot determine the value of something you do not try 2) If you’re not going to be a leader, at least be a smart follower.

    To that end, Ambers blog is a great place to learn how to execute both of those mantras.

    Cheers, and glad to see you broke your writers block :)

    -Matt
    .-= Matt Ridings – @techguerilla´s last blog ..The Interactive Audience – Are You Ready? =-.

  • http://www.onemann.blogspot.com Kneale Mann

    In 1986, my manager argued with me about getting a fax machine. His point; “Let’s wait for everyone else to get one.”. Are you waiting for everyone else to get one?

    All too often, patience is a virtue not a business plan.

    Great post, Amber!

    @knealemann

    • Larry K

      We were early adopters of the fax, to communicate with one client — but tried to amortize the expense by urging other clients to install them — to no avail. Then, after its slow start, the technology achieved critical mass as well as advancing the state of the art — and I got bawled out by one client for not getting with the program, and having a machine like his that would receive automatically, instead of his having to call to tell me to stand by to receive. Was this a case of No good deed goes unpunished? Or does it demonstrate the advantage of waiting until others have got the bugs out?

  • http://www.onemann.blogspot.com Kneale Mann

    In 1986, my manager argued with me about getting a fax machine. His point; “Let’s wait for everyone else to get one.”. Are you waiting for everyone else to get one?

    All too often, patience is a virtue not a business plan.

    Great post, Amber!

    @knealemann

    • Larry K

      We were early adopters of the fax, to communicate with one client — but tried to amortize the expense by urging other clients to install them — to no avail. Then, after its slow start, the technology achieved critical mass as well as advancing the state of the art — and I got bawled out by one client for not getting with the program, and having a machine like his that would receive automatically, instead of his having to call to tell me to stand by to receive. Was this a case of No good deed goes unpunished? Or does it demonstrate the advantage of waiting until others have got the bugs out?

  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/blog Simon Mainwaring

    Amber,

    Great advice. We discover so much about ourselves as we embrace the unknown, as well as what we learn as a new skill. Thanks for the encouragement. Simon
    .-= Simon Mainwaring´s last blog ..Is Facebook really to blame for your privacy issue? =-.

  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/blog Simon Mainwaring

    Amber,

    Great advice. We discover so much about ourselves as we embrace the unknown, as well as what we learn as a new skill. Thanks for the encouragement. Simon
    .-= Simon Mainwaring´s last blog ..Is Facebook really to blame for your privacy issue? =-.

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  • http://www.businessesgrow.com/blog Mark W Schaefer

    Agree. I am taking a harder line with my clients these days, telling them straight out that “time” is not an excuse any more. Where are they spending their time? On print ads??
    .-= Mark W Schaefer´s last blog ..A voice from the Nashville flood: Social media as a lifeline =-.

  • http://www.businessesgrow.com/blog Mark W Schaefer

    Agree. I am taking a harder line with my clients these days, telling them straight out that “time” is not an excuse any more. Where are they spending their time? On print ads??
    .-= Mark W Schaefer´s last blog ..A voice from the Nashville flood: Social media as a lifeline =-.

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  • http://www.justinparks.com Justin Parks

    I never really understood the resistance people have to change when by our very nature we aim to change…everything, we get our hands on!

    The whole “I have no time” excuse is something I’m well acquainted with from the web design world when demands are made for full CMS packages to manage and maintain a website and 1 year on, nothing has been used on the site.. you can guess why.. “I have no time!”.

    I’m not going to kid myself though, The core nature of social media is evolving and people along with it and it does require a time commitment. It will eventually hit critical mass but that may not be for a few years yet. There are still alot of hurdles to address and at the moment the TIME excuse is the simplest way for people to observe from the sidelines and see what’s going on. Eventually they will begin to itch and join in.
    .-= Justin Parks´s last blog ..Bob Parsons spells it out loud and clear on getting things done =-.

  • http://www.justinparks.com Justin Parks

    I never really understood the resistance people have to change when by our very nature we aim to change…everything, we get our hands on!

    The whole “I have no time” excuse is something I’m well acquainted with from the web design world when demands are made for full CMS packages to manage and maintain a website and 1 year on, nothing has been used on the site.. you can guess why.. “I have no time!”.

    I’m not going to kid myself though, The core nature of social media is evolving and people along with it and it does require a time commitment. It will eventually hit critical mass but that may not be for a few years yet. There are still alot of hurdles to address and at the moment the TIME excuse is the simplest way for people to observe from the sidelines and see what’s going on. Eventually they will begin to itch and join in.
    .-= Justin Parks´s last blog ..Bob Parsons spells it out loud and clear on getting things done =-.

  • http://www.brandthony.com Anthony Perez

    Very poignant insight. Some of the best developments in business have been created from “happy accidents.” M&M’s were developed because chocolate production was shut down in the summer because there was no way to keep it cool and, thus, solid. Mars created the hard covered shell to prevent them from melting, sold it as a product, and it exploded in popularity.
    .-= Anthony Perez´s last blog ..Why Axing Celeb Endorsements After Scandals Makes Little Sense =-.

  • http://www.brandthony.com Anthony Perez

    Very poignant insight. Some of the best developments in business have been created from “happy accidents.” M&M’s were developed because chocolate production was shut down in the summer because there was no way to keep it cool and, thus, solid. Mars created the hard covered shell to prevent them from melting, sold it as a product, and it exploded in popularity.
    .-= Anthony Perez´s last blog ..Why Axing Celeb Endorsements After Scandals Makes Little Sense =-.

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