We have reached a frontier in the world of marketing.   The “bigger is better” approach – the giant email list, the Facebook page with 100,000 likes – is getting harder to do and it’s giving diminishing returns.   Email open rates continue to decline.   Organic reach on Facebook has radically dropped.  There are now over 500 million YouTube channels.

There are 4 ways to handle this:

  1. Increase urgency.
  2. Increase paid advertising.
  3. Increase technological sophistication.
  4. Increase depth.

Most information about marketing on the internet is focused on #1-3.   This post looks at how increasing the depth of your transformational leadership skills makes marketing your conscious business much simpler and more effective.

Transformational Leadership is Effective Marketing

“So a leader can help increase the effectiveness of the tribe and its members by:

  • transforming the shared interest into a passionate goal and desire for change,
  • providing the tools to allow members to tighten their communications, and
  • leveraging the tribe to allow it to grow and gain new members.

Most leaders focus only on the third tactic.  A bigger tribe somehow equals a better tribe.  In fact, the first two tactics almost always lead to more impact.”

~ Seth Godin, Tribes

I define marketing as “Steady Loving Presence in the marketplace.”   When you are valued as a leader,  you have a big presence advantage over your colleagues who aren’t.   Specifically, here are 4 Ways Transformational Leaders Have a Marketing Advantage:

  1. Leaders see trends earlier.  As an aware leader, you can see what’s happening in your field before most.  Help people understand and respond to what’s happening in your field and you become valuable.   People will naturally pay more attention to what you put out there – newsletters, blog posts, videos and the like.
  2. Leaders name what’s NOT working.  Without attacking any one person, it can be very helpful to share what mistakes people interested in your sector often make.  For instance, I’ve been talking lately about a trend of white conscious business coaches in the 40-60 age range using marketing images and language likely to appeal only to other white people in the 40-60 age range.   I keep encouraging my peers to consider a more diverse audience.
  3. Leaders access other leaders.  Being interviewed by Oprah increases your visibility and radically increases sales.   And, I encourage you not to get fixated on Oprah.   Who are the established leaders in your sector who have a thriving podcast or have a widely read blog? Being recognized as a leader can give you greater access to these folks.
  4. Leaders understand resonant messaging.  “I have a dream!”  Martin Luther King first delivered that speech over 50 years ago.  He was a master at resonant messaging.  Transformational leadership is built upon strong empathy skills.   Increase the ongoing awareness to what’s happening in the heart of the people you serve and the resonance factor in your marketing naturally increases.


How to Increase Your Transformational Leadership Skills

I recently co-launched a new leadership initiative here in New Mexico with my friend Michelle Duval of the The Mindful Center.   They’ve been doing high quality mindfulness training for 27 years here in the Land of Enchantment – long before mindfulness was sexy in a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Google kind of way.

Our collaboration is called The Mindful & Innovative Leadership Program.   Here is the model we use to help participants increase their transformational leadership skills:

MIL model

The Mindful & Innovative Leadership Model by Paul Zelizer

The first step towards increasing your leadership skills is Mindfulness.   Awareness of what is happening in this moment allows us to have all the data we need to make the most informed choices possible and to see the largest number of choices going forward.  I highly recommend a daily mindfulness practice for anyone that wants to increase her leadership abilities.   And if you’re too busy, don’t worry.   You can start with 1 minute per day.  The best book I know for getting started is  Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

The second step to cultivate your transformative leadership skills is Emotional Intelligence.   As your self-awareness grows due to your mindfulness practice, I invite you to increase your ability to notice and inquire about what’s happening in the inner landscape of those around you.   How are they feeling about the work you are doing together?   What are you doing in your relationships that’s increasing or decreasing the amount of trust people feel towards you?    A great resource for this is Search Inside Yourself by Meng Tan.

Next, I would like to invite you to start to paying more attention to Leadership.  However, rather than read the latest book or try and copy the latest transformational leadership theory, I want you to start noticing leaders more – particularly the presence they bring to it.   Who are some leaders that have a presence you respect?   Once you start to identify some, follow them on social media, sign up for their newsletters and/or read their blogs.   Notice who they are interacting with and what they are reading.   Try to let inspiration guide you on this rather than the voice of “should”.

Lastly, let’s explore your relationship to Innovation.   When our fear is leading – the “lizard brain” –  we tend to have a risk aversive relationship with innovation.   This means when some one talks about a new product or program, your response is likely to be skeptical and/or critical.   If you notice this in yourself, try to meet it with compassion and explore what’s going on.   Over time, I invite you to consciously move in the direction of being someone who encounters new ideas with curiosity and helpful intent.   When you become known as someone who does this, people will respect you more and want to listen to and connect with you.

What’s Your Experience?

Becoming an effective entrepreneurial leader is not an easy thing to teach in a weekend workshop with 500 other people in the room.   It takes time, practice and deliberate intent.  Darn – I lost my magic transformational leadership wand!  🙂

And, most of my readers are tired of the increasingly urgent, manipulative and highly technical approaches to marketing.   Does it resonate with you that increasing your transformational leadership skills can help you be a more effective marketer?   If so, I’d love to hear about what’s resonating, what you’ve found effective and some examples of people you think do this well.   Please share in the comments below.