Tag Archives: Increasing Competitiveness

You Are What You Tweet

Who are you on Twitter?  More importantly, how does the world perceive you based on your Twitter profile?  Did you know that what you tweet is just as important as who you follow? By Tweeting and following other profiles you create a unique personal brand.  Those investigating who you are make conclusions about you through both the direct (tweet) and indirect (who you follow) strategies which market your skills, interests, values, and priorities.  The Twitter profiles that you choose to follow reflect your purpose in life.  Dramatic? I think not.  If there’s truth in the saying, “your friends are a reflection of who you are”, than who you follow on Twitter is merely an extension of who you are on a global scale.

Ironically, who you follow and associate with on Twitter represents who you are to those who want to follow you.  (Still following?) You see, viewers can often determine where you live, where you went to school, what you do for work, your approximate income, age, gender, if you have a family, who your friends are, and who influences you just by reviewing the people and organizations that you follow on Twitter.  Viewers begin to see patterns and themes within your “Following” and hopefully, those are the messages you want to project.

For example, a law professor who follows other prestigious law professors, law firms, specialty law organization, and so forth reflects a consistent image devoted to the interest of law and justice.  If the law professor primarily followed physics, physics professors, and organizations devoted to physics, the professor’s personal brand would be inconsistent and distracting.  Depending on your motivation and use of Twitter, these distractions can weaken the integrity of your message.  Following other profiles on Twitter can create closer connections with people or organizations that share professional or personal interests, motivations, or commonalities with you.  Knowing this, Twitter users are able to infer who you are by reviewing not only your tweets, but who you follow.

What is it that you want to be known for?  Who you follow on Twitter reflects your interests, hobbies, language, culture, where you live, religion, humor, favorite television shows, books, sports teams, movies, etc.  Review your Twitter “Following” and decide if they are an appropriate reflection of yourself and the personal brand you want to be known for.

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Filed under Leadership, Social Business

I wish…

A young woman from Florida named Elise wrote me last week and asked, “Because I don’t have an overwhelming passion for only one thing and I don’t have a personal brand, how can I become a more valued and important professional in my workplace?”

Most likely, there are many opinions and recommendations for Elise about this subject but I will respond by answering, “listen for I WISH statements”.  “I WISH” statements are another way of saying, “here is a need and it is an opportunity for someone to create a solution”. Purpose and value are often determined by the ability to satisfy a need and “I WISH” statements can identify those needs.

Examples include:
-“I WISH my child had a mentor”. Solution: Dean’s Future Scholars

-“I WISH teachers had it better, I’d become one”. Solution: To Teach or Not to Teach

-“I WISH I knew more about blogs and how blogging can help me become a better writer” Solution: 6 Ways Blogging helps writers

-“I WISH I was more nationally recognized in Higher Education”. Solution: The Social Network Equation  Social Business in Higher Education: Increasing Faculty Competitiveness  Connecting the dots: Increasing competitiveness and leadership

-“I WISH we could study abroad”. Solution: USAC Increases Student Competitiveness

-“I WISH I didn’t have to drive all the way to Carson City in order to attend a Nevada Legislature meeting” Solution: Knowing the Politics behind your Success

-“I WISH I had more publications to put on my curriculum vitae”. Solution: Cross-disciplinary student initiated collaboration  Publish or Perish

“I WISH my son or daughter could do something extra to be more successful in college” Solution: Sticky Campus

“I WISH I had someone to talk to about becoming more competitive” Dr Tara Madden-Dent

These I WISH statements came from people in my life.  I responded to them by addressing the need and creating a solution or recommendation.  If I can’t solve their I WISH statement, I introduce them to other resources that can.  Either way, I contributing to others and creating progress within my industry.

Listen for I WISH statements in your life. These are moments when you can be of value and satisfy a need; thus becoming more productive and essential in the workplace.  Being proactive and taking initiative reflects creative ambition and selflessness: two very respected and rare qualities in today’s workforce.  If you can’t resolve a need by yourself, search for other resources or work in partnership with other professionals. You’re ability to contribute to society, create change, and see your efforts manifest into solutions will inspire your passion through feelings of being useful and productive.  Creating solutions for I WISH statements can add professional value to yourself and your business.

Please let me know Elise after you address an I WISH statement in the workplace and how it impacted your role as a professional. Thanks for the email; I wish you great success.

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Filed under Higher Education, Social Business

Interview with Dr. Marc Johnson, President of the University of Nevada

Increasing Professional Competitiveness: An Interview with Dr. Marc Johnson, the President of University of Nevada.  Discussion centers on increasing professional competitiveness for faculty and students.

1.      Question (Tara):

What are some key ways that college students, college graduates, and young professionals can better prepare themselves to stand out from the large applicant pool of professional competitors?

Response (Marc):

The first way for students to stand out is to be at the top of their classes.  By working hard from day one in their subject area, a student will gain the knowledge to be a leader in that field.  Internships, service learning, and building practical experience will also help develop a strong resume.  Building academic and professional relationships with faculty and administration will provide strong references.

2.      Question/Response Video:    


As higher education’s capitalistic transformation continues to create challenges for economically struggling institutions to attract top faculty, how can Higher Education entice and retain nationally recognized faculty and administrators in times of limited resources?


It is important for any businesses to focus on their best product lines.  Keeping the size and quality of strong departments while strengthening specialized units or discipline areas that consistently attract student enrollment and produce research will keep universities competitive in a budget short environment.  The national reputation of institutional units or specific academic disciplines will attract top faculty.  They will want to build their professional success at your university.  Maintaining a national reputation in at least a few fields of study will draw in nationally recognized faculty to the institution.

 3.       Question:

What are the most helpful experiences, skills, strategies, degrees, or qualifications that helped you get to where you are today, that other professionals can practice for themselves?


After earning the necessary degrees, a variety of professional experiences can be very helpful to build leadership qualities.  I am a researcher, scholar, teacher, and administrator and that all took time, patience, commitment, and hard work.  It is good to pace yourself and work upwards through the ranks.  It is also important to be contributing and helping others.  By giving and helping, you improving your industry while you build professional skills.  Soon, others will begin to ask you to lead in positions of your specialty because of your commitment and service.


Filed under Higher Education

USAC Increases Student Competitiveness

Interview with Monica Robertson about how USAC (University Studies Abroad Consortium) can help college and university student be more competitive in today’s international market.

Monica is the Manager of USAC Publications and Marketing, based at University of Nevada.   Some benefits & skills that  USAC provides students with during a USAC college experience include, but are not limited to:

• Academic Credit

• International travel

• Cross-Cultural Communication skills

• Leadership skills

• Real world experience

• International internships and volunteering opportunities

• Problem Solving Skills

• Language proficiencies


Filed under Higher Education, Leadership

Connecting the dots: Increasing competitiveness and leadership

Increasing competitiveness in today’s international market often depends on a professional’s ability to stand out from the crowd.  Being noteworthy and memorable, goes hand-in-hand with being different from other people in your line of work.  How does one become different?  A professional can become impressively different by connecting cultural dots, predicting future trends, and leading new trends.

Connecting cultural dots

Connecting cultural dots means to know the history and progression of your industry.  Can you see a pattern or evolution in your industry? How did it begin? What does the pattern look like now? What will the pattern look like in the next year, five years, or ten years? If we connect the cultural dots, we can predict what new trend, product, or concept will be introduced in the future. Then you can master and lead the change.

Predicting future trends

“I told you so”, “I knew it”, “You see, I was right”, “Hey, I thought of that a long time ago”, “Only if I had acted on my idea, that could have been me”. A little imagination goes a long way in today’s market; so follow through with your innovative ideas.  We live in a global culture where Creative Destruction allows us to discover and reinvent new products or concepts every day.  

For example, let’s look at how you can professionally benefit from the effects of new legislation. If local, regional, or national legislation is going to change or impact your industry, what are all the cause and effect relationships that will eventually result?  Imagine as many possible outcomes and then prepare for them. Can you develop a new product or create a new business that will help others comply with the new legislative mandate?  If you are flexible, creative, and act promptly, you can increase your competitive edge and become a leader in an industry that doesn’t even exist yet.

Leading new trends

A forward thinking professional who provides a new service or product will be a memorable leader. To increase your competitiveness, try to be different from your competition by introducing a new product or trend that others will follow.  In today’s globalized market, it is essential to lead and be an industry expert.  But avoid doing something that’s already well-established and popular among your competitors.  Connect the cultural dots and predict what will be happening in the next few years. Then begin an appropriate short or longer-term plan including your vision, goals, methods, and project deadlines to accomplish specific objectives.

What if you found out about a new product to be released next year?  Image the ripple effect of introducing that product into the market.  That ability to identify macro and micro economic and social effects provides you with the time and vision needed to prepare for the product’s release.  This process allows you to capitalize by increasing your expertise within that industry before the majority of others catch on.  The product will most likely need accessories, marketing, and sales professionals.  Can you already predict future ways to improve that product? How could you use that product differently?  Lead the way and be branded an expert in the trend.


Let’s take a look into the performing arts industry; in particular, at major icons described as American “Bomb Shells” (attractive blonde female music artists who revolutionized their industry).  First in the 1950s and early 1960s, Marilyn Monroe presented a new signature style of sexual expression considered to be culturally risqué within her entertainment industry. Yes, the social shock did present some resistance but the extensive number of her followers made Marilyn a leader and top competitor of her trade.  Then in the 1980s and 1990s Madonna broke through Marilyn’s self-expressive boundaries and led the masses into even newer and more culturally progressive trends.  Next, in the early to mid-2000s, Britney Spears had expanded culturally tolerated sexual and musical ideologies and became a global leading performer with countless fans.  And currently, the envelope is being pushed by Lady Gaga, a musician who redefines new international phenomena.  My point is that these musical artists are not famous because they blended in with their competition.  They succeeded because they recognized the progression pattern of their industry, predicted new trends, and became leaders of those trends.  

A leader is a frontrunner and expert of a new concept or a new product (whatever that may be). To be a top competitor and leader, connect the dots of cultural or industry patterns, predict new trends, products, or concepts, and lead the trend with preparation and innovation in your respective field.

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Filed under Leadership