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Book Review: DigitalFirst Leadership

May 31, 2021

“DigitalFirst Leadership” was written by Richard Bliss. The similarity of our last names is not lost on me. There are at least three different Richard Bliss’ that I’m aware of. One of them was accused of being a spy in Russia in November of 1997. One died in a workplace shooting in Florida on March 12, 2018. And one is a Top LinkedIn trainer, founder of BlissPoint Consulting, author of DigitalFrist Leadership. . .and my brother.

Can I be objective in reviewing a book written by a family members? No, I can’t. You can read my review of “Make Bright The Arrows” by our sister Jennifer Bliss here.

However, even allowing for my personal bias, DigitalFirst Leadership is a book that I liked. . .a lot. And I think you will too.

DigitalFirst Leadership is a book for and about the age of social media. Bliss’ choice of medium for his lessons is LinkedIn! If you are not on LinkedIn you might think the book is not for you. You’re incorrect. The book will explain very well why you should be on LinkedIn.

I’ve had a LinkedIn profile for a long time. I originally used it, like many people do, as an online resume. And while that’s still the case, it also does so much more. Almost 20 years ago I was working for Microsoft shortly after it was started in 2002. I was talking with a friend from high school who was president of a major TV studio.

Hey, Kevin, I’m trying to find your profile on LinkedIn. But, there are a lot of people with your name. Which one is you?

I think they all might be.

What do you mean?

Well, I keep getting these invitations to “connect” and since I don’t know what that means, I just click okay and create a new profile each time.

Ah. . .okay. Maybe we should talk a little about what LinkedIn is for. I think it could be really useful for you.

He would absolutely have benefited form reading DigitalFirst Leadership. Eventually, Kevin figured it out and now is very active on the platform, not as a resume, since he’s not really applying for jobs, or likely to. But, as a platform for promoting his studio and their shows.

But, DifitalFirst Leadership is not a sales pamphlet for a specific social media platform. It just happens that LinkedIn is the platform that is used for business. He also addresses Twitter and Instagram, which also have business application.

DigitalFirst Leadership is targeted at leaders who, like my friend Kevin, could benefit from using it, but may not even know it. As technology specialists, we sometimes think everyone understands technology the way we do.

But, they don’t.

I once worked for a very conservative non-profit organization. It was right around the time that Skype and similar “chat” programs occurred. As a technology manager over messaging, I worked hard to get our organization to allow a chat program. We wanted to our employees to be able to take advantage of the instant communication possible with chat programs that is not possible with email.

Chat? You mean like my grandkids do with their phones? Why would we want that? We don’t need our employees sitting around “chatting” all day.

Eventually we convinced them to approve the project. Our employees were thrilled. Our productivity went way up. And our senior managers learned something new.

But, even when companies or departments are technologically “hip” they sometimes still fail to understand the power of social media. While working at Teleperformance, the company created a “Social Media” policy. It included the normal restrictions against sharing company secrets, or posting pictures from company events, or talking about people at the company.

And then they said we were not allowed to post the name Teleperformance or its logo.

So, what about LinkedIn?

What do you mean?

Well, my LinkedIn profile has my job history including my current job, so I how do I keep that updated without using Teleperformance’s name or logo?

Oh, I don’t think we considered that.

Eventually, an exception was written to our company policy allowing us to keep LinkedIn updated. Had our management read “DigitalFirst Leadership” they would have not only made an exception, but they would have designed a policy that incorporated the strengths of social media in general, LinkedIn specifically and Teleperformance individually.

What I Liked

A lot of it. Bliss not only talks about concepts and philosophies, he takes you through real world examples, and offers a pre-assessment to help you gauge your current position and chart your future course. In fact, his advice and informaiton is so relevant that I found myself reading his chapters while logged into LinkedIn so I could make real-time updates to my profile. I also saw my profile views increase dramatically as a result of the updates he recommended.

What I Didn’t

Make no mistake, while this book give a passing nod to other social media platforms, this is a LinkedIn book. If you don’t have LinkedIn and see absolutely no value in it, this book is not for you. Even if you do use LinkedIn, Bliss’s focus is executives. There is a lot of useful informaiton for any user of LinkedIn, but he is speaking directly to the C-Suite. Many of his examples and personal experiences are directly from senior executives. While it’s interesting to be a fly-on-the-wall during an executive coaching session, ultimately, it’s not particularly applicable.

What It Means To You

If you are a LinkedIn user, this book will help you use it better.
If you are a c-level executive this book will be like a private coaching session with someone who is really good at helping people just like you maximize their use of social media. At 158 pages, the book is a quick, but information-packed read.

My Rating

For anyone not in the C-Suite: 3 out of 4 stars

For the CxO folks: 4 out of 4 stars

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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