What’s the best length for a blog post? Mine are usually between 500 to 800 words.
However, through the discipline of writing tweets, I have discovered that it is quite possible to communicate an important concept in 160 characters or less.
A Talmudic Tweet
There is a story from the 1st century BCE that tells of a non-Jew who came to the rabbinic sage Hillel. He said that he would convert if the rabbi would teach him the Torah while standing on one leg. Rabbi Hillel replied, “That which is hateful to you, do not unto another: This is the whole of Torah. The rest is commentary. Now go study.”
In less than 120 characters (a tweet!), Rabbi Hillel explained the essence of a profound teaching. And he showed that the commentary is the path to deeper understanding.
In other words, a tweet can capture our attention and point us in the right direction. A good blog post provides commentary; a good series of posts or a good book provides even more.
What is the essence of your message? – an interesting exercise.
I reviewed some of my favorite blog posts and pulled out quotes that conveyed the central message of that post. I discovered that each tweet is the essence of a teaching. Together they show the themes and a commentary on what I teach.
Some Quotes and Tweets
A real vision is lived, not framed.
Vision can start anywhere. It’s not an excuse to say, “My company doesn’t have a vision so my team can’t have one.”
Focus on what you want to create, not what you want to get rid of.
Leadership is about going somewhere. If you don’t have a vision, how do you know where you’re going?
On Taking Action
You don’t have to see the whole path. Stay focused on your vision and take a step.
The worst choice you can make is no choice at all.
Your challenges may be fraught with risk, but doing nothing can be just as risky.
On Personal Mastery
Slow down. It is only in the present moment that we experience real happiness, love and wisdom.
Just because technology makes it possible to be always available, doesn’t mean you should be.
Don’t limit your possibilities. Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but it doesn’t know that.
Worse than failure is succeeding at something that doesn’t matter.
Accepting help when you need it is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Even if people want to help you, they can’t if you are vague about what you want.
Be curious. A good question can take you a lot farther than a quick answer.
On Leadership Development
If you don’t see development as a key management responsibility, you will lose some of your best people before you even notice them.
Help is not always helpful…When someone can help themself, it interrupts their opportunity for growth and keeps them dependent.
Curiosity opens doors. Blame closes them.
The greatest gratification comes when the student outgrows the teacher.
When we collaborate we find creative win-win solutions. You don’t have to compromise or give up something.
Dialogue is about discussion with the intent to understand – not debate with the intent to win.
If you are so sure you’re right that you can’t even listen to another view, you are probably wrong.
If you’re at one end of a pole blaming “them” for being unreasonable, remember: in the view from the other end, YOU are “them.”
If we only discuss issues with people who agree with us, we stop learning and become self-righteous.
Distrust will not create trust. Hatred will not breed respect. Violence will not protect us from violence.
On Being in Control
When you shift from authority-based to collaborative leadership, you are not in control…truth is you never were.
People follow leaders by choice. Otherwise at best, they get compliance.
We can’t control what happens to us, but we do have a choice about what we do next.
When we let go of our expectations, we open the door for the unexpected.
If you are a writer, I encourage you to try this exercise – read through what you have written over time and pull out 140-160 character tweets. It’s a fascinating exercise to see your central themes emerge. And then, please share them with the rest of us!