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Showing posts from May, 2016

Values Under Construction

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I know you only by the way you treat me - nothing else. I'm not listening to most of what you say. You asked me to find the core values brochure. It's in the closet...buried under pens and colored folders and paper clips. Here's how I know what you care about. You, as a representative of leadership. How. You. Act. You don't know what I mean? You think you never see me? I know you by: The things other people say about you. Yes, your reputation.The way you choose to greet people in the hallway.The way you talk about other people. The way you listen - or don't.What you do in response to problems.The way you show empathy to those in pain.Your attitude to new ideas that are not yours.

Why Top Executives Keep Employees In The Dark

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Have you ever noticed that most companies don't spend a lot of time telling you "how things get done around here?"


Shockingly, very little information is available explicitly.
Our management guru of choice: Is it Steve Jobs, Jack Welch, Tom Peters, Peter Drucker, who? What books do we read, what discipline do we follow?The history, mission and current challenges facing the organization: When did it get started? What were the meaningful moments? Who do we revere here, what difference did they make? What do we need to do now, and why?The little things: Words "we" use. When people go to lunch. How to address superiors (first name only or more formally), send emails (short or long, or maybe we talk in person and stay off the computer), and so on?Of course, the "brass tacks": What are our standard operating procedures? How do we define each job - your job? When we sit down together at the end of the year and talk about a bonus - will you have known all thi…

Self-Awareness First, Social Media Second

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So I did an interview with FOX News' Linda Schmidt. She wanted to know what kinds of mistakes people make when they're doing social media ad campaigns.


For some reason that day I was really focused on one kind of mistake, total sexism, and I think I may have ranted a little bit about #upforwhatever type hashtags.


The other stuff I talked about was pretty stock in trade: making sure that your social media folks are true strategists; doing your homework; and serving the brand, not just the campaign.


But we didn't talk about all the things you should do, all the things that companies are actually getting right. Prime among them: Your social media ad campaigns must exhibit a strong degree of self-awareness.


I loved the recent spot with Neil Patrick Harris, where he was prepping with "Siri's" help to host a Hollywood awards ceremony. The whole point of it was how you're supposed to feign excitement when inside you couldn't care less. At the end of it he …

Edit Yourself First

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One time there was this senior executive - okay, he was the head of my huge law enforcement agency - who really, really, really took writing to heart. Every month I gave him a draft monthly column for the magazine. And every month he sent it back to me - I could almost hear him huffing and puffing - with tons of scrawled edits. "NO! NO! NO!" Another executive used to simply take the draft and rewrite the whole thing, every week well past the weekly deadline. Senior executives live and die by the power of their communication. They can only really delegate to someone who not only writes, but thinks exactly like themselves. As David Samuels discovered about President Obama and his chief communicator, Ben Rhodes: Part of what accounts for Rhodes’s influence is his “mind meld” with the president. Nearly everyone I spoke to about Rhodes used the phrase “mind meld” verbatim....He doesn’t think for the president, but he knows what the president is thinking, which is a source of tre…

Kissing Cousins

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"It's a funny thing at this agency," she said. "You've got to be reaaaallllly careful who you talk to." "W-why?" I responded, almost trembling. (Well in fact I was trembling, with fear actually, because people kept on warning me things.) "Look," she said. "I'm gonna tell it to you straight. Those people you see every day at work, they have friends you don't see. You catch my drift?" "No." I felt completely stupid. Was she talking about the Mafia? My friend shook her head. "Let me spell it out. These people have all worked here for a lot of years. And a lot of years is a very long time." "These people," she said, a little bit louder now, "let's just say that many of them are close." "I just cannot believe it," I said. "These people seem so..." "So what? So boring?" "Well, yeah, kinda."  I looked over at another table, at a man poised over his lunch…

Serve The User, Not The System

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A work environment planned around human nature, human motivation, and respect for the basic needs of people will outperform any other kind of workplace hands-down.  You don't need a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology to know this. Yet we are still held back by the puritanical religious beliefs and harsh working conditions of yesteryear. Even among today's enlightened executives, there is this cognitive bias that "work is not supposed to be fun," and "you're not learning anything if you're enjoying yourself too much." The bias that says "you must suffer to be productive" explains why, for example: We have a bias toward promoting workaholics who can't seem to leave the office - even to sleep.IT help desks tend to blame the user, not the system, for finding it impossible to navigate the most basic tasks without assistance.The educational system overwhelmingly relies on memorizing and grades, rather than critical analysis and na…