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Archive for the ‘What do you think?’ Category

Does Following the Rules Prevent Progress?

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Rule following comes naturally to some. Without rules or guidelines, there is chaos…. Rules have benefits for safety, security and order; for personal integrity and ethics. But, we are all faced with moments when blind rule-following only breeds inefficiency and mind-numbing dullness.

Rarely have innovative ideas followed the so called “rules” of the era. At some point we all naturally begin to understand which rules are incontestable and which are up for debate. Think back to grade school. You were asked to complete busy work every day and those assignments in total made up, let’s say, 10% of your grade –even though they took up majority of your class time. If you had only completed a few of those assignments but aced the tests and projects, you would have saved hours and still gotten an A. But it wasn’t about efficiency, it was about learning to follow the rules.

We’re taught about the vitality of rule following from the very beginning. It’s ingrained in us strongly by parents, teachers, even peers. But is this deep-seated convention inhibiting creative thinking, innovation and efficiency?

While a child is taught that a rule is unavoidable; an adult may identify a simpler process to attain the same or improved outcome. Sometimes the comfort of a rule or a process that is set-in-stone prevents people from even searching for a better way. A commitment to innovation and progress requires some level of openness to changing the game and breaking the rules.

Starbucks or Save?

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

This is the question that haunts us on early mornings five days a week. On one hand if you saved five dollars every day, that could really add up! On the other hand, five dollars is a small price to pay for happiness…

Or could it be that it’s not even the taste or caffeine that you want, but rather you want something to hold. Let’s face it, people are more confident with a drink in their hand. Alcohol? yes—but your morning coffee shop drink can have some similar effects. Just like a singer who has never had a mic stand before, there’s comfort in holding on. Having a Starbucks drink in hand does a lot for a person—all of a sudden they’re caffeinated, part of a club, more proficient in their skills, and five years older.

So, when you go to choose if you’ll be settling for your Keurig or embracing that five-dollar Pumpkin Spice latte (or whatever your drink of choice may be), you’re really deciding who you want to be that day.

Maybe this should be considered in terms of your return on investment. If that Starbucks drink will motivate you to work harder which in turn pushes you towards success, you might make more money that way than you ever would have by saving your daily coffee spend. Or if you invested that Starbucks money right now, and make your own coffee for the rest of your life, you might be able to retire early. It’s certainly something to ponder…

But, in the end regardless of your opinions on this debated topic, you’ll still be in the Starbucks drive through on Monday. Happy Drinking!

From EHarmony to Indeed: How can dating experience guide your job search?

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

It seems to be the tragic plight of finding love. Most of us have been there—one person thinks they’ve found their dream relationship, but the other party isn’t so sure.

It can be similar in the job search as a candidate might think they’re interviewing for their dream job, while the employer isn’t as smitten with the prospect, or vice versa. Ultimately, what we’re all looking for is the sweet spot where the employer wants the candidate as much as the candidate wants the job, and in dating terms one searching soul finds another.

Determining Your Strategies

While some people choose to accept the first job they’re offered to gain experience in a field (even if they don’t consider it ideal), others may elect to hold out for a position that may come later in their desired field. Similarly, some desire to refrain from dating until they’ve found an ideal candidate, while others will date someone for the experience, knowing they will never be a long-term partner. So, should you ‘swipe right’ on every profile and apply to every job posting, or should you focus on the occasional stand out? Is one option better than the other when looking to land your first job? Not necessarily, but determining a personal strategy will serve you well.

‘Creeping’ Productively

Whether it’s LinkedIn or Instagram, healthy ‘creeping’ could aid your search. Most people are guilty of the occasional perusing of a new love interest or ex’s social media, and this same concept can be true in the job search. Following position openings, field-related thought leaders, and organizations that you admire can be a great way to gain both a better understanding of the field you are interested in and connect with other like-minded individuals. ‘Creeping’ on a potential employer can give you good insight into their background, what they deem important, and the kind of work ethic they expect.

Although it may be overstated, maintaining your social media can be even more important than viewing others. Just as you would be more interested in a dating profile with a picture, LinkedIn reports a similar finding, “LinkedIn profiles with professional head-shots get 14 times more profile views.” Try to view your social media as an outsider would, what perceptions first come to mind?

Taking The Advice Of Others Carefully

A job search is a very personal thing. Just like dating, every person you encounter will give you their personal opinion, story of their successful job search (or marriage), plea for you to stay in the area, or their 5 step plan to being employed. They will share their dominant narratives with you like, “when you stop looking you’ll find the perfect spouse or perfect job!” But, at the end of the day, the question remains: what are you looking for? They can’t determine your non-negotiables, and their ability to find one spouse or one job does not deem them an expert. Stay true to your goals.

Opinions are like assholes.

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

Eduardo Salles is a realist illustrator known for creating brutally honest, yet often funny and ironic, comics about modern life. His illustrations bring to light the harsh realities of our society – from brutal truths about social media to the reality of humanism and relationships today. In the illustration below, Salles perfectly summarizes five of today’s popular social media sites on signs with a single sentence. For example, the Twitter sign says, “We are offended by everything.” However, the last sign he includes is not about a social media site; it’s about the “real world”. This real world sign appropriately says, “Your opinion does not matter.”

Everyone with a social media account has a platform to share their opinions with the masses; it doesn’t matter whether those opinions are solicited and/or valuable. And while people have always been vociferous on social media, it seems the forceful sharing of opinions has only increased as a result of the 2016 presidential election. But how does that practice and attitude translate into our “real world” lives?

With people spending an increased amount of time on social media sites, the line between the “real world” and the social media world may be blurring. It seems as though many people have adopted the idea that they should get to express their opinion and have their personal needs met in both worlds. We’re especially seeing this more in the workforce. CEOs, HR executives and company leaders have expressed frustration with younger employees feeling entitled to sharing their opinions and having their demands met, despite their lack of experience and seniority. Companies are experiencing pressure to constantly work collaboratively, solicit employee input, and meet employee demands. While this can be a positive tactic in some cases that increases employee retention rates, there has to be a line drawn at some point. Employees need to understand that an office isn’t equivalent to a Twitter account. The harsh reality is, their opinions don’t always matter. Everyone cannot always have a ‘seat at the table’ and the opportunity to share an opinion – nothing would get accomplished. Everyone disagreeing and sharing opposing viewpoints on social media has certainly not been productive or positive, so why would anyone think it would work well in the real world?

American musician Allan Sherman said it best… “They sit there in committees day after day, And they each put in a color and it comes out gray. And we all have heard the saying, which is true as well as witty, That a camel is a horse that was designed by a committee.”

So while interacting in the world of social media… share away! But if we want to be productive in the real world it’s time to accept that “opinions are like assholes, everyone has one” and sometimes they just don’t matter.

 

A cautionary tale for brands selling social justice.

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

It’s a divisive time in America. There are many emotionally charged social and political issues that are constantly being discussed and debated. As demonstrated by Pepsi’s recent protest ad and almost every 2017 Super Bowl commercial, it can be tempting for brands to jump on the bandwagon and join the conversation and benefit with sales – but should they?

Using a social movement to sell potato chips or soda often is seen as an insincere move by marketers. It tends to trivialize issues that are highly meaningful to people. Saturday Night Live hilariously exemplifies and exaggerates this “absurdity of causes as commerce” in a Cheetos ad-pitch comedy sketch. The comedians or ‘Cheetos ad executives’ discuss potential advertising spots centered on current social issues like immigration and transgender issues. They also poke fun at how disconnected these executives are from the issues they’re discussing. When the executives are questioned about using transgender issues just to sell Cheetos one of them exclaims, “We care about that issue because there is a guy in our office whose son is transgendered!” Then she turns to her colleague and questions, “Or wait, is he trans or adopted?” to which the colleague replies, “Uh, he’s adopted.” She then says, “That’s right, because we don’t know anyone trans, and THAT is the problem.”

And that fake Cheetos executive is exactly right; a lack of understanding and connection to audiences is precisely the problem. Often these brands are not only using important social issues to sell products, but the higher-ups creating the ads are totally out of touch with the issues and target audience. This was clearly the case in the absurdly offensive Pepsi ad, where a can of soda delivered by model and reality TV star Kendall Jenner cheerfully ends a protest that’s reminiscent of recent Black Lives Matter protests. If only the marginalized people of America thought to bring a can of Pepsi to their protest; then all of their issues would be solved and the protest would have turned into a happy moment of unity and cheering – please

Social issues can represent an opportunity to really connect with a target audience if marketers are smart about how they do it… Clearly, Pepsi (and their ad agency) didn’t check in with anyone who was actually at any of those protests before airing the ad and it’s unlikely that there was a diverse team of any kind making these creative decisions. The lesson is simple and should be basic knowledge for any advertising, marketing or PR professional – know your audience.