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Archive for the ‘Smart People’ Category

What is your ethos?

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Belcan, one of America’s largest engineering firms, is built on a solid foundation with a bright future. Belcan’s strength and success is attributed to their business philosophy as well as the personal convictions of Belcan founder, Ralph G. Anderson.

An education advocate and innovative thinker, Anderson was an engineer, farmer, and philanthropist. He was born in Harrodsburg, Kentucky and served in the United States Air Force during World War II. He graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering. Post graduation, Anderson served as an engineer for various companies before founding Belcan in October 1958.

Anderson’s convictions took root during his childhood and were formally delineated in a 1995 document know as, 19 Points. Ralph’s convictions are honest, genuine, and timeless. They should not only be read, but thoroughly reflected upon.

Belcan’s 19 Points

  1. If you have a problem, it’s because of how you think. And the only way that you can ever fix a problem is to change your thinking.
  2. If you have a choice between being right or being kind, always choose kind. You always have a choice.
  3. Be part of the solution, not the problem. If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.
  4. There is no stress; it is the way you process it in your mind.
  5. Trust in your intuition.
  6. Negative thoughts tear you down; positive thoughts build you up.
  7. Your opinion of me is none of my business.
  8. When you judge a person, you define yourself; you want them to be like you.
  9. When you let others people’s opinion of you bother you, you let them control you. You have no control of other people’s opinion; you have control of your character.
  10. People don’t care how smart you are until they find out how much you care.
  11. “EGO” = Edging God Out
  12. You get treated in life the way you teach people to treat you. If you fight them, they fight back; if you give love, you will receive love back.
  13. If you seek happiness for yourself, it will always elude you. If you seek happiness for others, you will always receive it.
  14. You can’t learn anything by talking.
  15. Be a leader – one who looks at the overall picture of the company, not just at part of the company.
  16. A leader doesn’t care who gets the credit.
  17. You control your thoughts, your thoughts control your emotions, therefore you control your emotions – don’t blow up.
  18. We live to be happy and to have fun. It’s all internal.
  19. This is my way — what is your way — “the” way does not exist.

 

Ann Keeling says:

Anderson’s 19 points deserve more than reflection – these convictions should be everyone’s convictions. Everyone, that is, who wants to be all that they can be and lead a complete, happy and successful life.

Ad Blocking: Awesome Apple or Adverse Affect

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

There are a few things more annoying than intensively browsing a website via your mobile device when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, like a meteoroid, an ad pops up. How do I get out of it? How do I go back? – now I’ll never know if Beyoncé and Jay-Z are calling it quits! So. Frustrating. Right? Luckily Apple is here to save the day – yet again.

On Wednesday, September 16, Apple announced that their latest operating system update, iOS 9, would allow users to download apps to block mobile ads and trackers in Safari. Apple’s enablement of ad blocking gives customers the option to block content “for improved mobile browsing experience,” says an Apple spokeswoman.

Ad and pop-up blocking apps and devices have been around for years, primarily used on desktop computers. However, as mobile devices and tablets become more prevalent and ads get more annoying, the demand for uninterrupted browsing is growing. Users are eager for tools to combat aggressive and behavior tracking ads. According to Sean Blanchfield of PageFair, an Irish start-up that tracks ad blocking, user installation of ad blocking apps and devices has increased 48% in the past 12 months – a staggering percentage and potential goldmine for app developers.

Apple’s ad blocking benefit is indeed an exciting new comfort for users, however, could have a potentially adverse affect on advertisers and publishers. Brand marketers rely on ads – especially within the mobile media space – to promote their products and many websites depend upon paid advertisements and sponsors for funding. It’s a seamless cycle of buy and sell that could be largely hindered by ad blocking.

One ad-blocking app developer, Maro Armet, has had second thoughts after considering the harm his app could create for millions of individuals within the ad industry. “Ad blockers come with an important asterisk: while they do benefit a ton of people in major ways, they also hurt some, including many who don’t deserve the hit,” wrote Armet in a blog post. After just thirty-six hours in the top Apple Store slot, Armet pulled his ad-blocking app, Peace. Armet then promised all Peace purchasers a refund.

In today’s fast paced and eager environment users expect and want information, news, video and more instantaneously, without interruption. However, it is important that we take a step back and look at the big picture. Although many ads are annoying and intrusive, there are also many less invasive ads that provide relevant information and offers that we actually may want to see.

 

Ann Keeling says:

Whether we like it or not, the digital landscape is like any other (print, TV, radio) where advertising is just part of the game. Since digital is immediate and we have much more control over it, we want to control the ads we see, too. We do have to realize however that ad-blocking is potentially putting people out of work. Rather than blocking all ads, using the same technology to only deliver relevant ads to each of us, would be the best of both worlds.

The Doctor Is In!

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Dr. Ben Carson is serving as a surprising contender in the 2016 presidential race. A retired neurosurgeon and new to the political realm, Carson’s growing appeal and political notoriety is taking the Republican Party by surprise.

Carson’s leap in the polls was seen after his performance in the first GOP primary debate. Carson is an outsider without ties to the political system. Despite his inexperience in political circles, he possesses a likeable factor that is essential for any candidate. People want to like who they are voting for and Carson is gaining favorable ratings from voters. Carson, the only other Republican candidate who has not held or run for elected office, challenges Donald Trump as a contender in the 2016 presidential election because voters are looking for a different approach, and one that is genuine as well as relevant for today. Straying from the more experienced politicians, voters are intrigued by what Carson and Trump have to offer.

Trump and Carson are polar opposites in terms of personality. Trump is often seen as a bully while Carson is viewed as a genuinely nice guy. Carson’s likeability factor is contributing to his growing appeal. Even Donald Trump admits he is staying clear of salacious attacks against Carson because he believes his opponent is a nice guy and doesn’t deserve the negative attention. The attention Trump has brought to himself and the campaign is now serving a larger purpose, working in favor of Carson as well. One national poll revealed Carson was by far the strongest contender to Trump and the only candidate with a higher image rating than the business billionaire. Additionally, the survey found Republican voters would prefer Carson to Trump if the two faced off in the primary.

These outsider candidates intrigue voters because they believe they represent real change. It will be interesting to see how voter opinions change as the race continues. Carson’s likeability factor seems to be influencing the polls while Trump works to keep his ratings high, but will more focused attention on these candidates change the results we are currently observing? The doctor is in and Trump just might not like the diagnosis.

 

Ann Keeling says:

With so many candidates for this critical election Carson certainly represents the voice of common sense. His smarts and business acumen could be exactly what this country need right now. He’s a no B/S guy and has a clear vision of what is wrong with our current systems and outcomes. Plus his nice-guy approach makes him someone that most people can relate to.

Finding the Normal

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Saying goodbye to summer can be bittersweet. Many have become accustomed to the more leisurely pace of the summer season with kids on break and vacation days in sight. Now that the lazy days are over and the kids are back in school, many are finding that returning to their normal schedules is easier said, than done. Whether we like it or not, our vacation from normal is over and it’s time to get back to business.

During the summer months, website traffic declines noticeably. People are outside enjoying the warmer weather and their vacations. Social media feeds have less serious content and present a more casual tone. In addition, the number of posts that appear decreases. Calendars have fewer meetings and business networking events come to almost a complete halt. One study found that workplace productivity drops 20 percent during the summer months. It’s time to get motivated and reenergize the workplace.

Returning to the workplace with a positive and productive attitude is the first step to achieving normal again. Look closely at your work environment, including the physical space and the people around you. If your work environment has collected clutter from the summer months, clean up. Get yourself organized. Examine your relationships with your coworkers. If there is tension, try working out your differences and recognizing the diverse skills and abilities each of you possesses. Sometimes a simple conversation between two individuals can solve the problem that has caused an uncomfortable work environment. Tidying up your workspace will allow you to focus on more important tasks.

After working on creating a healthier professional environment, prioritize your daily tasks. If you are a morning person, don’t waste your time doing a mindless activity in the early hours. Utilize this time when your brain is awake and ready to use its creative power to tackle the more difficult tasks on your checklist. Approach these tasks with a determined attitude and you will find yourself genuinely motivated to accomplish these goals. Take the time to reflect on the first part of the year and optimistically look ahead to what needs to be accomplished for the rest of the year.

Now that you have taken the steps to get back to business as usual, ensure your productivity continues throughout the Fall and Winter. Summer is a great time for us to recover the energy we need to perform our best in the workplace.

 

Ann Keeling says:

The pace of work certainly does slow over the summer, with many people on vacation or on “summer hours”. It can be bit of a rude awakening post-Labor Day when everyone is back in the action, so be ready!

Sarcastic Jerks or Saucy Creatives

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

We all have that friend whose clever comebacks are saturated in sarcasm, or perhaps you’re that sarcastic son of a gun yourself? From greeting cards to movies to music and more, sarcasm is widely exercised in today’s society; which leads us to wonder, can sarcasm be used everywhere and with anyone? What about within the workplace? New research has prompted these questions and individuals are divided in their response.

Merriam-Webster defines sarcasm as “a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain.” – Whoa, whoa, whoa, give pain? Sarcasm is funny, right? Not according to some executives and psychologists who believe that sarcasm is a harmful means of communication that damages relationships within the workplace. “Sarcasm is a passive aggressive communication habit that undermines trust between two individuals and trust is at the core of one’s ability to get things done in organizations,” says Skip Weisman, Leadership & Workplace Communication Expert. According to Weisman, sarcasm only offers two outcomes – either it instantly destroys the relationship or it begins to slowly erode the relationship over time.

However, many others believe that sarcasm can be appropriately used within the workplace – generating creativity and playfulness. According to studies conducted by researchers from Columbia, Harvard and Insead universities, individuals on both the delivering and receiving end of sarcastic comments were found to be up to three times more creative. Sarcasm forces the brain to utilize abstract thinking, the use of concepts to make and understand generalizations, which boosts creative thinking.

“To create or decode sarcasm, both the expressers and recipients of sarcasm need to overcome the contradiction…between the literal and actual meanings of the sarcastic expression,” says Francesca Gino, co-author to Christiana Pazzanese for the Harvard Gazette. “This is a process that activates and is facilitated by abstraction, which in turn promotes creative thinking.”

So the question remains, sarcastic jerks or saucy creatives? It’s all relative to the type of workplace you occupy and the proximity of the relationship you share with your supervisors and peers. There is a fine line between biting remarks and brash humor; one must tread lightly in the company some individuals.

 

Ann Keeling says:

People are too sensitive. Sarcasm in the workplace, in appropriate doses, can make work fun and inspire creative thinking. There are so many rules and suggestions about workplace behavior that it’s a little out of hand. As long as the sarcasm isn’t harmful and isn’t creating a line at the HR office, we should all have some fun with it!