INFORMATION overload or PRIVACY invasion? A new era of advertising.

~Erma Bombeck

We're all bombarded by information overload with "BUY ME" screaming at us everywhere.  It doesn't matter if you're on a solo drive to work or on transit, relaxing at home -- we ARE surrounded by advertisements:  the radio, billboards, bus ads, vehicle wraps. We log on to our computers at home to check our email or check our social media to see what family or friends are up to and even that is surrounded with banner ads.  

Certainly, information is getting more personalized.  Some folks even go so far as to say that too much trust is innocently being handed over to the big engines who monitor our clicks to tailor what we see.  Oh, boy.  Sure sounds like "Big Brother" has arrived doesn't it?  Of course.  There it is: the popular TV show where you can watch people hang out all day and night, get into fights, delve into relationships, intimate or lead others. That's entertainment!

There are plenty of people that are opposed to signing up to social media platforms, holding out and not caving in to what seemingly everyone is doing.  There are definitely good reason for many.  Except, if you think you are avoiding anything, you're being snowed.  Those individuals may see it as a waste of time, perceive narcissism, or simply state that they don't want to broadcast what they're thinking, watching, reading.   Privacy right? 

I'll admit, sometimes when I'm driving I may happen to notice a billboard or transit ad on the back of the bus I'm behind.  Usually the image first catches my eye and if I'm stopped at a stop light,  I might even notice the caption or tag line ... and then .... yes, there it is - the ULTIMATE:  the website.  OK, I ask myself, where is the address?  What about a phone number?  I'm expected to remember the website so then I can go look it up?  Geezwhiz.

Oh, wait a minute, where is that pen/paper or my soft phone to capture a photo of the moving ad to write the website down while I'm DRIVING! That seems pretty dumb, almost hilarious to me.  At least laughing out loud would be safer than juggling steering wheel, feet on the pedal, while keeping your eyes on the road.  Oh right, they want to take your eyes off the road so that you will pay attention to the ad, and memorize the website.  We're not burnt out from work, our eyes are not tired.  We want to jump up and say -- I wanna look that up by golly! 

Forget kissing your spouse, asking your kids how their day went, or walking the dog.  First thing you will do is fire up the computer, log on to the computer to go to the website before you turn on the television or pick up the paper .... all which are tempting you with alternative offers to distract you so you forget about it until you are cleaning up the car you find the rumpled piece of paper or looking for what to delete off your phone to free up space.  By then, you probably won't even remember why you had it to begin with or your budget is already blown. Come to think of it, somebody else is spending  pretty big budgets to tell us to go to a website?

What about when the television is flipped on to relax.  Yeah right!  Who can watch anything these days without being irritated by so many television ads?  Flip on over to Netflix, AMC or HBO special programs and notice if there aren't any product placements with brand logos?  Not too often.

Have I made my point:  Someone is making a lot of dough justifying unsafe habits or invading your privacy so that you will only go to their WEBSITE. 

“There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant” 

Recognition REWARDS

"There are two things people want more than sex and money... recognition and praise."
~Mary Kay Ash

Recognition is the most powerful tool in a leader's toolbox.  Genuine, authentic praise creates a positive culture and encourages your team to strive harder.  Nothing communicates louder for a job well done!  What do you do to reward a success in your organization?

  • A plaque with employees' name displayed prominently;
  • Throw a party -- bring in pizza, refreshments
  • Give out tickets to the company's sports seats
  • Issue praise company wide, including executives
  • Give time off -- let them leave at noon on a long weekend 
  • Offer to take individuals out for lunch 

I agree with praise and recognition.  In fact, offered suggestions that may be valuable.  However, limited financial resources or tenuous approval chains can prevent the lunches and company parties.  I don't think they are necessary.   In my opinion, our society needs to communicate that there are ways to give that are not always financial.   Donating is important and a great reward for commendable behavior.  

The next time you consider rewarding someone or a team, consider donating to charity.  Time is money and tends to have a much greater long term value.  It benefits the charity, the community while bolstering the company's reputation.  

Who the manager or leader chooses to participates is recognition in itself and communicates that this person or team represents what the company stands for and those strengths are being shared with the community. 

Charity work lifts the spirits of many and can impact generations.  

What about mentoring and leading by reinforcing positive qualities?  For example, instead of just donating tickets to an event for "Kids Up Front" ( /) offer to have one of your top employees escort the child to the event.  

Instead of donating books to the local school or library, have your team spend a morning with preschoolers and read to them. It would encourage the love of reading and instill the habit by those whom children may look up to.

The next time you consider rewarding someone or a team, consider donating your best resources to charity -- people. It generates pride and satisfaction from the participants.  It also instills a model of giving that is not always monetary.  

"Don't worry if you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition."
~Abraham Lincoln

Eagle's Nest or Crow's View? Who is better to sell for?

There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
~Nelson Mandella

A recent article in Linked In got me thinking ... which is better from a sales point of view -- to sell for a big corporation or a small organization?  There are definitely good points for either.

Smaller Company (Crow's View)

  • Usually bigger job title
  • Greater agility in customizing solutions for customers
  • Less bureaucracy to weed through to get an answer
  • You can pick up the phone and call an executive for permission to clarify rules, boundaries, pricing
  • The President, or an Operations Executive, will roll up their sleeves and sit in and pow wow to brainstorm on ways to win a customer
  • You will be given more responsibility, in a shorter period of time because you have less people to prove anything too
  • On the flip side, if you mess up, it will be exposed more readily with less barriers
  • You will have to prove to the customer that you can handle their work or requirements
  • Looking from the outside in, you may more easily identify gaps in service that you can fill
  • You can offer to be the back up provider to the Bigger Corporation, which can be a toe in the door
  • Customer relationships have a wider breadth - they get to know the delivery/dispatch personnel to the service tech, to the accounting people
  • If your customers run into financial challenges, you can often navigate a win win arrangement that will earn loyalty
  • More difficult for a smaller company to have the advertising, PR machine that the Big Corporation has
  • Small companies tend to be entrepreneurial, therefore, many customers know the owner/principle personally
  • Loyalty between employer and employee tend to be pronounced and rewarded with trust
  • Smaller graphic locations or spread out to only a few branches

Big Corporation (Eagle's Nest)
  • You will typically have brand recognition, which opens doors easily, even if just gaining appointments
  • You will have a smaller title and a narrower realm of responsibility
  • More people get involved, which can often cause confusion with the customer
  • Too many silos or processes can greatly hamper being able to serve the customers
  • Difficult to communicate, many channels you have to go through to get a single answer,
  • The Big Corporation could be its own worst enemy --  you feel like you're constantly jumping through hoops to get have simple things done (i.e. credit to customer owed)
  • Change is imminent .... customers are sometimes uncomfortable when they have to keep explaining themselves through various channels
  • Streamlined processes are sometimes the barriers created to do business with customers
  • Executives rarely visit with customers, and even then, they must be substantial in order to see
  • Many managers are figureheads, numbers watchers, metric creators, and results drivers
  • Strictly a professional relationship that rarely goes beyond to personal, family, history, because managers constant change prevents
  • You have to prove yourself through multiple layers, multiple channels, multiple colleagues and their managers, in multiple locations to get one thing done
  • The rules are the rules, the processes are the processes

The main difference highlighted definitely show the benefits and obstacles of both Big and Small.  Yes, in a smaller organization, there is less bureaucracy to weed through to get an answer, which often impacts customer responsiveness.  However, it you've worked for a substantial corporation, you are accustomed to the luxury of process ... less fly by the seat of your pants knee jerk reactions.  Alternatively, big companies have so many silos and obstacles in front of employees that negatively affect customers.

One of the biggest misconceptions I had was when a Small Company was acquired by a Big Corporation....  I was under the misguided impression that there would be big influx of money.  That was hardly real.  Stiff cost controls are common in both scenarios. 

The ability to serve is what is key.  There are definitely pros and cons to either.   Utopia would be finding a nice balance between the two.

No EXPIRY Date ... in recruiting and careers

"Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been."
~Mark Twain

I've been having conversations with what some would call "old people" lately about gaining employment.  There seems to be a growing concern that anyone 50 or over are not desirable new employees.  Gosh, since when did 50 become old?  Isn't the retirement age 65?  Am I missing something -- a memo that went out that missed my email inbox or a social media article?

If you turned 50 in 2014, that means you were born in 1964. It is well past the defined "Baby Boomer" era and long before Millenia became a popular defined age.  

To define the terms and categorization:  Baby Boomers (1943-1960), Gen X (1961-1981), Gen Y (1982-2004) now called Millenials. 

We're creating a new dysfunction in society, sadly.  From my view, I see Millenia's totally being taken advantage of.  Their Baby Boomer parents have done their darndest to pave the way for the tipping edge of the Millenias whereby it is customary to ignore anything that a parent has to say, and only information from perceived smart sources (social media, media, academia, friends).

Millenia  (Gen Y) 1982-2004

Unfortunately, Millenias didn't have post war parents who kicked behinds out the door, demanded to improve their lives by taking advantage of what hadn't been offered to them:  usually an education.  Many learned by life's knocks and setbacks, and there were cobblestones, gravel roads, hardly anything paved.  Nowadays, it seems that anything BUT an elder person has wisdom and experience to heed -- including anything viral, on social media, in the media or considered relevant by the age group.

It ain't so rosey folks.  When I was in my 20s, I was pretty dazzled when someone in their 50s took the time to mentor me, give me advice, follow their example, and learn from. The kids who have arrived in their 50s post Baby Boomers, were born in between 1960 and 1975 thereabouts ... a time of optimism, world power was determined by economics and soon to follow technology.  They were graduating when the 80s were coming into fashion.  Today, 80s fashions, music, innovations (aka computers) movies, are hip to watch, pay heed to by the Millenias.  Kind of ironic I'd say.  Pay attention to the music, movies, television or technologies that defined your parents generation, but ignore their advice today, in person.

Gen X (Post Boomers) 1961-1981 

There are a lot of Millenias that are no where nearly as tough as post Baby Boomers are.   These are the people who worked while going to university or college, saved up to buy a car themselves, and were brought up to believe that success was defined by 20 or 30 years with the same company, a healthy retirement pension, and a massive retirement party that included not just colleagues and clients, but family and friends. That was the culture then.  If you were going to work 50 hours a week, you'd be recognized for your extra dedication, hard work, be recognized, promoted, handed a raise, or even get paid overtime.  Not like today where that will barely keep you a job.  Today, you are being asked to bypass OT for banked hours, then hassled if you want to take time off.  Is it a wonder that stress is the leading killer, the culprit behind heart disease and cancer?

Post Baby Boomers, pre-Millenias, weren't programmed for layoffs.   It was ingrained in them that if you put in an honest day's work, you will reap the rewards.  Your co-workers were not colleagues, they were your work family.  Many of our best companies today, that are faltering, were built on this culture yet fallen completely out of touch.  They were built on a community, employee first culture.  Typically, formed by Post War Babies, they hired many Baby Boomers and Post-Boomer employees.  There was a culture of pride in who you work for, who you worked with, and what you did.  Taking anything for granted was never part of the psyche because it wasn't in the genetic code called upbringing.

Baby Boomers (Post War) 1943-1960

Kids, you're being taken advantage of and being misguided by some pretty savvy dishonest people, companies, organizations. Never doubt, they know the ins and outs of employment codes and confidently walk on the fine line.  You can take two weeks off for legitimately being really sick, go to the doctor and get a doctor's note and the boss will dock your pay, citing that you are only entitled to 1 day per month for illness.  Huh?  Yes, it happens.

Or, how about a boy who is 25, has worked for the same corporation for 6 years, even has to be told to go home when sick, is at work long before starting time because he's up at 4:30 to make the long trek into work via bus because he can't afford a car, never mind leave home.  Why?  Further disheartening, is that this corporation only pays him $12.25 an hour after 6 years.  He's had a whopping $0.25 .. yes, 25 cents TOTAL, raise over the course of 6 years!!  This same fellow was given a regional award for outstanding service, attitude and customers love him!  

How can that be possible?  Well, it is possible because the branch of the corporation has to reign in on costs and employees are overhead and a major cost that shareholders don't like and corporations have a challenge controlling spending, so they fix the area that seems to be the easiest, in their people resources.  They bank on the fact that employees of any age are hesitant to rock the boat and put their jobs at risk and remain quiet.

The cycle has begun.  We're not listening to anyone who can help the ones that need help.  We're letting the ones who shouldn't be allowed to be in a position of power get away with some of the mass dysfunction.

"All diseases run into one, old age."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

How about even to this day the Rolling Stones are considered super stars, setting concert ticket sales benchmarks.  Why is that when they haven't released a brand new single in how many years?  It is a little strange if you ask me.  It isn't what post Baby Boomer were raised to believe in and doesn't coincide with economics lessons of the best universities.   Yet, it happens.

Shame on us for ignoring anything that doesn't directly impact us ... because it does impact us.  Maybe not today, or next year, but it will when there is no retirement or pension funds that were promised ... yes, from putting in many honest days' work, staying with a company until retirement, or making contributions... because the ones managing those funds are padding their own pockets and living the life we are naively thinking will be waiting for us at 65.  What about stock option plans that are encouraged?  Who really benefits from that?  Not the average worker realistically.

How about how we craftily recruit people in a way to reveal their age.  There are multitude of online application forms  with red stars that must be completed by prospective candidates in order to be processed that force a month and/or year.  Why? So, they can purposely, although never admittedly, avoid being hired because they're over 50.  Why? So someone in their 20s or 30s can be hired and paid less, within a corporate culture that has deteriorated severely from reward to fear.  

It's all our each and individual faults.  We allow it to happen. Once in a while a sexy newsworthy piece unfolds, gets it a whole bunch of attention and a company or government hangs its head in a moment of shame ... soon followed by the offender blasting out a response by a PR machine, to silence the outcry by its big mechanism ... just so that it can go back to finding ways to be more profitable, on the backs of the individuals who no longer have a voice, a culture, or expectation that they matter.

"True terror is to wake up one morning and discover your high school class is running the country."
~Kurt Vonnegut