Showing posts with label Communications. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Communications. Show all posts

Why do sales professionals use email?

The following was my answer on Quora:

Follow up. Follow Up. Follow UP.
Thank you Monica for asking me to answer this question.
Let’s assume that the sales professional and the client or prospect have exchanged business cards. On said business cards is the email address.
Let’s consider what sort of emails a sales professional would send:
  1. Thank them for the connection. Short sweet, to the point. (Reminds them that you connected).
  2. After a meeting: you send an email with bullets on
  • What was discussed.
  • What actions each party promised to make.
  • Confirm follow up actions you will take or information you promised.
  • Confirm next steps: when you will follow up and how?
  • Schedule a meeting
  • Reinforce the mutual benefit to be gained with focus on the reader.
Almost all top sales professionals would not rely solely on email. It is another touch point. It is not a license to spam.
A savvy sales pro would think of it as a form of keeping in touch but stays on topic.
Close the email with the next step: usually promised in person.
Email shows the ability to stay true to one’s word.
Email can be used to provide information or articles the reader expressed interest in.
CRMs (Customer Relationship Management) tools have email features that allow sales pros to track the relationship, record notes, follow up when promised. They also indicate the last time you touched base. Act accordingly.
If the recipient responds, even with a simple “thank you” it would indicate you are not lost in the SPAM folder.
The recipient will usually respond with agreement on next steps.
They may respond with a referral to someone else in their buy cycle. Leverage that name, cc the referrer as acknowledgement that you did act on their recommendation. Then refrain from including them in every other communication.
Email invitations to events, open houses, etc.
From the beginning, a sales pro can establish the rules of engagement. What sort of information they are interested in (i.e. sales, announcements)
People are adverse to unsolicited email, keep that in mind.
REMEMBER: email should never replace face to face communications.

Communication rules

There are often repetitive messages in my blog writing and it is rewarding when someone of superior intelligence grasps the meaning behind the messages.

Mike and I began our Social Media journey at about the same time (2010) ::... I was nudged a little harder over the cliff into the abyss slightly before him, and became what I thought as an unlikely mentor to someone who was highly successful and brilliant in his own right -- a successful book launch being a key metric that I recognized early on as a method to delve into credibility online among the endless noise and self-promotion of many self-described "experts".

Steadfast still, I am firmly entrenched in the belief that nobody can define themselves as an expert, no matter how many followers one has.  It is derived from how others describe you:  what do others consider you knowledgeable about is one thing, being credited as an expert quite largely another.

Mike reached out to me a couple of weeks ago via email, one of the few entrusted connections online that have never been derived from a face-to-face meeting at an event, social or association.  Not even a telephone conversation.

Having a virtual or personal conversation with a man who is not a relative, business associate is frowned upon as it can lead "to other things".  However, you can still be disciplined in having rich conversations and exchange of knowledge and learning from others regardless of gender.   There is an invisible line that should never be crossed.  

During a isolated time in my life when I was a regular church attendee, I still recall a message that resonates today from a wise Pastor:  do not be afraid to create friendships or be asked for advice from the opposite gender.  However, there are some areas to stay far from to keep it from falling into a downward, unethical spiral:

  1. Include others in the conversation so that it is not isolated, clustered by only two (the Pastor suggested that he invites his wife to any meeting or event that he wants to avoid falling into the trap of questionable conversations, particularly marriage counselling).
  2. It is okay to sprinkle in nuggets about your life partner, spouse, wife or husband, children, as a distinct flag that you are if not always happy, happiest with the person you are with and have no intention to stray.  Cheating is not at your core values.
  3. Keep it professional so that at any given time, the conversation may be shared with a sibling, friend, child, parent, spouse, partner without any guilt.
  4. Keep the topic off of relationship radars:  particularly complaints about your partner's shortcomings, dissatisfaction with your relationship in any shape or form.  That should be with your church minister or mosque elder or mentor (sibling, parent, etc).
  5. You can have a respectful, fruitful relationship with a person of the opposite sex, when your radar clearly signals "in a committed relationship with not a sliver of disregard or disrespect of your life partner".
  6. Any of these apply to anyone with leanings towards same sex or transgender relationships.
You CAN have helpful, rewarding relationships with anyone so long as you know your boundaries and it is clearly communicated by not so much by what you say but how you act.

A cheater's paradise?

Policing employees' performance is one thing that most companies do well. However, being the corporate watchdog is quite a different conundrum. At what point do company code of ethics cross over into personal behavior at work. In some areas it is natural for organizations to provide guidelines for its employees behaviors at work, while quite a hotbed of varying opinions when it comes to what employees do on their own time.
I broached the subject when posting earlier on TheOptioneerJM on how whistle blowers are treated within organizations. 
What bothered me to the core is how an organization reacts to a whistle blower says a ton about their culture. Meaning, you can have policies, guidelines, codes of ethics and beyond, but they become meaningless when managers or employees take it a step too far.
In my example, with anonymity caveats all over the place, it appeared that an employee who blew the whistle on one manager's harassing behavior, to only end up being pegged a "trouble maker" by immediate management. Or being subject of bullying by colleagues, promoted, endorsed, supported, investigated, documented with a black mark on personal profile within a company and doomed career opportunities.
A safe haven?
I caught a short segment on Dr. OZ with Megyn Kelly earlier in the week and it resounded with me because of the train of thought I exuded by helping this individual get the story out. My indignity at the person's poor treatment by their company was what got my keys clicking and clacking.
To Megyn's question to anyone paying attention: is your company providing a safe haven for its employees?  When it comes to any form of harassment, it becomes a great deal more complicated when every form of bullying or social expression requires an encyclopedia or book og guidelines. But the question is direct and clear: how do you treat your employees? This is a loud commentary on how safe is your work environment for its employees?
Ethics and codes
I haven't been party to formulating a corporate code of conduct or ethical guide, I should add. However, I've certainly signed off many times in my career.  I opinionate and conclude that even the best intentions go haywire.
Beliefs and values
Most organizations are intricate in detail on how employees conduct themselves on site, off hours and online seem to be muddled. Yet the core responsibility, in my opinion, lies with a company providing a safe environment to which they owe employees who work for them.
The subject matters are varied and how companies react are the most telling by whether poor treatment, controversial subjects become viral social commentaries, opinions and sharing.
Fine lines merge
What happens when employees' behavior crosses between what they do while at work and what they do with their own private lives? It is becoming a challenge I'm sure, to determine when an employee's corporate responsibility stops and starts now that it has become easier to express oneself through social means, blogging and posting. What a mess?
Affairs, cheating, harassment
What is the difference? Companies do protect their employees to a great extent on sexual harassment. However, there are other areas that cross personal values and beliefs that seem to be grey. 
In the workplace, having a mean boss has been around for years. Think Scrooge's treatment of his dedicated long-term employee, Bob Cratchit. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
___________________________________________________ **

Bob Cratchit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim as depicted in the 1870s by Fred Barnard
First appearanceA Christmas Carol 1843Created by Charles Dickens
Robert "Bob" Cratchit is a fictional character in the Charles Dickens novella A Christmas Carol. The abused, underpaid clerk of Ebenezer Scrooge, Cratchit has come to symbolize poor working conditions, especially long working hours.[1]
According to a comment by his wife, Cratchit works for 15 shillings a week at a rate of three pence ("thruppence") an hour for 60 hours per week. Until the decimalization of the British Pound in 1971, one shilling was twelve pence. Thus, fifteen shillings is 180 pence. It would take 60 hours to earn 180 at a rate of three pence per hour.[2] In terms of 2015 purchasing power, this would be approximately £63.00[3] or about $94 US per week.
Imagine the outcry if Cratchit were to find an empathetic media outlet to tell his story today: without a doubt, to me anyhow, it would create a storm of viral fuel, diagnosed, discussed, dissected and opinionated for sure. (Remember public outcry over an employee's challenge to her company CEO's treatment of her? On MEDIUM).
Yet, the bullying part of Scrooge's treatment of Cratchit is more accepted than most of us would be willing to admit.
Perhaps there IS a fine line between harassment and bullying after all. Remove "sexual" it becomes more normalized and less controversial today. Why is that? 
Work affairs and cheating 
Is an area that is vague and a cesspool that most companies stay far removed from. It is tempting to try to police employees conduct outside the work place and many do so with guidelines, policies and disciplinary measures when it comes to those who struggle with addiction, blast their boss or company in their private time through self-expression on social media.
That may be because the company's intent is to protect its reputation, brand and shareholder value, which can deteriorate the financial health of the organization.  Or most would demonstrate that they find it a risk.
But what about the company's responsibility for providing a safe working environment for its employees?  Definitely, there are growing best practices on Emergency Response, and even rehearsals in real time on a terrorist threat. That is a physical example of providing a safe workplace. But what about emotional well being?
Emotional safety
Most allow staff to honor their religious beliefs in most places, by allowing the wearing of turbans or hijab as demonstrative of their faith. That is, unless it is a police department or situation where policies adapt to interpretation of safety. 
For instance, in Canada, there have been stories where RCMP were originally prevented from wearing a turban instead of the traditional uniform that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are identified by. Another instance, was when then Prime Minister of Canada became embroiled in controversy when he tried to mandate that women remove their hijab during Canadian citizenship swearing in ceremonies.
For every seed of controversy remains a grain of belief in these scenarios.
So how many religions, ethical guidelines, or values say it is okay to cheat on your spouse? We know there are bigamy societies that allow it (reference this week's story on young Canadian girls being migrated to the US to become young brides).
Yet, if you ask most reasonable people, who hold themselves accountable for their own behavior, place the blame on their own shoulders if they were to lapse to poor judgement, that agree that cheating on your spouse is simply not okay.
Unless you've been the victim of such affairs, it is difficult to relate to the destruction that it can cause. Yet on the balance beam of right and wrong, it leans far over to the wrong. Very few people would agree that it is permissible and allowed under the sanctimony of marriage vows. And that is not a religious statement. It is a value statement.
Both my now husband and myself were subjects of spouses who cheated on us with someone they work with. We both would agree how emotionally destructive that it was to all involved.  In both situations, it was handled differently by the employers where the matter happened.
Gender is not specific here. It is caused and can happen to either gender of spouse: husband or wife. Yet the downward spiral that it causes does spill over to the work environment, destroys families, splits apart children who, if given the choice, would not have to be forced to make a choice between either parent. 
It can cause a tailspin of gossip and distract a great many people. Yet it is something that few companies want to approach: should cheaters at work get an automatic pass? But what about creating a safe, value-based, environment for work?
I suppose it won't be forced into discussion until a strong journalist, with quality beliefs and convictions that the behavior is wrong, writes or talks about it on the media. 
Granted, we are not stuck in the 50s where home means mom stays at home to make the bacon while dad goes to work to bring home the bacon. The roles have blurred and merged. 
I just don't believe that allowing an atmosphere of cheating should be continued. Like Megyn said so well: it is your company's responsibility to provide you with an encouraging atmosphere (bully and harassment free) and value driven culture (where cheating is added to the behavior that is not condoned or ignored).  But, most of all, safe.
What do you think? 
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ABOUT THE HIJAB (Source: Arabs in America)

Women > Veiling > What is the Hijab and Why do Women Wear it?

Hijab is referred to by various names, some of the most common of which are a veil or a headscarf. Most Muslims who wear the covering call it a hijab (حجاب), an Arabic word meaning “cover.” However, there are various forms of hijab that are referred to by different names. While hijab is commonly associated with women, Muslim men also sometimes wear a head covering as a means of showing modesty. Additionally, Christian and Jewish women in some traditions wear a headscarf as a cultural practice or commitment to modesty or piety.
Find out more about the History of the Hijab.

What are the various kind of hijab?

Image by Kalashe
Hijab ( حجاب): The first type of hijab that is most commonly worn by women in the West is a square scarf that covers the head and neck, but leaves the face clear. This form of hijab is most commonly referred to as hijab.
Shayla: The shayla is a long, rectangular scarf that is wrapped loosely around the head and tucked or pinned at the shoulders. Like the hijab and al-amira, this form of hijab covers the head but often leaves the neck and face clear.
Khimar ( خمار): The khimar is a long, cape-like scarf that is wrapped around the head and hangs to the middle of the back. This type of hijab covers the head, neck, and shoulders, but leaves the face clear.
Chador ( تشادر): The chador is a long cloak that covers a woman’s entire body. Like the khimar, the chador wraps around the head, but instead of hanging just to the middle of back, the chador drapes to a woman’s feet.
Niqāb ( نقاب): The niqab is a face-covering that covers the mouth and nose, but leaves the eyes clear. It is worn with an accompanying khimar or other form of head scarf.
Burqa ( برقع ): The burqa covers the entire face and body, leaving a small mesh screen through which the woman can see through.

Why do women wear hijab?

Muslim women choose to wear the hijab or other coverings for a variety of reasons. Some women wear the hijab because they believe that God has instructed women to wear it as a means of fulfilling His commandment for modesty. For these women, wearing hijab is a personal choice that is made after puberty and is intended to reflect one’s personal devotion to God. In many cases, the wearing of a headscarf is often accompanied by the wearing of loose-fitting, non-revealing clothing, also referred to as hijab.
While some Muslim women do not perceive the hijab to be obligatory to their faith, other Muslim women wear the hijab as a means of visibly expressing their Muslim identity (Haddad, et al, 2006). In the United States, particularly since 9/11, the hijab is perceived to be synonymous with Islam. Some Muslim women choose to appropriate this stereotype and wear the hijab to declare their Islamic identity and provide witness of their faith. Unfortunately this association has also occasionally resulted in the violent assaults of Muslim women wearing hijab.
While most Muslim women wear the hijab for religious reasons, there are other Arab or Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab as an expression of their cultural identity. By wearing the hijab, Muslim women hope to communicate their political and social alliance with their country of origin and challenge the prejudice of Western discourses towards the Arabic-speaking world (Zayzafoon, 2005). In many cases, the wearing of the hijab is also used to challenge Western feminist discourses which present hijab-wearing women as oppressed or silenced.
PLEASE NOTE: The writer of this article is neither naming nor alluding to the guilt of any particular organization, company or corporation. It is solely an opinion and discussion launched by writing.  It is not an endorsement of any traits or expression of acceptance about the subject reflected upon herein.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr/Ms Hide

 WIKIPEDIA ::.....
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a novella by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson first published in 1886. The work is commonly known today as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeDr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or simply Jekyll & Hyde.[1] It is about a London lawyer named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll,[2][3] and the evil Edward Hyde. The novella's impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the very phrase "Jekyll and Hyde" coming to mean a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next.[4][5]

A strange world straight from a  1886 novella

Many organizations host split characters disguised behind title and empowerment .  On the one hand, you can have a manager or leader who presents themselves well for executives, leadership or bosses (Dr. Jekyll) while being quite the nightmare when they are dealing with employees (Mr or Ms Hide). 

That's where the play on words for this title comes from.  There are people in organizations who are genuine, friendly and personable in front of their leadership and bosses, then quite the nightmare for the employees they supervise.  They "hide" their meanness and vindictive behavior.  

When an employee goes off the rails, Dr. Jekyll readily labels the employee as a "troublemaker".  The company takes the trusted Mr. Hide's word.

As always, my writing reflects various topics on business and leadership, without revealing the source, as a means of communicating real problems that exist in companies.

Whistle blower or trouble maker?
Most organizations have protected themselves from publicity or public scrutiny by activating measures that are designed to allow employees the freedom to express concern without fear of ramifications.  What happens when their manager, Mr. Hide, labels them as a trouble maker? Is that label open for examination or accepted as truth?

Some organizations set out policies and processes to allow employees to express concerns about their managers under various feedback forums and surveys.  It is not surprising that it is a fear injected process or a tattle tale curriculum.  

It seems to always work out in the movies that Mr. Hide is easily identified by the audience without much effort.  Hollywood likes to show how whistle blowers are often discriminated against or labelled negatively in order to protect Mr. Hide's mistakes and not held accountable to making slanderous career-limiting identifiable labels.  

So is a whistle blower really a trouble maker?
How about an employee who follows the companies process only to fall victim of being labeled a trouble maker.

What happens, and it does, when a whistle blowing culture evolves into tattle tales that are lodged as a complaint to disguise a bullying environment or clique that discriminates against their colleagues, who was hired and held up to scrutiny in the same fashion.  

Only in Hollywood is the offensive tattle tale  exposed as a means to discredit someone else as a means to avoid being discovered to have the wrong behavior.   If someone is doing something that is wrong ethically, why is it that their best defense is to go on the offensive?  

Whistle blow or tattle tale?
A whistle blow is not held in the same characterization as a tattle tale.  Yet, the most sophisticated, well-intentioned organizations can fall into this trap.  They have a hard time distinguishing between the two:  whistle blow or tattle tale.

How accountable are organizations in finding managers or leaders who are quick to judge or label employees?  Where does the benefit of the doubt come into the equation?  Who finds fault with guilt until proven innocent allowed?

Often, whistle blowers become us versus them.  The more controversial the claim, the more likely a whistle blower is labelled as a trouble maker.  Even Hollywood loves such a plot:  the underdog versus Goliath.  

Why even bother expressing concerns of unprofessional conduct of a manager when one knows that they will only be labelled as a trouble maker, easily expendable?

Why not examine the differences between a tattle tale and a whistle blow?  If it is easy for Hollywood and Televisionland to identify the culprit in the story as someone who accuses someone else of doing something wrong in order to protect themselves from being found out, why can't companies?

Seems like an easy plot, easily identified with, but rarely considered in the real world.

I get that a complaint lodged has to be examined and considered without bias.   So why do companies allow the manager who is not trained in mediation to be the one to taint an employee's reputation or damage their record?

If a manager knows that an employee has a reasonable concern, why would they go on the offensive instead?  We understand that drama in the workplace is disruptive and toxic.  Yet so is bias from managers.

We must consider that the drama that unfolds can be more likely because someone is protecting their own reputation and in so doing, tries to destroy the reputation of another.

The situation at hand was where an employee considered a workplace romance distracting and toxic to their work environment.  As proof, they decided to take a picture of the cozy duo to bring forward to discuss with the manager.

What exploded was the offenders not only discriminating against the observer, rallying together and calling the battle cry with others to  lodge a formal complaint against an individual.  That individual could have just denied taking a picture because nobody had seen a picture, just the act of taking a picture.  Why wouldn't drawing in a crowd to the incident, harming someone's reputation, placing them as the subject of gossip be considered just as harmful to a positive work environment?

Meanwhile, the offenders are allowed to go into Tattle Tale mode::.... if one reports an incident and makes it sound very disruptive, it is easy for the company to label who the trouble maker is.  Right?  Well, unfortunately, in real instances, the trouble maker should be considered as the parties who lodged the complaint to remove their own unprofessional conduct and transplant it onto someone else.

Wag the dog
Is a descriptive used in themes whereby in order to avoid a controversy, the person(s) at the center of a potential controversy creates drama or an explosive claim or action in order to avoid fielding anything negative or drawing attention to their own poor behavior.

Companies fall into this trap for many reasons.  One could hypothesize or guess that at its core would be legal disasters or damaging reputation being paramount.  In the two instances I am familiar with, confidential sources private, the person or persons lodging the complaint were immediately defended and protected.  The subject of the complaint was not.  Companies don't always have a means to protect the subject of a complaint.  They may not even defend the subject or examine whether the complaint was a proactive defensive offensive move.

It isn't surprising when the person in this situation decides they have nothing more to lose, because they have already been labeled and motions are made to make it uncomfortable for the employee, pushing them to leave the company.  Case dismissed.  Problem solved?

Hardly.  Companies can be their own worst enemy.  They allow skewed perceptions by untrained managers to mediate, defending them-selves and the tattle tale, allowing anyone to be labeled a trouble maker.  Behind closed doors.  Conversed openly with other managers, a nail in the coffin on employable opportunities within the company that would otherwise allow an employee who could prove greater value if they were to move elsewhere within the organization to flourish and contribute more.  Never mind if it were to be leaked while an outside job search is considered.

The employee told me that a central manager displayed a white board outside their work area "are you comfortable with being uncomfortable?"  That seems to communicate the strategy of making life so unbearable for perceived trouble makers that they have little choice but to look for employment elsewhere.  The company loses.  They have gone through the expense to hire, train and coach such employee, increasing in cost when they've been there for a couple of years.  That is a drain on finances and strains resources by stretching other employees to make up for the gap.  It also may take a while to fill in the position, along with expense to bring the next person up to the same level of knowledge and training as the employee that was forced to be so uncomfortable they decided to leave.

In the scenario that was confided to me, the manager's boss, must have seen that whiteboard that displayed those words.  I am writing this blog because I have faith in most leadership.  Such a display of tactical efforts to rid the company by the manager's labeled undesirables or trouble makers would shock others as much as it did me.   It makes it easy to see the tactical culture where one is squeezed to leave, because it is right there out front and centrally displayed and communicated.  Being an optimist by nature, I would think that leadership would be shocked but such display and discipline to the manager's scribe instigated, demanding it be removed.  Unfortunately, if other leaders have been in the area and not done anything about it, it could suggest they endorse the strategy.

While unemployment is higher than average, it shouldn't mean that employers allow managers to take a vice grip style on managing employees.  Ready to scoop up anyone they decide is harder to manage than most, and tactically allowed to pressure employees to leave.  Not easily identified.  Except in this instance by its exact words, the displayed quote on a whiteboard can indicate that it is a philosophy shared not only by the manager, but by the manager's leadership.  Including the boss and the boss' boss, if circulating among staff is a company directive.  

Then again, any employee could observe such an aggressive stance on managing employees out the door.  If they were to take a picture of toxic, discriminatory behavior, they can fall prey to being labeled undesirable, a formal complaint initiated.  That person's career within that company doomed.

What bothered my confidential subject the most was that they were considered guilty long before any investigation was launched.  If they had asked anyone's advice beforehand, they would have been told "deny, deny, deny".  So why not lie in this instance?  Just say that they did not take any such picture for evidence of the cliquey, toxic workplace.

Instead, the employee didn't lie.  They were honest and apologetic, agreeing that their approach was not necessarily the right approach.  However, they did say that they did reach out to the offenders, with proof shown to the investigators, that they did try to resolve the offensive behavior privately between the employees.  Instead, the tattle tale culture prevailed and allowed the victim to become the defendant.  Sound wrong?  

It sounds to me that good intentions can become misaligned when people are caught doing something wrong and then are allowed to disrupt the work environment by making claims that move the spotlight from themselves to another party.  The assumption of guilt can be misplaced when a complaint is launched.  How many companies actually examine whether the complainant(s) are more disruptive and toxic than the party to which they are trying to shift the blame to?

That is what it appears to me anyhow.  What do you think?  Worth considering by companies who have created a tattle tale culture under the guise of allowing coachable feedback to be the norm.

I guess that is usually when the media or Hollywood intervene.  It becomes great plots where the underdog goes up against the great Goliath, the company.   The truth eventually prevails and the underdog becomes triumphant when their reputation is restored and the wrongdoers are identified as the party(s) who launched the complaint in order to disguise their own misbehavior.  

If cheating on spouses among employees, whether real or imagined, is an area companies don't want to pursue, that is fine.  It is not my place to decide.  I just write about it.  However, creating a work atmosphere that allows such antics, a company is allowing toxic behavior to continue that can offend and impact other employees' values, beliefs and trust that the company will protect them against eroding cultural acceptance.

I'm optimistic enough that many leaders of company's would react the same way I did: of the opinion that some managers don't promote employee well being.

Or, taking a chapter from the parenting I had: a  tattle tale is often disciplined more than shifting to the person they are trying to blame.  Then again, parents know and recognize such a tactic.

Some cultural environments are not always in sync with promoting employee well being, even if their public-facing literature says so because it can be undermined by their managers' habits. 

Another example: allowing managers to reach out to communicate by email,  text or phone calls when employees are on official vacation.  That probably isn't a culture of well being underscored.  Instead alarm bells on such practice would be a good start for companies to consider.  Are they allowed to call a reported sick employee and justified by the belief that the employee may be dishonest?  One would think the screening process would be strong enough to identify potential recruits who fake illness to avoid going into work.  It demonstrates mistrust by a manager who is suppose to be an advocate and supporter of the employees that report to them.

My blog and writing is separate from any personal employment and past employers experiences, unless noted.  It is my personal opinion and avoids incriminating any specific corporate philosophy or employer,  past employer or company.  I write to create conversations that potentially change how leadership and business act.  I have not, up to this point, received any monetary endorsement, reward or income from writing this blog.  I honor the privacy of the individual(s) who trust me enough to share their stories and will protect their identity to avoid disciplinary actions taken against them and their reputation.