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Another Gap in the Story

Another Gap in the Story

It’s hard to watch the Rana Plaza story play out without a sense of déjà vu. Back in 2003, Walmart won the dubious distinction of “Sweatshop of the Year” for tolerating abusive practices by suppliers of low-priced garments in developing countries. Gap Inc. was the first American clothing retail tarred with that brush, back in the 1990s. And here they are today, the two major hold-outs against an industry-wide agreement to prevent more deadly disasters in the Bangladesh garment trade. Have they learned nothing? Gap in particular is hard to understand. Walmart has a history of brushing off...
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Mindful Leaders Resolution #1 for 2015

Mindful Leaders Resolution #1 for 2015

Lead by proudly, confidently and passionately proclaiming a new destination for your customers, your employees and your business. Going beyond profit, declare your intention to do well by doing good. Give everyone the answer to their burning question, “Why?”. Why does your business exist? Why is that good? Why does that matter? Interested in learning more about how to create your Purpose Beyond...
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Leadership in a COVID-19 World: Navigating “Fields of Paradox”

Leadership in a COVID-19 World: Navigating “Fields of Paradox”

Turbulence Takes a Toll The acceleration of COVID-19, the speed and intensity of change, the current economic terrain, and the pressure to innovate, adapt, stabilize, and address each new challenge (of which there are many) with focus, grace, empathy, and precision is no doubt taking a toll on all of today’s business leaders.  The current state of affairs reminded us of an interview with Gianpiero Petriglieri, Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at INSEAD, who provides insights into the implications of turbulent times on leadership.  “Whatever sector or industry you...
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Humanizing Technology: It Isn’t All About Apple

Humanizing Technology: It Isn’t All About Apple

Humanizing technology is essential, but it doesn’t mean copying everything about Apple. It seems everyone holds up Apple as the perfect brand. Human centric design. Humanized communications. A human touch at every moment. Great products. Great marketing. Great branding. Great success. All good reasons to respect, and even envy, the Apple brand. However, does that mean Apple has a monopoly on the idea of humanizing technology… and the success that comes from doing that? Hardly. But a technology brand doesn’t have to copy everything Apple does (and look like a copycat in the...
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Turn Your Brand Around Through Emotionally Meaningful Behavior

Turn Your Brand Around Through Emotionally Meaningful Behavior

Turn target audience members into hot prospects Turn hot prospects into customers Turn customers into regular users Turn regular users into loyal customers Turn loyal customers into brand advisors Turn brand advisors into brand recruiters Purpose: Do it by embracing a purposeful intent for your brand – a high order idea about how your brand makes life better for individuals, society and/or the planet. Empathy: Do it by taking on an empathetic attitude to all the people vital to your brand’s success – see the world through their eyes, walk a mile in their shoes, come to understand what...
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What Is Your Brand’s Future State?

What Is Your Brand’s Future State?

Why talk about the future state of your brand? Look ahead and dream about what would make your brand a kick-ass success. Now start planning for it. What if you could turn the clock back 5 years? Thinking about the state of your brand and business today, what would you have done to make your brand either stronger today, or more fit for the future it faces? If we had this magical power, we would be able to go back and pull the strings, turn the dials, and change the gears of our complex brand workings. With the power of hindsight, we’d be able to avert many of the business problems that plague...
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Numbers Don’t Lie

Numbers Don’t Lie

Ask any writer or reporter who deals with the real world, and they will tell you that language is not the thing that quickens their hearts. It’s numbers. In a world that’s awash in words, subjectivity, and spin, hard data is the ladder back to dry land. A few revealing numbers can instantly provide a clear context for everything around them, enabling us to understand things better, faster, and more usefully. For example, a lot of people thought it was crazy for Angelina Jolie to get a double mastectomy to prevent cancer. (You can find her announcement here.) But once you get a few relevant...
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Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

We often reach a “stay or go” point in key relationships. It can happen with our partners, our jobs, or even the brands we’ve been using. We go through the process of weighing up the pros and cons of the relationship. We assess what has changed, or not changed as we hoped. We factor in new opportunities, new dreams and new fears. We analyze the gap between what we first imagined this relationship would turn out to be, and how it has actually turned out. We consider the cost to us to “make things right again”. We struggle to balance rationality and sentimentality. We focus on what really...
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The Tales That Bind

The Tales That Bind

It may be hard to find fans of the U.S. military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we have learned a few things. One is that tourniquets save lives. For a long time they were exiled from emergency medicine, in both military and civilian life, but now we know that they save lives under the right circumstances. Another surprising life-saving technique is telling stories. When people in military units share a backstory, they trust each other more and do more to keep each other safe and successful. The military tested this in its schools and training camps after learning from researchers...
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Why Every CEO Should Pursue a “Purpose Beyond Profit”

Why Every CEO Should Pursue a “Purpose Beyond Profit”

It’s textbook management practice to formalize a company’s “mission, vision, and values.” And while these are important steps in helping form a direction and way of being for a company, many CEOs are nonetheless challenged with a litany of business issues: Unengaged employees An inability to attract the new talent needed Customer defection Lack of marketplace differentiation Dissatisfied shareholders This list goes on and on, doesn’t it? Behind each of these business challenges is a big question: How can my business matter more to people? When your business...
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Why Recruits Say, “No Thanks”

Why Recruits Say, “No Thanks”

I came across an interesting article on recruiter.com the other day entitled, “7 reasons I’ll turn down a job after interviewing with you”. Two caught my eye: 1. You’re too negative – If you’re bad-mouthing the company, other employees, your workload, or even yourself, then chances are slim that I’ll come on board as your newest employee. Why? Because negativity is toxic. It tells me that morale is low and that you don’t enjoy your job. I recognize it’s possible that you’re just having a bad day, but it’s just too big of a risk to take. 5. You don’t tell me...
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Five Sustainability Report Formats

Five Sustainability Report Formats

The pros and cons of five sustainability report formats What format will your corporate sustainability report (CSR) take? Determining how to present the final product is one of the key decisions to make as you develop the strategy and project plan for a CSR. The format not only has budget and timeline implications, but it also impacts the way your report is organized and written. For example, writing for the web requires a very different approach than a long-form printed copy. It wasn’t too long ago that most companies simply prepared printed documents and/or a downloadable PDF of the same...
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The Power of Being Stubborn Around a Single “Beacon” Idea

The Power of Being Stubborn Around a Single “Beacon” Idea

George Tannenbaum is a noted advertising copywriter and prolific blogger. In his wry, and often acerbic way, George chronicles the tension of being a creative thinker in the world of business. In a post, he recounted the experience of being at a client’s annual shoot for a celebrity TV spot. Anxiety is the king of such events, and George talks about the problem of working with inexperienced and politically-driven executives who do nothing but worry and create chaos. He offers this advice to people who want to remain cool, collected, and purposeful in such an environment: “Never...
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Startups, Change the Conversation With Your Engineering Team

Startups, Change the Conversation With Your Engineering Team

It’s an all too familiar startup sight. Your technical co-founder and dev team have their eyes glued to screens of scrolling code as their fingers fly across keyboards and music blasts through their earbuds. They are driving hard toward the launch date, losing themselves in their work and consuming Red Bull like there’s no tomorrow. Time for a breath of fresh air. Writing on Quora, Nikos Moraitakis, Founder & CEO of WorkableHR.com, sets the following as one of ten helpful tasks non-technical co-founders should undertake: “Nurture good spirit, keep everyone...
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Emotional is Not Necessarily Emotive

Emotional is Not Necessarily Emotive

If you haven’t already heard the buzz about the new Johnson & Johnson ad campaign, you will. And after May 10, it will find its way to a page or screen near you. Thirty million bucks buys a lot of exposure. What caught our attention is the emotive premise of the campaign, which is called “For All You Love.” With a name like that, you can guess it’s going straight for your heartstrings. The teaser image on the J&J home page suggests we’ll see lots of loving parents applying Band-Aids® and baby soap. This is not just because the company wants to play off how much we love our kids. It’s...
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