Net Neutrality? You Got It!

There’s a lot of talk about net neutrality, and with  US legislators voting to abandon net neutrality, with few people understanding why, what it means and who will benefit (and who will lose out) Burger King made a fun ad to help its customers understand what burger neutrality gives them:

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If you want the internet to be for everyone, as its EU funded British inventor Tim Berners-Lee did, then pay attention, and make sure your lawmakers don’t sell your access for campaign funds.

Be Careful What You Ask For

Most people want feedback.  The people who don’t want feedback often really need feedback.

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  • “How am I getting on?”
  • “Am I good at my job?”
  • “What do my colleagues think of me?”
  • “Do my customers rate me?”
  • “What does my boss think of me?”
  • “Do my employees respect me?”
  • “How can I improve?”

They’re all questions we hear a lot, but that people ask of themselves far more often.  Getting feedback is brilliant, but it’s not always honest or helpful.

Customers often go elsewhere without saying a word, not because they were unhappy, but because they think they might be happier elsewhere.  If they were unhappy they may have given feedback as a complaint, and that could have been fixed, building loyalty.  A lack of feedback can lose customers.

The same is true for employees, who may not kick up a fuss if they’re dissatisfied, but might just start scanning LinkedIn for job opportunities.

You may get overlooked for promotion, and not know why, when no-one told you that you don’t speak up enough in meetings, or dress like an executive, or what you think of as “plain speaking” everyone else considers rudeness.

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Getting feedback is great, and the best way to get feedback is to ask for it.  Choose who you ask, when and how, carefully.  A direct report may be intimidated by the question, a customer may feel “on the spot”, you may catch your boss at a wrong moment.  Ask in a non confrontational way, when there’s no areas of contention, and you’re in a private setting to get the  best results.

Throwing the question out to everyone may not get you the results you want as the Sydney Herald found when asking for feedback on the monorail system:L

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For those of you who don’t recognise the “feedback” received, here’s the source:

 

Ten Metres of Courage

Swedish directors Maximilien Van Aertryck and Axel Danielson  have made a wonderful little film that highlights human emotions in a totally unexpected way.  The premise is simple enough, people at a swimming baths in Gothenberg climb up a ten metre diving platform and then jump into the pool, or they don’t.

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These aren’t divers but regular people who have never jumped from such a height.  With an unwavering camera, and an absence of commentary we focus on the decision made by each jumper.  Some single jumpers talk themselves through the process, some swear their way through.  People climbing in pairs talk to each other, which may or may not help with the decision.   A microphone picks up what they’re saying, and subtitles translate, but it’s not really necessary, their body language shouts loud.

If you want to see raw human body language, showing fear, courage, doubt, regret and indecision, it’s all here.

Trailer: TEN METER TOWER by Axel Danielson & Maximilien Van Aertryck from Plattform Produktion on Vimeo.

Each participant was a volunteer, and about seven out of ten went ahead and made the jump.  30% made the slow climb back down the stairs.  The number of jumpers is probably a bit higher than it would otherwise have been as people felt some pressure to jump as it was all so obviously and visibly being recorded, and having seen older people jump, younger people felt they should, and some men felt that as women had jumped they had to.

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You can find the full film, which is only 16 minutes long at The New York Times Documentary Channel.  It’s well worth the time.

How Would Joe Biden’s Memo Play In Your Management Team?

Today is Joe Biden’s last full day as Vice President.  Whilst most of the internet will be mourning the loss of some great meme worthy photos, others will be reflecting on what his contribution to American life has been over the last 44 years.  For many employees and mangers the recent publication of his November 2014 memo to staff will be the action they’ll be thinking of.

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Here’s the text of what Joe Biden Said in that memo:

To my wonderful staff,

I would like to take a moment and make something clear to everyone.  I do not expect nor do I want any of you to miss or sacrifice important family obligations for work.  Family obligations include but are not limited to family birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, any religious ceremonies such as first communions and bar mitzvahs, graduations, and times of need such as an illness or a loss in the family.  This is very important to me.  In fact, I will go so far as to say that if I find out that you are working with me while missing important family responsibilities, it will disappoint me greatly.  This has been an unwritten rule since my days in the Senate.

Thank you for all the hard work.

Have you seen a similar memo or email from your boss?  How would such a memo be received in your workplace?

It’s worth thinking about the memo in the context of the differing working environment between the US and UK.

Here in the UK employees have far more holiday time to book out for family responsibilities,  parents get maternity and paternity leave to care for babies and themselves, and the right to request flexible working to manage family commitments, none of which are common in the US.  Europeans are generally horrified when they learn that in the USA there is no legal right to paid holiday, only Sri Lanka (in countries with a population over 150,000) has the same rule, and even there retail and office workers have a 14 day minimum.

On the map below the darker the colour, the more paid leave employees are entitled to (except white, where no data exists). Click the map for more.

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Here’s Joe Biden talking about why he sent the memo, and how his experience of single fatherhood shaped his view on how to manage his work life balance and help his employees manage theirs…

The Ultimate TED Talk

You’ve probably seen a TED talk before.  If you have you may have been inspired.  This TED style talk may inspire you too, quite what you’ll be inspired to do we don’t know, but all the elements are there to engage and motivate you, all it’s missing is the point.

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It is a masterclass in giving a, well, masterclass, in thought leading.

Making the Most of a Potential Advertising Disaster

The nice people at Licor Beirao spent good money on an advertising board at Wembley stadium, making the most of their home country Portugal playing England in a warm up for the Euro2016 tournament.

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They got rather more exposure than they bargained for when Portugal’s Bruno Alves lost his head, almost taking England striker Harry Kane’s with him.

Their media team came up with this fun response to make the most of their moment in the spotlight …

The Halo Effect Writ Large

Interviewing Skills 101 instils the need to look beyond the stereotypes you might have in your head about someone, looking past the weedy handshake or the really smart outfit to see the person beyond.  It’s too easy to spot the school that someone went to, or that someone likes ballet, line dancing or a mosh pit and make a set of assumptions about them.

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Canon took a group of photographers and asked them to capture the essence of a subject in a single portrait.  They made some truly spectacular photographs, each capturing exactly what they saw in the person in front of them.  They’d each been given a little information about their subject, one photographed a self-made millionaire, another a fisherman, one got an ex-con, another a recovering alcoholic.  Here’s what they came up with …

What would your portraits of your team look like? What would their photograph of you convey?

Would Your Organisation Survive Photoshopping?

After the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January this year, world leaders gathered to march in support of freedom of speech.  One small Israeli news sheet, HaMevaser, opted to Photoshop out the female leaders in its photo of the scene to avoid offending its readers. It was initially hard to tell, but close inspection showed some really shoddy digital artistry skills.  In response a tiny news service Ireland Photoshopped out the men which left very little in the picture.

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Elle have put together a little montage of photos with and without men in power.  What would your organisation look like if it was Photoshopped in the same way (other photo manipulation software is available!)?