Why I Am Optimistic


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These are tough, turbulent times. The national debt is now pushing $11 trillion. Unemployment is way up; the S&P, way down. In fact, in the 185-year history of the Standard & Poor’s Index, the two years with the lowest return (-50%) were 2008 and 1931 … during the Great Depression.

So why am I so optimistic about the future of the country and my firm?

Because history demonstrates that the entrepreneurial spirit can triumph in even the most trying economic times … even in the depths of the Depression. Take a look at three companies launched in 1931:

• When Standard Oil of New York merged with Vacuum Oil, it created the predecessor of the company now known as ExxonMobil.

• In 1931, Shojiro Ishibashi founded the Bridgestone Tire Company — today, the world's largest manufacturer of tires and a range of other industrial products.

• That same year, Sears Roebuck President Robert Wood was convinced he could make money selling car insurance through a mail order catalogue. Today, Allstate is the largest publicly held personal lines insurer in the U.S.

In 2007, the combined sales of these three companies totaled $471 billion. That’s more than the total GDP of Sweden! And it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

A host of other great companies and brands trace their birth to the ten years immediately following the Great Wall Street Crash of 1929 … among them, Hewlett-Packard, Revlon, Unilever, Baxter International, Sara Lee, Westin Hotels, Canon, GMAC Insurance, Zabar’s, Morgan Stanley, Krispy Kreme, Pepperidge Farm, Avery Dennison, DC Comics, T. Rowe Price, Owens Corning and GNC.

In 2005, Senator John Kerry said, “In this remarkable time for the world, I refuse to believe it’s time to stop believing in the possibilities of our remarkable country. I refuse to accept the downsizing of the American Dream. I refuse to bet against American entrepreneurial spirit and American ingenuity.”

I believe that the entrepreneurial spirit — which is alive and well in the United States — gives us the power to turn adversity into advantage. And that’s why I have every confidence that we will successfully weather the current storm.

Technorati Tags: national debt, Unemployment, Standard & Poor’s Index, 2008, 1931, the Great Depression, future, history, Senator John Kerry, the American Dream, entrepreneurial, American, business, communications, public relations

Why I Am Optimistic


This post is by from My Three Cents


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




These are tough, turbulent times. The national debt is now pushing $11 trillion. Unemployment is way up; the S&P, way down. In fact, in the 185-year history of the Standard & Poor’s Index, the two years with the lowest return (-50%) were 2008 and 1931 … during the Great Depression.

So why am I so optimistic about the future of the country and my firm?

Because history demonstrates that the entrepreneurial spirit can triumph in even the most trying economic times … even in the depths of the Depression. Take a look at three companies launched in 1931:

• When Standard Oil of New York merged with Vacuum Oil, it created the predecessor of the company now known as ExxonMobil.

• In 1931, Shojiro Ishibashi founded the Bridgestone Tire Company — today, the world's largest manufacturer of tires and a range of other industrial products.

• That same year, Sears Roebuck President Robert Wood was convinced he could make money selling car insurance through a mail order catalogue. Today, Allstate is the largest publicly held personal lines insurer in the U.S.

In 2007, the combined sales of these three companies totaled $471 billion. That’s more than the total GDP of Sweden! And it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

A host of other great companies and brands trace their birth to the ten years immediately following the Great Wall Street Crash of 1929 … among them, Hewlett-Packard, Revlon, Unilever, Baxter International, Sara Lee, Westin Hotels, Canon, GMAC Insurance, Zabar’s, Morgan Stanley, Krispy Kreme, Pepperidge Farm, Avery Dennison, DC Comics, T. Rowe Price, Owens Corning and GNC.

In 2005, Senator John Kerry said, “In this remarkable time for the world, I refuse to believe it’s time to stop believing in the possibilities of our remarkable country. I refuse to accept the downsizing of the American Dream. I refuse to bet against American entrepreneurial spirit and American ingenuity.”

I believe that the entrepreneurial spirit — which is alive and well in the United States — gives us the power to turn adversity into advantage. And that’s why I have every confidence that we will successfully weather the current storm.

Technorati Tags: national debt, Unemployment, Standard & Poor’s Index, 2008, 1931, the Great Depression, future, history, Senator John Kerry, the American Dream, entrepreneurial, American, business, communications, public relations

SUCCESSION PLANNING: REMEMBER THE CEO JUST RENTS THE OFFICE


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In just the first few weeks of 2009, a number of corporate CEOs were sent packing. Seagate, Tyson Foods, and Borders Group were just some of the companies that announced changes at the top. Also, Apple chief Steve Jobs is taking a leave of absence for health reasons after months of speculation. More CEO changes are rumored to be on the way and may include some of the world’s leading companies.

The company’s reputation can be seriously tarnished if the succession issue is left unaddressed. For instance, commenting in his blog on the situation at Apple, New York Times business columnist Joe Nocera wrote: "The time has come for Apple's board to take control of this subject from Mr. Jobs and do the right thing by the company's investors.”

One of the main responsibilities for a CEO and the company’s board of directors is the development of a succession Continue reading "SUCCESSION PLANNING: REMEMBER THE CEO JUST RENTS THE OFFICE"

SUCCESSION PLANNING: REMEMBER THE CEO JUST RENTS THE OFFICE


This post is by from My Three Cents


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




In just the first few weeks of 2009, a number of corporate CEOs were sent packing. Seagate, Tyson Foods, and Borders Group were just some of the companies that announced changes at the top. Also, Apple chief Steve Jobs is taking a leave of absence for health reasons after months of speculation. More CEO changes are rumored to be on the way and may include some of the world’s leading companies.

The company’s reputation can be seriously tarnished if the succession issue is left unaddressed. For instance, commenting in his blog on the situation at Apple, New York Times business columnist Joe Nocera wrote: "The time has come for Apple's board to take control of this subject from Mr. Jobs and do the right thing by the company's investors.”

One of the main responsibilities for a CEO and the company’s board of directors is the development of a succession plan to insure the continuity of the company. Despite the critical importance of CEO succession, many companies are unprepared for the “changing of the guard” – either planned or unexpected. As a result, what should be an orderly, well-planned transition often turns into a crisis situation alarming virtually all of the company’s constituents – employees, suppliers, customers and, of course, investors.

One of our faced a succession issue, more specifically how to communicate the change at the top. The outgoing CEO was popular and successful. The board had identified his successor, a dark horse candidate virtually unknown to the outside world. Their initial plan was to announce the early retirement of the CEO without mention of his successor; a follow-up release would have identified his successor. We advised them that the executive changes should be announced in one comprehensive release to avoid unnecessary speculation and investor panic. They listened and we helped build an identity for the incoming CEO by arranging media interviews as well as through direct contact with the company’s investors.

In its report entitled, “A Practical Guide to CEO Succession Planning,” Russell Reynolds Associates, a leading executive search firm, outlines a number of steps designed to insure a smooth transition at the top. These include creating a written succession plan by the board, which should be reviewed twice a year. This plan establishes the basis for selecting a new leader through an examination of the company’s strategic direction while factoring in various business challenges. With the plan in place, the board can review internal as well as external candidates. The report also outlines the steps to insure a successful transition such as knowledge sharing between the outgoing and incoming CEO as well as a program to communicate with the company’s various stakeholders.

The current economic downturn will undoubtedly lead to more CEO departures. As the CEO is often “the face of the company,” its standing and reputation will depend on how the issue is handled.


Technorati Tags: Seagate, The New York Times, Tyson Foods, Borders Group, Steve Jobs, Apple, Joe Nocera, succession plan, Russell Reynolds Associates, investing, CEO, investors, business, communications, public relations

SUCCESSION PLANNING: REMEMBER THE CEO JUST RENTS THE OFFICE


This post is by from My Three Cents


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




In just the first few weeks of 2009, a number of corporate CEOs were sent packing. Seagate, Tyson Foods, and Borders Group were just some of the companies that announced changes at the top. Also, Apple chief Steve Jobs is taking a leave of absence for health reasons after months of speculation. More CEO changes are rumored to be on the way and may include some of the world’s leading companies.

The company’s reputation can be seriously tarnished if the succession issue is left unaddressed. For instance, commenting in his blog on the situation at Apple, New York Times business columnist Joe Nocera wrote: "The time has come for Apple's board to take control of this subject from Mr. Jobs and do the right thing by the company's investors.”

One of the main responsibilities for a CEO and the company’s board of directors is the development of a succession plan to insure the continuity of the company. Despite the critical importance of CEO succession, many companies are unprepared for the “changing of the guard” – either planned or unexpected. As a result, what should be an orderly, well-planned transition often turns into a crisis situation alarming virtually all of the company’s constituents – employees, suppliers, customers and, of course, investors.

One of our faced a succession issue, more specifically how to communicate the change at the top. The outgoing CEO was popular and successful. The board had identified his successor, a dark horse candidate virtually unknown to the outside world. Their initial plan was to announce the early retirement of the CEO without mention of his successor; a follow-up release would have identified his successor. We advised them that the executive changes should be announced in one comprehensive release to avoid unnecessary speculation and investor panic. They listened and we helped build an identity for the incoming CEO by arranging media interviews as well as through direct contact with the company’s investors.

In its report entitled, “A Practical Guide to CEO Succession Planning,” Russell Reynolds Associates, a leading executive search firm, outlines a number of steps designed to insure a smooth transition at the top. These include creating a written succession plan by the board, which should be reviewed twice a year. This plan establishes the basis for selecting a new leader through an examination of the company’s strategic direction while factoring in various business challenges. With the plan in place, the board can review internal as well as external candidates. The report also outlines the steps to insure a successful transition such as knowledge sharing between the outgoing and incoming CEO as well as a program to communicate with the company’s various stakeholders.

The current economic downturn will undoubtedly lead to more CEO departures. As the CEO is often “the face of the company,” its standing and reputation will depend on how the issue is handled.


Technorati Tags: Seagate, The New York Times, Tyson Foods, Borders Group, Steve Jobs, Apple, Joe Nocera, succession plan, Russell Reynolds Associates, investing, CEO, investors, business, communications, public relations

An Inappropriate Thank You Note


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Outrageous! Chrysler has been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads that have been running in The New York Times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal , among other media outlets, to thank Americans for “investing in Chrysler” through the government's $17.4 billion auto industry bailout. The ad also stated Chrysler’s commitment to making quality products, improving fuel economy and providing “vehicles you want to buy.”

It is hard to fathom why Chrysler would be spending this kind of money on a thank you note when they are struggling to survive.

Don’t get me wrong. Thank you notes are nice. But the bailout was not a thoughtful gift to Chrysler from its legion of fans. Nor are taxpayers investors in the classic sense … so why does the ad use the term “investing?” Among all the investment options open to taxpayers, they did not choose Continue reading "An Inappropriate Thank You Note"

An Inappropriate Thank You Note


This post is by from My Three Cents


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post






Outrageous! Chrysler has been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads that have been running in The New York Times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal , among other media outlets, to thank Americans for “investing in Chrysler” through the government's $17.4 billion auto industry bailout. The ad also stated Chrysler’s commitment to making quality products, improving fuel economy and providing “vehicles you want to buy.”

It is hard to fathom why Chrysler would be spending this kind of money on a thank you note when they are struggling to survive.

Don’t get me wrong. Thank you notes are nice. But the bailout was not a thoughtful gift to Chrysler from its legion of fans. Nor are taxpayers investors in the classic sense … so why does the ad use the term “investing?” Among all the investment options open to taxpayers, they did not choose to buy shares in Chrysler…it was a government decision, right or wrong.

While thanking your stakeholders is a noble policy, it could have easily been achieved through public relations techniques including press releases, the website, and emails … which would have amounted to a comparatively small dollar amount and could have accomplished the same thing. These funds could have been better spent on research to make better vehicles.

Taxpayers who are forced to help Chrysler in this bailout have a right to be angry about what undoubtedly is perceived as irresponsible spending. This was a disappointing public relations move on the part of Chrysler.

Since writing this, I noted that the ad was posted on the Chrysler blog. In fact, it got so many negative comments that Chrysler recently pulled it.

Technorati Tags: Chrysler, The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, government, auto industry, fuel economy, bailout, taxpayers, investing, stakeholders, vehicles, business, communications, public relations

When America Expected a Black President — and Why


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I was intrigued by the reprint of a 2001 survey of the American public appearing in USA Today on January 19, the day before Barack Obama’s inauguration, which asked the question, “When do you think the US will have its first black President?” Keep in mind that this question was asked in 2001. Here’s the answer:

• 43%: within 25 years
• 36%: within 10 years

The remaining 21% were split into small percentages showing “never,” “no opinion“and “after or within 100 years.”

Why, I wondered, did nearly half the population say “within 25 years” and why only slightly more than a third say “within 10 years”? What were the conditions in 2001 that would make people feel that the election of a black President was possibly six elections off? Here are my speculations on the entire matter as well as why one-third of the population turned out Continue reading "When America Expected a Black President — and Why"

When America Expected a Black President — and Why


This post is by from My Three Cents


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




I was intrigued by the reprint of a 2001 survey of the American public appearing in USA Today on January 19, the day before Barack Obama’s inauguration, which asked the question, “When do you think the US will have its first black President?” Keep in mind that this question was asked in 2001. Here’s the answer:

• 43%: within 25 years
• 36%: within 10 years

The remaining 21% were split into small percentages showing “never,” “no opinion“and “after or within 100 years.”

Why, I wondered, did nearly half the population say “within 25 years” and why only slightly more than a third say “within 10 years”? What were the conditions in 2001 that would make people feel that the election of a black President was possibly six elections off? Here are my speculations on the entire matter as well as why one-third of the population turned out to be right.

The first reason is lack of a viable black candidate. While there have been many proven black leaders in positions of national responsibility who became a recognized force in public life — Ralph Bunche, Frederick Douglass, Harriett Tubman, W.E.B. DuBois, Sojourner Truth and Marcus Garvey and, of course, Martin Luther King — only a handful ( including Shirley Chisholm and Carol Moseley Braun) have run for the presidency. None was considered a mainstream candidate.

More recently, Colin Powell — who served, during his illustrious career as U.S. Secretary of State, National Security Advisor, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army Forces Command and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during the Gulf War … and who led us to victory countering Iraq in its invasion of Kuwait during the administration of Bush 41— might well have been the most universally respected and credible potential Presidential candidate in recent memory, but he declined to run. Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State during the administration of Bush 43, was never a candidate. At the time of the USA Today survey, therefore, there was no one on the horizon to make a black President seem imminent or even something that could happen in the foreseeable future.

Secondly, among the 43% or 36% who might have been far-thinking, they possibly realized that the minority population of the U.S. was projected to pass the white population in 2042, making the minority a majority, thereby increasing the likelihood that, by then, we would indeed elect a black President.

Thirdly, we were lacking role models. While to some extent Hollywood movies (such as “Deep Impact”)and television shows (like “24”) have cast blacks in political leadership roles and even the presidency, the idea still seemed like a novelty … far-fetched.

Fourth, most black political leaders who had declared for the presidency were positioned as representing the black community and dedicated to improving the lot of that community, rather than all of us. Two come to mind: Chicago’s Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, from New York. It would have been challenging for them to change their positioning, as their careers were built on that premise; their identities as advocates for African-Americans were already firmly established.

Fifth, in 2001, following 9-11, as a nation focused on security, and in the throes of the dot com recession, the ascendancy of a black President was just not on the public’s mind. Impressive black talent was emerging in business and state leadership, but the numbers were not significant enough for even those paying attention to make bold predictions.

Obviously the 36% who predicted the event would happen within 10 years were either clairvoyant, lucky or saw something that others did not. For example, the aforementioned rise of blacks in state and business leadership positions, the changing attitudes gradually wrought by the Civil Rights Act and the integration and social acceptance of blacks among those on university campuses (e.g., by the dawn of the new millennium, most fraternities and sororities had eliminated the color and religion bar).

Whatever the reasons people made those projections in 2001, I know I am not alone in contending that Barack Obama’s success transcended color. Nevertheless, the very fact that his election happened is still a critical positive change in American attitudes and the way in which our legal system can effect that change.

Obama, the man, caught the drift of what the public needed to hear, and he delivered. From the very start of his campaign, Obama has refused to allow himself to be positioned as a “race” candidate. Unlike his predecessors (e.g., Jackson, Sharpton, et al), he spoke unifying themes: change when the public felt change was needed, bringing people together following a period of divisiveness, inclusiveness when we needed the power of many to get things done, and a vision of hope when the public pulse required optimism and reconciliation.

What came across was a man who could lead with compassion and get things done, not a black man inevitably linked by his color to the many challenges the black community has faced for years, although he embraced those as well.

The situation recalls the statement made by the famous black actor, Sidney Poitier, in the 1960’s movie, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” Poitier plays the role of a brilliant doctor who has held world-class health leadership positions. He’s about to marry an upper class white woman. Poitier, facing the rejection of his father who feels his son should stay within his station, says, “Dad, the difference between you and me is that you see yourself as a colored man, and I see myself as a man.”

We have come a long way since the ‘60s. But this indeed describes Barack Obama and the image he projects. Many social forces enabled us to become color blind. His self-image can only positively affect the black community and how it sees itself, in the future. This perception and the resulting self-confidence of that community can only expand the talent available to make this country greater.

According to the Washington Post, in 2000, President Clinton's former chief adviser on race, Christopher Edley, Jr., was asked to speculate about the prospects of a black president by 2020. "I'm pessimistic about that," said Edley. "I think we will see a woman or Latino before we see an African American."

Nearly one-third of the population in that 2001 survey was able to more accurately predict the future than Edley, now dean of the Boalt Hall School of Law at U.C. Berkeley. They were visionary enough to imagine our first black president. I’m proud they were able to do so.

Technorati Tags: Washington Post, Colin Powell, Bill Clinton, Toni Morrison, election, Martin Luther King, population, President, Barack Obama, inauguration, USA Today, American, business, communications, public relations

The 13 People, Places and Things that Most Need a PR Bailout in 2009


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What’s a public relations bailout? It’s a necessary, fundamental and substantive change in an individual, organization or institution that’s lost its way, which requires a program to communicate the change and thereby redeem the entity’s reputation. Here, in no particular order, are my picks for the top 13 of 2009:

  1. The financial services industry (e.g., subprime lending, asset management, credit default swaps, hedge funds)

  2. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

  3. The Republican Party

  4. Ford, Chrysler and GM

  5. City of Detroit

  6. New York Yankees

  7. Oil Industry

  8. Alan Greenspan

  9. United States (as a global brand)

  10. Airline Industry

  11. Starbucks

  12. Richard S. Fuld, Jr. (former chairman of Lehman Brothers, now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.)

  13. Paris Hilton


Technorati Tags: financial services industry, SEC, Republican Party, Ford, Crysler, GM, Detroit, New York Yankees, oil industry, business, Alan Greenspan, United States, global brand, airline industry, Starbucks, Richard S. Fuld, Jr., chapter 11 bankruptcy, Paris Hilton

The 13 People, Places and Things that Most Need a PR Bailout in 2009


This post is by from My Three Cents


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




What’s a public relations bailout? It’s a necessary, fundamental and substantive change in an individual, organization or institution that’s lost its way, which requires a program to communicate the change and thereby redeem the entity’s reputation. Here, in no particular order, are my picks for the top 13 of 2009:

  1. The financial services industry (e.g., subprime lending, asset management, credit default swaps, hedge funds)

  2. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

  3. The Republican Party

  4. Ford, Chrysler and GM

  5. City of Detroit

  6. New York Yankees

  7. Oil Industry

  8. Alan Greenspan

  9. United States (as a global brand)

  10. Airline Industry

  11. Starbucks

  12. Richard S. Fuld, Jr. (former chairman of Lehman Brothers, now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.)

  13. Paris Hilton


Technorati Tags: financial services industry, SEC, Republican Party, Ford, Crysler, GM, Detroit, New York Yankees, oil industry, business, Alan Greenspan, United States, global brand, airline industry, Starbucks, Richard S. Fuld, Jr., chapter 11 bankruptcy, Paris Hilton

The First Presidential Blogger?


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Imagine! The first blogger President. And a blog is right in line with the bold and transparent environment which Obama has tried to create.

He could discuss every new or controversial policy in a blog – and people throughout the world could comment. While he could tackle topics from Iran and Iraq to health and defense, he also could talk about his favorite movies, how he spends time with his daughters, and the foods that he can’t resist. With one keystroke, he could conduct his own “March of Dimes” for the people in Darfur and with the next, challenge a trade in baseball or softball. Press conferences could be conducted on the internet with instant survey reactions to what is being said.

This Presidential internet strategy would model democratic behavior – and serve as an example for the world. It literally is worldwide citizen engagement. As FDR gained support of Continue reading "The First Presidential Blogger?"

The First Presidential Blogger?


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Imagine! The first blogger President. And a blog is right in line with the bold and transparent environment which Obama has tried to create.

He could discuss every new or controversial policy in a blog – and people throughout the world could comment. While he could tackle topics from Iran and Iraq to health and defense, he also could talk about his favorite movies, how he spends time with his daughters, and the foods that he can’t resist. With one keystroke, he could conduct his own “March of Dimes” for the people in Darfur and with the next, challenge a trade in baseball or softball. Press conferences could be conducted on the internet with instant survey reactions to what is being said.

This Presidential internet strategy would model democratic behavior – and serve as an example for the world. It literally is worldwide citizen engagement. As FDR gained support of Americans via the radio fireside chats, Obama has the opportunity to build global support for his vision of a unified world. Idealistic? Maybe. But possible with this new chosen channel.

While the government has challenged Obama’s use of the Blackberry for fear a misstatement or sharp response could be published rapidly around the world, nothing offers better control than a blog. It is final once it is posted. All responses can be calculated.

The only negative I can see is that it indeed will accelerate the shift away from newspapers, TV and radio even more than before.

But the overriding advantage — if Obama is open to it and can find the time — is that citizens of the world will get to know our president in a way that has never happened before. And perhaps that level of communications can bring a level of understanding that has never existed in the world.

Technorati Tags: President, Obama, controversial policy, blog, internet strategy, Americans, Makovsky, Blackberry, March of Dimes, business, communications, public relations

Peace سلام Paz שלום Paix 平和 Мир Fred


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[NOTE: That’s “peace” in English, Arabic, Spanish, Hebrew, French, Japanese, Russian and Swedish]


This week and next, I’d like to take a break from my usual blog to pause, express gratitude for the blessings of family and friends and to wish you — my readers — peace, joy and prosperity now and throughout the New Year.





Peace سلام Paz שלום Paix 平和 Мир Fred


This post is by from My Three Cents


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




[NOTE: That’s “peace” in English, Arabic, Spanish, Hebrew, French, Japanese, Russian and Swedish]


This week and next, I’d like to take a break from my usual blog to pause, express gratitude for the blessings of family and friends and to wish you — my readers — peace, joy and prosperity now and throughout the New Year.





Boosting Employee Morale in a Down Economy


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I remember after 9/11 how significantly employee morale fell; it was understandable. Nevertheless, while I always found a great escape in my work during such periods, that obviously isn’t true for everybody.

Thus, it was not surprising — in the current economic environment — to learn that there is once again a breakdown in employee morale. A recent survey found that more than a third of employees attributed the decline in morale to a lack of open, honest communications on the part of their bosses about what was really going on in the company. Other reasons for poor morale were failure to recognize employee achievements (19%) and micromanagement (17%). Such breakdowns – with all the work to be done – are not good for any firm or for the economy at large.

Enter the Makovsky “We Achieve” program – designed to “make” bosses talk to their employees (and all of Continue reading "Boosting Employee Morale in a Down Economy"

Boosting Employee Morale in a Down Economy


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Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




I remember after 9/11 how significantly employee morale fell; it was understandable. Nevertheless, while I always found a great escape in my work during such periods, that obviously isn’t true for everybody.

Thus, it was not surprising — in the current economic environment — to learn that there is once again a breakdown in employee morale. A recent survey found that more than a third of employees attributed the decline in morale to a lack of open, honest communications on the part of their bosses about what was really going on in the company. Other reasons for poor morale were failure to recognize employee achievements (19%) and micromanagement (17%). Such breakdowns – with all the work to be done – are not good for any firm or for the economy at large.

Enter the Makovsky “We Achieve” program – designed to “make” bosses talk to their employees (and all of us talk to each other) and recognize those who role-model best practices. It is based around business-size cards, each with a Makovsky firm value: educate, communicate, innovate, initiate, collaborate and motivate. Anyone demonstrating one of those values through his or her behavior is given a card, noting on the back the specific action. The person with the most cards wins a cash prize bi-monthly.

Thus, it was interesting to note that 48 percent of executives cited communications as the solution to strong employee morale, and both recognition and monetary rewards were runners-up in the battle to beat bad morale.

Technorati Tags: employee morale, poor morale, best practices, micromanagement, innovate, 9/11, Makovsky, business, communications, public relations

“Green” Pressure


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Investors are now starting to “go green,” which will likely impact corporate action.

With that in mind, it is important to note that Makovsky + Company’s “Green Gap Survey” of the Fortune 1000, with Harris Interactive, demonstrated that while nearly 80% of corporate leaders were personally concerned about climate change and the threat it posed to future generations, only 57% of companies were taking action to address CO2 emissions standards.

However, once major institutional funds start diverting their “greens” to corporations that indeed are acting to change the environment, might that lagging percentage go up?

A recent New York Times story by Elisabeth Rosenthal on November 28 noted that “investing with the idea of improving the environmental actions of corporations, not just maximizing profit, is catching on among some big pension funds and foundations particularly in Europe and even in the U.S.” These huge funds are redirecting investment Continue reading "“Green” Pressure"

“Green” Pressure


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Investors are now starting to “go green,” which will likely impact corporate action.

With that in mind, it is important to note that Makovsky + Company’s “Green Gap Survey” of the Fortune 1000, with Harris Interactive, demonstrated that while nearly 80% of corporate leaders were personally concerned about climate change and the threat it posed to future generations, only 57% of companies were taking action to address CO2 emissions standards.

However, once major institutional funds start diverting their “greens” to corporations that indeed are acting to change the environment, might that lagging percentage go up?

A recent New York Times story by Elisabeth Rosenthal on November 28 noted that “investing with the idea of improving the environmental actions of corporations, not just maximizing profit, is catching on among some big pension funds and foundations particularly in Europe and even in the U.S.” These huge funds are redirecting investment to either those companies who don’t damage the environment or have programs that limit their emissions that contribute to global warming. Some funds are also divesting themselves of stakes in companies that are environmentally lax.

Some of the funds involved are the Norwegian Government Pension Fund–Global, ABP (the huge Dutch government pension fund), the pension fund of the British Environmental Agency and the California State Teachers’ Retirement Fund, among others.

Money talks – and the “green gap” will close … albeit gradually. Other expected pressures ? Federal regulations and consumer demands.


Technorati Tags: go green,climate change, pension funds,Elisabeth Rosenthal, social media communications, environment, New York Times, Harris Interactive, Makovsky + Company, Investors, communications, public relations

IBM, Trust and the Great Global Conversation


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At least once a month our firm invites a thought leader to present and discuss a topic of particular interest to our PR professionals and others on our staff. Last month’s guest speaker was Adam Christensen, IBM’s social media communications manager. Adam provided us with an excellent overview of how IBM is integrating all aspects of Web 2.0/social media — including social networking, blogging and podcasting — into its communications efforts.

For me, the two most significant takeaways were 1) the staggering numbers of IBM employees worldwide who are involved in blogging and other forms of social media and 2) the freedom and respect for their independence that they receive from their employer.

IBM realized, Adam said, that the general public’s perception of the IBM brand will be significantly shaped by their interaction with its 380,000 employees, and the opinions they spread among their families and friends. Further, Continue reading "IBM, Trust and the Great Global Conversation"