Archive for August, 2012

Mitt Romney: Hello Mr. Nice Guy

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Ann Romney answers the question: Who is this man, really?

By Peg McRoy Glover

Ann Romney spoke to the Republican National Convention giving insight into what she knows about Mitt Romney, as a husband, father, community leader and business man, after forty two years of marriage.

There has been, and still is, a great deal of conjecture on whether or not she could and did convey to the American public the character of the man striving to be the next President of the United States of America.

Mitt Romney’s political beliefs aside, the American public wants to get to know him from a personal perspective.

Gayle King, Charlie Rose and Erica Hill were interviewing author Jeff Benedict (The Mormon Way of Doing Business), April 17, 2012, on CBS Morning, when the topic of Mitt Romney’s humanity became a point.

Gayle King stated, “I met Mitt Romney years ago when Susan St. James and Dick Ebersol lost their son in a plane crash.  I went to the service and Mitt Romney was there and he was so tender and so touching and so kind. I recently saw Susan St. James and said, ‘Do you remember that?’ I said why don’t people ever get to see that side and understand what the type of guy (he is) who is there to help his friends and who doesn’t ask for a lot of fanfare.  It is interesting in your report (Benedict) that you said talking about it is a form of bragging. Maybe we do need to brag a bit.”

Ann Romney responded in her speech with, “Mitt doesn’t like to talk about how he has helped others because he sees it as a privilege, not a political talking point. And we’re no different than the millions of Americans who quietly help their neighbors, their churches and their communities. They do it because there is no greater joy.”

Alexander Abad-Santos, Reuters, August 10, 2012, responded to a New York Times article written by Mike McIntire that stated during the 1990s housing collapse Romney owned five homes and was reported to be ‘kicking people to the street.’ That is not the full story. Two of the owners were Timothy and Betty Stamp, a barber and nurse, respectively. McIntire quotes Timothy Stamp within his article:

“Then I got this phone call, personally, from Mr. Romney, asking if we really wanted to buy the house,” Mr. Stamps, 63, said in an interview the other day at the barbershop he now runs. “I said yes we did. And he said he would loan us the money. He really helped us when we needed it.”

Ann Romney stated in her address, “Mitt is the first to tell you that he is the most fortunate man in the world. He had two loving parents who taught him the value of work. At every turn in his life, this man I met at a high school dance, has helped lift up others.”

Ann Romney, within her speech, gave us great insight into the man Mitt Romney and the depth of his soul when she related the story of when she was diagnosed with the debilitating disease of multiple sclerosis. She was lying in bed feeling the effects of the disease and he cuddled up next to her. He reassured her that they would get through this disease together and come out stronger.

Well, look at Ann Romney now.

Mitt Romney is not just a man who can rise to the upper stratosphere of business success, he is a man who will go down to the depths of despair and provide an avenue of hope.

Isn’t that just exactly what we need right now in the United States of America?

Mitt Romney may not be the perfect man, but he is the perfect man for right now.


Advertising: TAG HEUR IT!

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

By Vijay Krishna By the time the presidential election ends in November, we will have seen a new phenomenon in advertising; about $2 billion dollars spent on advertising. ‘Tis the season! On the brighter side, this bodes well for the advertising industry. Generally, when the economy is bad, many established companies, and some smaller ones with a clear foresight, tend to maintain advertising expenditure. It’s a great opportunity to showcase their wares and surge ahead of the competition in maintaining brand equity, and a virtual holy grail for product placement. The 24/7 media and the GAS BAGS at their helm are looking to slice and dice the minutest of verbal and non-verbal cues of the candidates. So isn’t this a

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great opportunity for brands to dress up the presidential candidates? Here’s one that was spotted recently: Obama and Romney sporting the high end TAG HEUR watches. Here are the granulars: OBAMA- Tag

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Heur-Aquaracer: $15,600 ROMNEY-Tag Heur-Link Automatic: $3,500 The candidates’ spouses are also noted for what they wear. For example, Janna Ryan recently wore $35 Kohl’s dress and Michelle Obama wore a $35 H&M dress. Michelle Obama is also known to wearing expensive dress upwards of $6,000 to $10,000 range. Perhaps, the candidates’ and spouse love for the brand is coincidental, but

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the exposure-gradient is immeasurable.

The Olympics Broadcast Mistake

Monday, August 20th, 2012

BY NEIL KUVIN Did you all see the way NBC ended their coverage of the London Olympics? They just cut the live feed before closing ceremonies were finished. I presume (make that know) it was to be able to get the end break commercials in and allow the local NBC affiliate stations (of which there are over 200) start their newscasts on time. Unbelievable? No, it happens many times. But in this extraordinary circumstance, and with a world-wide audience of untold millions, let’s all track just how NBC explains this mistake, if they do at all. This is a PR gaffe for NBC that goes along with a couple others that come to mind. How many of you remember the infamous TV “Heidi” incident? It became known as the “Heidi Bowl” later on. It was Sunday, November 17, 1968 and the New York Jets, with star quarterback Joe Namath, on their way to the world championship. Their opposition that Sunday was the Oakland Raiders. TV sets throughout the country were humming like almost no other time.

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With about a minute left in the game, and the outcome still very much in question, a network technician, following the “log” for the day, punched the right button, switching programming away from the game in order to begin airing the children’s classic, “Heidi,” leaving thousands of viewers mystifiedand outraged. The TV network shall remain nameless at this time. The decision to go ahead and start Heidi was made, and none of the “suits” at the network repealed that mistaken decision; stopped “Heidi” and returned to the game. “Heidi” could have been restarted from the beginning at the conclusion of the game. But in an era before video tape, you can’t restart the game. Tremendous gaffe. Imagine the frazzled switchboard operator (those were great times) in New York show actually had the phone system shut down. It’s now known as the Heidi Game. Now I think about one of my own incidences of a decision I had to make almost instantly. I was here in Louisville, Kentucky, managing WHAS-TV, the CBS affiliate (at the time). We had entered into a contract with the University of Louisville to carry their football and basketball games. It was literally my first week at the station and there was a game scheduled between Louisville and another team, whose name I can’t remember. The game was being played late in the evening in Hawaii. The network program schedule to end prior to switching to the UofL game was another football game. Well, wouldn’t you know it. The network game was tied with a minute to go. It was time for the Louisville game to start. I made the decision that the viewers of the 2 to 3 hours preceding that decision I had to make, deserved to be able to watch the conclusion of that game. So I told master control to not take the Hawaii TV feed. It was now around midnight. My house phone rings and the UofL Athletic Director, who is in Hawaii, is on the phone, reading me the “Riot Act” for not dropping the network game and starting the UofL game. The language got salty and I realized that this was not a casual situation unfolding. The bottom line is I stuck with my decision. To this day I think I made the right decision. Everybody survived. Including me. When you have the responsibility to manage a major community service like a TV station, making those kinds of decisions comes with the territory. There are lots of times when you have the exciting opportunity to have to decide to interrupt regular programming and go live with severe weather information or other serious incidents for the sake of keeping your community informed. Ho hum. Just another day.

Whose Business is it, Mr. President?

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

By Neil Kuvin

I promise not to make this a rant that joins the political calls to complain that President Obama somehow put small business people down recently by announcing that “Y

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ou didn’t build your business! Someone helped you build it…” or something like that. I want to particularly look at why and how some of us decide we want to build and operate our own business, while others of us are quite satisfied with punching a time clock and getting a paycheck every other week.

One major theory being circulated is that those of us with an entrepreneurial spirit likely got it from our heritage. That it’s actually “in our genes.” The research I checked showed that when twins, identical and fraternal, are followed throughout their mid-forties, over one-third follow in entrepreneurial parents’ footsteps and drive to open and operate their own business. In other words, genes do have an effect. Another major impact on

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their driven direction certainly is environment. When your Mom or Dad come home every evening from running their business all day, and they’re upbeat, happy and chatty about the day, it can’t help but have a positive effect on the children assembled for dinner.

So, seems we can combine DNA and environment at least. What other factors can impact a major decision to go it in business on your own? Current economic conditions would warn anybody even considering a go at entrepreneurship that they should slow down; get a grip; talk to lots and lots of friends, relatives and bankers first. However, on the positive side, a stimulating condition for making the decision to get business cards or invest in a franchise, or other such expensive, sometimes irreversible moves, would be getting laid off or otherwise fired.

But, let me get back to influences of genes on your thought processes. Whether or not Mom and/or Dad has all of the elements present to insert into your DNA to start and run an independent business, isn’t all there is. If your growing up atmosphere included risk taking, either in the family or in some of your best guides, like teachers, employers and mostly best friends, isn’t prominent, the genes won’t dance for you.

What’s the “mind” of an entrepreneur? It must include a little fearlessness, along with a great supply of curiosity, dreaming, sensitivity and plain ole stubbornness.

Don’t necessarily check your genes. But much more, take a step aside and peruse both yourself and your environment. Are you tough and yet patient enough to move your comfort zone to accommodate a fantastic opportunity to leave your fingerprints on the world? President Obama and thousands of customers are waiting for you.

Non Profit Organizational Milestones

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Paint a picture of where your non profit has been so you
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know where you’re going

by Joseph John

I’m a very visual person. I need to “see stuff” to grasp concepts. I need to get my arms around concepts by looking at pictures, graphs, paradigms, whatever. Yes, I’m one of those person-types that still prints out rough drafts so I can “red line” and make my necessary edits. Well, I believe a non profit organization, in planning for the future, needs to create a picture of what they’ve done in the past so they have a better view of the future.

A historical timeline is the perfect vehicle for an organizational review as well as a superb visual to use with future board members (and potential donors) who would like to see what the organization has accomplished over “x” number of years.

Think about it: Can you pull out one sheet that will list your non profit organization’s accomplishments and benchmarks since the year 2000? Almost twelve years of organizational history can be graphically presented to create a picture for where the organization has been.

A Historical Timeline creates a better grasp for seeing trends over the almost twelve years since the millennium to determine what the next three, five, or ten years might look like. It’s a great planning tool. Oh, by the way, I’ve already tested this concept with a couple of associations that I deal with and they collectively said “OMG…that would be fantastic for all of us to review.”

And what should be on that very graphic image of your non profit organization’s history? It’s quite simple, and can be set in landscape mode either in Word, Excel, Pages — whatever. Here are just some of the items that you may want to add for your snapshot of the organization’s history:

  • Number of members
  • Number of donors
  • Number of board members appointed and departed
  • Number of full time/part time employees
  • Contributions/donations/pledges
  • Organizational budget
  • Branding/logo changes
  • Vision/Mission/Value update(s)
  • Bylaw revisions or total rewrites

…and the list continues — your choice.

If you know a good graphic artist, you can get very creative with the layout. Add as little or as much as you may need to tell your story, but don’t create visual clutter. It’s the important “stuff” that you need to put on your timeline to easily review trends and to tell your story.

It may be corny, but it the old saying is very apropos regarding your non profit organizational timeline: A picture is worth a thousand words.


NBC Olympics Coverage Criticized via Twitter

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

By Neil Kuvin and Peg McRoy Glover

Olympics logoLos Angeles correspondent for the U.K.’s The Independent, recently had his Twitter account shut down reportedly because he tweeted criticisms of NBC’s delayed coverage of the Olympics.

He was so furious over the delayed coverage he tweeted, “The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven’t started yet is Gary Zenkel (President of NBC Olympics). Tell him what u think!” Adams’s tweet then contained the corporate email address of Zenkel.

His account was automatically flagged by Twitter. The way it was spun, Twitter blocked Adams’s account after he revealed NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel’s email address and then urged people to complain about the network delaying broadcasts of Olympics events.

Twitter acknowledged during the weekend that some of its staff working with NBC in covering the Olympics identified the tweet as a violation of its terms of use and then encouraged the broadcaster to report the violation.

Upon notification of the suspension of his account, Adams wrote, “I didn’t publish a private email address, just a corporate one, which is widely available to anyone with access to Google and is identical to one that all of the tens of thousands of NBC Universal employees share.”

Adams, The Independent, BBC Journalist Jeremy Vine, Piers Morgan with CNN and journalists from other media outlets screamed “foul.” Their position is that it was a breach of freedom of speech and a “high-treason” example of censorship from a company that purports to be a platform for open dissemination of information.

Then an amazing event spun out from the grand and glorious social cyberspace place we all know and use. It involved an amazing occurrence in the world of journalism. Twitter Inc. actually apologized for what their PR people cited as a “mess up” surrounding the suspension of journalist Guy Adams, who used tweets to criticize Olympics coverage by the company’s business partner, NBC.

Twitter and NBC back peddled with the fervent backlash and

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reinstated Adams’s account pronto. NBC said it hadn’t realized that its complaint would lead to the suspension of his Twitter account.

Adams further stated, “If it’s standard practice to be immediately suspended after someone complains, it’s a dangerous policy. I’m surprised because I always thought Twitter was a company dedicated to the flow of information.”

What’s the big deal? The inner-journalism commotion that critics inferred, which they claim caused Twitter to restore Adams’s account. The most common, critical comment was that as a result of Adams’s suspension, and initial blocking of his account, Twitter put their partnership with NBC ahead of what should be the goal of distributing information.

Jeff Jarvis, a professor at City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism states, “If Twitter acts in a way to favor that business relationship over the freedom of its platform for its users, then Twitter risks losing the trust of those users.”

So, this is, as usual, a matter of TRUST. There’s a grey, narrow line that separates a reporter’s right to gather background information and a corporation’s, especially a chief executive, to have privileged, even personal information revealed to the public.

One thing is certain. Social media has forever changed how information is disseminated. But frankly, in the

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span of all things important, this is, at best a learning moment.

Actually, it’s a leaf caught in a thunderstorm.


Nonprofits and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Does this book address any weaknesses of your nonprofit board?

By Joseph John

Warning: This article isn’t intended to be negative. On the contrary, I write it in the hopes that it may be a wake-up call for nonprofit boards for some bit of reflection. It’s planned to be timely, since this is the time of year

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that as vacations end many boards are adding new people. Yes, it’s that time of year when many nonprofit boards begin re-focusing on their goals and objectives after several months of non-meetings.

Patrick Lencioni’s 5 dysfunctions of nonprofit boardsThe Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a very good resource and should be read by all chairpersons and members of a nonprofit executive board. It’s easy-to-read, and easy-to-digest; however, like many well-written management/leadership books, the concepts that appear to be elementary are, in reality, the concepts that drive an organization to success. “Elementary?” “Basic?” Maybe. But the tag line Lencioni‘s company uses reinforces the concept: “Simple wisdom for organizations.”

Read the entire book or just excerpts, but guaranteed, it will provide some introspection for you to determine if your organization is running smoothly — or not. The book will also guide you through the steps that need to be taken if any of the Five Dysfunctions seem to be mirrored in your nonprofit organization.

And what are the five dysfunctions Lencioni addresses:

Absence of trustthis occurs when team members are reluctant to be vulnerable with one another and are unwilling to admit their mistakes, weaknesses or needs for help.

Fear of conflictteams that are lacking on trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered, passionate debate about key issues, causing situations where team conflict can easily into veiled discussions and back channel discussions.

Lack of commitmentwithout conflict, it is difficult for team members to commit to decisions, creating an environment where ambiguity prevails.

Avoidance of accountability – when teams don’t commit to a clear plan of actions, even the most focused and driven individuals hesitate to call on their peers on actions and behaviors that may seem counterproductive to the overall good of the team.

Inattention to resultsteam members naturally tend to put their own needs (ego, career development, recognition, etc.) ahead of the collective goals of the team when individuals aren’t held accountable.

So where do you begin to determine whether or not your team, your nonprofit board, may be dysfunctional? Picture in your mind a triangle, the same shape Lencioni uses as his paradigm. The base of that triangle is absence of trust. Or, if you drew a circle, absence of trust would be in the center with the other four dysfunctions orbiting the #1 dysfunction. Isn’t it interesting that so many interpersonal interactions begin with TRUST? It doesn’t matter what management book you read — all organizations must begin with TRUST.

I leave you with an exercise. Envision the triangle that Lencioni uses. Now, where would you would classify some of the following positive traits of a team — traits which overcome one or more of the five dysfunctions. Oh, by the way. There’s no answer sheet attached to this article. The answers can be found in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Positive Traits:

minimizes individualistic behavior …benefits from individuals who subjugate their own goals/interests for the good team…avoids distractions

…ensures poor performers feel pressure to improve…establishes respect among team members who are held to the same high standards…identifies potential problems quickly by questioning one another’s approaches without hesitation

aligns the entire team around common objectives…changes direction without hesitation or guilt…moves forward without hesitation

have lively interesting meetings…solve real problems quickly…minimize politics

admit weaknesses and mistakes…ask for help…also offer and accept apologies without hesitation

How well did you do?

So, welcome back from vacation and my wish is that your nonprofit board is ready to work and cooperate with each other by striving to eliminate any dysfunctions that may exist. Your organization, and the communities you serve, will be the better for it.