Charity truly makes the world go round. Hundreds of billions of dollars are collected annually by hospitals, medical research centers, educational institutions, social welfare organizations, environmental groups and disaster-relief agencies, to name just a few. Not a day goes by without some kind of street solicitation. Rarely does a week go by without an individual or organization knocking on the door, calling on the telephone or pleading by e-mail, asking us to get involved
So the next time someone holds out his hand, extend your hand, too. Giving charity doesn’t mean giving up your hard-earned funds – it means increasing your wealth, your happiness and your future success. Talk about making your money work for you! (By Chaim Kramer)
Using MarsEdit to create this post on my very neglected wordpress technology blog. The “promise” of this tool (and several others) is to be able to manage your blogs, social account updadtes (twitter, facebook, etc) via this desktop client.
Do you really? You won’t after you watch this…..
My Company Rocks!
Todobebé Completes First Study in National Health Research Initiative
Research begins to measure the potential impact (attitudes, perceptions and behavioral outcomes) of health information and messaging specifically targeted to the Hispanic family
Todobebé, Inc, a leading family media company dedicated to the adventures of parenting has completed its first multi-disciplinary healthcare survey focused on Hispanic mothers in the United States with children 0 to 5 years old in the home. The survey is the first step in a national health research initiative aimed at helping to verify the attitudes, perceptions, knowledge base, determinants and behaviors that influence child and maternal health among Hispanic families in the United States.
Todobebé’s initial study was developed with inputs and questions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of Minority Health, Environmental Protection Agency, National Head Start Association, American Diabetes Association, March of Dimes, Safe Kids Worldwide, One Economy and the Alliance for Consumer Education. The preliminary results included responses to over 100 questions which covered six major areas (see below), and are the first of a series of surveys that will be conducted by Todobebé on a quarterly basis. The preliminary results were presented by Todobebé in Washington DC on July 16 and are being submitted to the White House Secretary of Education and Secretary of Health.
The 1,138 survey participants were drawn from Todobebé’s annual U.S. Hispanic opt-in panel which includes over 10,000 Spanish-speaking moms 18-39 with children 0 to 5 years old in the home who were recruited during the yearly Viva la Familia Event.
Hispanic families in the United States are now responsible for raising close to 25% of the children under 5 years, children who are born as United States citizens with full rights to care. The positive mental and physical health and development of children during the ages of 0 to 5 years old directly impacts the economic potential and health care costs of the country in the next decade and beyond. Understanding and reaching Hispanic mothers who are the primary caregivers during this window of time, is a huge opportunity to influence positive and lasting change for the next generation.
“As a nation we face tremendous issues related to our health care system which directly impacts us as individuals, parents, employers and providers. Ongoing collaboration among government, non-profit, and between entertainment and research can help to change health outcomes; we are happy for the chance to build on the last 10 years, and continue to help to take the lead in this area. Step 1 is asking the questions”, said Cynthia Nelson, COO of Todobebé.
The six major areas covered in the first study included:
General Health Messaging, Health Insurance & Access to Health Care
Personal & Family Health History
Children’s Health History
Early Education & Child Development including TV, Reading and Parental Involvement
Meal Preparation, Fast Food and Family Gatherings
Home & Child Safety Demographic data on the participants include HH income, acculturation, education and language usage.
For access to research or more information about upcoming initiatives, please contact Lois Mosgrove, VP Marketing, firstname.lastname@example.org
The read below is straight from TechCrunch. Kudos to BestBuy for using Social Media technology to provide value. Again, they really do “get it”.
Best Buy Goes All Twitter Crazy With @Twelpforce
Posted: 21 Jul 2009 02:30 AM PDT
This is an interesting one: consumer electronics retailer Best Buy is encouraging hundreds of employees to handle online customer service and company promotions via Twitter, even airing commercials not mentioning their own website but merely the URL of the profile they created on the micro-sharing service (two spots embedded below). The new service, dubbed Twelpforce, was debuted over the weekend but so far hasn’t garnered a lot of online buzz, let alone followers on Twitter (currently at around 1350). I’m sure that will change soon enough.
Tweet the Twelpforce, they’re here to twelp
Leaving aside the brutal misuse of the ‘tw’ in Twitter for their own use of names and verbs, the concept is pretty well thought-out. Best Buy employees can use their company and Twitter ID to register for the service here, after which tweets from the lot of them will be displayed in a single stream on the same page.
Once registered, tweeting Best Buy employees from across all operations can send messages from the @Twelpforce account, and if they add the hash-tag #twelpforce, their messages will automatically show up under the twelpforce handle with a credit to their proper Twitter account. This is similar to how we handle the auto-posting of TechCrunch posts on our Twitter account.
I like that the ‘Tips & Expectations’ part targeted at interested Best Buy employees is made public (right here). An excerpt:
The promise we’re making starting in July is that you’ll know all that we know as fast as we know it. That’s an enormous promise. That means that customers will be able to ask us about the decisions they’re trying to make, the products they’re using, and look for the customer support that only we can give. And with Twitter, we can do that fast, with lots of opinions so they can make a decision after weighing all the input. It also lets others learn from it as they see our conversations unfold.
When you start, remember that the tone is important Above all, the tone of the conversation has to be authentic and honest. Be conversational. Be yourself. Show respect. Expect respect. The goal is to help. If you don’t know the answer tell them you’ll find out. Then find out and let them know.
Practical tips include identifying oneself as a Best Buy employee, not asking for personal customer information (even in direct messages), don’t be pushy in trying to convince someone to buy consumer electronics from Best Buy, apologize for any delays and misunderstandings, etc.
Having launched last Sunday, Twelpforce has reportedly been in test with more than 700 registered employees, with more of them signing up daily.
Fantastic or spamtastic?
Personally, I think this is a phenomenal way to engage with Twitter users and social media in general. I’m sure that a lot of people will find it intrusive if a Best Buy employee suddenly starts talking to them after they tweeted out something random like “I could use a new flat-screen TV for my condo”, but looking at the advice provided by the company I think they actually ‘get it’ and are not looking to be overly pushy in selling you stuff.
If the response is friendly, personal and not clearly coming from someone interested only in trying to make a sale rather than being proactive about giving knowledgeable advice, I wouldn’t mind to be contacted by Best Buy employees on Twitter at all. Judging by the public stream of tweets, I’d say that this is exactly what they are doing, so kudos to them and Best Buy for thinking differently about online customer service.
More of this, please.
( Again, This is from TechCrunch – www.techcrunch.com)
Louis CK on Conan, this is so true and so funny! A must watch for techies….
This article if from the NY TIMES, May 24, 2009. I thought this was such a powerful quick read for anyone in a leadership position. I hope you enjoy it as well!
In a Word, He Wants Simplicity
This interview of Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.
Q. What is the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?
A. Walking the talk is the most important lesson I’ve learned. There’s nothing that destroys credibility more than not being able to look someone in the eye and have them know that they can trust you. Leadership is about trust. It’s about being able to get people to go to places they never thought they could go. They can’t do that if they don’t trust you.
Q. What have you learned to do more of, or less of, over time?
A. I read something early on when I was in my first or second management role that you can accomplish almost anything in life if you do not care who takes credit for it. So I’ve tried to do more of that. And I’ve tried to do less of the things that make business more complex. I really like simplicity. At the end of the day, retailing – but you could apply this to many other businesses – is not as complicated as we would like to make it. It is pretty logical and simple, if you think about the way that you yourself would act, or do act, as a customer.
Q. So you find that people make business more complicated than it is?
A. No doubt about it. I think that all of us read far too many business books. I’ve worked 30 years now in management roles, and a number of times I’ve seen a new C.E.O. come in, and the first act is typically to get the leadership team to an offsite. And you get a consultant – because you can’t do it without a consultant – and the consultant then helps the team design a vision. And then you’ve got all these words, and several thousand dollars and a couple of days of golf later, you go back to the company to actually try to communicate that vision throughout the organization. So you hire another consultant to do that. It shouldn’t be like that.
We have a very clear view of what we do for consumers around the world. And we can describe our complete strategy in 10 words. And that makes it very easy to get everybody energized and aligned.
Q. So what do you think the process should be?
A. I think the best source of strategy is your customer and the people who work for you. I’m not saying there’s no room for a vision statement or anything like that. I’m just saying that we tend to spend too much time on that and not enough on the more practical, down-to-earth requirements that drive business.
Q. So when you’re visiting stores.
A. I walk around the store and approach customers and ask them if they have any recommendations for us. Are there things that we’re not doing that we should be doing? And I typically also will go to the back of the store. I just go mostly on my own and I get there mostly unannounced and talk to associates and ask them questions about their jobs. I ask them about their leadership in the store. I always tease them that they can tell me whether their store manager’s good or bad. Almost always, you get enormous insight from those who spend their days taking care of customers.
Q. What was the best advice you were given about your career?
A. Someone I trusted when I was working for Nabisco convinced me that if I really wanted to have bigger and more impactful opportunities, then I probably needed to become broader in my knowledge. And I’ve changed industries twice since then, completely different industries.
Q. What do you look for in job candidates?
A. People I interview today are most likely going to be in a senior leadership role. And leadership roles in business require enormous energy – both physical and, very importantly, emotional energy. And so I try to find out whether they have the enormous amount of energy it takes to lead and manage. You’re exposed so often to decisions that are emotionally charged; you have to have the balance and the energy, the emotional strength to actually do it.
Q. What kind of questions do you ask to get at that?
A. I ask them to share how they have dealt in the past with major issues, like a reduction in force, and major changes in the business environment. An interview is not a perfect process, right? You can’t learn about people in one hour, but it is helpful.
Q. What is your most effective time-management technique?
A. Oh boy, time management is a work a progress, I think, for everybody in business. And if they tell you differently, then they’re probably lying.
I try to get things done early in the day, things that I know are going to get in the way. Also, I have developed a system with my assistant. I send her e-mails at night. When I’m at home and I have a little bit more time and I’m more relaxed, I send very quick e-mails to her, just with things like, “Remind me tomorrow I have to do such and such thing,” or, “We need to complete this or that.” And I send probably 5, 6, 10 of those that come up at night. She doesn’t see them until early in the morning, but that sets the stage for the following day. And it helps me quite a bit with those things that are outside of scheduled appointments.
Q. What would you like business schools to teach more, or less?
A. I’ve done this quiz several times when we have gone to talk at business schools. I always ask people, “So who’s taking accounting?” And everybody raises their hand. And, “Who’s taking strategy?” And everybody raises their hand – and you go on with your typical curriculum about the business school. Mostly they are very good at teaching strategy, operations, management, finance, accounting.
But then I ask, “O.K., how many courses have you taken on how you talk with an employee you’re firing?” Or, “How do you talk with the person who comes to your office late at night to tell you that her daughter is sick and she might not be able to come in the following day?” Or, “What do you say when they come in with issues in their marriage that are impacting their job?”
As managers and leaders of people, those are the kinds of questions that one deals with probably 80 percent of the time. I think that business schools could do more to prepare kids to deal with the often more difficult side of business management and leadership. The balance of courses is probably weighted to the numeric side of business as opposed to the people side of business.
Q. And you obviously think such things can be taught?
A. I think they can. You can guide people to get them to understand the implications of decisions they make.
Q. What message would you convey in a commencement speech?
A. It would depend where, right? Here in the United States, and any of the developed countries, I would tend to provide a speech along the lines of what I said before about what makes great leaders – the fact that there’s no leader who can be called one if they don’t have personal integrity, or if they don’t deliver results, or if they don’t care about the people they lead, or if they don’t have a passion for winning. At the end of the day, business is about winning.
If it were outside the United States, I probably would add something that I honestly believe – that cultural differences, which are so often touted as the rationale for making decisions in business, are grossly overrated, and that human behavior really doesn’t have a language. It’s pretty much the same everywhere.
We are constantly talking about differences in how consumers behave. Early on in my career, I was working in Asia, and I heard often from people about how to apply Western types of business practices to an Asian environment. But I found out, after living six years over there, that quite honestly, there were a lot more similarities to how customers behaved in Latin America, Europe and here in the U.S. than the differences everybody stressed.
So if you’re training people to make exceptions for cultural differences, as opposed to following general rules, by definition you’re going to be managing all the time by exceptions. And that might not be the best way to do it.
This article if from the NY TIMES, May 24, 2009.