Archive for March, 2007

Are you a leader? A trend setter?

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

Oddly enough, the U.S. government seems to be slightly ahead of the private sector in setting people up to work from home. A recent study says that 44% of federal employees who responded to a survey have the option to telecommute. While those numbers could be skewed because if you don’t have the option, maybe the survey doesn’t look very interesting to you, that same situation probably holds true for government and private employees surveyed. 

That seems surprising…that the government is ahead of the capitalist system on any single item.  But when you consider the benefits of telecommuting to the organization, it’s maybe not so surprising.  They include: 1) significantly decrease traffic and pollution in congested cities, 2) improving employee recruitment and retention by enabling a better work-life balance, and 3) help ensure continuity of government operations during snowstorms and other minor events as well as after catastrophes. (Hmmm. The Homeland Security people may be having a hand in this.)

At any rate, if your company is enlightened–in any way–or is a leader at doing something new and better, whether for employees or customers or vendors, you get big-time brag rights on your business blog. Take ‘em.

'cuz they said!

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Forrester is the 10-ton-giant of the business research world. Here they are weighing in on one of our favorite subjects: “Social media like blogs and peer reviews are gaining influence, and marketers avoiding these newly emerging channels risk losing business.”

Thankfully, they offer an easier entree into the world of social networking by suggesting that fear of blogs can be tamed by starting out with email marketing.  The idea is that business owners can begin to get used to having interactions with their customers–listening to their customers. They can do so by experimenting with less frightening options like surveys, polls, message boards, and testimonials–learning that customer service includes inviting and dealing with customer responses.

Start learning to get personal in your marketing efforts, and you’ll be catching the wave that’s not a fad and isn’t going away: business blogs.

Be true to yourself–and leverage the power of the many

Friday, March 16th, 2007

Saw a documentary last night on the then-20-year-old woman who designed the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial. Inspiring story of a girl whose parents emigrated from China and became professors, both at Ohio University. She, Maya Lin, grew up with a strong example and internalized commitment to doing what not only what is right, but also what is important.  She stuck to it through all struggles she had to face as various factions fought over the appropriateness of the memorial, including facing angry Vietnam vets who intially felt the design was not only wrong but insulting.

Some of the most powerful images from the film were watching that young girl’s eyes as that angry vet reviled her design, and later watching her calm, quiet, and humble figure walk away from the 10th anniversary celebration of the memorial–attended by tens of hundreds of vets and families, almost all in tears.

She believed in what she was doing. Her vision won over the most prestigious and powerful competitors. She stood firm against opposition. And she remains true to herself today, having designed a moving memorial to the civil rights movement in addition to unique museums and even homes.

Perhaps the most moving of all the images were those of the fingers and the hands of the visitors/viewers who come to draw on the energy of those designs, fingers tracing the names of loved ones or breaking little pathways in the water flows. When people participate, a project gains far greater power.

And that is the principle behind social networking and the power of the Internet–as new technology makes it possible for more and more people to participate. Your project can gain greater power. And if you, like Maya Lin, keep always the highest ideal in mind as you work, your work will always remain meaningful and your decisions intelligent.