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Showing posts from April, 2009

Valuing Diversity Includes Language

For about eight years of my career I worked off-and-on along the Mexican border. My employer at the time had 9 manufacturing plants on a corridor from Juarez through Chihuahua City to Torreon. On the border about half the people with whom I worked spoke English. The further I got into the interior the fewer people spoke any English at all. I spent one whole week in Torreon by myself and encountered no one who spoke a word of English. Imagine for a moment being in meetings for hours at a time where not a word of what was said was understandable to you. Think for a moment about the concentration that it takes to look interested and be polite while not having the slightest idea what's going on...for hours at a time. That, friends and neighbors, is what its like for some of our non-English speaking warehouse staff to attend our all-employee quarterly meetings. In order to bring our 40 or so non-English speakers into the conversations about our business we made sure they were invited

Life Less On-Line

Its been two weeks since I deleted my Facebook and Twitter accounts. There have been a couple of times that I've thought, "I'll write a quick tweet on that" but couldn't. Otherwise its been a good move to make my life less virtual and more temporal. Since social media is all the rage and Twitter is gaining popularity by leaps and bounds why is swimming against the tide working for me? Here's my critical learning at this point. 1. Social Media is best suited for promotional communications. As such, promoting yourself, your products, your services, or some political or social agenda is the sweet spot for this media. Communications that are critical or negative are ill suited for social media audiences; the posts don't read as well, the wording has to be more carefully crafted so as to be diplomatic, and you lose the spontaneity of the tweet or FB update. 2. Related to point #1, social media is best suited for sole proprietors, independent professi

Why I'm Optimistic

"Are things ever going to get better?" That's a question I've heard several times this week and here's why I think the answer is, emphatically, "Yes." In the midst of a tough economy, and after an exceptionally hard year I see signs that make me feel like the worst is behind us. Externally there are signs of life in the general economy . First time home buyer activity is higher than expected, and manufacturing activity (while depressed overall) beat analysts expectations this week. These developments helped bolster the stock market and as it improves we should start to gain back some of our depressed 401(k) values. The market analysts with which I've spoken tell me that the stock market typically leads employment gains by about six months coming out of a recession. Remember that six month number because you'll see it again below. Internally we now have a single operational executive running Sales, Marketing, and Publishing . These forme