Duck Persuades Flamingos

You’re a duck with the assignment of persuading flamingos to fly south two months ahead of time. PowerPoints probably will not work here.

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What’s Obvious Ain’t

You can win more football games by never kicking on fourth down, and you and three friends can play a piano with only one of you on the keys. Strange, perhaps. But doing what’s obvious achieves only obvious results. See a situation differently and the results could be astounding.

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Street-wise Storyteller Turned Presidential Speechwriter

I often rode the MBTA train as a kid into Boston from the suburbs and, from the elevated tracks that passed through Chelsea, I would peer into the top-floor apartments of the triple-deckers. My brief glimpses of the grimy life there were disconcerting and discerning. What I realized later as a would-be writer was that this seemingly dull neighborhood, like so many mixed-culture pockets of major cities held closely kept stories waiting to be pulled out. Those stories turned Chelsea guy Joe Resnek into a writer and carried him to the Big House in D.C. You’ll enjoy this short clip about Joe.

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Employees Talking Allowed

Men standing in lineIf you had just one page to explain what makes your organization’s employee communication effective, — or maybe not effective — where would you start? More important, how would it end? A prospective client gave me an even tougher challenge: sum up in one page everything I know about effective employee communication from my years of experience and from the best examples and sources out there. I talked it out with myself, and concluded, yet again, that it’s all about talking with not at employees.

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A Big Risk-Taker Takes a Bigger Risk

Certainly there are legitimate reasons for executives/managers to avoid risk, but in my experience the real underlying reason is almost always to avoid embarrassment. Ernest Gagnon did that for ten years until the once 570-pounder decided to get on a road bike.

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A Corporate Storybook

LegoAn 80-year old company tells its life story like an 80-year old grandfather: simply, honestly, sweetly, and optimistically. In an engaging video, Lego avoids the braggadocio and narcissism of so many corporate films, and dwells on its never-failing, past values as investments in a promising future. So, take a work-break, click on Read More, and be delighted.

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Squeeze And Stretch Ideas

What passes for authenticity these days too often is what passes immediately and unadulterated from the top of one’s head to one’s mouth or fingers typing online. Spontaneity smacks down editing. Editing what you are about to say or write — some apparently think — only sucks the life out of the idea. Maybe … if the idea, indeed, has life – that is, substance and sustainability — and not just whimsy.

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Spotting A-Talent

If the CEO appoints you the company leader for the annual United Way campaign — those of us who were candidates used to say — you should exceed last year’s goal and win kudos but not exceed it by so much that you risk being reappointed the following year. Exceeding the expected used to be exceptional; now it seems somewhat commonplace. At some companies, employees are accustomed to an “exceeds expectations” rating on annual performance reviews if they simply do their jobs well.

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Branding Employees

SkaareWorks was brought on to strategize and implement a program that would raise the visibility and appeal of a diversifying exhibit company. I bet everything on employees as messages and models.

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