Michael's Articles

How To Understand Independence Day

How To Understand Independence Day

Independence came to us via ink….in a way.   In the small city-state of Mainz,  Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press launched humanity into the modern world.     Prior to the 1500s, most of humankind lived under the thumb of the King, the Tribal Leader, the Bishop. The explosive spread of ideas and information enabled by mass production of printed material slowly undermined the majestic authority of the monarchy, the tribe, and the church.   This laid the groundwork for the rise of the nation-state as a means for organizing people. Nearly three centuries later a group of thinkers met in Philadelphia to formalize the idea that the individual is sovereign.  In the City Of Brotherly Love, these men put down on paper that at the pinnacle of society sits each of us and our personal connection to our creator. The job of the government is to protect this relationship so that we may follow our unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. [ALSO READ:  The New Diversity Of Diversity] Several centuries after that summer in Philly, the internet and all that it spawns is undermining the majestic authority of many institutions we assumed would always exist.  Consider how fast the ability for people to connect one-to-one is destabilizing institutors such as newspapers, taxis, education, even the government.   Formal national defense is less and less about protecting physical locations and more about dominating the digital space.  Gunpowder and split atoms are no longer necessary to bring about the downfall of a nation-state. Sitting at this computer right now feels a bit like living in 1500 holding a freshly printed book.  A... read more
We Only Get One Chance To Make A First Impression

We Only Get One Chance To Make A First Impression

We only get one chance to make a first impression. Think of the ultimate elevator pitch request: ‘Describe yourself to me in one word.’ If you’re like most people, you’ve been asked this in a job interview. It’s the bane of every college graduate: How can I boil down everything I am into a single word? Here’s the rub; we may not be able to describe ourselves in one word, but others will. The same goes for our business. [Also Read: Social Media Suicide] I spent time last week with an international branding authority, Sylvie DiGusto. According to DiGusto, studies show that first impressions are surprisingly resilient. After forming this opening impression, confirmation bias kicks in. We look for things which support our initial reactions and discount those which don’t. In her book, The Image Of Leadership, she notes this first impression forms in 7 seconds. Seven Seconds. Brain research indicates that other’s initial impression of us gets unconsciously imprinted upon their mind via a single word. This is one word becomes stuck in their heads. This word makes the sale either easier or harder. First impressions are more important than we think. And as market research tells us, a negative impression is 8x more powerful than a positive one. Thus the critical moment in any interaction with a potential client comes in the blink of an eye. You may not make the sale in those first few moments, but you can easily lose one. The good news though is that this process and our image is entirely under our control. We can make it what we want. We... read more
The New Diversity Of Diversity

The New Diversity Of Diversity

Our freshest employees bring a deeper yearning for the type of diversity that goes beyond the usual parameters.  Just when we thought we had a handle on managing young employees, a new crop emerges to challenge us in more complex ways.

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Social Media Suicide

Social Media Suicide

By now we’re well versed in the hazards of social media.  If you need a refresher, just Google the names Gabriella Pasqualotto, Justine Sacco or Anthony Weiner. Just half of employees report that their workplace has rules about social media use at work   If our organization does not have such a  policy, we’re at risk for public shaming, litigation and security breaches.

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Let’s Kill Our Fundraising Event

Let’s Kill Our Fundraising Event

Should we junk all such events? No, it just means we need to adopt a more modest attitude about what these affairs are supposed to be about. Your event should not sit on an island as an event. Instead, it should be part of a comprehensive fund development plan

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