Friday, December 8, 2017

Sorry, Not Sorry. Franken and Franks give bookend "apologies" as they are ushered out of Congress.

Sen. Al Franken, the liberal Democrat and former “Saturday Night Live” comedian from Minnesota, and Rep. Trent Franks, a one-time oil wildcatter turned anti-abortion crusader who represents a conservative Republican district in the suburbs of Phoenix, resigned reluctantly in similiar non-apologetic fashion this week among the growing numbers of men in America who are reckoning with the change in rules regarding their ability to maintain their positions of power amid investigations of alleged sexual misconduct. This Los Angeles Times article recounts the political rhetoric of their exits: interesting, if not unsurprising. What I am challenging is not whether either politician should have been ousted, but I am suggesting that if Franken/Frank had wanted grace and some consideration above the noise, each man would have needed (help from his PR person??) to craft a heartfelt and nuanced entreaty asking for the perspective that he thought his situation deserved. From a public relations perspective, I think this was a missed opportunity.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Mentor notes: How a Boss Can Help

As I've been exploring ideal work conditions from an employee's perspective, through my serving as a mentor at the University of Redlands School of Business, I jotted down a few ideas for how a boss can help their charges. Here is that short list (feel free to comment or add to it):

How a boss can help:
  •    Clarify roles
  •    Clarify objectives
  •   Use clear, regular communication about expectations and constructive and encouraging feedback for improvement
  •   Create time and opportunities to co-explore insights about performance, not just keeping up with “to do’s” and not focused on missed opportunities, but filtering priorities and revisiting objectives and metrics, seeking agreement on adjustments and progress as a “thought partner”
  •   Be seen as authoritative and fair; no favoritism
  •   Be willing to mentor, or if not, willing to provide employee with a “coach”
  •   Provide a safe work environment
  •   Be willing to admit mistakes (“just because you are ‘sure’ doesn’t mean you are ‘right’), provide teachable moments based on own experience
  •  Model the behavior employees are expected to uphold (no gossiping, no venting about peers, no oversharing, keep commitments, do not take advantage of position/privilege, roll up one’s sleeves)
  • Remove obstacles
  • Provide development opportunities
  • Encourage promotion, upward mobility
  • Give clear and regular communication about assignments

Mentor notes: Strategies to Strengthen Your Development

As I've been working as a mentor this fall, in a formal program supported by the University of Redlands School of Business, it has given me the opportunity to think about what makes work, work -- for me, and for my mentee! Here are some recent thoughts about some of the things we can do as employees that can make us better workers, more successful enterprise owners, and protect our integrity in the workplace. Strategies that can strengthen your development:
  • Find a mentor
  • Build allies, social capital, potential coalitions
  • Be seen as a leader, enterprise owner
  • Remind self of successes, and sell them “up” the organization
  • Be self-reflective, learn from mistakes even while you “own” them
  • Maintain focus under pressure
  • Be bold and direct in communication
  • Don’t overshare
  • Determine additional skills or training needed to grow and add value
  • Take on tasks outside your role, volunteer to fill gaps as needed
  • Support others’ success, but not to your own detriment
  • Learn conflict resolution skills and use them as needed
  • Don’t compare your kudos to others
  • Don’t compare your setbacks to others
This is by no means an exhaustive list! Just a top-of-my-head attempt to put something in writing. Please comment if you have others to add...!

Mentor notes: "A" Player Thoughts

This fall, I've been serving as a mentor at the University of Redlands School of Business through their program that is designed to match seasoned marketing communications professionals with their younger counterparts. I'm an adjunct professor there, teaching marketing courses. My mentee is a young MBA candidate who is super smart, articulate, competent, and has a fairly honed sense of direction for one who is really just getting started on her career. I look at her and think "was I that 'together' when I was her age?" I think not! Anyway, as we've embarked on our time together, exploring opportunities for her to network and learn about careers in our field, delve into new areas of our disciplines that didn't come with her degrees, and talk about all things forward-thinking, I recently listed what I thought an "A" Player looks like in our profession:

What an “A player” looks like:
  • Tunes in to culture, teammates
  • Is on time, respectful of others’ times
  • Works to be consistent
  • Asks for help instead of waiting until the problem grows
  • Seeks to find solutions and not just asking the questions
  • Asks great questions, thinks holistically
  • Engenders trust in teammates
  • Works to make boss successful, anticipates needs and relieves worries
  • Similarly, keeps boss informed, “no surprises”
  • “Leads by example,” succeeds not through promotion and title but through results
  • Does what it takes to get the job done
  • Maintains a healthy life balance
There are certainly other traits that would apply. Please comment if you think of others.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

War of Words, or Real Threat? Guam residents weigh in...

What it feels like, when you're in the crosshairs:

Guam Governor Eddie Calvo speaks during an interview with Reuters at the government complex on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, in August 2017.
Photo: Erik DeCastro | Reuters

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

NPR reports on research that may offer some reasonable explanations for when (notice, not 'why') people are susceptible to 'fake news.' Intriguing.

Friday, June 30, 2017

PR Say: 3 Ways Communicators Can Help Restore Public Trust in the Media

Figuring out how to restore public trust in the media was the theme of a recent New York panel titled “Defining Journalism in a Post-Truth Era,” featuring TIME reporter Charlotte Alter, Forbes editor Helen A.S. Popkin, Newsday reporter Mark Chiusano and MediaPost writer Philip Rosenstein, as reported by PRSay, a blog of the Public Relations Society of America. The blog post shares three key ways that PR agencies and communications professionals can help. In a related post, Gallup shares recent research that suggests confidence in newspapers is low but still rising.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Yay for journalistic accuracy, prevention of fake news - thanks for this, PR Daily and Visme

For those of us content marketers who still care, Ragan's PR Daily has published a checklist that reads like a Journalism 101 checklist for fact-verification. 

Visme's online platform makes an infographic like this easy to create. Very cool.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Good word, for good people: "Philotomo"

I learned a new word today: ‘Philotomo.’ It is Greek, and apparently has the power to make those who understand its meaning misty-eyed. It’s a powerfully evocative yet subtle word, symbolizing courage, generosity, duty, honor, empathy, humility. It derives from filos, friend, and timi, honor. It’s about giving to others without wanting anything back for yourself, except perhaps love and appreciation. Triandis (1972) states that the concept of philotomo is unique to the Greek culture and may need to be translated as a phrase such as “the love of honor” to capture the full meaning. I was introduced to the word when reviewing a video about a Scripps College alumna, Dr. Katherine Schwab (above), who is professor of Art History and Visual Culture at Fairfield University and was recently honored with the college's Distinguished Faculty Award at its Annual Awards Dinner in New York City. A colleague noted that the word applied to Dr. Schwab's unwavering support for her students, love of teaching, passion for her subject and dedication to sharing ancient Greek art. I first learned of Dr. Schwab's talents when preparing a news brief about her fascinating research for Scripps College's website (a responsibility of mine in my day job). I love my job, learning new words, and sharing news about truly interesting and "good people."

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Hopeful article lauds media legitimacy, legacy of Walter Cronkite

I agree with the media-watch judges in the story below that CNN's Brian Stelter is worth learning from on Sunday morning's "Reliable Sources," which is a weekly news wrap-up dedicated to helping the public understand what the media does and how they do it. Stelter's predecessor Howard Kurtz was instructive and entertaining as well, having served as Reliable Sources host since 1998. Kurtz has since moved on to Fox's Sunday morning lineup in a similar role. Anyway, it is worth noting that some mainstream media are still doing what media are supposed to do. Here's a link to the Cronkite awards article about notable journalistic efforts this year and its hopeful lede:

2017 Walter Cronkite Awards For Excellence In TV Political Journalism

With reporters, news media and even the truth under assault, the winners of the 2017 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism demonstrate that the legacy of the longtime CBS anchor is alive and well...

More Brian Stelter: @brianstelter: gotta love this guy! As Larry Wilmore says, he's "keeping it 100!"

Friday, February 3, 2017

Fresh voices welcome, indeed

Looking forward to good things from NPR journalist Joshua Johnson, who takes over Diane Rehm's spot as the radio icon retired from her 37-year career as a thoughtful talk show host covering the news and issues of the day.

Fresh voices are welcome in this time of national divisiveness. Especially from mainstream media. The Washington Post quotes Johnson as having rallied his team with these words, "There are still seeds to cast. There is still something to build. There are still people to feed with useful, honest, fair, thoughtful information, and a conversation that's for everyone." I'd like to think so, too.