What The World Needs Now… Connection

“We systematically overestimate the value of access to information and underestimate the value of access to each other.” C. Shirky

I admire Clay Shirky. Not because he’s smart or because he’s at MIT but because he has common, human sense.

When I speak to groups about Social Media,  I work hard to make sure that they understand the difference between the power of social (connectedness) and the web 2.0 toolkit (Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, etc.) The real revolution is not in the toolkit, it’s in the way we can care for and about each other.

Social media changes everything but ONLY for those who understand it.  I like this because it means that selfish people think that social media is a stupid waste of time. They’ll never realize the benefits and that’s as it should be.

In a recent article in Fast Company titled, For Brands, Being Human Is The New Black the author points out that, “more and more, brands are gaining traction by embracing qualities like honesty, kindness, and simply having a sense of humor about themselves.” Hmmm… it makes me sad to think that these qualities are ‘in fashion’ now which implies that they will ‘go out of fashion.’

But I have faith because I see the younger generation of leaders and entrepreneurs using their ‘digital native’ abilities to make the world a better place. The rest of us can learn a thing or two.

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

The saddest and trickiest part about discrimination is that many people (myself included) are not aware when we’re engaging in it. This distinguishes us from the people who are simply bigots and don’t care.  In both cases, however, if you are the ‘discriminee’ it doesn’t really matter.

In this ad for Nivea skin products, the company created an ad campaign for African Americans called, “Recivilize Yourself.” Hmmm.  Bad move. Implying that people are civilized or uncivilized based on their race is well… infuriating. And yet, Nivea paid, I would guess, millions of dollars to put it’s prejudice into full color!  Note the ‘head’ (presumably the model’s uncivilized self). WOW. How could something like this get approved in 2011? By the way, Nivea did apologize (on Facebook!)

“It was never our intention to offend anyone, and for this we are deeply sorry. This ad will never be used again. Diversity and equal opportunity are crucial values of our company.”

Don’t know about you but I’m not feeling it…. 

I think the bottom line for all of us is that we need to be diligent in examining our beliefs and stereotypes. Discrimination is rampant these days is against 20 somethings. I implore you to think again about this generation. As digital natives, they have skills we desperately need to learn and understand.

As a woman in business, I have experienced discrimination many times; sometimes overt, sometimes subtle.  Like all those before me who have felt this sting, I have a couple of choices.  I can either be upset and let it affect the way I conduct myself or I can look the person in the eye, speak my peace when appropriate and move on. There’s too much good in the world to let ignorance or someone else’s opinion of me change how I live my life.

photo credit: http://www.sodahead.com/living/

The Start Up of You – All Dogs Gotta Learn New Tricks

Can we all agree that the whole job search/career thing has changed, um completely? If you happen to have one of those jobs (academia?) that isn’t changing…well, just hold on to your hats; your time is coming.

For the rest of us, whether we are 25, 40 or 55…we are wondering what to do. This terrific article by Thomas Friedman, the well-respected economist, speaks directly to the issues . Here’s an excerpt…

  While employers “are hiring; they are increasingly picky” and are “all looking for the  same kind of people” — those “who not only have the critical thinking skills to do the value-adding  jobs that technology can’t, but also people who can invent, adapt and reinvent their jobs every day… Professionals need an entirely new mind-set and skill set to compete.”

So, exactly what skills do you need to have in order to meet this new challenge? Here’s my take:

  • Change agent – not just able to cope with change but create it – constantly
  • Collaborator – find the right people to do the job and then work together a way to get it done – fast, seamlessly and on a shoe string
  • Teacher/Student – learn everyday, on every project from all collaborators. See what works and what doesn’t and then help guide the team – either from a leadership or participant role – to success.

These are the skills that I am building – what would you add?

Photo credit: http://www.buddiescafe.net

Insanely Cool Resumes

Ok, you need to have a resume if you are looking for a job and all those things the ‘experts’ tell you about resumes are true.

-Tailor your resume to the job

-Don’t ANNOUNCE that you are dinosaur (older like me)  or just out of school

But you don’t have to use the same old format that everyone else uses. You can (and should) be creative with your resume.  For instance, make sure that you have live links in the electronic version so the person reviewing it can easily  link through to company websites or other content.

Orange resumes is a cool site that helps you create resumes that show a potential employer how you are different. As you look through the samples, you’ll see that you can create something “different” that is also very good, appropriate and even enhances your positioning.

I know you’re saying, but those resumes are for creative types and I’m an

enginneer/finance person/blah blah

Let’s go back to the goal of your resume… hmmm… The goal is to get an interview.

If you create an interesting, results-oriented resume that also shows you are creative and the organization doesn’t want to talk to you, then maybe you don’t want to work there. Just sayin….

Photo credits: Orange Resume



Oh Those 20 Somethings… um 50 Somethings

Stereotypes are not usually helpful. In some cases, however, examining our own attitudes about them may teach us some important lessons.

Executives teams often complain to me about their 20-something (Millenials- born between 1980 – 1995) employees.  They claim they are:

– Obsessed by their phones, lazy, distracted, self-absorbed and entitled

I don’t happen to share those attitudes but I can see their point. I work with, teach and constantly learn from Millenials.  I find them hardworking, thoughtful and eager to learn.  Technology (phones etc.) are part of their DNA.

Here’s what I hear from those Millenials about their Boomer (born 1946 through 1964) bosses. They say Boomers are:

– Rigid, rude (poor listeners), afraid of technology and unable to adapt to changing times

I don’t happen to share those attitudes either, but I do see their point.  I suggest reading this article to learn more about the issues of the generations working together, “How Has the Recession Shaped Career Attitudes…”

My hope is that by having the generations share ideas and help each other, we can compete effectively not with other Americans, but with the global workforce.  I’m interested in your stories about effective cross-generational work environments.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joi/455111587/ Notice in the photo that despite their differences; they are riding on the same train… heading in the same direction.