Top of Mind Thursday Memo Archive

Top of Mind Thursday October 19, 2017: If You See Something, Say Something

Top of Mind Thursday

Perhaps the most alarming thing about the tidal wave of allegations against famed Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is how most people in the know were not shocked.

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Weinstein was fired from his eponymous production company after a string of women came forward and accused him of sexual assault or rape. This was followed by scores of Hollywood insiders, including many famous actors, saying they had been accosted or knew someone who was. Even Weinstein’s brother said this didn’t surprise him. So if so many people knew about this why wasn’t anything said till now?

Probably because many of these women didn’t feel like they would be believed. They felt when it came down to their word vs. that of a man with the power to make or break their careers, they had better go away quietly and not cause trouble. It appears Weinstein’s firm actually budgeted hush money to make these problems go away. And the problem is not unique to Weinstein, or to Hollywood.

Most of us know better than to ignore a strange lump or chest pains–we know the consequences to our health can be dire if we don’t take action. Yet, how many times in our organizations do we turn away from a sign that something is not quite right? How often do we choose not to pay attention to that we really don’t want to see?

The security people tell us, if you see something, say something. That’s a value we need to instill in our organizations as well–for the good of all of us.

Nearly 85% of Puerto Rico still does not have electricity. Help us get insulin coolers to diabetics in San Juan. Learn more.

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Top of Mind Thursday October 12, 2017: Up in Smoke

Top of Mind Thursday

It started Sunday evening with a few sparks. High winds knocked down power poles, and the live wires sparked brush fires. Within a few hours, whole swatches of land were on fire.

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Four days later, the firestorms in California’s wine country continue to rage unchecked. More than 25 people are dead, over 3000 structures destroyed, nearly 200,000 acres burned, tens of thousands of people displaced, and whole towns evacuated.

Over 8000 firefighters are battling the worst fire in California history. The combination of ongoing high winds and low humidity, combined with very dry conditions, makes this an incredibly frustrating task for first responders.

In just an instant, a lifetime worth of possessions can be destroyed. Yet, the people who have escaped are thankful they escaped with their lives, and that their families are safe.

Thousands of others are on watch–waiting to see if they’ll need to leave their homes. They, too, know that the possessions they leave behind can be replaced if necessary, but lives cannot.

The outpouring of response from the community to this latest in a string of disasters has been amazing. Belongings may have gone up in smoke, but concern for our fellow man remains strong. And once the fires are out, we will all rebound together.

Nearly 85% of Puerto Rico still does not have electricity. Help us get insulin coolers to diabetics in San Juan. Learn more.

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Top of Mind Thursday October 5, 2017: A Glimmer of Hope

Top of Mind Thursday

The scenes from Las Vegas have been horrific. Thousands of people running blindly in fear of a barrage of ongoing gunfire. Nearly 600 people injured and another 60 dead.

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Yet, amidst this terrible landscape we hear of people helping others escape, piling strangers into vehicles to get them to medical help, shielding bystanders any which way they could, then thousands of people standing in line for hours afterwards to donate blood.

It seems that amidst the worst behavior mankind can offer we also see signs of how kind and caring people can be. Two weeks after Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico, more than 300 volunteers–including nurses, doctors, firefighters, engineers, electricians, carpenters, and truck drivers–flew to San Juan yesterday to help their fellow Americans rebuild.

Here in the Bay Area, an ad hoc group has come together to purchase and ship Frio insulin coolers to Puerto Rico to help diabetics keep their insulin cool without refrigeration. The first shipment arrived in San Juan yesterday for distribution by a local endocrinologist, with at least two more shipments to follow.

We need to mourn the loss of life in these situations, and to take steps to make sure they don’t occur again. But we also need to appreciate not just the first responders who risk their lives to save others, but the “second responders” who step up to the plate to help out after the initial crisis subsides.

They are our glimmers of hope for the future.

To support the effort to send insulin coolers to Puerto Rico, donate $18 or more by going to the CarbDM website. Click “In Honor Of” and type the words PUERTO RICO.

 

 

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Top of Mind Thursday September 28, 2017: A Knee-Jerk Reaction

Top of Mind Thursday

There’s been a flurry of reactions to the decision by professional athletes to kneel during the playing of the national anthem.

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Quarterback Colin Kaepernick started this practice last year as a way to express his frustration with the treatment of African Americans and other minorities in the US. Though a few others had joined him, this was not a widespread movement until this past week, when President Trump elevated the issue in a series of tweets.

Mr. Trump and others have incorrectly said this has to do with disrespecting the flag or insulting the American military. His suggestion that NFL owners fire players who express their opinions created a backlash that resulted in entire teams, including owners,  joining together to kneel–or for some teams to not take the field till after the anthem is played.

Publicly calling out athletes for the wrong reasons has resulted in unprecedented solidarity and support for those who were not being heard before. But it has also raised the level of divisiveness our country.

This is what happens when we react to the behavior of others without understanding the situation at hand. I suspect that if Kaepernick and others felt there was another appropriate venue for their views to be heard, they wouldn’t need to kneel. Publicly calling out people who disagree with you does not eliminate disagreement or move the process forward–it only adds fuel to the fire.

Are you prepared to handle public disagreement with your business? Take the time now to think of a more effective way to engage with those who disagree with you. Nothing good comes from a knee-jerk reaction.

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Marketing Above the NoiseCheck out the new video trailer for my book, Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing that Matters.

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