Month: April 2012

Shut the Tweet Up: Where Social Media Doesn’t Belong

Organizations are being told all the time that they have to use social media to be competitive and responsive. And obviously there have been times when organizations – formal or informal – have used social media to the great benefit of themselves and their society, as in, for example, the Arab Spring uprising. But are there places or organizations where social media doesn’t belong? I think so, because I just went to one. (more…)

Thinking about Success: A Perspective from Skating

It’s been my pleasure over the last couple of months to transcribe interview highlights for the Manleywoman Skatecast, a free podcast created by my fellow adult skater Allison Manley. Allison undertook this venture five years ago out of frustration with “fluffy” coverage of figure skating that focused on “what Johnny Weir ate last week, or what shoes Michelle Kwan is wearing”. To date Allison has interviewed more than 50 people associated with figure skating – and, proudly, has done so only with funding from listener donations. (more…)

Stuck + Out of Date = Successful

One of the messages in many theories of organizations – and in a lot of business media  – is that to be successful, an organization has to continually change. If your organization isn’t doing new things first, and if you’re not using cutting-edge methodology, you are doomed (usually followed by dire references to things like buggy whips and telex machines).

Ironically, a lot of this nonsense comes from people and institutions that preach the importance of adaptability, flexibility, and quick response, but who haven’t changed their own tune even after events like the 2008 financial meltdown. That catastrophe should have shown that growth and innovation just because that’s what organizations are supposed to do is neither sensible or infinitely sustainable. So as my little counter-response to this ongoing carnival of hype, let me draw your attention to two articles in this week’s New York Times magazine which illustrate quite beautifully how organizations who deliberately choose not to change can survive and succeed. (more…)

Strikes and Lockouts Are Bad. And Your Point Is….?

It’s no secret by now that the governing Conservative party  in Canada has, well, a conservative attitude toward unions. It’s been shown through the quick legislative intervention in the Air Canada pilots’ dispute this spring – following similar interventions involving Air Canada’s flight attendants and Canada Post. These were all justified as necessary to offset the potential damage of extended work stoppages to the Canadian economy. But the government’s reasoning was, shall we say, light on the specific details of the extent of this (alleged) damage, and why legislation was needed to prevent it.  So, not surprisingly, these back-to-work laws have been characterized as just a convenient way to disrespect the bargaining rights of the parties in these disputes.

Clamping down on strike and lockout activity is a high-profile indication of the Conservative government’s feelings about unions. But there are other, more subtle, things going on too. (more…)

No, Really, Are You Happy?: How the Media Misreports Workplace Research

A couple of days ago, while driving around, I heard a news item on a couple of local radio stations saying that fewer than half of all workers are satisfied with their jobs, but were unwilling to look for something else. This caught my ear because something I learned really quickly when I started doing job satisfaction research is that it’s very difficult to measure job satisfaction accurately, and it’s even more difficult to make broad generalizations about it. (more…)