I’d be lying if I said Arment Dietrich hasn’t had a lot of change since October of 2008. It started with the bank cutting off our access to capital, then we got letters during the holidays from clients expressing their wish to discontinue our services because of the economy, then we did (what we thought) a really deep lay-off, then we had to do another round of lay-offs, then we fired some clients, then we started to get comfortable with the idea that flat is the new up, and that’s when I decided to put Project Jack Bauer into play.
But change. Change is good, right?
Not according to a field of research known as “terror management theory.” It has shed light on the connection between people’s reactions to change and their awareness of death. Seems odd, but I’ve seen it happen within my own organization. People compare the change that is happening at work to what might happen when they die. As in real death.
In the United States, today is the busiest air travel day of the entire year. So I figured it was a good time to talk about what’s going on with TSA, the new x-ray machines, and the “enhanced” pat-downs.
I am not a TSA fan. I travel a ton and their rules vary from airport to airport. Last year, I was in the Detroit airport and forgot I had a full-sized tube of toothpaste in my suitcase, which got through, but they wanted to take the Bare Escentuals “Buxon” lipgloss that was in my purse. Continue Reading »
After a recent stay in Vegas (for business, of course…), on the night before check out, I received a letter on my nightstand. I walked over to the full-sized, high-quality parchment and read the first few words:
“Dear Valued Guest”
There isn’t much that could make me feel less valued than the phrase Dear Valued Guest.
The letter went on to thank me for my business and offer a special rate if I wanted to extend my stay, but I couldn’t get past how ridiculous this note was. Continue Reading »
I first blogged about this for Becky Johns on her “Required Reading” from PRWeek blog. So if you read it over there, move along. There is nothing new to see. Unless you feel like visiting the comments, which are always interesting and don’t always have anything to do with the post. I can’t help it. My friends are crazy. So enjoy reading, join the conversation, or just hit “mark all as read.”
A few months ago, Courtney Dial riffed on a post I had written about my own growth as a business leader by writing “Level 5 Leaders Need Level 5 Employees.” She challenged readers to think about how you can become a level 5 employee, even if you’re not at the top of your game yet. And so began a conversation between Becky Johns and me about what it takes to be a level 5 employee and how we interview for that kind of person.
We don’t interview people – we interview leaders. And leaders come at every level – not just at the top (and, sometimes, the people put in leadership positions aren’t leaders). Sure, every business needs followers, but we look for people who have leadership skills in various areas; areas that complement where we have weaknesses on the team. Because not everyone is a leader in everything. Continue Reading »
It’s Arment Dietrich Facebook question of the week time! Abbie Fink asks, “Which business and leadership blogs should I read?” Along with a plea to donate $10 to help end malaria-related deaths in Africa. I give Abbie some blog suggestions that are NOT marketing, communication, or social media related. What would you add?
(If you can’t see the video in your Reader, click here and it will magically appear!)
The National Science Foundation released a disturbing study recently that revealed that only nine percent of American companies engaged in any product or process innovation during the three-year study period (2006-08).
Frankly, I’m not surprised with the near absence of corporate innovation because I see so few companies that encourage a culture of innovation.
Too many CEOs focus exclusively on improving financial metrics – increasing earnings and keeping a tight control over costs. Few understand their corporate value can be linked directly to their embrace of innovation and their capacity to constantly renew themselves. Continue Reading »
WARNING: What you’re about to read might sound like heresy coming from someone like me, who others have described as a “social media expert”: As a CEO or business leader, don’t get too sucked into or carried away by social media.
To explain what I mean, first let me set the record straight: Though others may call me a social media expert, I have never labeled myself as such. It is because of what my company does – I started working in online marketing back in 1998 as founder/CEO of an agency, Web Ad.vantage, which I still own and operate – that I am even involved in “social media” as we know it today. And yes, somewhere along the way I also wrote a book on social media subject matter.
Ironically, from day one, I’ve never espoused that one single online tactic, let alone online all by itself, should be the be-all/end-all of a company’s marketing strategy. I believe in an integrated approach – one that involves both online and offline marketing, advertising, public relations, and business development. With this in mind, any marketing tactic just becomes another tool in the toolset, all given fair consideration. Continue Reading »
I’m a new dad and an entrepreneur, so I’m familiar with the idea of failure. I have a hunch you are too. We’ve all experienced failure from time to time. The key is to harness that failure into useful lessons.
My son is only about two months old. He has yet to attempt standing up, crawling, walking, talking, swimming, biking, or algebra. But in a matter of months, he’ll try to start crawling. Once he conquers that, he’ll attempt to start standing up and walking around like his parents do.
He’ll fail. I can say with almost certainty that my son will fail at his first attempts to walk.
I woke up at 2:08 this morning with an overwhelming feeling that something was wrong. And then something was wrong. I’ll spare you the details, but I think it’s food poisoning. So, rather than write my blog post at 5:14 a.m., which is what I typically do (and what time it is as I write this sentence), I’m going to soak in the tub and slowly get ready for my Vistage meeting.
If you haven’t yet had a chance to weigh in on yesterday’s conversation about women, start-ups, and children, I invite you to do so. And men? You weigh in, too. Because there is a follow-up post (or maybe two) of men AND women who are able to have it all and I’d like to collect more feedback and anecdotes. Don’t be intimidated by the number of comments or feel like you have to read them all before you write your own. I’m reading all of them and I truly want to get YOUR story, in the hopes that I can use it in a future blog post.
This past Sunday, I received a nice note from my hilarious friend, Laura Petrolino, asking me to comment on Saturday’s TechCrunch story, “Women don’t want to run start-ups because they’d rather have children.”
If you’ve not yet had a chance to read the story, you can find it here. First, congratulations to Penelope Trunk, the founder of Brazen Careerist. The article was well-written and she makes a very honest, introspective, and great point. I’ve often wondered, myself, why there are so few women who travel. Why there are so few women who build and sell companies. Why there are so few women who make the list of billionaire entrepreneurs. Now I know why: Children. Continue Reading »