Higher and higher education for women, still stagnant in the real world

The Atlantic magazine, of “The End of Men” fame, just published an article showing the difference in college education between men and women in the US.(The End of Men)

It shows an interesting graph on the continuing achievement of women in attaining higher education. Women are steadily gaining traction in education, but continue to be stymied in higher levels of organizations. Makes me wonder what women are doing with all that education….   (see Women and the Economy of the Future by Jordon Weissmann)


SpaceX – Where’s the Love?

What a major accomplishment this week with SpaceX successfully deploying Dragon and docking it to the International Space Station! The first commercial space venture to successfully deliver cargo to the ISS, and a landmark for space travel.  But it seems to have been glossed over in the news with very little fanfare. I wonder why?  And I wonder, what will happen next, now that this first venture has ended in success.

Beautiful pictures available from NASA.

5 Things Social Won’t Fix

More and more companies are looking for social media marketing to deliver the world to their door. That’s a tall order, especially when they haven’t really embraced the idea of meaningfully participating in a community in a way that does something more than channel their products.

1) Social won’t fix a bad customer experience, it will only amplify it. If your website sucks or even is just hard to navigate, pushing people to it with a social media marketing campaign isn’t going to help your cause.

2) Social won’t fix your organizations ‘shiny object’ syndrom. In fact, it might make it worse. If you have a leadership team that always wants to jump on the next great thing, check out this great graphic from Buddy Media / Business Insider showing the current landscape of social media platforms. Any company that has tried to jump into all of them as they’ve come along is bound to go ‘mental’:  http://www.businessinsider.com/social-media-marketing-landscape-complicated-2012-5

3) Social won’t help if your price point is out of alignment with your product features and your target market. Life is ever more transparent, and that goes for your pricing strategy as well – it will get dissected and debated in public, and if it doesn’t hold water, watch out.

4) Social won’t help you out in a crisis if you wait until crisis hits to do anything in the social sphere.  People come to the defense of brands they know and understand within their communities, and brands that have delivered consistent value to them over time. If you try to activate a community on your behalf only when you need them, you will have a hill to climb.

5) Social is not necessarily a fast fix. Everyone wants that content that goes viral and launches their brand into orbit.  But staying power takes consistency, presence over time, and value over time. If you are in and out only when it serves your campaign interests, you will have less powerful results.


Thanks to everyone who attended!

Great discussion tonight on the future of change management and how it relates to culture.  As I’ve discussed before, I believe that the largely congnitive techniques developed to help individuals through change in technology and process don’t always work for cultural changes, or to change group behaviors.

Here are some of the drawings done by my colleague Susanne Hoogwater from glowmapping.com

Being a good listener

At a networking event this week I ran into a woman who I first met a few years ago when she was trialing a course she was developing on effective listening.  We had a great catch up, and she shared with me some of her research on the brain and how it functions when we are talking and when we are listening.

As I recently told a group of clients who were interested in improving their meetings, participants generally outnumber meeting hosts at least 10 to 1, so participants are an important part of a successful and “good” meeting.  Coming prepared, staying on topic, ensuring other stay on topic, and effectively listening are four things any participant can do to help make a meeting feel productive and successful.

Effective or active listening is tiring, and requires you to put away distractions and metnally discipline yourself to focus on what is happening around you. But it can save teams tremendous time, because if participants (and hosts) listen effectively, it is more likely that the right actions take place later.

Challenge yourself the next time you are in a meeting to be an excellent listener. It might surprise you to realize how hard it is, and how valuable it is.