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As they say, the fish rots from the head down

4 weeks ago on Uber PR’s latest trick: Impersonating its drivers and trying to scam journalists

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You are as ever the Oracle oracle and this is the most interesting piece I've read so far on the topic. Personally, I am very sceptical of a co-CEO (okay, shared - whatever) structure. It invariably turns grown-up managers into children who pit one against the other when one doesn't give them the answer they want to hear. I will be truly stunned if it works and doesn't result into politics from hell in an aggressive company like Oracle. It will be interesting to watch from a distance anyway.

2 months ago on Life after Larry may be coming, but it’s not here yet for Oracle

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@dahowlett @ladylaff the story about the Oakland As use of data to assemble the optimal team was quite interesting. Admittedly, I learned about it through 'Moneyball' but based on a true story about data analytics. It's interesting to see how the Seattle Sounders are using data to examine things related to individual performance, like the consequences of sleep deprivation.

2 months, 2 weeks ago on Seattle Sounders score with data visualization fed by wearables

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Interesting. So does this mean data is replacing dope in elite sports?

2 months, 2 weeks ago on Seattle Sounders score with data visualization fed by wearables

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@dahowlett @ladylaff I'm already in favour of the SME first approach, though it would require serious cross-party intent and quite a profound change in mentality and skills on the part of the government to implement. Maybe 'mother necessity' just isn't breeding enough invention here because we are relatively prosperous. Emerging countries like India, Brazil, Peru and many others are benefiting from 'open source first' technology policies so the UK could be more ambitious. Eventually demand from new generations who can't stand using old technology combined with fiscal pressure will bring about a natural evolution, but I'd like to see us start reaping the benefits faster.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on IT Stockholm Syndrome is slowing down reform of bad practice in government – part 2

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Given that there seem to be major technical glitches with systems designed by both the oligopoly IT players and the SMEs, my vote as a taxpayer is for the government to stay its course of reforming procurement and giving SMEs a fighting chance. At least when they fail - and I'm not convinced they've even been given a chance to do so yet -  it doesn't cost the taxpayer £700 million plus in legal fees, with nothing in return.

4 months ago on IT Stockholm Syndrome is slowing down reform of bad practice in government – part 2

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Brilliant analysis Derek. Great work on getting GDS to itemise the spend figures by project and revenue. This really helps to frame an intelligent debate.

6 months ago on The truth about what’s wrong with UK government’s Digital Services Framework

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" Functionality doesn’t trump ease of use" - simple wisdom for any enterprise software player. Great article.

8 months, 1 week ago on SAP plays catch up on data visualization – sort of

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I must admit to indulging in the collective schadenfreude over this, but with the benefit of some reflection, I want to resist the urge to heap all my indignation on House PR. I am sure there was pressure from the client and it seems like there could be case to plea 'temporary insanity' what with the big thrill of the Brits coming up. My greatest criticism of House PR, is how abysmally (and late), they responded to the crisis. My statement would have been something like this:


"I apologise unreservedly for any unintentional offence my team has caused to Tim Walker and other members of the press for the overzealous way in which we sought to influence their coverage of the Brit Awards and our client. Part of our intention was to be helpful in supplying 'templates' and making the hashtags and various events clear, but I can see now that we took this way too far. Exciting high-profile events like these can cause even the most experienced PR consultants to have a momentary lapse in judgement, but I accept we should have known better. We are in the process of informing all our guests in the media that they are welcome to attend as Mastercard's guest with no strings attached. We've learned our lesson and can assure the press and our clients that this experience has made us wiser and stronger as a team."


PR professionals might say in their defence that journalists happily accept freebies and shouldn't be so high and mighty. However, they often have to largely because publications make such little money these days due to providing content free online. PR agencies and their clients have been huge beneficiaries of this because it has massively lowered their overhead costs and provided a free and easy way to measure press coverage. Therefore it's only fair that PR agencies and their clients reinvest some of this overhead savings into sponsoring journalists to attend events that they couldn't afford to otherwise cover. It's then up to the agencies and their clients to put on a show that's interesting and well organised enough to inspire press to write nice things if they choose. But putting the exact words in their mouths and telling them what they have to cover is pretty crass and clueless.

9 months, 1 week ago on Priceless! MasterCard’s social PR nightmare

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New bosses for HP and Oracle?

11 months, 2 weeks ago on 6 Mega Trends for 2014

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Well I won a tenner anyway - I had a feeling he'd go for the yacht race over the earnings call! I think a succession plan announcement must be imminent.

1 year, 2 months ago on Oracle OpenWorld: no big finish as Ellison skips his own keynote

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Thank you for writing this thought-provoking analysis of a subject I personally find very fascinating. I don't think there is any way to create a formula for success. In the first place, success itself is a subjective concept and does not necessarily mean rising to the top of a corporate hierarchy (my personal idea of Hell). Those that do achieve this too quickly often become disillusioned and fearful of being 'found out'. When people promote themselves with the sole aim of achieving 'success' they often wind up alienating and annoying their peers and colleagues. On the other hand when someone with a genuine passion for their work shares their knowledge and views in the spirit of educating and learning from others and growing intellectually, they are likely to gain some genuine respect from peers in their industry, which might support their eventual 'success'.

1 year, 2 months ago on Self promotion in the snake pit

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This is very interesting but I take some issue Mr Moore's assertion that only the new generation wants to work collaboratively while the old establishment (aka, people our age!) are fixated with hierarchical top-down systems. In fact, I always despised working with structured, proprietary systems and resented the fact that I had to change the way I naturally worked just to accommodate these rigid systems. I see that gen X types readily embrace these new, more collaborative systems that work more like Facebook (another popular site for old fogies!) than SAP. The people clinging fast to the old systems are those with a stake in the traditional enterprise technology vendors whose business models depend on maintaining the status quo.

1 year, 2 months ago on Geoffrey Moore: culture, collaboration, clouds and chasms

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Very interesting article. Wasn't there something back in the 90s called 'enterprise search'? Is this the manifestation of that original concept?

1 year, 2 months ago on Googleised business intelligence

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Over the years I have also witnessed many corporate employees increasingly becoming administrators, too often with little or no hands on experience in the areas they are managing. This makes it extremely difficult, stressful and expensive for them to manage, integrate and negotiate with agencies because they have little practical knowledge of what work is required, how long it should take and the kind of quality standards to expect. I would strongly urge corporate marketers to keep up a steady level of practical training and education in the areas they are managing (even if it self-funded) so that they don't continue to operate at such a disadvantage. This will also provide greater employment opportunity should their own role become redundant.

1 year, 4 months ago on CMOs left herding agency cats

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I think Marissa's doing the best job possible in an impossible situation. The Yahoo legacy and brand have become too toxic and seems to taint the companies it acquires rather than being benefitted by them. I hope I'm wrong but I fear her intervention has come way too late.

1 year, 4 months ago on Marissa Mayer’s Yahoo! – one year on

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Thanks for the helpful editorial oversight on what is more than likely paid content in Forbes Insights. Very interesting and useful.

1 year, 4 months ago on Why MarketShare needs better alignment with CFOs

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I never thought in a million years this alliance would be possible but now you've definitely got my going 'hmmmmm'

1 year, 4 months ago on Oracle, Salesforce & things that make me go ‘hmmm…’

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It would actually break my heart to see Depeche Mode go corporate! I do really like some of the ravey remixes but nothing to my mind beats the original Never Let Me Down Again...

1 year, 4 months ago on Weekend humor: everything counts

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All I can say is Yahoo must REALLY want people to quit. Screaming. In droves.

1 year, 9 months ago on Yahoo! Letter: Was Their Communications Team Consulted?

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I've been working in PR for 22 years and part of the problem is that the hardest part of our job - pitching - is always left to junior people who may be smart but lack the industry experience, business experience, life experience and emotional intelligence at that stage of their careers to develop an intelligent proposal. Senior people to ensure that the infractions laid out in this blog never happen. I have read and taken seriously a lot of these types of blog / rants and even recently took a course from an experienced business/tech journalist on how to write better pitches. One piece of advice he gave to ensure a very high success rate was to spend at least 2 hours researching each one. I have found that is about the right amount of time, especially if you're trying to pitch something speculatively that's not in response to a listed opportunity and ensure that you have the resources available to really follow the idea through. However after two hours of obvious labour tailoring a pitch to an individual with an offer of exclusive content, I do need to know definitively whether or not it has been accepted or if I should go back to the drawing board and tailor it to another publication. I don't want to offer another publication the same exclusive content only to get an e-mail from a journalist a week later saying "yes, I'd like to do something with that." At the same time, I can't give everyone a week to respond or nothing will get done.  Journalists and bloggers are busy, so I would recommend developing some kind of code system to reject well-crafted pitches that only takes a second, like 'NI' for not interested.

1 year, 9 months ago on I Hate PR People: The Rules of Pitching Bloggers and Media

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I'm sorry Gini, that must have been hard.  Cycling is still a a wonderful sport and there are some amazing new role models like (my favourite) Bradley Wiggins.  Sometimes an institution needs a crisis in order to have a renaissance.  By the way, I think your advice was spot on.  I hope he takes it.

2 years, 1 month ago on The Lance Armstong PR Crisis

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I agree that KitchenAid handled this beautifully, thanks for sharing the story.  I don't use Twitter for personal communications at all anymore as I don't feel that I can afford the risk to my business if get my audiences mixed up.  My own solution is to use Facebook for strictly personal use and Twitter for work, which I realise isn't practical for everyone.  Even so, one of my best friend's mother recently told me off on Facebook for posting too much politcal stuff she didn't like, which made me feel about 8 years old! 

2 years, 1 month ago on KitchenAid Handles Offensive Tweet Crisis Extraordinarily Well

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That is not only bad practice and bad manners, it genuinely creates business risk and for that reason should raise a bright red flag to an HR department.  If you expect these people to represent the company, you might have to accept responsibility for them and their actions. What if the blogger was injured on the stand, or harrassed by a Samsung employee?  What if a blogger decided to get drunk on the stand and spout obsencities to passing trade?  You get the idea.  It just ain't clever.

2 years, 2 months ago on Samsung Threatens Bloggers and Provides a Valuable Lesson

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I totally agree.  I take it one step further and think it is kind of passive-aggressively arrogant and disrespectful to wear jeans (and yes, hoodies too) because it sends a subtle message that you do not care what your audience thinks.  Granted when I started my carreer in PR, the women in my agency were not even allowed to wear trouser-suits, so I'm glad we've relaxed the dress code a little.  Especially now that we always have to crawl under boardroom tables to plug in our equipment, ha ha!!

2 years, 3 months ago on Jeans Not Appropriate for Business Meetings

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Great article Gini.  I'm SO proud of the female Olympic athletes this year.  The style in which women compete is very different to men, which makes the whole competition much more interesting.  Everyone I spoke to agreed the women's Olympic road race was so much more exciting than the men's this time.  Much more intense and close to the finish.

2 years, 3 months ago on London Olympics Show Female Athletes Fighting Stereotypes

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All I can say is 'REALLY?' 

2 years, 4 months ago on The Chick-fil-A PR Crisis

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SING IT SISTER!  I couldn't agree more!

2 years, 4 months ago on Marissa Mayer: Why Are We Still Having this Conversation?

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I loved it.  It appeals to my (acquired) British sense of irony, but it also makes an intelligent point.  Score!

2 years, 5 months ago on CBS Issues Fake (and Totally Awesome) News Release

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"Thank you for the question. Although we didn't come here to talk about this type of issue today, I will say that we take these matters very seriously and are in the process of investigating the situation so unfortunately I can't comment further at this time."  HELLO!!!

2 years, 5 months ago on PR Pro Charged with Barricading Reporter in Room

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Having also been there in the late 90s, one thing I'll say for this bubble is that it's made of slightly thicker soap.  Some of those dot.com businesses in the 90s were seriously flimsy and you didn't even bother asking to see the business plan because you just knew what the young Swedish Harvard grad in the black mock turtleneck was going to tell you, or worse, doodle on a cocktail napkin.  This time, the business plans are there but I think many are based on shaky foundations.  As in the dot.com boom I  think tech startups in this boom are pinning too high expectations on advertising revenue without having a tangible way of forecasting what a genuine commercial outcome could be. Advertising and social media remains tricky.  Consumers are starting to accept that it's necessary to support free products and services, but put one foot wrong and trust and credibility go right out the window (Groupon).  Also some social media trends are fun at first, but then many dabblers get bored and realise they need to go back to their day jobs.  So Bubble 2 is interesting and a major improvement on 1, but I do think we should brace ourselves for another burst.

2 years, 6 months ago on Are We Nearing a Tech Bubble Burst?

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 @HowieSPM Totally agree with your point about hypocrisy and so-called family values.  I'm all about peace so don't wish anyone to get beat up on jail.  But I do sincerely hope some of the other inmates fart in their general direction.

2 years, 7 months ago on The PR Nightmare for Walmart

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As an obsessive watcher of the Leveson Inquiry on ethics in the media, which has at its heart, the analysis of News International, a subsidiary of News Corp., I am utterly fascinated by this topic.  News Corp is now up to its neck in doo doo because employees of News International have been, among other things, including phone and internet hacking, have been bribing the POLICE to obtain exclusive access to information about crimes in order to sell more newspapers.  In many documented cases paparazzi arrived at crime scenes BEFORE the actual police.  It is a crime and assault on democracy of EPIC proportions and you can't tell me for a second that the Murdochs were too busy at their high-level meetings to recall why a series of humongous payments to private individuals continued to be rubber-stamped.  But unfortunately the corporate lawyers tend to commandeer the communications strategies in these circumstances and their instincts are to do everything in their power to keep the genie in the bottle.  However as the News Corp case study reveals, when the truth inevitably escapes in a slow, painful, and in this case, mind-blowing series of extraordinary revelations, the ultimate damage to both the reputation and the bottom line becomes much greater.

2 years, 7 months ago on The PR Nightmare for Walmart

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I'm afraid the only voice that talks here is money so yes, I think IBM hast to pull the sponsorship.   Otherwise what kind of message does that send to all of IBM's smart women?  This made the top morning news is London, by the way so it's not really doing their PR any good.

2 years, 7 months ago on Augusta National Faces Scrutiny on “No Women” Rule

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 @ExtremelyAvg Oh dear, sorry to hear that.  Good for you for not letting it get you down too much.  I don't think employees always appreciate the sacrifices small business leaders make.  The more I talk about this the more stories I hear of bosses and owners giving up their pay entirely or taking big pay cuts in order to meet payroll.

2 years, 8 months ago on Cash Is King Or You Are Dead

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Oh girl, did I EVER learn that lesson the hard way and it makes me feel so much better to know that I'm not alone here on Spin Sucks.  At my last company, where I was managing director for a European team, I was filled with dread and loathing every time we got close to payroll time and even though it wasn't my company, I was first to step forward and sacrifice my own pay in order to take care of others.  Oh the glamour! I suffered from every physical ailment from migraines, to interminable colds to stomach problems to depression.  With amazing support and mentoring from our accountants we got out of the hole, but not before a lot of collateral damage and restructuring took place.  When my business partner (who went through that hell with me) and I started our own company, I declared loudly "AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, WE WILL NEVER HAVE CASH FLOW PROBLEMS AGAIN!"  And although we operate on what some would deem conservative principles, our cash flow now runs like clockwork and I have never been less stressed.  It starts with being very selective about with whom we do business and being very, very clear up front about payment terms and our need to get paid within terms.   A lot of getting paid on time is in the details; making sure we have the right accounting contacts, the right information on our invoices, including clear detail of activities so there are no questions that hold up payment.  Accountants can be a great source of support when it comes to managing cash flow and I would encourage other business owners to tap into their knowledge and experience.

2 years, 8 months ago on Cash Is King Or You Are Dead

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After reading the full transcript of what Rush Limbaugh said, I really have the creeps and would be genuinely terrified to be alone in a room with him.  Although I do not condone people like Bill Maher calling Sarah Palin a "see you next tuesday" as @delwilliams pointed out that is totally different. This was an ordinary student who wanted to make a comment about public policy versus a very large, rich and public bully with a huge following who labels her her a slut and thinks she should post public videos about what she is doing with her contraceptives (sex videos right?).  That is vile and goes way beyond the acceptable range of freedom of expression.  His behaviour was bullying, hateful and most importantlycould actually put the student in harms way if one of her male colleagues actually agreed with him.  I don't care how much he apologises in response to pressure and would only accept it if was truly sorry and had a genuine change of heart.  I hope they take him off the air.

2 years, 8 months ago on Rush Limbaugh’s Non-Apology Creates Bigger PR Crisis

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@TonyBennett@ginidietrich@jasonkonopinski@SeanMcGinnis Can I just wear a hat instead?

2 years, 9 months ago on How Not to Get Promoted At Work

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@ginidietrich@HowieG Don't worry I stuck my foot out and tripped him

2 years, 9 months ago on How Not to Get Promoted At Work

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@JayDolan I'm just having fond memories of 'Married with Children' when Kelly Bundy says to her dad Fred, 'Dad, I need some money. What, do you think blonde hair grows on your head?'

2 years, 9 months ago on How Not to Get Promoted At Work

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I roared laughing at this Gini, it just seems so surreal as I sit here with my non-blonde hair, yet still with roots showing from an experimental colour project, bare lips and naked wrists. HELLO - HAVE YOU EVERY TRIED TYPING WITH BANGLES??? This is why I completely stopped reading fashion magazines because they are just advertorials. Thanks for the great post and keepin' it real as ever!

2 years, 9 months ago on How Not to Get Promoted At Work

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Your anecdote about the PR CEO made me realise that there's a whole faction of the industry that has reached the (IMHO flawed) conclusion that entitlement to PR is somehow comparable to entitlement to legal representation. Those people seem to believe that all companies should have access to the best PR advice possible, regardless of whether they have exploited child labour, dumped hazardous waste, hacked phones, or simply produced crappy products and services. But that's just ridiculous. The idea all companies should have equal opportunity to SPIN (which,as we know SUCKS!) is ethically and morally WRONG because the only companies that need to do this are by definition, already guilty!

3 years ago on What Is Public Relations? We Have a Perception Issue

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Hee haw, I love it! Lately I've been inundated with Skype spammers wanting to connect. Here's my favourite one so far: Hello, I'm US Army Lt. General William B. Caldwell IV. Current NATO commanding General of the Afghanistan training mission. How are you doing? [Wonder how he finds a break in his demanding mission activities to converse with little old ladylaff?]

3 years, 1 month ago on Three Examples of Social Media Gone Bad

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This is SO sad and I thank you for writing about it in your usual generous spirit. I would like to know if anyone has any advice for what to do someone makes a cry for help online. Someone in my LinkedIn network made a cry for help once and I asked the Samaritans for advice by e-mail and I got a very strange reply as if (a) it came from an automated service and (b) didn't believe that the advice was for a third party. I tried to help him but I didn't know the person well, felt totally out of my depth and was not sure if I was doing the right things. Would be interesting to have a professional counselor's viewpoint on this.

3 years, 2 months ago on A Gigantic Hole In the Online World

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@ginidietrich You're gonna have to sample that laugh track for me Gini, I want to HEAR it! LOL!

3 years, 6 months ago on A Blog Post About Nothing

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@KDillabough @ginidietrich Thanks - that's a relief because no way would I score even close to a 10 in gymnastics LOL!!

3 years, 6 months ago on A Blog Post About Nothing

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Hi @ginidietrich, and there I was thinking that there was going to be a Seinfeld reference in your blog post! (Am I showing my age?) Look, you don't need to perform for your audience every damn day of the year. Most of us aren't even paying you for the privilege of your wisdom. When I need inspiration, I back the hell away from the computer. I usually find it when I'm out exerting myself in nature, either sailing, skiing or traipsing around Kew Gardens. I've said it before: take a holiday. Let go of the douchebag blogging conference and all the other burdensome 'loose ends' (DOUCHEBAGGAGE?). At least do something fun or different today that will put things into perspective. :)

3 years, 6 months ago on A Blog Post About Nothing

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ps - if you go on holiday, I'll be happy to contribute a Spin Sucks guest blog! :)

3 years, 6 months ago on Competing for Who Is Most Stressed

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Dear Gini, is there anything I can do to persuade you to take at least a week's holiday? I promise you everything will be fine, if not much better, when you return. You sound like an active and ambitious lady, so maybe go for a hiking or cycling holiday. I can honestly say that some of my best solutions to mind-bending problems have emerged when away from the office and in nature, focusing on something else. And I know you know this: your colleagues probably need a break from your crazy, lovable, bad self. You will be amazed and proud at what people achieve in your absence and when you return, you'll be ready to take on the world. You deserve it!

3 years, 6 months ago on Competing for Who Is Most Stressed

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Love that post! The thing I find most interesting about investigating the 'Nos' is that they are often a result of not having communicated something well enough. I tried out a new process for a sales pitch last year (that I thought was oh so clever) that went down like a lead balloon and after talking it through with the potential client I realized that the outcome have been completely different if we had simply set the expectation for the meeting correctly and listened more during the process. We didn't win the business because we weren't a good fit, but we salvaged the professional relationship.

3 years, 6 months ago on In Business, Always Listen for the NO

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