Big Bird: The Big Brand

Big Bird has been in the news frequently, thanks to mentions in the Presidential debates. The outpouring of support for the yellow puppet showed just how relevant Sesame Street has been across decades and, it turns out, across cultures. Sesame Street is currently running in 146 countries.

HBR’s recent article identified some of the reasons that Sesame Street is such a universal brand:

  1. Identifying the country-specific critical needs first.
  2. Willingness to try new operating models in new countries.
  3. Embracing new and multiple means of distribution.
  4. Propagating lessons learned throughout the organization.
  5. Taking the long view.

Sesame Street pursued a global strategy long before globalization became a common business goal. “It has done so by being clear and steadfast about its essential brand values while also seeking to understand deeply and flexibly adapt to local conditions and norms.”

Do you agree that these values help make brands universal? What would you add?

Ritu Walia is an FG Analyst.

Take the Leap and Clear the Hurdle of Fear

In an article on CNBC, author Tom Reiger discusses a key issue covered in his book Breaking the Fear Barrier: How Fear Destroys Companies from Inside Out and What to Do about It.

Due to the past and current economic climate, anxiety and fear has become a staple in the workplace. “In the midst of all of this uncertainty, managers and employees will inevitably feel compelled to build walls to protect themselves, regardless of the impact on the overall company. If left unchecked, this attitude can pit the good of the individual against the greater good of the organization—spelling death for companies.”

Two kids of courage are at play in this situation, and they are at odds:

  1. Vital courage: the inward focus of survival, which could be thought of as our Reptilian brain
  2. Moral courage: our compass of morality that leads us to take a path for the greater good

In companies that have a high level of fear, employees may be asked to make decisions that tap moral courage and suppress vital courage. But humans are wired to focus on our vitals. Thus Reiger advises companies to “make employees feel comfortable and motivated to perform acts of moral courage. The key is to design rewards and performance management in a way that balances and aligns both types of courage. ”

Have you even been in a situation where you felt at odds? Please share!

Ritu Walia is an FG Analyst.

Relationship Roundup

Elevate your relationship game with the tips and insights in this week’s Roundup, including how to rally your worldwide network, the art of negotiation, and a new app to help managers give credit where it is due.

Using the multiplier effect – Learn how to maximize your social media conversations in this Word of Mouth blog. Read it here: http://bit.ly/SUEax5.

Rallying your network – Our networks are getting more geographically dispersed but technology is offering new ways to rally the troops. Read the fine points of connecting the dots with a LinkedIn group here: http://bit.ly/NouHuv.

The art of negotiation – This article outlines a more generous, transparent, and authentic roadmap for negotiating. Read the CBSMoneyWatch article here: http://cbsn.ws/RMjyA2.

Empowering language – One of the things that will make you a relationship magnet is being aware of your use of language and its effect on the people you connect with. Culture strategist Chris Edmonds shares the power in “do” messages. Read his SmartBrief blog  here: http://bit.ly/QKjCpA.

Give generous props – A new application aims to help managers track projects and identify opportunities for recognizing employee accomplishments. Read about it in this Springwise article: http://bit.ly/QRsu7t

Kibibi Springs is myGreenlight’s Community Director.

Color Me Intrigued

Companies are painting the walls in their offices more hues “to make their offices feel a little homier, or at least like a home office, and seek new ways to motivate employees,” according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.

Ever wonder why call centers for customer complaints are generally painted green or blue? Soothing colors help service reps maintain their cool. On the other hand, quieter workplaces may want to add a pop of color to brighten up the environment and ambiance.

The four top picks for office spaces according to Behr Process Corporation are:

  1. Canvas Tan (light tan)
  2. Brandy (pink and brown mash-up)
  3. Ozone (grayish blue)
  4. Zen (sea-foam green)

These colors are noticeable enough to add some energy to the room and stimulate employees without reaching distracting levels of external stimuli.

What do you think about the colors of your workplace? Why do you think someone would pick a color called “ozone?”  What color works best for you?

Ritu Walia is an FG Analyst.

Relationship Roundup

This week in the Roundup, words of advice on managing your relationship reputation.

Getting to know yourself – Trustworthy feedback can help us fill our gaps and get closer to those goals on our list. Motivational psychologist and author Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. shares some insights on the value of outside opinions about you. Read the Harvard Business Review blog here: http://bit.ly/OjXLQn.

Playing with politics – As we near November’s election date, conversations about hot button issues could put a strain on your relationships. Read this USA Today Money article for advice on how to manage those conversations carefully: http://bit.ly/M1uiO6.

Leadership lessons – Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley shares some out of the box thinking on building relationships among employees that nurtures corporate culture. Read the SmartBrief on Leadership blog here: http://nyti.ms/Plye8e.

Relationship turnarounds – Turning critics into fans is a master relationship skill. Learn how to navigate critical waters in this video from Rogers Communications’. View it here: http://bit.ly/OzTskc.

Kibibi Springs is myGreenlight’s Community Director.

Relationship Roundup

This week in the Roundup, tips for building accountability, understanding the power of language, securing commitments from prospects, and taking culture past the friendly point.

Where accountability starts and stops – Accountability is the foundation of sustainable change. Consultant and author Steve Tobak shares how to reinforce the accountability in your company. Read the CBS Money Watch article here: http://cbsn.ws/MWBcjz.

The language of our corporate cultures – Words have power. In this Harvard Business Review blog, author Kevin Allen Partners explores the way language creates the environment for corporate culture. Read it here: http://bit.ly/NJN2Qx.

Getting a commitment – Getting prospects to commit requires strategy. Sales expert and author Tom Searcy provides tips for achieving the big C. Read the article here: http://cbsn.ws/NuZXsj.

Building cultures that are beyond friendly – Culture specialist Chris Edmonds writes about the three elements that create thriving and healthy organizational cultures. Read the blog here: http://cbsn.ws/NuZXsj.

Kibibi Springs is myGreenlight’s Community Director.

Check Negative Emotions at the Office Door

Smiling is contagious! And that’s just one example of how our environment and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound impact on our mood. That’s why it’s so important to maintain a healthy work environment. As a recent HBR article points out: “emotional contagion can take down your whole team.”

Author Tony Schwartz makes clear just how much emotions matter in the workplace. Remember the feeling of dreariness that envelops you when you’re at the DMV? Compare that to the level of energy and happiness that charge your experience at the Apple Store.

Emotional contagions can make or break your team. The author enumerates five takeaways on emotions in the workplace: Continue reading

Creating a Work Culture that Gets Things Done

Creating effective company culture is a core focus of Ferrazzi Greenlight, so Keith and the team at FG were very interested to hear how LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman, our recent Social Capitalist guest, ensures that his team is aligned, friendly, and efficient.

Here were a few things Reid mentioned as being important to a culture at LinkedIn that gets things done:

  1. Spend your time on customers, not internal dialogue: “Stay focused on the classic stuff—on getting the work done, on customers, and so forth, and not get overly distracted by internal meetings, internal dialogue, where your primary universe is very naturally all of you talking to each other, as opposed to what you’re doing in the world…things for customers, projects you’re launching, these sort of things. Continue reading

The Workplace Drone and How to Silence It

Your work environment can have a profound impact on your workday and the quality of your work. The current trend is to steer away from isolation, making offices tear down the walls, both literal and figurative. The problem is, it’s hard to concentrate when you can constantly hear the conversations of your coworkers. A recent New York Times article sheds some light on this particular issue.

To some people, it is very difficult to work through the constant chatter that comes with an office space. So if there are no walls, we make our own. Headphones. Giant filing cabinets. Books. You name it, we do it.  “After surveying 65,000 people over the past decade in North America, Europe, Africa and Australia, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, report that more than half of office workers are dissatisfied with the level of ‘speech privacy,’ making it the leading complaint in offices everywhere,” according to the Times. Continue reading

Is Facebook Your Pleasure of Choice?

“Facebook is as pleasurable as food or sex” says the title of a recent Yahoo News article. Two neuroscientists researched and led this study and came to the conclusion that “‘self disclosure’ produces a response in the region of the brain associated with dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure or the anticipation of a reward.”

Apparently, the reward that the brain receives after posting our thoughts and views on Facebook is very similar to the pleasure from food or sex. This is attributed to a less complex idea that we’re all familiar with. As humans, we love talking about ourselves. In fact, we spend about 30 to 40 percent of our speech disclosing our subjective views. Continue reading