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They almost look like stuffed animals.
Love this pic from @BabyAnimalPics #Kittehs
Time Magazine recently put “The Mindfulness Revolution” on its cover, which could either be seen as hyping the latest business fad, or as signaling a major change in the thinking of executive leaders. I believe it’s the latter.The use of mindful practices like meditation, introspection, and journaling are taking hold at such successful enterprises as Google, General Mills, Goldman Sachs, Apple, Medtronic, and Aetna, and contributing to the success of these remarkable organizations. Let’s look at a few examples: With support from CEO Larry Page, Google’s Chade-Meng Tan, known as Google’s Jolly Good Fellow, runs hundreds of classes on meditation and has written a best-selling book, Search Inside Yourself.
General Mills, under the guidance of CEO Ken Powell, has made meditation a regular practice. Former executive Janice Marturano, who led the company’s internal classes, has left the company to launch the Institute for Mindful Leadership, which conducts executive courses in mindfulness meditation.
Goldman Sachs, which moved up 48 places in Fortune Magazine’s Best Places to Work list, was recently featured in Fortune for its mindfulness classes and practices.
At Apple, founder Steve Jobs — who was a regular meditator — used mindfulness to calm his negative energies, to focus on creating unique products, and to challenge his teams to achieve excellence.
Thanks to the vision of founder Earl Bakken, Medtronic has a meditation room that dates back to 1974 which became a symbol of the company’s commitment to creativity.
Under the leadership of CEO Mark Bertolini, Aetna has done rigorous studies of both meditation and yoga and their positive impact on employee healthcare costs.These competitive companies understand the enormous pressure faced by their employees — from their top executives on down. They recognize the need to take more time to reflect on what’s most important in order to create ways to overcome difficult challenges. We all need to find ways to sort through myriad demands and distractions, but it’s especially important that leaders with great responsibilities gain focus and clarity in making their most important decisions, creativity in transforming their enterprises, compassion for their customers and employees, and the courage to go their own way.Focus, clarity, creativity, compassion, and courage. These are the qualities of the mindful leaders I have worked with, taught, mentored, and interviewed. They are also the qualities that give today’s best leaders the resilience to cope with the many challenges coming their way and the resolve to sustain long-term success. The real point of leverage — which though it sounds simple, many executives never discover — is the ability to think clearly and to focus on the most important opportunities.In his new book Focus, psychologist Dr. Daniel Goleman, the father of emotional intelligence (or EQ), provides data that supports the importance of mindfulness in focusing the mind’s cognitive abilities, linking them to qualities of the heart like compassion and courage. Dr. Goleman prescribes a framework for success that enables leaders to build clarity about where to direct their attention and that of their organizations by focusing on themselves, others, and the external world — in that order. Cultivating this type of focus requires establishing regular practices that allow your brain to fully relax and let go of the anxiousness, confusion, and pressures that can fill the day. (Editor’s note: here is Daniel Goleman’s related HBR article, The Focused Leader.)I began meditating in 1975 after attending a Transcendental Meditation workshop with my wife Penny, and have continued the practice for the past 38 years. (In spite of this, I still do mindless things like leaving my laptop on an airplane, but I continue to work on staying in the present moment.) All of our family members meditate regularly. Our son Jeff, a successful executive in his own right, believes he would not be successful in his high-stress job were it not for daily meditation and jogging.Meditation is not the only way to be a mindful leader. In the classes I teach at Harvard Business School, participating executives share a wide range of practices they use to calm their minds and gain clarity in their thinking. They report that the biggest derailer of their leadership is not lack of IQ or intensity, but the challenges they face in staying focused and healthy. To be equipped for the rapid-fire intensity of executive life, they cultivate daily practices that allow them to regularly renew their minds, bodies, and spirits. Among these are prayer, journaling, jogging and/or physical workouts, long walks, and in-depth discussions with their spouses and mentors.The important thing is to have a regular introspective practice that takes you away from your daily routines and enables you to reflect on your work and your life — to really focus on what is truly important to you. By doing so, you will not only be more successful, you will be happier and more fulfilled in the long run.
"The use of meditation, introspection, and journaling are taking hold at successful enterprises."
“Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.” -Robert A. HeinleinWith the plethora of shopping opportunities, the ability to communicate across the world in an instant, and electronic entertainment coming from every direction, life in today’s world is fast-paced and full-on. Anything seems possible. And with so many options and devices at our disposal, parents can be tempted to make their kids’ lives very easy.Want that $2 toy? Okay, you got it. (Better to avoid a melt down, right?)However if we want our children to stand up to the inevitable challenges they will face in the future and keep going despite disappointment or frustration, we need to help our children develop resilience. This means they need to practice coping skills, and therefore need some challenges to practice these skills with.After all, life is not about figuring out how to turn off a thunderstorm or switch on the sun – no matter how much we would like this to be possible.Our children will learn to be much happier, more resilient people, when they can enjoy the sunshine when it is around and dance in the rain when there is no other choice.25 ideas for how you can teach your kids resilience:The list below is not your typical “do and don’t” list but rather a set of prompts to begin reflecting on ways we can teach our children resilience through simple interactions every day.* Give your child independence to try new things they initiate, such as climbing at the playground or opening a container, even if you think it is “too hard” for them.* Encourage your child to serve others or let others go first when sharing food.* Give your child the opportunity to wait patiently when it is required (such as in a restaurant or during a car ride); do not always provide entertainment.* Show your child that it is worth making a good decision for the long run even if it’s not the easiest, such as choosing healthy foods over junk foods even if they take longer to prepare.* Do not give your child every single physical thing they desire (toys, food, clothes, etc) even if “everyone else has it.”* Enable your child to give toys and clothes away regularly to charity, and teach them that material possessions are simply tools and not answers to happiness.* Give your child opportunities to help others younger than them, starting with simple ways such as showing the other child pictures in a book.* Teach your child to identify struggles as challenges to overcome, not tests to avoid, and teach them phrases such as “this too shall pass” or “every challenge makes you stronger” to spark this outlook.* Encourage your child to maintain a positive attitude about chores or homework by teaching them creative ways to find fun in work.* If your child is older, give them the chance to wait for family meals instead of snacking any time they want.* Remind your child to be patient with a younger sibling’s interference with their toys; teach them that relationships are more important than *things*.* Help your child learn self control regarding electronic mediums and entertainment by demonstrating your own restraint.* Allow your child to experience the extremes of temperature by dressing accordingly, not hiding away from the weather.* Resist the urge to run to your child’s rescue immediately, such as when you see them having trouble putting on clothes or feeding themselves.* Do not allow your child to interrupt when adults are speaking to one another; set up an age-appropriate method for them to practice taking their turn.* Give your child many opportunities to share their belongings and their food, by inviting guests over and setting up ways they can be generous.* Introduce new experiences to your child which will help them step outside their comfort zone, such as playing with children who speak another language and trying new foods.Resist the urge to run to your child’s rescue immediately, such as when you see them having trouble putting on clothes or feeding themselves.* Do not allow your child to interrupt when adults are speaking to one another; set up an age-appropriate method for them to practice taking their turn.* Give your child many opportunities to share their belongings and their food, by inviting guests over and setting up ways they can be generous.* Introduce new experiences to your child which will help them step outside their comfort zone, such as playing with children who speak another language and trying new foods.* Do not give in when you have set a limit, such as an amount of TV they can watch or how much dessert they can have.* When your child wants to find something, let them look for it.* Teach your child how to be responsible for their own clothes as early as possible: to sort and wash and put them away – including washing clothes by hand and hanging them out to dry.* Remind your children to do their best on school work, even if it means taking longer than they would like or staying up a bit later than normal.* Require that responsibilities be completed even when your child does not feel like it, such as making beds, taking a bath, feeding the pets, and brushing teeth.* When your child really wishes they had something, teach them to be grateful and find the best in whatever situation they are in.* Let your child own their feelings, even if they are challenging, by not belittling the emotions but giving them a way to maintain perspective through phrases such as “Every challenge makes me stronger” or “A rainbow will come after the storm.”* Enable your child to gain perspective about their reality by volunteering for charitable organizations that serve people who do not have the same life circumstances.
By Sarah Lahav, CEO of SysAid Technologies Ltd.Mom and Dad hoped you’d be an actress—and your brother a lawyer. Grandma and grandpa bought you Barbie and Easy Bake—your brother got K’Nex and a science kit. Your math teachers were all men. Da Vinci, Franklin and Edison, all men. You had Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to admire—but no Marissa Mayer and Cheryl Sandburg.Yet whatever mix of gender assumptions, stereotypes and images you encountered, I suspect if you’re reading this post, you still came to love tech—or you know someone who’s developing that passion. If we want young women to enter the tech world, here’s my perspective: prepare them for the challenge by instilling the tools for success, not the angst of discrimination.My daughter is 14 months old, and I would love for her to follow in my footsteps and become the CEO of a tech company like SysAid—if that’s her passion. In reality, most parents don’t intuitively imagine their little girls becoming tech CEOs. If our girls love computers, we can nurture that interest, but we still can’t control the gender stereotypes embedded in culture. We cannot change the global image of a developer, IT administrator or data scientist overnight.So how do we inspire more women to go into math, sciences, engineering and tech? In my opinion, we mentor the women who have already found those passions, and we create more Marissa Mayers and Cheryl Sandburgs for rising women to follow. Make sure your daughters know of the successful women in tech.One day, I may warn my daughter about gender stereotypes, but much more importantly, I will teach her to achieve success in the tech world no differently from the way I will teach her two older brothers. If more role models and new gender images can inspire emerging women, then we must teach rising women qualities that will make them resilient, effective and capable of rising to the top. In my opinion, three qualities are especially important:
1. A Sense of HumorGender stereotypes are sometimes as oppressive and limiting as women make them. In my first IT job at Iscar Metalworking, I was once replacing and upgrading computers at the manufacturing line, and I installed the wrong operating system.“You had a blond moment,” my co-worker said.“Well,” I told him, “at least this blond woman is actually getting something done.”It’s easiest to deflect the inevitable gender jabs with a smile. We must teach young women to laugh off the comments and slights that may otherwise deter their ambitions and make them feel small.
2. Follow ThroughWomen (and men) shine in tech companies when they take on big challenges at the most stressful times. Typically, this will be during a new product launch or version release.In such times, I’m impressed with people who can take critical feedback from a customer, transmit it to R&D, see its resolution all the through quality assurance—and then get back to the customer with results. That’s a valuable employee.Long hours at the office only stand out when they produce results or involve hardships. For instance, IT admins can stand out by volunteering for an overnight shift, and a programmer can shine by finding that nasty software bug that no one else wants to deal with. We need women to understand that the hardest part of the tech world will be the work, not the gender imbalances.
3. Attention to DetailInitially, to be valued at a tech company, people need an in-demand expertise or specialty. But to run a tech company, I believe a leader needs the capacity to understand the full scope of a business and assimilate the tiniest details.Once a week, I dedicate two hours to a single team within SysAid. I spend time with the team and do their work, whether it’s making sales calls, handling tech support or joining in on QA testing. By immersing in detail while gathering a wide angle view of the business, I can lead based on experience rather than a hypothetical understanding. This has made a significant difference for SysAid and my own career.If we teach tech-oriented women to develop sensitivity to business details, when they reach leadership positions they’ll learn to make tiny changes with large, rippling effects.The qualities that will make women great IT administrators, engineers, programmers and CEOs are no different from the qualities that allow men to succeed. We need emerging women to cultivate the skills, attitudes and leadership ability that have nothing to do with gender. It’s women like Marissa Mayer and Cheryl Sandburg who help the world dissociate technology from gender and encourage the next generation. Let’s do our part to produce more women like them.Sarah Lahav is CEO of SysAid Technologies —a leading provider of IT management solutions that enables IT professionals to manage their IT infrastructures with greater ease and efficiency. The company’s mission is to simplify the daily challenges that IT professionals face.
The President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans opens for business Monday and is squarely focused on kids in the effort to empower Americans to take charge of a better financial future.Shakespeare asked: what’s in a name? His point was that names do not define the person or entity. But I would argue otherwise, at least as it relates to a top authority advising the President on how to empower Americans to take charge of their financial lives.On Monday, the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans meets for the first time. The name itself is a mouthful; the acronym PACFCYA looks like it’s been Travoltified. Still, a lot can be read into this name, which promises to set a smart new course for financial education in the U.S.American presidents have been on the financial education bandwagon formally since George W. Bush authorized a President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy in 2008. Bush’s famous vision was of an ownership society. “We want people to own assets,” he said in authorizing the first council. “We want people to be able to manage their assets.”His lofty goal was to equip everyone with the financial know-how needed to parse complicated terms and fees, and generally get ahead by fending for themselves in the free marketplace. The hope was that a population smarter about its money would reduce odds of a repeat financial crisis. As chairman of the council, Charles Schwab, wrote in the first report: “The charge was simple, yet daunting: improve financial literacy among all Americans.”The mission took on a new look under President Obama, who in his first term reconstituted the board under the new name: President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, swapping “Literacy” for “Capability.” As I wrote at the time, the simple word change spoke volumes about the new council’s approach. This group was more about equalizing access to key financial products like checking and savings accounts. A big part of its mission, as stated in the charter, was to “take into consideration the particular needs of traditionally underserved populations, such as youth, minorities, low- and moderate-income Americans, immigrants, and low-literacy adults.” Meanwhile, regulators would set up vast new protections so that a deeper understanding of money issues wasn’t critical for most people.Both approaches have their virtues. Certainly, it’s good for consumers to understand and be able to fend for themselves rather than rely on regulators to keep the financial bad guys at bay. But not everyone gets it when it comes to personal finance, and those who don’t would clearly benefit from common sense dictates like simple financial statements and plain vanilla mortgages.Now we come to the third iteration of this important body, and “for Young Americans” has been tacked on to the name. Teaching kids about money has always been part of the council’s mission. But now it is the sole focus, which puts the emphasis where it ought to be. Solving financial illiteracy is a long-term project that should begin with young people, and by that I mean students in first grade.“The last council was for people of all ages,” says Beth Kobliner a financial author reappointed to the new council. “Now, the entire council is about young people.” She believes the new name provides absolute clarity of the mission and that there will be little tolerance for indecision. “Action is going to be the buzzword,” she says. “It’s no coincidence that President Obama declared ‘a year of action’ in his State of the Union address.”Another reappointed member, activist John Hope Bryant, founder and CEO of Operation Hope, echoes Kobliner’s view, writing in his blog that “this new Council will be different. It’s primary focus will be action, moving the needle, and getting things done…this Council will be more innovative, more solution seeking, more impactful.”Research shows that early and frequent financial education works. Indeed, the council can expect a dose of data on this point at its first meeting. “This group will be able to show the country how to truly make a difference in the financial capability of our children,” says another reappointed member, Ted Beck president and CEO of the National Endowment for Financial Education.In many ways, the financial education movement in the U.S. has stalled. There has been little progress, for example, in states making personal finance a required line of school study. The mission has been bogged down with handwringing over what works and what doesn’t, and where to best target resources. The PACFCYA seems determined to break the logjam by zeroing in on what works with kids. That may be reading a lot into a name. But then I’m no Shakespeare.
Sending a LinkedIn invitation and getting a $70 million account was all in a day’s work for one Morgan Stanley financial advisor—not all in the same day, mind you, but in the sense of day-in day-out use of social media that the firm actively encourages.“It was an advisor in our New York City area who serves the small business owner segment,” says Lauren Boyman, head of digital strategy for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.Boyman told ThinkAdvisor in an interview on Monday that this advisor “is very systematic about how he uses LinkedIn,” participating in group discussions targeted to CFOs or CEOs of small businesses.Through disciplined activity in this market—Boyman says there are nearly 2 million small business owners using LinkedIn—the advisor “gets himself known as a knowledge leader within the small business space…After he has a roster of people he knows and has established a name for himself, he invites them for more personal interaction.”While the large account, from a technology consulting and services company, may be an outlier in terms of size, Boyman (left) says Morgan Stanley advisors enrolled in the firm’s social media program are seeing positive results.“For those advisors who are using social and doing so on a daily basis—meaning it’s actually part of their practice, something they have absorbed—40% have gotten a new client,” she says, adding that a failure to be consistent will yield no better results than trying to diet by going to the gym once a month.“It has to be part of their business development and marketing efforts on a regular basis,” she says.(Wirehouse advisors aren’t the only advisors who are increasingly using social media for business building. See these recent ThinkAdvisor articles:Where to Find Wealthy Clients on Social MediaRIAs’ Top Compliance Goal: Social Media Policies4 Tools for Fund Managers, and All Advisors, to Use Social Media Effectively) Boyman says some 4,000 Morgan Stanley advisors—about 25% of the advisor force—are enrolled in the firm’s social media program, which fully rolled out a little over a year ago, after a yearlong pilot program. She says about 75% of these advisors have only a LinkedIn account and about 25% both a LinkedIn and Twitter account. The firm is currently working on a pilot program for Facebook, which Boyman calls “tricky,” citing worries over a crossover between personal and professional usage.Morgan Stanley provides its advisors with compliance-friendly, pre-approved content, so that advisors needn’t spend lots of time finding relevant material, and it archives all communications and tracks audience engagement—for example seeing what information audiences are sharing and surveying advisors to see what kind of business they’re bringing in.In a new initiative, the firm just added a whole slew of new content that goes beyond the market and investment strategy focused material they were using exclusively until a week or two ago.The new content, provided by American Express Publishing, includes material on golf, travel and leisure, food and wine. While it’s too early to make meaningful comparisons as to which content area is most effective, Boyman says that so far at least the lifestyle-oriented content—on subjects such as the five new wine regions with lots of potential or state-of-the-art golf equipment—is being shared as much as their most popular finance-oriented articles.While there are a wide variety of business development activities an advisor could take, Boyman says the firm especially esteems social media because of the ease of tracking and wide potential reach.“Other kinds of marketing activities are harder to measure and intangible,” Boyman says. “Something like a seminar or event is more tangible to measure but harder to put together and organize. Coaching little league or [participation in] charitable activities—that’s harder to measure.”In contrast, social media, she says, is not only easier to measure, but is an especially efficient and productive use of an advisor’s time, she says.“With other ways you reach one or two people or pay a lot of money and not get anywhere. Social allows you to reach thousands of people with one click.”Still, many advisors have been slow to adopt, something the Morgan Stanley exec says is inherent in a large group. The firm’s website program, for example, has been around for 15 years now, but is still short of 100% participation, despite the ubiquity of websites in the U.S.“To get 16,000 to 18,000 advisors to do anything is not easy. There are a few approvals they have to get. They have to get training and have profiles approved,” she says.But Boyman is confident that advisors will embrace social media.“We’re growing steadily and have been for a while. At some point it’ll reach a steady state plateau—by focusing on engagement and giving them different kinds of content.”Coming up next? The firm is working out how to allow assistants to help out with the advisor’s social presence.Presently, “others can do advance searches or look for groups that are relevant,” Boyman says. “But we’re working on a technological solution to allow someone in more of a support role to help out [actively by overcoming] IT and security concerns” involving passwords and the like. Boyman expects a solution later this year.-----Check out these related ThinkAdvisor articles: http://www.thinkadvisor.com/
Full adoption of social technology is generally slow in financial service organizations. Buy-in and training are critical. The pay off seems worthwhile. ~ V.B.
Negative thinking can be a habit of mind. Thoughts sink in and linger there until you take action to get rid of them.When you first start thinking negatively, it can be tempting to try and force those thoughts out of your head. You try as hard as possible to stop thinking about them and push them out.But this approach often backfires. Resisting those negative thoughts can actually reinforce that thinking pattern and just make things worse. The more you try not to think about something, the more you actually end up thinking about it.To get rid of negative thinking, you need to try a different approach – something that will clear your mind of those negative thoughts once and for all.Here are seven ways to clear your mind of negative thinking.1. Change your body languageTake a moment to observe your body language. Are you slouching with a closed stance? Are you frowning?If you are, you’re more likely to think negatively.Bad body language can lower your self-image and lead to a lack of confidence. In that emotional state, it’s only natural to start having bad thoughts.Sit up straight in a confident manner. Open your stance and smile more.Fix your body language and you’ll feel a lot better. It might be just what you need to clear those negative thoughts.2. Talk it outSometimes negative thinking occurs because you have issues or emotions you need to get out.It’s not good to keep things to yourself. If you have something that needs to be addressed, you should talk through them with someone.Putting things into words gives your thoughts shape and form. That can help you put things into perspective so you can deal with them at the root of the problem.3. Spend one minute calming your mind of all thoughtWhen your mind is running a mile a minute, it can be hard to keep up. With everything racing around your head, it can be hard to control the thoughts going on inside – especially the negative ones.Slow things down. One minute of calming is often all it takes.It’s kind of like meditation – you’re emptying your mind. Think of it as a reboot. Once it’s empty, you can fill it with something a little more positive.4. Change the tone of your thoughtsSometimes negative thinking is the result of poor perspective. Take a look at the point of view you take on the things going on around you.For example, instead of thinking, “I’m going through a difficult time and I’m having trouble,” think “I’m facing some challenges, but I’m working on finding solutions.”You’re basically saying the same thing, except the second way has a more positive spin to it. But sometimes that little tonal shift can make a huge difference to your thinking patterns.5. Be creativeWhen negative thoughts come, it can pay to spend some time creatively.Find a creative outlet for your thoughts. Write things out. Draw or paint something – even if you have to use a crayon. As long as you’re using your creativity to get your negativity out, it can work.Exploring your emotions through creativity acts like auto-therapy and can elevate your mood.Creativity can feel like a release. When you put your emotions through an art form, you get them out of your system and clear them out.6. Take a walkBecause thoughts arise in the mind, it’s easy to assume that’s where they’re formed. Well, that’s only partly true.Sometimes our thoughts are a product of our environment. For example, if you surrounded yourself with negative people and negative imagery, you’d probably start to think negatively in turn.Stepping away from a negative environment can help immensely. Take a walk alone away from your usual atmosphere. Head somewhere uplifting like a park or museum.Time spent distancing yourself from those negative influences can bring you great peace of mind.7. Start listing out what you’re grateful forHave you forgotten all the good things you have going for you? Sometimes in the daily grind, we lose focus on all the ways things that are going right in our lives.If that’s you, then you need to re-train your mind to focus on all the good happening around you instead of the bad.List off everything you’re grateful for no matter how small they seem to be.Don’t take anything for granted anymore. Sometimes the good things in our lives are right in front of our faces and we still fail to see them.Stop being blind to the positive things you already have going for you.Read more at http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/7-ways-clear-mind-negative-thoughts/#BrBhy88Uye78S6Ke.99
It may not seem sexy, but consistency is the secret ingredient to making customers happy. However, it’s difficult to get right and requires top-leadership attention.March 2014 | byAlfonso Pulido, Dorian Stone, and John Strevel“Sustaining an audience is hard,” Bruce Springsteen once said. “It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose, and of action over a long period of time.” He was talking about his route to music stardom, yet his words are just as applicable to the world of customer experience. Consistency may be one of the least inspirational topics for most managers. But it’s exceptionally powerful, especially at a time when retail channels are proliferating and consumer choice and empowerment are increasing.Getting consistency right also requires the attention of top leadership. That’s because by using a variety of channels and triggering more and more interactions with companies as they seek to meet discrete needs, customers create clusters of interactions that make their individual interactions less important than their cumulative experience. This customer journey can span all elements of a company and include everything from buying a product to actually using it, having issues with a product that require resolution, or simply making the decision to use a service or product for the first time.It’s not enough to make customers happy with each individual interaction. Our most recent customer-experience survey of some 27,000 American consumers across 14 different industries found that effective customer journeys are more important: measuring satisfaction on customer journeys is 30 percent more predictive of overall customer satisfaction than measuring happiness for each individual interaction. In addition, maximizing satisfaction with customer journeys has the potential not only to increase customer satisfaction by 20 percent but also to lift revenue by up to 15 percent while lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20 percent. Our research identified three keys to consistency:1. Customer-journey consistencyIt’s well understood that companies must continually work to provide customers with superior service, with each area of the business having clear policies, rules, and supporting mechanisms to ensure consistency during each interaction. However, few companies can deliver consistently across customer journeys, even in meeting basic needs.Simple math illustrates why this is so important in a world of increasingly multichannel, multitouch customer journeys. Assume a customer interacts six times with a pay-TV company, starting when he or she undertakes online research into providers and ending when the first bill is received 30 days after service is installed. Assuming a 95 percent satisfaction rate for each individual interaction—whether measuring responsiveness, the accuracy of information, or other factors—even this level of performance means that up to one in four customers will have a poor experience during the on-boarding journey.The fact is that consistency on the most common customer journeys is an important predictor of overall customer experience and loyalty. Banks, for example, saw an exceptionally strong correlation between consistency on key customer journeys and overall performance in customer experience. And when we sent an undercover-shopping team to visit 50 bank branches and contact 50 bank call centers, the analysis was confirmed: for lower-performing banks, the variability in experience was much higher among a typical bank’s branches than it was among different banks themselves. Large banks typically faced the greatest challenge.2. Emotional consistencyOne of the most illuminating results of our survey was that positive customer-experience emotions—encompassed in a feeling of trust—were the biggest drivers of satisfaction and loyalty in a majority of industries surveyed. We also found that consistency is particularly important to forge a relationship of trust with customers: for example, customers trusted banks that were in the top quartile of delivering consistent customer journeys 30 percent more than banks in the bottom quartile.What is also striking is how valuable the consistency-driven emotional connection is for customer loyalty. For bank customers, “a brand I feel close to” and “a brand that I can trust” were the top drivers for bank differentiation on customer experience. In a world where research suggests that fewer than 30 percent of customers trust most major financial brands, ensuring consistency on customer journeys to build trust is important for long-term growth.3. Communication consistencyA company’s brand is driven by more than the combination of promises made and promises kept. What’s also critical is ensuring customers recognize the delivery of those promises, which requires proactively shaping communications and key messages that consistently highlight delivery as well as themes. Southwest Airlines, for example, has built customer trust over a long period by consistently delivering on its promise as a no-frills, low-cost airline. Similarly, Progressive Insurance created an impression among customers that it offered lower rates than its competitors in the period from 1995 to 2005 and made sure to highlight when it delivered on that promise. Progressive also shaped how customers interpreted cost-reduction actions such as on-site resolution of auto claims by positioning and reinforcing these actions as part of a consistent brand promise that it was a responsive, technology-savvy company. In both cases, customer perceptions of the brands reinforced operational realities. Such brands generate a reservoir of goodwill and remain resilient on the basis of their consistency over time in fulfilling promises and their strong, ongoing marketing communications to reinforce those experiences.Becoming a company that delivers customer-journey excellence requires many things to be done well. But we’ve found that there are three priorities. First, take a journey-based approach. For companies wanting to improve the customer experience as a means of increasing revenue and reducing costs, executing on customer journeys leads to the best outcomes. We found that a company’s performance on journeys is 35 percent more predictive of customer satisfaction and 32 percent more predictive of customer churn than performance on individual touchpoints. Since a customer journey often touches different parts of the organization, companies need to rewire themselves to create teams that are responsible for the end-to-end customer journey across functions. While we know there are an infinite number of journeys, there are generally three to five that matter most to the customer and the business—start your improvements there. To track progress, effectiveness, and predict opportunities, you may need to retool both metrics and analytics to report on journeys, not just touchpoint insights.Second, fix areas where negative experiences are common. Because a single negative experience has four to five times greater relative impact than a positive one, companies should focus on reducing poor customer experiences, especially in those areas in which customers come into contact with the organization most often. For instance, training frontline service representatives to identify and address specific customer issues through role playing and script guidelines will go a long way toward engendering deeper customer trust.Finally, do it now. Our research indicates that since 2009, customers are valuing an “average” experience less and have even less patience for variability in delivery. In addition, companies that experience inconsistency challenges often expend unnecessary resources without actually improving the customer journey. Making additional investments to improve the customer experience without tightening the consistency of experience is just throwing good money after bad.
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Such a cool little guy! If seeing baby animals doesn't bring joy to your heart, I don't know what will. ❤
There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative. ―W. Clement StoneWhen I was a teenager I was the primary target of an extremely persistent bully at my high school. One day I came home in tears and wrote this on the whiteboard hanging on my bedroom wall: “I hate bullies. They make me feel like a loser.”The next day, while I was at school, my grandmother erased what I wrote on the whiteboard and replaced it with this: “An entire body of water the size of the Pacific Ocean can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, all the negativity in the world can’t bring you down unless you allow it to get inside your head.”And from that day forward I felt better. I made a conscious decision to stop letting the bully get inside my head. I changed my beliefs about his level of importance in my life.It isn’t easy to remain positive when negativity surrounds you, but remember that you have full control over what you choose to believe. You can effectively defend yourself against all kinds of negativity by adopting simple, yet powerful, beliefs that support a positive outlook in the face of seemingly negative circumstances.Below you will find 15 such beliefs that have helped free me from the grips of negativity. I have these beliefs written down in my journal, and I review them on a regular basis, as needed, just to keep them fresh in my mind. I hope you will join me by adopting them into your own belief system as well… What other people say about me is their problem, not mine. – Don’t take other people’s negativity personally. Most negative people behave negatively not just to you, but to everyone they interact with. What they say and do is a projection of their own reality. Even when a situation seems personal – even if someone insults you directly – it oftentimes has nothing to do with you. What others say and do, and the opinions they have, are based entirely on their own self-reflection. I am free to be ME. – Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be? Happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to everyone else and what they want. Stop living for other people and their opinions. Be true to yourself. You are the only person in charge of your life. The only question is: What do you want to do with the rest of it? Life isn’t perfect, but it sure is great. – Our goal shouldn’t be to create a perfect life, but to live an imperfect life in radical amazement. To get up every morning and take and good look around in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is extraordinary. Every day is a gift. Never treat life casually. To be spiritual in any way is to be amazed in every way. (Read The Happiness Project.) It’s okay to have down days. – Expecting life to be wonderful all the time is wanting to swim in an ocean in which waves only rise up and never come crashing down. However, when you recognize that the rising and crashing waves are part of the exact same ocean, you are able to let go and be at peace with the reality of these ups and downs. It becomes clear that life’s ups require life’s downs. Even when I’m struggling, I have so much to be grateful for. – What if you awoke today with only the things you were thankful for yesterday? We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but of appreciating everything we do have. Stress thrives when your worry list is longer than your gratitude list. Happiness thrives when your gratitude list is longer than your worry list. So find something to be thankful for right now. Every experience is just another important lesson. – Disappointments and failure are two of the surest stepping-stones to success. So don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart. When things go wrong, learn what you can and then push the tragedies and mistakes aside. Remember, life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes. We must fail in order to know, and hurt in order to grow. Good things often fall apart so better things can fall together in their place. Not everything is meant to stay. – Change can be terrifying, yet all positive growth and healing requires change. Sometimes you have to find the good in goodbye. Because the past is a place of reference, not a place of residence. Be strong when everything seems to be going wrong, keep taking small steps, and eventually you will find what you’re looking for. Learn to trust the journey, even when you do not understand it. Being wrong is the first step to being right. – Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places. To be creative and productive in life, you must first lose your fear of being wrong. And remember, a fear like this can only survive inside you if you let it live there. I do not need to hold on to what’s holding me back. – You are not what has happened to you; you are what you choose to become. It’s time to break the beliefs and routines that have been holding you back. Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer grows you. Listen to your intuition, not your ego. When you stop chasing the wrong beliefs, you give the right ideas a chance to catch you. My happiness today is simply the result of my thinking. – Happiness starts with you – not with your relationships, not with your job, not with your money, but WITH YOU. It is not always easy to find happiness in ourselves, but it is always impossible to find it elsewhere. Regardless of the situation you face, your attitude is your choice. Remember, you can’t have a positive life with a negative attitude. When negativity controls your thoughts, it limits your behavior, actions, and opportunities. If you realized how powerful your thoughts were, you would try your best to never think another negative thought again. Who I spend quality time with matters. – Surround yourself with people who lift you higher – those who see the great potential in you, even when you don’t see it in yourself. Drama and judgments are a waste of perfect happiness. – Make a promise to yourself. Promise to stop the drama before it begins, to breathe deeply and peacefully, and to love others and yourself without conditions. Promise to laugh at your own mistakes, and to realize that no one is perfect; we are all human. Feelings of self-worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible. (Read The Mastery of Love.) Most people are judging me far less than it seems. – The truth is, while you’re busy worrying about what others think of you, they’re busy worrying about what you think of them. Crazy? Yes, but true. The good news is this knowledge instantly frees you to let loose and do more of what YOU want. And while doing so, you’ll also liberate others to do the same. I can make the world a happier place. – Do your best to help one person every day in some small way. By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer, we often find the answers to our own. When the people around us are happier, it’s a lot easier to smile. The work is worth it. – Lose the expectation that everything in life should be easy. It rarely is. In fact, there are no shortcuts to any place worth going. Enjoy the challenge of your achievements. See the value in your efforts and be patient with yourself. And realize that patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard on your dreams. It’s knowing deep down that the work is well worth it in the end.
Practical Tips for Productive Living
"With confidence, you have won before you have started." -- Marcus GarveyConfidence is often the single differentiator between people who get what they want and people who don't. Those who think and believe they can do something -- run a marathon, start an entrepreneurial venture, ask someone out (and have them say yes), win a competitive promotion, fit into their pre-pregnancy jeans, build a fun social circle, well... they do it.Our mind is a very powerful tool, and the impact of our thoughts and words cannot be underestimated. Our thoughts create our emotions. Our emotions create our actions. Our actions create our life. Confident people have greater control over their minds and have tuned their mental station to one of "I can."Here are nine things that confident people do that you can apply to your life:1. Do not overcomplicate. You want something? Great! Create a plan to make it yours. Keep your eye on the prize and do not get distracted by other peoples noise or by your own ability to over-think.2. Focus on what you want. Confident people keep a positive vision in mind of the future. They expect good things to happen to them, and as a result they do, as expectation is a very powerful force.3. Act as if it's already yours. People who are self-assured allow their language and actions to be in line with their outcome. This inspires confidence in others.4. Use words with intention. Consider the difference with two people discussing their new blog. One could be, "Yes, I am a blogger. You like vintage purses too? Awesome! We must connect -- check out the new images I posted at..." vs. "Well, I am trying to blog but am not sure I am doing it right (nervous laugh)." Who do you think gets the most views and shares?5. Listen but don't pay heed to others' opinions. Other people are well meaning and sometimes err on the side of caution. Confident people listen to other people but do not let their difference of perspective take them off track. It's your life!6. Dedicate time to what matters. Confident people are happy to say no to things to make sure they have time and energy for their priorities. Funnily enough, people treat them with more respect as a result.7. Act humble. Confident types don't talk endlessly about their successes. I was once at a large corporate event and I was speaking to an outgoing and likeable woman who said she "worked in publishing." I found out later that evening that she was the editor-in-chief of one New York's most influential magazines. Confident people let their success speak for itself and don't need to vocalize it.8. Know failure is sometimes inevitable and don't fear it. Worrying about failure can keep us from doing anything at all. Confident people are still confident even when they fail. When the chips are down they know it will pass.9. Repeat all of the above! Confidence building takes a lifetime. The more we practice confidence as an attitude, the easier it becomes.The most successful and happy people are not born the most rich, beautiful or talented. They just believe in themselves and go for what they want. Confidence is also a highly attractive quality in others as we all secretly aspire to have more self-assurance. "I can" and "I can't" thoughts create very different emotional spirals, as the mind is very obedient and follows whichever path we direct it. Which do you choose?
Good, simple insight into confident thought and behavior.
Confidence does build over time. It is a process.
http://www.scoop.it/t/social-culture/rss.xmlNEW YORK - With just 11 days of winter to go, the snow is in retreat. In parts of the Northeast, at least 2 inches of snow melted in just the past day.As people start venturing out, they're being greeted by a sound they haven't heard for months: the singing of birds.America's thrushes and waxwings and warblers have managed to survive the winter.As the snow melts in New York's Central Park, the birds sing a song of spring.Robert DeCandido known as Birding Bob, has a PhD in evolutionary ecology. He says birds were OK, even thought this winter was harsh."If there's enough food around, the cold weather doesn't bother the birds," said DeCandido. "It's when there's cold weather and little to no food when it's a problem for birds."Small birds can lose up to 10 percent of their body weight each night, so they have to eat a lot dring the day.Little has been known about how small birds survive the cold, until now. Researchers at the University of Oxford put microchips on more than 2,000 songbirds to see exactly how they spend their winter days.What they found was every morning birds leave their nests and scout out food sources. But they don't immediately eat. Instead, they fast, staying light and nimble enough to avoid being someone else's lunch. Then in the late afternoon, the birds return to where they saw food and chow down.DeCandido says birds that don't migrate south for the winter have ways of staying warm."Well, you can shiver, you can burn fat. The birds will do that as well. But they also have down coats. You know how we have down coats that are stuffed with feathers? They have their own down coats," he said.And as for their singing, you weren't mistaken. Songbirds do go quiet in winter, saving their energy until these warmer days, when their thoughts turn from survival to love.© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The birds sing a song of Spring. They know!
“Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart.” ~MenciusRemember when life was simple?When your friends were the most important thing in the world. When a snow day was a perfect excuse to have fun, not a block of time when you felt guilty about being unproductive.When the ice cream truck could make your day, no matter what happened before. Bad grade? Big deal—it’s snow cone time. Skinned knee—who cares, you have a screwball!If only you could bottle that sense of freedom, fun, and enthusiasm for the little things, you could carry it in your responsible adult pocket and take a swig when you started taking everything too seriously.I don’t know about you, but mine would be in a glass vial embellished with red, pink, and purple swirleys, topped with a water globe stopper that had a palm tree in it. (Yeah—that’s right!)Maybe we don’t need some major departure from business as usual to stop being stuffy and start being childlike (which can actually help you become more innovative, in case sheer joy isn’t motivation enough).I’ve compiled a list of ideas to be more childlike today. I chose thirty-three because it’s the house number where my parents live, and it’s because of them I am the best couch cushion fort maker on both the east and west coasts. Enjoy:Learn1. Read a book you loved as a kid. My book of choice: Oh the Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss.2. Figure out how something works, even if it’s irrelevant to your life, just because it’s interesting. Go ahead—Google “how fish breathe” or something you don’t fully understand.3. Fill out your own permission slip to go to the aquarium, a museum, or a nearby tourist attraction. If something looks interesting, take a break and go!Play4. Do something fun. Make a Lego village, pull out the coloring book, or jump rope.5. Explore. Walk around your block without any intention. Just see what’s going on, maybe even using a big fallen branch as a walking stick.6. Run or skip if you feel like it. Flail your arms, like Phoebe in my favorite episode of Friends.7. Be silly. Look for funny things in your day—they’re always there—and let yourself laugh about them.8. Try a new look. Think the kid from Adam Sandler’s Big Daddy, when he dressed himself, but a little less ridiculous.Share9. Remember something awesome and call a friend to share it. (i.e.: ‘Member the time we made pizza for breakfast? That was awesome, huh?)10. Tell someone they’re your hero. If you admire what they do, look right in their eyes and say, “I think you’re pretty awesome.”11. Be a know it all. Tell someone about something you learned today and get excited about sharing it.12. Tell it like it is. Don’t be a liar, liar, pants on fire. As Dr. Seuss said, “Say what you mean and mean what you say because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”13. Be vulnerable. Tell someone how you feel or what you really want to be when you grow up, without making them pinky swear to take it to the grave.14. Share a meal with people around a table, even if it isn’t a special occasion, like that Norman Rockwell painting families often recreate.Connect15. Tell your mom and dad (or favorite relative) you love them. Call them right now and say it for no reason other than it being true.16. Make a spontaneous play date. Invite people over right now, for no reason but to have fun, even if you have plans scheduled for the weekend with them.17. Eat lunch on a rock with a friend. You don’t need a restaurant or a cafeteria. Channel the good old days from camp when a little sand in your PB & J meant a lunchtime adventure.18. Ask for help if you need it. Just like you used to pull your desk next to someone else’s to read along, walk up to someone you trust and let them be there for you.19. Tap into your innocence—meaning give someone the benefit of the doubt, as if you don’t know yet to be cynical.Create20. Make a card by hand to give to someone you care about. As Pablo Picasso said, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”21. Get messy when you’re cooking. Not tomato-sauce-on-the-ceiling-fan messy. The point is: let loose and enjoy yourself instead of making cooking a chore.22. Start a piggy bank. Or a coin jar. You don’t need to save big to save, and you never know what little adventures you can have with just a little extra cash.23. Try a hands-on project from the Be Creative! Adults section of the Creativity Portal, like gum wrapper origami.24. Assume you’d be really good at something—piano, rock climbing, organizing a club—and then find out instead of assuming the opposite.Be25. Sit Indian style in your chair if you’re able. Crossed-legged sitting is actually really good for your posture—an added bonus!26. Surround yourself with your favorite color. If orange makes you smile, plaster orange pictures all over your cubicle.27. Cry if you need to. If the day gets difficult, don’t try to be a hero. When you let yourself feel it, you’re better able to let it go.28. Relax and do nothing. Don’t try to fill that empty pocket of time. You’ve been productive enough. Kick back, cut loose, and let yourself waste a little time. As John Lennon said, “Time you enjoyed wasting was not wasted.”Imagine29. Forget what was tough about yesterday. Why dwell on that fight with your sister when you could be having fun today?30. Change your mind easily. According to Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, kids’ brains are extremely flexible, “so they can change what they think based on new evidence very quickly and easily.”31. Visualize a tomorrow with endless possibilities. Not sure you can be the person you want to be? Read 10 Ways to Be the Person You Wanted to Be as a Kid.32. Don’t take no for an answer. If there’s something you want to do, be persistent. You can make it happen!33. Ignore something someone says if it limits you, your potential or your possibilities.
It comes as no surprise the adoption of social media has created many grey areas in the rules and interpretation of regulation and compliance. Social media profiles on LinkedIn or Twitter accounts can be seen as advertising for professional services, and in FINRA's view considered equivalent to a poster or flier that needs to be peer reviewed and documented by compliance officers.A compliance officer must be notified of all changes to social profiles including "likes," endorsements, connections and comments. "That's one of the toughest things to deal with at large scale," says Bruce Milne, chief marketing officer at Socialware, a social business solution provider for regulated industries.Due to the onerous archiving and compliance requirements the great majority of financial firms choose to stay out of the social sphere, but ING US (soon to be VOYA Financial) is taking on the challenge. In collaboration with Socialware, ING recently announced it will begin to roll out of LinkedIn profiles for its 2,400 financial advisors.Strict Compliance"We had a very strict policy in place," explains Ann Glover, chief marketing officer for ING US. "Our financial service advisors were not able to use LinkedIn until we could figure out a way for them to use it in a compliant manner."Now, after a successful pilot with 10 users, ING is opening the program to a waiting list of over 100 advisors by year end. Word of mouth has spread quickly and Milne reports several inbound calls each day from advisors interested in joining the wait list.From a business perspective, Glover says LinkedIn is an ideal place for advisors to manage relationships with current and prospective clients and to keep in touch as clients go through life events. "Only about 40 percent of the workforce is prepared for retirement," she says, "The direct demographic of LinkedIn is the target of ING, largely around preparing for a predictable and secure financial future."Glover doesn't seem to worry about the chances of advisors being approached by recruiters who patrol LinkedIn for new hires, and says that because most of their industry peers do not allow advisors to use LinkedIn it is considered an attractive employee benefit.Building the GuardrailsUnlike Facebook, LinkedIn's terms of service dictate users not have more than one account. Also unlike Facebook, FINRA's interpretation of LinkedIn is the site is intended for business purposes only. The actions of the users therefore reflect the opinions and recommendations of their firm.Imagine, for example, an advisor has a laugh over an article about a survivalist who moves all their cash assets to gold and farmland, he hits "like" to share with his connections in good humor. A client could read that article and take the advice, however ridiculous. Legally there would be nothing to stop a client from going back to the firm and making a plausible case they received bad advice from the advisor. The same follows for a retweet on Twitter or repost on Facebook -- they are all motions of endorsing from the point of view of the advisor."You can't safely use "like" features with tongue in cheek," explains Milne. "There's no sense of irony in a like, so a lot of firm want to preclude users from using that feature."To accommodate these unique needs of the financial service industry Socialware recently announced it has collaborated with LinkedIn to extend their programming interfaces, allowing firms to build guardrails that disable certain "risky" features. "We work with LinkedIn to act on behalf of our customers, advocating for the API published fields they need."Through the interface, which acts as a proxy between the network and advisor, firms can publish a preapproved and recorded profile in full instead of going through the user interface line by line, saving time and stress for compliance. Disclosures can also be embedded into profiles that decrease the risk of participation. Depending on the firm's appetite for risk, guardrails may prevent users from making endorsements, which are also considered to be a recommendation by the advisor's company."When advisor accepts changes, makes an edit or presses submit, it goes in to compliance for approval," he explains. "Compliance need tools to make sure they aren't making unapproved changes to the profile, and they need a system to catch unapproved changes at enterprise scale."One of the other things that's messy about LinkedIn and worked into the interface, says Milne, is you cant stop others from endorsing you, even if the skill is completely unrelated to the field. "It's a goofy deal that sets a lot of compliance officers off … We're working with LinkedIn so advisors and compliance can decline a skill. And if they are there we can suppress them so others can't see."He adds that according to the regulations users can not be put out a compliance for a third party aspect. "If something is written on your wall that you don't like, nothing precludes you from deleting it, and nothing puts you out of compliance for having it there. It's neither your fault nor responsibility. They can go ahead and delete but it will be archived."Pre-Approved ContentSo what else can advisors do within the confines of preapproved liking, sharing, posting and endorsing?As Milne puts it, you can't just send users out into the wild and hope they're productive. There are two essential elements to building an ecosystem around advisors: Support from readily available compliance officers who can approve posts in a timely manner, and a marketing team to create preapproved content for them to post."It's extremely efficient once you have a content machine in place," says Glover based on ING's pilot. "The social software enables us to populate preapproved content financial representatives can access. It makes it easy for the advisors to go in and click on what they want to post, and they can add a personal greeting."It's felt preapproved posts help advisors participate in the conversations of the network. "This is part of a bigger effort to meet consumers where consumers want to be," she adds. "We want to be where the future is and our advisors have said they want to be participating in this great new avenue that's been opened up to them. It can help deepen business relationship and grow new relationships so we're very excited to be opening up that door for our financial service advisors."Across the IndustrySocialware has worked with a number of financial clients including Morgan Stanley's 8,000 advisors' social profiles. Edward Jones had a large 3,500 advisor deployment now nearing 5,000, and Guardian Insurance now has over 3,000 users on LinkedIn.ING's rollout is representative of most financial service firms, says Milne. He expects that given the positive responses from the pilot, and Glover's statement that they will not artificially delay anyone that wants to join, ING will be well over the initial goal of 100 advisors on LinkedIn by the end of the year.Milne says the next step for the industry will be applying different sets of rules for different users, such as insurance brokers, wealth managers, bankers, and more. "All have uses for LinkedIn and other social channels but they are different uses and so are the rules that apply to them."
ING joins Morgan Stanley, Edward Jones, Guardian and other top firms deploying enterprise rollouts of @socialware.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Singer Courtney Love hadn't been born and tweeting was reserved for birds when The New York Times won a landmark libel case at the Supreme Court in 1964.But when a California jury decided recently that Love shouldn't have to pay $8 million over a troublesome tweet about her former lawyer, she became just the latest person to lean on New York Times v. Sullivan, a case decided 50 years ago Sunday, and the cases that followed and expanded it.The Sullivan case, as it is known among lawyers, stemmed from Alabama officials' efforts to hamper the newspaper's coverage of civil rights protests in the South. The decision made it hard for public officials to win lawsuits and hefty money awards over published false statements that damaged their reputations.In the decades since, the justices have extended the decision, making it tough for celebrities, politicians and other public figures to win libel suits.Newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations were the primary means of publishing when the Sullivan case was decided. Today, the case applies equally to new media such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs. Because of the ease of publishing online, more people may claim the protections granted by the decision and others that followed."It seems reasonably clear that the protections afforded by Sullivan and the cases that came after it apply to both media and non-media speakers," said Lee Levine, a First Amendment lawyer who co-wrote a recent book on the case."Technology has afforded everyone — and not just people who can afford to buy a printing press or own a broadcast station — the ability to disseminate information to the world. That has increased the opportunities for those people to publish defamatory statements to a very broad audience," Levine said.Levine said it's unclear whether that opportunity will lead to more libel suits, cases brought over the publication of false information that injures someone's reputation. More ways to communicate could mean more suits, or there could be fewer because people may discount what they read online, and it may not be worth suing individuals who don't have corporations' wealth.Or there may be other explanations."Today one of the reasons I think we don't have as many libel cases is not just because the Sullivan rule is so widely accepted by everyone, but in a digital world there's so much greater opportunity for response," said Bruce W. Sanford, a Washington-based First Amendment lawyer.If one person says something untrue online, the person being spoken about has many more avenues to reply, agreed David Ardia, a University of North Carolina law professor and the co-director of the school's Center for Media Law and Policy. In the 1960s, the only way to respond to libel and "reach an audience was to get into the same newspaper, and that's no longer the case," he said, adding that the "megaphone" of the Internet is available to everyone.The Internet was a long way off when the Sullivan case began in 1960. It started when the Times published a civil rights group's full-page ad, with the title "Heed Their Rising Voices," that described the brutal treatment of civil rights demonstrators in the South.Egged on by a local newspaper editorial urging all Alabamians to sue, a Montgomery, Ala., city official named L.B. Sullivan claimed his reputation had been sullied by the ad's errors, though neither he nor any other official was named in it. Under state law preceding the Supreme Court decision, Sullivan won a judgment of $500,000, and the Times faced millions more in other suits.The legal peril prompted the Times to pull all its reporters out of Alabama at a time of keen news interest in the civil rights movement.Sullivan ultimately lost at the Supreme Court. Justice William Brennan, writing for a unanimous court, acknowledged that published errors can harm a person's reputation. But Brennan, himself ambivalent about reporters even as he emerged as a defender of press freedoms, and his colleagues also decided that it should be tough for public officials to win libel suits.False statements are an inevitable part of the free debate that is fundamental to the American system of government and must be protected, Brennan wrote. The only way to win: Show that the false statement was made knowingly or with "reckless disregard for the truth." The decision freed news organizations to write about the civil rights movement without fearing lawsuits.The Sullivan decision and others that followed haven't been without criticism, however, including some from three justices now on the Supreme Court.At her high court confirmation hearing in 2010, Elena Kagan said the principle laid out in the case is vital to free speech, but she noted that it allows for serious harm to a person's reputation without any compensation or remedy.Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a 1985 memo as a White House lawyer that he favored making it easier for public figures to win in libel cases, while limiting the financial threat to the losing side.Justice Antonin Scalia has been quoted as saying he would probably vote to reverse the decision if given the chance.Still, scholars including Robert Sack, a federal judge who specialized in media law while in private practice, say the Sullivan decision has become so much part of the law that it's hard to see it being overturned.That means anyone finding themselves in singer Love's situation may turn to the decision. In Love's case, the singer tweeted about a former lawyer, writing that the woman had been "bought off" in a suit involving the estate of Love's late husband, musician Kurt Cobain. The lawyer, Rhonda Holmes, sued for $8 million, claiming the tweet was false and had hurt her reputation.But Holmes ran up against the Sullivan rule. A jury found in January that though Love published a false statement, she didn't know it was false.Holmes' lawyer, Mitchell Langberg, said he knew it would be a difficult case. Still, he advised Twitter users: "Careful what you tweet."___Associated Press reporter Mark Sherman contributed to this report.
Very interesting applications in new media libel cases.
Do the term "beauty sleep" justice by following these skin and hair tips from dermatologists.
You might think you're off the clock when it comes to your beauty routine while you sleep, but your slumber hours play an important role in how you look. "Beauty sleep is essential for repairing the skin," says Dr. Debra Jaliman, a New York City dermatologist and author of Skin Rules. If you want your skin and hair to look younger and healthier during the day, it's time to adopt these nighttime habits.1. Sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase.These fibers will keep you from waking up with a bird's nest on top of your head, and their texture softens wrinkles and fine lines because it causes less friction between your skin and the pillowcase. "Silk is easier on hair — it helps avoid tangles and breakage," says Jesleen Ahluwalia, M.D., a physician from Spring Street Dermatology in New York City. "It's also better for the skin because the material glides easily and prevents creasing and wrinkles."2. Sleep on your back.Speaking of wrinkles, sleeping on your back can help nip them in the bud before they even start to form. "Repeated pressure on the skin, causing creasing, can eventually lead to set-in lines," says Ahluwalia. "A person who sleeps on one side may even have more set-in wrinkles on that particular side compared to the other.” If you tend to have puffy eyes in the morning, try sleeping with an extra pillow. "When you lie flat, fluid can gather around your eyes," Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., a dermatologist in Washington, D.C., told Good Housekeeping.3. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.For a fresh, dewy look in the morning, make sure to use an anti-aging night cream that contains hyaluronic acid. It attracts water into the skin, which helps smooth wrinkles, Francesca Fusco, M.D., a New York City dermatologist, told Good Housekeeping. Dr. Jaliman recommends always applying lip balm before sleep, moisturizing your eyelashes with a lash conditioner, and never skipping your nightly beauty cream or serum. These products work better during the "repair cycle of the skin," which is at night, she says.4. Change your pillowcases often."Wash your pillowcases frequently, so you’re not resting your lovely skin on top of bacteria nests for eight hours a night," advises Chicago makeup artist Alle Connell. Dr. Ahluwalia says you should not only change your pillowcases twice a week, but flip your pillows over on days you're not changing them.5. Sleep with a humidifier on.You probably already know that drinking tons of water is good for your skin — but since you can't do that in your sleep (you'd have to be really talented), try using a humidifier to keep yourself hydrated at night. This is especially helpful during the winter, when your skin tends to be much drier.6. Stay away from super-salty foods and booze around bedtime."When you consume a lot of alcohol, your body becomes dehydrated," says Dr. Fusco. "To compensate, it starts collecting natural fluids around the eyes, among other places." A similar thing happens with salt, leading to that dreaded puffy-eye look. If you indulged in some chips and a glass of Chardonnay anyway, try the above extra-pillow trick to help drain fluids.7. Wear your hair up — but not in a super-tight bun.It's a good idea to keep your hair out of your face while you're sleeping to keep its natural oils from wreaking havoc on your complexion. But avoid pulling it into a really tight bun or ponytail because that can cause hair breakage, especially around the hairline. Connell suggests wrapping it up in a scarf (silk would be ideal), while Dr. Ahluwalia says that high, loose ponytail is a great way to keep your most recent blowout intact.8. Go to bed with a clean face."So many people sleep with their makeup on and wonder why they wake up with funky eye gunk in the morning," Emily Kate Warren, a New York City makeup artist, told Good Housekeeping. "That's why." Aside from funky eye gunk, not taking off your makeup before sleep causes pore-clogging, which can lead to breakouts.Via GoodHousekeeping.com
We’re continuing to learn new details about how the American government is collecting bulk records of citizens’ communications -- from demanding that a telephone company hand over the daily records of “all telephone calls in its systems,” to collecting an unknown number of emails, instant messages and Facebook messages.It’s not clear how much information about ordinary people’s conversations the National Security Agency has gathered. But we do know there’s a thriving public market for data on individual Americans -- especially data about the things we buy and might want to buy.Consumer data companies scoop up large amounts of consumer information about people around the world and sell it, providing marketers details about whether you're pregnant or divorced or trying to lose weight, about how rich you are and what kinds of cars you drive. But many people still don't know data brokers exist.Regulators and some in Congress have been taking a closer look at this industry, and are beginning to push the companies to give consumers more information and control over what happens to their data. The prominent data broker Acxiom recently launched aboutthedata.com, a site that allows you to review some of the information the company has connected to your name -- and, potentially, edit and update it as well.Here's a look (originally pu