America: Land of the free, home of Groupthink?

Group-think.

You may not know the term very well, but you are probably quite familiar with what it is. Group-think has long been associated with past events like the Nazi regime, the Challenger explosion, as well as the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In each of these instances, people have come forward after the fact and stated that at the time when some major decisions were being made, instead of saying they didn’t agree, they chose to “go along with” ideas or decisions that cost many people their lives. Things that could have possibly been avoided had someone stood up against the “group.”

Have you ever done something because numerous people you trusted suggested it, even if you didn’t do research on your own or really think about the consequences? Did you vote straight Republican or Democrat without examining the candidates voting record or beliefs? Perhaps you really didn’t even want to do something, but you went along with an idea of a group because you felt pressure to conform? That in a nutshell is group-think; conforming to the ideas and decisions of a group because of fear. While we all do these things in day to day life like choosing a restaurant or buying a brand of toothpaste, these instances are not going to cause you many issues. In large settings or when you help contribute to the making of a powerful decision, it can be a dangerous place to be in.

Group-think still happens in major ways today. We will see it in many forms come November. Even now the fear of being judged or treated poorly for simply not voting is a whole new wave of group-think. I have seen people who will vote simply because they are told they aren’t American if they don’t, while not even knowing the candidates’ names on the ballot.

By understanding the dangers of group-think, we begin holding ourselves accountable to our actions, diving into fear, and standing up for something that is right or we believe in, (especially when we are not in the majority.) While we know this is not an easy task, we are seeing people stand up all over the US today and make it known that fear will not stop them. From the Rosa Parks to the #metoo movement, standing up for what is right will always be the what makes America, the home of the BRAVE country it has always stood out to be.

 
-Christina Jones – Business and Communications Student – IUPUC

Do You Hear What I Hear???

 

woman wearing headphones standing beside man

Photo by Nicholas Githiri on Pexels.com

Listening to me and Hearing me are two different things. How well do you listen? According to PR Daily, less than 2 percent of the country’s population, have had formal education on how to listen. Did that not just blow your mind, because mine is flabbergasted! We communicate everyday with people from around the world, only to realize what we are saying to each other is only being heard, and not comprehended. I have 3 quick points on how we can enhance our communication skills, by simply improving our listening abilities.

  1. Pay Attention
  2. Open Your Mind
  3. Interact

These tips do not have to be completed in order, but you will realize it is much easier to get a better understanding of the conversation if you do. Now to break these tips down into a simpler form.

  • Paying Attention is the key to the conversation. This allows the sender and receiver, the opportunity to feel each other out. It is also needed to retain pertinent information.
  • Open your mind to all ideas, whether you feel like it is good or bad. You never know what someone else can bring to the table, not to mention we all fall short of knowing everything, so always be willing to learn something new.
  • Both the sender and the receiver should interact with each other. By doing this the other knows if the message sent is clear. Interaction could be as simple as eye contact or a nod of the head. The point is you are letting the other know you get it!

I have found in relationships that I have with others in my life, communicating effectively is so important. Not understanding what someone is trying to tell you, after they have said it over and over, and you have heard it over and over, is past frustrating. That is why during the communicating process, we must openly listen to each other and pay attention to the details in the message so that we can respond to it effectively. Considering there are so many cultures that make up our country, some ways of getting a message across will vary. These steps might not work for every situation, but they can assist with the process.

A Typical Job Interview

I’m sure many of you if not all of you have been through at least one job interview in your lifetime so far. Well, how many of you actually took time and effort to prepare for the interview? Probably not as much as you wish you would’ve.        An interview consists of many simple but huge steps you should always follow. After completing all your resume steps which should have been done in order for you to get an interview, you want to make sure those files and documents are accessible to yourself as well as your future employer. Make sure you always plan ahead and maybe even bring an extra copy of your resume. You should always go into the job interview feeling confident and strong that you have a place to fill the position you’re trying to get. Employers have many jobs other than being a hiring manager. Time is money, don’t waste their time. Most employers will only bring you in for an interview if they feel like you will be a good fit for the position and team. Most interviews for very serious businesses are put together to get to know you more personally. If they know you can do the job, they will always have you come in for a face-to-face interview that way they can get to see how you act in person. Most of the time you’re going to be at work and so they want to make sure they like you at a personal level as well as a coworker/team.        In order for you to do good in an interview, you should always be conversational with the employer. Don’t be shy, speak up and speak to them as if you met a new person. A lot of times people feel discouraged in an interview which results in them being quiet and not showing themselves at a high potential. You don’t want to make them feel awkward, the more you talk the better you will be off. You should always be prepared physically as well as mentally. Going into an interview you should be wearing something that is at least a bit dressier than a regular day for yourself. Maybe slacks, jeans, polos, clean shoes, etc. Dress yourself accordingly to the job title. Although not everyone can look as nice as one another, you should always try to be at your best physical appearance that way they know you are serious enough about their opening position.        Expect the greatest but don’t let that tear you don’t fit the requirements for the open position. You can expect to receive a drug test, background check, legal citizenship, and other requirements for the job. Hopefully this has given you a few helpful tips about a job interview.

 

By Corey Wall, Business Management Major – IUPUC

“I’m a businessman.”

“I’m a businessman. I’ve made my money supplying a popular demand. If I break the law, mAl_Caponey customers are as guilty as I am.”  

      Alphonse “Al” Capone was a notorious American mobster based in Chicago. He became increasingly popular among the people of Cook County during the Prohibition era. Capone was the main man for bootlegging, the illegal selling and distributing of alcohol.

      Capone viewed people as either potential customers or potential threats. He used his popularity with the press to help people see him as someone who was on their side during the Prohibition. He used this to his advantage to get what he wanted. Since Capone is majority Italian, the way he ran his mob was different than most. His men were very loyal, and if not they would be dead.  Once, he had invited members from his mob whom he had found out had been aiding his rival gangs to dinner, and afterwards he had proceeded to tell them that he knew and he tortured them all night before killing them. Capone had a tendency to run things the old way while making a modern twist. He would host a soup kitchen for the press to see and at the same time he would be paying off police.

      Uncle Al is still one of the most famous mobsters in America. He was only sent to prison on tax-evasion in 1931, four years after the Supreme Court deemed illegal income was taxable in 1927. He later died of a heart attack at his home in Miami on January 25, 1947.

 

     By E. Green, Business Major – IUPUC

 

Clinton’s Scandal & the Business World

With the most recent presidential election, people know that Hilary Clinton was almost the first female President of the United States. However, she is not only known for being the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. Others know her as the woman who was the source of an email scandal that took the country by storm and destroyed lives. The scandal was even made into a movie, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, which became a hit in 2016. Some members of the Democratic Party may give you excuses for why this scandal happened, although the movie may not mention her name, it still illustrates how dramatic and severe the incident was. This well-known scandal took place while Clinton was Secretary of State and decided to use a private email account instead of the already provided government email address. To some, it may not seem like an issue that she made the decision to use a private email account. Clinton choosing to use a private email address makes all of her emails unable to be tracked and put on record. Clinton, being familiar with the rules of the political world, knew that this was the case if she chose to use a personal email account. She was fully aware that she would be able to send and receive untraceable messages. She then used this personal email account to exchange messages regarding the attack on the soldiers in Benghazi.

After the incident, the government ordered that they be given access to her personal email account. However, Clinton had deleted some emails before giving the government access to her account. Emails that she claims were simply personal, but no one is able to confirm what was on those now deleted emails. The personal email account has also been traced to what happened in Benghazi. If you are interested in what exactly happened in Benghazi, I highly suggest watching the movie, it’s fantastic. Just keep in mind that it is a movie, and you may need to fact check some of the things that were filmed.

Now, back to Clinton and how she allegedly created a mess. There were emails sent to Clinton regarding the attack on US soldiers located in Benghazi. After reading the information she was given in the emails that were sent to her, Clinton did nothing to protect the soldiers. Since then, there have been allegations about what emails were actually sent and what she did about it.

From a communication security standpoint, businesses can learn that they need to highly encourage, and even force, the use of business emails when interacting with others related to the work place. It is called a private email account for a reason, it is meant for personal use. When a person is employed somewhere they are given a specific email address that is intended for use. Just as my academic advisor told me that she would only communicate with me through my school email account, that is how all corporations should conduct business. They should only communicate with each other using their business’s email address. As Clinton demonstrated, it is far too risky to not be able to document each interaction that happens, especially within the political world. Businesses can learn that in order to decrease the number of miscommunications and court cases, it is best for everyone if an employee only uses their work email in the workplace.  

Social Media: Business Made Easy

 

It’s 2017. Times have changed. People can be connected to their friends and family with a touch of a button now thanks to social media. Because of the vast amounts of people logging onto Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram each day, businesses both big and small have created their own social media platforms. Why do this? Why change the way customers find out about your company and products? What are the benefits?

Well-known companies and brands such as Apple, Hollister, and Wal-Mart have figured out the best benefit of social media: marketing. On Facebook, ads catch a person’s eye and take them to the company’s page. This not only promotes the business but also introduces it to new people. However, not many teenagers use Facebook as their main source of social media, so a business might consider making an Instagram account to attract the younger generation to their products. While marketing is a big part of a business’s interest in social media, companies also can use it for connecting with their customers.

Twitter is a wonderful way for a brand to know their customers wants and improve their business practices. For example, many fashion brands will post new releases on their account which allows their customers to comment, like, and share the post. This introduces another benefit of business on social media: feedback. Companies would know what they need to improve after reading through the comments on their posts, create a relationship with the customers, and know what they are excelling at. Though there are several other benefits of incorporating social media and business, marketing and instant feedback make combining the two worth the time.

Aside from the major sources of social media, businesses also advertise on successful blogs. My cousin Lauren Bradberry, who writes a style blog, had an unpleasant experience with Ipsy, a company that sends people make-up samples for a monthly fee. “I was put on a waiting list for an indefinite period,” explained Lauren. “Unless I shared their company on all my social media platforms, then I would be taken off.” Lauren cancelled her subscription because she thought Ipsy was being manipulative. From Lauren’s experience, businesses could learn that it is best to promote themselves on their own social media and allowing people to come across it on their own.

If anyone is thinking of starting a business or is looking for ways to improve one they have already created, social media is the key. It gets the company’s name out there and is more likely to be recognized. With social media playing an important part today, it shows that people are accepting of businesses having a respectful role. Several companies have already taken on the challenge of growing through social media, so why should you miss out?

Hot Chicks, Guns and “Bad Words” Sell Merchandise!

By: Cody J. Giordano

Gary Vaynerchuk is a media expert. Vaynerchuk recently said in a Facebook video that he does not want to make a conventional video. He would rather make something people enjoy watching with cues, such as logos and objects or merchandise within those commercials. All forms of advertising have a place, but newspapers and inkblots, alone, will not cut it in our technology-driven society. Advertising styles have changed dramatically.

Black Rifle Coffee Company does an amazing job at selling products without directly advertising them. The veteran-owned and operated company makes funny and outrageous videos on YouTube and Facebook. The videos depict attractive women (hot chicks), guns, extreme sports, nice cars and everything else guys, like me, can’t get enough of. Below are three videos from BRCC.

John Willis, the owner of Special Operations Equipment (SOE) and James Yeager, the “MFCEO” of Tactical Response, have gotten famous by being unapologetic business owners. SOE makes gear like gun belts, chest rigs, rifle slings, etc. Tactical Response is a firearms-fighting school. Both Yeager and Willis speak their mind. When someone doesn’t agree with them, they will fan the flames. This gets the customer fired up. That customer then runs to forums and social media outlets to complain about either businessman. This draws supporters, like myself, to defend Willis and/or Yeager. Willis says that this model works because it is like a traffic jam. Everyone stops to look at the car with a flat tire. This slows down traffic, and more people see the flat tire (his name). The people then flock to his page by the hundreds to buy products. Yeager uses this model to get new students to sign up for classes at Tactical Response. They call this firing customers. By not wasting time on one bad customer, they can help two or three good ones. Both can be seen on YouTube and Facebook doing this very well.

Times have changes, and so have advertising styles. Rather than try to convince you why their product is better or tell you all about their products/services, they give you entertaining content that has subtle hints towards their business.

A Good Way to Deliver Bad News?

Is there a right way for a company to announce bad news? The answer is yes, even though bad news is never good, there is a good way of announcing it.

An example of someone delivering bad news the wrong way would be BP’s CEO Tony Hayward. When the BP oil spill that happened in the Gulf of Mexico. Hayward said in his speech how the oil spill was relatively tiny and that the environmental effects would be modest. This was a lie, the BP oil spill spilt billions of gallons of oil into the ocean and cost 11 people their lives.

Tony Hayward made the mistake of saying that a huge incident with massive environmental effects. This was a way for him to feel better about delivering such bad news to so many people, but it also undermined just how big the incident was.

There are many wrong ways to deliver bad news but there are also some guidelines to help deliver it properly. You always need to speak up and deliver the news as soon as possible. This means that there’s no hiding it or setting it aside for later. Secondly you need to make your statement accurate, don’t try to make it seem like a smaller deal than it is. Lastly, you need to say what your plan to do next is. You should never deliver bad news with no attempt at a solution. This causes people to panic a bit more trying to think of something to do.

Through all the horrible examples of people deliver bad news like Tony Howard, there is a proper way to deliver bad news. All you have to do is follow the steps.

Sources:

Andersen, Erika. “How Great Leaders Deliver Bad News.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 07 Mar. 2013. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.

Difference between hard skills and soft skills.

How many of you consider yourself easily teachable? Well that is what jobs look for when you think about hard skills. They are trying to see if you are teachable and can learn new skills while on the job. Hard skills are teachable abilities or skill sets that are easy to quantify. Some hard skills examples include: communication, leadership, problem-solving and many more. These three some of the more important ones because you have to know how to not only communicate with your coworkers but also customers or clients. With the leadership role they are looking for someone to take charge in situations that need a strong leader. Problem-solving skills are essential so you can take charge and figure out a problem that no one else can seem to figure out. Soft skills on the other hand are a little different. They are character traits and interpersonal skills that characterize a person’s relationships with other people. Some include self-motivation, team-work, and time management skills. These three are very important because you have to have the drive to push yourself to complete tasks and not slack on the assignment you are given. With team-work skills they want to see that you are able to work with others without conflict and complete the task that is given. Last with time management skills the employers are wanting to see that you can take the appropriate time to complete a task and finish it within a timely manner. Containing both sets of skills are very important because they want to see that you can not only get things done on your own but also work with others in a timely manner. They want you to be self-efficient and be able to take charge when it is needed. It is good to contain both hard and soft skills because you need to work together but also alone.

Good Ways to Deliver Bad News

Delivering bad news is never fun for any of us, but if you are a CEO of a company it definitely adds to the difficulty. Not only is your reputation on the line but you represent the company and how your employees and the public view you, they also view the company in the same way.  You have the whole company’s reputation at stake when speaking on its behalf. What you say should be something that you would want anyone to hear.

Leaking Information

IBM CEO, Ginni Rometty, is an example of this. After the disappointing earnings report on April 18, Rometty released a video to all 434,000 employees in which she admitted that IBM hadn’t “transformed rapidly enough.” She called out the sales staff for missing out on several big deals. “We were too slow,” she said. “The result? It didn’t get done.” The press got wind of her message, and Rometty’s now accused of the corporate equivalent of yelling at her children in public. (Suddath) Always keep in mind that internal information can be leaked to outside sources. Being clear and direct is a positive but being degrading and placing blame is not acceptable. Keep in mind that what you are communicating to your employees should be something that you don’t mind your stakeholders hearing.

Focus on the Issue

When there is a big crisis, you must be ready to own the mistakes, express regret, and show that actions are being made to correct them and move forward. One of the most egregious in recent history was former BP CEO’s Tony Hayward’s handling of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in which 11 people lost their lives and billions of gallons of oil ended up in the Gulf of Mexico. (Andersen) His infamous words “I want my life back” remind us that when you have to deliver bad news, you should put your self-pity to the side. Stakeholders would have much rather heard that he understands the extremity of the spill as well as the relentless efforts that were being made to clean the water and rescue wildlife, as well as what actions are in place to keep this from happening again. (Owen) His words made the public feel that he was being insensitive about the concerns of the oil spill in 2010 and thinking of only himself instead of focusing on how he was going to assist in the efforts to make this bad situation better. This reminds us that even though you are being impacted by this, make it about them not you. Always keep in mind that you need your stakeholder’s support and that they are depending on your to be a strong leader that takes ownership when something bad happens.

Handling Bad News

Here are some ways that you can better handle delivering bad news:

  • First speak up and be credible by giving accurate information.
  • Come up with a plan right away and communicate it.
  • Don’t put it off because it is always better that the accurate information comes directly from you. Take responsibility for what has happened and show empathy.
  • Listen with courtesy and respect to the response.
  • Communicate the next steps of the plan.
  • Do what you said you were going to do. Repeat as needed. (Andersen)

Good News

To end on a good note…the founder of one of Turkey’s most successful brands, the food delivery company Yemeksepeti, in May sold his 15-year-old company to Germany’s Delivery Hero for $589 million. $27 million is going to 114 of the company’s 370 employees. With the typical employee earning between $1,000 and $2,000 a month, the average $237,000 bonus works out to roughly 150 months of wages, per CNN Money. (CEO gives employees “life changing” bonus) This bad news of the company being sold, turned out to be the best news to 114 of its employees. The news of the bonus would be easy to deliver, however, telling the 256 employees that they will not be receiving the bonus because they have not been with the company longer than two years would be more difficult.

Works Cited

Andersen, Erica. “How Great Leaders Deliver Bad News.” 6 March 2013. Forbes. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikaandersen/2013/03/06/how-great-leaders-deliver-bad-news/&gt;.

Beam, Christopher. “Oil Slick: How BP is handling its P.R. Disaster.” 21 October 2015. Slate. <http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2010/05/oil_slick.html&gt;.

Bies, Robert. “The 10 Commandments for Delivering Bad News.” 30 May 2012. Wiki How. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2012/05/30/10-commandments-for-delivering-bad-news/&gt;.

“CEO gives employees “life changing” bonus.” 30 July 2015. USA Today. <http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/07/30/ceo-sells-company-gives-employees-life-changing-bonus/30878901/&gt;.

Mullane, Denise Lenci and John. “COMMENT: Communicating with the public: how BP told the Macondo story.” 6 December 2010. Oil and Gas Journal. <http://www.ogj.com/articles/print/volume-108/issue-46/general-interest/comment-communicating-with-the-public.html&gt;.

Owen, Jo. “BP Oil Spill Crisis Management: How Not to Do it.” 11 June 2010. CBS News. <http://www.cbsnews.com/news/bp-oil-spill-crisis-management-how-not-to-do-it/&gt;.

Suddath, Claire. “The Right Way for a CEO to Deliver Bad News.” 9 May 2013. Bloomberg Business. <http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2013-05-09/the-right-way-for-a-ceo-to-deliver-bad-news&gt;.

Team, Mind Tools Editorial. “Delivering Bad News.” n.d. Mind Tools. <https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/bad-news.htm&gt;.

Weber, Erin McClam and Harry R. “BP’s Failures made worse by P.R. mistakes.” 11 June 2010 . NBC News. <http://www.nbcnews.com/id/37647218/ns/business-world_business/t/bps-failures-made-worse-pr-mistakes/#.Vikx1418OUk&gt;.

Witt, Chris. “How Good Leaders Can Deliver Bad News.” 21 October 2015. Reliable Plant. <http://www.reliableplant.com/Read/17101/how-good-leaders-can-deliver-bad-news&gt;.

 

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