This Election Is Going to Be So Goddamn Stupid

This Election Is Going to Be So Goddamn Stupid

Recently, newly official presidential candidate Hillary Clinton visited an Ohio Chipotle. Because we’re all strapped into the vomit-smeared Tilt-a-Whirl that is an American election cycle, this was news. BIG NEWS.

Look, I get it. Reporters gotta report on something, and when a political campaign isn’t giving you shit, you do what you can. Hence, Hillary’s trip to Chipotle. But look at the stupid ways everyone decided to talk about it.

Exhibit A: lengthy discussion of tipping at a place where tipping is not customary.

This Election Is Going to Be So Goddamn Stupid

Exhibit B: “Hispanic outreach,” with a side of Bill Clinton impressions left over from the ‘90s.

Exhibit C: LIBERAL BIAS:

This Election Is Going to Be So Goddamn Stupid

Jesus, take the wheel.

Image via screengrab


Contact the author at kelly@jezebel.com.


This article was written by Kelly Faircloth from Jezebel and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


What Separates the Good from the Great

The question is asked: Are there moments in our day that matter far more than others—when the way we behave has a profound and disproportionate effect on many things that follow? And secondly, if such moments exist, what must we do during those times to ensure the subsequent effects of our response are the best they can be?

More than three decades ago, my co-authors and I embarked on a study to discover these crucial moments. We began this search through a blind study of “good” and “great” managers. We asked leaders to give us a list of twenty-five of their stellar managers and twenty-five “good but not great” ones. Our job was to follow these 50 managers around and guess who belonged on which list. We hoped this would be a way to validate whether we had identified truly crucial moments.

While we set aside six months for the study, the crucial moments were obvious within hours. Right away, we noticed the moments that made the biggest difference in a manager’s effectiveness were situations where they had to address an issue with another person or group of people. “Communication” in general was not the crucial moment. It was communication about a topic that had three properties: 1) high stakes; 2) opposing opinions; and 3) strong emotions.

The differences between merely “good” and “great” managers were striking. The “good” managers tended to procrastinate, side step or sugarcoat the real issues. When things got really tense, they occasionally spoke up—but they did it in a way that damaged relationships. The “great” ones had entirely different tendencies. They tended to speak up more quickly and were far more direct—but they did it in a way that was remarkably unifying, calming and respectful.

So we assembled our guesses about good and great managers based on this criterion and found that these crucial moments were 100 percent predictive of managerial genius.

That flagship study began our unintended voyage into a study of crucial conversations. We’ve found, for example, that the capacity to master crucial conversations does not simply predict individual managerial effectiveness—it is also one of the most potent drivers of organizational performance. Here’s a sampling of what we know about crucial conversations from our ongoing study.

The Costs of Conflict Avoidance. According to our research, 95 percent of a company’s workforce struggles to confront their colleagues and managers about their concerns and frustrations. In the study of more than 600 people, we found that employees waste an average of $1,500 and an 8-hour workday for every conflict they avoid. In extreme cases of avoidance, an organization’s bottom line can be hit especially hard. (Full study at https://www.vitalsmarts.com/resource-center/research/.)

Fiscal agility. We studied more than 400 companies who struggled to restructure financially in the face of hard economic times. This study of 2000 managers revealed that how quickly and how well an organization makes financial adjustments depends on how well leaders hold four specific conversations. For example, when managers could not speak up about financial “sacred cows” in their company, the pace of response was five times slower and the quality of the response — as measured by company profitability — was ten times worse. What differentiated companies that responded wisely and quickly was not the size of their financial gap, but how skillfully and consistently people raised four very crucial conversations that inevitably occurred in the process. (Full study at www.vitalsmarts.com/financialagility).

Silence Fails. We studied more than 2200 projects and programs attempted at hundreds of organizations worldwide and found that you can predict months or years in advance, and with close to 90 percent accuracy, which projects will fail. We found that the predictor of success or failure was whether people could skillfully raise five specific concerns that inevitably arise during the life of an initiative.

But, as we’ve seen in many studies, these issues were not the problem. The problem was the silence. In those organizations where people candidly and effectively spoke up about these concerns, the projects were less than half as likely to fail. (Full study at www.silencefails.com.)

The Solution

Most leaders have it wrong. They think organizational productivity and performance are about policies, processes, structures or systems. So when their software product doesn’t get shipped on time, for example, they benchmark others’ development processes. Or, when productivity lags, they tweak their performance management system. If teams aren’t cooperating, they restructure. Our research shows these changes fail more often than they succeed. That’s because the real problem wasn’t process, system or structure—it was behavior. The key to real change is not just to build a great process—it’s for people to hold each other accountable to use the process. And that requires crucial conversations.

What 30-plus years of research into crucial moments has taught me is that one of the most peaceful and productive ways to bring about change is to become far more skillful at handling just these kinds of crucial moments.


This article was written by Joseph Grenny from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Another Clinton Now Vows to Fix Political Finance System

More than 20 years ago, a newly elected President Bill Clinton decided that overhauling the country’s loophole-ridden campaign fund-raising rules would be a top goal of his first year in office. Months later, faced with battles over health care and the deficit as well as opposition from lawmakers in his own party who had prospered under the old political-money regime, Mr. Clinton dropped the issue.

Instead, he became an adept fund-raiser and aggressive envelope-pusher, exploiting regulatory loopholes to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in so-called soft money for the Democratic Party, and eventually ensnaring himself in one of the most significant scandals of his presidency.

Now it is his wife’s turn to tackle the issue of big money in politics.

In Iowa this week, in the first public appearances of her second bid for president, Hillary Rodham Clinton said that one of her top priorities was to “fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all, even if it takes a constitutional amendment.”

Her remarks came at a time when once again, lightly regulated money is flooding the political system, this time moving not through national parties but party-blessed “super PACs“ that — thanks to Citizens United and other court and regulatory decisions — can accept unlimited corporate, union and individual contributions.

Once again, a Clinton is poised to benefit: Democrats expect the super PACs backing Mrs. Clinton to raise as much as $300 million, on top of the $1 billion or more she is likely to raise for her campaign and the Democratic National Committee. And once again a Clinton has pledged to be the agent of change.

Mrs. Clinton’s decision to address the issue so early in her campaign may reflect, in part, the pressure she feels from a new cohort of activists who are urging her to address not just inequality of wealth, but also the inequality of political power it is intertwined with. Not since Watergate, those activists argue, have individual donors commanded the power and influence they do today.

Even some Republican candidates and contenders have called for addressing the impact of Citizens United, or have proposed limits on some kinds of campaign contributions. Some reformers argue that voters are so disgusted with Washington that Mrs. Clinton must present them with a plan to fix corruption before they will embrace any further vision she may have for a more activist government.

“That one of Clinton’s first policy proposals in her campaign is to address our broken campaign finance system speaks volumes about the role money in politics will play in the 2016 campaign,” said David Donnelly, president of Every Voice, a group favoring tighter rules for political money.

Some of the biggest big-money opponents are themselves big donors. Mrs. Clinton’s announcement in Iowa came just a day after the Democracy Alliance, a leading club of left-leaning donors, announced that curbing organized money in politics would be one of its top funding priorities for the next five years.

Mrs. Clinton was represented at the alliance’s meeting in San Francisco by John D. Podesta, a senior adviser to her new campaign, and by Buffy Wicks, who runs a super PAC now devoted to electing her president.

The incongruity — or perhaps hypocrisy — is not lost on longtime supporters of tighter regulation, who are looking for more details from Mrs. Clinton on what she has in mind, but would far rather have her in their corner than not.

And it is familiar territory for Mrs. Clinton. As a senator from New York, she voted for the legislation sponsored by Senators John McCain of Arizona and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin that shut down the soft-money system that fueled her husband’s political career. She co-sponsored legislation to provide public financing for Senate candidates after raising $30 million for her successful campaign.

But while Mrs. Clinton criticizes “unaccountable money” in politics, her family foundation has raised tens of millions of dollars outside the campaign system from foreign governments and corporations seeking access and influence in Washington. Her campaign’s new chief counsel was also the co-author of a congressional deal last year that will allow wealthy donors to begin giving more than $1 million every election cycle to each party’s national committees.

Jesse Ferguson, a campaign spokesman, said Mrs. Clinton “believes our political system is stacked against everyday Americans so she will make making changing our campaign finance system one of her top priorities.”

Still, Lawrence Lessig, a political theorist at Harvard and founder of a super PAC that has tried — but so far mostly failed — to turn dismay over Citizens United into a winning political issue, said he welcomed Mrs. Clinton’s help. “There is no hypocrisy in saying you can run a campaign according to the rules of the road while also saying that you want to change the system,” he said.

Mrs. Clinton’s signal in Iowa, Mr. Lessig said, “reflects the increasing awareness everyone has that unless we address this issue, we can’t address any other issues.”

Embracing the outrage over campaign money also knocks away one more argument for a challenger to run against Mrs. Clinton on the left. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who many liberals hope will challenge her in the primaries, has been among the Democratic Party’s fiercest critics of Citizens United and the Supreme Court’s subsequent decisions deregulating campaign fund-raising.

It is a lesson Mrs. Clinton first learned when she ran unsuccessfully against President Obama in 2008. In 2007, Mr. Obama outlined plans for tougher disclosure and tighter campaign regulation and then pounded Mrs. Clinton relentlessly over her own stands. (It did not help Mrs. Clinton when she chose an audience of grass-roots liberal organizers to mount an ill-timed, if well-reasoned, defense of the lobbying profession.)

For some who hope Mrs. Clinton becomes an ally in stanching the influence of donors in politics, Mr. Obama holds another lesson: Don’t trust your friends.

As a candidate back then, Mr. Obama called himself “an advocate for public financing of campaigns” and pledged to take part in the post-Watergate federal financing system, which offered candidates a dollop of taxpayer cash in the general election in exchange for a pledge not to raise and spend other money.

But after he won the nomination, Mr. Obama reneged, withdrawing from the system and helping to usher in the era of the billion-dollar presidential bid. He promised to pursue a newer, more robust public financing system, but never did.

“History tells us we have never had a president who has aggressively pushed for reforming the campaign finance system,” said Fred Wertheimer, a longtime advocate of tighter campaign finance rules and president of Democracy 21.

Follow The New York Times Politics section on Twitter and sign up for the First Draft politics newsletter.

Amy Chozick contributed reporting.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

This article was written by Nicholas Confessore from The New York Times and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Oh Baby!

LAST YEAR, KELLY ROWLAND BECAME A WIFE AND MOTHER. THEN THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENED: SHE LOST HER OWN MOM. BUT WITH THE SUPPORT OF HER HUSBAND, FAMILY AND FRIENDS, SHE HAS FOUND THE GRACE TO GO ON

Kelly Rowland is surrounded by love. She breezes into the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills pushing a carriage and looking like the picture of bliss. She peeks in on her little one. Titan Jewell Weatherspoon. before slipping into her seat and discussing the immense changes she has undergone over the past year. There are no entourages, glam squads or hangers-on in tow. There isn’t a team of assistants, handlers or managers policing her every word. On this sunny day in Los Angeles, it’s just Rowland, her husband Tim Weatherspoon, and their little bundle of joy.

“I just love looking at him,” she gushes, beaming from ear to ear. “This is such an important time for a baby and I just don’t want to miss anything.”

Weatherspoon chimes in, ably expanding on just how the couple feel about their son. “It’s like a different kind of love,” he says. “Yeah, I love my sneakers, I love my car. but that’s not a good comparison. I think it’s beyond what you can explain.”

In 2014, Rowland and Weatherspoon found themselves coping with the full spectrum of human emotions. They jumped the broom in May and welcomed Titan in November. Then, in December, Rowland’s mother, Doris Rowland Garrison, died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest at age 66. While many would be reeling from having to deal with such life-altering events in the span of seven months, Rowland remains positive. Why? Love is on her side.

“When you lose a parent, you’re always getting over it, because you’ve spent so long with somebody and then they’re no longer there,” she explains, her voice cracking with emotion. “I woke up the other morning and I was on my way to the gym. I picked up my phone to call her and I was like, Oh, my God, I can’t talk to my mom.”

Instead Rowland reached out to her huge extended family for support. “I called my mom’s best friend, Aunt Viv. The next day I called my mom’s other best friend. Auntie Bev. Their spirits feel like her, so it helps me get through.

“I have such a wonderful family,” Rowland continues. “Mama T [Tina Knowles], Bey [Beyoncé], Angie [Beyoncé and Solange’s cousin] and Solange. I’m so grateful to be surrounded with so much love. Nobody wants me to miss out on any of that.”

Though she’s still struggling with the loss of her mother. Rowland’s joy in her current situation is palpable. Whenever she talks about the changes her son has gone through in his first few months of life, or her Saturday trips to the movies with her husband, Rowland’s flawless brown face is transformed by an infectious smile.

“My road to my happiness hasn’t been an easy one. It hasn’t been peachy all the time, but I am so. so happy,” she says, grinning again.

Rowland’s good mood has a lot to do with her husband. According to the singer, Weatherspoon-who’s also her manager-had a thing for her for years before they finally decided to date.

“I was his celebrity girl crush,” the 34-year-old songstress remembers, giggling. Though the details of the story differ slightly depending on whom you ask, Rowland and Weatherspoon agree that their connection was undeniable from the beginning.

“I’ve known Michelle [Williams] since she was 7,” Weatherspoon says, explaining that he met Rowland through her Destiny’s Child bandmate nearly 15 years ago. Completely enamored with his future wife, Weatherspoon. now 41, asked Williams for the hookup. “I didn’t think anything of Tim having a crush on Kelly because [back then] my friends had their favorites. Some of my male friends were crushing on Bey, some were crushing on Kelly,” Williams says of her childhood friend. Although Weatherspoon would frequently drop hints about his affection for Rowland, Williams didn’t expect their friendship to blossom into anything more. “It took some years for me to put two and two together, but they fell in love, and it was real love,” she says. “Tim has Kelly’s back no matter what.”

But Rowland and Weatherspoon’s intense bond was almost too overwhelming for the star.

“He scared me.” she says plainly. “I was in this crazy relationship and I called him crying. I was like, Tm not going to get into a relationship for at least a year. Then after that, I’ll wait until God sends me a man.’ “

Rowland wasn’t prepared for what came next, however. “He said. ‘What if you took that time and at the end of that year God sends you a dude, and that dude is me?’ “

Her first response? Run.

“She hung up on me.” Weatherspoon says. “She didn’t talk to me for a whole month.”

Soon, though. Rowland began to long reconsider their severed connection, and when she got over her fear, she realized she was finally ready for her soul mate. “I missed him every day,” she recounts, gazing at her husband with unabashed tenderness.

Six years later, the couple did the unimaginable: They pulled off an ultraprivate wedding. “We didn’t even tell the publicist,” Weatherspoon says. When the media realized Rowland’s famous friends had jetted down to Costa Rica for the ceremony, Rowland and Weatherspoon knew the jig was up. “Once the news got out that certain people were there at the same time, they were like, ‘You need to respond.’ “

While many of her industry peers readily exchange vows in lavish productions full of pomp, pageantry and paparazzi, Rowland and Weatherspoon wanted to celebrate their nuptials on their own terms. The couple, along with all their guests, wore white as the pair pledged to love, honor and cherish each other forever.

“It was so intimate. It was the most perfect thing because we didn’t have a care in the world,” Rowland says, another smile playing on her lips.

The two are taking the same discreet approach to their relationship. Despite living in a digital age when celebrities often share every single detail of their personal lives on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, the Weatherspoons want to keep their lives out of the harsh glare of publicity.

“We like it private,” Rowland says, and her husband is quick to echo her sentiments. “I don’t like the spotlight,” Weatherspoon admits. “I work in this business, so I get it. You learn to manage that, and don’t take it personally,” he says of the sometimes vicious comments he and Rowland receive on social media.

One thing the couple does take personally is their relationship. While Rowland is completely in awe of being a mother, she plans to put her marriage to Titan’s daddy first.

“The baby doesn’t change who we are as people. We still like to go have dinner. We do the activities that we do every day. I don’t think that should stop,” Weatherspoon says. “We keep things simple in our relationship. I look at her as my friend and I don’t take that for granted. You find those things that bring you together and you do them. Sometimes they’re going to be with Titan, sometimes they’re going to be without him.”

For Rowland, her identity is clear. She’s a wife first, mother second and an artist third. “My priority is my husband first,” she says, laughing. While some may balk at her choice, for Rowland, the reason is quite simple: “That’s how the baby got there.”

Of course, balancing marriage, motherhood and her career will not be easy, but Rowland looks to the examples of many of her friends who seem to be successfully juggling all three. “They make it took so glamorous and easy, and I’m looking at them trying to figure out how in the hell are you doing this and balancing it all so well and looking so great?” she says with a laugh. “I just follow them and I’m super-appreciative.”

And it seems to be working. The multiplatinum artist began writing and recording some new music during her pregnancy, and is back in the studio now that Titan is here.

“It’s been a challenge,” Rowland admits. “Ultimately, it’s about trying to understand time management, because I definitely want to be a great wife, I want to be a great mommy and I want to make great music.”

Thankfully, Rowland’s dramatic life has served as the perfect muse for her upcoming album, which will feature a mixture of up-tempo songs and heartfelt ballads. “You have no choice but to tap into emotions when you’re in the studio. The same way we’re experiencing those emotions, whether it’s having a child or losing a parent or whatever it might be, everybody is experiencing the same pain or happiness that you’re experiencing as well.” she explains. “As much as it been a roller-coaster ride these past couple of months, it’s been so great, honestly, for what I’m bringing forth in the studio.”

Rowland gave fans a glimpse inside her inspired new sound just days after her son was born with the release of “Mommy’s Little Baby,” a sweet lullaby for Titan. On the melodic track. Rowland opens up to her son, telling him, “I’ve waited all my life to see ya. I’ve been dreaming about you.” The tune perfectly sums up Rowland’s overwhelming love for and devotion to her son, a lesson she learned from her mother.

“One of the things I know about my mom is she just loved me and my brother so much. Her love was so big. She loved so hard, and I always want to be able to pass that to my son,” Rowland says.

Although her mother’s passing was unanticipated, one thing that gives Rowland some solace is that her mom was completely head over heels for her grandson. “All she wanted to do was hold him,” Rowland says fondly. “I was doing something with the baby in the house after we came home from the hospital and she was there with me and she just looked at me and she said, ‘I’m so proud of you.’ I listen to that every day in my head. It makes me very happy.

“That’s been the blessing,” she says, still high on her mother’s love. “My husband’s family is so wonderful. I can’t complain about anything because God still has me surrounded with the most beautiful light of love.”

“MY ROAD TO MY HAPPINESS HASN’T BEEN AN EASY ONE. IT HASN’T BEEN PEACHY ALL THE TIME, BUT I AM SO, SO HAPPY.”

“MY MOM JUST LOVED ME AND MY BROTHER SO MUCH. HER LOVE WAS SO BIG. SHE LOVED SO HARD. I WANT TO PASS THAT TO MY SON.”

Britni Danielle (@BritniDWrites) is a Los Angeles-based writer. She interviewed Erykah Badu, Ledisi and Solange for our May 2014 issue.

Copyright Essence Communications, Inc. Apr 2015


This article was written by Britni Danielle from Essence and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Idowu – Abike Dabiri-Erewa’s Mentoring Prepared Me for Business Life [interview]

Tomiwa Idowu, currently Managing Director of SoftSmith Technologies, a technology start-up based in Lagos is a marketing strategist and brand management consultant. He possesses approximately nine years’ experience garnered working across Europe and Africa, and is seasoned expert on brand strategy, marketing management, corporate social responsibility, new media, public relations and strategic planning. In this interview with Festus Akanbi, Idowu spoke on his encounter with Abike Dabiri-Erewa which, he said, gave him the needed push in life

Do you think small-scale enterprises have any place in an economy facing challenges in recent time?

Yes I do, because small-scale enterprises are the life-blood of every economy. They play a very significant and important role in the development and growth of our economy, the only problem is that we are yet to see serious efforts by government and other stakeholders to properly integrate the small-scale enterprises into the larger economy. There are too many issues facing SMEs in this country, the cost of doing business is too high and this can be attributed to multiple institutional bottlenecks and fiscal leakages in government. Even though it is very difficult, I believe SMEs who are able to wade through these challenges stand a chance to become great institutions in the near future creating jobs and generating revenue for the economy.

What are your expectations from the incoming administration of General Muhammadu Buhari?

I expect more frugal government spending. I think I speak for all businesses when I say that we expect one thing from the incoming administration and that is improved power supply. With falling oil prices, depleted foreign reserves and a heavy debt-laden economy, it will also be necessary now more than ever to take decisive steps to fully diversify the Nigerian economy. He needs to shift focus to non-oil products. The administration also needs to fiercely tackle corruption and cut back on capital expenditure and look more towards public private partnerships. We need more ports and waterways in the South-South and South Eastern states; the second Niger Bridge started by GEJ also needs to be completed by GMB. I have heard a lot about GMB being an honest man with integrity; I want to witness this.

In an economy where emphasis have always been on large corporates at the expense of small and medium scale, can you tell us how you started and who played the role of mentors in your life?

Well it is true that the focus is still on the large corporates and it’s not only at the expense of SME’s but also at the expense of the larger economy. If the environment is not favourable enough for SMEs to thrive there can never be an even distribution of wealth across the population. There will always be poverty and hunger in the land. The SMEs who know their ways around and can tough it out will still survive regardless; it is the wider economy that suffers from a stunted growth in the long run. I started doing business very early on, around the age of 16 or 17 just after I graduated from high school. I remember always trying to talk to one uncle or the other regarding some business ideas I had but they will always tell me to face my studies instead of dreaming up business ideas. I did not relent however and did business all through my university days. Along the line I have been fortunate in doing business one-way or the other since then. God has been immensely gracious. I have also had the opportunity of meeting very good people who took a liking to my tenacity, determination and of course my ideas. Abike Dabiri-Erewa I must say was one of our very early backers she invested her time and money and help set up our first venture. This singular gesture confirmed what we had previously doubted. It really gave us the conviction that we were not crazy. It inspired us a lot that we actually had people who believed in us and this alone gave us the drive to perform. When you have people like that who believe in you, you don’t want to let them down.

What lessons would you say you have learnt from Abike Dabiri’s mentoring for instance?

We learnt a lot from even just being around her, she is someone who as you know is extremely busy but we always had 100 per cent access to her even when she was away in Mecca! She is available by phone or text to answer any requests or help with strategy and troubleshooting. That is what you need from a mentor – time and intellect. She was always happy to call people on our behalf at any point in time. Wonderful woman!

What is your assessment of the local content policy of the federal government and how far are small and medium scale enterprises benefitting from the policy? I will be honest with you Festus; I am not even familiar with any local content policy of the federal government with regard to SMEs. In this country, everyone does things as he or she likes, there is no structure. If you are not into Oil & Gas, the banks are not interested. If there is a policy that small and medium scale enterprises are benefitting from, I am not aware of it. The only local content policy I am aware of is in the Oil & Gas sector and that is not my line of business. The hardest thing to come by in Nigeria is information. When I was abroad, you can easily log onto the website of the UK trade and investment department and gain access to vital information. Here, when you log onto the government websites you will begin to see pictures of the Minister and other members of staff at various functions. This should not be so.

In view of prevailing poor data culture in Nigeria, how will you describe the terrain of market research in the country?

Market Research in Nigeria has come a long way from where it was some years back; it is now very sophisticated and developed. This is evident from the influx of goods and services available in the Nigerian market space. Development of products and sound marketing strategies is based upon a core understanding of the consumer. This understanding of the consumer is only derived through effective market research. The country has made gallant strides in terms of data capturing, collation and analysis. Take for instance the just concluded general elections, you can see the way it was conducted effectively using card reading technology that shows you that how we view and capture data is actually improving.

Many have criticised companies, especially the multinationals for the poor judgment on their choice of projects for corporate social responsibility. What is your take on this?

I am not one of those who would criticize a company on their choice of projects as pertains to their CSR objectives. Every organisation can choose to impact society however they feel led or deem fit. It is not the job of anyone to criticize or term it as poor judgment. I believe we cannot all focus on the same thing, there are tons and tons of social ills that need to be attended to and none is more crucial than the other. CSR is not mandatory so the fact that they have chosen to partake in itself should be commended. My personal opinion is just that we continue to enlighten and encourage every company not just the multinationals to engage in CSR activities. There is a greater need for it in this environment than elsewhere.

How is the falling value of naira affecting promoters of small-scale businesses like you?

Well in my opinion, I don’t think the falling value of the naira will necessarily affect businesses that do not deal with foreign exchange. I don’t think there has been a huge increase in our inflation rate. We are still in the single digits, it was about 7.7per cent prior to the slide of the naira and it is currently at 8.4 per cent, I think this is okay to be honest. I must commend the outgoing administration’s efforts in the agricultural sector,

Where do you want your company to be in the next five years?

I want my company to be at the forefront of Africa’s technological revolution. We want to create innovative products and offer services that visibly make life easier for our customers.

Which of the current policies of the outgoing administration do you want the incoming one to inherit?

I want GMBs administration to continue the YOUWIN programme initiated by GEJs administration. It is a good initiative. It can be improved upon but it should be continued. Many young people felt like government was finally working for them through this programme. The outgoing administration also utilized a lot of technology and was able to get rid of almost 50,000 ghost workers, I think the incoming administration needs to be very alert and use a lot of technology where necessary. The outgoing administration also employed a lot of Youth and Women; I believe this should be inherited as well. They can learn a lot from the Youth and Women. Another area is the real sector and agricultural sector, the current administration has done a lot in terms of industrialization and if the momentum is kept by the incoming administration I believe the economy will be the better for it.

© 2015 AllAfrica Global Media. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).


This article was from AllAfrica.com and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


What Separates the Good from the Great

The question is asked: Are there moments in our day that matter far more than others—when the way we behave has a profound and disproportionate effect on many things that follow? And secondly, if such moments exist, what must we do during those times to ensure the subsequent effects of our response are the best they can be?

More than three decades ago, my co-authors and I embarked on a study to discover these crucial moments. We began this search through a blind study of “good” and “great” managers. We asked leaders to give us a list of twenty-five of their stellar managers and twenty-five “good but not great” ones. Our job was to follow these 50 managers around and guess who belonged on which list. We hoped this would be a way to validate whether we had identified truly crucial moments.

While we set aside six months for the study, the crucial moments were obvious within hours. Right away, we noticed the moments that made the biggest difference in a manager’s effectiveness were situations where they had to address an issue with another person or group of people. “Communication” in general was not the crucial moment. It was communication about a topic that had three properties: 1) high stakes; 2) opposing opinions; and 3) strong emotions.

The differences between merely “good” and “great” managers were striking. The “good” managers tended to procrastinate, side step or sugarcoat the real issues. When things got really tense, they occasionally spoke up—but they did it in a way that damaged relationships. The “great” ones had entirely different tendencies. They tended to speak up more quickly and were far more direct—but they did it in a way that was remarkably unifying, calming and respectful.

So we assembled our guesses about good and great managers based on this criterion and found that these crucial moments were 100 percent predictive of managerial genius.

That flagship study began our unintended voyage into a study of crucial conversations. We’ve found, for example, that the capacity to master crucial conversations does not simply predict individual managerial effectiveness—it is also one of the most potent drivers of organizational performance. Here’s a sampling of what we know about crucial conversations from our ongoing study.

The Costs of Conflict Avoidance. According to our research, 95 percent of a company’s workforce struggles to confront their colleagues and managers about their concerns and frustrations. In the study of more than 600 people, we found that employees waste an average of $1,500 and an 8-hour workday for every conflict they avoid. In extreme cases of avoidance, an organization’s bottom line can be hit especially hard. (Full study at https://www.vitalsmarts.com/resource-center/research/.)

Fiscal agility. We studied more than 400 companies who struggled to restructure financially in the face of hard economic times. This study of 2000 managers revealed that how quickly and how well an organization makes financial adjustments depends on how well leaders hold four specific conversations. For example, when managers could not speak up about financial “sacred cows” in their company, the pace of response was five times slower and the quality of the response — as measured by company profitability — was ten times worse. What differentiated companies that responded wisely and quickly was not the size of their financial gap, but how skillfully and consistently people raised four very crucial conversations that inevitably occurred in the process. (Full study at www.vitalsmarts.com/financialagility).

Silence Fails. We studied more than 2200 projects and programs attempted at hundreds of organizations worldwide and found that you can predict months or years in advance, and with close to 90 percent accuracy, which projects will fail. We found that the predictor of success or failure was whether people could skillfully raise five specific concerns that inevitably arise during the life of an initiative.

But, as we’ve seen in many studies, these issues were not the problem. The problem was the silence. In those organizations where people candidly and effectively spoke up about these concerns, the projects were less than half as likely to fail. (Full study at www.silencefails.com.)

The Solution

Most leaders have it wrong. They think organizational productivity and performance are about policies, processes, structures or systems. So when their software product doesn’t get shipped on time, for example, they benchmark others’ development processes. Or, when productivity lags, they tweak their performance management system. If teams aren’t cooperating, they restructure. Our research shows these changes fail more often than they succeed. That’s because the real problem wasn’t process, system or structure—it was behavior. The key to real change is not just to build a great process—it’s for people to hold each other accountable to use the process. And that requires crucial conversations.

What 30-plus years of research into crucial moments has taught me is that one of the most peaceful and productive ways to bring about change is to become far more skillful at handling just these kinds of crucial moments.


This article was written by Joseph Grenny from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


When Marketers Need to Outsource: A Guide to Choosing an MPO

The business world has seen plenty of outsourcing trends. Business process outsourcing (BPO), legal process outsourcing (LPO) and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) have all become standard for many companies seeking to increase productivity while reducing costs. The marketing organizations, however, have long been the holdout in this outsourcing trend, but that is changing rapidly. Chief marketing officers (CMOs), challenged by expanding global footprints and the associated communication and organizational strain, are looking for support. They must maximize resources and streamline their activities including content design, creation and management, multi-format distribution, and localization and analysis, in addition to many other activities. And they have to do all of this in a global marketplace with disparate teams across multiple countries.

Facing new challenges and opportunities, CMOs are taking a closer look at marketing process outsourcing (MPO) partners. Those partners have become vital to many organizations and on both internal and client-facing projects in industries ranging from financial services to consulting, pharmaceuticals, insurance and beyond. The right MPO can help an organization:

  • Increase marketing productivity by creating an extended infrastructure;
  • Decrease budgetary waste;
  • Create and execute a global marketing strategy; and
  • Free up the CMO to focus on business-critical activities.

A successful relationship with an MPO can yield significantly reduced operational costs, as the new approach delivers a shift from a fixed to variable model. However, not all MPOs deliver the same results. When looking for a partner that will deliver returns on investment, CMOs should focus on several key factors.

Four qualities of an effective MPO

  1. Shared corporate vision: Marketers should not view their MPOs merely as the place for offloading excess work. Instead, the MPO should become an extension of the internal marketing team. For that to work, the CMO and the MPO need to share the same vision in a collaborative strategic partnership.
  2. Global reach: As the CMO works to centralize global workflows, he or she will need an MPO with a global presence in order to manage teams across time zones. That global reach also becomes critical when it comes to creating a holistic view of worldwide operations. Experience in process consulting and improving productivity is critical for ultimate success on a larger scale.
  3. Ability to shape the corporate narrative: A great MPO is also a great storyteller. Companies should look for partners that can tell the corporate story so that it resonates as well in Russia, China, Brazil and other target countries as it does in the U.S. An effective partner can mirror the CMO’s approach to this task while tailoring it to local sensibilities around the world.
  4. Meticulous measurement: When the CMO’s primary reason for partnering with an MPO is to streamline and maximize resources, measurement capabilities are especially important. CMOs should look for strategic partners that stress their ability to delve into the data and report it and visualize it in formats that support better decision-making.

The marketing function has been more cautious than other functions to adopt global workforce solution partners than other areas of the “C” suite. Today, technology advances and global demands are driving more CMOs to look at creative ways to manage their marketing activities. As these leaders evaluate their MPO options, they should carefully evaluate each firm’s level of expertise, global reach and ability to work as an extension of the internal team. With the right MPO choice, CMOs will find that they can spend more time creating worldwide and domestic strategies, while trusting their partners to coordinate tactics that fulfill those strategies. Outsourcing can bring sustained competitive advantage, business growth and expense reduction – as long as CMOs choose their MPOs wisely.


This article was written by Andy Lewkowicz from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


The Social Advertising Cheat Sheet Every Marketer Needs Comparing Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

This post originally appeared on AdWeek BrandShare.

So you’re a marketer with good content—text, graphic, images, video—and you’ve decided to use paid social promotion on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn as part of your campaign’s distribution strategy. The problem is, advertising options on the various social networks are confusing at best.

You might know that 80 percent of users prefer to connect with brands on Facebook, while LinkedIn generates the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate—nearly three times higher when compared to Facebook and Twitter. But that doesn’t explain the differences between a Facebook Promoted Post and a Facebook Sponsored Story, or when should you use Twitter instead of Facebook.




This is where the Social Advertising Cheat Sheet comes in (see graphic at right). Part of NewsCred’s “Ultimate Guide to Content Distribution,” the chart helpfully outlines each of these options and their competitive advantages. There’s an explanation of where each ad shows up on the network (newsfeed, home page), what kind of content it’s best used for (images, content marketing) and what metrics to measure to gauge success.


This article was written by The NewsCred Team from NewsCred Blog and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Fairfax to launch Apple Watch news apps

Fairfax Media will be launching new apps engineered to bring Australia’s most trusted news brands to the Apple Watch.

The apps for the iPhone and Apple Watch will feature key news stories, videos, commentary and analysis from the company’s flagship websites, smh.com.au and theage.com.au.

The watch, which officially goes on sale on April 24, is Apple’s first foray into wearable devices and its first new product line since the launch of the iPad five years ago.

The Fairfax iPhone app will be called Skim and will deliver readers a curated selection of the latest news and most popular stories, updated around the clock.

The iPhone app works in tandem with the watch app, Skim for Apple Watch. This app delivers glanceable news headlines, news alerts, live sports scores and weather information onto the watch. Readers can also save headlines on the watch and read the full story later on their iPhones.

“Fairfax is investing heavily in mobile because that’s where a large part of our audience is,” said Fairfax mobile director Stefan Savva. “Skim is one of a number of mobile products we are working on and are really excited about the potential that wearable computers like the Apple Watch could have.”

Fairfax, the publisher of this website, says it is the first Australian publisher to launch an Apple Watch app.

The apps will be available on the respective watch and iPhone app stores from April 24. Fairfax subscribers will get unlimited access to the apps. Non-subscribers will receive 10 free articles a month.

The watch will only work in conjunction with the iPhone 5 and above using the most recent iOS software version.

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This article was written by Stephen Hutcheon from Sydney Morning Herald and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


A Bank Starts Its Own Streaming Service, And It Might Make Sense

What do you think your reaction would be if I told you that a major banking institution just started its own music streaming service? If you knew anything about the music business, chances are you’d be incredulous. With all the existing competition in the marketplace and some deep pocketed players about to re-enter the sector in a big way, at first look this move seems to be somewhat misguided, especially for a major bank.

There may be one place where this action defies common wisdom however, and that’s in Brazil.

Billboard recently reported that Brazilian banking giant Banco Bradesco (#63 on the Forbes Global 2000) entered into a partnership with Universal Music Group to create a new streaming music service exclusively for its credit card holders.

Now, read that again and tell me what your reaction is. I bet at least part of it is, “Why?”

On the surface this seems like a crazy move, but that’s because we automatically think of the music industry of the United States as a reference point. The reality is that Brazil is a different animal completely.

According to the IFPI, Brazil is the ninth largest music market with $228 million in total revenue last year. It’s also still a young market when it comes to streaming, even though most of the major players have launched there.

Actually, the country still has a physical piracy problem, primarily due to the fact that broadband service isn’t widespread throughout the country yet. It’s been estimated by the Association Anti-Piracy of Film and Music, a Brazilian watchdog agency, that anywhere between 48% and 65% of its total market is still dominated by piracy.



And Brazilian artists seem to encourage the situation. 90% of all albums sold are by local artists and bands, but many rush to give copies of their albums to illegal street vendors as soon as they’re available.

The point is that streaming music is in its infancy in Brazil, so for a deep pocketed bank to create its own service for its customers may not be crazy after all. Oh, and the price is just 4.90 Reals, or around $2 USD, which makes the price right in just about any country at the moment.

While a closed-garden service featuring just Universal music products might be limiting in most world markets, that might not be the case in Brazil. Yes, all the major players like Spotify and Deezer are there, but their penetration is still low.

Much like Apple, who has more than 800 million credit cards of users on file, Banco Bradesco is in the same position, as the new service is an enticement for its credit card holders to stay, and new ones to sign up.

That being said, this seems to be a short term strategy at best. As streaming music users become more sophisticated, they will surely desire a larger catalog to choose from. Still, there’s something to be said for a low price that can win a consumer over just about anywhere.

The real question is, with free being the consumer’s price choice at the moment, is $2 still too much?


This article was written by Bobby Owsinski from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.