CAREER: Tagline gone awry

Pin It First, I need to pre-apologize for this post. This blog is not about marketing and advertising specific, to the point I am going to begin to critique work that is out in the market. There are plenty of blogs doing a great job doing that-Adrant being one of my faves. But as I was eating lunch the other day, I looked at the Heinz ketchup bottle and saw it's recent tagline "Grown, not made." and I just had to make a point. I promise to not do this again anytime soon. But I am sorry. Ketchup is not grown. Tomatoes are grown. Ketchup is MADE. If someone has some ketchup seeds, then hook me up because you have some miracle seeds on your hands. I mean really. Who GROWS ketchup. There are so many ways to get to a fresh, quality produce positioning without telling tall-tales. Sure, advertising is all about "puffery", exaggeration and the art of persuasion. But tag lines should not be tall-tales. Leave that to the TV spots.

GARDENING: Product review, ORTHO ECOSENSE

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I have used lots of products over the years to ward off disease and insects in the garden. One of my concerns has always been the bad chemicals that I was using with having a small child running around. The other issue is just effectiveness, or lack there of. My roses seem to get black spot towards the end of the season, and I have tried all kinds of stuff to no avail. Until now. Ortho just came out with a whole ECOSENSE line of products. I have to say, the 3 in 1 Rose & Flower care totally works. It doesn't smell like bad chemicals and cleared out all the black spot on my tea rose and my floribunda bush. This is the first time I have had a spray-on product that actually works. I spray it on once a week when I know there is no rain in the forecast, and they are coming back in full force! I am absolutely thrilled. I also used the ECOSENSE slug granules in the shade garden and I am seeing a lot less slug "nibbles" since I have been using it. Hurray for Ortho!


CAREER: The differences between managing men and women

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I have been in a management capacity officially for 9 years now, (unofficially managing young interns make it 13 years) and have had the pleasure of mentoring many talented people on my staff. I have noticed over the years that there are subtle differences between managing men versus women. I say this not from a "feminist" point of view but because of the chemical and biological differences in each gender. This comes into play in relationships as well as in the workplace. The following article eloquently points out some of the differences. I have also included a short list of the differences that I have seen over my management years. I highlight these to not say that one attribute is better than the other, just different. And it is those differences, in an equal mix, that bring a variety of talent and strength to the workplace. What my observations, coupled by articles similar to the one below reinforce is that what one gender lacks the other compensates. So there does need to be a healthy balance of both in any office and in all layers of management. That way, an organization can reap the benefits of both worlds.


The following points may be arguably huge generalities, and really change per individual talents as well. For instance, my past male supervisor was more of a mentor than other men I have worked for. But overall, the following bullets are what I've observed and keep in mind as I manage both genders so that work is a positive and growing experience.



1: Women are better multitaskers, men are more focused

2: Women get emotional (we biologically have bigger tear ducts!), men are pragmatic

3: Women are better at details, men are about the big picture

4: Women research, then go for it- men trust their gut and go for it

5: Women listen & talk more, men talk less and are more direct

6: Women read (books, research, body language), men just "do"

7: Women mentor, men direct

Below is that interesting article I mentioned...


Women Vs. Men: Who's Better At Business? From Forbes.com
Matthew Kirdahy, 05.28.08, 5:35 PM ET

Gender science tells us that women are more likely than men to remember they even read this story. In Leadership and the Sexes: Using Gender Science to Create Success in Business, Michael Gurian and Barbara Annis offer decades of experience so we can decide who is better at what in the business world.

But it turns out that it's not a question of better, just different.

"I think what we've been able to prove over the last 20 years is that there is not superiority or inferiority," said co-author Gurian, who also wrote the best-selling The Wonder of Boys.

Leadership and the Sexes, published by Jossey-Bass, combines Gurian's use of brain science in gender studies and Annis' years of experience consulting top international companies on gender concerns. Annis adds real-life examples of what's happening in business leadership.

Forget about individuals for a second, and observe everyone just as male or female on the job.

According to the book, due out in August, men are more apt to zone out in a meeting since their brains are designed to enter a "rest state" more easily than women. In that same meeting, women may run off topic before returning to the task at hand because they're born multi-taskers.

Gurian talked to Forbes.com about how the book digs deeper into these differences and offers tips on improving communication, negotiations and leadership in the workplace based on the gender balance.

Forbes.com: Other than just years of practical experience, what type of research needs to be done to write a book on this sensitive subject matter?

Gurian: I've been in a number of corporations. That's relatively anecdotal. [Barbara Annis] has done formal diagnostics and her corporation (Barbara Annis & Assoc.) has done over 2,000 workshops at corporations.

The brain science of the book is obviously the bedrock, and that's my 20 years of that. Then my personal, anecdotal and then the book research, the scholarly research on what's already out there. There are other reports already out there--women in leadership books, authentic leadership books--there's a lot out there to see if I could match it with gender.

Then Barbara Annis' workshops and all the anecdotal research she's brought in ... What I did is I basically wrote a book that brought together everything I could find that showed when you use brain-differences information, here's the positive effect on people and on corporations.

What do you mean when you say that this gender science is a bottom-line issue?

There are two ways in which I've seen this happen. One thing, if you look at the endorsement blurb for Brooks Sports--I was working with them, and they saw immediately that when the folks learned about the brain differences, the workplace comfort increased, the power of that workplace increased. They understood, as leaders, how to help their sales teams. Help men market to women and women market to men. That's an example of where it started with the HR level and the CEO level and trickled through.

Another example: Barbara and her corporation and others went into Deloitte & Touche about 10 years ago [to teach] the brain differences ... the differences between males and females. In that case, their bottom line was affected by retention. They retained talent. [We] give that example in there of the $109 million that they claim they're saving by retaining these people, especially women ...

A third way to look at it is in the IBM way. They are a sort of a combination of both. They develop mentoring systems. They taught people male-female brain difference. And they made changes in both. They increased the diversity in their small business and market ability so they sold more products. They also retained more people.

Who will benefit most from the information in this book? Could it be of any special use to, say, hiring managers? While they can't discriminate, could they use this information when considering the right candidate for a job?

I know that that's how my teaching is used, and I know that what happens is folks absorb this. And HR people are very smart, they just haven't seen this information. Once they get this information, they'll say OK, No. 1, who am I going to hire? It's not they're discriminating--it just becomes something intuitive.

When they're assessing people, they're intuitively now assessing for things like how will this man work with this female team. If I want to hire this man, because I really love what he brings, how do I need to train him to work with this female team and vice versa? How will this female work with this male team? I want to hire her, [but] she might be overreacting to the things men do, or the men might be overreacting to the women. How do I train them to get over that so people don't leave a year from now?

I think it's absorbed, and it becomes intuitive, and then it's also specifically about addressing gaps that we all have. We walk into our marriages with a gap. How does this woman work? How does this man work? I sort of see this as a part of the evolution of the human being, and they come to a workplace and the HR person becomes a part of their growth by providing them with these assets.

How truly different are men and women in business? Is one gender built to be a better business leader than another?

Not better. I think what we've been able to prove over the last 20 years is that there is not superiority or inferiority. It's different. That can be broken down. Like negotiation--no matter where we go in the world, and we want to remember that the research that I put in my book is worldwide. This is hard science.

All over the world when you test men and women for facial cue recognition, women test ... better. It's a negotiation tool. This is an example where if you say to yourself--if you're a man, and you say, "Hey, I know everything. I walked into this negotiation, there's like $50 million at stake, I've got it wired." But you're not really great at reading facial cues--and especially if you're one of these high-powered competitive guys who's not very good at reading facial cues. You really want to team up with a woman leader and go into the negotiation as a male-female team, because she'll bring many assets, but one may be that she's better at reading facial cues than you are.

We have this example of a $50 million mistake. The guys thought they nailed it because they presented the data, but their female partner said, "no, no, no. Those two CFOs they needed more info." The guys didn't believe her, but she was reading facial cues that they couldn't read. They didn't believe her and they lost the deal.

As a man or a woman, what gender would you prefer being on the other side of the negotiation table?

Well, one wants to be ready for anything, and so of course the teams that you face are going to be men and women. Statistically, you're going to face more men than women when you're negotiating because more men are at the very top right now. But you're still going to face some women too. The idea is to put together a team, not only to develop your own personal assets.

It's about the self, the individual man or woman gaining more strength. It's about them valuing the areas where they are strong. Then it's about them creating gender partnerships between men and women so that they are getting the assets of both sexes.

This facial cue thing is an example. We are not going to next year produce as many men who are as good at reading facial cues as women because the brain differences are too profound.

The old idea of we'll change each other--we're saying, "Well hey, that's how we're losing all this talent and all this money. Let's look at the natural assets."

Take Sen. Hillary Clinton as an example of these natural leadership assets. She tends to possess the skills of both it seems, especially in competition.

Now, Hillary Clinton is a great example of sort of both. I was going to say that men and women both compete and bond, they just do it differently. Hillary Clinton, as I see her--of course I'm just observing her through the media, I don't know her personally--I see a woman who is really caught. She is competing as a woman. She is authentic, but she's cutting off from herself some assets because she's trying to compete like a man.

When she cried and really touched those people in New Hampshire--if I were advising her I would say, do more of that. That's authentic to you and that really touches people, but she's caught. A woman right now running for office is caught. Especially running against a guy who is so dynamic. You're constantly playing defense because [Obama's] speaking skills are so incredible.

A lot of women will be sort of "competitive like a guy" in the workplace, but then when they go home, they realize that's not fully authentic for them. They would like to have a more expansive or more authentic relationship in the workplace around competition. And they can help because they go home. Then they meet with their friends and then they're not very competitive. So the workplace is trying to alter women, and some of that's great. I think we need to compete.

I think our vision is that the workplace that wants to retain women and save those hundreds of millions of dollars also has to understand how women compete and how they bond and it is different.

We have this story in the book of this woman who was under a lot of stress and she cried. The guy said, "Oh, you're weak." Well, when they go through this training, they read this and go, "Wait a minute--that's how she is actually being powerful." It brings people to her. It helps people understand her, and she's still closing just as many deals as the guy. Female tear glands are 60% larger than male [tear glands], so women are going to tend to cry more.

Who would you rather work for, a man or a woman?

I've had both. I like both. I just have to go into any experience, obviously treating everyone as an individual, but saying the conversations with woman will probably be longer. I have to be more patient because their magic is going to come through them verbalizing more and connecting more dots. With men, I have to generally say, the conversations will be a little shorter, the meetings with be a little shorter. We're going to cut to the chase a little quicker. So some things won't get discussed, but we're going to go for the end product more quickly. I think there are benefits to both.

MOMMYHOOD: Why do doctors speak in riddles?

Pin It We recently had a scare with my daughter and we had to rush to an immediate care clinic to have her looked at. After tests were done, the doctor came in and began to tell us what was wrong with her, but in very vague terms. Also, not in layman's terms. The funny thing is that this was a fairly young doctor, and this was not what I would expect from a young doctor. My daughter ended up having a severe urinary tract infection. As he explained what that was, he talked about finding protein in the urine, so he stressed that I needed to really do a follow up with our pediatrician. Then he continued on about the antibiotics. My mommy alert went off. That seemed important...rewind! "What does protein in the urine mean?" He explained and as it turned out this was potentially very serious. (I couldn't believe he was going to skip over this!). Then he continued, they were going to prescribe an antibiotic, but they were sending out for a work up and will call us with the results in a couple days...and he continued on about antibiotics. Mommy alert again! "What work up? Didn't you just do one? You are prescribing something today, aren't you?" He explained they needed to grow the culture for a few days to make sure the antibiotic was the correct one. Again, I couldn't believe he was going to gloss over that as well. I just found myself grilling this poor man, as my husband just sat quietly in the corner. I think my husband felt I was being enough of a "mamma lion", he did not need to join in. But honestly, if I did not, would I be clear about where my daughter's health stood and what important next steps needed to happen to ensure her care?

This whole incident validated again that we need to be consumers, not just patients. We need to be vigilant and really ask questions with these doctors, just like you were asking a sales person about a washing machine. They have tunnel visions sometimes, and what makes sense in their narrow world does not make sense to us all the time. We need to educate ourselves and not be afraid to really ask tough questions with them. Its our health on the line-not theirs.

Ironically, when I got back to my mother's house I found I still did not ask enough questions! My daughter showed more symptoms from the urinary tract infection that were quite scary. These were symptoms the doctor did not even mention I might see. I had to get on the Internet and do some research and find out myself. It was Sunday and the office was closed, so it was either that or a costly visit to the ER! Thank GOD for the Internet. We can at least educate ourselves and fill in the potholes that these doctors leave in their path. My advice-BE mamma lions! Ask tons of questions! Be vigilant!

MOMMYHOOD: Whatever happened to Summer Vacation?

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I am amazed at how busy we are week to week with school work-and it's summer break! Before school's end, my daughter's teacher recommended we get her a math tutor over the summer. So we started one day a week and moved it to two. That involves homework week to week. Meanwhile, Carla was sent home with summer workbooks and a work log as well. These workbooks revolve around reading and writing. Her school urges summer work so they don't forget what they learned throughout the year. Each workbook, to get through all of it, would involve 17-20 pages a week. We also enrolled in the Chicago Summer reading program as well (10 chapter books in 8 weeks). Carla also requested beginning piano classes (which I am totally on board with) which involves practice and workbook homework.

All this would be much easier to get through if we were not so busy week to week this summer with family obligations, outings, visits and entertaining. And I also want her to enjoy her vacation. Her school is very aggressive academically and I think she could use a break. She just finished 1st grade, for Pete's sake!

Then I think back on my summers. I was not pressured to do any summer work except reading, which I did voraciously. Back then, schools did not put summer pressure on kids unless you needed to go to "summer school" for failing grades. I remember feeling a huge load off my shoulders when the last day of school came around to a close. I relaxed and enjoyed my friends, the pool, the weather, the TV sitcoms (Lost in Space was a guilty pleasure), and the park. So I have to remind myself that letting children be children and letting them take time to enjoy the world around them is just as big a part of their education as "hitting the books". If we don't have the work log all filled out or we miss a a book or two, I should not beat myself up about it. What will make more of an impact on my daughter-sitting with me on the deck with a blanket looking at the clouds eating ice cream for an hour, or plowing through "telling time"? I know which one of those made an impact on me-and maybe that says it all.

GARDENING: How I have made peace with my shade garden

Pin It Old house, Sun garden

I embarked on my gardening journey over ten years ago in our old house. For a chicago lot, it was a very large yard (and a very small house). The yard was a disaster when we inherited it. Two, "kujo-like" dogs had created large dirt holes and ripped up all the grass. There was a pond that was left to be a dirty mosquito breeding pit. Rich and I tilled it all, moved dirt, dug up nonsense and planted flower gardens on all sides. We even resurrected the pond. All the gardens were full sun, and the dirt was like cotton. It was soft and fine. So, long story short, I was spoiled.

Sun gardens have a lot going for them-especially for the novice gardener. Sun gardens can be full of flowers all season long. There is much more of a selection at any garden center. Disease and insects have a tougher time surviving on account of the heat. So my sun garden was my easy introduction into gardening. I am still mourning that garden I left at the old house to this very day.

At our new house, I inherited a very large, side shade garden. The previous owners made a half hearted attempt to turn it
into something. They had put paver paths in a very formal, graphic design. They planted a lot of hostas and ground cover, but that was about it. They used landscaping liner on all the beds which prevented the ground cover to take (see previous post about how landscape liner is the devil incarnate). So as I went to planning, I struggled with the short bloom times and the ability to get some of the more unique shade plants at your local "box store". I discovered (as I still struggle with slugs, drainage and blooms) that a shade garden is a very delicate balance of light, moisture, bloom times, shades of green and texture. But there is no truer way to show off your garden prowess than a beautiful, successful shade garden.

I had to discover the subtle beauty a shade garden can offer over the past couple of years, like the different fronds and shapes of certain ferns, the various greens different hostas can provide, the different shapes of leaves certain perennials can add even when the short lived blooms are gone. I have discovered indigenous, woodland plants that thrive in moister, shadier gardens. These kinds of plants have a unique look to them and naturalize nicely with the garden.

I had to learn about root rot, slugs and bad soil. I also had to learn how to be creative when solving garden problems. For instance, I use small bathroom mirrors tied around the tree trunk in the middle of the garden as a design element but also as a way to kick around ambient sunlight to the shade garden. I hung a hanging basket off the tree with annuals to add more color and texture where it needed it. I have hand painted chairs in the garden to also add color to the shade garden. Even in two years, the shade garden has really come along and is a wonderful oasis in the afternoons. Which leads me to the final things I have discovered about shade gardens, and that are the sounds. When a breeze rustles all the foliage as I sit under the tree, it is a wonderful sound. I discovered each plant has it's own, unique sound. It has become a very peaceful corner of my garden.

CAREER- 3% of the country's creative directors are women-but guess who does all the buying?

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We had a consultant in a couple months ago to talk to us about social media, and he uncovered this statistic that 3% of the nation's creative directors are women. That is not a lot, considering that 85% of the population that makes the buying decisions are women. Ironic, especially when women nowadays are consuming messages differently.

 

Multi-tasking female consumers have little or no time for commercial messages. They spend less time at single-focused pursuits, like recreational shopping or watching television. Research shows that fewer women than ever are browsing shopping malls, and when watching TV or cooking dinner, they may be working online simultaneously.

http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/10-23-2006/0004457251&EDATE=

 

SO it begs the question, why then, are men still mostly influencing and crafting messaging that should be targeting women-women that are consuming messages very differently than 5 years ago? Isn't it time, that the very male dominated industry of marketing and advertising put women at the forefront? Isn't it time that women become leaders versus just the girl that goes and gets the lunch order? If it's women that consumes and influences the buying, then women should be the ones influencing that messaging. I don't know, it makes sense to me, but then again, I am a woman.

MOMMY-HOOD-Are we creating "on-demand" children?

Pin It It dawned on me the other day while staying with a friend that our children are being raised in a day where they don't have to wait for much. They can watch movies instantly on NETFLIX, catch a cartoon they missed on ON-DEMAND, the internet is at their fingertips when they wish to go to POPTROPICA or WEBKINZ, and if a store does not carry a toy, they just have to ask mom to look on the internet and there it is. Remember when cartoons were only on the weekends and you had to wait 6 months to get a movie at the rental store? You got books from the library and what you saw at the store was it – make your choice or forever hold your peace.

I think we as parents are under a lot of pressure to make sure that this culture does not contaminate our children. With all the technological advances comes much convenience that I, for one, enjoy. But I need to be careful. I notice my daughter expecting things right when she wants them. I have to temper those expectations, or she might be on the verge of becoming the next Veruca Salt! I think one of the things that might help is just putting limits on everything. Limits such as only one on-demand cartoon a day-or a half hour only on the computer. But I think the burden lies with me. I have to make it clear I am not at her beck and call, having to drop everything to do something for her. She either has to wait for me when I am able to react to her or figure things out on her own. If tempers flare, it will have to be a time out. We, as parents, need to make sure we are not becoming "ON-DEMAND" parents.
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