Weekend Digest: The Presidents Edition

by Larry Brannan ([email protected]) 49 views 

For our weekend business and political readers:

Which is more important? To correct weaknesses or to identify strengths? Harvard Business Review has posted the opinion of two highly respected leadership development consultants, and their answers may surprise you.

One of the most dramatic changes in leadership development in the last decade has been the shift in focus from correcting weaknesses to identifying and expanding on strengths. As this movement continues to catch hold, three myths have emerged that deserve to be dispelled.

What are those myths and how are they dispelled by the consultants?  Click here to find out.

Paula Deen’s demise has been well-chronicled the past several weeks, but how has Alec Baldwin kept his job as spokesperson and television pitch man for Capital One after his spate of bad behavior and insensitive remarks? Bloomberg Businessweek explores.

Capital One has somewhat surprisingly stuck with Baldwin through a flurry of public controversies, including getting kicked off a plane, allegedly calling a photographer a racial epithet, leaving a furious and insulting voice mail for his daughter and, as of last week, directing antigay slurs at a reporter he was mad at on Twitter. (He has since apologized.)

So what gives? Bloomberg Businessweek has a series of theories as to how bad boy Baldwin has kept his Capital One gig.

A spokesperson for the bank did not reply to an e-mail seeking comment. But experienced brand managers say there’s another possible explanation for why Capital One is tolerating so much seemingly angry, offensive behavior on Baldwin’s part.

Namely, it’s not entirely out of character for the role they’re paying him to play.

Bloomberg Businessweek offers other differences between Baldwin’s behavior and Deen’s as it relates to public perception of the behavior and how that perception can be judged. Go to this link for the whole story.

That had become the dilemma for social entrepreneur Saul Garlick.

In 2002, at the age of 18, Saul Garlick started a program to fight poverty by building schools in rural South Africa.

By 2004, his vision had broadened and he started an organization, Student Movement for Real Change, to encourage entrepreneurship in third world communities. Over the last two years, Mr. Garlick and his team have produced some 50 such “microenterprises” — including one that finances water projects in Kenya, one that sells charcoal and stoves in Rwanda and a cocoa nursery in Ghana.

Now called ThinkImpact, keeping his rapidly growing nonprofit afloat with the endless challenges of fundraising had become a daunting task and Garlick began considering changing his business model to for-profit.

The New York Times has an in-depth look at the decision processes this young entrepreneur faced as he contemplated the change, including the concern of how his agenda might be perceived if there was a bottom line other than social change. Find out more about Garlick’s intriguing quandary at this link.

It’s back, it’s changed, and it now also features music.

With companies from Apple to Spotify jostling for control of the online music marketplace, there’d seem to be little room for the site most known for being crushed by Facebook. But MySpace may have a new trick up its sleeve. The revamped network, which launched publicly last month, includes a section devoted to music discovery, featuring not just news and reviews but also striking photography and even live-streamed performances.

FastCompany goes inside the new MySpace with an an interview of Joseph Patel, who is its vice president of content and creative. Learn what changes Patel has made and more about the revamp of MySpace by clicking this link.

There was a time when a presidential address on live TV from the Oval Office made the nation come to a halt. That was before myriad cable/sports channels and the internet.

Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy interrupted prime-time shows to tell Americans from the Oval Office why they had ordered troops to desegregate schools. Bill Clinton broke into programming from behind the presidential desk three times in a month to explain military actions in Haiti and Iraq. Ronald Reagan, the telegenic former actor, set the record for evening addresses from the Oval Office desk: 29 over two terms.

Even the untelegenic Richard M. Nixon spoke 22 times from the Oval Office in just five years, the last time to resign in disgrace.

But as the New York Times points out, “It was three years ago this summer that Mr. Obama gave his only two prime-time addresses from the Oval Office — the first on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the second on ending combat operations in Iraq. That ties the number for George W. Bush at a similar point in his presidency.”

Why have the use of Oval Office addresses become so rare with the past two presidents and could it be considered a mistake? The Times has analysis from experts on both sides of the issue as well as a selection of televised addresses from the Oval Office at this link.

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid launched a barn-burner of a speech on the Senate floor, excoriating Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for “continued obstruction when it comes to presidential nominees.” He escalated the battle by setting up test votes next week on a series of potentially controversial nominees.

“Senator McConnell broke his word,” Reid said. “The Republican leader has failed to live up to his commitments. He’s failed to do what he said he would do — move nominations by regular order except in extraordinary circumstances. I refuse to unilaterally surrender my right to respond to this breach of faith.”

The majority leader declared that no “matter who is elected, whether it is Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, that person shouldn’t have to go through what we’ve gone through the last four and a half years.”

“Is there anybody out there in America that thinks this body is functioning well?” he said.

TPM has posted at this link a full account of the fray between the two veteran Senate leaders including McConnell’s response who was “clearly worked up over Reid’s speech.”

He was the greatest baseball player to ever play the game. His fame even surpassed presidents of his time who sought to meet the Bambino. Real Clear Politics has put together a delightful series of recollections and anecdotes of meetings between Ruth and the presidents he knew.

In the mid-1920s, Calvin Coolidge attended a Yankees-Senators game on a sweltering summer day in Washington. Several of the Yankees players, including Ruth, lined up to greet and shake the president’s hand.

“Mr. Ruth,” said the famously taciturn Coolidge.

“Hot as hell, ain’t it, Prez?” replied the Babe.

Ironically as Ruth’s health began to fail the year before he died, he met a young college ballplayer who would go on to become president. Click here to “field” the story.

Mashable reports on the beginning and the evolution of the APP Store with a list of the “Top 10 Milestones.”

Lots of changes have taken place over the last five years and it’s hard to argue that the impact the App Store has had on the world of mobile and smartphones is anything but immense.

On Monday, Apple started celebrating five years of the App Store with some free app promotions and a look at highlights over the last half-decade. Although that list was good, it missed some important milestones.

Click here for a look at the list.

Well why not? Our beloved canine friends have everything else including our hearts, why not their own TV channel?

One might find this absurd, but according to DOGTV CEO Gilad Neumann the concept can act as a cure for the gnawing emotional distress that many housebound animals experience.

“Dogs spend many hours alone at home every day,” says Neumann. “As we work harder and both household members usually go out to work, dogs spend a lot more time at home. They’re very lonely, they’re bored, they suffer from separation-anxiety often and people look for solutions.”

For years pet authorities have recommended that pet owners leave televisions or radios on for their lonely animals, said Neumann, and now there are shows optimized to grab hold of the animal’s attention.

So who is the first to come out with an exclusive channel for dogs, how much will it cost, and what will its content be like? Forbes has the reveal at this link.