Last week I discussed some of the strategic and ethical considerations for business owners who blog during my fifth guest appearance on The Small Business Advocate radio program. For more views on executive blogging, read the The Harper Report (volume 4.7). You can review my blog's purpose, philosophy, and guidelines for posting by visiting the About This Blog link on the sidebar. Please let me know if there are issues you would like me to discuss.
Pam Harper & Scott Harper’s News & Views
News has just been released that by the end of 2008, the Transportation Security Administration expects to have 500 “Behavior Detection Officers” in place at airports across the U.S.A. to assess facial “micro-expressions.”
According to reports, these officers are trained to detect expressions of fear and disgust because they’re often tied to deception, which could be masking illegal and dangerous behavior. So here’s a question: have you ever been fearful and disgusted in an airport? I know I get that way when I’m delayed for hours, running to make connections, and starving for decent food.
Understanding the nuances of non-verbal language is essential, not just for airport security, but for all of us. It’s easy to make assumptions that may not be valid – especially when cultural differences are involved. Before jumping to conclusions about someone’s intent, find out what’s happening behind the expression. You may discover there’s more going on than meets the eye.
Sometimes it takes a jolt to put business and life in proper perspective. In this case, my husband Scott and I narrowly missed being involved in a major traffic accident several days ago while we on our way back to NJ after a brief trip to the San Francisco Bay Area.
As we headed west on I-580 during the morning rush hour on August 13, a car two lanes to the right suddenly went out of control, bounced off the concrete barrier on the right shoulder of the expressway, careened across three lanes of heavy traffic a few feet in back of us, was broadsided by another car, and then crashed nose first into the concrete barrier bordering train tracks in the median. Clearly there was severe damage to vehicles. Undoubtedly there were injuries.
As the reality of what happened set in for both of us, Scott and I discussed how grateful we are. Not just because we weren’t
Sadly, it’s hard to tell who is for real anymore. Today I noticed a half-page ad in the Wall Street Journal advertising a service to protect against identify theft and “guarantee my good name.” Is this what we’ve come to? Are we now compelled to buy expensive insurance policies simply to go through life with our names intact?
While these services may someday become as important to have as any other business insurance or homewner’s policy, I still believe that we’re personally accountable for doing what we can do on an individual basis to preserve the integrity and reputation of our own names and the names of our companies. For example:
- I work closely with CB Software (the developer and hosting service for both this blog and the Business Advancement Inc. website) to ensure that files are secure, and that inquiries and comments are legitimate.
- I only disclose confidential information when I’ve initiated the call, or when the website I’m using has security protection.
- I ask those who send me email with attachments (even those I know) to send a message in the body copy so that I know the attachment is not a virus. Furthermore, you will never receive an unsolicited blank email with an attachment from me, or from anyone representing Business Advancement Inc.
Keeping our names and reputations intact can’t be totally delegated, no matter how good the protection service may be. We all need to be aware and engaged in the process.
This photo comes from my visit to Palmerston North, New Zealand. These people have the right idea: encouraging desired behavior is much more likely to increase it. Yet how many of us ask for what we don’t want instead of what we do want?
I took a small survey the other day while I was in a hospital waiting room, and counted at least four signs that started with the “N word”: “No eating,” “No drinking,” “No smoking,” and “No cell phone.” While these types of signs may get some people to comply (I noticed at least one person using a cell phone), they will never improve cooperation. Ironically, the goal on the biggest sign in the waiting room was to “Exceed customer expectations.”
What might happen if we reversed “No” signs and asked for the behavior we really want? Try it, and let me know what happens.