The Nice Guy Syndrome

What, exactly, is a “Nice Guy”? I’m not sure. There’s no occupation or glaring trait that screams to the world, “I’m nice!” One thing I’m fairly sure of is that the term “Nice Guy” is subjective. It’s a title given to someone because of their pleasantness or meekness. The Nice Guy may be charming, yet not obtrusive; he’s there when you need him, says yes to everything (even when he wants to say no), makes good light conversation, but doesn’t obtusely butt in where he doesn’t belong. In short, he becomes the most pleasing friend that he can realistically be. The Nice Guy’s behavior is always near-constant and changes only slightly regardless of the situation.

The Nice Guy has no problem acquiring plenty of friends, sure, why not? Everyone likes a Nice Guy, but no one especially loves him; Nice Guys show their strongly supportive natures when needed, yet make little impression when the situation requires real leadership. Don’t get me wrong, Nice Guys are an integral part of the community and they mean well. The world likes Nice Guys because they make the world a somewhat better place; it’s just unfortunate that no one wants to give them any credit for their efforts.

In that sense of the phrase, many years ago, I had certain “Nice Guy” tendencies. I soon realize that I was able to derive more benefits socially and professionally by becoming a “Smart Guy”. Smart guys understand the dynamics of a situation and proceed accordingly. They display behavior that best suits the situation while assuring that the experience is mutually beneficial.

Society values form over substance and the thrill of fulfillment over the stale calm of utopia. Therefore, in the natural selection that is society, “Nice Guy” tendencies may be perceived as a weakness over the long term especially when gratuitous, gregarious self-promotion is the norm. If Nice Guys finish last it is not because they deserve it, it’s because society chose them to finish there.

The Nice Guy’s only hope is time and experience when the day breaks and he finally sees the light that allows him to proceed accordingly.

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Blackberry’s on Top

According to a July ‘07 ChangeWave Alliance survey of over 3000 participants, the BlackBerry is tops in the smartphone industry with 38% of the overall market. RIM increased its commanding lead over number two and fading Palm which has slipped to 23%. Palm will have to differentiate itself quite strongly if it is to regain its market share.

Notice that Apple iPhone is at 4%, but considering that the survey was conducted in July, only a week or two after the iphone was introduced, a 4% share is impressive. Although I’m a very happy Blackberry owner, I’m forced to consider whether this top dog status is because most companies tend to choose the Blackberry when considering a phone for their executives.

Brand Strategy

When looking at brand strategy in marketing, one of the most important concepts to consider is that a brand is not just a memorable name or logo – it’s an experience. A great brand statement or strategy communicates values and emotions that come to mind whenever a person thinks of that name or logo.

This post was submitted via mobile phone.

Thoughts on Diversity

I recently read an article at WSJ.com titled The Death of Diversity and it prompted me to think about the basic premise of diversity. I was one of the so called “diversity trainers” for a number of years while working for a fortune 500 company. During my tenure, it became increasingly clear that in an era of globalization, expanding international markets and rapidly changing demographics, this generation shouldn’t even have to make a case for diversity. But unfortunately, the conversation has to continue as there’s still work to be done.

The WSJ article points to research conducted by Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam. His researchers did 30,000 interviews in 41 U.S. communities and found that people in ethnically diverse settings don’t want to have much of anything to do with each other. “Social capital” erodes. Diversity has a downside.

I’ll agree that the study is thought provoking and suitable for a debate and further research but I disagree with its conclusion. Even Robert Putnam suggests that social identity is something that is constantly evolving and we’re always redefining ourselves and our communities. We’re not just ethnic groups; we’re suburbanites and downtown dwellers, white-collar professionals and blue-collar workers etc. We all have a fresh perspective to bring to the table. Let’s continue to engage each other in discourse that promotes and accepts our differences while seeking to improve our human condition.

Quitting can be an option

Quitting is typically considered a dirty word in the business world. According to Seth Godin, however, “strategic quitting” is a skill that’s well worth cultivating.

In his book, The Dip, he explores a mental model that represents the path to “best in the world” status for any goal or project worth pursuing. When you inevitably run out of steam on the long path to greatness, it’s absolutely necessary to be able to see if (1) the path you’re on is going to take you where you want to go, and (2) if you have what it takes to push through the unavoidable tough times and become the best in the world in your chosen field. If the path’s a dead-end or the reward is simply no longer worth it, you’re much better off quitting and reinvesting your time and energy elsewhere.

Over the years, I’ve used this concept to my benefit. Of course, I recommend that you carefully analyze and evaluate your situation before proceeding. This course of action can provide an invaluable method to help you restructure your plan and focus on what’s important for the road ahead.

Focus on your strengths

I am a proponent of the management philosophy that a person should focus on developing their strengths rather than trying to fix their weaknesses. This theory was proposed by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in their book, First, Break All The Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently. This idea was based on the Gallup organization’s interviews with 80,000 managers across different industries and the authors explored how great managers attract, hire, focus, and keep their most talented employees.

Here are some key ideas from the book:
1. The best managers reject conventional wisdom.
2. The best managers treat every employee as an individual.
3. The best managers never try to fix weaknesses; instead they focus on strengths and talent.
4. The best managers know they are on stage everyday. They know their people are watching every move they make.
5. Measuring employee satisfaction is vital information for your investors.
6. People leave their immediate managers, not the companies they work for.
7. The best managers are those that build a work environment where the employees answer positively to the following 12 Questions:

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Gail Storm & Co. Featuring Shenole Latimer

Spent some time at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum on Sunday and enjoyed an afternoon of sight seeing and relaxing. There was also a concert performance from one of my favorite jazz musicians, Shenole Latimer. He made a sideman appearance with blues sensation Gail Storm and her group, in a captivating outdoor performance.

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You never know …

 

A few days ago, a friend pointed me to the New York State Comptroller’s Unclaimed Funds Web Page. This web site exists because banks, utility companies, insurance companies, investment firms and employers are among the entities required by law to surrender inactive accounts to New York State. As such, if a NY state resident has a savings account, investments or a refund due that he or she may simply not be aware of, or may have forgotten about, there’s a good chance it will end up at the NYS Comptroller’s office.

I went to the website and did a search of my last name which came up with no results. However, I did a search on several family members and found that one relative did have some money waiting for her. Apparently, this was reported by an insurance company which owed her a refund. She’s now in the process of filing a claim and I’m her hero.

To reclaim money, the claimant must provide proof of identity and ownership but best of all, there’s no fee involved. You can go directly to the New York State Unclaimed Funds Website and initiate your own search. And, if you happen to find that you’re entitled to a small fortune, lucky for you … just don’t forget the person that pointed you in that direction 😉