Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence." Napoleon

"You can either take action, or you can hang back and hope for a miracle. Miracles are great, but they are so unpredictable." Peter Drucker

"It's a funny thing about life: If you refuse to accept anything but the very best, you will very often get it." W. Somerset Maugham

There is never an excuse for bad manners:
So it now seems that FCC chair Martin will get his way. The solicitor general will ask the Supreme Court to review the appeals court decision that threw out the FCC policy on broadcasting profanity. Related AP story here. My sense is Chairman Martin is exactly wrong on this one. You may recall the FCC argument is concerned with the so-called fleeting expletives which were broadcast during the Billboard Music Awards and later The Golden Globes. At the end of the day we have Cher, Bono, Nicole Richie and Janet Jackson to thank for this mess. Fortune writer Roger Parloff offers us a good back story here. When did it become acceptable for performers to cross the line? When we allowed it. We teach people how to treat us. No matter that Bono used the F word during an international broadcast, he is still welcomed, you could even go so far as to say he is still celebrated by television producers, hey, he's Bono. The dude with the foul mouth remains a solid get, he's cool.

What chairman Martin seeks to do is create consequences for bad behavior, he does this in the name of children. Broadcasters should hold those responsible to account. It is not as if Bono does not understand where he went wrong, the same holds true for Cher, Nicole Richie and Janet Jackson. Would Bono use the F word in an appearance before the Queen of England and her court? During an appearance at the White House? No, it's a safe wager the boy would be on his best behavior before the British royals and the American power elite. But an awards show broadcast on the tele? What's the big f'ing deal. Allow me to suggest it's manners that matter here, it's taking responsibility for one's actions. It would seem that Cher, Bono, et al simply have no sense of shame.

One of the old school rules applies here. You are an invited guest in a stranger's home, act accordingly.

Manners, related: In recent years I continue to hear from folks who are out of work and not able to get employers to return a phone call nor respond to an email. Folks are doing as they are told, following instructions and making application for employment - never to hear anything in response. So it would seem the days of a proper rejection letter are over. The majority of the time it seems employers today are not offering any response whatsoever. Folks apply for a job and nothing happens. The once popular EEO tracking form is no longer sent to most applicants. Which does make you wonder what kind of EEO model some employers now consider adequate. However, back to my point, it would seem that most employers today have no shame and that is clearly wrong. It's bad manners and there is simply no excuse. Understanding there will always be a few bad actors out there, in the ranks of the employed and unemployed, it seems today there are just too many rude folks at work on the employer side.

"Keep your eye clear and hit 'em where they ain't"
Wee Willie Keeler

Check with HR, talk with your hiring managers during the next department head meeting. Establish firm contact protocols, set yourself apart from others. Hiring remains an activity of critical importance to every enterprise. It would seem most are doing a bad job of managing contact and hiring, properly the act, make that the art of recruiting, is a contact sport.

The bad manners of others have created a golden opportunity for you.

With a little hard work it's now possible to become an employer of choice. Show some manners, do the right thing, start responding to applicants. Understand that this process is always personal. When someone is attempting to put food on the table, to pay their bills, to care for their family, it's very personal. When folks solicit you for a job show them some respect, show them some empathy, show them the courtesy of a timely and professional response. The return on this investment is priceless.

Apply the golden rule in these cases. In doing so you can't lose. Further, you place yourself light years ahead of all the other employers - it's another example of differentiate or die - to be the most admired employer you need to truly believe that manners matter!

LATER: Dan Kelley makes an important observation in chasing the topic of manners, he writes "Think of the impression of you and your company in the eyes of the applicant." More from Dan here. Thanks for the mention Dan!

Doh! Thanks for the many emails about the image used on yesterday's post. Forgive my mistake in not telling you anything about the picture. The image is that of a personal hero - the legendary genius Joan Miro. This photograph hangs in my office and was a gift from my creative godfather, the great Bob Henabery.

Bill Gross
is one smart guy. Erick Schonfeld gets an interview with Bill for Business 2.0 here.

Congrats & cheers:
The Live Search Team at Microsoft on the debut of their new Live Search. The Halo 3 team setting the new record for most money earned in a single day by an entertainment product (previous record holder was Spiderman 3 opening day bo) Microsoft rang up $170 million in first day sales. This is another tipping point: games eclipsing film. Jeff Jarvis on his upcoming Networked Journalism Summit now officially sold out! My thanks to David Cohn for the update and good news.