Marketing, Motherhood, and Mayhem

I wanna be a Googler…

March 15th, 2013 by Deb McLean
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Okay, not really.  I love what I do at Cox Media Group, but Google really does impress me.  I was recently invited to visit the Google campus just outside of San Francisco.  What an amazing environment for promoting innovation and collaboration.  There are restaurants throughout the campus and it’s all FREE (they call it the Google 15…new employees typically gain 15 pounds their first year)!  Smoothie bars everywhere you look, a couple pools, exercise rooms, volleyball court, bowling alley, doctor/clinic on site, haircuts, commuter buses with wi-fi and the Google bikes.  They are everywhere and used by employees when going from one building to another.  As you would expect, there’s recycling and organic gardens.  In one building there was a slide going from the second floor to the first.  There’s too much to remember.  It’s like an Adult Disneyland with high productivity!

Google did a study that showed that some people really are more productive when they are able to catch a quick nap during the day.  So, employees are able to reserve a “sleep Pod” for that desired cat nap.  Needless to say, their employee retention is very very high.

I’m excited that CMG is a Premiere Partner with Google.   We couldn’t be prouder of our association with them as they specifically sought out CMG.  This exclusive partnership provides us tremendous resources and our company cultures align very well.  Now if we could just get those sleep pods installed :)

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Rise and Shine Sleepy Head!

July 11th, 2012 by Deb McLean
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I’m a Morning Person.  I think I get more done before noon most days than others do all day long.  Of course, I fall asleep before the 10 o’clock news every night (Okay, sometimes at 8:30 laying on the couch).  My husband, on the other hand, is not such a happy morning guy.  It’s just not his thing. 

I think Morning people have an edge.  The early hours are a great time for getting things done. Even more unfair? New research from the University of Toronto, which looked at adults’ sleeping habits, finds that morning people are happier and more energetic, too. People who naturally rise around 7 a.m. (even without the alarm clock) have a 19-25 percent boost in “positive effect”  versus those who prefer to get out of bed around 10 a.m.

There are obvious reasons that morning people are happier. First, our world is set up to reward people who get out of bed in the early hours. Traditional workplaces require people to be up and alert at 8 or 9 in the morning. People who are naturally perky at that time will be seen as ambitious and competent.  Is it surprising that they’d be happier than someone who could be enormously creative from midnight to 2 a.m. — but never gets the chance because he has to leave for work at 7 with not enough sleep?  I guess I’d be grumpy too.

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What’s your benefit on Facebook?

July 10th, 2012 by Deb McLean
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Social media experts say companies need to see Facebook less as a retailing tool than as brand advertising — creating word-of-mouth advocacy and affinity for brands. If you are going to use Facebook for your business, have a Purpose.  Have an offering.  If it’s just a sales message, you will evenutally be “hidden” or “unfriended”.  There must be a benefit to your “friend” or they won’t like you anymore.

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American Moms doing more Harm than Good

July 2nd, 2012 by Deb McLean
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I had to repost this great article written by Suzanne Lucas at MoneyWatch.  We need to prepare our children, but let go MUCH earlier than we all want to.   In my opinion, we American Moms in an effort to protect our children are doing more harm than good! 

  (iStockphoto)

(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY Saws. The kind you buy at the hardware store to cut wood. That’s what the play-group teacher dumped on the ground for 3- and 4-year-old kids to play with. Knowing that doing this, in the U.S., would result in the teacher being, at minimum, fired and most likely charged with child endangerment, I had visions of emergency room trips and severed limbs dancing through my mind.

But this happened not in the U.S. but in Switzerland, where they believe children are capable of handling saws at age 3 and where kindergarten teachers counsel parents to let their 4- and 5-year-olds walk to school alone. “Children have pride when they can walk by themselves,” the head of the Münchenstein, Switzerland, Kindergartens said last week at a parents meeting, reminding those in attendance that after the first few weeks of school children should be walking with friends, not mom.

So looking down at the saws, I tried to hide my American-bred fear and casually asked the teacher about her procedures in case of emergencies. She rattled them off to me in perfect English (that’s another thing the Swiss believe — that anyone is capable of learning multiple languages), but added, “I’ve been a forest play-group teacher for 10 years, and I’ve never had to call a parent because of injury.”

What’s a “forest” teacher? (No, that ‘s not a typo or pre-school name.) That alludes to a tradition here that we signed our 3-year-old up for. Every Friday, whether rain, shine, snow, or heat, he goes into the forest for four hours with 10 other children. In addition to playing with saws and files, they roast their own hot dogs over an open fire. If a child drops a hot dog, the teacher picks it up, brushes the dirt off, and hands it back.

The school year ends next week, and so far the only injury has been one two millimeter long cut received from a pocket knife. The teacher slapped a cartoon band-aid on it and all was well. No injury form to fill out. No trip to the doctor for an extra tetanus booster. No panic. In fact, she didn’t even think it necessary to mention the incident to me. Which is wasn’t.

Does this mean that Swiss children are capable of handling saws and crossing roads at the same age that American parents are still cutting their children’s food and getting arrested fro letting them go to the park? 

Lenore Skenazy’s Free Range Kids tracks the stories of how we’re failing to prepare our children for leadership. Many parents in U.S. seem to be convinced that children are incapable of making any of their own decisions or even functioning by themselves at the playground. While a high school principal recently threatened to suspend a group of seniors for the dangerous act of riding their bikes to school, and a group of parents protested that their misbehaving 17-18 year-olds were sent home alone on a train.  I looked around me and saw 4-year-olds walking to school by themselves and teenagers also traveling alone across Europe, handling transactions with different currency and in different languages.

The leadership at many American companies were raised in a similar way to the Swiss children in my neighborhood. Boys had pocket knives. Everyone rode bikes to school.  Kids started babysitting other children at 11- or 12-years-old. Now? We coddle and protect and argue with teachers when our little darlings receive anything worse than an A on a paper.

The result? Well, the preliminary results from this method of parenting are hitting the workforce now. They are poor communicators who insist on using text-speak. Their mothers are calling employers. They believe they should be given rewards and promotions for the act of showing up to work on time.

If this trend in the U.S. continues, American children will become more crippled in their ability to make their own decisions (mom is always around), manage risk (at what age do you become magically able to use a saw?) or overcome a setback (you learn nothing when mom and dad sue the school district to get your grade changed).

By contrast, my son learns about risk management every week. He’ll be in a school system that has no qualms about holding a child back if he doesn’t understand the material. And “helicopter” parenting? Not tolerated by the schools or the other mothers at the playground. 

So, while he’s 4 and generally covered in dirt, I suspect he’ll be more prepared for leadership when we move back to the U.S. than will children who have no freedom and responsibility and face no consequences. 

That is, if he doesn’t cut off his own hand with the saw.

Check out her blog at CBS News.com

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Building Trust

June 26th, 2012 by Deb McLean
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Any modicum of success I’ve had professionally is because I guess people like me.  People like me because they know they can trust me.  They can trust me because I always try to do what I say I’m going to do.  I say “try” because sometimes things go wrong.  Sometimes out of my control.  When they do, I admit the mistake and make it up to them.  That builds trust.  

A reputation for being honest and trustworthy is not an outcome of one event or a single transaction. It develops over time as you maintain your set of ethical standards in small as well as big things. It’s not a sales or parenting technique, but rather it’s the person you chose to become.

My Dad taught to keep the highest standard of honesty and integrity.  It’s one of the things I admired most about how he lived his life.  I’ve tried as a Mom to pass that on to Casey and professionally maintain it as a core characteristic. 

In both areas, it pays big dividends.

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American Red Cross makes First Aid Info Accessible

June 19th, 2012 by Deb McLean
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The American Red Cross has launched its official first aid app, putting free and simple lifesaving information right in the hands of smart phone users.

This app is the first in a series to be created by the American Red Cross, the nation’s leader in first aid and emergency preparedness information. It’s also the only first aid app created or endorsed by the American Red Cross for use on both the Android and iPhone platforms. It gives instant access to information on how to handle the most common first aid situations, and includes videos and interactive quizzes. Users who take quizzes can earn badges they can share with friends through social media to show off their lifesaving knowledge.

Due to the rapid increase in smart phone users, the app takes critical first aid information normally stored on bookshelves and in pamphlets and places it at the fingertips of tens of millions of individuals – which will save lives. The Red Cross app also includes trusted Red Cross disaster preparedness information for a number of common situations.

“American Red Cross First Aid app users have expert advice in the palm of their hands,” said Linda Carbone, CEO of Florida’s West Coast Region.. “The app is simple to use and will aid those in an emergency, whether it’s in the backyard, in the conference room or anywhere in between.”

“The American Red Cross First Aid app is a free and easy way to get life-saving first aid instruction and disaster preparedness information anytime, anywhere,” said Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council chair Dr. David Markenson. “Everyone should load this onto their smart phone as an important first step in learning what to do for medical emergencies and in creating a family preparedness plan.”

App features include:

  • Simple step-by-step instructions for everyday first aid scenarios;
  • Prioritized steps to take during an emergency, with 9-1-1 call button;
  • Sharable badges to be unlocked through interactive quizzes;
  • Videos and animations to make learning first aid fun and easy;
  • Safety and preparedness tips for a range of conditions including severe winter weather, hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes;
  • Preloaded content that gives instant access to all safety information at any time.

The app is free and available for iPhone and Android users. Find the app in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.

The new app builds on the American Red Cross legacy of teaching first aid and life-saving skills to people across the country. An average of more than 9 million people a year receive Red Cross training in first aid, water safety and other skills that help save lives.

Downloading the app is not a substitute for training. To learn more about American Red Cross first aid or register for a course, visit redcross.org/takeaclass.

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Message to Graduates

June 12th, 2012 by Deb McLean
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Went to a number of Graduation parties the last couple of weekends.  Some of my very favorite young people.  The future of each one of them is very bright I have no doubt.  I read something in Roy H Williams this morning that hit home for me… 

The person who achieves spectacular failure
has at least attempted something bold.
Failure is a temporary condition.
Success is likewise temporary.
Life, itself, is temporary.
So quit hesitating.
Do something

Mediocrity comes from having perfectly implemented tried and true, traditional wisdom.

The outcome is the only thing that separates confidence from hubris. If your bold idea succeeds, you were a confident visionary. If your bold idea fails, the walking dead will accuse you of being full of yourself. “It was hubris,” they will say.

Ignore the zombies. Life is risk. Risk is life. The only death is mediocrity. The only stupidity is fear. Fling yourself into something uncertain. The view from the edge is spectacular. What the hell, go ahead and put all your eggs in one basket. If you lose those eggs, you can find some more. The world is covered with eggs.

Zombies invented the lie that curiosity killed the cat. But it wasn’t curiousity that did her in. It was boredom.

Boredom killed the cat.

Security, boredom and a bloodless life are all the zombies have to offer. But if you follow your Beagle of Intuition into the Forest of Uncertainty, you’ll ask directions of angels and they’ll answer you by opening a door you never knew was there. You’ll kiss the hand of Serendipity as you gaze upwards into her face. And she will smile. 

Zombies tell many lies.
Their most famous lies are:

1. A college degree is the key to getting a good job.
2. If you give your money to financial experts they will grow it into a fortune. (Strangely, this second lie is partly true. But often, the only fortune those experts will grow your money into is their own.)

Your Beagle of Intuition knows different truths:

1. Opportunity comes to those who have asked directions of angels.
2. Money flows to those who have seen the smile of Serendipity.

The world is covered with eggs.  And there is a miracle inside every one of them.

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Today’s Time Clock

June 6th, 2012 by Deb McLean
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 “Back in the Day” when your parents’ or grandparents’ work day was done, it was done.  When the inbox was empty, when the forms were processed or the whistle blew, you could stop.  They didn’t take work home with them.

Today, it’s never done.  There’s always one more tweet to make, FB post to write, text or email you can respond to. And your emails are always in your pocket on your iPhone, Blackberry or Droid.  It’s not 9 to 5 anymore. You are rarely completely off the clock.

I truly respect the “Greatest Generation” and the sacrifices they made for our country.  Yes, they also worked hard.  I just think the work ethic of today’s professional sometimes gets a bad rap.  Today’s professional is always on the clock. It’s important however to create balance.  Balance with your home life, physical well-being and spiritual well-being.

Make sure you take the time to punch out. 

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Hurricane Season officially opens Today

June 1st, 2012 by Deb McLean
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Dr. Gray has predicted a quiet hurricane season this year; however, only one hurricane is enough to make for a bad day.  

The question is, “are you prepared”? 

Here is a very handy list to help you get prepared 

Go-Bag

 

A component of your disaster kit is your Go-bag. Put the following items together in a backpack or another easy to carry container in case you must evacuate quickly. Prepare one Go-bag for each family member and make sure each has an I.D. tag. You may not be at home when an emergency strikes so keep some additional supplies in your car and at work, considering what you would need for your immediate safety.

  • Flashlight
  • Radio – battery operated – listen for emergency instructions
  • Batteries
  • Whistle
  • Dust mask
  • Pocket knife
  • Extra set of car and house keys
  • Emergency cash in small denominations and quarters for phone calls
  • Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat
  • Local map
  • Some water and food
  • Permanent marker, paper and tape
  • Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes
  • List of emergency point-of -contact phone numbers
  • List of allergies to any drug (especially antibiotics) or food
  • Copy of health insurance and identification cards
  • Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
  • Prescription medications and first aid supplies
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities. Don’t forget to make a Go-bag for your pets.
  • Copies of your important documents in a waterproof and portable container (insurance cards, photo IDs, proof of address, etc.)
  • Credit and ATM cards and cash, especially in small denominations. We recommend you keep at least $50-$100 on hand.
  • Bottled water and non-perishable food such as energy or granola bars
  • Flashlight, battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries. You can also buy wind-up radios that do not require batteries at retail stores.
  • Medication and other essential personal items. Be sure to refill medications before they expire. Keep a list of the medications each member of your household takes, why they take them, and their dosages.
  • First aid kit
  • Sturdy, comfortable shoes, lightweight raingear, and a mylar blanket
  • Contact and meeting place information for your household, and a small regional map
  • Child care supplies or other special care items

Disaster Kit

 

When preparing for a possible emergency situation, it’s best to think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth.

After a major disaster the usual services we take for granted, such as running water, refrigeration, and telephones, may be unavailable. Experts recommend that you should be prepared to be self-reliant for at least three days. Store your household disaster kit in an easily accessible location. Put contents in a large, watertight container (e.g. a large plastic garbage can with a lid and wheels) that you can move easily.

Your basic emergency kit should include:

  • Water – one gallon per person per day
  • Food – ready to eat or requiring minimal water
  • Manual can opener and other cooking supplies
  • Plates, utensils and other feeding supplies
  • First Aid Kit & instructions
  • A copy of important documents & phone numbers
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.
  • Warm clothes and rain gear for each family member
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Disposable camera
  • Unscented liquid household bleach and an eyedropper for water purification
  • Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer and soap
  • Plastic sheeting, duct tape and utility knife for covering broken windows
  • Tools such as a crowbar, hammer & nails, staple gun, adjustable wrench and bungee cords
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Large heavy duty plastic bags and a plastic bucket for waste and sanitation
  • Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities. Don’t forget water and supplies for your pets.
  • A component of your disaster kit is your Go Bag.

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Because I said so…

May 23rd, 2012 by Deb McLean
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I’m convinced that “Because I said so” is a response that has been around for as long as the english language.  We use it in response to “Why?” from our children.  “Why?” from our customers and “Why?” from our co-workers.  “Because I said so” is not now or has it ever been a valid answer to the age old question “Why?” 

And the question “Why?” is not asked nearly enough.

  • Why does it work this way?
  • Why is that our goal?
  • Why did you say no?
  • Why are we targeting that demographic?
  • Why are we treating people differently?
  • Why is this our policy?
  • Why don’t we enter this market?
  • Why did you change your mind?
  • Why are we having this meeting?
  • Why not?

You have a much better chance of getting buy-in from customers, co-workers and your children when they understand the “Why” for your decision.

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