Thursday, June 17, 2010

In praise of doing nothing

When I was at my first job - at Renee Sall Associates on Manhattan's East Side - I remember reading an essay in Newsweek, bemoaning the fact that, with business operating at breakneck speed, there was little if no time left for creativity.

I was reminded of that essay when reading this one by Peter Bregman.  In it, he laments the loss of boredom and the elusive downtime.  I agree with him.  I do some good thinking when sitting quietly on airplanes or while stuck in traffic. 

But here's another trend I'm noticing, as I speak to colleagues, clients and prospects.  There is a pressing need for an answer now.  Personally, I'm often in wonder of people who seem to have every answer at the ready.  Nonetheless, more often than not, we would be better served if we waited, reflected or - God forbid - said "I don't know."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Just a reminder that actions speak louder than words.

This is a bit too long, but sadly amusing.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Death of the Oval Office Address?

I just watched the beginning of President Obama's Oval Office address regarding the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  I was surprised that I felt compelled to turn it off.

His words, as usual, seem on target, on message.  They had the right levels of muted anger toward BP, compassion toward Gulf region residents and business owners.

My issue, it seems, isn't with the content of the message, but with the medium.  Simply, I'm not used to seeing him perform this way.  I'm used to seeing the President behind the lectern or working the crowd in a "town hall" type of setting.

Today, the President wanted to do what those before him have done in times of national crisis.  He sought to leverage the gravity of the Oval Office.

I think he failed.

Today, we see him sitting behind a desk where his natural hand gestures seem comical and distracting, his reading of the Teleprompter, unnatural.  The result?  For me, it's the impression this man doesn't belong behind this desk.  He seems out of his element.  In some ways, too small.

Typically, I talk about the message.  I think President Obama should have paid more attention to the medium.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

No Such Thing as "Off the Record"

I wrote the following when the Helen Thomas bruhaha was just brewing.  Must've forgotten to actually post.  In any event, the  message is still the same: no such thing as off the record!

I often tell my clients, "There's no such thing as 'off the record' when talking to a journalist."  It's always interesting to see the tables turned.

In case you've been hiding under a rock, storied White House reporter and now columnist, Helen Thomas, was apparently unaware that recent comments regarding Jews and Israel might actually be recorded when she was asked at a recent White House event what she thought of Israel.

I think she's enjoyed her last birthday cupcake at the White House.