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NetGain Update: November 1999

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  • Jim Rink
    ... Regards, Jim Rink Senior Contributing Editor /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// AAA
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 30, 1999
      >November 30, 1999
      >Published by NetGain. Electronic communications
      >consulting for professional business communicators.
      >Training. Consulting. Speaking. Succeeding!
      >What's inside...
      >* The Workplace Isn't A Melting Pot --
      > It's A Salad Bowl!
      >* A Final Exam With No Right Or Wrong Answers
      >* Music On The Net: Mixed Media
      >* Mark Your Calendars: March 9-10, 2000
      >* This Month...
      >* About This Newsletter
      >* About NetGain
      >by Carol Kinsey Goman
      >Only 40 years ago, white adult males comprised 90
      >percent of the America work force. Today, that
      >figure has already changed dramatically, and by
      >the year 2007, the Bureau of Labor Statistics
      >estimates that women and members of ethnic minorities
      >will make up 62 percent of all workers in full or
      >part-time employment in America. Hispanics and African-
      >Americans of both sexes will each comprise about 11
      >percent, Asians of both sexes will account for roughly
      >5 percent, and of the total estimated work force of
      >151 million, white adult males will account for only
      >38 percent, a decrease of well over half since 1960.
      >Diversity is the new demographic reality in the
      >American work force. More women, more ethnic
      >minorities, more complex demands -- more urgent
      >competition for jobs, too, as relaxed immigration
      >policies see more foreign workers, both high-tech
      >and unskilled, enter the country seeking livelihoods.
      >All of which adds up to new challenges for
      >communicators. The companies that succeed in
      >the next Century will be the ones that become the
      >most adept at attracting and retaining the best
      >and the brightest from an employment "salad" that
      >is also going to contain a steadily widening
      >range of languages, customs, religious backgrounds,
      >sexual orientations, domestic arrangements and life
      >experiences. Each group will bring its own special
      >needs and agendas into the workplace, and to ignore
      >any of them, or to show favoritism to one group over
      >another, is to invite the alienation of all.
      >As the title of a pamphlet from Marriott Corporation
      >asserts: Diversity Includes Everyone.
      >Valuing differences -- having a deep appreciation
      >for what makes people unique -- is not only an
      >important issue for employee retention, it is
      >critical to any business needing to serve a
      >diverse customer base in a global marketplace.
      >Organizations who make a commitment to diversity
      >demonstrate that commitment by their efforts to
      >attract diverse job candidates, offer diversity
      >education, create minority networks, and
      >celebrate diverse holidays. But the best companies
      >don't stop there. They go beyond just tolerating
      >differences and work to build a culture of respect,
      >in which diversity is the fuel for creative energy
      >and insight.
      >Diversity, it's true, does bring a greater demand
      >for heightened interpersonal sensitivity. But it
      >also brings new ideas, fresh perspectives, new
      >energy sources and new blood. Diversity has to
      >be treated as a positive. Because it is a positive
      >-- especially if you take concrete steps to
      >appreciate and profit from the uniqueness around
      >you. Get everyone involved and find what works.
      >Sensitivity training is all well and good, but
      >it's just the first step. Organizations need
      >to focus on diversity as a positive, competitive
      >advantage. Here are a few ideas on how that can
      >be done:
      >o Link diversity with customer service. One
      > obvious advantage of a diverse work force is
      > its ability to understand and be more responsive
      > to the needs of a diverse customer base.
      >o Capitalize on diversity in problem-solving.
      > People of all ages and from different backgrounds
      > bring to the empowered workplace fresh ideas,
      > opinions, perspectives and boundless creativity.
      > It is the richness of the diverse perspectives,
      > used in solving real business problems, that gives
      > a company the innovative edge.
      >o Make diversity an explicit value of the
      > organization -- and hold people accountable for
      > honoring that value. Then put values into action
      > -- when the company offers diversity training,
      > make sure that senior managers are the first to
      > attend and to discuss their personal challenges.
      >o Position diversity, not as a "feel good" issue,
      > but a business issue -- the need to retain all talented
      > employees.
      >o Sponsor organizational "associations" for various
      > employee groups as an informal forum to express
      > concerns, gain support, and share experiences.
      >o Make diversity an issue in management's evaluation
      > and compensation. A corporate example is Xerox's
      > "balanced work force strategy," in which senior
      > managers are evaluated in part on their success
      > in hiring, keeping, developing, and promoting
      > minorities and women.
      >o Promote unity. Ultimately, the talents, abilities,
      > and perspectives of a diverse employee population
      > must be united toward common organizational
      > objective which challenges and rewards all who
      > participate.
      >Contact Carol at carol@...
      >by Pete Shinbach, APR
      >Over the years, all of us in NetGain have learned
      >that people in the various communications professions
      >who come to our workshops frequently want lists of
      >things to take back to the office. They want lists
      >of things involving the Internet and new media that
      >will make them more productive communicators. In
      >other words, they want "to do" lists.
      >The following list isn't one of those. It's a
      >slightly edited version of a final exam given
      >to college students in a "Future of Computing"
      >course. Credit for this goes to the instructor,
      >Marc Stiegler, and to the Netsurfer Digest, an
      >eclectic e-newsletter available from
      >www.netsurf.com. To those of you to whom
      >I've sent quirky or mind-challenging things
      >from time-to-time and who've wondered where
      >I got them...I probably got them from Netsurfer
      >So, back to the test. There are no right or wrong
      >answers. The purpose of these questions is to
      >give you something to think about as you develop
      >your company or client company's Internet programs.
      >Now, everyone take out two #2 pencils, open your
      >blue books and begin.
      >1. Searching for a media relations database tool
      > on the Web, you find a review in which the
      > reviewer raves about a particular product.
      > You buy the product and discover it just doesn't
      > work. You desire to prevent this person's ravings
      > from harming anyone else--and you desire to
      > prevent the product from disappointing anyone else.
      > What should you do?
      >2. A product is advertised on the Web. It sounds good,
      > but the offerer has no Web reputation. As a public
      > relations or marketing communications counselor,
      > what would you advise the offerer to do?
      >3. You start receiving thousands of emails from
      > organizations you don't know, all hawking their
      > wares. You want it to stop, just stop! However,
      > your company is considering an email promotional
      > campaign. What would you advise your company to do?
      > How should it proceed?
      >4. You hear a joke that someone, somewhere, would probably
      > find offensive. You wish to tell your precocious
      > 17-year-old daughter, who is a student at Yale.
      > The Common Decency Act Version 2 has just passed;
      > it is a $100,000 offense to send such material
      > electronically to a minor. You want to send it anyway:
      > it is a very funny joke.
      >5. Someone claiming to be you starts roaming the Internet
      > making wild claims. You want to make sure people know
      > it isn't really you. How would you do that?
      >6. You have brought out a remarkable new product. There
      > is a competing product making claims you know are
      > false. You want to make sure anyone going to their
      > site finds out your product is better. How would you do
      > that?
      >7. You are Michael Bloomberg, CEO of Bloomberg News, one
      > of the most prestigious stock information services in
      > the world. An article circulates on the Web, based on
      > a mock-up of the Bloomberg News information page,
      > claiming that PairGain Corp. will be acquired by
      > ECI Telecom. PairGain's stock rises 32% in eight
      > hours. Investigators later find that a PairGain
      > employee about to cash in his options created
      > the false report. You want to ensure that your
      > company or its reputation is never used like this
      > again. How do you do that?
      >Reach Pete at pete@....
      >by Shel Holtz, ABC
      >I'm a rocker.
      >That's right. I crank electric-guitar-intensive
      >music through high-powered earphones until my ears
      >bleed. I go to concerts that violate noise
      >ordinances and complain that the sound system
      >is too weak. I even use headphone amplifiers,
      >nifty devices that increase volume way beyond
      >a headphone's natural limits. (I didn't even know
      >headphone amplifiers existed until I found them
      >on the Net.)
      >One of my current favorite bands is called Phish.
      >If you haven't heard their music, maybe you've
      >had the Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavor, Phish
      >Food. (Ben and Jerry's is based in Vermont, which
      >is also where the band Phish is from, thus the
      >natural affinity.) Phish is primarily an
      >improvisational group. Their concerts are not
      >just rehashes of their album tracks, but rather
      >extended jams, new takes on old material, and
      >a variety of other surprises. Since these
      >musical events are what Phish fans like best,
      >it makes sense that Phish would release concert
      >material as often as they do studio CDs.
      >In fact, the band just released a new concert
      >recording. Phish plays every Halloween, and
      >the 1990 Halloween concert is now available. But
      >you won't find it at your local Wherehouse,
      >Goody's, or Virgin Megastore. You can't even
      >buy it from CDNow. If you want it, you have to
      >download it.
      >The show is available from emusic.com, one of
      >several Web sites offering MP3 music tracks. This
      >particular offering will run you $19.95. You can
      >download the entire concert in two 70-meg files, or
      >song-by-song. If Phish played songs that night
      >you don't like, you can buy only the songs you
      >want. Songs are either 99 cents or $1.49,
      >depending on their length. One song is even
      >offered free as an inducement.
      >Don't think for a minute the music industry
      >isn't quaking in its collective boots. I
      >downloaded the concert, converted the files
      >from MP3 to the WAV format, then copied
      >the whole thing onto a couple writable CDs.
      >Now I listen in my car just as if I'd bought
      >the concert at a local record store.
      >Phish isn't the only band using the Web to
      >turn the traditional music business on its ear.
      >The Beastie Boys (a band I don't listen to)
      >is, like most bands that have been around more
      >than two or three years, offering an anthology
      >CD. The difference is, you go to their Web site,
      >select 40 songs from 150 available tracks,
      >and a CD will show up at your doorstep. It'll
      >be =your= Beastie Boys anthology, made up of
      >=your= favorite songs.
      >Probably the key difference between these bands
      >and the online efforts of most organizational
      >communicators is that Phish and the Beastie Boys
      >are out to make a buck. For them, the Web offers
      >some new twists that might bring in new money.
      >So the next time a boss or client demands that
      >you use the Web to get rid of print or save some
      >money, give some thought to how these musicians
      >have actually innovated new ways to do old
      >business, and suggest to that boss or client
      >that there are better uses for the medium.
      >Rock on.
      >Write to Shel at shel@....
      >NetGain is collaborating with the International
      >Association of Business Communicators to present a
      >two-day conference on March 9 and 10 on the
      >strategic uses of online communication.
      >This Washington, D.C.-based conference won't be
      >just another "how to use the Web" affair. Instead,
      >we've assembled a group of speakers to address
      >real issues and present next-generation solutions
      >to communication challenges. Each of the NetGain
      >consultants will be speaking, as well as presenting
      >half-day pre-conference workshops.
      >Leading up to the conference, we'll review the sessions
      >planned for each of the five tracks. This month, we'll
      >cover Track I, Internal Communications.
      >The track opens up with a panel discussion on
      >"Developing and Encouraging Online Communities."
      >Speakers will include Jerry Stevenson from EDS,
      >and Melissie Rumizen of Buckman Industries. Next
      >up is "Replacing Intranet Home Pages with Corporate
      >Portals;" the speaker is Leena Klint-Looney from
      >EDS's Jerry Stevenson will talk about "Alternatives
      >to HTML: Database-Driven Content." NetGain
      >consultant Shel Holtz, ABC, will focus on
      >"Using Online Surveys to Meet Business Goals."
      >Then, Sears's Sharon McIntosh will speak on
      >"Creating and Nourishing the Executive Intranet
      >The post-conference sessions, taught by Shel
      >Holtz, is titled: "Integrating the Intranet Into
      >Your Communication Strategy."
      >Next month, we'll cover the Knowledge Management
      >track. Other tracks include Marketing, Public
      >and Investor Relations, and Recruitment and
      >Watch for details on the conference, including
      >an exclusive conference Web site, coming soon.
      >* Showed a group of investor relations professionals
      > how to make their companies' Web sites more
      > responsive to and useful for investors, analysts
      > and employees
      >* Delivered the keynote address at a national Business
      > Information Conference on how to thrive on change.
      >* Gave a keynote address at a national Employee
      > Benefits conference on how to build employee loyalty
      > and commitment.
      >* Designed and hosted a year-end employee meeting for
      > the Information Resource department of a New York
      > utility.
      >* Taught a two-day course on writing for the Web at
      > UC Berkeley.
      >* Spoke in the keynote slot at the national leaders
      > workshop of the Alzheimer's Association.
      >* Conducted a workshop on Web content to a group
      > of communicators in Brussels, Belgium.
      >Was this issue of the NetGain Update useful? Did it give
      >you a new idea or two you can use to improve the way you
      >use electronic information tools? Maybe even a new service
      >you can offer your clients or employer to help them
      >succeed. If it did, we've succeeded. If it didn't, just
      >wait until the next issue.
      >NetGain UPDATE is a monthly newsletter published by
      >NetGain, a consortium of independent communications
      >technology consultants. Each article in this newsletter
      >is copyrighted by its author. Feel free to share the
      >NetGain Update with your associates, clients, managers
      >or anyone else you think would benefit from it. And
      >remember, anyone can sign up for a free subscription at
      >our Web site, http://www.netgain.org
      >* To unsubscribe, send an email message to
      > UNSUBSCRIBE-NetGain@....
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      > subscription options, send an email message to
      > HELP-NetGain@....
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      >NetGain is a unique consortium. It is the only consulting
      >organization made up of public relations and business
      >communications consultants dedicated to helping other
      >PR and business communications organizations capitalize
      >on the advances being made in electronic communications
      >technology. Using desktop computing, organizational
      >networks or the Internet, NetGain helps professional
      >communications organizations -- agencies, corporations,
      >associations and non-profits -- develop and execute
      >strategic electronic information programs. We help
      >communicators succeed.
      >To find out more about NetGain, send an email message to

      Jim Rink
      Senior Contributing Editor


      AAA Michigan, 1 Auto Club Drive, Dearborn MI 48126
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