You don’t have to be a sports fan to be aware of MARCH MADNESS, the name associated with the annual tournament to determine the college basketball national champion. The tournament is organized by the National Collegiate Athletics Association. The name MARCH MADNESS is derived from the fact that the tournament occurs almost exclusively in March.

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A trademark problem, that is, as reported by the Texas Tribune on Friday of last week.

Lest you be fooled by the above reference to Houston College of Law being established in 1923, the name has only been around since June of 2016.

In fact, when South Texas College of Law rebranded to

Austin, Texas is well-known for its food, music scene, and of course its University of Texas Longhorns. The exclamation point on Austin’s notoriety though is the annual South by Southwest (a.k.a. SXSW) festival. Since its first year in 1987, the festival has grown into one of the largest music festivals in the world and, in

Seeing this Caribou Coffee skyway billboard was a good reminder to me of how much we hear about the importance of transparency in our relationships, including those with brands we love:

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It appears that the prevalence of society’s use of the word “transparency” may be at an all time high, where the

James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA

Any organization, leadership or business decision that can involve conflict, confrontation, controversy and contention (the four ingredients of catastrophe) is by definition dangerous ground. All too often leadership planning and decision making tends to ignore, minimize, even discredit the power of these emotional circumstances. Think again.

Whenever any of the four ingredients of catastrophe begin to emerge, decision makers need to adopt a handful of crucial but achievable survival principles.

  1. Avoid the production of new critics, victims and enemies. These players, once created, tend to live forever, remember everything and actively or surreptitiously, lie in wait to make your life miserable again and again going forward, often for reasons you’ll fail to remember.
  2. Talk promptly. Failure to speak promptly on matters that can trigger any of the four ingredients of catastrophe, is a powerful failure that is unrecoverable. Whatever excuse an organization or its leaders use to forgive themselves for not speaking promptly is never credible, creates even more critics and victims which you may only learn about when they surface by surprise to disrupt something you want to accomplish. The most common criticisms of crisis response are the failure to speak (arrogance and hiding stuff) and the failure to act promptly (lack of empathy and callousness).
  3. When in doubt, do something. Do it now, ask it now, say it now, change it now, fix it now. All too often really smart people seem timid, hesitant and confused. The tendency to stall, supported by the false imperative to get something done correctly, even perfectly, the first time, rarely happens. Your reputation is on the line from the very beginning. Timidity, hesitation and confusion are powerful, and reputationally corrosive. Far better to get something done and said today, even if significant repair is required tomorrow, than to do and say nothing today in hopes that inspiration will strike before something worse happens tomorrow. Something worse is always waiting to happen in crisis.

My philosophy is always to try and make next week’s mistakes this week, because that means that next week will be a better week with different but perhaps more helpful mistakes. Turns out that speed beats smart every time.
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On this welcome Labor Day, a few different thoughts converged for me, so please allow me to answer my own question in the title of this post, starting by explaining the below photo:

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After repeated diversions from a particular moving stairway a/k/a escalator to the far less convenient elevators in an unnamed downtown Minneapolis office

BudweiserAmericaCansLast week the Twittersphere was chirping loudly and negatively in response to reports that Belgian-owned Inbev would be replacing the Budweiser brand name with “America” on beer cans, as shown above. No bow-tie can shape in this campaign, but the logo is to be on the can’s back.

Headlines like these, suggesting a permanent