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Beyond Wikileaks: The Dark Side of Email

Here’s a scary thought: Try and picture a world without email.

Spooky, no?

Indeed, it’s hard to fathom our world functioning as we know it without the wonder that is email. It’s cheap, it’s fast, it’s convenient, it’s just… easy. Few words can be as harrowing and bone-chilling for a business as “email is down.”

But for all its immeasurable benefits, there is a dark side to email. One that can eat away at the very core of any business – even the most successful.

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On Culture….& Personal Breaking News

Ptex recently received quite a compliment. As of July, we are officially certified as a Great Place to Work® business.

To receive this prestigious accolade, GPW asked our employees to participate in their anonymous survey on their feelings regarding the workplace environment, culture, management, etc. and how it affected – positively or negatively – their job performance. I myself was not allowed to take part in this.

The unanimously positive results of the survey was quite touching.

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The Art of Delegating

Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, of Stanford University, accurately summed up the responsibility of a leader:

Your most important task as a leader is to teach people how to think and ask the right questions, so that the world doesn’t fall apart if you take a day off.

Perhaps no concept in business is more essential, and at the same time so colossally misunderstood, than delegation. Any rational person knows that they have strengths and limitations. It follows, that tasks should be divvied based on each employees abilities.

Yet for some reason, many business struggle to properly delegate—and the consequences are severe. Sloppy projects. Missed deadlines. Angry clients.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

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Business Lessons from 30,000 Feet

I’m always amazed how the greatest business insights can sometimes come from the most unexpected places.

On a recent flight back from Israel, I struck up a conversation with one of the stewards. We made a little small talk, and soon our chat turned to his job. During the course of our discussion, he lamented to me that, although he always tried to be friendly to every passenger, he had no real business incentive to be cordial.

He described the startling lack of employee appreciation. There was no recognition from his superiors for better customer service. No compliment for going the extra mile. Positive feedback was from passengers, not superiors. The only way to get noticed? Publish something foolish on social media. Boy, would that work!

Instead, he explained, the employee growth module of this airline was, essentially, “survival of the fittest.” Been here for 4 years? Congratulations on lasting this long, here’s a raise.

This is a very troubling and flawed model.

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Going From “Boss” to “Leader”

Leadership.

This word is one of the most commonly-used buzzwords in today’s chaotic business climate. Companies like Google, Twitter, Nike and AMEX are lauded not just for their amazing products – but also for their stellar leadership.

So what’s the secret to become a great leader? Why do some rise to the top while others stagger along aimlessly?

The truth is, great leaders don’t just inspire and motivate their charges with pep talks and inspirational speeches. They take a hands-on approach, are meticulous down to the last detail, and pay close attention to the needs of every individual working for them.

Ever heard of of Roald Amundsen? The man was a perfect example of what it takes to be a great leader.

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