Risky Business, Optics and Underdogs

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”

– Professor John Keating, Dead Poets Society

Thank you, Robin.


The Conundrum of Risk  

In Atlanta working at CDC last week I was a little surprised at how calm and routine things seemed to be there in the midst of the breathless media and online chatter about Ebola. But the fact is, in the years I’ve worked on public and environmental health issues, I’ve learned from these gifted docs and scientists that outbreaks and pandemics will happen. The only questions are which ones, where, how big and how bad. And for me, how do we get people to pay attention, change their behavior to protect themselves and quite wasting time looking for somebody to blame:


It’s been suggested that dealing with irrational fears, rumors and superstition is a third-world problem. Think again…


And, if you’re interested in digging deeper into this discussion:


Optics- The Role of What Seems to Be True  

The League of Conservation Voters has mounted a campaign to force Nestlé to stop bottling, selling and shipping drinking water from California in light of that state’s three-year drought. This isn’t to debate the facts, policy or business wisdom of the issue but to consider how things play to public perception and credibility…


It gets more interesting when you consider how people on either end of the political spectrum view the other end. New research published in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences identified something called negativity bias that they think helps explain your crazy old uncle:


Employee Motivation & Leadership  

Way back in an earlier life, I worked for a guy who enjoyed starting his weekly sales meeting “contest” by announcing that the “winners gets to keep their jobs.” Luckily, I wasn’t a salesman.

Keeping good people happy, productive and motivated is a very big deal for employers. The rules have changed and it looks like Maslow’s wrong:


Of all of the social media success stories, Twitter might be the Beatles or Stones of the pack. Twitter’s founder, Biz Stone (cool name, huh?) has advice for leaders today…


Size Matters: Bullies vs. Underdogs  

This article contrasts the perception, or public relations battle between Israel and Hamas in that terribly sad and difficult situation. I’m suggesting that a similar perpetrator vs. victim principle plays out regularly between government and citizens, and businesses vs. customers in a variety of ways.

There’s a clear lesson here: consider your bully position and don’t be one or you’ll deal with the consequences…


The public credibility of institutions, government or business, seems to be based, at least in part, on size. Bigger isn’t better:


Hands-on Learning

Godec, Randall & Associates and The Participation Company train, coach and work with government, corporate and non-profit organizations on engaging the public, managing wicked issues and opposition and moving decisions and projects forward.

We train and facilitate customized, hands-on workshops and courses related to conflict resolution, public participation, facilitation, anger and outrage management as well as risk, crisis and technical communication, presentations and collaborative decision making. We’ll help you connect with the people and stakeholders that you serve.

– “I just wanted to say thank you for presenting such a captivating seminar last week in Chicago…I thought the material was fascinating and your presentation was compelling and succinct.”

– “Thank you so much for the excellent job of facilitating and recording our meeting.  You guys are fantastic!”

– “…great job you did with our class last week.  Thanks again for the hard work you invested in making sure we had a valuable learning experience!”

In addition to customized in-house workshops for our public and business clients, some courses are open to everyone. I hope you can make one of these:

* The International Association for Public Participation’s (IAP2) recently updated Certificate course will be in Chicago from October 20 to 24 at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).  A great course and a great time to be in the city.

* The 2-Day (IAP2) Emotion, Outrage and Public Participation (EOP2) course is coming to Las Vegas on October 6 & 7, Austin on October 16 & 17 and to Chicago on December 4 & 5.

Just click on www.extraordinarytrainers.com to register or contact me for more details.

The Participation Company LLC is a strategic partner of the Center for Management Strategies (CMS), the provider of International City/County Management Association (ICMA) leading practices for local government.

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