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Leadership lessons from George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin’s trial


George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin

I am sure, if you live in the US or if you are connected to social media, you must have heard the buzz about George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin’s trial. There may be various reasons why you might have heard-of (or followed) this trial. This case has opened up various discussions like stand your ground law, racism against African Americans, and the gun ownership in the United States of America. Though no one will exactly know about what happened that night, other than Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, we can get some leadership lessons from this trial. Thus, in this blog post, I am going to share my observations on this trial from the leadership perspective, and what we can learn from it.

Truth will eventually come out: As you might have seen in the George Zimmerman trial, the truth about profiling Trayvon Martin as a black person came out eventually. No matter how hard the media and Trayvon Martin’s prosecutors tried to portray the story that George profiled him as a black person, the transcript of George’s conversation with the 911 operator says the complete story. From that transcript, it is obvious that George’s action of profiling Trayvon as a black man was the response of the question asked by the 911 operator, and not any kind of a racist act. This example clearly displays that …. No matter how hard you try to hide/modify the truth, it will come out eventually. Thus, try to be truthful to yourself and the world. If you are always truthful, you won’t need to live under the fear of getting exposed. I understand; some truths are really hard to handle. But don’t make them your weaknesses by hiding them, try to be upfront about them, and learn from them. By speaking the truth, accepting your failures, and implementing appropriate strategies to address the crisis, you can come out as a true winner like Johnson & Johnson after Tylenol crisis. There is no benefit in hiding the truth.

You can’t make everyone happy: Even though George Zimmerman’s verdict is out, and he was found not guilty, people are still protesting on the street for justice. After seeing all the facts, some people are still using this tragedy for their personal/political benefits. Let’s be clear, this case was never about racism. There were no factual evidence found, which proved this allegation. It was not about Blacks vs. Whites, since George Zimmerman was of mixed race. But yeah! This case definitely makes us rethink about the self-defense (or the stand your ground) law. The only thing, we can learn as a leader from this example is …. No matter what decision you take as a leader, there will always be people who won’t agree with your decisions, or who will use your decisions against you for their personal/political benefits. Thus, believe in your instincts and take your decisions to make the majority of your stakeholders happy. Though you should thrive to make all of your customers happy, don’t worry about it too much if you can’t improve your customer satisfaction rating from 98% to 100%.

Base your decisions on facts: After following this case for a while in the media, I have realized that some of the people are making their opinions on the basis of what they have heard/read in the news or in the social media. Some of the people seem to be disconnected from the facts, and still blame this case on racism. As a leader, you might find yourself doing the same thing sometimes. For example: You might want to keep on investing money into a failed project, if you are emotionally attached to that project in some way. Thus, while taking those kind of tough decisions, you should always base your decisions on the facts, instead of your emotions. Take Marisa Mayer for an example. When she took the most unpopular decision of 2013 by stopping the work-from-home policy at Yahoo, Inc., she was highly scrutinized by her peers and numerous internet bloggers. Though her decision was controversial, it was based on actual facts, and it did help Yahoo in improving its work efficiency and building its team morale.

Do you have any other lessons from this trial, which you would like to share here? Are there any other examples from this trial, through which we can learn something, and be a better leader?

I will be waiting for your feedback. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.

Note: I give full credit to all the authors/photographers whose content I have used in my blog. If you want to find out more information about them, then please click on the links/photographs to go on their website, and find out more information.

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Posted by on July 20, 2013 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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Why should you NOT let your employees work from home?


Work from home

Marissa Mayer might be under scrutiny by many of her employees due to her recent decision of ending ‘work from home’ culture in Yahoo, Inc. Though I am not aware of those extreme circumstances under which she needed to take this drastic step, I can say this for sure….’work for home’ culture is not for every organization. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for workplace mobility, when required. But some of the organizations are just not made to support ‘work from home’ culture. Thus, in this blog I will  provide you few reasons for NOT having ‘work from home’ policy in your organization.

Depends on your business needs: Not every organization can afford to have the popular culture of telecommuting. Sometimes the business need, itself, won’t allow you to implement this culture in your company. Let’s say, you own an Apple Store. Are you going to be able to make your “Genius” employees work from home? Though these technicians can resolve people’s technical issues over the network, it is a strategic disadvantage for them to do so. Apple Store is widely known for its best customer support. And hence, the business need requires their employees to have some face time with their customers and develop that strong customer relationship to promote their brand.

It’s not for every company: Some people just can’t communicate well over the messenger, email or phone. There can be various reasons for this situation including lack of training, stagnant workforce, availability of appropriate tools, etc. Nonetheless, if your current workforce and your current company culture can’t support the initiative of working from home, then it might not be for your company. If some of your employees are not self-starters, and if they need someone to hold them accountable, and can’t be motivated themselves at home, then they need to work in the office. OR If you have some of those employees in your team for whom ‘work from home’ is the other name for a ‘vacation’, then this is definitely not for your company.

You lose the human touch: While communicating over a phone or a video conference provides your team the flexibility to join the meeting from anywhere, it comes with the dual edge sword. With the virtual nature of the communication for a ‘work from home’ team, it becomes challenging to schedule a meeting, since your team member have to wait for other people to come back to their IM client so that they can communicate. Also, written communication over e-mail or the verbal communication over the phone can create many inter-personal conflicts due to misunderstanding, which taking long time to resolve them. With written communication being so inefficient and passive, it might not be a good idea to go with the ‘work from home’ culture, if your employees are not ready for it yet.

Can create security concerns: I know, we have the latest technology today with the VPN connection and the secured channel communication. But as the technology advances and becomes complex, it becomes very difficult to address these security concerns remotely. No matter how strong is your office network, if your employees are working from home, your company can be exposed to various security loopholes. If you don’t have adequate IT support to address these security concerns for the people who work at home, then you might want to wait before implementing a ‘work from home’ policy in your company. Internet security is not the only problem. When your employees work from home they are exposed to various other security issues like their laptop getting stolen, having their password getting hacked due to lose WiFi network key, etc. Obviously, these issues will be less frequent if all of your employees work in the office, instead of their less secured home environment.

So, what do you think about my argument? Do you know any other situations in which you should not allow your employees to work from home?

Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

 
 

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