Friday, 2 May 2008

Newsletter Issue 148, May 2008

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 148, May 2008
Hi guys,
We continue Anita Attridge's article on organisational culture in That’s How We Do Things Around Here, Part 2 below.
Dutch uber-trend spotters, Trendwatch, have a new phenomenon to watch out for in Free Love
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

That’s How We Do Things Around Here, Part 2

In the second part of Anita Attridge's article on organisational culture, where we look at accepting culture and investigating it.
Organizational Culture Isn’t Right or Wrong: It Just Is
The culture of an organization is commonly determined by the founders. It may evolve over time, but the processes and ways of working together become deeply embedded. The unspoken rules, based on shared values and beliefs, become the reality of how the organization gets work done.
Those who join the organization are expected to adapt and accomplish their work in accordance with the culture. Here’s a checklist of questions to guide the newcomer in adapting:
  • What it’s really like to work here? What are the realities of working “our way”?
  • What behaviours and attitudes are expected?
  • How are co-workers expected to communicate and deal with each other?
  • How are decisions made and problems solved?
  • How are employees and customers expected to be treated?
How Should You Choose Where to Work? Know Thyself!
All of us have preferred ways of working, although many of us don’t give much thought to it. If you’re working in a company culture that supports your preferred style, you are usually content. If you land in a company culture that is different from your preferred style, you may be compelled to change the way you work—or change jobs. We often fail to closely question how an organization works, even when we’re in the interview process.
It is vital to understand your own preferences. The clearer you are about how you like to work, the more likely you are to choose wisely—and you will become attuned to how an organization really gets its work done and expects new members to work. Use the following Working Style Preference Exercise to assess your desired work environment.
This exercise should help you to see what is really important to you—and where you will fit. If, for example, working in a fast-paced organization that encourages risk-taking is highly important to you, you probably will become frustrated working in an organization where the pace is slower, and risk-taking is not encouraged. Neither style is right or wrong…they are just different and require different approaches. In The Five O’Clock Club book, Targeting a Great Career, there are additional assessment exercises that will give you insights about how you like to work.
Investigating Organization Culture
Understanding yourself is a good beginning. The next step is to uncover as much as you can about the organizational cultures of the companies you may be targeting to get interviews.
At The Five O’Clock Club, we tell clients they can learn about companies in three ways:
  1. Primary Research: talking to people who are in the know—or who know people who are in the know. That’s what we mean when we say, “Network, network, network!”
  2. Secondary research: reading as much as you can about companies, e.g., articles in business publications, trade journals, websites, blogs.
  3. Your own direct observation.
Make use of all three methods to find out about company cultures as you prepare for interviews, or even as you start a new position. All three can also help you to gain deeper insights into the culture of your current organization.
Actually, secondary research comes first, because you don’t want to network intensively (primary research) until you already have a lot of background information—so that you will sound knowledgeable when you speak with people. You want to be prepared to ask good questions about the company culture during the interview, so you need some information and a grasp of realities before your networking and job interviews.
A good place to start is learning about the company founder(s). These people exert an extraordinary influence on the company culture. It’s their company and they determine:
  • The beliefs and values of the workplace.
  • The company’s focus of attention.
  • The decision-making and problem-resolution processes.
  • Conduct and achievements that will be rewarded.
  • If the founder is no longer with the company, find out about the leaders who replaced those who were present at the beginning. Who succeeded to the leadership roles, who failed, and why? How has the company culture evolved over the years?
There are usually many sources of information for your secondary research:
  • Read the latest annual report to learn what is important to the company.
  • Review the company website to learn about the company’s history, the founder and the current CEO. A website presents an idealized portrait of the company; however it provides insights into how the company wants to position itself in the marketplace.
  • Dig up as many articles as you can about the company in business publications. You’ll likely find a variety of materials, some with information about how the company culture is viewed. In these days of blogs very little can be hidden!
  • Look and listen to the marketing messages. Ads and slogans often convey underlying beliefs about the company’s identity and views about its customers.
With an understanding of the company based on secondary research, you’ve made a good start, and are positioned well for your primary research, ie, speaking with people who can shed even more light on your targeted companies.
In the next newsletter, in part three of Anita's article, she looks at networking, personal observation and interview questions about culture.

Trendwatching's Free Love

Trendwatch, a Dutch marketing firm, really keeps its finger on the pulse of what's new & coming.
The latest 'big thing' that they have identified is something they are calling "Free Love"; where organisations are giving away free samples, free services, free trials with absolutely no hooks to consumers. 
The challenge for all of us is to decide which of our products, services or business processes could potentially tap into the free love phenomenon? The risk is to ignore it, and be swallowed up by our competitors free love.
Trendwatch pose the question "Are there areas where you can proactively change the rules of the game, by being the first to experiment with FREE LOVE? Which ad-sponsored goods or services can you introduce? What kind of TRYVERTISING or BRAND BUTLERs can you bring to market in 2008? What swapping/vanity/recycling concept can you develop together with others (your customers?) that are already engaging and exploring these FREE LOVE opportunities?"
Trendwatch hasten to add that free love "is not about everything being free in the (near) future. After all, not everything commercial can be ad-sponsored (if only because those ads in the end have to sell something else), not everything will be copyable, and not everything that's non-commercial can replace the for-profit business world. In fact, scarcity can and will forever be redefined, creating an endless stream of new products and services that many consumers will be happy to pay for."
And an add-on to free love is Uber Free, or Paid Love, where companies are paying consumers to use certain goods and services (watch this space). To read more from Trendwatch, head to

Woody Leonhard's Freeware Must-Haves

In Windows Secrets newsletter last year, Woody Leonhard, PC guru, published a list of his "must have" free- and shareware, as follows (subscribe online at
Woody relates " was particularly difficult to come up with a small handful of utilities that I think most people need. This column polishes up the best and the brightest I've found, and presents them for your consideration. It'll be interesting to see if your favourites appear on this little list."

"Of course, you should already have Firefox, QuickTime, Adobe Reader, the Java Runtime Environment, and Flash. You've reviewed the Windows Secrets Newsletter Security Baseline and installed what you need to stay safe (personally, I use AVG Free Antivirus, AVG Antispyware Free Edition, and the free firewalls built in to Windows XP and Vista).

"There's absolutely no question that every Windows XP user needs TweakUI and its sister utility, the Image Resizer PowerToy. As I've discussed in several previous columns, Vista consumers don't have a TweakUI, but every Vista user needs a free third-party program to re-size pictures. My favourite is VSO Image Resizer.

"My article on Sept. 20 extolled the virtues of Xplorer², a free (there's that word again) Windows Explorer upgrade that puts Microsoft's offering to shame. This one's definitely on the list of Woody's Windows Must-Haves.

"I've also written in the past about Clipboard Recorder, which replaces Windows' clipboard with a 99-item cupboard; ProduKey, which retrieves CD keys for Windows XP, Vista, Office and other Microsoft products; and Snadboy's Revelation; which can "see" passwords and other hidden *****-ed out text. Sometimes. Snadboy Revelation even reveals passwords in Outlook 2007.

"Last week, my fellow contributing editor Mark Joseph Edwards recommended Notepad2 as a replacement for the venerable (and not very capable) Windows Notepad.

"All of those programs are free, and they work equally well in both Windows XP and Vista."
TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you:
  • NFC, Near Field Communication. A short-range wireless connectivity standard (Ecma-340, ISO/IEC 18092) that uses magnetic field induction to enable communication between devices when they're touched together, or brought within a few centimetres of each other. Much easier to operate than bluetooth. This year's new comms toy for all your devices.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
Over the next few newsletters, we are going to look at all you can do with Alt and letters. This time it's E & F:
  • Word "Insert an endnote while working within text" Alt & Ctrl & E
  • Word "Insert a footnote while working within text" Alt & Ctrl & F
  • IE "Specify how you want frames to print. This option is available only if you are printing a Web page that uses frames. " Alt & F
  • Word "Edit a mail-merge data source" Alt & Shift & E
  • Word "Insert a merge field" Alt & Shift & F

Hot Linx
For any of you who like fish but don't know what varieties to buy, download this helpful wee pdf from the healthy food website
If you want to stay on top of the new & coming trends, then this is the site for you. is a social trendcasting website listing all the newest and greatest trends on the web... such as boycotting bottled water at
For those of you looking for a great hotel somewhere offshore, go no further than this site. You can click through to the hotel itself, take a tour of the rooms, and often even be hooked up to a web cam in a show suite so you can see for yourself; at
TV on demand is the way of the future, and this site is one way to get your TV programmes when you want them. Check out and see why those with broadband are getting their news - and views - online.

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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