Friday, August 21, 2009

Roy Rogers and the Age of Transparency

I have always been fascinated by codes of conduct and marketing, perhaps because I believe the two are compatible and aren’t mutually exclusive even though it might not often be easily implemented in practice
My favorite codes were the ones I discovered back in my childhood. The text of two are reproduced below from

Roy Rogers Riders Club Rules
1. Be neat and clean.
2. Be courteous and polite.
3. Always obey your parents.
4. Protect the weak and help them.
5. Be brave, but never take chances.
6. Study hard and learn all you can.
7. Be kind to animals and care for them.
8. Eat all your food and never waste any.
9. Love God and go to Sunday School regularly.
10. Always respect our flag and our country.

Gene Autry's Code of Honor
1. A cowboy never takes unfair advantage - even of an enemy.
2. A cowboy never betrays a trust. He never goes back on his word.
3. A cowboy always tells the truth.
4. A cowboy is kind and gentle to small children, old folks, and animals.
5. A cowboy is free from racial and religious intolerances.
6. A cowboy is always helpful when someone is in trouble.
7. A cowboy is always a good worker.
8. A cowboy respects womanhood, his parents and his nation's laws.
9. A cowboy is clean about his person in thought, word, and deed.
10. A cowboy is a Patriot.

When I was a kid if you joined a fan club you were able to get a copy of these so-called Cowboy Codes and you could carry them around so you could live by these rules of conduct. Marketers have a published code of ethics. The Statement of Ethics of the American Marketing Association may be found at

I wonder how many marketers and those marketing their products and services carry a copy of, live by, or are even aware of this code of ethics. In this age of the Internet where non-brick and mortar businesses abound, and a professional look can be obtained for a Web site for pennies, not to mention sites like Amazon and eBay where a millions of secondhand businesses have mushroomed overnight. And let’s not forget “reality” television and second life technology environments in which the image that we want to become reality becomes “reality.”

Yes, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry played fictional characters, so it too was a false world. And maybe I live in my own false world. But in my world, there is a professional marketing code of conduct that must be followed similar to those Cowboy Codes of yesteryear.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Questioning Our Consumption Accelerator

In an article that I wrote for Practical Accountant at entitled, “Money in Going Green,” I explained how greater environmental consciousness at accounting firms is increasing efficiency, generating revenue, and aiding in staff attraction and retention.

I believe this type of increased awareness is also evident in other businesses and with respect to individuals in a change in thinking and an understanding that “going green” isn’t a cause, but rather a possible and viable choice. This explains why reducing carbon footprints are being incorporated into many businesses’ long-term plans.

The economic recession is helping. Trading in gas guzzlers and, taking advantage of tax credits, and a turning to tap water are just two examples. Here are hyperlinks to four articles that conclude the economic recession is providing added support for going green:,, and

Technology is playing its part as used textbooks are being sold on Amazon and second-hand reasonably priced clothing is widely being purchased at sites like eBay. This going-green trend is also evident with regard to charitable donations. Rather than throwing used appliance, cabinets, and fixtures away, those who are remodeling are making donations to charity for distribution to the needy. And there are the stadiums and restaurants donating prepared food that isn’t sold at the end of the day to charity. An article in the New York Times at describes a program that arranges for the food from Yankee Stadium to be delivered to a church for distribution following a game.

Changes in behavior and thinking are often caused by a change of circumstance. It looks like this economic recession’s impact will have long-lasting effects. It’s nice to see one of those will really benefit society long-term.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Vital, Missing Soft Skill

Whether it is a professional firm, a business or a not-for-profit, many in upper management have a common complaint that workers and staff don’t deal with, or want, change. That rationale is often the reason why individuals are laid off or frozen out and not consulted. I wonder if the problem isn’t an opposition to change, but rather that very few people are skilled at managing change.

Interestingly, there is increased attention to the development and perfection of soft skills. Training is provided in such areas as listening better, negotiation, consensus building, project management, etc. However, I haven’t noticed much employee training on developing and perfecting change management skills.
How good are you and others at your organization at:
· Recognizing the need for change,
· Anticipating changes affecting your industry or profession short- and long-term,
· Identifying and evaluating the steps that need to be followed when making a change,
· Adopting to change,
· Encouraging others to change, and
· Making a change quickly?

The impact of new technology, commoditization of good and services, online communities, globalization, and the economic environment are just a few of the factors requiring businesses to be more nimble. By developing change management abilities at all levels, both the entity and the individuals will benefit

Upper management needs to understand that to change isn’t about getting rid of employees and staff, but rather about creating an environment where employees and staff are the contributors to change.