Firing Lab: Dairy Queen, a Birthday Cake and "Moana"...

It's judgement on terminations day here at the Capitalist. HR pros get their stripes from helping the business decide when employees need to stay, and when they need to go.

The decisions are probably most important for what we'll call "overall judgment in critical situations."  You know the deal on these - an employee is thrust into a situation involving an interaction with a customer/client, a co-worker or a manager - and their judgment is on full display.

The question of whether to term based on a single event of questionable judgment is something HR pros deal with all the time. Moana

Today's lab exercise: A Dairy Queen employee fielding a customer request for a birthday cake involving "Moana."  Here's more on the DQ situation from USA Today:

"A cake mix-up that went viral is drawing national attention, but the whole scenario is a nightmare for one Georgia woman who lost her Dairy Queen job.

The incident started gaining attention on July 2, when Kensli Taylor Davis shared a Facebook post with a picture of her 25th birthday cake purchased from Dairy Queen. The cake shows a marijuana leaf and what appears to be a high "My Little Pony" smoking with bloodshot eyes. 

Davis said her mother asked for a "Moana"-themed cake from a Milledgeville, Georgia, Dairy Queen. Instead, she got a marijuana-themed cake. The post has garnered more than 12,000 reactions and has been shared more than 13,000 times, mostly by people laughing at the mix-up. 

"I think they thought that she said 'marijuana' because we are from south Georgia and kind of have an accent. So, 'Moana,' marijuana?" Davis told WMAZ-TV in Georgia.

That's your situation. Here's how it went down in the workplace:

Cassandra Walker, the Georgia mother of two who made the cake, isn't laughing. She told USA TODAY she made the cake after her manager, who she says misheard Davis' mother, told her it was OK. Walker said Dairy Queen fired her for the mistake on Monday, which was her birthday. 

"The manager stood behind me while I pulled the images off the internet," Walker said. "She walked by as I decorated the cake. As I boxed the cake up, she was the one who walked it up to the front."She said she was told by Al Autry, who is one of the Dairy Queen's owners, that she couldn't be employed anymore.

"This was a simple misunderstanding from the beginning," Autry said in a statement to USA TODAY. "Our cake decorator designed a cake based on what she thought she heard the customer order. When the customer picked it up and said it was not what she ordered, we immediately apologized for the error and offered to redesign it the way she originally intended. The customer said it was fine, paid for the cake and left."

The statement did not address Walker's claim that she was fired. 

So what say you? Do you fire this employee?

My takes below:

1--The employee went through the manager and the design was approved.

2--The customer picked it up, laughed it off and had some fun with it.

3--Most HR pros wouldn't support a term in this circumstance.

If you're digging in from a investigation perspective, the fact that a manager saw and approved the design is a key thing to verify, as is the alleged fact that the manager actually took the call.  Confirm those two facts are true, and you really can't term.

But even if the employee rolled out that cake on her own - the fact that the customer laughed it off and took the cake means a term probably isn't in order.  

Notable in this situation is that Al Autry, identified as the owner of a DQ, is likely a franchisee, which at times can struggle with a lack of deep HR support from people like the ones reading The HR Capitalist.

VERDICT: The fact that pot is generally illegal in GA means you need to do a written warning (don't create work product that illustrates illegal activity), but a term is over the top. 


How to Respond to Negative Glassdoor Reviews...

You love to hate Glassdoor.  You feel like the negative reviews are disgruntled ex-employees who can hide behind not disclosing their identities. 

You're halfway right. There's still plenty of disgruntled takedowns of your company that are probably unfair.  But remember we are living in the review economy, with sites like Trip Advisor, Yelp and Amazon making the process of reviewing products and services feel commonplace to a higher percentage of your workforce.

The review economy means a greater total percentage of your employees are open to reviewing you on Glassdoor - which means you're going to be treated more fairly than you were during the dark days of Glassdoor Glassdoordisgruntlement 5-10 years ago.

You should ask good employees to write fair reviews as a result of the review economy. But that's a post for another day.

Today, I'm here to give you some simply templates to help you respond to Glassdoor reviews. Note that I'm not going to write them for you, but instead show you the elements of a solid response that doesn't attack the reviewer in question. The goal here is to give a playbook to respond to 4 types of reviews:

--The "You're the Best" review. (5 stars)

--The "You're Pretty Good" review. (4 stars)

--The "Balanced" review. (3 stars)

--The "Negative Takedown" review. (1-2 stars)

Ready? Let's do this.

1--The "You're the Best" review. (5 stars)

Believe it or not, you should take a victory lap and reply to this review.  The template goes something like this:

"Tim, thanks for taking the time to submit your thoughts on working at ACME.  While we have things to work on, we're glad you've sensed the <insert positive factor 1 identified by the employee> and <insert positive factor 2 identified by the employee> that we've worked hard to make part of our culture at ACME.  We appreciate everything you do for us and look forward to working hard to make ACME the best place possible to work and build a career."

Note the "we have things to work on" is key.  Humility is the right way to go with the stellar review. We're never satisfied!

2--The "You're Pretty Good" review. (4 stars)

Now we get into mixed feedback a bit.  Take the components of the 5-star review response and address any cons the employee lists in this still overwhelmingly positive review:

"Tim, thanks for taking the time to submit your thoughts on working at ACME.  While we have things to work on, we're glad you've sensed the <insert positive factor 1 identified by the employee> and <insert positive factor 2 identified by the employee> that we've worked hard to make part of our culture at ACME.  When it comes to <insert negative factor 1 identified by the employee>, we have some room to grow and are looking to <insert ongoing or planned initiative 1 to address the concern> and <insert ongoing or planned initiative 2 to address the concern>.  We look forward to hearing how you feel about the progress in this area, and thanks again for leaving this review."

Things are still pretty good in this review, but you're starting to address the negatives head on - with existing or planned initiatives in the area of concern.

3--The "Balanced" review. (3 stars)

Probably the most valuable of all reviews, the balanced review doesn't say you're the best - it says that there are pros and cons to working for you, which by the way, is the majority of workplaces that exist. Because the review doesn't imply that you're awesome, you have to back off taking too much credit and make sure you acknowledge the concerns.  It goes something like this:

"Tim, thanks for taking the time to leave this review.  We are working hard to build a good culture at ACME, and we're glad see the value in areas like <insert positive factor 1 identified by the employee> and <insert positive factor 2 identified by the employee>.  That's great feedback for us.  When it comes to <insert negative factor 1 identified by the employee>, we are working hard in this area and are looking to <insert ongoing or planned initiative 1 to address the concern> and <insert ongoing or planned initiative 2 to address the concern>.  We appreciate everything you do for us and thanks for being at ACME"

Note that you can repeat the insertion of areas of concerns and add additional initiatives you are working on to address concerns. A good rule of thumb is to address no more than two concerns, primarily the ones you have great traction on and active initiatives addressing the areas of concern.

4--The "Negative Takedown" review. (1-2 stars)

Here's where it gets dark.  The negative takedown review gives you credit for nothing, and provides a long list of problems and issues at your company. Allegations of hard working conditions, managers who don't care and general cultural dysfunction are common in the Negative Takedown review as well.  Most of these reviews will come from ex-employees, many of whom didn't perform well at your company.  With this in mind, the key is acknowledge the level of negativity in the review (even saying you're sorry they didn't have a good experience), then transitioning to promoting the fact your company isn't for everyone.  The response to the 1-star review using this model goes something like this:

"Tim, thank you for sharing your thoughts about your time at ACME. I'm sorry you didn't have a great experience during your time here, and it's true that working at ACME isn't for everyone. Change is constant in our business, and we ask our team members to be incredibly nimble as we serve customers in an industry that changes daily. Related to your comments on <insert negative factor 1 identified by the employee>, we are working hard in this area and are looking to <insert ongoing or planned initiative 1 to address the concern> and <insert ongoing or planned initiative 2 to address the concern>.  Thanks again for taking the time to leave this review and we wish you the best in your career."

Note the acknowledgment that the ex-employee did not have a great experience in the template above, including you sharing regrets if your brand will allow that - it's all about humility.  Once that's out of the way, you want to say that working at your company isn't for everyone, and the pace of change and related challenges is the best way to identify the profile of someone who can be successful at your company.  That effectively neutralizes the negative review to the extent you can by referring to motivational fit as a key to someone being successful at your company.  Once you have acknowledged the negative review and shared regrets the ex-employee didn't have a great experience at your company, you're on to show you're working on one or two of the areas that the review took you to task on.

The biggest problem HR faces when it comes to Glassdoor reviews is how to respond. If you're someone who hasn't got around to being consistent with your responses, I hope my templated approach helps you.

Naturally, context changes slightly related to whether the employee in question is a current or past employee. Also, you'll need to change up you intros and outros so every response doesn't sound the same, but insertion points for positive, negatives and what you're working on as a company to resolve generally will work as described with every review.

Get busy responding. Don't be a victim, HR.


Great CEO Quotes: "My Superpower is Change"

You know you love this post series here at the Capitalist - Great CEO Quotes.

Today's entry comes from WeWork CEO Adam Neumann:

"My Superpower is Change"

That's heavy, my HR friends.  When you work for a line of business boss who is on record with this quote, it's either going to be a fun ride - or you're going to hate life.

It's less about them than it is about you. They aren't going to change, so this really comes down to if you can tolerate the low rules/high change boss. Here's a couple Weworkof snippets on Neumann from Business Insider:

"Bloomberg observes that Neumann is served a bowl of super oats with what he calls "amazing qualities" midway through the interview, his cofounders go around wearing shirts with slogans like "High on We," and WeWork's walls are adorned with signs telling tenants to "Hustle Harder."

Toward the end of the piece, Neumann asks Bloomberg journalist Ellen Huet what her superpower is, he then responded with his own. "My superpower is change," he said, "and change is painful."

I'd categorize Neumann from WeWork as the visionary, low rules boss who trying to create a new category of business and generally disrupt an industry. For those that don't know a lot about WeWork, here's a quick description:

"Think of WeWork as an office leasing middle man. The company rents space and makes it pretty, you need space, so they rent that pretty space to you. On the most basic level, that’s all they do. More specifically, WeWork leases floors of buildings, entire structures, and any primo, available real estate they can get their hands on. Note that WeWork isn’t actually buying any space, just leasing it from owners and property managers."

WeWork wants to become your landlord. They initially were focused on renting space to individuals, but increasingly are signing deals with companies. They believe in the power of office space to drive culture and great work. They think they can do it better than you can do it for yourself, better than traditional commercial real estate firms, etc.  They're probably not wrong, but fulfilling a visionary, Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG) like reinventing how workspace gets built and leased is hard.

Find a crazy hard BHAG like reinventing (and more importantly monetizing) office space, and you'll find a low rules, high change boss like Neumann.

His superpower is change. He said so.

Can you survive and thrive with a CEO like this? It's more about you than it is about them.

Look inward, my HR friends. That cool office space affect will only last for so long.


Bro-tastic vs. We Care: A Quick Review of Uber's Current and Past Corporate Values...

I'm always fascinated by the choices that companies and leadership teams make when they create company values.  

The challenge, of course, is to cut through the noise and get to what's real for the employees who work for your organization. To me, values can be aspirational, but are always best served by words that describe what makes the high performers in your organization different/successful, regardless of position.

In that way, company values can be incredibly powerful. But too often they're mostly aspirational and don't tell you anything about the top talent in Uberyour organization.

Of course, it can go the other way as well.  Leadership teams can do a great job of making company values actionable and representative of culture, but the words can mean too much - at times justifying negative behaviors.  

It's a slippery slope. You want to find the sweet spot in the middle - actionable words that don't create rationalization for behaviors that seem counter to accepted people practices.

Need an example? I thought you would never ask... Let's take a look at the company values of Uber, both back in the old days under CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick, and then look at the current values under leadership of Dara Khosrowshahi, who was brought in to provide adult leadership when the company was spiraling in multiple controversies brought on by cultural failings of the earlier leadership.

First, the Uber company values under Kalanick:

Customer obsession (Start with what is best for the customer.)

Make magic (Seek breakthroughs that will stand the test of time.)

Big bold bets (Take risks and plant seeds that are five to ten years out.)

Inside out (Find the gap between popular perception and reality.)

Champion’s mind-set (Put everything you have on the field to overcome adversity and get Uber over the finish line.)

Optimistic leadership (Be inspiring.)

Superpumped (Ryan Graves’s original Twitter proclamation after Kalanick  replaced him as CEO; the world is a puzzle to be solved with enthusiasm.)

Be an owner, not a renter (Revolutions are won by true believers.)

Meritocracy and toe-stepping (The best idea always wins. Don’t sacrifice truth for social cohesion and don’t hesitate to challenge the boss.)

Let builders build (People must be empowered to build things.)

Always be hustlin’ (Get more done with less, working longer, harder, and smarter, not   just two out of three.)

Celebrate cities (Everything  we do is to make cities better.)

Be yourself (Each of us should be authentic.)

Principled confrontation (Sometimes the world and institutions need to change in order for the future to be ushered in.)

Damn. I love values that show what it takes to be successful at a company, but you can kind of see where it could go off the rails. More on that in a second.

Next, the current Uber company values under the all-grown up Khosrowshahi:

We build globally, we live locallyWe harness the power and scale of our global operations to deeply connect with the cities, communities, drivers and riders that we serve, every day.

We are customer obsessed. We work tirelessly to earn our customers’ trust and business by solving their problems, maximizing their earnings or lowering their costs. We surprise and delight them. We make short-term sacrifices for a lifetime of loyalty.

We celebrate differences. We stand apart from the average. We ensure people of diverse backgrounds feel welcome. We encourage different opinions and approaches to be heard, and then we come together and build.

We do the right thing. Period.

We act like owners. We seek out problems and we solve them. We help each other and those who matter to us. We have a bias for action and accountability. We finish what we start and we build Uber to last. And when we make mistakes, we’ll own up to them.

We persevere. We believe in the power of grit. We don’t seek the easy path. We look for the toughest challenges and we push. Our collective resilience is our secret weapon.

We value ideas over hierarchy. We believe that the best ideas can come from anywhere, both inside and outside our company. Our job is to seek out those ideas, to shape and improve them through candid debate, and to take them from concept to action.

We make big bold bets. Sometimes we fail, but failure makes us smarter. We get back up, we make the next bet, and we go!

See the difference? Wow.

The values from Kalanick's time that I've highlighted note fairly aggressive values that champion assertiveness, machismo and the confrontation that was really the genesis for Uber getting off the ground. Let us not forget the amount of confrontation Uber was taking on with almost every city as they launched their service. They truly begged forgiveness and were the barbarians at the gate. It's only natural that this spilled over into the values and into the culture. Of course, that was a choice - they effectively hard coded that macho vibe into the culture, and as we saw later it became a shitshow of harassment suits, bullying, etc. 

Could they have pivoted on the values once they saw the negative behaviors inside the company? Of course they could have. But that type of pivot means you can't have a founder-driven cult of personality.

Exit Kalanick, enter Khosrowshahi. The second set of values are from a grown up company. The words are softer. They're reflective of a pivot in values for a company that lost it's way, but also reflective of a company where the tough founder-driven stuff has already been done.

Could Khosrowshahi have grown Uber from scratch with this cultural DNA?  Nope.  Should Kalanick pivoted his culture once market share had been obtained and his values began to be a liability? Yep.

Welcome to the goody room of "words matter".  Nothing is easy when it comes to using values to drive culture.  


Old Town Road, Lil Nas X, and Your Creativity...

External reading/case study time today at the Capitalist.  If you haven't heard of Lil Nas X, you should ask your kids.

His short cut "Old Town Road" is a streaming sensation. This video of him surprising an elementary school in Ohio went viral this week. Lil-nas

But the real lesson is in how he put this cut together.  Rolling Stone dropped a piece related to the emerging scene of sites offering musical tracks on the cheap:

"No one saw Lil Nas X coming. His race to ubiquity came impossibly quickly, and it’s a rare instance of an artist’s industry story — the making-of chronicle of an underdog star — becoming to wide audiences as compelling as his music. Ever since the 20-year-old rapper rose into the public eye a few months ago, first on the madcap video platform TikTok and then in headlines amid controversy over country-music charts, fans and executives alike have been scrambling to work out the method behind his one-song success.

Of the dissections of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” which has sat at the top of music charts for eight weeks now, neither the treatises on its roots as a social-media meme nor the examinations of the charming sonic wackiness of its melody have paid much attention to one crucial aspect of the story: how and why the song’s underlying beat — the source of its all-important Nine Inch Nails banjo sample — only cost the rapper $30. That Lil Nas X was able to put together a chart-smashing song for less than the price of a tank of gas is a perfect testament that the traditional structure of the music business has blown apart.

“I don’t know if I’m living in some type of simulation at this point,” Lil Nas X recently told Rolling Stone. His smash hit only started taking shape in June 2018, when a Dutch teenager named Kiowa Roukema, a.k.a. Young Kio, tossed a trap beat under a banjo loop pulled from the Nine Inch Nails song “34 Ghosts IV,” which he’d found on a whim while browsing YouTube’s recommended section. He uploaded it as “Future type beat” (though it doesn’t really sound like a Future type beat) to a website called BeatStars. In November, it caught the attention of Montero Hill, a.k.a. Lil Nas, who had only been making music for a few months “out of boredom” from his sister’s home in Atlanta, Georgia. Nas recorded a song to the beat, and by the close of the year, the pair’s work was all over the internet, without the two ever meeting.

BeatStars is a digital marketplace where producers and artists are able to link up without ever getting into a studio together. Artists can pay a bargain-rate fee to download a beat, leaving it open to other artists to use as well, as Lil Nas X did. If they shell out a little more, they can get an exclusive license. The website is the brainchild of Abe Batshon, a musician-entrepreneur who only found out that “Old Town Road” came out of a BeatStars deal after the track blew up on music charts and he checked his records. “I don’t think Young Kio even knew about the song until it started having legs and trending on TikTok,”

The Rolling Stone article is worth reading in it's entirety.

The lesson here is pretty simple. Creativity matters, but there's creativity with a capital "C" and creativity with a lower case "c".

Lil Nas X is somewhere in between.  Old Town Road likely wouldn't have been made if he had to be the original source of all of it's elements. But sampling ideas from others (in this case a trap beat) and mixing them into something greater matters just as much as truly original ideas.

If you want to be valued, you've got to do more than make the trains run on time.

The Lil Nas X story shows that intellectual property rights are shifting faster than ever. People say their are no new ideas. I'd say that the true value of workplace creativity is being a mix artist, combining old ideas into new cuts/solutions.

Lil Nas X was sitting in ATL doing nothing less than a year ago.  But he was curious.

What's your excuse again for not creating new things in your job in 2019?  Mmm hmm.  Good luck with not adding additional value. I hope that works out.


HR Spotify: Fast and Furious Soundtrack Songs, Ranked...

In case you missed it - I did the following review of a Netflix documentary - Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.  Go read that and watch that Netflix joint.  But at the end of that post, I let my readers know that if anyone could give me a Ja Rule song (one of the organizers of the Fyre Festival that went so wrong), I'd give them the proper recognition in this space and at Fistful of Talent.

Turns out, I have a lot of Ja Rule knowledge amongst my reader base.  Among those offering up a Ja Rule song for reference - Jess, akaBruno, E, HR mime and HR footprints, and that's Fastjust those brave enough to own Ja Rule knowledge with a comment - also got a bunch of emails.

All this Ja Rule talk took me to the topic of the Fast and Furious movie franchise. If you need an explanation of what is is, click the link to the left.  Turns out, Ja Rule has done quite a bit of music for the F&F series.

That made me want to provide the following: Fast and Furious Soundtrack Songs, Ranked.  Spoiler alert - Ja Rule made it, if only because my readers have a s**t ton of Ja Rule knowledge.

HR disclaimer: I'm not accountable for the language in any of these songs. Check your kid's or nephew's playlist before you wag the finger at me.

See the Spotify playlist I made for my hard charging HR pros below (email subscribers, click through to the site if you don't see it).

As always, these rankings are unscientific, unresearched, highly subjective, and 100% accurate. Use at your own risk.

To the list of Fast and Furious Soundtrack Songs, Ranked:

10--Ja Rule feat. Lil Mo & Vita "Put It On Me" (Remix)
The Fast & The Furious (2001) - I had to put Ja Rule in, so here we are.  I'm told that this classic Ja Rule love song not only represented the romance of the first Fast film while capturing the urgency and vulnerability of the respective couples in the movie.  It just made me think he sounds a lot like DMX. 

9--Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth “See You Again”
Furious 7 (2015) - In the wake of the tragic death of leading man Paul Walker in 2013, the somber melody of this hip-hop ballad was an appropriate farewell tune that grew to become a smash.  Can't do the list without this one. I'm putting it at 9 because I like energy in my F&F cuts and this is chill.  RIP, PW.

8 -Teriyaki Boys "Tokyo Drift"
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) - I heard they’re doing some crazy **** in Tokyo. This song is by Teriyaki Boyz, a Japanese hip-hop collective that worked with just about every important producer 10 years ago. I don’t think they’re making music anymore, but I could be wrong.  This cut gets included as Tokyo Drift is DISRESPECTED in the F&F series since they didn't use the original cast.  I think Lucas Black is dope.

7 - Bad Meets Evil "Fast Lane"
Fast and Furious 6 (2013) - Dark horse entry to this list, Bad vs Evil is comprised of Royce da 5'9" and Eminem, with this track included in the Extended First Look trailer for Fast & Furious 6.  Great music in the track and it's gotten around, as it was featured on both the soundtracks of the 2011 film Real Steel, and on 2K Sports' NBA 2K12. The track was also used for HBO's Entourage season 8 trailer and for the Final Fantasy XV trailer "Ride Together'

6--NBA (Never Broke Again) Youngboy "Murder"
Fate of the Furious (2017) - Okay, this is a bit of a cheat. This song was a hit before they decided to put it on the soundtrack and it barely even has anything to do with aftermarket parts. Not my scene, but shoutout to the kids who listen to this stuff today, they all love NBA YoungBoy. Filthy lyrics. Don't listen if easily offended.

5--Limp Bizkit, Method Man, Redman, Swizz Beatz, & DMX "Rollin’ (Urban Assault Vehicle)"
The Fast & The Furious (2001) - Out of the more intense records throughout the franchise’s history, this one is top-five material. The original chart topper, “Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)” was already an icon nu-metal smash, but with the help of Swizz Beatz, it has more of a club feel. Fun Fact: “Rollin (Air Raid Vehicle)” was featured in the Fast & The Furious film while its hip-hop remix was only on the soundtrack.

4--Saliva "Click, Click, Boom"
More Fast & Furious (2001) - “Click, Click, Boom” is an iconic nu-metal smash of the early 2000s. The extreme intensity from the M-Town band allows their radio smash mesh with The Fast & The Furious’ rugged and raw energy perfectly.  Of course the white guy is following up Limp Bizkit with Saliva.  

3- Lil Uzi Vert and Travis Scott "Go Off"
Fate of the Furious (2017) - If you're old and trying to represent, your safest choice is ALWAYS Lil Uzi Vert and Travis Scott - hard to go wrong with that duo. Thus, they make the list.

2--Wiz Khalifa & 2 Chainz “We Own It”         
Fast & Furious 6 (2013) - Wiz and 2 Chainz deliver the goods here. 2 Chainz probably appears with the hologram of Conway Twitty next, because he's everywhere. Can't listen without humming along.

1--Ludacris “Act A Fool”
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) - Luda’s first entry in the Fast & Furious franchise was an outlandish banger that flooded the airwaves and MTV consistently back in ’03. This was also at the height of his career, when his Chicken-n-Beer album was making waves at the same time.  This cut is so Fast and Furious I'd list it 10 times, but that would be boring.  If you have time for one song to capture the essence of Fast and Furious, this one is it.

Disagree? Have something to add?  You're probably wrong, but hit me with your views in the comments.


Nothing Says "Sell Your Stocks" More Than Corporate Events That Feature This...

You know you're living in a peak economic cycle when you go to a corporate event, and the entertainment rivals old Rome in the Coliseum. 

Lions. Tigers. Potential loss of life.  ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?

Email subscribers, click through to the site if you don't  see the Instagram video embedded below. OC Tanner, by all counts a fine, outstanding recognition firm (trying like everyone else in the game to become a cloud-based technology firm) had an analyst event last September in Snowbird, UT.

The video is of some ski stunt jumpers doing something like 15 flips in a row - no snow, so they land in a pool of water.

An HR Capitalist correspondent was there and met at least one of the jumpers, who was on the last US Winter Olympic team.

Post recession, you had a crappy DJ at your company event.

Peak economic cycle? You better get an Olympian risking his life for the mob to the tune of Ozzy's Crazy Train.  After all, that transition to becoming a cloud-based company just doesn't happen. Bells and whistles are needed.

ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?  Make sure you pick up our goodie bag with a t-shirt and a flash drive before you leave the park.

And yes, we all saw this and left our investment accounts in 90% equities.  No shocker the market dropped hard in Q4 when we saw this at the end of Q3.


Founder's Rules: Marriott to Put Copies of Bible and Book of Morman in Starwood/Westin/Sheraton Hotels...

There's a lot of pros and cons about working for a company that's still controlled by a founder.  For me, I think the pros dramatically outweigh the cons.  Every once in awhile, a little company grows into a giant that's still controlled by the founder and because they still call the shots, things get interesting related to what's important to them.

Case in point - Chick-fil-A - while the founder has passed away, the company is still run by the son - Don Cathy, who's conservative Christian views have been front and center in recent years.  There was past drama related to the Cathy's views on same-sex marriage, etc.   Since the company is still thriving, you have to guess that the service and food is still so stellar that the controversy didn't make an impact.

Here's another founder-controlled company with some new ripples - Marriott International plans to place copies of the Bible and the Book of Mormon in 300,000 rooms of its Marriott newly acquired Starwood, Westin, and Sheraton hotels, the Associated Press reports:

The big picture: The number of hotels that offer those kinds of religious materials fell 16% over 10 years, per the AP. Starwood-owned hotels haven't offered religious materials at all until being acquired by Marriott. But Marriott requires "its 6,500 properties to have the books in each room."

Marriott told the AP in a statement: "There are many guests who are not digitally connected who appreciate having one or both of these books available. It’s a tradition appreciated by many, objected to by few." Gideons International provides the Bibles, and the Books of Mormon are purchased with the help of the Marriott Foundation and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Other major hotel chains like Hilton and IHG, owner of Holiday Inn, let hotel managers decide whether or not to provide Bibles in their rooms.

Marriott, whose namesake founding family is active in the Mormon church, has been putting both the Bible and the Book of Mormon in its rooms since opening its first hotel in the late 1950s. Like most major chains, Marriott doesn't own the majority of its hotels. However, it stands out from the other companies by requiring — in franchise or licensing agreements — its 6,500 properties to have the books in each room.

There are some other Starwood properties acquired by Marriott that won't be get the book - the W and Moxy brands won't, for example. Turns out that condom packs in the rooms, etc - is inconsistent with the messages in the books.

A quick scan/text stream of 4-5 Marriott employees I know at decent levels in the company - and having a variety of political views - found my Marriott friends to be comfortable with the decision. They see all the progressive moves that go unnoticed by the company and are happy to shrug off the power play of 300K Bibles and Books of Morman going into rooms.

Founder-driven companies that scale are always an anomaly.  Good enough operationally to get big, small enough via the founder vibe (even at Marriott's size) to do whatever they want - damn the critics.

Long live the American entrepreneur. See you at the Westin, my home away from home, now with new books. 


Older Workers and Unconscious Bias...

I did a post over at Fistful of Talent last week on older workers, unconscious bias and a new org attempting to represent older workers call I, Too, Am Qualified.  Here's a snippet of the post, hit FOT for the whole thing:

"Why is better understanding of unconscious bias a good thing for older workers?  Mainly because it transcends what is merely legal and seeks to connect on a higher plane.  The key to getting better treatment in the recruiting world for older candidates is inclusion in the concept of unconscious bias as it gains traction, which goes something like this for your average hiring manager:

1--I'm a good person.

2--I'm a horrible person because I have bias I'm not even aware of.

3--I shall correct this unconscious bias by giving impacted groups of people more play than my mind is telling me too.

4--Did I mention I'm a good person?

5--I made a hire from an impacted group of people as a form of self-correction, and I'll be damned, that ended up pretty good.

6--I'm going to keep looking to hire people from groups of impacted candidates since that went well.

7--Told you I was a great person.  I'm not even sure I was part of that whole unconscious bias thing.  Other people, though? Heathens...

Go take a look and support I, Too, Am Qualified.  You'll know they (and others like them) are winning when we include age in the unconscious bias narrative."

Go hit Fistful of Talent to get the whole post!


WeWork's New Vegetarian Policy for Employees and Company Events: The Market Will Decide...

We live in a world where business owners can make political/moral/society statements and force those world views on their employees - especially if their companies are privately held.  On the conservative side of the aisle, we've seen businesses stand up for their right to not offer birth control as part of their health plan, and we've seen owners on both the conservative and liberal sides of the spectrum put pressure on employees to vote in elections according to the owner's views.

Add a new one to to the list.  WeWork wants you to know that eating meat isn't cool - and they're changing their business practice to reflect that.   We work

More from USA Today:

If WeWork employees want a burger while on business, the money is coming out of their own pockets. The global workplace startup told employees this week that the company will ban employees from expensing meals that contain red meat, pork or poultry, Bloomberg reported.

The company won't provide meat for events at its 400 locations, either — part of an effort to reduce its environmental footprint.

"New research indicates that avoiding meat is one of the biggest things an individual can do to reduce their personal environmental impact, even more than switching to a hybrid car," WeWork co-founder Miguel McKelvey said in an email to staffers.

The no-meat policy will also affect self-serve food kiosks at many of WeWork's 400 locations worldwide, according to Bloomberg. Employees wanting "medical or religious" exceptions can hash those out with a company policy team.

WeWork boasts 6,000 employees worldwide, according to Bloomberg. The company estimates its no-meat policy will save 15,507,103 animals by 2023, according to Business Insider, along with 16.6 billion gallons of water and 445.1 million pounds of carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping gas that alters Earth's climate.

WeWork confirmed the policy change to both news outlets. WeWork is perhaps the most well-known company to emerge offering co-working spaces to freelancers, small businesses and even employees of large companies such as Microsoft. The Motley Fool named it one of the top five most valuable startups in America.

It would be easy to blast this policy, but I'm actually OK with companies making these kind of stands - both on the liberal and conservative side of the fence.

So WeWork won't allow employees to expense a meal involving meat and it won't serve meat at WeWork facilities as part of it's events business.  

Ok!  You know who decides whether WeWork is wrong?  Not you and me.  No, the people who decide whether WeWork has lost its mind are what I'll call "the aggregate."  It all comes down to whether this policy hurts WeWork as two groups consider it for business purposes:

1--Candidates and employees. I can't expense a chicken taco.  Does that make me want to avoid you as an employer? Does it make me want to leave you as an employee?  Ask that question 20,000 times in the next year and if a significant amount of people can't accept the policy and leave or don't join the company to begin with.

2--Companies who want to host events in a WeWork facility.  Same question.  Love your space, going to host my get together at WFW (we <expletive>work).  Wait, what?  I can't cater the brisket through you?  No?  I cam't have someone else cater that in?  Hmm.  Where do I go that can provide that?  Is their space just as good?

At the end of the day, WeWork is standing up for something the founders believe in.  The market will decide.  If I was selling against them, I'd use it to negatively sell every chance I got.

By the way, there is a loophole in the policy - fish is still allowed.  Because you know, not all animals have the same set of rights. 

Sorry, couldn't resist.