From Jonah Lehrer to Fareed Zakaria to Lance Armstrong, Big Think's Andrea Chalupa sees cheaters across America. "What does this mean for a country obsessed with winners?" she asks. "It’s time to rethink our definition of success, or we set ourselves up, as Armstrong did, for epic failure." In this bracing cri de coeur, Chalupa urges us to question "Bigger, Faster, Stronger Syndrome" and see it for what it is: an industry. She links this "Winner Industrial Complex" with the mass commercialization of sports, entertainment, and general fame, and in turn links mass commercialization with a decline in quality. "To develop properly, quality requires time (yuck, patience), trial and error (gasp, failure!), and risk (no thanks) — aversions in our 'leak a sex tape and become ubiquitous' culture."
Kardashian-style strategies aside, the siren song of quick success and easy money certainly has appealed to professionals up and down the corporate ladder. Instead of giving in to the temptation of fleeting accolades and shallow achievements, pursue meaningful ideas and projects. "We’re here to help cultivate a garden larger than ourselves," she concludes. "And nothing poisons the well more than winning at the expense of embarrassing your fans and country." Or, we will stodgily add, your key stakeholders.
Jeff Haden tells a maddening story of two Kurdish men who work in a poultry plant. When they asked where they should go to clean up before lunch, their boss said they wouldn't have time to clean up, "But I wouldn't worry about that. You boys will still be cleaner than what you're used to where you come from." Later, one of the men told Haden, "Here they will let us have jobs... but here they do not let us have pride." Remember, urges Haden, that the most important thing you give your employees is not a job, or a salary, or benefits. It's self-respect. And it doesn't cost you a thing.
How many businesses ask you to log in to their site with a password? Your work email, your personal email, newspapers, magazines, bank(s), credit card(s), several social media sites, and so on. Most of us get around this profusion by repeating the same couple of passwords. But hackers have now cracked so many big sites — LinkedIn, Gawker — that they've created massive databases of passwords, making your oft-used "secret" code easier to figure out. The simplest tip for avoiding this fate: make your password as long as possible.