Hot Topic Friday: June 21

Personal leadership Podcast



Happy Friday! Here are my June 21 Hot Topics and how they relate to advancing leadership or culture.

Hot Topic 1: The Rise of Zombie Firms.

Source: The New York Times.

What It’s About?: The Bank for International Settlements, the global financial foundation that serves central banks, says low rates are driving the rise of “zombie firms,” which don’t earn enough profit to cover their interest payments and survive by repeatedly refinancing their loans. Holy Cow! Zombies now account for 12 percent of the companies listed on stock exchanges in advanced economies, and 16 percent in the United States, up from 2 percent in the 1980s.

Why It’s Important: We know what zombies do. They eat healthy organizations surviving in the “zombie state” for longer, depleting the productivity of these companies by competing with them for capital, materials and labor. From flat and fast there are also the fat and slow, and as noted in the source article: “Resulting in larger market dominant corporations, declining competition and fewer start-ups, which together undermine and slow economies already hindered by falling growth in the working-age population.”  You, me, all leaders, and certainly boards of directors have a responsibility to ensure organization cultures and strategies support agile and rapid adaptive institutions. If your company goes zombie, everyone has a part in getting that ugly. Fight for staying healthy.

Hot Topic 2: The Big Chuckle.

Source: Big Think.

What It’s About: Research has shown that a sense of humor can improve our mental and physical health, boost our attractiveness, and improve leadership skills. This article explores different types of humor, underscores the importance of it, and debates whether it can be taught . Note that Stanford offers classes on humor in the B school to help leaders become more successful (at least some credible folks think you can teach, value and learn it).  

Why It’s Important: Read the zombie article above if you don’t think we need more laughter. Geez. The last organization I was at declared it a value to laugh and have fun everyday. It was promoted and existed throughout the organization. Our executive floor was sometimes disruptive with the loud laughter bouncing off the walls. It is so important. How can crabby, humorless workplaces be a place we want to be at, let alone produce value? Have you ever seen grumpy workers make customers happy? Have fun. Be authentic and intentional. What’s your workplace like when it comes to having fun everyday?

My Weekly Wine Recommendation (Thanks to Vivino):

Juggernaut Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon 2016.

[Picture and ratings provided by Vivino.]

And finally! Here’s Cecil’s Bleat of the Week!

“Two muffins are in an oven. One muffin says ‘man, it’s hot in here.’ The other muffin says ‘holy crap! A talking muffin!’” – Anonymous

Bye for now!

– Lorne Rubis

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