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When to Make a Promise to Your Boss (and When Not To)

Geplaatst op mei 31, 2014 in News

Promises, Promises

Nobody Cares How Awesome You Are at Your Job


Bending over backward to honor a promise may not do you much good, according to new research from Ayelet Gneezy and Nicholas Epley. The duo tracked three types of promises — “broken ones, kept ones, and then ones that were fulfilled beyond expectations” — and found that overdelivering on promises doesn’t get you much of a boost in satisfaction. Epley says this is because a promise is similar to a verbal contract: The expectation is that you will or won’t fulfill it. However, when someone hopes for something that isn’t explicitly promised, exceeding expectations is beneficial. “If you can guarantee an outcome, you’ll make your customers (or bosses) happiest when you promise it,” suggests Businessweek’s Claire Suddath. “But if you’re not sure you can do it — or if you think you can do it even better — you might not want to promise anything and surprise them instead.”

Not Good at All

Google Finally Discloses Its Diversity Record, and It’s Not Good

PBS NewsHour

Google released its global workforce numbers, revealing that 70% of its employees are men, a number that increases to 83% and 79% if you look only at tech jobs and leadership roles. Two percent of Google employees are black. The NewsHour reports that these stats seem slightly more lopsided than other tech companies’, though an analysis by Mother Jones shows a pretty sad demographic profile at the top 10 Silicon Valley firms, particularly among executives.

There’s something to be said for the company’s forthrightness in making its numbers public — Google’s Laszlo Bock notes that “all our diversity efforts, including going public with these numbers, are designed to ensure Google recruits and retain many more women and minorities in the future.” But some, like Vivek Wadhwa, “don’t buy its excuses.” Wadhwa has a series of recommendations to move the needle. He recommends revamping job descriptions, changing recruitment tactics, including women on hiring teams, and focusing more on competencies than credentials.

Social Media Gets Physical

Coke Designs a Friendly Bottle That Can Only Be Opened by Another Bottle


The Colombian office of the Leo Burnett ad agency has designed a plastic Coke bottle with a cleverly engineered cap that can be opened only when it’s fitted together with another Coke bottle’s cap and twisted. So you have to find a partner to have one (and buy two at a time). Maybe even cleverer is the market that Leo Burnett targeted to introduce it — a group with a strong need (and a perfect opportunity) to socialize: college freshmen. Likely inspired by the sharable Coke can created last year by Ogilvy France and Ogilvy Asia-Pacific, this latest physical incarnation of social media has the obvious advantage of doubling, rather than cutting in half, potential sales. You can judge for yourself the creativity emanating far from these agencies’ U.S. home bases in the epic 90-second spot. —Andrea Ovans

Go Big or Go Home

The Cold Logic Behind Elon Musk’s $5 Billion Gigafactory Gamble


You have to hand it to Tesla’s Elon Musk: He does plan ahead. Although many past forecasts for electric-car adoption have missed the mark — China, for instance, will probably fall short of having 500,000 electric cars on the road by 2015 — Musk is betting heavily on the rapid rise of battery-powered vehicles. He’s building the world’s largest lithium-ion battery plant, a “gigafactory” capable of making enough battery packs to power half a million electric cars annually. That’s four times the number of electric cars sold globally last year.

Of course, powerful forces are working to undermine Musk’s vision: Traditional carmakers are fighting zero-emissions laws, and battery and energy researchers are aiming for breakthroughs that would make the gigafactory’s batteries obsolete. But if Musk is right, his production facilities will bring down the cost of batteries by 30%. And because batteries are the single most expensive component in electric vehicles, that would be a big step toward his dream of a mass-market Tesla car. —Andy O’Connell

The Cost of Transparency

Optimal Disclosure: Why Firms Need to Balance Hard and Soft Information


In corporate finance, transparency and disclosure are good things, right? And the more transparency and disclosure the better? Yes — but. When lawmakers and regulators demand disclosure, the kind of information they’re looking for is hard data — revenue, sales, net profits, that kind of thing. Research by Alex Edmans and Mirko Heinle of Wharton and Chong Huang of the University of California Irvine suggests that when executives have to disclose hard data, they lean toward making moves that improve short-term profitability, sometimes to the detriment of the company’s long-term health.

“Since rules can only stipulate the disclosure of hard information, and not soft, they change the relative weight of hard information versus soft information,” Edmans says. “Then managers are going to take actions to boost earnings at the expense of long-run intangible value.” Foreseeing steadily escalating calls for disclosure, Edmans has a word of warning for those who establish financial rules and regulations: “When policy makers are thinking, “Do we want even more disclosure?’ they should think, ‘Well, there is a cost to that.'” —Andy O’Connell


Three on Amazon

Why I’m Ditching my Amazon Account (Reuters)
Publishers’ Deal with the Devil (stratechery)
How the Amazon-Hachette Fight Could Shape the Future of Ideas (The Atlantic)

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