3 tips for tough conversations

first_img continue reading » No one looks forward to having a difficult conversation. As leaders, though, these conversations come with the territory of leading a team or organization. If an employee isn’t meeting expectations, it’s our responsibility to hold them accountable, not only for the success of the company but also for the growth and well-being of the employee.While initiating a difficult conversation seems intimidating, imagine being on the receiving end (and let’s not kid ourselves, we’ve all been there). Leadership expert and author John Eades has three tips to help you prepare for these types of conversations, with the ultimate goal of engaging in direct dialogue.His tips are:Set clear standards. It’s hard to meet expectations if they aren’t clearly outlined from the start. Eades offers three forms of standards – policy, procedure, and merit – through which offices can guide employees to success. When a new employee comes on board, be sure they understand proper office conduct, their responsibilities, rewards for good performance, and potential consequences for poor performance. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Young, gifted, black – and free

first_imgJustice MalalaI am not one to go ga-ga over birthdays. I am disconcerted, but not surprised, by the fervour with which many of my countrymen – and peoples elsewhere in the world – have embraced celebrations of Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday.I guess this is the point at which I should write that although I am cynical about birthdays I, too, am feeling a bit sentimental about this one. Well, actually not. The Mandela birthday celebrations have not really touched me much except for the fact that just the other day I heard that a former colleague had left her job. And that got me thinking about Mandela.“Mandela is 90 years old and I am going to see the world,” she said. And she was gone, just like that, to travel through the African continent.And I thought: Freedom. It never ceases to amaze me just how heady the freedom that South Africa has today changes lives. Every so often it hits me as young black kids take gap years to build dams in South America, or do something daring in Europe, how free and full of opportunity we have become.About four months ago a friend forwarded me an email that had been written by a colleague of his. The colleague was a young man in his early 30s who had decided to chuck in the job, buy a 4×4 and travel through Africa from Cairo to the Cape with a friend. And a credit card.Their journey was hilarious, harrowing, fun and adventurous. Every week or so the young man would find an internet connection, send mass emails and pictures, and take up the story of what they had been through. There were stories of lateness, of generosity, of promptness, of hunger and poverty. Africa was alive, ugly and beautiful and frustrating and fulfilling.If you are European this is not particularly new or even that daring. But this young man is a black South African. And that is telling. Eighteen years ago black South Africans were still living under the strictures of apartheid. Their lives and those of progressive whites were intolerable.Freedom. Eighteen years later, a minuscule time in the mammoth task of building a nation, these same “victims” of apartheid are not living under the depression of apartheid. They are free to express themselves as they wish, without fear of censure.My friend who has decided to travel through the continent is young and talented. She finished school, worked and rose up fast. She decided to go off and backpack through the continent.When Mandela became president in 1994 he spoke about how his new government was about extending the frontiers of human endeavour. Citing the poet Ingrid Jonker, he said: “The government I have the honour to lead and I dare say the masses who elected us to serve in this role, are inspired by the single vision of creating a people-centred society.Accordingly, the purpose that will drive this government shall be the expansion of the frontiers of human fulfilment, the continuous extension of the frontiers of that freedom.”Like many across the world, South Africa is today burdened by the international economic slowdown. Food prices are sky high and transport costs are being driven up inexorably by the rampant oil price. Plus we have our own massive challenges: HIV/Aids, crime and others.The “expansion of the frontiers of human fulfilment” that Mandela spoke about, in these tough times, is something very easily overlooked. But incredibly, it is here. I saw it just the other day when thousands of people queued across the country to buy shares of the energy parastatal Sasol in a public offering to encourage black participation in the economy.In those queues were young men and women, mothers and fathers and grandparents, all of them buying a stake in South Africa’s economy. The “frontiers of human fulfillment”, in a small way, were being expanded in those queues. Certainly, the camaraderie in those queues indicated to me at least that dignity had been restored to people.On a flight from Mauritius recently, I was incredible to see the number of black people – many of them young backpackers – on the flight. A group of them were chatting excitedly about their exploits. This is a scene that would have been a curiosity 10years ago. I am finding that it is a normal occurrence, just another fruit of our democracy and freedom, these days.I see nowadays, constantly, freedom expressed in so many ways by young South Africans who seem to have shed the hang-ups, the sheer weight, that those of us older folk seem to carry. They live, fully and untethered, a free life.It is in them, perhaps, that the spirit of Nelson Mandela is best expressed. He is not just a symbol of freedom. These young people, they are that freedom.Justice Malala is an award-winning former newspaper editor, and is now general manager of Avusa’s stable of 56 magazines. He writes weekly columns for The Times newspaper and Financial Mail magazine, as well as a monthly media and politics column for Empire magazine. He is the resident political analyst for independent television channel e.tv and has consulted extensively for financial institutions on South African political risk. Malala was also an executive producer on Hard Copy I and II, a ground-breaking television series on SABC 3. Hard Copy I won the Golden Horn Award for best television series. Malala’s work has been published internationally in the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Financial Times, The Independent, Forbes, Institutional Investor, The Age and The Observer.last_img read more

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Flock, Now Ending, is Like a Hot Tub Time Machine for Tech Blogs

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#Blogging#Browsers#web marshall kirkpatrick Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Flock, a Web browser with loads and loads of media sharing and social features baked inside it, announced today that it is shutting down. Flock went out with a sigh and the news of its closure has been greeted with a shrug. Back in the old days, when Flock was born, things were very different. Five or six years ago when Flock was launching (it was a long, slow, hyped-up process), people loved it. Tech bloggers in particular loved it. It was, as PaidContent founder Rafat Ali said, “a new browser with a lot of geek-love.” Top bloggers are so concerned these days with saving face by constraining their enthusiasm that I thought it would be fun to look back at what some tech stars said about Flock back then. Their early reviews are like a time machine that offers a ride into a simpler, perhaps happier time in the tech blogosphere. I miss that time and thought you’d enjoy reading some highlights.The best early review of Flock came from Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch. His write-up (Flock: Social Browsing is Cool), three months after launching TechCrunch and when it was just him writing by himself, is full of misspellings, over-the-top enthusiasm about what seem like the simplest things today and a long list of links off-site to competing blogs. You don’t see any of that on TechCrunch today. I miss that.Arrington called Flock “a functional browser with excellent features (including firefox features like tabbed browsing, etc.).”“This is pure magic…Wow. I mean, really, wow.” – Michael Arrington on FlockOf what he called the WYSIWYG Blogging Tool, Arrington went double-rainbow before double-rainbows existed:“This is pure magic. We’ve tested most blogging tools out there…I have to say I think Flock blows them all away. I’m dying to show a screen shot, but Flock has asked it’s [sic] beta testers not to (so ignore the very, very small screen shot above). To show this right now would be pushing the limits of their trust, so I won’t.“But it rocks. …It has functionality for editing posts (even posts not created with Flock), quick toggle between preview and viewing the actual code, and, the best feature in my opinion, the ability to simply drag flickr photos direclty [sic] into the post and manipulate them. They also allow quick and easy technorati tagging. Wow. I mean, really, wow. This stuff is not trivial to build. The ajax funtionality [sic] is stunning.”We can chuckle at a review like that today but some of Flock’s technology was, no doubt, not trivial to build. More importantly, an HTML editor in a content management system that published to the Web was a revolutionary technology just six years ago! That’s how drastically things have changed.Matt Marshall, founder of Venturebeat, was similarly wowed by something that seems pretty basic today. Maybe Flock was just ahead of its time? Or maybe the other browsers on the market were just woefully slow-moving? His favorite feature in Flock, Marshall notes: “Pulling RSS feeds from interesting sites you visit is a matter of clicking on a button that Flock shows you in the address bar — presto, the feed is showing in your browser.”Our own founder Richard MacManus got in on the game as well, posting an audio interview with Flock co-founder Geoffrey Arone to Odeo, the podcasting service that would later give birth to Twitter.“What interests me most about Flock these days,” Richard wrote, “is its goal to become one of the big browsers. Geoffrey said they’re planning to go-live (out of beta) in October this year and he is confident that Flock can become a big player in what is a very tough market.”Richard’s post concluded with the sentence, “Geoffrey said that my questions were the best he’s had in any interview about Flock (which is a nice compliment!).”Poor Richard didn’t know he was just at the beginning of years’ worth of startups saying nice things like that to us – after they made sure to show our competitors, TechCrunch, their tech first. “…this move takes Flock mainstream…Smart move.” – Pete Cashmore on FlockPete Cashmore, the then-21-year-old founder of Mashable, wrote about Flock’s partnership with giant photo-sharing-site Photobucket in 2006 and linked to TechCrunch with credit for finding the story first! (That doesn’t happen very often anymore.) “I’ve often thought that Flock was far too geeky,” Cashmore said. “It’s only useful if you’re an early adopter and a heavy user of Flickr, del.icio.us and blogging tools. But that’s no longer the case: this move takes Flock mainstream, reaching out to Photobucket’s massive user base. Smart move.”It’s true – some of the leading voices on the Web today thought five years ago that having your friends’ photos dance around in the corner of your browser was something that was of interest primarily to power users of the social Web. Five years later, we assume just the opposite I think – who today would call Flock, or its follow-on effort Rockmelt “too geeky?”People say you know things have reached mainstream consciousness when The Wall St. Journal’s Walt Mossberg writes about them. Two years after the above tech bloggers ranted and raved about Flock, its features and its high-profile funding, Mossberg wrote about Flock that he’d “been testing a little-known Web browser.”Mossberg, back in 2008, was just trying to come to grips with tabbed browsers and the frenetic sense of obligation they imposed on him. “Even with the advent of tabbed browsing, which allows you to keep multiple Web pages open in the same window, Web multitasking can be a pain,” he wrote. “You have to constantly click back and forth among tabs if they contain fast-changing material you check often, like the status of your friends in social-networking services, or updates to news feeds.“Trying to share information with people on your Web-based networks can introduce another layer of digital jujitsu. It can be awkward to snag a photo or a snippet of text from one Web site and send it to a friend in a social network on another, or post it to your own blog.”Apparently Mossberg got over all that and hasn’t spent the last three years flipping back and forth from one tab to another to see if there have been any updates, or struggling to copy text from one website and post it on a blog in another tab. Otherwise he wouldn’t have gotten all the things done that he has since then.What Does it Mean?!My point is this. Looking back at the birth of Flock is amusing because so many people were so wide-eyed about things that seem so simple today. Maybe those things are simple now because people got so excited about them back then, though. Maybe that adorably naive enthusiasm, sung from the tops of growing blog-mountains, helped move the industry forward quickly. The five or six years Flock has been around might feel like a long time to those of us who think in 140 characters at a time – but it’s really not long at all!We were wrong when we said that Flock might capture the world’s imagination. It might be a little embarrassing to have been so wrong. I’ve tried to find something gushy I wrote about Flock and I can’t – but I write super-gushy things about freaky new technologies every day, and often I am wrong about their staying power.Dave Winer says that every generation of tech press moves from the outside to the inside, growing co-opted and comfortable with the leading vendors, giving up critical thought and concern for the real interests of users in exchange for getting intimate access to the big companies in the market. Maybe that’s true. But I think there’s something more human and hurt-puppy going on here than just that all our souls have rotted. I think the rapid acceleration of technology, history and cultural change, the exhausting pressure to report on that and the rough and tumble experience that being a new media leading voice can burn people out. You’re probably never going to read Michael Arrington write about something new again with words like “This is pure magic…Wow. I mean really, wow.”Some people will say that such unbridled enthusiasm was irresponsible. That it was dangerous. That it was fuel for a bubble economy wherein grandmothers would throw away their life savings on the IPOs of Twitter clients, only to be homeless in months. I’ll let other people issue those dour, if important (!), warnings.I want the old days of tech blogging back. Back before everyone was so jaded and conservative about what they get excited about. People play it safer today and I think it may be to the detriment of progress, innovation and users. It’s a lot less fun, too.last_img read more

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Assimilate Scratch Video Tutorials

first_imgAssimilate, makers of professional post production software, has put out several info-filled video tutorials on using their industry leading DI application, Scratch.  In these video tutorials discover how to use Scratch in a professional post production pipeline.Major productions, like feature films and television shows, require a powerful post production platform.  Assimilate’s Scratch aims to fill this need with high end color grading, data management and compositing/finishing.Assimilate’s 2012 Showreel:Scratch’s high end digital intermediate (DI) toolset may seem foreign, even to the seasoned video editor.  Constructs, shot versions and staging may be new concepts, so to get up to speed Assimilate has provided has created these useful Scratch tutorials for the latest version of the software.Priced at $20,995, Scratch may only be feasible for major production operations.  But for those that have the budget, and the need, it’s a powerful app for a streamlined post production process.  Keep an eye on the Assimilate Vimeo page, as they continue to add Scratch tutorials.View the Scratch tutorials below:SCRATCH v7 Overview: The Editor:SCRATCH v7 Overview: Advanced Settings:SCRATCH v7 Overview: Drop Texture and Local Mode:SCRATCH v7 Overview: New Viewer:SCRATCH v7 Overview: Texture:SCRATCH v7: Canvas and Masks:SCRATCH v7: Custom Commands:SCRATCH v7: The Viewer:SCRATCH v7 How to: The Editor:last_img read more

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10 months agoMcGrath slams Man Utd players: I’ll go to grave knowing I gave my all

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say McGrath slams Man Utd players: I’ll go to grave knowing I gave my allby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United hero Paul McGrath says it’s time for the players to start playing for the fans.McGrath wrote for the Irish Independent: “Now the Manchester United players have to step up to the plate. And that’s from someone who knows what he is talking about.”You are reading here the words of a man who had a row with a Manchester United manager, someone he didn’t get on with.”But every time Alex Ferguson picked me to play in that famous red shirt, I went out and gave it my all. I will go to my grave certain of that.”And I played as hard as I could for three reasons.”Firstly, it was a matter of pure professional pride for me.”Secondly, because I wanted to show I was a half decent footballer.”And thirdly, and above all, because I was doing it for the supporters, those people who put their hands into their pockets for their hard-earned cash to watch the team and thus pay my wages.”That’s what I thought of when I was a Manchester United man, not that the manager wanted me out of the dressing-room.”There were Manchester United players who did not do those three things over the last few weeks and months.” last_img read more

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a month ago​Turner Sports to broadcast Liverpool games in US

first_img​Turner Sports to broadcast Liverpool games in USby Ian Ferrisa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool has extended its partnership with Turner Sports, in which exclusive content from in-house channel LCTV will be distributed in the United States via Turner’s sports streaming service B/R Live, reports SportBusiness.It follows Turner and B/R Live’s exclusive deal to broadcast Liverpool’s summer tour of the United States this year. Turner and B/R Live also have the US rights to the Champions League and Europa League.As part of the deal, Liverpool’s American fans will have access to 40 live matches per season, including pre-season, U23, U18, Liverpool FC Legends and LFC Women’s games, and replays for all first-team matches in all competitions.Additionally, supporters will be able to watch behind-the-scenes content featuring Liverpool players and manager Jürgen Klopp.Billy Hogan, managing director and chief commercial officer at LFC, said: “We’re incredibly excited to expand our partnership with Turner Sports to launch LFCTV on B/R Live. The relationship with Turner began this summer when they did a terrific job broadcasting our pre-season tour matches and we’re delighted to be extending it as we look to offer more LFC content to all our fans in the US over the coming seasons.” TagsMLS NewsPremiership NewsAbout the authorIan FerrisShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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9 days agoEverton could lose Djibril Sidibe to AC Milan

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Everton could lose Djibril Sidibe to AC Milanby Paul Vegas9 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveEverton could lose Djibril Sidibe back to parent club AS Monaco in January.The Frenchman is currently on a season-long loan at Goodison Park, but is reportedly attracting interest from AC Milan.Fox Sports Italia says if Milan place a substantial bid for the defender this winter then Monaco would look to recall Sidibe so they call sell him to the Serie A giants.Sidibe is set to start against West Ham this weekend in place of the suspended Seamus Coleman. last_img read more

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Facing Health Concerns Venus Williams Wins At French Open

Venus Williams faces challenges off the court.Venus Williams, in her first Grand Slam match since revealing in August she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, overcame a slow start Sunday to beat 19-year-old Paula Ormaechea of Argentina 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.The seven-time major champion did not look excited to be on the court, hardly smiling after many of her 41 winners. But Williams, 31, laughed a lot during her news conference, especially when she discussed her health as ”definitely an adventure and journey; it’s life happening.”An autoimmune disease is a case of mistaken identity, when the body begins attacking its own healthy tissue. Autoimmune conditions include rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.”A lot of it, I have to figure it out. It’s physical and emotional and all kinds of different things. Mental,” Williams said of her medical condition. ”It’s a big accomplishment for me to be here right now.” read more

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Who Is In The Most Trouble Brazil Germany Or Argentina

So what can Germany do? Only with better counterpressing from the forward line and midfield — to prevent opponents from striding through the center of the pitch with ease as Mexico did — can Germany regain its defensive strength. Coach Joachim Low started only two central midfielders, Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira, in order to get playmakers Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller into the lineup behind a central striker. A personnel shift that adds another central midfielder to the mix while dropping an advanced creator seems like the obvious next step. Of course, this isn’t as easy as just scribbling a new name on the lineup sheet. Player positions and relationships will have to be reconsidered and restructured. Mexico exposed Low’s first lineup, and now he needs to identify a backup plan and get his players ready to go with it in just a few days. The task is great.A similar tactical problem looms for Argentina. While La Albiceleste did not see its chance of advancing go down by a large margin, it was in trouble from the moment it was placed in a group full of such capable defensive sides as Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria. With a 32 percent chance of being eliminated before the knockouts, Argentina should be worried.And what went wrong against Iceland does not seem easy to solve. Argentina attempted 26 shots against Iceland but generated only about 1.1 expected goals, a rate of about 0.04 expected goals per shot. The only teams in the tournament that have created lower-quality shooting chances are Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.You would expect a team with Lionel Messi to be creating good scoring chances. But Argentina has a problem: Messi is tasked with bringing the ball forward from defense to attack. If Messi must pick up the ball in deep areas, who will make the pass or run near the penalty area to break open the defense? According to the statistical company Impect, which tracks whether passes took a team beyond an opposition defensive player, Argentina’s passes only bypassed a defender 23 times, the fourth-fewest of any team in the World Cup through the first four days.At the same time, Iceland created about 0.9 expected goals on eight shot attempts, a rate of 0.11 expected goals per shot,1Ninth-highest in the tournament so far, only slightly behind Mexico’s 0.13. showing that Iceland was able to create good scoring opportunities despite Argentina’s conservative approach. If Argentina’s defense can be exploited like this, it’s hard to suggest that coach Jorge Sampaoli should bring on a more attack-minded midfielder like Ever Banega and risk opening up further at the back. A counterpress could also work, but Argentina already tried that. Sampaoli drilled his players to press high up the field and seek to create turnovers that could give them new possession in advanced areas, but the team’s middling results and underlying numbers from qualifying suggest that has not worked either. It may be that the only real solution is hoping that Messi puts together a truly legendary tournament and covers both creative roles, advancing the ball through the midfield and beating the defenders.By contrast, Brazil’s exceptionally talented roster should not have to depend on one player. But against Switzerland, it did. Although its goal came from a brilliant individual finish by Philippe Coutinho, in general, Brazil tried to ride Neymar to victory. The creative winger was constantly on the ball and, more than that, constantly tasked with beating a man to create space for the attack to move forward. Eighteen times Neymar was involved in a one-on-one with a defender. This is high even for Neymar, who averaged about 10 one-on-ones per match for Paris Saint-Germain. But while Neymar was successful about 60 percent of the time in the French league, here he struggled, winning only five of 18 contests. Switzerland consistently bodied and often fouled Neymar, leaving him unable to progress the ball as he usually does. And while that could just be a fluky bad game from Neymar, Brazil has reason to worry. The draw against Switzerland was Neymar’s first match back from injury, and before the game, Brazilian coach Tite said Neymar was not fully fit. Brazil struggled to break down Switzerland because, time and again, its attack waited for Neymar to beat a defender, and he couldn’t do it.Unlike Argentina, however, Brazil already has the players to lean on while Neymar works himself back into shape. Coutinho and Marcelo are elite passers, while Willian adds about 3.5 complete dribbles per 90 minutes, 12th highest among players in the big five leagues with at least 2000 minutes played. None of them alone can do what Neymar usually does, but Brazil’s starting lineup as a collective can carry some of Neymar’s workload. What will be required for Brazil, rather, is that the team rebalance the attacking load until its superstar is fully fit. Brazil has the talent to continue to roll without Neymar at 100 percent, if it can limit his responsibilities.All of these teams remain favored to escape their groups. But a shocking early exit is possible for Germany and Argentina if they cannot solve some major problems. Brazil should be able to continue and succeed without Neymar at his best, at least for a while. But to reach or win the final, all three teams must make important changes.Check out our latest World Cup predictions. The World Cup has been full of surprises. Of the five teams rated most likely to win the World Cup before the tournament by FiveThirtyEight’s Soccer Power Index, only France won its first match. Spain, Argentina and Brazil could manage only draws, and worse yet, Germany lost to Mexico. While Spain’s 3-3 draw against Portugal can be excused — Cristiano Ronaldo’s team is rated the eighth-best side in the tournament and has legitimate hopes of winning the whole thing — the other three face larger problems.Germany’s difficulty may be the most acute. While Argentina and Brazil saw their chances of reaching the knockout round go down only slightly (77 percent to 68 percent for Argentina and 89 percent to 85 percent for Brazil), Germany is suddenly at risk of being the third consecutive defending World Cup champion to go out in the group stages. Die Mannschaft’s odds of reaching the round of 16 plummeted from 90 percent to 64 percent.Germany can’t say the loss was undeserved. Mexico created more expected goals, a statistical estimate of the quality of scoring chances, than Germany did, with the Mexican counterattack ripping up the German defense even when it did not create shots. Eight times in the match, Mexican players combined to move the ball straight through midfield — with more than 50 percent of ball movement directly toward the goal — and into the German penalty area. Though only four of those ended in shots, one produced a goal.That Hirving Lozano game-winning goal was the most devastating example of this counterattack. It starts with an open-play turnover, leading to a few quick passes and runs, a couple of defenders beaten on the dribble and a pass into the penalty area. The map below shows the Lozano goal and three other moves like it. If Mexico had been more clinical in creating good shots from these moves, the result could have been even worse for Germany. read more

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