Why a more diverse workplace is also a more talented one
Ram Charan has spent his working life as a business mentor and consultant to CEOs of global companies. He's the guy that Coca-Cola, KLM, GE, and Bank of America (just to name a few) call when they need help. And he's a firm believer in a diverse workplace. If a 90-year-old can do the job the best, then why not hire them? Raw talent doesn't just exist in ivy league business schools, he says, and that applies to the whole company... from the work floor to the boardroom. Ram's latest book is Talent Wins: The New Playbook for Putting People First , and he is brought to you today by Amway. Amway believes that diversity and inclusion are essential to the growth and prosperity of today’s companies. When woven into every aspect of the talent life cycle, companies committed to diversity and inclusion are the best equipped to innovate, improve brand image and drive performance.
Would companies be more diverse if A.I. did the hiring?
The best hiring manager might just be the computer sitting on your desk. AI and ethics expert Joanna Bryson posits that artificial intelligence can go through all the resumes in a stack and find what employers are missing. Most humans, on the other hand, will rely on biases — whether they are aware of them or not — to get them through the selection process. This is sadly why those with European-sounding names get more calls for interviews than others. AI, she says, can change that. Joanna is brought to you today by Amway. Amway believes that diversity and inclusion are essential to the growth and prosperity of today’s companies. When woven into every aspect of the talent life cycle, companies committed to diversity and inclusion are the best equipped to innovate, improve brand image and drive performance.
How equal parental leave can help close the gender pay gap
It's no small secret that America is far behind the rest of the world when it comes to maternal leave. But studies are finding that paternal leave shouldn't be overlooked, either. Lauren Smith Brody, former editor of Glamor magazine and now a full-time author and founder of The Fifth Trimester movement, makes the case here that dads need time off, too, to bond with their newborns, and that modern companies need to understand and appreciate that. Lauren's latest book is The Fifth Trimester: The Working Mom's Guide to Style, Sanity, and Success After Baby. This video is brought to you by Amway. Amway believes that diversity and inclusion are essential to the growth and prosperity of today’s companies. When woven into every aspect of the talent life cycle, companies committed to diversity and inclusion are the best equipped to innovate, improve brand image and drive performance.
Real talk at work: How Amway created a better office for more people
Most people approach talking about difficult subjects as if they were at a debate. That is, arriving at the table (metaphorically speaking) with preconceived notions and ideas. But Amway's VP of Global Litigation and Corporate Law, Claire Groen, knew there had to be a better way. She and the leaders at Amway devised what they call RealTalk, which brings people together to hold conversations on current topics. And when the topics happened to turn into hot-button issues like immigration, the racism at Charlottesville, and so forth, these talks became an incredible conduit to a more inclusive office. People were heard, and in turn listened more to ideas outside of their comfort zone. This resulted in a better and more inclusive culture at Amway. Amway believes that diversity and inclusion are essential to the growth and prosperity of today’s companies. When woven into every aspect of the talent life cycle, companies committed to diversity and inclusion are the best equipped to innovate, improve brand image and drive performance.
Breaking the ice: How astronauts overcome their differences aboard the ISS
Look up—you can see the greatest feat of human cooperation orbiting 254 miles above Earth. As commander of Expedition 35 aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield understands the difficulty of cultural barriers in team work, and the life or death necessity of learning to communicate across those divides. The ISS is a joint project between five space agencies, built by people from 15 different nations—and each of them has a different take on what is "normal". Hadfield explains the scale of cultural differences aboard the spaceship: "What do you do on a Friday night? What does "yes" mean? What does "uh-huh" mean? What is the day of worship? When do you celebrate a holiday? How do you treat your spouse or your children? How do you treat each other? What is the hierarchy of command? All of those things seem completely clear to you, but you were raised in a specific culture that is actually shared by no one else." Here, Hadfield explains his strategy for genuine listening and communication. Whether it's money, reputation, or your life that's at stake, being sensitive and aware of people's differences helps you accomplish something together—no matter where you’re from. Amway believes that diversity and inclusion are essential to the growth and prosperity of today’s companies. When woven into every aspect of the talent life cycle, companies committed to diversity and inclusion are the best equipped to innovate, improve brand image and drive performance. Chris Hadfield features in the new docuseries One Strange Rock and is the author of An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything
How experiencing discrimination in VR can make you less biased
What would it be like to live in the body of someone else? Since the dawn of mankind, people have imagined what it would be like to inhabit another body, just for a day or even for a few minutes. Thanks to the magic of VR, we can now do that. Jeremy Bailenson, the creator of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab, has designed a VR experience called 1000 Cut Journey that may change the way people see race: by experiencing it firsthand. Jeremy explains to us, "You start out as an elementary school child and you’re in a classroom. You then become a teenager and you’re interacting with police officers. You then become an adult who’s going on a job interview, and what you experience while wearing the body of a black male is implicit bias that happens repeatedly and over time." Jeremy is brought to you today by Amway. Amway believes that diversity and inclusion are essential to the growth and prosperity of today’s companies. When woven into every aspect of the talent life cycle, companies committed to diversity and inclusion are the best equipped to innovate, and improve brand image and drive performance.
When data drives diversity and inclusion, good things happen
What makes a job a great place to work? A sense of equity and ownership, says Michael Bush, the CEO of the conveniently named Great Place to Work. They're a global consulting and analytics firm that produces the annual Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list, the 100 Best Workplaces for Women list, the Best Workplaces for Diversity list, and dozens of other distinguished workplace rankings around the world. Michael's new book is A Great Place to Work for All: Better for Business, Better for People, Better for the World, and he's brought to you today by Amway. Amway believes that diversity and inclusion are essential to the growth and prosperity of today’s companies. When woven into every aspect of the talent life cycle, companies committed to diversity and inclusion are the best equipped to innovate, improve brand image and drive performance.
Neurodiversity: Many mental 'deficits' are really hidden strengths
Color-blindness. Left-handedness. Dyslexia. Autism. These are all different ways in which the brain is rewired differently than the norm. But Heather Heying, evolutionary biologist and former Professor at Evergreen State College, is saying that these so-called differences are really strengths. For example, she relays us a story about her autistic students being far more adept at spotting social dynamics emerging in the classroom, long before non-autistic students. And left-handed people are often way more creative than their righty counterparts. Evolution might suggest that we need these differences to be stronger as a whole. Be sure to follow Heather on twitter: @HeatherEHeying and through her website, heatherheying.com. Heather is brought to you today by Amway. Amway believes that diversity and inclusion are essential to the growth and prosperity of today’s companies. When woven into every aspect of the talent life cycle, companies committed to diversity and inclusion are the best equipped to innovate, improve brand image, and drive performance.
- Russia launched a spacecraft carrying FEDOR, a humanoid robot.
- Its mission is to help astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
- Such androids can eventually help with dangerous missions likes spacewalks.
In a sign that the future you always imagined gets ever closer, Russia launched a humanoid robot into space on a 10-day mission to assist astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
The robot named FEDOR, a much friendlier acronym for its full name of "Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research," was sent up on August 23rd in a Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
It was set to dock with the space station on Saturday, August 24th, but failed in its first attempt. The mission is slated to last till September 7th.
There are no humans aboard the spacecraft, just the robot (also designated as Skybot F850), since a new emergency rescue system is being tested.
"Let's go. Let's go," the robot said at the launch, echoing the famous phrase uttered by Russia's (and the world's) first man in space – Yuri Gagarin.
Flying up alone doesn't seem to affect Fedor much, as it tweets out enthusiastic reports on its progress in space, including this photo from the approach to the ISS:
The humanoid robot is 5 foot 11 inches (1.80 m) tall and weighs 353 pounds (160 kg).
The robot has many other skills as well, like opening bottles, connecting cables and the general ability to copy humans. That's what makes it great at a variety of manual tasks, which will be tested aboard the space station.
It will also wear an exoskeleton and try working with augmented reality glasses.
The eventual goal for such robots would be to help humans in dangerous situations like spacewalks, said the Russian space agency's director for prospective programs and science, Alexander Bloshenko, in televised comments.
They can also be useful in high radiation environments.
Other countries are also developing robots to assist in spaceflight. NASA's Robonaut 2 has already been to space on a similar mission.
Watch: Russian robot takes solitary trip to final frontier in new rocket
- "Prior to nervous systems: no mind, no consciousness, no intention in the full sense of the term. After nervous systems, gradually we ascend to this possibility of having to this possibility of having minds, having consciousness, and having reasoning that allows us to arrive at some of these very interesting decisions."
- "We are fragile culturally and socially…but life is fragile to begin with. All that it takes is a little bit of bad luck in the management of those supports, and you're cooked…you can actually be cooked—with global warming!"
Quick question. Answer without thinking too hard. Ready? Where is your mind? What is your mind?
Ok, Raise your hand if you thought of your brain.
If you did, you're in good company. For centuries, Western science, culture, and language has been obsessed with the head as the center of thought and the body as the center of feeling. This split can get hierarchical, attaching ideas like "sin" and to the body and the emotions while putting the brain, along with rationality, up on a pedestal. Picture your brain on a pedestal: not doing much good up there, is it?
I'm very happy to be speaking again today with neuroscientist and philosopher Antonio Damasio, who has done more than anyone one else I know to get that brain down off its high horse and reattach it to the body. We last talked a year ago, about his book THE STRANGE ORDER OF THINGS - Life, Feeling, and the Making of Cultures, which has now come out in paperback. It turns everything upside down, not only re-anchoring mind in body, but finding in primitive bacteria and social insects patterns that help explain human culture. Maybe there's more going on in the Mona Lisa than in a bacterial colony, but they also have quite a lot in common.
Surprise conversation starters in this episode:
- Companies often jump right into workshopping solutions to a problem before they truly understand the underlying source and "pain points" of the issue.
- Deliberate Innovation CEO, Dan Seewald, advises companies to visualize and map out those unmet needs in order to discover a new path to a fresh solution. Only then should you move onto brainstorming and ideation techniques.
- These important steps allow for more meaningful experimentation, as well as greater opportunity for learning and breakthroughs.
- Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel revisits his essay on wanting to die at 75 years old.
- The doctor believes that an old life filled with disability and lessened activity isn't worth living.
- Activists believe his argument stinks of ageism, while advances in biohacking could render his point moot.
A few years ago oncologist and bioethicist Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel wrote a provocative essay in The Atlantic titled "Why I Hope to Die at 75." This picked up a lot of traction as Emanuel was the chair of the University of Pennsylvania's department of medical ethics and health policy, and one of the leading figures in creating Obamacare. Ezekiel is also brother to the former mayor of Chicago, Rahm and Hollywood agent Ari.
Emanuel has declared he will refuse medical interventions, antibiotics, and vaccinations once he turns 75. The crux of his argument is that older Americans are living too long in a disabled and "diminished" state of life. He wants to make his friends and others think about how they want to live as they grow older, as he put it, "I want them to think of an alternative to succumbing to that slow constriction of activities and aspirations imperceptibly imposed by aging."
There are some experts today that are still opposed to this kind of thinking. Ageism activist and writer, Ashton Applewhite, finds a great deal of unsubstantiated claims in Emanuel's argument. Likewise, Emanuel's ideas may also soon become obsolete — biohackers such as Dave Asprey believe we're on course to living up to 180 years old.
Emanuel recently caught up with MIT's Technology Review in an interview where he talked about the social implications of longevity research and why he doesn't support extending life spans.
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel on Aging
While nobody wants to die, Emanuel believes that the alternative, degeneration, is worse: "living too long is also a loss," he states in his original essay. For a great deal of Americans these kinds of disabilities and loss of health severely limits what they can do and accomplish.
There are few different sets of arguments strewn throughout this essay. One of those being that there are not that many people who'll continue to be "active and engaged" in their lives. While Emanuel points out that there are outliers who stay physically fit and healthy into their nineties, they're just that — outliers, for which he believes the majority of people are not. That is one measure Emanuel determines on whether a life is worth living or not.
Right around the time this essay was originally written, Ashton Applewhite countered this type of thinking by calling out the problematic nature of the argument:
"It is regrettably American to value doing over being, an ethos that Ezekiel Emanuel epitomizes and that serves us poorly in late life. No wonder he views the prospect with such dread and contempt."
This opens up the question as to whether being mentally stimulated is also enough to warrant wanting to live longer. It's not hard to imagine a person calm and aged serenely content to be, rather than living in some kind of action-packed lifestyle.
Emanuel continues on by regarding aging as something that, ". . . transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic."
He also counters the cultural idea of what he calls "the American immortal." That is, the amount of time and energy people spend obsessing about exercise, diets, and longevity plans to live as long as possible. Emanuel says,
"I reject this aspiration. I think this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive. For many reasons, 75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop."
The doctor doesn't intend on ending his life actively at 75, but he won't be trying to prolong it either.
When asked what's wrong with simply enjoying an extended life, Emanuel replied in a somewhat flippant manner:
"These people who live a vigorous life to 70, 80, 90 years of age — when I look at what those people 'do,' almost all of it is what I classify as play. It's not meaningful work. They're riding motorcycles; they're hiking. Which can all have value — don't get me wrong. But if it's the main thing in your life? Ummm, that's not probably a meaningful life."
He also suggested that our obsession with longevity is driving away attention from the health and well-being of children. "One of the statistics I like to point out is if you look at the federal budget, $7 goes to people over 65 for every dollar for people under 18," he says.
Applewhite takes issue with this statement here (video located below).
Problematic argument with an ageist strain
The author and activist opposed Emanuel's original article when it came out and believes that the idea remains problematic. Regarding his point that more federal dollars go to older people than to children she stated in an email that:
"… [The idea] is classic, misguided zero-sum thinking of the sort that needlessly pits the generations against each other. There is plenty to go around if resources are more equitably. The old do not profit at the expense of the young."
Most importantly, it is not legal — or ethical—to allocate resources by race or by sex. Doing so by age is equally unacceptable. Period.
She also takes issue with the idea that our older years are not of high quality to some categorical degree due to disability brought on by age — be it mental or physical. Applewhite points to the large amount of people living fine and fulfilled lives who have disabilities.
Yet, she does concede that quality of life is subjective. As does Emmanuel, while he disagrees with the sentiment he still supports the choice of people wanting to live as long as possible.
Biohacking our way to a healthy immortality?
There are a whole host of radical ideas that seek to improve the human condition. Whether it's Aubrey De Grey's ideas to live to over 1,000 years old or the work that biohacker Dave Asprey has funded and started.
While the science still isn't settled, we can't discount the idea that we'll one day live even healthier and more robust lives in our twilight years.
Dr. Emmanuel's ideas may become irrelevant if we succeed in this quixotic and eternal dream.
- The report found more than 4,000 listings for products deemed to be unsafe, banned or mislabelled.
- These products included mislabelled pain relievers, dangerous children's toys, and helmets that had failed federal safety tests.
- There are some steps you can take to avoid buying unsafe or counterfeit products from Amazon.
You order a product on Amazon. It's eligible for Amazon Prime. It ships from an Amazon warehouse, and it's delivered in an Amazon-branded box. But there's a good chance that product actually comes from one of Amazon's third-party sellers, some of whom sell products that are mislabelled, banned or unsafe, according to a new investigative report from The Wall Street Journal.
The report found 4,152 products on Amazon that have been "declared unsafe by federal agencies, are deceptively labeled or are banned by federal regulators — items that big-box retailers' policies would bar from their shelves." Some of these included:
- Items falsely marked as "FDA-approved," including an eyelash-growth serum.
- Listings for the pain reliever oral benzocaine that lacked labels warning not to administer to children under age 2.
- More than 1,400 electronics listings that falsely claimed to be UL certified, meaning the product met voluntary safety standards.
- Listings for toys that include magnetic balls, which Amazon explicitly prohibits, and which the Consumer Product Safety Commission has called a "substantial product hazard."
- Listings for helmets that had failed federal safety tests.
The Journal said it reported these listings to Amazon, which then removed or altered the wording for 57 percent of the listings.
"There are bad actors that attempt to evade our systems," an Amazon spokesperson said, "should one ever slip through, we work quickly to take action on the seller and protect customers."
But Amazon, the world's largest retailer, seems unable to effectively police its massive marketplace. The report describes how Amazon has evolved "like a flea market," exercising "limited oversight over items listed by millions of third-party sellers, many of them anonymous, many in China, some offering scant information." What's more, dozens of the dangerous or mislabelled products in the new report carried the "Amazon's Choice" label, which arguably implies that Amazon endorses the item.
How do these products slip through the cracks? One likely reason is rapid growth. In 2018, about 60 percent of physical merchandise sold came from Amazon's 2.5 million third-party sellers, up from 30 percent a decade ago. The report also describes how Amazon's "overriding corporate philosophy of offering ever more options is clashing with internal efforts to make sure product listings won't harm buyers, the Journal found in interviews with former employees and others close to Amazon's safety practices, and from internal records."
Things to keep in mind when shopping on Amazon
"Prime" doesn't mean it's not mislabelled, unsafe, banned or counterfeit.
"Just because a Prime logo is present doesn't mean it's sold by Amazon," Fred Dimyan, the co-founder of Potoo Marketing, told AOL.com. "In actuality, any of Amazon's 3 million marketplace sellers can use the Amazon warehouse to house and ship their items and get the so-called 'coveted' mark on its products."
Neither does "Fulfilled by Amazon."
The Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) program allows third-party sellers to send products to Amazon warehouses, where the company then handles all aspects of sale, warehousing, and shipment. But, due in part to the fast-moving nature of the Amazon shipping process, "counterfeits can be commingled with authentic products, and not even Amazon (apparently) can easily determine where they came from," as Forbes reported.
It's generally safest to buy from reputable brands
Consider limiting your purchases "exclusively to products sold by the brands themselves, either by way of them selling on Amazon's platform directly, via an authorized account, or by way of a partnership with Amazon, as Calvin Klein, for instance, recently began doing," Julie Zerbo wrote on the Fashion Law blog.