Food Swamp, USA
Highly effective impulse marketing strategies have been perfected for selling junk food. Obesity rates have skyrocketed.
Woody Allen's character Alvy Singer begins his opening monologue in Annie Hall with an old joke. "Two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know; and such small portions."
In that little joke lies some of our most complex problems, says Jeff Schechtman in this week's Specific Gravity interview. Schechtman's guest this week is Dr. Deborah Cohen, author of A Big Fat Crisis: The Hidden Forces Behind the Obesity Epidemic — and How We Can End It. "Obesity is the public health crisis of our time," Cohen says, pointing out that two out of every three adults and one out of every three children are either overweight or obese. Obesity leads to chronic diseases and kills hundreds of thousands of people every year.
So where has the obesity epidemic come from? Cohen points out that in the early 1980s there was a sudden acceleration in the rate of obesity. The number of people considered obese eventually doubled by 2000. According to Cohen, this was due to the food industry mastering certain marketing practices that succeeded in getting more and more Americans to consume junk food. The result, she says, was "the food industry has turned our country into a food swamp."
So what can be done about this? In the podcast below, Cohen says the food industry's marketing efforts cannot easily be countered through appeals to "personal responsibility." That simply hasn't worked. Instead, Cohen argues that limited restrictions need to be placed on the way that certain foods are marketed, similar to the way that restrictions have been placed on the marketing of alcohol.
Listen to the podcast here:
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According to TwoFold CEO Alison McMahon, a leader who doesn't care (or can't pretend to care) about his or her employees isn't much of a leader at all.
Why do people quit their jobs? Surely, there are a ton of factors: money, hours, location, lack of interest, etc. For Alison McMahon, an HR specialist and the CEO of TwoFold, the biggest reason employees jump ship is that they're tired of working for lousy bosses.
By and large, she says, people are willing to put up with certain negatives as long as they enjoy who they're working for. When that's just not the case, there's no reason to stick around:
Nine times out of ten, when an employee says they're leaving for more money, it's simply not true. It's just too uncomfortable to tell the truth.
Whether that's true is certainly debatable, though it's not a stretch to say that an inconsiderate and/or incompetent boss isn't much of a leader. If you run an organization or company, your values and actions need to guide and inspire your team. When you fail to do that, you set the table for poor productivity and turnover.
McMahon offers a few suggestions for those who want to hone their leadership abilities, though it seems that these things are more innate qualities than acquired skills. For example, actually caring about your workers or not depending wholly on HR thinking they can do your job for you.
It's the nature of promotions that, inevitably, a good employee without leadership skills will get thrust into a supervisory position. McMahon says this is a chronic problem that many organizations need to avoid, or at least make the time to properly evaluate and assist with the transition.
But since they often don't, they end up with uninspired workers. And uninspired workers who don't have a reason to stay won't stick around for long.
Read more at LinkedIn.
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