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Weekly Update 30 Nov-06 Dec 20


Clips on media/communication, national security, politics, sports, and pop culture worth knowing about in the days ahead.

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Top Clips


The Covid Crisis Taught David Farr the Power and Limits of Leadership

Nine months with Emerson Electric, a manufacturing giant, show the firm knocked off course by the pandemic. The CEO insisted on moving forward anyway.


By Thomas Gryta, Wall Street Journal

David Farr looked down at the empty parking lot and blew up. It was March 20, a cloudy day with a chill in the air. The coronavirus and lockdowns were grinding the U.S. economy to a halt, sending much of the American workforce home, including most of those at the Ferguson, Mo., headquarters of Emerson Electric Co. EMR 6.12% Mr. Farr, who had run the industrial conglomerate for two decades, wasn’t going anywhere. He told his assistant to summon the other eight members of the OCE—the Office of the Chief Executive. “We have a company to run,” he growled, his voice echoing through the empty sixth floor.



The Elderly vs. Essential Workers: Who Should Get the Coronavirus Vaccine First?

The C.D.C. will soon decide which group to recommend next, and the debate over the trade-offs is growing heated. Ultimately, states will determine whom to include.


By Abby Goodnough and Jan Hoffman, New York Times

With the coronavirus pandemic surging and initial vaccine supplies limited, the United States faces a hard choice: Should the country’s immunization program focus in the early months on the elderly and people with serious medical conditions, who are dying of the virus at the highest rates, or on essential workers, an expansive category encompassing Americans who have borne the greatest risk of infection?



News Media Outlets Have Been Ravaged by the Pandemic


By Marc Tracy, NYT

The news media business was shaky before the coronavirus started spreading across the country last month. Since then, the economic downturn that put 30 million Americans out of work has led to pay cuts, layoffs and shutdowns at many news outlets, including weeklies like The Stranger in Seattle, digital empires like Vox Media and Gannett, the nation's largest newspaper chain.



Even Before Covid 2,600 People a Week Were Leaving New York City


By Alexandre Tanzi and Wei Lu, Bloomberg

Whether it’s wealthy people fleeing to their second homes or college students forced to move back in with their parents, the coronavirus has set off a great migration in the U.S. this year. But in many cases, it’s just amplifying trends that were already there.



How the pandemic is forcing managers to work harder

Remote work brings benefits to employees and employers alike—but requires more effort on the part of executives


By The Economist

Businesses are still struggling to understand which of the pandemic’s effects will be temporary and which will turn out to be permanent. Three new reports attempt to analyse these longer-term trends. One is from Glassdoor, a website that allows workers to rank their employers. Another is from the Boston Consulting Group (bcg), a management consultancy. The third is from the Chartered Management Institute (cmi), a British professional body. Read together, they imply that firms stand to benefit—but that managers’ lives are about to get more difficult.



No game days. No bars. The pandemic is forcing some men to realize they need deeper friendships.


By Samantha Schmidt, WashPost

It took a global pandemic and a badly timed breakup for Manny Argueta to realize just how far he had grown apart from his guy friends. In the spring, after the 35-year-old had left the home he shared with his former girlfriend and moved into a studio in Falls Church, Va., on his own, he would go an entire week without saying a word. There were no more game days with the guys, no more Friday nights in D.C. bars, and Argueta was starved for social interaction. He returned to his PlayStation 4, jumping on the microphone with a stranger while playing “Overwatch” just to hear someone’s voice. He discovered the messaging app Discord and started chatting with his old gamer friends and watching them play “Mortal Kombat 11” — even when he didn’t have the game set up himself.

U.S. capital may end weekend subway service in 2021


By David Shepardson, Reuters

The subway system serving the U.S. capital region may be forced to make devastating cuts in 2021, including ending weekend services, closing 19 stations and shrinking weekday operations if Congress does not approve additional assistance.



Veterans unemployment up in November as national jobless rate falls


By Leo Shane III, Military Times

Veterans unemployment rose in November even as the national jobless rate declined, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate among all veterans rose to 6.3 percent last month, up from 5.5 percent in October. That figure translates into about 552,000 veterans looking for employment last month, out of roughly 8.7 million working-age veterans who are able to work. Similarly, the rate among Iraq and Afghanistan War era veterans — who make up the largest percentage of veterans in the American workforce today — rose from 6.2 percent in October to 6.9 percent in November. Unemployment among the earlier generation of veterans (Gulf War era) declined from 5.3 percent in October to 4.7 percent.



Congress passes bill authorizing fallen journalist memorial in D.C., includes honors to murdered Capital Gazette staff members


By Brooks DuBose, Capital Gazette

An effort to honor slain journalists with a national memorial took a significant step forward Wednesday as Congress passed a bipartisan bill authorizing its planning and construction in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Senate approved the legislation known as the Fallen Journalists Memorial Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, which authorizes the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation to begin planning and raising funds for the memorial’s construction. The bill now heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for approval.



Listen: Defense & Aerospace Podcast [Washington Roundtable Dec 04, 2020]


On this Washington Roundtable episode of the Defense & Aerospace Report Podcast, sponsored by Bell, our guests in segment one are Michael Bayer, the chairman of the Defense Business Board and the president of the Dumbarton Strategies consultancy, and Arnold Punaro, the chairman of the National Defense Industrial Association and CEO of the Punaro Group consultancy to discuss the ongoing presidential transition and how to best accomplish the monumental task of a peaceful transition of power.



China’s military expansion will test the Biden administration

Opinion by Josh Rogin, Washington Post Adm. Philip Davidson, who is nearing the end of his tour as the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, has been warning about the changing military balance in Asia throughout his tenure. But his warnings have often fallen on deaf ears in a Washington mired in partisanship and dysfunction. The Trump administration talked a big game about meeting the challenge of China’s military encroachment, but Davidson’s calls for substantially more investment to restore the regional balance that has deterred Beijing for decades have gone largely unanswered.



As China’s power waxes, the West’s study of it is waning

By The Economist

America’s president-elect, Joe Biden, says China is his country’s “biggest competitor”. Yet China’s centrality in the calculations of foreign-policy experts in Washington and throughout the West is hardly matched by the interest shown in academia. Despite China’s efforts to promote interest in the language—and a surge of attention to it in Western schools a few years ago—enthusiasm for China studies at university level remains lacklustre. Fear of China, and restrictions imposed by it, are in part to blame.



The China Challenge Can Help America Avert Decline

By Kurt M. Campbell and Rush Doshi, for Foreign Affairs When U.S. President-elect Joe Biden takes the oath of office—likely masked and surrounded by socially distanced officials and family—he will look out on a country that many believe is in decline. The problems that propelled President Donald Trump to office, including a collapsing middle class and toxic internal divisions, remain. And Trump will bequeath new ills to his successor: a runaway pandemic, a struggling economy, burgeoning debt, a wounded democracy, and a diminished global reputation.



America’s Diplomats Should Look Like America

The country can no longer afford a State Department that is “pale, male, and Yale.”


By Karen Bass for Foreign Policy

The stereotype that the State Department is overwhelmingly “pale, male, and Yale” has persisted through both Democratic and Republican administrations. Even as the United States—and the federal government—has grown more diverse, the State Department has remained behind the times. Between 2002 and 2018, the proportion of State Department staff identifying as racial or ethnic minorities increased by only 4 percent, well below the federal workforce average. The proportion of Black employees actually fell.



Rubrics for culture change help leaders win buy-in in the US Navy


By Bill Moran, for Dialogue, leadership and management journal of Duke Corporate Education When a team is falling short on its targets, a new leader is often brought in with a mandate to improve performance or boost contributions to the bottom line. My time in the US Navy taught me that focusing on the numbers, while important, is not enough to unlock a team’s ability to reach its maximum potential. The key to improving performance resides in the organization’s culture. In order to build trust, balance the needs of the workforce with organizational success and stabilize the team in times of opportunity and crisis, leaders need to ‘own’ culture at a level well beyond the superficial.



Time for Building Trust & Achieving Goals

By Provision Advisors In addition to football, basketball and left-over turkey, Thanksgiving weekend included the announcement of Biden-Harris communication team. These selections are indeed historic in that all the senior positions (including the comms jobs for VP-elect Kamala Harris and FLOTUS Jill Biden) will be held by women. The more important point, however, is that these individuals are tops in their field, well-connected in Washington and - most importantly, in our opinion –know their Boss, his goals and how communication fits into his strategy. Their challenge is not that different from any other communication team… help their Boss build and maintain trust.



Don’t Focus on the Most Expressive Face in the Audience

By Amit Goldenberg and Erika Weisz for Harvard Business Review

Research has shown that when speaking in front of a group, people’s attention tends to gets stuck on the most emotional faces, causing them to overestimate the group’s average emotional state. In this piece, the authors share two additional findings: First, the larger the group, the greater this attention bias. Second, the attention bias is stronger for faces expressing negative emotions than for faces expressing positive ones, meaning that our ability to judge a group’s emotional state isn’t just skewed towards more intense emotions — it is specifically biased toward more negative evaluations. Based on these findings, the authors suggest that when giving a talk or meeting a large group of people, we should attempt to intentionally scan the audience more evenly in order to counteract our natural attention biases and get a more accurate picture of the group’s overall emotional state.



13 Communications Aspects Professionals Should Be Careful About


By Forbes

A receptive audience is desirable, but today's audiences are very polarized in what they accept. Communications professionals are in the unenviable position of using modern themes and messages to impart knowledge to their audience.



This is how to tell a crisis recovery story (while leaving out the doomsday narrative)

By Wendy Marx, for Fast Company Ask yourself, during the pandemic, how successful are your storytelling efforts, both to your clients and with yourself. In our confusing and twisted world, where the world up seems like down, it’s easy to get caught up in downer scenarios. No doubt you can recite your own litany of woes. They may go something like, “I was on the fast track and now I’m wondering if I’ll ever work again”; “I ran a company for 40 years, and I don’t know if the company will recover”; “My life is just not normal anymore.”



The Window on New Movie Releases Finally Shatters

Warner Bros. has embraced a digital future. The rest of the industry would do well to pay mind. By Kara Swisher

The windows are now smashed, and that’s a good thing, broken glass notwithstanding. At least that’s the case at Warner Bros. This week, the entertainment giant finally shattered Hollywood’s way of doing business, perhaps for all time. The company said its entire slate of movies for 2021 — 17 in all — would drop onto its HBO Max streaming service on the same day they appear in theaters, abandoning the old system of “windowing” its cinematic releases.



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