Ethan McCarty

Digital strategy | Social business | People-centric biznology

Essential reading for anxious freedom-lo

I’m listening to these two albums pretty much exclusively right now

I’m listening to these two albums pretty much exclusively right now: “Cloudy Eye” and “We got it from here…” #studyincontrasts

Video: Tech’s Role in the Merger of Comms and Marketing

11-17-2016-1-06-25-pmJustin Tobin (founder of DDG) and I spoke together at iMedia in Santa Barbara last month — it was really fun to prep for it with him and think through some of the ideas we’d discuss. The iMedia crowd are concerned with the state of marketing, advertising, communications and customer/product experience. For this talk, Justin and I contemplated what is happening within organizations as the distinction between “Marketing” as a department and “Communications” as a department deteriorates largely because of disruption to their internal business models. This change — which manifests in the perceptions of our stakeholders and the experiences of our customers and employees — will drive some big decisions for those who have responsibility for organizational reputation and brand.

Here’s the video…

Can’t get enough of David Schur’s album, “Cloudy Eye”

Can’t get enough of David Schur’s album, “Cloudy Eye” (Full disclosure, he’s my genius brother-in-law.)

Ethan’s tips for long-haul travel

sleepy_ethanBefore you go:

  • Start adjusting to the local time in your destination a few days early by time-shifting your schedule a little (e.g. get up a couple hours early/go to bed a couple hours early etc to get your body-clock closer to the destination time zone.)
  • Use Ambien or other prescription sleep meds — but sparingly. Essentially you want to use it to help with the prior point. When you are on the plane, take it at “night” relative to your destination time so you can sleep on the local schedule. When you arrive, take it at night so you can stay asleep when you go to bed.
  • Put your watch, iPad, iPhone etc on the destination time as soon as you board the airplane.

On the plane:

  • Dress for sleep on long haul flights. Wear super comfy clothes on the plane and bring a change of clothes with you. Layers are essential. I wear sweat pants and a hoody and I bring extra socks. Even better if you can have zippered pockets to put your passport etc in so you don’t have to stress about losing them.
  • Wear noise cancelling headphone on the plane. I have a pair of Naztech i9 headphones and some earbud-style Phiaton ones too (no longer available, but Phiaton have new ones that look even better). Both are great and affordable (under $100). I like both of these bc they are wireless, but you can also plug in a cable if the battery gets too low.
  • Bring a neck pillow, eye mask and earplugs for the plane.
  • Avoid coffee on the plane altogether and drink moderately. If you’ve taken a sleeping pill, you probably won’t need any booze other than a glass of red with your meal or you will be zombified. Coffee and booze don’t do much for your physical well-being at altitude anyway.
  • Take your shoes off while you fly.
  • Bring your toothbrush and toothpaste on the plane — when you get the “we are landing in 20 minutes” announcement, go brush your teeth, wash your face etc. It just helps (and your travel mates will appreciate it too. Natch.)

When you land/layover:

  • If you have a layover, seek out a shower (e.g. the flights to Bangalore from NY stops in Paris or Frankfurt — both airports have lounges with showers). In fact, many airports have a lounge with a shower — they are worth it even if it seems a bit expensive. Having a shower en route sort of resets your clock. You will arrive much less travel-weary. Good to change clothes at this point too if you can.
  • When you arrive, get to the gym. Even if you only go on the elliptical or whatever for 20 mins; do it.
  • Make yourself get onto the local time immediately. Don’t nap when you arrive. If you absolutely must nap, take no more than a power nap (under an hour…and twenty minutes is best.)
  • Sunlight is essential. During waking hours, avoid rooms without windows, open the shades etc. Your body will respond to sun and your circadian rhythms will adapt. Also, you will get a tan. But wear sunblock. (Ok, I’m a dad.)
  • Drink espresso! (But just have one or two in the morning and one in the afternoon. No later than 4pm.)

When you come home:

  • Don’t kvetch about how tired you are — it will make you more tired. It will also make you tiresome🙂

NYC food recommendations

I sent this as an email to a Londoner colleague of mine at Bloomberg here in NYC and figured I’d post it to the interwebs because #reasons. It’s not a list of my fave places — just a list of some places that’d be fun to hit up (I was asked for recs on Friday afternoon, so….)

Freeman’s — this is one of my favorite places in the city — used to be ‘secret’ and have celebs all the time but has calmed down now — hard to land a seat w/out a res but they will sneak you in. Very nice cocktails, inventive cuisine.

Grape and grain — gastropub, very small and very good. They also own the place next door, which is more focused on beers, I think.
Li’l Frankie’s — Amazing scene, amazing food. They do seatings by the hour and I don’t think they take reservations. So part of the fun is standing around in the super-cozy bar area having drinks before dinner. Easy to strike up conversaitons with other folks waiting. Convivial.
Corner Bistro — the seminal NY burger place in a wonderful neighborhood for a stroll (West Village)

Old Town — Lots of firemen, police and other folks of that ilk at happy hour, real NY. Great burgers and very inexpensive. Also, right by Union Square (which is the gate way to both East and West Village.)
Balthazar — Definitely put this on your brunch list, but dinner too. I have been seated next to celebrities several times. The classic NY/French place. This is where my wife and I like to go most in NY, I think, but that’s bc we’re both kinda francophiles. Their baked goods are insane.

#Worthreading: “Exploring the Connectio

#Worthreading: “Exploring the Connection Between Internal Comms & Employee Engagement” a study via @instituteforpr

Didn’t realize Institute for PR had a s

Didn’t realize Institute for PR had a substantial discussion of #ecomms. Sometimes is it nice to be wrong. Here=>


Revolution Radio gets coveted “Four Buns” from McCarty boys

For the past couple days I’ve been listening to Green Day’s new album, Revolution Radio. I’ll admit that I came late to appreciating Green Day — it wasn’t until American Idiot came out that I understood these guys as pop geniuses. That was a huge album on the scale of The Wall in terms of theme, production and enduring power. It’s no wonder there are musicals, movies and more in the works. Is Revolution Radio the same caliber? Absolutely not. But it’s a solid pop album with significantly more depth than what you would expect to find coming out of a punky pop (poppy punk?) band. Most important, my boys and I have had a whole heap of fun with our daily early morning slam-dance fests while spinning the new album. And super-fun-slamming to thumping rock and roll is exactly what an album like this should inspire.

*Hat tip to Steven Fritz for inspiring the new buns-based rating system.

Four Collaboration Mistakes You Can Stop Making Today

Cincinnati Reds v Miami MarlinsThere’s something undeniably magical about collaboration and the energy unleashed by a group of people working on something together. It’s a little bit like the energy you feel when in a packed stadium when your favorite band plays — everyone knows the lyrics, everyone knows the songs and there’s just that buzz. It’s amazing.

When we try to create this collaboration buzz in our organizations, we often focus on building the stadium (i.e. we buy a piece of collaboration technology) and hope that the buzz somehow follows. We’re so focused on the stadium, we forget to consider what the band was doing that was so right that got people aligned around it. Worse yet, we forget the fans. The result? Empty collaboration stadiums.

On our mission to fill these collaboration stadiums, some common mistakes plague many organizations. Here are four major collaboration missteps you may be making (and some ideas on how to get back on track).

Mistake #1: You Delegate Collaboration
This is probably the most harmful mistake out there. You see this happen particularly when collaboration is defined as some kind of dated concept of knowledge management, like updating a wiki or something similar. Often collaboration is punted to the lowest-ranking member of the team who is told “Go collaborate for me,” or “Go update this.” The other kind of collaboration by delegation is the ghost collaborator. Most common among senior team members who ask a junior team member to “collaborate” for them (sometimes even using their login).

The workaround? Make sure you’re leading from the middle.

Collaboration works best when the people at the top are viewed as collaborators themselves. But by “the top” I don’t mean the CEO, I really mean the middle — the people who are really in the midst of where the work gets done. It could be the most connected salesperson or the most efficient supply chain manager. When you see those people collaborating, that’s when your collaboration technology starts to gain credibility.

Another work around? Be a “Servant Leader”. Instead of leadership being about the application of pressure onto people, the servant leader is about removing blockers. And this is one of the things that’s great about Bloomberg: hierarchically it’s a very flat organization and the notion of the servant leader is very prevalent here. As a manager, my job is to help my people succeed by working with them. And to me, that is a direct affront to the dated notion of “delegating collaboration”.

Mistake #2: You’ve Assigned Collaboration to a Person or Department
By definition collaboration is not a solitary task. You don’t have to speak Latin to understand that “co-labor” is about more than just one person. But in so many organizations you find that this responsibility falls on one person or department. You might have a Community Manager or a Knowledge Manager who is somehow supposed to make the collaboration happen between disparate teams.

Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s definitely a role for people who have skills facilitating collaboration, but I think there’s a real shortfall when you make it somebody’s sole job because it allows mistake #1 to happen (delegating collaboration). People will say “Oh. I don’t have to collaborate. We hired so and so to do that.”

The work around? Build collaboration goals into all levels of the organization – especially in formal and public reviews. Simply asking “who did you work with to get this wonderful thing done?” in a staff meeting sends a powerful signal to everyone present. Make collaboration an expectation, not an exception.

Mistake #3: You Think Collaboration Can Self-Organize
This is the notion I mentioned at the start of the post about building a stadium and hoping the fans come. Unfortunately collaboration doesn’t have any magical self-organizing properties. Too often there is some serious money spent on a deployment of collaboration software followed by a very brief training period. The organization says “Okay, you took the online self-paced learning on how to collaborate.” And then six months later wonder why you haven’t been collaborating in the tool.

When you expect your teams to organize themselves without having thought about what makes a great collaborative culture and really demonstrating that, you have destined your teams to failure.

Successful organizations do three things in regards to collaboration: They teach people how to collaborate; they make collaboration part of people’s jobs; and they publicly recognize good examples of collaboration.

Mistake #4: You View Collaboration as a Weakness
Long gone are the days where a leader sits alone in the corner office issuing commands to the underlings who are doing the actual work. The decline of the channel-centric, hierarchical view of organizations has seen the ascendance of strong networks of connected people. Whereas leveraging networks may have in the past seemed more like a social activity that was somehow weak or for entertainment value, that’s no longer the case. That part of the movie is over. We’re now in the part of the movie where networks are powerful and the heroes are the leaders who understand how collaboration is not a weakness, it’s a business imperative.

A work around? Make sure everyone understands why collaboration matters (for your company).

Collaboration is one of these words that has, in corporate land, become one of these over-determined expressions that carries a lot of weight (and by weight, I mean baggage.) I come to the table thinking collaboration means one thing, you come to the table thinking it means another thing, heaven help us if you’ve come from ten years of experience at some other company! So having some established ground rules and shared perceptions about collaboration is key, especially if you’re going to link collaboration to job performance. When your people understand the power of collaboration they will no longer see it as a weakness.

Ethan McCarty (@ethanmcc) is the Global Head of Employee and Brand Communications for Bloomberg LP. Ethan is responsible for growing and managing a team of Employee Communications professionals who activate, inform and enable Bloomberg’s 15,000+ employees worldwide through engaging messages, interactive experiences both online and off. Catch him speaking at Enterprise Collaboration Tech Fest in Melbourne on 28 Feb – 2 March 2016.

Check out my session and come hang with me in Australia🙂.

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