TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

Lost touch: how a year without hugs affects our mental health

Humans are designed to touch and be touched - which is why so many who live on their own have suffered during the pandemic. Will we ever fully recover?

There's only so much a dog can do, even if that is a lot. I live alone with my staffy, and by week eight of the first lockdown she was rolling her eyes at my ever-tightening clutch. I had been sofa-bound with Covid and its after-effects before lockdown was announced, then spring and summer passed without any meaningful touch from another person. I missed the smell of my friends' clothes and my nephew's hair, but, more than anything, I missed the groundedness only another human body can bring. The ache in my solar plexus that married these thoughts often caught me off guard.

The need for touch exists below the horizon of consciousness. Before birth, when the amniotic fluid in the womb swirls around us and the foetal nervous system can distinguish our own body from our mother's, our entire concept of self is rooted in touch.

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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

Eliminate Strategic Overload

How to select fewer initiatives with greater impact

As companies respond to intensifying competitive pressures and challenges, they ask more and more of their employees. But organizations often have very little to show for the efforts of their talented and engaged workers.

By selecting fewer initiatives with greater impact, companies can make their strategies more powerful. A strategic initiative is worthwhile only if it does one or more of the following:

  • It creates value for customers by raising their willingness to pay. As your company finds ways to innovate or to improve existing products, the maximum price people will be willing to pay for the offering rises.
  • It creates value for employees by making work more attractive. Offering better jobs lowers the minimum compensation that you have to offer to attract talent to your business.
  • It creates value for suppliers by reducing their operating cost. As suppliers’ costs go down, the lowest price they would be willing to accept for their goods falls.

As companies expand the total amount of value created for their customers, employees, and suppliers, they position themselves for enduring financial success.

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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

Why the "velvet hammer" is a better way to give constructive criticism

Have something difficult to say? These are the exact words you should use.

It's time to bag the sandwich method of delivering bad news. You know, the technique where you say something nice, then drop in the criticism, and the end with something nice. It's not like the person won't notice that the center of the sandwich is terrible; the method is really designed to make it easier on the giver.

"When you communicate something to somebody, it's irreversible and irretrievable," says Joy Baldridge, author of The Joy in Business: Innovative Ideas to Find Positivity (and Profit) In Your Daily Work Life. "You can't take it back, and it can be difficult to know what words to say in order to approach somebody and give them feedback. Whether you need to say they did or didn't do or something, it feels uncomfortable."

The old methods of feedback can have a ripple effect with your team, resulting in people calling in sick, getting upset, or even quitting. But conflict avoidance isn't the answer. Instead, Baldridge suggests using her "velvet hammer" method, which is soft like velvet but packs a punch.

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