Monthly Archives : September 2006

The Pope, Islam, and Crisis Communications

  Pope Benedict XVI is working hard to mend relations with the Islamic religious community after he offended many Muslims during a Sept.12 speech. How is he doing in the crisis communications front? I’d give him a B-.

The Pope met today with Muslim diplomats in Italy, which is a postive step. Face-to-face meetings where people can have conversations are crucial; dialogue helps people understand one another as people, demonstrate respect, and assess the genuineness of beliefs and comments. Issuing formal statements rarely quells an emotionally-charged issue, which was the Pope’s first action.

While today’s meeting was good, it would have been better for the Pope to go to a predominantly Muslim country and to have had this face-to-face meeting earlier. When grave misunderstandings occur, it’s best to get talking sooner than later, stemming swelling anger before it causes irreparable riffs.

For the Pope to keep up his crisis communciations grade point average I’d encourage him to get out of Italy and have more conversations with moderate and respected Muslim diplomats in the months to come. — on their turf. I also recommend that he not cower and toss aside his beliefs that religiion and violence don’t go together. That would be disingenuous.

Similarly, I’d encourage Muslims to not simply issue statements and protests when upset, but engage in a conversation to help foster understanding. The Pope’s comment that religion and violence shouldn’t go together is on the minds of people around the world. If Islam means peace, many in the world need moderate Muslims to be more proactive in helping the world to understand this.

IBM’s hilarious sales videos

ibm_mainframe_video_shot If you've ever sat through annual sales  meetings, don't miss IBM's hilarious sales training parody videos at YouTube.  IBM made the videos as a spoof to use at its mainframe sales meeting and then put them up on YouTube.  These three short videos probably due more to change the image of stodgy old IBM than anything else IBM has done. By the way, the guy in the video is the real director of sales for IBM's mainframe busness.

More heated words

Conferences on global warming are being held throughout the world this week, from Alaksa’s meeting among 32 mayors of U.S. cities to a conference at the UK’s University of Leicester among global scientists to Al Gore’s speech yesterday at New York Univeristy of Law.

Facing this enormously serious issue, perhaps it’s time to stop calling it “global warming” and rename the issue “global heating.” It’s a small step amid the needed significant policy and scientific actions, but heat is a much more powerful and descriptive word for the problem than “warming.”

In fact, in an interview with The New York Times last week, scientist and planetary diagnostician James Lovelock said he uses the term global heating because “warming is something that’s kind of cozy and comfortable. You think of a nice duvet on a called winter’s day. Heating is something you want to get away from.”

Over heating is serious business —whether it’s a child with a high fever, a dehydrated athlete, or a disintegrating planet.

Heating vs. warming. What a difference a word can make.

Note: Picture is the Eiger, one of my favorite hiking spots, which is shrinking due to global heating, causing tons of boulders to fall off the glacier this summer. The worst threat is that glaciers are an important source of water and as they shrink, so does the water source for crops.