Our actions reveal well-worn paths to some sustainable behaviors, less to others. Our Socio-Cultural Trend Tracker with @SustainBrands found that 67% eat more plants most or all of the time, and 70% said the same for reducing food and water waste. http://ow.ly/B7n150Brv7C
Check out our latest data with @FastCompany on why people are sharing political memes
Even among those who don't intend to live sustainably, many are still engaging in such behaviors. 64% of non-intenders reduce food and water waste most/all of the time or occasionally, according to our Socio-Cultural Trend Tracker with @SustainBrands https://sustainablebrands.com/read/behavior-change/brands-for-good-unveils-groundbreaking-research-on-sustainable-consumer-behaviors
The impact of the Coronavirus on people's finances may vary, depending on who you speak with. With more than 200,000 deaths (in the U.S. alone) and tens of millions of Americans out of work, many are feeling the pain of the mismanaged response to this deadly virus. On the flip side, many others have continued to work; some have even improved their finances along the way—a new study from Northwestern Mutual NWE +0.6% highlights how people have handled the pandemic, financially.
The recent Northwestern Mutual 2020 Planning & Progress Study reveals that 84% of U.S. adults, aged 18+, expect the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn will have an impact on their ability to achieve long-term financial security. Six in 10 (59%) believed that impact would be moderate or high. Take a moment and think about how the Coronavirus has impacted your finances so far and what effect it will have on your overall financial future.
Optimism for a Strong Economic Recovery
The study also found that people are optimistic about the potential for a strong economic recovery. That is an account for themselves, personally, as well as the country as a whole. For myself and my Los Angeles financial planning clients, I am optimistic that we will get through this pandemic; what nobody knows is how long the recovery will take.
The study uncovered the following statistics:
- 83% of Americans believe they will ultimately achieve long-term financial security. Among them, 44% say it will be in a year or less, and 32% say it will take two to five years.
- 76% are confident the country will return to full employment. Among them, 47% say it will be in a year or less, and 39% say two to five years.
- 79% are confident the country will return to economic growth. Among them, 47% say it will be in a year or less, and 38% say it will take two to five years.
"These numbers speak to the enormous resiliency people are showing at a time of great financial uncertainty," says Christian Mitchell, executive vice president, and chief customer officer at Northwestern Mutual." As a nation, and as individuals, we're in recovery mode. But, there's resounding confidence that comes across in these findings — people believe in their ability to bounce back."
For Many, Financial Discipline Has Improved
The study showed that many Americans have improved their financial habits during the Coronavirus. Whether those habits will be maintained post-COVID is another question.
More than seven in 10 (71%) Americans said their financial planning needed improvement prior to the pandemic. Today, that number has dropped to 61%.
Additionally, people indicated their financial discipline has improved.
- Nearly three in 10 (28%) Americans considered themselves "highly disciplined" financial planners today, compared to 22% who said the same before the pandemic. "Highly disciplined" is defined as knowing your exact goals, developing specific plans to meet them, and rarely deviating.
- One quarter (25%) of Americans considered themselves "informal" financial planners today, compared to 29% who said the same before the pandemic. "Informal" is defined as having a general sense of your goals and how to meet them, but not having a plan in place.
"It's good to see these behavioral habits are trending in the right direction," said Mitchell.
How Are People Covering Living Expenses During COVID-19?
While many Americans have been able to keep a positive outlook for the long term, many are still struggling as I write this. This is an election year; the West Coast is on fire, the East Coast keeps getting hit by hurricanes and tropical storms, all on top of a global pandemic. Please get out and vote this November.
The findings revealed that more than one-third (38%) of Americans have had to take steps to cover their living expenses since the pandemic.
- 19% have dipped into personal savings or emergency funds
- 13% have borrowed money from family or friends
- 9% have dipped into retirement savings (401(k), IRA, etc.)
The 2020 Northwestern Mutual Planning & Progress Study
The 2020 Planning & Progress Study is a research series conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Northwestern Mutual. It included 2,702 American adults, aged 18 or older, who participated in an online survey between June 26 – July 10, 2020. Previous waves included 2,650 American adults, aged 18 or older, who participated in an online survey between February 12 – 25, 2020, and 2,077 adults, aged 18 or older, who participated between April 29 – May 1, 2020. Results were weighted to Census targets for education, age/gender, race/ethnicity, region, and household income. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. No estimates of theoretical sampling error could be calculated; a full methodology is available.
How have your finances weathered the Coronavirus? Are you spending more or less? Are you still working? This is a difficult time for sure, but I am optimistic that this, too, shall pass. When it does, you will be that much closer to retirement or your other financial goals.
Read the full story at Forbes.
Since the pandemic struck Chicago six months ago, McCormick Place — the largest convention center in North America and an enormous economic engine for the region — has been a ghost town. But behind the scenes, the facility’s owner, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, recently was accredited to resume hosting in-person events, when the state allows. Trade show associations and exhibitors are likewise eager to get back to business. Virtual meetings, I think we all can agree, are a weak tea substitute for the real deal.
The question is: Are the 1.5 million-plus visitors who used to come every year from far and wide to attend McCormick Place’s conventions, fairs, expositions and meetings ready to return?
A national survey we just completed at the Harris Poll offers some uplifting news for everyone who depends on McCormick Place. While attendance may never fully rebound, most people who traveled to trade shows before the pandemic say they’ll be back. A third of respondents, in fact, say they’d be comfortable driving to an in-person confab immediately, and that vote of confidence rises to more than half if the convention site imposes risk-reducing requirements like face masks, temperature screening and social distancing.
In our poll of American adults, we also found that conventioneers think Chicago has managed the COVID-19 outbreak about as well as local governments in America’s other top five convention cities — Las Vegas, Orlando, Florida, Atlanta and Dallas. Despite more than 136,000 coronavirus cases and 5,100 deaths in Cook County (as of Wednesday), the survey results suggest that Chicago has maintained its competitive stature nationally as a host city.
A comeback of McCormick Place would have an impact that would extend far beyond its Near South Side campus. Even Chicagoans who’ve never stepped into any of its exhibition halls or meeting rooms, or the ballrooms of its two adjacent hotels or its affiliated Wintrust Arena, have benefited from the out-of-towners who have. Based on economic impact studies by Choose Chicago, the city’s business-promotion council, the MPEA had projected that the greater McCormick Square complex would pump $2 billion into the economy this year; it would also support more than 15,000 full-time jobs and fill an average of almost 4,000 downtown hotel rooms each and every night.
That impact never materialized, of course. Since mid-March, when public activities were largely banned to slow the spread of COVID-19 infections, organizers have called off 150 gatherings at McCormick Place; the no-shows include one of the biggest in the world, the International Manufacturing Technology Show, which had been expected to bring 129,000 people to Chicago last week. The loss of tens of millions of dollars of tax revenue from these mass meetings is one reason the city’s budget deficit has swelled to $800 million this year and, with program cancellations already extending into 2021, could deepen to $1.2 billion next year.
It’s no surprise that those who generate revenue from McCormick Place — the MPEA, as well as event management companies and suppliers — would want to reopen its halls as soon as authorities deem that safe. But what if they did reopen and no one came?
To answer that, we also polled a representative sample of 2,049 American adults online Sept. 14 through 16. Four in 10 said they had attended an in-person trade show, expo, conference or convention prior to the pandemic, with three-quarters saying they had gone to as many as five events in 2019. We then polled these self-identified conventioneers further to get a sense of how quickly they’d be back.
Asked when they’d feel comfortable driving to another city to attend an in-person trade show or convention — and this was without conditions such as having a widely available vaccine — 36% said immediately while 25% said within six months. The numbers drop somewhat when asked about flying to such a mass meeting, to 14% immediately and 26% within six months.
Generally, respondents said they prefer smaller gatherings. A quarter would be comfortable in a room with 50 people or fewer. Just as many, though, would be comfortable among 500 people or more. And interestingly, 16% say they’d attend a trade show or conference if their bosses required them to.
On the other hand, there is a subset who said they are giving up on the in-person assemblies that McCormick Place is known for holding. Nearly 1 in 5 said they would not feel comfortable attending any in-person event under any circumstances if they were permitted now.
I know from my experience in public opinion research, however, that people often swear off activities in the moment only to revert to their old ways as time passes. I also know from this survey and others we’ve done that there’s nothing quite like those face-to-face gatherings when it comes to getting things done. By a margin of 2 to 1, respondents prefer in-person events over virtual events because they’re better for such things as networking, socializing, new product tryouts and business leads.
It’s too late to salvage this year. But barring the unforeseen, our polling indicates the throngs should be back at the trade shows again next year.
Read the full story at Chicago Tribune.
An exclusive new poll finds more than half of Americans have shared a political meme in the last three months. Sometimes people just think they’re funny.
By LYDIA DISHMAN | Fast Company
Admit it. You just couldn’t resist forwarding that photo (or three) of Trump’s windblown hair accompanied by a clever catchphrase. Or some version of AOC or Speaker Pelosi looking like they’re coming for you, also accompanied by some sarcastic snipe.
Regardless of which side of the political divide (chasm?) you currently sit—or which gender you identify with—a new Harris Poll conducted exclusively for Fast Company reveals that 55% of Americans have shared a political meme in the past three months. Broken down by platform, 90% say they’ve shared a political meme on Facebook at some point (the top spot to post among respondents) and 59% posted one on Twitter. Fifty-four percent are sharing more this year than they did last. And over a third share them daily.
This cuts across all strata of the population, including education and socioeconomic level, marital and parental status. The only apparent difference is that white and Hispanic people are slightly more inclined (52% and 45% respectively) to share a meme in comparison to African American (24%) social media users.
Yet while we’re all quite likely to do it, our reasons may surprise you.
Of the over 1,000 U.S. adults surveyed who said they’d shared something in the past three months, the most common reasons were:
- 46% said they did so just to make sure people knew where they stood.
- 32% percent of men and 22% of women said they did in an effort to change people’s minds.
- Over a third just found them funny.
- Only 12% forwarded a meme that expressed anger, and 10% pushed one meant to strike fear in the hearts of its recipients. These numbers hold true across all segments of the population.
Why do we keep sharing? Perhaps James Gleick said it best in his Smithsonian Magazine essay back in 2011 when he compared memes to human genes:
“Memes emerge in brains and travel outward, establishing beachheads on paper and celluloid and silicon and anywhere else information can go. They are not to be thought of as elementary particles but as organisms. The number three is not a meme; nor is the color blue, nor any simple thought, any more than a single nucleotide can be a gene. Memes are complex units, distinct and memorable—units with staying power.”
Remember that next time your finger is hovering over the return key and share responsibly.
Read the full story at Fast Company.
When Netflix announced this summer that it was elevating Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos to co-CEO, sharing the title with founder Reed Hastings, the move cut against conventional wisdom. Salesforce.com, SAP, and Oracle all had abandoned co-CEO structures within the last year, leading The Wall Street Journal to ask: “Co-CEOs Are Out of Style. Why Is Netflix Resurrecting the Management Model?”
We have a strong point-of-view on this: We’ve served at as co-CEOs at The Harris Poll together since 2017.
The truth is the archetype of the omnipotent CEO — the lone commander atop the corporate pyramid — is increasingly a relic of 20th century management thinking. There are some notable exceptions: Founders like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg still command and control. But in our research with the American Psychological Association, we’ve found that for most mere mortals, it’s simply too hard to go it alone. The modern business landscape is too fast-moving and the demands on a CEO have become too innumerable for a single person to set an organization’s strategic direction and oversee a multitude of internal decisions, all while acting as its public face to stakeholders.
Tellingly, while executive teams have doubled in size over the last three decades as different corporate functions have gained importance (human resources) or have come into existence (digital strategy and data security), the top job has largely remained a solitary grind. As entrepreneur Joe Procopio has observed, “The math on giving 110% usually breaks down to giving 10% across 11 different priorities.”
At the same time, the expectations of modern leadership have evolved. Organizations are more agile, less hierarchical, and must adapt quickly to the sudden dislocations we have today. Generational shifts in the workforce and society bring rising social consciousness of inequalities and a mandate for including others with different experiences into decision-making. These exigencies have made non-traditional soft skills essential additives to leadership. In our book, The Athena Doctrine, we surveyed 64,000 people in 13 countries and found empathy, selflessness, collaboration, expressiveness, flexibility, and patience were among the traits most correlated to the ideal modern leader, while independence, aggressiveness, decisiveness and controlling were not.
But rather than this being an either/or, it really is about having all of the above. The profound shift to inclusivity in business demands that leaders broaden their skills and competencies. Some organizations may be fortunate and find that unique individual who is both right- and left- brained, who is both single-minded and collaborative, etc. For all the rest, the better alternative is two leaders in the role. CEOs need not be perfect if they have a partner who complements them.
This structure also creates room for growth in the C-suite, helping combat the kind of corporate brain-drain that inevitably accompanies a change in CEOs. One 2016 Stanford Business School research paper found that three-quarters of executives studied left their companies after getting passed over for CEO. This makes sense: Leaders are bound to want to go somewhere where they are more valued, ultimately hurting the company as talent disperses.
But none of this is to say that simply naming a second CEO is a magical panacea that will solve all problems or automatically lead to business success. Like any relationship or venture, the dual chief executive structure requires constant work.
When we took over in 2017, The Harris Poll was a venerable voice of American public opinion. We had tremendous people, but no one leading them. We faced commoditization from competitors and a brand that had been left to atrophy. With too many products, too little foresight, and a workforce fatigued by constant ownership turnover, we needed to focus and protect; innovate and stabilize; disrupt while nurturing a special culture.
Our tandem roles were enabling from the get-go. Based on our previous experience of working together, we split up the job into areas where we each excelled: After a long career in marketing and advertising, John is best at consumer insights, business development, strategic leadership, and brand and marketing. Will’s strong suits, bolstered by an MBA, are business strategy, finance and operations, account management, innovation, and SAAS.
Sharing the CEO role permitted John to travel and personally reintroduce the brand to clients while giving Will the time to carve out The Harris Poll assets (personnel as well as intellectual property) from the previous owner’s structure. Today, we still divide and conquer. Will spends much of his day with our managing directors, tracking each business unit against budget forecasts and managing personnel. Meantime, John spends much of his day on our weekly Covid-19 research, new business pitches, and providing client deliverables. The other day found one of us presenting to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a joint poll and the other was evaluating bolt-on acquisitions with our investment arm.
At multiple points in the day, we come together to offer each other counsel or swarm on a problem. To achieve longer-range objectives, we scheduled in-person deep-dives bi-monthly; we now strategize together virtually every Friday.
Our teams cross between us, but we are careful not to barge into the other’s area of ownership. We inherently trust one another’s judgment and decisions. We also know that giving up power actually means having more of it because we’ve proven that as a partnership we could accomplish more than the individual.
Trial and error have taught us four basic rules to position co-CEOs for success.
1. Pick the right partner. Co-CEOs are in a very real sense professionally married. The foundational qualities of such an enduring personal relationship also apply in a shared C-suite: a common vision, clear communication, and most important, deep trust. This sustains the partnership when, inevitably, there is a disagreement. Each must remember the other’s talents and make decisions knowing it’s still one P&L both must own. You cannot go into this arrangement without believing in the character of the other and vice-versa.
2. Set expectations. Critics of dual CEOs argue that shared accountability amounts to no accountability at all — if two are in charge, no one is. But properly managed, the opposite is true. The idea of joint accountability means setting performance standards that put each partner in the position of having to live up to the other. Ideally, this creates a healthy competition. Would-be CEOs are typically high-performing individuals, so clear lanes help each partner drive improvements in the other. Indeed, a 2011 paper published in Financial Review found that co-CEOs’ mutual monitoring can generate enough accountability to substitute for board supervision.
3. Define roles and responsibilities. The organization must understand who is in charge of which aspects of the company and where decision-making authority lies. We have a highly decentralized workforce — the two of us live in different cities — yet our managers intersect with us with a clear understanding of what types of decisions we are each responsible for. This is liberating in that it takes some daily responsibilities off each CEO’s plate. It also frees up time for skill-building around one’s dedicated areas, yielding more focused mentorship. And one leader can come into another’s problem from a fresh outside perspective. Clearly delineating areas of responsibility also mitigates another common criticism — that co-CEOs are a bottleneck. In fact, the structure often facilitates a quicker response because one individual has authority to make a decision from a greater depth of experience and knowledge.
4. Distribute authority but not responsibility. While each partner has individual duties, both must fundamentally remain a leadership unit, one in which successes and setbacks alike are owned together. These successes and setbacks should be reflected in short- and long-term compensation. They must be prepared to be rewarded or penalized as a unit and accept the consequences. With the right chemistry and trust, it incentivizes both healthy competition and having each other’s back. Another benefit of this conjoined career planning is that it can both temporary or long term. Some companies may see a co-CEO arrangement as a grooming opportunity for a junior leader.
Let’s be honest: The modern CEO is often overwhelmed by unrealistic demands. Netflix’s move to co-CEOs says less about the limitations of individual leaders than about a system that sets them up to fail. We believe business pyramids are stifling innovation, when a division of authority can unleash it. In unprecedented times like these, more companies should rethink their structures and embrace co-CEOs, putting their leaders in positions to succeed.
Read the full story at Harvard Business Review.
Members of Generation Z say they're taking the coronavirus seriously, trying to get others to do the same, and are willing to make short-term sacrifices in order to help safely resume some parts of pre-pandemic life, according to a Harris poll shared with Axios.
Why it matters: These findings are a stark contrast with the college-town outbreaks and scenes of crowded bars that have helped create a narrative of careless young people spreading the virus.
By the numbers: More Gen Z respondents said the pandemic was causing them stress because they feared for the health and safety of their families (81%) than said they were stressed about their own personal situations, like missing graduation or other key milestones (67%).
- Majorities said they were strictly following all the important safety protocols, like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, and trying to get others to follow along, as well.
- 85% said they'd be willing to take all their classes online if it meant they could socialize in person sooner.
The bottom line: “We’ve dramatically underestimated this generation’s anxiety and resolve," Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema said.