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Yesterday Intern, Today CEO

By Diego Nascimento

“I started in the company as an intern and I have always maintained a friendly and sincere relationship with all office colleagues. Over time, I took on new challenges within the corporation and, decades later, I was invited to be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). I did not plan any of this.”  I heard this brief report from the commander of one of the largest multinationals on the planet.  Guided by a discourse that exuded welcome and simplicity, this natural man from the interior of the country (yes, he is Brazilian) is nowadays among the great executives of his area.  Detail:  he did not take refuge under the university / college degree A or B to demand respect or arrogance that many insist on building.  He simply sought qualification, concentrated his efforts, and worked.

We cannot always achieve what we dream, but we can get close.  In other cases I know (and there are quite a few), determination has brought unimaginable results, and professionals which until recently were dimmed with daily routines have become leaders capable of transforming lives. Although the character in the first paragraph said he had never imagined taking such a high flight, I recommend that planning be a daily companion. It is through planning that we will draw a timeline to chart a course there, reshape the way we work here and most importantly, police our attitudes to become better people (ha, ha …), and I can see from the other side of the screen his pensive, reflective facial expression.  But what about now?

Who has not had the feeling that you are doing everything wrong? Recently a friend of mine said that he always left disappointed by success stories.  Apparently, lecturers have achieved success by simply “pushing a button” and moving on. I agree with him. The big mistake of motivational talks is not to show the falls, the disappointments and the beads of sweat shed by EVERYONE.  Hence the feeling of frustration that may be knocking on your door just now.  Yes: I want you to continue reading, listening and watching the inspirational facts, but keep your feet on the ground. There are stones along the way, and you will also need to avoid them.

Finally, I suggest that you do not throw in the towel and keep the course toward “infinity and beyond.” We live on a planet with more than seven billion people, and we are not just “one more.” We are the ones who can change a lot and even save lives.  Reflect, study, organize, work, dream, trace goals and, whenever you can, share the mistakes and the right answers. You can bet a lot of people will thank you.

Caution: Toxic Material

By Diego Nascimento

The residents of Pripyat / Chernobyl in Ukraine and Goiânia in Brazil know the real meaning of such an alert:  “Warning – Toxic Material.” Both sites were the scene of nuclear disasters that killed and left traumatic consequences to the present day. Even after three decades, many objects that have come in contact with radioactive substances remain isolated under a strong security scheme to prevent the nightmare from reoccurring.
My readers know how much I like analogies. In that context, I will take the liberty of alerting you to something dangerous:  toxic people. That’s right: toxic people. And don’t think that it’s people around you handling contaminated material (who knows? Laughs …).  In fact, the toxicity of which I speak is linked to two deplorable attitudes which are harmful in a matter of seconds: arrogance and gossip.  Just wait, I’ll explain this simply.
Arrogance is a disease that needs to be treated and that has poisoned families and relationships of friendship and work. The contaminated person has symptoms such as “haughty look,” pride, aggressive tone of voice and the false perception that he has control over everything, including over the lives of others. The effects are so harmful that the few “friends” that exist are there by virtue of pity or fear.
Gossip already originates from people and situations that we cannot even imagine.  Disappointment is the first item on a list of collateral damage that brings tears, unnecessary words, and can even cause death. The treatment is painful, but it is capable of rescuing lives and gathering hearts torn apart by “what so-and-so has told me.”  A person who adheres to this disastrous attitude fails to respect himself when he forgets himself, engages in the life of others and sows discord. I say again and again:  whoever is gossiping to you, is gossiping about you.
If you are waiting for the good news, here it is: there is a cure for these two problems. In both cases, recognizing that we depend on others and live in community is the first step. No one lives alone. If someone thinks we do, become a garbage collector, cable TV repairman, care for patients in the emergency room, transport fruits and vegetables to supermarkets, and then go back to the real world and consider which is better, A or B. We may rather have different characteristics, however, we are within a system where each one does his part. Even the chair or sofa we use is the result of teamwork which began in extremely simple places.
Referring to the book of Proverbs in chapter 3, verse 13, we find the statement that “Happy is the man who finds wisdom and acquires knowledge.”  Through these two important words (wisdom and knowledge) we come to understand how completely unnecessary it is to think that we own the world and that we can act in any way and speak whatever comes to our minds.  You are completely mistaken.  When wisdom comes from above, given by God, it is guaranteed that our particular set of actions will be rich in sharing what is good, in creating opportunities and in working effectively. Let the Doctor of Doctors, the Sovereign, make a complete treatment.  Talk to HIM: the only effective remedy against arrogance and gossip.
Think about it!

Opening Date

By Diego Nascimento

It was Monday morning in that great city. For weeks, media outlets announced the opening date of the venture that would bring diversified products, an enviable service and unrivaled prices. Whoever passed by the huge building was perplexed by the gigantic queues, not to mention who had seen the sun rising there to secure the first places. At the appointed hour the doors opened and feelings were mixed: satisfaction on one side, disappointment on the other. The smiles were the result of an apparent price advantage, and the twisted noses came from a realization that the long wait had offered nothing different.

The above account is not a mere coincidence, but a practical analogy of what happens in our lives. At each turn of the calendar we mark an “Opening Date” for (positive) changes in employment, studies, relationships … and everything repeats itself each December 31. There are several factors that influence not meeting the established goals, but I guarantee that lack of discipline is the main pillar. In the lectures on Personal Marketing, I make it clear that the good presentation is not just a kind of makeup or clothing label. The professional of the futureknows how to explore determination, and people like this tend to fly high regardless of the turbulence that everyday life offers.

Recently I talked to a girl during an international consultancy. She was distressed, discouraged, and about to give up. In addition to recommending specialized medical followup, I made use of my knowledge of communication and interpersonal relationships to somehow diagnose potential challenges in the day to day of the young woman. I quickly realized that the struggle was directly connected to a lack of discipline. Have you ever seen it in this context or, perhaps, have you lived with it?

The most important company of all time is our life. In addition to being unique, its name is the stamp that discloses the investments that are made in it. I once heard that “it is wrong to learn”, but choosing to be uncertain or insisting on error are amateur and immature choices. King Solomon recorded in Proverbs 18: 9 that “he that is negligent in his work is also the brother to a great waster.”

So be careful when launching the “Opening Dates.” In addition to creating expectations, remember that there are people waiting for you!

The End of World War III  

By Diego Nascimento

To begin with, I have just arrived from a drive through the center of the city where I live, and I become increasingly perplexed at how selfishness has become an epidemic. People’s own body language shows that apprehension and anger are ‘stuck’ in the heart of the majority. And so the ‘storm’ experienced inside the house, at that unexpected encounter, or at WhatsApp / Facebook knocks on the door of work.  It is all a result of a customary practice in postmodern society: the lack of forgiveness that slyly declared a Third World War (relationships).

Family, professional life, and leisure come down to a simple but complicated noun:  relationship. I guarantee that last year’s party in department X, the look of secretary Y or that ‘so-and-so’ message is already on your mind, right? Wrong! Reliving the past is not healthy:  the mind and body suffer from it.  In what concerns Professional Ethics and Conviviality, I defend the idea that forgiveness is the antidote to a poison called resentment. Without this noble act, relationships become cold, brainstorming meetings lose quality (whether through resistance in speaking or listening to others), individualism develops, and teamwork breaks down. But what justifies the encouragement of the practice of forgiveness in daily professional lives and other areas?

  1. It is a biblical recommendation:  In Paul’s letter to the Colossians (chapter 3, verse 13), Paul records:  “Bear with one another and forgive any grievances they may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you.”
  2. It’s good for your health:  According to Dr. Karen Swartz, director of the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Clinic of Medical Consultation for Mood Disorders [1], “There’s a huge physical burden to stay hurt and disappointed. Chronic anger puts us in a fight or flight mode, which results in countless changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immunity.”
  3. It is a matter of honor:  Nelson Mandela, who died in 2013, became an emblematic figure in forgiving all those who accused him, attacked him and took him to prison, where he remained for twenty-seven years.
  4. It is an interpersonal relationship exercise:  The act of forgiving is independent of social status, schooling or nationality. Great leaders chose to go hand in hand with forgiveness. Even the great King David, who commanded the empire of Israel for many years, in one of his records wrote about how “it is good to lie down in peace and then fall asleep.”

Maybe you’re thinking, “Talk is cheap. I want to see all this theory come to fruition.” The end of this war depends solely on you. As challenging as the situation has been, forgiving involves taking the first step even if the other side is not willing to listen. I learned that everything has the right time, and in companies where harmony circulates in the halls and corridors success is guaranteed.

My lectures take place in schools, colleges, universities, churches, micro, medium, large companies (even multinationals) and in each one of them I take up this challenge. It will not be a badge or salary range that will exempt A or B from forgiving or reaching forgiveness.  Take action and clarify the facts, because tomorrow may be late.

Disaster in the Air

By Diego Nascimento

Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport, United States. After two hours of waiting, a group of passengers boarded a connecting flight to the interior of the country. It all had seemed quiet if it were not for an almost catastrophic event: about 45 minutes after takeoff, one of the turbines began to have technical problems, and the aircraft quickly lost altitude. The overall communication of the on-board team, no matter how quiet it appeared, was inefficient. Through the window the ground grew closer and closer until the captain’s voice appeared on the loudspeakers to warn the plane would return to the point of origin. In fact, the aircraft was in no position to travel, and every minute of returning to the airport seemed like an eternity to whoever was inside that cylindrical flying object.

The above account did not start from any documentary of aerial disaster or any film. Besides the event was real, you know well one of the passengers who witnessed the fact properly accommodated in the aisle:  me. Luckily everything went well, and we changed planes to continue the course. They were moments of reflection on family, past, present and future. As soon as we arrived at the destination, I thought about the responsibility that the pilots had before their eyes. That was the moment to stay focused on the solution and, knowing the demanding flight procedures, I know that laying blame would not help the life of anyone on board. And what about us? Would we be concerned about the color of the eyes of those who reviewed the turbines, perhaps sending a WhatsApp to the maintenance chief, or would we set our minds on working to save lives?

The keyword is Solution. This important noun runs between the fingers of many professionals around the world. I am sorry to say, but we will deal with problems throughout our journey here, but being proactive about solving things is a matter of choice. And with each passing day I realize that only a small select group of people would prefer to untie the knots instead of lamenting that “life is just like that.” No, it is not. Imagine if, during the journey, the pilots followed this line of thinking. Certainly the breakdowns in the turbine could intensify and, in the worst case, several wrecks would be printed on magazine covers and newspapers.

A phrase attributed to the scientist Benjamin Franklin says that “To live is to face one problem after another. The way you look at it is what makes the difference.”  I know people who love to “suffer” even if the solution is at his/her side.  Through apathy and accommodation, they choose to “cry” day after day. At home or at work, behavior repeats itself, and I have a responsibility to leave a warning: the market is closing to people like this.  Focusing on the problem breeds discord; focusing on the solution brings development. It is clear that causes need to be investigated, diagnosed and treated, but in most cases time will be your enemy and “thinking fast” will be more than necessary. This feature is also part of the personal marketing armor, a theme often addressed in my articles.

After this almost fateful event, I made countless flights through the vast blue skies. I faced turbulence (it’s okay, they did not bring down the plane), delays in departure and bad weather. I am still alive and watching the problems that surround me.  Are these reasons to give up? Never.  In fact, each of them is fuel for my “solution machine.” It’s all a matter of optics and attitude.

Think about it.

My Grandfather and His Name

By Diego Nascimento

Personal Marketing is a very serious subject and goes beyond the traditional set of tips about appearance (external) that we learn in courses. Contrary to what you might be thinking about the title of the article, I will not offer a miraculous plan to remove names from the Credit Protection Service (SPC) or Serasa, but I will share the importance of honesty in interpersonal relationships.  Have you ever had the sad experience of being around people who stand out in the things they say but act differently? I think so. The workplace is full of people with this profile, and sooner or later they will reap the rewards of what we call hypocrisy.

Recently I was invited to give a lecture on Business Ethics and, during my speech, I briefly told the story of my maternal grandfather.  Of his 82 years of life, he spent nearly seven decades as a farmer harvesting coffee plants. The reason to honor Mr. Lázaro (Sô Lazo) at that time was obvious:  the event in which I participated was organized by the Commercial and Business Association of the municipality where he was born, lived and breathed his last. At the end of the talk, I was approached by a man who said: “Diego, you do not know me personally, but part of the coffee grounds where your grandfather worked here in the city belonged to my family.  I miss our conversations and his example as a citizen. Even without attending school and hardly knowing how to sign his name, Sô Lazo never needed a promissory note to guarantee payment of his bills. He was a man of his word in and out of the home.”

I confess that hearing that testimony filled my heart with joy and, at the same time, made me reaffirm what I always say:  our name is a precious thing, so unique which can open or close doors. The way we treat people causes them to approach or withdraw. I prefer sympathy a thousand times over authoritarianism practiced by a certain group that tries (unsuccessfully) to prove something. No job title, compensation or career opportunity justifies finger pointing, humiliating approaches in public or an ugly demeanor. My grandfather makes me miss him.  And what about us? Will we leave the same trace?

I started talking about Personal Marketing and I’ll end with that. The label of a suit or dress represents absolutely nothing when a word is not fulfilled, a discourse is only in theory and slander (speaking badly of others) is part of the resume of life.

May we continue swimming against the tide and making a difference!

Google has Failed

By Diego Nascimento

Calm down! You’ll be able to do your school or professional search on Google’s search engine today. The failure to which I refer is Google Plus, the social network of this giant of Silicon Valley that gave Mark Zuckerberg (one of Facebook’s founders) sleepless nights.  Launched in 2011, the little-known interaction platform is far from leading the ranking of hits in the world and its future is still uncertain. But what do I, Diego Nascimento, intend to teach through computer technology? Keep reading and you will understand.

Entrepreneurship is linked to mistakes and successes. The fact that an individual or a corporation has ample financial resources does not always bring success as the end result. Could it be that Zuckerberg and his friends imagined that the social network developed in college could reach such highs? I venture to say no, but the business strategy is constantly revised so that adjustments happen whenever necessary. Obviously, this also happens in Google, however, the purchase of Orkut in the first decade of the 21st century showed that the company wanted to expand its business (and still wants to). A lot of good and functionality came about:  Gmail, Google Drive and so many other features that literally made life easier for many people. But where is the failure in all of this?

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the company will still be market leaders for a reasonable amount of time, although changes in society’s behavior are giving a lot of work to the developers and marketing team. Who has not noticed the change in layout and functionality when upgrading applications? This is more than necessary for survival, however, the prudence and determination demanded in the digital world or any other business are also important items for you, reader of this article. Why?

Qualification is mandatory for anyone. I admire those who invest time in reading, courses and sound discourses that bring knowledge. I also applaud those who believe in dreams and seek to put them into practice, but understand that you cannot “embrace the world” by wanting to dominate all areas or take risks out of context. In addition to the physical (tiredness) and emotional reflexes, the financial loss can also come in the package. I repeat: Entrepreneurship involves successes and mistakes, but each step needs to be properly calculated. That’s why I encourage specialization, that is, the focus on a particular product and service. Do you know Coca-Cola for producing a well-known soft drink or mineral water line? Do you understand now where I want to go?

As for Google: it is more than certain that the company will grow even more, however, the last 10 years have already shown that they are not the exclusive owners of the social network (at least for now). Sometimes it is necessary to stop, take a breath, recognize the flaws, reevaluate the strategies and move on. If Google is susceptible to misunderstanding, imagine you and me?

Take your limitations and change the route if necessary. There is still time!

The Power of a Comma

By Diego Nascimento

Last week, as I walked the streets of the city, I was struck by a profound blow of disappointment: near the most traditional center of commerce was a poster promoting a particular product, but that was not the problem. The absence of a comma in the text showed an affront to the correct (and basic) use of the Portuguese language. Immediately I recalled a teacher I had while in elementary school, who was so zealous with grammar that she would have had to be taken to the hospital (ha, ha) after seeing this innocent propaganda.

What few people realize in professional, relational and academic everyday life is that spoken and written communication has a direct and indirect impact on everything that is done. I know of cases where a badly written note stuck on the refrigerator almost resulted in a divorce. All because of a great character: the comma. Friend of some, enemy of others, this punctuation mark carries out three basic missions when it appears: prevent the vice of language, separate or even emphasize sentences / phrases, and offer a meaningful reading when spoken aloud.

Renowned author of textbooks on grammar and composition, Professor Richard Nordquist* once told in one of his articles that the Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper in the August 6, 2006 edition brought a story that spoke of a mistake in the partnership agreement of a renowned Canadian company. A comma placed in the wrong place of the document opened the door to legal action that could result in a $2 million loss to the corporation. All because of a comma. Do you understand how serious this is?

To protect the integrity of the shop where I witnessed the fact, I will offer a fictitious example of how the comma owner can change everything. Look:

Carlos Antonio and his neighbors are talking about the city hall.
Carlos, Antonio and his neighbors are talking about the city hall.

In the first sentence, we have the idea that Carlos Antonio is just one person. In the second, punctuated correctly, we understand that Carlos is in the company of Antonio (they are actually two people).

The next example is classic on Messenger:

We do not want to pay.
No, we want to pay.

In the first alternative, the caller receives an affirmation that the payment will not be made. When we insert the comma in the right place, we realize that the intention is contrary, that is, to remove the debt.

These situations are recurrent in written communication (manual tickets, emails, typed texts, postings in social networks, etc.), bring a lot of confusion to relationships. It becomes dangerous. So, I want to invite you to keep your eyes open when you communicate. The world is already very troubled, and we need to make a difference in everything. The next time you send a text message, read and reread the content. You do not always write the same way you speak.

Speak the Right Way

By Diego Nascimento

My articles are read in Portuguese / English versions in more than thirty countries around the world (Google charts confirm this), and for this reason, I have the task of guiding my readers on various topics. Among them is the correct use of written and spoken language. The fact that I have friends from different nationalities has shown that the excessive and inappropriate use of slang has also made communication difficult in various corners of the planet.  It is a problem that has invaded the workplace, classrooms and, as a whole, it brings communication disorders into families.  From here I can see your expression of astonishment (ha, ha …).  I would just ask you to stay with me and understand the reasons.

In Brazil, for example, you just have to go out on the streets to hear words that sound strange to your ears, but which are common to new generations or older groups who still hold terminologies that belong to the past and that create barriers in today’s dialogues. The worst is when a person mistreats words by utterly wrong pronunciations, outside the verbal context and with zero understanding.  A real crime against the mother tongue that, if we analyze it, is a public patrimony.

I have participated in numerous job interviews (from a recruiter’s position) in which candidates had great goodwill and apparent strengths, but when they started to speak they threw out all the expectations presented by the resume.  It’s a sad reality.  What about writing? That is even worse. They offer a “free day” for final point, comma and other punctuation marks that give meaning to the text. How to entrust public service tasks (internal / external) or even a sales job to those who want to torture the correct use of the language?

I agree that there is a section of the population that presents limitations due to a school deficit (and that can be made up), but I know of groups that ignore good vocabulary because of laziness or fads and thereby lose great opportunities simply by choosing words and expressions strange and inelegant.  In any case, I want to be clear that I am not begging for the use of sophisticated language; I am just calling for common sense and practice.  Also please understand that there are certain communities that, because of cultural and longstanding issues, make use of a language system all their own, and that must be respected.  Under no circumstances is bullying justified.

I would like to conclude by saying that you may think that for certain functions the use of an inappropriate vocabulary full of slang words does not present problems.  That would be your mistake. We are human beings formed by habits, and this is the best time to change the course of your life.  What’s fun today can become a serious issue when it comes to finding work, attending a course or even completing school / academic assignments. How about rewriting your story?  Start talking the right way!

Are You Good Enough?

By Diego Nascimento

Believe me:  I have answered this question a few times and went far beyond “Yes” or “No”.  Arguing is part of my life, and although this title has a masculine noun, this questioning happens to both men and women. Before offering tips on what your position should be, I want to make it clear that I will talk about skills and not about kindness toward others (this is a topic for another time).

Nowadays it is said that you must always be number one:  be the best at your job, sports, in your studies, appearance, on the Internet … in everything.  Without a doubt, we need to offer our best in what we do. However, we have practically seven billion people living on the earth’s surface and putting them all on top of the podium is physically and even mathematically impossible. We have limitations (yes, all of us), and this shows us that we are human and we all have flaws and difficulties.  On the other hand, this scenario does not justify sloppiness, procrastination (we will leave that one for later) or any other lack of attitude that results in settling. There is a space ahead of you, and if you do not prepare, someone else will take your spot.

In my lectures I always say that success is not necessarily linked to your bank account, designer clothes or the “car of the year.”  Success is when you go to sleep after an intense day of activities knowing that you have fulfilled your obligations in the best way, having left words arrogance, pride, dishonesty and the expression “Brazilian way” behind you.  If your work results in financial gain and popularity, excellent.  Otherwise, anonymity does not make you inferior to anyone.

Are you good enough? Look for the sincere evidence for this answer, but if dedication is a constant thing in your life, your skills will be highlighted. Reading the Holy Scriptures we learn that doing our best is also a way to please God.  The Apostle Paul, writing a letter to a group of people in the city of Colossae (Greece), recorded the following:  “Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, as for the Lord, and not for men.  It is Christ, the Lord, whom you are serving. “ – Book of Colossians 3: 23 and 24.

Until the next article.