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Recklessness Kills

By Diego Nascimento

Driving back to my hometown I witnessed a tragic accident. In the distance I noticed an automobile flipped over and a person stretched out on the side of the road. Immediately I stopped my car in a safe place and rushed to rescue whoever had been thrown from the vehicle. It was a young girl who regrettably breathed her last breath as soon as I got close to her. I crossed the road and removed the remaining occupants who were injured and in shock; The car was destroyed and smoke was coming out. To my astonishment there were seven people in a car made for five occupants without accounting for the practically empty whiskey bottle I found on the driver’s side floor. Some of my family who were traveling with me offered assistance to the survivors while we called the rescue personnel and police. What caused that terrible scene? Imprudence. A mixture of speed and alcohol.

I would like to use this experience to speak about professional recklessness. It is more common than imagined and can be practiced by novices and veterans. There is a lot of talk about a new generation that ignores rules and needs to be flattered; In a way I am part of it, and I do not see much good in this new way.  I fully understand that times change, but proactivity, honesty, punctuality and common sense are essential characteristics in the life of an intern, manager, director, CEO … no matter the position.

Recklessness can be seen in the delivery of an incomplete report, lowering the value of the company in which one operates (even when one receives working conditions and benefits which make others “jealous”), in sowing discord among departmental colleagues, in idleness or procrastination, in the habit of constant delays in producing the urgent, in the arrogance or theoretical pride fed by one’s position, or in the simple failure to make a difference without wanting something in return.

I belong to the famous Generation Y that includes those born after 1980 and who witnessed the boom of the Internet and instant communication. This does not make me better than anyone else, and for this reason I do my best to seek my own professional development. Hard work is something I have cultivated since my adolescence, and I was able to balance it with undergraduate, graduate and completing various trainings. I prefer to be cautious than to live “recklessly” justified by many based on their birthdate. I will never agree with this way of thinking of “forever lying in a dazzling cradle.”

The Bible is full of guidance on this subject. I am a professional in the corporate world and base my choices on christian belief. The book of James in chapter 3, verse 17 says, “But the wisdom that comes from above is first pure, then peaceful, moderate, tractable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” Recklessness in traffic is capable of taking lives. Professional recklessness (or even for those still students) kills opportunities, destroys relationships, and erases the possibility of a good future. Beware of which steps you take.

Where is the Danger?

Where is the Danger?

By Diego Nascimento

I am often invited to attend various lectures and demonstrations. In this world, I notice how people have faulty thinking starting with dress, body posture, tone of voice, grammatical agreement and, finally, slides that are designed to catch the eye of the audience. This is where danger lies.

A presentation prepared in the traditional Power Point or any other resource is only a support. Never put your trust in the colors, animations or other tools offered by software. Whether in the academic environment or at work, know what details make the difference. Let me share the following quick and useful tips with you:

  1. Long texts are for books, letters and manuals. Slides / transparencies were made for objective texts / images.
    2. Beware of visual scandal. Too much color distracts the viewer’s focus; the opposite is also true.
    3. When entering the information, opt for san-serif fonts. Examples: Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, etc.
    4. Spell-check all content.
    5. Make your words the focus. Continuously reading slides demonstrates unpreparedness and loses the interest of the listener.
    6. Match the number of slides / transparencies according to the presentation time. The balance between delivery and speech creates more interaction with the audience.
    7. Master the subject you are speaking on. The first impression is vital to your future.
    8. Underestimating the public is a thing for amateurs. Surprise them!
    9. Train, train, and train.  Preparedness is linked to good results.

Public speaking is one of my specialties, and professional / academic presentation techniques are part of the training that I offer. I have a moral duty to share what I have observed throughout my career, and I suggest you do the same. Teamwork can change lives.

The Impostor

By Diego Nascimento

As you begin reading this article there is someone out there pretending to be what they are not. Starting with the resume, the job market is full of good people making promises, but they are bad at fulfilling what has been promised or agreed upon. This dynamic is present in the emotional, social, religious, academic and professional areas. This subject is broad, so therefore we will focus on careers.

Frédéric Bourdin is a Frenchman known by the media as “The Chameleon.” He became famous after he assumed the identity of a missing Texan boy in the 1990s and, for a considerable time, managed to fool his family, friends and neighbors. A local investigator suspected his story and decided to investigate the case. Months after the “miraculous” reappearance the truth came to the fore, and Frédéric was arrested and accused of fraud in regard to his passport and perjury. He was imprisoned for six years until he was deported to France. Still the deceived family continues to wait for information of their son who left to play and was never seen again.

I used this truth story as a warning about impostors in professional life. They are people who are insincere with themselves and who do not fulfill the minimum that is required in the position in which they took over. They choose to deceive co-workers, clients, and the business in general by justifying the lack of being proactive and commitment in daily chores through meticulously constructed lies. Using slang they are called “posers.” The good news in all this is that the professionalization of corporate management in institutions, regardless of size or type (public, private or third sector), has facilitated the identification of these elements while still in the Selective Process. But do not confuse today’s issue with the Dunning-Kruger effect that deals with people with little knowledge about some area or subject who consider themselves superior to others. This will be a topic for another article.

I recently lectured on Corporate Ethics for Rotary Club International members, and I was able to share a basic recipe for a stand for the Professional of the Future based on five things: Reference, Emotional Control, Punctuality, Attendance, and Social Responsibility. Throughout my speech I exemplified in a practical way what I do to build into those around me, especially in my family and at work.

Observation is a basic tool for assessing the action of “professional impostors.” They contribute considerably to the dip in monthly results and in the positioning or repositioning of a product or service commitments. They are the ones who just do some work early on in the day and pretend to work anxiously when it is time to leave.  Make no mistake; if you think that this happens only in certain roles, on the contrary, leadership positions are also “rewarded” with people like that.

I will end with a direct recommendation: do your best regardless of where and how; it’s a question of honor. A Biblical passage emphasizes this mission through the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 9, verse 10: “Whatever you put your hands to, do it with all your might.” Let’s move forward and work hard and strong!

Forget your Fear of Heights

By Diego Nascimento

Several times I have talked to people who claimed to be afraid of heights. They avoided getting near balconies, windows, or close to any environment that would take them from within easy reach of floor or offer a risk of falling. I still remember the first time that, in the air club, I participated in a stall exercise or, as it is said in Brazil, a free fall. Everything is based on the takeoff of the plane, then reaching a safe altitude for the maneuver and, seconds later, feeling the aircraft dive towards the ground. Needless to say, my adrenaline shot to unimaginable levels, but how can you be sure everything happened within recognized safety standards (I am alive and well to be able to write today’s article – ha, ha).

In the professional life, a fear of heights causes serious problems. It is because of this that many fail to “rise in life” and choose to stay where they are without any desire to learn more or have something to offer others. I affirm and will say it again:  there is a horizon just ahead of you. Have you learned a second language? Learn a third language. Have you perfected your writing skills? Take a speaking class. Did you graduate? Consider a post graduate course and so on. I know people who confuse stability with being comfortable, and this type of reasoning is toxic and capable of “contaminating” other people.

Journalist and writer David Cohen in the book “Culture of Excellence” comments on research done by Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor at Stanford University in the United States. Dweck divides the human mind into two groups. In the first, called afixed mindset, we find people who believe they have a steady growth level and that their talents will not change throughout their lives. In the second group, called a growth mentality, professionals come together who believe in the evolution of intelligence, that the brain can be shaped and that talent is built. Which of the two most catches my attention? The second, of course.

Changing the world is much more linked to the citizen’s entrepreneurial profile than to political ideals. The stall maneuver so famous in the aeronautical universe, requires a deep technical knowledge by the pilot and the co-pilot. Succeeding in life is like that as well, but much more than the theoretical baggage–practice humility, courage and teamwork is a basic consideration for anyone, whatever the position or academic background.

I will close by sharing a phrase I have recently created that might touch your heart: “What are you hoping to achieve? This is a very common question for those who enjoy good results. Do not be afraid!”

Stellar Career

by Diego Nascimento

What is the connection between Lava Jato and your professional journey? The answer is simple: there can be no link. You are deceiving yourself if you think I’m talking about the possibility of having your name involved in this scandal worthy of the adjective “disgusting.” When we make an in-depth analysis of all occurrences that touch on this subject, the word that best represents this scenario is dishonesty. The Houaiss dictionary carries some synonyms that “pains us” for this noun:falsification of the truth; insincerity, bad faith.

Have you heard of the Stellar Career, the one gains success beyond the stars? It is the term that I have created for people who, in the workplace, reach positions of great responsibility, and who their own free will, for good or bad, impact the lives of various people.  The worst thing is that there are dishonest “professionals” who are dishonest with others and with themselves. But how is this possible? Calm down, let me explain! Attitudes of authoritarianism, pride, arrogance, individualism and self-sufficiency toward leaders and followers and those who have the same “power” in the hierarchy already exhibit a poverty of spirit, to the point of practically showing “I’m it.” People like this suffer from within and without, offering drastic consequences in the short, medium and long term.

The sense of impunity does not always involve monetary corruption. The insincerity present in “gaining the trust” of others via an apparent theatrical sympathy is totally toxic and opens the door to gossip, for “making a way” and having an imbalance in human relationships. I am not here to cry out for a perfect world, after all, in the midst of our postmodern world things seem to be more misaligned than in the Stone Age. But we can make a difference at a time when greeting someone with a sincere GOOD MORNING is a virtue!

Returning to Lava Jato: some characters from the Stellar Career of national politics and entrepreneurship, who recently testified in Congresses, Symposiums and Mega Events in Brazil and abroad have become key pieces in a scheme that shakes the whole nation. What good is taking shortcuts to climb the ladder in life, if the most precious thing (YOUR NAME) is slung in the mud? And I do not care if we have short memories. What matters is sincerity with yourself.

Dr. Phil McGraw, author of numerous publications related to human behavior, records in “The Code of Life” a phrase worthy of reflection. He says, “Being a victim, however, is different from being a change agent.” If we stop to think, there are a lot of people acting like victims just to justify insincerity and bad faith. And remember this is not just about slamming the millionaires, but also in regard to the way you relate to your department colleagues. It does not matter what job you’re in.

To be humble is to understand that you do not exist alone. It is to know that the very challenging “Organizational Climate” needs very little to function as expected. It is to realize that success has more to do with the example given than with the amount of zeros in the bank account. Think about it!

Corruption Droplets

By Diego Nascimento

Since I started producing articles on Professional Ethics, I have had the “feeling” that “bombs” could explode. Far from giving any moral lesson, I always seek to share personal experiences to show that honesty is worth it. Individual or group attitudes go through a process of choice, and even knowing the consequences, there are those who prefer dangerous and traumatic shortcuts.

Whoever thinks corruption is tied to large sums of money or to deep negotiations is wrong. With great regret I say that this kind of occurrence begins inside the homes of many people.  Not reporting the full amount on your taxes, taking a parking space that does not belong to you, “cutting” in line, parking your car in the handicap spot (when you are far from handicapped), committing plagiarism and practicing the famous “white lie”—these are all some of the things that fill up a huge list and that also offer an open door to the bad habit dubbed the “Brazilian ‘creative solutions.’” It is apparent garbage that kicks into corruption no matter the scale or social class.

I recently met with a friend, and the hunger to “grow the company” was visible. My advice was firm and straightforward: “Never give up your family values and honesty to take the higher ground. Better a safe takeoff than an imminent and fatal crash.” The corruption factor is ancient, as is quoted in Culture Matters by Lawrence E. Harrison and Samuel P. Huntington in 2000, both professors at Harvard University. In one of their chapters we find an account that shows the relationship of cultural factors to this sad and disappointing practice. Complementary studies also show that honesty allows the creation of sustainable values between companies and people, and that there are ways to fight against this harmful practice that is corruption.

Integrity does no harm to anyone. Try to imagine how many arguments would not have occurred if absolute truth and common sense were regular characteristics inside and outside the work environment. I know that the happy world, where everyone is smiling and singing happily and skipping is a utopia, but we can do our part so that the daily life of the present generation is different and worthy of being emulated. Regardless of your age, profession, time of employment or home address, I suggest the practice of a Biblical recommendation recorded almost two thousand years ago: “Therefore, each of you must stop lying and speak the truth to your neighbor, for we are all members of the same body.” Book of Ephesians, chapter 4, verse 25.

Corruption begins slowly and almost harmlessly and, as I said at the beginning of the text, with “insignificant” actions in the home.  Run from it.

Greetings, Entrepreneurers!

The Young boss

Por Diego Nascimento

My work history is filled with chapters that would yield articles and more articles on conduct at work. It is easy to remember a few episodes where self-control and meekness were striking attitudes in stormy scenarios. From age 21 to 23 I received two job promotions: the first one I was appointed coordinator of an important department, and the second I took over as a general manager. This was apparently something simple if it were not for the short time frame and also my age at the time.

You may be thinking that this situation is atypical, but it is not. The arrival of increasingly young leaders in the workplace is a trend on a global scale, and it can knock at our door when we least expect it. In my case I was over people twice my age, and I confess that it was not a simple task. On the other hand, I can say that one constant of my management was harmony, and I attribute this to teamwork and the values of life I have learned throughout my childhood and youth.

Some say that young leadership brings more energy to activities; on the opposite side there is the group that advocates for a more experienced administration and attributes this characteristic to age. I am not here to argue about who should win this arm wrestling match, but I know that entrepreneurship and wisdom are not always linked to a birthdate. This is where the famous Participation Management comes in, which allows the involvement of colleagues in decision-making. In light of this, I want to give five tips for those who lead and those who are led:

• Authoritarian and centralizing actions weaken your interaction with the team. Whether you are young or a more experienced leader, show your willingness to listen to others;

• What we learn in the academic environment serves as a guide to daily professional life, and answers to some problems will not always be in the pages of books or academic articles;

• The leader and follower can be reversed at any time. Be ready to take on both;

• Henry Ford, at the age of 33, had his first car model approved. Senor Abravanel, Silvio Santos, is still a great example of persistence at the age of 85;

• Respect is capable of breaking down barriers. Whichever side you are on (leading or following), understand that there are limits.

It is for a noble purpose that we are in the workplace, and I have no doubt of that. We exist to serve others (at least it should be so). I will close my article with the words of the greatest leader of all time: Christ. I seek to follow His example; after all, every action generates a reaction. Jesus called them and said, “You know that the rulers of the nations dominate them, and important people exercise power over them. It will not be so between you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become important among you must be a slave, and whoever wants to be first must be a slave; for the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:25-28.

Do You Know What WhatsApp Did for Me?

By Diego Nascimento*

Freedom! This is the word that sums up the 30 days I decided to stay away from WhatsApp, one of the most famous communication applications these days. Did you frown when you read the opening of this article? I’m saying this as a professional who works with messages, texts and also uses interaction as a tool. I chose to be the guinea pig in this controversial experiment. Stick with me and let’s dig deeper into my observations.

I have many contacts on my smartphone and without a doubt a huge part of this list is from WhatsApp. Every minute I get alerts that address the arrival of a question, maybe a warning, links, audios or videos. On the other hand, I know people and companies that make the application a customer service channel. In an age where instantaneousness has become routine, nothing beats a tool that sends messages in real time and for free. In my case, I use the App* to be in certain chat groups and share links of the texts I produce. But the mere fact of disconnecting my mind from this marvel of technology in the last few weeks has caused me to rethink this experience, and I would like to make a point of listing each of them to consider together. Get ready:

1.Headaches and posture: The incidence of sudden onset of headaches was almost zero. Discomforts at the base of my neck also decreased. They always popped up when I stayed for too long “looking down” to respond to all the demands coming from WhatsApp.

2.Time management: I was able to organize chapters to read, produce texts, projects and everyday tasks.

3.Real face time:  Without the “responsibility” of being glued to my cell to answer calls I was able to offer more face-to-face conversations with my family and friends.

4.Planning: As a result of the better time management, I was able to plan my daily activities much more carefully and without the agony of chasing after the notifications and needing to dive into the application.

Under no circumstances am I campaigning to abandon this app. Just so you know, I have begun using it again, a little at a time. I am already enjoying the benefits of this incredibly revolutionary form of communication. My experience allowed me to see that we cannot just pick back up our lives on the screen of a smartphone, tablet or computer. In that 30-day off-line journey I evaluated my departure from WhatsApp, but it could have been with any other software made available by competing companies. A case in point, when the government blocks the application in a matter of seconds a giant migration happens to other similar services. I think of this phenomenon as a result of the postmodern era, and if we look carefully, we have invented things to gain time, but, in fact, we are running out of this precious resource every day. I guarantee you that at some point you will say that 24 hours are not enough to do everything you need. So I ask you: Will a strategic analysis of your commitments show you an accumulation of tasks (and I know this is reality for some) or the misuse of time?

Here’s a controversial opinion for the 21st century: we have the privilege of witnessing and accessing the ease of technology, but we do not have the maturity to deal with so much innovation. It’s surprising how much we value the machine and forget to be human beings, no matter the age. My warning is not against the arrival of computerization, but about the way we receive and live with them. It’s a matter of priority. If you make use of this “new wave” for work, congratulations! Use and abuse what you can and minimize your costs and increase customer acquisition, but I recommend you set aside a time to live life. If you are in the group of those who get plugged in daily, wasting time reading, watching and listening to things that trivialize family values, watch out. I know clinics that in addition to receiving narcotic addicts take care of dependents of the web and this includes the more than abnormal use of tools linked to the internet. A quick search on Google will display journalistic material dealing with this subject on all continents, without exception.

I never hid my admiration for Biblical teachings. About three thousand years ago the great King Solomon, inspired by God, recorded that there is the right time for everything. This famous passage is in the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, verses 1 through 8. It is a message so appropriate that I made use of it in other texts. I recommend the re-reading, reflection and practice.

Do you want to be a person that makes a difference in the lives of others? Understand that there is a world of opportunities that extrapolates the distance between your eyes and the screen of a cell phone. Anything in excess is bad. Think about it!

App *: Acronym for the word Application.

Dual Citizenship

Por Diego Nascimento

The history of my family is full of many adventures, and one of them involves the immigration of one of my ancestors from Europe to Brazil. Because of these circumstances I, some cousins and uncles can have dual citizenship. Before arriving at the Consulate it was necessary to gather documents that revealed this saga worthy of a film. It is interesting to see how today’s actions can literally influence tomorrow’s outcomes. This is what I want to talk about.

Despite my youth I am close to two decades of professional life, and I have many memories of leaders and co-workers I have and have had.  This journey increasingly reinforces an extremely insightful phrase: people come and go, but institutions stay. Considering this, I ask you:  What have you and I been doing so that their memories of us are memorable, so that we can offer as little regret as possible? You have two options:  Decide that the answer to this question is pointless and stop reading this text, or go on with me to understand the importance of a legacy.

There is no doubt that the Holy Bible offers great leadership teaching, and I make every effort to take advantage of them all. The apostle Paul once decided to write a letter to some people who applied for a position.  In one of the excerpts from the epistle, I Timothy, chapter 3, verse 7 to be exact, one of the requirements for those who wanted the job was recorded:  “He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he does not fall into disrepute.”  That recommendation was made two millennia ago.

At the beginning of this text I talked about family, a true place where legends are made. Beyond the condition of dual nationality, I received something priceless: examples of determination, good testimonies, meekness and self-control.  These will never be found on supermarket shelves because they are passed from father to son. Maybe you will never grace the cover of a magazine. Maybe you will never get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Do not worry about that. If your heritage to those around you is unspoken but able to positively influence people, congratulations! That’s what I’m talking about. Your name is very valuable, and through it a great deal can happen. I earnestly ask you:  Do not waste any time

A Mediocre Feeling

By Diego Nascimento
Mastering English as a second language has allowed me to talk with professionals from various countries. In the midst of this cultural diversity I have discovered that there is a common feeling in this postmodern world, and it concerns my work colleagues regardless of nationality or geographical position: envy. This characteristic is more common than one might think. While we should have maturity in our speech and attitudes, we seem to be heading toward the abyss of doom. And you do not have to go far to prove it, I can assure you.

Mediocrity: That’s the word I use to characterize those who make envy a daily ally. This characteristic corrodes the soul, hurts the body. It celebrates disagreements and builds the most sordid scenarios at work and even at home. I wonder what fuels this emotion; we spend our lives running after the wind and are never satisfied with anything. The good news is that there is healing for this evil that has gone throughout the ages in human history and has guaranteed space in unimaginable places.

Envy is accompanied by pride, that sense of dominance that lamentably some professionals have. The great book of Proverbs, which I never tire of saying is part of the faithful and sacred basis of teachings for human relationships, records in chapter 14, verse 30, a profound warning: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” As I said, emotional health can point the way to success or failure. The cure for “professional illnesses” is in humility, meekness and the search for examples in those who have given the greatest proof of love to others.

Do you know anyone with these symptoms? Although I know your answer, I suggest you act with mercy in such cases. But know that no one is innocent enough to be an occasional practitioner of this feeling who has destroyed careers and even families. If there is an opening, talk about it. Otherwise, just watch. With each passing day the job market closes for people who like to be mediocre.