The Arland Group is a boutique creative agency. We want to ask you an important question. Would you rather work with people who want to work with you? Or, would you rather work with people, who work for people, who make them work with you?

Disney Disappointment

by Keith Seiz

30 October, 2012

Fresh off the heels of a wonderful, five-day excursion to Disney World with wife and child in tow, I thought I would share a few observations about the vacation and my impressions of the Walt Disney World Empire:

1. Personally, the trip was a smashing success. The Seiz Family all had a wonderful time, and like the Olympics, I assume it will become a quadrennial tradition for my soon to be family of four.

2. From a work perspective, the trip did not disappoint either. I didn’t look at one email or take one business call for the five days I was gone.

3. My last trip to Disney was when I was 14 years old, and honestly, nothing has changed. Sure, there are a few new attractions, but the bread and butter of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and MGM/Hollywood Studios is still the same.

4. The sameness of Walt Disneyworld disappointed me. In many aspects, the parks almost seemed irrelevant. Where was the new technology? How do they plan to continue appealing to kids growing up with technology when everything seemed so dated and old?

5. Tomorrowland should be renamed 1980sville. What’s supposed to be a vision of the future looks like August 14, 1987 in Akron, Ohio.

6. You’re really highlighting astronaut ice cream? Really? That novelty was wearing thin when I was a kid.

I understand the “Disney Charm” and to make the place look like a video game would detract from this charm. Still, a rejuvenation is needed, and a comprehensive one at that, spanning from the uniforms the employees wear to the point of sale processes to updating the cars in Tomorrowland’s Speedway so they are not insanely noisy, gas guzzling engines.

Businesses, regardless of how big or small, must always keep innovating. Disney needs to step up its innovation or face challenging times ahead.

Distracted Much?

by Deb Andrychuk

14 September, 2012

Someone shared a blog post with me recently where the author, Joe Kraus, talks about how we are creating a culture of distraction: he says we have created an environment where we have become increasingly disconnected from the people around us and unable to engage in creative long form thinking all due to overuse of technology. He laments our loss of ability to truly interact with people and develop real relationships and how we are further diminishing our ability to think creatively because we are filling our down time with texts, tweets and emails and other tech related interruptions. For example, instead of waiting in a line at the bank and spending five minutes letting our minds wander and having time for our long form creative thinking to kick in, we immediately look to our phone to stimulate us, to fill the gap while we wait. Have you ever glanced at the car next to you while stopped at a red light? Look around, and you will see everyone is head down, intently focused on their smart phones, and terrifyingly disengaged with what’s happening around them. It’s no surprise to me that there were 100,000 accidents last year involving texts according to the National Safety Council. Frankly, I am shocked the number isn’t much, much higher.

Do you get your best ideas in the shower? If you do it’s because it’s probably the only place where you haven’t implemented technology to divert you. Just think how creative and productive you would be if you weren’t getting pinged every 2 minutes on email. Or, how much more relaxed would you be? What could you accomplish if your mind was able to meander quietly a few times a day?

In addition to the negative consequences already mentioned, this unhealthy over stimulation of the brain is also causing us undue anxiety. The constant need to send that pay off signal to the brain when receiving emails and texts is comparable to the feeling we get when we are playing a slot machine. I’m sure all the hard core gamblers are thinking this could be okay, but seriously, it’s not good for you! We need to change!

My commitment to myself is that I am going to put forth extra effort to be less distracted, more present in social situations with clients, friends and especially family.
Here’s my personal plan to be more engaged, less stressed and “wired up”:

  1. Sunday will be a Tech Free Day. On Sunday’s, I will be strive to be 100% present with my family. No technology allowed at all. This will be very difficult for me as I love to “check in” on Foursquare, scan Twitter and Facebook and am constantly reading texts.
  2. During the week, especially in meetings, I am committed to not sneaking peeks at my smartphone emails, Tweets, Facebook posts, etc. and focusing solely on what everyone is saying right in front of me and being the best listener I can possibly be. Admittedly, if I am in a long meeting, I am dying to check my phone.
  3. When I need to focus on getting a project done, I will shut off my email for set periods of time. This will be a game changer for me.
  4. Despite the magnetic pull to do so, I will refuse to check my smartphone for texts/emails in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. I will at least save it for after that first cup of coffee.

So, I will let you know how this new way of living is working for me. I hope that you will give it a shot as well. I would love to hear what your experiences have been! We could all benefit from fewer distractions. It’s time to start living again…exchange words…listen to each other. Day dream. Be present. Enjoy life!!

Why It’s Important to Embrace Employee Engagement Now

by The Arland Group

28 August, 2012

This article about what companies will do differently in the digital future has a good section- embrace employee engagement. This really supports our point for why companies need to have a separate careers page on social media because it’s not only about recruiting active and passive candidates, it’s about showcasing your company’s culture and the fact that current employees actually like working there. We really try to stress this when we talk to companies and when explaining why it’s becoming more and more important to embrace the cultural shift and have a presence in social media from an employment branding standpoint.