Think You Own Your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook Account? Think Again!

Think You Own Your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook Account?  Think Again!

By:  Nick Akerman

You may not, as reflected in the recently reported decision of Eagle v. Morgan, 2011 WL 6739448 (E.D. Pa. December 22, 2011) where both the employee and her former employer claim ownership in the employee’s LinkedIn account, the popular social networking site for business professionals.  The dispute is starkly drawn in the litigation’s opposing pleadings and provides a strong warning to the hundred million plus LinkedIn users and other users of social media who operate under the assumption that their social media accounts belong solely to them to transfer as they please when they change jobs.

The facts in the Eagle case will sound familiar to all social media mavens who use sites like LinkedIn to promote their businesses and professional careers.  The plaintiff Linda Eagle, a Ph.D. in communications and psychology, established her LinkedIn account in 2008 after she and others founded Edcomm, Inc. (“Edcomm”) to train individuals to work in the financial services industry.  Like others who sign up for a free account with LinkedIn, Dr. Eagle’s complaint alleges she had to assent to a user agreement “which constitutes “a legally binding agreement with LinkedIn Corporation” and, as such, “information provided to LinkedIn is owned by the LinkedIn user, subject to the other terms of the User Agreement.” Id. at *1.

According to LinkedIn’s terms of use, “[u]sers can maintain only one LinkedIn account at a time” and “Dr. Eagle [as alleged in her complaint] used her account to promote Edcomm’s banking education services; foster her reputation as a businesswoman; reconnect with family, friends, and colleagues; and build social and professional relationships.” Id.

In October 2010 Sawabeh Information Services Company (“SISCOM”) purchased Edcomm. Dr. Eagle initially remained employed by SISCOM as its CEO, but approximately six months later Edcomm involuntarily terminated her employment.  According to Dr. Eagle’s complaint, Edcomm then hijacked her LinkedIn account using her LinkedIn password.  Her complaint alleges that Edcomm used her password “to gain unauthorized access” to her account, “changed the password,” and “then changed Dr. Eagle’s account profile to display” Edcomm’s new CEO’s “name and photograph” “but Dr. Eagle’s honors and awards, recommendations and connections.” Id. at *2.  The complaint alleges that Edcomm “used Dr. Eagle’s account both to prevent her connections from reaching her, and to acquire business connections for the benefit of . . . [the new CEO] and Edcomm. Id.

In response Edcomm filed a counterclaim alleging facts that Dr. Eagle’s LinkedIn account had been established and used for the benefit of Edcomm at Edcomm’s expense.  Thus, the counterclaim alleges “that Edcomm, while under Dr. Eagle’s management, implemented a policy requiring Edcomm’s employees to create and maintain LinkedIn accounts.” Id at 3. All Edomm executive employees, as a matter of company policy, were required “to: (a) utilize their Edcomm email address for LinkedIn accounts; (b) utilize a specific form template, created and approved by Edcomm, for their description of Edcomm, work history, and professional activities, as well as photographs taken by a professional photographer hired by Edcomm; (c) contain links to Edcomm’s website on LinkedIn accounts and the Banker’s Academy webpage, as well as Edcomm’s telephone number; and (d) utilize Edcomm’s template for replying to individuals through LinkedIn.” Id.  The counterclaim further alleges that “[c]ertain Edcomm employees monitored these LinkedIn accounts, corrected any violations of Edcomm policy, and maintained accounts for several employees for the benefit of Edcomm” and that “all discussions, connections, and content were added by” Edcomm employees.” Id.

In short, Edcomm alleges that “Dr. Eagle’s LinkedIn account was used for Edcomm business and Edcomm personnel developed and maintained all connections and much of the content on her account” and that Dr. Eagle, who regained control of her LinkedIn account after initiating her lawsuit, had “wrongfully misappropriated both Edcomm’s connections on the LinkedIn account and Edcomm’s telephone number constituting Edcomm’s proprietary information on the account.” Id.

Based on these dueling allegations both sides filed numerous claims against each other.  Dr. Eagle alleges violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), Title 18, U.S.C. §1030, violation of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(1)(A), unauthorized use of name in violation of 42 Pa.C.S. § 8316, invasion of privacy by misappropriation of identity, misappropriation of publicity, identity theft under 42 Pa.S.C. § 8315, conversion, tortious interference with contract, civil conspiracy and civil aiding and abetting. Id. at. *2.  Edcomm also alleges violations of the CFAA, misappropriation, conversion, tortious interference with contract but added claims for unfair competition and a violation of the Pennsylvania trade secret law.

Dr. Eagle moved to dismiss all of Edcomm’s claims on the ground that they do not, as a matter of law, allege facts constituting proper claims for relief.  The court granted Dr. Eagle’s motion to dismiss all of Edcomm’s claims except for two Pennsylvania law causes of action, 1) misappropriation of an idea and 2) unfair competition that is essentially based on the same elements of the misappropriation claim.  Under Pennsylvania law misappropriation of an idea requires the plaintiff to prove that 1) the plaintiff had an idea that was novel and concrete and 2) the idea was misappropriated by the defendant. Id. at *13. As the court explained,

“[t]o determine whether an idea has been misappropriated, Pennsylvania courts look to the three elements of common law misappropriation:

(1) the plaintiff “has made substantial investment of time, effort, and money into creating the thing misappropriated such that the court can characterize the ‘thing’ as a kind of property right,” (2) the defendant “has appropriated the ‘thing’ at little or no cost such that the court can characterize the defendant’s actions as ‘reaping where it has not sown,’ “ and (3) the defendant “has injured the plaintiff by the misappropriation.”  Id.

In refusing to dismiss the misappropriation and unfair competition counts the court relied on the allegations in Edcomm’s counterclaim that “Edcomm personnel, not Dr. Eagle, developed and maintained all connections and much of the content on the LinkedIn Account, actions that were taken solely at Edcomm’s expense and exclusively for its own benefit.” Id.  The court stated, ‘[w]hile Plaintiff argues that Edcomm fails to allege facts that would show that it made a substantial investment of time, effort, and money into creating the cell phone number or LinkedIn account, Edcomm counters that its employees developed the accounts and maintained the connections, which are the route through which Edcomm contacts instructors and specific personnel within its clients.”  Thus, the court held that “these conflicting allegations create an issue of fact requiring further discovery.” Id.

With businesses like Edcomm actively encouraging their employees to use social media as a marketing tool, there can be little doubt that litigation over the ownership of social media accounts is likely to increase.  Just last July PhoneDog.com, a popular mobile phone site, sued in federal district court in California a former employee who had amassed approximately 17,000 followers on Twitter claiming that the followers constituted a company-owned customer list entitling it to $2.50 per month per follower or $350,000 in total damages.  The only way to avoid the inevitable lawsuits over the ownership of these accounts is for both employers and employees to be proactive in establishing ownership rights prior to using individual social media accounts as a marketing tool.

From the employer’s standpoint this ownership issue is a prime reason why employers should adopt social media policies clarifying who owns the social media accounts and ownership rights when the employment relationship is terminated.  For example, it may make sense to allow employees using LinkedIn to keep their accounts but cleanse them of information that belongs to the employer because of the employer’s financial investment in the site and to ensure the employee is no longer associated as a spokesperson for his former employer.  As a strategy to minimize, and perhaps avoid litigation altogether, an agreement between the employer and employee delineating the post employment rights of both the employee and employer to the account would seem the most efficient way to deal with this issue.

The UK’s Bribery Act of 2010: The Obligations and Risks It Imposes on US Employers with Business in the UK

Introduction

The UK Bribery Act is expected to come into force shortly. The Act was implemented in response to pressure on the UK to reform its outdated anti-corruption legislation. The scope of the Act is broader than that of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). Whereas the FCPA only applies if the recipient is a foreign official, the Bribery Act 2010 will cover all bribes, regardless of the recipient’s status. The new Act has extra-territorial effect and has implications for any corporation or group carrying on part of its business in the UK, regardless of where it is incorporated.

The Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”), the UK agency charged with investigating and prosecuting corruption, has backed up its threats of real action to enforce the Act with a series of prosecutions in 2010 under the existing legislation. Companies based in the US also should be aware that US regulatory agencies have been achieving results working alongside the UK authorities in order to bring criminal proceedings on both sides of the Atlantic, leading to the prosecution of companies and individual officers.

Bribery Offenses

The Act creates four new offenses. These are:

(1) Bribing, giving, promising or offering a bribe

(2) Being bribed, requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting a bribe

(3) Bribing a foreign public official

(4) Failing to prevent bribery where an associated person pays a bribe to obtain or retain a business advantage for a commercial organization.

Extra-Territorial Effect

The basic bribery offenses of bribing and receiving a bribe apply to acts or omissions that take place in the UK or outside it if one of the parties involved has a close connection with the UK (for example, if a party is a UK registered company or UK resident).

The Act also imposes strict liability on commercial organizations that fail to prevent payment of a bribe in connection with its business by those acting on their behalf (so called “associated persons”), where the bribery was intended to obtain or retain a business advantage for the company . “Associated person” includes people who perform services for, or on behalf of, the commercial organization regardless of their capacity. This covers employees, agents, subsidiaries and even joint venture partners.

The strict liability offense applies not only to bodies incorporated in the UK, but also covers foreign companies which conduct business there even if the offense occurs elsewhere. As a result, a US group with a UK subsidiary, could still incur UK liability for payments made by a sister company based in a third country to persons there. The offense applies to companies even if they only possess a minor presence in the UK. Furthermore, there is no requirement for the associated person to have any connection with the UK. Read more

Lawyer Whistleblower Ethics – A Difficult Duty

Bill Wernz, the former Executive Director of the Office of Lawyers’ Professional Responsibility, has written an article for Minnesota Lawyer (July 12, 2010, Vol. 14, No. 28) that focuses on ethical issues recently addressed in our blog. With approval from Minnesota Lawyer, Bill’s article is reprinted below.

Read more

How Companies Are Addressing Social Media Risk

How Companies Are Addressing Social Media Risk

By: Melissa Krasnow

Social media, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., is an evolving and growing means of communication. According to some reports, people have been spending more time using social media sites than e-mail since February 2009. See “A World of Connections,” The Economist, Jan. 28, 2010. For companies, social media presents both opportunities and risks. These risks include reputational, brand, legal, regulatory and security concerns. This article outlines some approaches that companies are taking to manage the risks, including: 1) reviewing existing company compliance policies and preparing social media policies as warranted; 2) restricting workplace access to social media; 3) utilizing social media monitoring tools; 4) taking into account actual social media business issues; and 5) reviewing insurance coverage.

Company Compliance Policies And Social Media Policies

According to a recent survey by Manpower, 29% of companies in the Americas and 20% of companies worldwide have a social media policy. See “Social Networks vs. Management? Harness the Power of Social Media, Manpower, January 2010. Companies that do not have social media policies likely are preparing them or at least considering them. While there are social media policies, other company compliance policies (e.g., codes of conduct, codes of ethics, confidentiality obligations, privacy policies, intellectual property policies, etc.) often cover aspects of social media use. The starting point is for a company to review existing policies, determine whether they cover aspects of social media and revise or update them as necessary or appropriate and prepare a social media policy as warranted. A new social media policy should be drafted to be consistent and integrated with other company compliance policies.

By way of example, a company record retention policy and legal hold could be implicated by social media use. Information on a company’s social networking site is considered to be electronically stored information. As soon as a company is reasonably aware of the possibility of litigation, audit or investigation, it must take steps to preserve all records that may be relevant to the matter, including electronically stored information. If information on the social networking site may be relevant, the company must take appropriate steps to preserve it. Accordingly, a company’s record retention policy and legal hold should be reviewed regarding social media and revised and updated if necessary or appropriate. Any new social media policy should be drafted to work together with the record retention policy and legal hold.

Social media policies typically are tailored to a particular company’s circumstances, including the many different ways that companies use social media. Many social media policies are not publicly available. Based on a review of the social media policies of Sun (which was acquired by Oracle in early 2010), Yahoo, IBM, Edelman, Cisco and Dell, following are some of the common elements of these policies:

• Identify yourself and make it clear when you are speaking on behalf of or about the company;

• Use common sense and judgment;

• Know that there is personally liability for content;

• Understand that disclaimers are advisable, but not a shield from liability;

• Realize that disclosed information should be accurate;

• Seek advice from the legal department or management when necessary (e.g., when unsure about posting or for permission to comment on work-related legal matters);

• Do not disclose confidential or financial information or material, non-public information about the company; and

• Follow established company guidelines, policies and codes.

Social media policies often involve different areas of a company (e.g., human resources, marketing, legal, communications, etc.). A number of different laws could potentially apply, including without limitation employment, intellectual property, privacy and securities law. In some cases, there may be additional regulation (e.g., Federal Trade Commission, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Food and Drug Administration, etc.). As a result, a multi-disciplinary business and legal team frequently is assembled to prepare a social media policy. As with other company compliance policies, a social media policy needs to be implemented and enforced consistently.

Restricting Workplace Access to Social Media

According to a survey by Robert Half, 54% of U.S. workplaces completely block access to socialnetworks, whereas 19% permit access solely for business purposes, 16% permit limited personal use and 10% permit any personal use of social networks. See “Whistle — But Don’t Tweet — While You Work,”Robert Half, October 2009. Social Media Monitoring Tools Social media monitoring tools encompass analytics software for tracking and analysis (e.g., traffic, keywords, trends, etc.), including Web software tools like Webtrends, Omniture and Google Analytics. In addition, there are URL shorteners, including Bit.ly and Ow.ly, which track information like clicks from different traffic sources. There also are tools that collect metrics on Twitter — Twittersearch, Twitrratr, Twinfluence and Tweetstats. Company employees could engage in monitoring on behalf of the company. Moreover, there are third-party paid monitoring options, which can be domestic or global in scope. These include Radian6 (owned by Webtrends), Sysomos and Buzzlogic. These tools track the activity of a brand in social media and provide insights about the tone of the dialogue (i.e., “sentiment analysis”).

Considering Actual Social Media Business Issues

Certain business issues are arising through the use of social media. Examples of these include animpostor establishing an impostor site, pretending to be another person (e.g., Twitter impostors in the case of celebrities and executives) and whether Facebook’s terms of use can be modified. Once aware of these issues, a company can work to devise protections and solutions (e.g., how to deter impostor sites and how to shut them down).

Reviewing Insurance Coverage

A company should review the particular terms of its existing insurance coverage and determine whether any social media use or aspects are covered.

Conclusion

Addressing the risks of social media should not necessarily outweigh realizing the opportunities. Companies also must recognize and encourage the opportunities offered by social media for communication, relationship-building and reputation and brand enhancement, among other things.

[Reprinted with permission from the April 2010 edition of the Law Journal Newsletters. © 2010 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.]

Everything You Wanted to Know About Leadership . . . and Should Have Asked Your Kids

The article was written by Brian McDermott, who is the self-described, Chief Storyteller, at his consulting firm,GrowthWorks Inc., where he specializes in helping leaders facilitate change, innovation and improvement.  Brian is the co-author of Leading Innovation: Creating Workplaces Where People Excel So Organizations Thrive, and Time Out for Leaders: Daily Inspiration for Maximum Impact.  Brian currently is working on a new book which mirrors the title of this article, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Leadership . . .  and Should Have Asked Your Kids.

Brian Blogs at http://growthworksinc.typepad.com/growthworks_inc/.  He would love to hear your kid-inspired lessons about life and leadership: bmcdermott@growthworksinc.com.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Leadership . . . and Should Have Asked Your Kids

I have a theory that if I listen well enough, everything I need to know about business and leadership I can learn from kids.

I’ve been paying attention for a long time – first for 20-plus years as a journalist, and for the last decade as a facilitator and consultant. I work with bosses who want to lead teams that aren’t stuck doing the same old things the same old ways. The lessons keep coming fast and kid-curious about what it really takes to treat employees – people – as any organization’s most important resource. Here are four youth-inspired insights I find essential:

#1 Let ’em Do Something that Matters . . .

Shortly after starting high school, my daughter, Callie, gave me a no-holds-barred review of one of her classes. It wasn’t pretty. She came down heavy on the teacher, delivering this assessment with all the drama you’d imagine from an exasperated 15 year old: “All he does is talk. He never lets us do anything.” Keep in mind this was a course she wanted to take, a subject she seemed eager to master, a class she, as a freshman, initially felt lucky to get into. Her pain was complicated by disappointment. And her teacher – her leader – never really corrected his course.

Step into the workplace and start looking for comparables . . .

One small example: Business meetings. They don’t last a semester like high school courses, thank your lucky stars, but there’s plenty of evidence adults hate ’em and suffer the same kind of gloom Callie felt being lectured to instead of being engaged.

Research out of places like the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California and the University of Minnesota estimates executives spend 40 to 50 percent of their time in meetings. Other studies show business professionals say half their meeting time is unproductive, and that up to 25 percent of that time is maddeningly frittered away on irrelevancies.

That’s not good for business because, in theory, meetings are where a lot of work is supposed to get done, and where leaders have to be at their best.

Even worse news is that 65 percent of all workers in the U.S. are dissatisfied with their jobs, according to a 2010 survey by The Conference Board. That’s more than six of every 10 people you work with saying, “I’d rather be doing something else.” With some 140 million people in the American workforce, that’s a lot of squandered potential; unhappy workers are not particularly productive.

What’s the antidote?

Give the people you lead opportunities to do some important work. Stop talking. Start listening. Give people a chance to roll up their sleeves and make a contribution. In reporting the sobering Conference Board stats about the high levels of worker dissatisfaction, program director John Gibbons says, “Challenging and meaningful work is vitally important to engaging American workers.”

Most of the work I do now is for leaders who want help creating meetings, process, and projects that grown-ups won’t hate – working sessions that have purpose, engage people strategically and creatively in doing stuff that matters, and that produce measureable results. We’re usually pushing for new strategies, major changes, innovation and breakthroughs, increased efficiencies, and improvement.

I have a strong desire to stay in business, and an ego too fragile for the sights and sounds of rolling eyes and sighs and heads thumping onto tabletops in response to what I do. So, I’m diligent about focusing on what everybody else is bringing to the conversation. One of the most important things I’ve learned in my work as a journalist and as a facilitator and consultant is that other people know a lot. And one of the most effective ways for me to lead them to new ideas and solutions is to tap into the wisdom they bring to the room. To connect knowledge, creativity and human spirit.

At GrowthWorks, we developed a model we call LOOP Leadership (Linkage, Obstacles, Opportunities,Plans). We use it for everything from designing non-boring hyper-productive meetings to doing individual executive coaching. LOOP helps create engagement in meetings and in jobs because it forces focus on pressing real-world business issues and because it actively involves people in learning about and dealing with those issues:

Linkage. A vital early step in “letting ’em do something” is to create clarity and ownership for the players. Whether you’re planning a meeting agenda or assigning a yearlong project, draw a connection to a specific business issue. Then help people answer a few key questions: What is the ultimate goal? What is my role in contributing to that goal? Why is this important – to me, to our team and to the company?

Obstacles. Sometimes the most important thing you can do with any project is identify what’s blocking your goals. As a leader, set the tone. Acknowledge there are barriers, and examine the risks in not overcoming them and of not challenging the status quo. That’s not easy, of course, because we’re talking about creating an environment where there’s openness, safety and authentic dialogue about longstanding practices based on obsolete beliefs, procedures, policies and habits that may no longer serve a useful purpose but are protected nonetheless. We call them Sacred Dinosaurs. Digging up those old bones requires laying aside egos and the need to be right. Involving people in this kind of work, however, is a potent elixir for engagement and productivity.

Opportunities. Once people understand the challenge and the barriers, turn them loose on generating ideas for improving, changing and innovating current successes and creating new possibilities for growth and success. An important element of identifying opportunities is to challenge the mindset there is only one right way to do things. What works today might not work tomorrow, so it’s important to keep asking questions, knowing that solutions always will be moving targets. Gertrude Stein, the American author who gained notoriety influencing the artistry of Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso, once laid out the challenge this way: “There is no answer. There never was an answer. There never will be an answer. That’s the answer.”

Plans. The final step to letting ’em do something effectively is to clarify priorities and to make plans and personal commitments for what must be done to achieve the desired business results. Determine who will do what, by when to move toward the goal. Engaging people by asking for commitment, accountability, and reinforcement are critical to achieving sustainable results.

The objective in engaging people – using LOOP or any other approach – is to create a process and an environment that encourages people to think differently, build on each other’s ideas and develop high levels of communication, commitment and collaboration.

Think about a classroom full of teenagers. Energy and intelligence abound, as in every work team. When we bring people together, the challenge is to tap them, not turn them off.

#2 Put Your Pants on First . . .

When my son, Sean, was 3 years old, he asked me a question that 18 years later still rattles around my head almost every day, and reminds me of how important it is to keep questioning the status quo.

He used to toddle down from his bedroom in the morning is his fuzzy footy pajamas to keep me company while I got ready for the day. When I slid aside the shower curtain he’d be sitting on the closed lid of the toilet reaching up to hand me my towel. Sometimes I wouldn’t have heard him arrive. While I worked my razor he played with handfuls of shaving cream. And then while I dressed he would stand nearby the closet, watching… watching as only one with unencumbered curiosity would watch.

That morning he watched me pull a pair of pants off a hanger, step into them, latch the waist clasp, then pull down a shirt, put it on, unbutton my pants, tuck in my shirt, and re-button my pants.

He looked at me, his head tilted a bit, smiling, and asked, “Why don’t you put your shirt on first?”

Almost every morning when I dress I relive that moment and hear that question. First, I smile. Then I remind myself: Beware of doing things the way they have always been done merely because that’s the way they have always been done. There are always other ways. Maybe better ways. And if you always do what you’ve always done you always get what you’ve always got. Even a child can see that.

#3 Don’t Be Afraid of Fish Heads . . .

This lesson came in a handmade card daughter Callie sent from her Peace Corps job location in Tzactza, Peru last year for Father’s Day (celebrated annually the third Sunday in June in the US).

DISCLAIMER: If you want to score big points with a parent, send a note like the one I’m about to share with you. I’m flattered and touched to have my daughter giving me this much credit for my parenting (and I had only an instant of suspicion that she may be about to ask me for something big). I know it may seem like I’m nominating myself for some good daddy award, but I really am putting this out here because of the leadership wisdom I’m hearing in her words.

THE BACK STORY: You need a bit of background to understand the “inside” story on the fish heads that show up in the first paragraph. When Callie was 15 we took a family trip to Spain. When we ordered our first meal at a restaurant in the Plaza Mayor, near where I lived when I was a college student studying abroad, I warned that the fresh-caught trout would come with head and tail attached. Everyone thought I was joking; they had never seen that in their American-cuisine upbringing. But I wasn’t. After the initial shock it was not that big a deal. Trout is a delicate creature. Everyone ate with no major problems. But a week later at a restaurant in Nerja, along the Costa del Sol, Callie ordered another variety of fish that had a much bigger, more intimidating head. She got a bite or two in, but couldn’t go on. I was eating a delicious…wonderfully blackened swordfish steak I was planning to savor sloooowly…bite… by… bite. I was a bite or two in when I realized to make life right at that moment it would be Callie eating my swordfish. And, to enjoy the punch line that comes with her advice, you need to know there is an animal many kids keep as pets in the U.S. that are a delicacy in the Peruvian diet, and we had plans to be sharing meals on a visit with Callie shortly after her card arrived.

NOTE: The outside of this card was a head-and-shoulders photo of Callie holding a camp-fire-grilled fish in two hands, with head and tail attached, and looking as if she might swallow it whole.

The lesson in Callie’s words:

“Well, you must have done something right. It may have taken a while, but in the end you raised a daughter who isn’t afraid of fish heads. Proud? Happy Father’s Day.

“Actually I really can use fish heads to embody many of the important life lessons you have given me – to try new things even when they’re scary; to be able to laugh instead of getting angry; to look for a solution instead of despairing over a situation (Trade plates?). But most importantly, you were always there to help me out when I was struggling with these lessons (Yep, let’s trade plates.). And now I’m all grown up and munching on fried trout head. You done good, Pops. Now I get to teach you to eat roasted guinea pig! I can’t wait.”

#4 Jerks and Idiots Are Out There – If That’s What You’re Looking for. . .

Through the Eyes of a Child . . .

A mother was driving in afternoon rush-hour traffic, having just picked up her 7-year-old daughter from school. While Mom drove, the little girl worked quietly, drawing pictures in a notebook on her lap.

After a few minutes, the little girl raised her eyes, looking a little confused at her mother and asked quizzically, “Mom, where are all the jerks and idiots today?”

Mom said, “Oh honey, they’re only out when your father is driving.”

. . . the World is a Different Place.

I’m not the kind of guy who recites affirmations in the mirror to start my mornings. But anybody who’s been involved in a project I facilitated can tell you, I am a big advocate for making the choice to go through life not seeing the other drivers as jerks and idiots. I’ve seen the difference it can make in a life or a business when someone – especially a leader – chooses to approach most days with hope and optimism.

I’m so glad there are kids around to remind us about all these good ideas.