Supermarket bans sweets at the checkout

supermarket sweets

The Guardian has reported that Lidl has banned sweets and chocolate bars from the checkout at all 600 of its UK stores after surveying parents about the “pester power” of their children:

The discount supermarket said racks of sweets had been replaced with dried and fresh fruit, oatcakes and juices, following a trial of these healthier options at checkouts last year.

Lidl customer research showed that seven out of 10 customers would choose a sweet-free checkout over the traditional one laden with chocolate bars. In a survey for the supermarket, 68% of parents said they were pestered by their children for chocolate at the checkout, and 66% gave in some or all of the time.

One in six parents told the supermarket they spend £20-40 a month on supermarket snacks, while a similar number said they had used the offer of a “treat” as a reward for good behaviour during the shopping trip.

The supermarket claims it is the first UK supermarket to have removed sweets from all its checkouts. Although Tesco and Sainsbury’s have removed sweets from counters at their larger outlets, they continue to be sold at the checkouts in convenience stores.

Ronny Gottschlich, managing director, Lidl UK, said: “We know how difficult it can be to say no to pester power, so by removing sweets and chocolates from our tills we can make it easier for parents to reward children in healthier ways.”

The ban comes after a National Obesity Forum report showed that previous estimates that half the UK population will be obese by 2050 had understated the problem.

Katharine Jenner at Action on Sugar said campaigners were pleased with Lidl’s decision. “It is an acknowledgement from the retailers that these products are not healthy,” she said, but added: “It is one thing to put people off buying, it is another to make products healthier.”

H&M Will Raise Prices So that International Workers Can Be Paid a Living Wage

The company logo is placed at the flagship store of H&M, Hennes & Mauritz, HMb.ST, the world's second-biggest fashion retailer is seen in Stockholm

Clothing giant H&M says it wants to set an example among retailers by committing to assuring that international garment and textile workers receive a living wage.  H&M is pledging to pay a living wage to 850,000 textile workers after expressing frustration over a lack of action by governments to address working conditions in Asian factories in the wake of the Rana Plaza disaster.

The world’s second-biggest clothing retailer said it would support factory owners at two factories in Bangladesh and one in Cambodia to adopt a fair living wage next year. The Swedish company, which has more than 200 stores in the UK, will then expand the programme to cover the 750 factories that supply its clothes by 2018.

H&M said:

“We believe that the wage development in production countries, which is often driven by governments, is taking too long. H&M wants to take further action and encourage the whole industry to follow.”

Working conditions for textile workers in developing countries have risen up the international agenda following the Rana Plaza disaster this year when 1,129 were killed by the collapse of a garment factory in Dhaka in Bangladesh. H&M did not have clothes made at the site and was the first company to sign a safety agreement for Bangladeshi factories after the disaster.

H&M said that because conditions varied between countries and factories, it would support textile workers in negotiating a living wage – a salary that enables a decent standard of living – instead of imposing a figure.  The company said it would use the Fair Wage Method, an established process for achieving a living wage. After identifying workers’ basic needs, a wage is agreed and is then reviewed regularly with better dialogue between workers and employers.


LG Scares Job Applicants Into Thinking the World Is Ending

It’s nerve-racking enough to go into a job interview, but LG gave applicants a real reason to worry.

In a video released on YouTube, LG swaps out a window in an office with one of its televisions showing the city in the background. Job applicants then come into the room to interview for a position only to see the city go up in flames. LG captures their reactions as they freak out and then learn it’s a prank:

[youtube id=”ynvKWYvyCqw” width=”580″ height=”337″]

The video, which was posted to the YouTube page for LG Chile, is the latest in a series of pranks from the brand and has already been viewed more than 10 million times. As with the previous videos, viewers will likely have doubts about whether the “applicants” in this video are real or paid actors.

LG has found viral success with this series. The first video, which you can watch below, allegedly tricked people into thinking the floor of the elevator had fallen out. That video has been viewed nearly 20 million times since it was published last year. A followup video set in a men’s bathroom has been viewed more than 5 million times since April.

[youtube id=”NeXMxuNNlE8″ width=”580″ height=”337″]

Nicholas Bate on 14 routes to more business

I loved Nicholas Bate’s post on 14 Routes To More Business:

  1. Follow-up everything.
  2. Never lose touch with anybody.
  3. Treat every customer individually.
  4. Get the small stuff right from minute 1.
  5. Be a person they want to talk to.
  6. Make more calls.
  7. Send more proposals.
  8. Ask more customers for leads.
  9. Brainstorm at every team meeting: what’s working and how can we do more of it?
  10. Anticipate the market; predict the client.
  11. Make things easy for current customers
  12. Make money and invest it in (1) skill development and (2) product innovation
  13. Practise thinking differently.
  14. Never, ever, ever allow yourself to doubt that you can get a bigger slice of a shrinking pie.

10 Signs of a Healthy Team

Teamwork - crossword - Healthy Teams

I loved this post over on The Resurgence blog adapted from Perry Noble’s blog on some great signs of a healthy team – something I want to come back to time and again:

1. You actually enjoy being around one another instead of trying to find ways to avoid each other.

2. Truth is spoken in love and not in a condescending or condemning way.

3. There is an atmosphere of freedom where differences of opinion can be shared without the immediate perception that the person who is disagreeing is somehow disloyal. (BTW, if you are in a meeting and you disagree mentally then you have an obligation to disagree verbally! If you do not feel that freedom then there is a problem!)

4. People are willing to walk into the room and ask for help rather than put off the perception that they have it all together.

5. No one is trying to prove themselves.

6. Everyone in the room values the opinions of everyone in the room.

7. There can be disagreements without the fear of relationships being destroyed.

8. The entire group is focused on attacking the problems in the room and not the people in the room!

9. People embrace responsibility rather than cast blame.

10. People work through tension honestly rather than saying nothing is wrong and then walking out of the meeting and tearing apart those with whom they disagreed.

Books I have read: Childhood Under Siege

Childhood under siege

As a children’s and youth worker I am fascinated by how culture, media and business shapes our children, and so it was with interest that I read Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Ruthlessly Targets Children by Joel Bakan.

In many ways I felt like Bakan wrote in a similar way to Michael Moore, arguing that big business and governments that look the other way had created a society that instead of encouraging, developing and supporting children and young people actually feasts upon them.  Using Nelson Mandela’s comment that:

‘There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.’

Bakan shows that we fail to protect our children, even though we profess to hold them close through things like in 1989, governments worldwide promising all children the same rights by adopting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The book explores education, pharmaceutical business, ecology, child labour and more in the USA showing that across industries business is targeting children putting profit first.

The book at times can be scary and feel overly dramatic, but I think it is a helpful cynical look at how business and children work together.

Seth Godin: Design like Apple, but name like P&G

I loved Seth Godin’s blog post on Design like Apple, but name like P&G, really simple, but absolutely critical:

Apple’s naming approach is inconsistent, it begs for lawsuits (offensive and defensive) and it shouldn’t be the model for your organization. iPhone is a phone, iPad is a pad, iPod is a … (and owning a letter of the alphabet is i-mpossible).

Procter and Gamble, on the other hand, has been doing it beautifully for a hundred years. Crisco, Tide, Pringles, Bounty, Duracell–these are fanciful names that turn the generic product (and the story we believe about it) into something distinct.

If you can invent an entire category, fabulous, that’s an achievement. For the rest of us, resist the temptation to be boring or to be too aggressive. It’s your name and you need to live with it.

Richard Branson first to hit 1 million followers on LinkedIn


The founder and chairman of Virgin became the first person to pass 1 million followers on the social network in the less than two months since LinkedIn launched its influencers program.

LinkedIn launched the influencers network in early October in an effort to continue boosting engagement on the site.   Branson has been among the most popular influencers on the social network pretty much from the start, so it’s little surprise that he would be the first to pass the million threshold. What’s striking is just how far ahead he is of the rest of the influencers. He has twice the number of followers of President Obama, who is the second most followed person on the social network.

“Our data shows that he’s popular with everyone from entrepreneurs to HR workers and in industries ranging from tech to construction,” LinkedIn’s executive editor Daniel Roth wrote in a blog post on Friday. “The only continent where he doesn’t have a single follower is Antarctica.”

Branson’s growing following also shows off the potential for LinkedIn as a platform. However, it’s worth noting that Branson currently has more than 2.6 million Twitter followers, so his reach on LinkedIn is still significantly smaller.

Top Tips: Start on Time

I loved Nicholas Bates’ post on Presentation Tips : Start on Time, quite obvious, but easy to forget:

Start on time to reward those who turn up on time, to be able to manage your schedule and because it might be impossible to wait for everybody. But how do you cope with the problem of latecomers missing part of your message? Offer 100% value from the start but ensure that it is not integral to your argument until say 5/10 minutes in. Then ‘on-timers’ are rewarded with extra ideas. You get into the flow. And late-comers have enough to pick up the story. Start on time.

TED Talk: The puzzle of motivation

This great TED talk by career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories – and maybe, a way forward:


Stop Being a People-Pleaser

I thought Stop Being a People-Pleaser by Elizabeth Grace Saunders over at the Harvard Business Review was a fascinating read:

If you’ve always felt a compulsion to meet everyone else’s needs before your own, it’s hard to imagine being different. People-pleasing is not only what you do, but a strong part of who you believe you are. If this sounds like you, before you can move forward in your time management habits, you need to realize you don’t have to be so vulnerable to these attacks on your schedule. You can maintain appropriate boundaries.

In some jobs, immediate responsiveness comes with the territory (just think of fire fighters). In others a quick reply is preferable, such as with customer service reps or publicists. But in many other work situations, this cycle of responsiveness leads to neglect of the most important activities. Either they don’t happen at all, or you end up filling your nights and weekends doing your “real” work with the last fumes of energy you can summon.

I’m intimately aware of this struggle because as the owner of a time coaching and training company, I’ve worked with clients on six different continents who come to me feeling like victims of their circumstances. This leads them to resist doing the activities that could let them have a more sane work life, such as blocking out time for key activities, because “someone will just mess up my schedule anyway.”

Wanting to make people happy is not an intrinsically negative quality. You are not a bad or flawed or inadequate person if serving others and receiving affirmation just fills you with joy. (I know because I’m one of those people!) It’s just that if you feel compelled to always help people—even at the expense of other higher priorities—you need to condition yourself to be less sensitive to other people’s needs and more aware of your own so you can stay in balance.

Speaking of balance, if you’re never helpful, always insistent on having your way, never wanting to go the extra mile, this article doesn’t apply to you either. It’s good to work as a team, to help others, and to give as much or more than you take. What I outline below applies to those who work themselves like crazy and are feeling exhausted, resentful, and frustrated because they’re not making headway on their own goals.

If you’re ready to start investing your time, instead of letting other people spend it for you, I’ve outlined three common scenarios that can trigger your people-pleaser tendencies and how you can think and act differently:

The Unrealistic Standards Scenario

Many [workers] feel guilty about the fact that they’re in so many meetings so they develop the mindset that “I’m a bad [employee] if I don’t always keep my door open when I’m in my office.” But this can lead to every spare minute between appointments being filled by people walking through their door eager for attention. In turn, all of their own work needs to happen in the evenings and weekends, which then leads to a cycle of guilt about being a bad spouse, parent, or friend.

If this sounds like you, the escape route is to change your standards for what it means to be a good [employee]. This then frees you to set better boundaries and get more work done at work. For instance your mindset could be: “Part of being a good [employee] is demonstrating the importance of focusing on high priority work. I can keep my door closed during certain times of the week when I need to get things done without guilt.”

In instances like this, you’ve set up strict rules about what someone in a role should or shouldn’t do; but in fact, these rules are negotiable. By changing your standards for what it means to be a good friend, significant other, employee, or committee member, you can keep better boundaries without feeling guilty.

You don’t always need to explain why you’re setting those boundaries, either. You can simply say, “I have to go,” or “I’m so sorry but I can’t come help you at this moment, please send me an e-mail with your request.”

The “Yes!” Man or Woman Scenario

If you’re an energetic, service-oriented person, your tendency is to always respond to any request by saying, “Sure, I can do that.” Or when you’re sitting in a meeting and someone asks for volunteers to help, you always raise your hand. Or even when no one asks for help—but you know they need it—you offer to assist. In and of itself, a strong desire to take action isn’t bad. But if this attitude means that you’re completely overloaded with work and unfocused on your top priorities, you are failing to keep the commitments that truly should fall under your ownership.

A way you can retrain yourself to not take on too much is to ask the question: “Do I actually have excess time to spend on this activity?” If yes, then it’s fine to take it on. If not— and you’re not prepared to let go of something that currently occupies your time—you need to refrain from offering your services.

In many instances, there are other people who can step up. If you can’t resist the urge to jump in, disconnect yourself when you’re off hours so that you’re not even aware of every crisis.

Even if it seems like a can’t-miss opportunity, remember that there will always be other chances. There will always be more events, more conferences, more articles, even more crises to solve—more of everything. If you don’t make time for what’s an enduring priority for you, such as sleep, rest, or time with important people, you’ll miss out on what truly matters.

The “I’ll Just Do It Myself” Scenario

In my experience, highly intelligent, hardworking people tend to struggle with letting go of control through delegation. This challenge seems most acute when they go from a “doing” role such as a consultant to a “leading” role such as a department head. Instead of passing off responsibilities to the appropriate parties, you tell yourself, “It will just take a minute. I can get this done better and faster than anyone else.” These thoughts do have some truth to them in that you may have the ability to execute on some activities very well. But if you’re like most business leaders, you don’t have the minutes to spare. In a typical week, you’ll have just a few precious work hours you can devote to doing the activities that only you can do. The first question you should ask with any item—big or small—is: “Could someone else do this for me?” If so, delegate it.

The more organized you get, the better you’ll be able to delegate without “inconveniencing” others. But it’s also OK to ask others to pitch in even when it’s not ideal—so that you don’t end up buckling under the pressure. If you spend all your work time on activities like fixing computer problems, instead of e-mailing IT, setting up meetings, instead of handing that off to your assistant, and researching and putting together presentations, instead of delegating them to the subject matter experts, you will miss out on leveraging the power of the unique, strategic leadership you can offer to your organization.

Stop Being a People-Pleaser | Harvard Business Review