Leadership

Lunchtime Links: The Best Decision Isn’t Always Easy

A toy company's legal battle with a legendary rap group ends, and its mea culpa offers a good lesson in humility. Also: Why innovation and pain go hand in hand.

A toy company’s legal battle with a legendary rap group ends, and its mea culpa offers a good lesson in humility. Also: why innovation and pain go hand in hand.

You may have the law on your side, but sometimes the additional costs that come with a legal battle may be too much to lift.

A lesson on when to back down, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links:

When it’s time to fold: As we pointed out last week in Lunchtime Links, the toy company GoldieBlox had a bit of a headache on its hands when a viral video it created, featuring a riff on the Beastie Boys song “Girls,” came under legal pressure—the company had failed to secure licensing rights for the song. The company proactively sued, claiming fair use, but just before Thanksgiving it announced that it was backing down, choosing to take down the music video and replacing it with a version without the musical parody (shown above). In explaining its reasoning in a blog post, the company noted that it was unaware of late Beastie Boy Adam Yauch’s wish that his music not be used in advertising and said it preferred to focus on what it’s best at. “We don’t want to spend our time fighting legal battles,” the company stated. “We want to inspire the next generation. We want to be good role models. And we want to be your friends.” The company, which has a potential Super Bowl ad spot hanging in the balance, probably didn’t come to this decision easily, but in the end, the move may prove more appealing to its audience than a lawsuit might have been.

It’s better to leave a volunteer position vacant than it is to place it in the hands of somebody who does not take direction from the organization.

Innovation = Pain: Think you’re doing innovative things? National Fluid Power Association CEO Eric Lanke has a message for you: You’re not as groundbreaking as you think you are. Citing a Harvard Business Review post discussing the pain of innovation, Lanke challenges association leaders to take a hard look at themselves. “If you’re not willing to do these things,” he asks, “if you’re not willing to experience the pain of innovation, then why exactly do you think that the people on your staff will be willing to do so? Because you tell them to? Because you write about them on your blog? That’s a little too much like the parent who tells his kids not to smoke while lighting up another cigarette. Like those kids, your staff won’t follow what you say; they will only follow what you do.” Consider it tough love for the innovation crowd.

Volunteering without supervision: Speaking of tough love, Association Executive Management’s David M. Patt discusses situations where volunteers may not be right for an organization’s needs—in particular, the volunteers who run blogs or newsletters under the association’s name but use them to express opinions inconsistent with the association’s messaging. Patt’s point? “The association should never abdicate its authority,” he says. “It’s better to leave a volunteer position vacant than it is to place it in the hands of somebody who does not take direction from the organization.”

What’s the toughest decision you’ve made lately? Tell us about it in the comments.

(iStock/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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