Posts Tagged ‘plagiarism’

Plagiarism Goes Beyond Intellectual Dishonesty

Yesterday a colleague, Mark Hunter, came across one of his articles being plagiarized by a fairly well connected LinkedIn member.  He notified a group of other sales coaches, sales consultants and colleagues about this plagiarism.  The group responded and not even 24 hours later, this particular article as well as all other articles under this person’s name were removed.

plagiarismI too have suffered from plagiarism.  A sales training company in Texas took one of my website pages one for word and copied it to their own website.  When I notified the CEO, he called and said he was unaware, apologized and the copy was removed. The CEO blamed the web designer. Over the years I have discovered other blog postings copied and have called out the authors.

Individuals who plagiarize the intellectual capitol of others demonstrate from more than dishonesty within their business ethics.  They also reveal they are lazy, lack creativity and are stupid to think eventually they will not be caught.

A recent study by the University of Missouri revealed the financial impact of dishonesty by CEOs. Unethical behavior does translate to the bottom line to a measurable 4.1% loss in shareholders’ value.

In today’s social selling world where content marketing has become a viable sales leads generating channel, being a plagiarist just does not make good business sense.  The reason is simple, in spite of how large the world is, it is still a small world.  People are connected to other people.  Software programs can find duplicate content with the stroke of a few keys.

One of the more simple ways to avoid even unintentional plagiarism is to Google the title for any content marketing in quotes.  This way the you can quickly determine if another person has written a similar article. Also this same tactic can be used to learn if your titles are being plagiarized by someone else.

In sales, people buy from people they know and trust.  Swiping the intellectual capital of others will not increase sales.

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Who Is Your Prometheus?

The movie Prometheus debuted this past weekend and earned $50 million during its opening weekend showing. For those who may have forgotten their Greek mythology, Prometheus was a Titan god who not only brought mankind into existence, but stole fire from the gods and gave it to man. His punishment by Zeus was to be tied to a stake and have his liver or heart eaten on a daily basis.


In business, many of us have experienced our own Prometheus from a negative perspective. Someone who may have stolen something of ours such as intellectual capital through plagiarism to creating something we could not envision. Then we as small business owners, entrepreneurs and even sales professionals must deal with the results from these actions.

How many times have we ever considered this individual  to be a protagonist who inspires us to move forward? This may be someone who has championed a cause that we believe is worthy or that may inspire us to think a little differently thus allowing us to become a better leader.

Conversely as noted above, Prometheus can be antagonist who works against us as we attempt to:

  • Increase sales
  • Build our brand
  • Develop customer loyalty
  • Showcase our expertise
  • Improve our business relationships

Now you may not have a Prometheus in your business life. Yet where would your business be without someone who fights the status quo and challenges you to be better than you believed possible?

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Why Business Ethics Are So Often Lessons Not Learned

A few weeks ago I wrote about plagiarism in this blog respective to one individual from the Chicagoland area. His excuse for this unethical behavior was blamed on one of his employees. My gut at that time told me he was as they say “lying through his eye teeth.” And yesterday, this person’s unethical behavior rose once again.

Maybe the lack of business ethics is a sign of the times. In this week’s business column at the Post-Tribune of Northwest IN, I wrote about how being crazy busy is no excuse for missing meetings. This behavior is also all about the lack of positive core values.

A survey on business ethics released early this year by the National Resource Center indicated unethical behavior was on the decline. This might be true, however within the Internet specific to ownership of intellectual property my sense is just the opposite is happening.

When we look at the logistics, how can anyone monitor all of their intellectual content on the world wide wide (WWB) with over 200 million sites?   I have over 1,600 articles on Evan Carmichael plus 100 blog postings at Sales Gravy.  Add all of this content with this blog that currently has 113 postings, making sure that no one plagiarizes my efforts is a herculean task.

This is why being united with other bloggers helps because there are more than two eyes traveling over cyberspace.  Lori Richardson shared her insight as to having a “community of colleagues” who are looking out for you so that you truly do not have to go it alone.

Using Google Alerts is another strategy especially if you are focused on several key words or phrases. Another option is to visit the site to check out who might be swiping or copying your intellectual property.

Yet, bottom line it is truly about what action will you take when confronted with unethical behavior.

  • Will you ignore?
  • Will you make a polite and professional request to remove the tainted blog?
  • Will you report the individual to the hosting site?
  • Will you post on other blogs?
  • Will you directly contact the unethical individual by phone or email?

By not taking action and in some cases secondary actions are you keeping the lesson from being truly learned by the offending party?  Since as individuals we can only control our own actions, then it is those actions that we must examine.

With respect to this unethical person, I did write about it in an early blog and then yesterday I sent him a personal email from his website.  This was an online email page so I was informed I would hear back from him in 24 hours.  (I will amend this post if and when I do hear from the individual).

Sometimes those who are ethical fail to take the necessary time to reflect when faced with these situations. This is the lesson not learned for them. Maybe it is all this political correctness and the desire not to be “judgmental.” However, until unethical behavior is actually confronted then those who engaged in bad behaviors will continue to do so.

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