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Showing posts from May, 2016

Consumer Spending Increases 1% Showing Cosumer Confidence

Approximately 2/3rds of the economy is based on consumer spending so a 1% increase last month, as reported by the Commerce Department, shows improving consumer confidence. Consumer confidence doesn't rest on purchasing power alone but how consumers feel about the economy and their prospects for the future. When consumers are confident they can maintain employment and their incomes they are more willing to purchase items then if they are fearful. Optimism and fear seem to be the two main components here. When people are confident they want to spend and enjoy life but when they are fearful they want to hang onto their money. The increased spending is a risk of current reward versus future risk. People typically scan their options and prospects about the future based on the subjective impressions, news, friends opinions, and jobs to determine whether or not a purchase is possible. In many cases it is as much a "hunch" and "feeling" as anything else. A large

The Strategy Creation Process

The strategy creation process takes time and a well thought out approach to the market. Internal resources must be understood and considerable market analysis created before it is possible to truly match the two. As one moves down the process of strategy creation they will inevitably come across new challenges. Step 1: The need for change occurs due to market adjustments that leave the company less competitive than before. This pressure forces the company to rethink its strategy. Step 2: Defining the problem and its impact on the business can be difficult. Companies have often made the problem of misinterpreting the underlining cause of change and therefore won't be able to master a solution. Step 3: Determine the possible short and long-term solutions to those problems. This may take time, research and analysis to even have a solution. - Review the success and failures of other companies. - Understand the market and its demands. - Review the regulatory environment -

Getting in Touch with Performance by Getting in Touch with Self

Performance is seen as the primary marker of a person's success. Depending on whether a person is focused on short or long-term goals the way in which they approach the work environment will change. Intrinsically motivated people will focus on the personal value of their work while extrinsically motivated will seek the recognition from others to maintain momentum. Getting in touch with yourself will determine how you approach your work. People who are task oriented focus on immediate gains that can be helpful for getting the work done. Sometimes they miss the big picture and fail to see why those tasks are important. They can continue on with the same tasks without questioning whether or not their work is ending in fruitful results. Others are more long-term and question every task and its importance. If the task doesn't have real additive value or doesn't seem to be the best use of their time they will lose motivation quickly. They question the work they are doing an

Monuments of a Commercial Past

Lighthouses are a monument of the past that represent a time when shipping was the main mode of transportation and method of moving products. The Great Lakes were an integral part of the country economy and movement of natural resources. The houses and families that once lived there are gone but the blinking lights that indicate land are still there. People visit these monuments because they find them to be peaceful reminders of our past. They were part of what made our country great. As people visit these historical places they read about some of the families that lived there and what it all meant. In Delta County Michigan there is a long maritime history of ore boats, logging, shipping, and natural resources. The water was one way in which people spent a great amount of time cultivating to ensure their survival in a harsh environment. The water and its gifts are still very much part of local life even though modern amenities have made their way into the area.

Succeeding in Small Business by Offering Something Unique

Small businesses don't often have the capital, manpower or resources to make their businesses competitive with larger chains. They suffer from a lack of having most things. Businesses that try and be all to everyone often fail as larger chains use their deep pockets to create exceptional facilities and economies of scale. Small business compete best when they create a niche and focus on a few service enhancements. Large chains will always cater to the middle of the market in hopes of earning the most amount of money. This leaves everything outside of the bell curve for prime pickings for small business. For example, a large chain may focus on families with children that want pools while a smaller hotel might focus on providing exceptional comfort for retires. This creates a fundamental shift in how the business thinks. All the marketing, design, decor, and associated services would be geared toward this niche demographic. Instead of marketing in the general paper they would f

Modern Airport Travel

The modern airport offers conveniences beyond what our parents could have imagined. Recent generations have become increasingly familiar with airports as a method of traveling. They expect more and get more in terms of amenities and options. From free Wi-Fi to piano lounges seem to be only some of what they expect. Partly a mall, a strip of restaurants and a transportation hub the airport offers a complete flying experience. Generation X also expects these things. They don't want to travel and be inconvenienced by poor design. Localities are investing more money to make these things happen. Airports are now little cities. Security checkpoints are becoming more customer friendly and airlines are trying hard to accommodate customers. Incidents do happen and there are service failures but this is becoming more rare.  Improvement in the overall speed and customer friendly processes are improving. Service skills will still be important. You can have all the fast checkout lines and

Why do People Skew Information?

I often wondered why people can see the same thing and come out with different conclusions. While thinking about this for some time and my knowledge of business, society and psychology I believe there is a fundamental reasons why information gets changed in a persons mind. People see what they are interested in and socialized to accept. Consider two people in a conversation about a particular topic. Both hear something different and see the event differently. It is possible that the information they saw, retained and recalled is based on their memory and interest. If we are interested in a particular topic of information then we will remember that which either confirms our interest or that which helps us. People skew information either inadvertently or intentionally. Through the natural course of paying attention to some information and ignoring others they may be inadvertently skewing the information. However, some skew information in order to obtain a benefit that wasn't nece

Metrics and Personality Create Organizational Culture

Organizations are not built by official policies but by the implicit knowledge that is transferred by how people are promoted and the personalities of key stakeholders. The total information come from the environment will determine how the employee interprets what it takes to get ahead and the appropriate activities are. When most employees have the same impression you have corporate culture. Corporate culture is the unwritten rules and expectations of the workplace that move beyond the formal written expectations. Many companies fail because changes in the formal structure are not accepted in the corporate culture and the organization begins to not adapt to its environment. Changing corporate strategy means changing how people are paid and the personalities that influence the outcomes. It is hard for companies to figure these problems out because 1 + 1 doesn't equal 2. It takes considerable experience and knowledge to understand how these subtle influences work. Yet they may a

Is your Pefectionist Boss Hiding a Problem?

Most businesses encourage high quality work that is accurate and creates an impact. If you are feeling the pressure from your boss to perform more, get more done, and do it perfectly there may be a problem your boss is hiding. This becomes even more apparent when the boss resorts to constant criticism of work without regard to its actual merits. The next time your boss is on a perfectionist, demanding, and criticism streak think about their psycho-social development.  Good quality work should always be expected but there comes a point where perfectionism is maladaptive. In these cases the expectations become unrealistic and the demands start to damage the continuity and functionality of the workplace.  People who work with the manager become frustrated, their self-esteem gets damaged, and turn over rates start to climb.  Personality gets projected all over the workplace and results suffer without the awareness of the manager. Overly demanding and perfectionist people often hol

36th International Business Research Conference

DATES: 14 – 16 July 2016 VENUE: Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada Submission Deadline: 6 June 2016 and Registration Deadline: 27 June 2016 Website: and email: Full-length papers, research-in-progress papers, case studies and /or abstracts, relating to all broad areas of Accounting, Banking, Finance, Economics, Investment, Management, Marketing, Business Ethics, E-Commerce and all other areas of Business Studies are invited for the above international conference. An author can present up to two papers. This conference is supported by 5 internationally peer reviewed journals, World Business Institute, Australia and American Research and Publications International, USA. Submission Guidelines, Review Process and Announcement of Acceptance: Please send full papers and/or abstracts directly via by 6 June 2016 (please note you can submit papers any time before this deadline). At the time of submission

Economy and Jobs Important Concerns for Californians

Americans are concerned about their jobs. According to a USC Schwarzenegger Institute/Field Poll printed in an MSNBC article, 73 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of Republicans feel that the economy and jobs are the most important concern for the looming elections. Education and Social Security take a backseat to the need to keep Americans employed. Rightly so. There are changes in the wind that many people will become distinctly aware of in the next decade. Information and money transfers across the globe in a quickening pace and this is going to disrupt the global economy while pushing local economies to adapt or collapse. New economic models will need to be developed to predict and foster change. Consider how much has changed in the past 30 years and how much faster in the next 30 years. China is on the rise and the Millennials will be in charge of the national economy but also influencing international commerce. Economic integration and innovation is likely to speed up mak

Knowing When to and when Not to Talk to a Coworker

Coworkers are like family as we spend most of our day, every week, sitting next to and communicating on some level with our coworkers. Most coworkers are excellent and easy to get along with. However, there are some who are not so easy to get along with and the more you talk with them the worse it will get. Those trouble workers should be politely dismissed and ignored for greater workplace health. Most people are contributors through their positive personalities and mature disposition. They can hold a reasonable conversation and seek to treat people appropriately. They can create the most enjoyable workplace as reasonably possible and want positive relationships with others. When you are surrounded with positive people the workplace will be enjoyable. You will be more motivated to come and engage in meaningful work. The workplace is only partly about the work and more so about how you feel and interact with others at work. Toxic people poison everyone around them and should be a

Does Yoga Improve Book Smarts and Academic Performance?

Yoga may have additional benefits that move beyond general health and into improved educational outcomes. According to new research in the journal Evidence-based Complementary & Alternative Medicine Yoga may improve cognitive function and mood of students. If your hitting the books hard you might want to engage in some yoga activities to improve performance.  An analysis of nine studies found an effect size  for mood indicators, tension and anxiety, self-esteem, and memory. This doesn't mean it improved functioning in all cases but that there is some indication that students performance will increase based on their yoga practice. The results didn't make any determination on the type of yoga that was most helpful.  Even though the study was geared toward children the benefits are likely to be applied to adults as well. Particularly, adult students suffer from anxiety, poor cognition, mood changes, and other ailments that impact their performance. The more balanced t

Gig Economy Wont Pay Much in Taxes Unless System Reform

In addition to companies moving overseas, lost investment and general frustration with the tax system itself it can now add lost future tax revenue. According to a study conducted by Bloomberg most of the $2.5 million people earning money from shared services such as Lyft, Airbnb and other services don't pay taxes. They fall under a $20K threshold that don't require companies to report their income at all. Without tax reform this trend is likely to grow. The government suspects that $194 billion is under-reported every year. As the gig economy grows so will the opportunities to not report the income. People will earn their income from multiple places and these will fall under the reporting threshold. Under-reported income will likely increase as a direct percentage of labor market transitions. Antiquated systems leave room for mistakes. Financial information can be reported easily ensuring that revenue is adequately represented. It makes no difference if it is 5K or 25K as

Researching Companies Before the Job Interview

Job interviews offer you an opportunity to show your skills to a potential employer. They are looking for certain key indicators of your potential. These include job knowledge, communication skills, personality and overall intelligence. Job experience has already been assessed and this is part of what got you to the interview. It your chance to show your character and capacity. Researching the company helps you to better answer questions the hiring manager is likely to ask.  They want to know what you can do for them so ensuring that you frame all your answers in this way is helpful. It can be difficult to give strong answers if you don't understand the business you are applying for. Managers are also looking for people who can communicate and elaborate on their skills. Having a strong knowledge of the business and position you are applying for can make a big difference in your communication confidence. Those who research the company also show that they take the job intervi

Greater Hiring in Higher Education-Administration Positions Show Big Business

Higher Education is on a hiring track seeking high quality candidates to fulfill their needs. According to an analysis conducted in the HigherEDJobs a .7% hiring increase was realized in the Q1 2016 at 12,500 colleges. Open position advertisements were up 13.7% indicating that future growth is likely. Administration heavy and faculty light are some of the findings. One of the reasons why this is the case is that college has become big business and bureaucracy is a growing risk.  As higher education legislation grows so does the need to have lots of administrators to manage the data mills. Administrators have a knack for justifying their own existence.  A potential problem is that as higher education institutions become top heavy they also become more expensive. More administrators means more layers of management, less innovation, and increasing cost. Universities should be hiring faculty and removing as many barriers to teaching as they can. This means ensuring that all activi

Stealing from Our Children-Ethics for Sale in the Detroit School System

Over 14 individuals are charged in a scheme to provide kickbacks through vendors and enrich the individuals tasked with helping our children learn. As the school system goes bankrupt the FBI has found over $2.7 million dollars of mismanagement. This is likely only the tip of an iceberg for other coordinated thefts throughout the system. Are ethics for sale? Ethics is an important part of doing business and create trust with our most important national institutions. Our school systems are a promise to the kids of Detroit that they have a chance to make their way out and into a world of prosperity. Those who profess to be helping these kids have taken their money to buy themselves luxury lifestyles and robbing their hopes. I have found that ethical violations are violations of the perpetrators personality. People who default on their morality when it comes to money have also defaulted on their higher principles. They failed to develop beyond their own needs and issues and lose cont

How Globalization Impacts Our Local Businesses

Globalization impacts everything around it. No business can save itself from globalization. Local markets are heavily influenced by the market forces of change. There is nothing that can be done to save it or change it. The only thing a small business can do is adjust and change their strategy as their market changes. A few strategies seem to work the best. Companies can either seek to adjust by becoming more competitive through changing their internal structure of find additional value with their current offerings. The strategies the business chooses depends on their model and personal strengths. Sometimes they can do both! Internal Structure: Investing in operations can help companies function better and become more profitable. Sometimes it is best to adjust the structure to ensure maximum flexibility and innovation while other times it is possible to streamline the operation so that it will become cheaper. Small companies may want to focus on improving their adaptability and r

G7 The Benefits and Dangers of Coordinated Economy

Finance leaders from the G-7 met in Japan to discuss the global economy. Despite the slow down they have decided against coordinated actions to boost the global economy. There are a few good reasons for and against this decision. Coordination is not risk free and does carry a few dangers. In a global world we should be able to coordinate our economies and prop up a slowing global market. The problem is that the economy runs its course as a large complex system that almost no one can control with any clarity. The more we artificially influence a system the higher the risk for potential backlash. Consider companies that are protected against foreign competition for decades and then one day the country can no longer afford to protect them. The entire industry gets crushed by those who learned to adapt to the market. The same can be said for national economies. Stimulus and market coordination can be beneficial in short-term situations but when relied on as a prime method of thwart

The Difference Between Good and Bad Managers

Not all managers are good and not all are bad. Most fall somewhere in between. By having some way of understanding the differences between good and bad managers you can gauge your own. The ability to get tasks done is different than the people skills that managers need to succeed. The difference between good and bad.... Good: Listens to employees needs Motivates employees to perform at their best Achieves agendas by drawing in talent Spends the time to understanding their employees Can develop personal relationships Emotionally intelligent Skillful in their work Creates confidence Short and long-term plan Allows others to manager their own affairs. Bad: Doesn't really listen Focused on their agenda without motivating others Has a hard time interacting with others People don't have confidence in their abilities Seems to be self-focused Emotionally closed and explosive when angry Short-term strategies without a long-term plan Lacks team b

Tips to Detox Your Brain

You may have heard of detoxing your body by eating the right kinds of food but not of detoxing your brain. Detoxing your brain can improve your outlook on life and renew your focus on your job. A cluttered head with lots of useless toxic thoughts won't give us the best performance. 1.) Find something you enjoy that relaxes you. Sometimes we move through our working careers and don't take time to find things that we truly enjoy. It is beneficial to find work-life balance so that we can enjoy work and and not be plagued by regret and a negative gnawing feeling that we are neglecting something. 2.) Can you lose yourself in the flow. Those activities that are the best are the ones that help you get into the flow and forget where you are or how much time you spent on the activity. For some it might be painting while for others it could be sports. It allows you to truly just be in the moment and process your thoughts. 3.) You can connect with yourself. Not all activitie

Are Pension Funds in Need of New Leadership?

The Central States Pension Fund that 1,500 employers contributed to and 407,000 people rely on will likely be reduced to almost nothing. Projections are that it will be out of money in 10 years and there is no viable plan to save it. Employees are receiving this bad news now, have no way out, and the problems were present for years. Are our pension funds in need of new leadership? Sure....managers can claim "they didn't know" but it is their job to know, managed and project possible scenarios. If they were not doing this then they were not doing their jobs and should be questioned. Personally I love pension funds because in theory they guarantee we take care of the elderly when they can no longer can work. The problem is that other people love pension funds as well and this opens them up to all types of ethical problems and poor decisions. As Detroit pension fiasco showed us, pension funds are so attractive that they can become part of financial lining of a city a

Trans Pacific Trade Deal to Help or Harm Economy?

There has been a lot of debate over the Trans-Pacific Trade Deal and whether or not it will be helpful. Let me first say there is no clear answer as all trade deals have a give and take aspect as each country focuses on what they need. It can be said that those countries that engage in isolationist views typically don't do as well as those who willingly embrace the market. Consider that growing countries need access to investment capital, cheaper resources, and cutting edge technologies to succeed then creating trade deals that feed American companies with what they need will make a big difference. At least in theory, but in real life it gets more complicated as local companies must be ready to compete and city governments must have the policies enacted that help businesses grow. The problem is that some American companies have some internal work to do before they can maximize their opportunities under new treaties. They will succeed and grow if they can get their products

San Diego Becomes #9 for Entreprenuership

San Diego is quicking becoming a hot market for new businesses ventures that will draw more investment and greater activity. The Kauffman Foundation's Startup Activity report shows San Diego moving up to the 9th best start-up locations. The index looked at: -Rate of New Entrepreneurs- -Opportunity Share of New Entrepreneurs -Startup Density Movement up for San Diego means the city is improving as a place to do business. This is important for drawing in fresh talent and ensuring that new companies are growing and thriving in a way that lead to jobs a few years down the road. As a nation we also seem to be starting more companies that we did previously. This can make a difference between a successful nation and one that fails. American must maintain its entrepreneurial approach if it wants to lead markets and maintain its competitive position against new challenges.

The Factors of Grade Inflation

Grades seem to be the primary focus of students who judge their performance by a little letter that gets noted in their transcripts. They put pressure on professors to raise those grades but don't often consider the greater significance of learning. The end result is rising grades that have little impact on learning. There are a couple of factors that are at play that create this situation. They are 1.) the student, 2.) the professor and 3.) the university system. When one of these factors are not in alignment grades begin to inch upwards thereby reducing the quality of education. The student The student has a natural interest in getting the highest grade with the least amount of work. It is a natural effort and reward calculation.Asking students to think about the long-term consequences of high grades without knowledge mastery won't have much effect because many don't have this level of awareness. The professor Some professors simply don't care and don't

Call for International Business Education Lesson Plans

The U.S. Chapter of the International Society for Business Education (ISBE) is seeking quality lesson plans to be published in the book Creative Teaching Ideas for International Business. The lesson plans may include international topics in any business and management courses that attempt to integrate global content. The lesson plans need to use the “Lesson Plan Format” provided in this call (See the required format attached). Subject areas needed: International Business (general topics) International Marketing International Finance International Law International Ethics International HR International Entrepreneurship International/Intercultural Communications International Management Language Integrations Global Logistics – Supply chain management. Deadline for submission: May 30, 2016 . Submit lesson plans to: Irina Weisblat, EdD – President-elect of ISBE, at: All submissions must be in electronic format. Submiss