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Showing posts from June, 2016

Managing Workplace Conflict

Workplace conflict is bound to happen any time there is a difference in resources and personality. People are seeking greater levels of authority and access to resources but must come to the inevitable truth that there isn't enough to go around. Personalities can create a toxic work environment cause conflict to brew. Conflict can brew in the workplace anytime and it is important to know how to handle it. Conflict often revolves around resource allocation. When resources are provided to one person over another, or people are arguing over who should receive those resources, there is bound to be angst. People will seek to create the greatest advantages for themselves and then push for their own thoughts and ideas. Personalities also have a huge influence on conflict. People regularly try and dominate each other and throw their personal problems onto others within the workplace. Those who have high emotional intelligence might find themselves getting into less entanglements than o

Traits of Adaptable Leaders

Leaders ability to adapt to new businesses and situations is an important trait that helps bridge the gaps from one situation to the next. Adaptable leaders can change their thinking and styles that best fit the type of crisis they are facing. As circumstances unfold the style of the leader should also unfold to secure the best possible outcomes. Changing Thinking: Thinking must adjust to solve problems. Leaders should be able to change how they formulate their opinions and the vantage points they use to understand their problem. Creativity will help them be flexible. Changing Styles: Different situations require different ways of solving problems. People respond to styles depending on their personality and the circumstances in which they exist. For example, a crisis situation will require more command styles while innovation will require more collaborative styles. Changing of Environments: As the environment changes the leader will also need to change. He/she will need to a

The Benefits of Exploring Nature for Health & Hobby

Nature holds many possibilities for our lives that we only need to explore and understand to truly reap the benefits awarded to us. As a person who enjoys photography as a hobby I can say that nature offers multiple advantages that include fitness, relaxation, and artistic expression. Any working professional should consider the multiple benefits of balancing out their lives by finding helpful recreation and appropriate outlets beyond the office.  A couple of times a week ranging from 30-90 minutes on each excursion raises your health level and meets the minimum requirements of fitness. In addition, nature has a way of helping us reflect on life, calm our minds, and feel a greater connection to the world around us. Within 15 minutes you will start to feel relaxed.  Of course you can also take your hobbies to the next level by engaging in artistic expression that helps to further tone your skills. In nature there are many things to take pictures of that include wildlife and nat

Consumers Dip into Savings to Fuel Economic Increase in Second Quarter

Consumer spending has risen over the past few months and is expected to expand the economy by 3%  during the second quarter. Wages haven't risen very fast to cover recent increases in spending making it necessary that consumers dip into their savings. The heightened retail shopping can be seen as a sign of consumer confidence. Consumer spending accounts for 70% of the U.S. economy. A few percentage points either way can make a big difference in economic output. Of course this money must come from somewhere so it is earned, borrowed, or taken out of their savings account. Without rising wages there is a long-term dilemma. Eventually credit bubbles emerge and saving dry up making the economy less resilient than when wages are rising and savings are growing. While I am not necessarily a fan of artificially raising wages I am a fan of ensuring that market forces that would naturally raise wages be unencumbered.  The second quarter looks great because consumers are frequenting s

Understanding the Undercurrents of Your Organization

Every organization has a formal and informal structure of which the later might be more important. The structure culture is codified in the rules, regulations, procedures, and official position of the organization. The informal structure is based on the way information flows and moves throughout the organization regardless of formal position and procedures. Consider a person with formal power who has some control over resource and decision making outcomes. This position, and the list of duties that go with it, are written into a job description and then part of the formal structure that helps the company complete its daily task. The organizational chart highlights each of these positions and their importance. The informal structure may be more important than the formal structure. These are the "movers and shakers" of the organization that help ensure that things get done. They may have formal power within the organization but don't rely heavily on that formal power.

The Subtle Details of Training Customer Service Representatives

Customer experience sets a tone that encourages them to either return or choose to frequent another place. Companies are strong at creating the basics of customer service but often fail when designing and implementing the details. Excellent customer service should starts with training representatives to view interactions from the perspective of the customer. The point of contact is the most common place where customer service fails. These failures revolve around the way staff act and treat customers as they conduct their daily interactions. A few details could change customer impressions to a positive one and foster greater loyalty. Consider the nature of non-verbal communication and how a single poorly chosen word or careless comment could quickly change the nature of interaction. A single bad day for the customer service representative could lose the company thousands of dollars in life-time sales. Every customer makes a subjective evaluation of whether or not the company tru

How Online Education Will Meet the Needs of a Mobile Online Workforce

As the market changes there will be changes in higher education. People once shunned online course as substandard but the market will soon find them to be of particular value. If we consider that college is partly about socialization to the "college experience" we should find that education should mirror the mode of virtual employment positions. As more online jobs become available, colleges should adopt these new modes of learning. For over  10 years colleges have been implementing online offerings in order to reach out to their diverse student populations. College is part of a process where people learn how to work in virtual groups. In the past this as through face-to-face meetings but the future is likely to see more online groups and virtual work. Students in online courses must be more self-motivated to succeed than in traditional colleges. They work at home, work, or even their living rooms. There are so many distractions in our natural environment that it is eas

Are we in a "Rigged" Economy? Most Americans Think So!

Seventy-one percent of Americans think we are in a "rigged" economy according to a recent poll by Marketplace and Edison Research. The vast majority of people believe that the economy is wrapped around and supportive of only a few select groups. The phenomenon is important because it is hitting wide political, ethnic and religious demographics. The American Dream rests on the ability of people putting forward effort, developing, being innovative and improving their lives. Effort should end in some type of reward. Many Americans lost their savings and have not moved up the economic ladder in a couple of decades. To them, the American Dream may not be shining as brightly as it once was. We must ask ourselves whether or not this is the American legacy we want to leave behind? People are poorer, more educated but make less money, distrustful, and want change. They feel they cannot get ahead no matter what they do. As riots in Ferguson have taught us, there is deep distrust

Living in "Now"

There are three major blocks of time that include the future, the past and now. The future is what might happen, the past is what did happen, but "now" is our world. Focusing on the now has a lot to do with how to reduce stress and find greater enjoyment within your life. Learning this important skill takes time but is beneficial throughout your life. The past is based on what happened before now and is subjective in nature. It rests on our interpretations and experience. As time passes our past changes, the meaning we make from it changes, and we come to understand the past in ways that were not possible before. Focusing on the past takes away from experiencing the now. Our future is something we don't know. We can project what might happen based upon the past and present but we can't say what will happen with 100% certainty. Our brains seek to protect us by helping us be abstract in our thinking but this can also raise our stress levels when we cannot easily g

Rewarding Corporate Social Responsibility

Companies hold powerhouses of knowledge and financial resources the average American could never hope to muster in their lifetimes. These companies live and work within the nations that helped make them and have some responsibility to the society in which they exist. Corporate social responsibility helps create a better world and greater cohesion in society. We are coming into some rocky times and global changes are brewing that will have influence on American's lives. Corporations will be part of that change and will expected to be forces of positive  influence versus simple profit driven enterprises. As people become aware companies will be expected to be more philanthropic in addition to more competitive. What should be and what is are two different things. Those companies that really try to do well should be supported but those that violate ethical rules and laws should be punished by the market. As the law doesn't typically apply to ethical violations it is necessary t

Greater Integration of Knowledge

Knowledge is something we accumulate throughout our lives. When we are thinking about the world in an appropriate way we begin to  building upon our knowledge and create greater insight to the world in which we life. The greatest integration of knowledge comes from finding its value and applicability in solving real problems and integrating these lessons into our current mental frameworks. Greater integration means we must reflect on the information in a way that adjusts our previous beliefs, knowledge, experience, and expectations. For example, let us assume that we are trying to understand a new photography method. We would need to take in new information, add it to our knowledge of previous photography methods, and then find a way of connecting the information into a cohesive model. We must also be willing to learn the information in depth. It isn't easy to integrate knowledge when we don't have the details that would make that possible. For example, the statement &q

How Processes and Procedures Influence Our Judgements

Processes and procedures have an impact on the way we think and judge situations. These processes and procedures become vantage points that define our thoughts and courses of actions. Businesses that seek to develop the best organizations need to ensure that the policies and procedures are well developed and understand their long tail impact. The same lessons of an organization can be applied to any private or public institution. Consider how behavior becomes pattern. For the vast majority of us, we act and react without thinking purposely about how we should be behaving or thinking in that situation. We rely on our previous modes of thoughts and patterns to make our decisions and actions. Policies and procedures define and reflect our modes of thought. Policies and procedures are a method of accomplishing goals and set a tone and value for all decisions thereafter. As the people in the organization learn and integrate policies and procedures into their viewpoints they begin to b

Eating for Health - Acai Bowls

Acai Bowls are a popular food item in California and have spread to many other regions. The fruit is known to carry some health benefits that make it ideal as a breakfast or as a snack.  Being a berry it has advantages in improving overall health while reducing the amount of toxins in the body. Each time we choose one alternative over another we can be adding or detracting from our fitness. Consider the many choices that lead to obesity. Eating deep friend foods that are loaded with saturated fat and calories isn't likely going to do you much good for weight loss. Trying to find alternatives like salads, fruits, and nuts can make a big difference. Acia is fruit that has been known to detox the body, aid in weight loss, and protect against cancer. As an alternative it is one of the best. It isn't a cure all but is one alternative among the many alternatives available for breakfast. Some have even argued that it has anti aging effects much like wine. The nice thing about

Always Under Promise and Over Deliver

Have you ever had a salesperson promise you something and then give you less than expected? The worst mistake people can make is over promise and under deliver. It is a sure sign to disappointment. Under promising and over delivering is beneficial, not only in sales, but also in just about every other aspect of your career. I have seen managers over promise and under delivery. When they do make promises they will have a difficult time keeping they push their employees to fill the gaps of their mistakes creating artificial crisis. As these crisis continue the employee begin to feel less than satisfied with their work. Beyond personnel issues is the problem of meeting those deliverables under artificial time frames. The more you promise things you can't deliver, the more risk you have of not meeting those objectives. This will reflect poorly on you and the consistency of your output. Work quality also consistently becomes weaker over times. Trying to complete projects in short

A Managers Dilemma---When Are You Racing to Nowhere?

Are you really racing or treading water? Managers who have a direction and purpose in their work find they have a long-term goal and know a path of getting there. Their work represents purposefulness and they spend time on aligning their goals to that of the organization. Unfortunately, there are also other managers who are running a race to get somewhere but have no idea where they are going. Consider the well intentioned manager that has lots of busy work and continues to focus on expanding their projects and work until they put themselves and everyone else under stress. Most of what they do doesn't have much of a direction and likely won't help them or their organizations. Purposefulness means that they maximize their efforts on those projects that are likely to improve on their career goals and minimize efforts on those projects that have little additive value. Being busy to be busy is a waste of time and stressful. It is better to figure out what projects have the

The Need for Shared Visions in Organizations

There are millions of small actions that occur within an organization every year and these are not always aligned to the core objectives of the organization. Sometimes this is because the organization has not defined who and what they are while at other times the employees have added work that isn't necessary. Having a shared vision and ensuring people know what that vision is can be helpful. Consider a department with multiple supervisors. In their desire to show their importance and move up the ranks they add work and align work based on what their personal preferences are. This means that there are many people who are doing work that has almost nothing to do with the actual vision of the organization. In order to reign in the wasted effort, which in some cases can be 40 to 60% of all work that is being completed, it is necessary to share that vision and ask that people truly review what they are doing and its value to the organization. Work is just work unless it has a pos

Coaching vs. Mentoring for Business Performance

People have often wondered about the difference between mentoring and coaching and how it impacts the environment. The difference lies in the level of understanding and the nature of the knowledge transference process. When used appropriately it can have an impact on employee development and their ability to take on new roles in the company.  A mentor builds a  stronger cognitive model while a coach builds better skills. In other words, a mentor seeks to develop higher awareness of issues thereby allowing the mentee to apply that knowledge to similar situations. A coach is teaching a narrower set of skills such as playing a sport or learning how to complete a task. Sometimes mentors must coach and coaches must mentor. It just depends on the deficiency the employee has and the best way to help them. There are times when it is not possible to achieve personal goals unless you learned a specific skill and at other times one must develop greater awareness to achieve their goals. Bo

With 2Q Economic Job Bounce Back Will There be a Future Labor Shortage?

U.S. jobless claims declined to 43 year low, manufacturing data rises, and an overall increasing trend in single family home purchases. Good news, good news, and more good news! With an unemployment rate of 4.7% and an unemployment drop of 18,000 to 259,000 could we soon find ourselves with a qualified labor shortage. It is important to distinguish qualified labor shortage from labor shortage. The former is more likely while the later is more of a remote possibility. Qualified labor means people who are able to take on skilled jobs in a growing market. They will need to be educated and trained. The other side of the economic information is that manufacturing data is rising which means more hiring is a good possibility in the near future. We may actually see a situation where qualified labor will become more expensive and wages will rise naturally based on market forces.  It is also possible that more expenditures in training will be seen in companies that must fill the skills

Senge's Five Disciplines For Training and Development

Peter Senge offers five principles of training in his book The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. He discusses how coaching and learning can build better organizations. We often focus on the output of our products without improving on the organizational structure that allows people to adapt to higher models and created even greater functioning that leads to long-term outputs. In our process we forget that all business starts with people and improving the capacity of those people to engage in meaningful work.  Learning is a process of development and improvement. It takes time and it takes the right kind of environment to do well. Companies that can create learning environments can better improve upon their organizational capacities. In the long run training and developing, whether formal or informal, has a large impact on organizational success. The Five Disciplines..... Shared Vision: Let people see the vision you have created. Challenge Models: Poor and outdated models must be updat

Hiking for Healthy Work-Life Balance

Hiking is an enjoyable practice that helps balance out one's life in a way that encourages greater care over our environment and our health. In many cases you can turn these hikes into events for friends or personal reflection time. The beauty of such activities is that they cost you nothing, improve your health, and can be adjusted for your very own skill levels.  Recently, I went up Torrey Pines near La Jolla California with a friend. It is a relatively easy hike that affords well worn pathways and breathtaking views. At the very top is a museum you can go into to learn about the park and the animals that live there. The hike is easy and situated right on the ocean so you can spend a lot of time surfing, hiking, or just lounging.  I personally like something a little more challenging but going up the hill does get your heart rate moving and does offer a good workout. An hour of hiking burns between 300 and 600 calories depending on the rigorous nature of the hike. It is one o

Quality Hiring Starts with Quality Recruiting Processes

Quality hiring starts with a quality recruiting process. It is first beneficial to develop a solid recruiting process to maximize the opportunities to hire the "right" kind of employee. A "bad hire" can cost an organization thousands, if not millions, in unwanted legal, employee, and production problems. The process below is a good start but can be adjusted based on the needs of the individual employer. 1.) Evaluate your open position and the specific skills that position needs. 2.) Conduct an analysis of the salary and benefit requirements of that position. 3.) Determine where you are going to market the open position and the type of people who will read it. 4.) Make first cuts on resumes by matching them to the skills, experience, and education requirements of the position. 5.) Order your top candidates by interest and then call for interviews. 6.) As cognitive and personality based questions in the interview process. 7.) Check on references and backgrounds

Four Benefits for Kayaking

We live busy lives and have busy schedules. So busy that many of us get stressed out and have a difficult time finding ways to relax and slow down. Getting out of the office and engaging in an outdoor activity has multiple advantages for busy professionals. Kayaking is an excellent sport that offers three major benefits that include fitness, stress reduction, outdoor recreation, and cost. Fitness: Kayaking offers a strong upper body in addition to cardio advantages. Consider the amount of effort it takes for your upper body to move the paddles from side to side. As you push yourself through the body your chest, arms, abs and back get a workout. Your heart rate will increase and this will further your cardio goals. Stress Reduction: Physical activity and spending time in the outdoors holds benefits for stress reduction. People seem to improve their outlook on life when they reduce their stress levels in a way that further develops their outlook on life. Engaging in activities li

Will Social Security Really Go Broke 20 Years?

According to a government report recently released the Social Security trust fund should be broke in 20 years. This means that it is protected in the long run but will begin to underfund the needs of senior citizens. The analysis conducted by the government is beneficial because it gives us some time to start finding solutions. While I have not seen the actual details of the analysis I do wonder if Baby Boomers and potential new revenue from Mellennials are calculated into its projection. A few of the reasons why Social Security is going bankrupt is because the large Baby Boomer expenditures based on increasing health care costs and age were not replaced by Generation X. However, Mellinnials are very large group of 75.4 million, when compared with Baby Boomers, who are 74.9 million, thereby allowing for an increase in Social Security funds. A large percentage of Baby Boomers will be passing away over the next decade and with only a small Generation X to take money out of the system

IMF Predicts Low Growth and Offers Advice

The IMF projects that the U.S. economy will grow a measly 2.2% citing concerns from the global market and internal political structure within the U.S. Their analysis cites complex risks but not too many specific large risks beyond China and British/EU dynamics. They do offer some advice that revolves around more around the fundamentals of the economy. Considering the small but still important risks the economy face they have some level of justification for their assessment. Off the top of my head I can say China's stimulus, EU/England departure, ISIS, Russian/West relations issues, and conflict in the Middle East are partly responsible. However, I don't think the analysis is complete. Most of these items are only partly responsible for slower growth but don't completely determine the projection. There are some positive things that are moving the U.S. in the right direction. Unless something major does happen it is suspected that the World Bank and IMF are low in their

Understanding How Employees Are Motivated

Employees have many motivations and desires that keep them moving each day. Each has within them something that pushes them to accomplish tasks within their lives. Sometimes these motivations are simply money while at other times they could be something more. Knowing what motivates an employee can make the difference between an average and a steller performer. Consider what an organization would be like if it was full of highly motivated and energetic employees. It would be great, people would get things done, and the organization would be zooming along. The problem is that this is fantasy land and doesn't truly happen in real life. People hide their motivations, don't believe they can accomplish them and then bury them with layers of other issues. They are difficult to detect and understand. However, with time and with a watchful eye it is possible to start picking out patterns of how people act on issues. For example, someone who is motivated to move up the ranks within

Feds Still Expect Slow Economic Growth

Federal Research Chairman cites uncertainties that will make them cautious on raising interest rates. In testimony to Congress she indicated the potential fears as they relate to EU, China, and the domestic economy that make raising interest rates quickly over the next few years less likely. It is expected that growth will stay under 2% countering the need to raise interest rates. The purpose of raising interest rates is to make borrowing money more expensive and in turn slow down the economy. A big question people ask is why would someone want to slow down the economy? There is an optimal growth point where too slow is not good and too fast is not so greater either. Let us say that the economy is zooming along at 10%. You would find inflation rising, wages would stay behind, and people would not be able to keep up with increasing expenses. Most of the country would be employed but there would be significant labor shortages. The ideal rate is somewhere between 2 to 3.5% with an inf

Brexit is More Cultural than Economic

Britain is thinking about abruptly leaving the EU with the Brexit proposal. While the exit could cause economic shock waves across Europe and throughout the international market those supporting Brexit are doing so more for cultural than economic reasons. It is the common worker that sees fear in further engagement in the global economy and hopes to encourage their country to set its own policies. The biggest danger is that an exit from the EU will create a difficult to disentangle financial situation where England was a launching pad to the EU for many American businesses. An exit will force these companies to change the way they do business and adjust where their resources are located in order to maintain access to both markets.  The financial backlash to both EU and England is likely to be substantial. It prompts people that the EU is facing difficulties and further tells people that England is moving back into pro-nationalist economic stance. While it doesn't make sense

Putting the Wind in the Sails of Your Business

Putting the wind back into the sales of your business rests on marketing, operations and value. As you learn to trim your sales and find tune your offerings your business will start to differentiate itself from the competition. Small business in particular have more navigability than larger businesses and should hedge their ability for quick market changes. Marketing: Fine tuning your target customer and ensuring that you are reaching them is fundamental to creating strong businesses, Without sales you don't have business. The process of defining your target market takes some research and reflection. Watch who buys your product and why they buy them. Operations: Operations cost money and can either increase or decrease take home profits. Investing is a wise choice when tangible results can be found. Ensure that your operations are running as efficiently as possible and not wasting resources. Sometimes it is necessary to take a look at everything from the input to the output

"We Can" Project Inspires Kids to Become Contributors to Society

The We Can Project has been implemented in Elementary, Middle and High Schools in an effort to help students learn self-esteem and positive ways to contribute to society. The program has around 125,000 participants and seems to be growing by the year. Students set and realize goals that not only help themselves but also society. Step 1: Think. Students come up with goals that are important to them (I Can), the people around them (You Can) and their communities (We Can). Each student picks the one goal he/she is most excited about. Step 2: Plan. Each student makes a plan to figure out the who, what, where, and when of his/her project to reach his/her goal. Step 3: Act and reflect. Students put their plans into motion, take time to reflect on their progress, and adjust their plans accordingly. For more information  

Is Crowd Capitalism Coming?

I recently had the pleasure of reading the article As On-Demand Economy Grows, Professor Sees New Kind of Capitalism Emerging about Professor Arun Sundararajan from New York University's Stern School of Business. In agreement with him I believe that fundamental changes in our economy will occur that relate to how we are paid. However, I would like to add that we will also be networking resources, people, and information to a higher degree for economic growth. I like to think of the next era as the Information Age and have conducted some of my own research on it. It will be a time where technology creates greater efficiencies in the market. We will be developing and growing faster through the use of shared resources and information. Our world will get much smaller and our economies more integrated. Changes in technology will influence employment. It is also a time that will influence the traditional "job". The standard 9 to 5 job will disappear and people will need to

The Success of the Student is Based on the Motivation to Learn

While the environment is important in developing strong universities, and technology allows more people to learn in a convenient way, the student is still the fundamental component of success. Whether we are sitting under a tree with a mentor in ancient society or communicating from our cell phones it is the student that will determine the overall outcome of the learning process. That doesn't neglect the quality of instructor, the curriculum, and the environment as factors in learning but it does recognize the student's personal characteristics as a central component to learning. The student must come to class willing to learn and seeking knowledge for their own personal development. This desire to learn is a fundamental difference between strong and weak students. Strong students question in order understand while weak students question to earn a higher grade. One is focused on the learning while the other is focused exclusively on the grade. The personality and characteri

The Creation of Executive Character-Believing in Something Greater Than Yourself

The creation of character rests on some important foundations that are partly innate and partly learned much like intelligence. On that platform comes greater knowledge and wisdom that continues to filter throughout one's life. The constant search for truth and the questioning of one's environment leads to greater insight into oneself and the world we live in. We become people of character through the trials and tribulations of learning that leads to knowledge. As a business person I believe it is fundamentally important to hire people of character. By having a business with people who maintain a value system and deeper beliefs about the work they do the overall quality of the organization will rise. People with character build long-term value while those without are focused on short-term gains that could result in significant lost revenue and market share. Any leader, who will be a good leader, will need to have character by believing in something greater then themselves

MRMW 2016 - The Best Mobile Marketing Research Conference

MRMW North America 2016 - The Best Mobile Marketing Research Conference 18th to 19th July 2016 Fort Worth, Texas (USA) MRMW is back with the 6th edition of its global innovation series for Market Research. Never standing still, MRMW 2016 will surprise you with new features, exciting speakers, an abundance of business opportunities and an expanded range of topics covering all aspects of innovative market research. MRMW will continue to lead the way uncovering the latest mobile market research technologies, client case studies, cutting edge thinkers and industry experts. Experience everything from plenary CXO panels to in-depth workshops in small groups – all at MRMW. New in 2016 will be an expanded focus on The Internet of Things, Smart Data Acquisition, Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning. A new bonus track will also serve those data-hungry techies amongst the market research community. Case Studies from wide range industries including Food & Beverage,

Commerce and Sand Point Lighthouse

Sand Point Lighthouse Sand Point Lighthouse is located in Escanaba Michigan. The light house operated to warn people of the Little Bay De Noc reefs from 1868 until 1939. Most of the ships were moving ore and natural resources. Nine different keepers stayed at the light house until the U.S. Coast Guard took over its operations and changed the entire area by dredging and filling in areas to create the modern harbor. A crib light was built to warn of the new land hazards.

Smoothies as a Healthy Snack

We live busy lives and we don't always have time to cook a breakfast, eat a full lunch or sit at a restaurant. We can make a healthy contribution to our diet and our waistline by drinking smoothies. Body builders, fitness enthusiasts and people who are trying to lose weight agree that smoothies offer a healthy alternative. Smoothies can be made any number of ways but the most common is ice, milk, honey/sugar, and fruit. Those who are into the internal health of their body might also include greens such as cucumbers and spinach or anti-oxidants like raspberries and blueberries. Any combination of fruits and vegetables can be used. I don't not agree with liquid diets per see as our bodies need something to digest. Such diets do result in amazing weight loss but often come with muscle loss as well. A better approach is to augment your normal diet with a smoothie. For example, oatmeal breakfast, smoothie lunch, and a lean meat supper. You may also consider putting protein i

The Importance of Open Trade vs Protectionism

Free trade agreements seem to create a natural fear that jobs will move overseas and people will suffer the consequences of lost jobs and income. It is not as though some of these ideas have merit but what we find over time is that protectionist policies do have an impact on long-term growth putting people at much greater risk. Consider the two main approaches. We can protect our industries, raise tariffs, and make it difficult for companies to invest in the U.S. What we will find is there will be a short-term positive effect of secure wages and better profit margins. However, in the long run we will continue to lose our global competitiveness and eventually experience economic collapse. Countries that have tried this approach require companies to hire a certain amount of workers which raises costs and they protect their companies from foreign competition. Its really great! Eventually, the U.S. capacity gets more out of line with foreign competition and can't maintain its com

How to Manage the Economic Entrepreneur

The entrepreneur is perhaps the most important type of person in economic society as we know it. People who create and develop new opportunities by finding solutions to problems and enhance business opportunities. Entrepreneurs have a certain mindset that is very different than the average person which allows them to succeed and achieve. Managing the economic entrepreneur requires a different approach that hedges and enhances their skills. Entrepreneurs are optimistic and promotional oriented but also can be un-realistic and irrational (Clapp & Senson, 2015). They seek the optimistic outcome to nearly every challenge. What provides them an opportunity to succeed in tough situations could cost a company a lot of money if done wrong.  This opportunism is great for breaking open whole new ways of doing business that can lead to higher profits and stronger revenue lines. To make these breakthroughs possible there needs to be many failures that result in learning and improved effo

How Fishing Can Enhance Your Career

People believe that the fastest way to the top and success is through doing more by working like a plow horse until they drop. I can't start to count the examples of executives who think doing more is the best approach. Unfortunately, many get disappointed, burn out and move onto other jobs when gratification isn't immediate. Engaging in recreation helps you balance your life and think about the best approach to accomplishing your work goals. Let us take fishing for an example. Fishing offers an opportunity to get out of the office, calm the mind and engage in a pleasant activity. As one learns and develops their skills they will spend a good deal of enjoyable time plotting on the best fishing holes on the map and reviewing just the right bait to improve their opportunities. Even better...they can invite friends/family and eat what they catch. How does it make a difference to our careers? Fishing, like golf, or any other relaxing activity allows us to process information

Using Critical Thinking to Beat Bias

We always assume that "we" and "our" group are always better than every other group. I often considered why we hold such bias. Part of it might be rooted in how we view the world based on our biological need to be in a protective environment to keep our genetics safe. While that is a possible explanation it doesn't seem to hold up against idea that entire groups that can contain millions of people where natural biology has no place. To understand bias is to understand ourselves and our own needs. I find that people who are biased often discuss the "other" in terms of fear. Fear that they are doing something wrong, will take something, or will cause some havoc. Their focus is limited to a few examples and seem to raise the perceived validity of those arguments beyond their natural merits. Beating bias through critical thinking means we must perceive the world around us as accurately as possible. That means not ignoring dis-confirming information. We

Weighing Our Options-The Mental Transactions of Purchase

People who walk into a store and buy a product may do so based on emotion but do calculate the cost of the product before making a purchase. Understanding what goes through a person's head before they make the final decision and head to the counter can improve sales and customer satisfaction. We only make so much money in a year. Whether it is 40K or 100K, we have to make choices over our limited resources. Each product takes away from our pot and limits our ability to purchase and do other things. Savings....well.....thats not even in the calculation most of the time!!! For example, you have fruit for sale and you want people to purchase. They may scan whether or not they want that item, need that item, and how that item feels to them. Within seconds they assess their craving for the item and whether or not it is worth further exploration. If it isn't they move down the isle but it is they begin another process. Once they determine whether the product has emotional o

Fair Chance Higher Education Pledge-Make Sense?

A recent announcement the White House about the launch of the  Fair Chance Higher Education Pledge in partnership with a number of universities discusses the desire to give people with criminal records a second chance for college enrollment. The goal would be to have colleges not look at criminal records in every selection case.  There are always two sides of every argument. There is some risk that universities face if a person with a criminal past risks or threatens other students or teachers. However, this may not be the majority of cases when the crimes are small, subjective, non-violent and often culturally based.   The three reasons why I think this is a positive movement is because of labor capital, the right to learn, and the need for criminal justice reform.  Where 1/3 of working adults have a criminal record means we are doing something wrong. Labor Capital: When people are blocked from entering the job market due to a previous crime they are lost to potential employers.

The Importance of Developing Data Infrastructure

Infrastructure is a fundamental aspect of our economy but is often neglected in for more exciting and publicly popular programs. Building strong infrastructure impacts all the businesses that use it to obtain resources, ship products, or sell services. New generations will need new data infrastructure improvements to keep up with change and stay competitive.  Different eras had different types of infrastructure. For example, highways were important during the mid 1950's-1970's while technological updates are needed in modern times. Both still work together to create a faster economy where information, products, and financial resources move quickly. Today's world is about information. It spurs innovation, creates growth, educates people, and improves government transparency. The infrastructure is slowly starting to improve upon the ability to transfer data and financial resources throughout the country and world. The cities of the future will look like data grids as

Economists Believe there are Four Risk Factors to the U.S. Economy

A poll of economists conducted by the Wall Street Journal found that there are 4 main risk factors for the U.S. this year. The poll solicited the opinions of 70 business, academic, and financial economists but did bring forward some fears of China, Slack Business Investment, U.S. Politics and Stall Speed. China: Chinese debt to prop up their economy might come crashing down. Economic collapse in the worlds second largest economy could cause problems else-ware. Slack Business Investments: Slow business investments in equipment and people slowing the economy. U.S. Politics: U.S. politics are so brutal and squirly that it has an impact on the economy. Stall Speed: When the economy is moving so slow it simply stalls down due to a host of reasons. The factors that can create a slow down are many. However, very few single factors can cause a recession unless they are fundamental to the national and global economy. These might include a financial meltdown or a large scale conflict

The Importance of Non-Traditional Academic Scholarship

What is the inherent value of non-traditional academic publishing? I have discussed this issue over and over with a number of learned scholars who insist that only top tier academic journals are valid in terms of scholarship and integration. The problem is that journals isn't necessarily the best way to contribute to the body of knowledge and other channels should be considered in the strategy. Consider that even the best journals only receive low readership level. Very few outside of the academic world would be willing to read such tedious works. Most of what is printed in these journals could take a long time to be have practical use in the market. It isn't wasted effort to put such work in journals but it doesn't maximize the opportunities to influence the market and contribute to innovative change the same way more widely read publications can. Most of the professional readership will find greater interest non traditional academic sources like trade journals, maga

Friends can Make or Break Your Career

It is said that your closest friends define who you are. In business, your friends can either bring you good luck and confidence or they can tear you down in a way that damages your capacity to achieve great things. Making sure you surround yourself with good friends can make a big difference in your capacity to achieve. Consider that the ideas you have are not completely yours. They are collection of the ideas and thoughts shared by your closest friends. If these ideas are thoughts are helpful to your success and the way you think about yourself then you are likely to feel empowered by your friends. If it is the opposite, chances are they are going to steal your confidence. Good friends can go a long way in supporting you in your endeavors and helping you think through ideas. They are contributors to your life and don't necessarily want to take away from you. They are helpful within their means and desire to see you succeed. You simply feel good when your around them. Much

Hitting Your Sales Target Through Customer Definition and Goal Setting

Hitting sales targets is something companies struggle with as they seek to maximize their revenue. Sometimes they fail to use the right targets and other times they may be using the wrong motivations to help their sales agents achieve desired results. The target market and proper sales goals help in building higher returns on marketing expenditures. I have seen companies spend a lot of money chasing down the wrong target market. They failed to define what their business is and who is willing to make a purchase. Unwittingly they are not able to capitalize on their marketing efforts because they are selling to the wrong people. To understand your company's target market you need to understand the innate value of your products. Your value proposition should relate as closely as possible to solving a problem your customers are experiencing. If you can't find a direct match then either change your product or change you target customer. Even with a solid value proposition,