Showing posts with label business management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label business management. Show all posts

Friday, July 10, 2015

Will San Diego’s Increasing Exports Lead to New Employment Opportunities?

San Diego’s economy is picking up speed in ways that may lead to greater employment opportunities. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, San Diego realized $18.6 billion worth of goods which is a substantial increase of over $700 million from 2013 (1). Should the city expect increasing employment opportunities in the near future?

The majority of exports was in computers and electronics, transportation, machinery, plastics and rubber, metal, and processed food. In these sectors greater sales often lead to greater profits and expansion of buyer networks that often leads to production expansion for companies. 

Corporations expand production to sell more items while seeking to increase their returns from economies of scale. Expanded production sometimes leads to more efficient operations which in turn impacts profit margins. Profit margins stoke the fire of expansion as firms have healthy returns and seek to maximize those returns through additional investments. 

It is those investments in capacity that eventually leads to increasing employment.  Highly skilled and educated employees are likely to find higher wages than employees that have not learned market relevant skills. 

The economic system relies on exports and sales. Only through pro-growth strategies that encourage alignment of the local hubs to international needs can long-term employment stability be found. When market adjustment doesn’t happen, or employment is artificially inflated through excessive legislation, there will be long-term economic consequences.

San Diego should expect increasing employment opportunities in those sectors that have long-term relationships/contracts with international companies and fit within current growing market trends. A boom in growth in 2014 often results in increased hiring in 2015. There are many other factors that can impact this but if the invisible free market hand takes precedence we should see new hiring.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Benefits of Hiring Practitioner Scholars in Business Colleges

Academic life is something inquisitive people hope to someday achieve in their efforts to grow and develop as a person. Eventually they make their way through college to obtain a terminal degree, and with some experience, they apply to universities in anticipation of achieving their dreams. With a tough market for professors, not everyone will find their way into a college position. Despite the competitive market, ensuring that universities hire more practitioner-scholars with "real life" experience is important for university development.

In business programs this is even more important than other fields. The difference between a person with only academic experience and one with both academic and professional experience is profound. One understands focuses on theory while the other may also have experience with using theories in practice. Their industry experience helps them understand how theories operate in real life scenarios outside the higher education vacuum. Having a representation of both ensures higher value for students.

Industry knowledge filters throughout everything the professor does. Consider the following benefits of a practitioner-scholars (pracidemics):

1.) Theoretical Explanations: A greater ability to explain theories and business principles in real life form and example.

2.) Research Development: All research must eventually be applied to be of any benefit. Practioners are able to use their understandings of industry problems and find new solutions that have market value.

3.) Administration: Professors who come from a business background also have knowledge of administration and processes. They are not as concerned about titles as they are about skill and performance.

4.) Credibility: Faculty with practical experience have credibility because they know what the student will be getting into after graduation. Students view them as both professors and mentors.

5.) Course Development: Because practitioners have practical and theoretical knowledge they are able to develop content that is relevant to modern industry.

6.) Cultural Awareness: Faculty are pragmatic and bring with them a focus on "what works" and encourage universities that are cost effective.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Importance of Listening to Veteran Needs- Using Feedback Loops

The San Diego VA is listening to veteran frustrations about services and the ease by which they can navigate the medical system. The initiative is part of broader effort to understand how to better service veterans and improve the effectiveness of VA hospitals. Throughout the month of August and September the VA is conducting town hall meetings throughout the country. This is the VA's opportunity to consider both physical and virtual feedback loops in future policy development.

As part of our Road to Veterans Day, VA is taking a hard look at everything we do in order to reorganize the Department around the needs of Veterans. Direct feedback from Veterans, employees and stakeholders is an important component of that Roadmap, and key to improving our services and operations,” states VA Secretary McDonald (Veterans Administration,2015).

Organizations use virtual feedback loops to understand how top level policies impact users on the bottom level. Sometimes feedback comment boxes are successful in collecting relevant information while at other times they pigeon hole the information into inaccurate data. Ensuring that online feedback loops are effective and offer alternative methods of presenting information is important. 

Having occasional face-to-face meetings offer opportunities for people to air their grievances to a real person they can hold accountable. It is important for those officials to provide their contact information. They will need to be empowered to make changes when consistent themes are discovered that could potentially improve the hospitals. 

The VA has been plagued by problems for a long time leaving a large swath of veterans unable to get the services they need. There is some indication that a number veterans have lost their lives trying to navigate the system. VA administrators allegedly hid the inefficient and ineffective methods from stakeholders and superiors thereby allowing dysfunction to grow. 

The face-to-face town hall meetings should only be a launch to more accountability.  Adaptive organizations develop adequate feedback loops that are able to make meaningful use of information while not inadvertently masking that information because of poor survey design. Leaving an open comment section in surveys and using a human evaluator in addition to automatic systems helps to ensure that open comments are collected and synthesized properly. 

All collected information can be reviewed on a regular basis and consistently applied to policy development and departmental approval. Incremental changes will help keep the organization responsive to its mission and to the people it serves. The process of growth and development relies on the ability to develop a semi-open system that incorporates, collects, and implements useful information and suggestions. There is nothing stopping the effective management and creation of adaptable government systems other than the people in it. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Poor Service Quality Impacts Customer Perception of Businesses

Service quality can make or break your business if you don't keep track of customers impressions. Business often focus on the physical appearance, atmosphere, cost, and offerings but sometimes fail to see the underbelly of what will make their place a success. Service quality can have a huge impact on customer retention and make or break whether a business can stay open.

Consider a restaurant that has a trendy name, great atmosphere and is all the rave among core crowds. The owners spend a great deal of time advertising and putting everything together but failed to train their staff on how to treat customers. The lines are long, the staff is rude, orders are messed up, and the price is high.

People may love what your business has to offer but they are not likely to return if their experience was poor. This is one of the reasons why trendy businesses are popular one year and close their door the next.  Proper service is like frosting on the cake even though it is the smallest part of the whole offering. Missing the frosting and you really don't have much of a cake.

Customers get an impression when they first walk into a restaurant. It may a positive first impression but if everything falls apart soon after that they will remember their disappointment for a long time. Reasonable mistakes can be expected in any business but customers service mistakes that lower the value of the guest are almost never forgiven.

 Training staff on human interactions and service operations help to create positive impressions with speedy recovery. No matter what is included in training it should focus on the importance of the customer. Anything that veers from this customer perception will dis-confirm the value of the business and may create a level of resentment among visitors.

Service management training doesn't always need to be intensive but does rely heavily on human to human social skills. All interactions should be positive and oriented toward the needs of the customer. Any time behaviors or actions do not focus on the need of the customer the entire experience can be hampered. A single rough rub and the perception of the entire business goes in the wastebasket.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Benefits of Creating Win-Win Strategies as San Diego Goes Global

San Diego has decided that it is going to make a firm commitment to the global economy. An initiative of 30+ companies, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, UC San Diego and the City of San Diego want to expand growth opportunities in the area by creating more export opportunities. Those export opportunities result in higher wages and more jobs but will rely heavily on win-win strategic outcomes.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer describes the Going Global initiative as "Opportunities and innovation abound in San Diego and it's time to tell the world (1)." The goal appears to be about getting products out of San Diego and into the global market while drawing investment into the region to capitalize on the core competencies of life sciences, blue technology and cyber knowledge.

According to the Go Global San Diego initiative San Diego is the 17th largest U.S. metro city, ranks 61st in terms of export intensity and 49th in terms of foreign-owned firms (2). San Diego has not fully capitalized on its inherent intellectual and human capital skills. The resources of many of the businesses that have global potential could be put toward exportation.

According to the Go Global San Diego site they will do this through a number of broad strategies:

-Catalyze growth of advanced industries.
-Drive Innovation through Talent: strengthen the workforce of today, deepen the workforce of the future.
-Realize CaliBaja’s potential through connections with priority and emerging markets.
-Mainstream global activity as a key component of regional business retention and expansion efforts.
-Maximize infrastructure assets.

The advantages of focusing on advanced industries is that they offer an opportunity to tap into a fast growing markets that spur additional investment. They also rely on a broad base of knowledge that supports medium and small businesses in the area. Wages are likewise higher in advanced industries raising the standard of living for local employees.

To truly do this well means the area will need to develop a brand that can sell the city as both a pro-business investment mecca and as a place where the quality of living is high. Local government should seek to draw in public and private stakeholders while ensuring decisions are based on bi-partisan strategic logic that creates the most winners. No need to create fights where no benefits are to be found.

There are advantages to getting everyone on the same page that isn't found in many cities across the country. When people can formulate a shared image of a city that helps them draw their self-interest the system becomes much more efficient through thousands of small actions aligned around that image. This will require not only business to succeed but also foster skill based income growth of motivated employees. Economic development that creates win-win outcomes will find support among investors while reducing inherent risks associated with uncertainty in regulations, labor allocation, governance, and socio-political turmoil.

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Business Schools that Exceed Market Expectations

Meeting and exceeding standards are two different things. Fostering business schools requires meeting expectations and then moving beyond these expectations to create higher levels of performance. According to a paper in the Journal of Business Studies Quarterly there are 10 things business colleges can do to enhance their performance.

  1. Look beyond today’s practices and standards and move toward future trends in business education.
  2. Applying knowledge management practices to create value.
  3. Acting in practice and philosophy.
  4. Accept risk when moving beyond theory and practice.
  5. Hire faculty and deans who think outside the box.
  6. Follow Kaizen philosophy.
  7. Understand the educational needs of the market.
  8. Stay ahead of the market and be read to change as needed.
  9. Develop a unique value proposition.
  10. Listen to the needs of stakeholders.

It matters little if you are discussing a business school or any other type of school. Many of the ideas would apply to almost any business. Moving beyond standards requires finding ways to meet minimum qualifications and then push for growth. By looking to match company development to market needs and ensuring you have the right staff in place to make that happen is half the battle. The other half is getting everyone focused on the same goals.

McFarlane, D. (2014). Contemporary barriers to excellence in business education. A Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 6 (2).

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Managing Conflict by Moving from "No" to "Yes"

Conflict is something that most of us experience from time-to-time in our lives but many of us don't know how to deal with that conflict. Conflict can occur in the workplace, at home, among friends, in politics and just about anywhere else. Understanding the nature of conflict and how to overcome obstacles can help you getting what you want and diffuse explosive situations.

Those who learn to manage conflict find that they live in a much more receptive environment to their ideas and needs. They minimize the negative effects of conflict and enhance new opportunities. Understanding and knowing how to manage conflict can lead to all types of new pathways that were once closed.  The presentation created by the business instructor Bill Davis.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Business Students Should Learn Operations Management

Ellington, B. et. al. (2014). How operations management topics support U.S. students' career goals. Journal of Operations Management, 13 (3). 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Countering the Negative Influence of the American Dollar on Exports

The trade gap bumped to $46.6 billion in December from $39.8 billion in November showing a move in the wrong direction. Exports are somewhat complex and even though new businesses have been recently attracted back to American shores they have not yet taken hold in full force. Likewise, the rise of the value of the American dollar means that exports are expensive and imports cheaper. Despite the damaging effect of a higher dollar there is something that can be done to counter this impact and improve exports.

It should first be remembered the any number and any dollar is subjective in value. This means that its value is only as good as it relates to some other item. For example, the number two is a higher number than one but both are relative to the other. One must still relate to some measure such as inch, centimeter, etc... that reflects an actual distance in our environment.

The same can be said for the dollar that is compared against some other metric to determine its value. One American dollar equates to .88 Euros. In January of 2014 the dollar was worth .72 Euros. The dollars value as a stable currency is rising and this is making American dollars and products more expensive for international markets. Exports are becoming more expensive because it takes more international currency to purchase.

As a subjective measurement the price is a reflective number on the comparable worth of a unit of production. In the U.S. we consider an hour of a person's time as a unit of production and we are willing to pay a certain dollar value per hour. Wages are factored into the overall cost of producing a product for sale on the market. If the dollar rises in value we are paying more for that unit of labor that is reflected in the final price.

This doesn't mean that the American economy is doomed. It is possible that it won't have a long term impact if we understand the other factors that go into the value the dollar that result in a particular value on the market. The dollar produces more when worker productivity, innovation, and skill are put to use in industries that can compete on the market.

The American worker would have to produce a lot of generic widgets to keep up with a Chinese worker to create value. However, if the American worker is more productive through the use of technology then his/her value rises in the overall production requiring less hours to produce products. Technology, skill and productivity can come together.

We may also raise the value of American labor through focusing on those industries that have the highest value on the market. One of the reasons we don't compete in textile industries anymore is because the products can be produced cheaper overseas and have relatively low value. The process can be run with moderate technology somewhere else.

Now if we were to place our workers in high end manufacturing, service, and other valuable industries we can create high value products that can lead the market. We can find this value in manufacturing, light metals, micro processing, IT services, and much more. These are the advanced industries that should power our economic return and create a more export driving economy. The value of the American dollar is subjective based on the value of the products produced and the efficient use of input. Educating our workers in demand industries and focusing their attention on exports can go a long way.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Can Social Media Marketing Raise Firm Value?

Do social networks have value? Relationship management tools have found to raise the value of 10 luxury hotels through the use of social network marketing (Jung, et. al., 2013). The study focused relationship marketing through social media networks but does help define the advantages that relationship marketing can offer for businesses. Marketing will also have the benefit of influencing behaviors and thoughts in an online world.

Consider how most people view a product or service through the lens of social evaluation. If their friends like a particular product they will likely be open to making a purchase themselves. If the product is extremely popular the value of such products rise and market demand increases. Social marketing is one method of encouraging greater interest in products and services.

In many ways, much of economic behavior is based in social perception of products and services. Most items we purchase on any particular day are not necessities but have social value that raise their economic value. For example, there is value in the trendiness of a particular car beyond simply driving to and from the grocery store.

Social marketing helps create that value. The purpose of social network marketing is to 1.) maintain contact with customers; and, 2.) influence the social perception of products and services. It is typically conducted through the use of social media sites, company websites, forums, and just about any other place where people gather.

Customers who are frequent users of certain products and services naturally want to stay in touch with those companies that help them create their identity. For example, an outdoor enthusiast who is engaged in multiple online outdoor forums may want to stay in touch with a company that produces new outdoor products. Such a person would be interested in the latest and greatest editions.

New products have natural interest among key social circles of heavy users. Providing information that offers a positive perception of products and services can raise their overall status in the minds of consumers. Press releases and focused discussions can help create that perception if the company leads the conversation.

Social marketing is a relatively inexpensive process at its most basic level. For small business it only requires someone to join and engage online communities where such topics are being discussed. Corporations may need to develop their own social circles and provide solutions to existing circles that may be interested in their products and services. Future development and refinement of relationship management tools has the potential to increase sales and raise firm value.

Jung, T., et. al. (2013). Online social networking: relationship marketing in UK hotels. Journal of Marketing Management, 29 (¾).

Monday, January 5, 2015

Whistleblowers Challenge Society to Function Better

Ethics is rooted in the greater good of society and the rules and norms that help ensure society doesn’t suffer at the hands of a few selfish individuals. Ethics can be applied to many different situations that range from dumping hazardous waste into rivers to using corporate influence to thwart regulations. Unethical behavior thrives in environments of fear and silence. Whistle blowers are those who are willing to break that cycle for something greater than themselves.

As bad as it sounds, powerful entities and stakeholders sometimes profit off illegal and unethical behavior. Consider the case of Sharon Watkins and  her challenge of unethical behavior at Enron. After contacting CEO Kenneth Lay about accounting irregularities her findings were dismissed. Despite being an auditor, no one believed her until the entire company collapsed.

There were previous signs of “crooked” activities in the company but people either ignored these signs up or covered them up quickly. In the case of Enron, it needed someone who understood “creative accounting” and enough confidence to bring the issue up to the CEO. A “sweep under the carpet” investigation occurred and everything was ignored until the whole company collapsed.

After coming forward Sharon Watkins gained a few public speaking engagements that paid well but ultimately she lost out on the stability of a solid job at Enron. She paid a higher price than those who stayed silent. Her courage was met by a barrage of high powered attorneys that sought to discredit her claims, question her character, dig through her background, and make arguments that the company did no wrong.

Her case is not unique and every year there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who report wrongdoing who are quickly snubbed, discredited, and fired for their actions. Even though these whistle blowers believe in something greater than themselves, fight for right over wrong, and challenged the status quo they are often quickly crushed by the same system they are trying to protect.  

Problems Facing Whistle blowers:

-Apathy and Cover Up: Whistle blowers are required to try and first bring issues up to the company. Good companies who believe in solving problems will naturally focus on improvement while crooked companies focus more on discrediting the whistle blower.

-Credibility: Whistle blowers credibility is challenged at every turn making them a pincushion to everyone else’s needs. From company officials that try to deflect responsibility to justice officials that must determine whether or not they are going to spend resources on investigating claims the whistle blower is in the line of fire.

-Social Rejection: Turning in wrongdoing is not going to make you many friends. When people question the actions of superiors they will quickly be rejected and punished. Such superiors will create hostile environments to force the challenger to leave and suffer very few consequences for doing so.

A Skewed Legal System: Today’s legal system is focused on catching petty crimes while having a difficult time understanding complex financial fraud. It takes considerable education, experience, and resources to find irregularities across many different accounts. A poor thief gets prison time and the wealthy thief gets a slap on the wrist only because of the large grey areas.

-Improper Value Systems: Far too many companies support environments that promote a win at all costs mentality. There should be a healthy balance between profitability and positive corporate citizenship. Both types of behaviors should be rewarded.

Financial Consequence: Most whistle blowers lose because the are not generally supported, funded, or have access to resources that would help them. Many find their financial lives in ruin for turning in crime thereby setting examples of what not to do. The incentives and protections for taking action are nearly non-existent.

-Theory vs. Reality: We teach ethics in business courses but don’t often follow up in the corporate world creating mixed signals for those facing ethical dilemmas. Values must come from a deeper place that most people never develop. To turn in crime and be crushed for the greater good of society or to keep silent and keep your career are fundamental questions.

Whistle blowing is not something most people can muster the character or strength to do on their own volition. Sadly, those who have the abilities and intelligence to understand the bigger picture must risk much to follow their values. Even though they are the one’s that support higher standards in society they too often find that such values are not shared by everyone.

Despite a somewhat dysfunctional system and general apathy toward unethical behavior we are almost always dumbfounded when things go bad why people didn’t come forward sooner. We are aghast at the idea that so many people knew and stayed silent for so long. It only took one person to make the delusion come down with a crash and open our understanding.

At the end of the day we instinctively know that society can’t function well if there are no consequences for predatory behavior. Societal growth relies on shared values that ensure people trust the system and its ability to ensure fair economic opportunities. Those that protect America’s values and opportunities sometimes become casualties. If you asked whistle blowers if they would do it again I believe many are likely to say, “in a heartbeat” despite having no rational reason for doing so. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Call for Papers: Business Strategy and Social Sciences Conference

2nd International Conference on Business Strategy and Social Sciences
16-17 February, 2015
Movenpick Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel, Dubai
ISBN: 978-969-9952-01-2
( ISI/Scopus Indexed Journal Publication )

The 2nd  International Conference on Business Strategy and Social Sciences (ICBSSS) is being organized by the Asian Economic and Social Society, and Pak Publishing Group. The purpose of this conference is to bring together researchers from around the globe in order to present and discuss their views in the field of Business Strategy and Social Sciences. 

The 2nd International Conference on Business Strategy and Social Sciences (ICBSSS) invites academics and independent scholars and researchers from around the world to meet and exchange the latest ideas and discuss issues concerning Business Strategy and Social Sciences fields towards sustainable development.

Main Theme: Issues concerning Business Strategy and Social Sciences field towards sustainable development.

Proceedings: All selected papers will be published in a Handbook on Business Strategy and Social Sciences with ISBN : 978-969-9952-01-2 by Pak Publishing Group. Conference proceeding will be submitted to ISI Thomson Reuters Web of Science, Google Scholar, and Microsoft Academic Search for consideration and indexation.

Journal Publication ( ISI/Scopus Indexed) 
The few selected papers will be published in the special or regular issues of the ISI/Scopus Indexed journals.

Abstract Submission Date : 1st January, 2015
Full Paper Submission Date: 15th January, 2015

Early Bird Discount Date: 15th January, 2015
Conference date:   16-17 February, 2015

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Emotional Intelligence Can Make or Break Your Career

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) may just make or break your career. You earned that prestigious MBA, sowed the deals, and mastered your job but did you master yourself? If your not sure you may want to take a look at your emotional talent to see if it can take you to the next level of performance. 

Having the right skills is important but may not be the deciding factor in long term success. It is an ability to handle the day-in and day-out emotional aspects of work and life. This is not easy as multiple pressures and issues seem to attract and distract our attention raising stress levels.

That isn't always easy as life is messy and comes with many ups and downs. The extent of our peaks and valleys and how we deal with them defines our emotional resilience. At times we are better than at others. There may be a few days that we feel like we are at our brink.

Emotional intelligence influences our ability to interact effectively with others and understand the origins of our emotions. Work is naturally stressful and the barrage of other peoples needs and issues mixed with a fast paced environment can be overwhelming to most.

Emotional intelligence is a decisive factor in career success. In a complex global business environment emotional intelligence is needed among managers that work at multinational companies. Where emotional intelligence is lacking, or unable to be developed, is a hole the skill battery of an organization.

Organizations often focus on the hard and easily measured skills that are based in results or job function. They ignore those soft skills that require something more subtle out of people. Winning at all costs without being able to develop quality relationships can be disasterous to turn over rates in the future.

Emotional intelligence is so important it can even be used as a predictor of the ability to communicate with others domestically and internationally (Fall, et. al. 2013). According to their work emotionality, sociability, and self-control make their way into higher emotional intelligence.

People that score low on emotional intelligence are also unlikely to be able to understand the nuances of international relationships. They are limited by their own perception and ability to control their emotions. People of different cultural backgrounds often look for these cues to determine intention.

The same process occurs within the same culture as it does internationally. The use of verbal and non-verbal expressions creates the total message. In international relationships the subtle nature of these impressions can change the dynamics of the relationship.

Emotional intelligence can be developed and enhanced through practice and persistence. Taking a few moments to analyze a situation critically before responding can do wonders. At times emotions can be more of a knee jerk response. If you do happen to master emotional intelligence and match your business skills to it you will have an unbeatable combination.

Fall, et. al. (2013). Intercultural communication apprehension and emotional intelligence in higher education: preparing business students for career success. Business Communication Quarterly, 76 (4).