• Job Polarization and Jobless Recoveries

    The National Employment Law Project released a report, "Tracking the Recovery after the Great Recession." It found that lower wage occupations are growing faster than higher wage occupations and middle wage occupations are decreasing.

    During the recession (2008 Q1 to 2010 Q1), employment losses occurred throughout the economy, but were concentrated in mid-wage occupations. By contrast, during the recovery (2010 Q1 to 2012 Q1), employment gains have been concentrated in lower-wage occupations, which
    grew 2.7 times as fast as mid-wage and higher-wage occupations. Specifically:

    • Lower-wage occupations (in fields like retail and hospitality with median hourly wages of $7.69 to $13.83) constituted 21 percent of recession losses, but 58 percent of recovery growth.
    • Mid-wage occupations (in fields like construction, manufacturing and information with median hourly wages of $13.84 to $21.13) constituted 60 percent of recession losses, but only 22 percent of recovery growth.
    • Higher-wage occupations (in design-oriented fields with a median wage of $21.14 to $54.55) constituted 19 percent of recession job losses, and 20 percent of recovery growth.


    Nir Jaimovich, Henry E. Siu discuss how job polarization and jobless recoveries are related in their National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, "The Trend is the Cycle: Job Polarization and Jobless Recoveries." They define job polarization as the recent disappearance of employment in occupations in the middle of the skill distribution and jobless recoveries as the slow rebound in aggregate employment following recent recessions, despite recoveries in aggregate output. They found, "job polarization is not a gradual process; essentially all of the job loss in middle-skill occupations occurs in economic downturns. Second, jobless recoveries in the aggregate are accounted for by jobless recoveries in the middle-skill occupations that are disappearing."

    Economic conditions influence management decisions. Some companies reorganize in response to financial pressures by automating jobs or by sending jobs offshore. Thus, managers know that many of the jobs that disappeared during the recession are not coming back. How can managers influence their external environments, especially the economy?

  • Tools for managing and analyzing social media

    Monitoring social media provides managers with contextual information and shared knowledge that can be used to improve business. Negative conversations need to be addressed and positive conversations need to be leveraged in order to build better products and improve services.

    Some of the tools managers used for managing and analyzing social media are listed below.

    1. Tweetdeck: Tweetdeck is used to monitor what's being said about the product brand in real-time. Managers keep it running in the background on their computers and check it periodically throughout the day to see if there is anything that needs to be addressed.

    2. Hootsuite: HootSuite is used to schedule posts. For example, tweets can be scheduled to post on Twitter on the weekends when other companies aren't posting at all.

    3. Facebook Insights: Facebook Insights help managers understand their Facebook audience so that content can be targeted to the correct demographic.

    4. Google Alerts: Google Alerts keep managers up to date on what people are saying about their products and companies on news sites and blogs.

    5. VenueLabs VenueLabs keeps tab on social media mentions across a variety of local business pages. The analytical data and message notification system helps managers respond to messages on platforms like Google+ Local in a more timely matter.

    On social media, if a discussion is positive, the manager might post something showing appreciation or provide additional information. If it is a negative conversation, the manager may resolve a customer problem and develop a better image. Customers know that problems might happen, but it is how the manager resolves the problem that matters.

    Have you provided feedback on a product to Yelp or to your Twitter followers or Facebook friends? Have you rated a product on a site, such as Amazon? Did you get a response? What if you were the manager? How would you respond?


  • Pay with your cell phone

    A wave of a cellphone replaces the swipe of a credit card in a program involving MasterCard PayPass. A phone is used to pay for items. Account information can be embedded in the phone.

    Google is looking to make Google Wallet more than an mobile-payment system, turning it into a catchall for gift cards, tickets, credentials and the like. "We want you to be able to leave your leather wallet at home and carry your phone and transact with that as your primary transaction device," Robin Dua, head of product management for Google Wallet, says in a video for developers. Watch the Google wallet demonstration on YouTube at http://youtu.be/6tBAB5ls5vM. The video updating Google Wallet is below.

    A number of other firms, including Apple, are planning similar offerings

    What do you think? If you could pay with your cell phone, would you do it? Why or why not?

  • Make an Infographic

    If you know PowerPoint, you can make an infographic with a free tool from HubSpot. (It is attached.) The template gives you three choices: a step-by-step infographic, an informational infographic, and a data-packed infographic.

    You can see some of my favorite infographics at http://www.pinterest.com/management.

    Choose a topic in management and explain it with an infographic.

  • Apple versus Samsung

    Intellectual property is an important part of an overall company's net worth. It must be protected. We saw an example of this Friday when a nine-person jury sided with Apple on a majority of its patent infringement claims against Samsung Electronics, awarding Apple more than $1 billion in damages.

    The jury reached the verdict after reviewing internal documents from both companies including emails between managers and reports to managers.

    After the verdict was delivered Samsung released the following statement:

    Today's verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer. It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices. It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies. Consumers have the right to choices, and they know what they are buying when they purchase Samsung products. This is not the final word in this case or in battles being waged in courts and tribunals around the world, some of which have already rejected many of Apple's claims. Samsung will continue to innovate and offer choices for the consumer.

    After the verdict was delivered, Apple released the following statement:

    We are grateful to the jury for their service and for investing the time to listen to our story and we were thrilled to be able to finally tell it. The mountain of evidence presented during the trail showed that Samsung's copying went far deeper than even we knew. The lawsuits between Apple and Samsung were about much more than patents or money. They were about values. At Apple, we value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy. We applaud the court for finding Samsung's behavior willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn't right.

    What do you think Apple and Samsung will do now? Will Samsung appeal? Will the companies find a business solution, such as licensing? Or, will Apple decide to dominate the market?

    Amended Verdict Apple Samsung

  • Microsoft unveils new logo

     Microsoft's updated corporate logo was revealed yesterday. The last update was 25 years ago (1987). The old logo is below.

    Choosing a logo is part of the product planning process. An effective logo projects the personality of a product, service, or company. Customers use the logo to identify the product, service, or company. (Try the Logo Quiz at http://www.logoquiz.net/.)

    The new logo precedes Microsoft's new software products -- Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Xbox services, the next version of Office. Here's how Jeff Hansen, General Manager, Brand Strategy, Microsoft, explained the new logo. "The logo has two components: the logotype and the symbol. For the logotype, we are using the Segoe font which is the same font we use in our products as well as our marketing communications. The symbol is important in a world of digital motion (as demonstrated in the video above.) The symbol's squares of color are intended to express the company's diverse portfolio of products."


    Many companies have wasted a lot of money on their new logos. Consumers don't recognize them or remember them. It is inefficient for the same company, selling the same product, to change their logo. But, what about Microsoft? Was it time to change the logo? How will the new logo inspire the quality and integrity of the new software products?

  • Work smarter, not harder

    We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but some people accomplish a lot more than others. Successful managers control their time by using the skill of delegation. They define objectives by answering, "What results does the company want?" Then, they get out of the way and let employees achieve those objectives. They trust employees to do the job.

    But, some employees know how to delegate. They manage the boss by using upward delegation. "Who's Got the Monkey" by William Oncken, Jr. and Donald L. Wass is a classic management article using the metaphor of a "monkey on the back" to illustrate upward delegation.

    Read the attached article. How can managers avoid taking responsibility for a monkey that belongs on the employee's back?

  • Conduct more productive meetings

    In this CBS video, leadership coach and author Liz Cornish discusses how to conduct more productive meetings. At the start of the meeting she suggests:

    • Have a clear objective and share that objective with all members
    • Make sure the right people attend the meeting
    • Set up meeting agreements (cell phones off, start and end on time, agree to participate, etc.)

    Watch the video at this site http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7413008n&tag=mncol;lst<img alt=;1. What does she suggest to do during the meeting to make it more productive?

  • The Art of Being Unreasonable

    In 1954, Eli Broad's wife gave him a paperweight with the following quote from George Bernard Shaw. "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends upon the unreasonable man." Since receiving that paperweight, Broad founded two Fortune 500 companies (KB Home and SunAmerica) and became a billionaire. He shares his "unreasonable" success principles in his new book, The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking.

    Broad operates in the "Why not?" mode. He looks for ways to "reframe the facts in a way no one considered before." In most cases, he doesn't he look for the why behind what is. Why not?


  • Top Ten Consumer Complaints

    The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators (NACPI) surveyed 38 agencies across the United States about complaints they received in 2011.

    Top Ten Complaints

    1. Auto: Misrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used cars, lemons, faulty repairs, leasing and towing disputes
    2. Credit/Debt: Billing and fee disputes, mortgage modifications and mortgage-related fraud, credit repair, debt relief services, predatory lending, illegal or abusive debt collection tactics
    3. Home Improvement/Construction: Shoddy work, failure to start or complete the job
    4. Retail Sales: False advertising and other deceptive practices, defective merchandise, problems with rebates, coupons, gift cards and gift certificates, failure to deliver
    5. Utilities: Service problems or billing disputes with phone, cable, satellite, Internet, electric and gas service
    6. Services: Misrepresentations, shoddy work, failure to have required licenses, failure to perform
    7. (Tie) Internet Sales: Misrepresentations or other deceptive practice, failure to deliver online purchases; Landlord/Tenant: Unhealthy or unsafe conditions, failure to make repairs or provide promised amenities, deposit and rent disputes, illegal eviction tactics
    8. Fraud: Bogus sweepstakes and lotteries, work-at-home schemes, grant offers, fake check scams, the grandparent scam and other common frauds
    9. Real Estate: Timeshare sales and resales, retirement communities and assisted living facilities, real estate fraud
    10. (Tie) Household Goods: Misrepresentations, failure to deliver, faulty repairs in connection with furniture or appliances; Home Solicitations: Misrepresentations or failure to deliver in door-to-door, telemarketing or mail solicitations, do-not-call violations

    The report offers general tips for consumers about how to avoid scams and rip-offs at www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/Consumer_Complaint_Consumer_Tips2011.pdf. In general, to avoid problems, consumers should check the backgrounds of service providers and review the ratings of products.

    Choose one of the top ten complaints, and read the CFA suggestions on how to avoid scams and rip-offs in that area. If you were the manager in one of those businesses, what could you do to lessen complaints?

  • Happiness Studies

    Last April, I wrote about "Gross National Happiness" as a measurement, instead of gross national product, of Bhutan's progress. (Bhutan is a tiny Himalayan country east of India.) In a speech on Monday, Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve chairman, said, "We should seek better and more-direct measurements of economic well-being."

    What contributes to happiness? Surveys have found the following consistent answers: health, family and community, control over one's life, and opportunities for leisure. Bernanke wants to know answers to the following questions. How secure do Americans feel in their jobs? How confident are Americans in their future job prospects? How prepared are families for financial shocks?

    Since "happiness" is a subjective emotion, most managers want to measure "satisfaction." They may not be able to make you happy, but they can influence your satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is measured using the Net Promoter ultimate question (How likely are you to recommend this product or company to your friends and family?). This results in a Net Promoter score (essentially the number of survey respondents with positive outlooks on a brand minus those with negative outlooks.)

    Interview several of your employed friends and family members. Ask them Bernanke's questions-How secure do you feel in your job? How confident are you in your future job prospects? How prepared are you for financial shocks? Then, ask them a version of the Net Promoter question-How likely are you to recommend working at this company to your friends and family? What did you find? Happiness or satisfaction?

  • JCP CEO wants input from customers

    Yesterday, I received the email below from J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson. It was a letter to Penney's customers giving them information about the company and asking them for their ideas and opinions. A link in the email makes it easy for customers to reply. 

    Johnson joined Penney from Apple last November, and added marketing to his CEO responsibilities in June. Since he joined the company, Penney's sales have declined. Will this new attempt be effective in increasing sales? Explain.


  • 8 Successful Traits for Success

    Richard St. John conducted ten years of research and 500 face-to-face-interviews to collect eight common traits in successful leaders around the world. He shares his research in his book, The 8 Traits Successful People Have In Common - 8 To Be Great.

    Complete the exercise below. How do you score on the 8 traits? Are you down around number one where you slack off a lot, or are you closer to seven where you work really hard? Where you think you score now? Where you want to be?

  • Management in 10 Words

    Terry Leahy, CEO of Tesco for 14 years, was voted "Britain's Most Admired leader" by Management Today for five years in a row. Tesco, one of the world's three largest retailers, is a multinational supermarket chain headquartered in the United Kingdom. Leahy offers the following ten words in his book, MANAGEMENT In 10 Words published by Random House Business Books 2012.

    1. TRUTH: "Organisations are terrible at confronting the truth. It is so much easier to define your version of reality, and judge success and failure according to that. But my experience is that truth is crucial both to create and to sustain success."
    2. LOYALTY: "Winning and retaining loyalty is the best objective any business - indeed, any organisation - can have. The search for loyalty has, at its heart, an age-old idea: you reward the behaviour you seek from others."
    3. COURAGE: "Good strategies need to be bold and daring. People need to be stretched as they can do more than they think. Goals have to cause excitement, and perhaps just a little fear. Above all, they need to inspire, and present an organisation with a choice: have these great ambitions, or remain as you are."
    4. VALUES: "Strong values underpin successful businesses. They give managers a sheet anchor, something that holds their position and keeps them from being smashed against the rocks when caught in a storm. Values govern how a business behaves, what it sees as important, what it does when faced with a problem."
    5. ACT: "Intention is never enough. Plans mean nothing if they are not effectively enacted."
    6. BALANCE: "A balanced organisation is one in which everyone moves forward together, steered in the right direction, without being overrun by the juggernaut of bureaucracy."
    7. SIMPLE: "Change in any fast-moving, fast-growing company is not easy. My solution is quite simple: to make things simple. Simplicity is the knife that cuts through the tangled spaghetti of life's problems.
    8. LEAN: "Sustainable consumption depends on desiring goods and services that use fewer natural resources. By thinking lean, we can go green - and do more, for less."
    9. COMPETE: "Competitors - and the act of competition itself - are great teachers. Don't wait for your competitors to come over the horizon. Seek them out."
    10. TRUST: "Trust is the bedrock of leadership. When people trust you, they feel that their interests are safe in your hands, and they have confidence in your vision, ability, judgement, drive and determination to see things through."

    Which word do you think is most important for managers? Why?


  • #1 Priority for CEOs

    "Getting and keeping talent!" is priority #1 for CEOs participating in PricewaterhouseCooper's 2012 Global CEO Study. More than 1250 company leaders from 60 countries were interviewed. Skills gaps are seen as a threat to business expansion. Thus, CEOs are changing talent management strategies. Of those CEOs surveyed, 79% already have or will have their human resources directors as one of their direct reports. See the attached infographic.

    How can HR managers become more strategic?