• Top Executives

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) which provides information on what workers do; working conditions; education, training, and other qualifications; pay; job outlook; similar occupations; and sources of additional information, for 341 occupational profiles covering 85 percent of the jobs in the economy.

    One of the occupation groups in the OOH is management. One of the management occupations is top executive. They devise strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals by planning, directing, and coordinating operational activities of companies and public or private-sector organizations. Most top executives have at least a bachelor's degree and many have a master's degree in business administration. They have relevant work experience and have been promoted from lower level management positions. The median pay in 2010 was $101,250.

    BLS lists important skills needed by top executives. They are listed below.

    • Communication skills. Top executives must be able to communicate clearly and persuasively. They must effectively discuss issues and negotiate with others, direct subordinates, and explain their policies and decisions to those within and outside the organization.
    • Decision-making skills. Top executives need decision-making skills when setting policies and managing an organization. They must assess different options and choose the best course of action, often daily.
    • Leadership skills. Top executives must be able to lead a successful organization by coordinating policies, people, and resources.
    • Management skills. Top executives must organize and direct the operations of an organization. For example, they must manage business plans, employees, and budgets.
    • Problem-solving skills. Top executives need problem-solving skills after identifying issues within an organization. They must be able to recognize shortcomings and effectively carry out solutions.
    • Time-management skills. Top executives must be able to do many tasks at the same time, typically under their own direction, to ensure that their work gets done and that they meet their goals.

    "Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, 2012-2013 Occupational Outlook Handbook, [September 30, 2012 accessed] [http://www.bls.gov/ooh/]"

    Look at the other management occupations at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/home.htm. Which one interests you? What did you find interesting about the position?

  • Get Endorsements on LinkedIn

    Most college students aren't on LinkedIn since it is the social network for professionals. But you can get ahead of your competition by joining LinkedIn while you are enrolled in college. Joining LinkedIn will enable you to network professionally, find jobs, and get your questions answered.

    An endorsement on LinkedIn is similar to a Facebook "Like," but it's a lot more impressive. Ask your professors to endorse you for a skill you've learned in their class.

    Endorsements are found in two places. At the top of a connection's profile, you'll see recommended endorsements for them. Also, the Skills & Expertise section showcases these endorsements.

    Why is it best to ask professors for their endorsements while you are in their classes instead of waiting until you need a reference for a job?

  • Consumer Confidence

    Managers study the external environment or outside factors that may affect an organization. One of the directly interactive forces in the external environment that managers study is customers. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index is a tool managers can use to gauge consumers' collective confidence in the economy. The Conference Board is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization based in New York. The board's trustees include chief executives of leading global corporations.

    The Consumer Confidence Index is a number that fluctuates depending on responses to monthly surveys. The consumer confidence surveys are conducted on the first day of each month with 5,000 U.S. households. A different group is surveyed each month, and each is screened to try to represent a demographic cross-section of the nation. The same five questions have been asked since the survey began in 1967. The questions asked are to discern consumers' thinking about the economy, their place in it, and where it's headed. That consistency and long track record make the board's index highly regarded.

    Below is a graph of the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence index from September 2011 through September 2012. The September 2012 consumer confidence index stands at 70.3, up 9 points from 61.3 in August. The benchmark level is 100.


    Source: RTTNews

    Why is the Conference Board's survey closely watched? How can managers use it?

  • The Un-Game

    In her book "The Un-Game," Ingrid Martine introduces the COSA management process - Choose, Observe, Say Yes, Act.

    • Choose to be a catalyst rather than a drone, controller, or corrector. It will expand your comfort zone, as well as that of your staff.
    • Observe to see other perspectives and change your mind. Observation will rid you of "monkey mind" or self-limiting talk.
    • Say Yes forces you to look at things differently and continuously improve.
    • Act means that you are engaging with others, not telling them what to do.

    Why is showing better than telling? Can you share a time when someone showed you why and it got you to thinking about how?

  • Tips for Motivating Virtual Teams

    "About 43 percent of HR professionals predict that the demand for workplace flexibility will have a strategic impact on operations in years to come, according to the February 2011 Workplace Forecast by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)." One option for workplace flexibility is telecommuting, which is most often associated with working from home. It could also include offices that accommodate employees who don't need permanent desks. Examples include hoteling where mobile workers reserve workstations at the office and reserving telesuites with videoconferencing technology to meet virtually with clients and fellow employees in other locations.

    Past growth is depicted in the graphic below.

    The Vaya Group, a talent management consultancy, recommends the following tips for motivating virtual teams: 

    •  Invest time upfront to form relationships, despite the distance - Getting to know team members is critical, even when face-to-face interaction is limited. Take time to learn about each worker's career aspirations, strengths, development gaps and style.
    •  Recognize accomplishments in unique ways - Recognition is a powerful driver for keeping employees engaged in their work. Consider creating a team newsletter that highlights individual efforts or host yearly award banquets over the web. For both personal and professional milestones, send employees customized gifts, whether it's a gift card, flower arrangement or gift basket.
    • Schedule regular coaching sessions - Frequent phone or video conferences with employees will allow you to present new assignments that align with their interests and strengths. Remember to use these or separate conversations as a way to gather feedback. Listening provides an opportunity to learn more about remote workers and ways their work experience can be improved.
    • Create interactive ways for teams to communicate - Allowing work teams to engage across distances can lead to higher career satisfaction and sense of belonging. Go beyond email to develop an interactive team intranet that allows individuals to share ideas, post accomplishments and ask questions. Utilize web conferencing, web cameras and other virtual systems that permit more real-time conversations. 
    • Enable opportunities for periodic face-to-face interaction - Schedule face-to-face team kick-off meetings and regularly scheduled subsequent live meetings. These face-to-face meetings can be incorporated with team-building exercises to give staff additional opportunities to develop a personal connection and build camaraderie. If meetings are infrequent, create virtual team-building games, such as having everyone send in little-known facts, then displaying it for the group to guess who it describes.

     Read the attached Vaya Group whitepaper. Which ideas do you think would motivate a remote team? Explain.

  • Innovation at Coca-Cola

    Coca-Cola Freestyle® is a new fountain dispensing machine that integrates the latest technologies to dispense more than 100 beverage choices from which the customer can create their own customized beverages. The machine has a touch screen. Managers get a web based consumption report so that they can manage inventory and order efficiently. Coca-Cola Freestyle® won the National Restaurant Association 2011 Kitchen Innovation Award and the Edison Innovation 2011 Award. It has had a positive impact for businesses using it. Profits have increased because customers are buying more drinks.

    Watch the National Restaurant Association trade show video and the Coca-Cola Freestyle® video.

    Did you know that consumers needed more variety in their drink choices? Where else could these machines be placed? What drink would you choose?

  • Put Customer Experience at the Center of Business

    In their book, OUTSIDE IN, Forrester Research analysts Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine found that customer experience is a fundamental source of competitive advantage. "Customer experience is defined as how customers perceive their interactions with your company. In other words, it's what your customers think and feel as they discover, evaluate, buy, receive, use, and get support for your company's products and services. . . Customer experience ecosystem is the complex set of relationships among your company’s employees, partners, and customers that determines the quality of all customer interactions." It is depicted below. Attaining the experience competitive advantage is contingent on managers mastering six disciplines: Strategy, Customer Understanding, Design, Measurement, Governance, and Culture. An excerpt from the book is attached.

    Repeat customers keep companies in business. How important is your customer experience when you shop? Have you had an experience where you decided not to return to a business and defect to a competitor? If so, what happened and how could the manager have solved that problem?

  • Motivate Employees with Contests

    Jim Sullivan shares seven contests to motivate restaurant employees. Contests include The Perfect Guest Check, Sales Bingo, Floating Ten, Scavenger Hunt, Team Poker, Beat Your Best, and Who Can Introduce the Manager to More Customers? How could each of these contests be used by a manager in a non-sales environment to motivate employees? Which contest would motivate you the most?

  • Railway Labor Act

    Source: http://money.cnn.com/2012/08/16/news/companies/american-airlines-bankruptcy/index.html

    The Allied Pilots Association (APA), the union for American Airlines pilots, has decided to hold a strike vote. American Airlines is in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings, and the pilots are not happy. American Airlines was allowed to void its existing contract with the APA. A strike allows the union to have power by forcing the employer to cease operating. But airlines come under the Railway Labor Act (RLA), a major labor law. It was passed in 1926 to avoid any interruption of interstate commerce and to protect railway employees and union members from the actions of their employers. In 1936, the RLA was expanded to include airlines.

    It is very difficult for an airline union to go on strike legally. Furthermore, the strike can't happen until management and labor go through mediation overseen by the National Mediation Board (NMB). In mediation, a neutral third party acts as go-between in offering suggestions and gaining concessions that will enable a deadlock to be resolved. Under the RLA, the steps in the mediation process include: talks come to an impasse, binding arbitration has been proffered to the two sides, one party has declined the proffer, the mediation board calls for a 30-day cooling-off period, and the 30 days expires without an agreement. Thus, before the pilots can strike, the NMB would first have to release the union and the airline from further mediation and start a 30-day colling-off period.

    Strikes are the most powerful tactic in a union's bargaining arsenal. A strike by pilots would cause fliers to find alternative travel arrangements. How would this action help customers? Do you think the NMB will allow the pilots to strike in the midst of American's bankruptcy proceedings?

  • Find the right people

    In this video, Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing and former Washington Redskins coach, shares his principles for finding the right people for the job. To choose the team for the Washington Redskins, scouts for Coach Gibbs would talk to each candidate's junior high, senior high, and college teachers, trainers, and coaches. Coach Gibbs says, "If you find that the person has a long history of doing the right thing, chances are you will be choosing the person who will be a success for you."

    No manager wants to hire the wrong employee for the job. So, before hiring an employee, most companies check several sources of information including application forms, interviews, tests, and references. How does this compare to the recommendation to "go back as far as you can and research their history"? If you were a manager, which references would you check before hiring an employee?

  • Customer Care

    Why do some company cultures value "employees first, cutomers second"?

  • Trustworthy Managers

    Managers must earn people's trust, because people form relationships with those that they respect. The appropriate way for managers to interact with employees, customers, and the community is to adopt the principles of transparency and openness. The manager, who approves or writes content, owns the relationship. He or she must be open and transparent with the audience.

    Unfortunately, the managers at Nokia learned the importance of truthfulness the hard way when they demonstrated the new Lumia 920, a Windows smartphone, with PureView camera technology. It has optical image stabilization (OIS), which is supposed to reduce blur and camera shake and makes photos and videos look better in low light. Managers did not disclose that the video below was not recorded with PureView technology.

    Viewers believed that the video was recorded by the new phone. Then, it was revealed that the video had been recorded by a video camera. Nokia apologized on the Web and added the video below recorded from the phone.

    The New York Times reported that Stephen Elop, Nokia's CEO, asked the chief ethics officer to investigate the situation.

    Some managers are afraid of transparency. They don't want criticism and debate. What could a manager learn about truth and openness from the Nokia Lumia 920? Should Nokia have included a disclaimer with the first video noting that it was simulated? How does the Nokia Lumia 920 reveal compare with that of the Apple iPhone5?

  • Manpower Employment Outlook Survey

    Employers plan to add workers in the fourth quarter, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey. The Net Employment Outlook for fourth quarter 2012 is +11% and slightly elevated from +8% during the same period last year. The survey is conducted by an independent, third-party research firm and includes a select sample of more than 18,000 U.S. employers. The Net Employment Outlook is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity and subtracting from this the percentage of employers expecting a decrease in hiring activity.

    View the attached infographic. Where are the best metropolitan areas for jobs? In which industries? What does this employment outlook mean for you?

  • Warren Buffett says “Improve your communication skills”

    Warren Buffett is the head of a company he built called Berkshire Hathaway. The company, worth over $200 billion, is a collection of many companies that Buffett bought in their entirety, such as Geico and BNSF railroad, as well as those in which he owns stock, such as Coca-Cola and IBM. He is one of the richest men in the world, but he wasn't born rich.

    In this video, Buffett offers advice on gaining communication skills. He says, "If you improve your communication skills, I guarantee you that you will earn fifty percent more money over your lifetime." How can you increase your writing and speaking skills?

  • iPhone and iPad Tips

    College students are the biggest users of smart phones. But, some aren't aware of all of the things their iPhone or iPad can do. (See attached Wall Street Journal article.) What tips can you add to those mentioned on the video?

  • Crowdsourcing at Domino's

    Companies are outsourcing research by turning to crowds (crowdsourcing). In the past, focus groups were asked research questions. Today, many companies are asking consumers for ideas. An example is Domino's Think Oven, as shown in this video. Think Oven has two parts, projects and idea box. Projects ask for help on something specific. Idea Box asks people to submit their ideas for Domino's. Users can post ideas on Domino's Facebook page.

    Co.create reported that "customers aren't the only ones voicing their ideas: Domino's store managers and employees have taken to Think Oven with genuine suggestions. The idea for one of Domino's new products, Parmesan Bread Bites, came from Brian Edler, a Domino's store owner in Ohio instead of from product development types at HQ."

    How is crowdsourcing improving Domino's business?

  • Crowdfunding

    Raising capital is a challenge for any business, but it is especially difficult for new businesses. Instead of asking investors for money, some small businesses and entrepreneurs are using crowdfunding Web sites like Kickstarter, to solicit money. Kickstarter began as a Web site for artists, musicians, and filmmakers to raise money for their creative projects. In this video, Yancy Strickler, co-Founder of KickStarter, tells how people are funding their entrepreneurial endeavors using his website. Backers pledge money for a project in exchange for items produced from the project, such as a music download or an art print.

    The Crowdfund Act is part of a new law, Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS Act), which allows businesses to raise small amounts of money from small investors online. JOBS was "designed to jumpstart our economy and restore opportunities for America's primary job creators: our small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs" (See attachment). It changes the way small businesses raise capital. In general, the law allows companies to raise up to $1 million a year from small investors in return for part ownership. 

    Whenever you ask people for help, you don't know what they will say. Will they like what you are doing? Will they want what you are offering? How successful do you think small businesses will be in searching for funds on the Web?

  • Labor Day 2012

    In this video, Secretary Solis delivers remarks for Labor Day 2012. How do you spend Labor Day?