• Santa Collaborates with His Team

    Businesses are using private social media tools. Salesforce Chatter is an example. See the infographic below for an example of how Santa and his team are collaborating in real-time using Chatter.

    Why would managers want to use private social media tools?

    Team Santa takes Collaboration Software to the Clouds [Infographic]

  • What is Santa worth?

    Barron's reports that a mall Santa makes about $8,000 during the month of December. Barbara Marquand of Insure.com says that Santa's yearly rate is around $135,000 in "Santa Index 2012: St. Nick's efforts worth about $135,000 this year."  She compares Santa's job to similar ones listed in bls.gov, the hours per day worked, and the days per year worked, as seen in Santa's Index 2012 below.

    Santa's job

    BLS occupation used

    Hours per day

    Days per year

    Mean hourly

    Annual earnings

    Manufacturing executive (workshop)

    Industrial Engineers





    Professional shopper

    Sales and Related Workers






    Packers and Packagers, Hand





    Labor negotiator (with elves)

    Labor Relations Specialists





    Letter reader

    Correspondence Clerks





    Company representative in mall

    Customer Service Representatives





    Investigator (knows if you've been good or bad)

    Private Detectives and Investigators





    List checker (checking it twice)

    Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks





    Taking care of reindeer

    Farmworkers, Farm, Ranch, and Aquacultural Animals





    Snow plow driver

    Highway Maintenance Workers






    Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineer





    Going down chimneys (chimney sweep)

    Building Cleaning Workers





    Cookie & milk taster

    Agricultural Inspectors





    Deliveries via sleigh (distributor)

    Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks





    Announcer ("Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!")

    Public Address System and Other Announcers




    19 cents

    Total: $134,944

    Wage source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

    What do you think? Is Santa worth more or less? Explain.

  • ‘Tis the Season to Give Strategically

    Holidays put most people in the giving mood, and their donations support charities. Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy, researched and written by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and published by Giving USA Foundation, estimated that total charitable contributions by individuals, corporations, and foundations in 2011 were $298.42 billion.

    Sponsorship of charitable causes or events is a strategy used to increase product awareness and build relationships. Organizations use sponsorships to gain exposure to the event's audience and the image associated with the event or activity. Sponsorships involve investments in events or causes in order to achieve various corporate objectives. Managers select events to sponsor based on the target audience. Event marketing is a form of brand promotion that ties a brand to a meaningful athletic, entertainment, cultural, social, or other type of high-interest public activity. It provides companies with alternatives to the cluttered mass media, ability to segment on a local or regional basis, and opportunities for reaching narrow lifestyle groups whose consumption behavior can be tied to the local event.

    Just like corporations, individuals can think strategically about supporting charities. They can target their giving by choosing to make one big donation rather than making small donations to many individual charities. They can match what matters most to them to the mission of the charity. They can review the accomplishments of the charity.

    Websites reviewing and rating charities include CharityNavigator.org, CharityWatch.org, GuideStar.org, and GreatNonProfits.org. Reviews are based on standards such as fundraising expenses, transparency, and overhead expenses.

    Dan Pallotta, author of Uncharitable and Charity Case, thinks that standards, such as overhead expenses, are the wrong criteria to evaluate charities. Instead program effectiveness should be determined. Pallotta says three questions should be asked.

    1. What are your goals?
    2. What is your progress towards those goals?
    3. How do you know?

    Which charitable causes are important to you? How do you know if the charity is effective? Can the charity give you information indicating how successful it is? How successful is the organization?

  • Top 10 Overused Professional Buzzwords

    How do you describe yourself? LinkedIn, the professional social networking site with 187 million members, analyzed member profiles to find their 2012 list of the top 10 overused profile buzzwords. Overused words are thought to be meaningless.

    Are using any of these words in your resume or LinkedIn profile? If so, replace the overused buzzword with your accomplishments. Managers want to know what you do and the results you have achieved. When you list a descriptive word, add "which resulted in . . ."

  • Management Pays

    The Census Bureau’s Pathways After a Bachelor’s Degree looks at 13 different bachelor’s degree majors. For each major, you can see the estimated work-life earnings at each level of education. Below is the infographic for business. Those in management were more likely to be employed full time, year-round. People working in business earn more than the average of $2.4 million earned in a work-life. Also, people who major in business earn more than average.

    How important is what you choose to study in college? How important is the the career you choose after college?

  • Stay Safe Online This Holiday Season

    This holiday season, more people than ever before will shop online using their smart phones, tablets, and computers. In this video,  John Stewart, Chief Security Officer at Cisco shares the information people need to stay safe online this holiday shopping season. He says, "Nearly half of all shoppers in the United States will find gifts online this holiday season and while this trend is convenient, it opens the door to major security threats."

    What concerns do you have about shopping online? Were your questions answered?

  • How to Break Habits

    Everyone makes decisions every day. But, many of our actions aren't decisions. They are habits. Charles Duhigg, author of "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business," says a habit has three parts: cue, routine, and reward. "You can change to a better routine by planning for the cue, and choosing a behavior that delivers the reward you are craving. What you need is a plan." (See attached "Guide for Changing Habits" for more explanation.)

    What are the cues, routines, and rewards in your life? Identify a habit you'd like to modify. What reward are you actually craving? 

     How to Change a Habit (The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg)

  • Lego Relationship with Customer Goes Viral

    The unit of value in business today is relationships. Clearly, managers have an incentive to keep existing customers satisfied. The key to successful customer retention is superior customer satisfaction. Organizations have determined that even the loss of a sale in the short run may mean greater profits in a long-term relationship. Such a focus on satisfying customer needs helps build the trust that can result in a mutually beneficial and satisfying long-term relationship.

    Lego is a company that understands the importance of satisfying customers. This video was uploaded by the parents of eleven year-old James Groccia as they captured his reaction to receiving a Lego Emerald Night Train set. James had saved money to buy the set for two years. Then, he found that it had been discontinued and wrote a letter to Lego. A few days before his birthday, he received the train set from Lego. His parents titled the video, "Why Lego is the Best Company in the World."

    Lego did not receive money for this product. How might the loss of this sale mean greater profits in the long-run?

  • Congratulations to the 2012 Baldrige Award Recipients

    The 2012 Baldrige Award recipients-listed with their category-are:

    The nation's highest award for innovation and performance excellence is the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. It is a presidential honor, established by Congress in 1987 "to promote quality awareness, to recognize quality and business achievements of U.S. organizations, and to publicize and share these organizations' successful performance strategies." Past winners include Motorola, Xerox, and FedEx.

    The seven key areas of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence are: leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis, and knowledge management; workforce focus; operations focus; and results. "The Criteria are designed to help organizations improve their performance by focusing on two goals: delivering ever-improving value to customers and improving the organization's overall performance." Organizations submit an application detailing their achievements and improvements in those key areas.

    Many U.S. organizations have improved since the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence were introduced. Baldrige Performance Excellence Program Strategy Map is attached. You can give feedback on the form at http://patapsco.nist.gov/BNQP_Feedback/SubmitFeedback.cfm.

  • Top Job Skill Needed is Communication

    Clear communications is the number one must-have job skill for 2013 according to Ruth Mantell  in the Wall Street Journal article, "Must Have Job Skills for 2013," November 18, 2013. "This is really the ability to clearly articulate your point of view and the ability to create a connection through communication," says Holly Paul, U.S. recruiting leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting and consulting firm based in New York.

    But employees need more than just the basic skills of reading and writing to compete in the workplace, according to the results of the American Management Association. (See attached Executive Summary, AMA 2010 Critical skills Survey).

    Michael Hess of CBS Money Watch gives the following as examples of customer service language which is beyond the basics in his article, "Good Service Language Makes for Happier Holidays." (Remember that customers can be both internal and external.)

    Say this: "Hi/welcome/how are you?"
    Not this: [nothing]

    Say this: "Let me help you with that" or "How can I help you?"
    Not this: "You need help?"

    Say this: "Can you bear with me for just a moment?"
    Not this: "We're just swamped right now, you'll have to give me a minute."

    Say this: "Let me see if I can get that OK'd for you."
    Not this: "Sorry, that's our policy."

    Say this: "What's best/easiest for you?"
    Not this: "That's the best we can do."

    Say this: "I won't keep you waiting long" or "I'll have this done as fast as I can."
    Not this: "Hold on a second for me, OK?"

    Say this: "I'm so sorry about that."
    Not this: [nothing]

    Say this: "I'd be happy to/absolutely/our pleasure"
    Not this: "I can't."

    Say this: "Thank you."

    Can you add to the "Say this, not this" list? How do you know when others have a good understanding of what you've said or written?

  • Target + Neiman Marcus

    Target and Neiman Marcus collaborated to offer fifty holiday gift items created by 24 designers ranging in price from $7.99 to $499.99. The gifts went on sale December 1. Target showcased the gifts on ABC’s Revenge in a show titled The Gift of Revenge and encouraged viewers to use the hashtag #GiftOfRevenge to talk about the show on Twitter. The objective was to keep viewers engaged with the commercials just like the show. The fans seemed to like the commercials. But, demand during the launch Saturday for the gifts was weaker than expected.

    How do you think the companies are measuring this objective, Target + Neiman? By engagement? By sales? What do you think about the collaboration?


  • Employee Gifts

    What gifts do employees want to receive this holiday season? Managers don't have to guess! The answers are available from an annual survey by Glassdoor, "a free jobs and career community that offers the world an inside look at jobs and companies."

    Employees want money! The top gifts on employees' wish lists are cash bonus and salary raise. They don't want a party. Only 5 percent wanted company-sponsored parties. But, most employees will get a party, not money. Why the disconnect?

    Interview 5 employed people. Ask them, "What holiday gift do you want from your manager?" Then ask, "What gift do you expect to get from your employer?" Do the two answers match? If not, why not?

    This year's survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Glassdoor from November 8-12, 2012 among 2,059 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.