• Bill Gates admits "Control+Alt+Delete" was a "mistake"

    In this discussion at Harvard on Sept. 21, Bill Gates talks about the rise of Microsoft, his current philanthropic efforts, and his friendship with Warren Buffett. Around 16:30 in the video, he admits "Control+Alt+Delete" command was a "mistake." "We could've had a single button, but the guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn't want to give us our single button." . . . "When you turn your computer on, you're going to see some screens and eventually type your password in, you want to have something you do with the keyboard that is signaling to a very low level of the software – actually hard-coded in the hardware – that it really is bringing in the operating system you expect."

    His goal was "a computer on every desk running our software." But, his company didn't make computers. What was so visionary about this goal?

  • The Affordable Care Act

    On October 1st, anyone can go to http://www.healthcare.gov and use the new Health Insurance Marketplace to see all of the health plans available in an area and sign up for one. Also, anyone can find out if they are eligible to pay less for private health insurance or whether they qualify for other free or low-cost programs.

    Attached is a report discussing how affordable insurance will be. Find your state's Marketplace premiums at http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform/map.

    What is the Affordable Care Act and what does it mean for a company and its employees?    

  • What Successful People Do With the First Hour of their Work Day

    Fast Company asked Craig Newmark of Craigslist, David Karp of Tumblr, motivational speaker Tony Robbins, career writer (and Fast Company blogger) Brian Tracy, and others, about the first items on their daily to-do list.

    Below are the first items on their daily to-do list.

    • Don't check your email the first hour of every day.
    • Gain awareness, be grateful.
    • Do the big shoulder-sagging stuff first. "Brian Tracy's classic time-management book Eat That Frog gets its title from a Mark Twain saying that, if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, you've got it behind you for the rest of the day, and nothing else looks so bad."
    • Choose your frog.

       

    • Ask yourself if you're doing what you want to do.
    • "Customer Service" (or your own equivalent)

    What do you do with the first hour of your day?

    Does it increase productivity and reduce stress?

    If not, what will you start doing first on your daily to-do-list from the list above?


     

     

  • Super Service

    In this video, Jeff Gee, author of Super Service, discusses customer service.

    What is Wendy's story?

    What story does he tell about Target?

    Above are exercises from the book, Super Service. A customer is defined as "anybody who isn't you! This is a critical key to a successful organization. This definition of a customer includes all the people inside and all the people outside of the company: External & Internal Customers. External Customers : The customers that we serve outside of the sphere of our company. Internal Customers : The people who server our External Customers- the employees and and others that work within our company."
    Why should the manager care about internal customer service?
    Which employees should receive customer service training?
  • Top Performing CEOs

    What do the world's top performing CEOs have in common?

    What can you do to become a top performing CEO?

  • Young and Unemployed

    Express Employment Professionals released a white paper, “The Great Shift: Where Have All The Workers Gone?” (See attached file.) It reports that "the labor force participation rate (LFPR) — or percentage of adults who have a job or are looking for one — has declined to a 34-year low." The labor market is toughest for young people under 25. (See graphic below.)

    Source: The Wall Street Journal 

    In a Wall Street Journal weekend interview, Bob Funk, president and founder of Express Employment Services, says, “Anyone who really wants a job in this country can have one.” To land and keep a job isn't hard, he says, but you have to meet three conditions: “First you need integrity; second, a strong work ethic; and, third, you have to be able to pass a drug test.” If an applicant can meet those minimal qualifications, he says, “I guarantee I can find employers tomorrow who will hire you.”

    He thinks the notion of the “dead-end job” is poisonous because it shuts down all sense of possibility and ambition. One of his lifelong themes, Mr. Funk says, is that “a job—any job—is by far the best social program in America and the ladder to success.”

    What does “work ethic” mean to you?

    What do you think is a “dead-end job”?

  • Management is Top Major

    What do you want to be when you grow up? No kid ever says, "I want to be a manager." But, once in college, many students choose management as a major.

    The Princeton Review, the company known for creating standardized tests, published a Top 10 Majors list based on the intellectual challenge of each and the versatility of skills in the curriculum that will apply to many careers. 

    Business Administration and Management/Commerce was the number one major on the list. Here is what the Princeton Review said. 

    Think you're a born leader? You'll need stellar people skills-no room for wallflowers here-and talents in problem solving, number crunching, and decision making. And don't forget great communication skills! While studying business, you'll get a thorough grounding in the theories and principles of accounting, finance, marketing, economics, statistics, and human resources functions. You will be a whiz on how to budget, organize, plan, hire, direct, control, and manage various kinds of organizations -from entrepreneurial-type start-ups to multi-million-dollar corporations. This major will also get you thinking about issues such as diversity, ethics, politics, and other dynamics that play a role in every work environment. Make sure those competitive juices are flowing; the business world is all, well, business.

    Is a management degree a direct path to the top of the organization chart?

     

     

  • AT&T Chairman & CEO Randall Stephenson Named Chairman of Business Roundtable

    Randall Stephenson, Chairman and CEO of AT&T, was named Chairman of Business Roundtable (BRT), effective Jan. 1, 2014. BRT is an association of 211 chief executive officers (CEOs) of leading U.S. companies with the priorities of enacting comprehensive tax reform, strengthening and modernizing Social Security and Medicare, implementing smart energy policy, bolstering the nation’s education system, and continuing to open markets to U.S. exports.

    Jim McNerney, current Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of The Boeing Company, said, “Randall Stephenson is an outstanding business leader who has worked tirelessly to promote growth and innovation in the private sector, and he fully understands what it will take for the United States to sustain its leadership in the global marketplace. As Vice Chair of BRT’s Health and Retirement Committee, he helped guide our recommendations on Social Security and Medicare reforms that would maintain a dependable safety net for future generations and address America’s long-term fiscal challenge. As chairman, he will have the full support of BRT members.” He added, "It has been an honor to serve as the Roundtable Chairman and to help set an agenda for American economic growth alongside some of the nation’s top business leaders. Our efforts have helped to advance pro-growth policies in areas such as trade and smart regulation, but considerable work remains to be done in Washington, D.C., to unleash America’s true potential for growth and job creation.”

    Randall Stephenson said, “We’re entering a crucial time where we have tremendous opportunities to improve our nation’s economy for the long haul. America’s leading companies have a critical role to play, working in collaboration with the Administration, Congress, our colleagues in small business, and many other stakeholders. I’m excited about what can be accomplished if we all work together to get our economy moving again. In particular, we will be encouraging policies to incent increased capital investment in the U.S. economy, which is vital to deliver sustainable job creation and long-term prosperity for all Americans. I join my colleagues in expressing my sincere thanks to Jim McNerney for the great leadership he has provided this organization. Jim has set a very high standard. I’m honored to follow him and have this chance to serve." 

    Watch the videos at "Corporations 101." 

    What did you learn about how corporations work and the value they provide to the U.S. economy?

  • Hype versus No Hype

    Managers decide what types of promotion will be used to inform customers about products and services. 

    Find an advertisement representing an example of hype and an example of no-hype.

    Why is no-hype the ethical example?

  • Statistics About Small Businesses

    Docstoc created the above infographic that breaks down the state of small businesses.

    • How many small businesses are there? 
    •  Who do small businesses employ? 
    •  How much revenue do they make?
    • Do you want to own your own business?

  • The You Plan

    Dr. Woody Woodward, PhD, author of "The You Plan" wants you to think about your career like an entrepreneurial. He recommends the VIPER approach. Determine your values, intrinsics, passion, essence (brand), and road map.

    What are your values? What drives your decisions?

    What are your intrinsics? What do you bring to the table?

    What are your passions? What gets you up in the morning?

    What is your essence or brand? What are you about?

    What is your road map for making it happen? What is your plan? How will you make it happen?

  • Setting Up Success with Company Culture

    This infographic from Visa Business states that "engaged employees are essential to for a successful small business." Engaged means you are very interested in what you are doing. The infographic states that most employees believe "a distinct workplace culture is important to business success." This culture includes regular and candid communication, close work friendships, employee recognition, and access to leadership. But, most "employees say their business is not doing enough to create a positive culture at work."

    When you are a manager, how will you communicate with your employees? How will you recognize (motivate) employees? How will you be accessible (as a leader) to employees?

  • Culture Drives the Strategy at Costco

    In this video interview, Costco co-founder CEO Jim Sinega says, "Culture is not the most important thing, it is the only thing." Costco is known for its low turnover. Many employees that started with the company have stayed to become managers.

    Jim Sinega says that Costco's competitive advantage is "absolute pricing authority." What does that mean for the customer? What might that mean for the employees?

    What does Costco value? How do Costco's values shape its culture? Entrepreneur defines corporate culture as A blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time. (Summarize this definition of culture in your own words.) How does it apply to Costco?

    What could other companies learn from Costco?

  • Yahoo! Updates Logo

    The managers at Yahoo! decided to update the logo, which was revealed this week. Yahoo! quickly grew into a large company mainly by word of mouth. They offered a unique experience that was gained partly by being one of the first search engines. But, today, Google is the best known search engine.

    In her blog post announcing the new logo, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer wrote, "We knew we wanted a logo that reflected Yahoo - whimsical, yet sophisticated. Modern and fresh, with a nod to our history. Having a human touch, personal. Proud." Yet surveys revealed that Internet users prefer Yahoo's old logo to the new logo.

    In general, it is inefficient for the same company, selling the same product, to change its logo. Martin Bishop, director of brand strategy for Landor Associates, told Mashable, "It's increasingly typical for there to be a loud and often negative reaction and even more so for anyone who doesn't have a good reputation," noting that Yahoo isn't necessarily perceived as "cutting edge" anymore.

    What exactly is the purpose of Yahoo? Should the managers have spent more time telling us the company's purpose? How could Yahoo do a better job of verbalizing how they satisfy their customers?

     

  • Happy Labor Day!

    Labor Day, an annual federal holiday on the first Monday in September, is celebrated to acknowledge the social and economic achievements of American workers and their contributions to the strength and prosperity of the United States. Often, it is considered the unofficial last day of summer, because it is often the last weekend before the new school year begins. This is ironic since there is a connection between economic mobility and educational achievement. The more education a student can get, the better his or her chances of getting a job.

    The Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project "policy memo provides 13 facts on the growth of income inequality and its relationship to social mobility in America." (See attached.) The chart below shows that education is the best investment.

    The Hamilton Project authors report:

    "Obtaining a college degree can significantly boost one's income. Over the past three years, individuals between the ages of thirty and fifty who graduated from high school but did not attend college could expect to earn less than $30,000 per year. Those whose highest level of educational attainment was a bachelor's degree earned just under $60,000 per year, and those with an advanced degree earned over $80,000. But even individuals who attend college and do not obtain a degree still see an increase in their annual earnings."

    Do you someone who is trying to decide if working and staying in college is worth it?

    Do you know someone who has been laid-off and is looking for a job?

    How can people move ahead? How can they upgrade their skills? What is the vital link between education and the workplace?