• Job Automation May Threaten Half of U.S. Workforce

    Bloomberg reports that mobile robots and ‘smart’ computers – that learn on the job – make it likely the occupations employing about half of today’s U.S. workers could be possible to automate in the next decade or two. (Research is from an Oxford University study that estimated the probability of computerization of more than 700 occupations.)

    Occupations Ranked According to their Probability of Automation

    • 98% - Loan Officers 
    • 96% - Receptionists and Information Clerks 
    • 94% - Paralegals and Legal Assistants 
    • 92% - Retail Salespersons 
    • 91% - Medical Records Technicians 
    • 89% - Tami Drivers and Chauffeurs 
    • 84% - Security Guards 
    • 81% - Cooks, Fast Food; Medical Secretaries 
    • 77% - Bartenders 
    • 58% - Personal Financial Advisers 
    • 48% - Computer Programmers 
    • 20% - Epidemiologists 
    • 11% - Reporters and Correspondents 
    • 7.4% - Musicians and Singers 
    • 3.5% - Lawyers 
    • 0.4% - Elementary School Teachers 
    • 0.4% - Physicians and Surgeons; Dietitians 

    Bottlenecks to Computers: Machines are unable to match humans in tasks that require social and creative skills and in jobs that require dexterity or getting into cramped spaces. Some examples of occupations that have low probabilities of automation in the near future:

    1. Manipulation – Oral surgeons 0.35%; Makeup artists 1%; Chiropractors 2.7%; Fire fighters 17% 
    2. Creativity – Choreographers 0.4%; Curators 0.7%; Art directors 2.3% 
    3. Social Perception – Mental health workers 0.3%; Clergy 0.8%; Nurses 0.9%; Coaches and scouts 1.3% 
    The Oxford University study says that Chief Executives are not "computerizable." (See the Appendix.) Why do you think machines are unable to match Chief Executive tasks?

  • How Great Leaders Inspire

    Simon Sinek uses a golden circle to explain inspirational leadership. The outside circle is "What?". The next circle is "How?". The inside circle is "Why?". He says that people don't buy what you do or how you do it. They buy why you do it. As a manager, you must know why you do what you do.

    Think about a company you'd like to work for. Do you know your WHY?

    How can managers inspire cooperation, trust, and change?

  • Post-it Notes and Evernote are Tools for Innovation

    Dr. Spencer Silver, a 3M scientist, discovered Post-it Notes more than 40 years ago. Now, paper and technology are joined. In the video above, Evernote shows you how to capture your Post-it® Notes into Evernote, then save, tag, search, and sync them across all of your devices.

    David Lavenda reports for Fast Company and has written "How the Post-it Note Could Become the Latest Innovation Technology." In the article,  IDEO CEO Tim Brown says that Post-it Notes are good for brainstorming. "Specifically, Brown proposes brainstorming sessions, during which each idea is written on a single Post-it Note and then stuck to a wall. Then, each participant is given a stack of Post-it Notes and told to stick a note on each idea they like. The ideas that accumulate the most Post-it votes progress to the next stage. This process continues until consensus emerges." You can find more ideas at 3M's Post-it Collaboration Central

    Mr. Lavenda says, "Paper affords free-form annotation, so marking up ideas with a pen or marker is simple. Paper also affords following a history of ideas, since one note can be laid directly on top of another."

    How do you use Post-it Notes?

    Can the Post-it Notes go completely digital? 

  • Management by the Numbers

    Management has been more of an art than a science, but management is getting more scientific. People analytics helps eliminate biases in important areas such as recruitment, says Wharton's Cade Massey. Read the full story: http://knlg.net/1ev2WN9

    It is common for companies to use the selection process to hire employees. They recruit by posting a job on their website. The manager looks at all the resumes received to determine the most qualified people, calls them for an interview, and then selects the best person for the job. Using people analytics, Dr. Massey explains that this process would change. "Instead of interviewing them, we would look at their characteristics from their application and ask: What is the relationship between these observables and long-term performance?" He goes on to explain why people analytics should be used. "But the idea is that we can improve, we can do better, we can be more accurate by adding some analysis to the intuition of the people who are making the decisions."

    What are some specific business examples discussed in this video?

    Besides the selection process, how might people analytics be used to evaluate performance of individuals and teams?


  • Likeability Matters at Work

    In the above video, author Tim Sanders says that he wants to change your life. His book, "The Likeability Factor," is summarized in the attached file. The author says, "the more you are liked – or the higher your likeability factor – the happier your life will be." His book explains how to raise your likeability factor.

    Recently, Mr. Sanders discussed with Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal tips on using videoconferencing and social media at work. Ms. Shellenbarger reports, "The ability to come across as likable is shaping how people are sized up and treated by bosses and co-workers."

     Ms. Shellenbarger's research suggests that you can increase your likeability through the following behaviors.

    • Authenticity | To be more likable, behave in a way that feels natural and comfortable, rather than stiff or self-absorbed.
    • Curiosity | Show interest in others, make eye contact and ask questions about others' opinions and activities.
    • Expressiveness | Vary tones of voice and smile, and show enthusiasm about what you're saying—even more so in a videoconference.
    • Listening | Focus on what others are saying and show that you are listening carefully, rather than getting distracted.
    • Mimicry | Mirror the expressions or posture of the person you are talking to, in order to create a sense of familiarity.
    • Similarity | Actively try to find topics of interest you share with a listener, rather than talking only about what interests you.

    Which of the likeability behaviors do you use? Which ones do you need to learn?

  • How Millennials and Their Managers Compare in Communicating

    Sometimes the job skills gap refers to soft skills: communication, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. Queens University of Charlotte has compiled the infographic below comparing what managers and Millennials expect and deliver in today’s workforce.

    Millennials now comprise 36 percent of the workforce. What is the conflict between the soft skills managers expect and what the new generation brings to the organization?

  • GM CEO Vows Changes Because of Recalls

    General Motors (GM) Chief Executive Mary Barra says the company will change. It took too long to tell owners to bring the cars in for repairs. The company learned about the ignition switch problems over 10 years ago, but failed to recall the cars. Ms. Barra did not know the details of defective cars until December or January, as she became CEO on January 15.

    Her first change was to appoint Jeff Boyer as the new global safety chief in charge of recalls and other safety issues. He will meet with her once a month to discuss issues. In addition, she discussed the issue in a news conference, as seen in the video below, and started an internal probe of the problem.

    Ben W. Heineman, Jr. in a post on HBR blog network questioned why these delays occurred in the first place and recommended that business leaders have "robust systematic processes in place for personally leading or overseeing these threats to people and to the company."

    He gives the following as an approach to managing this type of health and safety crisis.

    • Preventive systems and testing should be in place to reduce the issues to an absolute minimum.
    • As GM has belatedly done, the CEO should appoint a head of safety and rapid response teams to receive reports of serious harms to persons or property that may be linked to product issues.
    • Just as the general company ombuds system reports concerns to the top of the company about serious commercial, legal or ethical issues, the rapid response team should take any issue of potential consequence to the CEO or other high business leaders.
    • Most importantly, the CEO or top business leaders should then form appropriate multi-functional teams relating to: design problems and solutions; internal personnel and processes; duties to regulators; management of litigation; a communications strategy with various constituencies; and any other relevant functions.
    • The CEO or top business leaders must have prompt, periodic, direct reports until there is a good understanding of the interrelated issues. Then they must make decisions on an appropriate response. On these important safety issues, the CEO should also keep the board informed.
    • Both during formulation of the strategy and after, the CEO or top business leadership must ensure that all communications to all constituencies must be strictly accurate. It is better to say nothing—and develop accurate facts—than to issue deceptive or incomplete statements.
    • Once decisions are made about strategy, the CEO must oversee implementation to make sure, as appropriate, that it is meticulously carried out, changing systems both with respect to specific issues and more broadly as necessary, dealing humanely with people injured, and  communicating fully and transparently with regulators, media, and other constituents.


    What do you think about the CEO's attempts to become the voice to reassure customers that the crisis will be resolved?

    Are there ethical issues associated with the company's failure to deal with the ignition problem when it was first discovered?

    The past GM bankruptcy limits its financial responsibility to compensate victims. Should victims be compensated? How might the CEO make this decision?

  • Generations and the Next America

    In this video, Pew Research Center president Alan Murray introduces Paul Taylor, Executive Vice President of Special Projects at the Pew Research Center and author of The Next America. Mr. Taylor discusses generations and the changing demographics of the United States.

    How are the nation's rapidly shifting generational makeup and racial/ethnic demographics affecting American families, society, politics and policy?

    How might these changes affect business?



    One of the biggest differences between older generations (Silents and Baby Boomers) and younger generations (Millennials and Generation X) is the use of technology. Older generations think younger generations are rude when they use their smart phones to text in meetings. Millennials think that older workers are slow and need a lot of help with technology. What can a manager do to help generations work better together?


  • Unilever Use Social Media to Recruit Employees

    Paul Maxin, Global Resourcing Director for Unilever, an Anglo–Dutch multinational consumer goods company, is interviewed in the video above. 

    Unilever uses social media for recruiting employees. Some of the sites are listed below, including Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

    Unilever Global Careers website (unilever.com/careers) 

    Unilever Facebook page (facebook.com/unilever)

    Unilever Careers Facebook page (facebook.com/UnileverCareers)

    Careers at Unilever YouTube channel (/careersatunilever) 

    LinkedIn Company page (linkedin.com/company/unilever)

    Unilever Jobs USA@UnileverJobsUSA

    What do you think about the Unilever approach to recruitment using social media?

  • GM CEO Mary Barra Offers Update on Ignition Switch Recalls

    In this video, General Motors (GM) CEO Mary Barra offered an update on "where things stand" with the ignition switch recall. Last month, 1.6 million small cars were recalled. The defective engine switches investigation began in 2004 and is linked to 12 deaths.

    In an effort to assure buyers that GM is moving faster to fix safety defects, CEO Mary Barra said, "Something went wrong with our process in this instance, and terrible things happened." GM is undergoing an "intense review" of its recall procedure. "The bottom line is, we will get better as a result of this tragic situation if we seize the opportunity."

    Why should GM act now on the new recalls instead of waiting until the ignition switch investigations have ended?

    How is GM changing the way they are operating? How will they review and resolve potential safety issues more quickly? 

  • Behind the Scenes at Tesla Motors

    Tesla Motors manufactures all-electric cars. Tesla has won the "2013 Motor Trend Car Of The Year." Consumer Reports called the 2013 Tesla "the best car it has ever tested." The WIRED videos below show the new approach to manufacturing automobiles and the philosophy behind them.

    The video below is Tesla Motors Part 1: Behind the Scenes of how the Tesla Model S is Made-The Window-WIRED.

    The video below is Tesla Motors Part 2: How Tesla Motors Builds Electric Cars-The Window-WIRED.

    The video below is Tesla Motors Part 3: Electric Car Quality Tests-The Window-WIRED.

    How did Tesla design the manufacturing plant to reflect quality?

    When should robots be used?

    When should humans be used?

    Do you think Tesla is the future of automobiles? Explain.

  • Two Southwest Airlines' Legends


    Happy Birthday! Former Southwest Airlines' chairman, president and CEO, Herb Kelleher, and its present chairman, president and CEO, Gary Kelly, share the same birthday, March 12. In the video above, they  sit down together and talk about Southwest, the future, and thoughts on leadership.

    Southwest has been showing the video to employees at the company’s series of “message to the field” meetings.

    How should you respond to employees about change?

    What does leadership mean?

    What do you think employees think about the video?

  • Top Banana: ChiquitaFyffes


    Source: http://www.just-food.com/news/banana-suppliers-chiquita-fyffes-to-merge_id126162.aspx

    Chiquita of the United States and Fyffes of Ireland have agreed to merge and form the world's number one banana supplier, ChiquitaFyffes. Fyffes is Europe's oldest industry brand beginning in 1929. See attached information about the history of the Fyffes brand. 

    “This is a milestone transaction for Chiquita and Fyffes that brings together the best of both companies which, we believe, will create significant value for our shareholders and offer immediate benefits for customers and consumers worldwide,” said Ed Lonergan, Chiquita’s Chief Executive Officer. “This is a natural strategic partnership that combines two complementary companies of long history and great reputations that have built upon an unwavering commitment to exceed our customers’ expectations. We will maintain our brands, all of which are valued by both customers and consumers. The combined company will also be able to provide customers with a more diverse product mix and choice. We know Fyffes well and our shared heritage will help to ensure a smooth integration as we work to bring best practices across geographies and business units to achieve substantial operating efficiencies.”

    David McCann, Fyffes' chairman will become Chief executive and Ed Lonergan will become chairman of ChiquitaFyffes. The merger will generate $40 million in pre-tax savings through more efficient operations.

    The merger must be approved by antitrust officials in the United States and the European Union.

    Research the two companies. What might keep the merger from happening?

  • Where and How We Work

    Do you want to work in an office. Or do you want to work outside the office? Do you want to work from home? Or do you want to work from a Starbucks?

    If you choose to work in an office, will you bring work home? Will you check email, return calls, and read/write reports from home?

    As society becomes more mobile, more employees will become telecommuters, employees who work regularly, but not exclusively, at home.

    In the video below, Nick Bloom, Associate Professor, Stanford Department of Economics, discusses his research into telecommuting.

    What are the benefits of telecommuting?

    What types of jobs work best for telecommuting?

    Dr. Bloom's research found that employees working at home were promoted at half the rate of their colleagues working in the office. What can teleworkers do to be more visible at work?

  • National Day of Unplugging

    Have you unplugged yet? If not, today is National Day of Unplugging.

    Do you have a mobile phone? a computer? a tablet? Do you text while talking with others? Do you sleep with your phone? If so, unplug. Reboot created this project and encourages you "one day per week to unwind, unplug, relax, reflect, get outdoors, and connect with loved ones

    You can sign the attached Unplug pledge.

    What is the importance of signing the pledge? Will you sign it? Explain.

  • Handling Hostile Questions

    At some point, managers will face hostile questions. The questions might be confrontational, angry, or skeptical.  In his book, In the Line of Fire, Jerry Weissman recommends the following three steps, whether you're facing investors, customers, the public, or a boss:

    1. Paraphrase the question, minus the rancor.  Without this step, you run the risk of seeming defensive, combative, or evasive.  The paraphrase shows you listened and it defuses the questioner's negative energy.
    2. Answer the question.  Include relevant supporting evidence.
    3. Conclude with a strong statement that expresses the benefit of viewing things your way.
    Whenever possible, use a more interactive communication medium, like the telephone, instead of email. You have a greater chance to address what's really on the other person's mind.

    Attached is the first chapter of the book.

    When someone screams at you, it is normal to want to scream back! But, managers know that when you start screaming, you've lost control.

    When confronted by an angry person, with a question, how might you keep your cool?

  • Keep Your Communications Simple

    Communication establishes relationships and makes the management function of organizing possible. Every message has a purpose or objective. The manager as sender intends -- whether consciously or unconsciously -- to accomplish something by communicating. In organizational contexts, messages typically have a definite objective: such as to motivate, to inform, to teach, to persuade, to entertain, or to inspire. This definite purpose is, in fact, one of the principal differences between casual conversation and managerial communication. Effective communication in the organization centers on well-defined objectives that support the organization's mission and goals. Managers strive to achieve understanding among the parties to their communications.

    In the video above, we are reminded to "Know your audience" and "Get to the point."

    Where have you seen the communication process break down—at work? At school? At home? What could the sender have done to improve understanding?

  • Pizza Hut's Interactive Concept Table

    In this video, Pizza Hut, with the help of Chaotic Moon Studios, considers an interactive concept table. The table functions like a giant tablet app. Consumers order pizza in-store by building their pizza from the crust to the toppings right from their tabletop.

    Restaurant News reports, "While customers wait for a pizza at the interactive tables, they can play several games accessible from a screen that pops up after an order is placed." The article mentioned that consumers could pay at the table.

    Do you eat pizza in a restaurant? If not, why?  If so, what do you do while you wait for your order?

     Could this be the future of the dine-in ordering experience?

    How might this change the need for hiring staff? Which jobs might be eliminated? Which jobs might be created?

    In what other businesses could this technology be used?