• Black Friday 2014

    Black Friday is becoming a thing of the past because stores -- including Wal Mart, Best Buy, Kohl's, Sears, Macy's, and Target -- opened on Thanksgiving Day. Some are even calling shopping on Thanksgiving "Grey Thursday." Ellen Chang of Main St reports, "Nearly four-fifths of shoppers (or 79%) begin their holiday shopping prior to the Thanksgiving weekend, according to a survey by Simon, the Indianapolis-based mall operator."

    Why do you think managers decided to open stores on Thanksgiving Day?

    Do you think Black Friday is a thing of the past? Explain.

    When do you do your holiday shopping?

  • Small Business Saturday is November 29

    Small Business Saturday is the special day created by American Express to encourage people to shop locally. This year, it's on November 29.

    Find free marketing materials, promotion ideas, success stories from small retailers and more at the Small Business Saturday website.

    The infographic above is from Docstoc.What is the big deal about "small business Saturday"?

    Did you shop at a small business today? 

  • Global Chocolate Shortage

    Mike Janela, in the video above, reports that the world could face a 2.2-billion pound chocolate shortage within the next five years. It seems that chocolate is being consumed (demanded) faster than it can be grown (supplied). Bloomberg reports, "Because of disease, drought, rapacious new markets and the displacement of cacao by more-productive crops such as corn and rubber, demand is expected to outstrip supply by an additional 1 million tons every decade for the foreseeable future."

    Managers are always scanning the environment. Which companies will be most affected by the chocolate shortage? 

    How might managers manage chocolate demand? What would you recommend to those managers?

  • Social Media Tactical Plan

    We all know that social is important to business, but how do you get started? How can managers be sure that efforts on social are strategic? Marketo states, "To be successful on social, your social marketing strategy needs to include high-level objectives, as well as specific, granular action items. In other words, you need a social media tactical plan." Their 2014 Sample Social Media Tactical Plan is attached.

    The above graphic is from https://learn.canvas.net/courses/1/pages/w5-dot-1-social-media-plans.

    Managers can use the tactical plan to decide:

    • Key objectives and action items for blogs, social networks, videos, photos, and presentations
    • The number of hours the company will choose to devote to each facet of social marketing
    • How goals might differ on networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and more
    • The most important, testable metrics for social campaigns

    Refer to the attached file. How might goals on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter differ? If you were a manager, which social network would you use with your employees?

  • The Importance of Customer Referrals


    The infographic above by Forewards, a specialist in customer referrals for small firms, illustrates the importance of customer referrals. Most of us find out about products and services from our friends and families. Word of mouth (or mouse) is very important to businesses.

    How did you find out about your college or university?

    When was the last time someone asked you about a product or service that you had bought?

  • Patagonia's Environmental Mission

    Patagonia's mission statement is to "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis."  The company "makes clothes for climbing – as well as for skiing, snowboarding, surfing, fly fishing, paddling and trail running." But, a couple of years ago, the company was accused of animal cruelty by using live-plucked down in its clothing. Patagonia investigated the situation and developed a "100 % Traceable Down" policy where its down products "can be traced back to birds that were never force–fed, never live–plucked – and we don’t allow blended down, period." See the above video.

    Explain how "100% Traceable Down"  relate to social responsibility.

  • The Socio-Economic Impacts of Ebola in Liberia

    Time reports that Liberia is the hardest hit nation in the Ebola outbreak. Ebola is known as Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). The World Health Organization (WHO) has a Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network of public health specialists who stand ready to help contain outbreaks around the world. They meet with local health officials to review the situation and set up new measures as appropriate. For example, the Who released a new WHO protocol for safe and dignified burial of people who die from Ebola virus disease on November 7. 

    Yet, a report, "The Socio-Economic Impacts of Ebola in Liberia," came out today. (See attached.) The report overview states,

    In an effort to measure the economic impact of EVD on Liberian households, the World Bank, with the Liberian Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services and the Gallup Organization, has conducted two rounds of mobile-phone surveys, in October and November 2014. Based on these results, it is clear that the EVD has substantially impacted the Liberian economy across all sectors of employment, in both affected and non-affected counties. In all, nearly half of the working population of Liberia is no longer working since the crisis began.

    This tragedy illustrates that an uncontrolled illness can wreck havoc on a community. Imagine if half of the people in your town did not go to work. Imagine if you are the manager and half of your employees don't show up for work. How long can a company stay in business with half the customers and half the employees?

    Imagine if you are sick and can't work. Do you have sick leave? If not, how would you pay your bills?

  • Save Yourself from Bad Meetings

    In the video above, David Grady, an information security manager, shares "how to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings." He believes that strong communication skills are necessary.

    Explain why people find meetings a waste of time.

    What can you do to stop bad meetings?

  • User Generated Content Is More Influential Than Other Media

    The infographic above from Crowdtap highlights that consumers spend more time with and have greater trust in user generated content (UGC) than any other form of media. See the attached research paper.

    How do millennials prefer to view content? Where do they get their news?

    Why are managers struggling to join this content stream and influence the conversations around their brand?

  • Starbucks Pays Tribute to Veterans

    Starbucks president, chairman and CEO has co-written For Love of Country about American service veterans and how the U.S. can support them when they return home.

    The For Love of Country Website encourages managers to get involved. "Veterans embrace new challenges and set the bar high for themselves when they return to civilian life. Whether it is dealing with complexity, strategic planning, or leadership qualities, the training and experience of our veterans makes them fast learners and excellent employees. For employers, know that hiring veterans will make your companies better."

    How might managers develop a recruitment strategy for Veterans? Where and how will they recruit? Will this recruiting approach be expensive? Why/why not? Evaluate the probable effectiveness of the recruitment efforts. (Consider such issues as return on investment -- time, effort and cost -- number of applicants vs. anticipated and existing openings, etc.).

  • Digital Transformation

    Why do you think there's a disconnect between the digital transformations managers think are occurring and what's really happening? What would you recommend to close the gaps? 

  • Urbanspoon CEO Keela Robison at Startups Uncensored 46

    In the video above, Jason Nazar, co-founder of Docstoc, interviews Keela Robison, CEO of Urbanspoon, "an app and consumer site that helps people find better food."

    What is Keela’s advice for someone early in their career?

    What is Keela’s advice for being good at interviews?

  • Launch a New Product

    Most new products fail. But, if you are an entrepreneur with a new product, it is possible to plan a successful product launch. Kimberly Jefferson, Director of PR Accounts, BLASTmedia, offers 10 tips for product launch success.

    1. Do your research

    2. Create collateral

    3. Find advocates 

    4. Spread the word 

    5. Reach fans 

    6. Follow up 

    7. Engage partners 

    8. Stay engaged 

    9. Measure success 

    10. Humble brag 

    Which tip do you think is the most important? Explain.

  • Successful Meetings

    No one wants to attend a boring meeting!

    See the above infographic.

    How long should a meeting be?

    Who should do most of the talking?

  • Integrating Work and Life

     In the above video, Stewart D. Friedman, founding director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project and a practice professor of management, discusses his new book Leading the Life You Want

    Why does the phrase “work-life balance” have to go?

    How can true harmony among the different parts of your life be achieved?

    Take the Total Leadership Skills Assessment. How do you compare to the worldwide average? How can you develop your skills? Which great leader is most like you?

  • Bill Ford: A Future Beyond Traffic Gridlock

    Hans-Werner Kaas and Thomas Fleming interviewed Bill Ford for the October McKinsey Quarterly.

    The Quarterly asked, "What’s the right balance between individual mobility and more holistic transportation systems, especially in light of accelerating urbanization and the development of megacities?" Bill Ford referred to his video above. He went on to tell The Quarterly, When I gave my TED talk, people were shocked. They said, “Wait a minute. What I just heard you say is you’re going to be, potentially, selling fewer cars in the future.” And I told them that’s exactly what’s going to happen unless we start doing something differently and redefine ourselves as a mobility company and not just as a car and truck manufacturer. 

    How do green energy and global gridlock relate to sustainability?

    Why is it important for Ford Motor Company to redefine its mission or purpose as a mobility company? Why is this considered a disruptive trend throughout the automotive industry?


  • Goal Setting as Part of Your Daily Routine

    Lemonly's infographic, above, shows how goals can help people reach their peak performance. 

    Goal setting is part of management planning. Is goal setting part of your daily routine? Do you track your data to gain insights into habits, goals and productivity? Do you make adjustments to become more successful? Share an example with us.