• Black Friday and REI

    The Friday after Thanksgiving, commonly referred to as "Black Friday," means a lot of work for retail employees. However, this year, the management at REI, an outdoor products and apparel retailer, decided the store would close on Black Friday.  The CEO announced:

    REI is closing on Black Friday.
    You read that correctly. On November 27, we'll be closing all 143 of our stores and paying our employees to head outside.

    Here's why we're doing it.

    For 76 years, our co-op has been dedicated to one thing and one thing only: a life outdoors. We believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth.

    We're a different kind of company -- and while the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we'll be spending our day a little differently. We're choosing to opt outside, and want you to come with us.

    Last year, the stores opened at 8:00 AM and offered a variety of sales and discounts. This year, REI has no Black Friday promotions and won't process any online orders until Saturday. Most of the 12,000 REI employees will get a paid day off.

    REI has a passion for the outdoors. The employees welcome others to join them outside on Black Friday.

    • How might closing on Black Friday prove successful for REI?

  • Mobile Etiquette

    We've all heard of "netiquette," basic rules for behavior on the Internet. Below are some rules excerpted from: http://www.albion.com/netiquette/corerules.html

    • Remember there's a person behind every message. It is very easy to forget, as all we see is a computer screen. We don't see facial expressions, gestures, or hear intonation of voice. All we have are words, and if words are not well-chosen, they are easy to misinterpret. Words that ARE well-chosen are often easy to misinterpret too. Remember that, just as you have feelings, each human being out there in cyberspace has feelings as well. Give people the benefit of the doubt if you are the one reading their writing, and if you are the one writing, remember the feelings of others and take the time to construct your sentences as clearly as possible.
    • Sarcasm does not translate well in cyberspace. Cyberspace is more literal than a face-to-face conversation. For example, a phrase like "Yeah, I really believe that is true," can have the exact opposite meaning if you hear the person's delivery, see their body language, and observe their facial expressions in face to face conversation, but as just words on a page, it comes across literally, not figuratively. Again, make sure you say what you mean, and provide as few possibilities for misinterpretation as possible.
    • Do not type in all caps all the time. This is the online equivalent of screaming or yelling at someone.
    • Do not type in all lower case or use text message-like abbreviations, such as btw (by the way), or b/cuz, or lol (laughing out loud). This is a college class and college-level writing (grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, etc.) is expected.
    • Avoid "flaming." Flaming is when someone expresses a bold point of view, sometimes overly bold or hyper-critical, and others follow up with equally overly-critical commentary and/or personal attacks. It is not that we cannot disagree - it would be a boring world if everyone had the same opinion about everything. It is also in pointed discussions that I've been able to refine my already-held opinions or even change them completely. That's the purpose of college: to make you think, to get you to see different points of view, to make you question your beliefs or to cement them more firmly than before with facts, etc. Discussion is good, disagreement is fine, even welcome, but remember rule #1 above: there are humans with feelings involved.
    • Keep your comments and postings relevant. Camaraderie is good, but please do not include conversation unrelated to the subject line or course material in discussion board communiqués.
    • Identify yourself fully. In the subject box of every email, please type your full name, course and section number (e.g. Sue Jones. Phil 1306 sec.4221). Please include full identification of who you are when you generate or reply to an email to your instructor. This should include your full name (first and last) as well as the course you are enrolled in. It is school policy that in order to preserve student confidentiality any email that I receive without proper identification will not be responded to.
    • Write with civility and respect. When asking questions or making comments, do so in a respectful manner. If you are frustrated or irritated when you write the email, wait a minute to reread it asking yourself if the tone is appropriate for a student-teacher interchange before clicking Send. If you're really upset, write the email in Word and copy and paste it in later when you are calm enough to give it a reading with audience in mind. 8. Practice patience. Emails will be answered within 24 hours of receipt Monday-Friday and often sooner. Usually I read email on the weekends, but some weekends, I will not be available.
    • Copy yourself. Send a copy of each email you write to yourself so you can be sure the email went through, and so you can resend it if there is any problem.
    • Brevity. Keep emails brief and to the point,
    • Do not forward unsolicited material. Do not forward material that you send to your friends to your classmates or professor. ( Note: If you send emails to everyone in your address book, they will automatically go to your professor and any student in the class who has emailed you.)

    Now, there is mobile etiquette. See the infographic below from Column Five.

    Why do we need rules for mobile etiquette?

    When should you put your phone down?

  • Prepare for your interview

    In order to prepare for your job interview, go through a mock interview. The career center at your college or university probably offers this service. The CareerHMO video above gives you five things to do to prepare for your mock interview.

    • How would you answer the following questions?

    1. Why are you interested in applying for this position?
    2. What experience and qualities do you have that is relevant for this position?
    3. Please share with us your philosophy about customer service and give us some examples of service that would illustrate your views.
    4. Talk to us about your leadership style, and share how people you have managed would describe it.

  • Managing Conflict - Getting to Yes

    In the above video, William Ury, author of "Getting to Yes," offers a simple (but not easy) way to create agreement.

    How can you create agreement?

  • Common Mistakes CEOs Make When Communicating

    In the video below, Doug Simon, President & CEO, of D S Simon, offers analysis on the most common mistakes CEOs make when it comes to communications.

    The three problem areas CEOs make when communicating, according to Doug Simon, are listed below.


    • Don’t assume you can have total control over media coverage or that the media cares about your self-serving story.
    • Don’t assume you can have zero engagement and then be trusted when you have to speak during a crisis or make a significant announcement.


    This is failing to align your internal and external communications. A huge mistake is not taking ownership of what is communicated internally or being authentic in this communication. The vacuum will be filled and given the power of social media, your employees can become a negative force when not engaged.

    Strategy: plan execution and logistics

    This is the area where CEOs create the most problems. Here’s a sample:

    • Not connecting PR to business objectives
    • Not defining the CEO role in the plan
    • Ego issues
    • Failing to utilize video effectively–video feeds social media
    • Wasting money on resources you don’t know or trust
    • Failing to engage early when you have to sign off on the final plan (This is demotivating).

    Discussion Question: What if your boss saw this video and decided to ask you about how to solve the "ego issue" problem? What would you tell him or her?

  • Urban Outfitters Buying an Italian Food Chain

    Urban Outfitters, a clothing and housewares retailer, will acquire the Vetri Family group of restaurants. Bloomberg's Lindsey Rupp reports on "Bloomberg Markets."

    Why is Urban Outfitters buying an Italian restaurant group?

    Is this a good management strategy? Explain.

  • Employee Wellness Monitoring

    McKinsey & Company surveyed more than 2,000 households about connected homes. The infographic below presents the findings. Also, the report is attached.

    One area of interest to businesses is wellness monitoring, a connected device in the report. Employees could monitor their exercise and diet.

    Some employers are offering connected devices to their employees as a benefit. Why should managers care if employees are healthy?

    What potential privacy issues can you see with an employer knowing how much you exercise and what you eat?

  • Managing Conflict

    Most of us tend to avoid conflict, but healthy disagreement is essential for growth and progress. The video below from Margaret Heffernan shows how great relationships allow conflict to help us think and grow. Dare to disagree!

    The Pinterest board below has tips, tools and ideas for Conflict Resolution and Management.

    Which conflict management tools do you find most helpful? Why would it be helpful to work teams?

  • Tips For Sending Your Cover Letter

    CareerHMO offers three tips for sending cover letters when applying for jobs by email.

    1. Send as pdf.
    2. Proofread it.
    3. Only send when it is ready.

    It is important to include a cover letter when sending your resume to a potential employer.

    What other cover letter tips would you add to those mentioned above?

  • Google Open Source Machine Learning Code: TensorFlow

    Machine learning has given us self-driving cars and speech recognition. But, what is machine learning?

    How do we engineer a construct of "learning" into machines and programming?

    What may be the implications for the workplace?

  • This is what LGBT life is like around the world

    Jenni Chang and Lisa Dazols toured 15 world countries searching for "Supergays," LGBT people who were doing something extraordinary.

    What did they find?

    Explain how a manager could use this information.

  • Dell Technology Outlook 2015

    Managers must scan the external environment as part of the planning process. Technology is an important element in the external environment. In the attached report, Dell Research predicts that ten technological events will take place in the next five years. These technologies will be major catalysts for organizations to transform the performance, cost, and agility of their technology infrastructure to meet current and future needs.

    Explain how disruptive technology trends and inflection points have potential to affect businesses in a significant way.

  • CEOs are scared of the Uber in their industry

    In this video, Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Business Services, introduces the C-suite Study. Technological changes are giving many executives "Uber syndrome": the fear of having their company's entire business model disrupted by an upstart using technology. "They've watched this happen -- where another organization can come in and disrupt the business without having infrastructure, assets or armies of people," says Linda Ban of IBM, which conducted a study.

    CEOs, in a round-table discussion, expressed concerns about IT security and a blending of formerly distinct industries, in the article below.

    How can managers know the competition when digital invaders can come from anywhere, anytime?

    Explain how managers can compete.

  • This Is Your Brain on Decision-making

    Wharton professor Michael Platt discusses why people make the decisions that they do and what influences those decisions.

    What is important about his discovery that people and animals tend to make very similar kinds of decisions when they are in similar contexts?

    How might a manager use this information?

  • CEO Danny Meyer says tipping is a thing of the past

    Union Square Hospitality Group CEO Danny Meyer says he will eliminate tipping in his full-service restaurants and raise prices across the board.

    How much do you usually tip? What do you think about eliminating tips? If you were a restaurant employee, why would you want to eliminate tips?

    Explain why Danny Meyer says that tipping is an outdated concept that tends to exclude restaurant workers behind the scenes.