Tag Archives: Business

7 Simple Steps to Becoming Well-Read

This reminds me a bit of that business movie that was floating around corp land, called Paradigm Pioneers. One of the things that struck me was that, somewhere toward the end of the film, the narrator asked, “So how do you become a paradigm pioneer?”. His answer, standing in a magazine isle of a bookstore was to read everything – not just on one subject, everything.

What jumps out at me here is:
that we’ve become so specialized in our careers that programmers only read programming books; executives read business books; and only academics read literature. (OK, vast generalization but I believe it’s a sad trend).

Maybe you won’t become a “paradigm pioneer” by being broader in your reading but maybe you’ll become more of a “people pioneer” and meet new and different people by expiring bits of the world that expanded reading can bring. Give it a try. This advice from Little Dumb Man should help.



One of the most common personal development resolutions is to read more. Reading is a great way to fire up your brain, increase your vocabulary, gain a richer understanding of your own or other cultures, and enjoy some good stories to boot!

So what’s holding you back?

Maybe diving into a “To Read” list as long as your arm feels daunting, or you’re embarrassed to go back to book club after skipping for three months in a row. Maybe you just haven’t found the time to read lately. Whatever’s keeping you from tackling that list of books, these tips may help you find your way back into the pages:

  1. Start small.

    If you don’t have time to read, you’re probably not going to wake up tomorrow and knock out 150 pages (although if you do, more power to you!). Try reading for 15 minutes before you go to sleep, or reserve part of your lunch break for reading time. Whatever reading time you decide on, though, stick to it.
Continue here to the rest of the list: dumblittleman.com

Can the symphony be saved? – Salon.com

I grew up in a family that had season tickets to both stock theatre and the symphony. I am closer to the older crowd mentioned in this excerpt, as far as taste. However, I’m not so sure it’s an age factor, so much as not really caring for dissonance in music. I listen for relaxation, not for innovation. Either way, it is devastating to see symphonies go under, financially.

The problems are easy to identify: The recession has pummeled charitable giving and endowments, while the audience has continued to age. Many large orchestras have been juggling high operating costs and diminishing revenues for years, so they were especially vulnerable to the downturn. Local governments and benefactors, under pressure of their own, are less able to save the day.

So what will? A crisis can sometimes be an incubator for innovation, but some observers worry that there’s a lack of bold new ideas — and that without them, many city and regional orchestras are simply doomed.

“All the data tells us all new audiences are looking for different things,” said Jesse Rosen, the president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, the industry’s leading advocacy group outside of musicians’ unions, who hopes orchestras use this period to make sweeping positive changes.

“The appetite for classical music remains as strong as ever,” he said. “[But] the desire for it is expressing itself in different ways besides people buying tickets. So how do we adapt to the generations coming up? The problem isn’t in the music, but how to be responsive.

“The audience now is segmented; you still have a large core of subscription seasons of people who are older and like things never to change,” said Rosen, while younger audiences are more willing to watch YouTube videos of symphonies.

Read the rest of the original here: salon.com

The U.S. Is The Only Developed Country Where Citizens Aren’t Guaranteed Paid Vacation

Looking at this makes me need a vacation….

For some Americans, vacations only happen in the movies.

Many political pundits and conservative politicians have seized the opportunity to criticize President Obama’s planned vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. Former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) said he wouldn’t be doing the same if he were president, and the political paper Politico even consulted a group of “political strategists” to compile a list of less politically sensitive locations Obama could vacation instead.

But the real outrage here isn’t the fact that Obama is taking paid vacation (at 1/3 the rate of his predecessor), but rather that working Americans aren’t guaranteed any paid vacation days at all.

In fact, the United States is alone among the developed world in not providing its citizens with guaranteed vacation days (paid or unpaid) as a right of employment, as the following chart of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries shows:

As you can see, the United States is virtually alone among rich nations in depriving citizens of these basic necessities. But unfortunately, it isn’t just the rest of the developed world that has the U.S. beat. If you live in Kazahkstan, for example, you are guaranteed 24 calendar days a year. The citizens of Uruguay get 20 working days off to start, and vacation days accrue with years worked.

Rather than focusing solely on the location or length of our presidents’ vacations, the political press should be asking our political leaders why average Americans are not guaranteed the same right to some time off.

(for webtech) Posted in Economy, General, Home Page –>

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People who work at home are more honest #in

By Amy Hoak, MarketWatch

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — Employees who work from home commit less misconduct on the job than peers who head into the office each day, according to results of a recent survey of employers.

Sixty-eight percent of more than 200 firms surveyed for a study by the Ethisphere Institute and Jones Lang LaSalle said they allowed their employees to work from home on a regular basis. Eleven percent said work-from-home employees had committed ethics violations in the past two years. But 36% reported visible ethics violations in employees who don’t work from home regularly, and 43% reported non-visible violations for this group, such as expense account fraud or bribery.

“You can see why someone working from home wouldn’t get embroiled in some of the things that lead to trouble,” said Mark Ohringer, executive vice president and global general counsel for Jones Lang LaSalle, a real-estate services firm. For example, the opportunity to tell offensive jokes or harass people diminishes when someone isn’t in the office, he said.

But that’s only one type of misconduct. Others range from conflict of interest, expense-report abuse and theft, to misusing social media, which can involve revealing sensitive information about the company online, said Alex Brigham, executive director at the Ethisphere Institute, a research organization dedicated to matters of business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anticorruption and sustainability.

In fact, it may be the employee’s eagerness to maintain his or her work-from-home privilege that makes that person extra careful to comply with a company’s ethics policy, Brigham said.

“Working from home is still viewed as a positive privilege because it’s still pretty new,” Brigham said. “In terms of the privilege of working from home, they didn’t want to put it at risk because they didn’t want to get called back into the office.”

Plus, there’s the thinking that if an employer trusts an employee to work out of sight of the manager, that employee is apt to be more conscientious about following the rules.

“Empowering people and treating them like professionals and adults leads to better behavior. If they feel like they’re being treated well and trusted, that’s the treatment they give back to the company,” Ohringer said.

Ranks of teleworkers on the rise

Companies have good reason to allow employees to work from home, including better space utilization, which can cut down on real-estate costs, as well as stronger employee engagement and retention, according to Jones Lang LaSalle. But while many companies have telecommuting policies, the privilege of working from home often isn’t a given, said Patricia Roberts, executive vice president of strategic consulting at Jones Lang LaSalle.

“Many of our clients are being very careful about eligibility and suitability for working from home,” Roberts said. Sometimes, the conversation starts with the employee’s self-assessment, which can kick off a talk with the manager to decide whether telecommuting should be an option, she said. Certain roles simply can’t be done off-site.

People suited to work from home are typically self-starters, said Kate Lister, president of the Telework Research Network, a consulting and research firm specializing in telework and workplace flexibility strategies. Employers have to be confident employees will work just as well at home.

Read more at marketwatch.com

Are Your Co-Workers Killing You? #in

A new study led by Arie Shirom at Tel Aviv University reveals the powerful impact of the workplace on longevity. The researchers tracked 820 adults for twenty years, starting with a routine health examination in 1988. The subjects worked in various professions, from finance to manufacturing to health care. They were interviewed repeatedly about conditions at their workplace, from the behavior of the boss to the niceness of their colleagues. Over the ensuing decades, their health was closely monitored, allowing the scientists to control for various medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, smoking and depression.

The first thing the researchers discovered is that office conditions matter. A lot. In particular, the risk of death seemed to be correlated with the perceived niceness of co-workers, as less friendly colleagues were associated with a higher risk of dying. (What’s troubling is that such workplaces seem incredibly common.) While this correlation might not be surprising – friendly people help reduce stress, and stress is deadly – the magnitude of the “friendly colleague effect” is a bit unsettling: people with little or no “peer social support” in the workplace were 2.4 times more likely to die during the study, especially if they began the study between the ages of 38 and 43. In contrast, the niceness of the boss had little impact on mortality.

What’s driving this effect? Why are caustic co-workers so unhealthy? One interesting factor influencing the correlation between peer social support and mortality was the perception of control. This makes sense: the only thing worse than an office full of assholes is an office full of assholes telling us what to do. Furthermore, this model of workplace stress being driven by the absence of control has plenty of empirical support. The most impressive support comes from the Whitehall study, an exhaustive longitudinal survey launched in 1967 that tracked some 28,000 British men and women working in central London. What makes the study so compelling is its uniformity. Every subject is a British civil servant, a cog in the vast governmental bureaucracy. They all have access to the same health care system, don’t have to worry about getting laid off, and spend most of their workdays shuffling papers.

Read the rest here at wired.com

The best books about social media that you’d never expect

There’s certainly no shortage of books on social media, social technologies and online communities that are invaluable reading for brands, marketers etc. But there are some excellent books on social media that actually have nothing to do with social media.

What do I mean here? The kind of books that are in completely different industries or written before social media actually existed, that contain principles and thinking that cross over seamlessly into social media. The nature of social media is that it can be influenced by so many other factors, both as a medium and an essential component of society and human communication.

Below are 7 books that I think are invaluable reads for those working in, or interested in, social media.

Continues here: thenextweb.com

Hearsay Social Raises $18M So Your Employees Won’t Embarrass You on Social Media

Hearsay Social is the brainchild of Clara Shih, known for her New York Times bestselling book about using Facebook as a marketing platform, The Facebook Era. The company has created tools to let corporations monitor what their employees do on Facebook and Twitter and then train those employees to send out brand messages at a local level.

That human touch on a local level can get customers more engaged with a product, Shih told VentureBeat.

Roughly 65 percent of Fortune Global 100 companies have invested in a Twitter presence, and 54 percent have a presence on Facebook, according to Burston-Marsteller Communications. And 73.5 percent of chief marketing officers cite social media as a top business priority. Hearsay Social essentially shows them what they can do.

Read the rest here: nytimes.com

Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 32: “Biggest Industrial Catastrophe in History”

Posted on: July 28, 2011 8:21 PM, by Analiese Miller and Greg Laden

In the old days this was easy. The power plants were melting down but no one knew what was going on inside them; Water was being poured in and cooking off as steam, and every now and then the way they were getting the water in or the way they were powering the pumps would change, or one of the containment buildings would blow up, or whatever. If you’ve been reading the last few Fukushima Updates, however, you’ll know that things related to the crippled nuclear power plant have gotten more, not less complicated, which at first is counter-intuitive, but on reflection, expected. After all, engineers have more access to the inside of the plants now, though that is still limited. Pumping water into a big concrete box that blows up now and then is not as complicated as assembling a functiniong cooling system from parts that have been mauled by floods and earthquakes and that are highly radioactive. And the secondary but very important ramifications of an out of control set of multiple meltdowns at a large nuclear power plant are developing around the world as entire countries swear off nuclear power while at the same time major, influential industry entities revert to pretending that this is pretty much what we expected and everything is fine. The patterns and problems associated with contamination are starting to emerge and sink in; The fact that the industry expected this sort of meltdown to occur has been revealed.

Article continues here: scienceblogs.com

Infographic: The Overworked American – Business – GOOD #in

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Infographic: The Overworked American – Business – GOOD #in

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