Time Management Tips for New Bosses



Managers, especially new managers, risk burnout from not managing their time effectively.

New managers are naturally ambitious, but succumb to burnout because they try to do-it-all in performing their personal duties as well as in managing others.

It’s best to learn the important concept of displacement and how to say no at work. Displacement means if you’re doing one task it prevents you from doing another.

Prioritize A, B or C

When you get a request or project, prioritize its effect on your staff and company – starting with big-picture goals and responsibilities.

Judge if it’s of low importance, so visualize its importance. If it isn’t unimportant, put it in the C category or just say “no.”

Normally, you’ll need to decide on the seriousness, urgency, productivity and growth as they impact your organization.

Delegation 

Many new managers don’t yet understand the intricacies of delegation, which is an important part of leadership. Delegation is a fundamental driver of organizational growth.

Managers who use best practices in employee delegation are more effective in leadership.

Twelve-hour workdays don’t usually help the company succeed nor is it conducive for a balanced personal or family life.

If you’re just launching your career in management in a small company or in your own startup, it’s usually best to wait in starting a family until it’s obvious you’re on your way.

Be careful about meetings

Many meetings are a time-waster.

Make certain a meeting has an agenda. If you have the option to decide whether to attend, determine whether you can add or learn something from the meeting.

If you’re scheduling a meeting, have an agenda. Plan to engage your employees in energetic, inspiring staff meetings to improve performance.

Sometimes people in business need a creative place at which to have productive conversations that are in out-of-the-ordinary locations.

Perhaps you have an employee whom you need to counsel. Or you have a peer that needs encouragement. For discussions on difficult issues, try walking meetings.

Hiring employees is expensive. So it’s important to use the right tactics in probation meetings for new employee success.

If you’re responsible for client relationships, you need to make certain they thank you regularly, pay your invoices promptly, and respond well to your recommendations.

If they don’t, strategize for effective client meetings.

Regularly evaluate your schedule

It’s important to audit your calendar and do some fine-tuning when necessary.

You’ll find that some meetings or activities are no longer relevant. That’s why it helps to look at your calendar before the start of the month.

Decide which duties are no longer appropriate or are a time-waster for you personally. Again, delegation might be applicable for some activities.

Also, budget time for activities that are necessary on which you might tend to procrastinate or overlook.

Make lists

Don’t make the mistake of being put in the position of being a slave to your email inbox or always having to put out fires that could have been prevented.

Be assertive. Plan your schedule.

Again, prioritize A, B or C. Incorporate your projects, goals, and tasks.

And depending on your responsibilities and sector, categorize your lists and line them up horizontally. Bundle projects that are related in one way or another.

By late Thursday every week, you should be able to know your plans for the following week.

Make your job fun with “blue-sky” thinking

It’s boring and a beginning to burnout, if you omit fun. Build fun into your plans – work that you’d love to do.

You’ll enjoy more energy and inspiration. Remember in this day and age, it takes discipline to create fun, too.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant management tips:

So You Finally Got Your First Management Job? Now What? – There are 10 principles every new manager needs to know and use.

7 Management Tips – Communication with Difficult Employees – Multiple problems including loss of profit results from ineffectively dealing with difficult employees. Here are seven Biz Coach tips.

Management – How to Improve Accountability in Your Company – If business and tepid growth have affected your outlook, take a look at your human resources and consider a couple of questions. If you don’t like your answer, here are eight solutions.

Management: 5 Most Common Reasons to Fire Employees – With difficult employees, you have two obvious problems – the impacts on your organization and the behavior of the individual. Here’s what to do.

Why Women Are Better Prepared than Men for Management – Many women are better prepared as managers because they have emotional intelligence — a desired characteristic for successful management. Here’s why.

“Good management consists in showing average people how to do the work of superior people.”

-John D. Rockefeller


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Got an Entrepreneurial Dream? Here’s Your First Important Step



Strong cash flow is critical for entrepreneurial success.

But 50 percent of all small businesses crash within five years because their founders are weak in financial literacy, according to a report by the JPMorgan Chase Institute.

“Growth, Vitality, and Cash Flows: High-Frequency Evidence from One Million Small Businesses,” stems from data compiled from accounts at JPMorgan Chase.

It’s the nation’s largest bank and is an advocate for small-business education programs.

The report makes it clear that such small-business failures stem from a lack of knowledge about cash flow and maintaining a cash buffer.

“Small businesses don’t fail because it’s a bad business,” Chris Wheat, director of business research for the JPMorgan Chase Institute and the lead researcher on the study.

“They fail because of cash flow problems,” he explains.

The report’s conclusions emphasize establishing and maintaining an emergency fund, and fully understanding how to sustain cash flow – that’s income and expenditures.

Least successful startups

Mr. Wheat analyzed the businesses that suffer from poor cash flow. Restaurants fare the worst.

The study indicates restaurants only last 3.7 years. That’s the shortest lifespan of a dozen industries that were studied.

Why?

Restaurants typically are hit by unanticipated expenses while trying to cope with irregular income.

Negative surprises occur because restaurants must continually buy supplies at constantly changing prices vs. an unpredictable flow of customers. Changing seasons are a factor.

“Restaurants we consistently find have more pronounced small-business challenges,” says Mr. Wheat.

“Restaurants tend not to be holding a lot of cash in their accounts. And if you put that together with any amount of volatility, it’s not surprising to see they have the highest likelihood of exiting,” he adds.

Most-successful startups

On the other hand, the study shows the most-successful businesses are real estate firms. They average a nine-year lifespan.

Their income and expenses are more predictable and stable. That means they find it easier to maintain a good cash flow.

So, if you’ve got an entrepreneurial idea, make certain you’re strong in understanding finance. Get a mentor and take whatever financial training programs you can.

Do this, and your dream will come true.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant tips for entrepreneurial success:

You Can Creatively Manage Your Cash Flow 7 Ways – If you’re taking the pulse of your business, of course, the first thing to consider is your cash flow. If your cash flow is poor, you feel poor because you can’t pay the bills nor can you use money for what you’d like to do.

For the Best Cash Flow, Manage Your Inventory Costs with 8 Tips – With proper inventory management, you can lower your expenses and increase your cash flow. For many businesses, it means taking a look at your inventory costs.

Checklist — 11 Tips to Increase Your Startup’s Cash Flow – Cash flow is the salient dynamic that leads to the failure or success of a business. Here are 11 Biz Coach ways to maintain positive cash flow.

Angel Investor: Tips for Increasing Cash Flow, Profits — A successful angel investor shares his tips for good cash flow and other profit issues.

Small Business Options for Year-End Cash Flow, Tax Benefits – The fourth quarter is the time for small business owners to reflect on options for year-end cash flow and tax benefits. In general, here are items to discuss with your accountant and tax advisor.

11 Tips to Win Your Entrepreneurial (Marathon) Race – For successful small firms, strong cash flow doesn’t just happen. Advertising firms to tech startups have a system. They plan and implement with precision. Using these strategies, you, too, will win.

12 of the Best Financial-Planning Tips for Entrepreneurs – Typically, there are critical mistakes made by entrepreneurs. In essence, they’re so busy putting out fires, they leave their financial security in doubt.

“Starting your own business is like riding a roller coaster. There are highs and lows and every turn you take is another twist. The lows are really low, but the highs can be really high. You have to be strong, keep your stomach tight, and ride along with the roller coaster that you started.”

-Lindsay Manseau


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Checklist to Audit Payroll Processes to Avoid Costly Mistakes



Payroll mistakes can be costly, if your company fails to comply with changes in the tax code.

To avoid issues with the Department of Labor or the Internal Revenue Service, it’s best to review your payroll processes.

Here’s a checklist:

  1. Naturally, you should regularly perform security scans, change complex passwords and take other security measures as well as update drivers on the computers used in finance.

It’s also recommended that you check who has excess to your system and prohibit access by the people no longer allowed to use it.

  1. If you’ve been phished and hacked, you should alert the IRS right away at dataloss@irs.gov.

The IRS will want to know your company’s name, your employer identification number, your name, contact information, as well as a full explanation of what occurred.

  1. Verify to your satisfaction that your payroll software is performing well. For example, be sure of the recorded accuracy of the wages, tax deposits and tax returns.

Obviously, correct any mistakes and take steps to make certain the errors do not reoccur.

  1. Review your company’s paid time off or personal time off Be certain you compel your employees to either cash out or roll over unused time-off and leave during the current year.
  1. Verify all IRS records. Whether you have a payroll firm or do it in-house, obtain and then review copies of your tax records.

Check to be certain the right amounts of taxes are withheld, and that they are forwarded to the IRS as well as all applicable forms.

Did you know you can use the full suite of IRS e-services? If not, here’s the link: irs.gov/e-services.

  1. Double check your W-2 coding for your workers’ pretax deferrals into retirement accounts.
  1. For any employee who resigns or retires, classify the final wages properly. Be sure to adhere to all company policies or applicable laws.
  1. Review whether you make any payments to workers outside of your payroll system. A typical scenario occurs when you make taxable business-expense reimbursements.

If you do, develop a system that accurately records and processes such funds.

  1. Regarding fringe benefits, make certain that your deduction codes are accurate. Check the entire process.
  1. Make certain final 401(k) amounts or final paychecks are accurately issued. Review your process to guarantee these matters are properly handled.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are additional tips affecting your financials:

12 of the Best Financial-Planning Tips for Entrepreneurs – Typically, there are critical mistakes made by entrepreneurs. In essence, they’re so busy putting out fires, they leave their financial security in doubt.

9 Best Biz Coach Tips for Cost-Savings Include Risk-Taking – To do a better job of cutting costs, successful entrepreneurs take risks by optimizing costs. They understand that linear cost-cutting is in reality an avoidable trap.

For Business Growth, the 3 Best Practices in Cutting Costs – You won’t achieve long-term profitable growth by slashing costs. By strategically cutting costs, you will develop a resilient business-growth model. Just as you differentiate your company to your customers, you must differentiate your costs to propel your business growth.

Tips for Strategic-Thinking in Finance: Your Staff, Individuals – Many companies want accountants and finance professionals who are strategic thinkers. But that’s not happening at most companies. Here are tips for managers and employees.

Finance Checklist for Strategic Planning, Growth – Strategic planning in finance for growth means avoiding trendy fads. Instead, it requires an ongoing down-to-earth approach in order to create value. Here are seven steps.

You Will Save Money on Business Travel with these 25 Tips – Everybody loves flying first class. But if you want to save money, you don’t fly first class, right? Here’s what else you can do.

“Many people remember to include miles to their clients or vendors. However, what about those trips to the office supply store, bank, post office? These miles add up. Do not forget the miles!” 

– Jeffrey A. Schneider


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Dreaming about Launching a Business? The Best Age to Start



An authoritative study reveals the ideal age to be successful in launching a business.

Technology startups results are included in the study, which makes the age-revelation even more surprising.

You see, the ideal age to launch a business is 45. That’s really surprising when you consider the rampant ageism in the technology sector.

Conducted by two MIT professors and the Census Bureau, researchers studied 2.7 million entrepreneurs who hired at least one person between 2007 and 2014.

In addition to revealing the ideal age for an entrepreneur is 45, the study discloses some fascinating information.

The odds favor a 50-year-old person over a 30-year-old. The former is 2.2 times as likely to succeed over the latter.

In fact, the odds favor a 50-year-old over a 25-year-old by 2.8 times.

Compared to a 25-year-old, a 40-year-old is 2.1 times more likely to prevail.

The odds even favor entrepreneurs older than 45. A 60-year-old entrepreneur is 3.1 times more likely to beat a 30-year-old.

Moreover, here’s an astounding statistic: The 60-year-old is 1.7 times more likely to reach a very high level of success – the top 0.1 percent of all businesses.

Key reasons

While younger entrepreneurs can have good ideas, naturally there are reasons why they typically don’t stack up to 45-year-olds and older.

What counts most are strategy, specific tactics and execution. With a richer background and experience, it’s much easier for an older entrepreneur to make decisions and execute strategies.

So, experience is the best teacher. Younger people simply don’t know what they need to know. And to succeed in entrepreneurism, leadership is a key quality.

Conclusion

Entrepreneurs launch their small business with big ideas. Certainly, the business and the owner are synonymous – everything is based on the person’s personality. At the minimum before you start, there are six key questions to ask yourself.

True, there are many considerations before launching a business. But if you’re thinking about starting a business and you’re the right age and have the creativity, drive, ideas and talent – pursue your dream.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are two relevant articles in which The New York Times quoted me:

Been There… Done That… Here’s How – New York Times.” That’s when The New York Times invited me to coach their readers on entrepreneurship.

Countless readers emailed their questions for my solutions to their business challenges, which were published in “Advice on Taking an Entrepreneurial Leap – New York Times.”

Related articles:

Startup: 8 Tips to Organically Grow Your Business – Organically growing a business is a lot like organic farming. Organic farmers rich sources of organic matter for growth. If you’re like many entrepreneurs, it probably makes sense to grow organically.

Planning – Tips for Avoiding Growing Pains in Your Startup — For startups, there are questions about getting the work done before hiring, and how to quit your job before starting a business.

Startup Financial Planning: How to Get a Pragmatic Forecast – Unless you have a lot of startup experience, it can be a little tricky to make down-to-earth financial projections for your new company. Pragmatic assumptions are important in such a forecast.

Checklist — 11 Tips to Increase Your Startup’s Cash Flow – Cash flow is the salient dynamic that leads to the failure or success of a business. Here are 11 Biz Coach ways to maintain positive cash flow.

Why Startups Fail – Biz Coach Strategies on How to Win – It’s vital to conduct a thorough needs-assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – followed by development and implementation of a strategic action plan.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

-Peter Drucker

 

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Hiring Applicants: 5 Deadly Sins of Even Savvy Managers



In this competitive and litigious marketplace, small details in human resources can make or break a company.

Even though an organization’s performance matters, many managers unfortunately take shortcuts in the hiring process.

The reasons range from being too busy for due diligence in screening resumes to inability to take sober looks at applicants in the interview process.

This can drastically affect businesses’ cultures such as leading to lack of teamwork, inattention to details or poor customer service. Ultimately, profits are adversely affected.

All positions in the organizational chart, including receptionists, are important.

For instance, if a furniture retailer hires the first person to walk in the door to work in the warehouse, the wrong employee will hurt customer service and sales – either in the slow delivery of products or the delivery of wrong products.

Managers need to avoid five deadly sins:

Inadequate checking of references

True, in our litigious environment, businesspeople are increasingly reluctant to answer questions and to give accurate information.

But a skilled boss knows how to call the applicants’ former bosses and references about specific matters to ask open-ended questions, not close-ended questions. In this way, they get better answers.

Moreover, the questions should correspond to an HR tool: A reference-verification form.

The form asks the applicants questions such as how they believe their former companies will evaluate them in precise matters.

In this way, the bosses can compare the applicants’ answers to the answers of the former employers.

Complacency about honesty

Many bosses are too complacent about honesty and attitudes. The right applicants are people who want to do a job well. Don’t settle for just anybody who can do the job.

Astute bosses won’t focus on trying to catch applicants in lies. They have a process to help them determine that will prompt applicants to tell the truth.

Assuming applicants who interview the best will perform the best

Not true. Consider this fact: Applicants, who are mesmerizing in their interview answers, typically have the most experience in answering questions.

They’ve had lots of coaching and practice in smiling and answering obvious questions.

Case study:

As a business-performance consultant with a home office, I’ve had to be very careful in hiring personal assistants. I asked people I trusted for referrals. Once, I asked for a referral from the owner of my dry cleaners, who had been doing an outstanding job on my apparel.

She recommended a retired Air Force mechanic to me. But on the surface, there were some reasons for me not to hire the person. She appeared to be very shy with no bookkeeping experience.

But I saw something special in her. She was due diligent in showing up for the interview, asked good questions and asked her husband to interview me as the employer. Upon getting his blessing, she accepted the job.

Not only did she prove to be honest, accurate and extraordinarily dedicated in managing my receivables and payables, she did a stellar job in other unrelated tasks for three years.

She literally saved me a lot of time and money by performing at a high level. Years later, I’m told she launched her own business based on her experience in working at my firm. That’s a very proud memory for me.

The moral: Always keep an open mind to consider all factors.

Failure to place a high value on each position

If you hold your applicants to highest-realistic standards, you’ll benefit from their performances.

On the other hand, if you don’t place a high value on positions – at all levels – the employees will get the impression they don’t matter.

You should want people who want to perform well at the best company.

Overconfidence in hiring

If your instinct about an applicant is positive, look for every possible reason to disqualify the person. Don’t ever make a snap judgment in hiring. Make absolutely certain the person is right for the job.

On the other hand, if your instinct is not to hire an applicant, don’t. Always keep in mind this adage, “When in doubt, don’t.”

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related resources:

Hiring An Impact Person Starts with Screening Resumes — 5 Tips — If you want to hire an impact person, your hiring process is really important. The place to start is using best practices in screening resumes.

Risk Management in Hiring: Pre-Employment Screening Tips — Here are two questions about hiring: 1) what’s the biggest mistake companies make in hiring employees; and 2) what’s the biggest legal obstacle employers face in hiring? Here’s what to do about background screening.

Hiring a Personal Assistant? Hire for 8 Qualities — The right choice of a personal assistant can make a huge difference in your operation. Basically, you need someone who can manage you – represent you well in a variety of tasks – an assistant who can make you look good.

Increase Profits by Hiring Talent with the Best Trait — You’ll increase your odds for profits with high-performing employees with the right culture — if you hire for the right personality trait – enthusiastic people. That’s right. Look for people who have the makeup to being committed and who will care for the welfare of your company. You’ll increase your chances for the strongest results.

Hiring? 4 Pointers on Negotiating Wages with Applicants — Some employers have had difficulty in successfully extending job offers to applicants, especially Millennial professionals. Here’s what to do.

“If hard work is the key to success, most people would rather pick the lock.” 
-Claude McDonald

 

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.


Warren Buffett Still Supports Wells Fargo Despite Scandals



May 5, 2018 –


Billionaire investor Warren Buffett thinks Wells Fargo is a good investment even after the bank’s scandal history.

“The fact that you are going to have problems at some large institutions is not unique,” Buffett said in an interview at his annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.

The latest scandal emerged in a report by The Wall Street Journal.

It stated the U.S. Labor Department is investigating whether Wells Fargo coerced its customers who had affordable corporate 401(k) accounts to swap them for higher priced IRA plans once they exited their jobs or retired.

Want proof of Mr. Buffett’s loyalty to the bank? Here’s a video of Fox Business anchor Liz Claman interviewing Mr. Buffett:

History of scandals

Mr. Buffett’s support of Wells Fargo raised eyebrows because Wells Fargo has been mired in a quicksand of disgraceful behaviors.

For instance, the financial institution was hit with a $1-billion fine after it was learned the bank charged customers for unneeded car insurance, pushing some customers to default on loans and having their cars repossessed.

The Federal Reserve has also reprimanded Wells Fargo over “consumer abuse.”

In 2016, Wells Fargo created millions of fraudulent accounts without their customers’ permission. CEO John Stumpf immediately resigned. He was replaced by CFO and President Tim Sloan.

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”

-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Mr. Buffet believes Well Fargo’s wrongdoing was merely urging its employees to create the accounts.

Wells Fargo’s leadership

The Oracle of Omaha thinks the scandals won’t hurt the bank long term as long as Mr. Sloan remains as CEO.

“I see no reason why Wells Fargo as a company…going forward is in any way inferior to the other big banks with which it competes,” he said. “We have a large unrealized gain (in the stock). I like it as an investment.”

The bank traded at $52.41 per share the day before Mr. Buffett’s interview with Ms. Claman.

Let’s hope Mr. Buffett proves to be right.

From the Coach’s Corner, here’s a relevant article on B2C selling:

Want a Wealthy Clientele? Lessons from Investment Firms  — If you want a wealthy clientele, lessons from investment firms show you must focus on your relationship skills. You need to provide exclusivity, special client experiences with generosity and product quality.

Here are relevant business-banking articles:

6 Best Practices to Capitalize on a Business Loan — Whether it’s a business loan, a cash advance against your credit-card income, equipment lease or purchase or commercial mortgage loan, don’t have stars in your eyes. Be pragmatic.

4 Best Practices to Refinance Your Business Loan — Would you benefit by refinancing your small business loan to get a better interest rate and lower loan payments? Certainly, you would benefit from a lower interest rate and loan payments if you have cash flow issues. But there are other matters to consider before refinancing your loan.

To Get the Lowest-Cost Small Business Loan, Here Are 6 TipsThe U.S. Senate’s rollback of some Dodd-Frank’s banking rules appears to be a good sign for small banks and small-business owners.

Applying for Bank Loan? Here’s How to Shorten the Process — Business owners generally have two concerns when trying to get a bank loan or line of credit. Either they can’t qualify or they face scrutiny beyond belief. Wouldn’t it be great to save time and shorten the process?

Debt Consolidation Will Sink You without These 6 Tips — If you’re not careful in your debt-consolidation plan to bundle your debts for a lower interest rate and minimum payments, you might get into more financial problems. Here are six precautions.

5 Tips to Build Your Business Credit, Access Capital — Sometimes a business needs access to capital to grow. But in order to grow, it helps to build credit profiles to land financing.

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”

-Dwight D. Eisenhower


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Artificial Intelligence: U.S. Lags Behind in Educating Students – Study



April 25, 2018 –


The United States educational system gets a failing grade for not updating curricula and training for teachers to prepare America’s youth in artificial-intelligence skills.

America’s educators rank just ninth among all nations in terms of preparing students for the real world of automation, according to a study released by a research group associated with The Economist magazine.

The study is entitled, “THE AUTOMATION READINESS INDEX: WHO IS READY FOR THE COMING WAVE OF AUTOMATION?”

Needed skills

The report points out the demand for soft skills in critical thinking and science and technology skills will skyrocket. But America’s youth is not being prepared for automation.

With the rapid changes in technology, Americans will need to be flexible and constantly improving their skills. That will require a strong background in artificial-intelligence techniques, computational thinking and robotics.

Naturally, this doesn’t bode well for the future of the U.S. workforce nor for the careers of young people.

Better soft skills will be needed for solving problems that robots cannot. Additionally. it’s already generally accepted that America’s young people aren’t adequately learning science and technology skills.

The U.S. isn’t alone. Only a relatively few countries are updating their curricula and training for teachers.

“Very few countries are taking the bull by the horns when it comes to adapting education systems for the age of automation,” Saadia Zahidi, head of education, gender and employment for the World Economic Forum, says in the report.

“Those that are have long had a clear focus on human capital development. These are countries in northern Europe and the Nordic region, as well as Singapore,” she adds.

“No one has gotten to grips with the required strategic planning for educational change in this context, and there is a dire need for it,” says Rose Luckin, professor of learning-centred design at the University College London.

Misguided priorities

“America is overinvesting in traditional higher education – it spends a much higher share of GDP than do other countries but gets too little return on these resources,” says Peter Morici, Ph.D. “Employers report that 4 in 10 graduates lack the critical thinking skills necessary for entry-level professional work, and too often four years of college adds little to students’ analytical abilities,” he adds.

Dr. Morici is a professor at the University of Maryland Smith School of Business, former Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission, and five-time winner of the MarketWatch best forecaster award. (See his economic forecasts here.)

He says higher education’s priorities are ill-advised.

“Universities are pouring millions in attractive amenities and big time sports. Students spend about one-third less time in class and studying than in the 1960s but have plenty of leisure to demonstrate against alleged micro aggression, sexism and racism of conservative professors and engage in social activism enabled by university presidents bent on molding intolerant liberals.”
-Dr. Morici

“Universities are pouring millions in attractive amenities and big time sports. Students spend about one-third less time in class and studying than in the 1960s but have plenty of leisure to demonstrate against alleged micro aggression, sexism and racism of conservative professors and engage in social activism enabled by university presidents bent on molding intolerant liberals,” he asserts.

Economist’s solutions

Dr. Morici advocates redirecting federal and state funding from higher education to encourage more innovative programs in apprenticeships.

“The Department of Labor certifies apprenticeship programs. Usually completed in well less than four years, those generally offer about $15 an hour while students take courses and get hands-on experience,” says the economist. “On completion, 87 percent of students are in positions that pay an average of $60,000 a year – for college graduates the average is about $50,000 and subtracting the above-mentioned skills-based majors, the college average is a lot less.”

He supports a jobs initiative by President Trump.

“About two-thirds of apprenticeships are in construction and manufacturing, but President Trump sees great opportunity in the service sector and has doubled the DOL budget for cultivating apprenticeships. Private actors like Wells Fargo, professional services firm Aon PLC and the National Restaurant Association are building out programs,” he says.

“In the tech sector, Course Report connects students to some 95 coding schools – those annually matriculate about 23,000 graduates through programs that last about 14 weeks, cost about $11,000 and place graduates in jobs with starting salaries averaging nearly $71,000,” Dr. Morici says.

“Through the online portal Coursera, Google offers an 8-to-12 month IT Support Professional Certificate program that connects graduates with employers like Bank of America, Walmart and GE Digital,” he adds.

“More formalized schools are emerging like Holberton School in San Francisco, which trains software and operations engineers in two years and the fees are 17 percent of students’ internship and first three years post-graduation earnings,” he points out.

Leading countries

Back to the automation readiness report – its “automation readiness” index in education policies indicates the leading countries include Canada, Estonia and the United Kingdom.

The leading nations have made artificial intelligence a priority and teachers have been well-trained for the demands of automation.

Some nations have begun experimentation on methods to fund lifelong learning.

For instance, Singapore grants its citizens $500 in lifelong learning accounts. The money is earmarked for training by training firms sponsored by the government.

Finally, we’ve heard a lot of discourse in America about artificial intelligence, automation and robotics. But comparatively very little has been accomplished.

The onus is on U.S. leaders in public policy, educators and businesses to implement education and training programs Americans can use.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant articles:

Future of the Workplace: Robots Making Business ‘Smarter’ — If there was ever a need for people to become expert in technology and learn senior-management skills, the time is now. Non-exempt, lower-level jobs are disappearing. New software “robots” in numerous industries are increasingly taking over and making business “smarter,” according to senior-level managers who responded to a survey.

Artificial Intelligence: How to Maximize Your ROI — You will maximize your return on investment in AI with these strategies.

Seattle Tech Recruiter Provides Career Advice, Makes Prediction — As tech companies watch the debate in Congress on visas, one fact remains: They still need skilled workers. Here are insights from a tech recruiter.

Unemployment Stems Partly from Inadequate Education, Skills — The economy is difficult. However, in this knowledge-technology era, millions of American workers would be employed, if they kept in mind two adages.

Solution to Cure Worker Skills Gaps, Underemployment — An innovative solution has been unveiled to solve a big economic conundrum. The solution is designed to create 25 million new jobs and help grow the economy by 4 percent.

“Artificial intelligence is growing up fast, as are robots whose facial expressions can elicit empathy and make your mirror neurons quiver.”

-Diane Ackerman


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




For Profits, Align Your HR Program with Your Business Strategy



For profits, a successful human-resources management strategy should complement your overall business strategy. This is just as important as a business plan and marketing plan.

By aligning your HR program with your organization’s plan and objectives, you are more likely to be profitable.

Overall, you need to implement some crucial elements.

For instance, analyze your HR strengths and weaknesses; train your employees; forecast what you’ll need in staffing; prepare for employee turnover; hire strategically; and prepare a succession plan.

To align your HR program with your business strategy, here’s a more detailed checklist:

1. Review your business strategy and goals

This is important so you don’t overlook anything to be in the best position to align your employee-development planning with your organization’s goals.

Identify and analyze critical roles in your business.

2. Plan for transparency

Inform your supervisors and key employees about your plan to make sure your company is effectively aligning your human resources program with business strategy.

Educate them on the process. Change make employees nervous. Be sure supervisors are ready to alleviate any concerns of their staffs and to explain how changes may or may not affect them.

3. Evaluate your staff

Check to be sure your employees fit well with their job descriptions. Identify their abilities, knowledge and skills including their certifications and education.

Evaluate your employees. Take steps to avoid making errors in your evaluations. Continue to assess the quality of their completed projects.

If you’re good at engaging your employees, you’ll discover tangible qualities. Look for any other salient talents, especially their soft skills for interacting with each other, customers and vendors.

Inspire them to maximize their performance. Determine if they’re promotable or at least willing to accept additional responsibilities.

Answer their questions. Be sure to give positive feedback at every opportunity.

4. Craft a set of employee-development blueprints

Engage your employees to fully ascertain their career goals and their talent levels. Compare their opinions with your impressions.

Determine what your workers need in the way of skill enhancements. Be positive in your interactions with your employees.

Develop your plan of action for each person.

Provide necessary training and education to fill in the employees’ skill gaps. Always focus on helping your employees to grow professionally.

Once they appear ready for advancement, test your approach. Create a few scenarios or projects to test their new skills and progress and enthusiasm for the additional work as growth opportunities.

5. Develop a succession plan

Turnover is inevitable. Your succession planning must be capable of helping you to evaluate and to have employees ready to overcome unforeseen obstacles.

It’s best to at least involve your supervisors and key employees in the process. If it isn’t feasible, it tells you important information about your culture.

To keep growing a business and long-term sustainability, it’s vital to preserve the trust of customers, employees, partners and investors. Therefore, succession planning is essential.

6. Do a gap analysis

You’ll need to fully understand your current situation – strengths and weaknesses – and what you’ll be needing to do in improving processes as well as designing and implementing best practices to achieve your goals.

Examine your job descriptions to evaluate whether they are compatible with what you want your employees to achieve.

Review your employee handbook to see if it’s current in terms of employment laws and regulations in the locales you plan to operate. Update where appropriate.

Remember companies that don’t convert their employee handbooks into electronic documents are missing noteworthy opportunities in human resources. If you haven’t already use best practices for an online employee handbook.

Have your employees read it and acknowledge their understanding.

Ascertain your training programs and what they’ll be needing.

Assess your health and benefit policies and procedures. Make sure you’re in full compliance at every level and meeting the needs of your workers.

Don’t forget about your technology. What works? What will you need?

7. Develop your new HR approach

Create an effective HR mission statement.

Ascertain your culture and skills inventory – if you have the right people and enough of them and whether they’re prepared for your growth. If necessary, plan to fix any culture shortcomings.

Promote a trust culture that’s appealing to everyone so you will profit from cross-generational teams.

Plan for the best-possible rewards package for your current staff and for any new employees.

Upgrade your technology and make sure your talent will be able to operate it.

8. Continuously monitor your HR approach

Review your plan on an ongoing basis to keep it aligned with your business strategy. Anticipate employee issues to keep a desirable culture.

Situations change. Regularly update your plan and procedures.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant articles:

Management Strategies for Productive Applicant Interviews — You must be assertive – ask the right questions and listen intently to cut through the morass of canned answers to get the answers you need to make good hiring decisions.

11 Categories of Mistakes Face HR Departments – Biz Coach Tips — Beware: Many problems are not caused by HR professionals but by managers who don’t use best practices.

16 Best Practices to Stay out of Legal Trouble with Employees — Generally, in human resources, companies find themselves in legal hot water because they inadvertently make mistakes with their employees. It’s important to triple down on preventative measures and responses to legal hazards when necessary.

Tips to Prevent or, if Necessary, Eliminate Employee Toxicity — From time to time, nearly every boss has to cope with an employee’s negativity. That’s annoying enough, but you’ve got a nightmare if toxic attitudes spread among the rest of your workers. Here are solutions.

Productivity: 5 Management Tips to Motivate Your Employees — A major quandary for managers is to bring out the best in their employees. Every manager wants to do it, but it’s not always easy. What’s the reason? Usually, it’s because employees are disengaged – disconnected from their managers and companies. Here’s how to fix it.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

-Henry Ford


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Management Strategies for Productive Applicant Interviews



In practicality, you must be careful in interviewing applicants. Obviously, you should avoid asking illegal questions while being polite.

You must be assertive – ask the right questions and listen intently to cut through the morass of canned answers to get the answers you need to make good hiring decisions.

Here are five strategies:

1. Review your legal limitations

Naturally, you already know what you can do legally. But remember your due diligence. Prepare so that you don’t make mistakes.

Your focus should be on performance – how applicants would perform for your company.

Moreover, caution everyone on your team who will be involved in the interview process to be careful.

You and your colleagues should review what questions you can ask and shouldn’t ask.

Typical questions to avoid asking:

  • Do you suffer from any disabilities or disabilities?
  • When were you born?
  • Are you married, divorced?
  • Do you have children?
  • Do you intend to have children?
  • What are your plans for daycare?
  • What about your debt? Do you have debts?
  • Do you own or rent your home?

2. Adequately prepare for interviews

Look for the right traits. Thoroughly review resumes to screen for qualifications. Plan your approach.

For instance, give thought to what you would want to learn about the applicants and their potential for the welfare of your organization.

3. Plan your list of questions

Spontaneity is not necessarily a good thing when evaluating candidates. Interviews succeed when they are informative but success results when conversations are well-planned.

Adhere to your list of questions. Anticipate asking the right follow-up questions.

4. Ask open-ended questions

If you’ve identified potentially good candidates, shape the conversation into a dialogue with the applicants doing most of the talking.

To learn, you must listen probably about 90 percent of the time in your interviews. That means not asking questions that prompt yes or no answers. (The best applicants will also be appreciative.)

If the applicant pauses before answering your questions, wait. Pause. Wait for the answers.

Carefully watch the applicants’ body language and facial expressions. This will divulge a lot to you.

5. Don’t let your personal biases blind you

Certainly, soft skills are important. But don’t be misled.

Many managers make the mistake of being unduly influenced by extraneous or irrelevant matters. For instance, if you’re a football fan, a candidate who loves football isn’t necessarily qualified.

Keep focused on qualifications and how applicants can add to your organization.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related tips:

Hiring An Impact Person Starts with Screening Resumes — 5 Tips — If you want to hire an impact person, your hiring process is really important. The place to start is using best practices in screening resumes.

Hiring for a Small Operation? Conduct Behavioral Interviews — Whether you run a small operation in a big company or you own a small business, you’re wearing many hats. So you need employees who can successfully wear multiple hats, too.

Risk Management in Hiring: Pre-Employment Screening Tips — Here are two questions about hiring: 1) what’s the biggest mistake companies make in hiring employees; and 2) what’s the biggest legal obstacle employers face in hiring? Here’s what to do about background screening.

Increase Profits by Hiring Talent with the Best Trait — You’ll increase your odds for profits with high-performing employees with the right culture — if you hire for the right personality trait – enthusiastic people. That’s right. Look for people who have the makeup to being committed and who will care for the welfare of your company. You’ll increase your chances for the strongest results.

Need to Hire a Professional? Advertising Tips to Attract the Best Talent — Whether your business has grown so you need to hire a key professional or you’re replacing a person, there are certain advertising-recruitment tips to use. To avoid wasting your time, you must plan.

Check Your Motives before Hiring Sales Employees – 11 Tips — With many companies desperately in the hunt for sales revenue, it might surprise you to learn that their predicaments are often self-imposed. Why? They hire the wrong sales employees.

“Often the best solution to a management problem is the right person.”
-Edwin Booz


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Scaling Your Business Starts with Effective Management



You can’t be sure when it’s time to scale and expand your business until you’re fully confident.

Confidence starts with knowing the difference between scaling and expanding – and growing with the help of your culture and employees.

If you rush the process, you risk growing too fast. If you wait too long, you’ll lose potential revenue and profit.

Expansion is a reactionary mode and occurs as your company starts to accelerate. Your customers respond well to your marketing and customer service, and you need to hire just to keep up with the demand.

But hiring in a knee-jerk reaction always leads to problems such as settling for the wrong employees.

So, scaling is the best way to go. Scaling is all about planning and developing repeatable best practices – operating efficiently and creating systems to grow effectively and exponentially.

This means having proven systems for operations, sales and marketing.

Culture

But scaling must start with management of your people. They must be supportive of your vision, values and culture. Of course, they must be well-trained.

Therefore, you must have a healthy culture. It starts with you and the need to develop habits for a positive workplace culture.

Then you must use best practices in recruiting, hiring and investing in the best talent for your situation.

Once you’re confident in your staff, you must systemize everything – create turnkey operations – from finance and marketing to operations and sales.

You’ll know if you’re growing too fast if you’re increasing your workforce but you find you’re having to hire the wrong candidates just to fill positions.

Hiring the wrong people will not help you to scale effectively.

Personal and organization brand

Leaders know their personal brand. Because delegation is a fundamental driver of growth, they also know best practices in employee delegation.

They’re not trying to do everything themselves, especially the tasks in which they’re not proficient.

Self-awareness of your strengths and weaknesses is very important. Then, you’ll be in a better position to hire accordingly to fill in the gaps of your weaknesses.

That starts with hiring your employees. Expertise is important. As a leader, the CEO is not necessarily the smartest person in the room.

Your employees – your human capital – should become your No. 1 asset. For maximum profit, partner with your employees.

But develop a social media policy first. You and they should be on the same page regarding your brand image and the types of messages you need to communicate.

Continue to engage your employees and motivate them to offer profitable ideas. In marketing, ask them how they can and want to contribute to promote your brand values.

Empower your employees to become brand ambassadors, especially on social media. Celebrate their efforts and accomplishments.

Regarding your big-picture goals, remember your employees can help you in strategic planning.

Cost-cutting priorities

Cutting costs is vital. But operating efficiently with best-practices in management and marketing should be the top goals.

When it’s necessary to cut expenses, many companies focus on the wrong priorities when they’re too quick to implement layoffs and cut back marketing budgets.

Just as you differentiate your company to your customers, you must differentiate your costs to propel your business growth. Focus on best practices in strategically cutting costs.

Where to start?

For financial performance, the best way to achieve optimum efficiency is a management-performance audit, development of solutions and implementation of best-practices in management.

Key components of a management-performance audit include cost-cutting; focusing innovation in production and processes; and continuous improvement in management.

Time is money. Poor management wastes time.

Final thoughts – consequences

Without best practices in management, here are samples of consequences:

  1. Too much time spent solving preventable problems
  2. Too much time solving small problems that spiral out-of-control
  3. Too much time wasted trying to salvage wasted resources
  4. Your team’s morale suffers
  5. High turnover among top-performing employees
  6. Chaos leads to rising expenses and poor pricing

Again, your key to scaling success — best practices in management.

From the Coach’s Corner, you might consider relevant strategies:

Why Startup Companies Fail – How to Win — It’s vital to conduct a thorough needs-assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – followed by development and implementation of a strategic action plan. Here’s more.

For Profits, Manage Your Growth at the Right Pace — Entrepreneurs frequently try to rush their business growth. Certainly, growth is great but if you scale too fast, you’re looking for trouble. The key is to prepare.

Finance Checklist for Strategic Planning, Growth — Strategic planning in finance for growth means avoiding trendy fads. Instead, it requires an ongoing down-to-earth approach in order to create value. Here are seven steps.

11 Categories of Mistakes Face HR Departments – Biz Coach Tips — Beware: Many problems are not caused by HR professionals but by managers who don’t use best practices.

Management: How to Help Employees to Grow Professionally — Managers owe it to the organization to help their employees grow professionally and will benefit from higher employee performance and low turnover.

“Growth is the only evidence of life.”

-John Henry Newman


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.