Friday, October 29, 2010
Alan Walsh, Owner
Walsh Enterprises, Business & Financial Advisors
Finance & Accounting and Multi-Hat Business Professional
I’ve been saying it for years, and events just continue to prove me out with increasing clarity & intensity. Agri-business is a growth-industry that job-seekers and investors need to investigate carefully.
Population-growth continues, while the quantity of arable land is relatively scarce. Food has become such a critical issue that a poor harvest in one country has ripple-effects around the globe. Investment marketplaces erupt over new crop news. Price increases cause economic spasms; and sometimes riots. People starve for lack of it. It’s a hot topic in political circles; not only regarding quantity, availability, and price; but also for quality and nutritive value. Numerous factors come into play; such as increasingly fished-out oceans, and poorly-used land that becomes unarable.
The demand for food will only continue to grow; and as developing countries go through their industrial revolutions their citizens will gain wealth and want more of everything. Meanwhile, those nations not so fortunate continue to wrestle with hunger & starvation.
Agri-business encompasses just about every business & professional activity one can think of: from basic farm labor –to- food processors, packagers, distributors, sales & marketing people, engineers, scientists & researchers, accountants & administrators, international trade experts, and others. Vast secondary industries exist to provide farm & processing equipment, processing & packaging and storage facilities, refrigeration, transportation, seed, fertilizers, pesticides, and other needs. Technology is being increasingly applied to achieve higher yields and improved production & distribution. The industry needs managers & executives who can innovatively provide greater quantities, of higher quality, distributed more efficiently, at reduced cost; without health-threatening chemicals or poorly-conceived genetic alteration. Those with a bent toward government will find increasing opportunities as this topic intensifies in political & economic importance. Those in academia will find increasing opportunities for research into food-related subjects. As population growth and socio-economic shifts continue, the opportunities will only intensify.
The U.S. will continue to be a major player due to the unique combination of factors that make it a leading producer. With global demand growing, pressure will intensify on the U.S. to feed the world. Developing countries will eventually become more efficient at feeding their own populations; but they’ll be decades behind the U.S. due to our massive lead. Much of the science & technology to bolster their home-grown agri-business will come from developments already used in the U.S. We’ll keep ourselves busy just meeting increased demand; and the related challenges, such as re-enriching stressed farmland. Water availability, and the politics & infrastructure that go with it, will become increasingly hot topics. Water is already shaping up to be a major “hot potato” of the 21st century. Creative minds will be increasingly focused on making unarable land productive. Then there’s all the civil infrastructure necessary to get food from field to table; roads, bridges, power plants, railroads, port facilities, etc. U.S. infrastructure is getting old, and will need replacement & expansion. All of this can only have a positive impact on U.S. agri-business and the economy as a whole.
People in developing countries have an opportunity to be the “tip of the sword” in developing their own countries’ agri-business.
There’s already a vast agri-business infrastructure all around us; and an even bigger infrastructure supporting it. Take a hard look, think creatively, and find a niche for yourself. Lots of bright minds will be needed. Why not be one of them? Those of you who are entrepreneurially-oriented will find opportunities abounding if you just give it some creative thought.
Many of you want to make a contribution to a “greener” world. It doesn’t get any more “green” than this.
After all, what’s more basic to the human condition, and rewarding, than putting good, affordable food on peoples’ tables. We’ve all gotta’ eat!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
In spite of millions of people out of work..... some great programs still need people to step forward and share their gifts. There are hundreds of thousands of jobs going unfilled every week. If people really
want to find work....... there are plenty of opportunities out there. Here's an example for part time teachers......
Dear Musicians and Music Educators,
I write to inform you about a brand new music education program in Santa Barbara, CA that is currently looking to fill a few part-time after-school teaching jobs at Franklin Elementary School . The program is poised to begin late 2010 and run through the 2010-11 school year and into the future.
For the past few years, the Incredible Children's Art Network has been sponsoring and designing in-school elementary level visual art programs. These art programs have been extremely successful, providing weekly art classes to children from kindergarten to 6th grade at five elementary schools in Santa Barbara. Students have flourished, creating works that fill the halls of their schools and are true sources of pride. This past summer, the members of ICAN decided to expand our vision to include an ensemble-based music program, inspired primarily by the longterm success and vibrancy of the él Sistema movement in Venezuela. Él Sistema is perhaps best known for producing talents such as Gustavo Dudamel, but it is more noteworthy for its commitment to social change, and the belief that ensemble music education can nurture children into becoming complete and compassionate individuals.
We are both humbled and inspired by él Sistema's proven example, and we seek to create our own version of this here in Santa Barbara, starting with a pilot after-school program at Franklin Elementary School. We have already seen interest from around 45 families of first and second graders, and we plan to grow as their children do, expanding upwards as they get older and adding a new crop of younger children each year. The program is currently set to take place for two hours after school every monday-thursday, and we hope this frequency will accelerate the forming of bonds between students, their teachers, and their music. We are also planning to explore frequent performing opportunities, and as a result, our teaching will focus on the personal and social benefits that are proven elements of ensemble learning and practice; students will be part of a choir, a rhythm ensemble, and an orchestra.
In order to accomplish all of this, our most vital resource is people. We are looking for instrumentalists and vocalists who are confident in their interpersonal abilities as well as their musicianship. We seek teachers who are interested in creating a program that provides a positive and lasting impact on the lives of children, with music as the vehicle.
We are asking interested candidates to apply through a website, hiring.icansbc.org, which explains the program more fully. There is also a video provided that we ask you to take the time to watch: it is a poignant and inspiring account of the principles behind él Sistema described by its founder, José Antonio Abreu, who won a TED prize two years ago. He is far better than I at describing the power music can have in the lives of children.
I look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
Program Director, Music Program at ICAN
ICAN- Incredible Children's Art Network
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Do What YOU LOVE.... love what you do or find something else to do. Life is magnificent and you deserve to enjoy it everyday! Consider becoming a sponsor of the 2011 International Women's Festival - celebrate the accomplishments and potential of extraordinary men and women. We'd like to get Lady Gaga at the 2011 Festival because she is not only an amazing entertainer but she is also one of the most accomplished business women in our lifetime. Her earnings may soon exceed Oprah's. I think she does what she loves to do!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I am a big fan of documenting expected behaviors for a team.
1) expectations are clearly stated, which improves performance and
2) it is easier to call out members who are not abiding by the rules.
Every team should spend time upfront to construct and document rules of behavior and engagement. Here is an example set of rules one of my teams came up with that helped us perform well over several years.
• When in conflict we will try to see the situation from the other’s perspective
• We will not leave our meetings with “silent nos”
• We will listen to each other but not beat dead horses (80/20 rule)
• We will build an environment of trust
• We will work together on a finite number of common goals
• We will be more inclined to ask for and offer help
The team that created this set of rules was a high performing group of mature managers.
In many offices and teams, there is an additional rule that would be most helpful. That is
• We will try to remember we are all adults and act that way most of the time.
It seems so simple, yet all of us have witnessed adults acting like children at work. If you have not seen this, check your pulse – you may be dead! The problem is that when we get into petty squabbles, the real issues are deeper than the symptoms that are driving us nuts on the surface. So those childlike behaviors come out all over the office.
Operating in close quarters, human beings have a remarkable talent for driving each other crazy.
This problem is ubiquitous, no demographic is exempt from this kind of bad behavior. You can find petty squabbles and childish actions on the part of lawyers, doctors, construction workers, bellhops, auto mechanics, ballet dancers, rock bands, people on assembly lines, farmers, office workers, top managers, etc..
If you observe a typical work environment for just a couple days, you will see ample evidence of all the aberrant behaviors grade school teachers witness every day in the class room and on the playground. Here are a few examples you will quickly recognize.
Being selfish – Kids like to hog the remote control. Well, so do adults (and don’t deny it). At work,
the idea is to cooperate and give as much or more than you get, but since equity is in the eye of the beholder most people have the perpetual feeling they are doing more than their fair share. They put up with it for a while, but eventually the perceived inequity flares beyond the tolerance limit and fights erupt.
Whining – Oh boy, is that ever common in the working world. You would think some people are living in a prison camp the way they moan and cry about everything that is not up to their personal liking. We had a sign in one of my work areas that had a big red circle with a line through it and the word “Whining” in the center. The “no whining” symbol was actually useful in many cases. When people are called for whining, they tend to do less of it. Some offices have Olympic quality whiners. They need to be called on it.
Shouting or grandstanding – Sometimes the level of yelling in the workplace is amazing. In school, bullies find out that most kids do not have the courage to stand up to them when they bluster. It is a great trick to be able to out shout the competition and often get your way. Supervisors in many organizations have a habit of using a tone of voice that people interpret as yelling. I often find that word to be hard to define because it really is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes a supervisor will be accused of yelling at an employee when he has not raised his voice at all. So, “yelling” does not always mean shouting, but it can mean that. I know one supervisor who really does yell at people – loudly. This kind of approach has no place in the working world, in my opinion, but there is still some debate.
There was an article in the Harvard Business Review indicating that for large scale change or innovation initiatives, a healthy dose of dissent is necessary. For example, it is said that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer were famous for yelling at people. In my book on Trust, I share a cute story about Jack Welch. “One former GE executive who had been dressed down by Welch for daring to question his boss, admitted to the moderator of an Aspen Institute Seminar that Welch’s furious tirade ‘caused me to soil my pants.’ ” I think most of us would agree the bully approach is most often working at cross purposes to the organization’s best interest. Short term it may get compliance, but it destroys motivation.
Hitting – I guess this is not so often seen in the working world, but I have actually witnessed it in rare situations. Usually the hitting is with words rather than fists, but sometimes cat fights do erupt that involve pushing and shoving or an occasional slap in the face. Sometimes there is a type of sexual harassment that goes along with the physical contact sports being played by the children at work.
Sulking – This is so common that you will recognize it immediately. Watch for it whenever someone is called out for another one of the child like behaviors. The person will sulk and mope about for days because his or her ego has been bruised. This childlike behavior occurs because people just do not know what else to do, so they hang their head and sigh deeply that the world is so unfair.
Passive Aggression – We see this all the time when people do not feel motivated to do their work. They will go into a “Flight Controller Slowdown” and do only exactly what they are told to do. Then they will sit and wait for more instructions. It is a way to get even for the sins done unto them by the big bad bosses. Kids do this to try to get out of doing their homework or eating their vegetables. Adults practice it to punish those in control. It is exactly the same driving force.
Getting even- Back stabbing or in some way paying back an individual or group for some perceived wrong doing only serves to escalate the hostility. The easiest way to witness this is in the e-mail grenades that go back and forth in every office in the world. Each time a note comes from the other person, the situation becomes graver and additional top brass are copied on the note until the final string becomes really laughable. It is the exact equivalent of a food fight in the Junior High School cafeteria. It gets messy very fast. The antidote is so simple. Don’t take the bait!
There are probably dozens of other childlike behaviors you can witness every day in the working world. I think having a rule that indicates we are going to try to avoid this kind of thing is a good defense that can work. There needs to be a highly visible effort to act like adults and not resort to immature tactics to get our way. When you set that expectation as a leader, it flushes out the individuals who like to practice these techniques and they are far less disruptive. Soon the embarrassment of the whole thing forces the perpetrators to grow up and join the adult working world. Try it, and see if it helps improve things in your place of work.
The preceding information was adapted from the book The TRUST Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, by Robert Whipple. It is available on www.leadergrow.com.
Robert Whipple is also the author of Leading with Trust is like Sailing Downwind and
Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online.
Bob consults and speaks on these and other leadership topics. He is CEO of Leadergrow Inc.
a company dedicated to growing leaders. Contact Bob at email@example.com
Monday, October 18, 2010
released this winter. MAKE IT REAL - by Patty DeDominic & Deborah S. Nelson
will be a guide to turning your big visions into action items and accomplishments.
In the meantime if you don't know about Deborah S. Nelson, you might want to check
out some of her previous works. She is passionate about helping others achieve their
dreams and came up the her Dreams to Reality Series just this past year. Dreams
to Reality is already have great success and you can find out more about Authoring Your
Own Book or the exercises associated with putting your dreams down on paper and getting
them out into the world.
Deborah talks about the 4 Keys to turning your dreams to reality. They are
I watched her work magic with one of my clients, an International Speaker and Visionary who
wanted to bring her message around the world. The exercises that Deborah has designed give
power to wishes and give you tools to help you figure out the difference between wishes and dreams
and actionable goals. Once you launch your courage and learn your preferred methods of visualizing your dreams you are half way there.
If you would like to learn more you can find her books, which are now recommended reading for select DeDominic career coaching clients, at http://www.authoryourdreams.com/
trying to find their way in our new economy, I thought you might like some new age resources
for finding out more about YOUR CAREER Options.
This Friday October 22, 2010 Career Thought Leaders are sponsoring a Global
Career Brainstorming Day for you! Sign up now or come to visit us regularly
for more career inspiration. Patty DeDominic - DeDominic & Associates - helping
achievers soar. http://www.dedominic.com/
WHAT IS GLOBAL CAREER BRAINSTROMING DAY?
"Brain Day" is a groundbreaking event of exploration, discovery and collaboration as colleagues join together to define our industry's best practices, identify emerging trends and set new standards for performance.
WHEN IS IT AND WHAT'S THE DEADLINE TO REGISTER?
The event is on Friday, December 3, 2010, but registration ends this Friday, October 22, 2010.
WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?
"Brain Day" participants will experience:
1. Remarkably unique colleague-to-colleague brainstorming and networking event unlike anything our industry has ever hosted.
2. Chance to share your talents, insights, prognostications and more with hundreds of other career professionals worldwide.
3. Opportunity to tap into the collective intelligence of every "Brain Day" participant - those at your event and at all of the other events in the US and Canada.
4. Prominent positioning of your name, credentials and company name on the final "Brain Day" publication.
HOW CAN I TAKE PART?
You can participate in one of two ways:
1. Attend a LIVE EVENT in a city near you: Atlanta, Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Hartford, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Madison, NYC, Ottawa, Palm Beach, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, Seatsitrvgftle, Tampa, Toronto, Twin Cities, Virginia/DC/Suburban MD.
For Santa Barbara - register at this site please http://www.dedominic.com/
2. Attend a VIRTUAL EVENT if none of the locations are convenient. We have several virtual events that will be going on simultaneously with the live events so our voices will be heard around the world.
NOTE: The deadline to register is this Friday, October 22, 2010.
WHY THE EARLY DEADLINE?
Since each city requires that a venue be selected and a contract be signed ASAP,
cities that are not full or near full by this Friday will no longer be available.
Don't worry if you've registered for one of those cities that's not filling! I've taken care of everything and you'll be offered the chance to participate in a "special" virtual event. Or, if you'd prefer, I'll issue a full refund.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
For more information about Brainstorming Day, sponsorship opportunities and registration, visit www.careerthoughtleaders.com/brainstorming2010.
WHO'S RUNNING THIS EVENT?
Global Career Brainstorming Day is brought to you by the Career Thought Leaders Consortium, the think tank for the now, the new and the next in careers. For more information about the Consortium and free access to all of our information - trends, best practices, articles, blog postings and more - click here:
WHO'S SPONSORING THIS EVENT?
--Pat Kendall & Career Folios 2.0: http://www.careerfolios.com/reseller.html
--Clara Nydam & Career Momentum: http://www.careermomentum.com --Mindy Thomas & Thomas Career Consulting: http://www.thomascareerconsulting.com
--The Greater Brandon (FL) Chamber of Commerce: http://www.brandonchamber.com --Resume Writing Academy: http://www.resumewritingacademy.com
The Career Thought Leaders and I hope you'll register and share your expertise with all of us. The real power of this event is the collective knowledge that we will amass and share with colleagues, job seekers and others around the world.
Wendy S. Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW
Author, Trainer & Career Consultant
President - Enelow Enterprises, Inc.
Executive Director - Career Thought Leaders Consortium www.careerthoughtleaders.com www.careerthoughtleaders.com/conference
2265 Walker Road, Coleman Falls, VA 24536
I hope you will attend one of these live for virtual events. I have enjoyed Wendy's expertise for many years and know that her team will make sure that everyone gets great value. She is well netoworked and a through and through professional. Patty De
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Plenty of people in their PRIME feel like the world of work is leaving them behind where it comes to job skills and the computer! If you have been out of work for a while, or worked at the same company in a non technology related job, you may feel like you have a mountain to climb just to get competitive.
Where to get help? Having a teenager at home will help....but for some of us, the kids left the nest years ago and grandkids may be too young or too far away to coach us!
Some baby boomers and seniors are totally frustrated. They may be trying to figure out how to search for jobs on line or just get called back for interviews. Technological advances make it more important to be able to conquer basic computer skills. You CAN do this.
Where to start? Learning new skills can be exciting but it can also become a daunting task if you don't know where to start. You want to begin learning all the computer basics in order to work in today's office. Below is a checklist of things to think about before you launch your job hunt.
The Computer Keyboard. Learn your way around. Typing at 40 words per minute or more
will be very helpful in all you do.
Microsoft Word and Excel, Two tools which enable you to save time, make wonderful documents which used to take professional artists to create. You can make charts, graphs, special fonts, headlines and headers with ease. Learn to Cut/Paste or Copy documents too. This can save hours and enable you to share information with others with ease.
Outlook Email, enables you to send receive mail and files. You can have task lists, reminders and color code your priority messages. You can create rules which allow you to send memo and emails into folders so you can read when you have time.
Filesharing, with Google docs or GoToMeeting enables you to share information and work with others without having to be in the same room. I have been having meetings regularly with Asia and Canada, Europe and Africa..... all on line using Skype or GoTo Meeting.com
Friday, October 8, 2010
The CFO role grows increasingly complex,
but a critical aspect of my work has always involved finding opportunities & weaknesses and driving performance improvements. In this, the CFO is in a unique position to view the business from macro & micro standpoints; both analytically and intuitively. Of course, multi-hat experience has broadened my perspective; viewing the business from different functional perspectives, and in one instance, from the CEO chair.
In both identifying opportunities, and driving improvements, people skills come into heavy play; which is the focus of this article.
The CFO’s interplay with the management team can vary greatly depending upon circumstances. In the extreme situation, I’ve taken direct leadership guiding a turnaround. I’ve also been involved in entrepreneurial situations partnering heavily with the CEO. But in most cases, there is a competent team in place and the CFO’s only direct authority lies within the F&A sphere; plus any other functions they may be overseeing. This typical situation is where people skills are most critical for success.
Most people take pride in their work, and naturally resent any perceived interference in their areas of authority. They don’t like having someone “looking over their shoulder”. They also naturally tend to shy away from change unless clear, immediate benefits are obvious. Even then, they will tend to hold back commitment unless they can take ownership and implement change “their way”. Forced change usually breeds resentment and avoidable complications.
This scenario assumes the employee is competent. Sometimes the employee IS the problem; and direct intervention may be necessary.
Seasoned CFOs understand that their roles are best served by insinuating themselves subtly across the organization.
Ronald Reagan famously said: “There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.” This should be a guiding principle for any sitting CFO. Its one thing to see an opportunity, but it’s quite another to get it enacted. Miracles can be accomplished through others, once you obtain their buy-in. This is done by laying the opportunity out clearly, identifying definite & measurable benefits, sharing or relinquishing credit, providing room for the key manager(s) to go about it in their own unique way, and helping out in a non-intrusive manner. Trust is the key to obtaining a receptive audience.
Putting the shoe on the other foot, the CFO can be useful as a sounding-board for ideas hatched by others. This means keeping an open mind, listening carefully, asking incisive questions, assessing fairly, and providing meaningful input. It entails taking certain risks, and might require taking a partnership role in fleshing-out, selling, and implementing the idea. In other words, the CFO must transcend the mere “screener” role and approach ideas from a broader business perspective. Of course, this first requires building an atmosphere of trust with the management team so that they feel comfortable approaching you. They should feel at ease being able to “run an idea up the flagpole to see if it flies”, confidentially, without fear of consequences. They need to be able to trust in your fairness and discretion. If you have to say “no”, your reasoning should be clearly & rationally laid out and presented in a non-confrontational manner. Don’t be too quick to reject out-of-hand. Give the idea considered thought before responding. Better to be accused by an impassioned manager of being too slow than rejecting an idea too hastily. Remember, the CFO’s supposed to be a reliable and trusted thought-source.
In most companies, major changes require the CEO’s and/or Board’s buy-off. The CFO is usually “hooked-at-the-hip” with both. This makes the CFO a natural for sanity-testing, prepping, and possibly helping present & promote worthy ideas.
There’s little about the CFO job that’s more fun than taking one’s own, or someone else’s “hair-brained scheme” from concept to reality. It’s also very satisfying to work constructive change through others; and it helps cement strong relationships when done correctly. Not every idea will work out; no matter how appealing it may have been up front. In such cases, you must be prepared to take full or partial blame; even though you wouldn’t have received credit had it worked. Also remember that most actions can be reversed or mitigated if they don’t render the desired results.
The CFO’s role could be said to be part-fiduciary, part-analyst/assessor, part-strategist/tactician/innovator, part-advisor/mentor/confessor, and part-“doer”. All of these elements come into play in developing, promoting, and implementing business improvements.
People skills overlay it all.
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Saturday, October 2, 2010
The 9 Things You Must Do Now If You’re Out Of Work
On Day 1: Cry, get mad, feel sorry for yourself, rant to your friends. If you’re an emotional eater, binge on your favorite foods for a day. Whatever you need to do to get over the emotional hurt, shock, feelings of unfairness, or fear, do it! But do it for just 1 day.
On Day 2: Have fun! Don’t get caught up in thoughts of doom, gloom or anger. If you find yourself slipping into that, re-read #1. Spend the day doing whatever it is that you have wanted to do but didn’t have the time because of work. It can be anything from spending a day with your family, getting together with your friends, or learning something new that you’ve always wanted to try. Whatever it is that will give your mind a rest in the spirit of play and involves people, do it! Don’t give in to negative thoughts! The result of this exercise is to re-charge your emotional batteries. If you’ve already been out of work for a while, then you can either include this step or just skip to #3.