Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kevin Kermes offers Free Job Search Webinar

Free Job Search Webinar

(4/1/09) - Limited Space Remaining- read what previous listeners have to say…


There are 152 seats left (out of 1000) for tomorrow’s FREE webinar:
Avoiding the 10 Biggest Job Search Mistakes

12:00pmEST Note – if you aren’t sure if you can make it, go ahead and sign up.

I will send you a recording of the call afterwards. We have some great information focused on getting your job search on track. Clients of mine typically cut their job search time in half! But, don’t take my word for it. Here is what some previous listeners had to say about the webinar… http://tinyurl.com/cts2j4

If you missed this and would like to schedule a FREE Resume Critique or Pre Interview Prep, please contact us at www.dedominic.com or call 805 565 9967 for a Free Consultation on your Job Search Skills. This is a business coaching opportunity, particularly for Southern California, Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara County .

You can also post your questions on comments below: it's easy to post your blog comments on the JOBS2.0 site, It's the NEW New World of Work by Patty DeDominic - high achievers coach.

Thinking About Your Own Business? Your Business Plan....

  • Thinking about Your Own Business?

    Patty DeDominic, ISS Certified (Institutional shareholders services)
    past president, National Association of Women Business Owners
    former chair, Foundation for SCORE.org

    In my new book, JOBS2.0, The NEW New World of Work we talk about
    many different job opportunities, including franchises and entrepreneurship.
    You will want to develop a good business plan for your own career development as well.
    If you have a good plan for your job search it will make finding the next job opportunity easier.
    I will write more about your personal job search plan future articles and there is plenty
    of good advice in this blog in previous articles, many written by national experts.

    What about you if you are thinking about starting your OWN Business?
    Well, your job search or career plan might go so far as to become the business plan for your new business. Each is different obviously, but each starts out with your key goals in mind.

    Below I will list key components of a good business plan. Your own business plan for your career or business may of course look quite a bit different, but one of the most important things for you to do is to THINK about these issues, do some research and come to your own conclusions. Whether you want someone to hire you, to go to work for you or to fund you it helps to have the answers at hand and NOT MAKE THIS STUFF UP ON THE FLY.

    Entrepreneurs vs Managers..... Entrepreneurs are famous for doing this: Ready, FIRE, Aim where Managers frequently get accused of Aim, ready, aim, aim, meet, discuss and wait till someone tells them to Fire. Which are YOU?

    Executive Summary

    Mission and Goals

    Company Descriptions

    Management and Organization

    Long Term Development... How will you do it?

    Competitive and Industry Analysis

    Target Market

    Marketing Plan and Sales Strategy

    Beneift to Community and Shareholders

    These are the Key Topics addressed in a good business plan. I will explain more in next weeks article on business plans. Patty De http://www.dedominic.com/ Helping Achievers Soar!

JOBS Meltdown? Prepare Yourself at UCSB

Help is as close as YOUR University. Here is a great example at UCSB in California

Biztech Career Fair
Thursday, April 16, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Corwin Pavilion Open to all students,
this annual event targets regional employers who are seeking UCSB students as they graduate.
Masters and Ph.D. students are especially welcome*Early Student Arrival: 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

UCSB Business Protocol & Etiquette EventSaturday, April 18, 200910 a.m. - 3 p.m.

(You MUST pre-register) Meet at SRB Multi-Purpose Room (10a.m.) for presentation
& Faculty Club for LuncheonGain the upper hand on your job competition by knowing which is your bread plate and water glass at a formal place setting and how to properly eat difficult foods. $15 UCSB Students $35 Non Students
Registration Required by April 13, 2009 Sponsored by the UCSB Alumni Association
For more information and/or to register contact Susan Goodale at 805 893-4611 susan.goodale@ia.ucsb.edu or visit
Thanks To: UCSB Career Services • Kaplan Test Prep
PREPARE FOR THE FAIR We have four events to help you prepare for BiztechResume Workshop: Tuesday, April 7, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Starting Your Own Business? SCORE.org May be of Assistance

Starting Your Own Business?

SCORE, Counselors to America's Small Business is set up to Help YOU!
Free and low cost seminars available across the USA. Free Counseling is available 24/7 at www.score.org

The Santa Barbara and Los Angeles Chapters have been especially active lately and LA
is offering one of their great "almost Free" services next week.

An all-day workshop that is an ideal starting point for the start-up entrepreneur and new business owner looking for answers. To be held at the LA Area Chamber of Commerce this thursday April 2, 2009.

Hear a panel of working professionals cover topics such as finance, accounting, insurance, marketing and legal. This workshop is an ideal starting point for anyone starting a new business.

In one six hour session you can obtain information you'll need to get your business off to a proper start. This could take you five appointments or more in different parts of town to accomplish. All this and more is covered in an informal setting where you are encouraged to get your questions answered. A must-attend for any aspiring entreprenuer.

Cost is only $40.00 and you can Save $5.00 by pre registering.

Limited Seating. Pre-register here to save your seat and $5.

Missed this one? Not a problem, visit SCORE.org for info and to find the chapter NEAR YOU.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Use F.E.A.R. to Foster Your Career & Job Searches


It is scary when you are out of work or when you have lost a job due to unforseen circumstances.

Use Your FEAR to help put you in the best frame of mind for a job search.

F. E. A. R.

Focus…. Focus on what you really want to do and who you need to network with.

Exposure … connect with your friends, potential employers, Craig’s list and the other job boards in your preferred city or industry. They can't hire you if you are hidden. Get out there!

Attitude …. Is really important. If you feel there are no opportunities you will be right…. DECIDE today that some lucky employer is out there just waiting to connect with you. Go find them and give them the opportunity of meeting and hiring you! They will be so happy they met you, won't they?

Reputation. Your network will precede you and building a credible reputation as a great resource, a resilient person and skilled professional all take time. Work on it every day!
Honor and preserve your reputation......it is one of the most valuable assets you possess.

If you would like to work temporary till you find the right full time position, you could register at http://www.selectstaffing.com/ They are the firm that purchased PDQCareers.com and my other firm CT Engineering. Select has hundreds of offices across the USA.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

TQM and Why It Matters For Your Career.


What is it and why should I care?

Ask ten people that question and you’ll get ten answers. Most responses will indicate that it’s somehow related to quality – which is partially true.

Here’s the version I learned and have been applying for years:

TQM is a business philosophy. It’s more a state of mind than a specific tool or process.

It’s a concept that has become somewhat lost or misconstrued among all the other business improvement acronyms in this day & age - but it belongs at the heart & soul of every company’s culture.

It’ a platform for obtaining and sustaining quality performance at every level in a company (there’s that word “quality”).

It’s a simple way to convey to even the humblest intellects the importance of each and every person and group to a company’s success.

It’s a philosophy that invites, encourages, and requires participation and “ownership” by every employee.

It’s a framework inside which every worthwhile business improvement methodology can be applied.

It can be applied at any level; individually and by group.

It’s a mind-set that encourages people to re-think their jobs in light of their impact upon the total business - at every level.

Each and every application of TQM is unique - reflecting the uniqueness of the person or group applying it and their unique relationship with their “customers”.

It’s intended to address everything a company does – and includes its outside “partners”.

At its core, TQM recognizes that every person and group in every company has “customers”. Those “customers” are all the people and groups inside and outside the company who rely upon them to perform their duties as effectively as possible.

▪ Customers (the ones who buy the products) are “customers”
▪ Employees & groups are “customers” - of other employees & groups
▪ Employees & groups can be each others’ “customers”
▪ Insiders and outsiders (i.e.: Vendors) can be each others’ “customers”

Anything that takes place:
C-Suite, Finance, Operations, Administration, Sales/Marketing
is subject to TQM - Everything!

At its core, TQM is applied by getting people to recognize who all of their “customers’ are, and then encouraging them to re-think how they can better-serve those “customers”.

It’s a mental discipline that is best-applied in a positive, constructive environment; with some form of motivational reward initially to get the process moving.

Every employee and group has “customers”:
▪ A factory worker who performs a process on a part or assembly has “customers” in the entire process following them; right up to putting the finished product in the hands of the person who ordered it.
▪ A payroll clerk has every other person behind them in Accounting as “customers”, as well as all the other employees who rely on them for their checks.
▪ A salesperson has the people who order the goods as “customers” plus everyone else in the company who relies on them to move product.
▪ A supervisor or manager has “customers” who rely upon the effective performance of their organization.

The TQM concept should be explained from top-down
To managers, then to Supervisors, then to Employees
and then applied in all directions:
Top-Down, Bottom-Up, and Horizontally.

It’s a philosophy that should be permanently instilled, so regular follow-up is necessary.

The method of instruction should be keyed to each audience.

There should be a mechanism for feedback - so that when a motivated employee comes up with a suggestion they have a vehicle for seeing it through.

TQM is nothing more than a philosophical approach for accomplishing what business people have sought time immemorial:

Faster, Better, Cheaper, Smarter, More Efficient, etc.

Its beauty is that it encapsulates in a simple, motivational format a mind-set for business excellence.

As I said earlier, it’s a philosophical approach as opposed to a specific methodology, so let your imagination be your guide as to how you apply it. Just keep in mind that its primary intent is to engage employees – so leave room for them to help shape the process.

Good luck,

Al Walsh CEO/Owner
Walsh Enterprises Business Advisors


Mark Witzling - Responds to My Request for Advice On Working Small Businesses

Mark Witzling wrote:--------------------I strongly recommend the Reinventing Your Career topic area of http://www.sbtv.com/. It's at http://www.sbtv.com/Topics/CareerChange/.

Lots of information for those considering small business as a career alternative.
With so many people now in career transition, more new businesses will be started
this year than ever before.

I would start there - looking at the Reinventing Your Career area of SBTV.com.

Here are a few additional thoughts that might be of help.

Making the move to a small business is a cultural transition for most experienced corporate employees. Traditional management hierarchies don't exist, there is typically no middle management layer, and no safety net for decision-making.

That means that your decisions have real impact on the business and those decisions carry greater risk. Also, keep in mind that traditional corporate support systems may not be in place - you'll be booking your own travel, sending your own Faxes and calling FedEx yourself.

Yet, with those changes you will also gain the exhilaration of having direct impact and directly creating solutions for customers.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Marilyn Barrett on the President's Stimulus Bill, Selected Tax Provisions

Stimulus Bill - Selected Individual Tax Provisions

Effective February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (otherwise known as the "Stimulus Bill"), $787 billion economic stimulus legislation which President Obama said marks a "major milestone on our road to recovery." Tax provisions account for over $288 billion of this amount.

Marilyn Barrett -- a former chair of the Taxation Section of the State Bar of California and the Los Angeles County Bar Association and who works in the Tax Department of Jeffer Mangels Butler & Marmaro LLP -- assists clients on corporate and partnership tax matters and tax controversy matters, and serves as outside general counsel to mid-market public and privately held companies. Ms. Barrett has written and lectured extensively in the tax area, and has prepared an article addressing select tax provisions of the Stimulus Bill of interest to individual taxpayers is below. This memorandum is not exhaustive and you should contact your tax advisor to discuss how the new tax provisions will affect you. For more information contact Marilyn Barrett at 310-201-3532 or mbarrett@jmbm.com. A more extensive summary is available at www.contentpilot.net/jmbmphotos/StimulusPackageAnnouncementweb.html

Modification of Homebuyer Credit

First-time homebuyers are generally allowed a refundable tax credit of 10% of the purchase price of a principal residence. The Stimulus Bill extends that credit to personal residence purchases on or before November 30, 2009 and increases the amount of the credit to $8,000 (up from $7,500) [or $4,000 (up from $3,750) for married taxpayers filing separate returns]. The credit phases out for individuals with modified adjusted gross income between $75,000 and $95,000 ($150,000 and $170,000 for joint filers). The Stimulus Bill also generally waives a 15-year recapture requirement for homes purchased between January 1, 2009 and November 30, 2009 (unless the taxpayer sells the home or ceases to use it as a principal residence within 36 months).

Deduction of Sales Tax and Excise Tax on Purchase of Automobile

The Stimulus Bill allows an "above the line" deduction for qualified motor vehicle taxes paid on the purchase price of a passenger automobile up to $49,500 for automobiles that weigh less than 8,500 pounds. The deduction is phased out for taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income between $125,000 and $135,000 ($250,000 and $260,000 for joint filers). The deduction may be claimed in calculating the taxpayer's regular income tax and alternative minimum tax liability. Qualifying new motor homes are also included.

Alternative Minimum Tax Relief

The Stimulus Bill increases the exemption from alternative minimum tax for 2009 to $70,950 for joint filers and surviving spouses, $46,700 for single taxpayers, and $33,475 for married taxpayers filing separately.

Payroll Tax Credit

The Stimulus Bill provides a $400 payroll tax credit for workers earning up to $75,000. Married couples filing jointly qualify for an $800 credit up to $150,000 of earnings. This item has the single largest cost of any tax provision in the Stimulus Bill, estimated to be $116,199,000,000.

Unemployment Compensation

The Stimulus Bill provides that an individual may exclude up to $2,400 of unemployment compensation from his or her gross income in 2009.

Qualified Tuition Programs

The Stimulus Bill expands the definition of "qualified higher education expenses" for purposes of excludable qualified tuition programs (also known as "529 plans") to include expenses for computer equipment and technology, or for internet access and related services, paid or incurred in 2009 and 2010.

Parity for Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits

For 2009 and 2010, the Stimulus Bill increases the monthly exclusion for employer-provided transit and vanpool benefits (previously $120) to the same level as the exclusion for employer-provided parking ($230 in 2009).

Individual and Residential Energy-Related Credits

The Stimulus Bill makes changes to the nonrefundable credits available for the purchase of qualified energy efficiency improvements to existing homes (i.e., energy efficient insulation materials, exterior windows and doors, and metal or asphalt roofs). The Stimulus Bill (i) extends the credit to include qualifying property placed in service in 2010, (ii) increases the credit to 30% (up from 10%), subject to a cap of $1,500 and (iii) includes property previously subject to dollar specific credits (i.e., certain fans and hot water heaters).

The Stimulus Bill also expands qualifying expenditures on solar hot water, geothermal and wind property (residential energy efficient property). Effective January 1, 2009, there are no longer caps on the credit for 30% of such qualifying expenditures. There was formerly a $2,000 cap on such credits. Further, there are no longer reductions to the credit for using subsidized energy financing.

The Stimulus Bill also expands credits available for the cost of installing qualified clean-fuel vehicle refueling property at a taxpayer's principal residence. The credit amount has been increased to a rate of 50% of expenditures (up from 30%) and a limit of $2,000 (up from $1,000).

The Stimulus Bill also modifies the system for credits on the purchase of a qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicle. Purchasers of qualifying vehicles with at least 4 wheels that are less than 14,000 pounds and placed in service after December 31, 2009 will receive credits equal to $2,500 to $7,500, depending on the kilowatt-hour capacity of the battery. Purchasers of qualifying vehicles with 2 or 3 wheels and low-speed vehicles will receive credits equal to 10% of the cost of acquiring the vehicle, capped at $2,500. However, there are phase-outs of the credits once 200,000 new qualified vehicles of a certain manufacturer have been sold for use in the United States after December 31, 2009.

Additionally, the Stimulus Bill treats the alternative motor vehicle credit (the credit already allowable for qualified fuel cell, lean burn technology, hybrid and qualified alternative motor vehicles) as a nonrefundable personal credit which, for tax years beginning in 2009, can be used to offset both regular tax liability and alternative minimum tax liability.

_______________________________________ Marilyn Barrett P.C
JMBM Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP Specializing in Corporate Transactions
1900 Avenue of the Stars, 7th Floor Los Angeles, California 90067


Questions from a NEW MBA, Opportunities for Women?

Q: Co-Ed, MBA From NYC writes:
What are the special opportunities for a new grad who is interested in using her Spanish and her business degree?

Congratulations on your beautiful education and on the initiative you show in writing to me! What a grand education you are getting all over the world!

Since you are an MBA I suspect you will be wanting the world of business.
Living in Spain for a while leads me to believe you are leaning towards International Business Opportunities.

What are some emerging industries that new graduates should focus on?

You could really do some soul searching…..and ask your HEART what is most appealing. Do you want to stay in banking or would you prefer to use some of your experience now to help some health related firm, or perhaps an NGO (non governmental Organization) which does work in Europe and the USA.

Financial services still is a strong bet, although in great turmoil, you might just be entering at the perfect age and time of transition. It is no longer just a man’s world….women, and all people of integrity are really needed. Bring your business skills and tenacity and you could make a contribution in insurance, finance or consumer services too.

Another favorite of mine is Health Care….which is undergoing a great transition in the USA too. There are many new proposals for universally available health care and new models for the insurance industries. It is making the news daily and is high on new President Obama’s agenda. This field has usually returned above average wages as has insurance and finance.

I love the advances in Science now. One of my fantasy careers would be to get involved with a company utilizing either Alternative energy sciences…for a greener planet or using nanotechnology for better health. Women are needed in business and research as well as policy making in these areas.

What industries are in particular need of strong women leaders?

Women have made significant advances in all sectors now. Even the military is boasting that women lead many sectors. You can pick and choose….if you follow your heart and back it up with your smart head and good contacts/network that you are building in Spain and at your University you will find that your sex will be an asset…as you have more choices than ever before. No one (no educated smart person that is) has the nerve to hold women back any longer.

What are some companies that may offer international experience and may require knowledge of a second or third language and other cultures?

Almost Any fortune 500 company fits this description… think about what city you might love to
Live in……. which corporations have headquarters or branch offices there? Also think about other Import/Export Companies. Many smaller companies have products to sell in Europe….or European companies still want to sell to the US and Canadian markets.

Best of Luck, and please do write back with progress updates!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Profiling Karen Dempster, An Austrailian Change Leader

The name Creating Change encapsulates what I do, as a human-interaction, futures and "potentials-envisioner". The name reflects the anticipatory, entrepreneurial, innovative business operations, HR and consulting activities provided. We have a philosophy of driving proactive improvement, working as a consortium of skilled professionals, alone or together on short or long-term projects, nationally or internationally.

I have 30 years of corporate, government, non-profit and industrial management and am President of the AGSE Alumni Assoc. (http://www.agsealumni.org). I hold the G.Cert in Entrepreneurship and am doing M.Mgt, Strategic Foresight.

I am also a mother of a 20 y.o. budding Software Engineer, & an 8 y.o. budding artist/conversationalist. I create strategic alliances and really useful networking connections as part of my integral behaviour.

The business has focused on HR, Instructional Design, Training Design, Facilitation services, and consulting in our areas of change through people and leadership. We each have areas of specialisation, which includes psychological services. I undertake some facilitation work, and will design customised programs. Primarily though I am involved in planning business interactions and/or organisational services that will work within foresight, writing and research, and lobbying for change. I have a strong interest in more work in the online area.

I am most pleased when I can create opportunities and links/develop others who achieve success, as part of my talents do seem to be the ability to define potential in people and businesses.

SpecialtiesStrategic thinking and facilitation of leadership and team developments, change management, global issues, foresight, creativity, innovation, project analysis, emotional intelligence, business coaching and diagnostic problem solving. Organisational psychological and psychometrics, counselling capabilities and broad-ranging HR services.

Xerox CEO & Chairwoman's comments on Job Interviews

Adam Bryant of the New York Times recently conducted an interview
with Xerox Chairwoman and CEO, Anne Mulcahy.

Here are some key thoughts on interviewing:

Q. When you’re assessing a job candidate, do you have one or two acid-test questions?

A. They have more to do with behavior and culture than they do with competence and expertise. Generally speaking, the people you talk to have the competence and expertise. That’s how they got to the interview. So then the most important aspect is whether it’s a good fit. And so I always ask the question, why are they choosing us, not so much why we should choose them. I really want to hear about what they could do for the company and why they think it would be a place they could be successful.
It’s a little bit of a test. Have they done their homework? Do they understand the place? Do they aspire to the kind of value system and culture we have here? I’ve learned that it’s probably the biggest success or failure indication, as well, about whether people are a good fit with the culture.

Q. Do you find yourself looking for certain qualities in a candidate more than you did several years ago?

A. Adaptability and flexibility. One of the things that is mind-boggling right now is how much we have to change all the time. For anybody who’s into comfort and structure, it gets harder and harder to feel satisfied in the company. It’s almost like you have to embrace a lot of ambiguity and be adaptable and not get into the rigidness or expectation-setting that I think there used to be 10 years ago, when you could kind of plot it out and define where you were going to go.
I think it’s a lot more fluid right now. It has to be. The people who really do the best are those who actually sense it, enjoy it almost, that lack of definition around their roles and what they can contribute.

Q. And how do you get a sense of whether a person has that quality?

A. Part of it’s from their experience. I think seeing how much breadth someone’s had, and their appetite for not just vertical career ladders, but their appetite for what I call the horizontal experiences, where it wasn’t always just about a title or the next layer up. And that there was this desire to learn new things, to kind of grab onto things that were maybe even somewhat nontraditional. Those kinds of experiences I think bode well for someone who’s going to be open and adaptive in this job environment.

Q. Looking back over your career, do you recall a certain insight that put your career on a different trajectory?

A. A couple of things. I had come up through the sales organization and I was very much a product of that — you know, the next level of upward mobility. I reached a point where I felt like I was just running out of steam, and I knew that you can always get bigger and bigger budgets and sales assignments.
But I chose to go into human resources. I didn’t do it so much because of leadership development or career aspirations. I did it just simply because I thought it was really interesting. I’d always believed that human resources could be a very powerful part of an organization and often wasn’t. So I kind of threw my hat in that ring, wound up running human resources for Xerox worldwide. That was a decision that certainly changed my career path and reinforced the power of leadership for me.

For the whole Adam Bryant NYT Interview please click on this link:

Anne M. Mulcahy, who led a turnaround at Xerox, says it “learned a lot about identifying failure quickly.”...


Learning from High Achievers

I coach high achievers........ and help them soar. It's a great opportunity for me to have such a
window on the worlds of so many awesome, interesting, energetic, growing and striving professionals. Doing this work grows me too. It's amazing how that works and how the mentor-mentee relationships have evolved over the past decades. It is no longer top down
"telling" I am usually learning as much from the people I coach as they are getting value from me. Todays Coaching and Mentoring is much more symbiotic than yesterday and thats truly a grand thing!

I love my professional coaching practice. it gives me exposure to so many brilliant and
succesful people. Some are at the top of their game. Others are at a momentary low point
and just need some support to move through their choppy waters.

No matter where one is in their growth cycle, we can all use a team of personal advisors
to get us going when we might prefer to sleep in! We also need our support team (friends,
mentors and consultants, employees, bosses and family) when we are on top. Not fun to do this all alone, nothing like the let down of winning a blue ribbon without anyone to share it with.

No doubt these are challenging economic times. People's faith and confidence is tested and undermined regularly. Some previously and always successful people have experience complete financial meltdowns....other have lost their jobs or are hanging on to their current status of underemployment. Big changes for all of us and a real humbling of America. Some say it is overdue.... I say it is just a new time... and a reconciliation and an opportunity for us all to write on a clean, new slate.

Let’s help everyone overcome this scary time by taking some pages from the play books of high achievers.

· High Achievers focus on the Possible…….
Not necessarily what is most likely to happen,
but on THAT which THEY MOST WANT to happen.
Like a football player focused on the goal line……. They look for the openings and opportunities for the Goal. Then they Go for it!

· High Achievers surround themselves with strong mentors and other winners. Even Tiger Woods and Michael Phelps – agreeably some of the
Top athletic performers have coaches, as do top singers and ceo’s……. all have others who help them see success and give them feedback. Get a coach.... mentor others and get some new mentors for yourself this month!

· High Achievers Bounce back…… Remember, it’s not “if you trip” or “ If you have a setback” it’s WHEN setbacks occur!
Winners usually have a backup plan and get back up.

Resiliency and tenacity are key skills to use in overcoming any obstacles.

· High Achievers also play hard and do take breaks. Overcoming any kind of adversity requires that you make time for rest and relaxation. Spend some time doing other physical activities that give your mind and body another view of life. This time will pay exponential dividends while you are employing the three points above.

This comes from Patty DeDominic,
The Los Angeles Business journal named her CEO of the Year in 2006
She is past president of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

DeDominic has two books coming out this year, JOBS2.0, The NEW New World of Work http://www.thenewnewworldofwork.com/ and

Life Moments for Women, inspirational stories of 100 women in business. Profits of this latter book, conceived and written with Maureen Ford, will be donated to Women For Women International and Vital Voices, international not for profit organizations providing needed resources and connections.

DeDominic's 6 Tips for Staying Enthusiastic and Optimistic

How to Remain Optimistic and Positive During your Job Search!

· Think of your job search as the next phase of your personal education!
· Watch for danger signs like depression and lack of energy.
· It’s essential to find ways to give your batteries a recharge and remain enthusiastic.

· Pick Enthusiastic people to be around.
· Learn from Mentors.
· Now is the time to cultivate some new and re-activate some mature relationships!


Your job search may take a while to give you BETTER THAN AVERAGE RETURNS!

Prepare and decide what and how you want to spend this next phase of your professional career.

Like the graduation from high school to college or work….or undergrad to Graduate school each step of your Career Development is part of your Life time Education.

Higher earners today invest in themselves and their life time education.
You can't attain or retain your status as an an above average earner without continuous investment in your skills and connections.

If you haven’t been in school in a decade it’s time to rethink how you are educating yourself and this “market research” phase is an important preparation you invest in yourself. I am not saying here that you should plan to be out of work for a year…..but I am saying that rethinking how you prepare and present yourself will have payoffs in multiple ways.

It helps to re-frame the job search process.………
No One wants to search unsuccessfully for a job for a year or two…..
but if you made over $50,000 per year and it has been more than five years since you had to look for work, it is very likely that you might have a long process ahead of time. Might as well make the most of it.

Try this on for a “ Re-frame” :
……. Is One year too long to be in college?
How about a “fast course” in today’s economic realities and enhancing your own research about “who and what it out there in the real job market of today”? That time you spend diligently following up on job leads, meeting people and doing your home work will indeed be the research that could help you be a more effective contributor in your next job. That Is your research, or you "college of hard knocks" education from the street. Combined with your formal education and your ongoing professional network you will gain unbeatable advantage over those who remain passive.
Staying Power will require your creativity and is NOT Business as Usual!

Get your personal overhead as low as you can in order to buy optimum time before the financial (you know what) caves in.
Can you move in with family or friends?
Can you form a job leads club at church or at the local employment development department or on line?

Get in the right frame of mind.
Enthusiasm is contagious and for some of us, it must be practiced!

1. You are preparing YOURSELF.
This job search is an investment you are making in YOU, Incorporated. (Think “ME, INC”)
Remember, investments have a cost...... that is why they are called Investments, but the good ones always return MORE than you put in. Invest in Yourself!

Visualize yourself having MUCH more than you need and Practice being Grateful for everything that YOU do have. You’ll want to work on keeping yourself fresh and positive. Use Visualizations and goal settings. Science has proven that both visualization of abundance and the art of gratitude help both the mental and the physical symptoms of fatigue. This practice also helps you be on the alert for solutions, more cash flow and be grateful for what is already working.

2.GET expert Advice…….
(get the best advice, then relax a bit…knowing that you can’t think your
Way out of a recession, it takes TIME and a plan). Go to head hunters and ask for an appointment. Talk to them about any searches they may be working on, or have worked on in the recent past. Gather information and ask for feedback on your own resume. This is a time for you to get expert input and perfect your personal presentation. Have your well proof read resume at the ready and be alert for job postings and job leads in your network.

3. Don’t rely on just one or two sources of job leads. The Newspapers still do have some ads….respond to those, as well as Monster, Craig’s List, Nuresume.com and other job services like the networks on Facebook, Linked in and name the ten other social networks that sprang up in the past year. Don’t discount temp services….my firm placed over a quarter of a million people from file clerks to nuclear biologists. We interviewed former elected officials and re entry housewives……. The advice I am giving you is culled from the most successful job applicants.
4. Align and Alert your References. Let your references know that they may get calls so that they don't get taken by surprise. Line up plenty of other professional references to assist with background checks in case your employer is no longer around.

My tips might seem like common sense, but believe me that common sense is NOT COMMON Practice.

5. Optimism and great attitude are ASSETS that not all job seekers spend time perfecting. Perfect yours!

If you keep at it, if you benefit from input and perfect yourself and if you listen to that feedback you get from employers you will be able to adjust your pitch the next time.

6. Keep reading…for inspiration.
Right now I recommend M. Gladwell’s new book Outliers is full of insightful info. He’s also the author of the Tipping Point and Blink. One of the best books I ever read, when I needed inspiration was Schuler’s Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do.

Retain Your Enthusiasm.........

We are fortunate to have a number of expert
contributors to this space from around the
world. They come from business, human resources
and finance from almost every continent on the
planet. They are different individuals, have
had unique career paths and education from top
universities, real life success stories and have
earned their stripes from the street.

My sources, advisers and colleagues bring
a collective thousand years combined!

But have no fear, this is not outdated tidbits
you get in The NEW New World of Work by Patty DeDominic. This is a delivery device of timely, ageless wisdom with enduring principles for your career and job hunting success.

Al Walsh, pictured here is one of the distinguished group of generous experts who shares his thoughts regularly for the benefit of not only those seeking work, but who also advises senior managers and from time to time he coaches me to!

Always with humor and tact, Al offers gentle reminders of the practical aspects of our own responsibilities in making our career and our businesses stronger. Today's thought by Al is a good reminder that we need to muster up all the enthusiasm we can. I always thought that people had a decision to make and it seems that this economically challenging time reinforces that thought: You are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Even if you feel you aren't doing anything to harm your business/work situation, I feel IF you aren't enthusiastically working toward making it better you could be part of the problem. This seems to apply to almost any situation...working in teams, helping a family thrive or even in a work study group. You have an opportunity to keep the momentum going and to add value to that group experience. The collective energy of enthusiastic contributors multiplies faster than anyone could grow on their own.

Today Al is reminding us via once of his great quotes to always be part of the solution! I wanted to take this short article today to say a special Thank You to Al....and to others who have contributed and who refer clients to DeDominic & Associates. Thank YOU!

Patty DeDominic

Now for one of Al's thoughts for March 2009:

Here's an impeccable quote, from an impeccable source, that's almost an article in and of itself.

Everyone who's worried about losing their job in this recession/depression should tape this on their wall at work:

"If you aren't fired with enthusiasm,
you will be fired with enthusiasm" - Vince Lombardi


Walsh Enterprises, Business Advisors
Huntington Beach, Ca
Al Walsh, Owner/Founder

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Anne Doyle's Leadership Strategies

Expect To Be Tested
by Anne Doyle

“Expect to be confronted. Expect to be opposed. Expect to have to defend yourself in the face of opposition. Don’t be unprepared, even, for dirty tricks. And whatever you do, don’t turn tail and retreat to the bushes.”
Those are the words of PhD Nancy Badore, a friend and former colleague who developed and ran the Executive Development Center at Ford Motor Company, when it was one of the most admired and successful companies in the world – a little over a decade ago.
She and I were talking recently about women, leadership and, in particular, courage.
I’m convinced that “Build Courage” is one of the essential habits that women achievers must develop in order to become effective and genuine leaders. Of course every leader, male or female, needs courage. The times when leadership is needed most is when the gale is upon us. Such as right now.
When we think about courage, most of our mental databases serve up a few of the thousands of images that our culture has planted deep into our subconscious. Most look vaguely familiar: men on battlefields charging up hills, galloping into the face of an enemy, or rescuing women and children.
We have to think a bit to pull up clear images of women and courage, such as the Suffragettes chaining themselves to the White House fence or enduring forced feedings in prison. Rare is the culture anywhere in the world that celebrates and consistently models women’s courage. But we have it and use it every day. And it’s essential for leaders.

When I think of courage in terms of women and leadership, I think of:
 The courage to not silently accept the status quo, but to lead change.
 The courage to speak up with conviction about your own insights, even when you are a minority voice.
 The courage to rise to defining moments and use them to springboard you to a higher level. The courage to stand up to criticism and welcome challenges as a chance to show you know your stuff, rather than taking them as personal attacks.

That last one is an area women struggle with much more than men. Of course we’ve known for years that men are from Mars and women from Venus. But thanks to powerful, new brain imaging technology that allows us to observe brains in action, we’re learning why we’re so different. Turns out, our different reactions to similar situations have as much to do with how our brains are hard-wired as with our cultural conditioning.

Hormones have plenty to do with it. Higher levels of testosterone, for example, are why men’s reaction to a threat or challenge is to stand up and fight, while women’s default reaction is to avoid conflict and back off. Of course our biological hard-wiring goes back to cave man and cave woman days. We know from Darwin that Mother Nature is all about survival of the species and could care less whether you are considered senior executive material or gain the confidence of voters to elect you to political leadership.

Our lives and ambitions today far exceed the female brain wiring that hasn’t changed much in millions of years, not to mention the possibilities for generations of foremothers. I’ve just read a fascinating book on the topic: The Female Brain, by Dr. Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California and founder of the Women’s and Teen Girls Mood and Hormone Clinic.

“We are living in the midst of a revolution in consciousness about women’s biological reality that will transform human society,” Dr. Brizendine writes. Think about that. On our watch, we can be catalysts to help transform society. But it takes courage.

Dr. Nancy Badore urges her executive clients, “Learn to appreciate 'hecklers' as comediennes do. Because the best comediennes," she says, "have learned that the extent to which they can rebut, hold their ground, stay cool and top the heckler, they’ll go to the head of the line.”

So the next time you find yourself facing “hecklers” and your ideas being challenged and tested, forget your ancient, out-of-date hard-wiring that tells you to take it as a personal attack.

Instead, follow Badore’s very sage advice for 21st Century women. “Let the people who counter you bring out in you that tiny little crinkle of pleasure -- because you know you are about engage in a debate that you have a good sense is worth winning.”
To do that requires preparation and grit. Plus, as with any skill, the more you practice the better you'll get. Build Courage.

You can subscribe to Anne Doyle's Strategies at www.annedoylestrategies.com

. www.annedoyleleadership.com

Anne Doyle

Anne Doyle Strategies
248 321.3999

Monday, March 16, 2009

Balanced Scorecard by Murad S. Mirza

Balanced Scorecard has been extensively used by organisations as an aide for translating strategy into action. This rendering is manifested in ‘a comprehensive set of performance measures that provides a framework for a strategic measurement and management system’ (Kaplan & Norton 1996, p. 2). While a sizeable number of proponents tout its success, there are sufficient detractors that demand a more insightful study into the merits of utilizing the respective tool.

Consequently, this paper examines some of the key advantages and disadvantages of the Balanced Scorecard and provides an assessment of its overall value in being an effective strategic tool for organisations seeking to gain a competitive edge. The main content is divided into three main sections. First two sections expound upon the advantages and disadvantages of using the Balanced Scorecard, respectively. Whereas, the third section provides solutions to justify its overall usefulness. The conclusion sums up the main ideas presented in the paper and ends on a note of optimism for ardent practitioners of the respective tool.

There are several advantages to using the balanced scorecard with some commentators equating it to ‘a new language’ (Keyes 2005, p. 4). First, it is an effective way to align an orgnisation’s strategies with the interests of three primary stakeholders, i.e., Shareholders, Customers and Employees, by providing ‘a broad and overarching skin to the structural architecture of the business’ (Nair 2004, p. 6). This is manifested in its ‘focus on goal congruence’ (Hoffecker & Goldenberg, Newing, cited in Dinesh & Palmer 1998, p. 365) with the short and long term performance goals embedded in the four perspectives that can be cascaded from a macro (organisational) level to a micro (individual) level as an organisation becomes more adept at linking all facets of its operational functions to the strategic priorities.

Second, it addresses both the financial and non-financial criteria in terms of performance management and encourages the users to provide a balanced picture of quantitative and qualitative measures pertaining to primary stakeholders. For example, looking at the achievement of ‘profit-per-gallon targets’ (Marquardt 1997, p. 21) by Mobil Oil Corporation in the Financial Perspective, while, concentrating on satisfaction levels in the Customer Perspective. Such an approach ensures ‘a baseline or benchmark-somewhere from which to start’ (Stewart 2001, p. 39), which can also lead to a proactive approach for developing solutions in areas where traditional methods of management fail due to difficulties in measurement. Consequently, it reinforces greater accountability and demonstrates results that accurately reflect the ‘true performance’ (Niven 2003, p. 39) of an organisation.

Third, it concentrates on ‘future performance’ (Marquardt 1997, p. 18) by emphasizing the significance of lead indicators. This does not mean a negation of lag indicators, rather, an affirmation of a balance that needs to recognize a forward thinking approach as opposed to over accentuation of past results. Such an approach enhances the competitiveness of an organisation, especially, in markets that are hard to monopolize or not run by cartels and are usually characterised by low profit margins and a proliferation of competitors seduced by low barriers of entry. This becomes even more ‘conducive to learning organisations within which hypotheses regarding cause-&-effect relationships can be tested’ (Mooraj 1999, p. 489) through ‘strategic reviews’ (Kaplan & Norton 1996, p. 85).

Fourth, it invites greater employee participation since their voice is incorporated due to the presence of Learning & Growth Perspective. Consequently, the element of trust is enhanced which is ‘essential to the maintenance of a positive psychological contract’ (Shields 2007, p. 48). Such an emphasis also propels the HR function out of the wilderness of serving as a purely operational function into the role of a strategic business partner. This enables HR practices to ‘contribute to business performance through a multidimensional approach—building organizational capabilities, improving employee satisfaction, and increasing customer and shareholder satisfaction and commitment’ (Yeung & Berman 1997, p. 333). Its also lays a foundation for the harmonization of cross-functional relationships in stepping out of functional silos and working towards an integrated ‘Big Picture’ scenario.

Fifth, it can be linked with the management of rewards that are based upon the defined performance criteria. This removes any ambiguity from the judging and dispensing of rewards and strengthens the element of felt-fairness, especially, pertaining to ‘procedural justice’ (Shields 2007, p. 57). The respective link between Balanced Scorecard results and compensation also helps in bringing about a ‘more rapid and robust organizational change’ (Manas 1999, p. 15). This can also be facilitated by a ‘Personal Scorecard’, adopted by Mobil Oil Corporation that connects ‘the achievement of overall organisation goals and the compensation practices that directly touch individuals’ (Marquardt 1997, p. 24).

Balanced Scorecard is not a panacea for all ills afflicting an organisation. Its drawbacks are also plenty in number. First, its ability to serve three primary stakeholders, i.e., Shareholders, Customers and Employers, also restricts an organisation’s efforts in branching out to a broader range of stakeholders, e.g., Communities, Suppliers, Government Regulators, Environmental Groups, etc., especially, in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. This can lead to a myopic view for organizations in industries that produce products with a potential for undesirable impact on environment, .e.g., Oil & Gas, Fertilizer, Tobacco, Mining, Asbestos, etc. An added element is inability of the Balanced Scorecard to ‘monitor the competition or technological developments’ (Norreklit 2000, p. 78), which can create a blind spot in terms of strategic positioning and remaining competitive within the markets served.

Second, it assumes organizations to be rational, which disregards the unique traits of organizations that are often molded by factors such as, strategy, structure, culture, insider politics or even regional differences. These elements are even more pronounced in multinational subsidiaries that tend to develop their own organizational dynamics due to the distinct nature of internal and external environment and the success or failure of the Balanced Scorecard may depend upon the cognizance and effective management of these undercurrents, e.g., success in China may require the incorporation of the Guānxi system, which is based upon long term relationships with an inherent element of reciprocity, as a significant part of the overall strategy.

Third, it is a strenuous exercise to translate long term corporate objectives, especially, non-financial, into individual targets/goals since that requires the development of clear links and weights to signify a balanced emphasis throughout the various levels of organisational hierarchy with a cooperative workforce. This becomes more difficult for organisations with complicated structures and multiple management levels manifested in subsidiaries that are spread over several geographical regions embedded with dual reporting relationships. The situation further exacerbates when competing unions in the same organisation vie for easier, rather than ‘stretch targets’ (Kaplan & Norton 1996, p. 221). For example, in the Airlines Industry, Pilots Union and Aircraft Engineers Union are often at loggerheads due to the blame game played in the context of improving operational efficiencies.

Fourth, Balanced Scorecard ‘ignores trade-offs between different measures’ (Andon, Baxter, Mahama 2005, p. 31) which may also be in conflict with each other. This also impacts the linear supposition of causal relationships, which is actually ‘a logical relationship’ (Norreklit 2000, p. 82) between the four perspectives. For example, higher level of customer retention initiatives may depend upon the financial health of the company in terms of running effective marketing campaigns. Another element that complicates the respective situation is the temporal disparities between the aforementioned perspectives, e.g., Financial perspective is normally short term as compared to the Learning & Growth perspective, which in turn, is highly dependent upon the financial results of the organisation.

Fifth, Balanced Scorecard is essentially a tool which requires training for proper usage since the cost of poor application may be disastrous, especially, for an organisation embarking upon an ambitious restructuring program. It also requires the presence of certain level of operational sophistication with regards to availability of desired data to measure the required parameters complemented by ‘a mechanism for improvement’ (Dutta 2002, p. 154). Therefore, it is not advisable for organisations that are in the embryonic or early phases of their evolution. Additionally, as a tool, it is a means to an end; therefore, care must be taken to ensure that the means do not become more important than the desired targets/goals, especially, in terms of deciphering the metrics used in depicting performance measures or confused with the notion of effective strategic thinking or good performance management.

It is a difficult decision to take an unequivocal positive stance on the effectiveness of the Balanced Scorecard after going through the advantages and disadvantages of its utilisation, however, as a ‘Big Picture’ strategic management aide, the respective tool does have significant benefits. This can be supported by looking at the associated disadvantages and realizing whether some measures can be adopted to mitigate their impact.

First, organisations need to clearly identity their primary stakeholders and if they are more than the ones served by the Balanced Scorecard, then the respective tool needs to be customized accordingly. It is especially critical for organisations that cannot afford to renege on their CSR responsibilities or those serving high technology turnover markets, e.g., computer manufacturing firms. This will also strengthen the content validity by ensuring that interests of all key stakeholders are adequately represented.

Second, as long as the senior management recognizes that the application of Balanced Scorecard needs to be considered with the unique characteristics of their organisation and ensures that an effective communication strategy is implemented concurrently, the irrationality within the organisational domain can be countered that can also pave the way for ‘the accomplishment of cultural reform’ (McNamara & Mong 2005, p. 16). Effectiveness, in this respect, primarily refers to anticipating and managing concerns of primary stakeholders, especially, employees, and ensuring that informal channels, e.g., the grapevine, can be used as an advantage.

Third, a team led by an ‘Evangelist’, i.e., a senior manager, and comprising of ‘Ambassadors’, i.e., middle managers, ‘with high credibility among their fellow employees’ (Olve, Petri, Roy & Roy 2004, p. 4) from each function concerned, should be formed with adequate training in the knowledge and application of the Balanced Scorecard. This team should spearhead the initiatives in translating all performance measure, financial and non-financial, and ensuring the allocation of weights, as required, to reflect the prioritisation within each function of the four perspectives. For example, Marketing & Sales Department will have a stronger emphasis on measures related to achieving Customer Satisfaction, whereas, HR Department will have more focus on measures pertaining to Learning & Growth of employees.

Fourth, the aforementioned team should have the decisional freedom to negotiate on measurement trade-offs that complement the strategic priorities, previously decided by the top management for the organisation, with final decision resting with the team leader. The resulting performance measures should constitute part of the Balanced Scorecard and reviewed at defined intervals in terms of their efficacy. Any discrepancies pertaining to the respective performance measures should be sorted out according to their ability in projecting the desired results on a consistent basis. The periodic review should also analyse the need for adding or deleting elements based upon their continued relevance while examining the continued validity and reliability of the Balanced Scorecard.

Fifth, application of the Balanced Scorecard should be preceded by a gap analysis conducted by a senior manager, e.g., potential team leader for subsequent implementation that explores and clearly identifies areas that can be adequately catered by the utilization of the respective tool. The decision for its application should only be taken at a mature phase of an organisation with relevant data sources in place and a clear understanding of the end goals justified by the cost/benefit analysis. This should be further complemented by conducting an interactive informative session for the senior and middle management personnel deemed to be the opinion leaders within the organisation to ensure minimum resistance by winning some early devotees crucial for the initial lift-off.

This paper has considered the advantages and disadvantages of using the Balanced Scorecard. It has been argued that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages if certain steps are taken to mitigate the impact of the latter. The first section highlighted the advantages, especially, as an effective aide for making strategy actionable through an integrated functional approach that recognizes contributions from a non-traditional strategy partner, i.e. the HR function. The second section highlighted the disadvantages centered on the ill-advised use of the Balanced Scorecard as a means to all ends. Whereas, the third section legitimized its use as an effective performance management tool by suggesting solutions to mitigate its pitfalls.

The observations and suggestions provided in this paper are based upon previous studies done primarily in the western world and the author’s own professional experiences and therefore cannot be taken as applicable in all working environments and requires further research, especially, from a eastern perspective. However, it is expected that at least some of the highlighted issues will find a common ground with other situational settings and cross fertilization of solutions can take place accordingly.

Overall, the success stories of the Balanced Scorecard with high profile industry leaders like Mobil Oil Corporation, AT&T, British Airways, Ericsson Enterprise, etc., the constant endeavours to ensure its continued relevance and customized usage, do provide a strong case for considering it as a premier tool for deploying a strategic management system. No tool is perfect or can claim to provide the ultimate solution for business success, however, the Balanced Scorecard, with its ability to overcome issues pertaining to ‘abstraction, short-sightedness, monetary orientation, simplification and lack of focus on intangible resources’ (Johanson, Skoog, Backlund & Almqvist 2006, p. 853), has proven credentials to be a serious contender. Therefore, Mr. Kaplan and Mr. Norton, count me as a fan!

You can reach Mr. Mirza, MBA at msmirza@yahoo.com

Monday, March 9, 2009

Where is Your Fortune Hiding?

Tip of the Week
by Dianne Gubin

Where's Your Fortune Hiding?

If you've been laid off, grim circumstances can force you to fresh starts and new beginnings. Regardless of shifts in the current job market, you still need to make a living, even if you no longer have a corporate job. Through necessity you may decide not to return to the corporate world, but to start a firm instead.

Where are the opportunities?

Following your passion is always the beginning.
What work-related activities get you jazzed and make you feel great about going to work? What do you do naturally and what would you continue to do -- without getting paid? Is there a direction in which you can lean to research new opportunities?

Consider unfilled niches with which you're familiar such as healthcare, senior citizens, babies, the green movement, and your own industry. Is there a new product or fresh service that you can provide in an existing niche? The world does not need another picture, but new artwork will always be desired.

Major shifts in the economy always signal new opportunities. We'll always hear stories of people who make fortunes during recessions and depressions.

Fortunes are made during downturns.

Al Walsh on Getting Clear on Strategic & Operational Thinking

Strategic and Operational Thinking in Business, Career & Life

Don't get so caught up in the hype that you lose sight of the purpose.

"Strategic Thinking" is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot these days. Job candidates try to impress that they're "Strategic Thinkers". MBA programs tout their complex programs designed to make one a better "Strategic Thinker". IT systems praise the aspects of their offerings that will improve management's ability to “Strategically Manage”. Fancy acronyms and phrases get thrown around freely.

I've found that many people are so caught up in the acronyms, and the systems, and the hype, that they've lost sight of - or never clearly understood - what strategic & operational thinking is about. Some people I talk to don't seem to understand the difference between the two, and tend to look at those who are “Strategic Thinkers” with a "reverent awe"; as if they hold the secrets of the universe.

This article will attempt to discuss the subject from a straight-forward, common-sense approach that leaves the systems, the acronyms, and the hype behind.

Simply-put, operational thinking is primarily concerned with the here & now, whereas strategic thinking is forward-focused and broader in scope. Strategic thinking leads operational thinking by its very nature. Both are focused on goals, but operational thinking is primarily focused on practical "here & now" actions that will achieve the broader goals set by strategic thinking.

Strategic thinkers are almost totally focused on the future, often reaching well-ahead; like a chess player planning several moves ahead to set-up a winning strategy. They're thinking ahead to the next year, five-years, ten-years, and beyond to determine where they want to be; and determining the strategy to get there. Their thinking is broad in scope, and the farther out they reach - the more nebulous the operational aspects become.

Operational thinkers in business are concerned with providing products & services now, obtaining the materials necessary to the job, dealing with current customer needs, dealing with current administrative issues, and so forth. Their thinking takes somewhat of a forward-look, but usually only to the extent of keeping the current processes flowing smoothly, improving on them, and meeting the goals set by the strategic thinkers. Operating thinking is detailed and “now-focused” in nature.

In business, the CEO is usually the primary strategic thinker; with input from others and support from the Board. The COO, Production & Procurement managers, and others usually set the operational modus operandi for meeting the strategic goals.

A new CEO might assess his $20MM firm and decide that he wants to take it to a $100MM firm in five years. Usually, the first place he'll go is Marketing, to assess whether the market is there and necessary sales objectives can be reached. So far, this is strategic thinking. But then the CEO must consult with others - Sales, Production, Procurement, etc. - to determine what resources would be required, and whether or not the various functions could successfully support such a goal. Right away, operational thinking kicks in. Any strategic plan usually involves a back & forth flow between strategic & operational concerns. The CFO is usually steeped in both; being concerned with supporting & sanity-checking the operational thinking, providing adequate capitalization to achieve the strategic goal, and helping the CEO define that goal; plus helping the CEO in his communications with the Board & investors.

There are many IT tools available these days; most of which claim to provide significantly-improved information for business management. My experience is that these tools are still primarily focused on operationally-oriented business process improvement (BPI). Certain strategic inroads have been made in the financial & customer relationship arenas, but when supporting the effort of strategic thinkers I still find that there's lots of spreadsheet & free-form work involved. As IT capabilities continue to grow, this limitation is slowly changing.
Some people would have you believe that both strategic & operational thinking are "new concepts", and that they're going to "enlighten you" - even though both forms of thinking are as old as mankind itself. These people are usually trying to sell some product or service.

Strategic & operational thinking have their place in every aspect of life.
Strategic thinking determines the broad goals to be accomplished, and operational thinking determines how you're going to get there.
Neither approach is exclusive of the other.
By necessity, each mode of thinking must address certain realities presented by the other.
In business, managers at every level should be engaging in strategic thinking to a certain extent. Even if others are setting the major strategic goals for the company, you as a middle-manager should be thinking about intermediate and long-range goals you want to set within your area of responsibility. Don't get so caught up in the day-to-day operational "flak" that you lose sight of "the forest for the trees". Take a step back now & then and look at the big picture.

The same is true for career & life planning. Think of yourself as the CEO of your own personal "company". Who knows, your strategic goal might be to actually someday become the CEO of your own company. Take stock of where you are, where you want to be, and make plans to get from here to there. The "where you want to be" part is the strategic goal. The "how to get there" aspect is the operational plan. Everyone should have goals and be working toward them. As in business, you'll have to periodically review and adjust those strategic goals - and your operational plans - to the realities of the moment. The times we’re currently in provide a classic case in point. Many people are having to adjust their planning to the ugly realities of the moment. But that doesn’t mean you abandon your strategic goals. You just have to make some short-term operational adjustments to “survive and fight another day”. Who knows, you might even find during your “survival phase” that a new & better strategic objective pops up on your “radar”.

So there it is. Businesses and individual humans have been engaging in both forms of thinking since the beginning of time - long before computers, MBA programs, fancy acronyms, and hype. The process is always the same - set goals, and determine how to get there.

Good Luck,

Al Walsh, Owner/Founder
Walsh Enterprises, Business Advisors

Friday, March 6, 2009

Learn by Doing...The Mutual Benefit of Sharing Your Skills... Geraldine Baum LA Times.....

Lois Draegin, 55, lost a six-figure editing job. She now works unpaid for a start-up website, trading her knowledge for new online skills.

By Geraldine Baum March 6, 2009

Reporting from New York -- Sitting in a bare cubicle, with her reading glasses perched halfway down her nose and typing away on a laptop she'd brought from home, Lois Draegin looked a bit like the extra adult wedged in at the kids' table at Thanksgiving.This accomplished magazine editor lost her six-figure job at TV Guide last spring and is now, at 55, an unpaid intern at wowOwow.com, a fledgling website with columns and stories that target accomplished women older than 40.

"The Women on the Web," or WOW, needed Draegin's magazine-world wisdom, and she needed their guidance through a maze of technology that was as baffling to her as hieroglyphics. In a search for a new job in the media, she had suddenly found herself techno-challenged. She didn't know a URL from SEO.It wasn't until she was teamed up with Randi Bernfeld at WOW that she understood the obsession with terms such as search engine optimization (a method to increase traffic to a website) or used Google Trends to pick story topics and write a uniform resource locater (Web address)."She's my mentor," Draegin said of 24-year-old Bernfeld.

"No, she's my mentor," Bernfeld replied.They were working at adjacent desks, and most often it was Draegin who was asking Bernfeld questions across the barrier.Joni Evans, former president of Simon & Schuster and chief executive of WOW, has recruited several other victims of the downsizing in publishing as interns -- her site's way of doing good in a bad economy."I think of this as a very WOW model -- women helping women, bringing us all back to our true ethic of empowering each other," Evans said. She is one of five founders of the site; the others are columnist Peggy Noonan, "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl, advertising executive Mary Wells and gossip columnist Liz Smith.

Draegin took the internship at WOW as a creative way to fill out her resume while waiting out a collision of bad events that has stalled her career: She is in a media industry that was in a free-fall even before the recession took hold.Other laid-off workers are attempting to be inventive by using newer social networking tools like LinkedIn and Twitter to find jobs. Some are even employing what Betsy Werley of the Transition Network calls the "extreme consulting model.""These are people who have defined a great set of skills and said, 'Since everybody is stretched and needs some of what I can provide, I'm going to work as many different jobs as I can.'

Employers are more flexible about how they think of workers, and employees are more accepting of what's acceptable to me."Werley cited the example of a lawyer who is training as a mediator while getting paid to be a career coach, a public school advocate and a lawyer."She's using every skill she has," Werley said.Still others are more like Draegin, delaying what could be a futile job search by trying to learn something new.

A group that focuses on sabbaticals, yoursabbatical.com, reported that an out-of-work consultant who recognized early on that it was a terrible time to job-hunt decided to do a Spanish immersion in Peru for three months, giving the economy a little time to strengthen, and allowing him to return with "fluent in Spanish" on his resume.After Draegin started at WOW's unglamorous offices in Midtown Manhattan, no one knew quite how to describe her position.Was she a "senior" intern, an "executive" intern, a "midcareer" intern -- or, as she prefers, an apprentice?"We're just glad to have her," said Deborah Barrow, WOW's editor in chief, who knew Draegin from the magazine network and dreamed up this scheme to give her a two-month, three-mornings-a-week internship.

Draegin has been getting a lot out of the experience because this has not been a business-as-usual internship. As in: Get me my coffee, pick up my dry cleaning, and if you're lucky, by the end of the summer we'll let you write a caption.

Draegin has been learning by doing and watching and asking for help. Arriving before 8 one day, her immediate task was to look for story ideas and mash together information from other websites into a brief news item for the "Wow Watch" column. Finding topics was easy enough -- Draegin fits WOW's demographic and instinctively understands the interests of its savvy readers.

But she repeatedly had to check her gut instincts against that all-important tool -- Google Trends -- to make sure her ideas would attract readers to the website.

That morning, she chose to put yet another angle on a story about the California mother of octuplets who has been omnipresent on the Web.Draegin quickly cranked out four paragraphs emphasizing that the "octomom" had decided to give all eight babies the same middle name -- Angel.But everything else Draegin did that morning was more complicated.

In the past, she hadn't bothered to learn such skills as writing tags and URLs because she was paid to think globally about the direction of her magazine. Now she had to think globally not only about each topic but about every word she wrote in the URL, headline, subhead, tag and links in the story.Everything had to be crafted to draw readers."It's really a challenge to do all of that at once," Draegin said.

Leaning back and crossing her arms thoughtfully during a break, she admitted that her mind sometimes wandered. "I find myself wanting to turn my head to what would be good for the website overall -- what kind of writers, kinds of new columns. That's just what I'm used to."But a daunting task that lay ahead snapped her back to the keyboard: She had to transfer eight babies' mug shots from an NBC video to her story. She still hadn't successfully done a screen grab (saving a Web page as an image). After several attempts, she splayed her fingers, the nails unpolished, flat on the keys in frustration: "Hey Randi, I have no idea how to get these pictures onto my story."

Draegin's lean frame slumped back from the computer.She and her younger mentor were a study in contrasts. Draegin, who lives on Manhattan's Upper West Side and summers in one of Long Island's vacation colonies, was dressed simply, wearing no makeup, short brown hair, a lavender suede shirt and black pants. Bernfeld, who commutes to work from Long Island, where she grew up, wore thick black eyeliner, long blond hair with dark roots and a stylish short dress that looked like an oversized gray sweater.Seconds after Draegin's cry for help, Bernfeld's fingers, the nails sparkling with polish, were flying across the intern's laptop, and eight pinched little faces appeared on the page next to the story.

The 2007 University of Florida graduate also had to remind the 1975 Washington University graduate to scroll through Google Trends before she wrote the tag and headline."She took a whole course in this in college," Draegin said with a deep sigh. "And to think, I took European intellectual history."At one point, Evans stopped by Draegin's desk and asked: "How's our intern?"Draegin plucked off her glasses and said with a smile, "Surviving!"Later, Evans boasted that Draegin was, not surprisingly, a fast learner."She was so excited that by her second day she wrote a news story that was a big hit," said Evans, explaining that Draegin's first story received 200 clicks by viewers, whereas her second drew 5,000.

As for what Draegin has done for the site beyond writing a few briefs every morning, well, perhaps that's not as obvious. But there are moments. Like during a discussion of the Israeli elections, Draegin discreetly corrected the pronunciation of a younger staffer who referred to the current foreign minister as "Tipsy Livni.""Yeah, we really should do a story on Tzipi," Draegin said pointedly. "She's really a wowOwow woman!"

Draegin has definitely found her internship beneficial in ways she hadn't expected. While she has long been proficient on Facebook and LinkedIn and has owned a Kindle for more than a year, working at WOW has revved up her interests in the online world. She now tags and pokes and occasionally writes on somebody's wall. She is considering Twittering -- just for the fun of it.Draegin also corresponds regularly on Facebook with her 20-year-old niece, who is still in college and preparing to launch her own career. Shortly after Draegin landed the WOW gig, she used Facebook to tell her the good news. Her niece responded with a message that made her overqualified aunt giggle:Now they both had internships.

Chin Up! Thoughts by Grace Kerina

You don’t feel like flying today, you say?
You’re feeling life’s weight? If I say, “Chin up,” it may piss you off.
It sounds trite, as though I expect you to down a placebo. Well, listen up.

You can’t fly without sticking your neck out.

Watch a bird in the moment before lifting off: head up, neck extended, chin high.

Don’t fold in on yourself in response to whatever heaviness life dishes out. Change your perspective through the tiny, simple step of raising your chin a fraction. If your chin resists, start by raising your eyes. Then untuck your chin from your chest. Then, millimetre by millimetre, crank it up.

Your lifted head sees further.

Looking down, all you see is the next shuffling step. A lifted head aligns your body, straightens your spine, improves your weight-bearing capability, allows your vision to find the horizon.

Rough times make big change feel far out of reach. So don’t reach that far. Reach one millimetre. Reach up. The rest will follow.

Inspire yourself. Lead with your chin.

Grace Kerina founded www.HighlySensitivePower.com to provide tools and encouragement to empower sensitivity, including the Healthy Boundaries Handbook and the Creativity Prompts Compendium.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

AARP offers great tools and tips for older

AARP, a Great Resource and NOT just for Oldsters!

Stimulus package will create jobs in several fields, expert says

The economic-stimulus package is expected to create demand for more computer systems analysts, construction carpenters and preschool teachers, according to occupational expert Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D. His recent book, "Great Jobs in the President's Stimulus Plan," discusses areas that will benefit from the economic-stimulus package. "It's important to understand that the Obama team wants the coming upswing to be different from the 'jobless recovery' that followed the 2001 recession, in which businesses increased their profits without taking on many additional workers," he noted. The Examiner (2/18)

§ More older workers turn to online career sites, Nielsen saysThe number of people aged 65 or older who are visiting online career development sites is growing, according to Nielsen. The number of unique visitors in that age category rose 41% to 3.6 million in January 2009, versus year-ago levels. The need to generate additional income as well as the decline in the value of retirement accounts is contributing to the trend, observers say. WebProNews (Lexington, Ky.) (3/3)

Industry & Workplace Trends
§ HR professionals see more job cuts in Q1, survey saysMany human resources professionals believe significant job cuts will persist in the first quarter of this year, according to a survey. Nearly 75% of the human resources professionals interviewed by the Society for Human Resource Management are pessimistic about overall U.S. job growth. CCH (2/24)

§ Several companies avoid job cuts amid economic downturnNot all companies are resorting to layoffs. This article names 10 companies that are avoiding cuts. Google, for example, simply stops hiring when it wants to control personnel costs. Colgate and Verizon also are among the companies that have avoided cuts. TIME (2/20)