Monday Mornings with Madison

Monthly Archives:
August 2016

Building a Woman-Friendly Workplace – Part 1

As of July 2014, women comprised over 50.8% (162 million) of the total U.S. population and 47.4% of the total U.S. labor force. Of the 123 million women who can work (ages 16 years and over), 75.6 million or 57%, are labor force participants—either working or looking for work. (Comparatively speaking, 69.2% of men 16 years old and older are labor force participants.) More importantly, women are projected to account for 51% of the increase in total labor force growth between 2008 and 2018. And yet women in the U.S. still earn only .79 per dollar that a man makes doing the same job. They also make up less than 25% of all state and nationally-elected government leadership positions and less than 5% of all CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies. Economists and leaders see this disparity in female earnings and female representation in government as a problem if the nation wants to stay competitive in the global marketplace. But what can be done to make things more equitable?
Businesses can play a part in solving these problems. For business, it starts by making the workplace more “women-friendly”. Some big companies have already made big strides. But there are still many business leaders who think that their company is already woman-friendly enough, and that any further accommodations will only hurt and interfere with the company’s productivity and efficiency. Given that nearly half of labor force’s growth will be comprised of women, it could be argued that it just makes sense for companies to made workplaces more female-friendly. The first step it to identify and understand the barriers.
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Bosses’ Top 10 Pet Peeves about Employees

There are all kinds of bosses in the world. Management styles vary as widely as people’s personalities. There is the “do it the way I tell you” directive boss, and the “firm but fair” authoritative manager whose goal is to provide long-term direction and vision. Then there is the affiliative supervisor who seeks to create harmony amongst employees and management, as well as the “everyone has input” democratic director who is focused on building commitment and encouraging teamwork. There is also the pacesetting exec who is all about setting high standards and accomplishing tasks and the coaching boss, whose focus is on providing opportunities for professional development.
But while there are as many management styles are there are colors in the rainbow, most bosses seem to have one thing in common. They share many of the same pet peeves about their employees. According to LinkedIn survey conducted in 16 countries with data from 17,653 professionals, including 1,953 people in the U.S., bosses worldwide all seemed to have the same bêtes noires about staff. Here are the top 10 complaints bosses had about staff. Continue reading

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Relocating for Work

With advances in technology, telecommunications, and transportation, the business world has gotten a whole lot smaller. Companies, once compelled to expand in geographic proximity to their corporate headquarters (because greater distance would strain management and communications), can now do business on a global scale. The global marketplace has become more reachable. For example, in 1936, DELAG Airline — the world’s first airline to use an aircraft in revenue service — offered passenger flights from Friedrichshafen, Germany to Lakehurst, NJ (4,000 miles) that took 53 to 78 hours westbound, and 43 to 61 hours eastbound. That made managing a far-away business challenging, especially without Internet, fluid phone service, or computers. Today, 80 years later, a direct flight from New York to Hong Kong (8,047 miles) takes only about 16 hours. Aviation, cell phones, Skype, computers, and the Cloud have all but erased many of the hindrances of doing business internationally… making the world a whole lot smaller. But, it could also be said that the business world has also gotten bigger. Global markets have multiplied business opportunities exponentially, and not just for mega multinational corporations. Opportunities to grow abound for even the smallest startups. In that sense, the business world has gotten exponentially bigger.
These changes have spurred companies to pursue opportunities wherever they may be. But, to expand globally, companies often must relocate at least some of its staff to their new locations to establish operations. For example, a mid-sized real estate developer based in New York might relocate two key managers to thriving Austin, Texas to start a team developing apartment complexes. Or a small nursing home operator in Chicago might relocate several of its staff to open facilities in Arizona, retirement capital of the U.S. Or a multinational restaurant chain based in Atlanta might relocate an entire team of managers to the Caribbean to expand its fast food dynasty to new markets. Whether across the country or across the world, relocation for work is not without its challenges. What are the main considerations for employer and employee alike? Continue reading

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Marketing Focus: Client Acquisition vs. Client Retention

Every business wants to increase their bottom line. And every company promises growth in revenue and earnings, but only one in nine companies is able to achieve sustainable, profitable growth. That explains why businesses spend a lot of money on activities to achieve profitable growth! Statista, the Statistical Portal, estimates that over 180 billion U.S. dollars was spent in advertising in the United States in 2015. And that is expected to reach $200 billion this year. Those funds are being spent basically to either acquire or retain customers. Or both.
While some companies focus on customer acquisition because they view it as a quick and effective way of increasing revenue, other companies focus on customer retention because they are marketing to customers who are already engaged with the brand, making it easier to capitalize on their experiences with the company. But which is more cost effective at driving up sales and increasing revenue? And should it be an either/or approach, or should companies focus equally on both? Given the amount of money spent on marketing, it is a question that should be carefully considered. Continue reading

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Living “In the Moment”

Michael drives to work. He passes hundreds of other drivers, obeys all the signs and heeds traffic lights, avoids pedestrians, merges lanes, adjusts the speed of his vehicle and ultimately parks. He does all this and later has practically no recollection of it at all. He got from point A to point B on “mental auto-pilot”, where his brain drew on habits to navigate, while his thinking mind was elsewhere. He might have been planning the day ahead. Or he might have agonizing about a cacophony of demands in his life. Or worrying about a problem. But for the 45 minutes it took him to drive to work, his mind was elsewhere. The real question is: how many tasks are performed in a day with little or no thought at all? Brushing teeth. Getting dressed for work. Drinking a cup of coffee. Eating lunch. Working out at the gym. Carpooling. Cooking dinner. Each day blends in with the next, and suddenly the year is half over.
While everyone does some tasks “mindlessly” at least once in a while, there are folks who are on “auto-pilot” a lot. Absent smiles. Perfunctory greetings. Blank stares. For them, life is zooming by while they are disengaged. The problem is that time – the scarcest commodity – is passing and it will never come again. Time spent on auto-pilot is basically time missed. After all, when Michael drove to work but can’t recall the drive, was he really present? Given how precious time is, can anyone afford to be “absentee” from even a single minute of life? How much more productive and happy would a person be if he were fully engaged and savoring every moment of every day? And, at the end of his life, how much might he give to be able to get back all those “auto-pilot” moments? Now there’s something to dwell on! So is there a way to stop zoning out and live more “in the moment”? Continue reading

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