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From Idle to Innovative: 8 Ways to Ignite Managers in the Middle

2011 Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X Challenge
 
The Cleanup X Challenge offered $1 million to the team that could invent an oil-recovery system able to recover oil from the surface of the ocean at a rate two times the industry standard. The building and testing of such a device was already an improbable feat, but the stakes were raised even further: contestants have 90 days to complete it. 
 
Team Elastec met the challenge 
 
When Donald Wilson, the CEO of Elastec, the largest manufacturer of oil-spill-cleanup equipment in the US, read...
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Where do you marinate from 9 to 5?

When I was a teenager my parents told me to be careful about the character of my circle of friends.  Positive friends make good friends and will likely improve your quality of life and decision-making.  Negative friends, on the other hand, will have the opposite effect. Before you know it, toxic friends will craftily lead you to make poor decisions, ultimately directing you to a bad place in life.
 
You are eventually the product of your environment. That’s why I highly recommend you surround yourself with good, smart and honorable people.
 
When I...
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Diversity and Inclusion: Getting It

What will you do?

If your team or organization is going to get serious about pursuing additional value or advantage associated with diversity and inclusion this year, it will likely be because you decide to make it so. I spoke to a lot of HR professionals in 2011 and one of the things that I heard a lot, goes something like this …
 
“I am totally on board Joe, but ________ just does not get it.”
 
They. Don’t. Get. It.
 
Your supervisor, your peers, your senior leadership team is...
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Does a Mentor have to Breathe?


To most of us, mentors are people of experience and knowledge who help the less experienced advance their careers and/or their education. There are plenty of well-known examples throughout the course of history; Aristotle mentored Alexander the Great, Laurence Olivier mentored Anthony Hopkins and Freddy Laker mentored Richard Branson. 
 
In the early days of my 40 year business career, I was lucky to work under two gentlemen who instilled several critical success factors that guided me from Brand Manager to CEO. One of my mentors was brilliantly creative, the other skillfully strategic. But when...
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Next Generation Leadership - Have You Talked to a Customer Today?

Did you talk to a customer today?
 
Simple yes or no answer.  
 
According to Frank Pacetta (a hero of mine) and his Blueprint for Success a “no” gets the leader or manager (CEO especially) an immediate failing grade.
 
 
Today’s leader is charged with navigating through chaotic and disruptive times.  Employees are anxious, overwhelmed, exhausted, uncertain and have far less trust in senior leadership.  Customers have an evolving set of
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Social Media for HR and Recruiting

French novelist Alphonse Karr once wrote, “the more things change, the more things stay the same,” which might explain why this same phrase shows up in Zeppelin lyrics a century after Karr’s death.  
 
And nowhere is that more true than HR, which as a function seems often to be the business equivalent of the Amish – a quaintly anachronistic sect who shuns modern technology (with the possible exception of cute cat videos on YouTube, which, as we all know, really never gets old).
 
This is probably why we’re still talking about building...
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Top 10 Workplace Flexibility Blogs Worth Reading

As the workforce grows more complex, businesses and organizations are tapping into new trends and people strategies to recruit and retain the best and brightest talent. With today’s four-generation workforce and the increasing globalization of business, workplace flexibility is an imperative for today’s 21st century workplace. 

In recent research from SHRM, C-suite executives said that the biggest threat to their organizations’ success was attracting and retaining top talent, and found that the best way to combat this was to provide flexible work arrangements – even above compensation.

Additionally, flexible working arrangements have been proven to help keep...

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The 2011 Execution Round-Up: Six Organizations That Couldn't "Get It Done" This Year

It’s that time of year when business owners and senior executives take stock of the past twelve months. What did 2011 look like for you and your company?  The questions you could ask during your year-end assessment are endless. But there’s only one that really matters: Did your company effectively execute its plans and initiatives?
 
If an organization can’t get things done, nothing else matters—not the smartest strategy, not the most innovative business model, not even game-changing technology.  And for many companies, there is a clear gap between strategy and execution—we’ve seen plenty of
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SHRM: February LINE Report

According to the SHRM Leading Indicators of National Employment (LINE) Report for February 2012, although the pace of job creation at this time last year was higher, the hiring outlook for this February shows that far more companies are expected to hire than lay off. 

 
Specific to the manufacturing and service sectors, the LINE Report shows that compared to February 2011, the service-sector hiring in February 2012 will drop by a net of 12.3 points and the manufacturing-sector hiring in February 2012 will drop by a net of 2.5 points. Taking a closer look at...
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Social Networkers: A Special Breed

Many business leaders have long suspected that active social networkers are a breed apart from other employees. A new report looking at the state of business ethics in the U.S. supports that belief.
 
The nonprofit Ethics Resource Center (ERC) says that corporate ethical behavior will likely get worse in the foreseeable future. In analyzing its data, the ERC was surprised to find how different social media people are from other employees. Workers who are active on social networks report more ethical lapses, feel more pressure to...
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