Entries for June 2007

an alternative to the SMART goal framework

I wrote up a post at my new blog, Work-Life Chronicles, about the alternative to the SMART goal framework that I have developed and used in the last year of teaching MGMT 250 and 251. I call it START NOW, which stands for:

Trying Again
Wise Action

To read more about each of the labels in the START NOW framework, and some funny stories about my adventures learning to ride my Vespa, click through to read "a different take on setting and achieving goals".

Please let me know what you think of the new blog, too! I'd welcome you to add it to your blogroll, or subscribe to the RSS feed, if you find the first few posts interesting.

Management Professor Notes II welcomes the Carnival of the Capitalists

the June 18 edition of the carnival was hosted last week by Blog Business World, and this week, it is my turn to host. There were an impressive number of submissions, which I have clustered into themes. Enjoy clicking through to read this sampling of bloggers' thoughts about new books, organization and HR management, self-management, business startups and entrepreneurship, managing risk, investing, and public management and politics!

New Books:

Businesspundit highlights Ben Casnocha's My Startup Life: The Story of a Teenage Entrepreneur. It was interesting to get a glimpse into what Ben has been up to, since I joined the chorus in the summer of 2005, trying to convince him not to write off college. (Here's my old post on graduation speeches and the value of college.) It's good to know that he's entering his freshman year this fall, even if he couldn't pull himself away from California -- he will be attending Claremont McKenna, in LA.

SophistPundit offers a critique of the notion of the right price in Sunstein's book, Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge.

Organization and HR Management:

Leon Getter of SoxFirst identifies five warning signs that you are working in a psychotic organization, so that we can watch for the telltales and get out before too much damage is done to ourselves or our coworkers.

Wally Bock at Three Star Leadership reviews the apprentice process in his post on Are Leaders Born or Made?

Jim Stroup at Managing Leadership discusses knowledge management in his interestingly-titled post on Pushing the string. (I've always liked this metaphor of management as trying to play a piano with spaghetti instead of hammers to strike the piano strings!) Jim offers valuable guidance about how to implement a knowledge management system effectively.

Wayne Hurlburt at Blog Business World on problems that can arise when employees do not receive equitable treatment, in his entry Employee relations: Separate sets of rules. Wayne provides an excellent reminder that while intentional rewards for high performers may make sense, sloppy preferential treatment and discrimination won't pay.

On a related note, at MoneyWalks, how to avoid employee lawsuits offers some practical guidance on staying away from legal trouble.

Steven Silver at Scatterbox writes about the proliferation of C-level titles and offers his theory for who is to blame.

InventureGlobal offers a post on What Big Oil Can Stand to Learn From Google.

Jeffrey Stain of SavingAdvice sends this link with excellent tip for maximizing efficiency: The Stand-Up Meeting, the Best Meeting You'll Ever Attend.

Charles H. Green at Trusted Advisors asks Attract and Retain: People Strategy, or Roach Motel Ad?


FreeMoneyFinance explores consumer ethics in a post asking what do you do when a business makes an error in your favor?

This week, Randy's career advice is to learn to invent and reinvent your future.

The Work-Life Chronicles blog explores work hours of professionals, and asks how people manage their work routines so that there is also time to "play hard" -- click through if you'd like to share your approach to this eternal dilemma.

At the Scratching Post, read musings about the connection between Craig's List and the cost of living.

From QueerCents comes a post on Using Cash in a Cashless World, and a story about financial self-restraint that reminds me of how my grandparents stayed on track with family finances for their 65 years of marriage (hint: it's either in the envelope, or it isn't.)

From College and Finance come 7 surefire ways to save serious cash in college, with some potentially unpopular, but straightforward, strategies for keeping coins in your pocket. (My other tip: The library is free, or at least included in your tuition!)

Business startups and entrepreneurship:

At Grad Money Matters, consider reading this interview with real-life student entrepreneurs. (There is also a collection of frugal living tips in the left sidebar at Grad Money Matters, if you are still looking for suggestions after reading the College and Finance post about saving money in college!)

Matt offers an answer to the question, Is traditional publicity dead? at his Creative Advertising Blog.

Jack Yoest offers an answer to the question, "What is the best way to get a referral?"

From B2B Revenue Generation comes an analysis of the role of revenue in cash flow, in which Jim Logan reminds us that "the time to worry about cash isn’t when you need it" and suggests some ways to think ahead (including always aiming to generate referrals and other new revenue leads!)

On offer from Good Customer Service Blog is a very memorable story about why customer service matters, entitled the president murdered grandma! And from Small Business Buzz comes a post on how to differentiating your business via quality customer service.

Scott Allen at Entrepreneurs.About.Com is preparing for an interview, and wants to know what questions should I ask the founders of OneCoach? We hope that several readers will click through to share their questions with Scott.

Managing risk:

From The Digerati Life comes 8 different ways to diversify and manage risk, which discusses alternative strategies for intentionally varying the types of investments in your portfolio.

From Atlantic Canada's Small Business Blog comes Small business risk management strategy, providing a helpful guide to identifying and analyzing risks in the small business context.


At Trader's Narrative, a useful fuide to investor networking sites is on offer.

At Finance Is Personal, Debunking Mutual Fund Naysayers makes a case that investing in mutual funds is still worth considering. (This was a great relief to me, since all my retirement investments are in mutual funds!)

On a related note, The Skilled Investor offers 18 low-cost S&P 500 index funds.

Econbrowser explores the pros and cons of oil shale as a potential source of gasoline in the post entitled oil shale hits a freeze.

Davis Freeberg criticizes the ad that was run in Investors Business Daily on June 1st in his post, Golden Dragon or Sleeping Snake?

The Time and Money Group blog asks the question, Is it too late for Eric Bollinger's agriculture stock play?

At CapForge, the next Starbucks is a healthy restaurant business -- think Pinkberry's, or McTasty's. If you're looking for a market niche, be sure to read this post!

At Starting a Small Home Business, learn more about licensing as a path to wealth.

Public management and politics:

Public Diplomacy Watch comments on the creation of a new category of Fullbright fellowships in the post MTV diplomacy.

From Divided We Stand, United We Fall comes a thorough report on how investors respond to our current state of US politics, concluding that Investors still love divided government. (Don't miss the animation of the elephant cozying up to the donkey.)

Zenofeller thinks their may be a need for some policy regarding shopping websites, despite the manifest advantages of obsessive compulsive disorder.

Bob Vineyard at Insureblog asks what's in your wallet? with an interesting report on preferences for different forms of healthcare.

Forex Blog explores the question How does terrorism affect your investing?

That's all in the carnival of the capitalists for this week, folks! A host is still needed for next week, so if you are interested, read the hosting instructions over at Bizosphere and consider putting your hat in the ring.

perhaps the iPhone is not underpriced!

On Thursday, this Wall Street Journal article by Walter Mossberg was the second-most-emailed item in the paper. Mossberg reviewed the Blackberry Curve 8300 and the Nokia N95, two alternatives to the iPhone, and raved about the N95 with its very high-end camera.

Perhaps I was not that far off base in considering the iPhone as a rival for the Blackberry in my previous post about the iPhone vs. the Blackberry and the Treo. There was another article in the WSJ highlighting how much pressure business IT managers are getting from their employees. Many current Blackberry users want to ensure that they can buy a new iPhone on their own, and still access their Blackberry-based work email when they want. Whether Apple and Research in Motion will work out a patch that satisfies security concerns is an open question... I'm fortunate that the outcome of that negotiation will not affect my ability to use an iPhone for email.

I do still want to know what the monthly charge will be from AT&T for data charges, though. That would make me think... but not for very long. I hope there are still some iPhones available in Cupertino on Sunday, July 1!

benefits of daily writing

Liz Strauss has written a neat post on reasons to write which echoes my post from a while back about why I ask students to blog. Although management is often described as primarily an oral craft, I continue to insist to my students that the ability to write well is a great ace in the whole. That skill impresses others who value critical thinking and attention to detail, helps one make a good first impression, and sharpens the ability to think analytically and critically. All this is true not just for current students, but also for those who are already in the workplace. If you're not happy with your writing skills, then take Liz Strauss' advice, and begin a daily practice -- it can only yield positive rewards!

transformative cooperation book is now available

I came in to the office today for the first time in a while, and found a box addressed to me, Ron Fry, and David Cooperrider. Immediately, I knew that it was the first copies of the Handbook of Transformative Cooperation. I'll be carrying one around all day, and I'll be surprised if my feet touch the ground again before bedtime -- I'm floating in a cloud of happiness and relief!

competing in the war for talent

Susan Cantrell has written an insightful article in the latest Sloan Management Review highlighting four rules for retaining desirable employees in this age of tight competition among employers for knowledge workers and service professionals. Worth a read! I especially like her points about making HR policies more flexible, though of course that can always raise suspicions among employees about a lack of equity.

so many good reasons to love Cleveland

This post at Brewed Fresh Daily really blew me away. Listen to all the cheerleaders for Northeast Ohio, over fifty of them!

iPhone takes on the Blackberry and the Treo

I am by no means a marketing expert, but it doesn't take much education on the topic to figure out that products anyone can acquire are less desirable to trendsetters. Perhaps most users of the Blackberry and the Treo are not trendsetters -- perhaps they like to just follow the crowd. They may even be required to do so. (I have certainly been told that more than one employer requires the use of Blackberry, a dubious policy for organizations to adopt if they are to recruit and retain outstanding employees in today's world of work.)

The question is, how many people want to be trendsetters? My guess is, more than the number who will be able to acquire an iPhone between now and Christmas. Probably by a factor of three or four.

I'm definitely a trendsetter-wanna-be. The demo of visual voicemail was appealing -- I hate having to wade through seven voicemails without knowing if any of them were left by anyone I'm really waiting to hear from, or if they're just lower-priority communications that should have been sent through email. Appealing, but not compelling.

It was the demo of websurfing on the iPhone that was compelling. Clearly, I'm in the target market, because the webpage being surfed is not myspace -- it's the New York Times. The demo shows that Apple has applied the same attention to human-computer interface when designing the iPhone that they have become known for with their operating systems, laptops, and iPods. This commercial is really all the instruction in using the iPhone any typical user will need.

So, I have signed up for a Cingular/AT&T cellular account, and for email alerts with both the cellular provider and with Apple directly. I'm not going to be camping outside a cellphone store on the night of June 28, but I'd love to be able to figure out how to acquire an iPhone before I attend the Academy of Management annual international meeting in Philadelphia at the beginning of August. Perhaps I would not even need to take my laptop with me! It could be a new frontier in flexible work.

How much of the Blackberry and Treo market will Apple be able to take a bite of between now and Christmas? This report from last December doesn't even show Apple as a player in the "converged mobile device" market -- and in fact, the manufacturers of the Blackberry did not hold the top market share spot. That honor went to Nokia, with 38.7 million units shipped. Nokia also holds top honors in the smartphone market segment. The unknown is how Apple's exclusive partnership with Cingular/AT&T will affect trendsetters' willingness to go with the iPhone.

The logical followup question is, how much will the converged mobile device market grow between June 29 and the end of December? The 42 percent growth rate over 2005 sounds quite impressive. My bet is that the rate will be at least sustained, if not increased, through the end of 2006. In some ways, accelerating the growth of this market segment would be just as much of a victory for Apple as stealing market share away from the Blackberry or the Treo would be.

Once again, Steve Jobs' team will be creating an entirely new stream of Apple customers, who will almost inevitably be drawn to purchasing songs on iTunes and laptops at the Apple Store. Here's hoping that the product launch on the 29th doesn't cause any riots!

work and life as two balls....

... one of rubber, one of glass. A great metaphor, from Sandra Pianalto, in her speech to the graduating class at John Carroll last month:

Imagine that in one hand you hold a rubber ball and in the other hand you hold a beautiful fragile glass ball. The rubber ball represents your work life. The fragile glass ball represents your personal life - your family, your health, your friends.

What happens if you drop the rubber ball? It will bounce. Someone will pick it up for you, or it will just stay put until you are able to pick it up again.

But if you drop the glass ball, it may smash into a million pieces. If you are lucky, it will only crack - but either way, it will never be the same again.

Don't allow your justifiable concern with your career to cause you to drop the precious ball that represents your family, your friends, and your health.

I want to end today by wishing you, our graduates, not just a successful career, but a successful life. Take a few risks - bounce that rubber ball if you need to. Learn from everyone you meet. Be kind. And be happy. Do these simple things, and we will all be astonished by what you accomplish.

21 days and counting

As Valdis commented at BFD a few months back, people don't move to California because of the weather. I've always thought of myself as an optimistic person, and I grew up in Connecticut and Switzerland, so snow, grey skies, and cold don't faze me much. There are a lot of people who move away from this area because they believe Cleveland is dying a slow death. In contrast, I remain optimistic about Cleveland's future. Click through to read why...

Continue reading "21 days and counting"

Handbook of Transformative Cooperation: New Designs and Dynamics

Our handbook (which I co-edited with Ron Fry and David Cooperrider) is to be released next week, according to its Amazon listing. (The other good news is that Amazon is quoting a price almost 30% off Stanford University Press' list price.)

Here is a list of chapters and contributors:

Continue reading "Handbook of Transformative Cooperation: New Designs and Dynamics"

let 2008 be the summer when unpaid FMLA ends

I just came across a post I made a little over a year ago, which I rather grandiosely entitled "let this be the century when sexism ends." Similarly, I hope that next summer, the 15th anniversary of the original Family and Medical Leave Act, will be the summer when we see the act revised so that all working Americans are protected from job loss if they need to take time off because of temporary health issues, or to care for others with health issues. Why are so few Americans protected by this important act? Read this poignant first-person reporting by Margaret Lowry to learn the basics.

In 2004, California implemented a statewide improved version of the FMLA, which provides partially paid leave for the first six weeks of a medical or family leave of absence from work. The California Family Medical Leave Research Project at UCLA has documented some of the benefits of this expansion of protection, although the scholars are troubled at how few workers are aware of their new rights. The report also documents the high number of workers who needed to take a leave before the new CA law went into effect, and were unable to do so, because of the financial consequences of taking even a short unpaid leave.

In December, the Department of Labor issued a request for comments on the FMLA, and received many responses. The National Coalition to Protect Family Leave presents many arguments in favor of strengthening the law. Some businesses argue that the law is already too broadly applied, and ask the government to support limitations on who can be approved for leave -- see this article in the San Antonio Express-News online.

Sherrod Brown serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. I certainly hope that he has some interns at work on analyzing the comments received at the Department of Labor. It would be wonderful to see a well-reasoned revision to the original 1993 FMLA act introduced in congress in the coming months. Perhaps before its 15th birthday arrives, the act could be given the gift of meaningful power to help all workers who need to take leave for serious health issues or to care for others dealing with serious health issues.