Thursday, 20 December 2012

The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs

The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs
by Walter Isaacson

His saga is the entrepreneurial creation myth writ large: Steve Jobs cofounded Apple in his parents’ garage in 1976, was ousted in 1985, returned to rescue it from near bankruptcy in 1997, and by the time he died, in October 2011, had built it into the world’s most valuable company. Along the way he helped to transform seven industries: personal computing, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, retail stores, and digital publishing. He thus belongs in the pantheon of America’s great innovators, along with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Walt Disney. None of these men was a saint, but long after their personalities are forgotten, history will remember how they applied imagination to technology and business.

In the months since my biography of Jobs came out, countless commentators have tried to draw management lessons from it. Some of those readers have been insightful, but I think that many of them (especially those with no experience in entrepreneurship) fixate too much on the rough edges of his personality. The essence of Jobs, I think, is that his personality was integral to his way of doing business. He acted as if the normal rules didn’t apply to him, and the passion, intensity, and extreme emotionalism he brought to everyday life were things he also poured into the products he made. His petulance and impatience were part and parcel of his perfectionism.

One of the last times I saw him, after I had finished writing most of the book, I asked him again about his tendency to be rough on people. “Look at the results,” he replied. “These are all smart people I work with, and any of them could get a top job at another place if they were truly feeling brutalized. But they don’t.” Then he paused for a few moments and said, almost wistfully, “And we got some amazing things done.” Indeed, he and Apple had had a string of hits over the past dozen years that was greater than that of any other innovative company in modern times: iMac, iPod, iPod nano, iTunes Store, Apple Stores, MacBook, iPhone, iPad, App Store, OS X Lion—not to mention every Pixar film. And as he battled his final illness, Jobs was surrounded by an intensely loyal cadre of colleagues who had been inspired by him for years and a very loving wife, sister, and four children.

So I think the real lessons from Steve Jobs have to be drawn from looking at what he actually accomplished. I once asked him what he thought was his most important creation, thinking he would answer the iPad or the Macintosh. Instead he said it was Apple the company. Making an enduring company, he said, was both far harder and more important than making a great product. How did he do it? Business schools will be studying that question a century from now. Here are what I consider the keys to his success.

When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, it was producing a random array of computers and peripherals, including a dozen different versions of the Macintosh. After a few weeks of product review sessions, he’d finally had enough. “Stop!” he shouted. “This is crazy.” He grabbed a Magic Marker, padded in his bare feet to a whiteboard, and drew a two-by-two grid. “Here’s what we need,” he declared. Atop the two columns, he wrote “Consumer” and “Pro.” He labelled the two rows “Desktop” and “Portable.” Their job, he told his team members, was to focus on four great products, one for each quadrant. All other products should be cancelled  There was a stunned silence. But by getting Apple to focus on making just four computers, he saved the company. “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do,” he told me. “That’s true for companies, and it’s true for products.”

After he righted the company, Jobs began taking his “top 100” people on a retreat each year. On the last day, he would stand in front of a whiteboard (he loved whiteboards, because they gave him complete control of a situation and they engendered focus) and ask, “What are the 10 things we should be doing next?” People would fight to get their suggestions on the list. Jobs would write them down—and then cross off the ones he decreed dumb. After much jockeying, the group would come up with a list of 10. Then Jobs would slash the bottom seven and announce, “We can only do three.”

Focus was ingrained in Jobs’s personality and had been honed by his Zen training. He relentlessly filtered out what he considered distractions. Colleagues and family members would at times be exasperated as they tried to get him to deal with issues—a legal problem, a medical diagnosis—they considered important. But he would give a cold stare and refuse to shift his laserlike focus until he was ready.

Near the end of his life, Jobs was visited at home by Larry Page, who was about to resume control of Google, the company he had co-founded  Even though their companies were feuding, Jobs was willing to give some advice. “The main thing I stressed was focus,” he recalled. Figure out what Google wants to be when it grows up, he told Page. “It’s now all over the map. What are the five products you want to focus on? Get rid of the rest, because they’re dragging you down. They’re turning you into Microsoft. They’re causing you to turn out products that are adequate but not great.” Page followed the advice. In January 2012 he told employees to focus on just a few priorities, such as Android and Google+, and to make them “beautiful,” the way Jobs would have done.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Time Management Strategies

Time Management Strategies

Do you ever find yourself wishing there were more hours in the day? Do you wish you could spend less time working and more time with your family? Do you feel like you are missing out on the best things in life because you don't have enough time? 
For most of us the answer to these questions is 'yes', and it is not a good feeling. Maybe work is not going how you would like. Or you feel bad because you are missing out on important occasions with family and friends.

Don't worry, it may not be as bad as you think. There is a solution to your problems. It only takes a few small adjustments in the way you use your time to change your life forever. As well as finding more time for the things you want to do, you will also be more fulfilled in your life.

Time management strategies - Manage yourself

Each day has only 24 hours. This is something that will not change and we can do nothing about it. Time can not be changed, but the way you approach it can. Once you realize this you have taken the first step towards effective time management. You have to identify the things in life that truly matter to you - this is where you should spend your time. Everything else should be eliminated from your life.

It is important to point out at this stage that making the changes necessary to manage your time effectively can mean making some fundamental changes in your lifestyle. However, there is no need to rush, you can make the necessary changes at your own pace. Trying to make big changes at the beginning might be too much for you, so start with small steps.

Time management strategies - Know yourself

To take the first step in effective time management you need to know yourself. In modern society there are so many distractions we can easily lose our focus on what we really want in our lives. It is difficult to identify where and when this happens, but it inevitably does.

So this is the first step in effective time management - finding out what you really want from life. This is where you find your vision. Try to remember yourself as a child or as a young adult when you felt you could achieve anything. What were your dreams and aims when you were that age? This could help you to get in touch with your vision. It is likely that some of your priorities will have changed since then, but many will have remained the same.

Also ask yourself how you would like your personal and professional life to be. Also consider your potential and what you think you can really achieve in life. We will call this your vision.

Where are you now?

At this stage you probably have a fairly clear picture of what your ideal life would be like. The next step is tricky. You must take your vision and compare it to your life at present. For most people, the difference between the two can be quite daunting.

However, no matter how wide the gap is between your ideal reality and how you live your life now, it can be bridged. Many people think effective time management is all about calendars and diaries. This is not the case. Effective time management can transform your life on a much more fundamental level.

Achieving your ideal reality will involve little changes and big changes in your life. An example of a minor change would be eating healthier. A major change could be quitting your job to travel the world. However, both are achievable with the right approach. You will have to take a close look at how your hours are spent and make the necessary adjustments so you can achieve what you want to achieve.

Planning your day.

So have a think about your goals and as an experiment pick two that you want to achieve, one small and one big. Once you have chosen, you should decide on one small step you can take towards achieving each of these tomorrow. If you can complete the one step towards achieving each goal then you have made an excellent start.

In truth, there is much more to it than this but this will show you that it is far from impossible and can be very rewarding. However, you must be much more meticulous in planning your days so that you complete everything you need to do while only spending time on the things that really matter to you.

This is why you need a clear time plan for every day. Each day, you will need to have a clear idea of what needs doing and find a suitable place for it on your schedule. At the beginning it can be difficult to know how long each task will take so it may be a good idea to keep a time log for a week before starting to keep a time plan. With a time log you write down in detail how you spend your time. Keeping a time log for a week should give you a clear picture of how long the various tasks you need to do take. When you know how long each task will take, you can plan your day much more accurately.

The 4 Ds of time management

To truly manage your time effectively you have to look at the tasks that need doing and decide how to handle them. So let me introduce you to the four Ds of self-management. Which are:

* Do it - This needs to be done immediately.
* Delegate it - It needs to be done, but someone else can take care of it.
* Dump it - Not important. Forget about it.
* Defer it - This needs doing but not now, so it can wait.

When you plan your day, and even during the day, you should be able to file all the things that need doing under one of the four Ds.

Time wasters

Now let's look at time wasters. Time wasters eat into our time and can make it very difficult to manage our time effectively. They can be the most trivial of things, and are therefore very hard to spot.

Examples of common time wasters are :

* Lack of or poor planning - File things properly, write down appointments, that kind of thing. Basically, you need to be organized to use your time effectively.

* Procrastination - Some things need to be done now. Don't get into the habit of putting things off unnecessarily.

* Failure to delegate - Are there tasks in your day that are not effective use of your time? If so, delegate them.

* Interruptions - Don't let clutter and noise eat into your productive time. Make sure there are no interruptions when you want to work.

These are just a few of the time wasters that could be affecting your effective time management.

These pointers should help you in your first steps towards effective time management. If you take this process in small steps it will be much easier to incorporate the necessary changes into your life. Each of these small steps will bring you closer to your vision and leave you with time to do all of the things you want each day.

Sunday, 16 December 2012


By Shannon Tinker

Last month, I offered some pre-resume reviewing steps for preserving time and sanity during the hiring process.  Hiring isn't rocket science.  You get approval, decide what you want and need and then go about finding “It.”  What’s surprising is what happens when you do find “It.”  Managers make tough decisions daily, yet when faced with a viable candidate they don’t always make their move.

Even veteran managers accumulate reasons for why they shouldn't extend a job offer to the right candidate. I'm not suggesting that you should jump on any candidate with Java on his resume and a pulse.  (This isn't 1999!)  But it is interesting and heartbreaking when “best practices” and fear get in the way of hiring your next star employee.

Belief: I can’t hire the first candidate I’ve interviewed:
The first one CAN be the right one…Yep, really, it can happen.Unfortunately, most of us are conditioned to think that nothing in life worth having comes easily.  The truth is, the right guy or gal can show up at any time, even if you just started the search.  Sometimes the first fish is the best fish, so grab it and leave the water as quickly as possible.  

Belief: I want it all, and won’t settle:
You really like George, but he doesn’t have experience with Windows 7.   Deciding not to budge on certain things is important, but consider if you are willing to spend the next six months searching for George’s lone with a little Windows 7 mixed in.

It’s been said many times and it’s true; it’s far easier to teach a smart person new technology than it is to teach him to fit in with your team. Even the best trainers can’t teach the wrong George intelligence or the importance of a strong work ethic.   Consider loosening up on your criteria.  Spare yourself the pain and suffering of scouring the universe for someone as good as George, only to learn that George is working for your competitor…yep, in Windows 7.

Belief: We hire by committee and it needs to be unanimous:
It is important to solicit feedback and get different perspectives from the people that will be working with your new hire.  However, it seems a little unrealistic to expect 100% consensus.   

Does everyone in your team like the same TV shows, type of pie, or music?  Why do we expect that they will all feel the same way about a person?  Be prepared to hear the feedback and to respectfully disagree.  It may cost you the Miss Popularity crown; however the popular decision is not always the right one.

Belief:  We need to interview more people to compare and contrast:
Why?  Because that’s what all of your bosses always did? Or because if you trust your instincts and you are wrong the sky will begin to fall?  A candidate cattle call and expectations around needing to interview a dedicated number of candidates can lead to months of non-hiring. 

Interviewing at a slow and steady pace can be unproductive and lead to self-inflicted frustration as you watch the top candidates fall off the map.  Think back to the fact that “the first one can be the right one” and question your real reasons stalling.

Belief: I don’t want to lose him, but I’m not sure yet.  Can you keep him warm?
Consider the pros and cons of losing a candidate.  If you can easily walk away without hesitation, you should probably set him free. However the thought of him going to another company keeps you up at night, you should probably pull the trigger.

There are no guarantees.  Even if you second guess, interview the entire population and poke around in back-door references, you can still make the wrong hire.  Weigh the risks vs. rewards and try to move quickly.  Keeping a candidate on the back-burner might send the wrong message. Meanwhile, good ole George is still interviewing and wants to work for a company that is excited about employing him. 

Belief: How can I be sure?
Your gut deserves a vote in every hiring decision.  Have a real honest to goodness chat with yourself both when you have concerns and when you feel really good about a candidate.

Trust your instincts; they are why you get paid the big bucks. Most managers are smart, intuitive and have a good sense for people.  Believe you’re qualified to assess what is right for the company and team.  You and your gut are possibly the most important stakeholders in the group.


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

20 ways to motivate your employees without raising their pay

20 ways to motivate your employees
without raising their pay

By: Dave Worman

It is a costly mistake to get lost in the false theory that more money equals happy employees.

Believing this is costing you valuable time, revenue, employees...and even threatening your own job. Cash will always be a major factor in motivating people and a solid compensation plan is critical to attracting and keeping key personnel. But the key is that additional cash is not always the only answer and in many cases not even the best answer.

Too many bonus or commission checks get cashed, spent and forgotten just that quickly. Grocery stores and gasoline stations are among the necessary stops that
seem to get in the way of using your extra cash on something special for you.

One alternative to giving commissions or bonus dollars is to give gifts through a catalog point system.

The company you choose will provide you with catalogs, price sheets and point checks at no charge. The structure for your bonus plan can remain the same but instead of awarding cash to your employees you award equivalent points. Those points may then be used to purchase an enormous variety of gifts or travel plans from the catalog.

The stimulation involved is long-lasting. It begins with the employee being able to browse the catalog choosing what they will strive to earn. The catalog acts as a tangible reminder of their goal. The gift itself will last as evidence of their achievements.

Whenever I have implemented this program, the employees are overwhelmingly in favor of the point system as opposed to cash. This type of program is very popular with employees because they purchase things they would never normally have the "money" to afford.

With solid compensation in place, let's look at non-monetary motivation...20 steps to success.

1. Recognition/Attention: When your employees accomplish something they have achieved something. Your recognition is appreciation for that achievement. I believe that most managers don't give enough recognition because they don't get enough. Therefore, it doesn't come natural to do it. If this applies to you, you need to drop this excuse like a bad habit! Become a giver! Look at the price. Recognition is free!

2. Applause: A form of recognition yes, but a very specific form. Physically applaud your people by giving them a round of applause for specific achievements. Where? When? The answer is wherever and whenever. At meetings or company-sponsored social gatherings, a luncheon, or in the office. At the end of a shift, before a shift, and whenever possible in the middle of a shift.

Using plaques or trophies is another effective way of applauding your people. Although "wooden applause" is often successfully used in the form of Employee of the Month plaques, more creative ideas are sorely underutilized. Take the time to be creative, matching special accomplishments with unique awards.

3. One-on-One Coaching: Coaching is employee development. Your only cost is time. Time means you care. And remember your people don't care how much you know... until they know how much you care.

Whenever the emphasis is on positive feedback, I make sure to do this coaching in "public." Whenever you recognize and encourage people in "public," it acts as a natural stimulant for others who are close enough to see or hear what's taking place.

4. Training: Is training ever finished? Can you possibly overtrain? NO and NO. For whatever reasons, too many people feel "My people have already been trained" or "I've got good people...they only need a little training." But training never ends. Schedule "tune- up" training sessions. These should be led by you or by a supervisor with help from specific employees who show a particular strength in the skills taught. I know this takes time, but these types of training sessions will continually enhance the performance of your people and the productivity of your business.

5. Career Path: Your employees need to know what is potentially ahead for them, what opportunities there are for growth. This issue is a sometimes forgotten ingredient as to the importance it plays in the overall motivation of people.

Set career paths within your organization. Do you promote from within? I hope you can answer yes to that. Although specific circumstances require you to look for talent outside your company you should always first consider internal personnel. If you do this you are sending a very positive message to every one that there are indeed further career opportunities within your organization.

6. Job Titles: When you talk about job titles you are tapping the self-esteem of people. How someone feels about the way they are perceived in the workforce is a critical component to overall attitude and morale. Picture a social gathering that includes some of your staff. The subject of work inevitably comes up. Will your people be proud, or embarrassed, to share their title and workplace? The importance of feeling proud of who you are and what you do is monumental.

Be creative as you think of possibilities for titles. Have your staff come up with ideas giving them input into the titles. Bottom line, you are dealing with pride...and pride enhances a positive attitude...and a positive attitude is the foundation for continuing success.

7. Good Work Environment: A recent industry study shows just how inaccurate your results can be. Employers were asked to rank what they thought motivated their people
and then employees were asked to rank what really did motivate them.

Employers felt "working conditions" was a nine (or next to last) in terms of importance. What did the employees say? Number two! Working conditions are very important to the way employees feel about where they work.

Cosmetically, does your office look nice? Are there pictures on the walls, plants and fresh paint among other features that generally make people feel good about their environment? Does their work space have enough room or are they cramped in a "sardine can?" What about furniture? Is the desk the right size, chair comfortable? Is there file space and do they have the miscellaneous office supplies needed for maximum performance? Is the temperature regulated properly so they don't feel they're in the Amazon jungle one minute and the North Pole the next?

8. On-the-Spot Praise: This too is associated with recognition but the key here is timing. When there is a reason for praising someone don't put it off for any reason! Promptness equals effectiveness. Praise people when the achievement is fresh on everyone's mind.

What is effective is for us to get off our keisters and go out and tell whoever it is what a great presentation it was or applaud them for the sale...praise them promptly for what they accomplished or achieved! Don't allow time to creep in and snatch away any ounce of the positive impact that praise can have when it is delivered promptly.

9. Leadership Roles: Give your people leadership roles to reward their performance and also to help you identify future promotable people. Most people are stimulated by leadership roles even in spot appearances. For example, when visitors come to your workplace use this opportunity to allow an employee to take the role of visitors guide.

A great place to hand out leadership roles is to allow your people to lead brief meetings. Utilize your employees' strengths and skills by setting up "tune up" training sessions and let one of your employees lead the training. The best time to do this is when new people start.

Or, assign a meeting leader after someone has attended an outside seminar or workshop. Have them lead a post show, briefing the other employees regarding seminar content and highlights.

Have your employees help you lead a project team to improve internal processes.

10. Team Spirit: Have a picture taken on your entire staff (including you!), have it enlarged and hang it in a visible spot. Most people like to physically see themselves as part of a group or team.

When running contests in your area, try to create contests and affiliated activity that are team driven. People driving to reach goals together definitely enhance team spirit solely because they must lean upon others and be prepared to be leaned on.

One very effective idea for me has been building a collage of creative ideas with the "Team" theme. All employees are responsible for submitting a phrase referring to TEAM on a weekly rotation. Each of these ideas (such as TEAM: Total Enthusiasm of All Members or There is no I in Team) is placed on a wall, creating a collage of Team-oriented phrases. Don't have one person responsible for it as a team.

11. Executive Recognition: This is the secret weapon. And like any secret weapon, timing is most critical. If this is used too often the value is diminished. And if it is used only for special occasions and rare achievements the value is escalated. We talked earlier about general recognition and the positive impact that has on your people. That will go up a few notches when it comes from an executive. Some of the same vehicles can be used here such as memos and voice mail. To add yet another level of stimulation, have an executive either personally call to congratulate someone (or a group) or even show up in person to shake hands and express his or her appreciation.

12. Social Gatherings: Scheduled offsite events enhance bonding which in turn helps team spirit, which ultimately impacts your positive work environment. Halloween costume parties, picnics on July 4th, Memorial Day or Labor Day, and Christmas parties are only some of the ideas that successfully bring people together for an enjoyable time. Some others that I've used with equal success are softball games (against other companies or among employees, depending on staff size), groups going putt-putt golfing or movie madness.

13. Casual Dress Day: This will apply more to the Business-to-Business world based on the difference in normal dress codes from the Business-to-Consumer arena. For those required to "dress business" every day a casual day becomes a popular desire. Use holidays to create theme color casual days such as red and green before Christmas or red, white and blue before July 4th, or black and orange prior to Halloween. This will add to the impact you're trying to have by calling a casual day in the first place. Establish pre-vacation casual days for each individual employee to enjoy on the day before his or her vacation.

Major sports events are a perfect opportunity for casual days to support your local or favorite team with appropriate colors, buttons, and logo wear. Spontaneous casual days produce a lot or stimulation based on the element of surprise. Announce a casual dress day for the following work day "just because." Use individual or team casual dress days as contest prizes or awards for specific accomplishment.

14. Time Off: Implement contests that earn time off. People will compete for 15 minutes or 1/2 hour off just as hard as they will for a cash award. And in many cases, I have had people pick time off over cash when given the choice. Put goals in place (padded of course) and when these goals are reached by individuals, teams or the entire staff, reward them with time off. Allow early dismissals, late arrivals, and extended lunch periods or additional breaks.

15. Outside Seminars: Outside seminars are a stimulating break. Because outside seminars are not always cost efficient for most people, consider on-site seminars or workshops for your staff. Use outside seminars as a contest prize for one or two people. Then set up a structured plan for those seminar attendees to briefly recreate the seminar to the rest of your people when they return. Now everyone gets educated for the price of one.

16. Additional Responsibility: There are definitely employees in your organization who are begging for and can handle additional responsibility. Our job as managers is to identify who they are and if possible match responsibilities to their strengths and desires.

17. Theme Contests: Over the years my contests have produced up to 170% increase in performance. But equally as important, they've helped maintain positive environments that have reduced employee turnover by 400%.

Overall the most successful contests seem to be those affiliated with different themes. Holidays, anniversaries, sports and culture are examples of ideas to base contests on. Sports, without a doubt, provide the largest opportunity for a wide variety of contests. Even Culture can be used to create theme contest. My favorite is using the '50s and '60s as a theme for a contest that I run at least once a year.

18. Stress Management: There are many articles and books available on the subject. Make this reference material available to your people. Make sure they know it is available and encourage them to use it.

If possible, have an in-house seminar on stress management techniques. So that production time is not lost, you might consider having a brown bag luncheon with a guest speaker on this subject. Because stress is an ongoing concern, anytime is a good time for a seminar like this to take place.

Be as flexible as you can with breaks during the course of the day.

19. Pizza/Popcorn/Cookie Days: Every now and then pizza, popcorn, or cookie days will help break up that everyday routine and help people stay motivated. Because it is a natural tendency for people to get excited in anticipation of something, structure some of these days in advance. Then buy some pizzas or different cookies or even whip out some different types of popcorn.

20. Gags and Gimmicks: Use different gimmicks as awards to help inspire performance increases from your people. The key to awards is establishing the perception of priceless value that is associated with them. They should be recognized as status symbols in your environment. Here are some of my ideas:

  •     Plastic/rubber whale for "whale" of a performance.
  •     Pillsbury dough boy for the person raisin' the most bread.
  •     Cardboard stars for star-studded performances.
  •     Plastic phonograph records for setting a new record.
  •     California raisins for those with the highest percentage of "raisin" their productivity.
  •     Special parking space for the person who drives the hardest.
  •     Toy cymbals for those "symbolizing" total effort.
  •     Special Mountain Dew can for that person who exemplifies the "can do" attitude.
  •     A figurine of E.T. for out-of-this-world performance.
  •     The Eveready Bunny for those that keep going, and going, and going.
  •     Large Tootsie Roll replica for those on a "roll."
  •     A drum for the person that "drums" up the most business.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Importance of Workplace Training

The Importance of Workplace TrainingBy: Andrea W. Johnson

Workplace literacy today is defined as much more than the three Rs of reading, writing and arithmetic, or physical strength and a strong work ethic. Modern work environments require good communication skills, the ability to work in a team, time-management skills, the ability to adapt to change, and to work with people from diverse cultures.

By equipping workers with a modern skill set, employers gain:

• Operational effectiveness and efficiency—Through good communication and teamwork skills, employees are better able to work across job functions, to apply information, and to think critically and act logically. Trained employees are better able to adapt to change—a must in today’s economy.

• Increased job satisfaction—A recent Walker Information study of employee loyalty found that two areas that drive loyalty are the businesses’ focus on employees, and training and development opportunities. Engaged, motivated employees are more likely stay in their jobs, and reduction in employee turnover boosts the bottom line.

• More attractive workplace—The national unemployment rate at the end of March 2007 was a low 4.4 percent, making recruiting qualified talent a challenge. Employees want a place to work where they can hone their skills and better their lives, and the best employees are more attracted to organizations that offer such programs.

• Transfer of organizational knowledge—By 2015, nearly 20 percent of the nation’s workers will be 55 years old or older, up from 13 percent now. Businesses must utilize job audits and other collection methods to document the tacit knowledge of employees who have been with the organization for years, and they must train those longtime employees to share their knowledge with others.

• Better managers—A 2006 Hudson survey found that while 92 percent of managers consider themselves to be an excellent or good boss, only 67 percent of employees rate their managers favorably. Good employees are usually promoted because they show an aptitude for management, but they must be trained on effective coaching, discipline, and performance-management skills.

• Reduced compliance risk—Government regulators across the country are mandating compliance training on sexual harassment, Sarbanes-Oxley, and corporate ethics. By implementing training on these issues, as well as on diversity and workplace conduct, employers can reduce their risk of complaints, and, equally important, create a positive work environment.
To achieve these results, businesses must establish a training program that includes the following elements:

• Needs analysis—Training shouldn’t be done just for the sake of doing it. To ensure quantifiable results, it is essential to analyze what skills employees are lacking and what business results are desired.

• Defined, measurable objectives—an organization can measure its training program by whatever factors it wishes to improve: customer satisfaction, quality, productivity, employee satisfaction, sales or revenue, retention, or overall profitability are a few examples.

• Resources—While some larger organizations retain in-house training staff, many outsource to training professionals. Look for experienced trainers who are able to assist with all phases of the training cycle: analysis, setting measurable objectives, designing and performing the training, and evaluating the results.

• Results evaluation—It is possible to demonstrate the return on investment in training. Successful evaluation begins with knowing exactly what is to be accomplished before designing the training program, then diligently measuring the results to establish transfer of knowledge back to job.

If financial resources are a hurdle, here are a few resources available to Indiana businesses to establish a well-trained, productive workforce:

Ready Indiana, established this year by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, provides information about training resources in the state and educates employers about the benefits of effective training programs.

State and federal agencies offer several grant programs to help improve employee skills. Training Acceleration Grants, available through the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, provide financial assistance to organizations to expand the transferable skills of their existing workforce. The Skills Enhancement Fund, available through the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, provides reimbursement to Indiana companies for basic-skill training expenses.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Writing a Career Action Plan

Writing a Career Action Plan
By Dawn Rosenberg McKay, Guide

Developing a career action plan is the fourth step in the career planning process. One arrives at this step after a thorough self assessment and a complete exploration of viable career options which were identified during the self assessment. Next, one must choose from those occupations after examining them carefully and determining which one is the best match. The career planning process is ongoing, and bi-directional, meaning you can move back to previous steps when you need to gather more information or clarify your choices. Once you have identified an occupation to pursue you should develop an action plan.

An action plan can be considered a road map that will get you from point A -- choosing an occupation -- to Point B -- becoming employed in that occupation. It even helps you get past Point B, to Points C through Z, as you grow in that career. It is also referred to as an Individualized (or Individual) Career Plan or an Individualized (or Individual) Career Development Plan.

According to Individualized Career Plan Models - Eric Digest No. 71(ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult Career and Vocational Education), “Personal plans of action -- individualized career development plans -- are becoming important instruments that counselors and others are using to help their students and/or clients (both youth and adults) meet their changinggoals, interests and needs in this fast-paced, rapidly changing society.” Though the ERIC Digest talks about individualized career plans being used by counselors and other professionals, you can develop a plan yourself. Even if you do work with a counselor, you will need to do some of the work yourself. For example, a counselor can't set your goals for you. He or she will just help you clarify your goals and help you find strategies to reach them. In addition, an action plan should be amended over time as your goals change, your priorities change, and your career grows. Let's begin now to take a look at how to develop a career action plan step-by-step.

Here is a worksheet you can use to develop your career action plan. Next are instructions for completing it.
Employment History/Educational Background

This part is straightforward. List any jobs you've had in reverse chronological order -- most recent to least recent. Include the location of the company, your job title, and the dates you worked at that job. When you put together your resume, having organized this information will prove very helpful. That goes for the next part as well -- Education and Training. List the schools you've attended, the dates you've attended them, and the credits, certificates, or degrees you've earned. Also list additional training and any professional licenses you hold. Next, list volunteer or other unpaid experience. You may find that several of these activities are relevant to your occupational goals. By volunteering you may have developed skills that will play an important role in your future career. Again, this information can be used on your resume. It can also be used in job interviews, or when applying to college or graduate school.
Self Assessment Results

If during the career planning process you met with a career development professional who used self assessment tools to help you gather information about yourself, this is where you can write down the results of those assessments. You can then list the occupations that were suggested to you during that phase. You may even want to attach the information you gathered when you explored those occupations in case you want to refer to your notes later on.

Out of all the occupations you explored, at some point in the process you narrowed your choices down to one occupation. That is the one you plan to pursue. You may even have two occupations -- one to pursue in the short term and one to pursue in the long term. They should be related, the second being one that is a step up from the first. For example, you can say you want to first become a nurse's aid, and then after you get some experience you will pursue a career as a registered nurse.

Short Term and Long Term Career Plan/Occupational Goals
You should break your career plan down into goals you can reach in a year or less and goals you want to reach in five years or less. You can use increments of one or two years in this five year plan as well. This breakdown will make your plan easier for you to follow.

There's also a place to include your goals for education and training. Your occupational goals and your educational goals should correspond to one another, since reaching your occupational goals will usually be dependent upon reaching your educational goals.

If your long term occupational goal is to be a lawyer, here's what your short and long term plans might look like:
Year One: Complete my bachelor's degree (12 credits left to go), apply to law school, get accepted to law school (a positive attitude is a good thing)
Year Two through Year Four: Enter law school, study hard and earn good grades, graduate from law school with many job offers
Year Five: Begin working in a law firm

Barriers to Reaching Goals
As you try to reach your goals you may face some barriers. If you want to pursue your goals, you will have to get around these barriers. In this section of your action plan you can list all the obstacles, or barriers, that may get in the way of being able to reach your goals. Then list the ways you can deal with them. For example you may be the primary caregiver for your children or elderly parents. This may interfere with your ability to complete your degree. You can deal with this barrier by enlisting the help of your spouse or another relative. Perhaps you can arrange for child or adult daycare.

You're On Your Way
A well-thought-out career action plan will prove to be a very useful tool. You've gone through the career planning process carefully choosing a suitable occupation. Setting goals and planning what you need to do to realize them will insure that you reach your career destination.


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Unemployment In Pakistan

Unemployment In Pakistan

By Ata Rehman Zaki, Karachi

Unemployment is a central problem because when unemployment is high, resources are wasted and people's incomes are depressed; during such periods, economic distress also spills over to affect people's emotions and family lives.

Now we see that in Pakistan what is the situation of unemployment and what are its economic and social impacts.

In Pakistan labor force include all persons who are of ten years and above, and during the period are without work, currently available for work and seeking for work. On the basis of the existing population of 142.87 millions with Labor force participation rate of 27.46 percent, the total labor force comes to 39.24 million. According to this about 2.4 million persons of labor force were estimated as unemployed in 1999, as construction and transport sectors have absorbed 11.2 percent, 6.8 percent and 5.7 percent, compared to 10.5 percent, 7.2 percent and 5.0 percent respectively in 1994-95.
First of all we see the Sectoral employed Labor force.

According to Labor Force Survey 1996-97, the rate of open unemployment was 6.1 percent and 5.4 percent as per Labor Force Survey of 1994-95. This indicates that rate of unemployment has increased between these two surveys by 0.7 percent officially but unofficially unemployment is much larger than this rate.

Often it is perceived that unemployment rate of rural areas is greater because in rural areas there are less chances of employment as compared to urban areas where there are more chances of employment due to more industries. So now we see the annual unemployed labour force by urban/rural areas since 1993 to 1999, which is given in table below:

It is obvious from the above table that in Pakistan unemployment rate is increasing in both rural and urban areas in absolute as well as in percentage terms. Unemployment rate in rural areas is greater as compared to Urban areas. Because of industries there are more chances of employment in Urban areas. In Rural areas businessmen are setting up industries due to which now rural people seek Manufacturing sector for employment . As in rural areas there is no proper source of earnings due to which unemployment rate is increasing. As agriculture sector is not absorbing them due to adaptation of mechanical instruments and bad conditions. Small scale industries are not working efficiently due to worse economic conditions. So Rural people are not finding proper source of earning. It is clear from Percentage distribution of employed persons by major industries division.
Economic Impact

From Okun's law we know that for every 2% fall in GNP relative to potential GNP, the unemployment rate rises by 1% point. High unemployment is a symptom of waste — for during recessions, when unemployment is high, the economy is not producing up to high level. When economy is not producing sufficiently, we can say that we are unable to use our full resources for production purposes. Economy will not grow as fast as it can if become able to produce at high level.

Social Impacts

However large the cost to economy of unemployment, a recounting of Rupees lost does not adequately convey the human, social and psychological toll that periods of persistent involuntary unemployment bring.

Although unemployment has plagued capitalism, the Industrial Revolution, understanding its causes and costs has been possible only with the rise of modern macroeconomic theory. It is apparent that recessions and the associated high unemployment are extremely costly to the economy.

Unemployment is classified into three categories (a) Frictional unemployment (workers who are simply moving between jobs (b) structural unemployment (workers who are in regions or industries that are in persistent slump) (c) cyclical unemployment (workers who laid off when the overall economy suffers a downturn. In Pakistan unemployment is of structural and cyclical nature.

Understanding the sources of unemployment has proved one of the major challenges of modern macroeconomics. Voluntary unemployment may be or when qualified people chose not to work out the going wage rate unemployment occur. The key element in understanding involuntary unemployment is the inflexibility of wages in the face of economic shocks. The same situation is in Pakistan, inflexibility arises because of costs involved in administering the compensation system.

The upward creep in the natural rate arises mainly because of demographic trends particularly the higher proportion of teenagers in the labour force. In addition, government policies are also increasing unemployment rate i.e. Golden Shake Hand, ban on jobs increasing unemployment rate.
Role Of Government

The government is trying to reduce the unemployment rate. Under Prime Minister's Self Employment Scheme, different Banks and Small Business Finance Corporations are extending loans to unemployed youths and skilled professionals having diploma/degree and business experience. Loans ranging from Rs.10,000 to be Rs.500,000 for small business and from Rs.500,000 to Rs.5,000,000 for small industries etc. Small Business Finance Corporation is playing role in reducing unemployment. Upto March 1999, the Small Business Finance Corporation has sanctioned Rs.2,208.4 million, against amounting to Rs.1,551.95 million have been disbursed to 9,383 persons.

The SBFC has generated employment for 28,149 persons under the Prime Minister's Self-Employment Scheme upto March 31, 1999. A Small and Medium Enterprises Development (SMEDA) has been setup for growth and development of self-employment schemes in Pakistan.

During the year 1998 about 104,000 persons have been sent abroad for employment under Govt. overseas employment schemes.

The liberal economic and fiscal policies of the government may reduce unemployment rate because they can create new job opportunities and business in the country. There is a need to  announce an economic revival package to stimulate investment and industrial production, boost exports, broaden the tax bases and lower tariffs.

In addition, construction of additional motorways and setting up of industrial zones throughout the country would also generate new opportunities for employment in the country.


1) Govt. should make efforts to push economic growth process.For this purpose Economic Revival Package should announce for the revival of industries sector, to stimulate production and investment.

2) Govt. should seriously try to boost exports through broadening the tax base and lowering tariffs.

3) Govt. should announce a package for the development of agriculture sector.

4) Beside this a number of fiscal and monetary measures should take to attract industrialists and particularly foreign investment.

5) More Technical and Vocational training facilities should be provided. In this way unemployed people will get the chance to enhance their skills and become able to earn reasonable income.

6) With a view to reduce educate unemployment, self-employment scheme should be encouraged in true manners.