Saturday, January 14, 2012

5 Tips To Keep Employee Theft From Running You Out Of Business

Staggering figures like these may be hard to accept, but unless you take precautionary measures, their reality will likely affect your business in a tangible way. Here are five tips for preventing or stopping employee theft:

  1. Create an anti-theft policy and enforce it. This is just the starting point, but it's absolutely essential. An effective policy must address actions like pilfering inventory, stealing cash, skimming off vendor deliveries, accounting fraud, and forging or hiding receipts. Put your policies and procedures in writing — and provide them to every employee (who should also sign a form acknowledging receipt of these guidelines). It should be understood the penalties for theft or fraud may include immediate termination and legal action.
  2. Hire wisely. Few business owners, if any, would knowingly hire dishonest people, but sidestepping employee background checks can amount to the same thing. Make references a condition of employment, and then check them, including candidates' previous employers. Experts also advise checking public records for any civil and criminal history for relevant lawsuits, frequent or serious driving violations, and anything involving violence or fraud.
  3. Conduct surprise audits. In addition to regular audits, conduct unannounced financial and fraud assessments. These surprise audits not only alert you to possible weaknesses in your system, but also make a clear statement to employees that you're serious about fraud prevention.
  4. Create a culture of "theft prevention awareness." A few basic precautions can help establish an atmosphere of vigilance, rather than fear and blame. You're the person in charge, so it shouldn't come as a shock to anyone if you happen to do a spot inspection of a shipment or check the cash register from time to time. Make sure business records are organized and kept up to date, so you can easily review them whenever you choose. Security experts also advise instituting an anonymous reporting system. Encourage your staff to report suspicious activity or potential violations of policies and procedures. (The reporting system can extend to vendors and customers, too.)
  5. Build healthy relationships with your staff. You can prevent or minimize internal theft and fraud by maintaining healthy relationships with your staff. Employees who are paid fairly, who can approach you with issues and concerns, and who feel empowered to make decisions and take action are far less likely to steal from you than those who feel cheated or undervalued.
Lee Polevoi is an award-winning freelance copywriter and editor and a former Senior Writer for Vistage International, a global membership organization of chief executive officers. He writes frequently on issues and challenges faced by U.S. small businesses.

Surprising Results From Smoke Inhalation Study

ScienceDaily (Jan. 13, 2012) — A Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine study includes some unexpected findings about the immune systems of smoke-inhalation patients.

Contrary to expectations, patients who died from their injuries had lower inflammatory responses in their lungs than patients who survived.

"Perhaps a better understanding of this early pulmonary immune dysfunction will allow for therapies that further improve outcomes in burn care," researchers reported.

The study is published in the January/February issue of the Journal of Burn Care & Research. First author of the study is Christopher S. Davis, MD, MPH, a research resident in Loyola's Burn & Shock Trauma Institute. Corresponding author is Elizabeth J. Kovacs, PhD, director of research of the Burn & Shock Trauma Institute.

Researchers followed 60 burn patients in Loyola's Burn Center. As expected, patients with the worst combined burn and smoke-inhalation injuries required more time on the ventilator, in the intensive care unit and in the hospital. They also were more likely to die, although this finding fell just short of being statistically significant.

Also according to expectations, patients who died were older and had larger injuries than patients who survived.

But the immune system findings were unexpected. Researchers measured concentrations of 28 immune system modulators in fluid collected from the lungs of patients within 14 hours of burn and smoke-inhalation injuries.

These modulators are proteins produced by leukocytes (white blood cells) and other cells, including those that line the airway. Some of the modulators recruit leukocytes to areas of tissue damage or activate them to begin the repair process that follows tissue injury.

Based on studies conducted at Loyola and other centers, researchers had expected to find higher concentrations of modulators in patients who died, because sicker patients tend to have more active inflammatory responses. But researchers found just the opposite: patients who died had lower concentrations of these modulators in their lungs.

Why do some patients mount robust immune responses in the lungs while others do not? The reason may be due to age, genetics, differences in patients' underlying health conditions or anything that might disrupt the balance between too much and too little inflammation, Davis said.

Survival of burn patients has significantly improved since the 1950s, due to advancements such as better wound care and improved prevention and treatment of infections. But progress has somewhat stalled in the last 10 years.

The immune response to injury "remains incompletely understood and additional effort is required to further improve survival of the burn-injured patient," researchers wrote.

The study was presented at the 2011 meeting of the American Burn Association, where it won the 2011 Carl A. Moyer Resident Award for the best study submitted by a resident physician.

Other co-authors of the study are Richard L. Gamelli, MD, FACS, director of the Burn & Shock Trauma Institute; Joslyn M. Albright, MD, chief resident in the Department of Surgery; Stewart R. Carter, MD, research resident; Luis Ramirez, BA, laboratory technician; and Hajwa Kim, MA, MS. All are from Loyola except Kim, who is at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, International Association of Fire Fighters and the Dr. Ralph and Marian C. Falk Medical Research Trust.

Loyola's Burn Center is one of the busiest in the Midwest, treating more than 600 patients annually in the hospital, and another 3,500 patients each year in its clinic. It is one of only two centers in Illinois that have received verification by the American Burn Association.

The study is among the results of research over the last several years conducted in Loyola's Burn Center and Burn & Shock Trauma Institute, which is investigating the lung's response to burn and inhalation injuries.

Story Source: The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Loyola University Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Thanks to Science Daily

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I Recognise You! But How Did I Do It?

ScienceDaily (Jan. 13, 2012) — Are you someone who easily recognises everyone you've ever met? Or maybe you struggle, even with familiar faces? It is already known that we are better at recognising faces from our own race but researchers have only recently questioned how we assimilate the information we use to recognise people.

New research by the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus has shown that when it comes to recognising people the Malaysian Chinese have adapted their facial recognition techniques to cope with living in a multicultural environment.

The study 'You Look Familiar: How Malaysian Chinese Recognise Faces' was led by Chrystalle B.Y. Tan, a PhD student at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. The results have been published online in the scientific journal PLoS One, This research is the first PhD student publication for Nottingham's School of Psychology in Malaysia.

Chrystalle Tan said: "Our research has shown that Malaysian Chinese adopt a unique looking pattern which differed from both Westerners and Mainland Chinese, possibly due to the multicultural nature of the country."

The ability to recognise different faces may have social and evolutionary advantages. Human faces provide vital information about a person's identity and characteristics such as gender, age, health and attractiveness. Although we all have the same basic features we have our own distinguishing features and there is evidence that the brain has a specialised mental module dedicated to face processing.

Recognition techniques

Previous research by a group at Glasgow University in Scotland showed that Asians from mainland China use more holistic recognition techniques to recognise faces than Westerners.

  • Chinese focus on the centre of the face in the nose area
  • Westerners focus on a triangular area between the eyes and mouth
  • British born Chinese use both techniques fixating predominantly around either the eyes and mouth, or the nose

Chrystalle said: "The traditional view is that people recognise faces by looking in turn at each eye and then the mouth. This previous research showed us that some Asian groups actually focus on the centre of the face, in the nose area. While Westerners are learning what each separate part of the face looks like -- a strategy that could be useful in populations where hair and eye colour vary dramatically, mainland Chinese use a more global strategy, using information about how the features are arranged. Meanwhile British born Chinese use a mixture of both techniques suggesting an increased familiarity with other-race faces which enhances their recognition abilities."

Eye tracking technology

The study by the School of Psychology at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus set out to investigate whether exposure and familiarity with other cultures affects our recognition accuracy and eye movement strategies.

The team used specialised eye tracking technology to investigate the visual strategies used to recognise photographs of faces. They recruited 22 Malaysian Chinese student volunteers from across Nottingham's Malaysia campus. The results showed that Malaysian Chinese used a unique mixed strategy by focusing on the eyes and nose more than the mouth.

Chrystalle said: "We have shown that Malaysian Chinese adopt a unique looking pattern which differed from both Westerners and mainland Chinese. This combination of Eastern and Western looking patterns proved advantageous for Malaysian Chinese to accurately recognise Chinese and Caucasian faces."

The study was supervised by Dr Ian Stephen, an expert on face processing and Dr Elizabeth Sheppard, an expert in eye tracking. Dr Stephen said: "We think that people learn how to recognise faces from the faces that they encounter. Although Malaysia is an East Asian country its ethnic composition is highly diverse. The intermediate looking strategy that Malaysian Chinese use allows them to recognise Western faces just as well as Asians."

Story Source: The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of Nottingham, via AlphaGalileo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Thanks to Science Daily

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Real Organizational Transformation Is Structural

In The 3 Structures of an Organization, the BetaCodex Network covers the weaknesses of our existing management and organizational models and shows a better way to design more network-centic businesses. For example, the authors state that the average modern organization expends about 20% of its energy on value creation, while the best may spend 50%. This still accounts for a significant amount of wasted energy. Organizations should dedicate 70% of their energies toward value creation.

These value creation structures have to be externally (market/customer) focused and are the most important parts of the business. Modern work is increasingly dealing with exceptions, which is complex and cannot afford the rigidity of centralized control systems. Informal networks have to be recognized as they provide the glue that keeps the organization together. Formal structures are the least important and only serve to support value creation, the opposite of centralized, top-down hierarchies.

Formal Structure, as can solely serve the trivial purpose of external compliance, should be subdued to or coherent with [the] Value Creation Structure, in which the work is done and where [the] organizational periphery is in charge, not bosses.

This is the kind of world without bosses I referred to in my last post.

The guiding principles make a lot of sense, and reflect what I have seen in organizations. Real change does not begin until you change the formal structure.

Eliminate Formal Structure, as much as possible, by fully aligning it with value creation and by allowing it only for external compliance. Make the work independent of formal structure.

Focus all organizational energy (e.g. with regards to learning and mastery) on the first two structures – not on formal structure, which is trivial. Approach Informal and Value Creation Structures with a systemic mind-set.

Support the positive effects of Informal Structure through high levels of transparency, investment in self-awareness of teams, radical decentralization of decision-making towards the periphery, and also through bonding rituals, and strong, shared values and principles.

This presentation is part of an ongoing discussion at BetaCodex. If you are interested in how these principles might apply to learning and development, here is an excerpt from a draft white paper (in development):

Never, ever, attempt to manage individual performance, though, as individual performance does not exist.

You cannot and need not develop people. People can do that on their own. An organization, however, can create conditions for self-development, getting out of the way by not trying to control or contain it.

Individual mastery is the only viable problem-solving mechanism in complexity … We usually tend to over-rate talent, and under-rate systematic, disciplined learning.

No training budgets, but on-demand learning resources.

I wholeheartedly agree with these recommendations!

Thanks to Harold Jarche / Jarche / Harold Jarche

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Branch Rickey

Branch Rickey

Born: December 20, 1881
Stockdale, Ohio
Died: December 9, 1965 (aged 83)
Columbia, Missouri
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 16, 1905 for the St. Louis Browns
Last MLB appearance
August 25, 1914 for the St. Louis Browns
Career statistics
Batting average    .239
Hits    82
Runs batted in    39

As Player

As Manager

As General Manager

Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction    1967
Election Method    Veterans Committee

Wesley Branch Rickey (December 20, 1881 – December 9, 1965) was an innovative Major League Baseball executive elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967. He was known for breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier by signing African American player Jackie Robinson, for drafting the first Hispanic/Black Hispanic superstar, Roberto Clemente, for creating the framework for the modern minor league farm system, and for introducing the batting helmet.

Rickey's many achievements and deep Christian faith[1] earned him the nickname "the Mahātmā."


Early life

Rickey was born in Stockdale, Ohio, USA, the son of Jacob Frank Rickey and Emily Brown Rickey. He was a catcher on the baseball team at Ohio Wesleyan University and, in 1903, signed a contract with Terre Haute, Indiana of the Class B Central League, making his professional debut on June 20. Rickey was assigned to Le Mars, Iowa of the Class D Iowa-South Dakota League. Later, he spent two seasons in the major leagues, debuting as a St. Louis Brown in 1905. Sold to the New York Highlanders in 1907, Rickey could neither hit nor field while with the club, and his batting average dropped below .200. One opposing team stole 13 bases while Rickey was behind the plate, setting a record which still stands a century later. Rickey also injured his throwing arm and retired as a player after just one year. (During this period, Rickey also spent two seasons—1904 and 1905—coaching baseball and football and teaching at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania.)

For his B.A., he attended Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio. He received his LL.B. from the University of Michigan, where he worked as the baseball coach while going to school.

He returned to the big leagues in 1913, as a front office executive with the Browns. He was responsible for signing young George Sisler. Rickey became the team's manager for the final 12 games of the season, and managed the team for two more full seasons. But the Browns finished under .500 both years.

Rickey served as an officer in the U.S. Army in France during World War I. He commanded a chemical training unit that included Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson.[citation needed] Rickey served in the 1st Gas Regiment during the war. He spent over four months as a member of the Chemical Warfare Service.

He then returned to St. Louis in 1919, but clashed with new Browns owner Phil Ball and jumped to the crosstown Cardinals, to become team president and manager. In 1920, Rickey gave up the team presidency to the Cards' new majority owner, Sam Breadon. He then led the Cardinals on the field for another five seasons, before his firing early in the 1925 season.

His 6+ years as a manager were relatively mediocre, although the team posted winning records from 1921–23 and Rickey wisely invested in several minor league baseball clubs, using them to develop future talent for the Cardinals major league roster. He was 43 years old, had been a player, manager and executive in the Major Leagues and had shown no indication whatsoever that he would ever deserve to belong in the Baseball Hall of Fame. But even though he was not the first general manager in Major League Baseball history — his title was business manager — Rickey (as inventor of the farm system) would come to embody the position of the baseball operations executive who mastered scouting, player acquisition and development and business affairs — the definition of the modern GM.

Rogers Hornsby replaced Rickey to become a player-manager, and in 1926, his first full year as manager, he led the Cardinals to their first World Series championship.

Farm system and other innovations

By 1930, Rickey's Cardinals, known as the "Gashouse Gang", were the class of the National League. They won 101 games in 1931 and won the World Series in seven games. The star of the Series that year was rookie Pepper Martin, one of the first Cardinal stars that came from Branch's minor league system. Soon, other minor league graduates joined the team, among them future hall of famers Dizzy Dean and Joe Medwick, and Dean's brother Paul "Daffy" Dean. The Deans and Medwick were integral parts of the 1934 Cardinals, who won the franchise's third World Series title.

Commissioner of Baseball Kenesaw Mountain Landis was concerned that Rickey's minor league system was going to ruin the game of baseball by destroying most existing minor league teams, and he twice released over 70 Cardinal minor leaguers in attempts to stop what he perceived to be a cover-up. Despite Judge Landis' best efforts, however, Rickey's minor league system stayed in existence, and similar systems were adopted by every major league team within a few years. Arguably, the farm system saved the minor leagues, by keeping them necessary after the television age began and minor league attendance figures declined.

Rickey continued to develop the Cardinals up until the early 1940s. In his final year at St. Louis, 1942, the Cardinals had their best season in franchise history, winning 106 games and the World Series title. The team was led by a new crop of players developed by the Cardinals, two of whom, Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial, became Hall of Famers; and several others, among them future MVP Marty Marion, who were among the best at their position during their eras. Even their manager Billy Southworth was a product of their farm system.

Rickey was a good friend of Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Larry MacPhail, himself a sound baseball man. MacPhail enlisted in the army to serve in World War II after the 1942 season, and the Dodgers hired Branch Rickey to replace him as President and GM, ending a tenure of over two decades with the Cardinals.

Branch continued being an innovator in his time with Brooklyn. He was responsible for the first full time spring training facility, in Vero Beach, Florida, and encouraged the use of now-commonplace tools such as the batting cage, pitching machines, and batting helmets. He also pioneered the use of statistical analysis in baseball (what is now known as sabermetrics), when he hired statistician Allan Roth as a full-time analyst for the Dodgers in 1947. After viewing Roth's evidence, Rickey promoted the idea that on-base percentage was a more important hitting statistic than batting average.[3] While working under Rickey, Roth was also the first person to provide statistical evidence that platoon effects were real and quantifiable.

Breaking the color barrier

Rickey's most memorable act with the Dodgers involved signing Jackie Robinson, thus breaking baseball's color barrier, which had been an unwritten rule since the 1880s. This policy had continued under a succession of baseball leaders, including Landis, who was openly opposed to integrating Major League Baseball for what he regarded as legitimate reasons. Landis died in 1944, but Rickey had already set the process in motion, having sought (and gained) approval from the Dodgers Board of Directors in 1943 to begin the search for "the right man".

On August 28, 1945, Rickey signed Jackie Robinson to a minor league contract. On October 23, 1945, it was announced that Robinson would join the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers' International League affiliate, for the 1946 season. He would end up as the league's batting champion, and led the Royals to a dominant league championship. There was no statute officially banning the blacks from baseball, only a universally-recognized unwritten rule which no club owner was prepared to break. The club owners imitated the values and beliefs of the everyday white man. Their hostility towards blacks may seem surprising, bearing in mind the celebrated role in American sports pre-Second World War black athletes such as Joe Louis in boxing and Jesse Owens on the track. The difference is baseball players are playing for teams, rather than as individual competitors. Branch Rickey took it upon himself to break the color barrier into major league baseball.

Branch Rickey opened the door to the major leagues for Jackie Robinson (with potential for other black athletes to follow). "He (Mr. Rickey) knew I would have terrible problems and wanted me to know the extent of them before I agreed to play." At the start of the 1947 major league baseball season, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Jackie was signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers major league baseball team, with the help of Mr. Rickey.

Branch Rickey knew that Jackie would face racism and discrimination. Rickey made it clear in their momentous first meeting that he anticipated wide-scale resistance both inside and outside baseball to opening its doors to Negroes. As predicted by Rickey, right from the start, Jackie Robinson faced obstacles among his teammates and other teams' players. However harsh the white people were towards Jackie, he could not retaliate. Jackie had agreed with Mr. Rickey not to lose his temper and jeopardize the chances of all the blacks who would follow him if he could help break down the barriers.

Enlarge picture
Branch Rickey signing Jackie Robinson for the Brooklyn Dodgers

Red Barber recounted in Ken Burns's Baseball Documentary that Rickey's determination to desegregate Major League Baseball was born out of a combination of idealism and astute business sense. The idealism was at least partially rooted in an incident involving a team for which Rickey worked early on. An African-American player, Charles Thomas, was extremely upset at being refused accommodation at the hotel where the team stayed because of his race. Rickey never forgot the incident and later said "I may not be able to do something about racism in every field, but I can sure do something about it in baseball." The business element was based on the fact that the Negro Leagues had numerous star athletes, and logically, the first Major League team to hire them would get first pick of the players at a reasonable price. At the time, Mexican brewery czar Jorge Pasquel was raiding the US for black talent (e.g., Satchel Paige), as well as disgruntled white players, for the Mexican League with the idea of creating an integrated league that could compete on a talent level with the US major leagues.

Five days before the start of the 1947 season, Rickey purchased Jackie Robinson's contract from the minor leagues. Amid much fanfare, Jackie debuted, and turned out to be a fantastic success. Robinson was baseball's first rookie of the year, and while he was often jeered by opposing baseball players, managers, and fans, he became extremely popular with the American public. His success became the crowning achievement of Rickey's illustrious career. His Dodgers would make the World Series that year, losing in 7 games to the New York Yankees. But Rickey's vision and action had set the stage for the previously mediocre Dodgers to be contenders for decades to come. And it opened the door for other innovative leaders like Bill Veeck of the Cleveland Indians, who integrated the American League soon thereafter.

Later career

In 1950, there were four owners of the Dodgers, each with one quarter of the franchise. When one of the four died, Walter O'Malley took control of that quarter. Also in 1950, Branch Rickey's contract as Dodger president expired, and Walter O'Malley decided that were Rickey to retain the job, almost all of his power would be gone; for example, he would no longer take a percentage of every franchise sale, Rickey declined. Then, in order to be a majority owner, O'Malley offered to buy Rickey's portion. Seeing no reason to hold on to the club, Rickey decided to comply, however in a final act of retaliation against O'Malley, Rickey instead offered the club percentage to a friend for a million dollars. His chances at complete franchise control at risk, O'Malley was forced to offer more money, and Rickey finally sold his portion for $1,050,000. After leaving the Dodgers, Rickey was offered the position of general manager for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Health problems forced Branch Rickey to retire in 1955, however his contributions would help lead to a World Championship for Pittsburgh in 1960.


Rickey became a public speaker in his later years. He collapsed in the middle of a speech in Columbia, Missouri as he was being elected to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. About to relate an illustration from the Bible, Rickey murmured he could not continue, collapsed and never spoke again. He died a month later on December 9, 1965.


In addition to Rickey's election to the Baseball Hall of Fame as a contributor in 1967, in 1997 he was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame, and in 2009 he was elected the College Baseball Hall of Fame.

In 1992, the Rotary Club of Denver created the Branch Rickey Award, which is given annually to a Major League Baseball player in recognition of exceptional community service.

In Ohio, a portion of U.S. Route 23 (commencing at the boundary of Franklin and Delaware counties at Lazelle Road and extending northward to the City of Delaware at State Route 315) was designated the "Branch Rickey Memorial Highway."

In Delaware, Ohio, South Henry Street between Olentangy Avenue and East William Street is also known as "Branch Rickey Way." All the athletic fields for Ohio Wesleyan University are located on South Henry Street.

At the University of Michigan Law School, the Branch Rickey Collegiate Professor of Law is held by the dean.

The baseball stadium in his hometown of Portsmouth, OH is named "Branch Rickey Park". It has been the home of the Portsmouth High School Trojans for many years.


Branch Rickey is attributed with the famous quotation: "Luck is the residue of opportunity and design." (Quoted by Larry King 7/12/2006.) His descendants also became involved in baseball: his son, Branch Jr., who died four years before his father, and Branch Rickey III, currently president of the Pacific Coast League.

Rickey was a relative of Beth Rickey, the Louisiana political activist who opposed the candidacy of David Duke for governor.

This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia® - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. The text was not checked or edited by anyone on our staff. Although the vast majority of the Wikipedia® encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.
Thanks to Encyclopedia The Free Dictionary / Farlex, Inc.

Sensational Bird Discovery In China

Adult male Blackthroat Luscinia obscura, Foping National Nature Reserve, Shaanxi, China, June 2011. (Credit: © Per Alström)

ScienceDaily (Dec. 19, 2011) — In June 2011, a team of Chinese and Swedish researchers rediscovered the breeding area for the poorly known Blackthroat Luscinia obscura, in the Qinling mountains, Shaanxi province, north central China.

Seven singing males were observed in Foping and seven more in Changqing National Nature Reserves -- which almost equals the total number of individuals observed of this species since its discovery in the late 19th century. Nearly all of the birds were on mountain slopes at 2400-2500 meters above sea level in large, dense expanses of bamboo in open coniferous and mixed coniferous-broadleaved forest.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, about 10 Blackthroats were collected at two localities in the Gansu and Shaanxi provinces during the breeding season (May-August). Since then, there have been only a handful of mostly unconfirmed records from Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, China, from presumed breeding areas or on migration, including a few individuals found in bird markets. The most recent record is of a bird that was photographed on migration in the campus of the Sichuan University on 2 May 2011. In addition, one individual has been caught in Thailand in winter.

The Blackthroat resembles a European Robin Erithacus rubecula in size and general appearance, but with a jet black throat and breast in the male. The female is considered to have a pale brownish throat and breast, although no females definitely attributable to this species have been observed.

The song is distinctive, and consists of rather short, quick, varied strophes that include both whistles and harsh notes. The strophes are delivered at a fairly slow, even pace. Several individuals were sound recorded in 2011, and two of these recordings are now made freely available. This will facilitate future surveys of this enigmatic bird species.

Blackthroat Luscinia obscura audio file.

Story Source: The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Expertanswer, via AlphaGalileo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Thanks to Science Daily


The Indian ReTales - Insights Of An Indian Retailer By V. Rajesh

THE INDIAN RETALES - Insights of an Indian Retailer

The Indian ReTales - Insights Of An Indian Retailer By V. Rajesh

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Product Description

First comprehensive book on the working of Indian retail industry. Written by a celebrity and professional, the author V Rajesh happens to be a leading expert on the Indian retail because of his pioneering effort in establishing corporate retail chains in India. This book provides deep insights and analysis of the retail business in India, opportunities and strategic management, corporate social responsibility and the direction in which it is headed. The author discusses ways retailers can use to leverage events to attract customers, price modelling, and deliverance. The book tells you more about how to create a mobile store, corporate supermarket etc and highlights true-life customer stories. One of the founding fathers of Indian retail, The book would help anyone interested to master ways to serve the customer and make a name and fortune in the Indian retail sector.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #434191 in eBooks
  • Published on: 2010-03-21
  • Released on: 2010-03-21
  • Format: Kindle eBook
  • Number of items: 1
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Are You A Department Dictator?

With the recent passing of Kim Jong Il, many stories of his bizarre leadership behaviour have been circulating, with some stranger than fiction. In a report by CBS Interactive, it has been found that there are many parallels between him and demanding managers. These are the five that particularly stand out.

1. False perfection

Kim Jong Il: According to an official government handout marking his 62nd birthday, Kim celebrated by demolishing a par 72 course in just 34 strokes, managing a world record five holes-in-one on the way. To top it all, the superhuman round was apparently the first time he had actually played the sport.

The manager: Do you find people agreeing with your ideas all the time? Well, the first clue that you're a dictator is when everyone agrees with you. No one is right all the time – the same way no one hits 5 holes-in-one in their very first game of golf.

The solution: Ask your employees what they think first and bite your tongue if it is against your own idea. Sit down and really think through what they are saying before dismissing anything off-the-bat just because you don't like it.

2. Overly Demanding

Kim Jong Il: In 2004, a former chef for Kim revealed the North Korean leader employed staff to make sure the grains of rice served to him were absolutely uniform in size and colour.

The manager: Are you nit-picky about the little things? Do you go catatonic when there is a small misspelling in the report? Do you demand that your employees all be at their desks exactly at 8.00 am? Do you get overly upset about dress codes or lunch breaks?

The solution: Unless the missing 0 in the report is linked to someone's salary or bonus, it probably isn't that important. Likewise, does everyone really need to be come back on the dot after lunch hour? Is there no flexibility allowed? Try taking a deep breath and allow people do things without controlling every step. They may surprise you.

3. Deserve better than everyone else

Kim Jong Il: According to Russian emissary Konstantin Pulikovsky, who travelled with Kim by train across Eastern Europe, Kim had live lobsters air-lifted to the train every day which he ate with silver chopsticks.

The manager: Do you insist that everyone comes in at the same time, while you can stroll into office as you please? Do you get a 40% bonus at the end of the year, while they get 2%? Do you get your own bathroom and parking space?

The solution: While managers get paid more because (theoretically) the job is harder, take a look at your perks and see if they are realistic. Sitting atop your own high fence will not help you build camaraderie among your team members, and instead puts you in an alienated position with no one to turn to.

4. Work outside your area of expertise

Kim Jong Il: He once wrote six operas in two years.

The manager: Opera writing isn't a bad hobby, but do you seek to do the jobs of your employees when you are not as qualified with the mindset that you can do it better?  Do you do your own graphic design, or insist on recalculating all the sales projections but lack the skills to do so accurately, so the original forecaster has to spend 3 hours at your desk going over each calculation, demonstrating why yours isn't accurate?

The solution: Stop micro-managing and trust the employees you've hired.

5. Take others down with you

Kim Jong Il: After suffering a back injury following a horse riding accident, Kim was prescribed painkillers. Fearful of becoming addicted, he ordered a half-dozen of his closest staff to receive the same injection under the logic that if he became dependent, he wouldn't be the only one.

The manager version: When things go wrong, do you dole out blame (whether deserved or not) on others? Or do you stay with the team to discuss and fix the problem together?  Do you find yourself blaming others for your problems?

The solution: When mistakes have been made, stop laying all the blame on your workers. After all, you were in charge of the project in the first place. Taking responsibility for your own failures is the mark of a great leader.

Thanks to HCA Mag / HC Online / Human Capital / Key Media Pty Ltd

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How To Write A Resume

Need some basic information about writing a resume and making it stand out? Looking for advice on how to fine-tune your resume objective, craft your work history section, and show off your education and skills? Then check out the following resume writing tips to learn how to write a resume optimizing each section for maximum success:  
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Continuous Improvement Programs Offer Competitive Advantages On Key Financial Metrics

IndustryWeek recently reported on a survey it conducted with TBM Consulting about the impact of continuous-improvement programs on three financial metrics: anticipated revenue growth, operating income growth, and cash flow over the past year. 
"Across the board, companies with no continuous improvement programs performed worse across all three measures," TBM Consulting researchers revealed here:
  • More than 50% of respondents with no continuous improvement program said they expect revenue growth to be 3% or less in 2012, compared to fewer than 20% of companies with mature continuous improvement programs.
  • Nearly half of respondents with no continuous improvement program anticipate operating income growth of 3% or less in 2012, compared to less than half that percent from firms with continuous improvement programs.
  • Slightly more than 20% of companies with no continuous improvement programs reported an increase in cash flow over the past year compared to more than 50% of companies with mature continuous improvement programs.
  • Companies with continuous-improvement programs also were far more likely to employ forward-looking resources in their strategic planning process. Such resources include competitive analysis, market focused business analytics and information about customers' forward-looking strategies.
BOTTOMLINE:  Continuous improvement programs such as Six Disciplines (Baldrige, and others), offer companies a way to continually assess their business performance, improve processes, develop organizational learning and leadership, and improved alignment of activities to goals.
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Are Your Sales Teams Putting Out Fires When They Should Be Closing Sales?

In this age of economic problems, strained budgets, reduced revenue and increased competition; companies the world over are doing what is necessary to survive. Often this includes reducing expenses, and rightly so. However, there is one area where reducing expenditures can cause more harm than good. In fact, you may think about increasing your budget in the area of Sales Support.

Let the Sales Team Do It
While it seems to make sense to decrease or cut out support expenses for sales people, this often decreases sales. How much time do your sales people spend filling out paperwork and other mundane administrative-type tasks, trouble shooting, or solving very basic customer service issues?

For every minute a sales person spends putting out fires or pointless admin, is a minute they are not closing a sale. It is true that depending on your organisational structure, this may not be an issue, but for many it is.

Income Producing Tasks
Sales people should handle customer issues that give them the opportunity to broaden the relationship with the client or to find new opportunities, but some issues should be the responsibility of the support staff. Your sales people should spend 90% or more of their time doing one thing…selling. That does not mean they should only be asking for the order; they should be performing income-producing tasks.

Sales Person or Administrative Staff?
Ok, so you figure you will save £20,000 if you choose to eliminate a support position as the sales people can handle those tasks. However, now the sales person must personally print the letters or brochures, stuff the envelopes and get the mailers in the post. They then must run the needed reports, along with other pre-sales work. After closing the sale, the sales person must handle the needed time-consuming paperwork, set up the account in the delivery system and more.

In the midst of all of this, the sales person must spend hours speaking to customers on the telephone about routine maintenance issues and answering elementary questions that anyone on the staff could answer. What does this actually cost your firm?

What is the Cost?
Look at this example: Your average sales person closes ten sales per month, generating £50,000 in revenue, averaging £5,000 each sale. Also, on the average, it takes the sales person 100 "touches" to achieve the objective. That is, adding up all the sales related tasks such as emails, phone calls, and personal visits, the sales person makes 100 contacts with prospective clients before closing one sale.

Let us further assume that each tasks takes the sales person an average of 20 minutes to perform. So, emails may take but a minute or two and cold calls average perhaps 5 minutes each. It takes the rep 45 minutes to prepare a proposal and the sales interactions run about an hour. Let's just assume that when averaging all of this, each income-producing touch takes the sales person 20 minutes.

"Do the Math!"
Therefore, it takes 100 touches to close one sale that generates £5,000. Those 100 touches took 2,000 minutes (20 minutes x 100). The average sales person in this example generates £2.5 per minute! Do you really want to pay £150 per hour for someone to stuff envelopes? Also, you not only pay that £150, you lose it.

High-Level Executives
Realise that your sales people are high-level, high-paid executives and should be treated as such. In fact, depending on your organisation and sales structure, you should give your sales executives enough support so they can spend the majority of their time actually speaking to or in front of prospective buyers.

Thanks to Sean McPheat / MTD Sales Training

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How To Revamp Your Study Habits For Better Grades

More and more people are going back to school to take courses to get further qualifications these days. These like-minded people want to improve themselves for better futures. These mature students, along with current students in college or university, may find it a real challenge to keep up with all the studying required to do well in their courses. Indeed, this is very much related to productivity issues of getting enough done.

When I started in university many years ago, it was a bit of a culture shock. One of the most extreme differences on campus compared to high school was that the professors didn't really seem to care whether I showed up for classes or not. In some classes, many students were even falling asleep.

I enjoyed this freedom of showing up for classes whenever I wanted. But the rude awakening soon came when I got my first set of grades. My marks sank to 'C' averages and I was even at risk of failing a course or two.

Better study habits

My study habits were poor and last minute cramming for tests or exams made university life quite stressful. Some things had to change as I faced the possibility of dropping out of university without a degree. If you are either a current or returning student, I'm sure that you don't want to be in this type of situation either.

Fortunately, I stumbled onto a study skills strategy that saved me. This method virtually eliminates the need to cram for exams. I started using this strategy to completely change my study habits and it made a huge difference for me.

This study strategy is ideal especially for courses that involve final exams that cover all material that was introduced during a semester or entire year. Here is what this strategy involves.

  1. For each of your courses, schedule a regular study session each week.
  2. Stick to this study session schedule faithfully like a job.
  3. During each study session, review everything that you have covered in your course so far from day one to present.
  4. Continue reviewing all content each week even if you don't have an upcoming test or exam.

Although there will be more material to cover each week for each course as you move along the semester, covering earlier material will become faster as you become more familiar with them each week. You might not have to increase that much time to each study session as the year goes by.

The beauty of this study habits strategy is that by the time final exams roll around, you will be quite familiar with most of the course content because you have been reviewing it each week.

Using this strategy will allow you to go into your final exams with much more confidence than ever before. The only new material is the most recent since older content will be well absorbed into your head from all those weeks of regular study.

No more cramming for exams

This study strategy worked wonders for me as it took me from a 'C' average student to 'B+/A-' average by graduation. This not only allowed me to finish my degree successfully, it got me into MBA school where I needed to have even better study habits in place.

So there it is – my top study skills strategy that basically involves weekly review of everything that you've covered in your courses to date. So no more cramming for exams needed!

Thanks to Clint Cora / Life Hack / Stepcase Limited

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