Saturday, April 13, 2013

Diet Soda Consumption Tied to Depression

It's nearly 4 pm and your eyes are feeling heavy at your desk. You're fighting back yawns and struggling to focus on the task at hand. In an effort to stay awake, you reach for a diet soda.

If you're a regular consumer of diet beverages, then a new study from the National Institutes of Health should give you reason to pause.

Diet Soda Research

Diet soda drinkers are more likely than regular soda drinkers to be depressed. Researchers found that people who drank four or more sodas daily were 22 percent more likely to have been diagnosed with depression. That number increased to 31 percent for diet soda drinkers and sky rocketed to 51 percent for diet fruit beverage consumers. Coffee drinkers, on the other hand, were 10 percent less likely to have been diagnosed with depression, according to US News.

The NIH study followed more than 250,000 people between the ages of 50 and 71, studying their beverage consumption between 1995 and 1996. A decade later, researchers asked participants if they had been diagnosed with depression since 2000.

"Our research suggests that cutting out or down on sweetened diet drinks or replacing them with unsweetened coffee may naturally help lower your depression risk," Honglei Chen, who led the study, said in a statement reported on US News. "More research is needed to confirm these findings, and people with depression should continue to take depression medications prescribed by their doctors."

Researchers emphasize that this is an association, not a link.

Diet Soda and Vascular Events

Research has already found an association between diet soda consumption and a strikingly abnormal increased risk of vascular events. I wrote on TreeHugger that one study at Columbia University and University of Miami, found that those that consumed diet soda every day had a 61 percent increased risk of vascular events such as stroke or heart attack than those that drank none.

Ten years ago we thought that diet soda consumption was an acceptable evil because although it had no health benefits, there were few proven health issues. Slowly research is beginning to change this perception.

Thanks to Blogs Discovery / Discovery Fit & Health / Discovery Communications, LLC.


Find Out How Much You’re Worth To Employers

Do you know how much you're worth to employers? Or, how do you know how much you should expect in a job offer?

This is especially difficult for candidates to assess when one is entering a new field, making a career change, moving to a new location, or entering the workforce as a recent graduate. It's also a question you should have an answer to before accepting a job offer.

In order to negotiate a competitive salary, you need to know what the industry standard is for that job and that location.

For instance, you can easily see a $20K or more salary difference for the same position simply by being based in a metropolitan city versus a small town, reflecting the associated cost of living.

Or if you have unique talent or skills valued by an employer, you may also have better leverage in negotiating a more competitive salary.

Although today's market condition means that many candidates are more concerned about securing a job versus being offered competitive pay, do not sell yourself short. At minimum, research what you are worth so that you are prepared to negotiate with the employer for a salary that meets the industry standard when an offer is presented.

So, you may ask, "Where do I begin to look for or research salary information?" Here are several reliable ways to obtain salary information. Resort to more than one of these resources for a comprehensive view of what is reasonable and fair.

1. Your Own Network Of Contacts

Do you know someone in the particular field of practice? While most people do not share personal salary details, you may inform the person that you are seeking advice on salary to help with negotiation. Present your contact with a salary range and ask for their opinion as to whether they view it as low, reasonable, high or what they think would be fair.

2. Your Industry's Professional Organizations And Publications

Many professional organizations and industry publications conduct annual surveys and publish results, breaking down fine details. For instance, public relation professionals may rely on PR Week's annual Salary Survey results. It also offers information related to job satisfaction for professionals at various levels in the industry.

3. Research At Salary Websites

There are dozens of salary websites you can resort to in order to find details on what others are being paid for similar positions in particular fields, industries and locations. Each site varies in their method of salary calculation. However, by reviewing several of these sites, you will have a general understanding of what a competitive salary is for the position you seek. In alphabetical order, some of the salary websites include:


Find salary information and reviews on positions at different companies and organizations from this site. Employees directly contribute to the information offered.


This site's data is based on information entered directly by employees at the companies included. In addition to salary information, you can obtain perspective on company and organization cultures.

This site offers salary information and you can also see trends for particular industries in terms of employment growth.


This site is relied on by candidates and employers, alike. The online compensation database provides current pay records collected from employees and employers. A salary calculator is also offered. Certain services and access require a nominal fee.

Provides real-time statistics on thousands of positions by location. You can price three jobs for free and other services and access require a nominal fee.

The Vault

In addition to finding particular positions within an organization and the salary scale for those positions, you can review company message boards for insight to how the interview process is conducted and take a peek at other insiders' perspectives. There is a nominal fee to access certain information.


This site offers information on compensation for particular careers and insight into companies and desired talent and skills for positions.

At the moment, the job market is not in its best state. However, you still have the option to negotiate for an offer that meets industry standards. If you don't bother asking, you will never know and may end up falling short.

Also keep in mind while salary is important, you should also factor in additional employee benefits that may make the overall offer package a greater value, including benefits, bonuses, 401K matches, and many other considerations.

Thanks to Don Goodman / Careerealism


Friday, April 12, 2013

15 Questions To Ask Before Making A Career Change

If you're considering a major career change, you may find the process a little overwhelming at first. To help organize your thoughts and feelings on the topic, ask yourself the following 15 questions.

Remember to answer thoughtfully and honestly. This is for your eyes only. Also, be sure to write your answers down. Putting abstract thoughts and feelings into words can help you identify what's really going on and it adds a tangible element to the reflection process.

  1. What is it about my current career that isn't working?
  2. What does this new career offer that my current career doesn't?
  3. What does this new career ignite in my soul?
  4. How does this new career align with my core values?
  5. What are the long-term opportunities associated with this new career?
  6. What skills or resources will I need to take advantage of these long-term opportunities?
  7. Who do I know who is already in this career and can give me an honest "insider's" perspective?
  8. Will my friends and family support this new career endeavor?
  9. How long will it take to make a comfortable living in this new career?
  10. Do I have the financial resources to make this new career work? If not, how can I get what I need to feel secure?
  11. What struggles can I predict in my transition to this new career?
  12. What can I do now to minimize these potential struggles?
  13. What specific experience do I hope to gain in this career move?
  14. How will my previous experience help me in this new role?
  15. Is this career move one step in a larger plan? If so, what does this new career need to provide in order to help me move forward?

5 Things To Avoid When Breaking Up With Your Boss

Quitting a job – quitting well, at least – can be hard work. There are plenty of missteps you can make that can end up hurting your career in the long term. Check out our list of things to avoid when breaking up with your boss.

1. Don't Pull A Johnny Paycheck

It's been the subject of countless daydreams: quitting your job. You rise from your second-rate, back-breaking desk chair. You stride through the maze of cubicles, eyes forward, deftly deflecting queries and attempts at conversation from your colleagues – Forget the expense report, Cathy. No, Bill, I don't have an opinion on the President's jobs plan.

And then you reach the door. It's closed. No knocking today. You grasp the knob. Twist. Throw open the door. Finally, eye-to-eye with your nemesis, you deliver your attack: "Take this job and shove it." (Yes… we know, Mr. Paycheck didn't write the song. But he made it a hit.)

Pretty sweet, huh? Yeah. But don't do it.

Instead: You must suppress the rage, stifle the snark, subdue the frustration. Smile. Be respectful. Give notice. Offer to help in the transition. It is, as the animatronic children at Disneyland say, a small world, after all.

People talk… about you. And unless you've recently come into several million dollars and plan on leaving the workforce forever, a less-than-conciliatory exit can come back to bite you later in your career.

2. Don't Annoy Your Co-workers

You're beginning to feel like an inmate –imprisoned unjustly, of course – with a release date just around the corner. All those people you work with, however, are still doing hard time… with no end in sight. Don't talk about all the great stuff you'll be doing once you're on the outside.

Instead: Leaving on good terms with your colleagues is just as important as leaving on good terms with your boss. Don't badmouth the company you're leaving, and don't brag about that great new company you're moving to. Answer questions honestly.

But bear in mind that these people (some of whom you may actually like) are still stuck in the situation that you're fleeing. You want them to have happy memories of you. Who knows, you may need one of them as a reference sometime, or even end up working with them again in the future.

3. Don't Act Like A Short-timer

You've given notice. See that down there, at the end of the tunnel? It's light. Two more weeks and it's on to bigger and better things for you (a new and happier job, we hope). This can be a difficult time. While your body is there at your desk, your mind is far, far away. A little slacking is expected. Anyway, what are they going to do about it? Wrong attitude.

Instead: Do your best to fend off short-timer syndrome. No matter how you feel about the company or your boss, you want to leave on a high note – be a pro to the end. In your final days, you should strive to work at the same level that you have during your entire tenure at the company.

People aren't necessarily going to remember that you put in back-to-back 18-hour days to finish a crucial, last-minute project two years ago. Colleagues – potential references and networking partners – will remember, however, that you came in late, slacked off and left early before abandoning them forever. You can never make another last impression.

4. Don't Get Lured Back

You have a new job lined up, or you've squirreled away enough money to sustain yourself for a job search (we advise the latter). Your mind is made up. You're out of there. So long. Sayonara. See you later. And, then, they hit you with a counter offer to get you to stay. More money, more vacation, better benefits, promises that "things will get better next quarter." Tempting.

But don't take it!

Instead: The moment you gave notice, your relationship with your boss morphed into something that resembles the relationship between an estranged couple. Now your spurned boss, whatever his motives, has entered a bargaining phase that often accompanies a breakup (I can change!).

But things won't get better, likely they'll get worse. You've demonstrated your unhappiness and lack of loyalty by accepting a new job (though some say that employer/employee loyalty is, in fact, long dead). Stick to your plan. Just thank your boss for the consideration and inform him that you'll still be moving on. Many sources say that most people who accept a counter offer end up leaving within six months, anyway.

5. Don't Hold A Grudge

And… you're outta there. You cleared your desk of personal stuff, surrendered your iPhone and laptop, said your goodbyes and crossed that threshold for the last time. You strolled – maybe even swaggered – through the parking lot, fired up the car and headed off toward the horizon.

Congratulations. You have made a successful exit. Finally, you can start trashing your former company, boss and colleagues to anyone who will listen.


Instead: Let the past be the past. Don't go around badmouthing your former employer, especially not to a new or prospective employer (or through social media). You'll come off as vindictive… and, maybe, even a bit obsessive. It's not healthy for your career or your psyche. And you never know when you'll run into these people again.

Thanks to CareerBliss / Careerealism


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

HR From The Outside In: Six Competencies For The Future Of Human Resources By Dave Ulrich, Jon Younger, Wayne Brockbank, Mike Ulrich

HR from the Outside In: Six Competencies for the Future of Human Resources

HR From The Outside In: Six Competencies For The Future Of Human Resources By Dave Ulrich, Jon Younger, Wayne Brockbank, Mike Ulrich

List Price: $32.00
Price: $17.38 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details

Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Ships from and sold by

72 new or used available from $13.19

Average customer review:
(18 customer reviews)

Product Description

"This definitive work on HR competencies provides ideas and tools that help HR professionals develop their career and make their organization effective."
—Edward E. Lawler III, Professor, University of Southern California

"This book is a crucial blueprint of what it takes to succeed. A must have for every HR professional."
—Lynda Gratton, Professor, London Business School

"One single concept changed the HR world forever: 'HR business partner'. Through consistent cycles of research and practical application, Dave and his team have produced and update the most comprehensive set of HR competencies ever."
—Horacio Quiros, President, World Federation of People Management Associations

"Packed with facts, evidence, and prescriptive advice. It is about being a business leader first, and an HR professional second."
—Randy MacDonald, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, IBM Corporation

"The concepts and competencies presented in this book provide HR leaders with new insights."
—Gina Qiao, Senior Vice President, HR Lenovo

"Powerful, relevant and timely! Defines "new HR" in a pragmatic way. This book is a must for leaders and HR folks who seek to create sustainable competitive advantage."
—Satish Pradhan, Chief, Group Human Resources, Tata Sons Limited

"You can't argue with the data! This book is a definitive and practical guide to learning the HR competencies for success."
—John Lynch, Senior Vice President, HR, General Electric

"A must read for any HR executive. This research-based competency model is particularly compelling because it is informed by the perspective of non-HR executives and stakeholders."
—Sue Meisinger, Distinguished speaker and author, former CEO of SHRM

"Read this book for a unique long-term perspective on where HR competencies have brought us and must take us in future."
—John Boudreau, Professor, University of Southern California and Research Director, Center for Effective Organizations

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #52235 in Books
  • Published on: 2012-06-26
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 9.49" h x 1.06" w x 6.50" l, 1.37 pounds
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 272 pages
Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dave Ulrich is a Professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, a partner at the RBL Group, and Executive Director of the RBL Institute. He studies how organizations build capabilities of leadership, speed, learning, accountability, and talent through leveraging human resources. He has helped generate award winning data bases that assess alignment between strategies, organization capabilities, HR practices, HR competencies, and customer and investor results. He has published over 200 articles and book chapters and 23 books.

Jon Younger is a partner of the RBL Group, leads the firm's strategic HR practice, and is a director of the RBL Institute. Jon's career has combined experience in consulting, executive management and HR leadership. He has also managed executive compensation and HR strategyHe is a co-author of many articles and book chapters and two books: HR Transformation (2009 Justin Allen, Wayne Brockbank, Jon Younger, Mark Nyman), and HR Competencies (2008 Wayne Brockbank, Dani Johnson, Kurt Sandholtz, Jon Younger). His articles have appeared in HR Management Journal, HR Planning Journal, Harvard Business Review, Strategic HR Review among others.

Wayne Brockbank is a Clinical Professor of Business at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and an Emeritus Partner in the RBL Consulting Group. At the Ross School of Business, he is the Co-director (with Dave Ulrich and Dick Beatty) and core faculty of the Advanced Human Resource Executive Program. He is also the Director of HR executive programs in Hong Kong, India, Singapore, and United Arab Emirates. Over the past twenty years, these executive programs have been consistently rated as the best HR executive programs in the United States and Europe by the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Fortune and Leadership Excellence. He serves on the core faculty to Michigan's senior management executive programs in India. He has held visiting faculty appointments in Argentina, Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, the Netherlands, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.

Mike Ulrich is a PhD student at the Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina. Before returning to the university, he was a Research Associate for RBL Group where he led the data collection and analysis of the RBL/Michigan global HRCS. Mike's background is focused on research methods and statistical analysis. Mike's work with The RBL Group focused on managing the firm's many research studies (including the HRCS, Leadership Code, and talent management research).


How To Resolve Problems At Work

How can you resolve problems at work without creating more problems? If you're in the 70-something percentile of people who are disengaged at work (as reported by the Society of Human Resources Management) and you know your reasons are directly related to your work environment, you probably wonder if there is anything you can actually do about it that will turn your situation around.

There are some things you can do so consider your choices. You have three: you can suck it up and live with it (least desirable option!), you can start looking for another job, or you can talk to your boss and/or someone at work who can help you.

Despite the issues you're having, if you otherwise really like your job, it's definitely worth a shot at attempting to resolve the problems before you throw in the towel. In many cases you can – you just have to know the right way to go about doing it.

Talking about work issues at work can get messy if not done correctly. Typically, that means you probably won't be able to say what you really think without there being some risk involved. That's not very encouraging but unfortunately, that's how it is for many people because addressing issues at work is more like an art than a skill because you have to know how honest you can be and how to say what you want to say without digging a deeper hole for yourself.

Perhaps you feel like you can't address your issues because you fear your boss (or someone else) will retaliate against you or worse yet, you will get fired. These are very legitimate concerns.

Your ability to be successful at this, however, depends a lot on where you stand at work. If you have a history of performance or attitude related issues, you will have less success with this than if you're an employee who has a record of outstanding work performance.

If you do have performance issues because of the issues you experience at work, it's a good idea to tie them together in your conversation so that it explains your performance issues.

The resolution tactic that you must consider first is directly talking to your boss or to the person who is the cause of your problem. It's the most professional way to handle it as a first line strategy. Immediately going above that person's head or to HR could (but not always) significantly worsen the problem. People tend to get upset when others go around them or above them instead of dealing directly with them.

How Do I Start The Conversation?

Here are some examples of ways to start a conversation around the most common issues employees have at work:

Problem 1: Conflict With Boss Or Co-Worker

"I feel like we have been having some communication breakdowns lately. I'd like to work with you to try to resolve these issues." Never accuse that person of things by constantly saying "you do this, and you do that." That will make the person feel defensive. Start all your sentences with "I" and mix in a lot of compliments with your concerns (e.g. "I think you have a lot really great ideas but I feel like I don't know how to ask for your assistance without upsetting you. Can you help me understand what I am doing that upsets you?")

Problem 2: Feeling Undervalued Or Unappreciated

"Can you let me know what your expectations are for my job? I love what I do here and I am doing everything I can to make sure that I do it right however, I do not feel like I am getting the feedback I need for me to effectively measure whether or not my work is valued here."

Problem 3: Long Work Hours

I would advise against raising this as an issue if you're working the exact amount of hours you agreed upon when you accepted the job – unless something drastically changed in your life. Otherwise, if this is your situation, it's likely time to start looking for a job elsewhere.

However, if your hours increased significantly, you can start a conversation like this: "I am struggling a bit with the long hours I have been working lately. I will do anything I can for this company but lately these long hours have been having a negative impact on (my family, my school work, etc.). Is there something we can work out where I can have a better work/life balance?" Even suggesting doing work at home can be an option here.

Problem 4: Low Pay

In this scenario, I would not raise the issue unless you did not get (or did not get enough of) a promised or expected (annual) pay increase. If that's the case you can state, "I think I was expecting a (bigger) pay increase. Is there a problem with my work or something I should be aware of that I can work on?"

Problem 5: Lack Of Training

"I really want to do a good job here and would really benefit from some training in (subject). Can we talk about some ways I can get additional training?

Problem 6: Passed Over For A Promotion Or Job Transfer

"I was really hoping to have the opportunity to move into that new role. Can you let me know what I can do to have a better chance of achieving that role in the future?"

The key in all these scenarios is to be prepared to handle the responses professionally. Remember, you're trying to resolve the issue and not escalate it. You must remain professional even if the other person does not. If the person responds in a very accusatory manner and you find you're about to blow your top, excuse yourself from the conversation before you say something you might regret.

Blowing your top can have serious consequences, including termination of your employment. Walk away first!

If for whatever reason, you absolutely believe you cannot talk directly to the person in question, then you should consider discussing your issues with someone in the Human Resources Department. You should be able to discuss your issues and get advice in complete confidence.

However, in some companies, this is not the case. Not all HR employees are untrustworthy but so you have to go by what you know and/or have heard. If that's the case and you truly can't talk to anyone at work, then it's time for you to put together a plan to move on.

It's absolutely possible to work out some of the most common issues employees have at work. However, your issues will not resolve by themselves. The worst thing you can do is run around talking about them with your co-workers. Second to that is just sitting and stirring with them. That will just cause you to become more disengaged, which can lead to performance issues and/or termination.

In actuality, you really only have two options when it comes to work-related issues: you must directly address them or make the decision to move on. Sucking it up and living with it isn't a good option but sadly is one many people take.

Don't be one of them because in most cases you will get to a point where you eventually say or do something out of anger that gets you fired. Or you get so upset you just up and quit one day without much thought and then realize afterwards you really couldn't afford to do that.

Start to think this through now and put a plan together on what actions you will take but do yourself a huge favor and make the decision to do something today!

Jessica Simko is a senior-level HR professional and job search strategist.

Thanks to Jessica Simko / Careerealism


Follow Your Passion Is Usually Bad Advice

One of the most common pieces of advice given to job seekers when they are trying to decide what they want to be when they grow up is: "Follow your passion!" or "Do what you love!"

While there may be some exceptions, this is usually bad advice and advice that has left many people's careers in a mess!

It sounds good, and who wouldn't want to do what they love to do? There are, however, multiple reasons why this usually doesn't work and there are better alternatives.

Many don't have passions! That may sound sad, but it's true. I would say that perhaps most people, while they have things they enjoy, can't say they have a real passion for any particular activity, task or hobby. Diving in to pursue something that's outside of your career training or traditional jobs based on a mild enjoyment will not likely give you the  drive necessary to ultimately be successful. Be careful of making one up!

It may be a passion, until you have to make a living at it. Many people do have a great passion for certain things. Perhaps it's a hobby, or sport, or music, or some leisure activity they do when ever they can carve out the time. Often, however, it's a passion because it's an escape from the pressures of a career and earning a living. It's a way to do something without expectations. Once the activity is required to generate an income, all the fun runs out of it. Now it's no longer a way to kick back and relax doing something for leisure, but rather something that has to be done well in order to meet customer expectations or build an income out of it in some way. It's not unusual in that situation that the passion becomes something you despise.

A passion may not pay the bills. Something that may be a passion may be a lousy money-maker. One example from one of my job search classes a while back was a woman who had built a successful career over many years in a manufacturing company, and unfortunately got caught in cut backs and was laid off. She looked at her circumstances as an opportunity to do something she had "always wanted to do". She decided she would pursue becoming a photographer. Unfortunately, she discovered that even "successful" photographers usually earned around half her previous income. While she was prepared for somewhat of a pay-cut, she was not prepared for one that would be that drastic.  It's not unusual that a pleasurable hobby pays nowhere near what a traditional job may pay.

Be honest… are you really that good at it? What many people fail to recognize is that while they may be pretty good as an amateur, they are nowhere near being able to make it as a professional. The early weeks of each season of "American Idol" demonstrate that in terms of singing. However, the same is true for any number of other skills as well. Get objective and honest opinions about your skills and level of ability before deciding you're ready to make your passion a career.

What's better?

Instead of looking to do what you love… love what you do! Many people decide they are in the wrong career because they aren't enjoying their workday, or they haven't been as successful as they hoped, or they want more flexibility in their schedule. Those may, or may not be legitimate factors to consider. However, looking at what you currently do in new ways can have dramatic effects. What parts of your current work do you do best? How can you approach your current work in new ways to make it more enjoyable or more fulfilling? Do you actually dislike your career, or where you're currently working? (Sometimes a bad culture or work environment can make it difficult to enjoy a career you may otherwise love).

It's not unusual for someone to not be enthusiastic about a particular job, but over time come to thrive and find they really love what they do. It was not something they would have chosen, but find they've grown to thoroughly enjoy their career. It may take deliberate effort to get there, but the results can be worth it.

What gives you a sense of accomplishment and achievement? Most people enjoy things they are good at. They take pride in things they've accomplished and things they can perform with excellence. Striving to do your best in your current role, over time, can often make that role very rewarding personally, professionally, and financially.

While pursuing what you love sounds like a great concept, and may be appropriate in some cases, it's often a recipe for disaster for a great many people. In most cases, a better recipe is to learn to love what you do!

Thanks to Harry Urschel / CareerRocketeer


Great By Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, And Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All By Jim Collins, Morten T. Hansen

Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All

Great By Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, And Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All By Jim Collins, Morten T. Hansen

List Price: $29.99
Price: $20.98 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details

Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Ships from and sold by

153 new or used available from $12.18

Average customer review:
(126 customer reviews)

Product Description

Ten years after the worldwide bestseller Good to Great, Jim Collins returns with another groundbreaking work, this time to ask: why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? Based on nine years of research,buttressed by rigorous analysis and infused with engaging stories, Collins and his colleague Morten Hansen enumerate the principles for building a truly great enterprise in unpredictable, tumultuous and fast-moving times. This book is classic Collins: contrarian, data-driven and uplifting.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #928 in Books
  • Published on: 2011-10-11
  • Released on: 2011-10-11
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 1.10" h x 6.10" w x 9.10" l, 1.25 pounds
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 320 pages


  • Size : 23.12 x 15.5 x 3.31 cm
Editorial Reviews Review

Jim Collins on the Writing Process

When I first embarked on a career that required writing, I devoured dozens of books about the process of writing. I soon realized that each writer has weird tricks and idiosyncratic methods. Some wrote late at night, in the tranquil bubble of solitude created by a sleeping world, while others preferred first morning light. Some cranked out three pages a day, workmanlike, whereas others worked in extended bursts followed by catatonic exhaustion. Some preferred the monastic discipline of facing cinder-block walls, while others preferred soaring views.

I quickly learned that I had to discover my own methods. Most useful, I realized that I have different brains at different times of day. In the morning, I have a creative brain; in the evening, I have a critical brain. If I try to edit in the morning, I'm too creative, and if I try to create in the evening, I'm too critical. So, I go at writing like a two piston machine: create in the morning, edit in the evening, create in the morning, edit in the evening…

Yet all writers seem to agree on one point: writing well is desperately difficult, and it never gets easier. It's like running: if you push your limits, you can become a faster runner, but you will always suffer. In nonfiction, writing is thinking; if I can't make the words work, that means I don't know yet what I think. Sometimes after toiling in a quagmire for dozens (or hundreds) of hours I throw the whole effort into the wastebasket and start with a blank page. When I sheepishly shared this wastebasket strategy with the great management writer Peter Drucker, he made me feel much better when he exclaimed, "Ah, that is immense progress!"

The final months of completing Great by Choice required seven days a week effort, with numerous all-nighters. I had naively hoped after writing Good to Great that perhaps I had learned enough about writing that this work might not require descending deep into the dark cave of despair. Alas, the cave of darkness is the only path to producing the best work; there is no easy path, no shorter path, no path of less suffering. Winston Churchill once said that writing a book goes through five phases. In phase one, it is a novelty or a toy; by phase five, it is a tyrant ruling your life, and just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public. And so, exiting the caving blinking in the sunlight, we've killed the monster and hereby fling. We love this book, and have great passion about sharing it with the world—making all the suffering worthwhile.

A Q&A with Morten T. Hansen

Q: How did you and Jim develop ideas together during the research?

Hansen: During our hundreds of research meetings—what we called "chimposiums" (as when two curious chimps get together), Jim and I probed the data, exchanged views, and debated vigorously. We didn't always agree, in which case we did some more analysis to get to the main findings we report in Great by Choice.

Q: Why did Great by Choice take nine years of effort?

Hansen: When Jim and I started out some nine years ago, we did not anticipate that it would take us this long, nor did we know what the results would be. We followed a simple principle—carry out the absolutely best research we could possibly do, no matter how long.

Q: Did you find what you expected, or surprises?

Hansen: The way we did the research was to explore why some companies attained great performance over the long-run while others did not. We did not start with any preconceived ideas and hypotheses about what made the difference. We let the data speak. What we found, and what we report in the book, surprised us a great deal. A few times we scratched our heads because we were so surprised, but that's what the data revealed.

Q: Did you have fun?

Hansen: Analyzing the data, debating, and arriving at some really interesting insights was a great deal of fun. It created joy in my life. It may not be everyone's idea of having a good time, but Jim and I always looked forward to our chimposiums. I hope you will enjoy Great by Choice as much as Jim and I enjoyed the research process!

"A sensible, well-timed and precisely targeted message for companies shaken by macroeconomic crises" (Financial Times )

"Collins and Hansen draw some interesting and counterintuitive conclusions from their research….far from a dry work of social science. Mr. Collins has a way with words, not least with metaphor." (Wall Street Journal )

Entrepreneurs and business leaders may find the concepts in this book useful for making choices to increase their odds of building a great company. (Booklist )

From the Back Cover

The new question
Ten years after the worldwide bestseller Good to Great, Jim Collins returns with another groundbreaking work, this time to ask: Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? Based on nine years of research, buttressed by rigorous analysis and infused with engaging stories, Collins and his colleague, Morten Hansen, enumerate the principles for building a truly great enterprise in unpredictable, tumultuous, and fast-moving times.

The new study
Great by Choice distinguishes itself from Collins's prior work by its focus not just on performance, but also on the type of unstable environments faced by leaders today.

With a team of more than twenty researchers, Collins and Hansen studied companies that rose to greatness—beating their industry indexes by a minimum of ten times over fifteen years—in environments characterized by big forces and rapid shifts that leaders could not predict or control. The research team then contrasted these "10X companies" to a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to achieve greatness in similarly extreme environments.

The new findings
The study results were full of provocative surprises. Such as:

  • The best leaders were not more risk taking, more visionary, and more creative than the comparisons; they were more disciplined, more empirical, and more paranoid.
  • Innovation by itself turns out not to be the trump card in a chaotic and uncertain world; more important is the ability to scale innovation, to blend creativity with discipline.
  • Following the belief that leading in a "fast world" always requires "fast decisions" and "fast action" is a good way to get killed.
  • The great companies changed less in reaction to a radically changing world than the comparison companies.

The authors challenge conventional wisdom with thought-provoking, sticky, and supremely practical concepts. They include: 10Xers; the 20 Mile March; Fire Bullets, Then Cannonballs; Leading above the Death Line; Zoom Out, Then Zoom In; and the SMaC Recipe.

Finally, in the last chapter, Collins and Hansen present their most provocative and original analysis: defining, quantifying, and studying the role of luck. The great companies and the leaders who built them were not luckier than the comparisons, but they did get a higher Return on Luck.

This book is classic Collins: contrarian, data-driven, and uplifting. He and Hansen show convincingly that, even in a chaotic and uncertain world, greatness happens by choice, not chance.


HR Transformation : Building Human Resources From The Outside In By Dave Ulrich, Justin Allen, Wayne Brockbank, Jon Younger, Mark Nyman

HR Transformation : Building Human Resources From the Outside In

HR Transformation : Building Human Resources From The Outside In By Dave Ulrich, Justin Allen, Wayne Brockbank, Jon Younger, Mark Nyman

Digital media products such as Amazon MP3s, Amazon Instant Videos, and Kindle content can only be purchased on
Buy at Amazon

Average customer review:
(15 customer reviews)

Product Description

Named as BusinessWeek's #1 Management Educator, expert Dave Ulrich and his team of authors bring human resources a whole new way of thinking and practicing—moving the focus from internal issues to actively helping to set business strategies. Businesses of the future need "all hands on deck" when implementing new ways to stimulate grown and cost efficiency, and this includes human resources. In  HR Transformation, the team presents a four-phase model of transformation that shows you step-by-step how to make meaningful progress in contributing to the performance of your company by redesigning HR to work as a strategic partnership.  From the "#1 Management Educator & Guru"- BusinessWeek  "The authors have presented us with an accessible, readable, and practical illustration of a clear path for successful strategy execution in a complex environment." -Majed Al Romaithi, Executive Director, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority  "HR can only transform organizations if it transforms HR.

This book shows us how. HR Transformation would have been important in the past-it is critical now! We are entering a new world. HR Transformation can help our organizations thrive in the midst of uncertainty." -Marshall Goldsmith, author of the  Wall Street Journal  bestsellers  What Got You Here Won't Get You There and  Succession: Are You Ready?  "Ulrich and his colleagues talk tough and provide a detailed blueprint for how those of us in the field can use our own tools to do a "720-degree" evaluation of ourselves. We cannot contribute to the success of our organizations until we upgrade ourselves." -Linda A. Hill, Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School  "Based on groundbreaking research with hundreds of companies and thousands of executives, HR Transformation provides compelling theory and practical tools to create alignment between strategy, systems, and people. This important book should be read carefully by leadership teams everywhere." -Mark Huselid, Professor of HR Strategy, Rutgers University, Co-author of  The HR Scorecard, The Workforce Scorecard, and  The Differentiated Workforce Turn to the front matter for more than thirty rousing endorsements of HR Transformation. INCLUDES CASE STUDIES FROM Intel, Pfizer, Takeda,  Flextronics.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #48673 in eBooks
  • Published on: 2009-06-22
  • Released on: 2009-06-22
  • Format: Kindle eBook
  • Number of items: 1
Editorial Reviews

About the Author
Dave Ulrich is an author, speaker, management coach, and consultant.
Wayne Brockbank is a Clinical Professor of Business of the Strategic Human Resource Planning Program at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.
Jon Younger career has been a mix of consulting, executive management and HR leadership.
Justin Allen is the Managing Director of The RBL Institute and a consultant with the firm.
Mark Nyman
is a Principal with The RBL Group.