30. June 2009 · Comments Off on Analyze Innovative Capabilities Of Your Employees With Innovation Metrics · Categories: Management · Tags: , ,

In today’s world, it is very important to exploit the innovative capabilities of the employees so as to develop new business techniques in the face of modern technological advancements, empowerment of customers, new entrants in the market, shorter life cycle of the products, globalization of the market and geopolitical instability. The development of the innovative capabilities of individuals is the only to sustain an advantage over the competitors.

In every field, the leading company is the seen to be the innovator. Until now, innovation has been considered as some kind of black art. Managers of today’s world still lack the metrics that are required to take informed decisions about the innovative programs. There are some metrics that have developed for the development of new product. But these metrics are very limited. Managers are not fully equipped with the right metrics to measure the innovativeness of a particular program.

There are quite a few reasons that support the importance of innovative metrics for the development of a company. Firstly, they help the mangers to come up with an informed decision that is based on objective data. This is valuable because certain projects might have be long term and might also have risks attached to it. Also metrics affect behavior of the employees by aligning goals and actions that are in the best interest of the organization or company.

Most of the companies that measure their innovativeness do so with the help of Research and Development or by product development metrics. These might be useful but are limited in their scope as they are not capable of measuring the overall effectiveness of the innovations on the company. While paying attention to technological development, often innovation related to business concept is neglected.

There should be a framework for the selection of metrics that can help the mangers to track the success rates of innovation in the companies. These metrics would be helpful for the senior executives to assess the innovativeness of the company which will combat the dangerous strategy decay that afflicts the business of a company. Strategies might decay due to various reasons and hence innovation is the key of success for any company.

Companies that are not able to innovate for themselves must learn to buy it. For example, if company’s main product is out of demand then it can buy a lesser company whose products are still in demand. However, this innovation strategy is good only for a short term. In order to innovate things by themselves, the companies should have a balance between investment in the current business and innovation. The company should also assess the capability of the company to turn its resources of innovation into business opportunities. Also the leadership of the company has to be assesses in terms of its supportiveness towards any innovation.

Innovation metrics is important, because it is not really possible to manage something by measuring it. Innovation metrics is a tool to motivate the managers and leaders of the company to embrace innovation and give it priority. The goals of innovation need to be communicated and rewards for achieving milestones should be set. This helps in the acceleration of the pace of ideas that can be implemented. Innovation metrics can be applied in various fields in the company including process, planning and people.

22. June 2009 · Comments Off on Dip in Land Prices makes House and Land Packages a Better Option · Categories: News & Society · Tags: , ,
Independent houses have always been preferred over apartments due to the large space, backyard options and the flexibility that they offer. However, these independent houses have never been considered to be affordable due to the high price of land that has plagued this market. However, with the median price of land in Australia falling by about a percentage and a half house and land packages are now an option that many more can consider. With the markets on a continuous appreciation of 111 percent, the increase in prices had made house and land packages unaffordable for many. With the modest reductions, there was a spate of house and land packages that started to appear in the market and were offered to consumers. However, experts stated that though the land prices had reduced due to the economy, the correction did not seem to have taken the reduction in cost of construction material. Therefore the consumers were still apprehensive about considering house and land packages and were expecting another correction in the market rates. It was only when the rates for the house and land packages stabilized that the market started seeing some signs of pick up and revival. Consumers gained confidence that the prices would not decline further and that house and land packages were a good deal to invest in, given the gap between the growing population and limited availability of housing options. It only required the economy to show some signs of recovery for people to start investing in house and land packages again and ensuring good investment returns from the same.
17. June 2009 · Comments Off on Socially Conscious Investing And The Law Of Abundance · Categories: Education · Tags: , ,

To know that one has a divine right to live in abundance means that one has a respect for nature’s supply. Usually those who have become abundance conscious are also environmentally conscious. With respect to nature, many who have aligned themselves with universal laws strive to incorporate every aspect of their lives with abundance principles and concepts.

Consequently, as we become more conscious, we understand that money is a seed and in many ways we are responsible for where we plant our seeds. It is only wise to search for investment options that reinforce our beliefs and lifestyle.

Environmentally sound investments are more available this century than ever before. Such investments are known as Social Funds. Social Funds made its debut on Wall Street in the 1970’s and has been soaring ever since. Years ago there was concern with these funds ability to be profitable. But with growing technological advancements and an ever increasing interest in the age of spiritual and environmental consciousness, socially conscious investing has proven to be not only profitable, but consciously probable.

From investing in solar panels to buying fuel efficient cars, living a green lifestyle has never been more attractive. Due to increasing popularity with becoming environmentally conscious, one is not labeled as a weird tree hugger with too much time on their hands. Instead, taking care of Mother Earth has been championed by influential celebrities, well respected politicians, and altruistic business leaders.

With the flow of wealth and consciousness beginning to take root and manifest in many, there has been a growing concern among conscious green and holistic individuals regarding the atrocities that may have been funded using their money. Individuals who once invested, through stocks and mutual funds, for example, in companies that have been responsible for damaging the earth (i.e. alcohol, tobacco) and abusing its people (cruel labor) are now conscious and aware of their prior investments. Those living a conscious, abundant, and green lifestyle are appalled that their dollars have contributed to situations that do not match their personal values.

According to The Social Investment Forum, an environmentally friendly organization made up of like minded investors, estimates that 10 percent of all investments are made with social values in mind. The forum also counts 151 socially responsible mutual funds with assets of more than $148 billion, up from $111 billion in 2001; an outstanding increase from its humble, yet highly influential beginnings.

Many who are environmentally and socially conscious gain the greatest return on their investments knowing that their money hasn’t supported or had any type of horrid effect on nature, its people, and the community at large. These types of investors have seen the bigger picture and realize that the end results yield the highest return.

But still there are those individuals who don’t quite yet feel comfortable trading their conventional stocks for socially conscious funds. One shouldn’t beat themselves up. Start slowly. Begin to use the profits of conventional investing to further your socially conscious agenda. Use the funds to reinvest in your causes by:

1. Becoming a “Green” Angel Investor. By supporting start-up/ environmentally conscious organizations, in time nature and its people will begin to feel the positive trickle effects of these worthwhile efforts.

2. Independently invest in organizations that advocate social change. Become involved and rally around organizations which lobby and challenge congress to create “greener” laws.

3. Diversify your investment portfolio by having more Social Funds than Conventional Funds.

Spirituality and morally, if you take care of nature, nature will in turn take care of you. It is never too late to discover spiritual and universal laws that will guide you into creating the life that one desires. Trust in and align yourself with the Laws of Nature and you will soon see that living green will yield much green, spiritually and financially.

11. June 2009 · Comments Off on Keeping the Spirit · Categories: Home And Family · Tags: , ,

On Friday night, I learned my limitation. I took ten pre-teen
girls to the ice rink–along with little brother Victor, who had
never ice-skated in his life.

At fortysomething, I had no deep-seated desire to skate; the
girls afterall would skate by themselves and completely ignore
me. I was cold. I was sore from my early-morning tennis game and
half-hour workout with weights. In tiny Ridgefield, Connecticut
in January, ice skating on a Friday night is as good as it gets:
the place was packed. Clearly two hundred children and hormone-
impaired middleschoolers were lacing up, while little Victor
begged me to skate alongside him, at this never-before-seen rink, with an almost-desperate look on his face.

Of course I had to oblige. “How tough could this be anyway?” I
thought as I snapped on my rented skates. “I work out everyday,”
I reassured myself. I skated as a kid. We’ll take it slowly. I
look the part, what with my jeans, turtleneck, and down vest. I
mean…I could pass for one of these kids if you caught me at the right angle!

We got onto the ice, Victor holding my hand with a look of “Can I do this, Mom?” and me with an “it’s-like-riding-a-bike-you-never-forget-how” assurance.

The first time around was, well, awkward would be an
understatement. I was wobbly. Victor held me up. When I asked him how he was doing, he was clearly in control. “I rollerblade,
remember, Mom?” Oh yeah…that.

Dozens of wiry boys…barely as high as my kneecap…who had
clearly been skating since they could crawl…zigzagged in and
out of my path like cockroaches when caught in the dark by a quickly-turned-on light. Whippersnappers! In and out they skated, so fast and with such precision that it took my misted-breath away.

Did I mention the strobe lights? Just when I thought it was safe
to look down and see where I was going, the lights playing on the ice only made me dizzy. I was reassured by my assessment when Victor exclaimed: “Mom, don’t look down! You’ll throw up!”

By the third or fourth time around, I was feeling much more
confident. But when a pre-teen girl caught sight of a hottie and
abruptly skated backwards…directly in front of me…I was
knocked smack on the ice. I landed on my wrists, and fully
realized how hard the ice really is…and how much more brittle
my bones are at my age…when I picked myself up with a half-
laugh and an under-my-breath grunt of “I hope he was worth it.”

We were great, Victor and I. He took to the ice like a duck to
water and passed me whenever he could, checking in with me every
few dozen yards to make sure I was still alive. The second crash
was my swan song; I exited to the slightly warmer viewing room
with ice on my butt and two clearly bruised wrists, totally
ticked off that these kids had gotten the best of me.

Five minutes later, I reminded myself why I was there in the
first place: I had a 9-year-old son who needed me, for crying out loud! It was back to the ice for another half-hour. Round and round we went, avoiding the whippersnappers and pre-teen girls with a vengeance. My daughter and her nine friends?
Forgetaboutem. Caught in their own little world-on-ice, checking
out each face that whirled past them, I was only the night-time
driver and MasterCard-holder.

The evening ended with hot cocoa drunk by giggling, rosy-cheeked
girls. Victor, encouraged by my proddings of “You’re doing so
great!” now had his sights set on ice hockey. And my left wrist,
though clearly black and blue from a dozen broken blood vessels,
was not much worse for the wear.

Will we do that again? Absolutely. Cold air, oxygen to the brain, rosy cheeks, laughter, friends, bonding with my kids, and a sense of community in this New England town of mine are just too compelling.

Looking like a fool when I fall? Black-and-blue reminders of my
middle age? Bruises to my ego? Well…that’s all part of
motherhood.

Keeping the spirit of the holidays after the holidays have
clearly passed is one of the challenges of being a Rocket Mom.
Keep your eyes wide open for opportunities throughout the next
couple winter months to create special memories with your kids.
Be it snow-skiing, ice skating, or sledding; or creating unique
pottery at your local paint bar…be prepared for giggles and memory-making…and check your ego at the door.

08. June 2009 · Comments Off on Have You Just Joined College? Head Straight For Chat Community · Categories: Relationships · Tags: , ,

It is through being in a chat community that one can be able to meet potential partners as well as beneficial friends. People in one community for instance college community develop some kind of togetherness. The college brings them together and they are able to form either sisterhood or brotherhood. It is a great idea to be part of a chatting association of any kind. In college so many associations are formed and you would be abnormal to have not registered with one. The clubs tend to be more than even the departments in a college. There will always be people from the same village, same tribe, same church, same age and so on. It is next to impossible to lack a place you can attach yourself with. A game chat is where you chat through a game organized in college therefore it is under the umbrella of college chat.

A game chat allows people to interact much more effortlessly. For example in college there are so many opportunities for games. If you are a reserved person and you find it hard to start a conversation, you can get more specific in your college chat and join a group of people who are playing a game of chess. A game is very interesting and builds up a very strong chat community. If you are in college, make an effort of knowing the games day and also get familiar with the venue. I remember during my college days game chats helped me a lot since i was not naturally so outgoing. I would go and join people playing dart. It is amazing how this kind of activity opens you up.

The excitement when you win makes the person shout unconsciously and the released disappointment makes and individual open up. A game chat is full of passion and you will be much hooked up to the game. Soon or later you find yourself comfortable in a chat community which was formed through your shared interest of a certain game. A college chat can get boring since most of the college students are young and innocent. They lack knowledge in most fields. You do not need a comb for a bald head and so you might feel like you do not need a college chat since it adds no value to your life. This is just a misconception because Rome was never built in one day. A little of something goes a long way. Life is a learning process and even the old and Grey have something to learn about.

When most people join college, they first suffer from a syndrome known as home sickness. They are used to the home environment and college environment literary scares them. They first look withdrawn but with time they get used to the environment. How you relate with others says a lot about who you are and who you become. A college chat with some of the continuing students helps you learn something about the new institution. To shed away that fear of the unknown, it is good to identify a chat community. It can be a group in church or a group in class but all these might be strained. A game chat is the best because you do not have to struggle to keep the conversation going. The game dictates what to say next. A conversation that flows so well that it is hard to believe. Try out college chat for best life in college.

03. June 2009 · Comments Off on Shannon O’Toole Author of Wedded to The Game & Wife of a NFL Player and Coach Interviewed · Categories: Book Reviews · Tags: , ,

Author: Shannon O’Toole

ISBN: 0803286252

Good day Shannon and thanks for agreeing to participate in our interview.

Thank you for the invitation!

Norm:

Shannon, please tell our readers a little bit about your personal and professional background.

Shannon:

I received my master’s degree in sociology at Western Michigan University. My master’s thesis was entitled “Professional Football Players’ Attitudes Relating Toward Women and Violence.” When I was 19 years old and playing softball at Western Michigan University I met John Morton. For the past 14 years, John has been involved with professional football. He played for 5 years and now he is a coach. (In February 2006, he signed a 2-year contract with the New Orleans Saints as their “Passing Game Assistant”). My academic background combined with my personal experience made me very interested in the topic of NFL Women.

Norm:

How did your Masters degree in sociology help you with your research and in the writing of your book?

Shannon:

It helped immensely. It is an excellent discipline for examining social issues and dynamics. In the book I delve into sexism and racism in context to professional football. Sociology has opened my eyes to societal inequities and injustice and it has molded me into the woman I am today.

Norm:

What is the underlying message or theme of Wedded to the Game: The Real Lives of NFL Women?

Shannon:

The message is clear: these women are not the stereotypical shallow, gold-digging, Barbie dolls. They are sharp, strong-willed and opinionated. They are multi-tasking, talented women who take on and conquer the challenges that NFL life throws at them. In fact, they are tough, if not tougher than the men who play and coach the game. The percentage of women who fit the negative stereotype is probably less than ten percent – and these types of women never last for long. Those who learn to cope with the NFL’s immense difficulties become stubborn, resilient and wise survivors.

Norm:

Do you believe that the sampling of interviews was sufficient to come to some of your conclusions?

Shannon:

I do, mainly because I was very careful to select women whose experiences ran the gamut of NFL life. While I spoke with Jackie Rice who is married to All-Everything Jerry Rice, I also interviewed the girlfriend of a rookie free agent who was simply hoping her boyfriend would be on the roster so they would have health insurance at the time of their baby’s birth. Ultimately, I knew there was an adequate sample when I began to hear the same answers to my numerous questions. We really are a sisterhood with shared experiences unique to professional sports life.

Norm:

Why did you feel compelled to write this book?

Shannon:

To quote the preface:

When I began my research for this book I had an ulterior motive. Although I have been in the NFL for twelve years now and I know very well what this life is like, I was also seeking the advice and hard-earned wisdom of women who had already found solutions to my numerous concerns. I still struggle with the life I’ve chosen, and so I wanted to know: How do other women deal with the NFL? How do they cope and survive? What are their experiences?

I knew these women did not fit the stereotype. I wanted other people to know it too.

Norm:

Can you explain some of your research techniques, and how you found sources for your book? I notice there is an absence at the end of the book of a selected bibliography. Any reason for this omission?

Shannon:

To quote the preface:

I sent an anonymous survey to over 150 women and got back an amazing 75 responses. Out of those 75 responses, I chose 30 women to interview in depth. Their stores make up the heart of this book. About half were willing to go on record and let their names be used, and about half wanted to remain anonymous. In the initial anonymous survey, I asked respondents to either “agree strongly, agree mildly, disagree mildly, or disagree strongly” to a myriad of statements regarding NFL life. These responses form the basis of some of my general statements and conclusions about what off-the-field life is like for women. Then, over the course of my thirty one-on-one interviews, I received full, in-depth answers to these often difficult, complex questions.

Regarding the absence of a bibliography, the current literature on professional sports spouses is minimal. Most of the published works are salacious, racy novels that simply serve to perpetuate the unfair stereotypes. My book is the only book on the market (that I am aware of) that is part insiders tell-all and part sociological study.

Norm:

What obstacles did you have in writing and researching your book?

Shannon:

There were very few obstacles during the research process. I was surprised by the willingness and the eagerness of the women willing to speak about their experiences. They wanted to talk, not just about the good times, but about some of their most dreadful and unbearable experiences. NFL Women are almost universally overlooked by the public and the media, and what I discovered is that they have things to say and they want to be heard.

My difficulties arose during the writing process. Before I began this book I was completely naïve regarding the art of writing. I had NO IDEA how difficult a task it is to write well. Writing well is a true skill and I did not have the needed training. I lost count of the number of major revisions. But I did have a goal to see my name on a book cover, and I was completely and thoroughly determined to reach that goal. (I also have a coach for a husband and he knew all the right motivational buttons to push!) Like millions of writers, my proposal was rejected again and again before it finally found a home at the University of Nebraska Press. And even then, I needed the skill of a fantastic outside developmental editor, Jeff Campbell in San Francisco. I am forever in his debt for the beautiful things he did with my manuscript.

It took me 5 years from start of research to the final finished product. That is a long time. But the feeling of self-fulfillment that I have right now, makes every day of those 5 years well worth it.

Norm:

How has the feedback been so far? What are your hopes for this book?

Shannon:

From both within and outside of the football world, the favorable feedback has been tremendous. Andrew Yardley of the Washington Post called Wedded to the Game an “intelligent, thoughtful book.” Feedback from NFL Women includes phrases like, “great insight as to what life is really like for us” and “invaluable information for rookie wives/girlfriends.” The central theme, according to a woman married to a player, “It was comforting to know that while the stories may vary many of our experiences are the same.”

Even women who are not fans of the game can relate to many of the book’s issues, such as frequent relocation or dealing with a partner’s long hours – both common occurrences in today’s American work culture.

Currently, I am speaking with two television producers who are interested in the topic of NFL Wives. Check my website for updates on these projects.

Of course, I hope this book continues to grow in popularity and one day reaches the Best Seller List . . . with Oprah’s help. (smile)

Norm:

What is next for Shannon O’Toole is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?

Shannon:

It is my dream to implement and facilitate an NFL Women Mentoring Program. The mission of this program is to lessen the strain and uncertainty, and thereby increase the life satisfaction of women new to the league by formally connecting them with experienced veteran wives/significant others. In these relationships, veteran NFL Women offer advice, answer questions, and guide their mentees in developing skills and methods for copy with the myriad of circumstances unique to NFL life. I am currently speaking with the league office along with the NFLPA about offering this program on a league-wide basis.

In the immediate future, John and I look forward to helping the people and the animals affected by Hurricane Katrina. “Recover, Rebuild, Rebirth” and GO SAINTS!

*Note: Hurricane Katrina dogs and cats continue to need loving homes. Please go to: http://www.petfinder.com to adopt one of these deserving animals.