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Translating Your Product For The Global Market? Beware The Silo Effect.

translating

Translating Your Product For The Global Market? Beware The Silo Effect.

Those “silos” that often pop up in large organizations – where departments fail to share information, tools and priorities – can prove especially vexing when a product’s global success depends on translating information into other languages.

Because of silos, the same information might be translated separately by every department, costing the company thousands in extra (and unnecessary) translation costs. A product’s packaging claim could conflict with material the marketing department is sending out. Or trouble could begin brewing over translations that weren’t vetted by the legal department and inadvertently violate another country’s laws.

“Silos can land a project in marshy ground and create major, costly delays,” says Ian A. Henderson, author of Global Content Quest: In Search of Better Translations and co-founder with his wife, Francoise, of Rubric (www.rubric.com), a global language-service provider.

Here’s just one real-world example the Hendersons encountered: They were hired by a U.S. company that planned a European rollout of a new personal hygiene product. When Francoise Henderson began working on the translations, she noticed the ingredients list planned for advertisements differed from the labels on the bottles.

It turned out the formula had been changed because some ingredients were banned in Europe.

“No one told the marketing department, though,” Francoise Henderson says. “Translation is about communication, and yet communications breakdown happens way too frequently in the world of translation when someone’s not overseeing the big picture and making sure the silo effect isn’t undermining the larger effort.”

Why are silos so common and what can be done to address the problems they create? The Hendersons provide these observations:

Company culture. On occasion, it is company policy or company culture that leads to the emergence of silos. For example, Francoise Henderson says, company policies may be in place to avoid breaking antitrust laws, or keeping up walls might help prevent conflicts of interest. “Company culture and policies can be the hardest thing to change,” she says. “Encouraging communication is a good start.”

Empire building. While sometimes silos just happen in the natural course of things, in some larger corporations, the building of silos is deliberate. “People might harbor concerns that a more streamlined process will make their own jobs obsolete,” Ian Henderson says. This could result, for example, in a marketing team in Belgium refusing to communicate with the marketing team in Japan. One way companies overcome this problem, he says, is to have a central communications hub that all information flows through.

Basic confusion. A company may have up to five separate sources of content, such as marketing, communications, technical, legal and packaging. “Each of these areas may have no sense of where their work intersects with the others, and how there may be redundancies in translations and beyond,” Ian Henderson says. “This can lead to confusion and even unnecessary work through duplication.” Companies should make sure each department has an understanding of what other departments do, and that they regularly interact with each other, he says.

“Silos are not a new problem, and they are not going to disappear overnight,” Ian Henderson says. “But when they are approached with foresight and experience, they can be dealt with and eventually dismantled.”

__________________________________________________________________

About Ian A. Henderson

Ian A. Henderson (www.rubric.com), author of Global Content Quest: In Search of Better Translations, is chief technology officer and co-founder of Rubric, a global language service provider. During the last 25 years, Henderson has partnered with Rubric customers to deliver relevant global content to their end users, enabling them to reap the rewards of globalization, benefit from agile workflows, and guarantee the integrity of their content. Prior to founding Rubric, Henderson worked as a software engineer for Siemens in Germany.

About Francoise Henderson

Francoise Henderson is chief executive officer and co-founder of Rubric, overseeing worldwide operations and Global Content strategy. Under her guidance, Rubric has generated agile KPI-driven globalization workflows for its clients, reducing time to market across multiple groups and increasing quality and ROI. Francoise has over 25 years’ experience in corporate management and translation.

leadership

Assess Your Leadership Qualities By Answering These 7 Questions

A leader is supposed to be out in front, pointing the way toward whatever is ahead.

But, as we begin a new decade, too many business leaders are facing backward rather than forward,  says Oleg Konovalov (www.olegkonovalov.com), a global thought leader and consultant who has worked with Fortune 500 companies and is author of the new book Leaderology.

“The future can’t be met with backward-thinking and old leadership methods that are no longer effective,” Konovalov says. “The leader’s duty is to open a door into the future for people and explain how things should be considered and managed in that new reality.”

“Leaders face more responsibilities and much higher expectations in terms of the execution of their roles,” he says. “The leader’s responsibilities are expanding enormously, demanding much stronger competencies and skills than before. Everyday learning and continuous improvement need to be the norm.”

As a result, Konovalov says the modern leader needs to combine meticulous planning with flexibility.

“Combining these attributes is necessary in an ever-changing and hyper-competitive market,” he says. “The wrong decisions and actions can lead to the whole organization losing sight of customer needs as well as quality, harming the long-term sustainability of the organization.

“Making the right decisions means thinking of more than the company. It means considering the values and needs of customers and employees as well.”

He suggests leaders assess where they are in their abilities so they can define areas where they need to improve.

To begin that assessment, Konovalov says leaders should ponder how they would answer the following seven questions. He offers a more detailed 38-question self-assessment on his website:

-What are the most typical mistakes from the past that hold you back from becoming an extraordinary leader?

-How clearly can you define your customers’ needs? Can you envision them as clearly as your personal needs?

-How do you care for your people as a leader?

-A strong culture is not about me, but about what I do for others. What do you and your colleagues do in terms of investing in others on a regular basis?

-What is your leadership style? Are you a leader who takes care of people or a boss taking care of yourself?

-What were the aims and results of the most recent changes implemented in your company, and what were the employees’ reactions to those changes?

-What lessons have you learned in the course of your leadership journey?

By answering these questions, Konovalov says, leaders can begin to gain insight into whether their leadership style is one that is pointed confidently toward the future, or one that’s stuck perilously in the past.

“Bad leaders build barriers for people,” Konovalov says. “Strong leaders build barriers to problems, accidents, and stagnation. We have more than enough mediocre or bad leaders. We need strong leaders for real progress and to make a positive difference in people’s lives.”

____________________________________________________________

Oleg Konovalov (www.olegkonovalov.com) is a thought leader, author, business educator and consultant with over 25 years of experience operating businesses and consulting Fortune 500 companies internationally. His latest book is Leaderology. His other books are Corporate SuperpowerOrganisational Anatomy and Hidden Russia. Konovalov received his doctoral degree from the Durham University Business School. He is a visiting lecturer at a number of business schools, a Forbes contributor and high in demand speaker at major conferences around the world.

 

work

How An Integrated Life, Not A Balanced One, Is Key To Work Satisfaction.

In many businesses, a wide gulf exists between ownership and the workforce, a disconnect that can leave employees feeling undervalued and wanting to leave.
The high cost of replacing them means it’s important to find ways to retain the best performers, and studies show that transparency and education from the top can be a solution, boosting employee engagement and motivation.
And one way to achieve that transparency is to open the company’s financial books to employees and teach them the business, says Rich Armstrong (www.greatgame.com), a business coach, president of The Great Game of Business Inc., and co-author with Steve Baker of GET IN THE GAME: How To Create Rapid Financial Results And Lasting Cultural Change.
“Too often in business, we fail to show the players on our own team the big picture – the overall score of the game,” Armstrong says. “We tend to try to manage from the sidelines, focusing on individual performance. Why not teach them what winning means in business?
“But opening the books may be the first time in the employees’ lives they feel they’re being treated as adults. This type of financial transparency builds trust and mutual respect. Teaching employees the business involves them in making a difference, so as a business leader, you need to get comfortable with opening things up.”
Many business owners are hesitant to open the books to their employees. One of their concerns is giving employees access to salary information, but that isn’t advisable, says Baker, who is vice president of The Great Game of Business.
“Opening your books does not mean sharing every detail,” Baker says. “On the other hand, if people see how much the company is making and that makes them want more, that’s what you want as a business owner.”
Armstrong and Baker break down how to open the books for employees and the benefits of doing so:
Bridge the gap between perception and reality. The perception among employees that the owner is focused on self wealth can be changed, Armstrong says, by teaching employees how hard it is for most companies to make money. “Many people would be surprised to know how little even large companies make in profit from every dollar of sales,” Armstrong says. “Research shows the median bottom line in companies in 212 industries across the U.S. is 6.5 cents on every dollar of sales. But the average employee thinks their company makes six times that.”
Break it down for them. “Once you show your team how hard it is to make money, sketch out a simplified income statement for your business, showing your revenue streams and all your expenses,” Baker says. “Draw a dollar bill and show them how little the company keeps out of every dollar.”
Bring the marketplace to your people. An owner can provide clearer perspective to the employees by sharing how and what other companies in the industry are doing. “Do your homework,” Armstrong says, “and find out about your competition. If your employees know how they stack up against the field, most will respond to your appeal to move the needle. Your transparency has made them feel valued.”
Make teaching financials interesting. “The strategy is to create a business of business people,” Baker says. “But remember, you’re trying to educate your people about your business, not create a bunch of CPAs. Share, teach and involve them in the numbers they can impact. Your people rarely need to know about debits and credits or how to do an adjusting entry. But they may very well need to know how production efficiency is calculated and why receivable days matter.
Teaching the business helps everybody begin to understand what they can do, both individually and as a team, to influence bottom line financial results.”
“The purpose of opening the books is to boost the employees’ confidence in understanding the numbers and in the company itself,” Armstrong says. “Then and only then will they begin to make a connection to the numbers that measure their performance and talk intelligently about improving the business.”
_____________________________________________________________
About Rich Armstrong
Rich Armstrong (www.greatgame.com) is the president of The Great Game of Business Inc., and co-author, with Steve Baker, of GET IN THE GAME: How To Create Rapid Financial Results And Lasting Cultural Change. This book is the how-to application of Jack Stack’s 1992 bestseller, The Great Game of Business. Armstrong and Baker co-authored the update of Stack’s book in The Great Game of Business – 20th Anniversary Edition. Armstrong has nearly 30 years of experience in improving business performance and employee engagement through the practice of open-book management and employee ownership. He serves as a business coach and senior executive at SRC Holdings Corporation, one of America’s top 100 largest majority employee-owned companies. He’s also a board member for the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO).
About Steve Baker
Steve Baker (www.greatgame.com) is the vice president of The Great Game of Business Inc., and is a top-rated, sought-after speaker and coach on the subjects of open-book management, strategy, and execution, leadership, and employee engagement. Baker is a career marketing and branding professional and an award-winning artist.
comfort zone

Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone: What Does It Take?

Getting out of your comfort zone is the initial step towards achieving greatness. But because of the many fears that become ingrained in us as we grow up, trying out new challenges is never an easy thing to do. 

Read and consult widely

We tend to stick to our comfort zones because we fear the unknown. If you read about the unknown and consult the people who have been through what you consider “unknown,” then you will easily step out of your comfort zone. Read as many books as you can find, browse through the internet, and talk to as many experienced people as possible in order to have all the necessary information about whatever you fear to do. 

Let’s say you dream of traveling abroad to advance your studies but you are afraid of the new culture, language, and people that you’ll meet in the foreign land. If you read about the cultural differences between your home nation and your to-be host country, you will be less skeptical about studying abroad. As the saying goes, knowledge is power!

Come up with a solid exit plan

You will only exit your comfort zone by confronting the things that hold you back; you must push your limits and try new challenges. A solid exit plan will help you with that. Top on your plan should be a list of your fears and how to confront them. The plan should also include a step-by-step guide on how you will be confronting each of the specified challenges. 

While at it, be sure to set achievable targets for specified timeframes, no matter how small they may seem. 

Maybe your main fear is meeting new people. Maybe you are never sure of what to do or how to act in social situations. Or maybe you are frightened by the thought of standing up for yourself in public. Finding out why these fears cloud your social life is an important step in creating an exit plan. Could it be that you don’t trust the sound of your voice? If yes, plan on how to make your voice better. Are you afraid that your looks or persona are unlikeable? Fine! Plan a facial, body, and/or wardrobe makeover. Also, you can hire a professional life coach to help you get your persona in line. 

Bottom line: Have a clear-cut plan of overcoming every trap that ties you down to your comfort zone.

Attach value to your discomforts

What do you stand to achieve if you embrace your discomforts? Assuming that you feel uncomfortable when speaking to rich and successful people, think of the great value you would gain both in your financial and professional life by stepping into the uncomfortable zone. If you run a successful business in your home country but you are afraid of expanding your startup in China, take a moment to imagine how much you stand to gain by overcoming those fears. Once you attach some value to every discomfort, your fighting spirit is renewed. While at it, try to get comfortable with one discomfort after the other so that in the long run, you will have the courage to claim the optimal value of your discomfort zone. 

See your failure as learning experiences

One of the factors that have been confining you to your comfort zone must be the fear of failure. Maybe you tried to expand your business to international markets and failed, so you decided to operate within the local market- where you are comfortable. That was the wrong decision. If you want to step out of your comfort zone, you need to start treating past failures as learning points. Instead of cultivating discomfort from the failure, cultivate positive energy. Write down everything that went wrong, find solutions and soldier on to another international business adventure. If you need help, you can hire the services of an experienced life coach who can provide guidance for reaching your goals, make sure the life coach has a diploma or has attained a life coaching course.

Adjust your routine in a meaningful way

Even though routines make you efficient in whatever you do, they are the largest contributors of the development of comfort zones. The best way to tear down routines is to switch up your timetable in a calculated, meaningful way. You will need to be patient, though, as this will take time. 

You can start by adjusting your morning alarm time, changing your route to work, getting rid of a few friends, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and adjusting your meal or sleeping time. These changes are seemingly inconsequential but they can have massive positive impacts in your professional and personal life. 

______________________________________________________________

George Foster is a marketing manager at Day Translations.

shipping companies

Traits of Reliable Shipping Companies

More and more people are seeing the benefits of using shipping companies. When it comes to transporting items or moving your home to a new place, they are usually your best bet at using your time and money wisely. But, unfortunately, not every company is capable of or willing to provide you with proper shipping. In order to have a good shipping experience, you need to do your best to only work with reliable shipping companies. So, how is one supposed to filter out shipping companies and find the one that is reliable? Well, that is precisely what we’re going to go through.

How to Tell if a Shipping Company is Reliable

It is hard to overstate the importance of working with reliable shipping companies when dealing with shipping. An unreliable company will not only provide you with a sub-par shipping service but might also try to scam you. Therefore, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor by only working with companies that you are absolutely sure are reliable. So, with that in mind, here is what to look out for.

Ample Experience

The first trait you should look for in a shipping company is that they have ample experience. Now you can check for this online, but doing so properly can be a bit difficult. Even if a shipping company says that they’ve been in businesses for over 30 years, it doesn’t mean that all of their workers have that much experience. So, the best thing to do is to check for this trait during the interview. Sooner or later you will have to talk with a company representative. And during that time you should talk to them about their past experiences. The more tips and pointers they can give you, the more experience they probably have.

Excellent Customer Service

Speaking of company representatives, you also need to make sure that the company you are considering has top-notch customer service. Any reliable shipping company knows that good customer service is a must. After all, if they have a lot of experience with shipping, they’ve had to work with customers from all walks of life. And the only way to organize and deal with shipping properly with such a large variety of people is to have excellent customer service. Therefore, when trying to filter out reliable shipping companies, make sure to check their reviews for customer satisfaction.

Punctuality

Punctuality is another trait that reliable shipping companies possess. After all, having a decent shipping service means that you are able to deliver the shipped goods in the agreed time. Therefore, if the company representatives are not punctual, why should you expect their shipping crew to be? This, of course, is not always true as the company representative can be late due to numerous unforeseen circumstances. But, if they do not have a good reason for being late, know that the company probably has a loose policy on punctuality.

Multiple Shipping Options

Any serious shipping company usually has multiple shipping options. Now, if a company is small and focused on shipping locally, they might only use shipping trucks for their services. That’s ok, as not much else is needed for local shipments. But, if you are looking for a company that deals with long-distance shipping or even international shipping, you better find one that has multiple shipping options. Some routes can be quite difficult, especially if they have to be traversed in a limited time. This is why the capability of sending goods to another country by air or sea is a must for any large shipping company.

Looking for Reliable Shipping Companies

Knowing the traits of reliable shipping companies is useful. But, unfortunately, it won’t be enough to ensure that you find a competent shipping company to help you out. In order to find the best possible shippers to help you out, you need to use other methods to help you narrow your search. Now, finding reliable shippers is a large subject for which we would need an entire article to cover completely. Instead, what we’ll do is to give you an idea of how to use the traits we’ve outlined in your search. That way you will have a much better chance of finding movers that encompass all of them.

Online Reviews

When it comes to looking for reliable movers, online reviews will be your best friend. Sites like Google, Twitter, and even Facebook can be quite useful when it comes to online reviews, as they give clients complete freedom to post what they truly think. You can also read reviews from unbiased professionals in order to get a more educated oversight. Mind you, some companies still temper with their reviews. So, if you find a company that only has tremendously positive ones, be careful. An unsatisfied customer is bound to pop up even among the top-notch shippers. Therefore, try to find one that has an overwhelmingly positive review score, and that clearly doesn’t temper with customer reviews.

Using Free Estimates

Most shipping companies give free online estimates. This is something that you absolutely need to use, especially if it is your first time shipping. An online estimate should give you a rough idea of what your shipping should cost. Some companies might try to overcharge you for shipping. Especially if you don’t have much experience with it. So, the more estimates you have, the easier it will be to negotiate better shipping terms.

How Open are your Shippers

Most of the traits of reliable shipping companies we’ve listed can only be recognized if the company you are considering is open. A hard-working, well-functioning company will be more than happy to explain their shipping process to you and let you in on all the details. So, while talking to the company representative, try to figure out if they are trying to hide something. If they are, know that they are probably not to be trusted.

_______________________________________________________________

Daniel Myers has been a freight service expert for years since working for companies such as easymovekw.com enabled him to understand the essence of this industry. He enjoys sharing his knowledge by doing freelance content writing and enjoys traveling around the globe whenever he has a chance.

employees

Why Teaching Employees Your Company Financials Is A Winning Formula

In many businesses, a wide gulf exists between ownership and the workforce, a disconnect that can leave employees feeling undervalued and wanting to leave.
The high cost of replacing them means it’s important to find ways to retain the best performers, and studies show that transparency and education from the top can be a solution, boosting employee engagement and motivation.
And one way to achieve that transparency is to open the company’s financial books to employees and teach them the business, says Rich Armstrong (www.greatgame.com), a business coach, president of The Great Game of Business Inc., and co-author with Steve Baker of GET IN THE GAME: How To Create Rapid Financial Results And Lasting Cultural Change.
“Too often in business, we fail to show the players on our own team the big picture – the overall score of the game,” Armstrong says. “We tend to try to manage from the sidelines, focusing on individual performance. Why not teach them what winning means in business?
“But opening the books may be the first time in the employees’ lives they feel they’re being treated as adults. This type of financial transparency builds trust and mutual respect. Teaching employees the business involves them in making a difference, so as a business leader, you need to get comfortable with opening things up.”
Many business owners are hesitant to open the books to their employees. One of their concerns is giving employees access to salary information, but that isn’t advisable, says Baker, who is vice president of The Great Game of Business.
“Opening your books does not mean sharing every detail,” Baker says. “On the other hand, if people see how much the company is making and that makes them want more, that’s what you want as a business owner.”
Armstrong and Baker break down how to open the books for employees and the benefits of doing so:
Bridge the gap between perception and reality. The perception among employees that the owner is focused on self wealth can be changed, Armstrong says, by teaching employees how hard it is for most companies to make money. “Many people would be surprised to know how little even large companies make in profit from every dollar of sales,” Armstrong says. “Research shows the median bottom line in companies in 212 industries across the U.S. is 6.5 cents on every dollar of sales. But the average employee thinks their company makes six times that.”
Break it down for them. “Once you show your team how hard it is to make money, sketch out a simplified income statement for your business, showing your revenue streams and all your expenses,” Baker says. “Draw a dollar bill and show them how little the company keeps out of every dollar.”
Bring the marketplace to your people. An owner can provide clearer perspective to the employees by sharing how and what other companies in the industry are doing. “Do your homework,” Armstrong says, “and find out about your competition. If your employees know how they stack up against the field, most will respond to your appeal to move the needle. Your transparency has made them feel valued.”
Make teaching financials interesting. “The strategy is to create a business of business people,” Baker says. “But remember, you’re trying to educate your people about your business, not create a bunch of CPAs. Share, teach and involve them in the numbers they can impact. Your people rarely need to know about debits and credits or how to do an adjusting entry. But they may very well need to know how production efficiency is calculated and why receivable days matter.
Teaching the business helps everybody begin to understand what they can do, both individually and as a team, to influence bottom-line financial results.”
“The purpose of opening the books is to boost the employees’ confidence in understanding the numbers and in the company itself,” Armstrong says. “Then and only then will they begin to make a connection to the numbers that measure their performance and talk intelligently about improving the business.”
_____________________________________________________________
Rich Armstrong (www.greatgame.com) is the president of The Great Game of Business Inc., and co-author, with Steve Baker, of GET IN THE GAME: How To Create Rapid Financial Results And Lasting Cultural Change. This book is the how-to application of Jack Stack’s 1992 bestseller, The Great Game of Business. Armstrong and Baker co-authored the update of Stack’s book in The Great Game of Business – 20th Anniversary Edition. Armstrong has nearly 30 years of experience in improving business performance and employee engagement through the practice of open-book management and employee ownership. He serves as a business coach and senior executive at SRC Holdings Corporation, one of America’s top 100 largest majority employee-owned companies. He’s also a board member for the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO).
Steve Baker (www.greatgame.com) is the vice president of The Great Game of Business Inc., and is a top-rated, sought-after speaker and coach on the subjects of open-book management, strategy, and execution, leadership, and employee engagement. Baker is a career marketing and branding professional and an award-winning artist.
strategies

Five Strategies That Can Take Your Business From Pretender To Contender

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

That quote, attributed to Benjamin Franklin, summarizes why some businesses and other endeavors fall short and end up in the scrap heap of lost dreams.

The importance of preparation for success in business is much like it is for professional sports teams trying to win a championship, says Paul Trapp (www.eventprep.com), founding owner/CEO of EventPrep, Inc., a full-service meeting planning and management company, and co-author with Stephen Davis of Prep for Success: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Achieving Your Dreams.

“Every single significant opportunity in life is a Super Bowl if you really want to be successful,” Trapp says. “The New England Patriots frequently reach the Super Bowl, but they don’t get there if they don’t practice with purpose every week, watch countless hours of video, and rise above the inevitable pain and struggles that come with high-level competition.

“Being prepared for every situation along the way leads to earning their biggest opportunity, and it’s the same way for a business looking for big opportunities to grow. The key to mastering the art of preparation is constant practice.”

Trapp and Davis offer five strategies for businesses to take their preparation to the next level:

Become a disruptor. “You want your business to stand out from the competition,” Trapp says. “To do that, ask yourself, ‘How can my company disrupt the industry? How do we position ourselves in the marketplace so that people will go out of their way to do business with us?’ ”

Attract the right talent. Picking the right person – one who can be a long-term employee vital to the company’s success – should be a slow and strategic process. For a business owner, hiring people is very much like investing,” says Davis, who is EventPrep’s founding owner/president/COO. “Before you offer someone a job, do research, check references, and ask many questions. Do people you are considering have the attitude and motivation to succeed? Would they be a good fit with your existing culture?”

Establish a winning culture. “A business culture is created at the top and cascades downward,” Davis says. “It takes great effort and dedication to build a winning business culture where everyone feels valued as contributors. It goes beyond the professional relationship to the personal – showing compassion for employees in times of need, and recognizing exceptional efforts with tangible rewards.”

Befriend Murphy. As in Murphy’s Law – ”Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Although all businesses encounter problems in a variety of ways, Trapp says, a strong organization can properly prepare in a way to withstand them and solve them quickly. “Because Murphy is going to show up in any number of forms,” Trapp says, “when preparing to do anything, there has to be a list of solutions in place before a problem ever happens.”

Recognize and seize opportunities. “The key to seizing an opportunity is identifying a need greater than your own – that of your customer,” Davis says. “Imagine you meet someone who can help you solve a need because he or she has the tools and experience to give you what you really need. Think about what real estate agents do for home buyers. They ask specific questions about what the clients are looking for, relate to their excitement about finding the right kind of home, and create a vision of that.”

“Preparedness is the key in any and all situations,” Trapp says. “The only way you learn and grow as an individual, and as a business, is to perfect your unique abilities and a team’s winning strategies through repetition.”

__________________________________________________________

Paul Trapp is a founding owner/CEO of EventPrep, Inc. (www.eventprep.com), a full-service meeting planning and management company that supports 16 franchises across the U.S. He is co-author of the book Prep for Success: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Achieving Your Dreams. Trapp is a former senior military leader who served as chief of recruiting for the Army National Guard and holds over 30 years of experience in contract management, event planning, and organizing conferences, seminars, and meetings.

Stephen Davis is a founding owner/president/COO of EventPrep, Inc., and co-author of  Prep for Success: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Achieving Your Dreams. Davis is a multi-state operations director who focuses on conference development, implementation, management, and conference design. He currently serves as a chief warrant officer and CID special agent in the Army Reserves. Davis deployed twice in support of the global war on terrorism. In 2016, Davis and Paul Trapp launched  Federal Conference, Inc., which provided professional event planning and management services to the government and commercial marketplaces. Federal Conference, Inc., twice was an Inc. 500 award recipient and executes over 3,000 events annually around the world.

AI

Ethics And AI: Are We Ready For The Rise Of Artificial Intelligence?

No job in the United States has seen more hiring growth in the last five years than artificial-intelligence specialist, a position dedicated to building AI systems and figuring out where to implement them.

But is that career growth happening at a faster rate than our ability to address the ethical issues involved when machines make decisions that impact our lives and possibly invade our privacy?

Maybe so, says Dr. Steven Mintz (www.stevenmintzethics.com), author of Beyond Happiness and Meaning: Transforming Your Life Through Ethical Behavior.

“Rules of the road are needed to ensure that artificial intelligence systems are designed in an ethical way and operate based on ethical principles,” he says. “There are plenty of questions that need to be addressed. What are the right ways to use AI? How can AI be used to foster fairness, justice and transparency? What are the implications of using AI for productivity and performance evaluation?”

Those who take jobs in this growing field will need to play a pivotal role in helping to work out those ethical issues, he says, and already there is somewhat of a global consensus about what should be the ethical principles in AI.

Those principles include:

Transparency. People affected by the decisions a machine makes should be allowed to know what goes into that decision-making process.

Non-maleficence. Never cause foreseeable or unintentional harm using AI, including discrimination, violation of privacy, or bodily harm.

Justice. Monitor AI to prevent or reduce bias. How could a machine be biased? A recent National Law Review article gave this hypothetical example: A financially focused AI might decide that people whose names end in vowels are a high credit risk. That could negatively affect people of certain ethnicities, such as people of Italian or Japanese descent.

Responsibility. Those involved in developing AI systems should be held accountable for their work.

Privacy. An ethical AI system promotes privacy both as a value to uphold and a right to be protected.

Mintz points to one recent workplace survey that examined the views of employers and employees in a number of countries with respect to AI ethics policies, potential misuse, liability, and regulation.

“More than half of the employers questioned said their companies do not currently have a written policy on the ethical use of AI or bots,” Mintz says. “Another 21 percent expressed a concern that companies could use AI in an unethical manner.”

Progress is being made on some fronts, though.

In Australia, five major companies are involved in a trial run of eight principles developed as part of the government AI Ethics Framework. The idea behind the principles is to ensure that AI systems benefit individuals, society and the environment; respect human rights; don’t discriminate; and uphold privacy rights and data protection.

Mintz says the next step in the U.S. should be for the business community likewise to work with government agencies to identify ethical AI principles.

“Unfortunately,” he says, “it seems the process is moving slowly and needs a nudge by technology companies, most of whom are directly affected by the ethical use of AI.”

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Dr. Steven Mintz (www.stevenmintzethics.com), author of Beyond Happiness and Meaning: Transforming Your Life Through Ethical Behavior, has frequently commented on ethical issues in society and business ethics. His Workplace Ethics Advice blog has been recognized as one of the top 30 in corporate social responsibility. He also has served as an expert witness on ethics matters. Dr. Mintz spent almost 40 years of his life in academia. He has held positions as a chair in Accounting at San Francisco State University and Texas State University. He was the Dean of the College of Business and Public Administration at Cal State University, San Bernardino. He recently retired as a Professor Emeritus from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo.

career

Forget YouTube Fame; Social Responsibility is Key To Career Happiness.

American children and teens, when asked the age-old question of what they want to be as adults, lean toward careers that could bring personal fame or are just plain fun, rather than those that might contribute to the betterment of society or lead to scientific progress.

“While we’re focused on fame and fun, other countries are emphasizing discipline and a good work ethic,” says Dr. Steven Mintz (www.stevenmintzethics.com), author of Beyond Happiness and Meaning: Transforming Your Life Through Ethical Behavior.

The latest example came in a survey Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Lego, where American children ages 8 to 12 picked vlogger/YouTuber as their No. 1 career choice. Chinese children, in comparison, overwhelmingly chose astronaut.

The results are similar to a survey Chicago-based market-research company C+R conducted a couple of years ago. American teenagers were asked about career aspirations and the largest percentage, 20 percent, said they want to be an athlete, artist or entertainer.

Mintz says the emphasis on fame – combined with a trend of many employers trying to create a “fun” work environment for employees – is troubling.

“Is this really what success looks like in the U.S.?” he asks. “Can we reasonably be expected to compete with the Chinese in the 21st century by making the workplace fun when the Chinese, who will likely surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest economy within the next 10 years, have skyrocketed to the top through hard work and discipline?”

But eschewing fun for fun’s sake doesn’t mean employees can’t find happiness at work. Mintz says that is better accomplished by creating a socially responsible workplace, which he says meshes nicely with the passion millennials and Gen Z have for social causes.

Some ways to help employees find happiness and meaning on the job, he says, include:

Establish an ethical culture. Companies should strive to create an ethical workplace culture where employees are encouraged to serve the interests of the company’s stakeholders – customers, clients and suppliers – and to do so ethically, Mintz says. Creating an ethical workplace starts with ethical values: emphasize doing what is right not wrong; doing good things not harmful ones.

Coach employees on the workplace’s values. Company leaders should engage employees in regular discussions about workplace ethics and the procedures that are designed to uphold ethical practices, Mintz says. “Employers must coach employees so they do good by being good, which means commit to ethical values,” he says.

Tap into the social conscience many employees already have. A recent survey reports that nearly one in five business-school students would sacrifice more than 40 percent of their salary to work for a responsible employer. “Some will work for nonprofits where they are committed to the cause,” Mintz says. “Millennials especially seek out purpose in their employment. I believe that’s because each of us is searching for happiness and greater meaning in life and our jobs provide one of the best sources to enhance our well-being.”

“Although there are troubling signs in our society regarding attitudes about jobs,” Mintz says, “I am heartened by other surveys that show millennials and Gen Z really care about what a business does, whether its actions are ethical and trustworthy, and that a purpose-driven culture exists that puts benefitting society front and center in their mission statement.”

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Dr. Steven Mintz (www.stevenmintzethics.com), author of Beyond Happiness and Meaning: Transforming Your Life Through Ethical Behavior, has frequently commented on ethical issues in society and business ethics. His Workplace Ethics Advice blog has been recognized as one of the top 30 in corporate social responsibility. He also has served as an expert witness on ethics matters. Dr. Mintz spent almost 40 years of his life in academia. He has held positions as a chair in Accounting at San Francisco State University and Texas State University. He was the Dean of the College of Business and Public Administration at Cal State University, San Bernardino. He recently retired as a Professor Emeritus from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo.

social media

How Social Media Can Change The Whole Game For A New Business

To become a successful entrepreneur, the new business owner must find ways to reach customers. Social media can make that job easier.

The rise of social media as a marketing tool has had a major impact on businesses, particularly startups. Studies have shown that more people follow brands on social media than follow celebrities.

But while social media marketing can put a new business on the map, missteps can be made that are costly to the bottom line (and one’s reputation), says Deni Sciano (www.ScoreGameDayBag.com), an entrepreneur who founded Score! Designs, LLC, a women-owned designer handbag company based in San Antonio, Texas.

“There’s good and bad social media marketing,” says Sciano. “As an entrepreneur, few of us are good at it. We can play around with it and learn about it, or throw a little money at it here and there.

“Now that social media marketing is such a big business, you really have to find the right marketing company that fits you. Either way, through a company that focuses on it or doing your social media marketing in-house, it’s imperative to learn what to do, and what not to do, if you want social media to be an effective tool to attract and retain customers.”

Sciano suggests five ways to make social media work for your new business:

Know who and where your customers are. “Adopting social media tools must be a well-planned and researched step,” Sciano says. “It starts with determining who your target audience is – who would have a need for your product? – and their demographics. Then it’s vital to find out which platforms your potential customers are on before devising an appropriate strategy for each.”

Know what your message is. “This has to be specific,” Sciano says. “You need various angles in order to pull them into core message. There’s too much clutter and competition out there in social media for you to be general and bland about your product’s value. If you want to build more customers, you need to give them what they want and message it in a way they can relate to.”

Set goals on customer engagement. “The whole idea is creating curiosity in your product,” Sciano says. “How many responses should you expect in the early weeks, the third month, and so on? Is your message working or does it require tweaking? Setting a goal for number of responses is a metric you need to have.”

Find the right marketing company.  Social media marketing can be of utmost importance to entrepreneurs who do it themselves because they don’t have the large marketing budgets that more established companies have. But Sciano says those entrepreneurs who do hire social media marketing companies shouldn’t get aligned with a firm that has too many accounts to spend significant time with them. “Finding the right marketing team is easier said than done,” Sciano says. “They need to understand you and your message completely. They need to see your passion for the business and you must see their passion for getting your message out there effectively. The right marketing company becomes an integral member of your team, not just a vendor.”

Learn from failure. “This is often the best teacher,” Sciano says. “I fail every day but my company has come a long, long way. From losses come victories, creative solutions, more curiosity and optimism. All of that drives you and your company forward on various social media platforms.”

“Social media is a great way to create a buzz about your business,” Sciano says. “But it takes time, patience, flexibility and perseverance. And for many entrepreneurs, it’s become a daily part of their business model that they can’t do without.”

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Deni Sciano (www.ScoreGameDayBag.com) is the founder of Score! Designs, LLC, a women-owned designer handbag company based in San Antonio, Texas. A former teacher and marketing director, Sciano created her company and products with today’s heightened security issues at sports stadiums and arenas chiefly in mind. Her clear bags are sold in all 50 states.