>Skill Sets for Success in the New Economy

>I presented a series of lectures last week to students, faculty, and community leaders at Daemen College in Amherst, NY. I can’t remember when I’ve had such a great time with so many wonderful people, especially the students.

I presented on topics such as how growth and change influence organizational culture, how and why so many executive leaders have so many lapses of integrity, and why a balance of experiential and academic instruction is so important to today’s students, who are preparing to transition into tomorrow’s workplace.

Regarding the latter topic, I believe there are three important understandings that today’s students must embrace if they are to achieve realistic career goals.

First, they must understand what it means to add value! It’s no longer enough to just get a good job that supports a good living, perform at an average or above level, and expect to sustain that job for an indefinite period of time. There is more organizational restructuring going on than at any time in our history because the consumer has changed the supply equation. They are no longer just demanding product, they are demanding sustainable value and service with the product. They are no longer going to pay exhorbitant prices for average outcomes and organizations are responding by becoming more efficient. How? By doing more with less! What this means to potential employees is that they have to be able to be more flexible and transitionary between responsibilities and processes; something that employees in the past have not been required to do.

Second, students must understand the importance of being able to “critically think” on the job rather than just “do.” Sustainability is no longer just about maintaining a specific place in the business model; it’s now going to be about continual improvement of the entire business model. They have to understand all of that model rather than just a specific part.

Finally, students must understand the importance of being able to interact and articulate! Employees in the future are going to be managed more closely than in the past. Those who can connect to the business more personally and proactively by creating clear and concise written communication and who can articulate clearly and concisely with confidence will have a competitive advantage in the acceleration of career objectives.

That’s all for now!

God Bless and Safe Journeys!

Maxie

The New Marketplace!

I’ve noticed some recent trends I’d like to share.

Since the time of the Great Depression, and more recently, through seasonal fluctuations and economic downturns, the economy has always responded in typical ways; lay people off, continue to run the business as usual, and then bring people back on board when the consumer resumed spending. That’s not the case anymore, nor will it be going forward. There will always be a degree of seasonal adjustments in the marketplace, but it will not be “business as usual.”

The recession actually began in 2006, culminating in the country’s financial collapse in November of 2008. The most significant phenomena to come out of this shift in the economy has been that people are now being terminated instead of simply laid off and company’s are no longer sitting still and waiting for things to get better. They are adjusting their business model, or in more formal terminology, undergoing organizational restructuring. This means that the fundamental principle of our economy, which is that jobs is the primary indicator of a healthy economy, is being influenced in a way we’ve never seen. Jobs are not going to come back near as quickly, nor in the same way as we’ve been accustomed to in the past. The labor pool is going to have to undergo the most significant re-education transformation that we’ve ever seen. To get jobs that are actually sustainable in the new economy, people are looking for specific niches that they can fill over the long term, and to do that will require more specialized educational support than we’ve witnessed in the past.

This process of organizational restructuring is not only in response to the recession for the sake of expense control, but also in response to the change in the consumer’s attitude on the demand side of the marketplace. The consumer is now demanding real value, not necessarily in terms of new products (although still important), but in terms of how products and services are delivered and sustained over the lifetime of the purchase. In more practical terms, the consumer is tired of being taken advantage of and is going to be more diligent than ever before about what they buy, how they buy it, and how they will be supported by the the product or service provider. What companies have to do now is create organizational structures that are efficient, quick to respond, and that provide a level of service to the customer that is beyond the pale and sustainable over time.

Truth Be Told, the reason that I emphasize sustainability is because these new consumer spending habits are going to last a lifetime! As the Great Depression changed the consumer habits or our parents and grandparents for the rest of their lives, so the Great Recession and Financial Collapse of 2009 (if you will) has forever changed the way we will function in this new economy for the rest of our lives.

>The New Marketplace

>I’ve noticed some recent trends I’d like to share. Since the time of the Great Depression, and more recently, through seasonal fluctuations and economic downturns, the economy has always repsonded in typical ways; lay people off, continue to run the business as usual, and then bring people back on board when the consumer resumed spending. That’s not the case anymore, nor will it be going forward. There will always be a degree of seasonal adjustments in the markeplace, but it will not be “business as usual.”

The recession actually began in 2006, culminating in the country’s financial collapse in November of 2008. The most significant phenomena to come out of this shift in the economy has been that people are now being terminated instead of simply layed off and company’s are no longer sitting still and waiting for things to get better. They are adjusting their business model, or in more formal terminiolgy, undergoing organizational restructuring. This means that the fundamental principle of our economy, which is that jobs is the primary indicator of a healthy economy, is being influenced in a way we’ve never seen. Jobs are not going to come back near as quickly, nor in the same way as we’ve been accustomed to in the past. The labor pool is going to have to undgo the most significant re-education transformation that we’ve ever seen. To get jobs that are actually sustainable in the new economy, people are looking for specific niches that they can fill over the long term, and to do that will require more specialized educational support than we’ve witnessed in the past.

This process of organizational restructuring is not only in response to the recession for the sake of expense control, but also in response to the change in the consumer’s attitude on the demand side of the marketplace. The consumer is now demanding real value, not necessarily in terms of new products ( althought still important), but in terms of how products and services are delivered and sustained over the lifetime of the purchase. In more practical terms, the consumer is tired of being taken advantage of and is going to be more diligent than ever before about what they buy, how they buy it, and how they will be supported by the the product or service provider. What companies have to do now is create organizational structures that are efficient, quick to respond, and that provide a level of service to the customer that is beyond the pale and sustainable over time.

The reason that I emphasize sustainablity is because these new consumer spending habits are going to last a lifetime! As the Great Depression changed the consumer habits or our parents and grandparents for the rest of their lives, so the Great Recession and Financial Collapse of 2009 (if you will) has forever changed the way we will function in this new economy for the rest of our lives.

Until the next post,

God Bless and Safe Journeys!

Maxie

>Educate to Graduate to What?

>I attended my daughter’s and my niece’s high school graduation both this past week. They attend different schools and between the two classes, there were approximately 1400 seniors that received their diplomas. Of that total, approximately 150 students graduated with various honors and shared approximately 7 million dollars in scholarship money. For the first time, I noticed that they announced that a number of students would also be attending junior colleges, community colleges, and trade schools.

I couldn’t help thinking about what would happen to the majority of these students, who cannot afford higher education because the 4-year colleges and universities are pricing themselves out of reach. I also couldn’t help thinking how many of these student’s parents were part of the approximately 1000 employees recently cut from the workforce of the world’s largest retailer, which is headquartered in this area. How can they possibly afford higher education for their kids during this economy in a state where unemployment still remains at 6.5%?

As parents, we try to protect our children from as much anxiety, stress and worry as we possibly can. We try to ensure that they enjoy as much of their young lives as possible before “real life” takes over. At the same time, we try to instill as much of a degree of respect, work ethic, spiritual fortitude and character as we possibly can so that such qualities can sustain them during the difficult times that we most certainly know lie ahead.

I found myself sitting through both ceremonies with mixed feelings of pride, love, sadness, concern and worry for their future all at the same time. Then it suddenly occurred to me that long ago, I was really in no better position at that time in my life than the majority of these kids are now at theirs. God will take care of them just as He did me because He’s already worked it out.

Until the next post,

God Bless & Safe Journeys!

Maxie

Educate to Graduate What?

I attended my daughter’s and my niece’s high school graduation both this past week.

They attend different schools and between the two classes, there were approximately 1400 seniors that received their diplomas. Of that total, approximately 150 students graduated with various honors and shared approximately 7 million dollars in scholarship money.

For the first time, I noticed that they announced that a number of students would also be attending junior colleges, community colleges, and trade schools.

I couldn’t help thinking about what would happen to the majority of these students, who cannot afford higher education because the 4-year colleges and universities are pricing themselves out of reach. I also couldn’t help thinking how many of these student’s parents were part of the approximately 1000 employees recently cut from the workforce of the world’s largest retailer, which is headquartered in this area. How can they possibly afford higher education for their kids during this economy in a state where unemployment still remains at 6.5%?

As parents, we try to protect our children from as much anxiety, stress and worry as we possibly can. We try to ensure that they enjoy as much of their young lives as possible before “real life” takes over. At the same time, we try to instill as much of a degree of respect, work ethic, spiritual fortitude and character as we possibly can so that such qualities can sustain them during the difficult times that we most certainly know lie ahead.

I found myself sitting through both ceremonies with mixed feelings of pride, love, sadness, concern and worry for their future all at the same time. Then it suddenly occurred to me that long ago, I was really in no better position at that time in my life than the majority of these kids are now at theirs.

Truth Be Told, God will take care of them just as He did me because He’s already worked it out.

Father’s & Husbands.

I attended both my daughter’s and my niece’s graduation this past weekend.

Because of the size of the graduating classes and the number of family members attending, the ceremonies were held at a large arena on the campus of a nearby university.

Towards the end of the second ceremony, I walked out of the arena area and stood for a while in the roundabout participating in one of my favorite hobby’s; studying people.

There were two particular incidents that caught my eye. There was a family standing outside the entrance to one of the aisle’s and their little girl, who looked to be about four years old, was standing about ten feet away near another aisle entrance peering around the corner. The father walked up behind her, leaned down and shouted in her ear “I hope you get lost!” The little girl literally jumped, screamed and then started crying. Her father grabbed her arm and jerked her back towards the rest of the family.

As a father, I felt myself getting so angry and couldn’t help wondering, which lesson this little girl will remember the most; to stay close to her family at all times, or how much her father humiliated and frightened her. The father did look around to see who was paying attention and I was staring him right in the eye because I was so angry. He wouldn’t hold my stare.

The other incident had to do with another family that was preparing to leave the arena. The husband was having a hard time getting all the family members together. There was his wife, their children, and the grandparents. His wife said something to him and the husband, in front of the rest of the family, put his finger in her face and told her to “Just shut up.” The mother-in-law tried to calm him down and his response was to say to his mother-in-law, “You better get a handle on her or I will.” Again, this occurred in front of the family and the public and, again, I felt myself getting so angry.

Because of an early and very influential experience as a young child, I’ve always detested bullies and those, who interact with others using intimidation and fear. I’ll even admit to being overly sensitive to the degree that I’ll confront at the drop of a hat if I see someone who can’t defend themselves being taken advantage of.

I detest it even more when it involves the head of the household doing so with members of their own family. I can’t imagine how any sane person can treat someone that way one minute and then try to convince them in the next that they respect or love them. How can they not imagine what their loved ones must be thinking about them and how long the effects of such behaviors will stay with them?

Truth Be Told, I prayed that evening for both the father and the husband, that the Spirit would intervene in their hearts and minds, and for the father’s little girl and the husband’s wife and family, that the Spirit would protect and sustain them.

>Father’s & Husband’s

>I attended both my daughter’s and my niece’s graduation this past weekend. Because of the size of the graduating classes and the number of family members attending, the ceremonies were held at a large arena on the campus of a nearby university. Towards the end of the second ceremony, I walked out of the arena area and stood for a while in the roundabout participating in one of my favorite hobby’s; studying people.

There were two particular incidents that caught my eye. There was a family standing outside the entrance to one of the aisle’s and their little girl, who looked to be about four years old, was standing about ten feet away near another aisle entrance peering around the corner. The father walked up behind her, leaned down and shouted in her ear “I hope you get lost!” The little girl literally jumped, screamed and then started crying. Her father grabbed her arm and jerked her back towards the rest of the family. As a father, I felt myself getting so angry and couldn’t help wondering, which lesson this little girl will remember the most; to stay close to her family at all times, or how much her father humiliated and frightened her. The father did look around to see who was paying attention and I was staring him right in the eye because I was so angry. He wouldn’t hold my stare.

The other incident had to do with another family that was preparing to leave the arena. The husband was having a hard time getting all the family members together. There was his wife, their children, and the grandparents. His wife said something to him and the husband, in front of the rest of the family, put his finger in her face and told her to “Just shut up.” The mother-in-law tried to calm him down and his response was to say to his mother-in-law, “You better get a handle on her or I will.” Again, this occurred in front of the family and the public and, again, I felt myself getting so angry.

Because of an early and very influential experience as a young child, I’ve always detested bullies and those, who interact with others using intimidation and fear. I’ll even admit to being overly sensitive to the degree that I’ll confront at the drop of a hat if I see someone who can’t defend themselves being taken advantage of. I detest it even more when it involves the head of the household doing so with members of their own family. I can’t imagine how any sane person can treat someone that way one minute and then try to convince them in the next that they respect or love them. How can they not imagine what their loved ones must be thinking about them and how long the effects of such behaviors will stay with them?

I prayed that evening for both the father and the husband, that the Spirit would intervene in their hearts and minds, and for the father’s little girl and the husband’s wife and family, that the Spirit would protect and sustain them.

Until the next post,

God Bless & Safe Journeys!

Maxie

>Ancient jar handle found in Jerusalem

>As reported today by the Associated Press, Archaeologists digging on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives have discovered a nearly 3,000-year-old jar handle bearing ancient Hebrew script, a find significantly older than most inscribed artifacts unearthed in the ancient city. The Iron Age handle is inscribed with the Hebrew name Menachem, which was the name of an Israelite king and is still common among Jews. The name and similar variants have been found on Egyptian pottery dating back 3,500 years, and the Bible lists Menachem Ben Gadi as an ancient king of Israel. Based on the style of the inscription, the handle was dated to around 900 B.C., the time of the first Jewish Temple in Jerusalem as recounted in the Bible.

I continue to be amazed at how the authenticity of the scripture is validated over and over again by archeaologists through the simple process of discovery, while at the same time, there are so many professionals in both the scientific and anthropological communitities that work so very hard to prove that the Bible is invalid.

Until the next post,

God Bless & Safe Journeys!

Maxie

>Congress Approves Bill Restricting Credit Card Industry

>Our government today approved credit card overhaul measures that would enact new restrictions on the industry as follows:

  1. Require that customers penalized by higher interest rates because they missed a payment be given a chance to reclaim their lower rate after six months.
  2. Protect debt-ridden consumers from many of the surprise charges common in the industry, like over-the-limit fees and a charge to pay the bill by phone.
  3. Require that cardholders receive 45-days’ notice before their rates are raised, which is to take effect in July 2010 under new regulations by the Federal Reserve.
  4. Restrict when and how banks charge people and who could get a credit card.
  5. Require people under 21 to prove first that they can repay the money or that a parent or guardian is willing to pay off their debt if they default.

While I’m thankful that efforts are being made to protect consumers, I’m puzzled by the way this legislation was scripted.

  1. Why wait six months to lower the interest rate for consumers who have been penalized by the higher rates for years?
  2. Why not prevent the credit card companies from sending applications to our home addresses in the name of our sons and daughters because they’ve turned 18 and are easy prey for financial predators?
  3. How is a 45-day notice before raising a consumer’s interest rate for whatever reason going to help anyone? If their debt is significant, what can they possibly do to prevent being penalized any more than they already have and will continue to be?
  4. Why wait until 2010 before any measure goes into effect?
  5. In what way can a 21-year old prove they can repay a debt that won’t qualify them for a credit card? What kind of “yes” from a parent or guardian to guarantee the credit card in case of default will prevent 21-year olds from getting credit cards?

I fail to see how any of this is going to prevent credit card companies from continuing to take advantage of the consumer. There are no real “teeth” here. There are no real changes being implemented that will influence the behaviors of the credit card companies, or for that matter, the behaviors of the consumer.

Until the next post,

God Bless & Safe Journeys!

Maxie

>Pentagon Ends Use of Bible in Reports

>The Pentagon said Monday it no longer includes a Bible quote on the cover page of daily intelligence briefings it sends to the White House as was the practice during the last administration. I lament another step our country is taking away from recognizing the sovereignty upon which the culture and social structure of our way of life was founded.

According to the National Survey of Religious Identification (NSRI), 76.5% of the people in our country are Christians, which is up 5% over previous surveys between 1990 and 2000. Additionally, our country has more religious groups than any country on the face of the earth.

Yet, a small minority (Americans United for Separation of Church and State) will reference the constitution of the United States regarding separation of religion and government to say that the practice of including Bible quotes in reports sent to the White House (originally started during the Gulf War to honor the lives of soldier’s lost during the conflict) should be stopped. The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of the AAUSCS, went on record to say that U.S. soldiers “are not Christian crusaders, and they ought not be depicted as such,” and to do is is “tremendously damaging to America’s reputation in the world.”

Ironically, every country in the Middle East that is at odds with the United States considers any kind of conflict with our country to be a “holy war,” and will publically and passionately proclaim such on the world stage at every opportunity. Yet, we will take another step away from the very Christianity by which we still (by majority) identify ourselves.

Imagine, a Reverend, who believes that recognizing our Christianity is “tremendously damaging.” In the dictionary, the word “reverend” is used as a title and form of address for certain clerics in many Christian churches. Somehow, the definition doesn’t seem to fit in this case.

In my view, this issue has nothing to do with separation of church and state and everything to do with where we stand as a country. As the song says, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll stand for anything.” I’ll stand for my Christianity every time!

Until the next post,

God Bless and Safe Journeys!

Maxie