Topic Category: Labor

As the pace of change accelerates in our age of information, few things remain the same. And like product cycles, skills cycles have been shortened. For example, “A skill cycle that once ran for three years now lasts just nine months,” says Manpower Inc., a leader in the employment services industry. Plus, finding the right employees with the appropriate skills in the first place is proving more difficult than ever. What does this mean for your business?

Topic: Labor
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America is undergoing one of the greatest periods of transformation in history. Not unlike the powerful changes caused by the industrial revolution that shaped the 19th and 20th centuries, today, globalization is shaping the 21st century and the United States is leading the way.

Topic: Labor
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America is undergoing one of the greatest periods of transformation in history. Not unlike the powerful changes caused by the industrial revolution that shaped the 19th and 20th centuries, today, globalization is shaping the 21st century and the United States is leading the way.

Since economic globalization — the integration of national markets through international trade and investment — emerged in the 1980s, resources have shifted to sectors with competitive advantages, productivity has reached new highs, and innovation has flourished. In turn, globalization has become a vital factor in the economic growth of the United States and benefited working Americans in many ways.

Topic: Labor
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In today’s rapidly changing world, leadership is the key component to the maintenance of a viable and growing organization. In managing change, leaders set the tone and pave the way. They determine the rate at which the organization will be willing to change—not only in what the leaders say, but, more importantly, in what they do.

As aspects of the market changes, leaders must be facile in changing with them. This includes anticipating changes, as well as preparing themselves and their organizations in how to address them. One example is the shift to results-focused accountability. Leaders must now be able to demonstrate the results of their activities, not just the activity itself. This is a major shift in emphasis and focus, one which ripples throughout their organizations.

Topic: Labor
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It is evident that isolated, short-term thinking no longer works. I hear many leaders say "I will control the things that I can." While this is a tempting way to think in our increasingly complex and interdependent world, it does not serve the organizations and systems that we are a part of. Bigger systems thinking is required.

Within Your Organization

Organizations are learning that operating in silos suboptimizes outcomes. There are almost no projects or processes that can be accomplished solely within a silo. Interdependencies, those relationships necessary throughout your organization in order to get the work done and the goal accomplished, must be recognized. Collaboration requires that we include others, communicate our planned actions, and assess the impact of our decisions across the organization.

Topic: Labor
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This article is not only about expanding your business. It also is about expanding your thinking.

Leaders expanded thinking creates expanded possibilities for their businesses. It is critical to understand the latest trends and shifts in the world, and to postulate how they might impact your organization. It's also important to ask what the implications are for the people running these organization.

Topic: Labor
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The news media is not the only group with whom you need to communicate. You also need to keep employees and investors informed and in the loop. And, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that employees and investors should always be informed of decisions and announcements prior to the news media whenever possible. Nothing destroys a company’s credibility more quickly than when employees or investors, or even customers, learn about company news from an outside source.

Topic: Labor
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We are witnessing one of the greatest periods of transformation in history. The convergence of powerful technological, political, economic and cultural forces are shaping the 21st century. For many manufacturers and workers, adapting to this reality is proving difficult—but necessary.

Technological advances in microelectronics, computers, telecommunications, biotechnology and other fields are changing the way we live and work. The fall of Communism, which added one-third of humanity to the capitalistic ranks, is sharply boosting global competition and creating new markets.

Topic: Labor
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How’s the pace of your business? Most leaders would respond with the word "Accelerating." "Too much to do" is a universal complaint. Leaders find ourselves constantly trying to squeeze out slices of incremental work. So much to be accomplished.

Speed encourages leaders to move quickly along a midline path, to scramble to react to developing situations, to be available to people’s requests and needs, and to try to keep up with ever-deepening piles of work to be done. Technology also encourages this. We can be connected to work 24/7.

Topic: Labor
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We’re inundated with nutritional information for healthy eating in order to maintain well-flowing arteries, high-functioning organs and a generally healthy body. Most is common sense, things our parents taught us. Eat fruits and vegetables. OK, we didn’t know it was the lycopene in the tomatoes that made them so healthy, but we did know tomatoes were good for us. We are also highly informed on maintaining healthy hearts, bones and muscles with exercise, supplements and alternative therapies like acupuncture and massage.

While donating blood at the American Red Cross recently, it was viscerally clear to me that I am what I eat. The contents of that blood was a reflection of all the choices I had made about what to put into my body—the healthy food and the junk food, and the low-fat veggies and the fatty cheeses. It was also clear to me that the contents of that blood determines, in part, my health and vitality. So I choose every day how healthy and functional I want to be.

It also struck me that the same is true for my mind. I am what I think. The contents of my mind is a reflection of all the choices I make about what I put into it. And the contents of my mind determines my overall health and vitality. In this way too, I choose every day how healthy and functional I want to be. And so do you.

If an assessment was done on your mind today, what would the results be? Is your mind a vibrant picture of health—supple and pulsing with life and energy? Or is it atrophying in places from too much focus on one area of your life. Is it thriving or suffering? Possibly suffering from an over-focus on work, or thriving from a balance of work and leisure, from judgment and frustration with small daily events, or thriving with a focus on gratitude for all the blessings present to each one of us every day, or from an abundance of mental and verbal chatter, or thriving with time and space for solitude and silence?

Mind Nutrition Guideposts

As leaders, how do we maintain healthy minds (not brains, but minds, the seat of our consciousness)? Again, this is not new information—we already know it. The opportunity is in how we actually use and practice it, and build healthy mental habits.

Here are some tips:

  • Exercise your mind. Keep your mind facile and growing. Be curious. Let your interests guide your discovery and learning. Do not let your innate need to "know" or to "be right" get in the way of your learning. Challenge yourself to think beyond your current thinking. Tone your mind; no flabby thinking allowed.
  • Feed your mind positive thoughts. Are you listening to talk radio, for example? if so, stop. It is junk food for the mind.
  • Be intentional about what you feed your mind. Practice gratitude, being aware of and thankful for the many things you do have. When focused on what you don’t have, that is all you’ll see.
  • Focus on what you do have and you’ll ride a wave of peaceful gratitude into your day. It is very easy for the human mind to run amok, mired in the negative aspects of life. Don’t let it happen to you.
  • Keep it peaceful. Be a "non-anxious presence." In the face of others’ distress, do not absorb it. It has been said when your dog jumps down the well the least helpful thing you can do is jump down after him. You will be most healthy and most effective in any situation when you remain distinct from it, yet connected in a helpful way to it. So when the drama alarms go off in your office (you know the ones), don your oxygen mask first, breathe deeply of the clean pure air, and then step in to assist others. And find ways to remain peaceful in an anxious world.
  • Take daily booster vitamins. Spend a few minutes every morning super-charging your mind with clarity, intent for the day and a clear plan for how you will move through the day. Clarity boosts everything. Nourish your mind and your body. You will find your ability to reach your potential as a leader, and as a human being, richly enhanced.
Barbara Osterman, founder and owner of Human Solutions LLC, is a business leadership consultant and cultural catalyst. She can be reached at 585-586-1717 and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . This article appeared in Business Strategies Magazine, February 2004.
Topic: Labor
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