Massage: Good for You, Good for Your Job
Research shows massage relieves stress and encourages sound sleep. Research now confirms it may even improve job performance. In a study conducted by the University of Miami School of Medicine Touch Research Institute, 26 adults were given a chair massage at work for 15 minutes, twice a week. After five weeks, they were compared to a control group who sat in the chair for 15 minutes but did not receive a massage. Those receiving massages had lowered their blood pressure, reduced their levels of the stress hormone cortisol and improved their scores on a test of job stress. They also showed enhanced alertness and increased their speed and accuracy on math computations.
Do You Have What It Takes to be a CEO?
A recent study conducted by human resource consultants Drake Beam Morin (DBM) identified 10 key competencies that determine whether an executive is CEO material. Rate your ability against each competency, using a 10-point scale (1 is poor and 10 is exceptional).
Flexibility – Able to adapt to dynamic environments with ease and speed.
Low risk-aversion – Can venture into the unknown, taking and managing appropriate risks.
Business acumen – Knowledgeable about trends, practices and policies affecting the industry and business.
Vision – Creates and communicates a compelling sense of core purpose, based on a vision of the future, not the reality of today.
Embraces ambiguity and uncertainty – Can cope with and embrace change. Able to act without having the total picture.
Strategic agility – Can see clearly ahead and accurately anticipate consequences and trends.
Customer focus – Possesses clear understanding of customers’ needs and preferences. Can walk in the shoes of the customer and speak the same language.
Communicator – Able to influence and stimulate others, and build constructive relationships both inside and outside the organization.
Motivator – Able to inspire, motivate and persuade others.
Continuous learner – A quick and versatile learner who learns from success and failures.
81-100 = If you are not already in the CEO’s seat, you soon will be.
61-80 = As an aspiring CEO, you have the foundations laid. Review the areas where you scored lower, and work to build those competencies.
60 or less = You have some of the basics, but you’re still a long way from CEO material.
Fear Runs Rampant in the Workplace
Many business people live in fear that a disgruntled employee or former worker will sue them for some real or perceived unfairness, according to HR One, a Web-based provider of human resources information and services. Employers fret they will unknowingly violate some obscure labor regulation. They suspect they will end up fined or jailed or put out of business because of some action or lack of it. Unfortunately, says HR One, much of the fear is well-founded. Well over half the business and human resource managers responding to a recent poll said their companies had been sued during the last five years. Discrimination lawsuits have increased more than 2,200 percent since 1974, and sexual harassment claims have more than doubled in the past decade. The number of federal class action lawsuits alleging employment and pay discrimination has more than doubled over the last four years.
Minorities to Play Larger Role in Housing Markets
Minorities will grow more important to housing markets over the next 10 years, accounting for an estimated two-thirds of net new households, according to a study by the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies. The report estimated that nearly three in 10 households will be headed by minorities by 2010. It also estimated that Hispanics will soon become the nation’s largest minority group, increasing from 11.7 percent of the population to 14.6 percent in 2010. Hispanics already play a substantial role in housing markets, paying nearly $30 billion in aggregate annual rent, and owning homes valued at over $360 billion as of 1997. Minority home ownership rates still lag substantially behind ownership rates for whites, and declining affordability is unusually widespread due to an increase in overall home prices accompanied by rising interest rates. The full text of the report is available at gsd.harvard.edu/jcenter.
Five Unusual Tips to Create More Profits Fast
Executive coach Paul Lemberg offers CEOs and business owners five tips from his new book, Faster Than the Speed of Change:
Have bigger problems – Small challenges never lead to big success.
Ask great questions – Ask “How can we…” instead of “Is this possible?”
Make business a game – Games have players, teams, rules and fun.
Have faith – “Breakthroughs are often the result of action at the margin of reasonableness.”
Forget time management – “You can’t manage time. You can only choose what you do with it.”
Bank Profitability Declines
During the first half of 2000, the U.S. banking industry’s return on assets (ROA), a common measure of bank profitability, dropped to its lowest level in four years, according to Weiss Ratings, Inc., a bank rating agency. Figures through June 30 showed an annualized ROA of 1.15 percent compared to 1.32 percent in 1999. Three key factors contributed to the industry’s decline in profitability: a shrinking net interest margin, higher provisions for future losses, and a $1.6 billion loss on the sale of securities. According to Martin Weiss, chairman of Reiss Ratings, “This decline in profitability is yet another sign that the banking industry’s good fortunes have peaked. Expect more declines in the months ahead.”
Dot-com Monopoly Makes Debut
Hasbro has introduced a new dot-com version of the old-economy board game Monopoly, just in time for the holidays. As might be expected, the bank has been revamped to deal in hundreds of millions of dollars. Traditional Monopoly properties have been replaced by 30 of today’s most famous online companies and Web sites, including Lycos, eBay, AltaVista and Priceline.com. The old Boardwalk square, which used to cost $400, has been replaced by Yahoo! and costs $400 million. Players can select one of eight pewter tokens, including a surfboard for Web surfing, a mouse and a computer terminal. Chance and Community Chest are now entitled “Download” and “E-Mail Just In,” and Luxury Tax has been replaced with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) fee. As always, the goal of the game is to bankrupt your opponents.