Friday
Sep302011

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION - DO YOU KNOW WHO IS ON YOUR TEAM?

Fields Jackson, Jr.

I have recently accepted an adjunct professor position with Chicago State University, Chicago, Illinois http://www.csu.edu - where I will be teaching an on-line undergraduate business course - MKTG 3705 – ENTREPRENEURIAL SALES & MARKETING. I am excited about this opportunity and will use this course to discuss the impact of social media on business and communities.

My goal is to develop a case study - that will be picked up by blogs, magazines and other business schools around the country, as a training tool for the new social media realities and how they intersect with diversity and inclusion. With all the focus on customers, strategy, execution etc... it leaves one key question. Do you know who is on your social media team within your organization?

In his June 13, 2011 Forbes Magazine article “Diversity Management Is the Key to Growth: Make It Authentic” by Glenn Llopis, states “make it real or lose your authenticity.” Corporate leaders pay lip service to diversity, but they don’t really live it. Diversity is more than employee demographics and support for a few non-profits. You can’t buy diversity. Organizations that continue to embrace this approach will tarnish their brand. America is changing and the new population carefully evaluates how organizations relate to it. If you are not authentic, consumers and employees will begin to question the authenticity and leadership of your organization.

My question to you is — do you think your company has a diversity and inclusion strategy? Do you think it is authentic or is it just lip service? Do you think it matters?

We are excited about this issue of Racing Toward Diversity and as you can see I am excited about the opportunity to discuss social media, diversity and inclusion at Chicago State. Our goal is to bring new voices to the diversity and inclusion discussion and new ways to interact with those voices (customers, associates, vendors, competitors) via social media.

As always if you have a moment we would love to hear from you.

Wednesday
Sep142011

Advice to rookies

ANNAMARIA LUSARDI WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATESIf you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that I have become a football fan. People change over the course of their life and pick up new hobbies and interests. For me, it’s football. So this Sunday, I watched the Ravens score a crushing victory against the Steelers. It was a beautiful game! I also watched the kickoff last Thursday. Two games in a week; that is pretty good for a rookie fan, no?

In this new season, with rookie players on their field for their first games, there is an abundance of discussions and articles about these newcomers. In the New York Times yesterday, there was an article about finance and financial advice to the rookies. The link to the article “Financial Lessons from Sports Stars’ Mistakes” is at the end of this post.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the statistics about football players mismanaging their money are pretty staggering. The article mentioned several star athletes who have had brushes with bankruptcy: Michael Vick (recently acquired by the Philadelphia Eagles); Bernie Kosar, formerly of the Cleveland Browns; and Mark Brunell of the New York Jets.

Some have argued that the behavior of football players is similar to those who win the lottery. Flushed with large sums of money that come to them suddenly, players squander it and are left with little or nothing a few years out. I do not think that this is a good analogy. One difference between football players and lottery players is that we know the former are very talented people: Who else could do the things they do when they are out in the field? Moreover, these people know discipline; they show up to practice every day. They also know the correlation between efforts and outcome; if one works steadily at something, he will get better. These are great skills that can be applied not only to playing football but also to managing money.

So, why do we see players going bankrupt? One of the reasons why people (including football players) make mistakes is because they lack financial knowledge. This problem can be particularly acute for young, inexperienced people whose highest earnings are concentrated at the beginning of their career. But this is not an impossible problem to fix, and the New York Times article outlined a set of lessons that could be learned from some players’ mistakes.

I have three pieces of advice for rookies. (There is more advice to give, but let me start with this simple list; I will follow up in future posts.)

1) Do not spend it all. The career of football players is short and risky; you want and need to have provisions for the future and for uncertain events. An example? The recent lockout. What would have happened if the lockout had continued? Another example? Even superstars have injuries and/or cannot play for health reasons. Peyton Manning, for example, just had neck surgery.

2) Take it in your hands. Money management is too important and too personal to be delegated entirely to someone else. You are the one who knows your needs, your aversion to or love of risk, your objectives for the future. If you leave it to others to manage your money, chances are they will not make the decisions you had wished for. Even if you seek financial advice, rely on reputable experts and stay involved in the process. After all, it is your future that is at stake here.

3) Be humble about finance. My research repeatedly shows that the majority of people are overconfident about what they know of finance. Four out of five Americans gave themselves high financial knowledge ratings but, when asked questions about basic concepts, they answered incorrectly. And ignorance hurts. Study after study documents that it is those with low financial knowledge who pay more for financial services and who are more likely to end up in financial distress. Do not be afraid to speak up about what you do not know; it is not a weakness, it is a strength, and you will intimidate anyone around you when you admit it. Most people do not have that kind of courage. Do not jump into projects or investments you do not understand well. Tell people around you, “I want to be smart about my money.” Over time, you will be.

When I got my first job as an assistant professor at Dartmouth College about twenty years ago, I showed up in the Human Resources office and was given all of these forms to fill out, requiring me to indicate which of the three pension providers I wanted and how I would allocate my pension money. I remember feeling puzzled that such an important decision would be asked of me without inquiring about my knowledge and whether I needed any help. Throughout the years, I have worked to change that process and, with the collaboration of some great people at Dartmouth’s HR office, there are now programs in place to help new hires. I take a little pride in that.

Sunday
Aug282011

President Obama & Members of Congress: "Operation Jump Start" - Jobs Proposal 

Submitted by Fields Jackson, Jr.
 
"Jump Start Centers" Providing  temporary business consulting to small, medium or start up businesses
 
Business Consulting Centers (operating in many cases inside the local unemployment office and within the local office of congressional representatives) 
  
Business advice and solutions to identify waste, streamline accounting procedures, improve efficiency, business operations, staffing, grant writing, loan advice, marketing and strategy development. etc....
 
Press release headline – 'Operation Jump Start' - consulting business will create approx 500,000 + temp jobs. These jobs will not only stimulate the local and national economy, but also help small and medium size business owners strengthen, improve and expand existing operations or create new business opportunities.
  
The pool of available talent will range from Wall Street executives, accountants, teachers, healthcare workers, bankers, retail, food service, auto, tech, professors, etc.. presently unemployed. Their temporary "pay" would be the unemployment benefits they are currently receiving.
 
Staff each consulting center with 75 to 100 consultants - 5 managers, 20 to 25 support staff - centers open seven days a week. .
  
These centers would offer local consulting and business services at a reasonable/ low hourly billable rate and then utilizing the 75 to 100 business consultants to "crowd source" the management consulting process. With the "pool" of talent - these "jump start centers" can help individuals formulate marketing and sales plans, evaluate and recommend changes to payroll, upgrade computer programs that can help streamline existing or new businesses, create social media programs, etc.. Small to medium sized businesses would have access to business expertise they would never be able to afford under other circumstances. This would also allow the "unemployed" consulting teams the opportunity to sharpen and maintain their business skills by working on real world problems.  This would also create opportunity zones and incubator zones - where not only will new ideas and businesses start - but these businesses will have access to a labor pool of talent that can staff and support their operations. 
 
Cost to tax payer = $0 - Unemployed workers would volunteer/work 25 hours per week while unemployed to work on assigned projects. Projects and work assignments - can be submitted and worked on via email - minimizing travel requirements.
 
Within the same shopping center or office complex where their congressional representatives have these temporary offices, unemployed teachers or healthcare workers can be trained as day care center employees. These centers will provide 24 hour 7 days per week - temporary day care for the "temporary"consulting workers at these centers.
 
Entrepreneurs that have a business concept can submit their rough ideas that will be evaluated by a "pool" of local experts, that can then strengthen viable concepts with business planning, legal, staffing, financial support.  The top ideas can be submitted to their local congressman for further consideration as potential job creation concepts that require loans, SBA funding, additional resources etc... with the overall goal of creating viable local jobs and employment.
 
Because of the low cost of starting these temporary centers - congress people that object to this program - would not have to participate. Acceptance of this program would be on a district by district basis - representing their districts these elected officials would have the right to accept or reject this program on behalf of the citizens they represent.

 

Monday
Aug222011

Summer Edition of Racing Toward Diversity magazine available on-line.

SBA edition featuring Marie Johns

posted by Fields Jackson

 

Click cover to browse the Magazine