Archive for the ‘Human Resources’ Category

Leadership from Below

Friday, November 27th, 2015

I am using the occasion of the long Thanksgiving weekend to catch up on my reading and came across an inspiring interview with Harvard Business School Professor Rohit Deshpande in HBS’s podcast series Cold Call. Professor Deshpande wrote a case study titled “Terror at the Taj Bombay: Customer-Centric Leadership”. So you can read or listen to the interview according to your preference. MBA students at Harvard learn via the case study method which presents a situation for discussion and analysis. The professor typically begins, or “opens the case” by “cold calling” (asking without warning) a student with a specific question to initiate the class discussion. This case centers around what happened on November 26th, 2008 when a group of terrorists  attacked several sites, including the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai. The kitchen staff attempted to help the guests escape through the back street behind the hotel and when the terrorists caught up with them, the chefs lined up in front of the guests and took the bullets. Many of them died in the process, accounting for the largest number of casualties in a single area of the hotel.

I found the interview to be an inspiring account of personal courage. At the same time, I also know from my own experience of 9/11 and from the experience of others impacted by major trauma that there may be strong emotional reactions on anniversary dates. So as we are enjoying our Thanksgiving feast, there are those in Mumbai who may be re-living aspects of the tragedy and the losses they sustained on November 26th. Another reason to give thanks for our blessings and pray for those who are in need.


Today is World First Aid Day

Saturday, September 12th, 2015
World First Aid Day

World First Aid Day

Today is World First Aid Day, designated by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to take place on the second Saturday during the month of September. To harmonize life-saving practices internationally, the IFRC developed a set of recommendations to guide the development of first aid training. These guidelines can be adapted to disasters or mass casualty situations. They are also intended to facilitate the dissemination of life-saving practices, since it has been proven that fatalities and the severity of accidents significantly decrease with widespread public knowledge of first aid. Today, local Red Cross and Red Crescent chapters worldwide will hold public events to demonstrate the benefits of first aid training for safety. You may want to check with your local Red Cross chapter to see if they will deliver a training course to you and to your employees at your workplace. And having today’s date marked on the calendar reminds me that I am due to refresh my training as it has been a little while since I did the CPR practice. I cannot imagine anything worse than seeing an emergency situation unfold and feel unprepared to help.

Mentoring for Victory in Procurement

Sunday, January 18th, 2015
Victory in Procurement

Victory in Procurement

I have participated in three of the programs offered by OPEN: the Small Business Network of American Express and I strongly recommend all three. Two were day-long events held in mid-town Manhattan (they are held in cities across the country) for the Victory in Procurement, or VIP series, which aims to equip small businesses to compete and win federal government contracts.

In addition to live events, small businesses may take part in the annual VIP mentorship program, which consists of 12 hours of free one-on-one communications and guidance with a government contracting expert. Participants will be educated on a host of topics, including the GSA schedule, business certifications, teaming arrangements and the importance of networking. Since 2009, OPEN has mentored twelve small business owners looking to grow their business through government contracting. Click here for more information.

I participated in the VIP mentoring program and my group of three small business owners and one government contracting expert had weekly hour-long sessions, often with a guest speaker, to address specific elements of government contracting. We had homework to prepare for and make the most of our weekly sessions, such as developing a capability statement. I cannot say enough good things about this initiative and thanks to American Express for making it available to us.


Swine Flu Precautions

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
Avoid Travel To Protect Others

Avoid Travel To Protect Others

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that close to six million Americans have come down with the H1N1 virus, with confirmed cases in all states except New Jersey, Connecticut, Hawaii, South Carolina and the District of Columbia. Governor Patterson declared a swine flu state of emergency in New York yesterday when the state’s 75th fatality had been confirmed. A wide range of organizations are reconsidering their policies in view of the growing threat. Schools are suspending their perfect attendance awards, in order not to encourage students who may be ill to come to class, thereby putting others at risk. Churches are temporarily dispensing with the handshake of peace to reduce contact exposures. But in this touch economy, it is businesses that need to revise certain travel policies. A poll this month conducted by found that 51% of people would board their flights, even if they had the flu, rather than pay cancellation or rebooking fees. To assuage safety concerns of other passengers, airlines should waive such fees temporarily so as not to incent risky behavior.

Perils of a Small World

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

President Barack Obama declared a national emergency, granting additional powers to US hospitals to address the spread of swine flu, the H1N1 virus. This marks the third declaration by federal authorities this year to address this growing public health crisis, which is now widespread in 46 of the 50 states and has killed more than 1,000 people since this spring. According to Tom Frieden, head of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 16 million doses of the flu vaccine are available for the states to order. Concern is rising as winter months bring colder, damper weather that keeps people indoors and may accelerate transmission of the flu virus.

The World Health Organization reports rising infections in Canada, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Israel and India. Confirmed infections in England alone doubled over the past week to an estimated 53,000. Globally, more than 5,000 people this year have died from the fly and an additional 400,000 are infected with the virus. In addition to the economic reasons for cutting back on business travel, now there is another: reduced rates of transmission. Take appropriate precautions at your workplace and urge employees who think they may have symptoms to remain home, just to be extra cautious.