Category Archives: Employment

How Retailers Can Stay OFF The Closing List


In April, Swiss brokerage firm Credit Suisse released a report that sent shock waves through the retail universe. It predicted that more than 8600 brick and mortar stores could shutter before the end of 2017. That would make it the worst year on record for store closures. It’s the stuff of nightmares for retailers.

Whether or not you believe the Credit Suisse analysts are right, you can avoid being one of those stores — all it really takes is providing the experiences that today’s consumers demand. Movie theaters in the 1980s faced a similar environment when home video hit big. The industry feared that once people could rent and watch videos at home, nobody would pay to go to a theater and they would all go out of business.

In April, Swiss brokerage firm Credit Suisse released a report that sent shock waves through the retail universe. It predicted that more than 8600 brick and mortar stores could shutter before the end of 2017. That would make it the worst year on record for store closures. It’s the stuff of nightmares for retailers.

Whether or not you believe the Credit Suisse analysts are right, you can avoid being one of those stores — all it really takes is providing the experiences that today’s consumers demand. Movie theaters in the 1980s faced a similar environment when home video hit big. The industry feared that once people could rent and watch videos at home, nobody would pay to go to a theater and they would all go out of business.

Integrate Ecommerce and POS inventory
Omnichannel shoppers see no difference between your ecommerce and POS offerings and neither should you. Make every store’s inventory visible to online shoppers so that you can take advantage of the “buy online, pick-up in store” model. Integrated ecommerce and POS inventory management systems show real-time availability so consumers do not face unexpected out-of-stocks at brick and mortar locations. If an item is not available at the customer’s selected store, provide fast and free transfer from another store.

Use brick and mortar stores as fulfillment centers
Every physical store should also double as a fulfillment center for web orders. This opens up every item in inventory to sales from any channel and reduces time in transit for ecommerce orders. Orders that are automatically routed to locations closest to customers can reach front doors faster than from a central warehouse, often overnight or within two days without incurring express shipping charges.

Go mobile
It’s official — mobile internet usage has surpassed desktop traffic. If your website does not display properly on mobile devices, you’re missing out on a huge number of consumers. But just displaying properly is no longer enough. Navigation, inventory visibility and checkout must all be optimized for mobile users. This has massive benefits for brick and mortar as well when customers on the go can locate items in your stores; they may even make purchases from inside a competitor’s location.

Automate ordering with vendors
The long-time promise of just in time inventory management finally eliminated worries about out-of-stocks. Set minimum and maximum thresholds for SKUs and let your retail management platform automatically order the right amount of inventory from suppliers at the exact right moment. When you know every product you sell will be automatically replenished before it sells through, you do not have to keep as much inventory on hand and can open up shelf space for additional offerings likely to attract customers. You also don’t have to worry anymore about selling out on popular items and sending frustrated customers home empty handed.

Empower every employee as a checkout
One of the worst things that can happen in a store is when customers with intent to purchase leave upon seeing long checkout lines, or can’t find anyone to take their money. The in-store experience must be as smooth and easy as it is online — consumers are no longer willing to wait. Arm every employee with a tablet loaded with mobile POS software so they can complete transactions, look up inventory, and place customer orders from anywhere in the store.

Personalize direct marketing to customers
Target individual customer segments with the offers most likely to appeal to them through marketing automation. Integrate online and POS customer data to segment personas effectively and send promotions that are personalized to known preferences and likely to bring customers into stores. Specific behaviors should trigger customized messages, and look for opportunities to leverage ecommerce and in-store offerings. For example, an abandoned shopping cart may trigger a reminder message that could also include a note like, “this item is also available at your nearest store, would you like us to hold it for you?”

Expand inventory exponentially with drop shipping
Drop shipping today does not resemble what it looked like 15 years ago. Many vendors offer drop shipping that can use your branding and fulfill lightning fast. Offering items for sale that you do not have hold in inventory opens up your website to endless opportunities and it can also be integrated into “buy online, pick up in store.” Give customers the option of having the item sent to their homes or to their nearest store with no shipping charges. If they select a store, simply have the vendor pack the item along with your next regular order.

The next time you see a headline about a retailer closing stores, refer back to this list. It will become clear that one of the major reasons the merchant is in trouble is because it is not responding quickly enough to the changing demands of modern consumers. Provide the experiences today’s empowered shoppers expect and you will have much less to fear from predictions of impending doom.


Anderson New Amtrak CEO

Breaking news from

Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman is stepping down at the end of the year, and will be replaced by former Delta CEO Richard Anderson, according to knowledgeable sources and confirmed Monday by Amtrak.

The two men will serve as co-CEOs until the end of December.

Anderson, a 62-year-old former prosecutor from Texas, rose through the ranks of the airline industry to become CEO of Delta in 2007, just as it was leaving bankruptcy.

By the time Moorman steps down, he will have served roughly a year and a half as Amtrak’s CEO.

Moorman is himself a private sector transportation “icon,” said Amtrak chairman Tony Coscia. Both he and Moorman said it was always their plan for Moorman to be a temporary CEO.

“When I came to Amtrak, I had a clear understanding with my wife about how long I could do it,” Moorman said. “And in fact, I have exceeded that, as she points out to me.”

One of Moorman’s tasks, said Coscia, was “to help us recruit a CEO of the company who will serve as a long-term CEO.”

Moorman called Anderson a “superlative” leader and said they’ll be serving as co-CEOs for a half year because, “The one thing he doesn’t know is the railroad business, which obviously is my background.”

“And then I’ll have some ongoing role after that to assist him,” Moorman said.

The news comes during a tumultuous time for Amtrak. It’s just starting emergency repairs to the tracks beneath Penn Station, in the aftermath of two recent derailments there.

Here’s what Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said that really made me angry

These recent comments by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer are the epitome of Silicon Valley arrogance, says Basecamp programmer Dan Kim.
This commentary originally appeared on the Signal v. Noise blog.

Recently, I read this article about Marissa Mayer . This quote infuriated me (emphasis mine):

My husband [the venture capital investor Zachary Bogue] runs a co-working office in San Francisco…And if you go in on a Saturday afternoon, I can tell you which start-ups will succeed, without even knowing what they do. Being there on the weekend is a huge indicator of success, mostly because these companies just don’t happen. They happen because of really hard work.

I read my fair share about the tech world. I haven’t encountered statements this utterly arrogant and silly in a while.

Let’s break down that quote. She’s saying…

Weekend work is a leading indicator of being a successful company
She can predict success based on the people who are physically in the office on a weekend
She can predict success without knowing anything about a company’s business

What in the actual f—?

This idea that someone could “tell you which start-ups will succeed, without even knowing what they do” is so comically arrogant, I honestly can’t tell if she was being serious.

I guess this kind of thinking from Mayer shouldn’t be all that surprising.

After all she’s the CEO who banned remote working. To her, working together in person, in the office, is the only way to do great work.

As a refresher, here’s a snippet of the leaked memo Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) sent to its employees:

To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.

Because let’s not forget — being physically present means you are doing your best work! Speed and quality can only happen in person! Never mind that many other companies have been successful with remote teams.

So maybe that helps explain why Mayer believes she can walk into an office on a Saturday, survey who’s there in person, and can declare the winners.

Because to her, if you’re not there physically, you’ve already failed.

In the same article, Mayer talks about her experience at Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL):

The other piece that gets overlooked in the Google story is the value of hard work….The actual experience was more like, “Could you work 130 hours in a week?” The answer is yes, if you’re strategic about when you sleep, when you shower, and how often you go to the bathroom…For my first five years, I did at least one all-nighter a week, except when I was on vacation — and the vacations were few and far between.

While that might sound crazy to most of us, I don’t really have a problem with it.

She was making a decision for herself. She decided to work long hours, pull all nighters, and eschew vacations. That’s her call. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

But it’s not OK to imply that kind of work/life imbalance is a key to success for others.

Hey, if someone wants to work themselves into the ground, that’s up to them.

But spreading the message that hard work and success can only be achieved through long hours and weekend work — that’s not OK. It’s patently false, and it’s already far too pervasive in our industry.

Look, I get it — by every objective measure of Ha Ha! Business Success™(financial, title, industry stature), Mayer is insanely successful. She has achieved far more in her professional career than I ever will.

But I also don’t work weekends. I don’t work 130 hours a week. I don’t commute to an office.

My measures of success are way different. I goof off with my kids a lot. I read. I watch movies. I eat donuts and pizza. I occasionally travel. I sleep 8 hours a night. I’m rarely stressed. I revel in being boring and old.

And I do that all while genuinely enjoying my job and the people I work with (who I rarely see in person).

In Mayer’s world, I could never be a success.

I’ve never been so f—-g happy to be a failure.

On weekdays, for about 40 hours a week, I help build Basecamp 3 and its companion Android app. And we somehow managed to build it 100% remotely.

Follow Dan Kim on Twitter @dankim.

CP to lay off 500 MOW workers

Canadian Pacific yesterday began laying off 500 track maintenance workers, the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference announced on its website.

The “temporary layoffs are the result of lower car volumes and a softening demand in a lackluster North American economy,” said CP Assistant Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications Martin Cej in a prepared statement to CBC News, which the union also posted on its website.

The layoffs follow CP’s announcement last month that it expects second-quarter revenue to decline about 12 percent compared with the same period in 2015. The Class I is anticipating lower volumes in bulk commodities, such as grain and potash. In addition, CP executives cited the Alberta wildfires and a strengthening Canadian dollar as reasons for the lower revenue.

However, the union has raised concerns that by laying off track maintenance workers, CP raised the risk of future derailments. Union officials denounced CP for neglecting to perform a formal risk assessment of how the job cuts would impact rail lines across Canada.

In his statement to CBC, Cej said that CP has invested heavily in track infrastructure over the past decade and that the layoffs were temporary until market conditions improve.

The layoffs will not affect CP’s commitment to safety, as the railroad will continue to perform visual inspections and ultrasonic rail flaw detection of track, Cej said.

“CP carefully considered the changes that were being made and concluded that since they posed no additional risk to employees, the public, property or the environment, a risk assessment was not required,” said Cej. “Transport Canada was notified and agreed with this conclusion.”

What are Supply Chain Superstars Looking for in an Employer?

This guest post comes to us from Argentus Supply Chain Recruiting, a boutique recruitment firm specializing in Supply Chain Management.

A few weeks ago, we offered an infographic that laid out key skills (hard skills + soft skills) that employers are looking for when hiring Supply Chain professionals. In that post, we condensed many discussions with hiring managers and senior directors in the field into key points of expertise that any Supply Chain professional should develop when building their career.

Today, we’re flipping the script to offer advice to companies and hiring managers, based on the scores of conversations our recruiters have every day with top candidates in the field, with the goal of answering the following question: what exactly are the high-achieving, high-performers within Supply Chain looking for in a prospective employer?

Companies that invest in developing talent in a field as strategically rich as Supply Chain can expect huge dividends. But hiring is a two-way street. In this market, (especially when Supply Chain professionals are in higher demand than ever) companies need to do all they can to appeal to top performers when hiring. They also need to do all they can to make sure that their best Supply Chain talent stays with the company for 5 years and beyond, growing into leadership roles internally instead of moving on after 18 months because of a lack of opportunity.

So what are Supply Chain superstars looking for? Conventional wisdom would hold that compensation is the most important factor when it comes to whether someone wants to work for a company, and stay at that company long-term. But surprisingly, our conversations with top candidates have shown us that modern Supply Chain professionals are more concerned with other factors, which our infographic outlines below:

Inforgraphic outlining the qualities supply chain super stars look for in an employer.

Priorities for top candidates in the field come down to a few simple desires and goals beyond making money: Today’s leading Supply Chain professionals want to make an impact where they work. They want to add value. They want to grow and improve not only their own organizations, but their own understanding of the world and Supply Chain’s place within it.

As with the previous infographic in this series, this post is meant to condense complex points into an easily-digestible format. Dig into Argentus’ archives for further coverage of what companies can do to attract the best candidates in the field.

As a leading recruiter in the Supply Chain space, we’re happy to be connected with a number of these star performers. The recruitment business terms them “White whales,” “purple squirrels,” “unicorns” and other colourful terms. But whatever you call them, these candidates are the ones that truly move organizations into the future – hence why they’re in such high demand, and why companies need to do all they can to attract and retain them.

As Steve Jobs famously said, “a small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.” So there’s nothing more satisfying as a recruiter than placing an A+ player in a place where they’ll be poised to make a serious impact.

Thanks to the Argentus recruiters who provided their input for this article!

by Alexa Cheater

Ansonia Copper & Brass Factory Coming Down!

Pictured above is a Metro North Railroad “Brooksville” locomotive (in New Haven Railroad paint) running on the Waterbury Branch through the abandoned Ansonia Copper and Brass (formerly Anaconda American Brass) — consisting of six rusting buildings spanning 43-acres of Naugatuck Riverfront property and divided by an active rail line.

Read the full story in the Connecticut Post.

How to Be Extraordinary: 9 Qualities Only the Best Employees Possess

To paraphrase a Supreme Court Justice, true excellence can be hard to define… but you know it when you see it.

Every boss says she wants her employees to be reliable and dependable. Every boss says she wants her employees to be proactive and diligent. Every boss says she wants her employees to be good leaders and good followers.

That’s what every boss says they want… but what they really want are employees that go above and beyond, possessing qualities that never appear on performance appraisals but make a massive impact on a team and business.

Here’s what the extraordinary employee knows that the average employee never even considers:

1. Job descriptions should be ignored.

The smaller the company, the more important it is that employee can think on her feet, adapt quickly to shifting priorities, and do whatever it takes, regardless of role or position, to get things done.

When a key customer’s project is in jeopardy, the extraordinary employee knows to jump in without being asked — even if it’s not her job.

2. You can be genuine (and even offbeat.)

The best employee is often a little different: quirky, sometimes irreverent, even delighted to be unusual. He seems slightly odd, but in a really good way. Unusual personalities shake things up, make work more fun, and transform a vanilla group into a team with flair and flavor.

People who aren’t afraid to be different naturally stretch boundaries, challenge the status quo, and often come up with the best ideas.

3. There’s a time to fit in.

An unusual personality is a lot of fun… until it isn’t. When a major challenge pops up or a situation gets stressful, the best employee stops expressing individuality and fits seamlessly into the team.

The exceptional employee knows when to play and when to be serious; when to be irreverent and when to conform; when to challenge and when to back off.

It’s a tough balance to strike, but the extraordinary employee walks that fine line with seeming ease.

4. Praise should always be public.

Praise from a boss feels good. Praise from a peer feels awesome, especially when you look up to that person.

The exceptional employee has high emotional intelligence, so she recognizes the contributions of others — especially in group settings, where the impact of her words is even greater.

5. Criticism should always be private.

We all want employees to bring issues forward, but some problems are better handled in private. Good employees often get more latitude to bring up controversial subjects in a group setting because their performance allows greater freedom.

The best employees come to you before or after a meeting to discuss a sensitive issue, knowing that bringing it up in a group setting could set off a firestorm.

6. When to speak up (hint: when others won’t).

Some employees are hesitant to speak up in meetings. Some are even hesitant to speak up privately.

An employee once asked me a question about potential layoffs. After the meeting I said to him, “Why did you ask about that? You already know what’s going on.” He said, “I do, but a lot of other people don’t, and they’re afraid to ask. I thought it would help if they heard the answer from you.”

Truly great employees have an innate feel for the issues and concerns of those around them, and step up to ask questions or raise important issues when others hesitate.

7. When to volunteer (hint: as often as possible.)

Whenever you raise your hand you wind up being asked to do more.

Great… no, really: That’s great. Doing more creates the opportunity to learn, to impress, to gain skills, to build new relationships — to do something more than you would otherwise been able to do.

The great employee knows that success is based on action, and the more he volunteers, the more he gets to act. He knows that successful people step forward to create opportunities, but extraordinary people sprint forward.

8. You don’t need to be satisfied.

Some people are rarely satisfied (I mean that in a good way) and are constantly tinkering with something: Reworking a timeline, adjusting a process, tweaking a workflow.

Good employees follow processes. Extraordinary employees find ways to make those processes better, not only because they know you want them to… but because they just can’t help it.

9. When to give up (hint: almost never.)

Success is often the result of perseverance. When others give up, leave, stop trying, or compromise principles and values, the last person left is often the person who wins.

Other people may be smarter, better connected, or more talented. But they can’t win if they aren’t around at the end.

Sometimes it makes sense to give up on ideas, projects, and even businesses, but it never makes sense to give up on yourself… and extraordinary employees know that.

And you should too.

You can always be the last to give up on yourself.


By Jeff Haden

Contributing editor, Inc.

Tech Savvy GENERATION Z Entering The Workforce

Photo appears courtesy of Derek Σωκράτης Finch.  There have been a lot of articles complaining about the Millennial Generation in the workplace.  I teach college classes and have been able to get to know this new generation that is now in college and will soon be entering the workforce.  Many  refer to this new crop of young adults as Post Millennials, Gen Z or iGen as they have grown up with the Internet.

During  their young lives 911 happened and then the recession hit.  They watched as their parents lost their jobs and the value of their investments (and 401Ks) tumbled.  This has made them a bit risk adverse.  Many grew up in non-traditional households.  They have less faith in the American Dream as they have watched their parents and older sibling struggle in their careers.

Technology has strongly influenced these folks in terms of communication and education.  They have always been connected with immediate access to copious amounts of data and they use social media for socializing.  All of them have a cell phone, not as a luxury, but as a necessity.  They send texts instead of e-mailing and they know all the latest and greatest apps.  They are masters of multitasking.

I am very enthused about the potential of this group.  I have found them to have a high acceptance of new ideas.  Most of them grew up with a more diverse group of friends than their parents did and so are more accepting of others.  They seek contentment and passion in their careers rather than a lucrative salary.  For Spring Break, instead of lounging on a beach, they do volunteer work with groups like Habitat for Humanity and Disaster Relief Groups.  They want to do Internships with companies to find out more about the workplace.  They are well prepared for a global business environment and many want to work for non-profits.

The Gen Zs have the potential to be great employees.  They have the skills needed to take advantage of advanced technology and will prove very helpful to companies in today’s high tech environment.  They do not just want a job, they want what they do to help move the world forward.  They also want to be involved in their community.  Sounds like a great employee to me!

Click below to see how Wayfair, one of the largest internet retailers in the world, leveraged the power of Liaison’s Delta/ECs software package.




Why I Know You Are Failing

Sarah Buxton

Maybe you think that I’m too disconnected from your reality to be qualified to comment. But maybe you’re curious enough to read on and see if I have something that may change your perception.

You’re failing because, at least 2 of following observations are currently true about you (you, as well as me).

You are:

  1. Getting comfortable
  2. Waiting for change
  3. Using history a reference point
  4. Intent on being unique
  5. Framing too early
  6. Just putting a tick in the research box
  7. Creating product to prove concept
  8. Not learning anything
  9. Too wedded to your idea
  10. Getting hung up on details
  11. Putting product first
  12. Commentating not telling a story
  13. Using personas
  14. Falling into the perception gap

1. Getting Comfortable

  • You feel in control
  • You think you’re on the bleeding edge
  • You’ve have current and/or past success

But consider. Consider you are surrounded by peers and people who are a lot like you. And when you’re around people like you, you create a new norm – norms can be disrupted. My perspective: be open to strategies and new ideas (from new sources) that make you feel a little uncomfortable.

2. Waiting for Change

“If you defer investing your time and energy until you see you need to, chances are it will already be too late” Clay Christensen.

It’s widely accepted that the customer now dictates the strategic and tactical plays we choose to make. Yet even if your sales numbers are good and your team is busy, there remains no tangible barrier between your customers and your competitors. The next challenger is already building relationships that you cannot control. My perspective: Anticipate more, react less – stay relevant, don’t let the field move forward without you. Catching up is harder than keeping pace.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it” Alan Kay

3. Using History as a Reference Point

The pace of change is now so rapid that it’s almost incomprehensible. Technology hasn’t just impacted the products we build, or how we deliver them to market – it’s fundamentally changed the way we behave.

  • You use your Facebook more than your Driving License for ID
  • You check your bank balance while sitting on a train
  • You tell people you’re going to be late – before you join the traffic jam

And you think nothing of it.

Our capability is accelerating at such a rate that it is impossible to predict future behaviour based on past points of reference – especially if those points are more than a couple of years old. We don’t behave the way we used to. My perspective:
Don’t just look at the data you have, leverage its value by matching it with observational, qualitative and real time customer feedback. Get closer to the people who will dictate the ways in which you can grow.

4. Intent on being Unique

You have confused the idea of disruption with the idea of being first. You don’t need to be unique to be an innovator – people don’t want new, they want better.

Think of Victoria’s Secret. A bricks and mortar success story. They didn’t create a new category or invent the first bra yet they’ve now eclipsed many established underwear brands and taken La Senza’s place on the UK High Street. My perspective: To disrupt the thinking of others, you don’t need to be first, you just need to be more appealing than the last.

5. Framing too early

Just because you sell or do one thing, doesn’t mean that it should dictate the next thing you do. If you are building or developing a product based on your own capability and current offering then, at some point, you are going to have to retro-fit it to a customer need. Just because it makes sense for you, doesn’t mean it makes sense to your customer. My perspective: Resist framing your opportunity too early as you might not see your opportunity at all.

6. Just putting a tick in the Research Box

Some questions for you …

  1. did you ask the questions?
  2. what did you ask?
  3. were they based mainly around you – your idea or product?
  4. how far down your line of thinking were you when you asked them?
  5. had you built something already?
  6. did they tell you anything that fundamentally challenged your thinking?
  7. do you think there’s a hint of bias in these questions?

    My perspective: It is better to accept that you’re working/learning from your own hypothesis than it is to convince yourself that you’re acting in line with your customer’s point of view.


7. Creating product to prove concept

Creating a prototype or MVP (minimal viable product) is not about making a refined picture of your first idea – it’s about exploring the alternatives.

My perspective:
Don’t build then ask, ask then build.

8. Not learning anything

There is no such thing as customer testing, there is customer insight and there is usability testing. The most successful entrepreneurs have a natural curiosity about people – they really do care.

“If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse” Henry Ford.

Did you know that there is no proof that Henry actually said this? It is however documented that he said:

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own”.

My perspective: You need three factors continuously present to create success – credibility, persistence, and true empathy.

9. Too wedded to your idea

You have so much belief that you’re unable to change your mind.

93% of all companies that ultimately become successful have to abandon their original strategy. Instagram started as a check-in style app called Burbn (similar to FourSquare), until they noticed that people only valued their photo sharing features.


My perspective:
It’s better to pivot and catch the ball, than it is to stayed faced in a direction where you can’t see it coming.


10. Getting hung up on details

“Be strong on vision and flexible on detail”. Jeff Bezos, Amazon.

It might be tempting to convince yourself that success lies in action and outputs – pace and activity. But don’t confuse being fast with being successful. When you start to value action over results you begin to compromise, little things begin to pile up, things start to be skipped.

My perspective: Your product should be built from purpose, the end goal has to remain focused on the “why are we releasing this?”, not the methodology you have used to get it to market. 


11. Putting product first

There are three distinct areas which dictate our success to innovate:

  • Team
  • Product
  • Market

All are important – but if you had to pick, if you could only select one what where would your focus be? My perspective: You can have an imperfect product and an inexperienced team, yet if you have a market then you have an opportunity – without a market you’ve nothing. Prioritised your market fit.


12. Commentating not telling a story

Despite  the world changing around us, human beings, by our very nature are unpredictable, emotive, impulsive, illogical creatures. We communicate, as we always have, through stories. The most successful brands tell the best stories – creating a narrative that we want to connect to and share. Stories take products from being functional to being valuable. My perspective: Get to grips with your own story.


13. Using personas

Still works
Travels a lot
Grown Children
Has Grandchildren
Loves dogs
Obsessed with exercise

The above describes Richard Branson, Ozzy Osbourne and Prince Charles – I’m not sure I’d talk to them the same way, would you? My perspective:
Personas are a good place to start, they make you think more in human terms accept that they have limitations. The only way to bring personas to life is by meeting the people behind them.

14. The Perception Gap

How you look at things affects what you believe you see. But what do they say when they see your design? Even when sitting in a room with 10 execs from the same company they tell their story and describe their vision differently – you can only imagine how much it changes by the time it has filtered down to your customer and they have connected it (or not) to their world.

I don’t believe you have to be customer obsessed as some claim – I just think we all need to be more a little more conscious as to the impression we give out – after all perception is reality.

My perspective:
Change the way you look at things; and the things you look at change.

Just to note – I’m currently failing because I am: 9, 10, 12 and 14.


Sarah Buxton, is managing partner of The Observer Effect, a Growth Consultancy. We harness the power of insight and innovation to create customer-compelling propositions. Together we help businesses to adapt their thinking, change their perceptions and continue on their path to growth.

Americans Spend 30 Billion Hours a Year Commuting. And It’s Killing Them

Commuting can be one of the most frustrating parts of having a job — a dull, talk-radio-filled, coffee-fueled drive every morning with all the other schmucks on the road.

I experienced it once while living in North Carolina: an awful slog through traffic lights and sprawl that annoyed me so much that I moved. Now, my commute is on foot, an easy mile walk to downtown Seattle, and on a clear day, you can see Mt. Rainer. Rather than dread my commute, I enjoy it. But I am one of the lucky few.

According to a new study, the average American spends 26 minutes traveling to work each way, and for over 80 percent of Americans, that time is spent in a car, usually alone. And the worse part is, it’s only getting longer. The Washington Post reports that 26 minute is:

the longest it’s been since the Census began tracking this data in 1980. Back then the typical commute was only 21.7 minutes. The average American commute has gotten nearly 20 percent longer since then.According to the Census, there were a little over 139 million workers commuting in 2014. At an average of 26 minutes each way to work, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, that works out to something like a total of 1.8 trillion minutes Americans spent commuting in 2014. Or, if you prefer, call it 29.6 billion hours, 1.2 billion days, or a collective 3.4 million years. With that amount of time, we could have built nearly 300 Wikipedias, or built the Great Pyramid of Giza 26 times — all in 2014 alone.

Instead, we spent those hours sitting in cars and waiting for the bus.

The Post concentrates on the negative effects on the commuterPeople with longer commutes are more likely to suffer from obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, back and neck pain, divorce, depression, and death, according the Post, as well as to be less politically engaged, more likely to be poor, miss work, and have other problems. There’s also issues of lost productivity, says the Post: Think of how many more apps we could invent with all those hours! But there’s another issue they didn’t mention. That’s right: climate change.

The vast majority of those nearly 30 billion hours spent commuting every year are by people alone in their gas-powered cars. The carbon footprint of that is just massive, and as commutes grow, it’ll only get worse. It’s a complex problem: Commutes are so long both because cities are so expensive and because mass transit in most American cities is so inadequate.

Take Seattle: If you can’t afford to live close to the city center (or if you’re not willing to live in a studio the size of a jail cell, as I do), you’ll have to contend with either driving yourself to work in the fourth worst traffic in the country, or relying on an often unreliable bus or train.

The current system isn’t working as the myriad of negative effects on both us and the planet show. But until we can figure out how to make cities more affordable and build robust transit systems and carpooling options, the answer may be simply to work from home when it’s possible. We might not be able to teleport yet, but for those who can, there’s always teleworking.

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