ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition - August 2000

Issue Highlight - Homeward Bound
--- Peter Block offers some practical reccomendations about how to create balance and harmony in your life.
These recommendations are guaranteed to work or your time back."

In This Issue...
The Economics of Choice
Children: A Blessing or a Lucky Taxbreak
Welcome to the Wild West
The Struggle to Have It All

Peter Block Column
Day In The Life Stories
Views for a Change

Heard on the Street
Letters to the Editor

   Heard on the Street        For Those Who Don't Have Time To Read

An Easier Climb Up the Ladder

  If you're an executive looking for a job, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding one. The Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), New York, NY, a professional association promoting the highest professional standards in executive search consulting, reports an all-time high in the number of search assignments for their first reporting period of 2000.

 The search is on as companies recognize the need for executives who can make the difference between companies' success or failure-and it could get ugly. "The gloves are off in the war for talent, and retained executive search is core to the mission," says Peter Felix, AESC president. Says AESC member Michael Brenner, "The growth (of the Internet economy) is a reflection that every company is mounting an e-commerce effort so as not to be at a competitive disadvantage."

  AESC reports a 20 percent increase in executive search activity since last quarter. Specifically, searches for CEOs have risen 15 percent since last quarter; searches for COOs have risen 56 percent; and searches for CIO/Knowledge officers have risen 71 percent. Brenner expects the explosive growth to continue for at least the next two to three years.

Give Me a Break

  A new politically correct term is becoming more and more familiar to a growing number of professionals: recreationally challenged. It describes those workers whose bodies are on vacation, but whose minds are still back at the office.

  These days, many employees complain about bosses keeping them tied to the office via laptops, pagers and cell phones. But some workers have chosen to wire themselves to the office, even when they're supposed to be on vacation.

  If you have trouble disconnecting from work, you're definitely not alone. In her book "Working at Play: A History of Vacations in the U.S." (Oxford University Press, 1999), Cindy Aron reveals that Americans have struggled with relaxing for centuries. If you need convincing of that, consider this: According to Hewitt Associates, Lincolnshire, Ill., U.S. corporations tend to grant far less vacation time than 17 other developed nations. It's no big surprise, then, that many Americans have to re-learn how to relax each time they take a vacation. It requires a determined effort to exchange laptops and cell phones for swimsuits and beach chairs.

I Am Woman...                

  In the fierce competition to attain funding from venture capitalists, it appears that female entrepreneurs may lack the necessary skills. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the National Foundation for Women Business Owners states the first step in solving this problem is learning how to play the game.
The problem may result from women's hesitance to appear "as boastful and bald-faced about their business as men," says Kay Koplovitz, chairwoman of the National Women's Business Council.

  Now there is a place where these entrepreneurs can go to sharpen their skills before proposing their ideas. At Springboard 2000, a "camp" for women starting up businesses, they spend days honing their skills before pitching their ventures to equity investors.

  Women receive advice on a variety of subjects. They deal with everything from aesthetic topics to preferred presentation information. The day before they encounter actual investors, women participate in one day of presenting their ideas to volunteer venture capitalists who provide critiques of the presentations.

Do Your Own Work!

 With the increased intensity of the business world today, many employers have actively begun searching out ways to reduce stress, without reducing their quality of business. For example, S.C. Johnson found many workers felt they had devoted too much valuable work time to meeting with colleagues. With this discovery, the company decided that twice a month the company would have "No-Meeting Fridays." With this decision, not only did time for accomplishing individual tasks free up, but the amount of work taken home by employees decreased.

  According to the Wall Street Journal, situations such as these have become more common. After the instillation of this policy, employees reported an increase in productivity and a decrease in the amount of time spent working at home on the weekend. As managers continue to notice an increase in stress levels, they have begun to find more inventive ways to relieve the problems.

  From ordering employees to delay coming in until noon on Wednesdays, to instructing all team members to devote one half-day to simply thinking about the business, companies have begun realizing the importance of variety in scheduling.

August 2000 NFC Homepage


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