Finding "You Time"

"Within each of there is a well of energy that must be regularly replenished. When we act as if this well is bottomless, scheduling a long list of activities that fit like puzzle pieces into every minute of every day, it becomes depleted and we feel exhausted, disconnected, and weak. Refilling this well is a matter of finding time to focus on, nurture, and care for ourselves, or 'you time.'

"Most of us are, at different times throughout the day, a spouse, a friend, a relative, an employee, a parent, or a volunteer, which means that down time, however relaxing in nature, is not necessarily "you time." Though some people will inevitably look upon "you time" as being selfish, it is actually the polar opposite of selfishness. We can only excel where our outer world affairs are concerned when our own spiritual, physical, and intellectual needs are fulfilled.

"Recognizing the importance of 'you time' is far easier than finding a place for it in an active, multifaceted lifestyle, however. Even if you find a spot for it in your agenda, you may be dismayed to discover that your thoughts continuously stray into worldly territory. To make the most of 'you time,' give yourself enough time on either side of the block of time you plan to spend on yourself to ensure that you do not feel rushed. Consider how you would like to pass the time, forgetting for the moment your obligations and embracing the notion of renewal. You may discover that you are energized by creative pursuits, guided meditation, relaxing activities during which your mind can wander, or modes of expression such as writing.

"Even if you have achieved a functioning work-life balance, you may still be neglecting the most important part of that equation: you. 'You time' prepares you for the next round of daily life, whether you are poised to immerse yourself in a professional project or chores around the home. It also affords you a unique opportunity to learn about yourself, your needs, and your tolerances in a concrete way. As unimportant as 'you time' can sometimes seem, it truly is crucial to your wellbeing because it ensures that you are never left without the energy to give of yourself."

Reprinting today's meditation from DailyOM - Nurturing Mind Body & Spirit.

Financial Benefits of Open Source

Open source has become a serious contender in enterprise IT. Considering the opportunity for financial benefits along with the flexibility that comes through from the software's source code, the freedom from vendor lock-in, and the potential for improved security, reliability and performance, open source is rapidly gaining acceptance.

This report is a practical guide for understanding and calculating the financial benefits of open source. It will introduce the basics of financial analysis - concepts, processes and elements - and provide a tool to help identify and capture the costs (and potential benefits) for your project, whether you are an end user with a custom application, a system integrator (SI) considering an open source solutions offering, or an independent software vendor (ISV) looking at the embedding of open source in your software.


Professor Cornwall on Business Planning

I was asked recently by an entrepreneur whether he should hire someone to write a business plan. I remembered that Professor Cornwall at The Entrepreneurial Mind had written about the answer to this question. I also know what a treasure trove of information is available by searching a blog full of useful posts like the Entrepreneurial Mind. So after conducting a search on business plans on Professor Cornwall's blog, I came up with the following advice, quoting the three posts cited below:

"Unless a would-be entrepreneur needs to raise substantial startup capital from institutional investors or business angels, there is no compelling reason to write a detailed business plan before opening a new business...

Business plans are a way to document sound analysis and good planning of your new venture. Whether you actually write this document is to a large degree irrelevant. What does matter is that you go through the process of evaluating the market for the venture, analyzing the potential profit margin it can produce, and reflect honestly on your personal readiness to make it happen. So it is the process of planning, not the actual plan, that really matters...

Too many people think that a business plan is the beginning, middle and end of starting a new venture. The business plan is simply a reflection of a sound process -- it is not the actual process.

In reality, investors like venture capitalists use it in the same way. They want evidence of sound analysis and planning, and the business plan is a way to capture the work an entrepreneur has done in these critical steps...

First you need to figure out why you need a plan. A plan you write for yourself is very different from a plan you write for an investor. Know the audience of the plan. You probably will need to write a couple of different versions for different uses: one for you, one for your investors, and one for creditors. If the plan starts to break down financially or in your ability to make it happen, give it up and go on to your next idea.

A business plan starts with you and your needs. And equally important, it provides a process that helps you learn about the business. It is a process with many exit points that you need to pay attention to so you don't get in too far too fast.

You'll need to intimately know all the details and nuances that are discovered. And when it comes time to use the plan to raise funding, the banker, creditor or investor will expect you to know the plan inside and out. Only the person who writes it will have that knowledge. And it would not look good for you to drag me or some group of college students along to explain everything for you...

When you develop your plan, work on it in the order that they [investors] will evaluate it (other than the Executive Summary, which you write last). Start with market research of the industry, competitive environment and potential customers. Use that to develop a strong and compelling marketing plan. Then forecast your revenues based on the marketing plan. Take your time. This is probably the hardest step of writing a plan if you do it correctly. Revenues are simply price times quantity, but those are two of the most uncertain issues you will face. Do you homework to show that you are making reasonable assumptions.

Then work on the operating plan and expenses. This is usually easier for most of us. However, don't worry about getting it right down to the last dollar. Too often we waste time on these sections. We feel safer here, so seem to want to work on that which we feel most comfortable with. Be accurate and complete, but never overly obsessive with every last detail.

When you finally put it all together you will put it in the traditional outline that most of the books and software suggest, as that is a fairly commonly expected standard format. But, when you write it free-style as I am suggesting, you have the best chance of ending up with a powerful story that holds together for even the most experienced business plan reader.”

To Write a Business Plan, or Not to Write a Business Plan

Write Your Own Plan

The Danger of Short-cuts in Writing Business Plans



'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

'Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!'

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought--
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

'And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll (a.k.a. Charles Dodgson) is generally considered to be the greatest of all nonsense poems in English. It is so well known that a number of its nonsense words have entered the Oxford English Dictionary. Alice (of Wonderland fame) here, in the paragraph following the poem, puts her finger on the secret of the poem's charm:

'... It seems to fill my head with ideas -- only I don't know exactly what they are.'

These pages are dedicated to all who have come to like and love this poem which Alice discovers in a book. The poem occurs in the first chapter of Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There "

For more see Jabberwocky Glossary and Jabberwocky - Wikipedia.


And they've been working all day

Up at eight, you can't be late
For Matthew & son, he won't wait.
Watch them run down to platform one
And the eight-thirty train to Matthew & son.
Matthew & son, the work's never done,
there's always something new.
The files in your head, you take them to bed,
you're never ever through.
And they've been working all day, all day, all day!

There's a five-minute break and that's all you take,
For a cup of cold coffee and a piece of cake.
Matthew & son, the work's never done,
there's always something new.
The files in your head, you take them to bed,
you're never ever through.
And they've been working all day, all day, all day!

He's got people who've been working for fifty years
No one asks for more money cuz nobody cares
Even though they're pretty low and their rent's in arrears
Matthew & son, Matthew & son,
Matthew & son, Matthew & son,
And they've been working all day, all day, all day!

Cat Stevens --1967

From the wonderful website of Yusuf Islam, formerly Cat Stevens, Mountain of Light. If you, like me, were touched by the spiritual songwriting and style of Cat Stevens, or are otherwise a seeker of peace, you will want to explore the site, listen and watch the interviews at Yusuf Islam : Mountain of Light audio & video where Yusuf notes:

"I discovered that the human soul does not live only by means of material success and acclaim, it needs contentment, which actually requires a person to be normal sized. Stardom is not normal; everything has to be bigger and be better, you have to be competitive. Getting out of that race, quite frankly, is what I did. I was given a chance to find my own way to happiness; each person must choose whichever road he or she wishes to follow."

Open Source Software Policies and Procedures Needed

Companies that use open source software need policies in place and resources devoted to monitor and maintain compliance with licensing requirements. Efforts should be directed at controlling how and when modifications are made to the software and how it is distributed to third parties.

This excellent and informative article from PLI's All-Star Briefing explains that a "best practices" opens source software policy should cover the following topics:

"Defining "Open Source": As an introductory matter, an open source policy should define open source in terms that can be understood by employees...

Choosing a Source:...An open source policy should... specify the sources from which such software may be obtained... A company should also require that its programmers go through an approval process before they can use open source...

Review of License Terms...the Company's open source policy should require that each open source license be reviewed using the same processes and internal controls as the company uses for proprietary software licenses.

Guidelines for Modifications...An open source policy should...require that, before any modification can be made, those involved in the programming process consider: (a) whether modifications will even be allowed; (b) whether the open source will only be used internally (in which case the source code to the modifications will not have to be made public); and (c) if the open source is to be distributed to third parties, whether the company is comfortable releasing the source code for its modifications...

Guidelines for Distribution...Companies need to establish careful guidelines as to how open source can be included in programs distributed to third parties, and make sure that control mechanisms are in place governing such use...

Contributions to the Open Source Community...If a company elects to go this route, it must make sure that it has very stringent controls in place for determining what software is released...that any copy of the software that is so distributed is linked to an open source license governing the permitted use of the software...

Tracking the Use of Open Source: Once a company has decided how it will use open source, it should implement a system for approving, monitoring and tracking how the company is actually using open source..."


The Realistic Entrepreneur

"Optimism is a key to success, but it doesn't necessarily work so well when it comes to VC...it's very easy...to spend a year or more adjusting your business to what each VC asks for ("bring me the broomstick of the wicked witch!") while you could have been out there building a real organization..."

Here are a few conditions from an excellent list of fifteen in this Seth Godin post "that you ought to take seriously before you invest the time and the energy to track down outside money for your great idea...

3. Investors want to invest in a project that's tested...

5. Investors... want you to build an asset (a patent, an audience, channel relationships) that's actually worth something...

15.The companies that VCs most want to invest in are the companies that don't need their investment to survive."

My Lens on Selling a Business Nominated

I was informed today that one of my Squidoo lenses, How to Sell Your Business has been nominated for The Squidoo Lens of the Year award.

To celebrate turning 1 year and 100,000 lenses older, Squidoo took its previous Lens of the Day winners (including mine) and lined them up, to see which lens the Squidoo lensmasters and readers think is simply the best.

The voting is ongoing and if you are so inclined you may visit The Squidoo Lens of the Year site, find my lens ( http://www.squidoo.com/sellyourbusiness ) and vote it up. The winner will be announced on Friday March 30.


NFL Sponsors DMCA Checkers Match

Last month, law professor Wendy Seltzer posted a short clip on Utoob of the NFL's copyright statement to demonstrate to her students that copyright holders often claim additional rights beyond those actually granted by copyright. "As if to help prove Seltzer's point, the NFL then sent a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube, forcing them to pull the clip -- even though it was pretty clearly covered under fair use. Seltzer then followed up and filed the counter-notification, as per the DMCA, and YouTube put the clip back up...The DMCA is also clear that if the NFL wants to challenge her on this claim, they need to go to court. Instead... they simply filed another DMCA takedown notice and got the video pulled again. As Seltzer points out, this clearly violates the DMCA." Your move Ms. Seltzer.

Read more in this Techdirt post.


10 Reasons Jobs Suck

"Here are some reasons you should do everything in your power to avoid getting a job:

1. Income for dummies...

You only get paid when you’re working...Smart people build systems that generate income 24/7, especially passive income. This can include starting a business, building a web site, becoming an investor, or generating royalty income from creative work. The system delivers the ongoing value to people and generates income from it, and once it's in motion, it runs continuously...

2. Limited experience....

The problem with getting experience from a job is that you usually just repeat the same limited experience over and over...

3. Lifelong domestication.

Getting a job is like enrolling in a human domestication program. You learn how to be a good pet...

4. Too many mouths to feed...

You only get paid a fraction of the real value you generate...

5. Way too risky.

Does putting yourself in a position where someone else can turn off all your income just by saying two words ("You're fired") sound like a safe and secure situation to you?...

6. Having an evil bovine master.

When you run into an idiot in the entrepreneurial world, you can turn around and head the other way. When you run into an idiot in the corporate world, you have to turn around and say, “Sorry, boss."...

7. Begging for money...

8. An inbred social life...

9. Loss of freedom...

10. Becoming a coward.

Have you noticed that employed people have an almost endless capacity to whine about problems at their companies? But they don't really want solutions – they just want to vent and make excuses why it's all someone else's fault... It’s as if getting a job somehow drains all the free will out of people and turns them into spineless cowards..."

Read more in this provocative post from Steve Pavlina.


How to Lead from Below

"The importance of leadership from the top is firmly embedded in corporate culture. An image survives of the all-powerful CEO, able to change the way a company operates at will. But the truth is that...change will have to come from those leading from below, rather than relying on leadership from the top...So, how do managers...lead from below successfully? While each situation differs, there are several common threads...

• Make the decision to be a leader...
• Focus on influence, not control...
• Make your mental organizational chart horizontal rather than vertical...
• Work on your "trusted adviser" skills...
• Don't wait for the perfect time, just find a good time...
• Integrate a broader range of risks and potential impacts into your business decisions...
• Expose yourself to a broader range of perspectives...
• Create vacuums rather than imposing solutions...
• Encourage questions without answers...
• Ask "what if" questions...
• Openly discuss values as well as value...
• Refresh your radar screen periodically...

These methods for encouraging leadership from below are applicable at any level of the organization. Indeed, some of the most effective leaders from below have applied these same techniques to encourage ideas bubbling up within their own domains.

The payoff can be enormous. If viewed as a resource rather than a threat, leadership from below can be a powerful force for creating change, developing organizational flexibility and helping companies flourish in a dynamic world."

Read more in Leading From Below - WSJ.com.


So Much Depends on My Attitude

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think, say or do. It is more important than appearance, gift, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… The only thing we can do is play on the string we have, and that is our attitude.

I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.

---Charles Swindoll

Hat tip to The Positivity Blog

A Coloring Book for Lawyers

A friend sent Coloring Book for Lawyers to me. Because a pain shared is halved and joy shared is doubled, I thought I would share this with you.


Now Hear This - Better Listeners Make Better Managers

"The Journal of Business Communication published a recent study disclosing that good listeners hold higher-level positions and are promoted more often than those with less effective listening skills. Many executives believe listening skills are vital to the success of an organisation. Lee Iacocca, CEO of Chrysler, said that listening could make 'the difference between a mediocre company and a great company.'

Unfortunately, a number of experts note that managers and executives tend to become better talkers than listeners -- because they are used to 'being listened to'...

These six tips can help though.

One: Observe the speaker...
Two: Be attentive and avoid distractions...
Three: Think, revise and stay interested...
Four: Make notes...
Five: Paraphrase what the speaker says...
Six: Do not assume...

Remember the old poem:

A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw, the less he spoke
The less he spoke, the more he heard
Why can't we all be like that bird?

Read more in Good listeners = Better managers?.

For a more comprehensive treatment, see self study exercises for business listening skills that breaks the topic down into 3 parts and states:

"Your skill as a listener can make or break your success in leadership, teams, customer relationships, and negotiation...

Part I, Strategies for Business Listeners sets out a simple model explaining how an effective listening style changes ordinary conversations. The central premise is that you will get more out of conversations by first knowing your conversation goals, then narrowing your focus to 3 choices: talk or listen; focus or clarify; and listen attentively or not...

Part II, How to Listen (Attentive Listening Skills) provides the nuts-and-bolts tactical complement to the listening strategy proposed in Part I. Subjects include: 'Get Over Yourself, Give Them A Solo', which speaks to the power of not interrupting in any one of a multitude of ways; 'Stop Multi-tasking', about the importance of focus; and finally, 'Recap Regularly', 'Use Supportive Words', and 'Use Body Language' which show how to establish a tangible connection between yourself and the person you talking to...

Part III, Asking Questions / Listening Self-Study covers the art of asking non-leading questions which contribute to, rather than morph, what a speaker is saying. Part Three also provides exercises and resources you can use to sharpen your listening skills."


Create a Mini Business Plan

Create a mini business plan free online at this startup.wsj.com site. Test your assumptions and start documenting your ideas for your new business. The MiniPlan guides you through creating the basics of a business plan including:

Break-Even Analysis
Market Analysis
Executive Summary
Company Objectives
Mission Statement


How to Value a Patent

"Inventors help solve vexing problems, both sophisticated and simple, and as a result sometimes enjoy considerable celebrity and rewards. Our society’s economic success, too, is based on innovation. To encourage public disclosure of inventions, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issues an inventor a patent, which excludes others from making, using, selling or importing that invention into U.S. territories for a limited period of time.

The three kinds of U.S. patents cover living plants, ornamental designs and useful inventions (the latter are called “utility” patents). Familiar products once protected by U.S. utility patents include Alexander Graham Bell’s “improvement in telegraphy” (the telephone), the Wright brothers’ “flying machine” and Thomas Edison’s “incandescent lamp” (the light bulb)."

This article [20 Steps for Pricing a Patent] provides an excellent and detailed set of basic procedures for valuing U.S. utility patents.

Open Source Guide Book

Innovation Happens Elsewhere is an online version of this book on Open Source as Business Strategy by Ron Goldman and Richard P. Gabriel. The authors have posted this outstanding resource online in the hopes that people will find it useful, stating:

"This book is intended for anyone considering using Open Source. It describes what open source is, discusses business reasons for using open source, and describes how an open source project works in a day-to-day manner. It will help you decide on whether open source is right for your project, and, if so, what steps you should take to proceed and some mistakes you should avoid."

An excerpt from the book will give you an idea of the types of useful information it contains:

“Deciding to manage a development project as an open-source project requires making a careful determination of the project's business goals...The following is a list of business reasons to support the use of open source for a project…

Training and Education..
Design Discipline...
Best Standards Development...
Design Help...
Guidance for Proprietary Products
Some open-source licenses permit proprietary products to be based on an open-source system, sometimes by adding features and sometimes by providing quality and support. The ability to develop the best such product can be improved by commentary and feedback from the community...
Build a Market for a Proprietary Product
When a company has a proprietary product built on top of a free, open-source version, the free version will bring in customers and increase the company's market share.
Development Help...
Internal Open Source Use and Reuse...
Support Help...
Facilitate Technology Transfer...
Limited Resources...
Improved Quality...
Time To Market
For open source, there is a time-to-market advantage, but it is a more complicated notion than simply getting a product into a space quickly. By using available open-source code in a project, a company is able to avoid re-inventing it. This can speed up getting to market, but the more important effect is that a company can get to a very good product quickly, especially one with a greater number of already proven features and better quality....
Better Way to Do Releases...
Better Relations with Customers...
Better Relations with Other Parts of Your Company...
Nurture Innovation...
Community Building...
Avoiding Lock-In...
Risk Reduction...
Appeal to "The Open-Source Community"...
Statement of Vision and Terms of Engagement...
Statement of Values...
Get Brand Loyalty for Your Company's Hardware/Software...
Get the Hit Effect Working...
Create a Marketplace...
Commoditize Competition
Providing a no-cost offering can force a competitor to play a commodity game where small advantages and brand loyalty, for example, can play a stronger role than in a high-value game. OpenOffice is an example of this goal: Its free office-productivity software makes it more difficult for other companies, such as Microsoft, to charge large amounts for proprietary software with similar features. It transforms office-productivity software from a high-value, single-vendor product into a commodity..."


Where There's Vision, There's Fire

"People rally around leaders with a compelling vision and a clear sense of purpose.

Creating a strong vision is one of the most important functions a business leader can perform. A vision statement compels people to do something, change something, and become something. It is this drive that can transform a business into a strong, vibrant, rewarding opportunity for everyone who comes into contact with it.

Business leaders can reap the benefits of a strong vision by defining the core values of their companies, defining their purpose, describing what they see for the business in the future, and then clearly articulating, communicating, and living the vision at every opportunity...

A good vision:

Identifies direction and purpose

Builds loyalty through involvement

Sets standards of excellence that reflect high ideals and a sense of integrity

Is persuasive and credible

Inspires enthusiasm and encourages commitment

Is well articulated and easily understood

Is ambitious and calls for a shared commitment

Challenges and inspires people to align their energies in a common direction

Fits with the business' unique culture and values

Results in efficiency and productivity

Reflects the company's unique strengths..."

Read more in this article by Dave Dolak.


Meditation is Good for Business

"Researchers are beginning to show that meditation directly affects the function and structure of the brain, changing it in ways that appear to increase attention span, sharpen focus and improve memory...

The forms of meditation...scientists are studying involve focusing on an image or sound or on one's breathing. Though deceptively simple, the practice seems to exercise the parts of the brain that help us pay attention...

Not surprisingly, given those results, a growing number of corporations—including Deutsche Bank, Google and Hughes Aircraft—offer meditation classes to their workers...Making employees sharper is only one benefit; studies say meditation also improves productivity, in large part by preventing stress-related illness and reducing absenteeism.

Another benefit for employers: meditation seems to help regulate emotions, which in turn helps people get along...So, for a New Year's resolution that can pay big dividends at home and at the office, try this: just breathe."

Read more in How to Get Smarter, One Breath at a Time -- TIME
Also see Meditation goes to work


You Can Teach an Old Brain New Tricks

"For decades, the prevailing dogma in neuroscience was that the adult human brain is essentially immutable, hardwired, fixed in form and function, so that by the time we reach adulthood we are pretty much stuck with what we have. Yes, it can create (and lose) synapses, the connections between neurons that encode memories and learning. And it can suffer injury and degeneration. But this view held that if genes and development dictate that one cluster of neurons will process signals from the eye and another cluster will move the fingers of the right hand, then they'll do that and nothing else until the day you die. There was good reason for lavishly illustrated brain books to show the function, size and location of the brain's structures in permanent ink...

But research in the past few years has overthrown the dogma. In its place has come the realization that the adult brain retains impressive powers of "neuroplasticity"--the ability to change its structure and function in response to experience. These aren't minor tweaks either. Something as basic as the function of the visual or auditory cortex can change as a result of a person's experience of becoming deaf or blind at a young age. Even when the brain suffers a trauma late in life, it can rezone itself like a city in a frenzy of urban renewal. If a stroke knocks out, say, the neighborhood of motor cortex that moves the right arm, a new technique called constraint-induced movement therapy can coax next-door regions to take over the function of the damaged area. The brain can be rewired."

Read more in How The Brain Rewires Itself--TIME

Amazing Saturn Photos Released

"NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured never-before-seen views of Saturn from perspectives high above and below the planet's rings. Over the last several months, the spacecraft has climbed to higher and higher inclinations, providing its cameras with glimpses of the planet and rings that have scientists gushing.

In the pictured photo, dark and sharply defined ring shadows appear to constrict the flow of color from Saturn's warmly hued south to the bluish northern latitudes.

Aside from the color differences, the cloud morphology is quite different in the polar regions compared to the mid-latitudes. Bright, isolated clouds dot the high latitudes, while Saturn's middle is characterized by flowing cloud bands and the occasional bright or dark vortex.

This view looks toward the lit side of the rings from about half a degree below the ring plane."

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit Cassini-Huygens Home.


Leadership Lessons from Tony Dungy

"Tony Dungy is always cool and calm when addressing his players. He never swears or berates his team. He treats his staff and players like professionals. It’s the way all people should be treated.

When players are given respect they return that respect. A lot of leaders (coaches) try to command respect through fear. Fear based leadership usually breaks down and causes dissention. Fear is not an emotion that people want to hold within themselves, so they eventually will rebel – mentally then physically. If a coach can command respect through positive action then the players will willingly follow because they are emotionally in agreement with the coach’s philosophy. They understand his thought process and the goals they are committing themselves to...

Dungy is an abnormality in a “Yell First” football tradition. That’s what makes him a great person. He built his team his own way. He trusted his beliefs and didn’t try to copy anyone else. Being the first black coach to ever win a Superbowl is not the greatest part of his achievement. His greatest achievement is showing the rest of the world that dignity and respect should go hand in hand with leading an organization."

Read more in this Mind Body Blog post.


Bracketology Breakdown from Brother Sam

Here are the latest March Madness NCCA college basketball brackets projections and some observations from my brother, Sam who (is really good at this and) explains:

"I try to match them up into regions - so that teams from same conference won't play each other until the regional final. Some seeds reflect this.

Some other observations:

I try not to look at RPIs, SOS, etc. if I can help it. I like looking at quality wins especially out of conference, and how they play collectively against their conference teams.

West Virginia is in for only one reason - beating UCLA - but they better win some games soon or they will be gone.

Don't see what the love affair a lot of people have with the MVC and especially Creighton. What great win do they have other than Xavier at home? None on the road against a team outside the conference. SIU has beaten Virginia Tech. The biggest win was by MO State who beat Wisconsin on a neutral court. If Creighton stumbles in conference tournament, they will be out too. Two not three from the MVC.

VCU, who won the CAA regular season may be odd team out if they lose to Drexel in CAA tournament. Their out of conference record is not good against "bubble" and other potential tournament teams - losses to Xavier, Toledo, Appalachian State and Bradley. In the end, only two teams will go from the CAA.

GA Tech makes it this time. Good non-conference wins against Purdue and Memphis on neutral courts. Also beat Georgia at home. GA Tech, Clemson or Florida State will get a bid - the only conference having a team with a losing conference record.

Xavier should get a bid even if it loses in their conference tournament and they deserve it. Non conference wins include VCU, Villanova, Illinois and Kansas State.

Kansas State is out. A closer look shows they haven't beaten anyone out of conference except USC. Unbalanced conference record will keep them out when compared to all other deserving teams.

Appalachian State beat Virginia, Vanderbilt on neutral courts. And also beat VCU. Wouldn't you rather see what they can do in tournament than another team from the Big Ten, SEC or ACC or a third team from the MVC? I would.

Midwest (#1 region)

1 Ohio St - B10
2 Kansas- B12
3 S. Ill - MVC
4 Maryland - ACC
5 Marquette - BEAST
6 USC - P10
7 Boston College - ACC
8 Air Force - MWC
9 Stanford - P10
10 Purdue - B10
11 West Virginia - BEAST
12 Davidson - Southern (Champ)
13 Sam Houston State - SLand (Champ)
14 Toledo - MAC (Champ)
15 Austin Peay - OVC (Champ)
16 Central Ct. St - NEC (Champ)
16 Mississipi Valley State - SWAC (Champ)

West - #2 Region

1 UCLA - P10
2 Georgetown - BEAST
3 Nevada - WAC (Champ)
5 Vanderbilt - SEC
6 Butler - Horizon (Champ)
7 Virginia - ACC
8 Notre Dame - BEAST
9 Texas Tech - B12
10 Illinois - B10
11 Old Dominion - CAA
12 Georgia Tech - ACC
13 Gonzaga - WCC (Champ)
14 Long Beach St - BW (Champ)
15 Oral Roberts - Mid Con (Champ)
16 Weber State - Big Sky (Champ)

South (#3 Region)

1 Wisconsin - B10
2 Florida - SEC
3 Memphis - USA (Champ)
4 Duke - ACC
6 Virginia Tech - ACC
7 Texas - B12
8 Louisville - BEAST
9 Arizona - P10
10 VCU - CAA
11 Syracuse - BEAST
12 Creighton - MVC
13 Winthrop - Big South (Champ)
14 Penn - Ivy (Champ)
15 South Alabama - Sun (Champ)
16 E. Tenn St - Atl Sun (Champ)

East - #4 Region

1 North Carolina - ACC
2 Texas A & M - B12
3 Pitt - BEAST
4 Wash St - P10
5 Tennessee - SEC
6 Indiana - B10
7 Oregon - P10
8 Mich St - B10
9 Villanova - BEAST
10 Kentucky - SEC
11 Xavier - A10
12 Drexel - CAA
13 Holy Cross - Patriot (Champ)
14 Vermont - Am East (Champ)
15 Marist - MAAC (Champ)
16 Del St - MEAC (Champ)

Last 4 In

West Virginia
Georgia Tech

Last 4 Out

Missouri State
Florida State
Kansas State

Love to hear comments and any apparent mistakes or disagreements."

A Great Pick-Up Line

"Playing pick-up basketball is more than good exercise and camaraderie. It's a microcosm of society in general and the business office in particular...I constantly find myself evaluating employees and new contacts against the same criteria that I value in good teammates on the basketball court. Are they team players or are they selfish? Do they understand their own strengths, weaknesses, and role? Can they put points on the board? Will they take on tough assignments? Do they help others out? Are they good communicators and a positive influence? Are they winners or whiners?

However, there's more at play here than personnel profiling. There are a number of leadership principles that translate from the basketball court to the business office...here are my top five:

See the court...
A true leader is not only constantly looking for the new opportunities, but they're also looking to get the ball to teammates who are best positioned to take advantage of the situation...

Score points and keep score
Pick-up basketball is all about winning the game and holding the court. It's no different in business....

It's OK to wear short pants and canvas sneakers.
Sure, the young players can run faster and jump higher, but old-school fundamentals may be more necessary today than ever...

The whole is greater than the parts...

Don't lose touch.
Your job, your skin color, and your bank account mean nothing in a pick-up basketball game...I know how easy it can be to become disconnected. Playing pick-up ball reminds me of the constant need to stay in touch..."

Read more in Shirts and Skins found via this post from Be Excellent™.

Buy the Client Lunch - At Her Office

"One tool for getting an audience to hear you out early in the selling process is bringing the story to them. Instead of asking a potential customer to take time out of their busy day to travel to a meeting, eliminate any time or effort barriers - buy them lunch at their office. Pick up some pizzas, have sandwiches delivered or order from the prospect’s cafeteria. Free food is a surprisingly strong draw and will make it much easier to get a foot in the door.

Even better, have the prospective customer arrange a conference room and also invite the prospect’s colleagues along for free food in exchange for 45-60 minutes of listening about a cool new offering..."

Great advice from this 2-Speed post.

HR Problem Prevention Checklist

"Management concerned with employment law liability should be focused on prevention: preventing lawsuits, preventing employee morale problems, and preventing the day-to-day hassles personnel issues can create. The road to success in this area is not paved with good intentions, however. Employers must understand basic human resources principles to avoid the employment law pitfalls that await.

Ensure someone in the organization is familiar with human resources...
Implement legally sound employment documents...
Require employment candidates to pass a background check...
Provide discrimination, harassment, and retaliation prevention training to all employees...
Conduct a wage-hour audit...
Mmanage leave and accommodation issues...
Consider requiring employees to sign a mandatory arbitration agreement...
Ensure all employee benefit plans comply with ERISA...
Communicate. Yes, it bears repeating..."

Read more in this Shaw Valenza LLP article found via the Employment Law Information Network newsletter.