• EFFECTIVE PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT depends on some fundamental tactics which too many (untrained) managers fail to implement: (1) Most problems stem from “hiring people who don’t fit the company culture, then wasting time & effort trying to ‘fix’ them”; (2) Non-specific job descriptions, without measurable parameters, result in subjective evaluation based on personal biases; (3) Absence of regular mentoring (minimum monthly) to set next-immediate performance goals, and/or focusing on an evaluation form rather than the conversation about behavior inhibits employee incentive to “own their performance.”  Training for managers “leads directly to improved financial performance.”  [JRNL OF ACCOUNTANCY – Jul 14]
  • ANONYMOUS ONLINE CURRENCY BITCOIN IS FUELING THE EMERGENCE OF EXTORTION.  Cybercriminals have particularly targeted consumer business like restaurants & theaters with threats of “negative online reviews, complaints to BBB, harassing calls, telephone denial-of-service attacks, bomb threats, fraudulent delivery orders, vandalism, even mercury contamination… unless the target agrees to pay a ‘tribute’ price by a specified date… Extortion is also being incorporated into all manner of cyber-attacks. Thieves are no longer content merely to hijack your computer * bandwidth or steal all your personal & financial data; increasingly, they are likely to hold important documents for ransom as well… From the fraudster’s perspective, the cost of these attacks is a stamp and envelope.” Technology & Creativity are two-edge swords.  [KREBS ON SECURITY – Jun 25, 14]
  • THE MAJORITY OF HUMANS CAN’T CARRY A TUNE. While almost all brains have the biological hardware to produce a wide range of sound, around 60% have difficulty with ‘pitch accuracy.’ “Research shows those most, regardless of musical training, are quite good at timing and note memory…but cannot reproduce the pitch, even when their ear knows better… The term for this error is imitative deficit, where brains associate a note heard with the wrong muscle movement in the voice” – basically just crossed wires, as if a computer keyboard says letter A but clicking it produces a B.  [DISCOVER – July/Aug 14]
  • BUT REALITY IS THAT MUSIC IS IN DEMISE ANYWAY. “ iTunes and other digital retailers would have you believe that the music experience was not affected by the format it is listened to on,” but digital download (fast-being supplanted by online streaming) has “forced listeners to disconnect from their music – not just physically, but mentally as well. While cuing up a playlist from a smart-phone or desktop certainly is easier than playing on LP, it has allowed us to stop paying attention to the art presented. Listening used to be a journey, enjoying a record from start to finish and understanding an album as a whole, finished piece. With the digital standard making music more accessible, more portable and instantly gratified, it has allowed the public to take it for granted and, sadly, become a secondary activity – background noise, nothing more than just something to have on while the listener surfs the internet, cleans the house, etc. In the process, as our physical & mental ties were cut, music has come to matter less & less, losing value and quality.”  [GETITONVINYL.COM – June 14]
  • AROUND A THIRD OF AMERICANS SUFFER FROM INSOMNIA,” waking up a number of times, which diminishes learning capacity and impacts the brain’s capacity to organize long-term memory. “The quality of sleep is reflected in daily energy, cycles of productivity, irritability, focus & concentration, attitude and health patterns.” Tips for better sleep: (1) No food, drink or exercise at least two hours before bedtime; (2) Cooler bedroom temperature; (2) Lighten the memory load by writing out a next-day prioritized to-do list; (4) Try a system of relaxation (like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CzFa_QKAEs ).  [BARRYEISEN.COM – Jun 24, 14]
  • “A PLURALISTIC DEMOCRACY that values religious freedom requires serious public accommodation of religious belief. But not every objection can be accommodated, not every religious person can have the laws tailor to his or her beliefs. This dilemma is exacerbated when corporations are granted religious liberty (as in the recent Hobby Lobby case). Exactly which ones deserve exactly how much is sure to be the subject of future Supreme Court jurisprudence.”   [BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK – Jul 7, 14]
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK:   Reminisce 100 quick movie clips in ten minutes – some of the “best and most memorable lines ever” may bring teary eyes. http://www.youtube.com/embed/594Oxq4c0XA?feature=player_embedded%20.

 Over half the homes in America (over 70 million) are at risk from natural disasters – earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc – and nearly one in seven at ‘high risk’ – according to the U.S. Geological survey.