• PROMOTION TO A MANAGEMENT POSITION IS A DIFFICULT SHIFT for many employees who have previously been advanced for “their skills and ability to get tasks done on their own or in small teams.” And the Peter Principle – promotion to a level of competence one step too far – is always a core risk for organizations. So ‘Coaching’ is often a critical factor in optimizing a manager’s performance, especially relating to soft skills like “listening, observing, building rapport, constructive analysis & feed-back, empathy, supportive encouragement, and holding others accountable.” DCG experience is that a company’s Performance Evaluation process is the most important start-point in getting managers to appreciate the ‘what’s-in-it-for-me’ element and buy-in to the value of coaching – for themselves, and for workers under their tutelage. This area has been a core expertise and service to clients for decades; call for a courtesy analysis of whether your process is as effective as should be. [GLOWAN NWSLTR – Aug 26,14] 
  • A CLASSICAL MUSIC COMEBACK?  Mood music, once known as Muzak, has been piped into consumer environments since the 1930s, devised “to influence the feel of shops and cater to customers’ tastes. The idea is to entertain, and thereby prolong the time people spend.” A new study commissioned by Ebay involved nearly 2,000 participants who simulated shopping while listening to varying background music. Since Ebay “wants consumers to avoid unhealthy influences when shopping online, it has blended birdsong, dreamy music and the sound of a rolling train (thought to be pleasant but not overly seductive) to help them buy more sensibly.” The new study, surprisingly, found that shoppers exposed to “classical music… caused them to overestimate the quality of goods on offer and to pay more than they should.” So it’s inevitable that retail environments will soon be piping in  more Chopin and Beethoven than ‘pop.’  [THE ECONOMIST – Aug 23, 14] 
  • SOME $2 TRILLION IN U.S.-BASED MULTINATIONAL PROFITS NOW SIT IN OFFSHORE CASH ACCOUNTS, “representing, by credible estimates, in excess of $500 billion in unpaid taxes…growing by an approximate $90 billion a year… In reality, much of the untaxed income is actually earned in the U.S. before elaborate accounting schemes siphon it overseas,” but the world’s richest corporations (including Apple, Microsoft, Pfizer, ExxonMobil, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, General Electric, Goldman Sachs) are allowed to not only ‘defer’ taxes until/unless/if ever funds are ‘repatriated’ in America, they also get U.S. tax deductions on expenses of maneuvering this self-dealing gimmick. Moreover, these funds “are often banked in Manhattan by the offshore subsidiaries themselves, where used to invest in stocks and U.S. Treasury Bonds.” Congress (both parties) talk a lot about ‘comprehensive reform’ but always back down to lobbyists; a research study by Princeton & Northwestern Universities reported that “organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on Federal decision-making, while the interests of average Americans appear to have only a miniscule, statistically non-significant impact.” (Some surprise!) Meanwhile, corporate profits were up over $90 billion last year, while their tax payments actually fell by $15 billion.   [ROLLING STONE – Sep 11, 14] 
  • “THE BRAIN YOU GO TO SLEEP WITH EACH NIGHT IS NOT THE SAME AS THE BRAIN YOU WAKE UP WITH,” since the brain adapts to stimuli from every experience we encounter or dream. Neuroscientists fret over whether today’s internet, social networking and videogames are more corruptive to young minds – “making them frivolous or indolent or filling their minds with nonsense” – than has been “every other social upheaval in modern history.” The jury is still out, but one school of thought is that “smartphones and social networks are sucking users into an unsatisfying digital facsimile of reality, frying their memories, atrophying their social skills, and generally rotting their brains… Concerns include games making players violent, Facebook making users lonely, socially inept & envious, and that search engines are immersing a generation in shallow answers to trivial questions while crowding out the capacity for deep serious thought.”  [THE ECONOMIST – Aug 30, 14] 
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK:     “Low levels of Vitamin D can significantly increase the risk for Alzheimers disease and other forms of dementia by over 50%,” according to a five-year research study of seniors over age 73 at University of Exeter. 

  Newest scientific perspective on earth, our solar system, and the ‘supercluster’ we’re part of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rENyyRwxpHo