• QUARTERLY PERFORMANCE REVIEWS ARE INCREASINGLY BECOMING THE NORM FOR GROWING COMPANIES. Notwithstanding the time burden, productivity impact and stress at all levels, “honest, constructive feedback is one of the most valuable gifts anyone can give or receive… Younger employees crave it… and the process gives managers a chance to provide candid assessments – the value of which increases exponentially with open exchange of feedback.” A few tips: (1) Encourage ongoing feedback during the quarter to avoid evaluation based mostly on what the reviewer happens to remember from the prior few weeks; (2) Ensure that reviewer input is anonymous when compiled, especially at the peer level; (3) Focus as much as possible on target steps forward, versus dwelling on past weaknesses, except as a basis for specific improvement. The objective is that mentees accept the integrity of your company’s process and are motivated to improve next quarter performance metrics. DCG designs and implements effective Performance Evaluation programs.  [ENTREPRENEUR.COM – July 21, 17] 
  • THE INSULAR WORLD OF AMERICAN HIGHER-EDUCATION, where leftist liberals control most classrooms and students are essentially taught “there is only one right way to think,” is facing stark questions and partisan divide over whether colleges & universities “perform a positive social function” at all. A July Pew Poll found 8% of conservatives “now believe that our institutions have a negative effect on the country” (while 72% of Democrats think the opposite).  For five decades, “the cliché of a child coming home for the holidays with all sorts of ideas collected from a freshman sociology seminar typically ends with a polite smile or headshake from the parents – and another tuition check. At least parents could tell themselves, the kids were learning something, and families tolerated the political biases of college professors & administrators because there was an implicit understanding that students would be challenged and educated, whether directly or indirectly, in areas that would eventually prepare them for life as engaged citizens and productive members of the labor force… But today, considering how far academic standards have eroded on campuses, it’s difficult to justify the undergraduate degree as a necessary vehicle to the middle & upper-middle class…rather than just an extremely expensive four-year ritual required for an individual to be rewarded with the keys to cosmopolitan society and all the avocado-toast-filled brunches anyone could ask for.”   [NATIONAL REVIEW –  July 15, 17]
  • IN THE LEGAL SECTOR, SOME 50 MERGERS HAVE OCCURRED SO FAR THIS YEAR, despite the statistics that 70% “fail to achieve intended synergies… and fewer than half of all law firm mergers deliver their expected value because of incompatibility,” according to a McKinsey study. Beyond unrealistic assumptions in projecting market growth and in lost clients from integration, DCG experience is that the most critical factor in failure is usually the degree to which firm ‘cultures’ are disparate in any or all of the following areas: (1) work and work/life balance expectations; (2) trust in fairness of the firms’ compensation systems; (3) commitment to continuity of client service & quality; and/or (4) commitment to consistency in treatment of support personnel. DCG have decades of experience in conducting Cultural Congruity Diligence for businesses and professional firms contemplating merger or acquisition – in an arena where failing to plan is unequivocally planning to fail.   [JDSUPRA.COM – July 27, 17]
  • CHINA, WITH OVER 175 MILLION SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS, an extensive archive of records on its citizens, and essentially no legal hurdles, is developing Artificial Intelligence technologies with a “well-organized & funded plan to make China the global leader in A.I. by 2030.” Initiatives include advance prevention of crime through “predictive analytics, facial recognition and re-identification of the same person in different places or clothes to flag suspicious characters in real time,” as well as deploying facial recognition – in schools to counter cheating, on streets to fight jaywalking, and even in bathrooms to limit toilet paper waste. “However you feel about China’s Minority Report style plans, A.I. is making the world safer to protect privacy, secure financial transactions, prevent hacking, and eliminate at least 90% of traffic fatalities from self-driving cars.” [FUTURISM.COM – July 25, 17]  
  • AFFECTIONATE DOG LOVERS NOTE: “doggie face-licks can and do carry a long list of bacteria which ca severely impact human health.” Queen Mary University London research notes that “dogs spend half their life with noses in nasty corners or hovering over dog droppings so their muzzles are full of bacteria, viruses and germs of all sorts, with power to cause a range of dangerous diseases, some deadly” – particularly bacteria that lives in a dog’s saliva.  [LEVINE BRIEFING NOTES – July 31, 17] 
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: According to Bloomberg Businessweek stats, “foreign buyers and recent immigrants snapped up $250 billion in U.S. homes and apartments in the two years ended March, 2017.”

        For those who appreciate ‘real card magic’ – check out this “CARD MECHANIC” https://biggeekdad.com/2017/07/amazing-card-shark