Silveria says “Get Out.”

ron palinkas ron palinkasThe leader of the Air Force Academy delivered a poignant and stern message on race relations in a speech to thousands of cadets after someone wrote racial slurs on message boards outside the dorm rooms of five black students.

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria warned students that he would not tolerate racism at the academy and invoked some of the racial tensions that have been gripping the country. At one point, he insisted that everyone in the audience take out their phones and record him so his message was clearly heard.

“If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, get out,” he said Thursday as audience members looked on with rapt attention.

Air Force security personnel are investigating the incident after the slurs were discovered Tuesday. Racial slurs are illegal in the military and can bring charges of violating orders and conduct unbecoming an officer.  Officials have said they cannot provide any more information about what happened because of the ongoing investigation. No additional details were released Friday.Silveria said he called the families of the five prep school students who were the objects of the slurs.

When Silveria took over as the school’s leader, he told The Gazette: “My red line is cadets who can’t treat each other with respect and dignity.”

Silveria enrolled in the academy a year after it graduated its first female cadets. His class was 7 percent black compared with 8 percent in 2015. About 29 percent of the academy’s cadets were minorities in 2015, according to the school’s website. Ten percent were Hispanic, 10 percent Asian and Pacific Islander and 1 percent Native American.  The preparatory school has a 10-month program for potential cadets who applied for the four-year academic and military program at the academy but were not accepted. The goal is to help them meet academy requirements.

The prep school usually accepts about 240 students. The academy itself has about 4,000 students.

Silveria has flown combat missions in Iraq and the Balkans and formerly served as the vice commander at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

The Deming Way’s New Battleground–The Defense Department

Has Dr. W. Edwards Deming finally found his match in the agency that gave us the $436 hammer and the $1,118 stool-leg cap?

The legendary sage of quality control, now halfway through his 88th year, appears to think not. Last week in an Arlington conference hall, he devoted four days to lecturing 420 senior Pentagon officials on how the “Deming Way” could build efficiency and morale in the nation’s armed forces. It was his first foray into this most formidable of Washington bureaucracies, part of continuing efforts there to stretch resources and reduce waste.  In his trademark rumpled suit and crusty voice, Deming expounded his gospel of “doing it right the first time,” bringing rank-and-file employees into the decision-making process, of using statistical analysis to track down and eradicate faults in a production line. He sketched graphs on a projection system. He paced the podium. Pregnant pauses abounded, in which the master gazed enigmatically at the assemblage of note-scribblers. There were generals and admirals among them, but few in the audience had the courage to raise questions.

“There is no substitute for knowledge,” Deming told them over and over. The current ways of doing things in this country just don’t produce the ability to analyze, to render judgments and to improve, he said. “That’s not thinking, that’s cramming your head full of answers. I’d rather Johnny could tell me why.”  The Pentagon could emerge as the ultimate test for Deming, who for close to half a century has been trotting the globe to spread his dogma. Defense Department officials concede that change comes slower there than in private corporations. And some of Deming’s ideas — he scorns many of the features of competitive bidding, for instance — rub against the grain of federal law and years of Pentagon practice.  But Deming has never been one to turn away from a challenge. Besides, he already has a few disciples inside the department. “I light a number of fires,” he once said. “Some of them are continuing to burn.”

American companies began seeking out Deming in significant numbers in 1980 as they cast about for ways to counter foreign competition. He is now a valued consultant at key Fortune 500 companies. Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. swear by him. His public seminars, held around the country, are well attended, even with a door charge of up to $1,035 per person.He is a home-grown American, a son of Sioux City, Iowa. But learning from him is about the same as turning to the Japanese. That’s because Japan discovered Deming almost four decades ago, embraced his ideas, and today largely credit him for why the words “Made in Japan” have been transformed from a cause of ridicule to the world’s premier mark of quality.

Deming, many people say, is yet another example of the Japanese borrowing an American innovation and making it pay.  Educated in math and science (he holds a doctorate in physics), Deming devised his theories on quality control in the 1930s, but in the early years he found few ready listeners. For that, he had to wait until June 1950.  Japan at that time was still locked in poverty created by the devastation of World War II. Product quality was at rock-bottom. Economic planners thought it would be a miracle if the pre-war standard of living could be restored. Searching for ideas, a technical society there heard of Deming’s approach and invited him to Japan. He came, under the auspices of the headquarters of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who was still ruling Japan as head of the allied occupation.

From a carved wooden lecturn, Deming lectured to 220 eager engineers who crowded into a sweltering Tokyo auditorium. Later during the visit, he addressed a meeting of about 45 top leaders of business. “I told them that Japanese industry could develop in a short time,” he recalled with satisfaction to an interviewer in 1980. “I told them that they could invade the markets of the world and have manufacturers screaming for protection in five years. I was, in 1950, the only man in Japan who believed that.”  In Japan, those lectures are today recalled as something equivalent to Moses’ descent with the 10 Commandments. Within months, the Japanese say, companies were using Deming’s ideas to ferret out waste that had kept the economy subdued. Rejected products at the end of an assembly line grew fewer and fewer. Energy consumption dropped and quality rose, clearing the way for the vaunted post-war “economic miracle.”

When Deming visits Japan today, he is welcomed almost as a head of state, with television coverage, speeches and rows of bowing dignitaries. His image and works are known to millions of Japanese students. He has been decorated by Emperor Hirohito. There is even a Deming Prize, awarded annually by a technical society since 1951, only a year after his arrival in Japan. It is the highest honor that a Japanese company can receive.  “He is considered like a god,” says Daisaku Harada, director of the U.S. office of the Ja- pan Productivity Center.

But just what are these divine ideas? Partly, they are the application of numbers. Deming is a statistician who believes that by the painstaking monitoring and analysis of all aspects of production, it is possible to understand its dynamics, identify its weak points and approach zero-defect performance.  Deming students study his “14 points” on industrial management. But by far the single most important lesson he imparts is: Do it right the first time. Many American companies boast of how their factories are filled with inspectors who assure quality.  But Deming counters, with his customary impatience, that this proves quality doesn’t exist there. It is always cheaper, he says, to do a job right the first time than to let defects enter the stream and then have to filter them out.

Much of Deming’s message concerns labor relations. All any worker wants, he says over and over, is the privilege of doing a good job. But the system works against them. Production quotas create fear that leads people on the factory floor to sell quality short. Workers aren’t given the chance to offer simple solutions to gnawing problems. In short, management is to blame for most of the problems.  Deming also peddles cooperation over competition. Rather than switching from supplier to supplier to get the best price, he counsels that a company does better to settle on one supplier and build a long-term relationship based on loyalty and trust. He also argues against competition within the work place. “Employee of the month” awards and the like create divisions in the work force that impede cooperation, he says.

Many of these are common sense, Deming concedes. But he says still people ignore them. In short, quality must become a way of life.  Through the 1960s and 1970s, Deming continued to go largely unnoticed in this country. Then, on June 24, 1980, NBC News broadcast a special report on the dynamo across the Pacific titled, “If Japan Can … Why Can’t We?” It helped generate America’s interest in ways Japanese.  “It would be hard to think of a more influential television show,” says Robert Chapman Wood, president of Modern Economics Co., a Massachusetts consulting firm. “You’d have to go back to Edward R. Murrow.”

Among the people appearing on-camera was W. Edwards Deming. Executives at Ford watched and decided to invite him to Detroit. He came, with the condition that he would deal with the top-level people. Today, says James Bakken, corporate quality vice president at Ford, Deming continues to meet with the auto maker about 10 times a year as “our consultant, our catalyst, our philosopher and a burr under our saddle when we’re not making enough progress.”  Bakken says Deming helped bring about a fundamental shift toward quality at Ford. Today many Ford floor inspectors have been shifted to other functions, he said; workers on the assembly line know it is their job to build quality in at each step. Outside rating firms have noted a significant increase in the quality of Ford cars in the ensuing years.

Deming began getting clients in other U.S. companies that were finding that world leadership was no longer a birthright. General Motors hired him. So did Nashua Corp. of New Hampshire. Campbell Soup Co. sent more than 400 of its managers from some 25 plants to Deming seminars and has since trained more than 10,000 of its employees in Deming’s ideas.  Still, the Deming Way remains a minority path in American industry. Some managers don’t accept that quality is a real problem; others feel Deming is not the only one who knows how to achieve it (there are three other major quality gurus: Joseph Juran, Philip Crosby and Armand Feigenbaum). “There are certainly a lot of organizations that have as high standards of quality and competitiveness” but have not signed on with Deming, says Doug Olesen, president of Battelle Memorial Institute.

And not everyone is so certain that Deming was the key that unlocked success for Japan. Long before Deming entered the scene, the country had shown itself capable of startling eco- nomic strides, rising out of feudalism to become, in just a few generations, a world-class military power that challenged the United States. Some Japanese scholars say the country overdid it with statistical analysis in the 1950s. A few give more credit to the work of Juran. He, however, never had a prize named after him.

Moreover, many of Deming’s ideas seem to be restating basic tenets of Japanese culture. His crusade against “variation” in products may strike a common chord in a country known for stressing of the group over the individual. He demands uncommon discipline and devotion, traits found in great quantities in Japan. (Deming denies this “cultural” argument, though, contending that his ideas have universal application.)

And Japanese may feel more at ease with Deming the man than Americans do. Whether the subject is martial arts, flower-arranging or nuclear physics, the cult of the infallable sensei, or teacher, reigns on in that country’s schools. The Japanese themselves often note that their students want teachers who have supreme confidence in their own ideas. Japanese educational commissions talk of introducing a more inquisitive approach, but the old patterns continue.

In the United States, however, some of Deming’s students are gnawed by boredom and think his lectures ramble. Others feel put off by his seeming insistence that, in his presence, they assume the status they held in elementary school. He demands total attention and commitment. He does not suffer fools gladly and is known to pose questions that seem to ask for a particular response, then scold the person brave enough to speak up with that wrong answer.

But for many people, the medium is to a degree the message. “If people see that kind of strength of commitment, they’re moved, like with any evangelist,” said C. Jackson Grayson, chairman of the American Productivity Center, a privately financed group in Houston. “If I were advising Deming, I wouldn’t tell him to ease up.” Deming’s boosters concede that there is a scent of the mystical about him, that for his students believing can be as important as any specific rules that he teaches.

Many initial skeptics grow to feel that beneath the leathery exterior lies a mother lode of warm-heartedness. People jockey for a nod in their direction that might indicate the master is pleased with them. At seminars, the man is invariably deluged with requests to autograph his book. True to his credo, if he flubs an inscription, he is known to throw the book away and pick up another one.

Several years ago, Deming began giving seminars for the U.S. Navy, and now has followers in number there. Their proudest accomplishment is the North Island Naval Aviation Depot, a California facility for overhauling airplanes and helicopters. Navy officials say that through application of the do-it-right-the-first-time principle, a 52-week backlog at the facility has been slashed to two weeks and better quality is resulting.

Deming came to enlighten the Pentagon group here last week on invitation of Dr. Robert B. Costello, a former executive director for purchasing at GM who last year became undersecretary of Defense for acquisition. Costello was exposed to Deming’s ideas in Detroit and said he believes they could work some good in the Defense Department. Recently, he awarded Deming the department’s first quality award.

Seated in the darkened hall at the Twin Bridges Marriott last week, Deming’s students responded with a mix of reverence and boredom. In conversations during a break, some suggested that however valid Deming’s ideas may be, size, politics and federal law will make sure they are slow in taking root in the Pentagon.

For instance, Deming says quality would rise if the department would research poten- tial suppliers for a particular product, settle on one as the best and embark on a long-term, cooperative relationship with it. Federal contracting rules, however, require competition. Moreover, in items key to national security, an argument is made that a second producer must always be nurtured, lest a single one prove unable to meet the enormous volume demands that would appear overnight in wartime.

Costello remains upbeat. He is at the head of a team that is trying to bring a new concept of “total quality management” to the department, a task that has new urgency in view of the current budget constraints. Seated next to Deming last week, he told reporters: “This is one of the greatest opportunities for change that I’ve ever seen. An acceptance of the fact that we’re going to change is critical for us.”

But what does Deming think? Can people at the Defense Department really change?

Deming’s answer suggested that with one of his disciples now in charge, the answer was obvious. “Under Dr. Costello,” he murmured, “they will learn.”

YuMi takes Center Stage

Like in previous performances held under the fresco-covered ceiling of the beautifully elegant Teatro Verdi, in Pisa, Italy, musicians sit attentive, instruments at the ready, eyes focused on the Maestro. Soloists stand ready as well, waiting for the conductor’s upward motion with the baton to begin. Yet this is no ordinary performance, and no ordinary conductor. Here, ABB’s YuMi, the world’s first truly collaborative dual-arm robot, is making its conducting debut.

That was the scene last night, as YuMi directed Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli in a program of Verdi at a charity concert for the gala of the First International Festival of Robotics. Over 800 illustrious guests from around the world enjoyed the program titled A breath of hope: from the Stradivarius to the robot.” Among the guests of this special performance was ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer under whose leadership YuMi was developed when he was responsible for the turn-around of the Robotics business.

“In one of the most beautiful theaters of Italian tradition, Maestro Bocelli sang as YuMi directed “La Donna è Mobile,” the famous aria from Verdi’s “Rigoletto.” YuMi continued conducting as soloist Maria Luigia Borsi sang the classic soprano aria “O mio babbino caro” from “Gianni Schicchi” by Puccini. To conclude, YuMi also conducted a passage from Mascagni’s intermezzo from the opera “Cavalleria Rusticana.”
Maria Luigia Borsi on stage with YuMi  A 15-minute interlude in the evening program, this unique event showed that collaboration between humans and robots can work perfectly.
Maestro Bocelli, was exuberant in his praise of the performance. “It was so much fun to perform with YuMi, ABB’s collaborative robot. It showed that a robot could really conduct an orchestra, but only with the excellent work of very talented engineers and a real maestro. Congratulations to the team that pulled this off,” he said afterwards.

“I think tonight we’re truly making history and writing the future of robotics applications,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer after the performance. “YuMi demonstrated how intuitive, how self-learning this machine is – how wonderful our software really is in learning the movement of a conductor, sensing the music, and really conducting an entire team.”

Conducting an orchestra is one of the highest forms of art – it is about shaping the diverse voices of the musicians into a single expression in service to the composer. YuMi is one of the highest forms of robotics technology, changing the way the world looks at human-robot collaboration. The two forms coming together so smoothly during the performance is a testimony to the evolving nature of how man and machine can work together in entirely new ways.  Maestro Andrea Colombini, director of the Lucca Philharmonic Orchestra, who helped prepare YuMi for the event, was excited by YuMi’s sophisticated technology. “Setting up the interaction between the elbow, forearm and wrist of the robot, making use of its versatility in repeated and demanding attempts to break down the upbeats and downbeats, was very successful,” he said. The gestural nuances of a conductor have been fully reproduced at a level that was previously unthinkable to him.

YuMi achieved a very high level of fluidity of gesture, with an incredible softness of touch and expressive nuancing. This is an incredible step forward, given the rigidity of gestures by previous robots and proves how easily YuMi can be programmed to do the most delicate jobs in electro- mechanic assembly.  YuMi’s performance was developed in two steps. In rehearsals, Colombini’s movement were captured with a process called “lead-through programming,” where the robot’s two arms are guided to follow the motions with great attention to detail; these movements were then recorded. The second step involved fine-tuning the movements in ABB’s RobotStudio software, where the motions were synchronized to the music. With ABB’s technical expertise, the lead-through programming let Colombini focus on doing what he does best, bringing the music to life.

The first International Festival of Robotics has been a place for spreading awareness of robotics, and of robotics applications, including collaborative industrial robots like YuMi.  While this performance gives an inspiring peek at the future, it is unlikely robots will ever prove capable of combining the scholarship, artistry, technique, interpretation and charisma of a skilled human conductor. The simple goal is to develop industrial robots that are easier to use and perform better with less human intervention.

Just as YuMi delighted the Maestro, robots bring unique experiences and excitement to their worlds.


The 1st International Robotics Festival in Pisa, Italy, September 7-13 aims to spread awareness and develop knowledge in this field in all areas and applications. Institutions, universities, museums, foundations and many research institutes have come together to bring about this unique and comprehensive event. The rich program has included conferences and debates, both scientific and didactic, a film program, educational robotics exhibitions and applied robotics demonstrations.

Why I CC’d You…

How Many Emails Are Sent Every Day


Statistics, extrapolations and counting by the Radicati Group from February 2017 estimate the number of email users worldwide was 3.7 billion, and the amount of emails sent per day (in 2017) to be around 269 billion.  205 billion email messages per day means almost 2.4 million emails are sent every second and some 74 trillion emails are sent per year.   By contrast, the Radicati Group’s estimate for 2015 was 205 billion emails per day and the estimate for 2009 247 billion emails sent per day.

DMR offers these other fascinating statistics on email, compiled in August 2015:

  • First email system: 1971
  • Average office worker receives 121 emails a day
  • Percentage of email that is spam: 49.7%
  • Percentage of emails that have a malicious attachment: 2.3%
  • Top country where spam is generated: United States
  • Top country where spam is generated (per capita): Belarus
  • Open rate for email sent in N.Am: 30.6%
  • Mobile click-to-open for US marketing email: 13.7%
  • Desktop click-to-open for US marketing email: 18%
  • Average open for political emails: 22.8
  • Length of subject line for highest read rate: 61 – 70 characters
  • Top day for email volume: Cyber Monday
  • Company that sent the most per user: Groupon
  • Percentage of mobile users who read an email based on subject line: 33%
  • Percentage of opened emails that are opened on a desktop: 55.2%
  • Percentage of opened emails that are opened on a smartphone: 25%
  • Percentage of opened emails that are opened on a tablet: 7.3%
  • Most popular mobile device for email opens:  iPhone (with 33%)
  • Percentage of users who made a purchase based upon an email received on their mobile device: 6.1%
  • Most effective day of the week to send an email (based on open rates): Saturday
  • Least effective day of the week to send an email (based on open rates): Friday
  • Least effective day of the week to send an email (based on click rates): Wednesday / Friday

How Clean is your Mirror?

How well do you really know yourself? Do you have clarity on how others see you?

As I often say in workshops which involve body language and voice (which is many of them, as it’s so important in many professional scenarios), most people don’t have a good idea of how they appear to others. This is simply because unless we have a camera follow us around, it’s very hard to see how we really move, gesture, use facial expressions etc. In terms of voice, a recording is rarely true to reality either. So unless, we have had feedback from others or worked with experts who have fed back to us and helped us to develop, we really have no idea. This extends beyond body language to behaviour and interaction too.

All the 1-2-1 work I do starts with understanding where my client is at and running a mocked up session that they and I feedback on i.e. the mirror. That might be a job interview, a meeting scenario, a presentation, amongst others. The key is to distil what is holding that person back – both in how they feel about how they come across and what they are communicating to others and the perception that creates.

Everybody can build their self-awareness, know what to work on and improve how the come across

Take my enthusiastic and experienced client working with me on her impact at interview who had no idea she cut off interviewer questions early and tapped the table with enthusiasm, as she started to answer. Or, my client needing to run working groups who continually rubbed his hands together as he spoke. They might be small things but they detract from making a positive impact on the person or people you are trying to engage. They decrease credibility too. Can you be sure you aren’t negatively impacting others and detracting from your great experience and skills?

What to work on

So we work on the less good things, those that are reducing personal impact, but until we are aware of them we can’t do a thing, so a ‘clean mirror’ is essential to develop and progress. We also work on the elements of impact to enhance, so my client achieves what they want to, whether that is the promotion, the new role, the decision in the meeting they want, by being the best they can be. The list of professional scenarios where personal impact and relationship building matter goes on.

What about you?

Imagine if you knew how to improve from where you’re at? How could that help your progression and confidence? Which professional scenario is holding you back?


Posted by Joanna Gaudoin

Product as a Service

ron palinkas global technical services managerMost of you who know me professionally will think the title is a mistake, I am a strong advocate of technical services and the role it plays in large and especially manufacturing organizations.  What I frequently preach is “Service as a Product.”  Today, I wanted to talk about Product as a Service (PaaS.)  Long before Saas and PSO systems came into being there was the first adopted PaaS — CPC programs or “cost per copy.”  In this sort of revenue model, the supplier produces all equipment up-front –copiers, paper, supplies of toner, even specialized machines for different department machines, all with one goal–billing a charge each time a meter clicks.  This has some benefits for the customer, there are no upfront charges, and they are paying to click the meter, so anything that interferes with that–toner, paper, machine fault, all interferes with that–they simply contact the supplier and ask for a new one.  Seems very little risk to customer although they are being charged a premium for the service.  The supplier benefits in that he has full control of the supply ecosystem– he picks the model copiers/printers, the toner, the paper, the number of machine–he just has to be sure that he can provide everything needed for the customer to produce “clicks.”

ron palinkas global technical services managerBut what I am referring to is a strategy of PaaS outside of this established realm.  A former employer Martin Engineering had a program called “Clean Belt.”  In other words the customer paid for a clean belt, not all of the equipment and adjustments that went into to it.  Just a guaranteed clean belt, week after week.  Why worry about the details when the only thing you are concerned about is results—keeping the belt clean.  Beyond programs such a clean belt and CPC, some companies have moved into the problem-solving mode of PaaS.  For example an electric pump company recently changed their tag line to “We move water.”  It is an interesting development in the product space.  I look forward to hearing of more and more innovative models.


What’s in a Name?

Bringing a product to the Chinese market can be a major hurdle for a burgeoning company looking to expand abroad. But according to new research from a University of Illinois expert in consumer behavior and global marketing, for a Western brand to crack the Chinese market, the name’s the thing.

“China is challenging for Western companies, and the name-translation issue is particularly challenging. But there is the potential to strategically decide whether you want to be seen as more of a Western brand, more of a Chinese brand, or seen as a brand seeking a happy medium,” he said.

The study, which will be published in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, examines how integrative responses to culture mixing, in the context of Western brand names translated into Chinese, can influence consumer evaluations of products.

“Specifically, we examine young, educated Chinese consumers’ evaluations of three types of brand name translations: by sound, by meaning and by sound plus meaning,” Torelli said.

Results show that younger, more educated and more cosmopolitan Chinese consumers tend to favor “phonosemantic” brand translations, which integrate both sound and meaning into a product’s name.

“What we found is that if you’re targeting young Chinese consumers, they tend to be more bicultural,” he said. “The established view of Chinese consumers is that they are conservative in the sense that they value tradition and conformity, whereas Westerners tend to be more open to new experiences or are individualistic in the sense that they emphasize new things like autonomy and pursuing one’s own goals.”

Younger Chinese consumers, however, were born after the one-child policy and have much more exposure to the West than previous generations.

“When they are the target, since they are much more Westernized in their values, they have a more bicultural mindset. So young Chinese consumers fall somewhere in the middle, modulating between those two poles of valuing tradition and embracing what’s new.”

Because of that, the researchers hypothesized that young Chinese consumers would respond much more favorably to cultural mixing.

“We found that the foreign name connects them with that aspect of cosmopolitanism that they valued, but the Chinese understanding of the brand also connects with their Chinese identity, which is also important to them,” Torelli said.

It also signals that the company is being sensitive to their language.

“It’s a foreign brand that’s making an effort, and is respecting and valuing the culture, thereby integrating the Western values of self-expression and autonomy while also paying tribute to traditional Chinese value of conservatism,” he said. “So there’s a double path that leads to positive feelings toward brands.”

But why go to the extra effort if you could just do a phonetic translation?

“That’s what most American companies do when they go somewhere else – they don’t rebrand, they simply translate the name,” Torelli said. “If the country uses the alphabet, then you don’t have to do anything. It’s maybe how you pronounce it that changes.”

The problem is that Chinese is a logographic language.

“There are no letters in Chinese. There are characters that have sounds,” he said. “So the project started out of the notion that, when you translate to Chinese, you have a decision to make at the get-go. And that decision is, when you tell whoever it is who’s going to take that name in China, do you translate it phonetically? If you take that route, then it’s going to sound weird to Chinese consumers. It will sound similar to how it sounds in the home market, but it will sound foreign to Chinese consumers. OK, then why don’t you just translate the meaning? Many brands have meaning, like Pampers or Suave. Others, like 7UP, don’t. These are names that are suggestive in the home language. So you can’t do a straightforward translation.”

According to Torelli, it all points to the broader cultural mixing phenomenon.

“The idea is that, more and more in everyday situations, we’re starting to see symbols of two cultures juxtaposed in the same place. Sometimes we like that, sometimes we don’t. And that has marketing and branding implications.”

For marketers, the benefit is if you’re an American or Western European company trying to break into the Chinese market, “you might want to think carefully about adopting a phonosemantic translation for your product,” he said.

“That might be the best approach, especially if you’re targeting this young, affluent, cosmopolitan market.”

Original Post:

Managing Remote Teams

Ron Palinkas Technical Services Manager Ron Palinkas
Ever heard the phrase, “Out of sight, out of mind?” Too often, that’s how remote employees feel. But just because they’re not physically present doesn’t means they should be left out of important conversations and culture-building activities.  Speaking from personal experience, I’ve seen what a morale damper it can be when colleagues perceive our company to be too “San Fran centric,” as one put it. Instead of being reactive, the best thing you can do is show you value each and every employee — regardless of where they work — on a consistent basis.
Here are five best practices you can implement right away.

1. Make communication seamless. 

This may seem obvious, but it bears repeating: If you have remote team members, invest in all of the necessary tools to ensure that they feel connected. From HipChat to Skype or Slack and Asana, finding ways to limit the amount of email and also help everyone understand where a project stands will make their lives — and yours — much easier

However, simply having the tools available isn’t enough: It’s about using them. It’s not an all-hands meeting if all the hands aren’t aware and plugged in, which is the home office’s responsibility to make happen. Hold your team accountable to themselves and to each other, and find ways to incentivize collaboration and communication across offices.

2. Cultivate social interaction. 

Ideas happen out loud. In a best-case scenario, your remote employees are working at satellite offices with other colleagues. But for individuals who are clocking in from a home office, the lack of conversation — whether on work topics or not — can limit perspective and squelch innovation. To improve the latter scenario, see if it’s possible to have your team member work out of a co-working space. Not only do these places offer access to conference rooms, a kitchen full of snacks and even a game room for that much-needed break, but they also help foster a clear distinction between home and office. If a co-working setup isn’t available, consider giving your team members an extra nudge to get out of the house (and resist the temptation of crawling back into bed) by sending them a gift card to a local coffee shop.

Alternatively, if you have the budget, consider purchasing a telepresence robot like the ones from Vgo or Double Robotics. These allow remote workers to have a physical presence in your office even when they’re miles away, so they can feel more connected. Even something as simple as engaging in office chatter can make a huge difference.

At one of my previous companies, when a team from another office was in town for a week-long project, they immediately set up an always-on video conferencing presence with their home colleagues. What made them great was that they didn’t allow distance to interfere with their ability to collaborate as a team.

3. Schedule regular visits. 

Commit to flying your remote employees to headquarters at least once each year. Make their trip worthwhile in terms of business goals and company meetings (it should go without saying that the best time to host an offsite is when everyone is present)  but allow time for team-building as well. Organize a happy hour, take them out to lunch and invite them to pinch-hit in the company softball league. On and off the field, make them feel like a part of the team.

By the same token, leadership must visit remote offices regularly. Don’t make these visits feel like inspection tours, but go for a few days, work remotely yourself and make sure your teams get to know you as more than a voice on a conference line.

4. Empower local involvement. 

Find creative ways for your remote employees to become involved as a representative of your company. Industry events and local conferences offer opportunities to elevate the profile of your business among the broader community. Similarly, show your team that their region is a priority by offering to sponsor a Meetup or host a networking happy hour where they can serve as your brand ambassador. By facilitating their attendance at job fairs, encouraging them to speak at a school’s career day or sponsoring their membership to a professional organization’s local chapter, you’ll help employees understand that their presence makes a difference.

5. Model inclusive behavior. 

At the end of the day, it all starts with you. Show your employees how to treat long-distance colleagues by checking in with your remote team members frequently, prompting collaboration and finding ways to include them even if it takes an extra step or a few dollars. It’s easy to continue talking with the people in the room if a call drops but model good behavior by making sure that everyone is able to participate before continuing. Once they see that you’ve prioritized inclusiveness, it will become part of your company culture.

Regardless of what you choose to implement, you must lay the foundation for a strong company culture that transcends physical location. By showing all employees that you value each and every person that represents your brand, you’ll set the tone for the months and years to come.

Organizational Behavior

Organizational behavior studies the factors that impact individual and group behavior in organizations and how organizations manage their environments. Organizational behavior provides a set of tools—theories and concepts—to understand, analyze, describe and manage attitudes and behavior in organizations.  The study of organizational behavior can improve and change individual, group and organizational behavior to attain individual, group and organizational goals.   Organizational behavior can be analyzed at three levels: the individual, the group and the organization as a whole. A full understanding must include an examination of behavioral factors at each level.   A manager’s job is to use the tools of organizational behavior to increase effectiveness, an organization’s ability to achieve its goal. Management is the process of planning, organizing, leading and controlling an organization’s human, financial, material and other resources to increase its effectiveness.