Tuesday, March 31, 2009

KEY REQUIREMENT OF INSURABLE INTEREST. Understand this key principles and rules in Life Insurance Law. Your Legal Guide of Life Insurance.

Understand the following key principles and rules in Life Insurance Law. Your Legal Guide of Life Insurance.


“Insurable interest” is a key principle in life insurance law. It is the requirement imposed by law (and by insurers) to prevent a “gaming” or “wagering” by one party on the life of another through insurance. Simply put, to insure the life of an individual, the applicant must have an insurable interest, i.e., a greater concern in the insured’s living than dying. Courts (and insurers) look for “a reasonable ground … to expect some benefit or advantage from the continuance of the [insured].” Stated in another manner, the public has an interest in preventing the contract of insurance where the applicant has no interest in the continuation of the insured’s life other than the prospect of profiting from the insured’s early demise.

It is almost universally accepted that a person has an unquestionable insurable interest in his or her own life. “The mere fact that a man of his own motion insures his life for the benefit of either himself or of another is sufficient evidence of good faith to validate the contract.” So, most applicant-insureds will face no insurable interest issue in obtaining life insurance. Nor will their naming of someone other than their estates as beneficiary usually pose a problem since it is generally assumed that the insured will not name as beneficiary someone who wished him harm or who would wager on his life. (Of course, if the policy was obtained expressly for the purpose of wagering or if the policy was really purchased by and soon after issue assigned to the third party
beneficiary, the courts will declare such a contract void. Public policy will not allow one to accomplish by fraudulent indirection what one clearly is prohibited from doing directly.)

Every state has either statutory law or case law on insurable interest and all require that either the beneficiary or applicant hold such interest at the inception of the contract. Most states do not require that either the beneficiary or assignee of a policy have an insurable interest. The majority of states hold that there is nothing conclusively illegal about an assignment to one who holds no insurable interest—even where the insured is paid value for the assignment. But some states do require that the assignee have an insurable interest—even though some of the same states allow the insured to name a beneficiary who does not have an insurable interest.

Because each state is free to create its own laws on insurable interest and because different state courts have come to different conclusions on the issue, it is impossible to develop rules that apply without question in every state. Most state laws do not question the insured’s insurable interest in his own life nor the interest of close relatives related by blood or law and bonded through natural love and affection with the insured. With respect to others, statutes favor persons who stand to profit by the insured’s continued life, suffer economic loss at the insured’s death, and who have more to gain by the insured’s continued life than death.

Generally, the following rules regarding insurable interest apply:
1) Blood relatives –
 A parent usually is deemed to have an insurable interest in his or her child’s life.
 A child usually is deemed to have an insurable interest in his or her parent’s life. (But once the child becomes a financially independent adult, it is not certain that all courts would hold that the blood relationship alone would be sufficient to meet insurable interest tests).
 A grandchild usually is deemed to have an insurable interest in the life of a grandparent.
 A grandparent usually is deemed to have an insurable interest in the life of a grandchild.
 Siblings usually are deemed to have an insurable interest in the life or lives of brothers and sisters.
 Other relatives, such as an aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or cousin, generally are not deemed to have an insurable interest merely by virtue of their blood relationship (but may have an insurable interest arising out of a business or financial transaction or out of financial dependency on the insured).

2) Marriage –
 Spouses have an insurable interest on each other’s lives.
 A few courts have held that a person engaged to another has an insurable interest in the other’s life.
 Other individuals related to the insured by marriage are usually deemed not to have an insurable interest based solely on a marriage relationship (but may have an insurable interest based on financial dependency). In-laws, for example, or step-sons or daughters, or foster children have no per se insurable interest based on family relationships but can obtain insurable interest because of dependency.

3) Business –
 A person (or business or financial enterprise) that would suffer a financial loss at the insured’s death will usually be deemed to have an insurable interest (assuming that the amount of coverage bears a reasonable relationship to the loss that would be suffered at the death of the insured). This means an employer can insure an employee, an employee can insure an employer, a partner can insure a partner, and a partnership can insure its partners, a surety can insure the life of his principal, and a member of a commercial enterprise can insure an individual if that person’s death would adversely affect the financial stability or profits of the enterprise. (Although a business generally has an insurable interest in the lives of officers, directors, and
managers, or others on whose continued life or lives the business’ success may depend upon, a corporation may not have insurable interest in the life of a shareholder who has no working or other financial relationship with the business. The point is that it is not the mere legal relationship that creates the insurable interest, but rather the “existence of circumstances which arise out of or by reason of” the entity.)
 Where business associates have insured each other to fund a purchase of the business interest at the insured’s death or the business itself has insured an owner to fund a purchase of that person’s interest at death, usually there will be an insurable interest.
 Creditors have been allowed to purchase policies on debtors as long as the relationship between the amount of insurance and the debt were proportionate. But at the point where the transaction was more of a wager than an effort to secure a debt (decided on a case by case basis), the policy is void as lacking insurable interest. So the closer the insurance amount is to the debt owed, the more likely insurable interest will not be an issue. (However, once the policy has been issued to a creditor, the creditor typically is allowed to keep the entire amount of the proceeds even if the amount exceeds the debt.)

Most states require that insurable interest be present only at the time when the life insurance contract is entered into (i.e., at the inception of the policy) and need not be present at the insured’s death. Therefore, a wife who is married at the time the insurance is purchased on her husband’s life but divorced from him at his death is not barred from collecting. Likewise, if a corporation purchases insurance on the life of a key employee, by definition there is an insurable interest at that time. If the employee later leaves the firm, the corporation can still collect the proceeds of the policy on his life.

Even if the insurable interest tests are met by a third party applicant, state law will void the contract if the insured is not informed and the insured’s consent is not obtained. Even a spouse cannot lawfully purchase a policy on the other spouse’s life in most states without that person’s knowledge and consent. However, there is a practical exception to this general rule: a parent can, without the child’s consent, purchase relatively small amounts of life insurance on the life of a minor child since the child does not have the legal capacity to consent and so such consent would be meaningless.

Passing of the contestable period will not bar an insurer from asserting a lack of insurable interest since the strength and validity of the incontestable clause is predicated on the existence of a valid contract. Absent insurable interest, there never was a valid contract.

An insurer has a legal duty to use reasonable care in ascertaining the existence of insurable interest and in assuring that the insured did in fact consent to the coverage. If the insurer does not use reasonable care in both duties, it may be liable for the harm that occurs to the insured and/or beneficiaries. For this (and sound underwriting economic) reason(s), insurance companies are often more stringent than state law requires.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Managing the Cost of IT with IT Optimization Techniques.

Most of the time IT optimization is seen as a cost reduction exercise, although examples can be found where IT optimization means increasing IT spending. All IT optimization initiatives will lead to a shift in IT costs.

 An IT optimization initiative may result (as part of a complete set of changes) in refocusing on activities around new technology and outsourcing cost-extensive activities like legacy maintenance and operations. This will lead to a shift in the cost distribution on the cost categories’ external service provider, personnel, and slightly on the cost categories’ communications and facilities, and probably (in the long term) to an overall cost reduction.

 An ABC study can discover that a large amount of the costs are made for the maintenance and operations of self-made applications; this can lead to a change in strategy towards package-based applications, which will lead to a shift from the cost category personnel towards especially software (licences, etc.).

IT optimization techniques
Different techniques can be used to reduce IT costs: standardization, consolidation, concentration, centralization, outsourcing (including out-tasking) and cost cutting. These are the most commonly used techniques.

Cost cutting is seen as a technique which focuses on the decreasing of IT costs. The targets are mostly short term, and focused internally on the IT organization. The effects on the value of IT and the business are not taken into account. Examples (real life) are:
 Decrease of IT budget for the following year of 15 per cent.
 Decrease of IT personnel of 10 per cent.
 No external personnel for the rest of the year.
Cost cutting will lead to both decreasing quality of service and fewer services. In some situations this can lead to increasing total costs. Although cost cutting can be used to decrease IT costs, it is not seen as a real optimization technique because of its short-term view and internal IT focus.

Outsourcing is not a cost saving initiative in itself, but more a lever for the realization of standardization and optimization.

Centralization is seen to create a situation where someone or something is under the control of one central authority, but does not include locations of people or assets. In IT optimization situations centralization can be used to centralize:
 Organizations, for example one central helpdesk instead of local helpdesks.
 Processes, for example one central incident management process instead of local incident management handling.
In most situations the overall quality of service will improve and the business will value IT more because they will better able to meet expectations. In other words: the differences between organizations, employees, services and users will be reduced and may lead to an overall improvement. Cost reductions can be found in the area of personnel; through standard processes personnel will be more effective and efficient and less management is required.
Centralization of hardware, software, communications and facilities will only lead to changes in the control and management. In other words the effect will be especially in the organizational area.

Consolidation can be best described as the uniting of things which results in an improvement. Consolidation is sometimes divided into logical and physical, but this division will not be used here. In IT optimization situations consolidation can be used to consolidate:
 Organizations, for example helpdesks, operations.
 Physical environments, for example data centres and research centres.
Consolidation is in these situations not just combining these organizations but also improving these organizations (second part of the definition). The quality of the new organization or (in case of physical consolidation) data centre or research centre should lead to improved quality of service. Cost reductions might be expected in the areas of facilities and personnel (more effective use of personnel, less management).

Standardization is changing something to conform to a fixed standard, type or form. In IT optimization situations standardization can be used for hardware, software and communications. Standardization simplifies the IT environment. Because specialties no longer exist, fewer interfaces are needed, fewer system images are needed, etc. Additionally less specific knowledge and skills are needed. Cost reductions may be found in the area of personnel (less specific personnel needed, more efficient use of personnel, less education), external service provider (less specific knowledge needed), software and hardware (fewer maintenance contracts and lower licence fees). Moving from one-of-a-kind to packages will increase licence fees. In case standardization means one service for one requirement (instead of multiple solutions) the licence fees decrease due to economy of scale.

When standardization is used for facilities corresponding cost reduction may be achieved because the devices are standardized and maintenance contracts may be simplified. For example, all data centres have the same type of airconditioning, network, power generator, etc. In addition people will make fewer errors because all facilities are equal.
Standardization of processes and procedures can be based on generally accepted models such as ITIL, IBM’s ITPM and CMM. In this area standardization is the first step towards centralization in which one process exits for the whole organization. In addition to cost reductions in the area of personnel, standardization of processes will lead to better quality of service. End users can better understand the way of working of the IT organization when this is similar in the whole organization; this will lead to a higher (average) customer satisfaction.
Standardization of organizations is only an improvement when it is combined with other optimization techniques such as concentration or centralization.

Concentration is the gathering of people or things in one location. In IT optimization situations concentration is used for organizations (personnel) and hardware (facilities). Concentration has a minor effect on the quality of service. Cost reductions will be especially in the area of facilities and personnel (less travelling). Concentration of hardware will result in different requirements for data communication, depending on the changing communication flows between servers and between servers and end users. In the hardware area concentration is a prerequisite for consolidation.
Concentration won’t apply to communications, processes and software.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Body Language Essentials. Mastering the Unspoken Language. The Art of Speaking Without Saying A Word.

Mastering the Unspoken Language
Be aware of the body language messages you are sending to other—and those that are being sent back—because, just like a picture, your actions are worth a thousand words.

Speaking Without Saying A Word: Internal Messaging
Following is a list of internal messages that may be sent and the body language associated with each.

1. Confidence and Authority
 Holding hands behind back with chin thrust forward
 Proud, erect body stance
 Continuing eye contact
 Smiling inwardly
 Tipping back in a chair
 Steepling (the higher the hands the greater the confidence)

2. Rejection and Doubt
 Touching and rubbing the nose
 Squinting or rubbing eyes
 Arms and legs crossed
 Cleaning throat
 Hand rubbing or ear tugging
 Raising an eyebrow

3. Boredom and Indifference
 Head in hand
 Drooping eyelids
 Slouching
 Tapping of foot or fingers
 Feet swinging
 Bland stares
 Little eye contact
 Slack lips

4. Reassurance
 Pinching the fleshy part of the hands
 Gently rubbing or caressing some personal object such as a ring, watch, or necklace

5. Openness
 Open hands
 Unbuttoned shirt collar
 Taking coat off
 Moving closer
 Leaning forward
 Uncrossed arms and legs

6. Evaluation
 Sitting in front of chair with upper torso projected forward
 Slightly tilted head
 Hand to cheek gesture; head is often supported by the hand
 Stroking the chin or pulling on beard

7. Defensiveness
 Rigid body
 Arms or legs crossed tightly
 Minimal eye contact with occasional sideways glance
 Darting glances
 Pursed lips
 Head down with chin against chest
 Fists clenched
 Leaning back in chair

8. Acceptance
 Spreading hands held to chest (for men)
 Moving closer to the other person
 Head nodding forward and smile

9. Critical Evaluation
 Body drawn back
 One hand on cheek
 Chin in palm with index finger along side of nose or face and remaining fingers under mouth

10. Suspicion and Secrecy
 Failing to make eye contact or resisting glances
 Glancing sideways at you by turning the body slightly away
 Rubbing or touching the nose
 Squinting or peering over glasses

11. Frustration
 Tightly clinched hands
 Hand wringing
 Rubbing back of neck
 Controlled, short breathing
 Blind staring
 Running hands through hair
 Stamping a foot
 Pacing

12. Nervousness
 Clearing throat
 Hand-to-mouth movements
 Covering mouth when speaking
 Darting eyes or little eye contact
 Twitching lips or face
 Playing with objects and fidgeting
 Shifting weight while standing
 Tapping fingers and pacing
 Plucking at collar or ringing neck with finger inside shirt collar
 Incongruent laugh

13. Controlled Anger
 Wrists gripped behind the back
 Crossed and locked ankles
 Fists clenched
 Pupils contracted
 Lips closed or pursed

14. Enthusiasm
 Small upper or inward smile
 Erect body stance
 Hands open; arms extended
 Eyes wide and alert
 Lively and bouncy

15. Anger
 Body rigid
 Fists clenched
 Lips closed and held in a tight thin line
 Continued eye contact
 Squinting of eyes (sometimes)
 Flaring of nostrils

16. Readiness
 Leaning forward in a chair in an open posture
 Hands possibly placed mid-thigh
 Relaxed, but alive
 Facial expression bright
 Standing with hands on hips, feet slightly spread


Monday, March 23, 2009

How to Differentiate with Four Different Cognitive Functions of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Build Successful Brand with Differentiation.

How People Figure Things Out
Psychologists think a lot about how people solve problems. They’ve come up with four functions that come into play: intuition, thinking, feeling, and sensing. People tend to lead their decision-making process with one of these functions. Let’s look at these functions from a selling point of view.

Differentiating with Intuitives
People who use intuition or intuitives concentrate on the possibilities. They avoid the details and tend to look at the big picture.
This type of person would be very susceptible to a differentiating strategy based on your product being the next generation in its category. When the makers of Advil positioned their new ibuprofen as ‘‘advanced medicine for pain,’’ they were differentiating themselves perfectly for the big-picture crowd.
Intuitives are very interested in the possibility of what’s coming next. This is why selling to intuitives is often a very effective way to present a new type of product.

Differentiating with Thinkers
Thinkers are analytical, precise, and logical. They process a lot of information, often ignoring the emotional or feeling aspects of a situation. While they may appear to be ruthless or uncaring, that isn’t really accurate. They are just thinking (Henry Kissinger types).
These people are susceptible to a logical argument of facts about a product. BMW’s differentiating strategy of ‘‘the ultimate driving machine’’ probably works very well with this crowd, especially when they are presented with facts like ergonomic design, maneuverability, non-overweight engine, and lots of expert reviews on how BMWs drive.

Differentiating with Feelers
Feelers are interested in the feelings of others. They dislike intellectual analysis and follow their own likes and dislikes. They enjoy working with people and are capable of great loyalty.
This type of person is ideal for third-party endorsements from experts who look and sound real. The Miracle-Gro campaign that differentiates itself as the ‘‘choice of experts’’ is perfect for feelers. Nice people surrounded by beautiful flowers and talking about the wonders of Miracle-Gro is a perfect strategy.

Differentiating with Sensors
Sensors see things as they are and have great respect for facts. They have an enormous capacity for detail and seldom make errors. They are good at putting things in context.
Hertz’s differentiating strategy of leadership (there’s Hertz and not exactly) is a great program for the sensors, who instinctively know that Hertz is indeed the number one choice in airport locations. (Twenty-five years of telling us they are number one doesn’t hurt.) To them it’s just common sense that Hertz is the best.
People often are a mixture of these functions. Intuitives and feelers both tend to dislike too much detail. Thinkers and sensors work with more information. But they all are trying to make a decision on what to buy, one way or another.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Occupational Health Schemes for Organization. Essential Elements of Occupational Health Practice.

Many organisations operate occupational health schemes for their employees. Generally, these schemes are managed and implemented by occupational health nurses with, perhaps, an occupational physician available to provide a medical input when required, and embrace some or all of the main areas of occupational health practice. In certain cases, a scheme may be directed at complying with specific health surveillance requirements laid down in regulations, such as the
MHSWR and the COSHH Regulations.

Occupational health practice incorporates the following aspects:
1. Placing people in suitable work
This entails the assessment of current and mental and physical capability and identification of pre-existing ill-health conditions. It generally takes the form of pre-employment medical examinations and/or pre-employment health screening.

2. Health surveillance
The provision of health surveillance for certain employees may be one of the outcomes of a risk assessment under the MHSWR, COSHH Regulations or Noise at Work Regulations. It entails specific health examinations at a predetermined frequency for:
a. those at risk of developing further ill health or disability, such as employees who may be occasionally exposed to excessive noise levels or hazardous dusts; and
b. those actually or potentially at risk by virtue of the type of work they undertake during their employment, such as radiation workers.

3. Providing a treatment service
This involves the efficient and speedy treatment of injuries, acute poisonings and minor ailments at work. This service is important in terms of keeping people at work, thereby reducing lost time associated with attendance at local doctors’ surgeries and accident and emergency departments.

4. Primary and secondary monitoring
Primary monitoring is principally concerned with the clinical observation of sick persons who may seek treatment or advice on their condition.
Secondary monitoring, on the other hand, is directed at controlling the hazards to health which have already been recognised, for example, regular audiometry for employees exposed to noise.

5. Avoiding potential risks
This is an important aspect of occupational health practice with the principal emphasis on prevention, in preference to treatment, for a known condition.
This may entail, for example, making recommendations with respect to the substitution of certain hazardous substances with less hazardous substances.

6. Supervision of vulnerable groups
Vulnerable workers include young persons, pregnant women, the aged, the disabled and persons who may have had long periods of sickness absence, perhaps as a result of surgery. New and expectant mothers and young persons are two groups singled out in the MHSWR with respect to risk assessment requirements. Regular health examinations to assess continuing fitness for work may be necessary for people in these groups.

7. Monitoring for evidence of non-occupational disease
This is a form of routine monitoring of employees not exposed to health risks with the principal objective of controlling diseases and conditions prevalent in certain communities, such as mining, with a view to their eventual eradication.

8. Counselling
Counselling employees on a range of health-related issues, and on personal, social and emotional problems, is an important feature of an occupational health service.

9. Health education
This is primarily concerned with the education of employees towards a healthier lifestyle. It can also include the training of management and employees in various areas of health and safety at work, in healthy working techniques and in the avoidance of health hazards, such as those arising from manual handling and the use of hazardous substances.

10. First aid and emergency services
Occupational health services commonly supervise first aid arrangements, train first aid staff and prepare specific aspects of contingency arrangements in the event of fire or other disaster situations, such as a major chemical spillage or an explosion.

11. Occupational hygiene
Occupational hygiene is an area of occupational health practice concerned with the identification, measurement, evaluation and control of contaminants, and other physical phenomena, such as noise and radiation, which could have adverse effects on the health of people exposed to such contaminants. Occupational health services frequently employ occupational hygienists to concentrate specifically on this area of risk.

12. Environmental control
This area is mainly concerned with ensuring compliance with environmental protection legislation, such as the Environmental Protection Act, and covers measures for the prevention and control, in particular, of airborne contaminants, such as dusts, gases and fumes, together with noise, which could be a nuisance to the inhabitants of the neighbourhood.

13. Health records
The completion and maintenance of health records required under certain regulations, such as the COSHH Regulations, Noise at Work Regulations and Control of Lead at Work Regulations, is commonly undertaken by occupational health services. These records may further be necessary on an internal basis for ensuring health surveillance procedures are maintained and may feature in epidemiological studies of certain groups of employees.

14. Liaison
It is standard practice for occupational health practitioners to liaise with enforcement agencies, in particular the Employment Medical Advisory Service (EMAS) of the HSE.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

IT Value Management to increase performance and improving commercial outcomes.

Value management as a concept goes way back, to the 1940s and 1950s, when Lawrence D. Miles pioneered value analysis techniques. But he was primarily concerned with product cost reduction. Since then value management has enlarged its view to also address increasing performance and improving commercial outcomes. So what ‘value goals’ will help drive an IT function to optimize commercial outcomes? To answer that I want to turn the question round and ask, ‘What should we measure in order to get a balanced picture of IT performance that includes “commercial outcomes”?’

Well, there are many ways of measuring the performance of an IT function (in the sense that we are using the word here – we are not talking about MIPs and MHz!) but in my experience most tend to focus on either or both of the following four key characteristics:
1. Cost-efficiency, i.e. how commercially appropriate is the level of spend with the ‘IT solutions and services delivery factory’? To put it another way, ‘how economic is the IT function?’ And how productive is the ‘IT solutions and services delivery factory’, i.e. how much output per unit of input/cost? That ‘output’ might be, for example, business system functionality delivered or mainframe resources delivered or laptops supported.
2. Effectiveness, i.e. how close to ‘best practice’ are the processes of the ‘IT solutions and services delivery factory’? And do they actually produce a better outcome?
3. Value-added, i.e. how much value is the IT function adding to the business?
4. Quality, i.e. are the products and services of the IT function of the right commercial quality and are the customers of the IT function satisfied?

Here, we develop a more complete picture of the value of IT as encompassing cost-efficiency and effectiveness on the ‘supply side’ (the IT function) of the ‘IT business’ and value-added and quality on the ‘demand side’ (the business served) of the ‘IT business’. Cost-efficiency and effectiveness often have an adversarial relationship, their relative importance being largely determined by the strategic role of IT in support of the business.

Further relationships exist between the four quadrants:
A. Improvements in cost-efficiency can improve quality because ‘quality’ here is commercial quality (i.e. necessary and sufficient quality for the price).
B. Improvements in cost-efficiency can also improve value-added because improved staff productivity can reduce ‘time to market’ for projects (and their benefits) and because value is a matter of net benefits (i.e. the cost of IT product and service delivery is the ‘flip side’ of the benefits of the products and services supplied).
C. Improvements in effectiveness by deploying systems and service delivery best practices (e.g. SSADM, ITIL) can improve the quality of products and services supplied.
D. Improvements in effectiveness can also improve the value-added by products and services by deploying IT management best value practices (e.g. demand/portfolio management).


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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Critical Success Factors for Optimizing Value-Added Business. Use it to adresss the Root Causes of IT Projects Failures.

Critical Success Factors for Optimizing Value-Added Business

Improving value-add to the business can typically best be achieved by focusing practice effectiveness improvements on:
 Optimizing IT function alignment: optimizing the strategic alignment of the IT function with the business it serves (so they share common commercial goals).
 Optimizing competitive advantage: optimizing the identification of IT opportunities that will yield the highest business competitive advantage.
 Optimizing portfolio alignment: optimizing the alignment between the products of the IT function and the priority needs of the business units that they support (so they facilitate the business unit achieving its commercial goals).
 Optimizing portfolio value: optimizing the value (alignment/cost/benefit/risk) of the planned project portfolio.
 Optimizing value delivery: sustaining the value-adding imperative throughout the process of developing projects in the portfolio.
 Optimizing benefits realization: optimizing the realization of promised project benefits.

Use the above approach to address the most common root causes of IT Projects Failures:
 lack of senior management commitment [IT governance];
 unrealistic business case [Optimizing value delivery];
 failure to define clear benefits [Optimizing value delivery];
 failure to break complex projects into smaller projects [Optimizing value delivery];
 poor project management, planning and execution [Optimizing value delivery];
 poor change control [Optimizing value delivery];
 failure to undertake project reviews and take decisive action [Optimizing value delivery];
 inadequate user training [Optimizing benefits realization];
 failure to measure benefits delivered [Optimizing benefits realization].


Friday, March 13, 2009

New Technology Adoption - Key Considerations and Cost Elements

When new technology arrives on the market, companies and individuals have to make decisions about it. Some key questions to consider are:
 Benefits. What are the benefits of the new technology to my business activities? Will standard business processes benefit and be changed by the technology?
 Replacement and stability. Is the new technology likely to be replaced soon by still better technology?
 Interfaces. How will the technology interface to the systems and technology already in place? What will be the integration effort?
 Long-term support. What are the long-term support implications of the technology?
 Management. How will the new technology be managed, measured, and controlled?

When new technology is adopted, there is a learning curve. This learning curve can be broken down into phases. The phases are:
 Initial learning. Here a person gains some understanding and basic knowledge of the technology product. They really cannot do much with it yet.
 Proficiency. You start to explore and use the technology. You think about how it can be used in a business setting.
 Application. You decide that the technology is worth pursuing further and you consider developing applications and using it in a business activity.
 Maintenance and support. The learning has basically stopped and you are now forced to maintain it.

Cost Elements Associated with Technology Adoption
 Cost of evaluation and selection. You have to consider alternative solutions and technologies. You may have to draft reports and presentations to sell the technology. You have to spend time figuring out how the new technology will fit it with what you have and the benefits that will be derived
 Cost of acquisition and purchasing. The item that you want may require many additional pieces of hardware, software, or network components
 Retrofitting the current technology cost. You may have to change the current technology and upgrade it in order to use the new technology
 Installation cost. You have to spend time and money installing it or having someone install it for you
 Training cost. There may be initial training and in-depth training
 Setup cost. After installation, you often have to setup the new technology in terms of parameters, etc.
 Application cost. You incur major costs when you now build an application using the technology
 Process change cost. You have to change the business activity to take advantage of the new application
 Expertise cost. You may need to hire someone to consult as an expert on the technology since you are learning it for the first time
 Support and maintenance cost


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Five Critical Success Factors and Top Ten Strategies for IT Transformation

Learn to Think Differently
It's so easy to fall into old, comfortable habits. There are six mindset and behavioral changes that must precede a successful leadership transformation:
Mindset Change 1: Force Yourself to Plan and Think of the Big Picture
Mindset Change 2: Adopt a Proactive Approach
Mindset Change 3: Resist the Temptation to Delve into Tactics
Mindset Change 4: Be Candid with Yourself and Others
Mindset Change 5: Prepare for and Embrace Change
Mindset Change 6: Anticipate, Understand, Respect and Work through Complexities

Five Critical Success Factors That Enable IT Organizational Excellence
1 Leadership: Lead by Positively Influencing and Inspiring Others
2 Strategy: Establish the Right Winning "Game Plan" for Your Organization
3 People: Hire and Professionally Develop Your Winning Team
4 Best Practices: Leverage IT Best Practices Right-Sized for Your Organization
Some best practice programs include:
 Business and Technology Plan Alignment
 Client Relationship Management
 Business Needs Assessment
 Performance Scorecards and Measurements
 Portfolio Management
 Project Management Office
 Risk Management
 Organization Change Management
 Business Case Development
 Selective Outsourcing
 Problem and Change Management
 Service Level Management
 Financial Management
 Vendor Management
5 Execution: Translate Your Strategy, Goals and Initiatives into Specific Action Plans That Deliver Measurable Results

Top Ten Leadership Strategies for Transforming Your IT Team
10. Prioritize time investment to deliver optimal results.
9. Build solid client relationships and strategies.
8. Effectively navigate politics and executive team dynamics.
7. Keep abreast of technology and business trends.
6. Think strategically while balancing tactics.
5. Align with the business.
4. Focus on results.
3. Keep promises.
2. Be resilient and effective under pressure.
1. Build trusting relationships.


Organize and Decorate Your kitchen in Style and Elegance with Enclume

Do you have limited kitchen space to store your kitchen essentials? Or do you want to organize your cookwares in a single, convenient, easy to reach location with the touch of style and elegance? You can design your kitchen with space-saving storage technique by placing pots, pans and other kitchen essentials on ceiling/wall mounted potracks. Pot racks offer a place to put your cookwares without taking up valuable cabinet space. Importantly, Enclume Pot racks provide the ideal storage solution for small kitchens.

Enclume offers wide selection of products to finish your kitchen in style, ranging from Hanging Pot Racks, Lighted Pot Racks, Wall Mount Pot Racks, Freestanding Pot Racks, Pot Rack Accessories, Finishing Touches, Kitchen Furniture, Wine Racks, Fireplace and Hearth Accessories. They offer the perfect balance of style, quality, great functionality and affordability.

Ceiling mounted pot racks give you easy and convenient storage that is out of the way but not out of reach. When hanging a rack from the ceiling is not an option, you can have another option with wall mounted racks. The modern design allows pans and pots to be hung along the front bar and on the sides.

Enclume is the premier manufacturer of cookware storage racks ("pot racks") for the kitchen since 1973. Enclume Pot rack set the standards for quality, design, function, and strength. Their craftsmanship and design approach are favored by most gourmet chefs. Their sturdy, stylish hanging racks are hand-made by skilled craftsmen with superior construction that gives optimum durability and strength, yet lighter in weight. Its scratch-resistant finished products requires very little maintenance and easy to assemble. Embrace great design and functionality with space-conscious Pot racks that embodies strength and beauty. With classic designs and timeless styles, Enclume potracks are a beautiful way to display your cookware.

For a Limited Time, you will receive a $25.00 Gift Certificate for every order that is good for use at any of the 250 Mr. Handyman Locations (North America’s #1 handyman company) around the US and Canada.

Good Points:
Huge Selection of High Quality, Stylish potracks
Handmade by skilled craftsmen
5 Year warranty on workmanship


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Company Downsizing Guide for Managers. Downsize the Right Way to avoid Litigation, Low Performance and Employee Morale, Reputation Decline.

During current economic downturn, many companies are fighting for survival with dwindling revenues and demands. Consumer confidence and industrial output showed sign of weakness on many sectors. Inevitably, some companies are forced to downsize to stay afloat. But How can company downsize the RIGHT WAY?

In preparation for company downsizing, the following checklist may help:
Have you:
1. Reviewed the business plan and clarified our needs and goals?
2. Identified other ways to reduce costs and achieve our goals?
3. Identified the human resources we need in order to reach our business plan goals and objectives?
4. Identified the kinds and numbers of positions that should be eliminated?
5. Established criteria for deciding which positions will be eliminated?
6. Followed the criteria consistently throughout the entire organization?
7. Identified the people whose jobs will be eliminated?
8. Conducted a detailed analysis of our workplace both before and after the proposed downsizing by age, sex, ethnic origin, years of service, and any other categories?
9. Found any inconsistencies and taken corrective actions?
10. Reviewed existing severance policy and made any changes to enhance the assistance people will receive?
11. Decided what works best in our workplace: tell everyone in small groups, individually, or one large group? (for both exiting and remaining people)
12. Designated one person to deal with the media and informed all managers to refer media calls to that person?
13. Provided media training for the designated media contact?
14. Set a date for announcing the downsizing and cleared calendars of all people involved?
15. Trained people on how to conduct a downsizing notification meeting?
16. Arranged to have individual letters prepared to distribute at the notification meeting(s)?
17. Scheduled the rooms needed to conduct the downsizing notification meetings?
18. Selected a job transition organization to provide transition assistance?
19. Scheduled the transition organization so that they can be on-site and begin their work the same day?
20. Coached everyone involved in notifying employees of the downsizing in how to physically and mentally prepare, such as getting extra sleep, extra exercise, healthy nutrition, and moderate alcohol and caffeine intake?
21. Made sure that key leaders and managers understand the power of being on-site and walking around, ready to listen to anyone who has a question or wants to make a comment?
22. Reviewed calendars to ensure that no leader will be out of the office five to ten days after the announcement, particularly for vacation or conferences?
23. Determined how any employees—both those who are exiting and those who are remaining—who might be on vacation or home ill will be informed of the downsizing?
24. Identified ways to stay in touch with downsized people, in case we need some people back at a later time?
25. Reviewed this list in detail and honestly answered each question?


Monday, March 9, 2009

Brighten your Home Decor with Farrey's Complete Lighting Solutions

If you plan to renovate/improve your home decor with brighter, energy efficient, environment friendly lighting, you should visit Farrey's Wholesale Hardware Corporation for their extensive selection of lighting solutions ranging from Light Fixtures, Indoor Light Fixtures, Outdoor Light Fixtures, Chandeliers, Lamps, Home Lighting, Outdoor Lighting, to Landscape Lighting. Many Interior Designers or home contractors choose Farrey's online store for their unique high quality products and best professional service.

Farreys.com is reputable online lighting store established since 1924. They offer hundreds of thousands of indoor and outdoor light fixtures, lights, lamps and outdoor lighting in a wide range of styles and at the lowest prices from top manufacturers including: Ambience, Fine Art Lamps, Flos, Fontana Arte, George Kovacs, Hinkley Lighting, Kichler Lighting, Maxim Lighting, Minka Lavery, Murray Feiss, Quoizel, Sea Gull Lighting and many more.
Shop for Fine Art Lamps which produces very unique collections of custom handcrafted traditional and transitional style indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures and lamps. Or George Kovacs Lights and Lighting Accessories that delivers impressive collections of contemporary lighting at reasonable prices.

Their powerful search engine allows you to customize your desired lighting solution from combination of different criteria: By Style, By Brand, By Type, By Finish, By Price Range. In addition, you can compare lighting products and light fixtures easily with their lighting search feature. So, it is easy to find your perfect lighting solution that fit into your needs and budget. With Farreys.com, you can enjoy safe shopping and fast shipping with 30 day return guarantee. If you are general contractors or interior designers who plan to purchase in large quantities, you can enjoy volume discounts.

So, get your Stylish, Elegantly Designed Lighting Solution from Farreys.

Reputable & Long Established since 1924
Extensive High Quality Product Choices

For international order's credit cards payment, they can only accept credit cards issued by a US bank.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Five Common Thinking Errors & their Remedies. Changing From Hot Feelings to Cool Feelings to overcome your self-defeating belief.

Changing From Hot Feelings to Cool Feelings

Good method of addressing your self-defeating belief system is by identifying and moving away from “hot” feelings to “cool” feelings. Hot feelings have a spiraling effect on mood and thoughts, while cool feelings tend to have a less intense effect. Although cool feelings may still be unpleasant to some degree, they are less incapacitating.

Cool feelings are responses to adverse situations such as job loss or trouble in a marriage that are less harmful and far healthier than hot feelings, and far easier to deal with. Here are the differences between hot, maladaptive feelings and their cool, adaptive counterparts.

Hot feelings:
Rage, fury and anger
Despondency, despair, depression and pessimism
Severe guilt, intense remorse
Self-worthlessness, self-hate
Severe hurt
Anxiety, fear and panic

Cool feelings:
Annoyance and irritation
Mild bruising

Only by replacing unhealthy emotions with less volatile substitutes can we manage our feelings better and address our real problems in the outside world.

Here are five thinking errors and their preferred alternates:
 “This is awful.” Instead of wallowing in despair and telling yourself, “This is 100 percent, irredeemably awful,” try using moderating or mitigating terms that will serve to tone down the sense of catastrophe. Whatever’s bugging you may be inconvenient, a real hassle, a pain in the neck or anything else you choose to call it. It probably isn’t the end of the world.

 “I can’t stand it.” Instead of falling into this trap, remind yourself that you have in fact stood—and will continue to stand—all manner of difficult situations. They’re a part of life, and life has a habit of going on.

 Condemnation and damnation. Heaping ashes on your own head or consigning other people to horrible fates can only lead to anger and fury. That anger points two ways, and is equally wounding. Blaming yourself for everything that goes wrong or viewing what has happened as well-merited punishment for your sins and shortcomings, real or imagined, is not going to make your situation any better. As for blaming others, it may enlarge your vocabulary, but it does little good to get you out of any hole you have dug for yourself. Remind yourself that blame is not constructive; look for ways to resolve the problem instead.

 “I’m worthless.” If that were true, there’d be no point in you or anybody else doing anything to aid a lost cause. We all carry enough of a load at the best of times, without saying things like “I’m no good—a complete and utter screw-up. That’s why I always fail. I don’t deserve good things.” Thoughts and expressions of self-worthlessness lead straight to depression and despair. Remind yourself that, even if you have made a mistake or an error in judgment, you have more good qualities than bad, you often do things right, you can learn from your mistakes and you are still a good person who deserves good things.

 Always and never. Statements along the lines of “Everyone always dumps on me; they never give me a hand” or “I [or things in general] will never get better, never change” are plainly self-defeating and invite feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Put your feelings into perspective: there is always hope for change, and while some people may sometimes dump on you, many people do, in fact, give you a hand.


Find bargain hotels in Great Britain or Europe

Where do you plan your holiday trip this year? If you like to visit Britain, make sure you check out the official National Tourism Resource. They provide country maps, destination and city guides, travel and transport information, lots of practical travel advice, and hotel accommodation directory. Now, Britain is around 25% cheaper for Americans than last summer. Grab this opportunity and discover the amazing heritage of Great Britain from Scotland, Wales, Northern Island to England.

When you choose to travel across Britain or Europe, try to visit CheaperthanHotels United Kingdom. They offer last minute and year round discount accommodation deals for business and leisure travellers at more competitive rates than other places.

In London, the upcoming Olympic host city and vibrant gateway city, you can find plenty Cheap London Hotels bargain. If you love the beautiful highland landscape of Scotland, you can discover plenty Cheap Edinburgh Hotels deals. If you are Manchester United fans, don't miss their great matches and get bargain Manchester Accommodation.

Their collaboration with many hotel chains across Europe bring great savings for your money. Interestingly, some of their hot accommodation deals include free breakfasts, use of gyms, swimming pools or internet access facilities. Their database search is pretty fast and contain bargains at more than 48,000 properties in 130 countries worldwide. They refine their search capability by offering additional search criteria such as accommodation type, star ratings and hotel features (from swimming pools to disabled facilities). So, you can easily find your holiday destination that best suit your budget and needs.

Good Points:
Offer Special Last Minute Deals
Fast database search


Friday, March 6, 2009

Get the best deal on Entertainment or Sporting Tickets

You probably know Madison Square Garden as the World's Most Famous Arena for Concerts, Professional Sporting Events, and Family Shows. It is one of the Best Entertainment place for you and your family in the heart of New York. For sport, It is also the home for New York Knicks of the NBA and New York Rangers of the NHL. It hosts around 320 events a year, including the upcoming Depeche Mode concert ( I am Depeche Mode's big fan ) in August 2009.

If you are music lover, you probably like to attend musical performance at Blossom Music Center (an amphitheatre located in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) or DTE Energy Music Center (an amphitheatre located in Clarkston Michigan). For Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey sport fans, you enjoy supporting your home team at Mellon Arena. But where can you buy the best ticket deal for such entertainment or sporting events? Try ACheapSeat.com.

ACheapSeat.com is the online professional ticket broker that give you the hottest deals on many entertainment or sporting tickets in many USA cities, all year-round. You can find the best deal on Madison Square Garden Tickets (Ney York), Blossom Music Center Tickets (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio), Mellon Arena Tickets (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), DTE Energy Music Center Tickets (Clarkston Michigan) and many more.

They have large ticket inventories, even for the hard-to-get box office tickets. So you won't be disappointed on the availability of tickets. Because they are able to negotiate great prices on many venue tickets, you'll reap the benefit of ticket price's saving. If you like to attend any event, you can let their friendly ticket assistant know about your interests, budget, and which dates you want to attend and they will help figure out which tickets will fit into your needs. This saves you lots of time. You can also browse on their extensive event information, show time, schedule information, Concert tour information and venue seating maps. Your ticket can be purchased online or by telephone, and paid using Credit Card/Debit Card. All cards are charged only after they are able to guarantee and fill your order. Finally, Your ticket will be delivered into your home on-time via Fedex delivery.

So, if you are planning to attend entertainment or sporting events, don't forget to get the best deal on ACheapSeat.com.

Good Points:
Large selection of Events across USA cities
Customer Friendly Ticket Assistants


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Does your GM or Senior Managers Ineffective or Inefficient?Understand the Important ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF GENERAL MANAGERS AND SENIOR MANAGERS

General managers and senior managers are the next level in the management hierarchy below that of the C-level executives where the former reports to one of the C-level executives. These managers implement the mission, vision, goals, and objectives of the organization established and approved by the C-level executives of the organization. These general managers and senior managers implement the goals and objectives through the efforts of the line managers, middle-level managers, staff managers, and lower-level managers. If the management style of the general managers and senior managers is ineffective and inefficient, it will result in poor implementation efforts and unsuccessful day-to-day operations. Corporate goal congruence is really effected through the detailed plans, budgets, and actions of the line managers, middle-level managers, staff managers, and lower-level managers. In a way, general managers and senior managers are the change agents in the organization, requiring effective managing skills such as planning, organizing, directing, controlling, communication, and motivation skills. They develop business plans for business units, divisions, or groups of businesses, and report their progress to C-level executives.

General managers and senior managers must ensure that all employees focus on the right things at all times to achieve improved performance results and increased productivity levels.

As part of their roles and responsibilities, general managers and senior managers may:
 Integrate production, inventory, logistics, and transportation activities for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
 Lower total manufacturing and service costs in order to lower selling prices, increase sales volume, and increase profits.
 Link production and service costs to cash flows and gross profits, operating profits, or net profits.
 Increase faster product and service deliveries to customers to achieve their total satisfaction (i.e., a shorter order-to-delivery cycle and faster time to market for new products and services).
 Introduce new production and service techniques and processes by leveraging technology to improve quality and to reduce costs.
 Eliminate non-value-added activities in production and service to trim waste and to lower costs.
 Focus more on value-added activities in production and services to provide a solid value to the customers and to the organization.
Identify key drivers of cost, quality, risks, expenses, revenues, profits, business growth, competition, and performance. Focus on the root causes of these drivers and understand why these drivers go up and down.
 Seamlessly integrate the back-end systems with the front-end systems for (1) maximum data consistency, completeness, and accuracy, (2) better customer service and satisfaction, and (3) stronger connection of disparate and disconnected business processes.
 Build standardized, transparent, and repeatable production and service processes to provide the stable, consistent, and quality products and services that customers expect. First, streamline both upstream and downstream business processes involved in international licensing and franchising arrangements, and other operations; second, simplify; third, standardize; and then institutionalize.
 Understand that increases in sales velocity increase inventory velocity, which, in turn, increases production or service velocity, finance velocity, human capital velocity, and systems velocity. The goal is to synchronize these velocities in a cohesive manner.
 Implement the goal congruence concept by linking individual employee goals with those of the department/division and the organization, Remove or reduce the competing or conflicting goals.
 Implement crosscutting best practices across business units, divisions, departments, and functions through busting silos and building bridges.
 Link employee rewards, bonuses, and promotions to employees’ true performance and tangible results, and empower employees.
 Build solid working relationships with C-level executives in manufacturing, marketing, finance, human resources, IT and other functions through formal and informal approaches at the workplace.
 Foster ethical values and cultural sensitivity in light of workforce diversity.
 Encourage employees to continuously acquire and improve their knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) through targeted training courses, management development programs, and professional certifications.
 Establish a solid and sustainable chain of knowledge linked through the entire management hierarchy to ensure core knowledge competencies for all levels of employees in the organization.
 Invite production and service audits, management reviews, and self-assessments periodically and proactively to ensure continuous improvement in quality, cost, and delivery.
 Encourage employees at all levels of the organization to think differently and radically (i.e., out-of-the-box thinking) at all times, which can lead to new perspectives providing best-of-breed solutions.
 Participate in the succession-planning process for key positions.
 Analyze outside-in views (i.e., views of stakeholders about company management) and inside-out views (i.e., views of company management about stake-holders) to identify disconnections between these views and to integrate them in a coherent manner.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Many private- and public sector organizations believe that the demand for faster, cheaper, and better service-delivery systems leads their organizations to develop new and more flexible ways of managing people. The following eight interrelated principles developed out of the changes world-class organizations had made and the lessons they had learned.

Principle 1. Value people as assets rather than as costs or expenses.
Principle 2. Emphasize mission, vision, and organizational culture.
Principle 3. Hold managers responsible for achieving results instead of imposing rigid, process-oriented rules and standards.
Principle 4. Choose an organizational structure appropriate to the organization rather than trying to make “one size fit all.”
Principle 5. Instead of isolating the personnel function organizationally, integrate human resource management into the mission of the organization.
Principle 6. Treat continuous learning as an investment in success rather than as a cost to be minimized.
Principle 7. Pursue an integrated rather than an ad hoc approach to information management.
Principle 8. Provide sustained leadership that recognizes change as a permanent condition, not a onetime event.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

February 2009 Entrecard Top 10 Droppers

I like to thank all my droppers for their continued support.

In addition, My special thanks for Top 10 Droppers for February 2009:
All blogspot templates
Dallas Marketing Services
Big Boys Have Toys Too
Mommy's Little Corner
Computer Aid
The Ad Master
Moshi & Kibo's Dog Blog
Life's A Pizza Pie
A Simple Life

Do visit them for their nice blogs.


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