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His music has brought him around the world and back. This acclaimed jazz pianist has performed at St. Louis staples like the Sheldon Concert Hall and Powell Hall, as well as international venues such as Nanjing University in China and the University of Dubrovnik in Croatia. He is classically trained in both piano and pipe organ, and even used his talents to raise money for music scholarships by organizing and performing on a philanthropic CD.
You’ve been working hard to achieve your financial goals, dreaming of the days when you will be able to enjoy retirement. But are you doing enough now to ensure you can maintain your accustomed lifestyle into the future? Here, local financial advisers share the most important factors when it comes to setting aside money today for a brighter tomorrow.
Like many children around the world, I was raised and nurtured with nursery rhymes. There is one rhyme that has stayed with me all my life. It is a story of risk, failure and perseverance. It’s the story of Humpty Dumpty, the anthropomorphic egg who tried to defy the odds and met with interesting results.
Earlier this month, the largest full moon of 2012 lit up the night sky. On Saturday, May 5, the moon was at its closest point in its orbit, putting it a mere 221,801 miles from Earth. Some called this perigee full moon a ‘supermoon.’ I call it this year’s biggest and brightest reminder to shine and stay relevant.
When I arrived in St. Louis in the summer of 2000, I discovered a remarkable city home to 91 municipalities on the shores of the mighty Mississippi River. It is a place described by demographers as the ‘northernmost southern city’ and the ‘southernmost northern city.’ It is a city whose ethnicity, geography and attitudes all place it uniquely in the middle of America.
Organizations, like living organisms, are born to die. Often, their end comes naturally once they have fulfilled their role in a mature marketplace. Others eventually kick the proverbial bucket because they underestimated the ability of an unknown competitor who emerges and takes them out. The corporate graveyard also is full of organizations that died prematurely shortly after birth or passed on to the great beyond while they were still in adolescence. Fewer are those who live to a ripe old age and are lauded instead of eulogized for their longevity, creative innovation and sustaining. What makes the difference between the winners and the losers in this reality-show race for business survival? What is it that gives businesses blessed with long lifelines the ability to prolong their years? How can we managers help our businesses (and possibly our careers) cheat death?
Best Local Weekend Getaway
This election year will bring with it endless sound bites on the state of our economy and the growth of business since the start of our Great Recession. The Small Business Administration recently released some statistics and they are numbing: While Americans are creating more new businesses now than they have in the past 15 years, half of those start-ups won’t reach their fifth anniversary! Of those survivors, only a third will last 10 years. So what will make the difference between the winners and the losers in this race for business survival? According to the authors of The Innovator’s DNA—Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators, that’s a question of nature vs. nurture.
We all do it. Every New Year, men and women, young and old, make pledges to change their ways. We resolve to spend more time with our family, to be more patient with our coworkers, to save more money or break bad habits. By far, the most popular is the resolution to lose weight. No one wants to start a program only to falter a few weeks later. But what if this year, your resolution is to be successful at improving your health? And what if, at the same time, the path you take helps you in other areas of your life, like your business or your management style? Then you must be reading the same book I am this New Year, Think and Grow Thin by Charles D’Angelo.
As I pack up my office for the Walker School of Business’ move this month to Webster’s new academic building, I’m reminded of all the business books I’ve read this year. A handful stand out with lessons we all can learn from long into the New Year. My gift to you this holiday season is knowledge from my best reads of 2011. My full reviews are available at webster.edu/wsbt, along with interviews with select authors.
Growing up, we called moments of inspiration times when ‘the light bulb went off’ in our heads. Those were the times you could see exactly what needed to be done to solve the challenge at hand. These days, we still look to ‘a-ha moments’ to give us answers. But what if an a-ha moment changed not only the course of your life, but those of scores of employees and the future of a business, as well?
From basic morals to a proper work ethic, parents teach their children daily life lessons to help establish a foundation to build upon throughout their lives. An important part of that is an understanding of money and financial matters, says Terri Kraham, senior advancement manager for Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis. “We need to make sure children are prepared, and it’s our job as parents and role models to guide them down the right path toward the future.”
REVIEW OF WILLFUL BLINDNESS: WHY WE IGNORE THE OBVIOUS AT OUR PERIL
Do you have what it takes to occupy the corner office? Does residency require myriad academic degrees, a history of moneymaking successes or maybe a family friend on the board? The truth, according to author Adam Bryant in his new book, The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs, is that most leaders share some specific qualities or ‘X factors’ any of us could develop. And better yet, obtaining them will make anyone a great manager or better employee.
Benjamin Ola. Akande
The 1950s image of a wife who cooks, cleans and takes care of the kids with nary a thought or say-so in her family’s money matters does not compute in 2011. Today’s woman should be engaged and knowledgeable in her financial planning, says Delo Advisors owner Sherry Delo. “Regardless of what stage or phase in her life she is in, every woman should take responsibility for her own financial future.”
BEST PLACE TO GET A MASSAGE
Business has embraced social media, with more and more industry leaders seeing the advantage of almost-instantaneous communication tools now available online. Five hundred million people like, post and poke each other on Facebook. Direct Messages (DMs) from 110 million Twitter users fly online everyday and LinkedIn is giving more professionals a networking edge throughout the world. But while industry leaders are eager to jump on this communication bandwagon to promote themselves, many are leaving their most important resource out of the information loop: their employees.
Organizations, like living organisms, are born to die. There are a few, however, that are able to prolong their life and are successful in defying death. They outlive their peers by using a highly evolved system of vital business organs, possessed of fierce survival instincts and a stem cell-like ability to regenerate critical body parts over and over again. But the reality is that eventually, death comes knocking. Organizations may succumb to a natural death once they have fulfilled their role in a mature marketplace. Others eventually kick the proverbial bucket because they underestimated the ability of an unknown competitor who emerges and takes them out. This is how we must now eulogize Anheuser-Busch.
What are you willing to trade for convenience? A marinated steak sure beats a McRib in my opinion, but that drive-thru and the exchange of $2 versus a couple of $20s is very handy. The truth is, according to journalist and author Kevin Maney’s latest book, Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On, and Others Don’t, most of us are willing to trade the quality of almost any experience for the ease of getting it. He calls it the ‘fidelity swap,’ a swap that could be the key to countless business successes and failures.
Benjamin Ola Akande
What’s the cost of not doing your job? A letter of reprimand? An unpaid leave? Dismissal? What, if by failing to do what’s expected of you, you cost shareholders $60, $90 or more than $200 billion? That’s just what happened to Merrill Lynch, Fannie Mae and Citigroup when their corporate boards dropped the ball. Unfortunately, according to the authors of Money for Nothing: How the Failure of Corporate Boards is Ruining American Business and Costing Us Trillions, unless we change our game plan, that ball is still loose.
I admit to being skeptical when receiving Tim Sander’s book, Love Is A Killer App, from a friend. A lot has happened in the eight years since its publication, and I was sure that applying Sander’s philosophy of then to our post-recession economy now was going to be dated. Then I read a few pages to find that what the author discovered in 2002 through experience is a universal truth: “Men and women across the country were all trying desperately to understand how to maintain their value as professionals in the face of rapidly changing times.” Welcome to 2010, Mr. Sander. You got my attention.
Everybody knows one. Perhaps you are one. They speak up at business meetings and make their opinions heard while serving on your favorite nonprofit board or your company’s corporate strategy committee. They even can be members of your family, where they will delay decisions on where to go for dinner or vacation with their negativity.
This year’s Labor Day was marked by more than baseball games and family picnics. Government numbers released earlier this month showed that the unemployment rate in the U.S. rose to 9.6 percent in August and the nation lost 54,000 jobs. Now is not the time most would consider voluntarily changing jobs or switching careers. As the biggest recession of our lifetime looms, most would put aside ideas of taking their chance on the open marketplace. But according to Giving Notice by Freada Kapor Klein, dire economics may not keep the best and brightest from leaving the workplace. And for those in business, answering how to keep these employees happy in their current jobs is the $64 billion question.