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When Strategy Becomes Habit, Change Your Strategy

I recently started reading “Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg while on a business trip to New York.

It is not my habit to read any book cover to cover – I confess to usually reading two or three at a time – but have had a hard time putting this one down.

What really caught me up was one premise by Duhigg, a science writer for The New York Times, that not only are we creatures of habit but that we do not even realize those habits when they are in play. That is, habits are automatic responses, like an email bounce-back that someone is out of the office.

Duhigg devotes more of the book to how to change habits – once you are aware of them – and I am working my way through that part of the book and through some number of new…

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As Drilling Increases, So Does the Need for Accurate Information in the Utica Shale

When billions of dollars are invested in a volatile boom-bust sector such as oil and gas, a few things tend to occur. First, aggressive businesses rush to secure the appropriate leverage they need to benefit from the expected “boom.” Second, in the crush of activity, rumor and misinformation spread as easily as fact.

At the recent Crain’s Cleveland Business Shale Summit, speakers and participants extolled the level of activity in the Utica and Marcellus Shale formations. The industry expects to drill 1,000 wells this year and a like amount in 2015. That is an extraordinary amount of activity for a relatively young shale formation whose total wells only recently crested 1,000.

However, several speakers and participants also expressed frustration at their inability…

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Does your proxy quench investors’ thirst?

Although there has been a recent trend toward using more plain English in proxy statements, most of these widely read and important documents are still not easy to understand. Some companies have come up with innovative ways to improve the readability of their proxy statements and to create a very effective vehicle for communicating their key messages to investors and the public.  

A recent webinar hosted by Georgeson and Latham & Watkins, “2014 Proxy Season: What you should know as you draft your proxy statement and prepare for your annual meeting,” mentioned several companies that have been using the proxy effectively to reinforce investor messages. As many companies are now preparing for the 2014 proxy season, I decided to dig in and see which companies have…

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The War for Talent Is a Skills and a Communications Issue

The smoldering “War for Talent” within the manufacturing sector has evolved into a full-fledged conflict. And it promises to pinch manufacturers more keenly in the coming years.

A 2011 study from Deloitte Consulting and The Manufacturing Institute declared that the skills gap between what workers are trained to do and what manufacturers need them to do is hampering hiring, as well as the ability to innovate and grow. Adding to the problem, many manufacturers depended on outdated approaches for finding the right people. Deloitte predicted the skills gap to widen.

Eli Lilly Chairman, President and CEO John Lechleiter recently wrote in a post on Forbes.com that there are 600,000 vacant jobs within the manufacturing sector that could be filled today if educational…

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Just-in-case emergency response planning

Major natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy often prompt business owners and operations professionals to create or update their crisis management plan and corresponding communications plan – just in case they need it when the next big disaster strikes.

But I wonder how many of them make preparations for a smaller scale “disaster” that could last days, weeks or seemingly an entire season.

It’s no surprise that many cities are calling this winter the worst in decades, and the National Weather Service and Federal Reserve are quick to back up that claim. The Federal Reserve reported today that a historically cold and snowy winter is to blame for its less than sunny industrial production report, which saw significant drops in both industrial production and…

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