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What Matters Most to Employees in 2017?

It’s a generally accepted maxim that, to keep employees, a company must learn what employees want.

A new article in Crain’s takes this a step further, and looks at different wants from employees across the age spectrum. Some “wants” that transcend employee age?

–    Recognition and Contribution

  • Wages that slowly rise
  • Benefits (health insurance, etc.)
  • Occasional meals on the company’s dime
  • A feeling of belonging in the workplace

According to Crain’s, If an employee feels and experiences these things, they tend to stick around. Crain’s adds that an employer should consider opening their door to their employees – literally and metaphorically. By simply walking around the office, engaging in conversation with subordinates, truly listening to employee concerns, and being accountable to their word, Crain’s argues that leaders can improve their overall company performance.

As millennials continue to enter the workforce en masse, we’re also seeing that some young employees don’t quite comprehend that every-day office tasks can occasionally be tedious, boring, or monotonous. Helping a young employee become aware of this universal job pain, ironically, can help them raise their performance.

What else works for you?

Enjoy the Day!


Creating a good workplace is not rocket surgery. Editorial. Crain’s Chicago Business, April 10, 2016

More Good News for Coffee Drinkers!

More Good News for Coffee Drinkers!


Athletes are often counseled to avoid coffee for up to a week before a sporting event to boost effects of a caffeine on the day of performance.


However, research by Bruno Gualano, a professor of physiology and nutrition at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, revealed that effects of coffee ingested an hour before a sporting event are similar whether athletes avoid caffeine for week before the event, or whether they never stop their caffeine intake the prior week.


Coffee drinking athletes can breathe a sigh of relief — it is O.K. to drink your daily cup an hour before your workout or event.

Enjoy your day!


Article:  Boost Your Workouts with Caffeine, Even if You Chug Coffee Daily, by Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times, June 6, 2017


Chimpanzees in the Wild Identify Medicines for Illness

In the 1980’s human researchers began to notice that chimpanzees in Africa practiced a form of basic empirical research that identified plants with the capability of treating parasitic and bacterial illnesses.

It appears that chimpanzees learn basic medicine from other members of their group and family. They also exhibit an amazing learning capacity to only eat bitter or bad-tasting plants with healing capabilities when there is a need to ingest them for health. Less developed life forms are more instinctual in their knowledge of medical treatment, but still practice some treatments.

What’s amazing is that animals at times appear to be more empirical than humans. Chimpanzees’ beliefs tend to be based on observations of treatment efficacy. They also practice a form of poly-pharmacy, that is ingesting multiple plants that have the same effect, which reduces antibiotic resistance. Humans, on the other hand, use single agents – a practice encouraging resistance. Humans also may embrace useless or even harmful healing practices for centuries at a time, while animals are more likely to reject useless treatments in favor of more effective ones.  Bloodletting and overseas “cures” for cancer, are all examples of past and current human practices that occasionally can harm or kill people, that may later be discovered to have no medicinal benefit.

This article is eye-opening and is quite humbling to realize we are not the only scientists on the planet.

What do you think?

Enjoy your day!


Article: The Self-Medicating Animal by Moises Velasquez-Manoff. New York Times Magazine. May 18, 2017

Efficient Primary Care Optimizes Health Outcomes of Common Chronic Illnesses

Countries that provide quality primary care have better health outcomes.

In Spain, almost 40 years ago, community health centers were built within 15 minutes of every Spaniard. In the US, centers like these with assigned primary care doctors can potentiate wellness and avoid unnecessary hospitalization and illness. This would keep the overall costs of healthcare down.

These are not new concepts in the U.S. for anyone currently with health insurance, but making sure everyone has a primary care physician nearby might be something to consider.

I wonder what the cost-benefit of these local health centers would be when studied. What do you think?

Enjoy your day!


What Spain Gets Right on Healthcare by Carolyn McClanahan. May 11, 2017. The New York Times.

Liberty is the Inalienable Right of Mankind

Senator John McCain from Arizona reminds us of the importance of human rights expectations being a part our global business deals, as well as one of the vital traditions of our country. To break that tradition is both a breach of our nation’s history and “branding,” and may be a massive moral mistake.

The Senator states: “Our values are our strength and greatest treasure. We are distinguished from other countries because we are not made from a land or tribe or particular race or creed, but from an ideal that liberty is the inalienable right of mankind and in accord with nature and nature’s Creator.”

Enjoy the day!


Article: Why We Must Support Human Rights by John McCain. New York Times Op-Ed, May 8 2017.

Oscar Munoz Tries to Do the Right Thing as CEO of United

Oscar Munoz, the CEO of United spoke eighteen days after Dr. David Dao was assaulted on their jet and forcibly removed by law enforcement agents in Chicago. Mr. Munoz tried to repair the self-inflicted wound to the airline’s brand by declaring new policies including the following:

  • Passengers already boarded will not be forced to give up their seats (except for safety or security issues)
  • Law enforcement will no longer forcibly remove people from their seats
  • United increased the range of reimbursement for giving up seats to go as high as 10,000 dollars
  • United will not overbook flights to the extent they were previously
  • For lost bags, United will pay 1,500 dollars

Do you think this is enough of an apology? Can these new policies adequately make amends to the customers of United?

As CEO, Munoz is ultimately responsible for the policy that forcibly removed ticketed passengers from planes instead of simply keeping a few seats empty. It took a PR disaster for him to address this with the above corrective actions.

The business literature discusses a trend of airlines catering to those seated in the more expensive seats and those with more mileage and upgrades. I recently flew economy on a brand new American Airlines plane where the width of individual seating had been so reduced that my 13-inch laptop could not fit into the customary ample space on the back of the seat in front of me.

Therefore, Airline CEOs have their work cut out for them. Let’s see if they can return to the days when all customers mattered.

Enjoy the day!


United Takes Added Steps to Win Back Customers and Avoid More Ugly Events by Christopher Drew, New York Times, April 27, 2017

Leadership Wisdom in Long Term Relationships

The following tips on how to maintain a healthy long-term relationship are presented in this interesting article, and in another relevant TED talk from 2014, include:

  • Expect unpleasant change in the future of your relationship, so you can minimize any disappointment and then stay connected without feeling betrayed.
  • Expect to be pleasantly surprised many times by your partner and by life.
  • Gilbert’s research proves that much more change happens in every decade of life than most people expect.
  • When romantic feelings fade, don’t “follow them out the door.” Hopefully they will walk back in soon.
  • Never be afraid to impress each other.

Enjoy the day!


To Stay Married, Embrace Change by Ada Calhoun. The New York Times. April 21, 2017.

Gilbert, Daniel. TED talk, 2014, The Psychology of Your Future Self.

How to Make Candidate Selection More Effective

The following are the striking problems with standard job interviews:

·      Stakeholder impressions are frequently inaccurate, especially in free-form interviews that are currently the most frequent method of interviewing candidates.

·      Predictions of G.P.A. success are more accurate for candidates who are not met in-person and just examined by criteria.

·      Interviewers usually believe they that have an ability to choose the best candidate. Research actually reveals they are only good at choosing if they never meet the candidate.


·      Only use structured interviews so all candidates receive the same questions, which produces new hires with greater job success.

·      Also, testing job-related skills is valuable compared to random questions or chatting.

It sounds like many of us can follow some of these findings and recommendations, and then see if they turn out to be true.

Enjoy the day,


Article: The Utter Uselessness of Job Interviews by Jason Dana. The New York Times, April 8, 2017.

Invigorating Old Muscles

I’m not sure I’m fond of the phrase aging muscles but, I suppose some of us are there already, and others will be there some day!

The main point that I get from this study is that if you do fairly intense exercise (i.e., interval cardio training plus weights or other “robust” exercises) it may actually reverse the aging of older muscles. This study discovers that older muscles respond to intense exercise more effectively than younger muscles!

Our past Link articles have established the health benefits of weight lifting and this study establishes the value of intense exercise, especially interval training. 

So, maybe consider adding intervals into your workouts at least two times a week.

What do you think?


The Best Exercise for Aging Muscles by Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times, March 23, 2017.

Two Very Different Award-Winning Movies Reflect Our Times

In the last few days, I was pleased to see both Oscar winning films La La Land and Moonlight. As you may be aware, both movies won big at the Oscars a few weeks back. However, the reality of how the evening played out was a near disaster for the Academy because an error occurred in the presentation of its most important award category, the Oscar for Best Picture. Prior to the award presentation by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, a consultant allegedly was tweeting instead of making sure the winning card was accurately selected and passed on to the presenters. At first, La La Land was mistakenly awarded best picture instead of Moonlight, which had been selected by voters. Four minutes later, after the La La Land cast and crew gave its joyful acceptance speeches one after the other, a courageous La La Land producer, Jordan Horowitz, took charge and announced that Moonlight was the actual winner. He invited the Moonlight group to come up and claim their rightful award.

Sometimes, real life is so dramatic that it surpasses art itself. The most dreaded error in the history of the awards show had happened. That’s when Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney came up and delivered brief and humble acceptance speeches for Moonlight, the story of Chiron, a young gay black boy who grows up in the Miami projects. The film follows him into his early adult life. As a boy he is bullied at school, has a single parent struggling with addictions, and has a hunger for positive parental figures which drives him to form a healthy bond to a caring couple in the community. In adolescence, even though the bullying continues, he begins to discover his emerging power as a person of value – but then gets arrested for assaulting one of his bullies. He goes on to suppress his honest sexual feelings to become a physically powerful and eventual drug dealer in the community. In La La Land the two lead characters achieve their dream careers, both nurtured by each other, family, and friends. This is in contrast to the adult Chiron in Moonlight, who finally at the film’s conclusion barely begins to honestly grapple with what he really wants as a person in both work and love. Comparing metrics of success regarding where the characters are at in their life trajectories by the end of these two movies is staggering and gives pause for thinking.

Moonlight was the clear winner for Best Picture and won a total of 3 Oscars. La La Land won 6 Academy Awards and was nominated for 14. I find it reassuring that these two impactful movies can both be key winners at the same time. Maybe we can enjoy a story of personal fulfillment in La La Land, and then we can challenge ourselves with another reality of how marginalized young people grow up with enormous challenges and frequently end up with little possibility for achieving their own American dream.

In these times, I continue to admire our collective capacity for both joy as well as for empathy of the less fortunate, both inspiring us towards personal evolution. In this real life story of a workplace error, the winners of both movies demonstrated grace, humility, and generosity of spirit at the 89th Academy Awards of 2017.

I recommend you see both movies and see what you think.


La La Land. Dir. Damien Chazelle. 2016

Moonlight. Dir. Barry Jenkings. 2016.


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