September 2011 - Posts

Women in Business: Success or Stagnation?
Thursday, September 29, 2011 2:59 PM

Former eBay head Meg Whitman was recently named CEO of Hewlett Packard, a feather in her cap and one more crack in the glass ceiling for women breaking into the highest echelons of business. Still the number of women CEOs overall has remained stagnant. Only twelve women run Fortune 500 companies, fifteen less than the previous year.

What gives? Why aren't more women running major companies? When one considers that women are outperforming men at college and grad schools and are enrolling in greater numbers than their male counterparts, the disparity between ability, interest and outcome is confounding.

Two recent articles that have blown up in the blogsphere examine the topic of women in business, glass ceilings and how to change the status quo. While neither piece pretends to have all the answers, both provide food for thought.

How Women Can Flourish in the Workplace: Harvard Business Review blogger and CEO of a global tech company Vineet Nayar argues that the corporate world has failed women. Nayar argues that women managers are usually required to fit into organizational molds that force them to opt out of the workforce. The result? A leaking leadership pipeline and few women in the C-suite.

Nayar also advocates specific steps to bridge the gender divide including:

  • Grass root-level mentoring and coaching in the education system
  • Do away with the expectation that employees should be available anywhere, anytime
  • Change the unwritten rules of workplace engagement favoring men
  • Coach women to assume additional responsibilities, advocate for themselves and aspire for more

A Woman's Place:  Veteran journalist Ken Auletta writes a profile of arguably one of the most powerful and closely watched women in technology: Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook.

By any measure, Sandberg's career is stellar: an Ivy League education, senior roles at the Department of Treasury under financial powerhouse Larry Summers and at Google and the COO job at Facebook.

Yet Sandberg says "women are not making it to the top." She adds, "a hundred and ninety heads of state; nine are women. Of all the people in parliament in the world, thirteen per cent are women. In the corporate sector, women at the top-C-level jobs, board seats-tops out at fifteen, sixteen per cent."

Sandberg believes that women need to take three steps to ameliorate the problem:

  • Sit at the table. Take your rightful place among the players, negotiate your salary and own your power. More than 50 percent of men negotiate salaries while less than 10 percent of women do so.
  • Make sure your partner is a real partner. Women wind up shouldering a majority of the child rearing duties and house chores, even when they work. A true 50-50 split is needed.
  • Don't leave before you leave. Women often stop gunning for promotions and projects when they contemplate having a family. Sandberg says women shouldn't "lean back" but should rather keep full steam ahead and not undermine their careers even before the take a break for family.

Sandberg concludes with the following counsel: "Don't worry so much about balance. Work hard, stick with what you like, and don't let go."  

Sound advice, no matter your gender.


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Got Paper? Two Tips for Taming Mountains of Paperwork
Wednesday, September 28, 2011 2:52 PM

The promise of the paperless office just isn't a reality in many workplaces. People and paper seem to go hand in hand.

At the office, invoices, receipts, presentations and mail can quickly overwhelm a desk if left unchecked. At home, school permissions slips, sports schedules and children's art work multiply before your eyes.

Tame those paper mountains with two strategies that will have you a charter member of the Clean Desk Club in no time flat.


Paperwork needs a home. Ensure that your papers have a designated spot with SureHook® Reinforced Hanging Folders:  the sturdy, reinforced files handle even the biggest paper loads.

Each folder is reinforced along the edges and bottom with durable polylaminate strips for heavy-duty hold. Bulky artwork? No problem. Years of tax paperwork? SureHook® can handle it.

The SureHook® technology offers a longer, flexible hook with built-in tension springs that keeps rods straight and prevents buckling, even with overstuffed files. Folders stay on track, sliding easily, for ready access. 

SureHook® technology is so strong, it's even been used as exercise equipment.  Check out this video of one man's work out routine.

And an array of color choices makes color-coding for organization simple. Crack the color code for simple filing with tips from our past post here. 


Reduce paper piles by scanning paperwork that lends itself easily to digitization. Receipts are simple to scan and toss as are business cards. Apps such as Cardmunch make digitizing business cards a snap and offer value-added options such as multiple phone books and the ability to easily add contacts to social networks such as LinkedIn.

Worried that scanning paperwork will take an eternity? Scanners such as the Scan Snap can scan up to 15 pages of double-sided documents in a minute. Once you're done scanning, be sure to take that feel-good final step: shredding no-longer-needed documents.

Keep in mind that if you're relying on digital files, it's crucial to ensure that your files are adequately backed up.

Filing. Scanning. Or perhaps both. You'll be a charter member of the Clean Desk Club in no time flat!


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Back-to-School as an Adult
Wednesday, September 28, 2011 2:50 PM

Back-to-school conjures up images of kids toting backpacks stuffed with brand new marble composition notebooks. But back-to-school needn't be just for the small-fry set. Savvy adults know that being a life-long learner reaps both professional dividends and personal enrichment. So this fall take time to investigate continuing education and professional development options that can add skills and expand your horizons.

Courses are often offered at local colleges and universities. Many public libraries also offer continuing education coursework, particularly in new technologies. To get you started, here are some do's and don'ts to consider:

  • Do investigate if your company will pay for classes. Often times professional development courses are reimbursable.
  • Don't limit yourself to courses solely in business or your industry. Taking a painting or music class can unlock creativity that in turn boosts your productivity and creativity at work as well.
  • Do network among colleagues you admire for ideas about helpful coursework.
  • Don't assume all coursework needs to be done in a classroom. Many vacation options offer classes and certification, including these classes run on cruises. 
  • Do tap into industry and trade associations for programming.
  • Don't call it one and done. Keep taking classes, adding skills and new experiences throughout your career and life.

Back-to-school: not for kids only.


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Organizing Your Closet for Sweater Weather
Wednesday, September 28, 2011 1:49 PM
The shorter days and cooler air have been hinting at what the calendar now makes official: fall and sweater weather has arrived. No room in your closet for fall's bulky sweaters and boots? Create breathing room with our simple steps to a well-edited...
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Preparing your Business for a Disaster
Wednesday, September 28, 2011 1:45 PM
The costs of Hurricane Irene are staggering: the White House estimates the cost to taxpayers at a whopping $1.5 billion dollars. But a giant price tag is only one indicator of devastation. For many businesses, shuttering for even a few days can destabilize...
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Preparing your Business for a Disaster
Thursday, September 22, 2011 3:17 PM

Epic flooding in Vermont and punishing tornados in Alabama are recent examples of the harsh toll weather disasters can exact on people and businesses.

Most of us know how to prepare our homes when crazy weather hits: we stock up on water, non-perishables, flashlights and batteries. But how many small business owners know how to prepare their business and employees in advance of a storm? As the old saying goes, "The time to fix your roof is when the sun is shining." The time to prepare for a disaster is before it strikes.

Business owners should take following precautions:

Know Your Insurance: Review the fine print on your insurance policy. Hazard insurance doesn't necessarily cover flood insurance so be sure to know exactly what is and isn't covered.

Double Your Docs: Store copies of your insurance policy and financial records in a safe, fire-proof place away from your business.

Check Please!: Create a checklist that addresses plans for data back-up, any necessary office relocations and crisis communications.

Operating Instructions: Take the guesswork out of emergencies by providing employees with instructions on what they should do when a crisis develops. Fine-tune the plan bi-annually to keep up with personnel changes and new logistics.

Keep in Touch: Regularly update all contact information for employees, customers and vendors and store in a remote location.

Get Shipshape: How sound is your workplace? Regularly check that all possible hazards, such as gas lines, water heaters, etc., are secure. Likewise, make sure that bookshelves and other fixtures items are securely braced. Check that the roof is sound and able to withstand wind and water damage.

For more resources, please visit:


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Professional Networking on Facebook: Branching Out from Just Friends
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 3:09 PM

Facebook, the go-to social networking site of a staggering 750 million users, now has an increasing number of third-party apps that allow for professional networking. BranchOut is perhaps the best known; others include the newer BeKnown, as well as Identified and Work4Labs.

Companies are increasingly using social networking to source high-quality candidates due to its ease and cheapness. Given that many top-tier companies are shifting from traditional hiring methods such as job boards and third-party recruiters, professional networking through social media channels is becoming ever more critical.

Here's an overview of some of the players:

BranchOut: BranchOut is an app that allows Facebook users to unlock massive amounts of career data on Facebook friends (and even friends of friends).  Users can search on a company name and see which of your Facebook friends work there (or used to).

BranchOut also allows users to import their existing data from LinkedIn, making profiles a snap to create. The app also allows companies to post job listings.

For more, read:

BranchOut=Facebook Plus LinkedIn Divided by Job Search 

BeKnown: Job search behemoth launched BeKnown, allowing job hunters to search for and apply for jobs without leaving Facebook. The app is fully integrated with Facebook, but lets users keep their personal Facebook information private, a major plus.

Job seekers can not only view and apply for jobs, they can see company information, get endorsed, and apply for jobs directly from the app.

For more, read: Launches BeKnown: Professional Social Networking for Facebook 

Identified: A professional network that builds candidate profiles using relevant Facebook biographical data; allows recruiters to search all candidates by a variety of requirements such as GPA or school attended; the service also keeps sensitive social data out of the hands of recruiters.

For more, read:

Identified to Challenge LinkedIn by Building Job Candidate Profiles from Facebook Data 

Work 4 Labs: An app for recruiters and candidates. Companies can post jobs to their Facebook Page and advertise via Facebook Ads. The app also offers referral features.  Work4 Labs also develops Jobs for Me, one of the largest networks of university career centers and vertical job boards on Facebook. According to the company, users include blue-chip names such as Citibank, Accenture, Oracle, Microsoft, KPMG and Intel to name a few.

For more, read:

Tools of the Trade - Work4Labs: Work 4 Us App 

Finally, we leave you with a useful read for optimizing social media to land coveted gigs: 5 Clever Ways to Get a Job Using Social Media. 


Good luck with the job search!


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From Piles to Files with Divide It Up Multi-Section Folders
Monday, September 19, 2011 5:42 PM

Ah, Autumn: a season of crisp apples, colorful foliage and piles of paperwork. Had you there didn't we? You thought we were going to say piles of leaves.

Well, consider that the school year is only a few weeks old and already the paperwork explosion is threatening to engulf the kitchen counter. And forget about the office; the paperwork that built up during your lazy beach days is just as overwhelming.

Divide It Up® File Folders

Product # 10772

This fall, tackle your piles with something much better than a rake. Tackle your piles with Divide It Up® Multi-Section File Folders.

One folder, three sections: a snap to subdivide files for easy access and quick retrieval. Each folder offers an oversize tab for easy identification and three smaller tabs, making sorting simple. Go ahead and overstuff; the folders are sealed on all sides for maximum hold.

One folder, three pockets; endless possibilities. Why tackle those troublesome piles with anything else?

For more tips on taming those mounds of paperwork, read our past posts Anatomy of a Filing Cabinet and Simple Tricks for the Filing Newbie. 



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Tips for A Great School Year
Monday, September 19, 2011 5:40 PM

New notebooks, check. Backpack, check. Refusing to over schedule...a work in progress. Smart parents know the back-to-school checklist should include more than just school supplies. Create the framework for a successful school year with the following checklist.

Great Expectations: Sit down with your students and discuss your expectations for the school year. Clearly tell your kids that you expect them to be polite, conscientious students. Don't assume your child knows what type of behavior you expect, tell them directly.

Open Lines of Communication: Reach out to your children's teacher rather than waiting to hear from them. Introduce yourself via e-mail and let the teacher know the best way to get in touch during the school year. Reaching out signals that you are an involved, approachable parent who is willing to act as a partner in a student's education.

Organizing 101: Teach your children to organize their workspace and calendar for greater productivity and less stress. Organization is easy with these simple steps. 

Family, It's What's for Dinner: Students who eat with their family regularly have better health, grades and lower rates of troublesome behavior such as teen drinking and smoking. Put family dinners first as often as your schedule permits.

Say No to Over Scheduling: Put the brakes on extracurriculars or social engagements that get in the way of downtime and family time. Overextended and stressed out students and parents is becoming an epidemic: ward off the ill-effects of a schedule in overdrive by just saying no.

Read Together: Reading fosters a love of learning and improves vocabulary; it is also a wonderful way to nurture deep connection between parents and children. Often parents stop reading to their children once they can read on their own. But parents can read to willing children for years. Pick books that are challenging or that focus on a shared interest: reading it together pushes children outside of their comfort zone. Consider forming a parent/child book group with a group of friends.

Finally, smart parents model a positive attitude to school and learning. Share stories from your own education; let your children see you continue to try to learn new things, be it a sport, a recipe or a new language. Being a life-long learner is enjoyable and presents a positive role model for your children.



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Top 10 Tips to Reboot Productivity at Work
Friday, September 09, 2011 3:32 PM

Summer's lazy, hazy days are firmly in the rearview mirror. Time to reboot your back-to-business mojo with ten tips to make your September more productive.

1.           Reconnect with your colleagues after vacation by updating your boss and co-workers on summertime successes and project statuses.

2.           Tackle the tickler list that got short shrift during vacation weeks.

3.           Jump on the back-to-school bandwagon by stocking up on organizational tools of every stripe. Folders, files, notebooks, day planners, computers and the like all sport sales stickers come September.

4.           Schedule a block of time to prune the paperwork that didn't get filed. Moving piles to files is energizing.

5.           Do some goal-setting. September's new-notebooks, fresh-start-energy is the perfect time to strive for an unrealized goal.

6.           Take steps to hone focus; noise canceling headphones or technology-free blocks of time can provide needed concentration.

7.           Commit to a regimen of simple desk stretches to keep the blood flowing and boost memory and energy levels.

8.           Arrive well-rested; early to bed, early to rise, you know the drill.

9.           Think positively! Arrive at your desk every day with a smile on your face and some pep in your step; positivity propels productivity.

10.        Finally, schedule a fall vacation. You're going to need a break from all that productivity!


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Top 10 Reasons to be Excited its Fall
Thursday, September 08, 2011 3:30 PM

Summer tans are fading, mornings becoming cool and crisper. Time to embrace autumn and its many pleasures. Having trouble saying good-bye to summer? Here are ten reasons to be happy fall is around the corner.

1.           Salads give way to soups. All hail comfort food!

2.           Cooler weather means AC-fueled electric bills come down. Enjoy the savings; at least until winter heating bills arrive.

3.           Football season begins. Get ready to root for the home team.

4.           Apple-palooza. Fall's most famous fruit takes center stage.

5.           Good-bye bathing suits, hello sweaters. Fashion's most talked about season is always fall. Check out the September issues of fashion mags for the latest trends.

6.           Couch-potatoes rejoice; fall ushers in a new television season.

7.           Back-to-school season arrives, giving parents a needed break.

8.           Halloween fun! Candy for everyone.

9.           Fall foliage! Plan a leaf peeping trip to soak up the season's gorgeous colors.

10.        Forget January, fall is a season of fresh starts. Gear up to kick start your goals this September.


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Top 10 Ways to Transition Summer Looks into Fall Fashion
Wednesday, September 07, 2011 3:29 PM

Sweater and boot season is right around the corner; witness the fall fashion catalogs clogging mailboxes. But is an all-new fall wardrobe really in your budget? Savvy fashionistas stretch their dollars by transitioning summer looks into fall fashion with these ten tips.

1.           Top lightweight tees and tanks with fall's must-have blazers.

2.           Extended the life of sundresses by pairing with colored tights and a cardigan or fitted shrug.

3.           Don fitted black tees or turtlenecks either underneath or on top of lightweight dresses.

4.           Summer's minis do double-duty as tunics over skinny jeans or leggings.

5.           Breezy pool cover-ups can also top skinny jeans or black slacks.

6.           Summer's nautical stripes look just right under fitted black blazers.

7.           Get more from maxi dresses by topping with a chunky sweater cinched at the waist with a bold belt.

8.           Summery neutrals such as carmels and khaki mix well with fall's jewel tones. Top a nubby linen blouse with a rich jewel covered cardigan or with animal prints like leopard or cheetah.

9.           Pair cropped pants and capris with boots. Voila, fall trousers!

10.        Add colorful, silks and wool scarves over summer weight jackets.


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