Category Archives: Business Insights

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Penske Automotive’s Q1 net income falls 8%

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Net income for the nation’s second-largest dealership group fell 8 percent to $99.2 million. Penske Automotive said revenue fell 3.2 percent to $5.56 billion.

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HUD sued over new down payment assistance rules for FHA mortgages

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Last week, HUD announced it was issuing new rules for down payment assistance on FHA mortgages. According to HUD and the FHA, the new rules were meant to provide clarity around what documentation would be required for borrowers who are using funds from another source to cover part of the their down payment. But, according to one group, those rules do much more than that. And now, the group is suing HUD to get the rule change overturned.

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How to identify and stop ostrich-style management

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We have all come across them in our careers: managers or even whole organizations that keep their heads in the proverbial sand, refusing to acknowledge what is all around them.

Whether it is something subtle like a leader who avoids conflict or more obvious, like an organization that does not have a handbook, the ostrich syndrome can affect everything from attendance to office culture. As such, it is more important than ever for leaders to identify and stop ostrich-style management.

Who’s on first?

This style of management often thrives within organizations that are either very new or very established. On the one hand, new organizations like startups often move fast, are hyper-focused on a specific goal and espouse the belief they do not have the time or need to follow basic processes.

This could include anything from professional offer letters and handbooks to addressing performance management or employee relations issues. In such cases, ostrich-style management can create a culture that allows for inconsistent or unfair treatment of staff, festering of inter-employee tensions, and lack of regulatory compliance.

On the flip side, established organizations often embrace ostrich-style management because of the very nature of their long existence. In other words, this is how they have always done it, and everything has turned out fine so far. So why change?

These organizations can experience bottlenecks in processes because a limited number of employees hold most of the institutional knowledge. They may also have systems in place, but they are old and duct-taped together, and because of a lack of updates, many lack compliance with basic employment law.

Stop…or I’ll say stop again

Identifying ostrich-style management is often much easier than stopping it. In many cases, identifying it can cause tension because it puts the status quo at risk and the organization may not have the time nor the inclination to change. However, change is necessary, and the culture will only become more fraught with problems the longer these issues are ignored.

Like the massive differences between the two types of organizations within which ostrich-style managers thrive, there are two very different ways to address the issue. The first is a total overhaul of the organization, while the second is more of a gradual, pick-your-battles approach.

Implementing a total overhaul of an organization is a specialty and requires resources, a concerted effort and good leaders. Without any one of those, it will not work.

As such, most leaders take the chip-chip-chisel-chisel approach. To do this successful requires a lot of patience, a solid understanding of the big picture, and knowing how to prioritize the infrastructure changes.

In both cases, it is incumbent upon leaders to embrace the change as positive and necessary and avoid blaming it on external forces. By owning the change, leaders are in a better position to retain institutional knowledge, respect veteran and expert staff, and increase staff buy-in.

The bottom line is, across every industry, the current pace of change in what we do and how we do it is not going to slow down: leaders must identify ostrich-style management and come up with a sustainable way to incorporate change into management, systems and strategy.

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McDonald’s vows to hire more older workers

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The company is working with AARP to target employees as it seeks to hire 250,000 for the summer.

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Chipotle’s same-store sales surge, thanks to digital

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Online and mobile orders doubled in the first quarter as the company’s comparable store sales rose 9.9%.

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Optimizing the kids’ menu for delivery

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Operators can appeal to parents by including the kids’ menu in off-premise offerings.

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McDonald’s to Give More Jobs to Older Workers

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As the workforce ages, companies are finding new ways to give older workers more chances to find work. McDonald’s is the latest to outline a plan to incorporate them into the company.

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Technomic: First quarter sales and traffic fall

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Customers paid higher prices at restaurants early this year, but they went out less often, according to the March Technomic Chain Restaurant Index.

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5 continuing education resources for project managers

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Project management is a profession that requires continual learning to hone our skills. As we move from project to project, we’ll encounter new team configurations, different industries, changes in technology, and more.

To stay ahead of the curve (or at least keep up), we need to proactively seek out learning opportunities. For those with the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification or other PMI designation, earning Professional Development Units (PDUs) is part of maintaining that credential.

Here are five resources to consider as you look for ways to learn and grow as a project manager:

1. ProjectManagement.com

This site includes over 1,000 on-demand webinars, templates, podcast episodes, and more. If you’re a PMI member and link your PMI login with ProjectManagement.com, you’ll have access to their premium webinars plus they’ll submit the PDUs for you with PMI.

2. PMI.org

The Project Management Institute’s website includes links to their publications and training seminar events (both virtual and in-person). You can also search for a Registered Education Provider in your area to find a course near you.

3. Registered Education Providers

R.E.P.s are organizations approved by PMI to provide training in project management and to issue PDUs. If you’d prefer to have all the project managers in your company attend a training session, searching for a local R.E.P. and arranging for a special session might be the best way to go.

4. Local PMI Chapters

Search for a PMI chapter in your area and check out their meeting schedule. Most chapters hold monthly meetings over the lunch hour.

These meetings are excellent opportunities to network with other project managers and learn from the expert guest speaker. PMI chapters also host various professional development opportunities throughout the year. A “professional development day” might span two-three days and include a variety of sessions to attend.

5. Mentors

We all could benefit from spending time with a project manager who is farther along in his/her professional experience. Consider reaching out to a more seasoned project manager and ask if he/she would be willing to pass down a few lessons learned.

This could be as simple as meeting for lunch once a month. Come prepared with questions and be ready to take notes.

Staying attuned to what’s next in project management and finding resources to help you deal with the immediate issues you’re dealing with isn’t easy. However, by leveraging the resources listed above, you should have a head start on managing any project challenges headed your way.

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Unhealthy diets becoming national health problem

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Unhealthy eating patterns not only can harm the health of a vast group of Americans but, according to the researchers, can also have a negative social and economic impact on the entire country.

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