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Infographic: Breaking up Big Tech

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Are tech companies growing “too big to fail?”

In 2018, five tech companies — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google — earned a combined $800 billion in revenues.

In March, Elizabeth Warren released a campaign ad calling for the breakup of big tech companies. Facebook removed the ad, sparking bipartisan backlash. Today, 2 in 3 Americans — regardless of political party — support the breakup of Big Tech.

This infographic outlines why so many are calling for the tech giants to be broken up and the laws that might make it happen.

Infographic courtesy GreatBusinessSchools.org/NowSourcing

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Don’t let toxic employees ruin your organization

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Toxic fumes and toxic waste illicit emergency responses because everyone realizes that these poisonous substances must be addressed immediately.

Toxic employees? Not so much. Companies tend to have a much more subdued, almost nonchalant response to toxicity in human form, which can best be described as the head-in-the-sand approach.

In fact, according to a survey by Fierce Conversations, companies prefer to pretend nothing is wrong. Although 72% of employees wish their organizations were less tolerant, 44% of companies say their preferred tactic for dealing with toxic workers is simply to ignore them.

Sidestepping the problem doesn’t bode well in the long run. So, what is a toxic employee, why are toxic employees so dangerous, and how should they be handled?

What is a toxic employee?

“Based on our survey results, the most toxic trait an employee can have is a negative attitude, followed by being manipulative, and not being a team player,” explains Stacey Engle, president of Fierce Conversations. But regardless of the specific trait, she says a toxic employee is anyone who causes harm to those they work with, which can be a co-worker or team, and ultimately, the organization as a whole.

Dangers of toxic employees

Toxic individuals — like toxic substances — can wreak havoc in a variety of ways. Engle says these individuals directly impact the satisfaction of other employees. “And unhappy employees lead to greater turnover, especially if they feel their concerns are ignored.”

However, a toxic employee can also shift the entire culture of a team, and she says this can affect work significantly. Often, managers and leaders may shrug their shoulders because they’re not dealing with the individual on a routine basis. But the entire company can still be negatively affected. “If people don’t want to stay late to help on a project to avoid someone, or don’t feel comfortable bringing up ideas they think might be ridiculed, the organization can and will suffer.”

Engle provides an example. “If an employee is overly negative toward the ideas of their co-workers, or complains constantly about working on a specific project, the people they work with are affected.” Some of the co-workers may address the issues directly with that individual, hoping the situation gets better.

“If they decide not to raise the issue directly, or if they don’t feel comfortable, it can fester and create a culture within a team that is unhealthy.” This creates a double-negative for the company because the work will suffer and the other employees might start looking for new roles.

If a leader is apprised of the situation and handles it correctly, the environment will improve. But if that leader fails to do anything, Engle says employees will likely lose faith in them. “There are various scenarios as to how this can play out, but the bottom line is this: if a toxic employee isn’t handled quickly and successfully, things can go from bad to worse.”

As a leader, she is speaking from experience. “A few years ago, one toxic person started to quickly cause issues across an entire sales team.” Although Engle acted quickly, she admits that some damage and doubt still existed, and it took time to rebuild trust.

How most people handle toxic employees

While ignoring toxic employees is the preferred copying mechanism among survey respondents, addressing the behavior came in second place, following by confrontation. Engle believes these results should be concerning to anyone in a leadership role.

“Those with titles of director, president or CEO are less likely to ignore toxic behavior, our survey found, while managers and individual contributors are more likely to sweep issues under the rug.”

She believes that those in higher roles may be more empowered to raise concerns head on because they have the skills and confidence to do so. However, they could also be bolder because toxic employees are less likely to rail against them due to their position in the company.

Unfortunately, 72% of the survey respondents believe that even after being addressed, either a toxic employee never changes, or changes infrequently. “There is no doubt this comes into play when deciding to confront them in the first place,” Engle says.

How toxic employees should be handled

Employees may realize the dangers of toxic employees, and think their organizations are too negligent, but they don’t really know how these individuals should be handled. Only 31% firmly believe toxic workers should be fired, while 61% are unsure if they should be fired or not.

Perhaps employees are on the fence because they know that toxic behavior tends to have root causes. Engle firmly believes that these toxic workers should be addressed early and often. “If they are, and continue to be an issue, action must be taken.” However, her organization has identified three key causes of toxic behavior:

Feeling undervalued. “Employees who feel disposable, commoditized, or who don’t understand their role within an organization often hold on to negative energy,” she says. Spending eight hours a day in a place where they feel undervalued can certainly explain (but not excuse) why they would show up in a foul mood.

Lack of recognition. “Asking for the best of someone and giving them nothing in return, except perhaps a paycheck, can be demeaning.” Over time, as an employee continues to feel they’re not be recognized sufficiently, they can become bitter.

Interpersonal conflict. “The survey found that over half of employees argue with their co-workers at least once a month,” Engle says. If these inevitable conflicts are not resolved, employees can feel helpless.

“If leaders can start addressing some of these root causes where they can, chances are the overall instances of toxic employees will decline,” she concludes.

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The stock market was supposed to crash. What happened?

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2019 was the year one of the longest bull markets on record was supposed to come to an end — “Everyone says so.”

Instead, by Dec. 1, the market had gained well over 20%, or about twice its yearly average. How could so many knowledgeable market watchers have been so wrong?

What We Know — and What We Don’t

Perhaps the most basic truism about the stock market is that it’s cyclical — first it goes up, then it comes back down, sometimes landing relatively softly and at other times with a loud crash, wiping out trillions of dollars of investor wealth.

But then the cycle repeats, and repeats again — as it has, predictably, for over a hundred years. Market watchers also know how long, on average, this cycle takes. The upward part, the bull market phase, averages over four years; the downswing, the bear market phase, about 14 months.

But while the cyclical nature of the market is well-known, as are the average lengths of its bull and bear market components, what we don’t know is how long a given bull or bear market will last. And they vary greatly in both length and magnitude.

Since the 1930s, three bull markets have lasted over 10 years and two more have lasted less than four. Similarly, bear markets have lasted for as little as three months or for over two years.

Trying to use average lengths to predict when the current bull market will likely end is a little like having two children, one a school linebacker, the other a ballerina, and buying their clothes based on their average height and weight.

If you’re trying to figure out what’s going to happen next in the stock market, market averages are simply not useful information. Which doesn’t keep market pundits from trying.

A Very Brief History of Market Predictions

The variability — and unpredictability — of bull and bear market lengths only hint at the complexity and quantity of market information available to anyone who chooses to use it to predict the market’s future.

Here are a few amusing quotes that give you the general idea of the usefulness of all this data. The quotes below appeared in respectable market analyses at some point prior to the beginning of 2019:

The Butterfly in Brazil vs. the Hurricane in Texas

Just for the record, in 2019 interest rates fell (which has also led to another pessimistic prediction of economic gloom). The reality is that there are so many variables that affect large scale entities like financial markets that almost any collection of data will be so incomplete as to be an inadequate basis for assessing what will happen next.

Nevertheless, self-appointed experts keep trying to tell you what will happen in the market next. As to how well they can do that in reality, there’s an abundance of serious data available indicating that they generally fail.

But I’ll just give you this: In 2017, one of the British newspapers conducted a yearlong experiment matching the results of stock-picking professionals with a pet cat (named Orlando). You guessed it, the cat won, using the highly efficient TTMSP method — throw a toy mouse at a stock page. Similarly, superior results have been obtained by a chimp throwing darts.

The unpredicted and unpredictable ways in which so many variables can determine what happens next in large-scale systems has given rise to the “butterfly in Brazil” assessment, where something as inconsequential as the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil can sooner or later produce a hurricane in Texas.

As it turns out, even that is probably wrong. If a butterfly caused it, we’d have no way of knowing — there’s just too much relevant data to sort through even for today’s supercomputers.

What I can tell you, based on my 10 years’ experience as a stock market professional, is this: when a broker or a media pundit tells you what will happen next in the stock market, or even where it’s trending, pay as little attention as possible. Alternatively, consult Orlando the cat.

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Should you take a new job in 2020?

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Many of us have faced Monday mornings that inspire us to surf LinkedIn jobs on an incognito tab by Monday afternoon. At year-end, we often see an uptick in job searches, terminations and overall employment changes.

For those facing the prospect (or dream) of a new job in 2020, here are a few questions to consider before making the move.

Is it always about the green on the other side of the fence?

Theoretically, business coaches, job boards and advice columns tell us not to take a job just for the money. Practically speaking, almost all of us look first at pay when deciding whether to leave our current job and whether to take a new job.

That said, pay can only keep us so satisfied if our immediate supervisor is a jerk, the company is toxic, or the commute is brutal. When deciding whether to take a new role, how do we reconcile the need for pay with job satisfaction? It can help by thinking of what not to do.

The first mistake many people make is not having a clear grasp of their current financial situation.

Specifically, we should have a detailed financial map that includes everything from the minimum realistic amount of money we need every month to pay bills to the ideal amount we would like to have in retirement, by when and what that translates to in an investment plan today. With this information, we will be prepared to immediately understand the impact of a salary increase or decrease.

The second is thinking that anything we previously believed still holds true today. In other words, we may have been striving for a specific title, work at a certain company or minimum salary level.

The professional we were the last time we changed jobs or even last year is not the same professional we are now. As such, we need to recalibrate our goals and expectations.

Where are your peeps?

Sticking with the theme of what not to do, many of us often forget the importance of our work relationships. We should be paid fairly and have the opportunity to make whatever type of professional contribution is meaningful to us. However, both of those are heavily impacted by the people around us.

Whether it is the type of people drawn to the industry (think hedge fund investors vs. nonprofit activists) or the people in our field (accountants or IT); the people around us can make or break our daily lives. Like the financial assessment above, before taking a leap, we should take a look at our current professional circle and those in the new work environment and realistically assess whether we can see ourselves spending the majority of our waking hours with them.

The bottom line is that with the new year comes new opportunity. Before completely leaving behind 2019, if we take the time to create a realistic status report on our financial health, career goals and professional circle, we will be better prepared to decide whether seek, accept or decline a new role in 2020.

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Are you ready for these payroll changes in 2020?

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As we embark upon 2020, numerous payroll changes await. Among them are FICA taxes, Form W-4, state taxes, employee benefits, minimum wage, overtime, paid sick leave, and the quadrennial leap year.

FICA Taxes

Social Security tax

For 2020, employers and employees must each pay Social Security tax at 6.2%, up to the taxable wage base of $137,700 — increasing from $132,900 in 2019.

Medicare tax

For 2020, employers and employees must each pay Medicare tax at 1.45% of all taxable wages, unchanged from 2019. Additional Medicare tax on wages over $200,000 remains at 0.9%.

Form W-4

IRS Form W-4 is changing to facilitate adjustments made by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

In August 2019, the IRS unveiled its second draft of the new (2020) Form W-4. Essentially, the 2020 form skips the “allowances” concept, instead taking a five-step approach that includes:

  1. Basic information, such as name, Social Security number, and filing status
  2. Multiple jobs or spouse works
  3. Claim dependents
  4. Other adjustments
  5. Sign and date

Employers should have their employees review the 2020 Form W-4 (once finalized) and submit federal income tax withholding changes for 2020 on the new form. Employees do not have to fill out a new W-4 if they have no changes for 2020; their 2019 W-4 will suffice.

Per the IRS, employees should use the agency’s Tax Withholding Estimator to perform a “paycheck checkup” and to ensure the right amount of federal income tax is withheld from their wages.

Note that in November 2019, the IRS released its third draft of Publication 15-T, Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods, which breaks down how employers should withhold federal income tax based on employees’ 2020 Form W-4.

State and Local Taxes

Employers will need to stay on top of state and local payroll tax changes for 2020. Requirements vary by location, but may include:

  • State income tax
  • Local taxes, such as city and county taxes
  • State unemployment tax
  • State disability insurance
  • Employment training tax

Employees can use an online paycheck calculator to gauge the effect of federal, state, and local payroll taxes on their take-home pay.

Employee Benefits Limits for 2020

401(k):

  • Maximum employee contributions = $19,500
  • Employee catch-up contributions (age 50 or older) = $6,500
  • Maximum contributions from all sources (employee + employer) = $57,000
  • Maximum contributions from all sources (age 50 or older) = $63,500

Health Savings Account (employer + employee limits):

  • Self-only coverage = $3,550
  • Family coverage = $7,100
  • Employee catch-up contributions (age 55 or older) = $1,000

Health Flexible Spending Account:

  • Maximum pretax salary deferral = $2,750

Qualified Small Employer Reimbursement Arrangement:

  • Maximum payment/reimbursement for self-only coverage = $5,250
  • Maximum payment/reimbursement for family coverage = $10,600

Pretax Transportation Benefits:

  • Transit passes and vanpool = $270 monthly
  • Parking = $270 monthly

Minimum Wage

Many states and localities have their own minimum wage; in most cases, the rate is tied to annual increases based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Over 20 states are expected to undergo minimum wage hikes in 2020. These include Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Washington.

When both federal and state minimum wage apply, employees must receive the higher standard.

New Federal Overtime Rule

On Sept. 27, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a final rule, raising the salary threshold for exempt executive, administrative, and professional employees from $455 per week to $684 per week. The final rule is effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Basically, to keep being exempt from overtime under federal law, salaried-exempt employees must receive no less than $684 per week. They will be eligible for overtime if they receive less than that amount.

A few states, including California and Maine, have overtime exemption laws, which may entail changes for 2020.

Paid Sick Leave

Currently, 11 states plus an increasing number of cities and counties require employers to provide paid sick leave.

Employers should keep an eye out for new or updated paid sick leave regulations impacting their jurisdiction in 2020. For example, Duluth, Minnesota’s paid sick leave law kicks in Jan. 1, 2020.

Leap Year

During a leap year — which happens roughly every four years — February has 29 days instead of 28 days. This may cause an extra payday for the year, depending on employees’ pay frequency and when their actual payday occurs.

Since 2020 is a leap year, impacted employers should promptly determine the best way to handle the extra payday. Also crucial is communicating related paycheck changes to employees in a timely manner.

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10 holiday gifts for busy executives

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The secret to gifts that are memorable and appreciated is to get something people really want and/or need. When choosing gifts for busy executives, it may help to consider their lifestyle and work routine. This can lead to selections that are practical, stylish, and sometimes downright fun.

Below are 10 gifts that we think any busy executive would like to receive.

Hybrid duffel bag

Busy executives need a lot of flexibility when traveling. This hybrid bag by Solo New York is a spacious, rolling duffel bag with a front, zippered pocket, and lockable zipper pulls.

The shoulder strap is adjustable — but more importantly, it’s also removable. So, when they don’t feel like carrying the bag, they can just use the push button telescoping handle system and easy glide wheels to simply roll the bag behind them.

2-in-1 air travel stabilizer

When flying, it can be a challenge to juggle your drink and devices. However, the Airhook 2.0 can make traveling less hectic.

This multipurpose device can hook on an inflight tray table to provide a stable drink holder and offers a secure mount for a cell phone or tablet. If your busy executive is flying economy, this can be a lifesaver. And with the Crossbar, the Airhook can also be used in automobiles or even placed on exercise equipment.

Desk lamp/alarm/phone charger

Desk clutter makes executives less productive. However, the LumiCharge LED Desk Lamp is an all-in-one workstation. It includes a phone charger — in fact, you can even charge two phones at the same time (charging one wirelessly and the other using the pre-built connectors on the back).

The lamp’s digital display shows the time, date, day of the week, temperature — and there’s also an alarm setting. Since it is a lamp, after all, there are three different hues and 10 levels of brightness, along with a motion sensor setting to turn the light on whenever someone walks by.

Chocolate pizza

If your busy executive loves chocolate, a chocolate pizza from the Chocolate Pizza Company is as good as it gets — and even comes in a custom pizza box. Made of gourmet milk chocolate and homemade English toffee, the toppings include red and green chocolate candy, peanut butter cups and candy bar pieces.

Is that too much chocolate? An alternative is the Drumstick Coco Pizza, which also has a chocolate base, but is topped with pecans, almonds, walnuts, pretzels, caramel, and sea salt.

Vintage chocolate messenger bag

For fat- and calorie-free chocolate lovers, consider something like this chocolately brown, vintage messenger bag from TucciPolo. Whether your busy executive is wearing a suit or jeans, this handmade Italian leather messenger — which also functions as a briefcase and a laptop bag — goes with everything.

The bag has brass-tone hardware and an extra-long leather strap. In addition to the zippered laptop compartment, there are two additional pockets suitable for a mobile phone and small accessories.

Personalized messenger bag

One of the trending home design colors is grey, and this color is also finding its way into business accessories as well. And who doesn’t like personalization? This Royal Albartross Aston Messenger in Wolf Grey is roomy enough for work or travel essentials.

Made of Italian leather with hand-zipped and patch pockets, the Aston Messenger bag also includes an optional leather strap. In addition, the bag can be personalized with up to four letters that are embossed in gold, silver, or blind (which is a more subtle option).

Travel essentials kit

In addition to duffel and messenger bags, busy executives also need a stylish way to keep all of their accessories together and protected. Knack has created The Road Warrior, a travel set that includes all of the essentials.

This set includes a brown top-grain cowhide leather rollable cord wrap that contains three cord slots and a side pocket for accessories. It also has a leather keychain and luggage tag. In addition, the travel tumbler keeps drinks at the desired temperature for up to six hours.

Additional laptop monitor

Laptops provide convenience, but when trying to view multiple documents, that small screen has limitations. This SideTrak attachable portable monitor can provide busy executives with an extra screen.

It clips on the back of the laptop via metal plates and comes with a USB C cord and a USB A adapter. The screen can be attached to the left or right side of the laptop, and it can also be rotated 180 degrees.

The tracks extend to allow it to fit most laptops from 13 to 15 inches and can be used with most Mac, Chromebook and Windows laptops.

Language translation device

Globe-trotting executives may not be fluent in every language, but the Travis Touch Plus Two-Way Translator is a handheld device that breaks down language barriers (and doesn’t require you to hand your phone to a stranger!).

By simply selecting which one of the 105 included languages they want to translate, execs can press the button, talk, and their words will be translated as they’re speaking. By pressing the button again, executives can let the other person speak, and that conversation will also be translated.

Ear pajamas

One thing every busy executive needs is sleep, but when they’re stressed on a long flight next to someone snoring or subjected to rowdy neighbors, sleeping can be next to impossible. Wireless SleepPhones embed audio speakers in a washable headband, making it easy to listen to white noise or music and drown out other sounds.

These wireless headbands can also be used when walking, jogging, or trying to watch TV or listen to music without disturbing others. The company refers to SleepPhones as “pajamas for the ears,” since they’re even comfortable when sleeping on your side.

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Infographic: Is the future of security biometric?

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More than 85% of Americans want to use biometric security to verify their identity or to authorize payments. Since Apple first introduced Touch ID in 2013, the global market for mobile biometrics has grown to over $14 billion.

So, are PINs and passwords becoming a thing of the past, and are biometrics really better than traditional security? This infographic outlines the realities of biometric security.

Infographic courtesy Computer Science Zone/NowSourcing

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Tips for surviving your deposition in employment-related litigation

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If you are a human resources professional, chances are that you will have the “opportunity” to be deposed in some form of litigation during your career. Depositions are where attorneys for the parties to the litigation get to ask questions of witnesses “on the record.”

Testimony is then typed up in a nice, neat transcript that the attorneys use as part of the evidence to help them prevail in the litigation. This article contains some practical tips on how to conduct yourself if you are ever called upon to be deposed.

1. You Cannot Prepare Too Much

The attorney for your employer (or your own if you are sued individually) will definitely need to meet with you well in advance of your deposition. Prior to that meeting, you should carefully review all the documents or other evidence that has been produced about which you have knowledge.

The attorney should go over the facts of the case, the lines of questioning and even the legal arguments that you may reasonably expect.

You do not need to be a legal expert and you are certainly not expected to argue any legal theories, but it is helpful to be generally acquainted with the overall legal strategy. After all, as much as we would like it, the attorney is not likely to be able to anticipate or prepare you for every single question that you may be asked.

Most attorneys have helpful handouts or even videos that they show you to get you comfortable with the process. Review these aids several times and pay close attention to them. Do your best to assimilate the advice from them when you are under oath and responding to questions.

It is helpful for the attorney to do a mock examination with you where he or she plays the role of the attorney who will be deposing you. They will ask you the questions they expect you to be asked and help you formulate precise answers without rambling or introducing facts that are not yet in the record. They can point out ways to improve your testimony or approach and help you practice being an effective deponent.

Through the mock examination exercise, you can learn how different lawyers try to rattle you. Some are yellers and others take a more “stealth” approach. Sometimes the quiet ones can actually be the sneakiest and most effective for the other side, because your guard may not be up with that personality type the same way it is if the attorney is yelling at you or in your face.

Some lawyers even take their witnesses to the courthouse. At a minimum, the attorney should brief you on the physical surroundings where you will be deposed. Again, the idea here is to make you as much at ease with the situation and process as can be possible under the circumstances.

Probably the biggest mistake that employers and their counsel make is not spending enough time on the preparation for important depositions. The consequences of not being prepared can be catastrophic for your side of the case.

2. Stay Calm and Composed

Even people who have been previously deposed get nervous and anxious when they are being deposed. The uncertainty of the questions and the fact that your words are being transcribed right in front of you can be unnerving.

You need to do your best to remain as calm and composed as possible. Breath slowly and pause between the question and your answer. Remember that in a normal deposition, one that is not on video, the transcript will not reflect the time you took between answers to formulate your answer.

Be confident in your preparation and just tell the truth as you know it. Lastly, the attorney on the other side will find creative ways to shake your confidence or to get you to lose your cool. If you feel you are under siege, ask for a “comfort break” and try to regain your composure.

3. Be Direct and To the Point

Most attorneys will usually start by telling you to “tell the truth,” but you should only respond to the literal question you are asked. Give direct and simple answers and do not volunteer anything more than information that is directly responsive to the question you are asked.

In a deposition, the less you say, the better. After the deposition your attorney has ways to introduce additional testimony through a well-phrased affidavit or other evidence.

While there is no precise rule or standard, answers of one or two sentences or 10-15 words should be sufficient to respond to any question. If you don’t supply enough information or your reply is too short, it is incumbent on the attorney deposing you to follow up and ask additional questions. Plus, the more you say, the more it opens you up to even more questions from the attorney deposing you.

4. If the Deposition Is by Video, Plan Accordingly

In our modern world, more attorneys want to take video depositions. They will then try to use the video or clips from it to show to the judge or jury.

If the deposition is video-recorded, think about what the judge or jury will see: how will you dress? How will your body language or facial expressions look? Did you look straight at the camera as if you were testifying in person or were your eyes “shifty?” Did you fidget or appear unduly nervous? Did you speak audibly so you could be clearly understood? Did you look serious?

5. Your Deposition Is Probably Not Where You Should Try to Win Your Case — But You Can Lose It There

Make sure that you have a strong command of the facts. Tell the truth, because the worst thing you can do is to be proven to be a liar or to lack credibility.

Do not be misled into guessing, speculating or giving information about which you do not have firsthand knowledge.

If you truly do not know or cannot recall, say so. But, make sure that the attorney on the other side cannot prove you really did know the answer and were trying to be deceptive.

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5 ways to sustain association membership

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According to social psychologist Abraham Maslow, everyone has the need to belong, to be connected to others, and to feel accepted.

In my consulting practice, I’ve seen that no matter how long people are at work, they want to feel valued and part of a community. When people feel that sense of belonging, they are more likely to be engaged, share their ideas and support the work of others.

Peggy Smith, director of marketing, membership solutions and community brands at YourMembership says, “Most people decide if they’re going to participate in your association long-term within the first months, days and even minutes of joining. The first interactions with your organization make a lasting impression on a new member.”

That’s why it’s essential that association leaders not only personally learn and practice inclusive leadership skills but integrate them into every system and process of the organization. From the time someone becomes a new member they need to feel welcome and valued.

As association leaders, you know that your members are busy and have choices about where they want to spend their time, money and resources.

I was recently hired to speak at an association’s yearly conference on attracting and retaining new members. Here are five of the inclusive leadership practices I shared.

Whether in person or remote, implementing these will help ensure maximum member participation and retention.

1. Create an ambassador team of long-term members and association employees who will contact new members to welcome them. It’s harder to engage and volunteer when you are new and don’t know anyone.

2. Educate volunteers or staff to look for people standing alone at meetings. Develop a strategy to engage in conversation and then introduce that person to other members.

Years ago, when I first started my business, I went to an association meeting in San Francisco. I know no one and was uncomfortable approaching others. I stood there for a while feeling awkward. When no one approached me, I left and went home.

The following week, I went to a meeting of another association for professional speakers. Several people came up to me and later called me to officially welcome me. Soon, I was an active volunteer.

3. Plan a time at meetings for structured networking. It can be asking other attendees specific questions, or a contest where they have to talk to each other. Have volunteers around the room pair people up so no one is alone. Some newer people need that additional nudge to interact.

4. Use an online learning management system where people can learn new skills and interact with other people, leave comments about the topic, and involve themselves in an online community.

5. Create an online forum for discussions in relevant areas where people can introduce themselves, learn from each other and share ideas for the association.

You can even develop a “Quora” type of platform where people can ask questions or share challenges and solutions. You can use gamification and have members vote on the best answers to questions and give out small prizes.

There are many more ways to incorporate inclusive leadership practices. Most important is that inclusion doesn’t just happen on its own. People join your association for different reasons. They bring different strengths and want support in different areas.

Your ability to build an inclusive environment whether remote, virtual or in-person will impact their individual success, the degree to which they participate and the ability of your association to not only sustain itself but to be seen as the “must-join” association.

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The history of headphones and their productivity benefits

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Headphones have come a long way since the electrophone was invented in Britain in 1895, allowing subscribers to listen to live musical performances over phone lines. Today, Americans typically spend more than 32 hours weekly listening to music, almost equivalent to a full-time job.

Seventy-eight percent of people say music improves their productivity at work, and 46% of people wear headphones at work to avoid conversation. This infographic outlines the history of headphones and explains the productivity benefits of using headphones at work.

Infographic courtesy RaveReviews.org/NowSourcing

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