Hire People with Common Sense and Good Critical Judgement

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Guest post by Stan Silverman:
During a recent event to launch my book, Be Different! The Key to Business and Career Success, I spoke about the importance of hiring people with common sense and good critical judgment because at some point, you want them to violate policy when it is in the company’s best interest to do so.
I described an experience early in my career while serving as national sales manager for one of my company’s operating divisions. I was informed that production of a batch of product was found to have trace contaminants and needed to be recalled. Every day that passed, the cost of the recall would rise as the contaminated product flowed deeper into the distribution network. If the product was used in the production of a customer’s product, the cost of the recall would rise exponentially and damage the company’s reputation.
My boss, who had the authority to order the recall and the CEO of the company were traveling and were unreachable. This was before the days of smart phones, email and text messages. I didn’t have the authority to order the recall, and was told by my direct reports that I would either be celebrated or terminated for the recall decision. I ordered the recall.
When my boss and the CEO returned from their trip, I told them what I had done. They both celebrated my decision. That’s when I learned that you must hire people with common sense and good critical judgment, because someday they will need to make a decision in the best interests of the company that violates policy or is beyond their authority level.
A few days after I shared this experience, I received an email from one of the attendees, a senior leader at a bank, who wrote:
Your presentation last Thursday evening was very impactful. You said some powerful things that any company or leader would be smart to adopt. I think the one that was most surprising to hear was that companies should hire people who are willing to break the rules for the good of the company. It is so true, but no one ever states that openly for fear people will totally ignore the controls that have been put in place for all the right reasons. 
I remember the week when I was filling in for my boss who was out of the country and I made a decision to close all the bank branches in Eastern Pennsylvania on 9/11, about 15 minutes after the second attack. I had no authority to do it, was told by many I better not do it because I did not have the authority, but I knew I’d be wrong in my heart to not close … [risking a possible] run on the bank if I did not do it.  I also believed I would not have a job the next day for doing it.
The bank made a decision about an hour later to close everywhere in the footprint.  I still had my job … and we were the first to open the next day while most [banks] continued to be closed for another day.  It was real important that America knew the banks were open for business.
A company’s reputation can also be damaged when an employee makes a decision that is not consistent with common sense and good critical judgment. In April 2018, a barista at a Starbucks in the Rittenhouse Square section of Philadelphia exercised poor critical judgment and called the police on two African American men who had not yet ordered anything, but were just waiting for a friend to arrive. The two men were arrested.
Starbucks promotes its cafés as a comfortable and inviting place to meet friends, hang out, enjoy coffee, food, conversation and use its Wi-Fi network. This is the business model that has made Starbucks successful. It is not unusual for people to arrive and not make a purchase as they wait for their friends. This Starbucks barista violated a core value of the Starbucks business model.
To say that the arrest of these two individuals caused an uproar, accusations of bias and discrimination against black customers and loss of brand reputation is an understatement. There was a call to boycott Starbucks. The company apologized for the incident. A month later, Starbucks closed all of its 8,000 U.S.- based cafés for racial bias training.
What is the lesson? Hire people with common sense and good critical judgment, especially if they interface with your customers. Their decisions will help protect your reputation.

Antiques with Royal History | The Great Antiques Map of Britain | Full Episode | History Documentary

Antiques with Royal History | The Great Antiques Map of Britain | Full Episode | History Documentary

Although Bakewell’s history is steeped in agriculture, the industrial revolutions had an enormous impact. The antiques and collectables emanating from this rich and varied past place it firmly on the Great Antiques Map of Britain. Tim Wonnacott visits the Bakewell Food Festival in the heart of the glorious Derbyshire Peak District, where locals have brought along their fascinating objects, including Victorian baking tins used by the alleged inventor of the famous Bakewell puddings and antique wall brackets bought from the illustrious Chatsworth House estate. Tim goes deep underground in search of the precious mineral Blue John, which is unique to the area, and investigates the story of a man who revolutionised fishing in the grounds of Haddon Hall.

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The True Stories of the Tornado Rampage in 2011 | Full Documentary | Reel Truth History

The True Stories of the Tornado Rampage in 2011 | Full Documentary | Reel Truth History

Tornado Rampage 2011 finds the people who were pulled into the raging tornadoes and tells their stories first-hand, with remarkable and terrifying video footage they shot in the heat of the storm. Discovery Channel’s ‘Stormchaser’ Reed Timmer joins the hunt on the 27 April, tracking down the twisters as they form – with exclusive pictures of their progress across Alabama and Mississippi states.

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Sleep May Be the Missing Key to Your Success

There is one overlooked component to small business success and it’s something we don’t do enough of. As an entrepreneur, sleep always seems like a luxury that rates far behind everything else in your life. But unfortunately, not getting enough if it, can also harm what you are working so hard to accomplish. With all the economic uncertainty in the world, restful sleep may be even more elusive today.

On the Small Business Radio Show this week, Giles Watkins helps decision makers solve problems, achieve balance, deliver superior results and sleep better at night. He is author of Positive Sleep: A Holistic Approach to Resolve Sleep Issues and Transform Your Life.

Sleep and Success

Giles believes people learn to “cut sleep” early in life. This results from procrastination. People choose to go to bed late or get up early in the morning. As a result, they sacrifice sleep for something else they want to do.

But, Giles reminds us of something. Failing to get enough sleep hurts your business performance. Giles explains that failing to get restful sleep for more than one night impairs brain functions. As a result, they start to degrade. This proves especially true of leadership and management capabilities. Giles details what happens when you sleep. He says that “the first three hours are for physical recovery and the next three hours are the mental recovery. At that time, you start to integrate your learnings from the day and memories get filed properly- it’s like an operating system updating.”

Try to get seven or eight hours of sleep a night, Giles recommends. This generally proves ideal for adults. Recognize the existence of “larks and owls.” These people get up early or stay up late according to habit or culture.  But Giles believes genetically, everyone needs the same amount of sleep.

Do you suffer from bad nights of sleep? Giles recommends taking baths with natural oil or salt. Try reading a book or use a Kindle. He also recommends stay away from electronic devices. Avoid cell phones and tablets since they project a blue light. This hurts your ability to rest your brain. Giles explains that “getting too much stimulation keeps you in the work mode. Winding down is the best way to prepare yourself to sleep and not load new information on top of what happened during the day.” He recommends weighted blankets that are seven to thirteen percent your body weight. This creates the reminiscence of being in the womb or getting “tucked in” at night as a child.

Does sleeping present a problem? Giles suggests a body scanning technique from your head to your toes. He adds that “you start by thanking each part of your body. If you do this three or four times and don’t fall asleep, you will be in a more relaxed state.” This seems similar to counting sheep. It represents something repetitive your mind can focus on.

Listen to the entire interview on the Small Business Radio Show (and then get some sleep!)

Image: aberkyn.com

Distance Learning Demand Offers Opportunity for Small Education Businesses

Distance learning has become more important than ever as mandates to combat the coronavirus pandemic close schools across all age groups. In the U.S. alone there are around 51 million students in public schools, not to mention other learning institutions.

Thankfully there is a technology in place to keep the learning going. And this crisis is highlighting the importance and capability of distance learning as tens of millions of people learn online.

A new infographic presented by EDSmart and developed by Nowsourcing, titled, “The Future of Distance Learning” looks at the technology, trends, benefits and challenges.

For many small education companies, this is a great opportunity to invest more in their distance learning capability. This is because it is the future of learning and you can make your business available globally with this format.

Small Education Companies and Distance Learning

Distance learning is now an accepted part of the mainstream educational system. And it is increasingly becoming more indispensable as people choose to learn anytime and anywhere. If you have the degree and expertise to teach your chosen field you can start teaching online and make your knowledge available to a global audience.

Small education companies are now offering multiple learning opportunities across all industries. Whether it is in person, online, or taped video courses, this is a great way to monetize your knowledge and expertise.

According to the infographic, the eLearning market will have a market value of $300 billion by 2025. In great part, the growth is being driven by trends in technology that are creating interactive learning experiences.

The Technology Trend

The primary technology in distance learning is the internet. And more and more it is wireless or mobile technology which is driving the growth. People are using their smartphones, laptops and tablets to catch a lesson no matter where they are. As long as they have some free time, they are logging in and learning.

Additionally, the use of virtual and augmented reality is becoming part of the immersive technology educators are using to teach. The data in the report says 89% of educators are interested in using more AR, VR and 360° video.

Big data along with artificial intelligence is also helping instructors to track engaging content, personalize learning, streamline learning pathways and support the diverse need of all learners. Ninety-three percent of educators think predictive analytics will change education.

What About the Students?

One of the benefits of distance learning is the flexibility it offers students. Not only can they learn from schools around the world, but they can do it at their own pace. Almost two thirds or 63% in the report choose online education because it addresses work/life responsibilities.

When it comes to learning online, 60% believe it helps them improve soft skills including:

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving: 85%
  • Time management: 84%
  • Attention to detail: 84%
  • Writing skills: 79%
  • Teamwork: 69%
  • Oral communication: 62%

There are many reasons students choose to learn online. Availability is one of the biggest selling points, but here are four other reasons:

  1. Affordability: 60% of undergraduate students – 46% of graduate students
  2. Reputation: 39% of graduate and undergraduate students
  3. Quickest path to a degree: 31% of undergraduate students – 29% of graduate students
  4. Quality of faculty: 20% of undergraduate students – 34% of graduate students

As for organizations, 72% say it gives them a competitive advantage. So much so, the report says every $1 spent on eLearning, increases productivity by $30. Moreover, students of these organizations learn 5X more material per hour of training.


When it comes to the challenges of switching to online learning, lack of technology seems to be the biggest issue. Not everyone has a computer or access to broadband speed internet. And this greatly limits or entirely eliminates this population from distance learning. But there are ways around this.

Even though the report says 44% of low-income Americans don’t own a computer, 56% of online learners are using their smartphones to do so. Consequently, there is a workaround, especially as the price of capable smartphones continues to come down.

Another challenge is finding high-quality learning. The infographic recommends doing your research before you enroll. Read online reviews, look up program completion rates and ask people about their online learning experiences. Make sure to also check accreditation and credit transfers if you are looking to continue your education or use it to further your skillsets for your job.

Take a look at the EDSmart infographic below for more.

Distance Learning Technology More Important Than Ever

Image: Depositphotos.com

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