Pitfalls of Business Travel

first_imgModel car on mapThese and many other expressions are used in the circles in which we travel, whether it is retail or not, whether we are young or old, new to the management ranks or a C-level executive. Everyone should understand what these expressions mean. But living up to those expectations, is entirely something else.This article is intended for the loss prevention professional, whether you are a single unit manager, district or regional level, or corporate executive. Regardless of whether you have two years experience, or 32, this is a subject we all need to think about.EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was written by a senior loss prevention executive in one of the top 100 retailers in the United States. Because of the nature of the topic, getting corporate approval to publish this article under his or her name would be impossible. However, we believe the topic is important to the LP industry and, therefore, have chosen to publish this article anonymously- Sponsor – Issues of PerceptionIn our first experience in management, no matter where we started, we quickly encounter hypocrisy and issues of perception. Not that we are running for political office, but we might as well be.Excessive drinking, rich foods, and who knows what else. This can be life on the road when there is nothing better to do except work…and that can be done tomorrow or the next day, not tonight.One of our primary priorities in loss prevention is to identify employees who are doing things dishonestly or unethically, bring the behavior to light, and, in some cases, see that the employee is terminated. Then, how often do we leave work and engage in behaviors that make the employee we fired earlier that day look like a choirboy?Essentially, we are role model by day and hypocrite by night.Ask yourself this question. Have you ever read the newspaper headlines about a sports hero who does something stupid, says the wrong thing, or goes to the wrong place, damaging his career, and we mutter under our breath, “That idiot.” In fact, we may engage in similar behavior, not get caught or identified, and be completely oblivious to our own conduct…and the hypocrisy rolls on.The First-Time ManagerNow that I have sufficiently and unfairly lumped all good LP professionals in with the bad, let’s start from the beginning and set a course for behavior awareness and modification.The loss prevention executive most frequently starts his career in a single unit with a five- to six-day work week, basic store hours, a few nights here and there, a couple of overnight surveillances, and that’s about it. But soon, here comes the company traveler with news from far away places. This guy is an investigator, district or regional director, or from headquarters. He has a company credit card, a daily allocation for meals, and complete freedom to come and go as he pleases. To the store-level executive, he is “the man”—a real player.The store guy, from hereon referred to as Joey, soon starts to emulate him, talk like him, act like him, and treat him as a role model. The next thing you know they are having a beer after work, talking about life on the road, and all the stuff that has very little to do with loss prevention or the company that they work for.Soon, Joey starts imagining himself in that role. He figures a couple of good inventory results, the right connections, a good presentation or two, a handful of quality employee interviews, and the resume is complete. Time for a spin in the company car.So our guy lands the job. He is promoted in the organization, or maybe to a new company. Armed with nothing other than a briefcase and a questionable sense for prioritization, he begins his multistore career—and here is where the real story beginsLessons of the RoadThe first thing that he realizes is that it is not all that it’s cracked up to be. It can be a lonely place on the road. But he has a solution for that, he calls his wife, girlfriend, or significant other 27 times on his first day. But that starts to wear off once they have exhausted topics that range from what they ate for lunch to who was on Oprah.The next thing he discovers is that nobody is monitoring him, and he does, in fact, have the freedom that he anticipated. But is that freedom a good thing? It differs from the structured life of a single-unit manager. When are the meetings? Who to have lunch with? Conference calls? These things happen on the road, but far less frequently.He notices that his boss calls once or twice a week, checking on mostly surface issues. It soon becomes apparent that he is responsible for his own actions and that he will have to establish his own disciplines. However, he is not at that point yet. He is still searching, exploring, and learning.One of the first things he discovers is extra sleep. Most of his stores open at 10:00 a.m. He used to report for work to his single unit at 7:00 to 8:00 a.m. How else do you use those two extra hours, but for sleep?Then he learns the timing issues. Always plan and execute early checkout of the hotel. You want no checkout receipts with a 9:30 a.m. time on them. No breakfast receipts like that either. He finds that he can take advantage of the free breakfast to avoid the receipt issue entirely as well as save his allowed meal money for dinner. It is kind of like Rachel Ray’sBest Eats in Town for $40 a Day.He also learns that his boss rarely calls him on the cell or at the hotel in the early morning hours. Why? Who knows? It just doesn’t happen.All of this thought, planning, and behavior to get a couple of extra hours sleep and avoid sending emails, answering voice mails, prepping for the day, and setting priorities. Why? Because nobody told him any differentlyThe Work DayJoey arrives at his first location promptly at 10:30 a.m. Nobody notices. Nobody says anything. His boss doesn’t know. All is good. The plan works to perfection.Joey soon considers that an equal amount of planning for the end of the day should work as well, if not better. Depending on where the corporate office is located, or where his boss is headquartered, East or West Coast, dictates how long the working day will last.If Joey is based in the West with his boss in the East, Joey will be hard to find or track by cell after 3:00 p.m. Pacific time. This aspect of the home office work ethic develops due to the lack of phone calls or emails requiring an immediate response in the late afternoon. This turns into a habit that causes him to become increasingly less productive as he is left to his own devices. He wants to be managed. He wants some structure. But he just doesn’t know it yet.Some managers inadvertently foster this behavior because they are fearful of being labeled a “micro-manager.” So they steer clear of conducting the required and needed check ups, task assignments, and other management interaction that is part of their supervisory role that ensures the person works a full day. The lack of direction further encourages Joey’s behavior.Ready for the NightNow that he has managed a typically under-productive business day, it is time to get focused on his social calendar, which continues to grow in importance. You see, Joey has learned to prioritize what is important.Occasionally these “social get-togethers” will involve a fellow LP staff member, sometimes the local district sales manager, or even store associates are in play. Joey is looking for some company to alleviate the loneliness, and any port in the storm will do. The wife is 500 miles away and suspects nothing. Excessive drinking, rich foods, and who know what else are in the cards. This can be life on the road when there is nothing better to do except work—and that can be done tomorrow or the next day, not tonight.So, a late night of foolishness develops, full of comments that may come back to haunt him, behaviors that will tarnish his reputation and can not be easily corrected, not to mention the potential damage to his physical well being.This night is not an isolated incident either. It more than likely becomes a chain of behavior that folds one day over the next, week in, week out, becoming a habit that puts his health, family, and career in jeopardy.Taking ResponsibilityNow, before you think that this article is transitioning to a warm-and-fuzzy self-help piece focusing on nutrition and exercise, it is not. We need to save Joey from himself, and we cannot get there with that as a focus. The focus needs to be on us—the managers and executives responsible for the Joeys in our organization.We need to help salvage his career before it ends all too quickly. And it will end for one of a variety of reasons. It may be because the abuse is detected by an inquiry of the travel expenses or investigative surveillance by the managers who failed Joey. Sometimes, Joey himself may recognize the abusive behavior and without any will power or ability to change, he is forced to take a dramatic step. He quits, saying the travel is getting to him. What was probably getting to him is the financial trouble for the unreimbursed bar bills and other extravagances. Or his wife forces a change because he inadvertently communicates how much fun he is having away from her and the kids. If that’s the case, Joey can’t confess to the abuse to his boss, so he takes the safer path and quits, takes a lesser job, and rationalizes the reduction in travel as an improvement in the quality of life.Maybe that is the case, but it didn’t have to be that way. The loss prevention professional on the road needs coaching on how to travel, how to function away from home and office, and what he or she will encounter and how to deal with it. They need planning skills to help them manage both their business and personal life.They need tips on how to deal with the spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend, and how to be a good partner and parent who must travel often. For example, if you constantly mention how much you hate the travel or hate being away from them, they will commiserate with you and that is not helpful. Calling from a restaurant at 11:30 p.m. is a bad idea no matter how you put it—“The flight was late,” “Traffic was terrible,” “Bad weather.” It becomes just another excuse, and it wears on them. You see, they, too, are lonely, and they don’t need to hear it.On the other hand, if you catch a sporting event on the road or enjoy a great dinner, downplay it. No need to lie, just emphasize how you can’t wait to get home, because, hopefully, that is the truth.It is, however, essential to mention the importance of what you are doing, because your family needs to know that you believe in what you are doing. You are working for both your future and the collective benefit of your family. But don’t over do it. It is not necessary to call multiple times day. And gifts, such as flowers for the wife or knickknacks for the kids, are okay once in a great while, but they are expensive and unnecessary. They are perceived as you are expecting or hoping for forgiveness, and you can not keep it up over time. Once you stop bringing home a gift, they will think something is definitely wrongTraining Young ManagersI said above that those of us in management and executive positions need to be responsible for helping young professionals manage their work life on the road. How do we do that?In researching this article, I hoped to find training materials or other articles where others who are much smarter than me have compiled all the guidance necessary to help us give our people the direction they need. I found none. Perhaps you have suggestions. However we come up with the information, the loss prevention industry needs to have answers for this situation.I’ll throw out a few suggestions to start. Hopefully, you will respond with more ideas.To begin with, senior executives need to set an example. Limit alcohol consumption. Don’t dismiss erratic or unprofessional behavior as an isolated incident, and certainly don’t instigate unprofessional behavior yourself. Ensure that you treat your staff members in a business-like way, even in social settings.Dedicate time at your local and regional meetings to discuss travel and expenses and the importance of responsibility and good judgment.Develop procedures for monitoring mileage logs and post-travel expense statements. More importantly, communicate that travel and expenses are monitored for abuses as a standard rule. If travelers know they are monitored, they will develop good spending and behavior habits.  Provide alternative suggestions for promoting healthy, positive behaviors on the road. Good eating and exercise suggestions are available to help travelers maintain their physical and mental health   (see “Fitness Balance at Home and on the Road”).Living up to PerceptionThis article was not about being good at the job. Most organizations spend a lot of time, energy, and resources making sure our people are good at what they do. But there are far too many Joeys in our business, and we need to stop the trend. We need to direct them better, monitor them more closely, guide them to avoid the pitfalls that have befallen those who came before them, never assuming that they will get it on their own.They need to understand that perception is important. After all, the loss prevention industry stands for integrity in the workplace. We need to provide our people with the tools to live up to that perception, not only to those we associate with in the business world, but also those who rely on us at home, those who look up to us as Mom or Dad, and, maybe most importantly, those we look at in the mirror. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

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To get to the cloud faster, finish virtualizing your datacenter

first_imgThis blog was shared by Kathy Browning:Kathy is an Alliance Marketing Manager at Intel. She has 30 years experience working in the high tech industry holding a variety of roles in both Information Technology and Marketing. She is passionate about the advances in technology that enable both consumers and enterprises to achieve more value in their lives and their business. Currently she manages relationships with software providers to deliver innovative solutions in security, manageability, networking, and storage that are transforming today’s data centers. These days, you don’t need to be a large enterprise to receive the benefits of the cloud. As virtualization increasingly goes mainstream, more small and medium businesses are virtualizing their servers to receive the benefits of greater compute agility, streamlined operations management, energy efficiency, and higher platform performance.Once you’ve virtualized your servers, it’s easy to start dreaming about moving to a private cloud, with its dedicated pool of dynamic computing resources and the agility of IT as a Service.But not so fast. If a private cloud is your goal, then the best way to get there is by virtualizing the rest of your infrastructure — storage and networking. Identifying and building the right virtualized foundation for a private cloud is critical, and building upon Intel hardware and technology with virtualization software solutions from companies like VMware builds an excellent infrastructure for gaining new levels of efficiency, control, agility, and security through virtualization.Your virtual infrastructure strategy should include:Network virtualization:10 gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) adapters, virtual switches, and VLANs working together to create “big pipe” unified networking. And not just bigger pipe, but richer, smarter pipe that can be dynamically provisioned and scaled for all kinds of network traffic, including transport of block-based storage, while maintaining virtual machine (VM) isolation on the same physical networking hardware.Storage virtualization:A fully virtualized infrastructure requires a high performance cluster file system that allows virtualization to scale beyond the boundaries of a single system.  This virtualized system needs to provide multiple VMs with shared access to a consolidated pool of clustered storage to improve storage resource utilization and flexibility.Hardware enabled security:The move to cloud solutions requires protection from new threats while ensuring compliance requirements are met.  Intel® Trusted Execution Technology  (Intel® TXT) ensures that key server platform components, such as hypervisors and the BIOS, have not been modified and have launched into verified “known good states.” By working with the SW ecosystem we are able to take this a step further and provide innovative policy management, migration control, security reporting, and reporting and compliance use models that help address nagging limitations to existing and emerging virtualization and cloud deployments.Private clouds evolve from virtualized infrastructures, and if you want to grab the benefits of a private cloud, you need to finish virtualizing your datacenter.We’ll be talking about these topics in-depth in the Intel sessions and at the Intel booth, #1131 at VMworld August 26-30 in San Francisco. We hope you will join us!last_img read more

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Children of the soil try to save the earth

first_imgTwo decades ago, Rishi Miranhshah – a student from Chandigarh – read The One Straw Revolution, an internationally acclaimed book by Japanese author Masanobu Fukuoka. The literary masterpiece on the alternative food movement influenced him so much that he gave up an established career in Canada and returned to India six years ago with his wife Radhika Malhotra Miranhshah for exploring the possibilities of enriching the earth.The young couple has now taken the initiative to spread agroecological knowledge in developing sustainable farming through books.Earlier, Rishi – a professional translator – did several odd jobs in India and abroad to sustain himself and his wife. But a deep ambition to spend the rest of his life working with the earth continued to haunt him.After completing his education, he practiced law at the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh. But, he did not like the profession and started learning French in the city. He met Radhika there and they got married. Soon, he switched over to teaching French at Punjabi University in Patiala which he later quit to shift to Vancouver in Canada. He established himself as a professional translator and worked primarily for the ministry of health, British Columbia.But The One Straw Revolution – which he had read in 1992 – prodded him to understand natural farming. The book has been translated from Japanese into many languages, including English.It highlights the fact that man’s improved techniques appear necessary because they have upset the natural balance. The land has now become a slave to these techniques.advertisementThe couple realised that farmers in Punjab – who have been practicing modern agricultural techniques – needed Fukuoka’s wisdom for posterity.With an aim to offer their own humble contribution to the efforts towards healing and enriching the earth, the couple came back to India about six years ago.For the sake of convenience, Rishi began translating the Japanese master’s book into Punjabi a year ago and Radhika started exploring the means to ensure that the book reached the readers.She was concerned that though a lot of valuable books were published worldwide, only a few reached those who could read only Punjabi. The farmers in Punjab – and elsewhere too – paid a heavy price for their lack of knowledge of English.When they started exploring avenues for publishing the book, there were few takers. Several people in the publishing industry told them the book was not economically viable and they would not be able to publish it.Finally, Radhika took charge and decided to set up her own publishing hub, Worthwords Books, to bring out Kakh Ton Kranti – the translated version of the masterpiece. The book – also “the founding document of the alternative food movement” which rolled out in the native language – has recently started generating interest among the farmers in Punjab.Rishi and Radhika believe that a “civilisational” onslaught has been leading many forms of life towards extinction. People would not be able to understand it till they get this knowledge in their own words and language. The onslaught has been depriving people of natural resources.The couple has also taken a pledge to publish books only on ecology, farming, gardening and spirituality on a not- for- profit basis. These books would be in Indian languages with the primary thrust on translating important works from other languages into Punjabi.Rishi and Radhika have been witnessing that an idea which germinated about two decades ago is finally taking roots. They have Fukuoka holding their hand and leading their way through the vast green expanse – “the fields of joy, of laughter, of birdsong and of truth.”  ===’SAD’ story of brother vs brotherCM Parkash Singh Badal (right) with brother Gurdas.The upcoming assembly elections in Punjab may turn out to be interesting because of the succession struggle in the state’s first family. CM Parkash Singh Badal may well find his brother Gurdas Badal pitted against him.An Akali dissident and former finance minister, Manpreet Singh Badal – who recently launched the People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) – confirmed that his father Gurdas would contest the polls from Lambi – which is represented by Parkash.Manpreet said his father was a strong contender who could defeat his uncle on his home bastion in Muktsar district. He believes that elections are all about strategy. If the fight is with the incumbent CM, the contender should be experienced and strong. No one in the party except Gurdas fits the bill.advertisementThe differences between Parkash and Gurdas were never apparent. But political observers say Manpreet’s calculations could go awry. Since Parkash is an experienced politician, he might contest from Gidderbaha instead.Gidderbaha is the constituency represented by Manpreet himself. Prior to shifting base to Lambi, Parkash had contested five assembly elections from Gidderbaha.However, Manpreet remained unperturbed. He said he had won four assembly elections from Gidderbaha. “If that happens, I will defend my turf once again.”===Low-key celebrations make for a safer Diwali this year People have come to prefer less potent firecrackers.Though Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula – locally referred to as the Tri-City – witnessed more than 200 injuries related to firecrackers on Diwali, the festival passed off without any major incident. The majority of the people who were rushed to different hospitals suffered minor injuries.The doctors say this is a clear indication that it was indeed a safer Diwali this year.Chandigarh’s premier Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) got 10 persons with firecracker-related injuries on Diwali night. Three of them had suffered perforating eye injuries which required surgical restoration.Other government hospitals received about 140 people with burn injuries. Most of them needed first-aid and were discharged soon.The doctors said a combination of factors – inflation, the idea of a safe Diwali and firecrackers with less potency – had probably led to fewer mishaps this year. ===POST Diwali, people tend to get busy with their routine work but journalists in Punjab have been discussing “gifts”. A section of journos in the state is upset as the government did not send them any gifts. The others are happy as they never desired any gifts because they believe that accepting freebees is unethical. The journalists did not receive any gift from government circles as the state’s first family did not celebrate the festival in the wake of the death of CM Parkash Singh Badal’s wife, Surinder Kaur. The worst was that while the people burst crackers on Diwali night, some journalists called up their peers to confirm and reconfirm that government officials actually did not send any gifts.===It’s ‘Chak De’once again! SRK decides to bat for kabaddi nowShah Rukh KhanPeople in Punjab have been looking forward to their date with Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan who is supposed to perform at the inauguration of the second Kabaddi World Cup at Bathinda. The tournament is scheduled to commence on November 1.Also, the buzz that Katrina Kaif might perform at the closing ceremony has further increased their enthusiasm.The 20-day event would give an impetus to Punjab’s traditional sport at the international level, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said. He also holds the sports portfolio.Sukhbir said about 18 countries were likely to participate in the event. He said the matches would be organised at Bathinda, Faridkot, Gurdaspur, Dhudike in Moga, Roopnagar, Sangrur, Chohla Sahib in Tarntaran, Patiala, Kapurthala, Doda in Mukatsar, Amritsar, Ferozepur, Hoshiarpur, Mansa, Jalandhar, Bathinda and Ludhiana. The government would give away prizes worth Rs 5.25 crore.advertisementlast_img read more

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National Tourism Month

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 30 Oct 2014 – November begins National Tourism Month and among the activities is a Tourism Symposium; the two day event is set for next Tuesday and Wednesday… the theme is: “Tourism is Key, Unlock its Possibilities.” Recommended for you Holiday on Friday in Turks and Caicos Related Items:national tourism month, novembercenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp TCI Shines joins National Tourism Month activity calendarlast_img read more

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Astronomers study the merging galaxy cluster Abell 3376 and its radio relics

first_img Explore further Using the Suzaku space telescope, astronomers have conducted an X-ray spectral study of the nearby merging galaxy cluster Abell 3376 and its two arc-shaped radio relics. The new research reveals more insights into the properties of the radio sources in this cluster. The findings are presented in a paper published June 20 on arXiv.org. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Two radio relics discovered in the galaxy cluster Abell 168 © 2018 Phys.org Abell 3376 is a nearby bright and moderately massive merging galaxy cluster. It has two giant arc-shaped radio relics in its outskirts. Radio relics are diffuse, elongated radio sources of synchrotron origin, occurring usually in the form of spectacular single or double symmetric arcs at the peripheries of galaxy clusters.Merging galaxy clusters like Abell 3376 are excellent places to search for radio relics and study them, as such sources originate in acceleration and re-acceleration at merger shocks. However, given that the number of known radio relics associated with merger shocks is still small, astronomers are interested in more detailed studies of those sources already identified in merging systems.Abell 3376 with its radio sources has been a subject of a recent study conducted by a team of researchers led by Igone Urdampilleta of the SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research in Utrecht, The Netherlands. They analyzed observational data collected by the X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (XIS) onboard NASA/JAXA Suzaku astronomy satellite, complemented by archival data provided by ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope and NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory.The analysis uncovered more details regarding the properties of Abell 3376’s radio relics and could contribute to better understanding of the process of galaxy merging.”We present an X-ray spectral analysis of the nearby double radio relic merging cluster Abell 3376 (z = 0.046), observed with the Suzaku XIS instrument. These deep (~360 ks) observations cover the entire double relic region in the outskirts of the cluster,” the astronomers wrote in the paper.As a result of the analysis, the researchers confirmed that Abell 3376 exhibits a stronger merger shock in the western direction (coincident with the radio relic in the West), a weaker shock in the East (possibly associated to the “notch” of eastern relic), and a cold front. The velocities of the western and eastern shocks were calculated to be about 1,630 and 1,450 km/s respectively.When it comes to the cold front, the astronomers found that it is located approximately 490,000 light years from the X-ray emission peak at the center and delimits a cool gas cloud moving with a velocity of approximately 1,300 km/s.Furthermore, assuming that the shock fronts are moving with constant velocity, Urdampilleta’s team found that the time since core passage is about 600 million years, which is in good agreement with previous simulations and with earlier multiwavelength analyses. The authors of the paper emphasize that their results confirm that Abell 3376 is still an evolving merging cluster.”Based on the shock speed calculated from the Mach numbers, we estimate that the dynamical age of the shock front is ~0.6 Gyr after core passage, indicating that Abell 3376 is still an evolving merging cluster and that the merger is taking place close to the plane of the sky,” the scientists concluded. Citation: Astronomers study the merging galaxy cluster Abell 3376 and its radio relics (2018, July 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-astronomers-merging-galaxy-cluster-abell.html Composite image of the galaxy cluster Abell 3376. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/A. Vikhlinin; ROSAT Optical: DSS Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA/IUCAA/J.Bagchi. More information: X-ray study of the double radio relic Abell 3376 with Suzaku, arXiv:1806.07817 [astro-ph.GA] arxiv.org/abs/1806.07817AbstractWe present an X-ray spectral analysis of the nearby double radio relic merging cluster Abell 3376 (z = 0.046), observed with the Suzaku XIS instrument. These deep (∼360 ks) observations cover the entire double relic region in the outskirts of the cluster. These diffuse radio structures are amongst the largest and arc-shaped relics observed in combination with large-scale X-ray shocks in a merging cluster. We confirm the presence of a stronger shock (MW = 2.8 ± 0.4) in the western direction at r∼26′, derived from a temperature and surface brightness discontinuity across the radio relic. In the East, we detect a weaker shock (ME = 1.5 ± 0.1) at r∼8′, possibly associated to the ‘notch’ of eastern relic, and a cold front at r∼3′. Based on the shock speed calculated from the Mach numbers, we estimate that the dynamical age of the shock front is ∼0.6 Gyr after core passage, indicating that Abell 3376 is still an evolving merging cluster and that the merger is taking place close to the plane of the sky. These results are consistent with simulations and optical and weak lensing studies from the literature.last_img read more

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