Monthly Archives: June 2010

Federal government is nation’s largest employer; average pay is…

According to the Career Guide to Industries, 2010-2011 edition, Web page of the United States Office Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site, the United States government, which employs approximately 2 million civilians (not including intelligence agencies), is the nation’s largest employer. Average earnings for full-time federal workers in March 2009 were $74,403. The highest average for a specific job was $128,422 for General Attorney, while the lowest average for a specific job was Nursing Assistant at $34,728.  The number of federal employees is predicted to increase by 10 percent during the period 2008 – 2018.

The average wage for “All Occupations” in May 2009 was $43,460.

Some thoughts on Mississippi Gulf Coast and oil spill (gush)

It remains to be seen what the economic effects of the oil gush will have on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  As we go forward I believe that some things should be put in perspective.  The Mississippi Gulf Coast does not mirror the state as a whole in many ways, such as culturally, economically and socially.  This of course is true for every region of Mississippi.  A bit more insight on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (defined as Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties).

In May 2010 there were 1,152,000 employed in Mississippi.  In the three Gulf Coast counties there were a total of 152,010 employed, or 13.2% of all jobs in Mississippi.  There are 82 counties in Mississippi, so from an economic standpoint there are probably only two or three other places in Mississippi where three contiguous counties could have been harder hit.

Here’s more perspective:

Mississippi per capita income(2007): $28,541
Gulf Coast per capita income (2007): $37,055

I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

Where Sales Reps Go Wrong

Today’s Daily Stat from the Harvard Business Review.

Today's Stat is brought to you by McKinsey Quarterly
JUNE 21, 2010
Where Sales Reps Go Wrong
The “most destructive” failures of business-to-business sales reps are too much contact with customers (35%) and inadequate product knowledge (20%), a McKinsey survey of sales targets indicates. Customers want to be contacted, not bombarded. The upside of getting things right is significant: A primary supplier perceived as having a high-performing sales force can boost its share of a customer’s business by eight to 15 percentage points.


Goal-setting by team or Team-setting by goal

I saw an interesting organization chart at a conference today.  Instead of the organization having five different divisions with each division having a goal the chart presented five goals, each of which had a team.  What I like about that concept is that it adds emphasis to the goal and who is responsible and accountable for achieving it.  Too often, no one is personally responsible for the goal.  That can result in the goal not being achieved.  Obliviously, this type chart is not feasible for every organization, but when it makes sense it can be worthwhile.

BP hires former Cheney advisor as media advisor.

According to a CBS News report, BP has hired Anne Womack-Kolton, the 2004 campaign press secretary for Vice President Dick Cheney, as BP’s head of U.S. media relations.  I’m sure Ms. Womack-Kolton is very qualified, but her hiring alone will probably provide plenty of fodder for BP criticizers and the contributors to the “What were they thinking?” department. I’ve been traveling to several states this past week, and on every occasion when I mentioned that I was from Mississippi the topic of discussion turned to the oil spill.  The media handling of the oil spill – and many other aspects of it –  will be a case study for many years to come.

You will probably get happier as you get older.

That the results of some rather extensive research recently reported in an article in the New York Times.

According the research, people generally tend to get happier from age 50 to the mid-seventies, while at the same time stress, worry, angry and sadness decline.  I thought I was the only feeling better with age. 🙂

The 4 stages of community leadership programs

I’m working on my next Mississippi Business Journal column.  It will be on the subject of community leadership programs.  My experience with such programs is that there are four distinct stages as presented below.  Most management texts say that when it comes to group formation that the stages are forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning, so my list is a slight variation of that theme.

Most community leadership programs are managed by a local chamber of commerce or similar organization.  The basic goals are to identify emerging leaders in the community, bring them together as a group, present issues that the community needs to address and then turn them loose with the skills and contacts necessary to make the community a better place.  There are as many degrees of success of such goals as there are leadership programs.

Stage One – Bonding, aka teambuilding, aka forming.  In this stage the leadership class is taken on a retreat and engaged in teambuilding activities.  Often there are personality tests given to illustrate and identify the various personalities in the class.

Stage Two – Learning.  The class is presented with leadership skills and with information about the community and its issues.

Stage Three – Taking Action.  The class, which had been subdivided into groups, selects a project to work on as a group.  Usually, the project is related to some issue in the community.

Stage Four – Networking.  In an ideal world this is the stage where an alumni association is formed and sustained.  The alumni from all classes meet regularly and deal with community issues.  This rarely happens because alumni tend to get back to their busy jobs and network only with other alumni who share their opinions, values and beliefs.  Nevertheless, there are examples of leadership alumni programs around the country that stick together and become a true force for betterment in their communities.