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Since its formation in 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has set standards to ensure optimal workplace safety and health. Such regulations can be found in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which outlines labor in the U.S.

In recent years, the agency has been releasing annual lists called “Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards.” It’s a list dedicated to the most common OSHA safety violations in the country, based on the agency’s worksite inspections. The consistently leading violations: Fall protection, hazard communication, and scaffolding. We’ll discuss each below, along with what companies should be aware of.

Fall protection

The most violated standard — at least within the past decade — has been 29 CFR 1926.501, which addresses fall protection. In 2013, there were 8,241 violations, a 13% increase from 2010. Falls continue to be one of the most common causes, if not the most common, of serious work-related injuries and deaths, accounting for over 200 fatalities each year. (read more…)

One of the most important hiring decisions companies make is who to put into leadership roles. How well does your company do on this critical task?

The Gallup organization reports that organizations make bad leadership hiring decisions 82% of the time (!).

Gallup’s research indicates that managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement. That huge impact on employee engagement translates into good or not so good performance, customer service, quality, profitability, and discretionary energy being applied to daily tasks.

The problem is that most companies have not defined what a “great boss” looks, acts, or sounds like. Without a set of “great boss” standards, companies put people into leadership roles who do not have demonstrated leadership or “people” skills.

Past individual accomplishment and technical expertise does not mean that the candidate will effectively manage and inspire others.

Gallup has found that great bosses have the following talents (demonstrated skills):

  • They motivate every single employee to take action and engage them with a compelling mission and vision.
  • (read more…)

Most managers are rationale, logical, practical problem solvers when they first get promoted. Then, through organizational conditioning, they learn to play silly games. They are like the frog in a pan of boiling water. The change is so gradual, these silly games eventually begin to feel like “real world management.”

How many of these silly management games do you play? More importantly, do you have the courage to speak up and stop the insanity?

We’ll start with some silly budgeting games:

1. “Use it or lose it budgeting.” This is when you are getting close to the end of the year and your budget is running under your forecast. In previous years, when you underspent, your next year’s budget was set based on that year’s actual. So, in order not to have your budget cut again, you go on a shopping spree — buying stuff you really don’t need or stocking up just in case you might need it. (read more…)

After spending umpteen hours and dollars on attractive booths and flashy giveaways, many IT vendors are abandoning trade shows or questioning their value. While these events can do wonders for brand awareness and lead generation, they also can consume large amounts of time and money with little return.

The problem isn’t the events themselves; it’s how some exhibitors approach them.

The “Field of Dreams” approach — “If you build it, they will come” — doesn’t cut it for trade shows. Merely having a display and handouts will bring people, but not necessarily your best prospects, or even attendees with any interest in your products or services. They may only want to pick up your swag and enter a drawing.

A strategic approach with steps before, during and after the event can help you get the most out of your investment. You’ll land more face-to-face meetings with targeted prospects and shorten sales cycles. (read more…)

As the saying goes, “Timing is everything.” Someone at Microsoft should tell the big boss. It seems to me that Satya Nadella, the new CEO at Microsoft as of February, has been let down by his PR people in the communications of the last two weeks. The order of announcements could not have been worse.

In an e-mail to employees (July 10) about an evolving culture at Microsoft, Nadella talked of “Bold Ambition and Our Core“ and outlined what the company has to do to get its mojo back. One week later (July 17), he announced a layoff of 18,000 employees. Talk about a letdown. My take on the two messages: “I have some good news and some bad news. I’ll give the good news first: Microsoft is going to be a lean, mean fighting machine. The bad news: Many of you will not be a part of it.”

There are at least two problems with these announcements, but let me first say I have no problem with the decision to eliminate jobs. (read more…)