Business & Economy
5 Innovation Killers That Lurk Within Businesses PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 30 January 2015 10:09

The work of innovative thinkers is why the world has smartphones, laptop computers, toaster ovens and numerous other gadgets and creative approaches to problem solving.

Yet groundbreaking ideas aren’t always welcome in the corporate world or within other institutions.

Instead, those who suggest a different approach often find their ideas shot down by co-workers or blocked by an organizational system that is unwelcoming to change, says international speaker and innovation consultant Dr. Neal Thornberry.

That doesn’t mean innovation can’t happen, though.

“The innovator needs to know how to operate in these less than friendly cultures without waiting for some miraculous transformation in corporate policy,” says Thornberry, author of the book “Innovation Judo: Disarming Roadblocks and Blockheads on the Way to Creativity.” (www.NealThornberry.com)

He says there are five innovation “killers” within organizations that a person with ideas can expect to confront.

•  People. Sometime it’s an individual, sometimes it’s a group. Regardless, people often resist innovation, and many times for illogical reasons. “The more rigid people reject innovation simply because they are uncomfortable with the new or don’t want to spend the energy to try something different,” Thornberry says. They may be quick to point out flaws in your ideas.

One way to counteract that, Thornberry says, is to be your own worst critic. Discover those flaws first and highlight them yourself. Then you can address how you plan to mitigate them, thus stealing the critics’ thunder, he says.

•  Politics. You can usually get around one or two individuals who try to block your idea, but it’s more challenging when the organization is rife with politics. “I hate working in highly politicized organizations,” Thornberry says. “They make work a lot harder and make you spend considerable time on non-value-adding activities.” In fact, Thornberry devotes an entire chapter in his book to “Right Mindedness” so that innovators practicing his seven secret judo skills are not seen as innovating for personal gain or exploitation, but as enablers of company success.

•  Organizational design. An out-of-whack organizational design usually is not generated on purpose or with malice, Thornberry says. Instead it develops over time, with one well-intentioned move after another leading to unintended consequences. Often the result is a proliferation of controls, along with structures and processes that create barriers to innovation.

When an idea is blocked by layers of decision-making, one solution is to use leverage, Thornberry says. Enlist the aid of a customer who would benefit from the innovation, he says, because paying customers have huge leverage.

•  Company values. Here the innovator has both a challenge and an opportunity. Many companies articulate their values, but don’t always live by them. “The upside for innovators is that values can be used as leverage for innovation even if they aren’t true,” Thornberry says. For example, if the company declares, “The customer is No. 1,” then it becomes difficult to ignore an innovation that is positioned as being for the customer.

•  Corporate culture. The corporate culture essentially is how the people, politics, organizational design and values interact. “The greatest challenge to any innovator, and to embedding and sustaining innovation over the long term, is culture,” Thornberry says. To make it even more challenging, often organizations have micro-cultures within the culture. That means, he says, you will need to adapt the use of innovation judo principles depending on which micro-culture you are dealing with at any given moment.

“Innovators throughout history have faced both roadblocks and blockheads on their path to creativity,” Thornberry says. “And so will you.”

But with a little courage and some counterbalancing skills, he says, these challenges can be overcome.

About Neal Thornberry, Ph.D.

Neal Thornberry, Ph.D., is the founder and CEO of IMSTRAT, LLC a consulting firm that specializes in helping private and public sector organizations develop innovation strategies that create economic value by increasing an organization’s effectiveness and efficiency. A respected thought leader in innovation, Thornberry is a highly sought-after international speaker and consultant. He  also serves as the faculty director for innovation initiatives at the Center for Executive Education at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. Thornberry, author of “Innovation Judo: Disarming Roadblocks & Blockheads on the Path to Creativity” (www.NealThornberry.com), holds a doctorate in organizational psychology and specializes in innovation, corporate entrepreneurship, leadership and organizational transformation.

 
Selecting Your Investment Advisor PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Thursday, 29 January 2015 10:11

Changing How You Perceive the Role of Your Investment Advisor
By: Jeff Bucher

On the surface, when people think of an investment advisor, financial planner or retirement planner, what they think of is someone that’s going to assist them with making the selections of their stocks, bonds and mutual funds. As you transition into the retirement stage there are many other important areas of retirement that also need to be considered.  Selecting the right retirement guide that will be able to help in all of these areas is crucial for you to have a fulfilling retirement.

We call ourselves many different things, Financial Planners, Investment Advisors, or maybe even Retirement Planners.  Regardless of the title, you probably go to us all for the same thing – to use our knowledge and expertise regarding the financial markets to invest your funds for you. On the surface, this describes the role of the advisor.  However, we feel that this limited role of the advisor specifically covers one period of your investment lifetime, the accumulation period, when you are trying to build and grow your wealth.  As you transition into retirement (the portfolio distribution phase), it’s important that the advisor begin to take on a larger role when it comes to your financial well-being.  As an advisor that specializes in the distribution phase, the investment selection must be complimented by a strategy of when best to file for Social Security Benefits, a plan to minimize the amount of taxes that will be due, and a sustainable withdrawal strategy to ensure that your needs will be met for the remainder of your lifetime.

Fiduciary vs. Suitability

When it comes to the investment selection, it’s very important to understand what type of advisor with whom you’re working. There are two different types of advisors that plan within two different sets of rules. There’s the investment advisor, who is held to a fiduciary standard, and then there is the registered representative, or an insurance professional, who is held to a suitability standard. Understanding what standards that they’re held to and how they’re compensated is part of the investment selection process that, as the consumer, you need to be aware of. The differences are crucial.

A fiduciary standard is a legal obligation where the advisor must act in the best interest of their client and puts the client’s best interest ahead of their own.  It is the highest standard of care available under law.  Fiduciary advisors can be regulated by the SEC or state regulators.  An example to explain this standard is an advisor with two identical products that have different fees, who must recommend the one that is lower in cost.  They can’t recommend the product that makes more money for them or their company.  A fiduciary advisor is often paid by a quarterly fee that is calculated as a percentage of assets.

According to the FIRNA Industry Professionals manual, the suitability standard requires that a registered representative or insurance professional must have a reasonable basis to believe that a recommended transaction or investment strategy involving a security or securities is suitable for the customer.  This is based primarily on financial objectives, current income level and age, in order to complete a commissionable sale of a financial product.  There is no requirement to find the best investment for you, only ones that are seemingly suitable for you.  They offer a range of products for sale carried by the company he or she represents.  The way that someone with a suitability standard gets paid is by commissions calculated as a percentage of money invested into the product.

Which type of advisor would you like to work with after hearing the differences between the two?

What to expect from a retirement planner

As we transition into retirement, the investment selection is still part of the process, but there’s more to expect from a retirement planner.

Important questions we need to ask include:

• How are we going to create an income/distribution plan of these assets that’s going to be reliable and sustainable for as long as you live?

• How do we select a social security filing strategy that will best meet our needs it?

• How are we going to protect your standard of living from inflation?

• How are we going to reduce your tax obligations?

• How are we going to position these assets in a way that you still have the liquidity that you need for all kinds of emergencies and related discretionary spending?

• How can we position things in such a way that you have the income stream you need and, at the same time, have the flexibility to handle life’s unknowns?

• How can we help protect you from the risks of a long term illness?

• How do we select the right health care plan to best meet your needs and resources?

• How do we protect the legacy that you want to leave behind for your heirs?

Transitioning into Retirement

Again, as we transition into this retirement phase, investment selection is part of the process. But now we need to focus more on an income plan, which encompasses social security planning, tax planning, planning against inflation and health care planning – all of these things are added into the picture. So, during this transition, the perception that you have of your investment advisor needs to take on a new role. Often, with new clients, we find that there hasn’t been a transition, which means the client is being greatly underserved.

At Citizen Advisory Group, (www.citizenadvisory.com), our program offers a much more comprehensive approach to the retirement planning side of things. We pull in the investment selection with an income/distribution plan that includes planning for social security, longevity and taxes. We unify all of these different pieces to create a very well-rounded plan. This allows people the safety and security to go out and enjoy their retirement lifestyle and spend their money without the fear associated with running out of money during their lifetimes.

About Jeff Bucher

Jeff Bucher is president of Citizen Advisory Group, (www.citizenadvisory.com), and is an Investment Advisor Representative of AlphaStar Capital Management, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. He has a life and health insurance license with the state of Ohio. His membership affiliations include the exclusive Ed Slott's Master Elite IRA Advisor Group™, National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), the National Association of Fixed Annuities (NAFA) and the Forum 400. He has earned Top of the Table honors through the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT).  Jeff has been featured on the Toledo, Ohio television affiliates for NBC, CBS, FOX, and ABC. Bucher is a former standout wrestler at The Ohio State University, where he earned an athletic scholarship and honed his leadership skills en route to earning four varsity letters.

 
LECLAIRE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MEMBERSHIP PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by LeClaire Chamber of Commerce   
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 14:27
It is time to renew your Membership for 2015!
In order to remain or be on the Chamber Website Membership Directory
and on the Directory in the March Newsletter, please renew by February 1, 2015!
Membership forms have been mailed out, or you can renew your membership by going to
www.leclairechamber.com and pay via Pay Pal.
If you did not receive a letter and form by mail,
please see the attached form, or
contact the Chamber at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
.
If you have already renewed your Membership, Thank You!

 
AIM to Serve Entrepreneurial Start Ups through SPN Integration PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Cara Eccleston   
Friday, 16 January 2015 10:42

AIM is a not-for-profit community based organization that promotes technology to empower people, enhance organizations and create brilliant communities. AIM is pleased to announce that Silicon Prairie News and Big Omaha have been added as services of our organization to continue the brilliant community impact that the Silicon Prairie News website and events like Big Omaha have had on our startup community for the past six years. AIM's goal is to enhance this value to markets in Omaha, Lincoln, Kansas City, and Greater Nebraska. Recognized for events such as Big Omaha, the Silicon Prairie Awards, and the Startup Job Crawl, Silicon Prairie News is a digital media company devoted to entrepreneurs and tech startups in its communities.

For AIM, this is an opportunity to better serve the local entrepreneurial and startup community and to expand its mission and impact. Headquartered in the heart of downtown Omaha with various satellite locations throughout the Midwest, AIM is a social enterprise that promotes technology to build brilliant communities. Through community engagement, AIM promotes early interest and skills in Information Technology (IT), links graduates and working professionals with IT opportunities in the community, and offers ongoing career development for IT leaders.

Dedicated to providing support and recognition to the local startup community, SPN embraces this opportunity to join an organization like AIM that can “provide the leadership and resources to grow SPN in a way that serves the ever changing needs of the Silicon Prairie startup community for many years to come.” (SPN acquired by AIM Institute, Dusty Davidson) AIM and SPN look forward to collaboratively enhancing your IT and startup community.

 
Business Leaders Brief Administration on Senior Administration on International Trade Policy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Rachel Harvey   
Friday, 16 January 2015 09:43
Senior Administration officials gather input from business leaders on how international trade policies affect businesses’ bottom lines.

Washington, D.C. – While negotiations for several international trade agreements are in progress, business leaders, including Michael Lassner, President of Allied Steel Buildings in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will meet with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Robert Holleyman, and other senior administration officials yesterday to discuss how international trade policy affects their businesses.

“One of the best opportunities to create economic growth at home is to sell American goods and services to the 95 percent of global consumers who live outside our borders,” said Secretary Pritzker. “In 2013, the U.S. achieved $2.3 trillion in exports, more than any other time in history, which supported 11.3 million American jobs. To give our businesses access to more markets and more customers, America must continue leading the world in negotiating high-standard trade agreements that reflect our values and set the rules for trade in the 21st century.”

At a roundtable organized by the White House Business Council and Business Forward, the discussion will focus on the importance of government and businesses working together to help more American companies reach more international markets.

“Under President Obama’s leadership, the U.S. is spearheading the most significant trade agenda in history,” said Deputy USTR Holleyman. “I always appreciate the opportunity to hear directly from business leaders who are affected by international trade policies. By helping our businesses sell more exports abroad, United States trade policy can unlock opportunity, support well-paying jobs, and strengthen our middle class."

The discussion will touch on two significant trade agreements that the Administration is currently negotiating: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with countries in the Asia-Pacific region and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) with members of the European Union. These agreements would boost American competitiveness and help U.S. businesses access more markets abroad.

"Exporting helps companies like ours to expand beyond our borders, offering our products to a wider customer base. As a result we continue to hire more employees to address this growing demand. This practice also helps us to learn and improve our services both nationally and internationally," said Lassner. "It was extremely valuable to have the opportunity to brief the Obama Administration on ways international trade policy can better support Allied Steel Buildings and other's international business activities."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 300,000 U.S. companies export their goods to international markets. Businesses that do export grow faster and are 8 percent less likely to declare bankruptcy than those that do not export.

About Business Forward

With the help of more than 50 of the world's most respected companies, Business Forward is making it easier for tens of thousands of business leaders from across America to advise Washington on how to create jobs and accelerate our economy. Business Forward is active in more than 100 cities and works with more than 450 senior Administration officials, Members of Congress, governors, and mayors.

To date, the organization has also brought more than 3,000 business leaders to the White House to brief the President's economic advisors. Business leaders who have participated in these briefings have seen their suggestions implemented in the Affordable Care Act, the Jobs Act, three trade agreements, and every one of the President's budgets. Many have also shared their recommendations with their representatives in Congress and through op-eds and interviews with local media. Ninety-eight out of 100 business leaders who have participated in a Business Forward briefing would be interested in participating in another one. For more information please visit www.BusinessFWD.org.

About Allied Steel Buildings

Allied Steel Buildings, is a recognized leading supplier of high-quality pre-engineered steel buildings and metal building systems. In its more than ten years of experience, the company has developed almost 4.000 different steel projects all over the world, delivering building solutions for diverse industries, from aviation to equestrian. One customer and one building at a time.

 
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