BIG MINIVENTION 2015 IS NOT TO BE MISSED

handshakeWhy not start September off really doing something positive for your business? BIG wants you to indulge in America's two biggest pastimes: Baseball and Business. In the jam-packed one-day Minivention, slated for September 1st at Oakland Coliseum, you will be able to accomplish an entire weekend's worth of production in just a few hours.

"Many California- based associations are accused of a Southern California bias. Events are planned around the Los Angeles/Inland Empire/San Diego areas and Northern California members and supporters are forced to make a special trip to participate with their own trade group," said Jon Spaugy, BIG CEO. "BIG believes that every member should be able to stay at least semi-local to connect with colleagues and potential business partners."

The BIG Minivention event will feature over 50 vendors attending this year, ranging from standard to preferred insurance carriers, GA's, finance companies, technology companies and much more. This "one-stop shopping" tour will introduce participants to companies eager to do business with the successful insurance professionals that comprise the BIG member roster. Talk appointments, new markets, product innovations, or just hook up with current company reps to find out the latest news.

To read more, click on the BIG Times Magazine tab and check out the July August 2015 issue.

KIDS TRAPPED IN HOT CARS

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Despite all the warnings, we are still reading about child fatalities and near-fatalities from being trapped in cars on hot days. The saddest part is that these tragedies are preventable. It's not just kids being left in vehicles by their caregivers. We all know that youngsters are natural explorers and like to pretend. A vehicle provides a wealth of possibilities for fertile minds, but self-locking doors and trunk lids accidentally closed can quickly turn playtime into a nightmare.

Here are some appalling statistics from the website Kids and Cars (www.kidsandcars.org): Child vehicular heat stroke deaths for 2015 (as of 7/20/15) - 10; Child vehicular heat stroke deaths for 2014 - 32; and Child vehicular heat stroke deaths for 2013 - 44. These figures do not include close calls.

Here are some safety tips for parents, grandparents, and other caregivers:

- Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.

- Keep a large stuffed animal in the child's car seat. When the child is placed in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It's a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat.

- Make sure you have a strict policy in place with your childcare provider about daycare drop-off. Everyone involved in the care of your child should always be aware of their whereabouts.

- Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in driveways or garages. Ask home visitors, child care providers and neighbors to do the same.

- If a child goes missing, immediately check the inside passenger compartments and trunks of all vehicles in the area very carefully, even if they are locked. A child may lock the car doors after entering a vehicle on their own, but may not be able to unlock them.

- If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately. If the child seems hot or sick, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible.

"It is never OK to leave kids or pets in a car -- even with the windows down,” says Christopher McStay, MD, an emergency room doctor and assistant professor of emergency medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center. “Your car is a greenhouse and temperatures can get exceedingly hot in an exceedingly short period of time."

What It Takes To Manage Up & Manage Down: Five Key Points for Management

manageWe often get inquiries from companies wanting to know what it takes to manage up and manage down in order to:

  • Improve relationships, communications, efficiency, and productivity
  • Raise the bar on reducing waste
  • Increase the flow of ideas for better work flow
  • Enhance customer interaction and product or service design and improvement.

So, we developed a workshop titled, Cracking the Personality Code: Managing Up and Managing Down – Communication Opportunity of a Life Time! We thought we’d share some key points on this huge topic:

Teams should consider the following quote from Albert Einstein: “The significant problems we have today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.”

We need to be receptive to consider how we have done things in the past and when things need to change in order to stay current. Remember the Rolodex cards? Even the good old fashioned light pole is being changed out for the more modern version that does not pollute, uses solar electricity, notifies central head quarters through a wireless device when it needs service, and is quicker and less expensive to install.

To read the rest of the article, click on the "BIG Times Magazine" tab above and open the July/August issue.

* Article by Dana Borowka, Lighthouse Consulting. Excerpt from the book "Cracking the Business Code."

NINE CAREER-DAMAGING BAD LISTENING HABITS AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT THEM

earToday, it seems "busyness" is the measure of success. We power through our emails, conference calls, and business lunches at breakneck speed. Unfortunately, all this frantic activity has taken a toll on our patience. The result is that we no longer stop to listen to one another—how can we when we're all so busy and important? The trouble, says Ed Hess, is that the ability that's getting lost in the shuffle is the very one MUST HAVE to be a viable player in today's workforce—the ability to truly listen.

"It used to be that the smartest guy in the room was the one who was constantly talking," says Hess, a professor at the University of Virginia's Darden Graduate School of Business and author of the new book Learn or Die: Using Science to Build a Leading-Edge Learning Organization. "Not anymore. Now, the smartest guy or gal in the room is the one who asks the right questions and then truly listens to what others have to say."

In other words, the ability to truly listen is the most important 21st century job skill. As Hess explains in Learn or Die, it's the core skill needed for the critical thinking, innovative thinking, collaboration, and real-time diagnosis and problem solving that only humans can do. And that's important because it allows you to stay employed as technology takes over more and more jobs that people used to perform.

To read the rest of this article, click on "BIG Times Magazine" on the BIG website at (www.biginsusa.com).

INFRASTRUCTURE ALIGNMENT IS FUNDAMENTAL TO DELIVERING GROWTH

infrastructureSome of us use the terms infrastructure and organizational structure interchangeably. In this article, I will use the word infrastructure to refer to technology platforms and digital assets. There is a myriad of technology, information systems and digital assets on which your companies rely to operate your businesses. However, given the diverse customer base which shop your products you must ask if your infrastructure is optimally aligned to support your goals across all customers Hispanic and non-Hispanic regardless of language preferences. Consider the various ways in which your company relies on its infrastructure and determine if your company has created the necessary alignment to:

Generate reporting – For companies who target Hispanics, it’s important to ask if your company’s Information Systems are aligned to deliver on the company’s information needs on all your customer including your Hispanic customers. Are you able to track sales, segmentation, demographic, geographic, product categories, usage and other behavior your Hispanic customers may exhibit so appropriate decisions can be made in a manner that is relevant to your Hispanic customers and relevant to your business model?

Communicate with customers – Ask if your Information Systems are set up to effectively communicate important information bilingually so your Hispanic customers understand your letters, forms, brochures, user guides, warranties, rebate forms, and statements the way your company intended. Ask if your current methods effectively communicate with Hispanic recipients and whether they truly understand your messages, the intended level of urgency, the action that is required of them, by when, and where and how the action needs to be taken.

To read the rest of the story, click on "BIG Times Magazine" at www.biginsusa.com.

Article written by Terry Soto, Author and CEO, About Marketing Solutions, Inc.