Category Archives: News articles

FBI: Crime Rates Falling in America

High unemployment. More people on food stamps. Fewer homeowners. Yet for all the signs of recession, one thing is missing: More crime.

Figures released Monday by the FBI show national declines in murder, car thefts and other crimes. But experts are scratching their heads over ebbing crime rates, which make this recession different from other economic downturns in the past half-century. Among the early guesses as to the reasons: jobless people being at home, where they can watch for thieves, and the American population getting older. Older people generally commit fewer crimes.

The FBI figures, preliminary tabulations from the first half of 2009, show crime falling across the country, even at a time of high unemployment, foreclosures and layoffs. Most surprisingly, murder and manslaughter were down 10 percent.

OSHA Advised Retailers on Crowd Safety

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other retailers are being told by the U.S. government to take greater precautions with their Black Friday shopping events to avoid a repeat of last year, when a worker was trampled by customers. Guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration includes using a bullhorn to manage crowds, setting up barricades or rope lines and clearing the entrances of shopping carts and other potentially dangerous obstacles, according to a statement released by the agency.  The National Retail Federation issued its own guidelines for its members earlier this month, and Bentonville, Ark.- based Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is extending store hours to manage crowds.  Read the article here.

The 3 Habits of Highly Irritating Management Gurus

This article takes a critical look at the business self-help genre and its visible “gurus.”  According to the article, these writers tend to have three characteristics in common. Lousy leadership “gurus” are marked by a tendency to overstate the newness of their ideas, a fondness for naming “model” companies and a willingness to market various “tools” that purport to reduce leadership to a few easy steps. “If management could indeed be reduced to a few simple principles, then we would have no need for management thinkers,” the author writes.

While I would not dismiss their work out of hand, as this article does, it is an interesting phenomonen that business leaders flock to the same well-worn management principles time after time after time.  It seems there is serious money to be made by taking a timeless principle and using a new metaphor.  The more simplistic you make it, the better.  If you write it as a parable (think Who Moved My Cheese) that is the best!  Perhaps that is why you can find legions of folks who have read The One-Minute Manager but hardly a soul who has read Drucker’s The Effective Executive or The Practice of Management

Read the full article at The Economist.

Retail Theft Up 10% in Quebec

The Retail Council of Quebec reported Wednesday they are also increasingly victims of theft and fraud. In 2008 and so far this year, the province’s retail sector has registered economic losses of nearly $900 million – 84 per cent of that attributed to theft and fraud by staff, shoplifting and consumer fraud.

In a survey carried out for the council between July and August by geomarketer and retail researcher Altus Géocom, 54 per cent of the respondents (who represent approximately 162,000 employees working in more than 4,250 stores) reported a 10-per-cent increase in those incidents from 2007.  Read full article here.

The No-Cost Way to Motivate

 A manager’s genuine interest in employees’ lives pays off at every level, in every job

“One of the greatest causes of misery for employees is the feeling that the person they work for isn’t interested in who they are and what goes on in their lives, personally or professionally. Regardless of how much money people make and whether their jobs suit them, if they feel anonymous they’ll dread going to work—and return home deflated.”

Patick Lencioni has written a nice, straight to the point reminder for all of us about the important role an employee’s first line manager plays in their life.  This is important for us to remember as managers, but also critical for us to remember in how it impacts shortage, safety habits, and engagement in the workplace.  We can design every training and awareness program we can think of, but it all comes to nothing if not supported, reinforced, and breathed into life by our store management teams.  Read the full article here.