The Sociopath In The Office Next Door

Sociopath In The Office Next Door by Davia Temin –
Evil in the office. If you think about it, you’ll probably realize you’ve seen it play out at least once in your career.

All of a sudden a well-running, friendly, effective group or company begins to disintegrate for no apparent reason. People start to become demoralized and dysfunctional, efficiency plummets, client service and sales suffer and convoluted mistakes are made, up to and including illegal behavior such as fraud and larceny. Employees begin to develop psychosomatic illnesses, sick time rises and the best talent starts to leave.

What used to be a great work situation turns into a nightmare.

More often than not this dysfunction can be traced to the entry of one new employee, perhaps the boss, his or his assistant, the head of HR or a new shop steward. And when you start to explore, you find that, though the person may look and act apparently normal–even charming–all those around him or her are suffering. [Read more…]

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Jeff Bezos (Amazon): Top Ten Maxims for Business Success

Jeff Bezos Amazon Top Ten Maxims for Business Success Chris Banescu –
Jeff Bezos, the founder and current CEO of Amazon.com, offers ten maxims that have helped him turn Amazon into the world-class company it is today. Leaders should consider these important principles if they want to insure the long-term success of their businesses. The list was compiled by George Anders, Forbes contributor who writes about management, careers and unforgettable personalities. This story appeared in the April 23, 2012 issue of FORBES magazine.

1. “Base your strategy on things that won’t change.”
Selling lipstick, tractor seats, e-book readers and data storage is all part of one big plan with three big constants: offer wider selection, lower prices and fast, reliable delivery.

2. “Obsess over customers.”
Early on Bezos brought an empty chair into meetings so lieutenants would be forced to think about the crucial participant who wasn’t in the room: the customer. Now that ­surrogate’s role is played by specially trained employees, dubbed “Customer Experience Bar Raisers.” When they frown, vice ­presidents tremble. [Read more…]

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California Income Tax Rates 2013 and Beyond, Highest Taxes in America

California Income Tax Rates Highest in America by Chris Banescu –
Following the passage of Proposition 30 in November 2012, California’s income tax rates have reached an astronomical 13.3% rate. Not only does California now have the most progressive income tax rates of all the states, individuals begin paying an 6% rate at $27,898 and an 8% rate at $38,727 in income, but it now surpassed Hawaii (11% top rate) as the state with the highest income tax rate in America.

According to a 2013 survey from Chief Executive magazine California’s business climate ranks dead last among all 50 states. Is it any wonder that so many companies, corporations, and high income individuals continue to flee California and relocate to other states?

Proposition 30 raised income tax rates for all Californians earning more than $250,000 per year. It progressively increased tax rates from 1% to 3% for all individuals and families earning above that level. Higher income households now face a 10.8% to 29.1% increase in overall tax rates. [Read more…]

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Top State Income Tax Rates for All 50 States

Top State Income Tax Rates Americaby Chris Banescu –
The Tax Foundation has released a comprehensive graphic that summarizes the top state income tax rates for all 50 states. It provides a very clear picture of the tax situation across the United States. The chart is reproduced below.

California (13.3%), Hawaii (11%), and Oregon (9.9%) have the highest marginal tax rates in America. Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming, on the other hand, are the only seven states with no income tax.

The Tax Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization that has monitored tax policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937. [Read more…]

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Cronyism Undermines the Beneficial Role of Business in Society

Cronyism Undermines Capitalism and Free Markets by Sam Patterson –
The role that business plays in society is straightforward – businesses produce goods and services that people consider beneficial. If a business can do that while wisely using resources, it makes a profit. Successful businesses benefit society by producing goods or services which improve people’s lives, and are then rewarded with profit. Those profits enable businesses to innovate or offer more goods and services, further improving people’s lives. Businesses must cater to the needs of society or they will find that they are not rewarded with profit and may well no longer exist.

At least, that’s how it works in a free market. There is another path for businesses to make profit other than providing valuable products. It’s called cronyism. Cronyism occurs when a business colludes with government officials to create unfair legislation and/or regulations which give them benefits they could not have otherwise obtained voluntarily. [Read more…]

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Seeing Yourself as Others See You Key to Being a Great Leader

Seeing Yourself as Others See Youby Linda Hill & Kent Lineback –
Becoming a great boss required courage — in particular, the courage to find out how others see you. Almost certainly, others’ perceptions of you will differ in important and perhaps disconcerting ways from your self-perceptions.

This is an important topic. It’s not about being liked or popular, as some assumed in reading our previous blog. It’s about your ability to exert influence, which is your major task as a manager. If you don’t know how your words and actions are perceived and understood, if you don’t know if others trust you (and if they don’t, why not), if you don’t know what others want and expect from you, how can you exert the influence you want?

The problem is, how do you find out? … Simply asking is unlikely to produce a true or complete answer. As the boss, you will often have trouble finding out the truth about anything, especially when it’s negative or problematic. Even if you’re trusted, people are still aware you hold the keys to promotions, pay, and choice assignments. And if you’re not trusted, why would anyone tell you the truth?

Though there are no simple solutions, we can offer some guidelines: [Read more…]

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Relying On Customer Trust To Help You Weather A Tough Economy

Customer Trust Customer Service Key to Successby Don Peppers –
You’ve probably heard the joke: Two hunters confront a large grizzly bear. Their weapons misfire and the bear comes at them. The first hunter takes off running, but the second one pauses briefly to discard his hunting boots and put on running shoes. “Don’t waste so much time!” the first hunter yells over his shoulder, “Running shoes aren’t going to be enough to outrun that bear!” The second hunter, quickly catching up with his friend, replies “I don’t need to outrun the bear. I just need to outrun you!”

So now the question is: Do you have the right shoes to outrun your competitors? You might want to consider how well your customers trust you to act in their interest.

In tough times, buyers want to economize every bit as much as sellers do, so customers cut back, simplify, and search for reliability. Discount stores benefit as consumers look for bargains, but customer-oriented sellers also benefit, as customers seek out businesses they can trust. [Read more…]

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Superpower Role Reversal And The Flat Tax Miracle

Russia Flat Tax Capitalism Freedomby Jeff Haden –
While the U.S. punishes millionaires, Russia and China reward them. In the upside-down era of Barack Obama, the capitalists act like communists and the communists act like capitalists.

Our multimillionaire president frowns on “millionaires and billionaires” and soaks them with higher taxes. But Russia loves them and even offers refugees of high-tax countries asylum.

Last week, the Kremlin, once headquarters of the Evil Empire, granted millionaire French actor Gerard Depardieu Russian citizenship so he can avail himself of Russia’s 13% flat tax and avoid his home country’s proposed new 75% supertax on millionaires. [Read more…]

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Motivating Employees: 7 Things Great Bosses Do

Things Great Bosses Doby Jeff Haden –
Great bosses do these things. The rest don’t–because these simple gestures would never occur to them.

Where employees are concerned, great leaders don’t take. Great leaders give–especially these seven things:

1. They give a glimpse of vulnerability.
To employees, you’re often not a person. You’re a boss. (Kind of like when you were in school and you saw a teacher at the grocery store; it was jarring and uncomfortable because teachers weren’t people. They were teachers.)

That’s why showing vulnerability is a humanizing way to break down the artificial barrier that typically separates bosses from employees. One easy way to break down that barrier is to ask for help. [Read more…]

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The Dirty Little Secret Of Overnight Successes

Secret Of Overnight Successby Josh Linkner –
As Chris Dixon pointed out in a recent blog postAngry Birds, the incredibly popular game, was software maker Rovio’s 52nd attempt. They spent eight years and nearly went bankrupt before finally creating their massive hit.

James Dyson failed in 5,126 prototypes before perfecting his revolutionary vacuum cleaner. Groupon was put on life support and nearly shut down at one point in its meteoric rise.

When looking at the most successful people and organizations, we often imagine geniuses with a smooth journey straight to the promised land. But when you really examine nearly every success story, they are filled with crushing defeats, near-death experiences, and countless setbacks. [Read more…]

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California Faces Large Tax Increases with Propositions 30 and 38

California Tax Increases by Chris Banescu –
California taxpayers, already paying some of the highest income and sales tax rates in the country, will face even higher taxes this November. If California voters approve Propositions 30 and 38, the state Sales Tax rate will rise to 7.5% and the Income Tax rates paid by individuals and families at all income levels will rise significantly, with higher income taxpayers having to pay an astronomical 15.5% tax rate.

Proposition 38 will raise income tax rates for all Californians earning more than $7,316 per year. It will increase tax rates from 0.4% to 2.2% across all income levels above that limit. This represents a 17.5% to 20% increase in overall tax rates for low and middle income taxpayers and a 17.2% to 21.4% increase for higher income households.

Proposition 30 will raise income tax rates for all Californians earning more than $250,000 per year. It will progressively increase tax rates from 1% to 3% for all individuals and families earning above that level. Higher income households will see a 10.8% to 29.1% increase in overall tax rates. Prop 38 also raises the state sales tax rate to 7.5% from the current 7.25% for everyone. [Read more…]

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Franchisors Warn Obamacare Will Halve Profits

Franchisors warn Obamacare will halve profitsby Paul Bedard
The International Franchise Association held a convention in Washington this week where most of the Radio Shack, Dunkin Donuts, Curves and other franchisers were grumbling about new federal regulations, especially the impact of Obamacare.

Most, said Atlanta Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken franchiser David Barr, presumed that the reports about how hard Obamacare will hit them were overblown. “They had their head in the sand,” he told Secrets.

That is until he pulled out his powerpoint showing how funding Obamacare will cut his –and likely their– profits in half overnight. [Read more…]

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