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May 16, 2017

One of the most valuable skills you can develop in online gaming is Situational Awareness. Broadly speaking, this is when you take a moment to work out what’s really going on around you. By doing this, it allows you to make a better decision about what to do next, rather than aimlessly run at the nearest bad guy.

One of the easiest things to look for and probably the first thing you should look at is the current “state” of the game. Most if not all games have a scoreboard which you can view mid game which shows you lots of statistics. What you want to look at here is how many points each team has and how much time is left until the end of the game. As basic as it sounds, you now know whether you’re currently winning or losing and you can adapt your behaviour to suit. If you’re winning, you may consider playing more cautiously. The enemy has to chase the game and as they do they will start playing more recklessly, taking more risks which gives you a great opportunity to pick them off and increase your lead. If your team is losing, you may need to take some more risks and push forward some more to get more kills or points.

Also look at how much time is left. If you still have lots of time, say 5 minutes or more then there’s no need to panic. You can afford to be a bit more relaxed however if you’ve only got 30 seconds and you’re only a couple of points behind, you need to throw all caution to the wind, go after the enemy with everything you got and get those last few kills to gain the lead and ultimately win the game!

One of the most important tools at your disposal which is available in most FPS games is the Mini map. I believe that if you want to be fully aware of what’s happening around you, you need to be glancing at this at least once every 10 seconds. The mini map gives you essential information, the most important of which is the location of enemies. By knowing where enemy players are, you can plan an attack or defence and catch out any aggressive players who make a break to try and sneak around you. It helps you to stay that one step ahead.

You can also use the mini map to see the position of your team-mates. I’ve often found that players tend to get drawn into a specific area of the map and you’ll end up with a large gunfight with many players on both teams grouped together. Keep an eye out for this happening, because this is your opportunity to move through the quiet areas of the map where there are no enemy players. This happens a lot in objective style games where everyone’s focused on gaining control of a point on the map or getting control of an object. A tactic I like to employ at this point is moving round the side of the enemy then shooting them as they run towards the area of focus. Lots of easy kills plus it takes some pressure off your team mates so they have a better chance of doing what they need to do.

At the end of the day, Situational Awareness isn’t too difficult a skill to develop. Simply take a few seconds during a game to look at the bigger picture. Take a moment to process that information, understand what it means, then use that to decide what to do next. You’ll find yourself becoming a much more effective player.

Source by Joss King

May 16, 2017 0 comment
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Drilling fluid is used anytime a hole is drilled deep into the Earth. This includes oil drilling, gas drilling, water drilling, and exploration drilling. It is used because it helps provide hydrostatic pressure which keeps unwanted fluid from entering into the hole. Two additional functions of drilling fluid are to keep the bit clean and carry drilled cuttings out of the hole. The ingredients and chemical additives that are found in drilling fluid can vary significantly according to the type of formation being drilled. In all, drilling fluid is a critical part of the drilling process which needs to be managed by Mud Engineers.

The drilling fluid must be properly engineered so that it moves the drill cuttings out of the bore hole. For example, it must be able to carry the cuttings up the hole but also keep them suspended while the drill is not in motion. To do this it must be able to become a gel-like substance when it is not circulated by the drill's movement. This allows the cuttings to "float" in the drilling fluid while the drill pipe is lengthened or while maintenance is carried out. If any of the drill cuttings fall to the bottom of the bore hole, it can result in stuck pipe and dramatically slow down the drilling process. Also, the longer it takes for the mud to remove the cuttings from the hole the more they break up and become more difficult to remove.

The formation's pressure is another thing that the drilling fluid controls. For example, if the pressure in the formation increases too much, barite is typically added to the drilling fluid to increase its weight. However, if the mud weight becomes too high it can cause instability and create fractures in the formation. Blowouts are caused by unbalanced pressures in the well. In addition to maintaining formation pressure, correctly managed hydraulic pressures help to manage instability caused by shifts in the Earth's tectonic plates.

When the drilling formation is porous, the mud is used to create a seal. This seal is called a filter cake and is made when the pressure inside the well is greater than the formation pressure. A thin layer of drilling fluid then sees into the formation and creates this thin filter cake. If the filter cake becomes too thick, it can cause a tight bore hole, stuck pipe, damage to the formation, or loss of circulation. When the formation is so porous that the mud actually flows into it instead of forming a thin deposit, other steps must be taken. This means using "bridging agents" which are often calcium carbonate or ground cellulose to block the pore spaces before the mud can form a filter cake. Certain substances can also help with the quality of the filter cake. These include bentonite, polymer, asphalt, and gilsonite.

Along with sealing the bore hole, the mud also helps to ensure well stability. It does this by offsetting the mechanical forces at work with its weight. If the well becomes unstable it can cause unusual hole conditions. When the hole gets too enlarged, it can become weak and unresponsive to attempts at stabilization. This can result in low annular velocities and inefficient removal of drill cuttings. When drilling in porous formations such as sand or sandstone, a well-formed filter cake can help to prevent hole enlargement. The hole's enlargement can also be kept in check through moderate usage of hydraulics and nozzle velocities. While drilling in shale formations, the bore hole is usually much more stable and the mud weight is all that is needed to keep the hole's diameter constant. However, when dealing with water based muds there can be a reaction between the shale and the mud which can cause the shale to become softer. Fractured or brittle shale formations can cause extensive mechanical problems while drilling. Potassium, calcium, glycols, polymers, asphalt, salt, and oil can be used to control the reactions between water based muds and shale formations. Since water based mud and shale can have such complicated reactions, most drillers will use an oil based or synthetic mud when drilling in shale.

In addition to its other purposes, drilling fluid also lubricates and cools the drill bit. The heat in question is caused when the bit rubs against the formation and when the pipe rotates against the casing. Mud also reduces the amount of drag that affects the drilling assembly by improving the coefficient of friction. Oil based and synthetic muds are better at this than water based muds which is why they are used more in areas where the drilling is found to generate higher friction levels due to the type of formation being drilled into.

The heavy weight of the drill string can also be partially supported by mud. The buoyancy created by the density of the mud helps to hold up the drilling equipment which reduces the "hook load" on the derrick. This can be very valuable when the depth of a bore hole requires more pipe than the derrick can hold up. Part of the drill string's weight is supported by the drilling fluid which allows deeper drilling to take place since the weight capacity of the derrick.

Mud is also instrumental in the analysis of the drilling situation. The cuttings brought up by the mud's circulation can be examined to further improve drilling technique and determine the depth from which the cuttings are coming from. However, continuous friction between the drill string and mud can increase corrosion. Corrosion can also be sped up by oxygen in the mud which results in aeration or foaming. Drilling fluid is an essential and unavoidable part of drilling but it is not without its complications.

Source by James Jankowski

May 16, 2017 0 comment
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Computers are wonderful machines. They are everywhere and society depends on them to manage our world. It is no wonder that computers have almost unlimited applications, and that they are multiplying at a steady rate. Many of these applications are benefiting society directly or indirectly. The three most important ways computers are benefiting society, is by, creating more information technology professions, creating new automobile safety features, and opening ground-breaking communication methods. There currently exist many other beneficial functions of these machines, such as their use for diagnosing patients, running weather simulations to predict future weather patterns, and calculating large, complex data sets. As new applications emerge for computer systems, so will the benefits society will derive from them.

Creating more information technology (IT) professions is proportionally related to how many new computer systems are put into use. As new computers are sold to consumers, the demand for more IT professions will rise because consumers will need these professionals to maintain, upgrade and repair their new computer systems. . More employment is also made available when new computer applications are discovered. This makes sense because new applications require new professionals that are trained to deal with that specific application. For example, when the World Wide Web was introduced, many new professions arose. Some of these professions range from website designers and server administrators to online marketers. These factors show that computers are benefiting society directly by creating new information technology professions, which is vitally important to the development of any countries labor force.

Computers were introduced into cars in the late nineteenth century, for such effects as controlling engine functions, fuel injection, and signal light timing. It is not until recently, that computers have started to play a role in helping to save peoples lives by enabling car manufacturers to create new automobile safety features. Air bags are an extremely important safety feature in an automobile. A computer is located in the steering wheel of an automobile, which is equipped with airbags and is the only device capable of signaling the airbags to deploy in the case of an accident. According to McCormick (1999), it is an estimation that “between 1990 and 1997, air bags saved about 150 lives in Canada. In the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that airbags, as of September 1, 1999, have saved the lives of over 4,600 Americans involved in car crashes.” This would not be possible without computer systems. Another popular safety feature is the anti-lock braking system, or ABS. The purpose of the anti-lock braking system is to stop a vehicle from locking its tires, which has been shown to dramatically increase a drivers control in a potential crash. These safety features have proven to be beneficial to society thanks to computers, by decreasing the number of automobile accidents, and the number of fatalities involved in such accidents.

Society is dependent on rapid and reliable communications. Computers have allowed us to open ground-breaking communication methods that satisfy those dependencies. One communication method is known as electronic mail (e-mail). E-mail has become a common form of communication because it is free, reliable, and most importantly, incredibly fast. Due to the nature of e-mail, being electronic data, it relies on computers to deliver and receive messages. Another popular method of communication making rapid headway is instant messaging, or IM. According to a survey (Shiu & Lenhart, 2004) “53 million American adults use instant messaging and its appeal is especially apparent among young adults and technology enthusiasts.” Similar to e-mail, instant messaging allows many people to send textual information to each other simultaneously. This form of communication is similar to a telephone conversation, but using electronic text as a medium instead of a person’s voice. As instant messaging is based on electronic text, it is dependent on computer systems to operate because they are the only devices capable of transmitting and manipulating electronic data. Both of these new communication methods are bringing people closer together, in a global sense, and this is benefiting society.

New problems for society will continually emerge, and as a result, computers will be applied to such problems. These machines are the work horses of the future and as such, society will greatly depend on them. As stated, the three most important ways computers are benefiting society now is by creating more information technology professions, developing new automobile safety features, and opening ground-breaking communication methods. Therefore, computer systems have been shown to be a great benefit to society through these three examples and society will continue to depend on the benefits these systems provide in the future.

Source by Justin Frei

May 16, 2017 0 comment
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I have written several times about theability of our scientific community to solve the riddles of the treatment of hypo (low) thyroid function. In the most recent study trying to discover the best way to treat hypothyroidism, defective approaches in my opinion, again defeated the good intentions of researchers. The study "Small changes in thyroxine dose do not produce measurable changes in hypothyroid symptoms, well-being, or quality of life" was published in the prestigious Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

This study was designed to examine the best doses of thyroid medication for treating hypo (low) thyroid function, and came to some startingling conclusions. The first conclusion was that when treating patients with hypothyroidism adjusting the dose of thyroid medication does not affect the symptoms that these individuals had. Even more surprising was the conclusion that hypothyroidism (low thyroid levels) was not causing the symptoms the patients were complaining of.

For those who suffer from hypothyroidism and those who job it is to treat these people, a study like this comes as a jolt of disappointment. Both groups are left wondering what they are to do next. For the treating physician, further doubt is shed on the rightness of continuing to adjust thyroid medication in response to patients' complaints.

It is far easier to not find something than to find something. That seems like common sense. In a scientific study of disease treatment, it is far easier to not discover benefits of a new treatment than to find something that helps. There are two main reasons for not discovering something. The first reason is that whatever treatment being tested truly has little or no effect. The second reason is that the researcher is using insensitive methods to observe the effect. For example, even a large telescope will not see the bright objects in the sky if the lens is dirty.

How do medical studies go wrong? Not having sufficient people in a study is a common reason. Another reason is using tools which are too insensitive to detect the effect of treatment. In studies of treatment of hypothyroidism like this one, it also seems common to produce a negative exit by setting up the experiment backwards. Let's look at these defects as they apply to the latest study.

The most disturbing trend in the study of hypothyroid treatment is using the backward approach to the questions. Most of these studies start by denying the existence of an almost universal observation, which is that patients respond to adjustment of thyroid hormone treatments. Instead, like this study, they start by asking, "Is there a response to thyroid hormone adjustment?" The authors of this newest study admit that not all patients treated with thyroxine (thyroid hormone) feel well. Other researchers have acknowledged that many of these sufferers respond to changes in thyroid hormone treatments. So why not ask a question like, "What are the differences between responders and non-responders in thyroid hormone treatment?" When studies using poor techniques can find no effects of treatment changes they deny the experience of patients and doctors alike. When these results become the medical gospel it causes doctors to be skeptical of their patients' complaints and to feel that treatment adjustment is useless.

There can be no doubt of the comprehensive effect of publications such as this study on doctor's treatment perspective. I recently attended a conference of endocrinologists where this study was reviewed by an expert from Harvard University who was totally convinced of the study conclusions. Not one endocrinologist in the audience questioned the statement that adjustment of thyroid hormone treatment has no effect on patient complaints or that hypothyroidism causes symptoms at all. Skepticism of patient experience looks more acceptable than contradictory these experts.

Just a few more words on why I found the present study defective. The number of patients tested was 56 who were taking a wide range of doses of thyroid medication at the start of the study. The average endocrinologist can see two or thee times that number of thyroid patients in a single week. By comparing studies conducted by richy pharmaceutical companies can have many thousands of test subjects. Using a small number of very diverse patients to start with almost guarantees confusion in the results.

How reliable were the tools used to judge patient symptoms? The questionnaires used in this study are designed for general use in every clinical situation. It is a very good chance that these questions are too insensitive to analyze the types of experiences that thyroid disease produces.

As I have concluded in the past when reviewing this type of study, the best hope for those suffering with hypothyroidism is to find an open minded endocrinologist who has faith in their own experience and the experience good judgment when adjusting Thyroid hormone treatment in response to their patient's history.

Article originally posted at Metabolism.com

Source by Gary Pepper MD

May 16, 2017 0 comment
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Remember the bumper stickers back in the nineties that said “Kill Your Television”?

Well, based on all the over simplified economic news coming from the major networks, the financial networks and radio too-it’s something to consider again. No doubt, when the challenges of the current economy are studied in history, a major factor driving the psychology of the event will be the media.

There’s one problem with “mass media”, sweeping generalizations. The broad brush-the it’s everywhere approach-lacks specifics for each of our own backyards.

The result is that a lot of business owners experiencing a slowdown just say it’s the economy. Newsflash, there are companies that make millions of dollars in bad times. So, it can be done. Here’s how:

1. Focus on Your World

The news is a sweeping generalization and has no problem letting us think this is the way of the world. Take a hard look at the reality of your situation:

  • Are you still in business?
  • Are you in foreclosure or in danger of getting there?
  • Do you work in a failed bank or investment firm?
  • Is your industry of field lined up for a bailout?

If not, pay attention to what’s affecting you–not what the media says is affecting us. Do you work. Reposition your produces and services to meet your customers changing needs. Don’t sit on your hands and blame the economy.

2. Protect Existing Customers/Clients

When was the last time you communicated with them without trying to sell them something? Bad idea if it’s been longer than a few weeks. Get a newsletter or ezine going now and a minimum of monthly. Figure our ways you can start right now to show them how you appreciate them. Show them you solve their problems and don’t be a source of their worries or fears. Even better, start making them some great offers the boosts value so they continue to spend money with your business.

3. Install or Crank Up Referral Programs

New marketing is expensive and referrals are far easier and cheaper to get. Your customers are like seeds in an apple. You can focus on how many seeds are in the apple. Getting referrals is focusing on how many apples are in a seed. If your clients like you, then you’re good for the people they like. Make that point clear and get referrals–now!

4. Know Who Buys What

Not all of your customers or clients buy everything you have to offer. Start breaking down your list to who buys what. Now you can sell what they want easier, identify and right buyer for new business. Then create campaigns to cross sell to your client base. No time? List companies can do it for you. Does it work? Well, there has to be a reason Head & Shoulders has 9 different shampoos.

5. Fix Your Customer Service

When business was for the taking, customer service wasn’t very important. Now, a lax customer service is the room where your competitors will drive a wedge between you and your profits (or survival). Conduct a top to bottom review of all the points anyone in your company comes in contact with a customer. Are complaints resolved quickly? Do people show up on time for appointment? Are things ready with a client wants them? Better be 100% sure. .

6. Multiple Marketing Campaigns

I’ve kicked up the sales volume for many a client who they thought what they were doing was enough. After looking at the numbers and facts, they actually had a capacity to do a lot more marketing. Dan Kennedy says, “The most dangerous number is 1.” So if you only have one way to market; what happens when you business slows down? Right, blame the economy because MSNBC says so. Same goes for referral programs–having and executing only one does not cut in today’s business environment.

7. Joint Ventures

Have you ever considered a JV with any business that has customers who fit the same profile as your ideal customers? If you’re a professional I’ll wager there are other businesses in your building that would make excellent JV partners. JVs are like making a sale; you have to ask to get one. Look, after referrals this should be the next avenue you use for new business in 2009.

8. Use Off line Marketing

It’s ironic to recommend that strategy in an ezine article. Online marketing is big and getting bigger. The total RSS feeds, ezines, blogs and landing pages will double in 2008 and do so again in 2009. The number is even larger for emails. That makes older media more attractive because there’s less competition. Direct mail, display ads, inserts, post cards and printed newsletters–when done right produce very profitable results. Don’t give up on an older media just because a new one comes along. Think of ways to go “Old School”

9. Tie In Promotions

Just tying your promotions to the national holidays gives you eleven additional campaigns in 2009. Use any or all of the manufactured events like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the vernal equinox or summer solstice and you got more than any competitor can think of in a year. Get thee a marketing calendar and start making plans. Of course, you can make up your own reasons for a promotion. If the economy seems crazy, they go crazy yourself.

10. Give More Away

Put the Law of Reciprocity to work for you. Send gifts in the mail, free samples, sweeten offers with bonuses and free stuff. Too expensive you say? Information costs you nothing to give away. Bonus reports and “how to” information goes a long way. Want a great lesson on how to do this? Donate to a charity with a lot of marketing savvy. I recommend the DAV and Covenant House. You’ll help a good cause and get a graduate level education on how to use free stuff. Remember donate to charities you believe in and support.

Any turn down in the economy does not last forever. The trick is to make sure your business can outlast the cycle. Turn off the TV and get to work. Give your competition something more to worry about than a bad economy-you.

Source by Tim Hayes

May 16, 2017 0 comment
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How do firms create, deliver and capture values? What is the nature and function of effective customer relationship management? What are the critical phases of the Value Chain? What are some policy implications of the Du Pont model in formulating effective pricing strategies? These policy questions relate to the optimal value chain model of a business enterprise-the appropriate mix of profitability and productivity that maximizes the return on investment and shareholders’ wealth while minimizing the cost of operations-value creation and capture, simultaneously.

Clearly, effective creation of value, delivery of value, and capture of value is critical to a sound business strategy designed to maximize the wealth producing capacity of the enterprise. In these series on effective value creation and value capture, we will focus on the pertinent strategic margin and volume questions and provide some operational guidance. The overriding purpose of this review is to highlight some basic price theory, strategic margin relationships, and industry best practices in effective value creation, value delivery and value capture. For specific financial management strategies please consult a competent professional.

A preliminary analysis of the relevant academic literature suggests that the optimal value chain process and appropriate value creation, value delivery, and value capture for each firm differs markedly based on overall industry dynamic, market structure-degree of competition, height of entry/exit barriers, market contestability, stage of industry life cycle, and its market competitive position. Indeed, as with most market performance indicators firm-specific value chain strategic posture is insightful only in reference to the industry expected value (average) and generally accepted industry benchmarks and best practices.

In practice, firms capture value through competition and persuasion. At least two strategic value propositions and pricing options based on Du Pont ROI model are available to most firms: Premium pricing (focusing on profitability) which seeks to maximize the profit margin from each sale; and High turn-over rate (focusing on productivity) which seeks to maximize number of sales and effective use of available assets instead of profit margin. There is significant empirical evidence suggesting that when the marginal revenue is negative, the firm cannot be profit maximizing. This is because loss in revenues due to price effect tends to outweigh gain in revenue due to output effect. Additionally, there is growing empirical evidence suggesting firms that opt for scale and volume tends to outperform those that opt for segment and premium, ceteris paribus.

In designing effective pricing strategies at least two critical variables must be considered: Pricing objectives and price elasticity of demand. These important variables converge to inform optimal specific product price and value propositions, in general. Customer relationship management (CRM) consists of customer data analytics, practices, strategies and technologies that firms use to analyze and manage customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of enhancing business relationships with customers, assisting in customer retention and driving sales growth efficiently and effectively.

Additionally, firms must create and sustain effective relationship with customers. Effective customer relationship is a function of at least three critical variables: Empathy, trust and commitment. In designing effective value capture strategy, firms must maintain effective customer relationship. Carefully managing such relationship averts and or mediates the loss of sales attendant to price hikes by firms with limited market power. There is mounting empirical evidence which suggests that explaining price hikes to customers before implementing them tends to reduce the adverse impact on sales and the derivative loss of revenue.

According to relevant academic literature, firms create value through the Value Chain process: A set of activities that are performed to design, produce, market, deliver and support firm’s products. At least two critical activities are required: Primary activities which consist of inbound logistics, operations, outbound logistics, marketing and sales, and service in the core value chain directly creating value; and Support activities which consist of procurement, technology development, human resource management, firm infrastructure supporting the value creation in the core value chain. Therefore, based on this formulation and concept, a Value Chain disaggregates a firm into its strategically relevant activities in order to understand general costs patterns, the behavior of specific costs, existing and potential sources of differentiation.

Based on current industry best practices, there are at least three critical phases of the Value Chain: Phase One-Product design, research and development; Phase Two- Production; and Phase Three- Marketing, sales and service. The Value Chain is the process by which firms add economic value to the product concept. As the product idea is conceptualized and proceeds through the Value Chain process, value is created for customers. However, the product concept can fail and the value creation and capture terminated at any stage of the process. The optimal value is efficiently captured for the end-user through careful execution of effective service strategy and programs.

Some Operational Guidance:

In sum, effective value creation and value capture depend on various factors such as value proposition, pricing objectives, the price elasticity of demand, competitive position of a firm in the global marketplace and the stage of the product life cycle. Some key pricing strategies may include penetration, parity and premium.

Penetration pricing strategy is most effective when demand is elastic and involves charging below competitors’ prices to create scale economies as a key method for building a mass market or to deter potential market entry due to low price and profit margin. Parity pricing strategy is most effective when demand is unitary and the product is a commodity; and involves charging identical prices with competitors. Premium pricing strategy is most effective when demand is inelastic and involves charging above competitors’ prices to recover R&D costs quickly or to position the product as superior in the minds of the customers.

Effective value proposition derives from promising customers (expected or standard value) what a firm can deliver and delivering more than the firm promised (premium or superior value). As I have already explained, two strategic value propositions and pricing options based on Du Pont ROI model are available to most firms: Premium pricing (emphasizing high mark-ups, high profit margins and profitability); and High turn-over rate (emphasizing high productivity and effective use of available assets). There is significant empirical evidence suggesting firms that opt for scale and volume tends to outperform those that opt for segment and premium, ceteris paribus.

In the end, knowledge is a strategic weapon and source of effective value creation, value delivery and value capture. When firms apply knowledge to tasks they already know how to do, they call it, productivity. When they apply knowledge to tasks that are new and different they call it, innovation. Only knowledge allows firms to achieve these two strategic goals.

Source by James Gaius Ibe

May 16, 2017 0 comment
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When coaching youth baseball, you often end up with a bunch of boys who may not know each other. Team building is very important to ensure a cohesive team, one where the players support each other rather than compete with each other.

At the first practice, you need to break the ice with the players. Some will be very outgoing, some will be shy. Try to gently get all the boys to introduce themselves and share something simple about why they like to play baseball, or perhaps what position they like to play. This will help you get a feel for the boys as well.

Here are some great ideas to help the boys become a team that plays well together:

1. Have activities outside of practice. One or two pizza parties or hot dog picnics gets the families together and lets the boys get to know each other outside of baseball. Have a few gifts (packs of baseball cards) to hand out for drills that center on knowledge of the sport. During the event, ask questions to generate conversation.

2. Pay particular attention to boys who are not fitting into the team during practice. Figure out ways to gently include them into the practice routines. For instance, if you are doing hitting drills, make this boy catcher for the day. Or put him in charge of counting or measuring. This can be difficult to do without being obvious, but with some thought a good coach can make it happen.

3. Have a rule that during games, the players in the dugout pay attention to the game. They should be making a lot of noise in support of team members who are on the field.

4. Make it clear, in your initial meeting with the boys, that you will not tolerate whining, bullying, or meanness. Point out that in order to win, all the players must support each other. Establish the consequences for unacceptable behavior right away, and stick to it.

5. Have some team-building activities during practices. For instance, have the players stand in a circle and pass the ball around the circle. Time how long it takes. Then ask them to try again and beat their time. Watch them work together to figure out how to go faster.

In coaching youth baseball, if you successfully build a strong team spirit, your team will play better and have more fun during games!

Source by Jake Wyatt

May 16, 2017 0 comment
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Can you define exactly what makes up a business strategy? Some people say no, but we think you can.

In fact, we believe a valid business strategy has five components:

  1. Your company’s current or desired core competencies
  2. A description of how you will differentiate vs. competitors
  3. The industry or industries in which you intend to compete
  4. The initiatives you plan to implement in the areas of marketing, operations, information technology, finance and organizational development
  5. A financial forecast that shows how your plans will meet stakeholder requirements over the next 3 to 5 years

Let’s look at each of these components.

The first component of a valid business strategy is a clear description of your company’s current or desired core competencies.

You may be thinking, “Great, but what’s a ‘core competency?'” While there are many definitions, here’s a good one from Wikipedia:

ACore competency is something that a firm can do well and that meets the following three conditions:

  • It provides consumer benefits
  • It is not easy for competitors to imitate
  • It can be leveraged widely to many products and markets.

A core competency can take various forms, including technical/subject matter know how, a reliable process, and/or close relationships with customers and suppliers. It may also include product development or culture, such as employee dedication.”

For example, we could say that Southwest Airlines is a reliable airline that offers low fares. But in order to provide those benefits, it has to have certain “core competencies,” important capabilities that enable it to have low fares and to be reliable. We believe that Southwest Airlines has four core competencies that it executes so well that it regularly beats all other US airlines in terms of profitability.

These core competencies are:

  • The lowest operating costs per plane
  • An economical point-to-point airport network
  • A fanatical culture focused on customer service and cost savings
  • An ability to keep planes in the air more of the time than its competitors.

Southwest airlines couldn’t offer the benefits of low prices and reliable service if it didn’t master these core competencies. What key benefits do you want to offer your customers? What core competencies do you need to master to provide them?

The second component of a valid business strategy is a description of how you differentiate vs. competitors.

In our experience, differentiation is about being the best at something. This should be encapsulated in your mission statement – what are your company’s aspirations and how are you going to beat the competition? We just talked about how Southwest Airlines differentiates — what are you going to offer customers that will make them choose your products or services so that you can grow your business?

It takes a lot of hard work to come up with a great answer to this question and even more work to make that differentiation real. It’s easy for us to say that Southwest is the best low-cost airline in the US, but it’s extraordinarily difficult for them to pull it off.

The third component of a valid business strategy is a description of the industry or industries in which you intend to compete.

You need to be able to define just what kind of company you are – are you a furniture manufacturer? A gift card retailer? A consulting firm, a bearings distributor, a toy importer, etc.? This step sounds easy but we find that companies are often so concerned about getting too narrow in their focus that they fail to become really clear about what they want to do. A company with a good business strategy will have thought through these issues and made the hard decisions necessary to clarify its identity. If it has, it can easily pass the litmus test of identifying the industry or industries in which it operates.

The fourth component of a business strategy is the set of initiatives you plan to implement in the areas of marketing, operations, information technology, finance and organizational development.

These are the plans that guide your company’s focus and resource allocation over the next several years. If your business strategy is specific enough to be relevant, you will have detailed plans in all of these areas.

The fifth component of a business strategy is a financial plan that forecasts the results you expect to get from your plans and illustrates how they will meet stakeholder requirements over the next 3 to 5 years.

Your strategic planning process cannot be separated from your annual budget process. In the vast majority of companies, if it’s not in the budget, it doesn’t exist. That’s why you have to have a very senior financial person on your strategic planning team, preferably the CFO. During the planning process, your team must compile a financial plan that estimates the results of implementing your strategy. This plan needs to earn the approval of your company’s management and board and should be reviewed on a regular basis to track results and make refinements.

So – those are the five components of a valid business strategy. Good luck planning your success. And succeeding because you plan.

Source by Ian Heller

May 16, 2017 0 comment
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Twentieth century scientists had a revolution of discovery in regards to the mind and the brain. The brain we had as a child is not the brain we are stuck with. The chemistry and connections in our mind can change. Through free will, our mind can accept new thoughts and create new realities.

The Brain

The same ingredients that make up a liver also create a brain out of which we have a thinking mind. Man is a conscious thinking being. The computer that I am typing on can take in input and give output, but it is not aware that it is doing so. Man is aware. He can perceive and process.

Our brain communicates through chemicals. Neurons (cells) are connected by axons and dendrites. The axons reach out to other cells to distribute information, and the dendrites receive information from those cells.

These chemical connections form as we go through experience. Try to move your right big toe, and only your right big toe. Can you do it? Most likely you cannot move your right big toe without moving the adjacent toes. This is because your mind has mapped those areas of your feet together. Through repetition of walking your mind has associated your toes as one entity and connected the neurons that control your toes together.

Experience creates connections in our mind and repetition strengthens those connections. For a visual analogy, think of a car that has gone down a dirt road so many times that is has made permanent groves. The groves compel the car to travel in this spot on the road each time it passes by. This is the basis of habit formation. Our tendencies are groves worn into our minds by our life experiences.

As children, our parents, our environment, our school, the movements we made, all of it created the physiology of our brains. That is why many of our habits and beliefs can be traced back to our childhood. The next logical question is then, “Can I change the physical connections of my mind to change my habits, behaviors and life?” Fortunately the answer is yes.


Scientists were amazed when they realized that the brains of amputees rewired based on the absent limb. When the brain of Victor Quintero was examined, the concept of phantom limb pain was discovered. Quintero lost his left arm at age 17 in a car accident. When scientists swiped a cotton ball past Quintero’s left cheek, he not only felt the movement on his cheek but also on his missing hand. His brain had rewired the real estate devoted to his left hand to his left cheek, called cortical remapping.

This phenomenon has also been observed in people with focal hand dystonia. Focal hand dystonia occurs when hand movements are repeated over and over again, as would been occur in concert musicians. As they repeatedly practice fast complex musical passages for hours on end, their brain begins to rewire and combine the signals is receives from each of the individual fingers. The mind sees the digits as one. In focal hand dystonia, a person loses the ability to move their fingers individually. Just as we cannot move our big tow independent of the others, people with focal hand dystonia cannot move a single finger without moving the others. This is a devastating diagnosis to someone who has dedicated their life to music. The treatment? To remap the brain through forced individual finger movement. Just as the mind saw two fingers as one, you can teach the mind to see the fingers individually again.

Change Your Life

The experiences in life are in large part determined by individual beliefs. As we have seen through the examples above, constant repetition creates and strengthen connections in our brain. For instance, if you were told, over-and-over again, that you were poor, you would have physically created connections in your mind to reinforce the belief of being poor. You would have habits that supported those beliefs and a resulting reality of being poor.

However, just as the musicians with focal hand dystonia, we can rewire our brain, the actual physical connections in our brain, by introducing and repeating new life affirming beliefs. Affirmations repeated continuously, can create new neural connections, that in a very real physical sense, change our physiology and support new habits and behaviors that can change life.

We do not have the brain of our youth. Our brains, not just our minds or our thoughts, but our actual physical brains are in flux and responding to our environment and sensory input continuously. This is where we get our mind power.

Source by Danea Horn

May 16, 2017 0 comment
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As in all daily interactions, it is important to remember you will converse with people from various background and life experiences. Speaking and listening effectively are crucial to creating an atmosphere of respect with others. Showing respect to everyone, and encouraging open communication can help bring you a motivated and congenial staff while impressing your colleagues.

Improved communications + better results

= more success

Three important communication techniques:

  1. Create safety in the conversation by encouraging others to participate and express their concerns and objectives.
  2. Establish mutual purpose by understanding what the others view point might be and paraphrase back to establish clarity in the conversation.
  3. Communicate with respect by actively listening to the other person. Give total attention to the conversation and encourage participation.

Building rapport

My 22 years experience in business management has taught me that building rapport and respect for people with different personalities and different viewpoints is imperative.

A main objective is to develop positive communication style by building the rapport with others. This is a large part of getting the ideas across in a constructive, collaborative manner with mutual respect.

10 ways to maximize communication results

  1. Deliver clear and consistent messages in your conversations
  2. Manage communication problems with knowledge and awareness of conflict management
  3. Work on you first. Don’t try to change the other person.
  4. Handle all conversations with respect and you will receive respect in return
  5. Stay within your boundaries and values, and keep emotionally balanced during conflicts
  6. Inspire, energize and motivate others
  7. Actively listen.
  8. Never make the other person wrong
  9. During a conflict, find mutual ground, then resolve the issue with that in mind
  10. Don’t be a victim or play the villain in a conflicting situation

The concept of communicating best when it matters most is intended to ultimately guide a greater appreciation and respect for others, while maximizing the outcome of conversation.

Communication and leadership are inseparable.

Our ability to energize, inspire, and motivate people to high levels of performance is directly related to our ability to communicate well. Be ready with your conflict resolution skills at any time. By communicating with empathy, yet with strength and diplomacy, you will model effective communication to all around you, and the results will happily affect the bottom line.

About conflict:

  • Conflict is inevitable
  • Conflict develops because we are dealing with people’s lives, jobs children, pride, self-concept, ego and sense of mission or purpose
  • Early indicators of conflict can be recognized
  • There are strategies for resolution that are available and DO work
  • Although inevitable, conflict can be minimized, diverted and/or resolved

Conflict Indicators:

  • Poor and disrespectful communication
  • Individual seeking power
  • Dissatisfaction with management style
  • Weak leadership
  • Lack of openness
  • Change in leadership
  • Certain body language
  • Disagreements regardless of issue
  • Withholding bad news
  • Surprises
  • Strong public statements
  • Airing disagreements through media
  • Conflicts in value system
  • Increasing lack of respect
  • Lack of candor on budget problems or other sensitive issues
  • Lack of clear goals
  • No discussion of progress, failure relative to goals, failure to evaluate the superintendent fairly, thoroughly or at all

When you are not aware of what the other person’s needs or if you are not listening carefully to the message the other is stating, conflict occurs. This unconscious behavior is what stops you from maximizing the results in conversations. When a person actively works at these different communication habits and skills, better results and less stress occurs in the conversation process.

Conflict is destructive when it:

  • Takes attention away from other important activities
  • Undermines morale or self-concept
  • Polarizes people and groups, reducing cooperation
  • Increases or sharpens difference
  • Leads to irresponsible and harmful behavior, such as fighting, name-calling

Conflict is constructive when it:

  • Results in clarification of important problems and issues
  • Results in solutions to problems
  • Involves people in resolving issues important to them
  • Encourages authentic communication
  • Helps release emotion, anxiety, and stress
  • Builds cooperation by people joining to resolve conflict
  • Helps individuals develop understanding and skills

Techniques for avoiding and/or resolving conflict:

  • Meet conflict head on
  • Set goals
  • Plan ahead and communicate frequently
  • Be honest about concerns
  • Agree to disagree; understand healthy disagreement builds better decisions
  • Get individual ego out of management style
  • Let your team create; people will support what they help create
  • Openly discuss differences in values
  • Continually stress the importance of following policy
  • Communicate honestly; avoid playing “gotcha”-type games
  • Provide more data and information than is needed
  • Develop a sound management system

Contagious decision controversies:

The controversies usually involve:

  • Changes in the way “we’ve always done things”
  • Notions of fundamental values
  • Determined, articulate advocates for every side
  • Inability to compromise
  • Rampant rumors
  • Board election

Resolving Conflict:

Searching for the causes of conflict is essential to be successful in resolving the conflict.

Eight possible causes of conflict include:

  1. Conflict with self
  2. Needs or wants not being met
  3. Values being tested
  4. Perceptions being questioned
  5. Assumptions being made
  6. Having minimal knowledge
  7. Expectations are too high/too low
  8. Personality, race, or gender differences are present

Active listening

Acknowledge the feelings and view point of the other person. Compassionately allow people to feel whatever they feel and discuss their concern. This sets the example for others to hear & accept your feelings also. As you actively listen, give respect to the other person as they express their idea. This results in a better outcome for the conversation. Ask more “open-ended” and creative questions: “How did you like that movie?” is an open-ended question that invites a wide range of answers. “Did you like it?” suggests only “yes” or “no” answers and does not encourage discussion.


  • Listen more carefully and more responsively
  • Explain your intent to others and openly invite their opinions
  • Make an effort to express yourself more clearly and completely
  • Transfer your criticisms and complaints into requests and positive statements and use appropriate language to communicate them.
  • Avoid arguing over individual ranking or position. Present a position as logically as possible.
  • Avoid “win/lose” statements. Discard the notion that someone must win
  • Avoid changing your mind in order to avoid conflict and achieve harmony (people pleasing)
  • Avoid majority voting, averaging, bargaining, or coin flipping. These actions do not lead to consensus
  • Keep the attitude that holding different views is both natural and healthy to a group
  • View initial agreement as suspect. Explore the reasons underlying apparent agreement and make sure that members have willingly agreed

2004 © Cheryl Vallejos, Prime Leaders Community

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Cheryl Vallejos

Prime Leaders Community


Heping good managers become great leaders!

Source by Cheryl Vallejos

May 16, 2017 0 comment
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With the increasing trend of internet and online business, eCommerce website design & development has become an important part of B2B and B2C businesses. eCommerce is the electronic trade that is carried online and eCommerce websites are the web pages through which online trading is carried on. These eCommerce stores enable the merchants and traders to carry their business around the world. There are several advantages offered by these online eCommerce stores. Some of the benefits are explained as under:

• Traders can add a huge number of products and services to the catalogue. These products can be classified under several categories and sub-categories through which the buyers can easily access to the product or service that they want.

• eCommerce website development enables the businesses to advertise and promote their products and services throughout the globe. Hence, it is not limited to a particular area or region.

• eCommerce development also helps in increasing revenue of the traders by gaining huge traffic to the website. As more and more visitors arrive at your website and buy your products, your revenue will automatically increase.

• By eCommerce website designing, you can also augment to your brand and product awareness over the global market. As your online business reaches to a wider group of users, it automatically increases your brand awareness in the whole world. Further, your unique online identity helps you in gaining a renowned position in the market.

• The online stores also help in delivering more and more information about your company, business and products. With your online presence, the buyers can easily access your catalogue, products and company information easily.

Hence, the advantages of eCommerce development are not limited to the above points. There are a great number of benefits that a businessman can avail from creating his own online store. This is the most advanced and great way of doing business and increasing your profits. You can also avail the benefits of your own online store by creating an informative and unique website for your company.

Either you can hire few qualified designers and developers to do the task for you or you can outsource any offshore eCommerce website design and development company to create your online store. There are various companies available in the market and offering web designing solutions to their clients. To hire the best company, you need to do some online research and take some suggestions to your business partners and friends to recommend a few for your work.

Source by Amenda Smith

May 16, 2017 0 comment
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Sonobuoys have been in use for close to a century, but the technology behind the underwater tool continues to evolve. An effective, but short-lived, research instrument, sonobuoys are vital components for the U.S. military, for researchers and for those in the oil and gas industry. Curious as to how one works? Take a look at the following to see how this unique piece of equipment functions.

What are Sonobuoys?

People have used buoys, or floats, for a long time, marking locations in water. A sonobuoy is simply a float that utilizes sonar technology in the ocean for a number of different reasons. Sonobuoys were originally manufactured to detect enemy submarines during World War I. The U.S. Navy still uses this technology today for much of the same reasons.

There are generally three different types of sonobuoys: active, passive and special purpose ones. All three serve a particular purpose and are employed for different reasons. Some of the purposes include recording underwater earthquake activity, listening to mammal calls, and researching parts of the ocean unavailable to divers.

How do sonobuoys work?

Sonobuoys are usually housed in canisters and are ejected from aircraft or watercraft into the ocean. A float houses a radio transmitter that sits on the surface of the water, while hydrophone sensors are released below the water. A hydrophone sensor is simply an underwater microphone that records sound. The sensors relay sound information to the radio transmitter, which, in turn, transmits the information back to the users.

Active sonobuoys emit sound into the water and record return echoes. Aircraft can use this information for tracing and tracking submarines. A passive sonobuoy, as indicated by its name, emits no sound. Rather, it tracks sound underwater without revealing its own location.

There are also sonobuoys that are not used for military purposes. The special purpose sonobuoys are utilized most often for search and rescue groups or researchers. These instruments are designed to travel to different depths and collect various types of information, aiding in the tracking of crash sites and sinking ships. Some buoys read salinity levels and barometric pressures, while others include GPS tracking equipment. Essentially, though, all sonobuoys use some type of hydrophone sensors to conduct acoustic readings.

Sonobuoys Today

These types of underground instruments, utilizing SONAR technology, have not always been efficient. In fact, most researchers discounted their use in the beginning, finding them quite ineffective. Most research was temporarily halted after World War I.

Today, however, technology has evolved to where sonobuoys are quite effective, taking on a more slimming shape. These instruments can travel to further depths and can transmit signals, via the radio transmitter, at further distances, allowing aircraft to remain removed from the site. Some devices only transmit information, while others are manufactured to store information until retrieval. These instruments have been designed to withstand corrosion, underwater storms, and animal interference. Sonobuoys have become hearty instruments since their day of inception.

Source by Kaitlyn LaPenn

May 16, 2017 0 comment
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