Coolsen: Business should jump in sooner on social media

In the new reality of social media, almost all of our relationships (both personal and professional) now take shape and develop, at least in part, in a virtual and public space.  And, even if you are in the subset of people who choose not to participate in any sort of social media, your relationships can still be affected by your choice not to participate online. (For example, a friend of mine once told me that he rarely keeps in touch with anyone that is not on Facebook.) For better or worse, social media has now replaced a good portion of […]

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Bass: Is it possible that both workers, employers have gaps to fill?

When we discuss the workforce gap, we are usually discussing the skills that industry needs versus the skills candidates have. If you are an employer facing this gap, you may want to consider your options for closing the gap by moving toward the other side. Let’s consider the case of a real person as he began entering the workforce recently. “Ralph” is attending community college part time. He worked one summer in an assembly plant, then one month in a fulfillment/distribution center. The initial job was interesting at first, but without a team to assist him, the tasks were too […]

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Bottom lines: Our views on recent news

Here are our bottom-line views on a few items of note in the Crossroads Business Journal area: • A vote of support for the Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, which are implementing Apprenticeship Maryland Program statewide. The program, piloted in Frederick and Washington counties, provides high school students with paid work-based learning opportunities, related classroom instruction and one-on-one mentoring from industry professionals. • Congratulations and thanks to all of the Healthiest Maryland Businesses Wellness at Work awardees for recognizing the importance of their employees’ health. • Kudos to area wineries for their award-winning efforts […]

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Entrepreneurial mindset essential in economic development

Economic development is a government process to improve the economic, civic and social well-being of its people. It can be accomplished via public or private organizations. All for-profit firms, no matter the industry, size or form, began as an imagined opportunity in the mind of an entrepreneur. Thus, the essence of private economic development is entrepreneurship — the identification of unrecognized business possibilities. Entrepreneurs perform several functions for sustainable economic development to occur: They take the initiative to launch the start-up; make business model decisions and innovations, and bare the risk/reward. Today it is necessary to train government leaders in […]

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Bottom lines: Our views on recent news

Here are our bottom-line views on a few items of note in the Crossroads Business Journal area: • In unveiling electric refuse trucks, Volvo Group also revealed an interesting take on the commercial EV market. In a news release, the company said “at this stage of electromobility technology and infrastructure development, a fully electric vehicle will deliver the most value within a closed loop application, in which the truck returns home every night, such as refuse.” • Hats off to the Specialty Granules LLC’s Charmian Plant of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., which was honored as Outstanding Community Investor at the […]

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Business succession planning: Here today, here tomorrow

The future of any organization depends upon the smooth transition of leadership from one generation to the next. From the C-suite to the first-line supervisor, sooner or later, most positions will be open. Without a succession plan, organizations find themselves with vacancies at lead positions or, worse, with underqualified people filling key slots. The best way to minimize the effect of leadership vacancies is to develop and implement a robust succession plan for all key positions. Current trends in the U.S. economy make succession planning a top priority. Consider the following points from “Succession Planning and Management” by Theresa Howe: […]

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Professional services benefit from artificial intelligence

Certain professional services have been keeping their glamour and scarcity due to the difficult scalability. Legal advice, financial services, management consultancy and other types of tailored advising such as medical advice, graphical design and others fit this mold. Artificial Intelligence — aka cognitive technologies — are reaching the level where they have the potential to change that situation. AI is a machine that works and can react like humans, while still benefitting from accessing data bases and working tirelessly under the most demanding conditions. On one hand, AI allows advanced and higher-quality services by supporting human service providers in accessing […]

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Employee engagement predicts business success

The current level of employee engagement in any organization is the best predictor of future success. Organizations where employee values align with the business goals stand a better chance of achieving success. Engaged employees are more productive, create lasting customer relationships, and help produce a stronger bottom line.  Engaged employees, therefore, are good for business. Conversely, disengaged employees are detrimental to a business or an organization. They erode morale, lower productivity, and decrease profitability. They increase turnover and thrive on mediocrity. In short, they threaten the sustainability of the organization. A recent Gallup poll found that in the organizations surveyed, […]

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Bottom lines: Our views on recent news

Here are our bottom-line views on a few items of note in the Crossroads Business Journal area: • Congratulations to the four area Maryland members of the Best in State Wealth Advisors list, compiled by Forbes. The list includes: No. 14, Larry Boggs of Wells Fargo Advisors, Cumberland; No. 22, Betsy Pakenas of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Frederick; No. 29, Jim Holzapfel of Wells Fargo Advisors, Hagerstown; and No.. 55, Nate Harris of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Frederick. • Kudos to d’Vinci Interactive of Hagerstown, which has partnered with Reading is Fundamental to create a portal of online resources to […]

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Debunking the cybersecurity myth

Cybersecurity is an often-misunderstood concept. For most of us, when we think about cybersecurity, we associate it with tools and technology. We think about hacking, computers, data centers and the latest in threatening malware. This may be true in the movies, but in real life, it’s a myth. Although it’s more exciting to imagine tools and technology powering cybersecurity, when it comes to protecting our enterprises, our data and our personal information, people, leadership and perpetual innovation carry the day. In fact, cybersecurity is a holistic interdisciplinary field that emphasizes business ahead of technology. Consider how these three things, working in […]

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