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Showing posts from November, 2009

Skip the Social Media Staff

In the past few weeks I'm hearing discussion in our company and elsewhere about the potential need for social media specialists of some sort. I believe we should heed the history of technological innovations, get ahead of the curve, and skip this expensive and soon to be outdated step. Social media is on its way to becoming a required and ubiquitous skill set in several job families, not a position or department. I see similarities between this technological development and two others I've experienced in my career; the use of interpreters and the adoption of the personal computer. In international business the model was often that people of different cultures transacted business in some neutral third language or utilized interpreters to facilitate communication. It may seem a quaint notion if you're under 50, but there was a time in business where executives working in foreign countries actually travelled with a person who was paid to help them communicate. Early in

Live Events Division Office On the Move?

It is highly likely that we will move the division headquarters of Thomas Nelson Live Events sometime this summer. While that's not guaranteed, that seems to be the direction in which we're heading. Some might wonder why, in the current economic climate, we would do such a thing. After all, isn't that inconsistent with our measures to cut costs and preserve cash? Here's what we're doing and why. Since the merger of the Facilities and HR departments I've been getting an education on commercial space. New space is often referred to as "Class A" space in that its new, well apportioned with a good location and solid management. Class B space is Class A space that has aged well, but no longer has the first class look of new top-quality space. Class C space is run down and tired, old and/or poorly maintained. The Live Events division space in Plano occupies offices that its been leasing for 9 1/2 years of a 10 year lease. That space was probably Class B wh

Listen to Your Uncle Julio

Earlier tonight at the recommendation of friend and colleague Lara Dulaney I stopped for dinner at Uncle Julio's in Allen, TX. Knowing that the rest of the Nashville contingent had gone home a day earlier, and that I was dining by myself, she told me that the food was good and that I could get a full meal at the bar. I thought that was a good idea because you're not so noticeable as "dinner for one" eating at a crowded bar. I drove the extra exit up from my hotel in Allen and found the place on an out-parcel in a shopping center that had TJ Maxx and Dick's Sporting Goods among other stores. It was mid-priced/low-upscale so nothing that felt like a waste of money. Unlike the eerily deserted restaurants I saw during lunch in the Plano area Uncle Julio's was busy at 8:00 p.m. and had the appearance of winding down from the dinner rush. So I sit at the bar and here is where the story really begins. One of the two bartenders stuck out his hand, said, "I'

While We're Reforming Healthcare Let's Talk About Doctors

I'm writing this over lunch having spent the better part of my morning going to and coming from an appointment at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Hand Clinic. I never saw a doctor; I walked out after an hour and a half and I'll decide later if I go back. This morning reminds me of a study done in 2007 on the hidden cost of physician inefficiency. This study, available on economix.com studied Americans 15 and over during 2007 to see how much time is spent in physician waiting rooms. That number...and maybe you should sit down, is 847 million hours in one year. In 2007 the average wage for American workers was $17.43/hr, so the total cost to the economy was $240 billion. The average American that year spent the equivalent of 1.1 hours per week in a doctor's waiting room. So, take your average hourly wage x 52 weeks a year x 1.1 and see what you or your employer are spending each year. In all other commercial transactions in a capitalist system the person to w

Push Back When Medical Bills Seem High

One of my family members recently had an endoscopy procedure. It was recommended at this stage of life and was purely preventative. According to our UHC insurance that procedure is covered at 100% when its a preventative screening. After the test the physician met with us and told us the results were "unremarkable". Note my surprise, then, when I received and EOB for the procedure asking me for $800 as my portion of the expense. We called UHC who explained that physician's office had coded the procedure as "General Illness" and so our plan would only pay 80% after a $500 deductible. I tried to explain back to them that the procedure was covered at 100%, to which they replied that as long as the bill was coded anything other than "Preventative" there would be a deductible and co-insurance. Next I went to the physician's practice at Vanderbilt Clinic. After three phone calls over four weeks and ever-elevated blood pressure, I took an unusual