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Holiday Wish List: 5 Business Books that Motivate and Inspire

December 10, 2010

Happy holidays! In Your Shoes wishes you the best in your business endeavors. To help motivate you in 2011, the following is a list of must-read business books that we think you should include on your holiday wish list:

Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. This is definitely not your father’s business book. One of our favorites. Full of counter-intuitive ideas that will inspire and provoke you.

Linchpin: Are You Indispensible? This book, by Seth Godin, explains how “linchpins” are the essential building blocks of a great organization. Linchpins, according to Godin, are inventors and leaders (regardless of title). Linchpins connect others, make things happen and create order out of chaos.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, shows everyday people how to combine the power of their rational and emotional minds for dramatic business results.

Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell, aks and answers the question: What makes high achievers different? You will be surprised by some of his findings.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel H. Pink, provides evidence that the use of the “carrot and stick” is the wrong way to motivate workers. Instead, Pink shows examples of how successful companies encourage workers to grow, develop and reach their fullest potentials.

In Your Shoes is created by Johnston & Murphy, offering quality shoes and outerwear for women and men. We welcome your comments and contributions.

Women Leaders Matter, But Few Companies Take Action

December 7, 2010

A majority of companies believe that women executives are vital to financial success, yet businesses are slow to bridge the gap between men and women in the top echelons of management, according to a new McKinsey & Company survey, Moving Women to the Top.

Seventy-two percent of global workers surveyed said there is a direct connection between diversity of leadership teams and financial success, up 12 percent from a year ago (85 percent of women agree compared with 58 percent of men). However, the share of respondents who said their companies have gender diversity as a top 10 agenda item held steady at 28 percent.

Removing Barriers for Women in Business

The actions most likely undertaken over the past five years to recruit, retain, promote and develop women include:

  • Options for flexible working conditions and/or locations (49 percent).
  • Support programs and facilities to help reconcile work and family life (32 percent).
  • Programs to encourage female networking, role models (38 percent).

The biggest barrier to gender diversity, according to global respondents, is “lack of awareness or concern for gender diversity as a critical matter.” As a result, many feel C-level and executive team involvement is a key ingredient for success.

“CEOs and top-level executives who are aware of their potential impact on the issue can benefit their companies by paying visible attention to it,” according to the report.

How Women Take Command

If you ask Gloria Feldt, author of No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, she advises women to take matters in their own hands rather than wait for corporate policies to help them rise to the top.

In her New York Times blog, You’re the Boss, Adriana Gardella asks Feldt, “What are some examples of the barriers women create for themselves?

Says Feldt: “Waiting politely to speak during a meeting only to hear a male colleague offer the idea you planned to suggest. Learning that a man with the same qualifications and job as you started at a higher salary because he asked for it and you didn’t. Taking on the major burden of household duties because you know it’ll get done that way.”

On her book site, Feldt says that “the key to change is to shift the way women think about power and leadership.”

In Your Shoes is created by Johnston & Murphy, offering quality shoes and outerwear for women and men. We welcome your comments and contributions.

Uncomfortable Work Moments

November 9, 2010

Johnston & Murphy’s Ultimate Comfort Contest, now in week two, has gathered some great uncomfortable moment stories from contest participants. Have you entered your story yet? There is still plenty of time. The contest runs through December 17, 2010.

Here are some of the work-related posts, but be sure to check out all the clever stories at the contest site:

“Accidentally sending the boss a text message meant for a co-worker, which made fun of the boss. Then running into the boss five minutes later in the hallway.”

“I saw a co-worker whom I had not seen in a while and I asked her when her baby was due? She replied, ‘I’m not pregnant, my baby is in school!'”

“I was walking into a business appointment and the entire sole of my shoe fell off. I do presentations for a living and I had to do the entire presentation in my socks.”

“Meeting with my new boss, I was looking to make a solid first impression. During our sit-down discussion, I tipped my chair forward to show interest, but went a bit too far, and I toppled face-first onto the floor.”

“I met with the new buyer for an account of mine. She was much older and very professional in appearance. In the course of conversation I made an unflattering comment about tattoo’s. The buyer then lifted her skirt to display a tattoo.”

“I was in a rush on morning trying to catch a flight for a important meeting. I was going through airport security and waiting for my bag and shoes to come out of the x-ray machine. When the shoes did come out they were two different dress shoes.”

See yourself in any of these stories?

In Your Shoes is created by Johnston & Murphy, offering quality shoes and outerwear for women and men. We welcome your comments and contributions.

Enter Johnston & Murphy’s Ultimate Comfort Contest

November 1, 2010

Ever had a moment that just made you really uncomfortable? Johnston & Murphy wants to hear from you as part of its Ultimate Comfort Contest.

For example:

Uncomfortable is seeing that your mom is calling you at 7 p.m. — on HER birthday.

Uncomfortable is setting your clocks for daylight savings a full week ahead of time.

Uncomfortable is dressing up for Halloween as a Pinata.

Submit Your Best Uncomfortable Moment Stories

These are just some of the uncomfortable moment stories that have been entered in the Johnston & Murphy Ultimate Comfort Contest. Once you make your entry, you’ll be eligible for a chance to win a number of valuable prizes: 16-gigabyte iPad, 60-inch flat-screen television, premium leather recliner, surround sound system, Blu-ray DVD player, Flip Video camera, $300 Johnston & Murphy gift card and more.

Entries will be accepted through December 17, but get your entry in soon so you can start sharing and campaigning for votes!

Something for Him

The Ultimate Comfort Contest celebrates Johnston & Murphy’s new collection of men’s dress casual, casual and rugged casual shoes with patented XC4 comfort technology.

The holidays are just around the corner. Your man will love these lightweight, waterproof XC4 styles that are the ultimate commuter shoes for men and perfect for road warriors.

Shop the XC4 styles at www.johnstonmurphy.com.

All About Boots! Take 20% Off.

October 27, 2010

Johnston & Murphy Women's Boots 20% Off

For a limited time, take 20% off all regular-priced Women’s footwear from Johnston & Murphy.  This includes our fabulous, best-selling boots!

Enter promo code WOMENSFALL20 online or you can redeem this offer in stores or by phone at 800.424.2854.

Happy Shopping!

World’s 10 Most Powerful Women: A Diverse Bunch

October 27, 2010
Michelle Obama

Forbes has identified the 100 most powerful women (top 10 listed here), led by First Lady Michelle Obama.

This year’s list is one of the most diverse groups of women ever. “The list itself also represents a cross-section of races, ages, elasticities and sexual preferences,” writes Jenna Goudreau, in her Forbes blog, The Other Half.

Here of the world’s top 10 most powerful women for 2010, as identified by Forbes:

  1. Michelle Obama, 46, First Lady of the United States.
  2. Irene Rosenfeld, 57, chief executive, Kraft Foods.
  3. Oprah Winfrey, 56, media executive.
  4. Angela Merkel, 56, German Chancellor.
  5. Hillary Rodham Clinton, 62, Secretary of State.
  6. Indra Nooyi, 54, chief executive, PepsiCo.
  7. Lady Gaga, 24, singer and performance artist.
  8. Gail Kelly, 54, chief executive, Westpac.
  9. Beyonce Knowles, 29, singer and fashion designer.
  10. Ellen DeGeneres, 52, talk show host.

In Your Shoes is created by Johnston & Murphy, offering quality shoes and outerwear for women and men. We welcome your comments and contributions.

How Business Women Can Get Venture Capital

October 25, 2010

With a dash of optimism for 2010 and beyond, women business owners say their venture capital investment plans are also on the rebound.

For their companies, 65 percent of women expect improvements to their business prospects this year, according to a National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) survey. Likewise, capital investment plans are on the rise: 21 percent of NAWBO members plan to increase capital investment this year, up from 17 percent in early 2009.

“With the market for early-stage capital beginning to bounce back, I’m once again fielding calls from entrepreneurs wanting to know how much of their company to give away to investors to raise the money they need to launch their businesses or take them to the next level,” writes Rosalind Resnick for WSJ.com (How to Win the Valuation Game).

Resnick is the founder and CEO of Axxess Business Consulting in New York, an expert in developing business plans and financial projections for start-ups. She is also the author of The Vest Pocket Consultant’s Secrets of Small Business Success.

“In the past,” she notes, “I probably would have advised my client to hang tough and keep looking. In today’s market, with smaller amounts of early stage capital available and venture investors looking to scoop up bargains, I’m urging my clients to draft a deal that’s palatable to both sides.”

Winning Cash for Your Business

Forbes.com provides 10 Tips for Bagging Startup Cash:

  1. Stick with what you know. “Establish a company in a field you are familiar with.”
  2. The first investor should be you. “This will show investors you approach later that you are serious about your long-term commitment to your firm.”
  3. Approach friends and family. Friends and relatives are most likely “to take a chance on you and support you in other ways, such as contributing free labor.”
  4. A bank can be your friend. You should “establish a relationship with your banker before applying for a loan.”
  5. Know the difference between angel investors and venture capitalists. Angels come in early. Venture capitalists come later. “They take a percentage of your company with the hope that it will become large enough to eventually be sold or go public.”
  6. Network. “Women tend to lack contacts among individuals and companies looking to invest in startups. Attend venture-capital conferences to meet investors.”
  7. Be prepared. Have a detailed business plan.
  8. Seek the right investors. Know which kinds of companies that investors work with. “Don’t waste their time.”
  9. Understand equity capital. Know what the offer terms are.
  10. Discuss your business plan openly. Many entrepreneurs are afraid that someone else might steal their business ideas. “But if the loan officer or investor can’t discuss your request with others, the idea will be dead in the water.”

Demonstrating Commitment

Myra M. Hart, a Harvard Business School professor and authority on entrepreneurship, agrees that it’s important to float your business idea in the beginning.

“The real success will depend on your organization and execution as well as the basic concept,” Hart says in an HBS Working Knowledge article, How Women Can Get More Venture Capital. “And almost everyone who is willing to talk about the idea finds that it continually gets refined and better. It also gets people to buy into the idea and to understand you, your capabilities and your business concept before you come asking for money.”

In Your Shoes is created by Johnston & Murphy, offering quality shoes and outerwear for women and men. We welcome your comments and contributions.

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