Why Middle Managers in the Public Sector Need to “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee”

Due to the current financial position of the UK, we all know the landscape of public service delivery in is going to change dramatically over the next decade. It would be easy to say that this country should not have such a deficit and look for people to blame, but I’m a great believer in ‘we are where we’re at’ and that we should learn from the past to help us deal with the future.

This is going to be challenging period for everyone in a public sector organization. However, I believe the largest challenge is going to rest at the front-line and middle manager level for the following reasons:

• There are going to be fewer of them.
• They are going to be working with an increasingly disengaged workforce.
• Their capability is going to be questioned.

There are going to be fewer of them:

Senior executives are going to be expected to produce strategies that will provide more with less and, with the percentage budget cuts being talked about, the only way to maintain the frontline delivery of public services is to have truly integrated services. This allows for the rationalization and reduction of ‘back-room’ support functions and reduced layers of management. These reviews will be conducted by senior management and turkeys do not vote for Christmas, so there will be fewer frontline and middle managers. However, why turkeys need to get the vote will be the subject of my next article.

They are going to be working with an increasingly disengaged workforce:

In any organization, when there are talks of cuts, staff feel unsettled as they are unsure of their own future positions. Whenever this happens there is a drop in organizational performance, which drains the energy and resilience of some managers. In extreme circumstances the workforce will conduct a number of stoppages and we are already witnessing that in the public sector. On the 8th March 2010 members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union conduct a 48-hour stoppage in response to changes in their redundancy terms. As the cuts in public services are implemented, this could be the first of such stoppages, with the employer trying to minimize the cost of redundancy packages and the workforce feeling unfairly treated.

Their capability is going to be questioned:

Currently, whenever a public sector organization performs poorly, some stakeholders will put the cause of that poor performance down to poor leadership. My personal view is that this is often a digression by the stakeholder, so that they do not have to accept accountability for their own under resourcing. As evidence of this, just take a look at any inquiry into an incident involving the health service, social services or the police service and the criticism is often about how leaders have used their resources and there is never an admission that they were doing their best whilst under resourced.

As a front-line or middle manager in the public sector, a recent example of how your capability is going to be questioned is a research report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) that I mentioned in a previous article. It is the first in the CIPD’s new ‘building productive public sector workplaces’ series and says, “There is an inadequacy of public sector line-management capability in a range of performance management areas that have a direct impact on service delivery, including absence, stress and conflict management.”

Having worked within both public and private sectors, it is not the quality of the leaders that differs; it is the organizational cultures that exist to either support or hinder them. I would be one of the first to say that I’ve encountered front-line and middle managers who only wanted to be team leaders, but I have also worked with some very good ones.

So, what can you do about it?

Folks, wake up and smell the coffee! You are in the firing line and need to start considering now what you can do about it. There are elements of your new performance landscape that you cannot influence, so focus on the parts that you can. The first, and probably the most important, area that you can influence is your own learning and development. Up until now there has been a generous culture in the public sector, where organizations provides the majority of leadership learning and development required by an individual and those days are about to stop.

If you’re going to survive this tumultuous journey then you are going to have to evidence that your skills, abilities and competencies are equal to or greater than your peer group. One of the obvious ways to do this is to study for a management qualification. However, qualifications are only valid for the day you received them unless they are supported by evidence of your continuing professional development (CPD).

I believe the best way to achieve this evidence is by benchmarking yourself against other leaders and managers, irrespective of which sector they work in. For that, amongst many other reasons, I’m an advocate of the Chartered Manager award. One of the reasons I encourage my clients from the public sector to work towards this award is that, whilst it does evidence the impact that their leadership has had on their own organization, it also places them into the wider community of professional leaders and managers.

Conclusion:

You are now faced with a choice. You can become one of the disengaged workforce and complain that successive governments have made a mess of the economy and that the country should not be in this position.

Your other choice is to see current position as an opportunity for you to shine; to evidence your leadership by finding new and more efficient ways of providing the public services you are required to deliver. This option allows you to evidence your skills, abilities and competencies to your employer and your positive approach will also go a long way towards re-engaging your staff.

Take responsibility for navigating yourself and your staff across the new performance landscape and you may even find yourself enjoying the journey.

Is There Disruption In The Philanthropic Sector?

Recently, I wrote an article about what the terms “disruption” and “innovation” mean. The next logical question is whether or not there is disruption happening in the philanthropic sector. We know there is always innovation in the industry, but what about disruption?

Many people got involved in philanthropy after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. That same year, what we came to know of as Facebook was founded. Social media as we know it today was an idea in the minds of only the inventors and innovators in Silicon Valley.

During this period of time, donors to nonprofits would write checks or make a donation by credit card on those websites where the charity was able to actually process a gift. We had not yet fully come to understand the disruptive power that technology would become within the philanthropic sector.

As I stated in my previous article, although the idea of social enterprise, which is a growing movement, has been around for hundreds of years, it’s only been relatively recently that we have modern “social enterprises”. Essentially, organizations no longer have to choose between profits and social impact-they can do both.

Philanthropy is a very diverse and disparate sector. And, perhaps this might be one of the reasons why it may seem to some that disruption is not happening. For example, you have charities that are small and maybe they only have the resources to hire a grant writer. So, the way they primarily receive funding is through the traditional grant request. They don’t have the sufficient resources available to really delve into technology and use its full potential.

I can see why some of these organizations may believe there is no disruption taking place in the philanthropic sector. I can also understand why some professionals in the industry are pushing back against those who say there is disruption happening in the social field.

But, make no mistake disruption is taking place. It just may not be as evident as it is in, say, the taxi industry, which is being disrupted by services such as Uber and the new “sharing economy.” It may not be as easy to see as in the hotel and tourism industry, which is being challenged by companies such as Airbnb.

The mere fact that donors no longer have to choose between giving to a nonprofit or giving to a for-profit social enterprise in order to do something good for society is a thread in the theme of disruption. Another example is the Internet. Nonprofits and social enterprises can use platforms on the Internet to communicate with supporters, new constituencies and raise money.

Today’s donor can give to a social organization by sending a tweet in response to a campaign. They can support countless types of causes through crowdfunding using Kickstarter or Indiegogo, for example. The fact that perhaps not all nonprofits have not readily embraced this sort of technology, or have failed in their initial attempts at this type of revenue stream does not mean that it does not work and it will go away. On the contrary, what I have learned in business is when these types of campaigns fail, it was because of the planning and execution. Don’t stop, learn, do it again and succeed. Or, learn, fail better and then try it again.

How an Executive Recruiting Firm Finds the Next Leaders for Your Business

If you are looking for the next executive to lead your company to success, an executive recruiting firm is one way of doing so. They have the experience to identify the skills, capabilities, credentials, and experience that your company needs to succeed in today’s job market.

What Services Do They Provide?

There are organizations that provide recruiting and placement services. They also find employees with short term and project needs. Some of the sectors these executive recruiting firms service are family office services, non-profit organizations and interim executives for short-term and project needs. First of all, the recruitment team will consult with clients to assess prospective employees with leadership skills, and identify the strengths and weaknesses of the client. The firm can also identify opportunities and threats to the search. They can also examine the organizational structure of the company, and identify the interview team in order to make sure the key player will be part of the interview.

An executive recruiting firm can also create a long-term approach to evaluation, identification and recruitment follow up, which is similar to the client’s family office. This will ensure that the candidate will work well with your business’s mission, and will exceed your expectations. They will have a team of experts who will have many duties to find the most talented employees, and these jobs include:

• Strategic Wealth Management

• Investment Planning

• Tax and Financial Planning

• Family Legacy and Leadership

• Trust and Estate Service

• Philanthropy

The next sector that an executive recruiting firm will provide services for are the non-profit sector, and includes distinct skills and experiences of future employees. The firm will also look for prospective executives for short-term and project needs, because they may be needed to accelerate growth or solve a key problem. They will help with project management, work overflows, supply chain issues, developing senior executives and labor negotiations.

The Process

The first step the executive recruiting firm will begin researching the history of your company, and they will examine your current status, and what you will need for the leadership needs in the future. This will involve a vast candidate network, one-on-one sourcing methods and interviews. There can also be an 18- month search process as well. The firm attempts to understand what type of leader your business needs, which involves reviewing strategies, delving into financials, conducting multiple interviews and performing site visits. The firm will also perform interview training tactics to screen for potential skills. The executive recruiting firm will evaluate and determine what the position currently needs in terms of skills and ability.

In addition, there is customization in the executive recruiting firm’s search process in order to find the right candidate. The firm will also do research and reach out to qualified candidates. This will involve verifying all of the candidates’ credentials, education and other pertinent information. Furthermore, the search firm will also administer interview training, which includes specific questions and tactics in order to assess each candidate. The next step involves the candidate selection and offer, and the post-placement stage. There are firms who will help the client during this transition phase to help the business succeed. It is an extensive, thorough process, which will ensure your business is not only hiring skilled executives, but those who share your company’s vision.

I Chose to Stay Where I Was Living for About Five Years

‎I was in the Air Force for 30 years. And I always wondered where I would end up living full time when I finally retired. The last place that I was stationed was in New Mexico, and I really fell in love with the area. So, when I got out, I chose to look for apartments in Albuquerque NM while I made up my mind about whether to stay there for the rest of my life or not. I suppose I could have started thinking about that long before my last day of military service, but I had a lot of things on my plate during that last year.

My parents were getting up there in years, and they were located one state away from where I was stationed. I was really happy that I was not outside of the country at the time my dad had a heart attack. I was able to drive home on the weekends to help him and mom out. He didn’t have a major heart attack, but the point is that he did have one, and I felt it was my duty to help out when I could. I even told my parents to leave all their tough chores for the weekends so that I could show up and help them out. They really appreciated that.

I fully intended to move home, but that didn’t happen because both of my parents moved away. It broke my heart. I went home, cleared out their home, and never went back after that. I really did not want to move back there full time. So, I sold the house. This is how I ended up staying in the same station where I had been stationed. I really like it here. It is not too hold or cold. There is a lot to see and do here, and it is affordable, too.

Why the London Riots Created a Greater Business Travel Threat Than a Terrorist Attack

Introduction to the London riots threat

If you have business travel to London, you need to read this article. In this article you will discover why the London riots created a greater travel threat than a terrorist attack. We will examine the threat posed by the London riots and demonstrations, terrorist attacks and resulting travel delays, disruptions and changes. At the end of this article, you will have a specific understanding of the required business travel management response and awareness as to why this will happen again.

The London riots and demonstrations has resulted in one of the largest business travel disruptions of 2011.

London Riots and Demonstrations

The London riots and demonstrations have come as a complete surprise to many. It is not a unique event and certainly not unique to the UK. The scale, violence, fire and failure of the authorities is often something expected in other countries but the lack of preparedness for destinations like the UK is common and widespread. Therefore, the lack of preparedness and last-minute scramble to respond and the inability to avoid major business travel disruptions are widespread as a result.

Due to the footprint of disruption, many routes and modes of transport have been negatively affected. Simple commute from the airport, trains and ports to planned accommodation options have been altered and continuous review of hazard or threat assessment are required. Furthermore, travel support providers such as taxis, hotels, restaurants, emergency services an other basic amenities have also been affected, to varying degrees.

Travel and risk managers need to immediately identify:

  • Affected areas,
  • Degree of threat,
  • Affected and exposed (inbound and outbound) business travellers,
  • Arrival/departure points,
  • Safe and non-affected areas,
  • Mitigation or eradication options,
  • Cost of implementation,
  • Funds available,
  • Emergency support,
  • Accommodation options,
  • On-going or developing events,
  • Social or non-business activity,
  • Insurance claims and compliance requirements,
  • Cancellation criteria,
  • Resumption of travel criteria,
  • Extended event plans,
  • Travel alternatives (domestic and international)

The London riots have affected multiple support systems related to business and leisure travel. Any leisure travel disruptions will further compound business travel threats such as decreased accommodation options, airport congestion and increased public transport demand. Even simple actions like withdrawing money from an ATM will prove a challenge and compound the hazard/s.

The London riots have had a prolonged affect on UK business travel sector, far greater than the majority of terrorist attacks. Further affects such as planning and preparation for the 2012 Olympics will also contribute to the lingering affects.

A lack of planning and subsequent response capability by businesses could constitute a failure of duty of care, due diligence, corporate social responsibility, workplace health and safety or other related legislation.

Terrorist attacks less of a threat than London riots

With the exception of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, most have limited travel disruption and only affect a narrow band of travellers. Inclusive of the Mumbai terror attack, terrorist attacks typically have clearly defined threat elements (terrorist, bombings, gunfire, etc) whereas the London riots is a constantly changing and unclear threat. Most business travellers will be unprepared for such decision-making demands and lack sufficient experience to make consistent and safe decisions.

Most contemporary business risk management systems focus on location and plausible event threats, then seek to inform or prepare travellers for the best results to mitigate or eliminate the hazards and threats. Therefore, the bulk of business travellers will not be prepared or educated on how to respond in London, with such wide spread disruption and threats. Few will have residual knowledge from information and preparation for such events in other locations, considered more likely to be medium to high risk. Many of the supporting business travel management departments and managers will be equally unprepared and resourced.

A terrorist attack and other similar violent crimes would have a much smaller footprint of disruption, not affected such a wide business travel demographic, not affect business travel support providers so comprehensively or have such a prolonged impact on all exposed.

Routine travel delays, disruptions and changes represent one of the most persistent and probable travel risk management issues.

Travel delay, disruption and changes

Change management and the decision-making involved is one of the most commonly accepted workplace hazard concerns. This is equally relevant to business travel and business travel threats.

The instinctive and guided response of travellers to any delay, disruption or change can significantly affect the outcome of any spontaneous or new hazard as it presents. Particularly when this is the first level of response, before support options and resources can be activated or come into affect.

Travel delays have been triggered due to airport and airline workers unable to get to work, taxi drivers not able to refuel vehicles, hotels and staff overwhelmed, business travellers unprepared and convergence of business and leisure travellers upon all available exit travel nodes.

Access to information, at all levels, the ability to consume and process all the options and explore alternatives is imperative in this and similar travel disruption events. Crisis leadership will succeed more frequently than simple crisis management, to which are dependent upon timely and accurate information from all available resources.

Unfortunately, many will fail to fully understand the gravity of the events, the threats posed and respond or prepare accordingly. While many others exposed will chalk it up to another force majeure or random act that is just part of the rich experience of international travel. Courts, business travellers and peer review increasingly do not share this flippant view.

This scenario and lack of preparedness has been played out numerous times in recent history. Volcanos, volcanic ash affects, Japan’s tsunami, airport closures, airline failure and many others have caught business travellers and managers alike unprepared. This disturbing trend will continue.

Conclusion: London riots threat

You should now see why the London riots have a far greater impact and threat to travellers than you may have originally thought. We have examined the business travel threat posed by the London riots, terrorist attacks and resulting travel delays. You now have a specific plan for this and similar events and the required business travel management and response. This will happen again. Perhaps not in London, perhaps not a city wide demonstration but this kind and scale of business travel disruption event will happen more than once before the end of 2011. Review your plan and make the necessary enhancements now.

Business Travel Tips – How to Pack For A Business Trip

Use these business travel tips pointers to create and plan a stress-free business packing travel plan.

Ladies:

 

  • When you are putting together your clothes for business, experiment with one color instead of all your favorites. This makes it simple for you to combine and present an ideal business persona for your meetings. With a one color-scheme, you will not need to pack multiple pieces of clothing.
  • If you’d like to add a bit of color, you can include a colored shirt or scarf you like (maybe it is your favorite, or it gives you that ‘extra OOMPH’ that you need for self-confidence – or to compliment your look).

 

Tips on packing shoes: As much as shoes are something that some women say they can’t ‘live without,’ pack no more than two or three sets. Make certain you have a set of flats and only one set of high heels in your luggage. If you wear high heels all day and evening long, then during your company trip, when what you want (need) most is to shine, you may be experiencing painful leg and back discomfort.

In addition to sensible shoes, women who travel may want to pack makeup. On a business trip and with makeup – Less is better. Makeup during a business trip really should be minimal so that you present an experienced, knowledgeable and professional look. Foundation, powder, mascara, lip gloss, eye liner, and eye shadow, are a few of the things that you need to consider in packing. Less is more – mascara and lip gloss can go a long way in making a professional looking presentation.

All Travelers:

 

  • Frequent business travelers should make it a habit of packing their bags as soon as they return from a business trip. This way, when they have to travel on short notice, the stress and worry of packing is diminished.
  • Frequent travelers on business really should try to use regional airports instead of major air-ports. Local and small airports are less congested, and then there are fewer security hurdles.
  • When you are on company business, choose the most direct routes instead of the least expensive routes. The least expensive travel arrangements usually make for the longest distance, and this also means you will likely have to use your precious time for traveling and staying in hotels.
  • So, instead of saving money, your cost may actually go up, with the less expensive, less traveled route, Because you’ll make up for the cost with longer flights and maybe even an extra day stay at a hotel – which means more money all the way around (food, cab or car rental,.. ). Consequently, it’s always best to go on a direct flight route to save time and expense, even if you have to fly first class.
  • If you’re able to fly mid-week, you will be happier because you may be able to save money on trip expenses. Traveling on a Monday or Tuesday normally costs more. Take these travel tips into account when you are paying your own personal air flight to help you cut your costs.
  • Also think about the distance from your hotel room to where you are meeting. Have a look on the internet on a map so you see exactly where you’ll be meeting, compared to where you are going to be staying. In case you do not know the local or surrounding area, you might want to stay near a company or civic facility in which your company is holding their business.
  • Business travelers understand how to make the most of the resources offered to travelers specifically on business. Find hotels that focus on the travelling business person. These hotels won’t have amenities for families and neither are they attempting to attract buses of adolescents in route to a camp. When you need to pay attention to business details and not the kids running in the hallway, this will help you find appropriate (and professional) lodging.
  • Packing vital electronic things is likewise one of several business travel tips. In case you are traveling overseas, make certain you are aware of the telecommunications requirements of the country. Make certain you pack a couple of USB memory sticks. You will never know if they may require them.
  • Never pack your laptop inside your luggage. Your laptop may be a pivotal element of your trip. Inside a flight terminal in an unexpected emergency situation, your wireless laptop may be used to adjust reservations so that you can prevent all those long lines for getting your next flight out. You’ll be able to arrange accommodations by automobile or snag just one of the few remaining rooms in hotels in the city straight from the convenience of the seats in the airport terminal.
  • If you plan well, then you can normally just walk to your meeting or hotel, while the people around you are stressed – simply because you knew the way to balance technology plus the need to help yourself out of a situation that could have been a problem.
  • But one way to use your laptop computer to help yourself if there is a situation where the airport terminal is shut all the way down would be the limited electric power of laptop computers. To see your electric battery go lifeless just when you wanted it by far the most is a lot like watching your tire go flat on the freeway because you drove over glass on your way to the meeting.
  • What few people know is that you have open electric-powered outlets in air terminals which are there for cleanup crews. Once you are at the airport – discover exactly where those outlets are. Normally you can find these outlets just underneath the windows that look over the landing strips. If you can secure a seat close to these outlets, it is possible to replenish your laptop computer and maintain your lifeline to everyone you need to.

The Upside to Business Travel

Many people abhor traveling for business, while some only hate it when they are consistently on the road as a road warrior. They frequently miss home, having their own familiar place to stay, and home cooking. Still, there are a number of tips for the business traveler that can make the best of traveling for business.

Free Fun Travel
Traveling for business can also help increase traveling for pleasure. While flying, staying at hotels, and renting cars one can be collecting loyalty points for future use. This means that one can be traveling for fun with the rewards of their business travel. It is a liberating feeling to walk to an airline counter and cash in some points for a trip to anywhere in the world- Vegas for the weekend or take someone special to Paris.

Travel Perks
Being a frequent traveler with the loyalty programs will have you an established elite traveler in no time. Pay attention to the requirements and do what you can to get elite status as soon as you can. The perks are tremendous with free and sometimes unexpected upgrades. Preference in the check-in lines will make a huge difference when you are pressed for time or dog tired at the end of the day. Preference in check-in/check-out times will be a perk you will use often.

Be In The Now
Every major town will have its unique flavor and will have some tourist must sees. See them when you have down time. When you are constantly on the road it will seem enticing to stay in a hotel room and relax to some TV, but when you do this day after day, town after town no wonder burn-out settles in. Get out and explore, get to know the town, it will undoubtedly help your business in that town to know more about it. Try the specialty foods of the area, stay away from national chains. And if you do find that you travel the same cities consistently, then make it your town. Find some favorite places to eat and entertain yourself, then you can actually look forward to visiting again.

Being able to travel for business is a wonderful opportunity and should not be seen as a burden. Changing of the attitude may be as simple as looking to the pluses and not focusing on the negatives of frequent travel.

Do Not Let Business Travel Disrupt Your Fitness

You have your ticket, you are packed, and the airport van is picking you up for your next business trip. Leaving Sunday afternoon and returning Friday evening has become routine over the last couple of years. You ran your errands and spent time with the family. You managed a brief workout early Saturday morning so you could attend the kid’s soccer games and birthday parties. Business travel is difficult. Lately you are feeling your clothes tightening around your waste. It has not gotten to the point of buying new clothes, yet. Ask yourself if this sounds familiar. There are more and more business professionals challenged with stressful jobs compounded by stressful travel. Surely, this takes a toll on the family and personal life[1], but even more important it could be destroying your health. When your health is gone, your family and job is in jeopardy.

Health and fitness for traveling business professionals is a serious concern, “But it is also a source of a variety of stresses, often overlooked or denied by both organizations and travelers themselves. The World Bank, studying its own travelers, discovered that both their physical and mental health-care claims were significantly greater than those of nontravelers.“[2] The typical executive travels 3-5 days per week. They eat ninety-five percent of their meals in airports, restaurants, or fast food establishments. They eat late while entertaining clients. Most of them do not exercise on the road even though gyms are available in hotels. In addition, most traveling business professionals do not get the deep sleep they need. Any medical professional, or fitness expert, will tell you this lifestyle is a recipe for disaster.

There are several resources offering ways to eat right and workout while traveling.[3] Videos abound on exercises you can use while traveling.[4] Still with all this information available, the vast majority of business travelers fail to eat right and workout on the road. Why is this? The problem is more behavior than access to good food and workout facilities. The solution is more education about fitness, not more facilities, workouts, and supplements. People who understand “why” about anything tend to accept and change more than those who do not take the time to understand a subject. Think about this principal. Continuing education is designed to make you more proficient at your job. The more you know and experience the more valuable you become to your employer. Your self-worth and self-esteem increases. This is true when it comes to fitness. The difference is you are your own boss. Here lies the root cause of the problem. If fitness is not a priority in your life, you have too many irons in the fire, you are stretched thin, and now your travel time takes up twenty percent of your waking hours, then you will put fitness on the back burner. The next thing you know you are twenty-five pounds heavier, your body fat percent is nearing obesity, and you have little energy at the end of the workday. At this point, your doctor informs you that your blood pressure is elevating and recommends blood pressure medicine.

A CEO who has all the distractions mentioned earlier recognizes the problem, does not drop everything, and still attacks the specific problem. They would contract a professional, e.g. lawyer, CPA, or consultant to help them filter through all the information and establish a good plan to attack the problem. These professionals allow the CEO to attack the problem while dealing with all the distractions, and still achieve his/her goals. The traveling businessperson should have the same approach to solving their fitness problem. Their professional is a private personal trainer, or fitness consultant.

Private personal trainers have the ability to provide you the right amount of information you need at the time you need it without you spending large amounts of time researching nutrition or exercise routines. They have the ability to assess your current fitness level then design a nutritional and exercise program that works for you. In addition, they can continually assess you, and make changes that will allow you to progress. Good private personal trainers have the ability to council behavior as well as design programs. They hold their clients accountable the same way a CEO uses a consultant to help them maintain accountability for a strategy. In most cases, a private personal trainer is more expensive than a gym personal trainer, but offer services that are more customized and personal. They are normally much less expensive than business consultants. You should consider a private personal trainer as an investment not an expense, the same way a CEO considers a consultant as an investment. So if you are traveling how can a private personal trainer help? You sure are not going to pay them to travel with you. The good news is technology helps to solve this problem.

Today private personal trainers have a wealth of technology available to them to help resolve the two biggest problems preventing fitness while traveling, i.e. education and accountability. Private personal trainers normally have their own web site. This web site provides the tools necessary to help their traveling client. Let us review a few tools that provide a near personal training experience on the road for a fraction of the cost.

 

  1. You have access to articles, other web sites, and educational material on your personal trainer’s web site. Your personal trainer can provide information based on your level of fitness. In other words, they provide the right information at the right time. You are not wasting time.
  2. Your personal trainer can provide a private login on their web site that has all your information, e.g. measurements, training schedule, exercise videos, meal programs, etc. This section of their web site is password protected for your privacy. Google documents offer great tools for this type of interface.
  3. Accountability is available with the use of Google’s calendar and SMS notifications. SMS messages are pre-assigned via the Google calendar for clients. They receive alerts on their phone saying to snack, complete a workout, etc. Business travelers have the ability to respond through SMS text messaging, email, or a phone call letting the trainer know what they have eaten, or that they completed their workout routine. If not contacted the trainer will follow-up. This happens no matter where the business travelers, or the trainer, are in the world.
  4. Clients can sign-up on
  5. It is less than $10.00 per month and offers the ability to track and monitor nutrition, activities, journals, and moods. By providing their trainer access, the trainer can track all activity 24/7. This combines nutrition, exercise, and behavior extremely well. This provides the trainer the information needed to council clients through a variety of virtual techniques, e.g. SMS texting, web site response, email, phone call, or SKYPE.
  6. Skype, Google Video Talk, and other video conferencing tools allow clients to schedule times with their trainer in order for the trainer to view the business traveler’s workout. This is convenient if they are working out in a hotel room.
  7. Finally, it is important to meet at least once a week when possible with your personal trainer face-to-face to celebrate your progress, establish new measurements, and set new goals.

This type of professional and private personal training is available to travelers. One company providing this service is Strategy for Fitness(TM). Overcoming a lack of education and accountability will be a big step to improving your fitness level. These services are an investment in your life. You have someone who is interested in your health and wellness and can counsel you on an ongoing basis no matter where you are. Using technology reduces your overall cost for personal training. Accountability is a powerful motivator. Trainers can hold business travelers accountable through advanced technology services. Do not let excuses become a barrier to improving your fitness while you travel. There are no excuses.

[1] Espino, C, Sundstrom S, Frick H, Jacobs M, Peters, M, “International Business Travel: impact on families and travelers”. Occupational and Environmental Med Medicine. January 11, 2010 .

[2] James Striker, Lennart Dimberg, Bernhard H Liese, “Stress and business travel: Individual, managerial, and corporate concerns”. Journal of Organizational Excellence Vol. 20 Issue 1 pages 3-10. January 11, 2010

Why Sound Business Travel Reporting Matters

For any company that has their employees engage in regular travel, it is important to have a good corporate travel strategy. Part of developing and improving on a corporate travel strategy is solid business travel reporting. Business travel reporting provides the company with details about the cost of travel and how the money is being used. This data not only helps to keep track of expenses but it also can be used to identify areas of waste and inefficiency. When this information is tracked and analyzed it can be used to improve upon your company’s business travel strategy. Using the service of a corporate travel agency is an effective means toward achieving all of these goals.

Due to their experience and their connections in the travel and finance industry, a corporate travel firm will be especially suited to provide these services with the highest degree of detail. A corporate travel agency uses a variety of methods to analyze and track a clients business travel expenses. They can use data from banking and credit card records along with the travel records to identify the most and least efficient travelers in your company. They can help to manage airline data to find which carrier is providing the most business friendly service for the most affordable price and they can help to identify waste and abuse of funds.

A corporate booking agency can also help employers to analyze information in a way that can determine how effectively the employees travel and how well they stick to the itinerary and how closely the individual employees stick to the travel strategy. This can be achieved by referencing the data accumulated from credit cards, expense accounts, airline data, hotel bills and rental information. Once all of the data is collected and analyzed, the corporate travel firm can prepare a complete report. The reports will cover a variety of different areas and will often be accompanied by a written summary of the overall information. Clients can also request specialized reporting from a corporate travel agency. These may be to address an area of concern or to see how a new aspect of the travel strategy is working.

Most business travel agencies recommend that their clients schedule regular meetings with their travel manger to go over the business travel reporting and to find ways to improve the corporate travel strategy. The management of a business should meet with their corporate travel manager at least once a year. In these meetings the travel manager can help the client go over the business travel reporting and understand what all of the data means. The manager will help to identify areas of waste and point out parts of the travel plan that are working well. At this time the client can address their concerns about the travel strategy and work to adjust the business travel strategy. A corporate travel agency can also help their client with a plan for implementing the new strategy and addressing the changes with their staff.

Having the services of a business travel agency is a necessity for any company that engages in regular travel. Having a well thought out strategy will not only save the company money, but it will also make sure that the staff is getting the most out of their trip.