Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 2nd 2017 Contents BG12 | BIZ TIPS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN guardian.co.tt FEBRUARY 2 • 2017
After your company
suffers a scandal,
know how to find a
When your company has gone through a
public scandal, you may be worried about your
career prospects. Fortunately, there are steps
you can take to ensure that your reputation
Start by searching on LinkedIn to see where
your peers have gone. Firms that have hired
alumni of a stigmatised firm may have devel-
oped a positive stereotype of these workers as
an undervalued source of talent.
When applying to jobs, don't try to hide
your association with the company on your
resume. If your work history includes other
well-respected schools or companies, list those
up top. And always pay close attention to the
ethics of companies you're applying to. You
may not have been able to predict the scandal
you lived through, but you can do your due
(Adapted from "How to Survive a Company
Scandal You Had Nothing to Do With," by Boris
Groysberg, Eric Lin, George Serafeim and Robin
You don't have to be
helpful all the time
Most research shows that helping others
makes us feel happy and energised. But the
reality is that lending a hand to co-workers
can often be exhausting, draining our cognitive
and emotional resources. So how can you help
colleagues while protecting your productivity?
First, it's important to recognise that, in ad-
dition to its positive effects, helping has nega-
tive effects that may persist for hours or days.
Second, if you are feeling depleted, take ac-
tions to restore your energy: Take a break, go
for a walk or sneak in a nap.
Lastly, give yourself permission to put off the
request for help. You may not want to refuse
outright, but you can agree to assist at a future
and more opportune time for you.
(Adapted from "Research: Yes, Being Helpful
Is Tiring," by Klodiana Lanaj.)
Beware the overfit
trap in data analysis
It can be exciting when your data analysis
suggests a surprising prediction. But the result
might be due to overfitting, which occurs when
a statistical model describes random noise
rather than the underlying relationship you
need to capture. You can guard against this
trap by keeping your analysis simple.
Be on guard against spurious correlations,
and look for relationships that measure impor-
tant effects related to clear hypotheses. Test for
overfitting by randomly dividing the data into
a training set, with which you'll estimate the
model, and a validation set, with which you'll
test the accuracy of the model's predictions.
An overfit model might be great at making
predictions within the training set but raise
warning flags by performing poorly in the vali-
dation set. You might also consider alternative
narratives: Is there another story you could
tell with the same data?
(Adapted from the "HBR Guide to Data An-
alytics Basics for Managers.")
4 steps to improving
How can you ensure that your writing is as
clear and effective as possible?
• Challenge yourself to be more concise. If
you chopped out a sentence or two---or eight---
would the reader even notice?
• Identify your bad habits. Recognise jargon,
passive constructions ("Something must be
done!") and imprecise language.
• Pair up with another writer. People tend
to have complementary problems: Maybe you
write too long and your colleague struggles to
The job of an editor or a peer reviewer is to
show you what you cannot see.
• Build disciplined feedback into the writing
process. With sufficient notice and carefully
organised review cycles, you can fix problems
and keep your writing coherent.
(Adapted from "Your Writing Isn't as Good
as You Think It Is," by Josh Bernoff.)
How to help a remote
If you sense that someone you manage is
struggling or behind on his work, look for clues:
Maybe he's uncharacteristically quiet on a team
call, emails less frequently or seems anxious.
Don't wait to say something; pick up the
phone and ask what's going on. But be posi-
tive when you frame your questions: "Looking
forward to seeing the product demo on Friday.
Is there anything you need from me?" commu-
nicates enthusiasm and a team mindset, while
"Are you on track for Friday's deadline?" can
be seen as aggressive and maybe even mis-
trustful. Make sure you end the conversation
by agreeing on an improvement plan.
(Adapted from "Leading Virtual Teams" from
the 20-Minute Manager Series.)
Concerns over fast
changes in business
53%: According to the results of a global
survey of more than 33,000 people conducted
by Edelman Intelligence, 53% of respondents
said that the pace of change in business and
industries was moving too quickly, and half
said that globalisation was leading nations in
the wrong direction.
Opportunities in solar
12 times: According to research from a pro-
fessor at Michigan Technological University,
the solar industry in the US is currently cre-
ating new jobs at a rate that is 12 times faster
than the overall economy.
Job losses to China
2 million: According to a study from the Na-
tional Bureau of Economic Research released
in January 2016, Chinese imports led to the
removal of more than 2 million jobs from the
US economy between 2001, when China en-
tered the World Trade Organisation, and 2013.
A smaller carbon footprint
40%: After implementing large-scale pro-
grams to reduce its carbon footprint---such as
shifting distilleries from oil to gas and install-
ing heat recovery systems---the global brand
Belvedere Vodka has been able to reduce its
greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent.
The future of cars is electric
7,000: In order to meet its goal of having
a quarter of its vehicles be electric by 2025,
the German carmaker Volkswagen recently
committed to retraining 7,000 engineers in
A growing gig economy
20-30%: According to the results of a survey
conducted last year by the McKinsey Global
Institute on the so-called gig economy, re-
searchers found that 20% to 30% of work-
ing-age residents in Europe and the US engage
in some form of independent work.
Decline in trust
50%: According to the 2017 Edelman Trust
Barometer, a decline in trust in business, gov-
ernment, media and non-governmental organ-
isations was measured in two-thirds of the 28
countries surveyed. According to researchers,
the average level of trust in the four institutions
has dropped below 50 per cent.
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