What Is a Project?

One of the joys of English is that terms are often used incorrectly in the popular version of the language. We toss around terms that we really don’t understand. We use them when they really don’t apply. We use them in place of more appropriate words. And we misuse other words in their place. We’re definitely followers of Humpty Dumpty in that regard.

Such a word is “project”.

We use the word to describe major endeavors such as the building of a bridge or an office building. We use it to describe man’s race to the moon. And we also use it to describe a service call for your furnace.

But what is a project really?

The Project Management Institute defines a project as “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result”. If we examine the definition closer, we’ll find two major characteristics that distinguish it from other business endeavors:

1. It is temporary

2. It is unique

Like most business activities it produces a product, service or result. However, most business endeavors or activities are on-going. In fact, most businesses rely on the on-going nature of a majority of their activities. Projects are different. They have a specific beginning and a pre-defined end. Most business activities are also focused on repetition. That is they produce the same product over and over again. A project however, produces a unique product. What it creates is different in some way, from any produced previously. It is in this definition of uniqueness, that projects take a left turn.

The standard definition helps to separate the majority of projects from the majority of ongoing operations. However, to understand the border between project and operation we must go lower and discuss the types of projects.

The first type of project is the strategic project. So what is a strategic project? These projects are defined by their reason. They exist in order to move the company from one state to another. Often they are steps in a global intent. For example, you might want to prepare for a new market. To do that you may need to implement new software, a new manufacturing facility and a new distribution channel. Each of these might be set up as independent projects. Typically, these projects will cut across the silos a business builds up in its normal day-to-day operations.

The second type of project is the operational project. These projects are intended to support on-going operations. Typically, they are focused on upgrading, repairing or otherwise extending the life of existing business assets.

The third type is in fact, a sub-set of the operational project. These are the repeating or operationalized projects. Typically these are very small projects which a managed in a group. Normally they follow a standardized process. In fact, the only reason they would be considered projects at all are that they produce a product with some unique characteristic. These are the projects which are most like to be the subject of debate. After all, what constitutes unique is often a matter of debate.

No One Wants to Contract Eye Diseases

Eye diseases are a topic that can be found in health news just about every day. Nobody wants to have trouble with their eyesight but it happens to people all the time. You can try to keep your overall health in tiptop shape but sometimes it does not matter what you do, you still get sick.

There's so many diseases that can affect the eyes that it is hard to keep track of them all. Luckily, there are trained professionals, such as vision doctors, who are specialized in this area. Sometimes vision problems can happen due to eyestrain or a person not taking care of their eyes correctly, yet there are others who are genetically predisposed. Open angle glaucoma and angle closure glaucoma, cataracts, dry eye, pink eye and eye infections are some of the many things that can affect just about anyone.

Some diseases are curable and some are not. There are some that can be stopped in their tracks and stopped from advancing, and there are some illnesses that can be reversed altogether. If you are having any type of vision trouble, then you need to have an exam and determine what your specific condition is. Once determined by an vision specialist, you will gain the knowledge of how to take care of whatever health issue with your vision you have.

Glaucoma and cataracts are two very serious types of eye diseases. These are the two main diseases that come to mind for most people when they think about diseases having to do with the eyes. While not every eye disease that you can contract is serious and can cause blindness, some can be very annoying and irritating.

The good news is that with regular eye exams and taking care of your health, any disease or infection can usually be eradicated in a short matter of time. There are some eye problems that can not be taken care of quickly or easily, and early detection is the key to having the best results. If you're going to need to have any type of surgery on your eyes, then you'll want to know that as early as possible, so the surgery can be successful.

No one ever wants to get sick, and especially no one ever wants to contract any eye diseases. However, it can happen to any of us. Make sure that you get regular exams, both for your body and for your eyes. Medical advances are such days that if any problem is detected early, then a doctor should be able to correct it.

Acupuncture Vs Other Remedies

Acupuncture is actually gaining wide popularity among the people in the West. There are a number of people who are practicing and adopting acupuncture as part of their lifestyle. In reality, acupuncture is part of an old Traditional Chinese Medicine. Although it has been around for several thousands of years, there are still some people who are inclined to use this Oriental medicine. It is referred as Oriental medicine because its origin is actually based in China.

This Oriental medicine is based on an ancient Chinese belief that the body must be balanced in order to live healthy. To achieve balance and harmony in a person’s body system, a person must have a free flow of energy and blood throughout his body. There must be no obstructions or blockages that can impede the flow of energy. According to ancient Chinese, a person has an invisible energy within his body which is referred to as qi or chi. A person’s qi must obtain balance in order to prevent unwanted health diseases.

Acupuncture is proven to be the most effective treatment to a wide range of medical conditions. There are studies that show that acupuncture can treat such health ailments as indigestion, fevers, infections, PMS, arthritis, chronic fatigue, sickness, muscle pains, joint pains and many others. In addition, there are also several people who undergo acupuncture therapy. The results show major improvements and positive feedback. In times that they fail to incorporate acupuncture in their life, their health conditions reappear. That is why, they have decided to continue doing acupuncture therapy.

It is true that acupuncture uses acupuncture needles. These needles are one of the thinnest needles that a person can find. These needles are purposely thin to prevent unwanted pain or discomfort to a person. Also, they are actually used to trigger a person’s natural healing properties that are found in his body system. Every person has acupoints throughout his body. These acupoints trigger and stimulates the different areas in the body that can call upon natural healing properties.

Acupuncture is more safe than any other methods or drugs that a person may choose to take. Prescriptive drugs oftentimes have long term side effects. In fact, a body gets too addicted to them that not taking them everyday will cause serious problems. However, acupuncture stimulates the body to relax and to regain back its balanced. It is important in order to stay away from health conditions and other long term diseases.

What Other Diseases "Masquerade" as Rheumatoid Arthritis? Part 1 – The Non-Infectious Group

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis and affects more than 2 million Americans. The diagnosis is not easy to make in many instances. There are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis. Most of them involve inflammation. When a patient goes to a rheumatologist to get a diagnosis, there is a process of elimination in order to arrive at the proper diagnosis. This process of elimination is called “differential diagnosis.”

Differential diagnosis can be a difficult undertaking because so many forms of arthritis, particularly inflammatory forms of arthritis look alike. Generally it is helpful to divide the differential diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis into two groups. The first group are the non-infectious diseases to consider and the second group are the infection-related conditions.

Since the discussion is rather long I have chosen to divide the article into two parts.

The following is a partial list of forms of inflammatory arthritis that can be seen and must be considered when evaluating a patient with inflammatory symptoms of arthritis and are not infection related.

RA is an autoimmune chronic inflammatory disease, primarily involving the peripheral joints (hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, and feet). It can also affect non joint structures such as the lung, eye, skin, and cardiovascular system.

RA may start slowly with nonspecific symptoms, including fatigue, malaise (feeling “blah”), appetite loss, low-grade fever, weight loss, and vague joint pains, or it may have an explosive onset with inflammation involving multiple joints. The joint symptoms usually occur bilaterally- both sides of the body equally involved- and symmetric. Erosions- damage to the joint- can be seen with x-ray. In about 80% of cases, elevated levels of rheumatoid factor (RF) or anti-cyclic citrullinated antibodies (anti-CCP) are present in the blood. There appears to be a correlation between the presence of anti-CCP antibodies and erosions.

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) occurs in children under the age of 16. Three forms of JRA exist, including oligoarticular (1-4 joints), polyarticular (more than 4 joints), and systemic-onset or Still’s disease. The latter condition is associated with systemic symptoms — including fever and rash in addition to joint disease.

Polyarticular JRA has similar characteristics to adult RA. It causes about 30% of cases of JRA. Most children with polyarticular JRA are negative for RF and their prognosis is usually good.

Approximately 20% of polyarticular JRA patients have elevated RF, and these patients are at risk for chronic, progressive joint damage.

Eye involvement in the form of inflammation- called uveitis- is a common finding in oligoarticular JRA, especially in patients who are positive for anti-nuclear antibody (ANA), a blood test that is often used to screen for autoimmune disease. Uveitis may not cause symptoms so careful screening should be performed in these patients.

SLE is an inflammatory, chronic, autoimmune disorder that can involve the skin, joints, kidneys, central nervous system, and blood vessel walls. Patients may present with 1 or more of the following: butterfly-shaped rash on the face, affecting the cheeks; rash on other parts of the body; sensitivity to sunlight; mouth sores; joint inflammation; fluid around the lungs, heart, or other organs; kidney abnormalities; low white blood cell count, low red blood cell count, or low platelet count; nerve or brain inflammation; positive results of a blood test for ANA; positive results of a blood test for antibodies to double-stranded DNA or other antibodies.

Patients with lupus can have significant inflammatory arthritis. As a result, lupus can be difficult to distinguish from RA, especially if other features of lupus are not present. Clues that favor a diagnosis of RA over lupus in a patient presenting with arthritis affecting multiple joints include lack of lupus features, erosions (joint damage) seen on x-rays, and elevations of RF and anti-CCP antibodies.

Polymyositis (PM) and dermatomyositis (DM) are types of inflammatory muscle disease. These conditions typically present with bilateral (both sides involved) large muscle weakness. In the case of DM, rash is present. Diagnosis consists of finding the following: elevation of muscle enzyme levels in the blood [the two enzymes that are measured are creatine kinase (CPK) and aldolase], signs and symptoms, electromyograph (EMG)- an electrical test- alteration, and a positive muscle biopsy.

In addition, in many cases abnormal antibodies specific for inflammatory muscle disease can be elevated.

In both PM and DM, inflammatory arthritis can be present and can look like RA. Both inflammatory muscle disease and RA can affect the lungs. In RA, muscle function will usually be normal. Also, in PM and DM, erosive joint disease is unlikely. RF and anti-CCP antibodies are typically elevated in RA but not PM or DM.

SAs — psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and enteropathic arthritis — are a category of diseases that cause systemic inflammation, and preferentially attack parts of the spine and other joints where tendons attach to bones. They also can cause pain and stiffness in the neck, upper and lower back, tendonitis, bursitis, heel pain, and fatigue. They are termed “seronegative” types of arthritis. The term ‘seronegative’ means that testing for rheumatoid factor is negative. Symptoms of adult SAs include:

o Back and/or joint pain;

o Morning stiffness;

o Tenderness near bones;

o Sores on the skin;

o Inflammation of the joints on both sides of the body;

o Skin or mouth ulcers;

o Rash on the bottom of the feet; and

o Eye inflammation.

Occasionally, arthritis similar to that seen in RA can be present. Careful history and physical examination can often distinguish between these conditions, especially if an obvious disease that is promoting inflammation is present (psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, etc.). In addition, RA rarely affects the DIP joints- the last row of finger joints. If these joints are involved with inflammatory arthritis, the diagnosis of an SA is possible. (Note of caution: a condition known as inflammatory erosive nodal osteoarthritis can also affect the DIP joints). RF and anti-CCP antibodies are negative in SAs, although, rarely, in cases of psoriatic arthritis there may be elevations of RF and anti-CCP antibodies.

Gout is caused by deposits of monosodium urate (uric acid) crystals into a joint. Gouty arthritis is acute in onset, very painful, with signs of significant inflammation on exam (red, warm, swollen joints). Gout can affect almost any joint in the body, but typically affects cooler areas including the toes, feet, ankles, knees, and hands. Diagnosis is made by drawing fluid from an inflamed joint and analyzing the fluid. Demonstrating monosodium urate crystals in the joint fluid is diagnostic, although finding elevated serum levels of uric acid can also be helpful.

In most cases, gout is an acute single joint disease that is easy to distinguish from RA. However, in some cases, chronic erosive joint inflammation where multiple joints are involved can develop. And, in cases where tophi (deposits of uric acid) are present, it can be difficult to distinguish from erosive RA. However, crystal analysis of joints or tophi and blood tests should be helpful in distinguishing gout from RA.

Calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease (CPPD), also known as pseudogout, is a disease is caused by deposits of calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystals in a joint. The presence of these crystals in the joints leads to significant inflammation. Establishing the diagnosis includes using:

o Detailed medical history;

o Withdrawing fluid from a joint to check for crystals;

o Joint x-rays to show crystals deposition in the cartilage (chondrocalcinosis); and

o Blood tests to rule out other diseases (e.g., RA or osteoarthritis).

In most cases, CPPD arthritis presents with single joint inflammation. In some cases, CPPD disease can present with chronic symmetric multiple joint erosive arthritis similar to RA. RA and CPPD disease can usually be told apart by joint aspiration demonstrating calcium pyrophosphate crystals, and by blood tests, including RF and anti-CCP antibodies, which are usually negative in CCPD arthritis. A complicating feature is that RA and CPPD can coexist!

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory joint disorder. The majority of patients with this disease have lung disease, with eye and skin disease being the next most frequent signs of disease. Although the diagnosis of sarcoidosis can be made on clinical and x-ray presentation alone, sometimes the use of tissue biopsy with the demonstration of “noncaseating granulomas” is necessary for diagnosis.

Arthritis is present in 15% of patients with sarcoidosis, and in rare cases can be the only sign of disease. In acute sarcoid arthritis, joint disease is usually of rapid onset. It is symmetric involving the ankles, although knees, wrists, and hands can be involved. In most cases of acute disease, lung and skin disease are also present. Chronic sarcoid arthritis can be difficult to distinguish from RA. Although RA-specific blood tests, such as RF and anti-CCP antibodies, can be helpful in distinguishing RA from sarcoidosis, in some cases a biopsy of joint tissue may be required for diagnosis.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) is a disease that leads to inflammation of tendons, muscles, ligaments, and tissues around the joints. It presents with large muscle pain, aching, morning stiffness, fatigue, and in some cases, fever. It can be associated with temporal arteritis (TA), also known as giant-cell arteritis, which is a related but more serious condition in which inflammation of large blood vessels can lead to blindness and aneurysms. Also, a peculiar syndrome where use of the arms and legs leads to cramping because of insufficient blood flow (limb claudication) can occur. PMR is diagnosed when the clinical picture is present along with elevated markers of inflammation (ESR and/or CRP). If temporal arteritis is suspected (headache, vision changes, limb claudication), biopsy of a temporal artery may be necessary to demonstrate inflammation of blood vessels.

PMR and TA can present with symmetric inflammatory arthritis similar to RA. These diseases can usually be distinguished by blood testing. In addition, headaches, vision changes, and large muscle pain are uncommon in RA, and if these are present, PMR and/or TA should be considered.

In part 2 of this article, I will discuss infectious diseases that need to be considered in the differential diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. When RA is suspected, it is critical to consult with an expert rheumatologist.

Learn Why You Need LASIK Vision Surgery When All Else Has Failed To Heal Your Vision Problems

Getting tired of wearing those dorky eyeglasses? How about those pesky corrective contact lenses? The ultimate solution is here. If you wear corrective lenses for vision conditions such as nearsightedness (also known as Myopia), farsightedness (or the so-called Hyperopia, Astigmatism, Presbyopia) and pretty much whatever vision decline that happens after you pass the age of 40.

To help you better understand the kinds of laser vision correction procedures available today, here are some brief descriptions of each of the most common vision problems.

The condition called nearsightedness or Myopia occurs when the cornea is either more domed shaped or it’s longer than would a proper and normally shaped cornea. This condition lets light to enter your eye and focuses it at one point in front of your retina. The retina’s job is to receive and send visual information back to your brain. You can see things within a very short distance – yet you can either barely see silhouette outlines of things that are far away or you don’t see them at all.

On the other hand, farsightedness is the exact opposite of nearsightedness. Also known as Hyperopia, this occurs when the cornea is shorter then its ideal shape. When this occurs, the light enters the eye and focuses at one point behind the retina because the eye is actually slightly shorter. This condition is when you can see things perfectly clear which are far from you and yet you can barely sees things that are close to you.

Another condition is called Presbyopia which is experienced by everyone at some point over the age of 40. At a younger age when you look at things that are near to you, the lens behind your cornea tends to change shape in order to focus on a nearby object. But, as we grow older, the lens behind our cornea tends to lose its original elasticity and makes it difficult for the lens to change its shape easily and to focus. This is the time where reading glasses become a necessity for us. The fact that aging inevitably happens, whether you have your vision corrected or not, glasses will become your reading partner unless you choose to undergo “monovision correction”.

When this occurs in your life its where Lasik vision helps you in a way that you will always be thankful for. Lasik or the Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis is a procedure where a thin flap on your cornea is made and is gently laid back before the laser is used and it is replaced after the surgery so that the ephitelium area is left fully intact and is not damaged thus giving protection to your eye.

Because a very little part of the ephitelium is tampered with, most patients have reported a high level of comfort with this procedure. In fact, patients usually can go back to their daily routines right after the procedure, provided of course they observed some minor precautions for their eyes.

Another approach is Monovision. As mentioned above, after the age of 40 the lens behind our cornea is likely to lose its original elastic property, and hence the need for reading glasses is caused. Despite the advances made in our technology, Laser vision correction still cannot eliminate this particular problem.

Monovision correction on the other hand, is a procedure whereby the doctor corrects one eye for long distance sight and the other eye for the exact opposite. The result of this procedure is that you’ll be able to see in all circumstances without the need of eyeglasses. This type of vision correction may be previously unimaginable and if so, then it may take some time for you to adjust to the concept. However, individuals who have undergone the procedure are satisfied and are happy with its results.

Given these various vision corrections choices; these are things that you and your doctor need to talk about prior to whatever choice you ultimately come up with based on your lifestyle.

Some Interesting Facts From The History Of Contact Lenses

If you think contact lenses are a recent phenomena, then you are absolutely wrong. History of contact lenses can be traced long back. They are as old as the sixteenth century. The present day contact lenses have been the efforts of many scientists and researchers. It has been their hard work that has led

to the evolution of the present day contact lenses.

Giving an answer to the question that who can be credited as the real inventor of contact lenses, will be a difficult task as contact lenses were the innovative hard work of a number of people.

However, the credit of the modern form of the contact lenses is generally given to F. E. Muller. He came up with the concept of contact lenses in 1887. Another researcher who is considered a pivotal contributor to the modern day evolution of contact lenses is Rene Descrates. He was the one who brought up the concept of corneal contact lenses. John Herschels, a British scientist also made commendable contribution in the contact lens technology.

A new era heralded in the second half of the nineteenth century as there were incredible inventions that were made in the field of contact lenses. This led to a spurt of knowledge about the contact lenses within the common man. This created a niche of people in the society. At this point of time Eugen Fick’s Scleral came up with some new concept of contact lenses. This new concept became a hit among the people. These lenses were then later modified and improved by August Miller.

The contact lens history took a new dimension with the advent of lenses made from scleral plastic. This diverted the attention of the researchers towards the development of more sophisticated form of contact lenses. William Feinbloom took the contact lens industry on a higher stepping stone and is therefore considered a pioneer in the history of contact lenses. Another scientist named Joseph Dallos too earned good accolade for his phenomenal contribution.

As there was a technological revolution, various scientists came up with their contributions. George Butterfield contributed by bringing an improvement in the corneal lenses. With the silicone hydrogel contact lenses coming up, the focus was shifted towards more sophisticated and comfortable contact lenses.

All these points from the history shows that people from time to time were in a need of better form of contact lenses. And even now the innovations have not stopped. Now and then the manufacturers are coming up with newer models of contact lenses. With the coming up of colored contact lenses, there has been a shift in their concept as they do not remain a commodity of vision correction but are now increasingly used for cosmetic purposes.

But as the saying goes: history never ends here. There are many more innovations that are still pending, they may come on the block soon.

Refractive Errors and Laser Vision Correction

About 120 million people in the United States wear eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. This article will outline some refractive errors that cause people to wear vision correction devices, and may lead to their decision to have laser eye surgery.

The vision disorders, called refractive errors, occur when the curve of the cornea is incorrectly shaped (too steep or too flat) for the length of the eye. When the cornea has a correct shape and curvature, it bends light onto the retina with precise focus. However, when the curve of the cornea is not correct, it bends the light so it is not sharply focused on the retina, making images appear blurry. By placing corrective lenses, either glasses or contacts, in front of the cornea, the light is bent slowly to compensate for the refractive error of your cornea.

Myopia, or nearsightedness, affects more than 25 percent of all adult Americans. When the cornea is curved too steeply, or if the eye is too long, faraway objects will appear blurry because they are focused in front of the retina.

Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is the opposite of myopia. Distant objects are clear, and close-up objects are blurry. With hyperopia, images focus on a point beyond the retina. Hyperopia results from an eye that is too short or a cornea that is too flat.

Astigmatism is a condition in which the uneven curvature of the cornea blurs and distorts both distant and near objects. A normal cornea is round, with even curves from side to side and top to bottom. With astigmatism, the cornea is shaped more like the back of a spoon, curved more in one direction than in another. This type of curving causes light rays to have more than one focal point and focus on two separate areas of the retina, distorting the visual image. Two-thirds of Americans with myopia or hyperopia also have astigmatism.

Presbyopia commonly affects people as they enter their 40s, and it occurs as the lens inside the eye becomes less flexible and the muscles controlling the lens weaken. People with presbyopia may experience blurred vision when performing everyday "close-up" tasks, such as reading, sewing, or working at the computer. This is why some people with presbyopia need reading glasses or need to hold objects farther away to see them.

Correcting the curvature of the cornea is different for each condition previously mentioned. Glasses and contact lenses are designed to compensate for the refractive errors caused by myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. Many people, however, want to reduce their dependence on glasses and contacts. The reasons people find eye glasses or contact lenses are diverse.

There are a number of highly advanced surgical procedures available that effectively reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses. However, not everyone is an ideal candidate for these procedures. It is best to consult an experienced laser eye surgeon in your area to see if you are a good candidate. For more information read another article of mine titled "Different Types of LASIK."

Teenagers – Inside the Teenage Brain

Recent research on the human brain provides parents with shocking new evidence to possibly explain the sometimes irrational, illogical and impulsive behavior of teenagers. Brain researchers can now scan the live teenage brain to observe and examine why these curious and perplexing creatures make so many impulsive and egocentric decisions, that may even sometimes lead to risky behavior.

As it turns out, brain development during the teenage years is radically more active and dynamic than previously thought. During these years, the part of the brain that requires a person to make responsible decisions, understand consequences, and process problem-solving is under heavy construction, and much of the time dysfunctional. Even though the brain is almost physically mature, the grey matter in the thinking part of the brain (pre-frontal cortex) is still making connections. So teenagers are left with most of the information reaching their brains being processed in the emotional part (limbic system).

Information processed in the limbic system, without benefit of higher level processing in the pre-frontal cortex, may result in impulsive, egocentric, and maybe even risky, behavior. Because of this ongoing construction in the thinking part of the brain, a teenager is, many times, not capable of fully processing information that is necessary to make responsible decisions. Combine this brain challenge with a teen’s temperament, maturity level, developmental stage and environmental impact, and it begins to become understandable why parents may find this time so exhausting and frustrating.

Realizing that major construction is going on inside the pre-frontal cortex of the teenage brain does not excuse inappropriate or irresponsible behavior from the teen. But understanding the teenage brain is crucial to figuring out how to interact with it. For the teenager, this time in his or her life can be a creative and emotional roller coaster ride with plenty of thrills and chills (and maybe some spills), but for parents it can be just nerve-wracking and terrifying. Healthy communication and effective discipline are what a teenager needs to help navigate this important time, especially since the brain is not yet necessarily ready or able to face all of the inevitable challenges, without support.

Each interaction with a teenager will affect development of his or her brain, helping the teen make connections in the pre-frontal cortex. During this time of heavy construction, the teenage brain needs focused and intentional support and teaching to help form and solidify these hopefully healthy connections. Parents can benefit from the understanding that there’s much work that can be done while the teenage brain in still under construction and with proper perspective and effort, a teenager can learn to be less impulsive and egocentric, and make better and more responsible decisions.

As parents decide how to more effectively communicate with the developing teenage brain, it’s vital to also consider who a child actually is, and what kind of parenting styles the child is exposed to. Most of us are the result of an even dose of nature and nurture, and understanding the nature of who a child is, and how his or her surroundings have impacted that child, can help parents formulate more effective techniques when facing challenging situations during the teenage years.

The nature of a teenager is a complex and fascinating combination of temperament, stage of development, personality, maturity level, and social connection. In addition, parents need to consider the teenager’s emotional health (self esteem) and relational health (to what degree have the teen’s closest relationships positively impacted his or her development).

And then there’s parenting styles. Healthy and effective parenting (described as authoritative), can help the positive development of the teenage brain. Using healthy communication tools like active listening, reframing, timing of teaching moments, I-messages, etc. and effective discipline tools like healthy limit setting, consequences, picking and choosing battles, few rules, etc. can greatly help the teenager’s pre-frontal cortex develop solid connections to enable responsible behavior.

For more information on understanding the complex nature of who a teenager is, how his or her brain develops and processes information, and to practice new and easy-to-learn healthy parenting tools, please visit: ResponsibleKids.net

© 2008 Marty Wolner, BA, CPE, ICF, PACA

UK University Rankings – A Comparison

Which is the best ranked university in the UK? How are universities performing? There is no official government ranking of universities in the UK. However, there are some newspaper rankings published every year by the Times Newspaper, The Telegraph,The BBC’s Student Guide, The Independent University Guide and The Guardian.

Oxford is ranked as the Number 1 University by The Independent and Guardian, outperformed Cambridge in 2008. Oxford tops the Guardian league table, followed by Cambridge, London School of Economics, Warwick, St Andrews, Imperial, University College London, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and Edinburgh.

There are several university guides in the UK which rank all universities in order of merit, but based on different criteria. Guardian focuses on the quality of teaching and what students themselves think. The Independent Good University Guide (now The Complete University Guide) uses nine measures of quality – student satisfaction, research assessment, entry standards, student/staff ratio, library/computing spend, facilities spend, degree classifications, graduate prospects, and completion rates. All universities are assessed in these nine quality factors. It is a highly regarded university guide; students often make a reference to the ranking tables when choosing a university. There are 59 subject tables which rank the universities within individual subjects.

However, a university which ranked highly in The Times may appear in a poor position in other university guides such as the Sunday Times or the Guardian. In 2008, there are some big differences in ranking positions among the two famous university guides (Guardian and The Independent), such as the follows:

(1) University of Dundee is ranked 17 in the Guardian (A Top 20 University), but it is ranked 52 in The Independent, even not in the Top 50!

(2) University of Bristol is ranked 31 in the Guardian (outside Top30), but it is highly ranked in The Independent, at 16.

(3) Anglia Ruskin University is ranked 109 in The Independent, but it is in a higher position of 71, in the Guardian league table.

(4) Thames Valley University is ranked 85 in the Guardian, and 110 in The Independent.

(5) University of Durham is doing extremely well in The Independent, ranked at 6th position, but it is ranked 16 in the Guardian (outside Top 15).

(6) University of Abertay Dundee is ranked 68 in The Independent, but it is outside Top 100 in the Guardian, at 105.

Which ranking guide is the best? It really depends on a number of factors.

Lingam Massage – Alternative Therapy To Address Impotence

While there are various body massages that offer enormous physical gains and health benefits, the lingam massage aka tantra lingam massage is the route through spirituality, discovering and differentiating the soul and the self.

Lingam massage is known as a spiritual tradition and has its origin rooted in India and invented some 4000 years ago as a way of live celebrating union of the body, and the emphasis is given to the union of body with the heart, mind and the soul. The massage is in fact a form of yoga and is also prescribed for those who suffer from issues of impotence and urinary incontinence. It should be noted that the massage is not a recommendation for size gains and things thereof.

Lingam massage should be regarded as an alternative therapy for treating impotence issues arising from premature ejaculation.

Not every spa and massage parlor is qualified to offer the lingam massage, and it is only qualified massage therapists and centers offer this rare form of exercise where in pressure is applied on a man’s genitals and the deep tissues will be manipulated once the pressure reaches the points extremely cautiously in a structured form. The massage is initially approached as a reflexology technique. It is known that reflexology has many benefits including improving the blood circulation, reducing the stress (remember stressed mind can result in breakdown of immune system resulting in several medical conditions), stimulating the nerve functioning and eventually revitalizing mind and the body.

The person who opts to receive the lingam massage therapy will also have to comply with certain rules as prescribed the therapist. Chemical-loaded oils are a strict no in the massage and the benefits are far from felt if cheap organic chemical lotions are used. A qualified lingam massage therapist would only use recommended special oils derived from herbs and start gently applying pressure. These oils will leave no side effects on the skin unlike the synthetic lotions do. While the direct benefit of the massage is treating PE problems it also de-stresses the mind and the body to a greater extent just like some other body massages.

The massage receiver will be made to lie on back with pillows or cushion under the head. A pillow is placed under his hips to rise his hips and then the legs are spread with knees bent. Before starting the actual therapy the receiver is taught some deep breathing techniques so his mind is calm and tension free. The therapist will then apply the herbal oils and give the massage gently first through the legs. The receiver will be asked to continue relaxed breathing as long as the massage is given. It is after the prescribed amount of time of massaging that the person experiences union of body and soul.

The Importance Of Fruit And Vegetables

Everyone knows that fruit and vegetables are important, as essential building blocks of any diet. Not only are they loaded with vitamins and minerals which are essential for healthy living, but they also help fill you up, as part of a balanced diet. By increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables, you will benefit your health no end, and will boost your immune system, as well as building resistance to common illnesses and infections. Furthermore, fruit and vegetables can leave you looking better and feeling great, as part of a healthy diet, which can be an all round improvement for your well-being.

Experts suggest that we should all consumer five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. This may sound initially like a large proportion of your daily overall intake, although it is essential that you strive to meet this target most days, for the benefit of your physical and mental health. Additionally, by filling out meals and increasing satisfaction at meal times. On top of that, the natural goodness contained within these ultimate healthy foods will provide the necessary energy to fuel you through the day, and give you the drive and determination to progress through a course of exercise to improve overall fitness.

Fruit can act as a substitute for sugary snacks, which otherwise deplete energy and lead to numerous other health problems. The natural sugar contained within fruits is essential for the effective maintenance of the immune system and the body’s natural defense mechanisms. As well as increasing fruits within the diet as a healthy snacking alternative, it is also a good idea to make more use of vegetables in every meal. Vegetables should account for a substantial proportion of each meal, to ultimately improve your diet, and by ensuring a substantial increase in the role they play within your diet, you should end up seeing the benefits in your skin, hair, and general health.

By increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy balanced diet, you can really benefit from the healthy nutrients and minerals these foods contain. In addition to this, fruit and vegetable intake can leave you feeling physically better and more alert, increasing attention span and reducing tiredness.

Why not try introducing more vegetables and fruit into your diet today, by doing a straight swap of fruit for sugary snacks, and introducing vegetables to boost any meal, as part of a nutritious and healthy balanced meal.

How To Lose Weight Fast – Focus On MDF In That Exact Order And See Changes The 1st Week!

Do you want to learn how to lose weight fast… without getting the consequences associated with quick weight loss? Well, in order for that to happen, it all starts with focusing on the right things in the right order with your weight loss program. That’s where M.D.F comes in… and that what I’m going to talk about with you today…

Alright, first things first. I just got to ask a question: Did I do a good job in getting you curious about what the heck is M.D.F? I just hope I didn’t get you thinking that M.D.F is some type of dangerous illegal weight loss supplement that some underground drug company is producing (lol)!

Okay my friend, if you want to get fast results, then it is important that you create your transformation program by focusing on the 3 most important things in the proper order. Those 3 things are:

M – Metabolism: It is extremely important that you focus on the things you must do to increase your metabolism and avoid having it slow down. I know this may seem confusing and different in comparison to many other things you may have heard as far as dieting being the number one rule. Dieting is VERY important, however, EVERYTHING you do must be based around keeping your metabolism running strong… and that includes dieting… and that’s why focusing on figuring out what you need to do to boost your metabolism should be the first thing on your list.

D – Diet: The next most important thing to focus on is your dieting. It does not matter how long you are in the gym, or how long you just jogged for, if your diet is not in check, then the results are going to be minimal to none. Unfortunately for myself, I had to learn that the hard way! I would just eat what I wanted and assumed busting my butt with exercising would make it all alright… and boy was I wrong!

F – Fitness: And last, but certainly not least, you of course have to focus on fitness. Exercising is like the engine of a car, your metabolism is the car itself, and dieting is the gasoline. (WOW… that was kind of impressive! I’m going to make sure I copyright that quote as soon as possible… lol)! Anyway, making sure you are doing proper fitness routines is what will ensure you get that amazing body in no time.

Now, Here Is How You Put It All Together…

1.) For dieting, you have to boost your metabolism. So, this means that you have to go on a diet program based around eating in a way that increases your metabolic rate. The ways that this is possible is by eating smaller meals often during the day, shifting calories, eating healthy meals integrated with cheat meals in a special way, eating the right nutrients that boost your metabolism (such as dark green veggies and foods high in antioxidants), and more.

2.) For fitness, again, you have to boost your metabolism. This means you need to hit the stop button on the treadmill, walk off the platform, and step away from it! Long boring cardio WILL NOT BOOST YOUR METABOLISM! Contrary to what you may see constantly in the gym, cardio is not the best type of exercise for getting in shape.

The most effective and most efficient way to lose weight fast is actually to build lean muscle! Why is that you ask? Well, when you build lean muscle tissue, not only will you burn calories during your training session, you will also burn calories WELL AFTER your workout is down! And this is because building lean muscle tissue increases your metabolic rate and your resting metabolic rate!

When you do cardio, I recommend you do the number one type of cardio that is best for maintaining muscle tissue… and that would be high intensity cardio or high intensity interval cardio. Both types of workouts take WAY less time to do than traditional cardio, they are more fun to do, and they of course will burn away a crap load of calories!

So, if you have wondered how to lose weight fast, and if it was safe to do, then as you can see from above, if you focus on M.D.F (metabolism then diet then fitness), and if you do the right things with each, then make no mistake about it, you WILL see results in your first week! In fact, when I shifted my focus around and started to focus more on boosting my metabolism with diet and exercising, I dropped close to 5 pounds in my first week… naturally and permanently!

How to Ace The Substitute Teaching Job Interview and Application Process

Identifying Hiring Requirements for Substitute Teaching Jobs

Educational requirements for substitute teaching jobs vary greatly from state to state. Some states require their subs to have a Bachelor’s degree and teaching credential, while others require only a high school diploma or the equivalent. Before beginning the application process, check with the school district or districts in your area for more information. In addition to academic qualifications, other requirements frequently include background checks, fingerprinting, medical exams, application fees, training sessions, and drug testing.

Finding Substitute Teaching Jobs

Your local school district’s website is a good place to begin your job search. You can also call the school district and request to speak with the substitute coordinator. Ask him or her if the district is hiring substitute teachers. If so, request an application by mail. Check the government section of your phone book, or conduct an Internet search, to find other school districts in your area.

If a district isn’t hiring, ask when the district will be accepting applications for substitute teachers and make a note to follow up later. Because school districts often keep applications on file for up to a year, you may want to apply even if there aren’t immediate openings for subs.

Several years ago, I applied for a substitute teaching position at a school district near my home. A few weeks later, I received a form letter stating plainly that due to the budget crisis in California, the district wasn’t hiring any additional subs, nor did it plan to hire any in the near future. I thought I had heard from this district for the last time, but then a few weeks later, I received a call from the district’s personnel department. I was invited to attend an orientation for new substitute teachers, and I even worked briefly for this district before I moved to Arizona!

The bottom line: Apply to as many districts as you can, even if they don’t have immediate openings.

Managing The Substitute Teaching Job Interview

If you’ve applied and meet the basic requirements, you’ll probably be called in for an interview. Before you go, do some basic research on the district, its schools and programs, and its student population. Check the district’s web site, or ask the secretary to send you some information. If you don’t hear from the district office within three to four weeks, call to find out the status of your application.

Even though many teachers dress casually for school, wear professional attire for the interview. Bring copies of any documents requested by the district’s personnel department.

In the interview, you may be asked hypothetical questions about how you would handle various classroom situations. These questions may be asked by an individual interviewer, or by a panel of school administrators, teachers, or district personnel staff. Here are a few examples of questions tha you might be asked:

“What would you do if the teacher left no lesson plan, or if you had time to fill?”

Possible Answers: Ask the principal or another teacher if there are other lesson plans available. You could also say that you would bring some activities of your own, or you would have a class discussion on some issue related to the course (or other appropriate topic).

“How would you handle a disrespectful or uncooperative student, or a student that makes inappropriate comments in class?”

Possible Answers: Tell the student to stop immediately, and leave the teacher a note describing the student’s behavior. Resist the impulse to engage in a power struggle with the student. If the problem continues, or if it’s serious, call the school office or send a reliable student to the office for help.

“What would you do if a fight occurs in the classroom?”

Possible Answers: Demand that the students stop fighting immediately, and call the office or send a reliable student to the office for help. Seek the help of a teacher or campus security guard. Make sure that the other students are safe from harm.

“What would you do if a student has a medical emergency in the classroom, such as a seizure, bleeding, or lapse of consciousness?”

Possible Answers: Call the school office or send a reliable student to the office for help. Make sure that the other students are safe from harm. If necessary, locate the class first aid kit, cover your hands with latex gloves, and take the proper steps to treat the student’s injury.

You may also be asked about your work and life experiences. Take the opportunity to talk about your parenting experiences and any work you’ve done with children in the community. Share any lessons you’ve learned that have helped you work effectively with children, especially under difficult circumstances.

In the interview, the interviewer (or interviewers) will probably discuss district policies and procedures, federal and state education laws, expectations for substitutes, and other issues. You’ll also be given an overview of a typical work day, and you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions. Don’t hold back–make sure that you’ve cleared up any issues you don’t know or understand.

Above all, be personable and show enthusiasm about children and education. Show that you’re a confident person who will treat students with care and respect. You’ll then be on your way to your first assignment!

Investing in Pharmacy Business in Uganda: Weep and Reap

Prior to putting pen to paper for this article I called up my mother. Shortly after exchanging Christmas holiday pleasantries, I quickly got down to business (she said she was playing Monopoly with the family and so needed to get back to Euston road), and asked her point blank:

“Is pharmacy business profitable?”

You see at one point of her entrepreneurial career she run a pharmacy and supported 7 children at the time. Drug names like Magnesium Tricilicate and Penicillin V therefore easily rolled off my tongue from early childhood. I therefore believed she would help me.

Her simple response (in my mother tongue):

“Yes, but the pharmacies are always playing cat and mouse with the authorities and you need to watch for theft of the drugs.”

In her simple lay person terms, and without a pharmacy degree or formal training, she had laid out the key risk factors to look out for if you are to invest in this business.

Why invest in the pharmacy business in Uganda?

The title of the article highlights the double jeopardy of this sector.

Cat and mouse: Government vs hospitals, where are the drugs?

You cry (or weep) for our beloved country because it would seem that many reports indicate that whereas the Government is constantly allocating money to hospitals for buying medication, when you get to the hospital the doctors tell you there are no drugs in stock and you will have to buy them from somewhere else.

Ugandan hospitals appear to have therefore been transitioned into diagnosis clinics identifying underlying health issues of patients and then sending them out to look for medication. The doctors claim there are no drugs in stock. It’s therefore common for patients in Uganda to go to government hospitals, receive diagnosis for their diseases and leave without even the basic medication of pain killers. The government claims they send the medicine to the hospitals but the hospitals claim they never receive the drugs so the big question is where do the drugs go?

The pharmacy sector: More weeping.

According to the Pharmaceutical society of Uganda, the body responsible for the sector, there are currently 465 qualified pharmacists, of whom 70 are abroad, leaving about 395 practicing within the country.

With a population of approximately 34 million people, this represents a pharmacist to population ratio of 1: 88,000 which is way below the recommended World Health Organisation (WHO) 1: 2,000 ratio.

The chronic shortage is being addressed by the pharmaceutical society in conjunction with Universities to among others increase the number of pharmacists being trained but in the meantime, illegal pharmacies continue coming up, the cat and mouse games with National Drug Authority (NDA), the regulator, continue and meanwhile the population suffers as a result of the imbalance.

This therefore presents an opportunity to invest, and hence reap (whilst weeping for the sad state of affairs).

When I further analysed the state of the pharmacy sector in Uganda, I noted a number of key aspects to consider:

1. Whilst many press report place the number of clinics in the country to over 10,000 there are only 414 registered pharmacies in Uganda (registered with the regulating body).

2. Of these 414 registered pharmacies, over 292 are located in Kampala, the capital and in the Central region. This is a huge imbalance considering Uganda’s population is almost equally distributed at 25% in all the four regions (Northern, Eastern, Western and Central).

3. The opportunity is therefore to invest in a franchise or network of pharmacies that target the up country towns.

Prior to investing, there are however a few key considerations:

1. Drug licence. You must have a licence and your approved pharmacist must be regulated by the pharmaceutical society.

2. Retail business considerations. As any retail outlet, you must consider retail business risks such as location and stock controls (as my mother alluded to). Many drugs come in tablet or pill form and as such the quantities can be hard to monitor. It is therefore important to first understand the drug classes (in Uganda, this is mostly class B and C) and then understand how to ensure proper controls are put in place.

3. Return on investment. From my estimates, the profitability from investing in this sector is a revenue of Shs. 187m and a Return on Investment (ROI) of only 0.87 months.

Final word

In a country characterized with limited availability of medicine in the government hospitals, more and more pharmacists and businessmen have seen an opportunity to open independent pharmacies. They do this because of the unsatisfied demand for medication by the patients who don’t get it in the hospitals.

It is a business where we all weep for the state of our country, and then those who see the opportunity to help create change (while making money) reap (perhaps with little gnashing of teeth).

Strategies Management Adopt in Handling Change

Theoretically, there are various strategies that explain how change can be successfully initiated and implemented. However, let us first take a look at some of the common things to consider, before you embark upon an organizational change:

What do I want to change? Typically this might point towards a specific “problem” area.

Is this the fundamental thing that needs to change or is there a deeper “reason” lurking behind the “problem” that needs to be addressed? This question is particularly important because many times, after the change process has been run halfway, it is realized that a problem exists at a more basic level. Focus then shifts between new change areas that are discovered and the energy of change efforts get dissipated.

Why do I want the change?

How will I achieve the change? This will involve weighing the risk and incentives, balancing them out and addressing any gaps between intended process to achieve the change and issues related to these processes.

What about the finances required in implementing the change?

Will business possibly continue as usual during the change phase or will it get affected adversely?

What type of resource (external or internal consultants) should I use, given the size of my organization and knowledge base?

How, if at all, will the change impact the work culture or vice versa?

How critical is the situation and how much time do I have to respond to it?

Does my core change driver team have the contextual and operational knowledge, capability and influence to survive the change process or do I need to empower them in some way?

Once you have precise answers to these elementary questions, you can decide upon the strategy you want to adopt. Theory offers at least four different change strategies. In practice, we typically use a combination of some or all of these to address change situations. These four strategies are: The Empirical-Rational Approach, the Normative-Reeducative Approach, the Power-Coercive Approach and the Environmental-Adaptive Approach.

All four provide you with different insights into the type of change environment that may exist in an organization. The type of change environment broadly varies with the ideology of the informal organization or the cultural consensus that they may share and the type of change being introduced. The relevance of the different change strategies lies in the fact that they explore different assumptions about human motivation and behavior in order to understand or anticipate response to change. Thus, they take into account the psychology of the informal organization, and hence help effectively manage the human side of change.

Their beauty, however, is that they are never mutually exclusive, and different strategies may be used at different stages in the change process. Thus, depending on your change environment, you must decide on the appropriate mix of strategies, to be used to push change.

EMPIRICAL-RATIONAL STRATEGY

A “classic” approach to change management, developed by Robert Chin and Kenneth D. Benne, this strategy is built on the premise that, in general, human beings are rational and can be reasoned with.

Hence, although change innately is resisted, people can be won over by the genuine logic behind the change, and by what is there in it for them.

If people are convinced on these two aspects of change, the process becomes easily navigable. Thus, this strategy uses persuasion to make individuals accede to change, through planned, managed dissemination of information, which makes the incentives of change clear to them. Thus, this strategy demands skillful use of communication in selling the benefits of change. The emphasis is on providing correct information; education and training that inspire people to change of their own volition. Also, it is important to identify potential carriers of change – people who willingly accept the change, and are influential enough to spread the same.

The role of the CEO is important here. Being the leader of the organization, not only is he an influential figure, but also has relatively more credibility than anyone else in the organization. Hence, he can play a major role in securing the buy-in of his people and inspiring them to embrace the change.

However, by virtue of rationale again, people are seen to be generally resistant to change, if it has an imbedded downside that is not balanced or offset by an equal upside. Hence, a foolproof plan for successfully initiating change, or at least managing the human side of it, must work out the following:

A strong basis for initiating the change

Linkage to actual benefits or incentives to be derived from the change

The pros and cons, including an exercise on possible measures to negate the “cons”

This strategy works well only if you can balance the incentives against the risks in a profitable manner i.e. only if you are able to show that the value-add from the change is proportionately much higher than the risk involved.

This strategy becomes difficult to execute, if your risks outweigh your incentives, and especially so, if the general perception is that your company is in a relatively comfortable position, even without the change. A good idea then might be to show people some genuine reasons as to why the perceived comfort is just a passing phase and won’t last long.

In such a situation, some people may buy your logic, some may not. If you find the buyers to be capable of influencing the rest, endeavor to form a class that can serve as interpreters between you and the mass of people, and hence serve as drivers of change.

For the empirical-rational approach to succeed in the later phases of change, you also need to build your case on a strong Current Situation Analysis, proceed with proper training and development programs, initiate appropriate education, and carry out relevant research and development to support the change. Hire the services of field experts and Organizational Design and change specialists if required. Once these backups are in place, people will inevitably become much more confident of shouldering the responsibilities of change. Also, while you may initially identify a representative class to drive the change, eventually you must graduate to a phase where every team player is encouraged to come up with creative solutions aligned towards attaining a “best-of-all” situation.

However, the Empirical Rational Approach disregards the fact that while employees may understand the need for change or the rationale behind change, they may still not like to undergo change, because of the emotional troubles, adjustment issues etc. that come with transition.

NORMATIVE – RE-EDUCATIVE STRATEGY

Another “classic” approach to change management, this strategy takes wings from the fact that humans are social beings. Hence, they always have the inherent urge to conform to social norms and standards.

It does not deny that humans are rational and intelligent creatures, but views their behavior as being guided by socio-cultural norms and their allegiance to these norms. Restructuring their normative orientations and inducing them to commit to new norms introduce change.

Often, a cultural shift in the organization becomes imperative to adapt to market situations and survive competition. For example, your competitor may be producing twice your output because of their technological advancement, whereas you lag behind because you still rely on manual operations. This needs you to shift work culture from a manual to a technology oriented people set, which in turn requires you to appropriately train and prepare people for the change. Normative – Reeducative Strategy is defined as a strategy that believes that norms in an organization can be purposely shifted to attain higher productivity, through collective people efforts.

Given that culture and norms quickly become a part of who you are, an initial resistance to anything non conformist or maverick is quite expected. Ironically, norms and standards too are not constant over time. If they had been, evolution of society would never have been possible. Just like a stream of water that changes its course, when it meets a strong obstruction, culture and norms can also be re-established and redefined.

This approach believes that changing the attitudes, values and culture leads to an automatic change in behavior. The very logic that makes initial resistance to such change inevitable is used to explain how, over a period of time, this kind of a change tends to adhere. Thus, although it may be paradoxical, it is actually practically observable that once a new culture sets in, people instinctively feel the need to conform, simply in order to survive.

An important tool in initiating this change is the presence of a magnetic and dynamic personality, who can considerably influence people and their perspectives. This personality can be a leader, a change agent or most effectively, the CEO of the company. Given his visibility, prominence, credibility and authority in an organization, he possesses all that is required to effect a change.

While a culture change is possible, it is never immediate. For it implies considerable adjustments to the hitherto established thought patterns and mindsets. As a result, it can emerge only as an outcome of a gradual process. Hence, this strategy is applicable only if you have a longer time frame at your disposal for enabling the change.

The Normative – Reeducative Approach is perhaps the most widely used strategy in present times. When using this strategy, it is important to remember that it is better to try and work through the existing culture, collaborating with people, and helping them see a new and better possibility, than to wake up one fine morning and replace it with a new culture. After all, you cannot change culture the way you change clothes, because it connects to a deeper part of you and how you operate. So, this approach calls for an honest endeavor to work in sync with people, identify problems and facilitate solutions. It should be directed towards improving problem-solving capacities, upgrading processes within a system, and fostering new attitudes, skills, and norms for people. While the bright side is that when your efforts engage people so much, chances of resistance are minimized. But on the other side of the coin, this approach is too dependent on employee cooperation. For instance, new software developed for a certain insurance company was found to be left unused even till months after, because the employees did not want to step out of the comfort of the “old way of doing things.” Often, such a change involves unlearning and relearning, and while the change may ultimately trigger simpler solutions to their work problems, the transition phase comes as a real challenge, often leading to resistance.

This strategy could be used in conjunction with a change in the employee performance management systems that reward people who facilitate change and penalize those who oppose it. This may help to beat the resistance and build a more cooperative atmosphere. Further, since work culture falls as much within the domains of the formal organization as the informal organization. Therefore, a change to the work culture can succeed only if an amiable relationship exists between these two counterparts, or at least if leaders of the informal organization buy the proposed change.

Another perspective on this strategy tells us that while most of the time, individuals prefer to stick to established conventions; the story is different when people within the system are not happy with the status quo. This is a situation where people are actually looking out for change. In this scenario, the preliminary step that the management needs to take to trigger a change is to evaluate and clarify organizational norms and culture. This can be done through interactions, discussions and at a personal level, introspection by the employees of the organisation. So, more often, this strategy will intimately involve people in the “process” of change rather than have them face only the “impact” of change.

Hence, the normative-reeducative approach targets attitudes and values. It tends to produce long lasting changes as it usually involves group goals, group norms or common values. The reason is that once a new norm sets in, after being initiated either by the formal or the informal organization, it eventually becomes part of the system – “the way things are” – and therefore stabilizes over time.

POWER – COERCIVE STRATEGY

This “classic” strategy bases itself in the power of “power”. According to Hans Morgenthau:

Power may comprise anything that establishes and maintains the control of man over man. Thus power covers all social relationships, which serve that end, from physical violence to the subtlest psychological ties by which one mind controls another.

Applied to our context, this strategy advocates “power” in the form of threat sanctions, and believes that people are, in general compliant, and will ultimately bow down to those who possess greater power.

At times, when the change is not radical but moderate, the company may also use subtler forms of power or hegemonic power to attain its objective. In fact, the Normative Reeducative Approach or the Empirical Rational Approach ultimately uses hegemonic power very subtly, to navigate through the change process. Hegemony is like an internalized form of social control, which makes us feel we are choosing when really we have no choice. The 20th century French Marxist Louis Althusser called this ‘trick’ as Interpellation.

In both these cases, when a change has been decided upon, people have no choice but to accept it. They may resist for some time, but ultimately must go with the flow. However, instead of using force, these strategies use “reason” and “collaboration” to make the “change situation” seem like a choice that will lead to a better situation than the status quo. So, while the idea that the change will lead to a prospective better situation is true, it is ultimately never open to choice. Hence, indirectly even these strategies use some form of subtler hegemonic power. However, the difference is that while these approaches secure the support of the people through logic or collaboration, hence ensuring that change endures and stabilizes over time, the direct use of imposing power, as advocated by the Power – Coercive Strategy, runs the risk that once the power is removed, people may revert to their original behavior.

But many times, exerting authority, subtly or otherwise, in the form of political and economic sanctions, legislation, policies, “moral” power etc. may seem the only way to bring about a change. This happens when people in the organization collectively fail to perceive a threat that is, in reality, grave and must be resolved within a restricted response time. Use of power may also be necessary when people become obstinate and intractable in the face of a change, which has lots at stake. So, people may become even during times of an exigency. The trick applied here is to have it your way and leave no other option for your people but to accept the change. While political sanctions usually reward non-conformists with imprisonment, economic sanctions curtail financial incentives to those who resist the change. Thus, the use of coercive power is an attempt to make people yield to change by inducing fear or using actual force.

However, the use of power may not always be negative. For instance, one power – coercive strategy uses the behavioral psychology concept of “the carrot and the stick”. In this approach, power can be used to both reward employees who support change through financial incentives and punish those who don’t with political or financial consequences, through sanctions. Thus, power can operate both ways.

The success of this strategy, however, depends on the general temperament of the organization.

Some organizations, as a part of their culture, believe in the authority of seniority, and appreciate the role of the hierarchy in issuing guidelines or directives for organizational development. If your people are attuned to a system of healthy authoritarianism, this may come easy. But in an organization where liberality has long been practiced, Hitlerian tactics will face resistance. Still, with Power-Coercive strategies, people have little option but to accept change, since most of these strategies use stringent policies, where impunity is ruled out. However, to ensure that the foundations of change are built on unanimity rather than repressed fear or dissatisfaction, it is important to evaluate the nature of your organization, the problem at hand and the time frame at hand, before embarking on this strategy, as a last resort.

Robert L. Kahn observed that:

To say that A has the power to change B’s behavior necessarily implies that A exerts some force in opposition to some or all of the previously existing forces [including B’s own needs and values] on B. This is conflict….The exercise of [coercive] power, thus, necessarily creates conflict…

Thus, while the use of authority structures and threat sanctions can accomplish change, they may breed hatred and contempt for the organization or the senior management, which is harmful to organization in the long run.

ENVIRONMENTAL – ADAPTIVE STRATEGY

The Environmental-Adaptive Strategy, suggested by Fred Nickols, is built on the premise that while people innately resist change, they also eventually adapt themselves to it, when they are left with no choice.

Also known as the “die – on – the – vine” strategy, it takes its cue from the common observation that while individuals are quick to oppose change that they find threatening, they also have an innate ability to adapt quickly to a new set of circumstances. Applied to our context of organizational change, this human psychology translates to a strategy of first creating a new environment and then gradually moving people from the old to the new system. Thus, rather than proactively trying to “change” the organization by effecting a “change” in the behavior, processes, culture and norms of people, this strategy recommends that a new set of circumstances be created, and the innate nature of humans to eventually adapt be exploited, in letting the change “sink in”. Therefore, in this strategy, the ball shifts court from the management to the people, as the responsibility of regularizing the change now lies on the people and how they adapt to the change. They practically have no choice to accept or reject the change, unless of course one prefers to quit the organization altogether. Here, the change is made, and the individuals merely adapt themselves.

This strategy is best suited for changes that are radical in nature rather than those that are gradual. Say, you want to introduce the SAP-HR system to increase efficiency and speed of HR related work. This is an incremental change that will happen over time, as your Business HR personnel gradually learn how to operate the new system and shift from the old manual practice to the new systematized process. If you were to use the Environment Adaptive strategy here, creating the environment and leaving them to adapt to it in their own way, the transition phase, very likely would stretch too long. This is because, your managers already operate within a framework that they are comfortable with, and so they may be reluctant to shift to a new system. Here, you might have to use a mix of the empirical-rational and the normative-reeducative strategies instead to change that comfort culture and enable them embrace the change.

Now, consider the example that Nickols gives, of a radical change handled in the Environmental-Adaptive way. Rupert Murdoch wanted to shift to an entirely new operating structure, on terms that were very different from the current one at Fleet Street. So, he set about quietly establishing an entirely new operation in Wapping, some distance away from Fleet Street. As soon as the new system became operational, he informed the printers at Fleet Street that he had some good news and some bad news for all of them. The bad news was that they would have to shut down their operations at Fleet Street. So, everybody was fired. The good news was that a new operation had jobs for all of them, albeit on very different terms.

Now, most people in this situation will embrace the new option – a radical change, tackled using the Environment-Adaptive strategy. Of course, the strategy is a mix of the empirical rational and power coercive strategies, and that is only a reinforcement of the fact that practical situations often need a mix of different strategies to effectively manage change.

Many years ago, my work took me to a slum infested area. I was pained to see the kind of life those people led, the abject poverty everywhere, the bowl that every child held out in his hand, not for food, but in the hope that a kind passerby may drop some alms.

A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity of revisiting the same place to run an education camp, and was pleasantly amazed at the buildings that stood in place of the slums – an obvious outcome of a rigorous rehabilitation program! It was only when I ventured inside that I realized, that barring the safer, better and more decent dwelling place to live in, nothing much had really changed. The litter was still around, the kids still ran about in the mud in tattered clothes and they still held out their hands for alms. The rehabilitation program had done well in shifting them to a new place, but perhaps something more remained to be done to have them live a new, more meaningful life. Their “homes” had changed, their way of life hadn’t.

And to change that culture, they needed to be educated, to be shown that a better way of life existed, and existed within their reach. But even for that education to show its impact, I was now beginning to understand; I needed more kids like Jana, Neil and Don. Among the close to thirty kids I had been asked to supervise, there were only these three who were genuinely interested. The rest were happy with their life, as it was.

The above incident links to an important factor that you must consider before using this strategy. Ensure that you have at least a few capable, influential and probably “non conformist” employees, in your organization, who will embrace the change and drive the others. These are your “seed” employees – people who will foster a new and more effective work culture in the newly established setup. Correspondingly, Nickols uses the term “bad apples” to refer to people from the old culture, which are detrimental to the new culture and must be done away with.

If there is no buy-in on the change, at-least at the “seed” level, the strategy may not work. Rather, it may lead to a situation where you have a new workplace that continues to work in the old manner and follow the old culture. Effectively then, there hasn’t been much change.