Power Skills in Business

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Business Experts Say “Soft Skills” Are “Power Skills”

Technology is impacting all kinds of business and changing the way we work. As more business operations and jobs are changing due to automation, there is a new emphasis on capabilities for business. Creativity and communication abilities are two of the skills differentiating humans from machines. For example, automation can input data for analysis, while collaboration and communication is needed to discover how the data can best be applied to the business.KOHGRXNXL0_meeting_sticky

For these reasons the “soft skills” including negotiation, interviewing and business writing are taking on a new importance. Working with executives from large and middle-market businesses, Kathy Osborn, the Executive Director of the St. Louis Regional Business Council, suggested changing the term “soft skills” to “power skills.”

A majority of business decision makers agree with Osborn’s assessment of soft skills as the real power skills. Researchers discovered 77% of employers surveyed believe that soft skills are more important than hard skills. It is one of the findings in “The Rise of Soft Skills and Why They Matter Now.”

These power skills are on the rise in many industries and for many different reasons. Diverse and positive workplaces demand good communication skills, collaboration and respect.LUBQRTO8JB_handshake

Mobile technology and social media increases an organization’s exposure every day. Employees who deal with the public need power skills of listening, empathy and negotiation to be the best business ambassadors or risk a customer’s frustration becoming a viral assault on your brand.

What power skills matter most? Online learning platform, Udemy looked at what more than 20 million individuals are studying to come up with a top ten list.

Manager Training

Emotional Intelligence

Business Writing

Focus Strategies

Personal Development

Presentation and Public Speaking

Negotiation

Stress Management

Customer Service

Interviewing Skills

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New Bug Barometer Predicts A Bad Year for World’s Deadliest Pest – Mosquitoes

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 What to Know About Dangers of Mosquitoes for Your Family and Pets 

It is time to ready your pets and family for spring and more mosquitoes. The National Pest Management Association is out with its biannual Bug Barometer and it looks like it could be a big season for mosquitoes.Mosquito_pexels-photo-169357

Drawing on weather patterns and long-term predictions, the entomologists believe everyone’s least favorite neighbors will arrive in full force as our weather warms up.

Scientists say a wet winter and La Niña, the cool phase of a natural climate pattern in Pacific Ocean, are creating conditions favorable to mosquitoes which spread misery and disease to people and animals.

This is how the conditions for pests are shaping up across the United States.

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Jim Fredericks, Ph.D. explains, “Residual moisture is a prime attraction for pests, especially home-damaging termites and mosquitoes known for transmitting disease, and conditions are ideal for when these pests typically flourish in the springtime.”Big_tiger-mosquito-mosquito-asian-tigermucke-sting-86722

Mosquito-borne diseases are among the world’s leading causes of illness and death. Viral encephalitis, the West Nile virus, the Zika virus and malaria are just a few of the illnesses mosquitoes spread to people.

Heartworm is a deadly, but preventable parasite spread by mosquitoes to animals. Heartworms primarily infect dogs, cats and ferrets. They also infect a variety of wild animals. This is important to know because they can only be transmitted from animal to animal by mosquitoes.

Since heartworms are spread by mosquitoes, any pet exposed to mosquitoes should be tested. Because mosquitoes can also get into homes, this puts indoor-only pets at risk of infection as well.

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Indoor pets also need heartworm medication

The American Heartworm Society recommends testing pets every 12 months for heartworm and giving your pet a heartworm preventive 12 months a year.

Heartworm is a progressive, life-threatening disease. The earlier it is detected and treated, the better the chances a pet will recover and have less complications. You can learn more about heartworms in animals at https://www.heartwormsociety.org/  or your veterinarian’s office.

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The Benefits of Pets in the Workplace

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Some of my dearest friends I met at work. So it was a natural fit when a couple of my employers opened the door to my best friend, my dog.dog-1134492_960_720

Eight percent of all U.S. pet owners are allowed to bring their pet to work according to a survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). The number of companies allowing pets in the workplace is on the rise.

“While this does not work for all companies, studies have shown that pets reduce stress which can ultimately increase productivity,” said APPA Executive Vice President & COO Andy Darmohraj. “We’ve had dogs, cats and fish at our office over the years and they have been a source of joy and a real morale booster.” 549978_10200513195216643_1431418705_n

Researchers found support among the American workforce for pets on the job:

55 million Americans believe having pets in the workplace leads to a more creative environment

50 million believe having pets in workplace helps co-workers get along better

38 million believe having pets in workplace creates a more productive work environment

37 million believe having pets in workplace helps improve relationships between managers and staff

236506There is evidence employees with pets at work are healthier. Studies show the presence of friendly animals can reduce heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol and regularly interacting with animals can reduce anxiety and promote calmness.

Need more proof pets would benefit your business? Check out this persuasive pet infographic.

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Benefits of a pet-friendly workplace Infographic

Benefits of a pet-friendly workplace Infographic by Petco

 

Abandoned Pup Becomes a High Flying Star on the Dock and at Home

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Flying is not something you usually associate with dogs, but a former APA Adoption Center rescue dog is changing that. A puppy was found abandoned in a rural area of Missouri. The Labrador mix named Serenity by her rescuers was transferred from the overcrowded rural St. Clair County Animal Control shelter to the APA Adoption Center.

A044044The former stray seemed to have springs in her legs and an eagerness to learn. APA matchmakers alerted a Purina trainer, Sara Brueske. Brueske is always looking for canine athletes in her work as an award winning trainer who frequently fosters dogs. Serenity became Kapow and began training with Brueske for a possible slot in a performing team at Purina Farms.

fb_img_1468286607277-1Working with the award winning trainer, Kapow was a stand-out in several competitive canine events including Frisbee play and dock diving. But she didn’t have everything Brueske was looking for, so a search was on for a new home.

Kapow’s wait for a new owner wasn’t long. An animal advocate added this high-flying pooch to his pack. An authority on flight as a professional avian ecologist, Ryan Brady knows a lot about active dogs.

12976913_10206166828074466_6712401224775644527_oBrady lives with a dock diving Yellow Labrador that is also an award winning sporting companion and a trained barn hunt dog. Rounding out the active Brady bunch is a sweet Puggle who embraces the hunting heritage of her Beagle ancestors and lap dog tendencies of her Pug lineage.

”Kapow is a great dog! She fit right in with my other two dogs from the first day I adopted her and is a member of the family,” said Brady who is committed to new stimuli and training for his canine companions who often accompany him on nature hikes and farm visits.Kapow_1

Kapow won a ribbon on her first jump in a dock diving competition with Brady. He is continuing training on the Frisbee and dock-diving while adding new pursuits like retrieving and putting out bird decoys.Spending a lot of time in nature where her owner works at a wildlife refuge, Kapow succeeds at a pursuit where many other dogs fail.

”She catches and kills squirrels frequently,” explains Brady. “Her speed and agility are amazing.”

Kapow may not have wings, but it isn’t keeping her from flying on the ground or in the air.

photo by Ryan Brady

Kapow is one of thousands of pets who find homes at the APA Adoption Center  every year. Providing services to more than 10,000 animals annually, the APA is a humane option for those surrendering unwanted or abandoned companion animals, provides education and outreach programs, reunites lost animals with their owners, provides pet adoption and foster care services and offers veterinary clinic services at a reduced rate. The APA Adoption center is open 7 days a week. For more information about the APA of Missouri, visit www.apamo.org .

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Business Takes Center Stage as LouFest Cancels and Community Support is in the Spotlight

Financial issues and a wet weekend weather forecast are two of the reasons the producers of LouFest gave for leaving music fans and local businesses high and dry with just three days notice.

Just hours after the cancellation announcement, the Saint Louis community began organizing to minimize the impact on music lovers, entrepreneurs and small businesses impacted by the LouFest cancellation.les_paul_guitar

Front Gate Tickets, the festival’s ticketing agent is set to refund music fans for their tickets. A two day pass for the event started at $105.00 and went up to $360.00 plus fees.

The artists and businesses taking part as vendors are not as lucky. Most have paid thousands of dollars in vending fees to be part of the festival and invested even more money in extra inventory to be ready for the fans in what was touted as the biggest festival ever with more than 40 acts.

A lot of extra food was ready to feed hungry fans. Local restaurants are working together with cross promotions and special events this week to minimize the impact.

Saint Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson is urging people to get out and support area restaurants and music venues. She posted lists of the local artists, restaurants, brewers and craftspeople who are a part of the LouFest vending list on social media.

The St. Louis Brewers Guild also went to social media to appeal for support for the local hospitality community: “We are devastated to learn news that LouFest Music Festival has been cancelled just days before the event. We loved supporting this event and were thrilled to be working with their team to help create a local beer-focused footprint for the event this year with “BrewFest”. Our local breweries and restaurants have invested so much in terms of time, planning, sponsorship fees, brewing and packaging tons of beer, food ordering, promotion, and staffing and this is a huge blow. Please take a look at the lineups for both BrewFest and the Nosh Pit and go out of your way to show these folks some extra love if you can. Thank you for supporting our local beer and food scene.”

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Schlafly Beer designed a special commemorative can exclusively for the festival along with a special run of that beer. It is a big investment for the brewery.

Schlafly is also reaching out to LouFest attendees with a special offer; “We’re inviting all Loufest ticket-holders to join us Saturday, September 15 at the Schlafly Tap Room. Doors open at 11 a.m. with the tasting from noon to 4 pm. We will be offering 10% off tasting tickets starting today at 10 a.m. through this weekend for Loufest ticket holders here with the code ‘LOUFEST18’. Loufest ticketholders can also pick up a free commemorative can by showing their ticket stub, wristband, or receipt at either one of our brewpub location starting on Friday at 5 p.m. While supplies last and limit of one per ticket-holding customer.”

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Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters who were supposed to headline at LouFest will perform at The Pageant Sunday night. rock-concert-crowd_925x

Other alternative LouFest performances include two stages at the Grandel Theater in Grand Center from 2-10pm Sunday with more than a dozen bands scheduled to play. The event will be free and local vendors are invited to take part.

Retailers who invested money in LouFest are also a part of a pop up experience all weekend on Cherokee Street.

Arch Apparel, a Saint Louis based clothing manufacturer that created special LouFest branded merchandise is offering an alternative weekend event for fun and to support businesses. The ArchFest is an indoor event scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at Arch Apparel’s showroom and warehouse at Watson Industrial Park in Crestwood. The warehouse block party will feature music and many of the vendors who were planning to be a LouFest. Want more information on #ArchFest? Check out Arch Apparel’s Event Page.

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To read the entire LouFest cancellation statement and view more of the participating vendors visit http://loufest.com/

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How Drones Are Helping Keep Ford Workers Safe

A Ford manufacturing plant is using drones to inspect the facility’s machinery, roofing and other equipment to improve safety while saving money and time. 518536_v2_Ford_Drone

Before putting the drones to work, Ford’s maintenance team put up scaffolding and platforms for the inspections that took 12 hours to complete. It wasn’t just the time and work to put up the scaffolding that was costly. The platform and scaffolding construction made it necessary to close the facility during inspections.

Now, with feet firmly on the ground and controlling drones equipped with GoPro cameras, maintenance workers can thoroughly inspect each area in under 15 minutes. The entire manufacturing facility can be covered in a day, zoning in on hard-to-reach areas to ensure they are well-maintained and comply with rigorous safety standards.CWVAoXKWIAA3h33

“We’d joked about having a robot do the work when there was a lightbulb moment – use drones instead,” said Pat Manning, machining manager, Ford Dagenham Engine Plant. “We used to have to scale heights of up to 50 metres to do the necessary checks on the roof and machining areas. Now we can cover the entire plant in one day and without the risk of team members having to work at dangerous heights.”

Ford’s drones are also being utilized for inspecting pipework, locating air leaks and checking machinery. Ford is now evaluating the possibility of using this high-flying technology at other facilities.

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How to Unleash the Positive Power of Pets on the Job with Tips to Prepare for Taking Fido to Work

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Ways to Make Take Your Dog To Work Day® a Success

Businesses across the United States are planning to make a ‘pawsitive’ change with canine co-workers. Friday, June 22, 2018 is Take Your Dog To Work Day (TYDTWDay®), the 20th annual observation of a fun opportunity for dog owners created by Pet Sitters International (PSI).

IMG_hr82mvMore American firms are opening their doors to pets at work. The number of companies allowing pets in the workplace is on the rise according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA). Researchers found support among the American workforce for pets on the job:

55 million Americans believe having pets in the workplace leads to a more creative environment

50 million believe having pets in workplace helps co-workers get along better

38 million believe having pets in workplace creates a more productive work environment

37 million believe having pets in workplace helps improve relationships between managers and staff

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Pets in the workplace can improve productivity

Are you planning on taking your dog to work for the first time? Make sure your office environment is safe. Remove poisonous plants and pesticides, hide electrical cords and wires and secure toxic items such as permanent markers. Any office items in question should be placed out of reach.

Make sure your dog is fit for work. Even dogs don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Be sure your dog’s shots are current. Make plans to have your dog bathed and groomed before accompanying you to work. Be mindful of your dog’s “work readiness.” You know your dog’s demeanor, so if he is aggressive or overly shy, it’s best to leave him at home. Consider how your dog has behaved in the past around strangers before making the decision to bring him. If your dog has shown fear, irritability or aggression, or if your dog has never met strangers, the workplace is not the best place for him.

Petatwork_Participant_at_Pet Sitters International NCHave a doggie bag. Include food, treats, bowls, toys, leash, paper towels, clean-up bags and pet-safe disinfectant. If you are routinely in and out of your work space, consider bringing a baby gate for your doorway or a portable kennel for your dog’s comfort and your peace of mind.

Plan your pet’s feeding times carefully. During an important sales call is probably not the best time for a bathroom break. Plan your dog’s feeding time around your work schedule and be sure to choose an appropriate area for your dog to relieve himself afterward.

Avoid forcing co-workers to interact with your dog. Dog lovers will make themselves known. Sally from accounting and Joe in human resources may not want to play fetch or offer belly rubs, so be mindful of fellow employees’ time and space. To avoid pet accidents, monitor the amount of treats your pet is being given from your co-workers. Remember that chocolate, candy and other people food should not be shared with dogs and that not all non-dog owners will be aware that these items can be very toxic to your pooch.

Have an exit strategy. Although most dogs enjoy being with owners at work, your pet may not. Should your dog become overly boisterous, agitated or withdrawn, consider taking him home or plan in advance for your professional pet sitter to offer a midday check-in visit. Never, under any circumstance, leave your pet alone in a vehicle while you work!09_tydtwday_hitachi_data_systems___staff

Publicizing your company’s participation in Take Your Dog to Work Day with local media and on social media platforms can generate some positive buzz for your business. Consider making the day a fund-raising opportunity for an area non-profit benefiting pet ownership.

“While TYDTWDay offers a fun opportunity to have dogs at work, its purpose since the inaugural celebration has always been to encourage pet adoptions,” explained Beth Stultz, PSI vice-president and TYDTWDay spokesperson.  “We hear from participating companies that partner with local shelters or rescue groups to allow them to bring in adoptable pets, host benefit luncheons or charity auctions, or plan contests such as dog-owner lookalike competitions to raise money for local pet-related organizations.”

Businesses interested in participating in TYDTWDay® can download PSI’s free 2018 Take Your Dog To Work Day® Toolkit at petsit.com/toolkit.

2018-TYDTWDay-Steps to follow before you take your dog to work

Battle the Growing Tick Health Threat with Free TickTracker App

tick-482613_960_720_tick_handHealth officials are warning ticks and the diseases they carry are spreading across the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, report the number of tick-borne disease cases has more than doubled in the last 13 years.

The CDC describes tick-borne illnesses as a public health threat proving difficult to control. While these diseases occur across the United States, the Northeast, Midwest and southern areas of the nation seem to be most at risk.

detail-3370931_960_720+tick2Olivia Goodreau knows a lot about the health threat ticks pose. The teenager was bitten by a tick in Missouri in the summer between first and second grade and it took 51 doctors and 18 months to figure out she had Lyme disease.

Health professionals are seeing more cases of Lyme disease. The CDC estimates that roughly 300,000 Americans are infected with Lyme each year, which is eight to 10 times higher than the number of cases actually reported. Lyme disease has 6 times more new cases each year than HIV/AIDS, yet it receives less than 1% of the funding.

tick-1271763__340_ticerOWhile living with Lyme disease, Goodreau is working to raise money for kids that cannot afford their Lyme medication and for research to find a cure. As a twelve-year old, she started the LivLyme Foundation in 2017 after she was told that she would live with the debilitating symptoms of Lyme disease for the rest of her life, or until a cure is found. Her efforts to help others include developing an app to help track, report, and educate about ticks. TickTracker is free to the public to download via the Apple and Android App Stores.

Learn more about helping Olivia Goodreau’s battle on ticks, the LivLyme Foundation and TickTracker at http://livlymefoundation.org

Easy Tips for Pet Preparedness

IMG_20180205_011823 (1)An emergency can happen anywhere changing our lives in an instant. Thousands of pet owners have lost their faithful friends due to storms, fires, and floods or man-made disasters. A majority of pet owners are unprepared for a possible emergency according to a recent survey. More than 90 percent of the pet owners in a Banfield Pet Hospital survey say they are not ready for a disaster.

Simple steps can be taken to reduce the number of pets that die or get lost or separated from their owners during times of emergency.

10522448_10204326587589069_1679476337642888810_nSome of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals.

If you must evacuate your home, is important NOT TO LEAVE PETS BEHIND! Pets most likely cannot survive on their own and if by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.

74XTZRXTELIf you are heading to a public shelter in an emergency, animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets; consider loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area who would be willing to host you and your pets in an emergency.

A good preparedness kit includes enough of your companion animal’s regular food, medications, first aid supplies, and an appropriately sized carrier. It is also recommended to have updated pet photos, immunizations records, and multiple contact numbers in the kit. You can buy a prepared kit or assemble one in a designated bag.

Items for a pet preparedness kit:

Food (your pet’s regular food) 236506
Water
Leash and collar
Bowl(s)
Photo of your pet/ID and a photo of you with your pet
Medications your pet needs
Immunization/vet records (keep both updated)
Pet carrier
First-Aid Kit
Contact list of pet-friendly hotels, veterinarians, out-of-town friends/family

Current ID tags and updated microchip for your pet are very important.

Knowing CPR for pets is also a good way to be prepared. The Red Cross offers classes in pet CPR. The Red Cross also offers a first-aid app for everyday emergencies. The app has videos and simple step-by-step advice on pet first-aid. To find it text “GETPET” to 90999 or search “Red Cross Pets” in the Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon Marketplace.

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Healthy to Age 100: 5 Tips from a Top Doctor

Wearable_fitness_JOUR_36253_448800Thinking about improving your health? You might listen to David Carr, M.D., the clinical director for the Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science for Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dr. Carr has reviewed thousands of medical studies in his practice and has some positive news about healthy aging: we can achieve significantly healthier outcomes with easy lifestyle changes and less effort than you might think.

“Exercise is number one,” Dr. Carr says. “There are studies that suggest regular physical activity can have positive effects on physical health, quality of life, and cognition. Even as little as 20 minutes of walking a day can yield great benefits.”

Thirty minutes of exercise, 5 times a week, is the minimum bar set by the Department of Health and Human Services.IMG_20151028_113009

It is easy to build up gradually in your regular routine. For example, choose the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the distant side of a parking lot instead of circling until a spot near an entrance opens.

Dr. Carr’s longevity prescription also includes a workout for your brain and social life. “Cognitive and social stimulation are number two,” he says. “There is simply not much stimulation if you stay home alone and watch TV. The brain is like a muscle — it needs to be used, stimulated, and pushed.”

In his medical practice, Carr has found having a “care” is part of the “cure”, because people who have social connections live longer.1000102_10201651982325609_766739615_n

“Interacting with other people in social situations is crucial. It’s also important to keep your hobbies going – board games, puzzles, cards, playing a musical instrument or staying active in volunteer work,” are a few of the suggestions Dr. Carr offers.

caroline-attwood-225496-unsplash - CopyDr. Carr’s number 3 tip is focused on your plate: “A good heart healthy diet will probably also turn out to be great for the brain,” he says. “You should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day and consume fish at least a couple of times a week.”

His next tip for living to 100 or more includes regular health checks to catch diseases early when they’re still treatable.

202874“Controlling risk factors for vascular disease is tip number four. We know the number one killer of the brain and heart is vascular disease or atherosclerosis. If you have high blood sugar, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, you should see your family doctor for treatment, and keep those risk factors under control.”

Dr. Carr finds relaxation to be vital. “I’m convinced that high stress levels over a lifetime can have a very negative impact on our organ systems,” he says. “So trying to keep stress under control is probably the fifth leg of the table.”DEYVTHFARF