The PGA Will Keep Using Donald Trump’s Golf Courses

PGA of America tournaments will make their way to more Donald Trump golf courses in the future.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the PGA will remain using golf courses owned by the Republican presidential contender. The organization’s CEO Pete Bevacqua said that politics aside, it will continue to use Trump golf courses, including for the Senior PGA Championship in 2017 and for the PGA Championship in Bedminster, New Jersey in 2022.

In July, the PGA did move one golf event, the PGA Grand Slam of Golf Tournament, from Trump’s Los Angeles golf club. “The parties mutually agreed that it is in the best interest of all not to conduct the 2015 PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Trump National — Los Angeles,” according to a statement issued.

That move came due to controversial remarks made by Trump about Mexicans during earlier in the summer.

The news comes as the PGA Championship, which is expected to earn Wisconsin $100 million after the final round is finished, starts tomorrow. It’s not, however, taking place at a golf course owned by Trump.

3 Ways A Shared Office Can Help You Achieve Work-Life Balance

Achieving work-life balance has always been easier said than done, but the widespread adoption of mobile technologies – cell phones, tablets and smartwatches, to name a few – has created additional challenges for workers who find it increasingly difficult to unplug in today’s “always on” society.

A recent Ernst & Young survey of 9,700 workers from eight different countries found that nearly one-third of full-time employees believe it’s more difficult to manage work-life today than five years ago. In addition, more than half of U.S. employees said they have or would be willing to pass up a promotion for better work-life balance, with millennials the most likely generation to take this step.

For freelancers, entrepreneurs and other self-employed individuals who work from home at least part time, the obstacles can be even greater. As a result, many have turned to shared offices that make it easier for them to separate their personal and professional lives and maximize productivity.

Specific benefits of these collaborative office environments include:

  1. A physical separation between work and home: People who work in a traditional office environment probably wouldn’t want to live there 24/7, yet that’s the reality for most work-from-home professionals. While having dedicated “office hours” can help maintain work-life balance, many have a hard time stepping away from their desk when it’s always just a few steps away.

    By utilizing a shared office, self-employed individuals can draw a clear line between work life and home life. And in many cases, they’re able to operate more efficiently than home-based professionals, who face a multitude of distractions, including everything from pets and children to household chores.

  2. A turn-key environment: A home office may sound convenient, but many work-from-home professionals underestimate the time and money that must be spent to get a workspace up and running. Existing phone and internet service may be inadequate for business use, and despite being labeled a “home office,” a workspace may not be equipped with furniture and other office must-haves like a copy machine and videoconferencing capabilities.

    Shared office centers allow professionals to hit the ground running by offering a fully furnished, fully equipped environment that is “work ready” at move-in. If any issues arise with services or technologies, it’s up to the office provider to fix them, saving entrepreneurs and freelancers many of the headaches they might otherwise encounter if working from home.

  3. Support staff: Most home offices are a one-person operation, which can make it difficult for entrepreneurs and other self-employed individuals to take some much-needed time off. Those who do may find themselves glued to their smartphone out of fear they will miss an important call or email.

    One of the biggest benefits of a shared office is the built-in support staff, including a live receptionist who can answer calls when a client is busy or out of the office. Even if shared office users continue to spend part of their work week at home, they can reap the benefits of having a separate mailing address and phone line for all business-related communications, which not only adds to credibility, but also promotes work-life balance by reducing the number of business calls a person receives on their personal phone.

Because each person’s real estate needs are unique, it’s important for self-employed professionals to evaluate all of their options before going all-in on a particular office setup. As some will discover, the balance and flexibility commonly associated with a home office may not always be achieved by officing at home.

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Frank Chalupa is president and co-founder of Amata Office Solutions, a Chicago-based real estate provider specializing in office solutions for companies requiring up to 10,000 square feet of office space.

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Now Outlook Can Order You an Uber, Make a Paypal Payment

In its quest to make Outlook as cool as Google’s Gmail, Microsoft is adding some bells and whistles to its email service.

Starting now, users can integrate Uber, PayPal, Evernote, and Boomerang add-ins into their email and calendar. This means users can connect their account to these and receive useful notifications, such as to order an Uber ride prior to a meeting (and even ordering it through the reminder), or the ability to send a friend some money through PayPal via email. Some of these add-ins — like Uber and Boomerang — were already available for the few with access to’s new design, though the company is rolling it out to more users now.

Add-ins for business reviews community Yelp, to-do list software Wunderlist (which Microsoft acquired), and IFTTT, a service for connecting all kinds of apps and notifications, will be coming in the future, Microsoft said.

Uber, PayPal, Evernote, and Boomerang are all already available on Outlook 2013 and Outlook on the web for users with Office 365, and Exchange 2013 mailboxes, with coming soon.

Want a Promotion? Here are 3 Ways That Giving Back Can Help You Get Ahead

Put yourself in your manager’s shoes. What do you think your company’s leaders want in the next generation of leaders at your company?

Rule followers? Status quo maintainers? Time-sheet punchers? Nope.

Today’s most innovative companies want to promote people that are initiators, collaborators, and trusted by their peers. They need people who are capable of leading in increasingly competitive and ambiguous environments, and who can solve complex-problems along the way.

If you think that describes you, you need to prove it before you get promoted. The Daily Muse has a great article showing “7 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Promoted” (even if you’re doing great in your current role).

In fact, some companies informally require people to operate at a level up for up to a year before being promoted to that position. Amy Gallo, editor at Harvard Business Review, encourages people to “Act Like a Leader Before You Are One”.

However, if you’re like most people, you might be struggling to find enough leadership development experiences in your current role to develop the skills necessary to excel at a higher level — provided you are only looking within your company for these opportunities. In our research, we see that while managers value your on-the-job experience the most, they also look at off-the-job experiences, too.

In other words, things you engage in outside of your job can help you get promoted, and it doesn’t have to be a Master’s Degree. Once of the most underrated opportunities to develop more relevant experience is through skills-based volunteering and giving activities.

Here are three ways to engage in giving activities beyond your day-to-day job that will give you the necessary experience to get that promotion–and make the world a better place in the process.

1. Initiate Giving Activities for Your Team

You don’t need a title to be a leader. If your actual work priorities don’t give you the opportunity to lead a project, create a project with a social impact. You can start a fundraising campaign to support a cause your team cares about, organize days of service, and/or partner with a local charity or startup that could benefit from your team’s expertise.

In the process, you’ll build trust and respect amongst more team members. In addition, it will help you show that you’re able to take initiative and deliver results.

How to start:

  1. Ask your team members where they volunteer and/or donate. If it’s a bigger group, send out a survey.
  2. Ask your manager for permission to organize a giving and/or volunteering activity as part of an existing initiative (like a holiday party, leadership retreat, marketing program, product release, etc.).
  3. Choose a cause that excites your team members, reach out to local organizations that work in that area, and come up with options related to donation campaigns and days-of-service.
  4. Develop a couple proposals and present them to your manager. It could be as simple as a fundraising goal to benefit a local charity, starting a new “day of service”, and/or organizing after-work / weekend volunteer gatherings.
  5. Use local connections as well as tools like BrightFund, Effective Altruism, Global Giving, and/or Charity Navigator to setup an ethical and sustainable giving program.
  6. Amplify the impact of your work (and your reputation) by sending out quarterly updates of how your work is doing good. Work with other organizations across your company to include mentions of your team’s work in citizenship programs, marketing newsletters, and social media.

2. Volunteer Locally as a Board Member and/or Coach

Effective leaders are good at helping develop their team members. By building experience in a role where you provide more strategic support around business priorities and also help develop the skills of others, you can show that you have the capacity to partake in higher-level decision making and can help people develop their skills to deliver work.

How to start:
Volunteer on LinkedIn

  1. Talk to your friends and colleagues to see if they know of local organizations looking for coaches, mentors, and/or board members.
  2. Use a tool like LinkedIn’s volunteer search to find local volunteer projects.
  3. Find multiple opportunities, and ask your manager for a coaching conversation.
  4. Work with your manager to talk about some of your strengths and development areas, and discuss how you can further develop those while volunteering.
  5. Pick a project that you are passionate about, needs your skills, and provides opportunities to develop your coaching skills in the process (it’s ok to be a little selfish in your service!).
  6. Start volunteering, and share updates with your manager about the work you’re doing and skills you’re developing. Specifically, use your manager as a coach for challenges you face while volunteering so he/she has more insight into the real work you’re doing.

3. Find a Skills-based Volunteering Project that Helps You Develop Your Skills

While a Master’s program, certificate program, or continuing education can help you learn new information, you have to put that theory into practice to truly retain what you learn. Skills-based volunteering experiences, especially in resource constrained environments like startups or nonprofits overseas, allows you to fully immerse in an experience where you can practice and build your skills. Beyond skills, they can also expose you to new industries, innovative ideas, and cultural learning which can help you develop into a more innovative and inclusive leader.

How to start:

  1. Decide on a vacation, work-week, or longer-term sabbatical that you can commit to an experience like this.
  2. Find a short-term skills-based volunteering project with organizations that focus on skills-based projects and take an ethical approach to getting you matched like Kiva Fellows, Experteering with MovingWorlds, or Service-learning through Global Brigades.
  3. Similar to volunteering on a local Board or as a coach, work with your manager to establish your learning goals and new skills you have to learn to be successful. Perhaps you can even convince your company to sponsor your trip or pilot an ICV Program.
  4. Go Experteering and keep a journal of the things you learn.
  5. Return and schedule time with your manager to reflect on the experience.
  6. Create a presentation of the things you learn while Experteering and share with your team and company. Beyond sharing what you did, share new insights and that can benefit your team and company that you picked up while overseas.

To Summarize

Companies report that they lack enough quality leaders, however, they struggle to find enough growth opportunities for their high potential employees. By taking initiative and using service as your avenue to grow – being intentional to engage your team and manager as part of the process – you’ll show that not only do you have the drive, but that you’ll also have necessary skills to be an effective manager once you get your hard-earned promotion!

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Why Entrepreneurs Should Use The Strategy Plan Instead of The Business Plan

What is one of the first things people say you need before going into business? A business plan. The basis of this statement is that the business plan is supposed to be instrumental in guiding your business’s path towards continual growth. Also, the business plan is supposed to establish that you are serious about your business and have put a great deal of thought into its existence and operations. It is the traditional method of business forecasting that is still accepted as the standard blueprint of planning, even though entrepreneurship is supposed to be unconventional by nature.

Truthfully though, in my honest opinion, the business plan is outdated for today’s entrepreneurship. Today’s entrepreneurship is so rapid and not as controlled as it once was. Today’s entrepreneurship is also accessible for anyone to participate within it and thrive. What is important about these last two statements is that the easy access of entrepreneurship has made it easy for anyone to become an entrepreneur but also in turn has made it harder for people to succeed as an entrepreneur. This is due to how hard it is to get noticed amongst the flooded entries into the competitive landscape of entrepreneurship.

So how do you differentiate yourself? By writing an in-depth business plan? No! You do so by developing an effective Strategy Plan.

What is a strategy plan? A Strategy Plan is a framework of effective actions constructed to firmly fit your business model in order to produce successful results. It sounds similar to a business plan but the difference is that with a Strategy Plan you are actively working within your plan as you go. With a business plan its history, research and a little wishful thinking all blended together. But, just because you write it down does not mean it’s going to occur. You most likely are going to put it away to never be analyzed again until “needed” again for a business loan or some sort of investment.

A Strategy Plan forces you to actually do what you say because it cannot move forward without actual progression being produced. There is no half stepping allowed or time allocated towards being lax and to procrastinate. You actually have to be working towards completing those initiatives that are outlined or else the strategy plan loses its purpose. The reason you choose to pursue the course of the Strategy Plan is to stay committed to the plan of action rather than just talking about what you are going to do.

So how does the Strategy Plan work?

1) Determine Your Vision.
The vision is the foundation of your Strategy Plan and should accurately illustrate what you are working towards achieving. The vision serves the purpose of keeping you on the right track so that you are actively moving forward. Your vision should evoke passion and make you want to work hard in order to achieve what you desire.

2) Create Goals & Initiatives.
Goals and initiatives are checkpoints which keep you in line with the bigger picture of the vision. As each initiative is completed and goal is met, you verify that your Strategy Plan is effective in its process. This keeps you constantly busy and works to ensure that your mind is focused on the task at hand. Therefore, your mind is not wandering in ten different areas which is what happens with most entrepreneurs. Staying focused and remaining productive increases your likelihood for success and success is the ultimate goal of the Strategy Plan.

3) Outline the Overall Strategy Plan.
The Strategy Plan is the binding glue that holds this all together. In order for this to all work the Strategy Plan has to be in sync and operate upon a flowing formula. This means connecting all the pieces of the working process in order to produce an organization of effective flowing actions within the Strategy Plan. What is being done at this stage is placing yourself into the preparation for execution. Every aspect of your Strategy Plan has been laid out, you determined the flow of action and now you begin implementing your design.

4) Execution.
The Strategy Plan is useless if it does not work to produce results. What has been planned, talked about and analyzed now needs to be accomplished. Of course tweaks and revisions will occur but as long as you are progressively moving forward, the action of reorganizing is not a setback. The point of this process is to execute and elevate beyond your past and present state of business affairs. You are building towards the future and creating longevity.

If you do not have a Strategy Plan in place, I definitely recommend that you put one together. Being an entrepreneur is hard enough. Don’t be one of those entrepreneurs who lack the foresight on what it takes to be successful within their business.

Feel free to add any comments of agreement or disagreement.

If you want to contact me any further I can be found at:
The Symmetry Firm
Entrepreneurial Ambitions

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CN Rail chief diagnosed with pre-cancerous tumour, will temporarily step away from operations

The chief executive of Canadian National Railway Co. has been diagnosed with a pre-cancerous tumour and will temporarily step down from the railroad’s day-to-day operations to undergo treatment.

CN disclosed Wednesday that Claude Mongeau will need surgery and radiation to treat a rare type of pre-cancerous soft-tissue tumour in his larynx. He expects to have surgery by early September, followed by a month to heal and six weeks of daily radiation treatments.

Mongeau intends to remain “engaged with CN’s business” but chief financial officer Luc Jobin will take over the day-to-day operations until he can return to work “later this fall.”

“I have all the confidence in the world that CN will not miss a beat while I take good care of myself to recover fully,” Mongeau said in a note to employees.

The news comes as Hunter Harrison, CEO of competitor Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd., remains on sick leave following surgery on his legs and a bout of pneumonia.

This Could Be Why You’re Getting a Low Uber Rating

If you have an Uber rating lower than 5 stars, it could be because you don’t tip.

But don’t feel bad: you’re not the only one. There has been a lot of confusion surrounding this subject since the driving service’s inception.

When asked about tipping, Uber gave the following response to MarketWatch: “There is no need to tip. Once you arrive at your destination, your fare is automatically charged to your credit card on file, making for a cashless and seamless experience.”

Uber’s appeal is that it requires no cash; it doesn’t even require any physical transaction since your credit card is automatically charged without any necessary action on the part of either the driver or the passenger. You can get in and out as smoothly as possible.

Earlier this year, Uber released a survey, commissioned by the company, showing that its drivers make more than taxi drivers; hence, no need to tip. However, asserts that many of them don’t even reach minimum wage, so a tip is much appreciated and could get you that 5-star rating.

The company could potentially eradicate some confusion and maintain its seamless, cashless driving experience if it adds a feature that allows passengers to tip virtually. An online petition asking for just that has garnered over 20,000 signatures so far.

Choosing Toys: What Eliminating Gender Labels in the Toy Aisles Really Means

Kids today are growing up in a world of change. Slowly but surely, gender roles are broken down every day. Girls are no longer bound to aspire to solely be good wives and mothers, and boys are no longer expected to be the ultimate portrayal of strength. Instead, all kids are encouraged to do and be everything and anything they can dream. Women are working as scientists and engineers, some of whom are the sole breadwinners of the family. More and more men are taking on the job of stay-at-home-dad. Families are no longer restricted to beginning with a mom and a dad, but maybe two moms or two dads. Less boundaries means more opportunities for all kids, and all of these changes are reflected in the toy aisle.

Earlier this year, Amazon removed the “boys” and “girls” toy categories from its website, and just last week, Target announced it will remove gender labels and gender-specific colors from its in-store signage displays. Are these changes good or bad, and what do they actually mean for consumers?

Removing gender-specific colors from in-store signage does not mean any changes in how toys are merchandised will take place. You won’t suddenly walk into Target and be shocked to find Barbie and Ken mingling with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, because that type of merchandising doesn’t make sense for the consumer — especially the consumer who doesn’t have kids of his or her own and isn’t so familiar with buying toys.

Toys will likely still be where they have always been. Barbie will still commandeer the doll aisle, alongside her friends Elsa, Frankie Stein, and Twilight Sparkle. If you are looking for one of these lovely ladies, odds are, you are interested in other fashion dolls as well.

Merchandising products that are similar in the same place is smart for the retailer, because it encourages consumers to add-on to their purchase and/or find what they are looking for with ease. The result: An aisle that radiates a pink glow. However, does a pink aisle mean only girls can look for toys there? It doesn’t — and now, it won’t say that it does.

And, when you think about it, do you really need a sign to tell you where to find toys meant for girls and toys meant for boys? If you remove the word “Girls” from the sign that reads “Girls Building Toys,” it’s safe to say that the pink and purple packaging, the curly scrawls of the words “Disney Princess” and the endless twinkles of glitter will still tip you off that maybe — just maybe — the building sets in this section were designed with girls in mind. Target and Amazon are not ending the segregation of boys’ and girls’ toys, but they are taking a small step in that direction.

Many toys are still gendered — and that’s done for a reason. Manufacturers conduct thousands of hours of play-testing each year and base their product lines on how kids play and react to their toys. Some girls respond better to toys that are pink and sparkly, while many boys prefer bold colors and more masculine themes. However, no two kids are alike, and gender “norms” do not apply to all kids.

Just like you won’t find the words “girls” and “boys” on store signage anymore, you also won’t find a security guard in front of the respective pink and blue aisles. Parents and gift-givers are — and always have been — free to purchase whatever toys they want for their kids, and it’s important to understand your child’s needs and interests and select something that perfectly fits his or her personality — no matter where it is on a toy store shelf.

While not all consumers are happy with the changes, they did come as a direct result of consumer demand. By eliminating the extra gendering implemented by retailers, parents and kids may be more inclined to venture out of their comfort zone and explore new options in the toy aisles, or, maybe they won’t. Either way, it’s important to remember that purchase power and the power to implement change lies in the hands of consumers.

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