MANAGING POWER Direct [May 1, 2011]

Customers Know What Customers Know Best

Wish you could get inside your customer's head? If so, forget data and go to the source.

Disaster Management

The events in Japan, including the catastrophic destruction of a major nuclear power station, remind us of something we don't like to think about: how to manage a physical disaster. But manage we must.

How to Hire an Honest Staff

It's not just hard finding good help these days. It's hard finding honest help, too.

Japan, Critical Materials, and Weak Links in Supply Chains

The devastation in Japan has focused new attention on supply chain issues and the impact of the partial collapse of that country's manufacturing infrastructure on both Japanese imports and exports.

John Hanger, Pa.'s Former Environmental Chief, Talks About Challenges of Keeping Gas Drilling Safe

John Hanger, who led Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection until January, talked with ProPublica earlier this year about the challenges of trying to regulate the expanding drilling industry.

Prudence: Who's Minding the Store?

Regulators are asked to balance a societal need with the cost burden placed on those who pay for the service. Sometimes they forget that it's other people's money at stake.

Supreme Court Expands Employee Rights

U.S. Supreme Court rulings in two recent cases further advance the rights of employees in disputes with employers, continuing a long-term trend in federal law on employment discrimination.

The Energy Efficiency Conundrum

For many energy analysts and policy makers, efficiency is the Holy Grail, the universal solvent, the way to effortlessly reconcile supply and demand while simultaneously serving the needs of the environment. Don't build new power plants, says policy guru Amory Lovins; gather "negawatts" instead. President Obama says that Americans "can save as much as 30% of our current energy usage without changing our quality of life."

TREND: Markets and Critical Materials

While China seems determined to exploit its current control over the market for rare earths and other minerals critical to high-tech and green energy technologies, and while governments engage in conventional hand-wringing and head-scratching, markets appear to be reacting in the ways that markets are supposed to react.

Writing an Employee Handbook Your Employees Will Read, and Heed, Part 1

Not complying with current law can be expensive in today's legal climate. Employers should review their employee handbooks and employment-related policies to make sure they are up to date. More importantly, employers should draft their handbooks so that employees actually read them and follow their policies.