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Finding the Right Neighborhood

So, you're thinking about moving home? Maybe you need more room to accommodate a growing family or perhaps you are sizing down now that the kids have moved on? You may have been offered a job in another town and are leaving all that you've ever known for a strange new land?

There are many reasons why we might be thinking of relocation and it's worth spending time looking into any prospective new neighborhoods in detail before making any life-changing decisions.

If you have children, being close to a good school is probably high on your list of requirements or it may be that you enjoy nothing better than a round of golf and are looking to buy a place within putting distance of your favorite course. A keen fisherman may want to be in sight of a favorite salmon river or similarly, a dog owner near to a park, a hiker or mountain bike enthusiast just a short distance to some great trails, and so on. Many of us are increasingly aware of our carbon footprint and it might be important to be within walking distance of our workplace or local stores in an effort to reduce our daily reliance on the car.

Okay, so you've identified the things you do want from a neighborhood, but don't forget to check the possible negatives that may be lurking behind the facade of what appears to be your dream location.

Consider having a chat with residents and see what they have to say about the area, and indeed the house you maybe looking at. They may have spotted repeat visits from the Pest-Off van over the years or be aware of serious flooding issues at the property. They may be able to warn you of some less than community-minded local inhabitants.

Of course, you will need to look into the possibility of even greater long-term threats. Check to see if planning permission has been granted to build an intensive pig farm down the road, or if a new highway has been scheduled to cut a swathe through the lovely view you were planning on enjoying from the deck of your new home.

So, when you start looking at new homes, don't just look for the positives but bear in mind the potential problems too. Do a little background work on the immediate area and who knows, you might just save yourself a whole heap of headaches in the future.

 


Organization Strategic Planning

Organization planning is an attempt by a manager, with or without the assistance of a resource consultant, to improve the performance of an organization by systematically analyzing and, if indicated, changing one or more of four basic organizational elements:

(I) The fundamental structure;

(2) The design of positions;

(3) The allocation of power;

(4) The staffing of key positions in the organization.

Any top manager can become a more effective organization planner. In fact, the top manager in any organization is the only one who can make the critical decisions necessary to think through an organizational plan and implement it. The top manager is fortunate if he has a fellow manager, either line or staff, who can help-perhaps just to act as a sounding board or a devil advocate, or simply to lend a sympathetic ear. In any event, for the organization plan to have a chance of success it must represent the convictions, experience, commitment, and judgment of the manager responsible for obtaining results from that grouping of people he calls his organization.

An effective organization planner can anticipate with reasonable accuracy how the organization will perform in response to changes that are made in any of the four elements identified in the definition of organization planning.

Realistic and patient implementation of plans is as important in this view as the planning process itself.

These should be stated at the outset:

1. There are no rules of organization. If someone mind is fixed on absolute notions of span of control, an appropriate number of levels from top to bottom in an organization, complete preference for profit center organization, an absolute aversion to task force management, or any other methodology or dogma of organization, it will have difficulty in improving his effectiveness as an organization planner. There is no universal set of rules.

2. Personality factors obviously must be considered in organization planning. That is, the personalities of individuals holding key positions that affect the direction of the organization must be taken into account in planning. Modelling organization decisions to accommodate personality strengths and / or weaknesses should be done reluctantly and only after a thorough analysis and recognition of the trade-offs involved in such compromises.

3. Changing structure is the most disruptive of all actions that an organization planner (i.e., a responsible manager) can take. Managers often have unrealistic expectations of the short-term impact of structural changes. Time and patience are needed to see the impact of any structural change of significance.

4. Proper structure facilitates organization performance, but it is no way guarantees success. Conversely, improper structures can, and many do, function reasonably well. However, improper structure is an impediment to full effectiveness.

5. All aspects of organization planning (structuring, designing positions, managing power, and staffing) must be approached from the point of view of what the top manager in the organization is trying to accomplish. What are his short- and long-range objectives?

6. Most if not all controversy over the issue of decentralization versus centralization and the conflict in line and staff relationships results from management power plays.

7. Probably because of its emotional overtones and its potential to cause conflict, the most neglected aspect of organization planning is the systematic analysis and management 0/ power allocation.

8. Invariably all the benefits to be gained from a well-planned organization (in the areas of structure, staffing, position and design, and power allocation) cannot be gained at the same time. The top manager must make trade-offs to get the optimum balance of benefits from these elements. The trade-offs can be made systematically only when their impact on obtaining objectives and overcoming obstacles is accurately perceived.

9. Work, or activity that passes for work, will expand to fill time all given objective. Systematic job design to provide a full challenge and a full workload directed towards the objectives of the organization are a must. Enforcing that design, where necessary, cannot be avoided.

10. There is a clear advantage to involving in planning those individuals who will be vitally affected by any changes resulting from the organizational planning process.

11. Organization planning is not a science, but it is certainly more than a seat of the pants art. Principles and processes have led to significant improvements in the ability of many managers to enhance the effectiveness of their organizations.

 


LeBron's Dedication to Community Involvement Programs

Many people are not aware that NBA's MVP LeBron James is not just focused on his exceptional basketball career. Due to his adamant desire to help youth and their families, he has established an array of community involvement programs.

James has an insurmountable amount of respect and dedication to care and provide for the needs of the people around him through inspiring community involvement programs. He began such efforts in 2003, the year he was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers. In December 2003, he visited the Ed Davis Community Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and gave sweatshirts, along with $50.00 gift cards for KB Toys to more than one hundred children who played basketball in the Tiny Tots League at the Center.

In 2004, James established the LeBron James Family Foundation (LJFF), which empowers children and single-parent households through innovative programming and initiatives, strengthening the ties between family members and building hope through education, physical fitness, and better health for those dealing with adversity.

Some of the foundation's most important national community involvement programs include: The Playground Build Initiative, in partnership with State Farm, which is focused on developing family-centered safe play spaces, where children can be physically active in a multi-dimensional environment that encourages creative play; and the Meal & a Movie events, in partnership with the Coca-Cola Company, which provides disadvantaged families with the opportunity to spend quality time together, enjoying a special meal and viewing a not-yet-released family-friendly movie.

The LeBron James Family Foundation has established other community involvement programs, one being in partnership with Nickelodeon, to encourage children to be physically fit and environmentally aware with the Big Green Help Initiative.

In September 2005, James donated 1,000 backpacks full of school supplies to area youngsters in both Akron, Ohio and Cleveland, as one of his community involvement programs, through the LeBron James Family Foundation, in partnership with Target. James distributed these backpacks and supplies personally at two locations on September 2, 2005.

James, through his foundation's Playground Build Initiative, funded the first state-of-the-art playground at the St. Bernard Recreation Center, located in New Orleans, in February 2008. This recreation center was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Upon its completion, this playground will have the very best of equipment, a custom-designed jungle gym, picnic tables, outdoor barbecue grills, gardens, as well as a specifically designed safety surface that will replicate a basketball court.

In July 2008, James received the NBA Community Assist Award for the previous year, in recognition of his outstanding efforts in his community involvement programs, as well as his ongoing philanthropic and charitable work.

The league presents the NBA Community Assist Award monthly to recognize players for their community involvement programs and their charitable efforts. The award honors the NBA Player who best reflects the passion that the league and its players have for giving back to their respective communities.

James was honored for the success of his Annual King-for-Kids Bike-A-Thon, which is held in Akron, Ohio every year. The event raised more than $150,000.00 for three local non-profit organizations, which were the LeBron James Family Foundation, the Akron Area YMCA, and the Akron Urban League. More than 2,000 participants attended this day-long event, which raised awareness and funding for viable community involvement programs, while recognizing and awarding local youth who had achieved exceptional academic success, improved their physical fitness and made viable contributions within the community.

Other community involvement programs that James has participated in include visiting the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital, along with his teammates, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Anderson Varejao, Mo Williams, Wally Sczerbiak, Sasha Pavlocic and Lorenzen Wright to provide gifts, as well as assist the children in the decorations for the Christmas holidays.

In February 2009, in LeBron's effort to assist in community involvement programs, and as part of the Cavaliers Fit as a Pro Program, James taught twenty-six sixth graders from Holy Cross Elementary School in Euclid, Ohio, his cool-down yoga routine, at the Cleveland Clinic Courts. Each student received a Cavaliers yoga mat.

Additionally, James and his foundation, along with State Farm and the No Fault Sport Group, teamed up to provide and dedicate a playground for the children at the Robson Boys and Girls Club in North Phoenix, Arizona. This continued the community involvement program initiative that began in February 2008, in New Orleans.

James indicated that he knew that the economy was bad. He said that, "Any time you get the opportunity to initiate community involvement programs for the good of the kids, it means a lot to me and a lot to our foundation."

LeBron's foundation has partnered with several businesses throughout the country, with a hands-on approach to community assistance, in helping to create or re-create the places where families live, learn and play. At this dedication ceremony, James brought both of his sons, LeBron Jr. and Bryce, to test out the playground areas.

As it relates to James' professional basketball career, there is much to be said about his accomplishments. In 2003, at the age of 18 he was selected with the number one pick in that year's NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers and signed a $90 million shoe contract with Nike before his first debut with the team. Although the NBA lists him as a small forward, he often plays the position of "point forward," due to his extraordinary talent to run the offense like a point guard.

"King James," as he is often called, has set numerous records, such as NBA Rookie of the Year in 2003-2004 as well as being named to the All NBA and All Star team every season since 2005. As the focal point of the Cavaliers' defense, James has led the team to consecutive playoff appearances from 2006 through 2009.

James was also a member of the United States Men's National Basketball Team, and has won the Bronze Medal in the 2004 Olympics, as well as the Gold Medal in the 2008 Olympics. He also was runner-up for the 2009 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Over the past year James has averaged 32 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 7.5 assists, which of course, led him to receive NBA's MVP Award. There has been an extensive amount of conversation and controversy about this award, as James has been continuously compared to Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers) and Dwayne Wade (Miami Heat).

However, he has remained focused from the start. At 6'8" and 250 pounds, James has continued to sharpen his already astonishing skills, and due to his outstanding averages, there was no other choice. That's why they call him "King James."

 




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