Companies typically make front-line decisions carefully and scientifically but fail to bring the same level of rigor and oversight to top-level decisions and strategic planning, says author Dan Heath. Firms need to find ways to ensure executives aren't being unduly swayed by emotion, office politics or visuals, Heath says. "Pursue good decisions at the top of the organization as relentlessly as you do on the front line," he says.
Caterpillar has helped Haiti deal with the recent earthquake by providing heavy equipment and trained operators to its Haitian dealer HayTrac. Cat temporarily suspended some fees and quickened the parts-ordering process for HayTrac. Operators use the machinery to clear debris and help deliver relief supplies.
Xeriscaping, a form of sustainable gardening, has become popular as gardeners wrestle with water conservation and land use. Jacob Mittleider, an international agricultural consultant, has several recommendations for xeriscaping. He suggests weed removal before planting, more thorough soil evaluation and choosing drought-tolerant plants.
Caterpillar plans to comply with Tier 4 emission standards by 2011, which will cost the company billions of dollars. All of Cat's 300 machine products and its engine models will be upgraded. As a result, prices are likely to go up 12% between 2011 and 2014.
Needlessly strict rules foster employee resentment, and they don't really make your business more productive, writes Ralph Heath. Throwing away the rulebook and showing a little compassion and flexibility can help keep your employees happy, and ultimately make your business more efficient, Heath argues.