Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What To Get Your Cat For Christmas

Many of us will be thinking about presents to give to our companion cats for the holidays. What makes a good gift for a cat? Certainly anything that improves the quality of your cat’s life would be wonderful gift for her and for you. Consider taking her to your veterinarian for that annual health exam that you have been putting off. She might not think it is very much fun, but the reward for her and you is a longer and healthier life.
Most cats seem to like the stimulation provided by outside views. You can build your cat an outside cage where she can be outside on nice days but secure from getting lost or injured in the neighborhood. An alternative is to build or buy an elevated perch where your cat can sit or lie and look out a window and/or watch the activities of the household. Cats seem to like to rest on elevated places. Placing a bird feeder outside a window can be attractive to your cat. There are also videos of birds and small animals especially made to entertain cats.
Puzzle toys are often attractive to cats. Boxes or tracks with balls that can be moved around are fun for lots of cats. Puzzle balls with food treats inside can also be attractive. Feathers on strings or even strings on the end of sticks can be very entertaining for cats. Toys or scratching posts with catnip are fun for most cats. You can grow catnip for your cat or even grow “kitty greens” for your cat to eat. Think about adding an additional scratching post for your cat to give her another place to scratch.
Toys for cats don’t have to be expensive. Many cats enjoy playing in empty boxes or paper bags. Whatever you buy or make for your cat, think about her safety. No sharp edges, nothing that can be swallowed (unless it is food) and nothing that can fall over. Be especially careful of strings, Christmas tree tinsel and ribbons that cats may try to swallow. They can cause serious problems.
Probably the best gift that we can give our cats is the gift of ourselves. Spending quality time with our cats, playing with them, petting them or just sitting with them will be rewarding for them and for us. Especially during the busy holiday season, spending a little extra time with our cats can enrich all our lives.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Don't settle for Good Enough - by John Boe

excellence_achievementFrom luxury automobiles to high-tech electronics, the phrase “made in Japan” is synonymous with quality and reliability. The Japanese have a well-deserved reputation for their relentless pursuit of excellence, but it wasn’t always that way.
At the end of WWII, many Japanese cities lay in ruin, its manufacturing base destroyed and its economy devastated. General Douglas McArthur assembled a team of American business consultants to spearhead the rebuilding of the Japanese economic recovery. Dr. W. Edwards Deming, a statistician who worked at the US census bureau, was selected as a member of that distinguished team.
It was Dr. Deming who introduced the Japanese business leaders to the concept of Total Quality Management (TQM). Japan used the philosophy of TQM and the concept of continuous improvement to set and achieve ambitious national goals. Quality management best practices developed quickly in Japanese plants and became a major driving factor behind the Japanese management philosophy. By 1960, the culture of quality control management had become a national preoccupation.
In the early ‘70s, Ford Motor Company bought an interest in the Japanese automobile company, Mazda. Shortly after the partnership started, Ford discovered that the Japanese manufactured transmissions were seven times more reliable and smoother running than the American-made version. The management team at Ford disassembled the Japanese transmission and to their surprise, discovered that the parts were meticulously machined to a tolerance way beyond industry specifications. The blueprints allowed a tolerance of plus or minus a few millimeters, and while the American-made gears varied within the allowable tolerance, all of the Japanese-made gears were right on the desired value with a negligible amount of variation. The American transmission was built with a standard of “good enough” because it met the acceptable levels for tolerance.
Guided by the principles of TQM, in 1950 the Japanese government set a ten-year goal of becoming the number one country in the world in the production of textiles. Upon achieving this goal, in 1960, they set a new challenge of becoming the number one country in the world in the production of steel. This is a noteworthy goal considering the fact that Japan doesn’t have coal or iron ore deposits of any significance. In 1970, the Japanese turned their attention to dominating the automobile industry. In the 80′s, Japan was determined to set the quality standard in the field of computers and electronics.
Do you have written business and personal goals? Are you practicing continuous improvement in your business, or is the status quo good enough? Could your sales and marketing materials use an update? Are you actively involved in personal and professional self-development to improve your skills? Don’t settle for good enough.
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution.”
- William A. Foster