The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on March 29, 1998 · Page 20
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 20

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Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 29, 1998
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Page 20
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tlOURNAL Money PERSONALS / B7 companies .put teams together, younger workers will 30 to 7 , •• those develop. Carol Ahlvers KWU teacher t BUSINESS SURVEY Perfect worker's older, fit Younger workers are seen as creative; older as honest and ethical By GORDON D. FIEDLER JR. The SaUna Journal A workplace survey conducted by'a Kansas Wesleyan University MBA class revealed that, for office professionals, it helps to be old, physically fit and a non-smoker. The survey, a project of students in Carol Ahlvers' managing information systems class, examined the perceptions of office personnel toward smokers, nonsmokers, exercisers and non-exercisers, social drinkers and nondrinkers, workers with and without children under age 18, and workers in certain age groups. Respondents were asked to rate each group's productivity, creativity, character, and communication and stress-management skills. 'The class selected 10 Saline County businesses at random. Ten employees chosen randomly from each were asked to complete the questionnaire. The businesses were promised anonymity, but one, it should be noted, was The Salina Journal. According to the survey results, non-smokers were perceived to be more productive than smokers. Even respondents who are smok- . ers yielded to ^ their non-smoking co-workers. Younger workers, those under 30, also were perceived to be less productive than workers aged 50 and more than 50 years old. Older workers were judged to have ^ better communication and stress-management skills and higher levels of character. However, younger workers were perceived to be more creative. This could mean that, if character, communication and stress management skills are not .learned behaviors, the future offices won't be the honest, ethical .places they are now. However, if younger workers can acquire these skills, as Ahlvers believes, tKen there is a message for busine.ss: team building. ; - ^3'd develop mentors and put dif- *f£r£nt age workers in teams. If com- !panies put teams together, younger ;;wprkers will develop," she said. The employees that did well across the board were those who exercise at least three times a week. Even the less-active workers gave their more fit office mates good marks, perceiving them to be .greater producers, more creative, better communicators, less stressful and of higher character. \'^Exercisers, came out in good shape all the way," Ahlvers said. •Again, a message to employers: •Find ways to improve the physical 'fitness of employees. Alcohol consumption was a factor only in the character category. Drinkers were perceived to have less character than their dry co•workers. ."That may be an indication of ,who we are and where we are," Ahlvers said. .The surprise for Ahlvers was .the perceptions of workers caring for children under age 18. . "It was a pleasant surprise that ,ttxere seemed to be no bias, no intolerance, for working parents," Ahlvers said. .The one exception was among males with children under 18 who Considered themselves less creative. . ."I don't understand that, but that's what happened," Ahlvers said. . The survey was conducted the :ftrst week in February. The mean •age of respondents is almost 40. .Most, almost 68 percent, are in the 30- to 50-year old age bracket. •. Seventy percent are female, and 47 -percent have some post-secondary education. Thirty-one percent of respondents finished college, while 10 percent are high school graduates and an equal •number hold master's degrees. • -Only 15 percent said they Brooke, while 72 percent said they are social drinkers. Almost 52 percent are parents with children under age 18. Fifty- 'six percent said they are exercisers. AT THE WATERCOOLER Most- watched firms For the third year in a row, AT&T was the company tracked by the biggest number of securities analysts, but it has company at the top — Motorola, in second place. Nelson Information said Motorola had been in fourth place in 1996 before moving up. Intel and Cisco Systems tied for third place. A good car rental J.D. Power and Associates has looked at car rental satisfaction. Among the things that upset customers: being told a reserved car is not available; waiting more than 10 minutes for a shuttle; and renting a car that's uncomfortable or not powerful enough. Avis, Hertz and National tied for top rankings in satisfaction. Virtual customers Manufacturing firms will find competition intensifying as customer demands increase, according to Deloitte & Touche. Virtual customers will "surface anytime, anyplace and can disappear just as quickly" as they seek and find suppliers who can deliver products better and faster. Photos by ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO / The Associated Press Students at New Business Technologies, an elite, tuition-free business school In Moscow, prepare for another rigorous day of classes. Capitalism for Russians Young men rush to study the discipline of how to succeed in business By GREG MYRE The Associated Press MOSCOW — Dawn's first light is an hour away, but Mikhail Radul and 100 colleagues are already in full sweat after their daily run across a snow-covered field. Stripping down to his green underpants, Radul stands ankle-deep in fresh snow and pours a bucket of cold water over his head, sending wisps of steam rising from his pink skin. "It's the best part of the day," he claims. Radul and his buddies are not hapless army conscripts or members of a fanatical exercise cult. This is a business school, Russian style. New Business Technologies is a no-nonsense training ground created by Vladimir Dovgan, 33, a multimillionaire and evangelical capitalist whose relentless self-promotion has made him one of Russia's best-known entrepreneurs. A bear of a man who seems to run on pure adrenaline, Dovgan made a fast fortune with a very simple idea: selling his face and name to manufacturers as a guarantee of their products' quality. Many consumers feel products he endorses are good and reliable, so many are willing to pay extra to buy items with the Dovgan seal of approval. He's a fixture on more than 200 products on supermarket shelves across Russia, where you can buy Dovgan toothpaste and pasta, shampoo and sausages, tea and vodka — none of it actually made by his company. His firm, Dovgan Product Quality Corp., says it had $400 million in revenue last year. Yet Dovgan felt his weekly television show, his promotional videos and his autobiography were not enough to spread his message on how to succeed in business. He decided he needed a school. See SCHOOL, Page B7 Students line up for morning inspection at the school. T STAYING AHEAD Homes are gaining in value, but watch costs For decent returns, plan to stay longer than many do or hope for stupendous luck NEW YORK — Home values are looking up. Rising prices are the rule almost everywhere. Home sales jumped a big 10.3 percent in January. Owners are daring to dream that * homes might be a good investment again. Standard & Poor's DRI, an economic forecasting firm in Lexington, Mass., expects an average increase of 5.8 percent this year on homes. That doesn't match the profits you've captured in mutual funds, but mutual funds don't also give you a place to sleep. The current, booming demand for homes is no inflationary blip. It's grounded in job growth, income growth and a forgiving credit market. At 7.5 percent interest, mortgages look incredibly JANE BRYANT QUINN The Washington Post cheap. Thanks to low down payments (under 10 percent), buyers don't need a lot of cash. Special programs are putting people with lower incomes in homes of their own. Young people, too, are rediscovering the joys of mortgage payments. Of the households headed by people under 25,18 percent owned homes last year. That's the highest rate since 1983, according to Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. Nationally, home ownership stands at a record 66 percent, up from a low of 63.7 percent in 1988. Minority buyers account for a huge 42 percent of the growth. Home buying also jumped among the never-married, widowed and divorced. In a random group of cities I checked, the fastest-rising prices were for smaller homes, as measured by the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. But will your house be a good investment? You can't predict. In greater Detroit, prices for midmarket homes jumped 7.2 percent last year, on Case-Shiller's index. In Hartford, Conn., they gained just 2.3 percent. Any single sale is just as much a lottery as is trading stocks. It's true that even small gains look good compared with the amount of money you invest. Take a $200,000 house with a 10 percent down payment ($20,000), rising in value by 2.3 percent ($4,600). The gain on your original equity comes to a fat 23 percent. But the cost of buying and selling could easily exceed $20,000, after closing costs and sales commissions. You'll need super- gains, or many years of smaller gains, to climb out of that hole. Meanwhile, your down payment might have been racking up profits in stocks or bonds. Homeowners also have to pony up money for maintenance and repairs. You probably never measure this, but it cuts into your net return. Tax deductions for property taxes and mortgage interest help a bit — that is, if you can use them. On modest homes, they might not exceed the standard deduction that you'd get in any case. In short, this "investment" is not a slam- dunk. For decent returns on any home, you need either stupendous luck or a holding period long enough to amortize your costs. In average markets, it takes at least four years just to break even. Yet more than a third of home buyers sell sooner than that, according to data developed by the National Association of Realtors in Washington, D.C. Most of these hasty movers probably lose money, whether they realize it or not. Over short periods, it's almost always better to rent than buy. The one home that might not be worth your money is a condominium. Young people often buy one as a cheap way of building home equity, "but a lot of condos get even cheaper," says economist Jack Harris of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. When you're ready to trade up, you may not be able to sell the condo for the price you paid. It's generally better to rent until you can afford a private house. Condos have two natural markets, Harris says: No. 1: Residents of cities where land is so expensive that private houses aren't an option. There, the price appreciation could be pretty good. No, 2: Older people who no longer want the bother of keeping up a house but prefer to own where they live. They're not planning to trade up, so appreciation isn't an issue. Their heirs will sell the condo, and then it's found money at any price. Via tt / tft t / t 11 II ii ku III',, lt>i / a i i SUGGESTIONS? CALL MARY JO PROCHAZKA, MONEY EDITOR, AT (785) 823-6363 OR 1.800*27*363 OR E-MAIL AT 8Jmproch«ka@88l)ournal.com

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