Why Employees At Apple And Google Are More Productive

Direction: After a short greeting, read the following article out loud with your tutor. Go over highlighted vocab/expression to make sure you understand everything. 

[Business ★★★★] Why Employees At Apple And Google Are More Productive

PHOTO: FLICKR USER ROGER SCHULTZ

(P1) Companies like Apple, Netflix, Google, and Dell are 40% more productive than the average company, according to research from the leadership consulting firm Bain & Company. You might think that it’s because these companies attract top-tier employees–high performers who are naturally gifted at productivity–but that’s not the case, says Bain & Company partner Michael Mankins.

(P2) “Our research found that these companies have 16% star players, while other companies have 15%,” he says. “They start with about the same mix of star players, but they are able to produce dramatically more output.”

(P3) It’s what they do with these high performers. Executives from large companies across 12 industry sectors worldwide said three components of human capital impact productivity more than anything else: time, talent, and energy. And the top quartile organized its business processes in a way that they’re 40% more productive than the rest and consequently have profit margins that are 30%-50% higher than industry averages.

(P4) They get more done by 10 a.m. Thursday morning than the others do in a week, but they don’t stop working,” says Mankins. “This difference compounds every year; over a decade, they can produce 30 times more than the rest, with the same number of employees.”

(P5) Mankins explores their methods and mindsets in his new book TIME | TALENT | ENERGY: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power. Here’s what he found:

GROUPING A PLAYERS
(P6) The average company follows a method of unintentional egalitarianism, spreading star talent across all of the roles, says Mankins. Companies like Google and Apple, however, follow an intentionally nonegalitarian method. “They select a handful of roles that are business critical, affecting the success of the company’s strategy and execution, and they fill 95% of these roles with A-level quality,” says Mankins. “The rest of the roles have fewer star players.”

(P7) An example of how this can play out is Apple and Microsoft in early 2000s, says Mankins. “It took 600 Apple engineers fewer than two years to develop, debug, and deploy iOS 10,” he says. “Contrast that with 10,000 engineers at Microsoft that took more than five years to develop, debut, and ultimately retract Vista. The difference is in the way these companies chose to construct their teams.”

(P8) Apple used all-star teams because iOS 10 was a mission critical initiative. In addition, rewards were applied to team performance; no one person on the team could receive an exceptional performance appraisal unless the entire team did. On the other hand, Microsoft used a stacked ranking where 20% of every team got an exceptional review, and compensation was entirely based on individual performance. Microsoft eventually abolished stacked ranking, says Mankins.

(P9) “For every member of the team that is not a star player, productivity declines,” he says. “If 100% of the team is star players, productivity is extremely high.”

ELIMINATING ORGANIZATIONAL DRAG
(P10) The average company loses more than 25% of its productive power to organizational drag, processes that waste time and prevent people from getting things done, says Mankins. This often happens as a company grows, as the tendency is to put processes in place to replace judgment. Research published in Harvard Business Review found that organizational drag costs the economy more than $3 trillion each year in lost output.

(P11) The most common processes relate to expense management, says Mankins. “At most companies, there are spending limits and audits, and employees are tracked,” he says. “At Netflix, however, there is no expense policy. The only policy is, ‘Act in the best interest of Netflix.’ The company is telling employees, ‘We assume you are not here to rip off the company, and we’re not going to put in place processes that consume human capital, waste time, and zap energy.’ They tell employees to assume their best judgment, and they can be more productive if they’re not held back.”

INSPIRING LEADERS
(P12) An engaged employee is 44% more productive than a satisfied worker, but an employee who feels inspired at work is nearly 125% more productive than a satisfied one, says Mankins. The companies that inspire more employees perform better than the rest.

(P13) “We’ve been taught that you’re either a General Patton and can inspire others or you’re not, but this is not true,” he says. “Inspirational leadership can be taught. Companies that recognize that and invest in making it happen create meaningful impact on the productivity of their company.”

(P14) Dell Technologies recognized the productivity difference between inspired and average teams, says Mankins. “Sales teams led by an inspiring leader are 6% more productive than those that have an average leader. If you extrapolate that 6% it accounts for an extra $1 billion in annual revenue. Consider what [poor leadership] is costing your company.”

(P15) Individual talent is great, but it can’t turn companies into stars, Mankins says. “We could try everything we want to emulate the habits of highly effective individuals, but it doesn’t matter what we do individually if it runs counter to how an organization gets work done,” says Mankins. “Top-performing companies focus on collective instead of individual.”

WORDS: 839

SOURCE: https://www.fastcompany.com/3068771/work-smart/how-employees-at-apple-and-google-are-more-productive

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. What are some things that the high-performing companies are doing differently from the average?
  3. Does your company/organization have management policies or processes that are meant to encourage more productivity? How effective is it?
  4. Explain the time when you were feeling very productive. What were you doing, and what are some of the components that contributed to high productivity? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!

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Ford Kills $1.6B Mexico Plant, Cites, but Doesn’t Credit, Trump

[Business ★★]

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A gift from Ford for President-elect Donald Trump: The automaker on Tuesday announced that they will no longer construct a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico. Instead, they will create 700 new jobs in Michigan by way of a $700 million investment in the state. CEO Mark Fields made clear that “we didn’t cut a deal with Trump,” who had been highly critical of the planned Mexico move, though Fields did speak with him Tuesday morning. “We did it for our business.” With that said, he called it a “vote of confidence” in the pro-business America Trump has vowed to foster, reports CNN.

The Michigan money will be spent at its Flat Rock plant, where it will manufacture more electric and self-driving cars. The now canceled plant in Mexico was to be the site of Ford Focus production. The Focus will instead be made at Ford’s plant in Hermosillo, Mexico.

WORDS: 149

SOURCE: http://www.newser.com/story/236336/ford-reverses-will-pump-cash-into-michigan-not-mexico.html

VOCABULARY: President-elect, automaker, critical, confidence, foster, canceled

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you think companies in your country should build plants in other countries? Why or why not?
  3. What are the names of some international companies in your country?
  4. What are some of the popular cars in your country? Why?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. The name of the car manufacturer in the article is __________.
  2. How much was the new plant in Mexica going to cost to build?
  3. President-elect Donald Trump was highly against the new plant. (T or F)
  4. Where will the money be spent in Michigan?
  5. Where will the Ford Focus be produced now?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • by way of (P1)
  • cut a deal (P1)
  • pro-business (P1)
  • the Michigan money (P2)
  • self-driving cars (P2)

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Image source: by AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File http://www.newser.com/story/236336/ford-reverses-will-pump-cash-into-michigan-not-mexico.html

Apple AirPods are a ‘runaway success’, says CEO Tim Cook

[Technology & Business ★★★]

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(P1) The response to Apple’s AirPods may have been mixed so far, but the company described them as a “runaway success”.  Apple CEO Tim Cook, who was recently spotted touring the New York Stock Exchange, told CNBC in an interview the company had a “great holiday” quarter and called the AirPods a “runaway success”.

(P2) “We’re making them as fast as we can,” he added. Apple AirPods, which are a pair of totally wireless headphones, went on sale earlier this month and shipping started shortly after Christmas in the US and other countries.

(P3) Launched alongside the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, AirPods were first unveiled in September. They were originally scheduled to hit the market in October and were priced Rs 15,400 in India. Apple, however, delayed the release saying they needed “a little more time”.

(P4) AirPods are Apple’s first wireless earbuds and they look similar to the company’s wired earphones. Powered by a new W1 chipset, AirPods have sensors that determine when the earpieces are in your ears. AirPods can wirelessly connect to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus after Apple removed the headphone jack from its current flagships.

(P5) While the AirPods are now available for sale, some users have recently discovered battery-related issues with the charging cradle. The charging case comes with its own battery, and when you place the AirPods inside the case, they will be charged up. Apple claims the battery in the case should last 24 hours, but some users say they are not getting anywhere close to this number.

WORDS: 255

SOURCE: http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/gadgets/apple-airpods-are-a-runaway-success-tim-cook/

VOCABULARY: spotted, on sale, unveiled, flagships, cradle

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. What is your opinion about Apple’s new AirPods?
  3. Do you believe Apple’s claim that the battery lasts 24 hours? Why or why not?
  4. If you don’t have an iPhone 7 or plus now, do you plan on getting one? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  • So far, the response from consumers about the AirPods has been a mixture of good and bad. (T or F)
  • The CEO of Apple states the sales of the AirPods so far have been a ________________.
  • The AirPods have ________ that know when the buds are in a persons’ ears.
  • Some users have reported ______________ issues with the AirPods.
  • Apple asserts that the battery should last _____________.

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • runaway success (title)
  • hit the market (P3)
  • powered by (P4)
  • anywhere close to this number (P5)

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Image source: by  Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP  http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/gadgets/apple-airpods-are-a-runaway-success-tim-cook/

Coffee Heats up Homes

[Business ★★]

coffegrounds

(P1) Around 200,000 tons of used coffee end up in London’s landfills a year. A young man named Arthur Key, however, knows how to make use of the coffee grounds.

(P2) First, his factory takes out the oils from the used coffee grounds. The oils are basically biodiesel, which smells of coffee. The coffee grounds without the oils are then turned into little logs.

(P3) You can use these logs instead of wood in your fireplace. 25 cups of coffee make one log. The coffee logs burn hotter and longer than wood.

(P4) Key’s factory produces 50,000 tons of the logs a year. That is enough to heat hundreds of thousands of homes.

WORDS: 109

SOURCE: http://www.newsinlevels.com/products/coffee-heats-up-homes-level-2/

VOCABULARY: tons, landfills, oils, biodiesel, logs, fireplace, factory

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Would you use these coffee logs to heat your home? Why or why not?
  3. What are some other things that can be used again (recycled)? (I.E. newspapers)
  4. How do you heat and cool your home?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Annually, approximately _________________ of used coffee grounds end up in landfills in London.
  2. What’s the name of the businessman that reuses the coffee grounds?
  3. The coffee grounds without the oils are _____________ logs.
  4. How many cups of coffee does it take to make one log?
  5. How many houses can be heated with Key’s logs per year?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • used coffee (P1)
  • end up (P1)
  • takes out the oil (P2)
  • turned into (P2)
  • make one log (P3)

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Image source: by “unknown” http://minimalessentials.com/coffee-grounds-trash-or-treasure/

Country Sues Supermarket With Same Name

[Business ★★★]

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(P1) It’s Iceland vs. Iceland. The island nation of Iceland says it’s taking legal action against British frozen-food chain Iceland over the right to use their shared name. Iceland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it has challenged Iceland Foods at the European Union Intellectual Property Office. It says it is acting because the retail chain “aggressively pursued” Icelandic companies using the word Iceland in their branding, the AP reports. Iceland Foods holds a Europe-wide trademark registration for the word “Iceland,” and the Nordic country’s government said it was “exceptionally broad and ambiguous in definition.”

(P2) In a statement, the ministry said the situation has left the country’s firms “unable to describe their products as Icelandic.” The retailer, which has operated supermarkets across Britain for 46 years, said it would fight the claim. It said it does not believe “any serious confusion or conflict has ever arisen in the public mind” between the chain of stores and the volcanic Viking-founded nation. “We hope that the government will contact us directly so that we may address their concerns,” the company said. The two Icelands’ once had a close relationship. Icelandic retail conglomerate Baugur Group held a major stake in the grocer until Baugur’s collapse in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis that devastated Iceland’s economy.

WORDS: 213

SOURCE: http://www.newser.com/story/234543/country-sues-supermarket-with-same-name.html

VOCABULARY: branding, Nordic, ambiguous, conglomerate, devastated

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you think the country of Iceland should take legal action against the company? Why or why?
  3. Are there any retail conglomerates in your country?
  4. What’s the economy like right now in your country?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. The country of Iceland wants the company, Iceland, to allow both parties to use the Iceland name. (T or F)
  2. The nation of Iceland said the Europe-wide trademark is unusually _____________ and _________________.
  3. Business in Iceland can’t use ____________ to describe their products.
  4. How long has the merchant been in business in Britain?
  5. Both the nation of Iceland and the merchant have always had a good relationship until now. (T or F)

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • over the right to use (P1)
  • fight the claim (P2)
  • public mind (P2)
  • the volcanic Viking-founded nation (P2)

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Image source: by Frank Augstein http://www.newser.com/story/234543/country-sues-supermarket-with-same-name.html

Bad Leaders

[Business ★★★]

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(P1) Companies always try to find good leaders. Good leaders often make good decisions that can make money. They also work hard to keep workers happy by listening and helping out. At the same time, companies try to remove people who are bad leaders. This is because companies with bad leaders often have big problems. Bad leaders make mistakes that can cost lots of money. They also might do something that hurts the company’s image. There are several indicators of a bad leader.

(P2) Bad leaders are often scared to take chances. They are content to just keep doing what a company has already been doing for many years. People get bored at their jobs doing the same thing all the time.  Customers get tired of the same old product. Another business will make more money by sometimes taking a risk and doing something fresh.

(P3) Another sign of a bad leader is that they have problems with communication. When leaders can’t convey their own ideas in e-mails or in a meeting, the company is in big trouble. Poor communication can really harm a company. Also, leaders who can’t or won’t listen to their workers can also create problems. Most workers know their jobs very well. Their ideas are often valuable. If a leader won’t consider them, he might miss a chance to improve the company.

(P4) Finally, bad leaders don’t want to take responsibility when things go wrong. They blame their workers or other people on their team. Also, bad leaders take all of the praise when things go well. They do not thank their employees for doing a good job. This can hurt people’s feelings. Workers can become bitter and quit their jobs. It takes time and money for the company to find new workers.

WORDS: 293

SOURCE: http://dreamreader.net/lesson/bad-leaders/

VOCABULARY: indicators, content, risk, convey, praise, bitter

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. In your own words, describe a bad leader.
  3. In your own words, describe a good leader?
  4. Why do you think some bad leaders are hired or promoted?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. According to the article, companies always try to identify bad leaders and fire them. (T or F)
  2. Bad leaders do the same thing day in and day out. (T or F)
  3. A bad leader has problems ________________ with his team and writing emails.
  4. According to the article, only some people know their jobs well. (T or F)
  5. If a worker is unhappy with their leader, he/she may ___________ their job.

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • can cost lots of money (P1)
  • same old product (P2)
  • doing something fresh (P2)
  • often valuable (P3)

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Image source: by “unknown” http://dreamreader.net/lesson/bad-leaders/

Elon Musk Makes Surprising Claim About New Tesla Solar Roof

[Business ★★★]

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(P1) Tesla CEO Elon Musk says his company’s new solar roof will actually cost less for homeowners to install than a regular roof, Bloomberg reports. “So the basic proposition will be: Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, lasts twice as long, costs less and, by the way, generates electricity?” Musk says. “Why would you get anything else?” According to Business Insider, Musk made the surprising pronouncement after 85% of Tesla shareholders approved a $2 billion merger with solar-energy specialist SolarCity on Thursday. Musk wants solar roofs to be “as appealing as electric cars,” Fortune reports.

(P2) Musk first unveiled Tesla’s new solar shingles last month but didn’t specify a cost. They’re made of tempered glass and specially designed solar film and, according to Bloomberg, are “virtually indistinguishable from high-end roofing products.” And therein lies the catch: When Musk says they’ll cost less than a traditional roof, he’s talking about the fancy terra-cotta and slate roofs on which they were modeled, not asphalt roofs, which can be 20 times cheaper. Still, Bloomberg states the Tesla solar roof “could be a real turning point in the evolution of solar power.”

WORDS: 193

SOURCE: http://www.newser.com/story/234242/elon-musk-makes-surprising-claim-about-new-tesla-solar-roof.html

VOCABULARY: proposition, pronouncement, unveiled, shingles, tempered, indistinguishable, therein

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you think electric cars will ever be more popular than gas/petrol powered cars? Why or why not?
  3. Would you buy and install Tesla’s solar shingles on your house? Why or why not?
  4. Do you think the merger between Tesla and Solar City makes business sense? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. According to the CEO of Tesla, what will be cheaper than a normal roof?
  2. Which 2 companies joined together in a $2 billion deal?
  3. What product to Tesla reveal to the public last month?
  4. The other 2 types of roofing material mentioned in the article are ____________ and ______________.
  5. Asphalt roofs are well above 20 times less expensive than higher end roofs. (T or F)

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • homeowners to install (P1)
  • solar-energy specialist (P1)
  • high-end roofing products (P2)
  • and therein lies the catch (P2)
  • turning point (P2)

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Image source: by AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File http://www.newser.com/story/234242/elon-musk-makes-surprising-claim-about-new-tesla-solar-roof.html