QUESTION: We have just hired a black doctor for our OB-GYN clinic. Should we notify our patients that she is black when they phone for an appointment to prevent them from being surprised when they see her?
ANSWER: If you do, you will risk having a lot of legal trouble, including the violation of federal law. Let us hope most of your patients are living in the twentieth century and are more concerned with receiving good medical care than they are with the color of skin of the person who gives it.
Q: In conversation with a colleague in another company, I heard him use the phrase "competitive benchmarking." Not wanting to appear ignorant, I didn't ask him what it meant. What does it mean?
A: It's a routine practice in Japan, but Americans are just catching on to it. Ford used it to produce the Taurus.
There are four steps in competitive benchmarking.
- First, break down your operation into its component parts.
- Second, determine which companies in the world - the competition - are best - the benchmark - at each part of your operation.
- Third, find out what they do to make them best.
- Fourth, adapt their procedures to your operation. This doesn't mean only looking for the big things but also looking for the little details.
Q: When I start college next fall, I plan to major in journalism. The college I plan to attend has nine different emphases in its journalism major. Which should I go into?
A: The one you will enjoy most, because that's the one you'll do best at. But if there are several you will enjoy equally, bear in mind that last June, there were 1.5 journalism graduates for every job opening on newspapers and wire services, but there were more than two graduates for every job …