Table of Contents | August 2005

Features

Why We Hate HR
In a knowledge economy, companies with the best talent win. And finding, nurturing, and developing that talent should be one of the most important tasks in a corporation. So why does human resources do such a bad job -- and how can we fix it?
Fast Take: How To Do HR Right
Five ways to work well.
Stupid HR Tricks
Can your highly trained human-resources professional do this? Or has he already?
The Once & Future Consultant
In 2002, Dave Ulrich left his hugely successful consulting firm to run a Mormon mission in Quebec. Now he's heading back to business with a fresh eye and some fresh ideas.
Fast Take: Putting the Human Into Human Resources
His stint running a Mormon mission has sharpened Dave Ulrich's thinking about the interaction of individuals and organizations. Here's what he has learned working with both CEOs and fresh-faced young missionaries.
Smells Like Brand Spirit
In the battle for consumers' attention, some innovative companies are exploring a new branding frontier: scent. Will they be winners by a nose?
Fast Take: How to Smell Good
Scents and sensibility.
Rebel Yell
The motorcycle fanatics at Confederate Motor Co. build high-performance, handmade $62,000 bikes -- fewer than 100 a year. Should Harley worry?
Fast Take: Cycle Business
Passion, craftsmanship, and function over form are the cornerstones of Confederate Motor Co.'s design ethic. But if you dig a little deeper, you'll find three more elements.
Can Google Stay Google?
It is the company of the nanosecond -- and a really, really rich one at that. But Silicon Valley often eats its own young. So what are Messrs. Brin and Page planning to keep Google thriving for the long haul?
Fast Take: So You Want to Work at Google?
Google is the fastest-growing company ever, according to the consulting firm Deloitte.
Protect This House
Kevin Plank's improbable hit -- a sweat-wicking undershirt -- kicked off the fastest-growing category of sportswear. Now Nike and other megabrands are in hot pursuit of Under Armour. Welcome to the disrupter's dilemma.
Fast Take: No Sweat
Like many upstarts, Under Armour made a splash with a breakthrough product, then promptly found itself facing Goliaths. Here's how an un-likely giant killer is protecting its house from megabrands like Nike.
The Art of Work
What would happen if the best moments of your life happened at the office? That would be "flow," and thanks to a guy with an unpronounceable name, more and more businesses want to know about it.
Fast Take: There's No Business Like FLOW Business
Time becomes irrelevant, the water in the teakettle boils away, you forget where you are, so focused are you on the work you're doing. Sound familiar? If not, try taking a look at how some companies are using Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's ideas to improve the productivity and satisfaction of their employees.
Fast Talk: Brand Revivers
The only thing harder than developing a hot brand is turning around a once-popular one. We spoke to five brand stewards going through the process of breathing life into iconic names to see how they're doing it.
Sun King
Jonathan Schwartz, president and COO of Sun Microsystems, on the lack of great leaders in business, the future of technology, and vacationing in Australia.

Next

In Praise of Ecosystems
Innovation doesn't occur in a vacuum -- which is why Apple's iPod will eventually be eclipsed by rivals that can cooperate and compete together.
Slave Wages
From a report released June 1 by Wachovia Corp., researched by the History Factory, on transactions of the bank and its predecessor companies related to slavery.
If the Shoe Fits...
Olly Shoes' high-tech approach to shoe fitting is replacing a system that hasn't changed in 80 years. Your kids will love it, too.
CEO See-Ya!
This month: Ralph Hake, CEO of Maytag Corp.
Class Acts
Each spring, corporate America's preeminent chieftains offer sage counsel to eager university graduates across the nation. Here's our Class of 2005.
The Ethics Monitor
Thinking of swiping that Swingline? You're not the only one, as our latest ethics survey reveals.
Label Maker
The secrets behind a good-looking package.
Business Blogging for Beginners
Creating a business blog is a lot like hosting a cocktail party: You're networking with customers in a low-pressure setting and, at best, nurturing great relationships. How to make your company's blog the talk of the town? We asked experts Elizabeth Albrycht of Blogging Planet and Andy Lark of the Lark Group for the lowdown on blogging style and etiquette.
Brand Aids
The always-slippery topic of branding becomes more so on the Web, where "brand" bloggers typically spill the most ink on, well, blogging. We found three that offer on-target insights.
Chinks in the Armor
Even the most-admired businesses have a few flaws. And they should want to get better, right? So we've helpfully identified "opportunities for improvement," as they say on performance evaluations, at companies otherwise celebrated for great customer experiences. Here's how they're fixing the problems -- or not.
Have Desk, Will Travel
Real leaders go where the action is.
Look! No hands!
Parrot's Easydrive helps you keep your attention on the road -- while you're on the phone.
Who's Zooming You?
You're out there. On the Web, there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of references to you -- in company newsletters, college alumni notes, and friends' blogs. (As a tech writer, I'm especially promiscuous: Googling my name turns up 10,700 results.) So how can you monitor and manage your online reputation?
A New Social Calculus
What impact does your company have on the environment? Check your annual report.
Datebook
Critical calendar listings for August 2005.
Office Handbook
When the company's for sale, you might be, too.
Invaluable
You know those corporate values statements? Turns out they have weird correlations to performance.

Playbook

Of Proteges and Pitfalls
A complete plan for getting the mentoring you need.
Preparing For Act II
Mike Jeans helps execs reroute their careers. Find out why you should embrace your career crises and stop being shy about asking for directions.
A Close Encounter of the Enlightened Kind
Aspen Institute's Executive Seminar finds modern wisdom in classic works.
Readers' Choice
Buzz: sweet, elusive elixir of marketing. This month's tome helps you divine it.
Up The Creek
The big problem with booking travel online is the gnawing sense that you've left a great deal on the table. If you'd just gone to one more site....
The Corporate Shrink
Why are we obsessed with PowerPoint?
Turning Those Flabby Abs Into That Sexy Six-Pack
If you're looking for quick fixes, tune into Saturday morning TV, not Marshall.
The Strong Shall Inherit the Earth
In his debut column, the popular author kick-starts the "strengths revolution."

More Great Stuff

Fast Company's New Dawn
This month's letter from the editor.
Slow Is the New Fast
With our November issue, Fast Company will celebrate 10 years of publication. Each month until then, we'll review one of our favorite editions from the first decade.
Feedback
Letters. Updates. Advice.
Go Long, Young Man
A report from the past.