From the December 2001 issue of Entrepreneur

New Execs on the Block

Companies, like pasta sauce, can have too much seasoning. A study by C. Carl Pegels, a State University of New York at Buffalo professor, indicates bringing on seasoned executives helps grow your company only up to a point. You'll do better recruiting slightly younger executives, as long as they're not wet behind the ears.

"[You] don't need someone in their 50s or 60s," Pegels says. "Junior managers-who are going to be in their 40s or late 30s-show better performance."

In his study, Pegels analyzed 25 publicly traded airlines. He compared the demographics of these firms' executives with their financial performance over a four-year period-including return on investment and stock market performance.

The results highlighted two other significant trends. Executives' longevity in their jobs was also a performance indicator. The less time they'd been in a position, the better. (Alas, Pegels' study did not identify an optimum amount of time.)

The other key factor the study uncovered: "The less variation in age, the better [executives] work together," Pegels says-especially if they don't have many gray hairs between them.

Stretch Your Time

OK, class. The word for today is "relax." You say you're too busy? Nonsense, says Darrin Zeer, author of Office Yoga: Simple Stretches for Busy People (Chronicle Books). A little stress reduction is exactly what you need to attack your busy day with a clear head. Let's learn how to get it done without wasting your valuable time, straight from the book:

At red lights: "Sit back, relax and roll your head in circles. Shrug your shoulders up and down, breathing in rhythm as you do."

At your keyboard: "With your hands in prayer position, move in all directions and stretch. Squeeze your fists tight. Stretch fingers wide. Interlace fingers and rotate hands."

In an empty elevator: "Place your right hand on a wall. Stand up straight and bend your left leg back. With your left hand, hold your toes and pull your foot to your buttocks. Breathe, hold, release and switch sides."

At the photocopier: "Place your hands on the edge of the copier. Stand back with feet apart. Drop your head and chest. Breathe and relax your shoulders."

While watching TV: "Sit on floor. Bend your legs and bring the soles of your feet together, close to your body. Grab your feet with your hands, and gently lower your knees. Raise your chest and breathe."


Business writer Chris Sandlund works out of Cold Spring, New York.

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