Biz bits

By wire services
Published March 27, 2005

WHAT'S THE MOST DANGEROUS force in business today? Inc. columnist Adam Hanft says it's "excess of loyalty." Chief executives often talk about wanting "team players" who are committed to the company's vision. "But what too often happens," Hanft writes, "is that CEOs surround themselves with sycophants, constructing echo chambers of agreement. Loyalty becomes a code word for intellectual servitude, what I call an "obedience culture.' " Instead, Hanft says, leaders should look for employees who will tell them what they don't want to hear. "That requires something more than loyalty: trust," he says.

MILLER'S CHEEKY ADVERTISING campaign that makes light, so to speak, of the King of Beers is paying off. Miller's ads in 2003 pitched its Miller Lite brand as "the low-carb alternative to Bud Light." In 2004, Miller was hailed as "the president of beers," a challenge to Bud's claim to be "king of beers." Miller is seeing results, BusinessWeek says. Miller Lite sales in 2004 rose 10.5 percent by volume, compared with just 0.9 percent for the rest of the industry and 3.7 percent for Bud Light.

THE NUMBER OF SPAS at resorts and hotels has increased nearly 300 percent in the past five years. The overbuilding binge translates into bargains for consumers: Many spas are offering free nights and cocktail service, waiving resort fees, and in some cases, adding extra treatments, Smart Money reports. The Wyndham Palace at Walt Disney World, for example, has a summer special offering two 50-minute spa treatments, hotel accommodations and breakfast for $185 a night with a two-night minimum stay.

UNCOMFORTABLE WITH the thought of "networking"? Look at it from a different perspective, says Marc Karasu, a career counselor and vice president at Yahoo HotJobs. Consider networking akin to casual small talk at a social gathering. Be relaxed and act relaxed - you're just chatting, not looking for a new job, sale or promotion. "Networking, simply put, is conversations held with friends, family, colleagues and others that help you garner information that could be helpful to your job search," Karasu says.

WHOM DO YOU ADMIRE more, Michael Dell or Bill Gates? Inc. magazine asked that question of 100 people at a retreat it held for entrepreneurs this month in Tucson, Ariz. Sorry, Bill - 38 percent chose Dell, a former University of Texas student who began building PCs and later founded what has become computer and server manufacturer Dell Inc. Only 23 percent selected Gates, the chairman of Microsoft Corp.

- Compiled from Times wires and Web sites.