Cultivating a Home Yoga Practice

Do your yoga students hunger to build a home practice but struggle to stick with one? Sustaining a regular home yoga practice can be challenging even for the most loyal yoga enthusiasts. But practicing independently—as a complement to learning from a skilled teacher—offers a variety of advantages that make it well worth the effort. Find out why a home practice can benefit your students, how you can encourage them to create the space for it, and what will help them get on the mat every day.

Benefits of a Home Practice

Self-discovery. Learning from a skilled teacher is essential for any yoga student, but classes can be full and are sometimes fast-paced. A self-initiated, self-led home practice is an opportunity to enhance body awareness and sensitivity, shedding light on misalignments that might go unnoticed in the studio.

Of course, a good instructor looks out for imbalances and limitations in practitioners, but students who work at their own pace often learn to recognize a physical limitation (such as a tight hip) or an inefficient movement pattern for themselves. One student might realize she puts too much weight on her wrists or slightly bends her right elbow in downward-facing dog. Another might discover that opening his shoulders is far easier for him than opening his hips.

These moments of awareness are important because they inform future yoga practice and enhance students’ knowledge of their bodies and themselves. By applying what they learn through self-discovery, practitioners can challenge their physical edge or correct a muscular weakness. Regular attendance at a studio will yield these same benefits, but they are enhanced during home practice.

A tailored approach. Independent practitioners decide which poses they’ll do and what they want emphasize. Let’s say a student with flexible hamstrings and tight quadriceps attends a weekly yoga class that often focuses on stretching the hamstrings. During her home practice, she can even out her program (and her body) by incorporating more poses that open the quadriceps.

Skill refinement. Home practice provides a terrific opportunity for students to reinforce setup or alignment cues they’ve learned in class. With diligent work, they will refine those skills and begin to store the information in their long-term memory.

Motivation Matters

When class participants ask you about starting a home practice, it is important to understand why that matters to them and what might be holding them back. Ask open-ended questions, such as, “What appeals to you about starting a home practice?” and “What gets in the way of rolling out your mat once you’re home?” When you have this information, you can talk through the situation and help your clients achieve the outcome they want.

Remember that for any person to adhere to any behavior, there needs to be a strong motivational factor for doing that behavior. If cultivating a home practice is something your clients think they should do, but not something they truly care about, they will not be motivated to start, and you may need to address that.

Explore this further by asking questions like “Where did your desire to start a home yoga practice begin?” and “How does starting a home practice relate to who you want to be?” This will help your clients talk about why they want to engage in the behavior versus why they should commit to it.

If motivation is not the issue, and the problem lies in the home environment, then practical solutions can help students overcome common barriers.

Home Practice Solutions

Set the space. A common barrier to home practice is the array of distractions that vie for clients’ attention. These might be objects in the environment (like TV, computers or dirty dishes) or even family members. To win the commitment struggle, it will be important for your clients to “set the space” where they plan to practice.

This could mean moving furniture to the side of a room, creating a permanent yoga space in their home, or using visual or auditory cues to make their environment more conducive to yoga. For example, clients could leverage music to set the mood, even creating a yoga playlist to provide a relaxing environment.

Encourage clients to remove any distracting objects from their line of vision: a laundry basket filled with clothes to be washed, or pieces of mail on the counter, for instance. Recommend setting the space in the morning before work, so clients are ready to go once they get home. And urge them to ask family members to respect the space so that practice can unfold without verbal or behavioral interruptions.

Create a schedule. Your clients will need to figure out a routine that will work for them, whether that means practicing when they first get home, when they get up in the morning or during a lunch break at work. Encourage them to use phone reminders or social support to keep them on schedule.

Avoiding conflict with mealtimes is best, but if clients have to postpone a meal, recommend they eat snacks throughout the day to eliminate large gaps between meals. They should negotiate with family members or housemates, asking them to play music more softly or take kids to another room until the session is over.

Modify or even discard time requirements. Another barrier is thinking the activity needs to last a certain length of time. Some clients might assume they must practice for 90 minutes (as they often do in their yoga class) for the session to matter. For many people, the idea of practicing for that long either before or after work can be daunting, so they may never start.

Help your clients set a realistic and manageable duration goal so that they can succeed. That said, remind them to watch what they’re telling themselves about the length of time they practice. For some, falling short of their goal might mean failure, which could sabotage their long-term adherence. If you notice this tendency in clients, recommend they shift their mindset and recognize value in any amount of practice. Even 10 minutes of yoga can produce an array of benefits.

Let go of expectations. The next barrier to adhering to a regular home yoga practice is pre-existing expectations about what the practice should look like: How many poses should it include? How challenging should they be? These should can get in the way, so help your clients let go of expectations and allow themselves to be present to what feels right in the moment.

Remind them that practicing only a handful of poses can be helpful and that they don’t need to do an advanced sequence for the practice to make a difference. A home yoga practice might be restorative poses one day and a more vigorous flow practice the next, and that’s okay. The practice can be different every time, since a regular yoga practice will ebb and flow based on energy levels, muscular tension, interpersonal stress, and nutritional and sleep habits.

Seek out helpful resources when choosing poses. Last but not least, your clients may find choosing poses difficult when they practice at home. Encourage them to start by practicing their favorite ones first and then add in different or more challenging options over time. Yoga books, online videos or yoga websites might prompt ideas. Suggest that clients keep these helpful resources near their mat while they practice so they can refer to them if they feel unsure about what to do next.

Home Yoga Matters

Regardless of the barriers your clients face, there are ways to help them achieve the benefits they want from a regular home yoga practice. Find out as much as you can about their motivation and help them dismantle environmental barriers. Working together, you can find the solution that will allow their home practice to thrive.


These pointers may seem basic to you, but they can help students get a home practice up and running:

  • Always practice on a mat. It will help you avoid slipping, especially while holding downward-facing dog or warrior poses.
  • Place your yoga mat on a hard, even surface. Practicing on carpet is not recommended, as it affects weight distribution in the hands during weight-bearing poses, and this can lead to wrist pain. Practicing on carpet can also affect balance in standing poses.
  • Have a minimum of two thicker yoga blocks (either cork or foam) to support yourself in seated or standing poses.
  • Aim to have at least one yoga strap. If a strap is not available, use a resistance band instead.
  • If possible, use a woven yoga blanket for support when needed (e.g., to cushion the knee in lunges). A thicker home blanket that’s easily folded provides a good alternative.


Source: Cultivating a Home Yoga Practice – IDEA Health & Fitness Association


The Role of Industry in Strategy

I had another question/provocation recently on the role of industry in strategy. They keep coming, along with specific requests to write something on the subject. So, I thought I would initiate Year II of the Playing to Win/Practitioner Insights (PTW/PI) series with a piece on The Role of Industry in Strategy: Set a Strategic Goal of Shaping Yours.

The Trendy Critique

The trendy critique these days holds that strategy assumes that industries are fixed and stable, and you should find one that is structurally attractive, get advantage there, and milk it for all you can. The notion is generally attributed to Michael Porter, of Five Forces Model fame, despite the fact that he never said or even implied such a thing.

In contrast, the supposedly enlightened way of thinking about strategy is to recognize that because industries are ‘continuously morphing,’ there is no such thing as competitive advantage anymore. Thus, you should be ‘continuously reconfiguring’ rather than doing this terribly old-fashioned thing called strategy because, apparently, it is old-fashioned!

Most readers know I have worked with P&G for a long time, 35 years and counting, in fact. The Tide brand managers over those 35 years, plus the 40 years before that, would find hilarious the idea that their brand was incapable of sustaining competitive advantage when Tide has been the top laundry detergent in the US for the past 75 years — and arguably may now be the strongest it has been in those three-quarters of a century. The same would apply to the Head & Shoulders brand managers over the past 60 years.

And I can’t help wonder what Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google would think if they were told their advantages are fleeting because their industries have morphed so continuously that each will soon be in the ashbin of history. Or great old-guard companies like Vanguard or Four Seasons or Southwest for that matter — with their strategies, industries and competitive advantages that have been around for around half a century for each of the three.

Are their industries completely stable, so they haven’t had to do a thing to maintain their leading positions? No. But have their core competitive advantages had to change dramatically? Nope. Not for any one of the abovementioned winners.

So, let’s dispense with the trendy critique and instead reconfirm that winning in your industry matters and can matter for a long, long time — for generations in some cases.

But How Should You Define Your Industry?

A get a lot of questions about and fretting over the question of how to define one’s industry. The general concern tends to be that industry definitions are too narrow and rigid. This is, of course, not a particularly new idea. Theodore Levitt made that critique in 1960 in one of the most famous Harvard Business Review articles of all time, Marketing Myopia, in which he used the example of the passenger railway business generating its own demise by considering its competition to be other railways and not paying attention to alternative transportation — like cars and planes.

Michael Porter tends to get beaten up for this too with folks criticizing him for his Five Forces Model considering competition narrowly. Again, I come away wondering if his critics actually read his stuff prior to criticizing. A quick perusal of the model reveals that, per Levitt, if other railways are the only actors included in the Rivalry Among Existing Competitors box, then cars and planes will be included in Threat of Substitutes box.

And future kinds of players in Threat of New Entrants. If you actually read Porter, he tells you that if you want to understand your strategy context, you had better consider all three of Rivalry, Substitutes and New Entrants.

Maybe because I worked a lot with Mike in the olden days, I am pretty lackadaisical about defining the boundaries of industries for purposes of strategy. It recalls for me the tag line from the old Fram Oil Filter commercials: pay me now or pay me later.

You can define your industry narrowly — say, steel — and thereby show it as having less intense Rivalry. But then aluminum and ceramics have to be in the Substitute box, and you have a huge threat from them. And even further, one always has to think about Threat of New Entrants, as the traditional steelmakers should have done with respect to scrap steel/mini-mill entrant, Nucor.

Of course you can’t just punt on industry definition in strategy because you can’t develop a strategy in a vacuum. You do need some sort of definition of the playing field on which you plan to compete in order to develop strategy. But I am quite flexible in exactly how that playing field is defined. The definition just needs to have self-correcting elements to it.

For example, the theory of one’s industry can be that the industry is just me. Lots of entrepreneurs think of it that way. They say: “I am truly unique.” I don’t try to convince them that they aren’t, and that they are part of a bigger industry. What is the use?

I focus instead on getting them to think about the task of recruiting customers out of other industries into theirs. That has the same effect as defining their industry more broadly. They have to compete with players that they see as being in other industries to get the customers of these other players to defect to them.

Sometimes the definition can be less singularly extreme but still very narrow. In this case, executives do acknowledge direct competition but define their competitive set narrowly. Again, I don’t waste time fighting their narrow definition. I just make sure that they think carefully and robustly about substitutes and how their strategy must consider the threat from them.

If instead they define their industry overly broadly, I get them to focus on the strategic group within which they compete most directly and intensely, because winning there should be their first task.

My overall approach is to expend my energy on taking account of any vulnerabilities in the industry definition rather than directly fighting the definition itself.

It’s About the Role of Strategy in Industry

There is a much more important task than haggling or obsessing about industry definition. Instead, your focus should be on working to influence your industry, on shaping it to better benefit your strategy. That is because all good strategies have the effect of influencing/evolving/shaping their industry.

Did Vanguard win in a way that maintained the boundaries and shape of its industry? No. It created a gigantic new industry: index mutual funds. Did Southwest Airlines win in a way that maintained the boundaries and shape of its industry? No, it created a very attractive substitute for the Greyhound Bus. How about Four Seasons? No, it heralded the splitting of the hotel development industry from the hotel management industry.

Why is Tide on top after 75 years? It has kept shaping its industry to its own advantage — and always also to the benefit of consumers. At its inception, it became the default detergent as the automatic washing machine penetrated American households by giving out a free box of Tide with every machine sold. Later, it became the dominant liquid detergent, driving the shift from powdered to liquid detergent.

Still later, it showed that detergent and bleach aren’t necessarily two distinct products if it is more convenient for it to be one. Most recently in converted the entire high end of the industry from pourable liquid to uni-dose pods. Tide won by influencing the shape and contours of its industry in ways that strengthened its position with consumers by making the lives of consumers better.

I am sure there are examples of great companies that won without shaping their industries meaningfully. But none come to mind, which generally means they are the exceptions that prove the rule!

Practitioner Insights

It is largely a waste of time to argue about industry definition. Just make sure you have a definition that is self-correcting by taking into account the aspects that you don’t include in the industry. If you think the definition is overly narrow, make sure that you consider the role of substitutes and potential entrants. If you think it is overly broad, focus attention on winning the narrower battle first before tackling the industry broadly.

Be flexible in your industry definition but inflexible in your theory of winning. The job of strategy is to offer a superior value proposition to a target set of customers. There are lots of ways to conceptualize that target set — the whole market, a big chunk, or a tiny slice. All will be workable if you have discipline on finding a way to win, not to just play.

And a key to winning in the long term is to shape your industry in a direction that benefits your strategy. The worst thing to do is to simply sit back and let the industry in which you operate evolve in whatever way the relevant forces drive or more dangerously, in a way that a key competitor seeks to evolve it.

That will put your strategy perpetually on its back foot — always needing to respond. If your strategy doesn’t shape the industry in which you compete, somebody else will be evolving it in a way that benefits them. So, take the task of shaping your industry’s evolution as seriously as you take competing today.


By: Roger Martin

Professor Roger Martin is a writer, strategy advisor and in 2017 was named the #1 management thinker in world. He is also former Dean of the Rotman School.

Source: The Role of Industry in Strategy. Set a Strategic Goal of Shaping Yours | by Roger Martin | Nov, 2021 | Medium


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7 Reasons You Need To Try Green Chef If You’re Keto

I’ve always hated grocery shopping, but with me on the keto diet now, it’s even worse.

All I see are aisles packed floor to ceiling with the foods I can’t eat. (Or can I? I don’t know anymore.) The grocery store is a struggle on a good day for me, but when trying to stick to a Keto diet, it’s a complete nightmare!

Reading the nutritional value on the back of everything I pick up is driving me bananas. Even the store assistant asked if I needed help because I looked so confused. Once again I left with eggs, avocado, and double-stuf Oreos for dinner.

Keto looks so good on paper and the results from it are amazing, but why is it such a challenge for me? Am I forever doomed to fail at it? Part of me thought yes, but deep down I knew that if I had the right tools and training wheels, I could make it happen. As I chomped my fourth Oreo I Googled *how to be successful at Keto*.

After some very boring reads, I hit upon Green Chef, a USDA-certified organic meal kit delivery service. They have different plans with specifically designed recipes to help you stick to a specialty diet, like gluten-free, Paleo, Plant-powered, Balanced Living and of course, Keto.

I highly doubted it would work, but it was the best option I could find, so I gave Keto one last go. Here’s how Green Chef helped me stay Keto Strong:

1. Why Keto’s So Good For You

The focus of Keto is lots of healthy fats with low carbs. So much of the Western diet is centered around carbs, switching your focus to fats as a fuel source instead can have so many benefits on your health. Once I got used to fewer carbs, (which wasn’t too bad with all of Green Chef’s delicious recipes), I noticed I was sleeping soundly, waking up revitalized, and my cookie cravings have vanished (almost).

2. Why Green Chef’s Keto Plan’s Better For You

Keto has never been so simple, every week I have a new menu to choose all my Keto dinners from. All of Green Chef’s recipes are crafted by chefs, well-balanced, and beyond delicious recipes. These meal kits contain a variety of fresh, organic ingredients that are all GMO-free, and all produce is sourced from local farms. I can really taste the difference, and it’s amazing knowing the food I’m eating is sustainably sourced.

3. My Time Is Of The Essence

It’s not just my time wasted in the grocery store, it’s researching recipes, planning the dinners and then all the prepping of ingredients too! Green Chef delivers premium, perfectly portioned ingredients ready to cook straight to your door. Quick-n-easy recipe cards have chef’s tips and mouth-watering pictures that give you a step-by-step cooking guide. Create and plate in around 30 minutes.

4. Savor The Flavors

Green Chef’s amazing team of expert chefs craft vibrant Keto recipes you’ll rarely find in restaurants. My absolute favorite is Provolone-Stuffed Beef Patties with Tangy slaw, sautéed bell pepper & mushrooms. The portion size–especially the protein–is perfect, and you feel perfectly full after every meal. I even usually have leftovers for lunch the next day.

5. Ding-Dong – Dinner At Your Door

Green Chef’s got your back with weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly subscriptions. Plus, you can skip a week whenever you want. I personally don’t, since Keto with Green Chef is going amazing for me so far, and I don’t want to lost momentum while I have it! But if you’re more experienced cooking keto meals, just needing a little help here and there, you can customize your subscription so it better fits your budget and lifestyle.

6. No Crave – No Cave

I use to think going Keto was a form of torture due to the monotony of the meals I used to cook, but not anymore. With 8 delicious new meals to choose from weekly, maintaining Keto is no longer a challenge. Variety is key!

7. Stay Keto Strong With Green Chef

As I continue on my Keto journey, I’m confident I won’t fizzle out this time. Green Chef plays a huge part in delivering everything I need to be successful to my door. Their globally-inspired, flavor-rich recipes mean I never get bored while still reaching my target weight. To me, Keto’s not a diet – it’s how I feed my body to be at its best.

Keto can be simple and delicious with Green Chef!


Source: Keto? Try Green Chef. – The Journiest


Easy keto recipes to see you through summer:

It’s the low-carb, high-fat diet that’s taken the world (and the internet) by storm. Here we chart our top 40 keto-friendly recipes that’ll have you in ketosis before you know it. See here for more on the keto diet, including its benefits and risks, and always speak to your general practitioner before making any changes in your diet.

The low-carb cauliflower pizza you need tonight

We went and created the ultimate keto cheeseburger (thank us later)

The healthy, low-carb butter chicken salad

The low carb spaghetti you need to try this spring

Ras el hanout, yoghurt and lime grilled chicken

Japanese kingfish lettuce cups

Colin Fassnidge’s prawn and herb omelette is the weeknight saviour we’ve been looking for

This goats cheese and vegetable frittata is the answer to your dinner dilemmas

T-bone steaks with asian-style mushrooms

Steak with porcini butter and charred onion

Colin Fassnidge’s skirt steak with salsa verde

Related References:

Keto Recipes

Healthy Recipes

Meals & Cooking

The Most Delish Gluten-Free Dinners

The Most Delish Paleo Recipes

The Most Delish Low-Carb Recipes

Totally Delish Keto Snacks

Keto Desserts You Need to Try

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The IRS Bottleneck Most Taxpayers Have Never Heard Of

The one-day deadline for taxpayers to approve authorization requests only applies to authorizations for multiple representatives. All representatives must be approved on the same day or later approvals will overwrite prior approvals. Currently there is no deadline for taxpayers to approve authorization requests.

Bottlenecks are nothing new to the Internal Revenue Service. IRS issues with mail processing, return processing, and issuing refunds have been well publicized. Nevertheless, one of the most common IRS bottlenecks is one that many taxpayers, including many members of Congress, are unaware of.

IRS notices about return adjustments, balances due, delays in refund processing, and a host of other issues continued to be sent automatically during the Covid-19 pandemic and continue to be issued after what most tax practitioners agree was the worst income tax filing season ever (even worse than filing season 2020).

Taxpayers who choose to pay a professional to assist with an IRS notice must provide proper authorization, typically using either Form 2848, Power of Attorney, or Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization. The representative then files the signed 2848 or 8821 with the Centralized Authorization File (CAF) unit either by mailing it, faxing it, or (more recently) via online submission. Once CAF approval has been granted, the tax practitioner can then represent the taxpayer, but getting CAF approval has become an increasingly fraught process.

The Internal Revenue Manual (or IRM) specifies that “receipts” [of authorization requests] are processed within five business days. Nevertheless, over the last few years processing times of three to six weeks or even longer have become increasingly common. This January tax practitioners were given the ability to submit authorizations online. Online submission was greeted with enthusiasm because it also allowed for the use of electronic (as opposed to “wet”) signatures.

Online submission definitely made the process of getting a client’s signature and submitting the authorization form to the CAF unit much simpler, but because online submissions are processed in order along with mailed or faxed in submissions, uploading authorization forms has not been an expedient option for taxpayers needing immediate assistance.

Typically practitioners representing taxpayers with short deadlines call the Practitioner Priority Line (PPL) and fax the form to the answering representative. Because all faxed forms require a “wet” signature the electronic signature and online submission process has proved less than helpful except for non-urgent matters.

The IRS CAF units in Memphis and Ogden were completely shut down in March 2020 in response to the pandemic (as was a third unit that serves taxpayers located outside of the U.S.). Consequently, authorization processing (which was already slow) was brought to a standstill—and then it went into reverse. Although all three CAF units re-opened in July 2020, and although the IRS has added additional staff to help clear the backlog, the CAF units are still taking several weeks to process mailed or faxed submissions.

While there have been anecdotal reports of uploaded forms being processed in two weeks (as opposed to the six or more it sometimes takes for a mailed or faxed-in authorization), the IRS continues to state that the CAF units process all mailed, faxed, and uploaded forms on a first-in, first out basis.

John Sheeley, Enrolled Agent and owner of Tax Practice Pro, Inc. (which provides continuing education to tax practitioners), has recommended that the IRS stop issuing automatic notices and re-direct any available staff to the CAF units to assist with processing backlogged authorization requests (and then move those staff on to processing notice responses that have also been languishing, sometimes since mid-2020).

Additional improvements to the traditional CAF authorization process that have been recommended by many practitioners include notifying the practitioner via their e-Services account when an authorization form has been accepted for processing (similar to the acknowledgement received for electronically filed tax returns and that includes the date of acknowledgment and the taxpayer’s identification number) and again when the authorization has been processed.

These two additional notifications would allow tax practitioners to quickly determine if their authorization request got to the CAF unit and if it was approved. Currently practitioners must log into their e-services accounts and manually check to see if an authorization form has been processed (again, with no way of knowing if it was even received).

Tax practitioners would also like notification if the authorization request form is rejected and why so that any errors can be corrected. Currently forms submitted by mail, fax, or upload go into a black hole that requires practitioners to continue to check to see if the form has been accepted.

It is never clear whether a long delay is an actual delay in processing, if the form was lost, or if it was rejected. This is inefficient both for practitioners and the IRS. Practitioners who can’t wait for the authorizations to be accepted are often forced to call an already overburdened PPL only to be told the form was rejected and will have to be corrected and resubmitted.

On July 18, 2021 the IRS opened a practitioner portal that is supposed to make filing and obtaining authorizations easier. The new submission and approval system promises to greatly improve efficiency for practitioners whose clients have or can get an IRS online account. Tax practitioners can log into a special Tax Pro account to submit authorization requests for their clients who can then approve the request.

In general, the requests record in real-time to the CAF database. The practitioner is alerted to many issues (e.g., a CAF number mismatch) before the authorization is submitted. Once the request has been approved by the client, authorization approval should be displayed in the practitioner’s Tax Pro account within two business days. Marc Dombrowski, Enrolled Agent Owner of Tax Help Associates, a Buffalo, New York, firm that specializes in resolving tax issues had his first two submissions record in real time and the third in approximately 30 hours. That’s a huge improvement over the several weeks which had become the norm since at least 2020.

Of course, there is some fine print. Authorizations requested using the new portal are limited in scope (most notably they can only be used for individual accounts, not businesses and they can only authorize access back to tax year 2000). Additionally, while the practitioner is notified that an online request has not been approved, the unapproved request is not identified in any way (for example using the taxpayer’s name or TIN). While this may be a necessary security precaution it does pose problems for tax resolution specialists who often submit multiple authorization requests each day.

Processing the older authorization backlog may be even more important with the new portal now online. The IRS has always stressed to practitioners not to submit multiple copies of the same authorizations as it will delay CAF processing. Tax practitioners tend to be a methodical bunch and most will typically check to determine if a client authorization has been granted before attempting to upload an authorization using the new portal.

It would be extremely helpful (and would help to avoid duplicate submissions) if the information provided to practitioners reflects up-to-date CAF information. Dombrowski states that when it comes to the CAF process, “It’s simplicity is its perfection.” New submissions will reliably always overwrite older submissions. That means that the limited scope authorization requests submitted online using the new Tax Pro accounts will replace any full-scope authorizations (2848 or 8821) the IRS currently has on file, so practitioners should be mindful when using the portal for requests on existing clients.

Of course new submissions overwriting older submissions also means that full-scope authorizations submitted by mail, fax, or upload will overwrite limited scope authorizations if the full-scope authorizations are processed after an authorization submitted using the portal. Morris Armstrong, an Enrolled Agent who owns an independent tax practice in Cheshire, Connecticut, says “it is likely safer to request the 8821 [which allows a practitioner to obtain information but not to negotiate] and preserve the 2848, barring urgency to negotiate.”

Finally, client approval of an online authorization request must also be provided the same day as the request is made by the practitioner and, depending on the client, that is not always possible. Truthfully, many practitioners can resolve their clients’ issues if the client has an IRS online account and is willing to request the necessary transcripts and provide them to their practitioner.

Nevertheless, while a transcript review may resolve some problems, often further intervention by the tax practitioner is required. Still, anything that speeds up CAF approval and provides simpler options for obtaining taxpayer transcripts has the potential to greatly reduce IRS phone traffic. And anything that reduces IRS phone traffic will be enthusiastically welcomed by taxpayers, tax practitioners, and the IRS.

I own Tax Therapy, LLC, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am an Enrolled Agent and non-attorney practitioner admitted to the bar of the U.S. Tax Court. I work as a tax general practitioner preparing returns for individuals and (really) small businesses as well as representing individuals before the IRS and, occasionally, the U.S. Tax Court. My passion is translating “taxspeak” into English for taxpayers and tax practitioners. I write to dispel myths with facts and to explain “the fine print” behind seemingly simple tax concepts. I cover individual tax issues and IRS developments with a focus on items of interest to taxpayers and retail tax practitioners. Follow me on Twitter @taxtherapist505

Source: The IRS Bottleneck Most Taxpayers Have Never Heard Of


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How The Power Of Predictive Analytics Can Transform Business

Tableau analytics visual

With the acceleration of digital transformation in business, most CTOs, CIOs, and even middle management or analysts are now asking, “What’s next with data?” and what ongoing role will technology play in both digital and data transformations. Other questions that keep these individuals up at night include:

  • How can people throughout all organizational levels be more empowered to use data and help others make better decisions?
  • What prevents people from more deeply exploring and using data?
  • In what ways can analytics tools and methods help more people use data in the daily routine of business—asking questions, exploring hypotheses, and testing ideas?

With this in mind, plus observations and discussions with many Tableau customers and partners, it seems that today’s circumstances, behaviors, and needs make it the right time for predictive data analytics to help businesses and their people solve problems effectively.

Current realities and barriers to scale smarter decision-making with AI 

With growing, diverse data sets being collected, the analytics use cases to transform data into valuable insights are growing just as fast. Today, a wide range of tools and focused teams specialize in uncovering data insights to inform decision-making, but where organizations struggle is striking the right balance between activating highly technical data experts and business teams with deep domain experience.

Until now, using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and other statistical methods to solve business problems was mostly the domain of data scientists. Many organizations have small data science teams focused on specific, mission-critical, and highly scalable problems, but those teams usually have a long project list to handle.

At the same time though, there are a large number of business decisions that rely on experience, knowledge, and data—and that would greatly benefit from applying more advanced analysis techniques. People with domain knowledge and proximity to the business data could benefit greatly, if they had access to these techniques.

Instead, there’s currently a back-and-forth process of relying on data scientists and ML practitioners to build and deploy custom models—a cycle that lacks agility and the ability to iterate quickly. By the end, the data that the model was trained on could be stale and the process starts again. But organizations depend on business users to make key decisions daily that don’t rise to the priority level of their central data science team.

The opportunity to solve data science challenges

This is where there’s an opportunity to democratize data science capabilities, minimizing the trade-offs between extreme precision and control versus the time to insight—and the ability to take action on these insights. If we can give people tools or enhanced features to better apply predictive analytics techniques to business problems, data scientists can gain time back to focus on more complex problems. With this approach, business leaders can enable more teams to make data-driven decisions while continuing to keep up with the pace of business. Additional benefits gained from democratizing data science in this way include:

  • Reducing data exploration and prep work
  • Empowering analyst experts to deliver data science outputs at lower costs
  • Increasing the likelihood of producing successful models with more exploration of use cases by domain experts
  • Extending, automating, and accelerating analysis for business groups and domain experts
  • Reducing time and costs spent on deploying and integrating models
  • Promoting responsible use of data and AI with improved transparency and receiving guidance on how to minimize or address bias

Business scenarios that benefit from predictive analytics 

There are several business scenarios where predictive capabilities can be immensely useful.

Sales and marketing departments can apply it to lead scoring, opportunity scoring, predicting time to close, and many other CRM-related cases. Manufacturers and retailers can use it to help with supply chain distribution and optimization, forecasting consumer demand, and exploring adding new products to their mix. Human resources can use it to assess the likelihood of candidates accepting an offer, and how they can adjust salary and benefits to meet a candidate’s values. And companies can use it to explore office space options and costs. These are just a few of the potential scenarios.

A solution to consider: Tableau Business Science

We are only at the beginning of exploring what predictive capabilities in the hands of people closely aligned with the business will unlock. AI and ML will continue to advance. More organizations, in a similar focus as Tableau, will also keep looking for techniques that can help people closest to the business see, understand, and use data in new ways to ask and answer questions, uncover insights, solve problems, and take action.

This spring Tableau introduced a new class of AI-powered analytics that gives predictive capabilities to people who are close to the business. In this next stage of expanded data exploration and use, we hope business leaders embrace data to help others make better decisions, and to provide transparent insight into the factors influencing those decisions.

When people can think with their data—when analysis is more about asking and answering questions than learning complex software or skills—that’s when human potential will be unleashed, leading to amazing outcomes. Learn more about Tableau Business Science, what this technology gives business teams, and the value it delivers to existing workflows.

Olivia Nix is a Senior Manager of Product Marketing at Tableau. She leads a team focused on the use of AI and ML in analytics and engagement, including how to use technology to enable more people in organizations to make data-driven decisions. Olivia has been at Tableau for four years where she has worked closely with development teams on new product launches. Prior to Tableau, Olivia worked as an analyst at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change (now C2ES) and Johnson Controls. She has her MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Source: How The Power Of Predictive Analytics Can Transform Business



Predictive analytics encompasses a variety of statistical techniques from data mining, predictive modelling, and machine learning that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future or otherwise unknown events.

In business, predictive models exploit patterns found in historical and transactional data to identify risks and opportunities. Models capture relationships among many factors to allow assessment of risk or potential associated with a particular set of conditions, guiding decision-making for candidate transactions.

The defining functional effect of these technical approaches is that predictive analytics provides a predictive score (probability) for each individual (customer, employee, healthcare patient, product SKU, vehicle, component, machine, or other organizational unit) in order to determine, inform, or influence organizational processes that pertain across large numbers of individuals, such as in marketing, credit risk assessment, fraud detection, manufacturing, healthcare, and government operations including law enforcement.

Predictive analytics is used in actuarial science,marketing,business management, sports/fantasy sports, insurance,policing, telecommunications,retail, travel, mobility, healthcare, child protection, pharmaceuticals,capacity planning, social networking and other fields.

One of the best-known applications is credit scoring,[1] which is used throughout business management. Scoring models process a customer’s credit history, loan application, customer data, etc., in order to rank-order individuals by their likelihood of making future credit payments on time.

Predictive analytics is an area of statistics that deals with extracting information from data and using it to predict trends and behavior patterns. The enhancement of predictive web analytics calculates statistical probabilities of future events online. Predictive analytics statistical techniques include data modeling, machine learning, AI, deep learning algorithms and data mining.Often the unknown event of interest is in the future, but predictive analytics can be applied to any type of unknown whether it be in the past, present or future.

For example, identifying suspects after a crime has been committed, or credit card fraud as it occurs.The core of predictive analytics relies on capturing relationships between explanatory variables and the predicted variables from past occurrences, and exploiting them to predict the unknown outcome. It is important to note, however, that the accuracy and usability of results will depend greatly on the level of data analysis and the quality of assumptions.

Predictive analytics is often defined as predicting at a more detailed level of granularity, i.e., generating predictive scores (probabilities) for each individual organizational element. This distinguishes it from forecasting. For example, “Predictive analytics—Technology that learns from experience (data) to predict the future behavior of individuals in order to drive better decisions.”In future industrial systems, the value of predictive analytics will be to predict and prevent potential issues to achieve near-zero break-down and further be integrated into prescriptive analytics for decision optimization.

See also

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