Tips and Articles

Category: Newsletters Published on Aug 22 2017

Dear Karen,


Summer creates an annual problem for me. It’s difficult to have vacationing employees’ tasks done correctly by someone filling in for them. But the work has to be done. Do you have any ideas for dealing with this?


Amanda, PA


Category: Strategy Published on Jul 18 2017

Shortly after I started my company, I was asked by a past employer to develop a management training seminar. After they requested a detailed outline of what I was planning to cover, I was elated because I assumed that I had passed the first hurdle and was well on my way to my first big contract.


I was crushed when I was notified a few days later that the company had taken another direction. And even more so when I heard through the rumor mill that my outline had been used in selecting the alternate trainer.


Category: Internal Brand Published on Jul 11 2017

The common belief is that the more you focus, the less flexible you become. The usual mental image of focus is the horse wearing blinders, focused on the road ahead of him.


The irony is that the more focused you are, the more flexible you become. However, you must focus on the right thing for this to be true.


Category: Processes Published on Jun 27 2017

Once upon a time in a company not so far away, there existed a man we’ll call Bob. Bob was a friendly person whose job was to supervise accounts receivable. Because this was a fairly small company, one of Bob’s duties was to make collection calls. 


One day the Controller asked Bob to make calls for a variety of past due balances that were each in the $100-200 range. Over the next couple of weeks, these balances disappeared from the accounts receivable aging and the Controller was happy because he believed the money had been collected.


In reality, Bob had written the balances off. How did this happen without the Controller’s knowledge?


Category: Strategy Published on Jun 15 2017

When I was a manager and struggling with delegating tasks the question “What’s the worst that can happen?” became my mantra. If the worst that could happen didn’t include the end of the world, anyone being killed or maimed, or me losing my job I would usually go ahead and delegate the task. (By the way, most tasks pass this test.)


When I started my business, I let this question slide. After all, it was just me. I didn’t have any employees to trigger the question. Over time, however, I became aware of the fact that this question is also quite useful for small business owners.


Category: People Published on Jun 07 2017

We spend a great deal of time talking about the ideal situation – where the owner’s vision and values are built into the business from day one. But what do you do when a company has grown and has lost touch with their original values?


Category: Newsletters Published on May 23 2017

Hi Karen:


We are in the process of restructuring and writing new job descriptions. Would you be able to provide any guidance in this area?  Especially regarding core competencies?  Thank you.


Linda, PA


Category: Strategy Published on May 08 2017

Have you ever had that moment when you suddenly had a core belief proven to be accurate? Or perhaps found proof that it’s not only accurate but also more important than you realized?


I had one of those moments. While reading Corporate Lifecycles by Ichak Adizes, I had my belief that small businesses are different from larger organizations both confirmed and explained. I don’t want to bore you with all the geeky details (if you don’t think this is geeky I suggest you read the book or ask me more about it when you see me) so I will summarize it simply by stating:


Category: Newsletters Published on Apr 25 2017



I found your last two newsletters on writing a written warning very helpful. Would you clarify when it’s appropriate to use a written warning vs. giving a verbal warning?


Paul, PA


Category: People Published on Apr 18 2017

A popular concept in business literature is to surround yourself with the smartest people you can find. The corollary to this belief is to always hire the smartest people. This is an idea that I endorse– to a degree.


Following are three times when hiring the smartest person can create more problems than they solve.