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?

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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.

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Category: People Published on Mar 07 2017

Og Mandino says that one of the biggest determinants of success is persistence. Persistence is characterized by a willingness to keep putting in the time and keep trying. When you fail you get up and go again. Some days, this is harder than others.


I clearly remember one of those days. One of my clients was in the middle of a crisis that seriously endangered their ability to continue in business in the long run. I had nothing to do with how they arrived at this point; and I did not have the power to ensure that they could go on. It’s crushing and humbling, especially since I had invested myself in their business on an emotional level.

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Category: People Published on Feb 13 2017



If you don’t care whether your ethics training is resulting in any behavioral changes, please go ahead and lecture. If, however, you want your employees to be actively engaged in ethics training you might want to try something different.

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Category: People Published on Dec 20 2016


Sometimes my best insights come from hearing something I already know stated slightly differently by someone new. I had one of those moments this morning.


While reading Peak by Chip Conley I came across a simple innocuous sentence:

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Category: People Published on Nov 15 2016

A few years ago, an individual I’ll call Will purchased a small business. Because the previous owner was a control-freak, the culture in this company was not trust based.

 - Employees were used to doing what they were told to do without questioning the orders. As a result they also tended to complain a great deal.

 - Order was maintained by an extensive video system that was ostensibly to deter customer theft. However, since cameras were also placed in storage and work areas employees understood that they were not trusted either.

 - Employees exhibited no personal initiative to do more than was asked as this activity had been penalized in the past. Therefore, performance was minimal.

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Category: People Published on Nov 01 2016

Anna is a lovely woman who inherited a job for which she does not currently have the knowledge and skills, but who has a large store of innate abilities and intelligence. This combination frequently leaves her feeling inadequate and scared of losing her job. In other words, she feels very vulnerable.

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Category: People Published on Jul 19 2016

I remember my first day of work at Warner Amex. Apparently, no one was expecting me. A woman showed me to an empty cubicle and asked me to wait. A short time later, she returned with an engineering book on how cable worked and offered it to me. Fortunately, I am an avid reader so I was puzzled but content to sit and read. And then noon arrived…I had no idea when my lunch was, or how it worked at this company. Worse, when I looked around I could not find a single person to ask.


Overall, on that first day, I felt invisible and unimportant. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that this initial feeling was later reinforced by how I was treated. For example, at the holiday luncheon I overheard the controller asking my supervisor: “Who is she? Is she in our department?”


The initial days and weeks of employment are important in 2 ways:

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Category: People Published on Jul 06 2016

The current trend, especially in larger organizations like Starbucks, is a move towards increasing the amount of digital training* employees receive. In fact, according to, on-line corporate training is expected by grow by 13% per year through 2017. Considering that currently 77% of US companies currently offer on-line training, this is significant.


After speaking to Jen, an employee who is experiencing this upsurge in digital training, I feel compelled to speak out on this trend.

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Category: People Published on May 31 2016

Last week one of my clients (let’s call him Sam) had the unfortunate task of firing an employee. Sam shared with me afterwards that he was worried that the employee would now sue his company.


My advice to Sam was to “Let it go! Stop thinking about it because it’s totally out of your control. You did what needed to be done and you did it the right way. If she does bring charges against your company the half inch of written warnings in her personnel file will be a good resource. And it’s quite possible that she will do nothing but file for unemployment.”


This vignette is an example of unproductive worrying. Whether or not the ex-employee brings charges of any sort against the company is totally out of Sam’s control. And if she does, the actual experience will most likely not be as bad as what Sam’s imagination and worry would turn it into. Regardless, there is nothing Sam can do about it until and unless it happens.

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