What lies do you tell yourself?

In the past, word of mouth and referrals had kept JoAnn’s company busy. But the market was changing with new technology and growing competition.  Sales were starting to slump.   JoAnn knew something had to be done, but she lacked confidence in her own judgment.  She felt ineffective discussing sales with customers.  When she talked to a business mentor about her fears, he asked some pointed questions.   Read More

What You Measure Matters

A machine shop owner was working hard to add large companies to her customer list.  She courted several and finally landed a gem.  Or so she thought.  A year into the relationship, the new customer was 40% of her workload; she was ecstatic.  Read More

When You’re Asked to Keep Something Confidential

This might be the shortest and most important blog I write all year.  If you’re asked to keep something confidential…do it.

Information is valuable currency and it’s great to be “in the know”.  But in business, reputations are built on trust; keeping information you have been entrusted with confidential makes you credible and trustworthy.

The same holds true in personal relationships.  When someone values your relationship enough to share private information, don’t betray that trust.

The road is easier together,


Here, catch this!

You’re sitting at your desk eyeing the piles of work stacked up.  The volume is daunting, and all marked “urgent”.  Then another task appears and another.  Here, catch this!  Productivity grinds to a halt.  You have workload paralysis.

When people have too much on their plate they often shut down and avoid work altogether; they may play computer games or watch TV.  Not only is this unproductive, but it puts them in a continual cycle of low motivation.  They avoid the work that needs to get done, spend half the day playing games thus adding to their workload, increasing the likelihood that they’ll do the same thing the next day and the day after that.

If you’ve ever experienced workload paralysis these suggestions will help you get back on the productive track.

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Men and Their Friends: Just, Must, Trust and Rust

Dad turned 92 last week; this 2013 blog has been reprinted in celebration of his birthday.

My father was a deer hunter, although now that I think about it, I don’t recall him bringing home much venison.  What I do recall is his excitement in anticipation of heading up to a couple old trailers parked in the woods near Minong Wisconsin with six of his buddies.  The place had two electric light bulbs hanging from the ceiling, no running water, a kerosene stove for heat, and a one-holer outhouse out back.  Ah, life didn’t get much better than that; it was male bonding at its best.   Read More

Do shortcuts really work?

There’s a story told by funeral directors.  A woman was making funeral arrangements for her husband.  She requested he be buried in a dark blue suit.  “Wouldn’t it be easier to just bury him in the black suit that he’s already wearing?” the funeral director asked.  But the woman insisted that it must be a blue suit and gave the funeral director a blank check to cover the cost.  Read More

Preconceived Notions

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea.  He poured his visitor’s cup full and then kept pouring.  The professor watched the overflow until he could no longer restrain himself.  “It is overfull.  No more will go in!”  Read More