Belly Ballot Hoax: Let’s Make Better Mistakes Tomorrow

Back in January, a startup baby name website called ran a “Belly Ballot” contest. They promised to pay $5,000 to an expectant mother who let their readers vote to name their baby. It was supposed to launch their new Belly Ballot feature, which allows friends and family to […]

Alligators (or, Why Frank Doesn’t Steal Stuff)

Photo credit here

I learned at a very early age that I’m a lousy liar and thief. One look and most people could tell that I wasn’t telling the truth. That’s probably what kept me from a life of crime – I knew I would be caught too easily.

But when my […]

The Ten Commandments of Responding to Negative Reviews Online (Without Looking Like a Flaming Idiot)


Check out yesterday’s post on business owners acting badly:

How to Lose a Fight on the Internet
A flame war is a internet comment exchange gone nuclear. You’ve seen them. Two commenters talk around each other and never really address the other’s issues, and the conversation escalates to name calling and […]

Why Good People Lie: Dishonesty and Human Nature

Recently, I had an interview with a local ecclesiastical leader. He supervises a few thousand people in several congregations in Spokane. After getting to know each other, he started asking me the prepared questions. But halfway through the interview, he stopped suddenly and looked straight in my eyes. 

“You must […]

Why Sending an E-mail to Customers in a Crisis May Be Worse than the Crisis Itself

We consulted on an emergency recently (shocking, I know). The very short of it is that a large service-based corporation contacted me after discovering an independent franchise owner skipped town without delivering services clients had paid for. It’s easily high-five-to-six-figures in fraud. The corporate isn’t legally responsible for his actions […]

How NOT to Be a Hero: A Beginner’s Guide to Abusing Power

photo credit: Chicago Art Department here

Have you ever wondered where the point is when a person can become a hero or a louse?*

Darlene Druyun
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

In the late 90s I provided support for Acquisition Reform to the Undersecretary of the Air Force.  In those days, there was […]

Crisis Management and Mental Illness: What We Can Learn from Paula Deen

photo credit: lifescript hereIt’s been a bad week for celebrity chefs.In three short days, Paula Deen gone from Food Network darling to being publicly fired by the network. You can read more about it here, but let me sum up: A former employee filed a lawsuit against her charging […]

Godzillas and Frogs: Understanding Potential Crises

Photo Credit: here

Whenever I tell people that I deal in crisis management, their response is, “What type of crisis?”  I can answer with descriptions of personnel, management or even moral crises that I’ve dealt with, but almost every crisis that I have dealt with over the past 30+ years […]

Rebuilding Trust with the People Who Matter in a Crisis

Yesterday, I told you about the Australian military sex ring scandal and shared Lt. Gen. Morrison’s brilliant response, challenging decades of entrenched military culture (you can click here to watch the video on YouTube). He did something else in that three minute video that everyone must do during a […]

Three Crisis Management Lessons from the Australian Military Sex Scandal (or, Why Lt. Gen. Morrison Wins the Internet This Week)


read the transcript here

Last week on Facebook, I talked about “pivot points” – clear breaks with the past coupled with action to change the future – and why they’re essential to good crisis management. This next story takes pivot points to a whole new level.

In short, a group of Australian Army […]

Crisis Management, Excuses, and the Nigella Lawson Choking Scandal


Photo credit: harlequin_colors via flickr here

On June 6, culinary superstar Nigella Lawson was photographed crying at a restaurant as her husband, advertising mogel Charles Saatchi, repeatedly grabbed her throat with both hands during an argument.  He did it at least 4 times, while she cried and tried to placate […]

Personal Lean Day 5 – The Ultimate Secret to Being a Successful Entrepreneur and Better Person Starting Right This Very Second

Photo Credit: jmv via Flickr

Are you ready? Because this is pretty intense stuff. This week, I’ve talked about how self-care, communication, understanding denial, and asking questions can help you cut waste and live better. But this is The Honest to Goodness Ultimate Secret for Being More Awesome Starting Right […]

Personal Lean Day 4 – Why Asking Stupid Questions Makes You Look Smart

Photo Credit: Eleaf via Flickr

Ever heard someone use a word that you didn’t understand, and thought Wait… what does ‘reductive’ mean? I’ve heard that somewhere before… it kind of sounds like ‘redundant’… but different. I…um… oh crap. I’m lost. What do I do??? 

Did you stop them and ask what they […]

Q&A: Help! I Have Too Many Ideas and Too Much to Do!

Photo Credit: csm-web via FlickrHey, Mer -My business is really starting to take off and I’m getting lots of feedback from my new customers. I have so many ideas for the new products and services they want, but I’m trying to bring on my new employees so I don’t […]

Four Leadership Lessons from the Guys Who Made Godzilla’s Suit

Successful Leaders Accept Limitations & Work Within ThemNo one wanted to use an actor in a suit to play Godzilla. It was old school, basic, and low-tech – kind of like using a typewriter these days. In the early 50s, everyone was obsessed with stop-motion animation, puppeteering, and miniature/model […]

Five Leadership Lessons from the Men Behind Godzilla

Click here to read Part I – “11 Leadership Lessons from Godzilla”

1. Sometimes, Plan B is WAAAAY Better than Plan A

In 1954, Toho Studios had sunk a lot of money into an epic war movie called Beyond the Glory. It was supposed to be a juggernaut –  think Avatar […]

Escaping Buzzwurgatory: Part I – Why Bad Buzz Words Happen to Good People

read more from Matt Thompson on Poynter here

There are thousands of articles bashing buzz words. We get it — they’re often horrific, demoralizing, infuriating relics from the Ninth Gate of Hell. But they’re not all bad, nor are they always useless. Used properly, they can simply and succinctly communicate […]

Buzzword Bingo: 7 Lessons for Real Leadership

When I worked for an administrator at my college, I had one boss who used so many buzzwords that my coworkers and I actually created secret buzz word Bingo cards for staff meetings.

We hid them by the fax machines, because we knew they’d never find them there. No supervisor […]

11 Leadership Lessons From Godzilla

One week when I was eight, Channel 9 in Los Angeles chose Godzilla as their Million Dollar Movie – the original Godzilla with Raymond Burr. They played it every day for a whole week.  I saw the movie eight times in eight days!  It was love at first […]

When Service Sucks, Complain Up

photo credit: Dell’s Official Flickr PageWhen you’ve been burned by bad customer service, the thought of subjecting yourself to even more phone calls and emails is exhausting. It’s why most of us never complain up — contact the company’s HQ directly to complain about a problem. We’ll gladly vent […]