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 […]

Personal Lean Day 3 – Four Brutal Truths for Dealing with the Elephant in the Room

Photo Credit: John Mallon Iphoneography via Flickr

Everyone is going to spend some time hanging out with denial. Yes, that means you. I promise. Something completely unexpected and messy and scary will suckerpunch you, and it will threaten your self-image. You’ll watch in shock as that elephant squeezes through your […]

Personal Lean Day 2: Four Deadly E-Mail Sins That Waste Time and Make You Look Dumb

Photo Credit: kajarno via Flickr

1. Never, ever use email to avoid 
having a difficult conversation with someone. 
A lot of people do this, and they usually give the same excuse: “I feel that I express myself better in writing.”  It’s a self-centered justification that doesn’t actually improve communication. What they’re really saying […]

Personal Lean Day 1: Easy Breakfasts for Entrepreneurs Who Suck at Mornings

Photo Credit: r.nial.bradshaw via Flickr
Why is a business consultant blogging about breakfast?
Find out by reading the first part of this series
Personal Lean: Why Entrepreneurs Who Skip Breakfast as Hypocrites

So I forget to eat. 
A lot.

Which is an idiot thing to do, because low blood sugar makes me craaaaaaanky like a […]

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 […]

The Three Blogs I Read Every Day

 Startup Professional MusingsMarty Zwilling posts nearly every day – seven days a week – about entrepreneurship, management, and good ole common sense. His advice is always spot on, clear, and easy to apply to your life. He focuses on long term management, attitudes, and practical leadership.10 Key Risk Factors […]

Escaping Buzzwurgatory: Part II – What to Do When Bad Buzz Words Happen to Good People

Click here for Escaping Buzzwurgatory: Part I – Why Bad Buzz Words Happen to Good People used to sell these
corporate slang flash cards.
They’re funny because they’re sadly, sadly true.

Language is a habit, and sometimes we forget to change our language when we speak to different groups. We babble on, blissfully […]

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 […]

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 […]

My USAA Customer Service Nightmare (and what I’m doing to fix it)

As I discussed earlier, my family was in a car accident last month. Our was a totaled, and settling our claim turned into a customer service nightmare. I’m sharing my experience – not to bash USAA, which is a fine company and has an excellent reputation – but because […]

Three Keys to Successfully Managing Risk in Your Business


There is something deeply satisfying about competence in the face of real risk. Keeping a lid on your fears, knowing what you are doing, and managing the risk to come out alive.
-Euan Semple

Conflict, failure, crisis, funding, cutbacks… all are your constant companions when running a business. They boil down […]

Why You Need to Learn to Back Brief – NOW

photo credit: Dell’s Official Flickr page

I considered titling this “Secrets of Back Briefing That Will Help You Lose Belly Fat and Win The Adoration of Millions,” but my husband suggested that it might be a weeeeee bit of an exaggeration.

Hyperbole aside, I’m a huge advocate of back briefing. It believe […]

Five Tips for Helping Flustered Customers (UPDATED)

photo credit: Dell’s Official Flickr PageYesterday, a phone call to my insurance company ended in tears.Oh yes – I’m a trained quality professional. I worked telephone tech support in college. I have endured a mostly unmedicated emergency C-section without shedding a tear. The word “badass” has been applied to […]

The Quality Gap – Video Presentation

Official blurb: Presentation to the American Society for Quality (ASQ) Spokane Section 619 by Meredith Hutchison Hartley, CQIA on April 25, 2013. In 2002, at the age of 18, Meredith became the youngest person to ever receive an ASQ certification. In her presentation, she discusses what barriers prevent the 1,000s […]

Presentation Matters

Your looks matter.
That’s right. I went there. How you look and dress is a major factor in how your business will perform. You have to know what will appeal to your market,  and you have use appearance as a tool to advance your business.
That DOESN’T mean you run out […]

36 Things I Learned About Business in 2012 – Part Three

This post originally appeared on The Quality Girl blog in January 2013. 
Reprinted with permission.

courtesy of tj scenes via Flickr

Don’t write long explanations via email when you’re trying to resolve a conflict. They’ll come back to bite you. Pick up the phone and ask questions.

If you’re married or related to someone […]