Rotten Fish: How What’s “Normal” May Be Holding You Back

I heard a story long ago about the gauchos in Argentina – South American cowboys. Being good Catholics they wanted fish to eat on Fridays. But there were no ready sources of fish where they lived – so local merchants ordered fish to be ship by rail and sold […]

29 Ways to Kill a Family Business

There’s lots of people willing to tell you how to be successful – but since most businesses fail (~80% in the first five years), I figure there must be a larger market for how to fail – right? Right!So, in case you were wondering, here are some simply, […]

LISTEN NOW: The First Rule of Explaining Complex Concepts to Customers… Without Boring the Crap Out of Them

photo credit here

Ready for an audio awesomeness double feature? 
AUDIO AWESOMENESS THE FIRST
Frank and I are almost ready to start releasing audio and video content!

That’s right – we are actual people who move and talk with voices you can even hear and everything.

Crazy – I KNOW.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be bringing you […]

How to Lose a Fight on the Internet

photo credit here

One of the most common issues business owners ask me about is how to handle negative comments online. Just the thought of it strikes fear into the heart of the most professional proprietor. And for good reason – we’ve all seen it happen. Someone posts a negative […]

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 […]

Winning, Failure, and the Washington Post Test

photo credit: mike.benedetti  here

I’m fascinated with failure. I’m fascinated with why people fail, especially people with lots of experience in positions of power. What causes someone who has demonstrated the drive, intelligence, smarts and success to end up committing genuinely stupid criminal acts?  Yes, stupid – because they are bound to come out at […]

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 […]

You Are Only Two Minutes Away from Being a Better Crisis Manager

I love this quote, because it sums up the first principle of crisis management: get control of yourself.

“Actually, this seems to be the basic need of the human heart
in nearly every great crisis – a good hot cup of coffee.” – Alexander King
Photo Credit: Moyen Brenn via Flickr

When a […]

Q&A: Should I Pay An Independent Contractor for Cancelled Appointments?

Photo Credit: Mike Knapak via FlickrDear Meredith, Here is the situation: What is your opinion on canceled appointments and paying independent contractors? I run a tutoring business and have a few independent contractors for special subjects like math – until the business builds and I can hire them full-time.  When parents […]

Baby Elephants and Baby Birds: What Does It Mean To Be A Startup?

photo credit here

These days, the word “start-up” gets tossed around so much that we’re starting to lose its meaning.  And the meaning matters. Consider this: a lot of creatures can be classified as baby animals. But when you want to learn about baby birds, it doesn’t make sense to […]

Q&A: What Do I Do When Customers Want Me, Not My Employees?

Photo Credit here

Background:  Kate* is a victim of catastrophic success. She’s never done a minute of marketing, but she’s full to capacity with a long waiting list. People ask for her by name, and it’s all from word-of-mouth marketing.  Me2  has been helping Kate manage that crisis with a plan for […]

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 […]

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 […]

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

KnockKnockStuff.com 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 […]