Setting and Using the Right Boundaries

“Fifty Four Forty or Fight!” That was the campaign slogan for the Democrats following the 1844 presidential election which they won. Like many of the important issues of the past, today we either don’t remember or can’t imagine why it was important. Fifty Four Forty refers to where the […]

The Model T or “Now Anyone Can Do It”

106 years ago today, the Ford Motor Company first offered the Model T for sale. The Model T wasn’t the first automobile – Nicolas Joseph Cugnot built a steam-powered “auto-mobile” in 1769 and Karl Benz the first gasoline powered automobile in 1886 – but the Model T was the […]

Cold Doesn’t Hurt: What My Auto-Immune Disorder Taught Me About Business

When my husband told me “Cold doesn’t hurt,” my entire life changed. In this video, I  explain how an extreme form of Raynaud’s Disease taught me that you can’t solve problems unless you challenge your assumptions.

Soda or Pop? Understanding Cultural Differences in Business

One of the great questions that my class mates at Central College addressed my freshman year was, “Do you call it soda or pop?” when referring to soft drinks.  It seems that those from the east called it soda and those from the Midwest called it pop.  For […]

Why Your Business Needs Less Positive Thinking and More Problem Solving

You’re driving down the road and suddenly you hear this cacophonous CHUNKACHUNKACHUNKA noise. You smell burning rubber. Your power steering goes out. Your engine dies and you coast to a stop. When you try to turn the key, all you hear is this sad, pathetic little shuuuurrrmmmmmm sound. […]

Tackling the Symptom, Not the Problem

Meredith and I spend a lot of time talking about frogs and Godzillas – our way of characterizing the formation of crises – the slow, methodical building crises vs. the sudden onslaught crisis.  If fact, we deal with very few Godzillas in our work or even in life.  […]

Corporate Credibility in a Crisis: How McDonald’s Convinces Employees It Doesn’t Care

In case you missed it, McDonald’s is suffering from a serious case of food-in-mouth disease. Here’s the short of it:The CrisisMcDonald’s in embroiled in an intense, messy, very public wage dispute controversy. McDonald’s workers are painting the company as a cold, heartless corporation that exploits its workers – valuing […]

Cracked Eggs: Why You’re Screwing Up Your Employees – and How to Stop

“Training” is a horribly misused word. I hear it thrown around in board rooms and staff meetings every week – and best I can tell,  the people using it think training means “explaining stuff to the people who work for me.” They think it’s teaching a class, having a […]

Gold Nuggets and Diamonds: Using the Pareto Principle to Increase Returns

I heard a story once about a consultant that was called in to help a team of top executives be more productive. After observing the executives, the consultant suggested that each executive write a list of things to do the next day before leaving the office. The […]

Management Lessons from the Cleaning Lady

Last week I had this exchange with the cleaning lady at the center where I teach a graduate-level evening class.  I always clear the white board when I’m done, but lately I’ve noticed that the dry eraser doesn’t wipe the marks off very well, no matter how hard I […]

Crisis Management is Free: The Awesome Problem-Solving Tool You Already Have

People have this misconception that crisis management is about complicated tools and expensive training – as if the only way to solve complex systemic problems is with another complex system.Aaaaaaaand it drives me crazy. See, that’s kind of like trying to treat a burn with boiling water: it never […]

OODA Loop: The Best Business Tool You’ve Never Heard Of

You’ve probably never heard of the OODA loop – which is a shame, because you’re probably already doing it. A lot of the best business and crisis management tools are like that. Most people are already using them, but they call them things like “coping mechanisms” or “common sense” or […]

Crisis University: Five Books to Make You a Crisis Management Expert

photo credit hereThere’s a rule in our house that’s absolute: No books in the bathroom! My wife and I agreed that if we ever had books in the bathroom, we may never come out. We love books – as is evidenced by the filled bookcases and […]

Four Simple Questions Can Make You A Crisis-Detecting Machine

Most crises are of the frog variety rather than the Godzilla. They’re small issues that only become a crisis because no one was paying attention or because you waited too long to correct the situation. They happen because we’re human, and we’re prone to rationalizing, avoiding, and putting a […]

You Did This to Yourself: Motivating with Fear

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Last week, I talked about personal reasons why good people lie. Most of the lies in the world are told by good people. Really. True sociopaths are rare – you’re just not likely to encounter someone who lies because they can’t feel empathy and don’t care about other […]

Godzillas and Frogs: Understanding Potential Crises

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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 […]

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?

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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: 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 […]