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Prohibition seems like a strange 14-year anomaly in U.S. history, when common sense gave way to a utopian crusade against the consumption of alcohol. But if you think there’s nothing to be learned from this odd period, you’d be wrong. Early this month, a new documentary film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick titled “Prohibition”… Continue Reading Prohibition’s lessons for today’s economics and politics

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Look to our own backyard to see abundance

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Some economists have argued that American drive is based on the principle of “the sky is the limit.” This is what motivates us to do our best so as to climb the corporate ladder all the way to the top. Break the glass ceiling, we urge our female counterparts, and you, too, can be the… Continue Reading Look to our own backyard to see abundance

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As the 10 Days of Atonement are here, a time of reflection and stock-taking, a seasonal turning point that encourages revisiting ideas and habits alike, I want to share my sense of the value of business partnerships. My late accountant Sam Huff used to tell me the problem with partnerships is that when they succeed,… Continue Reading Partnerships bring best of times, worst of times

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Highlight progress to motivate employees

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Here’s a quiz: Which of the following tools is most powerful for motivating employees? Recognition for good work Incentives Interpersonal support Clear goals Support for making progress in work If you are like 95 percent of managers who responded to a Harvard study, the answer will surprise you. Most managers believe that recognition for good… Continue Reading Highlight progress to motivate employees

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Does the loudest voice in the room (or on the Internet) still earn the most attention? With the election coming up and the candidates spouting rhetoric as loudly as they can, I started to wonder; with all of the technology for broadcasting thought and information today, have people organically devised a way to filter for… Continue Reading Is the best content on the web getting the least attention?

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We once had an employee who was a nice guy but was never as productive as others in his department. Supervisors discussed this with him on several occasions but his output didn’t improve. Then, in a staff meeting one day, he spotted something on the wall and remarked, “Sometimes I’m sitting at my computer and… Continue Reading Why employees who have potential for success often fail

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Make your business plan simple, yet powerful

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Laddie once met with a new client at his location and asked to see his existing business plan. The man reached for a binder covered in dust that sat on top of a bookcase. It held a document 50-or-so pages long that obviously hadn’t been touched for several years. Having an outdated business plan that… Continue Reading Make your business plan simple, yet powerful

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Business web sites and social media

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I’ve been fielding a lot of questions lately about the role of company Web sites amid the sea of social media venues. Most of the questions sound like this: “Can’t I just launch a blog and a Facebook page and skip building a company Web site?” I understand where these thoughts come from, because it… Continue Reading Business web sites and social media

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Sustainable change requires ownership

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Change initiatives fail at an alarming rate — as high as 80 percent. The cost of a failed change initiative can be staggering, from a loss of morale to a loss of a key customer due to poor quality. And we know that these initiatives fail in large part for two reasons: a lack of… Continue Reading Sustainable change requires ownership

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Alliances can be beneficial or troublesome

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A client recently asked for advice about the opportunity to partner with a larger company. The arrangement looked promising on the surface and the other company was pushing for it, insisting it could be a strong union and a win-win situation. But there were also red flags, warning that this particular alliance carried considerable risk… Continue Reading Alliances can be beneficial or troublesome

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