‘Tis the season for holiday window dressing

You’ll see a lot of it in the next few weeks: advertisements touting corporations’ support for charities; photos on LinkedIn featuring a company’s employees serving meals at a soup kitchen or distributing toys to children; or a card from a company with whom you’ve done business, stating that, to commemorate the holiday, a donation to…

When the coach speaks, the team is listening

The Minneapolis-Saint Paul Business Journal reported November 13 that a Minneapolis software company laid off 30 employees. In the report, the company’s CEO said he was still searching for new talent, but also added what would be a rather poor choice of words: “As I looked at the aggressive nature of our plan, there were a set…

Are there any adults in the room?

As two highly successful young executives demonstrate, sometimes you can be “too smart for your own good” – especially when, in spite of your success, you overlook the opinions of others and the need to manage your reputation. While the executives have distinct styles and personalities, the hubris displayed by each may lead to entirely…

When the “letter of the law” leads to self-inflicted wounds

On the afternoon of May 22, 2011, Mark Lindquist was working in his minimum-wage job as a group home supervisor in Joplin, Mo. He and another employee were responsible for three middle-aged men with Down syndrome. Suddenly, with very little warning, Lindquist and his co-worker were startled to see a mammoth, oncoming tornado. According to…

Can you insure your reputation?

Early in my career, the CEO of the insurance company I worked for called us in public relations the “fire department.” In other words, we were the ones called in to deal with unexpected issues or threats – for example, a regulatory action not in our favor, an income shortfall or an unexpected or controversial…

A “right to counsel”?

Americans are familiar with the saying that we all deserve a “day in court.” A person accused of a crime has a right to legal counsel. Attorneys defend individuals, even when others may have decided they are guilty. And, sometimes, those defendants are proven innocent. If we’re entitled to a “day in court,” what about a…