Recent Blog Articles

Diagnosing Business Trouble - Clear and Open

Diagnosing Business Trouble

So, what’s your business trouble? Not enough sales Cash flow is tight My people won’t listen I don’t have enough time This is what people say, but none of them are actually problems, and that’s why they don’t change. Huh? They’re not problems? These are symptoms, and to put it bluntly: You’ve been so brainwashed…

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Solve Business Problems - Clear and Open

Cut the Bullshit Part Five: Apocalypse

I joked last week that I’d call the finale of this series “Apocalypse” and a wise and dear friend of mine reminded me the word comes from the Greek meaning “uncover, reveal.” Funny how the revealing of truth came to mean the end of the world. This is how afraid we are as a species…

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High Performer - Clear and Open

Cut the Bullshit Part Four: Name the #[email protected]*ing Behavior

“Why don’t you just tell them that?” “Huh?” my client invariably says. “You want high performers, but you think your employee is uncoachable, not listening, and acting out?” “That’s what I’m saying, yes.” “So just say that,” I say. “But how would they respond? They might quit! I can’t start a conversation when I don’t…

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Cut the Bullshit Part Three: They’re Not The Problem - Employee Problems - Clear and Open

Cut the Bullshit Part Three: They’re Not The Problem

Let’s talk about “employee problems.” Because they’re bullshit. There’s no such thing as an employee problem. I’ll explain. Last week in part two, I offered a simple question as a tool to create engagement for employees: “What don’t you like about yourself, and how can I help you use your job to change it?” A…

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Cut the Bullshit Part Two: Get Engagement in One Question - Employee Retention - Clear and Open

Cut the Bullshit Part Two: Get Engagement in One Question

I admit I was a bit afraid to hit “send” on last week’s article–not only because I wrote “bullshit” fifteen times, but because it deeply challenged leaders and managers to get real. But it got the best feedback this year, so I wrote a part two. Who knows, maybe it’s a series? Do you want…

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Cut the Bullshit: The Seduction of Complexity - Hiring Mistakes - Clear and Open

Cut the Bullshit: The Seduction of Complexity

It seems managers hate hiring more than they hate hiring mistakes. Hiring is a deadly combination of mission-critical and poorly executed. People avoid it like crazy. It’s uncomfortable, time-consuming, and they just want to get it over with. Many businesses create all of their problems through regular hiring mistakes. I’m going to let you in…

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Loyalty Is Screwed - Customer Loyalty - Clear and Open

Loyalty Is Screwed

Amazon bought my customer loyalty again. I recently bought a compost tumbler from them. It was a bit smaller than I’d thought. I might need a second. Putting it together sucked: sixty-two screws and two hours. I had to undo and redo forty minutes of work because the instructions were so bad. I was almost…

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Beliefs And Chainsaws: Exercise Caution - Limiting Beliefs - Clear and Open

Beliefs And Chainsaws: Exercise Caution

Which is more dangerous: a chainsaw or a limiting belief about a chainsaw? When I was too young to remember, my father rented a chainsaw to take out a large tree in our backyard. At one point, the chainsaw wound down after a cut and he lacerated the inside of his wrist–yeah, where the arteries…

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Do You Suck At Being Sorry? - Employee Responsibility - Clear and Open

Do You Suck At Being Sorry?

One of the most common complaints I hear from business leaders is a lack of employee responsibility. Employee engagement is a huge issue in many businesses, and it’s often invisible. Employee engagement studies estimate it costs the U.S. economy $370 billion a year. I’ve noticed in the last ten years, airlines stopped apologizing for flight…

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“Is This Going to Be on the Test?” - Employee Disengagement - Clear and Open

“Is This Going to Be on the Test?”

“Is this going to be on the test?” a student inevitably asks. The question used to make my blood boil, and I didn’t understand why until years later. It is in many ways the birth of employee disengagement and mediocrity, which plague workplaces, and the world, today. It’s not the student’s fault–they’re having an intuitive…

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