Preaching Engagement to the Culture-First Choir

For a high school teacher, the most frustrating night of each semester is the one set aside for parent-teacher conferences. Although parent’s night for 1st and 2nd grade students always draws a full house, the parent-teacher conferences at the neighboring high school are sparsely attended, generally attracting only those parents of the highest achieving students. Those…

Millennial is No Longer Just a Demographic, it’s a Mindset

Growing up, I saw a lot of ads on TV and in magazines for products that were compared to Brand X. Of course, there was no such thing as Brand X, so advertisers had the freedom to disparage it as if it were the competitor’s product, and then point out how theirs was clearly superior. Mature adults…

Franchise Success is a 3-Legged Stool – Not a Pot of Gold at the End of a Rainbow

As the keynote speaker for more than a hundred franchise conventions and meetings over the past decade, I believe I’ve uncovered the #1 reason for the huge chasm between those franchisees who are getting wealthy and those who are barely hanging on. While the economy, geography, and increased competition are big factors in a franchisee’s success, they are out of their control. But even…

Hiring Skilled Labor Improves When Everyone Knows Your Sweet Spot

Hank McGuinty is the owner of an HVAC service and installation business in Beeville, Texas (pop. 13,500). His uncanny ability to attract and hire technicians is the envy of all the other owners in this large national chain, and it’s helping him crush his competition. With the ever-diminishing number of skilled workers in every trade – especially in smaller rural communities…

An Employee Engagement Survey That Doesn’t Ask These 3 Questions is Worthless

Not long ago I worked with a mid-sized manufacturing plant in St. Louis that had a remarkable record of attracting and keeping in-demand workers. Although the company offered competitive wages, their formula for employee retention did not include offering above-market compensation, perks, and benefits. When I asked Darrel, the plant manager, his secret for hanging on to his skilled machinists…

To Cut or Keep? A Leader’s Guide to Managing an Intermittent Employee

My new high-end coffee brewer drives me absolutely insane. It brews the absolute perfect cup of java – hot nectar of the gods – about every third day. The other two result in either an average tasting cup of convenience store coffee or an evil black muck that you wouldn’t throw down your kitchen drain for…

When Millennials Cry “Don’t Judge Me” – Part II

In this follow-up to my previous “Don’t Judge Me” blog, we explained why millennials (and for that matter, people of any age) really do want to be judged… as long as they are being judged favorably. (No one is offended when they’re told how good they look, right?) This post will take this topic deeper…

When Millennials Cry “Don’t Judge Me” They’re Secretly Hoping You Will

Messages about individuality have hit today’s youth nonstop from all directions. They’re constantly reminded that they are perfect just the way they are, that they have to be their own brand, and to never surrender their personal identity. No wonder your young workers arrive in the workplace thinking, “This is how I choose to look…

Why Millennials Shouldn’t Mix Social Media with Politics

Two of my five adult children (millennials in their thirties) are avid users of Facebook, Instagram, and other social media. Even though I’m writing this advice to them, it’s intended for the masses. Hey guys – it’s your old man here with some “unsolicited advice.” If you read it without bias, it could really help you. If you…

If Your Best Employee Wins Powerball Tonight, Will They Show up for Work Tomorrow?

$1.5 Billion is a whole lot of loot. An almost unfathomable amount. It is, by far, the largest jackpot in the history of any Powerball or any type of lottery anywhere on the planet. While it’s hard to imagine being the winner, try to imagine that the winner turns out to be the top performer on your…