Management Strategies for Productive Applicant Interviews

In practicality, you must be careful in interviewing applicants. Obviously, you should avoid asking illegal questions while being polite.

You must be assertive – ask the right questions and listen intently to cut through the morass of canned answers to get the answers you need to make good hiring decisions.

Here are five strategies:

1. Review your legal limitations

Naturally, you already know what you can do legally. But remember your due diligence. Prepare so that you don’t make mistakes.

Your focus should be on performance – how applicants would perform for your company.

Moreover, caution everyone on your team who will be involved in the interview process to be careful.

You and your colleagues should review what questions you can ask and shouldn’t ask.

Typical questions to avoid asking:

  • Do you suffer from any disabilities or disabilities?
  • When were you born?
  • Are you married, divorced?
  • Do you have children?
  • Do you intend to have children?
  • What are your plans for daycare?
  • What about your debt? Do you have debts?
  • Do you own or rent your home?

2. Adequately prepare for interviews

Look for the right traits. Thoroughly review resumes to screen for qualifications. Plan your approach.

For instance, give thought to what you would want to learn about the applicants and their potential for the welfare of your organization.

3. Plan your list of questions

Spontaneity is not necessarily a good thing when evaluating candidates. Interviews succeed when they are informative but success results when conversations are well-planned.

Adhere to your list of questions. Anticipate asking the right follow-up questions.

4. Ask open-ended questions

If you’ve identified potentially good candidates, shape the conversation into a dialogue with the applicants doing most of the talking.

To learn, you must listen probably about 90 percent of the time in your interviews. That means not asking questions that prompt yes or no answers. (The best applicants will also be appreciative.)

If the applicant pauses before answering your questions, wait. Pause. Wait for the answers.

Carefully watch the applicants’ body language and facial expressions. This will divulge a lot to you.

5. Don’t let your personal biases blind you

Certainly, soft skills are important. But don’t be misled.

Many managers make the mistake of being unduly influenced by extraneous or irrelevant matters. For instance, if you’re a football fan, a candidate who loves football isn’t necessarily qualified.

Keep focused on qualifications and how applicants can add to your organization.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related tips:

Hiring An Impact Person Starts with Screening Resumes — 5 Tips — If you want to hire an impact person, your hiring process is really important. The place to start is using best practices in screening resumes.

Hiring for a Small Operation? Conduct Behavioral Interviews — Whether you run a small operation in a big company or you own a small business, you’re wearing many hats. So you need employees who can successfully wear multiple hats, too.

Risk Management in Hiring: Pre-Employment Screening Tips — Here are two questions about hiring: 1) what’s the biggest mistake companies make in hiring employees; and 2) what’s the biggest legal obstacle employers face in hiring? Here’s what to do about background screening.

Increase Profits by Hiring Talent with the Best Trait — You’ll increase your odds for profits with high-performing employees with the right culture — if you hire for the right personality trait – enthusiastic people. That’s right. Look for people who have the makeup to being committed and who will care for the welfare of your company. You’ll increase your chances for the strongest results.

Need to Hire a Professional? Advertising Tips to Attract the Best Talent — Whether your business has grown so you need to hire a key professional or you’re replacing a person, there are certain advertising-recruitment tips to use. To avoid wasting your time, you must plan.

Check Your Motives before Hiring Sales Employees – 11 Tips — With many companies desperately in the hunt for sales revenue, it might surprise you to learn that their predicaments are often self-imposed. Why? They hire the wrong sales employees.

“Often the best solution to a management problem is the right person.”
-Edwin Booz


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Artificial Intelligence: How to Maximize Your ROI

Strategies to maximize your return on investment in AI

It might surprise you to learn artificial intelligence (AI) has its roots dating back to ancient Greek mythology.

Seriously, that’s true according to a site devoted exclusively to artificial intelligence,

Greek myths of Hephaestus, the blacksmith who manufactured mechanical servants, and the bronze man Talos incorporate the idea of intelligent robots. Many other myths in antiquity involve human-like artifacts. Many mechanical toys and models were actually constructed, e.g., by Archytas of Tarentum, Hero, Daedalus and other real persons.

It accelerated after the developments of modern computers following World War II.

As we’ve realized in the 21st century, AI presents both benefits and risks.

Business and all of society benefit from the superintelligence provided by AI as long as technology is effective and productive.

Competence and goals are important.

AI outperforms many functions by humans but it’s problematic if your computers crash, are hacked or are programmed with bad intentions or develop destructive methods.

So, the question arises: How does a company maximize its return on investment in AI?

Here are five strategies:

1. Real value results from proper planning for growth

While AI has the potential to cut expenses, the focus should be on growth and expansion. That includes innovation in products and services, efficiency for productivity and gaining market share.

AI is optimized when adopted at every level of technology from value chains to pricing and understanding the preferences of customers.

2. Investment is needed in both human resources and technology

You cannot fully benefit from AI in technology if your employees aren’t prepared. Your culture must be transformed.

It’s a complex process. You must start slowly in baby steps.

You must anticipate your future needs.

Management and staff must be educated and trained in cross-functional teams, if you will, in all processes and operations.

Then, another dilemma – finding the right people for the new jobs – recruitment of new employees for the requisite technical job categories.

3. Be flexible, aggressive and fine-tune your objectives and processes

Your best bet is to stay focused on growth – innovating new products and fine-tuning your business model. Cutting expenses are certainly important, but it shouldn’t be the salient focus.

To better capitalize on the technological benefits of AI, stay on offense.

4. Stay committed to automation

AI is maximized if you retain access to strong data and assimilate it into your systems. This means having a simultaneous intensity devoted to your AI and digital systems.

Your systems aren’t effective and true assets unless they’re fully used – from all of your technology in operations and customer service to your financial system to employees.

5. Continue to cultivate and develop AI

Take steps to insure you have an abundant AI environment for success, an increase in knowledgeable workers, U.S. job creation, AI knowledge and related benefits.

Make certain its fully embedded in your organization. Lead by example in your sector.

As in other public-policy issues affecting your business, be proactive in encouraging government policies to further the development of AI ecosystems.

What do I mean? For instance, lobby for tax AI breaks and in immigration for tech visa quotas. Support research grants, public-private sector partnerships and insist on protecting citizens’ privacy in data.

From the Coach’s Corner, related topics:

Future of the Workplace: Robots Making Business ‘Smarter’ — If there was ever a need for people to become expert in technology and learn senior-management skills, the time is now. Non-exempt, lower-level jobs are disappearing. New software “robots” in numerous industries are increasingly taking over and making business “smarter,” according to senior-level managers who responded to a survey.

Forecasting 5 Trends and the Future of Marketing — With all the dynamic changes that businesses have experienced in opportunities and threats, it’s important to anticipate the future. But forecasting can be tricky. So, the one dynamic you can anticipate – constant change – both positive and negative. Be aware of these five marketing trends.

10 Innovation Tips to Boost Your Long-Term Customer Base — Businesspeople are constantly under pressure. Daily events make it challenging to make critical decisions for financial sustainability. Businesses must innovate to survive. Here are 10 key questions to ask about your business.

Increase Your Business Value with 5 Basic BPO Strategies — For your company to achieve higher performance, you often need to enhance your business processes. In essence, this means turning your attention to business process optimization (BPO), which is a holistic approach. The benefits: With BPO, you’ll be able to evaluate and authenticate your existing practices and create new processes via imagined situations.

How to Avoid Failure in Risk Management and Strategic Planning — Incredible as it might seem, companies fail because they underestimate strategic risks – yes, strategic blunders instead of common sense – according to an authoritative study.

“As more and more artificial intelligence is entering into the world, more and more emotional intelligence must enter into leadership.” 

-Amit Ray


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Scaling Your Business Starts with Effective Management

You can’t be sure when it’s time to scale and expand your business until you’re fully confident.

Confidence starts with knowing the difference between scaling and expanding – and growing with the help of your culture and employees.

If you rush the process, you risk growing too fast. If you wait too long, you’ll lose potential revenue and profit.

Expansion is a reactionary mode and occurs as your company starts to accelerate. Your customers respond well to your marketing and customer service, and you need to hire just to keep up with the demand.

But hiring in a knee-jerk reaction always leads to problems such as settling for the wrong employees.

So, scaling is the best way to go. Scaling is all about planning and developing repeatable best practices – operating efficiently and creating systems to grow effectively and exponentially.

This means having proven systems for operations, sales and marketing.


But scaling must start with management of your people. They must be supportive of your vision, values and culture. Of course, they must be well-trained.

Therefore, you must have a healthy culture. It starts with you and the need to develop habits for a positive workplace culture.

Then you must use best practices in recruiting, hiring and investing in the best talent for your situation.

Once you’re confident in your staff, you must systemize everything – create turnkey operations – from finance and marketing to operations and sales.

You’ll know if you’re growing too fast if you’re increasing your workforce but you find you’re having to hire the wrong candidates just to fill positions.

Hiring the wrong people will not help you to scale effectively.

Personal and organization brand

Leaders know their personal brand. Because delegation is a fundamental driver of growth, they also know best practices in employee delegation.

They’re not trying to do everything themselves, especially the tasks in which they’re not proficient.

Self-awareness of your strengths and weaknesses is very important. Then, you’ll be in a better position to hire accordingly to fill in the gaps of your weaknesses.

That starts with hiring your employees. Expertise is important. As a leader, the CEO is not necessarily the smartest person in the room.

Your employees – your human capital – should become your No. 1 asset. For maximum profit, partner with your employees.

But develop a social media policy first. You and they should be on the same page regarding your brand image and the types of messages you need to communicate.

Continue to engage your employees and motivate them to offer profitable ideas. In marketing, ask them how they can and want to contribute to promote your brand values.

Empower your employees to become brand ambassadors, especially on social media. Celebrate their efforts and accomplishments.

Regarding your big-picture goals, remember your employees can help you in strategic planning.

Cost-cutting priorities

Cutting costs is vital. But operating efficiently with best-practices in management and marketing should be the top goals.

When it’s necessary to cut expenses, many companies focus on the wrong priorities when they’re too quick to implement layoffs and cut back marketing budgets.

Just as you differentiate your company to your customers, you must differentiate your costs to propel your business growth. Focus on best practices in strategically cutting costs.

Where to start?

For financial performance, the best way to achieve optimum efficiency is a management-performance audit, development of solutions and implementation of best-practices in management.

Key components of a management-performance audit include cost-cutting; focusing innovation in production and processes; and continuous improvement in management.

Time is money. Poor management wastes time.

Final thoughts – consequences

Without best practices in management, here are samples of consequences:

  1. Too much time spent solving preventable problems
  2. Too much time solving small problems that spiral out-of-control
  3. Too much time wasted trying to salvage wasted resources
  4. Your team’s morale suffers
  5. High turnover among top-performing employees
  6. Chaos leads to rising expenses and poor pricing

Again, your key to scaling success — best practices in management.

From the Coach’s Corner, you might consider relevant strategies:

Why Startup Companies Fail – How to Win — It’s vital to conduct a thorough needs-assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – followed by development and implementation of a strategic action plan. Here’s more.

For Profits, Manage Your Growth at the Right Pace — Entrepreneurs frequently try to rush their business growth. Certainly, growth is great but if you scale too fast, you’re looking for trouble. The key is to prepare.

Finance Checklist for Strategic Planning, Growth — Strategic planning in finance for growth means avoiding trendy fads. Instead, it requires an ongoing down-to-earth approach in order to create value. Here are seven steps.

11 Categories of Mistakes Face HR Departments – Biz Coach Tips — Beware: Many problems are not caused by HR professionals but by managers who don’t use best practices.

Management: How to Help Employees to Grow Professionally — Managers owe it to the organization to help their employees grow professionally and will benefit from higher employee performance and low turnover.

“Growth is the only evidence of life.”

-John Henry Newman


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

7 Management Tips – Communication with Difficult Employees

Multiple problems including loss of profit results from ineffectively dealing with difficult employees.

Tension is exacerbated as it causes teamwork and moral issues. Managers have a tendency to put too much a burden on cordial employees by turning away from the difficult personnel.

The chasm widens in communication. Managers avoid such workers. They don’t delegate to them. Managers seem to think it’s easy just to do the tasks themselves.

But delegation is a fundamental driver of organizational growth. Leadership is demonstrated with best practices in employee delegation.

Short of effective communication and delegation, organizational dysfunction worsens. Ultimately, it hurts relationships with customers and profits.

Such a situation can also spiral out of control and leads to legal issues. Because they feel ignored or treated unfairly, difficult employees often file legal complaints.

However, good managers know best coaching tactics. They know how to deal with such employees.

Such bosses stay objective and compartmentalize problems in communication to separate their emotions.

They focus on projects and results instead of the workers’ negative personalities.

You might never win over a difficult employee. But you can make such situations tenable.

Here are seven Biz Coach tips:

1. Directly deal with problems

Clear the air. It’s likely difficult employees don’t like you either because they don’t like themselves. So calmly approach the workers.

Help the workers to stay focused. Treat them like you would your customers.

Work on your phrasing, such as: “When you’re asked to do a project, please know I’m counting on you to do the job well. We’re different personalities, but we can still do our jobs well.”

2. Prepare to engage

It should be easy to make simple requests. If not, the problem is worse than you think.

Otherwise, for complicated instructions, rehearse your request in advance. Keep it simple. Use an economy words.

Write your request and memorize it. Then, verbally give your instructions.

3. Get acknowledgement

Never assume you’re being understood when handing out assignments. Get confirmation.

Give them an opportunity to ask questions. Ask employees to confirm what you’ve requested and what you expect of them.

4. Structure your approach

To promote flexibility and extemporaneous communication, give instructions orally and in writing.

Again, encourage questions. Invite suggestions.

Follow up with an email summarizing your expectations for the scope of the project with an expected duration or timeline.

5. Be consistent

Stay focused on the tasks at-hand. Treat difficult workers as you would congenial workers.

To encourage compliance, stay positive. Don’t make negative, unnecessary comments or keep bringing up the negative past.

6. Visit employees

Good managers walk the floor. They visit employees to engage them and asking open-ended questions.

The same principle doubly applies to difficult employees. In making assignments, avoid calling difficult employees to you. Go to them – on their turf – so they don’t feel defensive or feel they’re being summoned for a reprimand.

7. Don’t give away your power, enjoy your job

If it were so easy to manage difficult people, then everybody would be doing it. But the simple fact is – not all employees are collaborative, diligent, hardworking, skilled, and great at listening.

With a difficult employee, you have two obvious problems – the impacts on your organization and the behavior of the individual. But you can cope and love your job managing difficult employees.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related articles:

Tips to Prevent or, if Necessary, Eliminate Employee Toxicity — From time to time, nearly every boss has to cope with an employee’s negativity. That’s annoying enough, but you’ve got a nightmare if toxic attitudes spread among the rest of your workers. Here are solutions.

6 Quick Tips So Employees Respect Your Authority — It’s an awful feeling when your authority is non-existent. You’re not taken seriously. Employees are in charge. It’s also an indicator of related issues: Most often, profits are minimal. Customers become disenchanted and leave.

For Best HR Performance Reviews, 10 Sample Goal Phrases — A well-written set of performance goals work to motivate employees and help them to focus better on their responsibilities. They must be written with the right phrasing so they inspire performance and don’t invite costly lawsuits.

10 Best Practices for an Online Employee Handbook — Companies that don’t convert their employee handbooks into electronic documents are missing noteworthy opportunities in human resources. Conversely, businesses that switch to a digital format accomplish at least five HR goals.

6 Tips to Get Good Employee Ideas, Not Whining — Do you have employees who contribute positive ideas? Or do you have employees who always seem to whine? Aimless complaining is a symptom of problems in teamwork, morale, negativity and/or productivity. Here are six management strategies.

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” 

-Dale Carnegie


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

11 Categories of Mistakes Face HR Departments – Biz Coach Tips

With acknowledgement and empathy for all of its responsibilities, a human resources department must navigate a minefield of legal risks.

That’s true even with a president and administration that’s employer-friendly.

Beware: Many problems are not caused by HR professionals but by managers who don’t use best practices.

So, it’s obviously a challenge to avoid expensive obstacles to success that can result from even seemingly minute mistakes. They will adversely affect the entire organization.

Here are the common mistakes to avoid:

1. Recruitment

Inappropriate gender verbiage in advertising in recruitment job announcements can be hurtful.

Poorly written job descriptions in advertising result from managers who try too hard to recruit the best applicants. They need to be more realistic in describing responsibilities.

Sooner or later, unhappy employees will depart resulting in a waste of new recruiting time and money.

Illegal questions of applicants in interviews lead to lawsuits, especially questions that are too-personal or concern protected areas.

Unintended semantics in job offers that appear to be employment promises and contracts. Merely mentioning a yearly salary can give the wrong impression or implication.

Actually, consider stellar talent-recruitment strategies.

2. Bumpy starts

Undesirable beginnings occur if the employer is misleading applicants on working conditions; failure to advise state officials of a new employee; or not informing new hires of the organization’s conditions of employment.

Don’t forget to use best practices in probation meetings to insure a good start.

3. I-9 and records

Fiascos in failing to record and verify past practices will result in legal hassles if treatment of workers violate company policies and the law, and if the employer followed past practices.

Happening far-too often are failures in I-9 requirements and maintaining separate files.

4. Non-competes

Non-compete agreements won’t hold up in court if an employer requires a non-compete but doesn’t give up provisions in other matters.

5. Poor communication

By not communicating well, employers face consequences by not advising workers of changes in policies and procedures; inappropriate discipline or workplace investigations; and poor implementation of performance appraisals.

Best practices will help you  avoid EEOC discrimination suits.

6. Misclassification and remuneration

Inappropriate classification of workers in exempt or non-exempt status is another troubling area. At the least, employers must properly evaluate employee responsibilities, training and salaries.

A word about confidentiality: Especially with the evolution of social media and to avoid conflict with the National Labor Relations Act, employees can’t prevent their workers from talking about their pay.

7. Privacy

Some employers fail to notify workers not to expect privacy in using company computers. Or in some states, employers encounter difficulty if they don’t advise workers they’ll be monitored digitally.

Naturally, an HR department must confidentially keep all employee information.

8. Making accommodations

Employers often fail to provide accommodation opportunities such as in religious participation; pregnancy; military duty; and for disabled workers.

Disabled persons have frequently had both valid and invalid complaints about the workplace. Therefore, take steps to effectively manage ADA issues.

While you’re at it, review your current policies on unpaid leave requirements.

9. Supervisorial training

Supervisors must be trained to avoid discrimination in actions or comments, as well as to avoid racism, sexism, otherwise rudeness or workplace bullying.

Another common error resulting from inadequate training: Disciplining an employee without best practices in a paper trail of evaluations.

Actually, you’ll optimize talent management if you develop a coaching culture.

10. Workplace investigations

Improper workplace investigations occur when there isn’t proper oversight to avoid errors. So use best practices in workplace investigations.

11. Dignified endings

Whether an employee is terminated for cause or resigns voluntarily, some companies fail to take steps to make sure the worker leaves in a dignified fashion.

From the Coach’s Corner, more explanations in these relevant articles:

16 Best Practices to Stay out of Legal Trouble with Employees — Generally, in human resources, companies find themselves in legal hot water because they inadvertently make mistakes with their employees. It’s important to triple down on preventative measures and responses to legal hazards when necessary.

Management – How to Alleviate 10 Trending Issues in HR — Along with the 21st century revolution in technology, there have been dramatic changes in human-resources management in every industry and profession. This means there are many pitfalls to avoid in our evolving litigious society.

For Best HR Performance Reviews, 10 Sample Goal Phrases — A well-written set of performance goals work to motivate employees and help them to focus better on their responsibilities. They must be written with the right phrasing so they inspire performance and don’t invite costly lawsuits.

Best Practices with HR Records to Guard against Legal Risks — If you aren’t able to supply relevant documentation, you’ll pay a heavy price. In some cases, you’ll even be forced to give the job back to a nonperforming or toxic employee.

10 Best Practices for an Online Employee Handbook — Companies that don’t convert their employee handbooks into electronic documents are missing noteworthy opportunities in human resources. Conversely, businesses that switch to a digital format accomplish at least five HR goals.

“Executives owe it to the organization and to their fellow workers not to tolerate nonperforming individuals in important jobs.”

-Peter Drucker


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

4 Values to Hire Best Security for Today and the Future

Naturally, with all the cyber-security scandals, it’s increasingly vital to hire the right personnel to protect your business data.

Not only is it imperative to deal now with current cyber threats, but to protect your business in future years.

You see, cybersecurity concerns keep changing. This means it’s important for you to spot and recruit the skills for unforeseen security needs.

Here’s how to hire for the right values:

1. Discern the person’s track record

Your hiring process should encompass more than the usual and obvious credentials such certified information systems security professional (CISSP), certified information security manager (CISM) or a computer science degree.

Yes, in addition to CISSP or CISM, it’s also very helpful for a candidate to have a business background whether it be in management or at the senior level.

It really doesn’t matter how an applicant launches a career.

No matter the chronology of the person’s career path, you should recruit someone with a demonstrable record of success in security matters and real-world experience.

2. Look for an open mind

To be sure, you want a person who has mastered cybersecurity. Moreover, you need a person who thinks new, not old.

What do I mean? You need analysis and flexibility.

As cyber issues and companies continue to evolve, the person must be able to evaluate problems and deliver solutions for unique volatile situations that will haunt your business in the months and years ahead.

Otherwise, you won’t be braced for the future and benefiting from true value. Hire an expert who will continue to provide customized answers.

3. Look for tenacity to deliver strong results

You need a mindset for efficiency – not only to identify problems but a relentless pursuit to fix and prevent security holes. This requires top-quality skills.

4. Screen for collegial attributes

Mavericks don’t cut it for the 21st century. Communication is key. True professionals will know how to interface well with you and others in your organization and who will continue to work as a teammate.

Therefore, this means hiring a person who can identify, solve and explain security issues and work with you to implement corporate strategies for your business.

From the Coach’s Corner, related tips:

4 Strategies for CEOs to Win Their Cyber Security Tug of War – The cyber security tug of war is never ending even though chief executive officers and board members now get the importance of protecting their companies’ information assets. They’ve learned to fear cyber-security threats because they could lose their jobs. If this is all true, why then are there incessant, worldwide cyber attacks?

Recruiting an IT Professional for Your Small Firm? 6 Tips for the Right Skills – Are you looking to add information technology personnel? You want to hire for a competitive edge, right? IT is a crucial position for you. The difference between failure and success requires reflection to hire for the right competencies.

Protect Your Financials, Systems and Technology – 15 Tips — Cybercrime has skyrocketed and is projected to get much worse. At risk is the health of your company as well as the welfare of anyone with whom you do business. Here’s how to protect your customers and your reputation.

Key Measures to Prevent, Recover from Ransomware — Published reports indicate ransomware cost businesses $350 million in 2015. The FBI considers ransomware attacks one of the three worst cyber threats.

Best Practices to Buy Cyber Insurance for Business Security — Security has become problematic in all sectors – business, nonprofits, government, politics and individuals. The aggregate financial losses are so staggering, cyber insurance is a necessity.

9 Tips to Train Employees to Protect You from Cybercrime — It takes a team approach to protect your organization against the skyrocketing rate of cybercrime. Here are nine training precautions necessary to make sure your employees help you guard against security threats.

“Fix the basics, protect first what matters for your business and be ready to react properly to pertinent threats. Think data, but also business services integrity, awareness, customer experience, compliance, and reputation).” 

-Stephane Nappo


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Both Democrats and Republicans Endanger U.S. Economy

March 14, 2018 –

Have we not learned any lessons from the horrors of the Great Recession from a decade ago? Apparently not.

You might recall the collapse of a global investment bank with $400 billion in assets, and 85 years of storied success and deep roots with every big Wall Street bank.

Today is the 10th anniversary of the collapse of the Bear Stearns bubble during the Obama Administration and the launch of the worst fiscal crisis since the 1930s.

Afterward, Congress enacted Dodd-Frank financial reforms and the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to approve $700 million in bonds to bail out the banks and resurrect the economy.

Democrats and Republicans are hurting America’s future.

Should another crisis occur, it’s increasingly clear that the federal government will not be able again to bail out any institutions as a result of the annual $1-trillion budget deficits.

Unnecessary spending increases the annual deficits, which exacerbate the massive federal debt.

At the start of 2017, federal agencies owned trillions of dollars of the debt
(Frightening figures are listed by The Balance).

  • Social Security (Social Security Trust Fund and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund) – $2.801 trillion
  • Office of Personnel Management Retirement – $888 billion
  • Military Retirement Fund – $670 billion
  • Medicare (Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund) – $294 billion
  • All other retirement funds – $304 billion
  • Cash on hand to fund federal government operations – $580 billion

Holders of the public debt

  • Foreign – $6.004 trillion
  • Federal Reserve – $2.465 trillion
  • Mutual funds – $1.671 trillion
  • State and local government, including their pension funds – $905 billion
  • Private pension funds – $553 billion
  • Banks – $663 billion
  • Insurance companies – $347 billion
  • U.S. Savings Bonds – $166 billion
  • Other (individuals, government-sponsored enterprises, brokers and dealers, bank personal trusts and estates, corporate and non-corporate businesses, and other investors) – $1.662 trillion

 Again, other nations own more than $6 trillion in U.S. Treasurys.

Yes, the money actually comes from foreigners, and the U.S. has little likelihood of easily borrowing more money to ease threats from the next fiscal crisis.

These IOUs constitute more than 45 percent of the gross domestic product. In 10 years, the IOUs will comprise more than 60 percent of the GDP.

Foreign central banks do this to support their monetary systems because the dollar is still the world’s primary currency.

But U.S. government bonds are no longer considered a premium because of the weak dollar and high federal debt.

Higher interest rates

To offset the fiscal risk, foreign investors are likely to insist on getting higher interest rates before buying more U.S. Treasuries.

But if America pays higher interest rates, this will kill the U.S. economy as it increases the threat of massive tax increases and draconian budget cuts with a return to corporate debt and mortgage defaults.

Historically, no nation has ever survived such fiscal dysfunction without implementing severe austere measures or borrowing money.

Despite their denials, many Republicans love pork spending just as much as their political opponents, the politicians they like to label as tax-and-spend Democrats.

Politicians aren’t willing to trim the fat and balance the federal budget, which is now about $21 trillion.

Fiscal dysfunction

Democrats favor income redistribution. Meantime, entitlements and interest payments devour two-thirds of tax revenue.

Five percent of working-age Americans draw Social Security disability payments. That’s twice the rate of three decades ago.

At the behest of Democrats, millions of Americans choose to get handouts: Food stamps, Medicaid and other entitlements.

But Republicans in welfare-dependent states favor entitlement spending to dole out benefits, too, in order to get re-elected.

Republicans complained when they learned former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hired fewer employees to save $31 million annually.

Many Republicans also oppose the 2018 Trump budget and tariff policy designed to produce strategic aluminum and steel to secure the national defense, balance the nation’s trade, and to reduce the federal red ink to continue grow GDP.

You might recall last year when both sides of the aisle in Congress ignored the presidential budget proposal that would have balanced the federal budget in 10 years.

Conservative Republicans cite the prospect of a trade war. But they obfuscate the facts – we’re already in trade wars.

Consider China: In 2017, the U.S. had a $375-billion trade deficit with China which has cheated and manipulated its currency. Its theft of intellectual property has totaled $600 billion.

Meantime, another $300 billion was approved by Democrats and Republicans in the 2018 budget crisis.

Democrat and Republican leaders in Congress show little wisdom and courage to implement better policy. Unless they do, the nation’s fiscal situation will deteriorate beyond repair.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more public-policy articles.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

-Will Rogers


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

HR — Succession Planning Is Essential for Business Success

To keep growing a business, it’s vital to preserve the trust of customers, employees, partners and investors.

No matter how small or large your company is, a strategically written succession plan is critical for sustainability.

That must include talented employees and start with the chief executive officer.

Otherwise, if a CEO vacancy occurs without a succession plan, it creates an emergency and critical trust issues.

The succession plan must be designed and implemented well and take in consideration the opinions of key stakeholders.

It must also be reviewed every six months to prepare for any possible volatility.

Planning should include anticipated challenges and solutions regarding risks such as trends in competition, supply chains, customer preferences, and other marketplace forces.

With a company’s human capital being so important, it’s noteworthy that “90 percent of young workers say their engagement levels improve if the company they’re working for has a clear succession plan,” according to Davitt Corporate Partners.

The company, based in Dublin, Ireland, naturally points out the importance of intellectual capital.

“If all the best people end up leaving your company without sharing their knowledge; 40 years of experience is just walking out the door and lost forever,” says a company statement.

“A succession program will ensure critical positions are filled more quickly and that there is reduced staff turnover,” the company concludes.

For more insights on the need for succession planning, here’s an informative Davitt infographic:

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant strategies:

Home-Grown Succession Planning Helps Financial Performance — Companies that promote their chief executives from inside vis-à-vis recruiting from the outside have a much higher financial-success rate. In other words, successful companies identify and nurture their intellectual capital. It’s not just my experience. It’s been confirmed by a global human resources study.

Management — Big Banks Provide Lessons in Succession Planning — Many businesspeople are so focused on operating their businesses, they forget about human capital – their most important asset. Organizations from small to large should strategically make a succession plan. 

Rules to Successfully Bring Your Kids into the Family Business — Naturally, in bringing your kids into your family business, the key to long-term success is to do it the smart way. Here’s how.

Remove Guesswork for Promoting Talent within Your Business — In baseball to win the World Series, there’s often a correlation among a team’s management, talent and its farm system. That’s true for business.

HR: Overcoming Tech Trends, Boomer Retirements — There are ominous implications for human resources departments — from the same tech trends that have empowered consumers to force businesses into the digital age.

“Succession planning doesn’t start with people. It starts with the requirements of the position.”

-David Ulrich


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Management – How to Alleviate 10 Trending Issues in HR

Along with the 21st century revolution in technology, there have been dramatic changes in human-resources management in every industry and profession.

This means there are many pitfalls to avoid in our evolving litigious society. Everyday it seems there are changes in law and societal norms.

You have tons of responsibilities in order to stay profitable, maintain employee morale and to avoid legal issues. Whew, it’s seemingly overpowering.

You know, of course, if you make a mistake there could be disastrous ramifications.

In general, bear in mind these emerging issues:

1. Teaching moments

First and foremost, it’s increasingly important to read and stay current on events in business.

When other companies and nonprofits make negative headlines, it’s an opportunity for you to learn and if necessary to implement improvements in policies and procedures.

As a starting point for a safety net, use Google Alerts for any or all the appropriate HR keywords. Plan carefully as it’s a long list of subjects.

This also means using the news events as teaching moments to educate your employees.

2. Handbook updates

Neither you, nor your company, and nor should your employees be relying on an employee handbook with illegal or antiquated policies. To avoid legal issues, make certain you have the best handbook values.

For your handbook, consider mandating arbitration to discourage frivolous complaints and lawsuits.

With all due disrespect for the legal profession, any time lawyers and juries are unnecessarily involved you can expect uncertainty.

Incidentally, companies that don’t have online employee handbooks are missing noteworthy opportunities in human resources.

3. Choosing words carefully

Whether you’re counseling one of your employees, documenting behavior and performance, or writing your handbook, be careful with your choice of words.

For example, a well-written set of performance goals work will help motivate employees and will help them focus better on their responsibilities. You can see 10 sample goal phrases here.

Avoid what an outside observer, such as judge, would consider to be “opinion.” So be specific about events and examples.

Times have changed. Above all, don’t use the word, “attitude.” You’ll be inviting legal trouble.

4. Gender bias

Actually, any form of bias or discrimination should be eliminated from your workplace, but gender bias has seeming been making more headlines.

ASAP, make sure to audit your benefits, policies and salaries to guard against gender bias. Continue to monitor your records. Make sure supervisors know to avoid gender bias.

These steps will help avert litigation or government involvement. But you need to do more to avoid EEOC discrimination suits.

Besides, know that your employees surf the Internet and pay attention to news coverage about inequality.

5. Terminations

Even if immediate termination seems appropriate, in most cases take a deep breath, document events, and pause for strategizing.

Instruct your employee to leave and report to HR the next day. Then, give the employee the opportunity to explain any possible extenuating circumstances.

Keep in mind that if you’re forced to terminate workers, ask yourself the right questions.

6. Pre-emptive legal action

In other words, don’t wait until an event blows up in your face. You’ll be more productive and will save money overall, if you use your outside attorney as an advisor.

Hopefully, you develop an intuitive antenna for HR issues before they become a crisis. When you anticipate a problem, call your attorney and ask questions before a crisis develops.

It’s much less costly to avoid courtroom litigation. By warding off problems, you’ll avoid an expensive legal defense.

You’ll need an HR specialist. Generally speaking, selecting the right business attorney, talent and skill levels are among the crucial traits needed for your success. So, have the right attorney for your business.

7. Anger in discipline

One rule of thumb is that it’s never OK to get angry in disciplining employees.

Not only does it help keep your blood pressure low, you can discipline or fire workers without causing unproductive drama and legal hassles.

Civility is important. So be tough on problems but soft on employees.

Careful planning is necessary before you give an employee an appraisal or before you terminate a person. In difficult situations, it’s vital for you to say the right things.

8. Employment Eligibility Verification forms (Form I-9)

Asking for green cards creates a huge risk factor. Don’t ask a lawful permanent resident for a green card.

Instead, request to see a driver’s license or other documentation. And make sure your I-9 records comply with the federal government. That’s an important step in preparation for an unannounced visit from ICE.

9. Retention of documents

Think about your retention of records. There are, of course, laws for records you need to keep. Laws require certain records anywhere from one to 30 years.

To avoid possible mistakes by destroying employee records too soon, add two or three years to the required duration in your retention of documents.

If you aren’t able to supply relevant documentation, you’ll pay a heavy price.

In some cases, you’ll even be forced to give the job back to a nonperforming or toxic employee so use best practices to guard against legal risks.

10. Rules regarding tattoos

As the adage goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you have a rule regarding tattoos, avoid a mistake.

It’s not enough for your policy to inform employees that they can’t show “offensive tattoos.” Therefore, prohibit “visible tattoos.”

From the Coach’s Corner, related information:

Tips to Prevent or, if Necessary, Eliminate Employee Toxicity — From time to time, nearly every boss has to cope with an employee’s negativity. That’s annoying enough, but you’ve got a nightmare if toxic attitudes spread among the rest of your workers. Here are solutions.

HR: Is it Time to Rethink Your Marijuana-Testing Policy?  — For HR departments, it was once-unthinkable: Deleting Marijuana from the list of drugs in workplace drug-testing programs. But should you? And what should you do about your handbook policies?

Tips for Productive Meetings to Improve Performance — Here’s a checklist to engage your employees in energetic, inspiring staff meetings that will increase profits.

Legal HR Issues? Best Practices in Workplace Investigations — As an employer, one of your biggest nightmares can be issues involving your employees. There can be many reasons to conduct an investigation. “Action expresses priorities,” said Mohandas Gandhi. So you should act quickly.

10 Tips on Responding to EEOC Complaints — Despite all the court cases, warnings and complaints filed at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC complaints are a nightmare for management.

“The value of a business is a function of how well the financial capital and the intellectual capital are managed by the human capital. You’d better get the human capital part right.” 

-Dave Bookbinder


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Leadership: The Best 11 Steps to Become a Leader

Editor’s note: This article is dedicated to my friends — the hardworking faculty and students in the post graduate studies in Education and Business Management at Southern Mindanao Colleges at Pagadian City in the Philippines. 

Whether you aspire to become a leader or want to get better at leading people, it’s certainly a huge job.

A good friend of mine, widely acclaimed consultant Joey Tamer, says there are 10 characteristics of a successful CEO:

  1. Domain expertise (technology or other)
  2. Leadership & personal power
  3. Financial savvy
  4. Ability to pitch and close
  5. Honor
  6. Realism
  7. Perseverance
  8. Patience
  9. Perspective on the larger scheme of things
  10. Courage to move forward, or stop, and to know when to do either one.

Whew, she’s right. Leading an organization in an ethically, effective way is tough.

But you can do this. How?

Firstly, understand you have to be mindful of The Peter Principle. The Peter Principle is a widely accepted management theory advanced by Laurence Peter.

In 1969, the educator theorized many people are appointed to a higher position based solely on their performance — not their potential qualities to succeed in their new role.

Such people don’t understand the big picture and aren’t effective in solving the issues confronting their organization and industry.

Therefore, they rise to their level of incompetence, which means they ultimately fail.

To avoid the stigma of The Peter Principle and to be competent at a higher level, you have to lay a personal foundation of values for professional growth.

Building a foundation enables you to stand tall with confidence before you seek a leadership job. It will give you the necessary underpinning as a leader.

You’ll also be confident in your decisions so you won’t engage in self-doubt after making your decisions.

Here are 11 steps:

1. Learn what you don’t know

— Learn the Principle of Contrary Action. Many people make the mistake of thinking they’re open-minded. But they’re limited by their limited experience and their biases – they unknowingly have biases, which lead to poor decisions.

Learn how to have an open mind, by practicing the Principle of Contrary Action.

The Principle of Contrary Action entails keeping a mental or written record of all your daily activities, and then try to plan and do things differently each time you do them.

Take for example, when you go grocery shopping. As much as possible, each time take a different route, park your car in a different parking spot, enter a different door and walk down a different aisle each time you enter a store. Over time, your creativity will soar.

— Thoroughly study your organization, your marketplace and your industry. Effective bosses have antennas to alert them over looming challenges.

It’s important to develop an antenna – to be alert to challenges before they worsen. When you’re in front of problems, you’ll avoid unnecessary deadlines, which are a huge waste of time and a drain on your energy.

Also, learn how to motivate employees when your organization is facing adversity.

— Learn how to think like an entrepreneur. Leaders think and act like entrepreneurs because they’re independent-minded and fearless.

You must stay on an even keel emotionally, despite all the negative surprises. Develop habits that make certain your attitude is contagious – an attitude worth catching — to prepare for daily success.

Winning entrepreneurs have five morning habits.

— Get a great mentor. With a mentor so you won’t be alone in making career decisions to guide you. Ask questions and get continuous feedback to accelerate your career.

— Read voraciously. Read relevant journals, and autobiographies and biographies of successful people, especially learn why they’re successful and the lessons they learned.

Note: Focus on concepts and principles. Even if you’re reading about someone in a different profession than you, you’ll learn principles that are applicable and transferable to your situation.

— Learn about management of people. Start with strategies to succeed as a new nanager, management theories and the prerequisites needed to succeed in managing people. That ranges from avoiding legal problems and motivating employees to retaining your talented workers.

— Learn about effective delegation of employees. Delegation is a fundamental driver of organizational growth. Managers who are effective in delegation show leadership.

Save yourself time and develop your staff for the welfare of your organization. Use best practices in employee delegation.

— Study how to manage money. Learn finance. To lead an organization, you must understand the numbers and what they mean for you personally and for the organization.

— Make technology a priority. In particular, you’ll need to know how to guard against cyber threats and to prevent and recover from ransomware.

Overall, there are four important strategies every boss should know.

— Study marketing and sales. To lead, you must know about marketing and sales, and negotiating tactics. Even nonprofit leaders have to know these concepts.

Become a great communicator. Leaders write and speak well so they can be informative and persuasive. There are many benefits if you become a great public speaker.

— Do a personal inventory. Now that you have an overview of what’s needed in leadership, perform a comprehensive self-study of your personal and professional strengths and weaknesses.

That includes evaluating your soft skills and listening skills – your ability for relating to others. So, make certain you have emotional intelligence (EI) to evaluate, understand and control your emotions. Learn how grow your EI for leadership success.

If you tend to procrastinate or lack courage when facing adversity, learn what you need to know about being courageous, a critical characteristic of effective managers. It’s a learned behavior.

As Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said: “Courage doesn’t come by doing what everybody else says.”

Note: These are important steps before you even think about marketing and selling yourself to a leadership position. Hopefully, you’re developing a vision of what you must do for yourself.

2. Write a strategic plan for yourself 

A personal strategic plan is an investment in you. Decide what you must do to achieve your objective.

Write it as an action plan – list the steps you plan to take and when you will take them. You can do this on a single page.

3. Stay fit in every way possible

Closely monitor and journal your personal and company’s finances and cut unnecessary expenses.

Focus on fitness – physically, mentally and emotionally. This helps you with the acumen and energy that are needed to succeed.

Take the time to recharge. Stay close to your family.

Read to stay current, continually develop your intellect and spirituality. Make it a habit to learn something new each day. The famous Michelangelo once revealed his personal lifetime motto, “I am still learning.”

4. Prioritize your relationships and engagement with others

It can’t be understated – soft skills and communication with stakeholders are all of paramount importance in leading people.

In your speech and writings, don’t lead with the pronoun I. Avoid using the word, mine. Use our, we and us. Remember to write or say thank you and please whenever possible.

5. Demonstrate maturity

Leaders are poised and mindful of the success of others. They don’t resent it. They congratulate others when they’re successful. They continue to do it after they get into the corner office.

6. Master your craft

Know your responsibilities and technical-skill requirements. Ask questions if you don’t. Perform every task at the highest-possible performance.

By excelling in your duties above expectations, you’ll demonstrate leadership potential after going above and beyond your boss’s expectation of you.

7. Be proactive and become the go-to person

Be alert to opportunities to solve problems. Bring solutions to problems.

Take on extra tasks outside your responsibilities.

Help others. Not only is it the right thing to do, it demonstrates you’re able to do your own work and are management material.

8. Demonstrate resourcefulness

You’ll demonstrate your cleverness if perform your own tasks, but also take the initiative in developing or improving processes that benefit your business.

9. Volunteer for leadership roles

As situations arise, seize the initiative and volunteer. Volunteering helps cement your case that you’re ready for more responsibilities.

10. Take ownership of your work

If you continually perform well and demonstrate pride in your work, you’ll demonstrate you’re on track for a greater role in your organization.

11. Take responsibility

You’ll earn respect, if you take responsibility for the performance of your team, and your decisions and actions.

If you make a mistake, apologize to the appropriate people. Use best practices to make apologies.


OK, so that’s the overview in understanding what’s truly needed for leadership. These strategies will enable you to stand tall on your new foundation.

It will enable you as a leader to be confident in your decisions, and you will not engage in self-doubt after making decisions.

Strive for high performance and demonstrate that you have skills needed for success. 

Continue to hone your skills. Demonstrate that you have those skills.

And when you’re ready, boost your career with self-promotion so that higher-ups become aware that you’re ready for upward mobility. Do these things, and you’ll be successful.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related leadership strategies:

Habits of Leaders Who Have Positive Workplace Cultures — The Digital Age and global economy are demanding. Texting and emails are the norm. Face-to-face communication is minimal. This can hurt workplace cultures. Here’s what leaders do about it.

To Become a Leader, Develop Strategic-Planning Skills in 5 Steps — A salient characteristic of leadership is strategic thinking. If you’re ambitious, the ability to be a strategic planner is critical for your success. Here are five ways to achieve your goal.

10 Execution Values to Guarantee Your Strategic Plan Works — Many companies devote resources to devise a great strategic plan. But they fail in their objectives because they don’t link their strategy to execution. So, here’s how.

Leadership: 4 Strategies Dealing with Incompetent People — Yes, incompetent employees – whether they have difficult personalities or they simply under-perform – can be aggravating. But they don’t have to be.

5 Top Leadership Philosophies in Business Management — Top managers show leadership by coaching their teams to success. They accomplish goals with five habitual philosophies.

Leadership: How Leaders Employ 11 Strengths to Grow Businesses — Ascension to the C-suite doesn’t automatically qualify an executive as a leader. Leaders have 11 strengths that enable them to manage their companies for greater effectiveness and elasticity despite a fast-changing marketplace.

“Live, learn, and always do right.”

-Charles Talley


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.