The #1 Secret to Success for Private Companies

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In the 1937 comic farce, “Topper,” a young Cary Grant portrays George Kerby, a playboy attending the board meeting of his family’s bank: Bank Chairman (reading in a droning tone of voice): “Bullion abroad and in transit, thirteen million, two hundred and two thousand, eight hundred and fifty-four dollars and no cents.” George Kerby, (reclining, […]

Ready for Shovels

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In the aftermath of the 2008 Lehman collapse, most banks froze lending and in fact requested their money back. At one point 74.5% of the banks said they were tightening their lending standards. This caused a full-blown banking crisis, in which money was leaving the economy at an alarming rate. In human terms, there was […]

Interims are In!

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When you set yourself up in the holy orders of advice-giving in business, there are usually three types of engagements: -Client says they have a problem. Can you help analyze the complexities, then present a conclusion that is suitably backed up with data? -Client says they have analyzed the problem. They now wonder– could you […]

On Wisconsin Education

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Wisconsin has always seemed to have influence larger than its 5.7 million population would suggest in this big wide world. Part of that influence arises from the audacious mission of the University of Wisconsin, which includes the directive “to serve and stimulate society.” It was under this banner, unfurled in 1904, that Harry Steenbock discovered […]

What “Undercover Boss” Gets Wrong

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Reality TV and business doesn’t seem to be a good fit. The staged nature of the interactions—I am thinking of CNBC’s The Profit—are no more likeable than when non-business contestants are naked and on a beach. There are exceptions. A great show that touches on business is Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs, which is now shown […]

What CNBC’s ‘The Profit’ Gets Wrong

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A few years ago I received a call from a television producer who wanted to verify that I was, indeed, a well-known turnaround consultant. This took me back because “well-known” was not necessarily in my marketing vocabulary. But I figured if someone from TV wanted to talk to me, I could at least become “less-obscure.” […]

Nepotism Rules!

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If you own or run a company, you probably have been tempted by the siren song of nepotism. Nepotism refers to the high art and common practice of hiring your relatives. Interestingly, if you search for the terms “nepotism” and “rules” you are likely to get a number of documents that purport to limit the […]

Top Mech

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When I was young I got a summer job at a French country restaurant in New England. The idea was to live at the restaurant in an effort to both make big bucks and sharpen my French. The days were incredibly long. Breakfast at 7, serve coffee and pastry to the owner and the chef […]

Humanities for Fun and Profit!

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The unemployment statistics are daunting:  for those with high school degrees, it is 7.5%. For those with college, it is 3.8%.  Except for graduates with BA degrees in the Humanities.  For them, there is basically no hope. At least, that is what the newspapers would have you believe.  Articles abound on the sorry parents who […]

The Economy in Three Clients

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I have been gratified to receive a number of inquiries.   “Where’s your blog?” The truth is that I received an offer to write for a reputable print magazine, which would have caused a conflict.  Then the offer…went nowhere. I have made an executive decision.  To heck with quality journalism.  I’m gonna keep writing for you […]

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