Jun 16 2012


Seeing through it all


…maybe, maybe not.

There’s an awful lot of talk in top management circles trending to the favor-ability of transparent leadership, but reality often dictates the need to exercise the exact opposite, at least for certain situations. Two-facedness? Manipulative? Irresponsible? Lacking integrity? Ruling by exception? Well, even open windows do not always afford a clear view.

When every word you say and move you make is public to all around you, it can be inhibiting to decision making that might be for the good of all involved. Adhering to a policy of transparency can instead take on a neurotic life of its own which can prevent meaningful forward motion.

Consider, for example, the advisability of sharing content of investor or prospective investor discussions as they occur, with all employees. . . or, publicly airing the private meeting critique of an under-achieving employee. Actually, many if not most sensitive-type bits of information might best be kept private and only be shared on a need-to-know basis.

We badger government officials to maintain transparency because they are elected and paid by us to represent our interests, and we are entitled to know what they think and say, and how they behave. But business (thankfully, for the cause of cultivating entrepreneurial spirit and the capitalism that fuels our economy) doesn’t conduct itself that way.

Private enterprise shareholders are entitled to know how business management represents the interests of a given company, but not have a say in every issue. Shareholders are instead invested in the integrity of the management that represents the company they are invested in.

Effective transparent leadership may translate to open-door management for many, but even those who take their doors off the hinges have been known to beef up their effectiveness with periodic whispers and private notes. Because sharing everything with everyone can easily create more problems than it solves.

Another way to think of it is simply that not every organization member is capable of understanding areas of specialization beyond what she or he is directly involved with, and to expect that that’s the case is to invite confusion and delay that will block progress. It’s healthy to look at the total leadership picture before throwing all the doors and windows open.

To paraphrase Lincoln’s famous quote: “You can be transparent to all of the people some of the time, and you can be transparent to some of the people all 0f the time, but you can’t be transparent to all of the people all of the time.”

# # #

FREE blog subscription Posts RSS Feed

Hal@Businessworks.US    302.933.0116

Open Minds Open Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

No responses yet

May 13 2012


If you own or operate a


business or professional


practice . . . . . YOU are


“The Mother of Invention”


If you work anywhere in that vast sea of government or private mega-enterprise incompetence, click off here and visit some other website that lets you be corporately lethargic and obscure. If, however, you’re running or managing your own business or some innovative part of a business –real parent or not– read on: YOU are the “Mother of Invention.”

Now Peter Drucker who’s referred to as the “Father of Management” may not like that idea, but–I would challenge him. I mean, when did “Mother” ever lose to “Father”?


Today, in other words, is also a day to celebrate YOU being your business’s parent.

First off, anyone who works for you sees you in a parental light. You are looked up to for guidance and leadership. You are a role model. You may not like providing inspiration or being thought of as something special, but you ARE.

When you can face up to it and make the most of it, you’ll be helping your staff, your self and your business to grow.

Don’t just provide leadership. Provide leadership by example; people want to learn by watching and trying and doing.

Don’t just provide leadership. Provide leadership that’s transparent. Keep all your business dealings clearly defined and out in the open. Forget that you have a “Bcc” setting on your emails. Stop closing doors. Share information freely.

If you’ve hired good people to start with, you’re only toying with risk levels that are reasonable. If you’ve got a bad apple or two, your open-and-above-boardness will flush them out.

In other words:

Give everyone a chance to give you a chance

for your business to have a chance to succeed.

Now, Mothers and Fathers, let’s look at that “Invention” word that you’re parenting. And this, by the way, includes the world of healthcare– especially hospitals! If you’re not CONSTANTLY creating and inventing and innovating . . . coming up with new ideas, ways, methods, designs, plans, steps, contacts, messages . . . EVERY DAY, then you are investing in the status quo.

Keeping things the same, not rocking the boat, and “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” are the prevalent nonproductive notions anchoring most stagnant corporate giants, every government agency, and all unsuccessful small businesses.


Business owner Job One is to stay out of that trap. Don’t let anything interfere with your daily birthing of inventive thinking. It’s how you started your business. It’s what’s carried your business. It’s what will will make the difference between your business surviving and your business thriving in the months and years ahead.

This doesn’t mean every lightbulb that goes on over your head needs to light up the world, or even that little dark corner of your workspace, but it does mean that you and your business cannot afford to pull the plug on that open socket; keep trying out new bulbs; follow up with some and discard others. [Edison made 10,000 tries before inventing the lightbulb!]

Innovation, remember, is taking the rarest of those good ideas and seeing them all the way through, every specific step of the way, to their final destination markets — even if only on paper or the computer screen. Together with your business itself, it’s those parented ideas that become the inventions that you mother and nurture into adulthood. Happy Mother’s Day!

# # #

FREE blog subscription Posts RSS Feed

Hal@Businessworks.US    302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

2 responses so far

Jan 02 2012

Creating Business Team Chemistry

 Great leadership


 is not always transparent!


Every winning sports and business team has a sparkplug — THE one most enthusiastic, energetic, pumped-up, mover and shaker who ignites her or his teammates and gets them focused on achievement. 

Combined with what most of us might designate as leadership qualities… trust, authenticity, integrity, empathy, compassion, active listening, speaking clearly, sense of humor, teaching by example, et al…the single sparkplug ingredient, the piece that brings it all together, comes quietly from inside… and is not always transparent. 

Sparkpluggyness  is not tangible, obvious, or even evident in many cases. It is a fire-in-the-belly sense of desire and mission. True leaders exude it, and usually without ever even noticing or acknowledging it. It’s something that “just happens” as many have shared along their career paths.

So how does one begin to cultivate and nurture the characteristics that lead to rewarding practices of inside leadership? Do boosters work? Energy drinks? Coffee? Drugs? Ginseng?

One might best begin with a large dose of self-esteem, let that percolate into self-confidence, add a dash of deep breathing, proper exercise, enough rest, nutritional foods (and obviously eliminate addictive tobacco and alcohol products along the way), and work at mastering the ways of dealing best with your own stress.

Try whatever comes along until you find the one thing that best works for you. Is it jogging? Lifting? Yoga? Massage therapy? Playing with a pet? Pursuing a hobby? Swimming? Gardening? Painting? The answer is different for every single person. But you’ll never discover what’s best for you if you aren’t continually experimenting.   

This is all about getting in touch with your inner self and firing up that furnace. If YOU don’t know what makes you tick, you’ll never be able to know how to best figure out what makes other people tick, and how to best deal with them to get them motivated.

Even Maslow’s Theory of Motivation relies one-hundred percent on a manager’s ability to “size up” others to be able to best reward them at a level that’s most meaningful to THEM. If you give me a plaque when I most want a more impressive title, you’re wasting my interest and sense of teamwork. You will not gain my commitment.

This little piece of leadership need not be for public consumption: The more you know about what makes YOU go, the closer you are to understanding and motivating others, and the more you can succeed at getting others to achieve, the better a leader you become and the more you will accomplish, transparently or otherwise.


# # #

FREE blog subscription: Posts RSS Feed

Hal@Businessworks.US   Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

No responses yet

Nov 20 2011


Welcome to the world’s first SMALL BIZ Alphabet Series of blog posts!



   Have you done it?

 Can you do it?

 Will you do it?

   Are you doing it NOW?


 The only “YES!” that counts is your answer to the last question because the only time in your life and in the life of your business that’s real, and that counts, is NOW!


Getting to “YES!” may not always feel like an easy journey when other burdens are pulling at your shoulders, but it is –after all is said and done– a choice. And we are always free to make a choice be one that is easy or one that is hard.

 Choosing “YES!” certainly offers more promise and greater rewards than choosing “NO!” under almost any circumstances, except those of course that can have negative impact. (Choosing “NO!” to illegal, unhealthy, or harmful offers comes to mind as an example of times when “NO!” can be positive.)

But most of us struggle everyday with making “the right” choices… the ones that are right for us as individuals, as family and community members, as business leaders, as entrepreneurs. We “struggle” because –what’s the old saying? “The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence!”?

In a word: Temptation.

We struggle to decide what’s best for ourselves and our families because we’re so pushed and pulled by others. And having a business venture that’s teetering on the brink of bankruptcy or major financial loss, can put enormous undue stress and strain on us as owners and managers, even for a small solopreneur kitchen-based business.

This added stress is often to the detriment of important family choices and relationships, and almost always to the detriment of fun and relaxation. Fun and relaxation? Hmmm. What’s that about? Fortunately, or UNfortunately depending on your perspective, fun and relaxation are necessary for life balance.

Life balance is necessary for business success. But achieving it can be complicated. In other words, no one I have ever heard of has made a successful business from anger, or from over-indulging in any emotion or activity.

When we make a conscious effort to say “YES!” at every turn –a “YES ATTITUDE” if you will– we are cultivating and nurturing life balance ingredients: willingness, receptivity, responsiveness, reliability, integrity, uthenticity, constructive and transparent leadership.

 Others will follow, be influenced, motivated, and inspired.

Others will see their own potential in the actions (words and deeds) that we as positive-minded entrepreneurs teach by example. “YES!” carries responsibility in its backpack. To agree to do something means doing it!.

Actually delivering the goods

is far more important

than just promising to deliver the goods.


A “YES! ATTITUDE” (not just for a day or a week, but as a way of life) allows us to thrive and grow as human beings, as people, while we cultivate and nurture the attitudes of those we influence around us –employees, customers, suppliers, referrers, lenders, investors, partners, delivery and cleaning people, our neighbors, community organizations, and, above all– our families.

We have untold opportunities to make real change and to make that change stick. Day after day, it’s always a choice! (And YES, that includes November 6, 2012.)

# # #

FREE blog subscription: Posts RSS Feed


Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Many thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

 Make today a GREAT day for someone!

No responses yet

Nov 01 2011


Welcome to the world’s first SMALL BIZ Alphabet Series of blog posts!



So much has been written on this subject, here and elsewhere (and no where as meaningfully, in my opinion , as Rudy Giuliani’s book, LEADERSHIP), yet it cannot be ignored here as the “L” topic. Without it, there is no business –yours or anyone’s. With it, even when it’s as pathetic as that which we see (and don’t see) from the White House, there’s always at least a remote chance of success hovering above the clouds of follower discontent.

The problem we face as entrepreneurs and small business owners and managers is that –unlike some careers in science, accounting, programming, and assembly line manufacturing– small business startup and development success is determined as much by effective leadership as by the central ideas, products, and services represented.

And leadership doesn’t spill out of a cereal box, a webinar, an MBA program, Fortune magazine, or a fortune cookie. Leadership comes from inside you. It is, more than anything, an attitude. It is responsiveness. It is a show of good faith and respect for others. It is having exceptional communication and motivational skills.

But–above all elseit is having a personal foundation cornerstoned by authenticity, integrity, and trust. The closest thing to spontaneous rise-to-the-occasion leadership comes from the military when opportunities to plan and prepare may not always exist. It is otherwise a role most of us grow into of necessity and develop accidentally.

I’ve worked with and written about leaders being most effective when they pull instead of push, when they solicit input instead of quash it, when they reward failures for the effort and inspire others to top performance rather than berate others for failures and constantly prod to produce productivity.

Truly effective leaders are truly transparent in both words and deeds.


Having a “take charge” attitude is a great asset for leadership when it’s exercised quietly, but having a take charge behavior –acting out internal convictions often results in a non-productive fearsome or obnoxious reputation that diminishes responsiveness and commitment by others. Instead, challenge others to take risks.

It’s a thin line, leadership. And walking the walk counts for substance and achievement. Talking the talk is for shallow minds and empty suits. Your business counts for something important to you. Working at continuous improvement of your leadership skills will move that “something Important” closer to reality.

And you have that new opportunity to be the best leader you can be for your business every hour of every day. Look for ways to measure how you’re coming across to others. Practice what you preach. Ask for feedback, Encourage innovative thinking (taking creative ideas all the way to implementation). Reward with praise.

Be sincere. Be honest. Be an example, Be the leadership you seek to inspire. Watch your business grow.

# # #

FREE blog subscription: Posts RSS Feed


Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Many thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

 Make today a GREAT day for someone!

No responses yet

Jul 22 2010


Okay, before you buy it,


here’s what’s wrong


with our product!


     The smaller the business, the closer it gets to practicing transparent marketing.

     The farmer at his produce stand will tell you that the corn wasn’t picked today, or that the peaches are maxed and need to be consumed within 24 hours, or that the berries may be tart because they’re not quite in season.

     The bigger the business, the more money that’s paid out in fees for ad agencies and PR firms to cover up product and service faults with retouched photos and exaggerated claims. Always intentional? No, not always, and especially not always on the part of the hired creative guns because clients often keep bad news locked up and intentionally mislead their marketing people.

     What kinds of product and service faults? HA! Start with air!

     Soap companies pump air into their bars of soap to give them bulk and make consumers think they’re getting bigger amounts and better dollar value. Note how many more bars of corporate giant soap you go through compared to homemade soap. In the end, the big brand names full of air cost more.

     How about big brand ice cream? Pumped in air? Of course!

     They can fill the containers with less product and make more profit. Do you think consumers ever think about weighing their ice cream? Maybe we should. Guaranteed that volume doesn’t correspond to weight anywhere near as closely as with homemade ice cream (and don’t believe any stories about the big boys using lighter ingredients!).

     And you thought just car dealerships, banks, and hospitals had a lock on dishonest representations?

     How about beauty products? Dense creams used in many big name skin and hair care brands get watered down and sold as “Instant” formulas — as, for example, sprays instead of in jars —  using a fraction of the original thick ingredients from the jar version, and selling it at a higher price because now it’s “Instant.” Uh, that’s “Instant” as in instant profit rewards for adding the water.

     This could go on for a zillion blog posts, but I don’t pretend to be Ralph Nader or Consumer Reports. I’ve just experienced situations like these first-hand and have stories you wouldn’t believe about hot dogs, pickles, bacon, chicken, drugs, doctors, and all the electronic stuff that thrives on planned obsolescence. (And you needn’t go any further than the recording industry on that count!)

     The point is that none of us will ever live long enough to see totally honest transparent marketing (or leadership, for that matter), but the answer is NOT “if you can’t lick ’em, join ’em” because THAT is an evasive political response that’s routinely practiced by dishonest money-crazed government and big business, and WE are small business, right? (No, this is not a rallying cry!)

     We are 30 million strong in America. We are not all honest. We are not all willing to be forthright in our marketing, And we are not all beyond telling some white lies or committing errors of omission when they fit our purpose, but most small business owners are, I believe, basically honest about the products and services they represent and market.

     If you think you need to “pad” the wares you offer or the claims you make or the words that drive your marketing programs, perhaps you should consider re-evaluating where you’re headed with your business and where you see yourself going in life. If there’s not some genuine compatibility evident, you could be setting yourself up for disaster.       

 www.TWWsells.com or 302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You. God Bless America and America’s Troops. “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]  Make today a GREAT Day!

No responses yet

Mar 30 2010

Email Leadership

If it’s not a surprise


party invite,


opt out of 


“Bcc…” emails!


     True leaders are transparent throughout their daily conduct. They don’t just open the books, the files, the records, and their agendas to others, they think twice and email once. When you think you need to Bcc someone on an email, think again.

     Paint yourself a worst-case scenario. The To people and the Cc people find out about the Bcc person or people, and then where are you? [Up the paddle without a creek!]

     Just because we are becoming a less one-on-one social and more tech-social society, is no excuse to hide communications with others. If doing that feels essential, you may want to re-visit the purpose and intent of your message to begin with. In fact, you may want to re-visit your organization’s integrity. 

    By using email Bcc options as a matter of practice, you not only run the risk of jeopardizing your own credibility, you threaten the credibility of others. And you definitely set a bad precedent. People always think it’s okay to do what the boss does just because the boss does it. [They need some other reason?]

     If it’s impossible in your organization to be open and forthright about sensitive issues, it’s equally impossible to be an effective leader. Today’s generation doesn’t really care what your leadership messages have to say as much as they are preoccupied with and focused on what you do, and the examples you set. HOW you transmit a message is as important as the content of the message. 

     A Bcc user is a buttoned-up suit functioning out of a closed-door back office when people are looking for a frontline, hands-on leader with sleeves rolled up. Routine use of email Bccs sends out clandestine signals. How can others surmise anything trustworthy about someone who is known for constantly communicating behind their backs?

     Let’s say you have been charged with solving a customer service problem. Why would you leave the customer out of the communication loop? Afraid of the customer seeing weakness in your organization? Perhaps weakness has more to do with not communicating? [And fear is after all, a choice.]

     How about including your customer in the flow of communications so he/she can see and experience your organization’s commitment to resolving the issues at hand? Too risky? What’s the risk of no feedback about the problem-solving efforts? How do those dynamics apply internally?

     How would you respond to employees who Bcc you on emails they’re exchanging with their immediate supervisors? Would you confront the practice immediately or let it simmer? Would you share the news with the immediate supervisors?

     Would it depend on the circumstances and the people involved? Why? Why wouldn’t this, being a policy issue, be treated as a policy issue? What can be done to prevent the destructive practice from being practiced in the first place?   

Comment below or Hal@BusinessWorks.US Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! Make it a GREAT Day! Blog via RSS feed or $1/mo Kindle. GRANDPARENT Gift? http://bit.ly/3nDlGF

No responses yet

Mar 21 2010

YOU’re Married to Your Business, Not the Govt!

For richer or poorer,


in sickness and


in health, it’s


YOUR business…NOT


the government’s!


     There may never have been a better time than now, for small business owners, operators and managers to rise up and defend the businesses they’re married to, to take hold of the entrepreneurial leadership that America’s government hasn’t even an inkling about how to make work.

     We’re promised leadership transparency and get instead closed doors.

     We’re assured of job creation incentives and get instead “much ado about nothing.” Mountains of utterly useless government paperwork clog our channels of communication and threaten our existences as free market competitive entities.

   Here’s the line in the sand:

The government wants to tax and spend and provide all the necessary infrastructure to gain total and complete control of our businesses and industries, our families and our personal lives. [This is not exaggerated. Look carefully at what’s been happening every day.]

American business owners want an end to taxation without representation. Small business owners want an end to spending money that doesn’t exist, no matter how great the cause. Business owners do not want the government running businesses; they want government to provide infrastructure tools for use by small businesses to create jobs and economic turnaround opportunities. They want to keep their inalienable rights to freedom and independence.

     America’s federal government has run amuck. It is using today’s lame excuse for a healthcare bill as a Trojan Horse to–once positioned inside the walls of democracy–unleash a flood of controls designed to pursue their mission to usher in socialism.

      Socialism does not work, and will not work. It has never worked.

     And until what I am firmly convinced is our nation’s corrupt union leadership (especially teacher and automaker unions) and until naive, ideological arts and tree-hugger communities are willing to put aside their new-found, Obama-led arrogance long enough to face reality, we as a nation are in deep trouble.

     So why address all this political mess in a blog for small business owners and entrepreneurial leaders?

     Because it is WE who are on the line here. It is WE who hold the opportunity to reverse the reckless spending and reckless mind-games being foisted upon us. It is WE who need to rise up and restore balance and strength to our crumbling economy. 

     No, these are not just words. These are actions that each of us needs to take and pledge to work for. Our government, as it has come to exist in this past year, no longer represents “WE the people.” 

     If any of us with small businesses spent money we didn’t have as mindlessly as the federal government has been doing and continues to do, we would be out of business . . . exactly where America  is headed.

     We are on a runaway train, being driven by a totally-inexperienced group of incompetent (seemingly “possessed” say some) politicians who are intent on taking us all directly over the socialism cliff into Marxism waiting eagerly below. And, God forbid that should ever take place.

     The only way to ensure the survival of democracy bolstered by its capitalistic roots that established the US as the world’s one-time strongest nation, and be able to be in the position to best help others, is to provide small businesses with real (not token) tools to lead us forward once again.

     This can only happen when each small business owner takes an active role this November in voting out those who think it’s more important to “taxdollar-bailout” corporate giants than to put meaningful job creation tax incentives in small business.

     Realize here that we have representatives who are more concerned with their empty, small-business-killing healthcare plan than with reducing unemployment rates enough to allow people to pay for the insurance coverage they’ll need to have, to avoid getting fined with amounts they have no ability to pay, because they’re unemployed. Oh, is that not logical or something? 

     We need Congressional Representatives and Senators who are not afraid to stand shoulder to shoulder with small business, who will foster the spirit of knowledgeable, experienced, and open leadership we so sorely lack.  

     We need small business leadership with the vision to restore the sovereignty and credibility of America that generations before us worked so diligently and hard to preserve.       


Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

No responses yet


Tag Cloud