Tips For Turning Around Your Funeral Home

It has been my lot in life to be in leadership roles in a number of business turnarounds from banks to print shops, flower shops to funeral this article hits the top 4 needs (ignoring cash) I especially like 3 and 4.

Screen Shot 2013-07-12 at 3.32.50 PM However, according to Bennigan’s current president and CEO Paul Mangiamele — the man at the helm of the franchise’s resurgence – consumers didn’t abandon Bennigan’s, the brand was brought down by what Mangiamele describes as “brand drift.”

“Brand drift is an insidious disease that happens to many brands when the brand moves away from the many elements that made it successful in the first place,” says Mangiamele. “You need to constantly reinvent yourself so you don’t lose relevance.”

Read more: Fox Small Business

Leadership Lessons From The Boy Scouts

Here 12 leadership concepts that stand the test of time.


Screen shot 2012-07-02 at 8.03.03 PMSurveys show that over 70 percent of consumers in America and Europe distrust businesses as a whole. But for the brands that they do trust, consumer loyalty is fierce. I’ve personally found that one of the easiest ways to instill trust is to mirror the 12 values found in the Scout Law:

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

Whether you incorporate these values into the way you personally conduct business or into the way your brand operates as a whole, I think you’ll find that consumers will be excited to work with you time and time again. So let’s get down to business and analyze the Scout’s Law….More at 12 Business Leadership Lessons From Scout Law

Video: Business Modeling Made Simple

Getting small business owners to “think” about their business is a real challenge for several reasons. First, they are so busy “doing” it’s hard to stop and reflect. Second, they are rarely trained to think in a comprehensively analytical way and, third, most of the time it bores them.

This is a great and simple way to think about the pieces of your business and how they interact on one piece of paper that will help you make fun out of an otherwise frustrating exercise. Who knows you might have an epiphany.

hbrThe business model canvas — as opposed to the traditional, intricate business plan — helps organizations conduct structured, tangible, and strategic conversations around new businesses or existing ones. Leading global companies like GE, P&G, and Nestlé use the canvas to manage strategy or create new growth engines, while start-ups use it in their search for the right business model. The canvas’s main objective is to help companies move beyond product-centric thinking and towards business model thinking.More Reading

Are You The Real Reason Your Company Is Stuck?

I hope you are as tired and bored as I am of chasing after rainbows and false starts.  DeathCare is undergoing a radical transformation.  And for those of you struggling with making that move here is excellent advice:

Screen shot 2012-07-02 at 8.03.03 PMAs small business owners we spend too much time: Learning to accept the fact that we need a team. Putting a team together. Don’t just let it fall apart because we can’t capture an idea and ride that horse until we break it in. There’s something to be said for tenacity and focus. In fact, you don’t have to be a great idea man (or woman) to be a game changer.  A single great concept that’s well executed holds more power than 25 unused proposals. Ideas Carry Potential, Which Is Why They’re So Attractive  But like children, if the idea is worth something, then it has be guided into maturity.  Action carries outcome. If you’re serious about doing something new, there are three sets of questions that should follow every brainstorming session:...More at Ideas Carry Potential: Action Carries Outcome | InnovationHeat

What I would do:

Absolutely read the article linked within this referenced article by Anita Campbell.

But, MOST IMPORTANT, i would screen every hot idea I get at a convention or trade article through the questions at the end of this article.  DeathCare is chasing too many imaginary rabbits down too many rabbit trails.

One last point that I will continue to hammer for owners who spend more time working “on” your business than you do working “in” your business.  If you are stuck and the needle is not moving take some time for introspection.  


A Simple Ritual for Harried Managers (and Popes)

Some articles stand by themselves


The genius of this simple practice becomes obvious when we consider the environments that executives (or Popes, or parents) must navigate every day: we surf a tide of emails, texts, meetings, calls, day-to-day problems, and distractions. We never find time to step back. The fallout is obvious: I’m stressed about a bad meeting an hour ago and end up lashing out at a subordinate who had nothing to do with it; I finish the work day without attacking my number one priority, because I was swept along by lesser day-to-day concerns; I never focus my best thinking in a concentrated fashion on any one issue, because three or four issues are always rambling around my head; or, we slowly drift into an ethical mess of a transaction because I never stopped along the way to ask myself, “Hang on, is this the kind of thing we really should be doing?” The Jesuit tradition is giving us (and the Pope) a very simple tool to cope with these varied business problems, which all happen to be rooted in self-awareness lapses. 

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What are you arguing about?


 All firms have strategies and cultures. But sometimes the quickest and surest way to gain valuable insight into their fundamentals is by asking, “What’s the most important argument your organization is having right now?”

The more polite or politically correct might prefer “strategic conversation” over “argument.” But I’ve found the more aggressive framing most helpful in identifying the disagreements that matter most. Of course, there’s frequently more than one “most important argument.” And arguments about which arguments are most important are — sorry — important, as well. (If people insist there are no “most important arguments,” the organization clearly has even bigger unresolved issues.)

The real organizational and cultural insights — and payoffs — come not just from careful listening but recognizing that, as always, actions speak louder than words. What role is leadership playing here? How is the CEO listening to, leading, or facilitating the argument? Is disagreement viewed as dissent? Or is it treated as an opportunity to push for greater clarity and analytical rigor?

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What a great question:

What is the most important argument your organization is having right now?

Obamacare: Things you ought to know

There is more to Obamacare than we know.  I expect things to slowly come to light as the year progresses.  It’s just good to stay in the loop.

Government auditors would determine whether a worker misclassification triggers the health-care law’s employer mandate. That means the stakes are higher for employers, particularly those who have close to 50 full-time employees. They could have to pay back taxes in addition to potential penalties associated with the health-care law, should the revised classification push their employee headcount over the threshold.

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Ready, Fire, Aim

     Take some time to view the full video.  This is really great advice



View the full 4 minute video here


Why You Don’t Get It Done Now

I like science.  And I am increasingly aware of the impact neuroscience and linguistics have on our unconscious behavior.  Well here is one that suprises me.  On little word can make a huge difference in how we handle life…


Want to be more effective personally, professionally, and economically? Apparently, one solution is kill will.

One of the CultureSync Approved Tribal Leaders Leslie Bennett reminds me to take “will” out of the proposals we develop together. Statements like “participants will learn about the connections between organizational culture and organizational performance” become “participants learn about the connections between organizational culture and organizational performance.”

As we make the change, I always think, removing “will” can’t be that important can it?

Turns out it just might be.

Behavioral Economist Keith Chen is researching language differences that align with differences in national behavior when it comes to savings as a percent of gross national product.

Early results are more than a little startling. Nations with languages that speak differently about the future than they do about present (think: It will rain tomorrow) have a 5% lower savings rate than nations who do not (think: It rain tomorrow).  see more at Culturesynch

Here is what I would do:

Start paying more attention to how you talk.  Self talk and common social talk reveal a lot about how  you think.  Remember:

“How you behave is what you believe no matter what you say”

Leadership: Standing Alone Doesn’t Mean Being Alone

We have all heard it before: “It’s lonely at the top.”  HOGWASH!

YES.  There are times when you have to have to act alone.  You…and only you…can make a decision.  “The Buck Really Does Stop Here.” But leaders…especially leaders of knowledge workers…know they need to be transparent and authentic.  In a word.  It’s OK to be vulnerable.

Standing alone does not mean going it alone.  It does mean trusting yourself and taking the risk to let yourself be seen, standing firm in your beliefs even when your internal voice challenges you with, “What if I am wrong? What if I make a mistake –what will people think?  I’m really not smart enough. This is really hard.”  What does Standing Alone as a leader REALLY mean?  CCL