Business Resources

Articles, Book Reviews, Blog

You can sign up for our low volume newsletter. From time-to-time, we come across and/or author business article we hope will be of interest to you. Your information is never shared and you are of course free to unsubscribe at any time. Here, on this site, are some book reviews, white papers, articles, etc.

Workplace Productivity through
our Valued Partners — Coffman Valentine

Overwhelmed? Busy with little to show for it? Falling behind? Our mission is to help you manage your work-life balance to achieve effective Workplace Productivity and keep your sanity. In short – getting the RIGHT work done with focus, clarity, confidence, and impact.

Back by popular demand: How to Measure Anything by Douglas Hubbard

Back in 2007, I reviewed the above book and because I took the time to provide a “when to hire a salesperson” sample analysis, the review hit an all-time high in reader interest. Well, I think the recent recession and the slow recovery has re-kindled that interest once again. So here is the link to this review which I have retrieved from the “old, now defunct” site:

Many times throughout my career, I’ve been confronted with the difficulty of presenting a business case for one project or another to colleagues or management. I suspect many of you have had similar experiences. Perhaps the most frequent reason for failing to win approval of “my project,” was that I had not made a sound, measurable business case. Come to think of it, I have yet to have a project turned down by the management team or board when I properly demonstrated that it met ROI and strategic objectives. So the question is how do we make a sound, measurable business case for our projects?  How do we measure risk with some of our more “soft” project components such as advertising and marketing results, new product initiatives or, for example, simply evaluating whether to hire additional salespeople to grow market share? Enter Douglas Hubbard, author of How to Measure Anything. Hubbard has made what can be a deadly dull subject interesting and accessible. He writes in a clear and concise manner and uses many real-life examples to make his concepts “stick.” I wish I had access to the concepts in this book decades ago as I built my career in the semiconductor business.

Read the full review here.

The MOOCs Are Here Part II

Some time ago, I wrote about how I believe that the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are here. Others feel the same way. And the Online Schools Organization has been gathering information on what’s available. This is a great resource! Now your job, and mine, of finding more information for continuous learning, just got a bit easier. A question still remains, of course, as to how will the MOOCs will make money? How will they sustain themselves? Below is a graphic from the Online Schools Organization depicting how they believe the MOOCs will fund themselves.

Take a look at Online Schools Organization’s Graphic here.

Leadership – Part I

The situation for Leadership Emergence

By David S. Gjestland, Ph.D.

© Copyright David S. Gjestland; 1982 – 2011, Reproduced with permission

I am honored and pleased to introduce David S. Gjestland to the Executive Leader Coach followers. I’ve known David for several years now and we’ve often discussed the state of “Leadership” in the world these days. David was kind enough to allow us access to his seminal work on Leadership and it is reproduced here with his permission. I know you will enjoy this foundational view on Leadership and how it can be used to understand some of what we are dealing with today. Here is Part I, then click through at the end of this part to get to Part II.

Leadership; What an enigma!


Leadership: what an enigma! The phenomenon has fascinated scholars and laymen alike for centuries. Indeed, what is a leader? What distinguishes leaders from others? What if anything do all manner of leaders have in common? These are but a few of the queries that arise concerning the ominous often threatening and intimidating but sometimes inspiring power of leadership.

Leadership - the enigmaThe importance of understanding leadership hardly needs reiteration, particularly in view of its extended range of impact and its frequent potential for long-term consequences. Although a vast body of work has been written about the subject most of that literature has been provided by business or management specialists, by sociologists, social psychologists, and other scholars. However, almost without exception, these works have been marred by at least one overriding failing: the tendency to assume leadership only occurs after someone has ascended to a formal position of power/authority. Further, many of these studies have been chiefly concerned with matters pertaining to “efficiency” or “motivation of employees” and similar factors. It is hardly surprising therefore to find that misconceptions about the nature of leadership abound. While many other short-comings no doubt plague leadership studies, the concern here is not with these shortcomings: rather it is to discover what the barest minimum requirements for leadership might be.

Read the complete article . . .


By Bill Black

Owners begin thinking about the Exit Planning process when two streams of thought begin to converge. The first stream is a feeling that you want to do something besides going to work everyday-either you would like to be someplace else—doing something else—-or you simply no longer get the same kick out of doing what you are doing.

The second stream is the general awareness that you are either approaching financial independence, or making significant strides toward reaching that goal, or can achieve financial independence by selling your business. When these two streams converge, thoughts flow inevitably towards exiting the business. Hopefully, when that happens, your Exit Plan is in place and you are actually able to leave the business when you want to. That, in a nutshell, is the purpose of Exit Planning—to leave your business on your terms and on your schedule.

What kind of “Exit Plan” allows a business owner to leave her business in style? And, just how is one created?

Of course, plans vary but, properly crafted, each Exit Plan has several common elements or is the result of a proven step-by-step process. Owners often best grasp these elements, or steps, when framed as questions.

Read more . . .

Keeping Company Secrets

By Jeffrey Wertheimer and Brandon Sylvia

Your company’s director of product development, top salesperson, or chief financial officer has just decided to accept a position with your biggest competitor. He just gave his four-week notice – leaving plenty of time to download the company’s customer lists, financial statements, and new product information before starting his new job. Much of this information is already loaded onto his company-owned laptop, but one early-morning trip to the office enables him to download the remaining data he wants to take to with him. For most small- and medium-sized businesses, the security systems in place are insufficient to prevent this sort of theft, making such actions almost inevitable. The good news is that with a few relatively inexpensive precautions, the company may be able to significantly limit the damage this employee can cause with the improperly obtained information.

The crux of the problem is that once an employee becomes an ex-employee, the company’s leverage over him is limited, and it becomes difficult to dissuade him from his course of action. At that point, the employer’s best recourse is often the trade secret laws, which can provide powerful protection for properly protected proprietary information. However, in order for these trade secret laws to be effective, the company must have taken certain steps to protect the information it considers to be a trade secret. The purpose of this article is to explain, in general terms, what type of information may constitute a trade secret, and second, to detail steps that can be taken to protect that information.

Read full article . . .

Why Finding the Best Candidate Can Still Feel Like Searching For a Needle in a Haystack

By Kira Bruno, President FORTIS Resource Partners, December 7, 2009

Where are all the good people?  Despite the overwhelming number of unemployed applicants, finding the best candidate is still difficult for many companies.

Almost half of the managers surveyed by the 2009 Employment Dynamics and Growth Expectations report revealed that a shortage in top talent is their biggest hiring challenge.

Read More . . .

Avoiding the pitfalls of the Hiring Process

by Jeff Wertheimer and Brandon Sylvia

Jeff Wertheimer and Brandon Sylvia are labor attorneys at Rutan & Tucker. They have graciously provided the following article. “The hiring of employees is an exciting stage in the growth of any business. Unfortunately, this process is fraught with pitfalls for the unwary. Various state and federal laws regulate the inquiries an employer may make of an applicant during the application process, the interview, and after a job offer has been made (such as background checks or medical exams). The complexity of these laws is compounded by the fact that some questions can only be properly asked at certain stages of the hiring process. Additionally, California allows employers to be held liable for negligent hiring – i.e., hiring an individual who the employer knew or should have known posed a danger to others.”

Read More . . .

An Economy Driven Sales Reset

By Dave Kinnear

It is my opinion that the present economic situation is best described as a “reset in values” rather than arguing over whether or not it is a “recession” or “depression.” We may well see a generation of people whose values are redefined by their experiences during these times much as we have seen the depression generation’s values.

Read More . . .

Great Business Partnerships and How to Create Them

by Barri Carian

“It has become increasingly difficult to achieve great success in today’s complex business environment by forging ahead on your own.” When I wrote that sentence in 1999, partnerships and strategic alliances were starting to gain traction as viable business models. Very little was written on the subject other than the legal and tax aspects. It was extremely difficult to find data showing how many business enterprises were partnerships, what the success rate was, and the factors contributing to the success and failure of these collaborations. Today, ten years later, it still is.

Read More . . .

The Art of Termination

by Jeff Wertheimer and Brandon Sylvia

Terminations can be frightening events for multiple reasons, not least of which is the realistic possibility that the employee will respond to the bad news by bringing a lawsuit. Well worded employment policies and thorough documentation are strong defenses against these claims, but employers must ensure they do not undermine these defenses by words or other conduct. While there is no foolproof method of preventing an embittered ex-employee from filing a lawsuit, with well-drafted policies, proper documentation, and awareness of high-risk situations, the employer can effectively minimize the time and expense of responding to such claims.

Read more . . .