This Week’s Insight Article
September 17, 2018
Are your business practices keeping pace with the current culture?
Awhile back I went to the dentist. Actually it was a new dentist for me. I had been planning on changing dentists for some time, but a tooth chipped on some crunchy granola finally forced my… [READ MORE]
Previous Insight Articles
September 10, 2018
What happens when you affirm employees? Amazing things!
I still remember my daughter’s very first job. She was sixteen years old, and one day she came home from work very excited. Her boss had told her she was one of his best employees. It was a small place, so… [READ MORE]
September 4, 2018
What did my daughter and I learn while shopping for a piano?
My daughter, Amy, began taking piano lessons when she was quite young. All those lessons and countless hours of practice paid off. Today, as a mom of two, in her mid-twenties, she’s a really good piano player. Amy has also… [READ MORE]
August 27, 2018
Could you be more successful if you were more disciplined?
Alonzo and James meet weekly. They originally became acquainted at a local business expo. Although their respective businesses are very different, they realized that their skill sets are very similar. They are both strong in… [READ MORE]
August 20, 2018
A huge change has occurred. Are you taking advantage of it?
A man named Johann Gutenberg lived most of his life during the fifteenth century. He’s now been dead for 550 years. That’s a long time. And yet, Time Magazine named him as the most influential… [READ MORE]
August 13, 2018
What I learned about life—and business—from a “musher.”
It’s likely that you’ve never heard of DeeDee Jonrowe. After all, she was born in Germany, grew up in Virginia and now lives in Willow, Alaska. She’s not someone you’d run into at the grocery store… [READ MORE]
July 23, 2018
Meeting personally with someone is important for business.
I recently received a request via email. The sender was asking for a proposal from my company for some bookkeeping services. After a lengthy email dialogue, I figured out that the person was not… [READ MORE]
July 16, 2018
Using spreadsheets to make realistic projections for business.
Recently I was asked to review some financial projections that had been developed to raise funding for the expansion of a business. The spreadsheet was prepared for the purpose of showing a… [READ MORE]
July 9, 2018
Is an attitude of mediocrity undermining our nation’s potential?
Independence Day reminded me of an article that I read several years ago. The author explained the process that the Texas Board of Education was using to review… [READ MORE]
June 25, 2018
Which is the most important: good leaders or good teams? YES!
Companies – particularly large corporations – pour a lot of money into training for team-building. Unfortunately, much of the money is spent on touchy-feely “team training” and does very little to… [READ MORE]
June 18, 2018
Perhaps you just need to do a little less a little better.
In a world littered with technology that allows us to be in touch all of the time, it has become quite the badge of honor to… [READ MORE]
June 11, 2018
Changing direction, starting a business and … riding a bike?
Years ago, I heard a fantastic definition of luck: “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” Observations through the years have taught me that this is largely true. While there are some people who… [READ MORE]
June 4, 2018
Are you honestly serious about your career … and your life?
When my second granddaughter, Sydney, was around two, she was notable for the very serious look that she often had. Because of her serious look, I started calling her “Serious Syd.” Ironically, at five, she has… [READ MORE]
May 29, 2018
To truly be successful there are some things you’ll need to do.
There is an old saying that those who do what is hard to do end up living an easy life, while those who take it easy are doomed to a hard life. Of course, hard work and doing what is difficult is no guarantee for… [READ MORE]
May 21, 2018
Can remembering a few quotations actually change your life?
I love quotations. In fact, I enjoy them so much that I have collected many of them through the years. My fascination with quotes began in my… [READ MORE]
May 14, 2018
What I learned about life while working in the garden.
I am an avid gardener. I find few things more satisfying than spending a morning out in the yard cultivating, planting, and giving the weekly crop of new weeds a death sentence. Spring, particularly after… [READ MORE]
May 7, 2018
Could you learn a valuable lesson from these two companies?
We had the pleasure recently of touring two successful companies near Boulder, Colorado. As we concluded the second tour, I was struck by the uniquely different strategies that… [READ MORE]
April 30, 2018
Are you sure you know how your business actually makes money?
I have been consulting with business owners on a regular basis for over 25 years. When I meet with them the first time, the compelling question in the back of my mind as I start to learn how to help them is… [READ MORE]
April 23, 2018
Would you like to make your sales people more effective?
One of the questions I am asked most frequently is related to the effectiveness of sales people. Concerns in this area generally fall into one or both of two areas… [READ MORE]
April 16, 2018
Never substitute digital communication for actual conversation.
Recently we had a misunderstanding with someone we have known for a long time regarding a duplicate rent check. When I received an email from them on the issue, I did my research and decided that… [READ MORE]
April 9, 2018
Money is not the only way to demonstrate that you value employees.
While cleaning up my office recently, I rediscovered a book that was given to me several years ago by a client. The book is entitled, 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, by Bob Nelson. When I originally read this book, I used some of the material for a speech about … [READ MORE]
April 2, 2018
Do employees owe loyalty to employers – or is there more involved?
Several years ago, I was having lunch with another business consultant. We were discussing the view – one that is widely held by business owners – that employees owe them loyalty. My lunch companion was… [READ MORE]
March 26, 2018
Why would potential customers deal with you, not your competitor?
I recently had a discussion with the owner of a company that has been successful in a niche industry for many years. Not long ago, a valued employee – the person who managed this specialized part of… [READ MORE]
March 19, 2018
What do you do when the day-to-day drudgery drags you down?
Many years ago, my son used to like to help me work in the yard on my flower gardens. (Has anyone besides me noticed that children’s willingness to help is inversely proportional to their age?) Just like most… [READ MORE]
March 12, 2018
Who are your best customers and what can you learn from them?
Your best customers can give you great input about the value you are providing. If a customer is one of your best customers, it generally means that there is a… [READ MORE]
March 5, 2018
Making sure correct information is disseminated in your company.
“In the absence of information, people fill in their own blanks.” This is a phrase that I came up with years ago after working with several businesses that had major challenges in the… [READ MORE]
February 26, 2018
How can you hire a true winner, not a problem employee?
Hiring good people is one of the most difficult tasks that business owners face. Recruiting efforts are often handicapped by time constraints and the… [READ MORE]
February 20, 2018
It’s amazing the things you can learn at the grocery store.
I am quite often stunned by the totally ineffective advertisements that companies run. This phenomenon occurs with both national advertisers and local companies. I often wonder what the… [READ MORE]
February 12, 2018
What factors contribute to people living until they are 90?
If I live until I’m ninety, I have nearly one-third of my life to go. This thought occurred to me some time ago as I watched 60 Minutes for the first time in years. Interestingly, I stumbled on an episode that featured a… [READ MORE]
February 5, 2018
What does the new tax law – and market drop – mean for you?
Based on the weekend news reports, one would think that we are going into a bear market after the almost 4% drop in the S&P 500 Index last week. Now, after that drop, the financial news commentators are… [READ MORE]
January 29, 2018
There are great lessons we can learn from successful people.
I have been privileged to meet a few truly successful people over the years. In each of these, I have noticed that they have several things in common. At their core, successful people are… [READ MORE]
January 22, 2018
What I learned about life from Becky, a cardiac rehab nurse.
I completed cardiac rehab at the end of December. In the process of thanking the staff for their excellent care, I took a moment to reflect on the experience and the lessons that I had learned… [READ MORE]
January 2, 2018
How to make your new year’s resolutions practical and even achievable.
As we roll through the vicissitudes of life, there are moments when we need a new start. We need to put aside the past, take the lessons learned, and look toward our future. Major life events – things like the… [READ MORE]
December 18, 2017
Solidifying a few relationships will improve your life overall.
As we enter the holiday season and near the beginning of the new year, it is a great time to focus on improving relationships.
In this age of… [READ MORE]
December 11, 2017
Maximizing marketing & sales functions will pay big dividends.
I have now worked on –- or been a consultant to -– small and family held businesses for over twenty-five years. I have learned, not surprisingly, that the most important issue that small businesses must address is… [READ MORE]
December 4, 2017
Learning to work hard is a lifetime advantage … often lacking today.
In days gone by, it was described as coming from “good stock.” While I am not exactly sure what that meant, as I get older I understand the concept better. It means growing up with the right values, including… [READ MORE]
November 27, 2017
To lead people effectively, you first need to learn people.
Several years ago, a business owner asked me to help him improve his leadership abilities. After discussing the issue and talking about what he was doing to be a good leader, it became clear that he spent… [READ MORE]
November 20, 2017
Pilgrims, family and friends, heart surgery and giving thanks.
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. While I like Christmas, the demands of the holiday season make it a challenge to actually enjoy Christmas and everything that goes with it. Thanksgiving, though… [READ MORE]
November 13, 2017
Trump, Congress, pro football, the Cardinals, and the Blues.
If you don’t like politics or sports, you can stop reading and thank me for the gift of the five to ten minutes that you invest each week to read these Insight articles. The comments on sports will follow my brief comments on US politics. So, if you… [READ MORE]
November 6, 2017
Being truly productive in your work doesn’t happen by accident.
During the 1990s, I worked for a local accounting firm. The culture there was such that those who wanted to impress the partners and move up worked long hours. This included most weekends, especially Saturdays. Those who were really dedicated also worked on Sunday. One Sunday I came into… [READ MORE]
October 30, 2017
Is the Black Lives Matter movement actually hurting the cause?
On Saturday we passed demonstrators at the Clarkson and Clayton intersection. On one side of Clarkson, the “Black Lives Matter” people were demonstrating. On the opposite side of the street, demonstrators were supporting the local police departments. While everyone has the… [READ MORE]
October 23, 2017
Why is Attila the Hun not the best role model for management?
Early in my Citicorp career, I was the Controller for a large subsidiary. During that time, I was invited to participate in a week-long course offered by Citicorp. It was entitled, “Managing People.” This course was essentially… [READ MORE]
October 16, 2017
The full story behind my recent surprise: heart surgery.
By now you may be aware that since mid-August I have been dealing with heart issues. I want to share with my readers the experiences of the last two months. I feel a special bond… [READ MORE]
October 9, 2017
What is the value of a smile – both for you and for others?
There are times when I can find it depressing writing about a stuck economy or about disastrous world events. Sometimes I intentionally search for a topic that is more optimistic and positive. A while back, my wife and I encountered… [READ MORE]
October 2, 2017
Accurately knowing your strengths will make you more successful.
One of the greatest challenges that each of us will ever face is to figure out what strengths and weaknesses we have. Unfortunately, this task is made more difficult by the lack of objective feedback we receive during our early years. In large part, this is… [READ MORE]
September 25, 2017
What happens when leaders sit idly by as situations deteriorate?
Many years ago I had a significant problem with a subordinate. His job performance was well below what it should have been. I won’t go into the gory details, but let’s suffice it to say that I should have dealt with it early on. Unfortunately, like most people, I don’t… [READ MORE]
September 18, 2017
Candace, Juan & Anthony are perplexing employees. Do you know others?
Candace is a talented young woman, but can’t quite seem to meet deadlines. Juan is bright and outgoing, but has apparently little motivation to accomplish the tasks that are assigned to him. For someone who showed such promise… [READ MORE]
September 11, 2017
How will these disasters and potential disasters impact our world?
Our news has been dominated in the last few weeks by hurricanes in Texas and Florida, wildfires in the western US, and the nuclear testing and threats from North Korea. This all sort of reminds me of the title of a movie… [READ MORE]
September 5, 2017
What is – and isn’t – necessary to push the economy forward?
I nearly drove off the road last week as a result of a comment I heard on one of the financial stations on satellite radio. The economist essentially said, “To get economic growth up to the proper level, we need… [READ MORE]
August 28, 2017
Want to be successful on your job? Here are practical ideas.
The most frequent frustration I hear from business owners is the challenge they have with hiring good employees. Whatever level of struggle they have overall is magnified several times over when they are hiring younger employees. Specifically, most employers’ experience with… [READ MORE]
August 21, 2017
Is your life a journey toward personal excellence? It can be.
I have been committed to self-improvement since my teen years. Personal growth – including lifelong learning – has become a day-to-day habit for me over the last forty years. It has allowed me to be effective at a wide variety of interests during my life. It has also led… [READ MORE]
August 14, 2017
Is the economy trending upward or downward … and why?
It is hard to believe that we are at the end of summer. Schools already are – or will soon be – back in session. Pools will be closing and the tart chill of autumn will soon tease us. The summer has been both… [READ MORE]
August 7, 2017
How can you make practical improvements in your business?
Several years ago, there was a bestselling book that promoted the idea of “If it isn’t broke, break it.” I thought at the time – and still do today – that it was some of the most silly and dangerous advice that anyone could give a business… [READ MORE]
July 31, 2017
What does it take to cause employees to be fully engaged?
I was recently asked by an organization of financial executives in St. Louis to give a speech on employee engagement. Specifically, I was asked to provide insight regarding the things that managers could do to make sure that their employees were… [READ MORE]
July 24, 2017
What if … the unexpected happens to your business? Then what?
The unexpected happens. We all know that. And something unexpected that threatens your business can happen at any time. Unfortunately, some of these threats are internally generated. They can come from the most unlikely… [READ MORE]
July 17, 2017
What does it take to be an effective leader? Find out here.
Effective leadership is rare. In fact, the world is full of people in leadership positions who are unable to lead effectively. You don’t have to look hard to find bad leadership in business, politics and most unfortunately, in families. At its core, leadership is… [READ MORE]
July 10, 2017
Older workers can be great for strengthening your business.
It was two months before his sixtieth birthday. Nine months earlier he had surgery to replace one of his hips. A few months before that he was one of the commentators at the British Open, amazed by the play of… [READ MORE]
July 3, 2017
Is the Declaration of Independence still important today?
In the violent discourse of modern culture and the current toxic political environment, we are inclined to forget the blessing that we enjoy being part of the greatest country in the world. The founders of our country held certain beliefs sacred. These principles… [READ MORE]
June 26, 2017
What happens at the intersection of your talents and passion?
My wife recently showed me an article from the Ladue News about Mike Isaacson, the Executive Producer for The Muny. In the article, Mr. Isaacson shared a story from early in his career when he worked at McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) as a… [READ MORE]
June 19, 2017
Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods poses interesting possibilities.
About five years ago I began to write an Insight article tentatively entitled, “Should Walmart buy Amazon or should Amazon buy Walmart?” I never finished the article but it came back to mind on Friday when Amazon announced that it had made an offer to buy the beleaguered Whole Foods Market. Once Amazon announced the offer… [READ MORE]
June 12, 2017
What is – and isn’t – currently driving the stock market?
We are nearly through the first half of the year. We have survived the vicissitudes of five months of the Trump presidency. Except for the Watergate years, the amount of news devoted to reporting of scandals and other political incidents has been unprecedented. Meanwhile, the… [READ MORE]
June 5, 2017
How can you and I influence change like Abraham Lincoln did?
Awhile back, I was listening to the audio version of Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever, by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. As I listened, I was struck by the tremendous courage and resolve of President Lincoln to lead… [READ MORE]
May 30, 2017
How can you keep rumors from circulating in your organization?
When the rumor mill gets going, it always seems to come up with stuff that is as negative as it possibly could be. I have been speechless at times as a business leader has shared with me the rumors that are circulating about their organization. The amazing thing is… [READ MORE]
May 22, 2017
What would it take for you to become a really good leader?
I recently had an interaction with a business owner whose way of “leading” is to bark out commands. He uses his position as owner of the business to bully those around him. Out of fear, people generally respond and much is accomplished. But it’s not without a price. Almost every communication with him… [READ MORE]
May 15, 2017
Here’s some practical advice for starting a new business.
When you launch – or rebrand – a business, there are many decisions that need to be made. One of the most important decisions is what to call your business or brand. The power of an applicable business name or brand name – to provide instant recognition about what your offering is – should not be… [READ MORE]
May 8, 2017
Well-written communication will give you a competitive edge.
Early in my career at Citicorp, I was promoted to the senior financial position for one of the consumer subsidiaries. Although my responsibilities primarily involved financial issues, one of my tasks was writing the monthly report about our business unit. This report was then sent to… [READ MORE]
May 1, 2017
Time management, stocks, United Airlines, and President Trump.
Periodically I accumulate a set of topics, none of which is enough for a full article. In addition, I have a few comments on recent articles. So, in no particular order, let’s dive in. You might just find your own thoughts stirred in the process… [READ MORE]
April 24, 2017
Strong family relationships don’t just happen accidentally.
As my children have all reached adulthood, I have been surprised over the last several years by their comments indicating how much they value their memories of family time while growing up. In particular, my three older children have expressed how happy they are that we made… [READ MORE]
April 17, 2017
How important is genuine customer-oriented service today?
Let’s suggest that Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines, was having dinner at his favorite restaurant in Chicago last Saturday night. Because this restaurant is very popular, he wisely made reservations for four to accommodate his wife and their guests. Just after they were seated… [READ MORE]
April 10, 2017
The St. Louis region is stuck in a position that seems unfixable.
It is always interesting to talk to someone who has moved to St. Louis from another part of the country. They sheepishly ask if you can explain to them the difference between St. Louis City and St. Louis County. They want to understand how the city can be both a county and a city. They also want to understand… [READ MORE]
April 3, 2017
A society that encourages selfishness is unsustainable.
Our nation and the world are suffering from a lack of strong leadership. We have the same lack in the local marketplace, the business community and in many churches. Even more critically, the breakdown of the family has come about largely as a result of a lack of leadership in the home. Good leadership requires the… [READ MORE]
March 27, 2017
Trump and the Republican Party: a demonstration of failure?
The inability of the Republican-led Congress to pass the Obamacare replacement last Friday is the latest in series of incidents that raise the question, “Can the Republicans govern?” Recent data suggests that the answer is no. Unlike the Democrats who… [READ MORE]
March 20, 2017
The more we’re focused, the greater the success we can achieve.
I was recently in a meeting where we were going through the prior year’s financials for the organization. The new financial person made a point of discussing every overhead account to see where the organization could save money. After we spent over an hour discussing… [READ MORE]
March 13, 2017
How can you interact with people with whom you disagree?
I recently ran across an article from December about the passing of John Glenn. It spoke of Glenn as a true American hero. He was a fighter pilot in two wars, an astronaut, and a US Senator. Politically he was a Democrat, but he was a moderate who worked… [READ MORE]
March 6, 2017
Practical ideas for working with someone who is very driven.
One of the mysteries of the living is the fact that we live and work in a world of people all of whom have different personalities. Some people are driven, some are structured. Some are the life of the party, while others are… [READ MORE]
February 27, 2017
How do you let your employees know that you appreciate them?
Some time ago, one of my clients handed me a book. The book is entitled, 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, by Bob Nelson. I thanked him for the gift, but I mentioned that I already had a copy. I promised him I would… [READ MORE]
February 20, 2017
What’s in store for the economy – and your money – in 2017?
Last week one of my regular readers asked when I was going to share my annual economic forecast for 2017. I wanted to wait for the start of Trump’s presidency before I took the risk in trying to predict the economy and business climate for 2017. Specifically, would… [READ MORE]
February 13, 2017
Simple ideas that will make your workday more productive.
Most longtime readers are aware that I am an avid stock trader. Because I have been trading stocks for so long, I’ve learned a few things over the years. One of these is a popular phrase in trading that says… [READ MORE]
February 6, 2017
Is it possible for you to grow in entrepreneurial skills?
Entrepreneurship may be one of the most confusing and difficult skillsets to understand and measure. Quite often I am asked by a business owner how he can get his management team to become more entrepreneurial. The reason for… [READ MORE]
January 30, 2017
How do you handle the adversities that life throws at you?
My wife and I are fans of NCIS, a long running series on CBS that chronicles the exploits of a team of government agents. In addition to a plot each week where they work to catch the bad guys, the scripts include stories about… [READ MORE]
January 23, 2017
How can you help your employees improve their job performance?
A popular book written several years ago cited research done by the Gallup Company over many years. It reveals that people most often don’t quit jobs. They leave because they have a bad boss. The conclusion of the research and the book was… [READ MORE]
January 16, 2017
Influencing others takes more effort today than it did 20 years ago.
I am writing this from cloudy Scottsdale, Arizona. I’ve been attending a conference on the usage of assessments that measure people’s behavior and values. These tools help people understand themselves better and be able to connect and relate better with others. The opening speaker for… [READ MORE]
January 9, 2017
What can we learn from syndicated-columnist Thomas Sowell?
For many years, I have read the editorials in the West Newsmagazine by syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell. Sowell announced in December that he will no longer write his articles. As a columnist, he found it necessary to constantly… [READ MORE]
January 3, 2017
What’s ahead for the economy in 2017? Read Bill’s predictions.
The election of Donald Trump in November was so unexpected that those of us who try to predict what the markets will do from year to year had to reassess our forecasts. Despite overnight negative reactions to Trump’s victory, world markets… [READ MORE]
December 19, 2016
Could Trump be the next Lincoln, Roosevelt or Reagan?
Approximately every thirty to forty years, the US has elected a president who has had a more significant than normal impact on the country. Most of these presidents were elected with doubts from most voters due to either lack of experience in government or other concerns. They each started their first term with… [READ MORE]
December 12, 2016
With both political parties at fault, how can we fix this mess?
There may be no more controversial topic in the US right now than the issue of immigration. President-elect Trump made this a key issue in the 2016 election campaign when he proposed that a wall be built at the Mexican border. His rhetoric suggested… [READ MORE]
December 5, 2016
Who we are as people is more important than our achievements.
A recent article by Paul Brown in the Ladue News inspired me to write about Jackie Smith. Jackie Smith was one of the greatest tight ends ever to play the position. In fact, some would say that he invented the position. During his career, he was one of the most… [READ MORE]
November 28, 2016
What did Bill Gates tell graduating college students, and why?
Several years ago, I wrote an Insight article that was based on a list that came from a commencement address delivered by Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft. The events since the election of Trump have reminded me of the wisdom of his list and how sad it is that… [READ MORE]
November 21, 2016
Could the US really soon be selling a 100-year bond?
Thirty-year bond prices started dropping in early September and then dropped sharply on November 9th, the day after Donald Trump was elected President. Since the election, long-term bond prices have continued to fall and long-term interest rates have… [READ MORE]
November 14, 2016
What does the Trump presidential victory mean for the country?
I was both fascinated and surprised by the presidential election outcome last week. Watching the results come in made for captivating television. Being able to see the story unfold from the technology of the TV news organizations allowed… [READ MORE]
November 7, 2016
How important is it to maintain a win-win attitude in life?
One of my clients is an organization that has eight board members. The board is made up of talented and hardworking people. They are a diverse group, and they don’t agree on everything. In fact, at times, the board meetings have long and vigorous discussions until… [READ MORE]
October 31, 2016
How about some practical advice for making cautious decisions?
It’s possible that you may share the same disdain for yellow lights that I have. When approaching one, I immediately (and often subconsciously) decide whether to proceed through the intersection or apply the brakes harshly to stop for the impending red light. It is easy to forget the… [READ MORE]
October 24, 2016
What do Coca Cola and Bill Clinton have in common?
About two years ago, I leased – and fortunately did not buy – a Volkswagen Passat. When deciding to get a Passat, I was impressed by the roominess inside and the excellent performance of the engine. Two weeks ago, I decided to investigate taking advantage of… [READ MORE]
October 17, 2016
Become more effective in your business and your personal life.
One of the best personal development books and business books ever written is Stephen Covey’s, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Originally published in 1989, this book has… [READ MORE]
October 10, 2016
Pushing aside the seemingly endless stream of daily urgencies.
As I was doing a bit of fall cleaning on a recent Saturday, I found a copy of an article entitled, “Tyranny of the Urgent,” by Charles Hummel. The article is taken from his book of the same title written in 1967. The points that Hummel makes… [READ MORE]
October 3, 2016
What can each of us learn from the life of Arnold Palmer?
I am new to country clubs, but not to golf. In my early years, I often enjoyed the tranquility and fellowship of a golf match with friends. In the same way, even during the recent FedEx final and the Ryder cup telecasts, watching golf has been a peaceful… [READ MORE]
September 26, 2016
Dr. Ben Carson offers some practical ideas for true success.
Dr. Ben Carson, who served as Surgeon General of the US as well as running for President in the 2016 Republican primaries, came from a challenging background. He was raised by a single mother in a poor neighborhood. While working multiple jobs… [READ MORE]
September 19, 2016
Is it feasible for you to handle change better than you do now?
I believe that the most important skill anyone can have in the world we live in today is the ability to handle change effectively. The frenetic pace of innovation, communication, and cultural change in the world of today makes successfully responding to change an… [READ MORE]
September 12, 2016
Is it actually possible to overcome worry in your life?
Many years ago, when our three oldest children were in grade school, we regularly watched a mildly entertaining and unremarkable TV show about a doctors’ office. In one episode, the manager of the office decided to… [READ MORE]
September 6, 2016
What’s going on in the stock market and where is it headed?
Except for a few brief interruptions triggered by terrorist events, nationalism incidents, and minor possibilities of a recession, the stock market indexes have moved up steadily over the last seven years. Since April, 2009, the SP 500 index has risen from 797.97 to 2179.98 at the end of August. During this timeframe, the index has only… [READ MORE]
August 29, 2016
When considering cutting company costs, what’s the best plan?
Most businesses face a time when they have to cut costs to restore or increase profitability. This is particularly true in the fast-changing marketplace of today. To be successful over the long haul, businesses must be adept at quickly making the changes necessary to respond to new challenges. Most of the time… [READ MORE]
August 22, 2016
Individual responsibility is directly tied to a nation’s greatness.
There may be no more important action linked to living a successful life than the ability to accept responsibility. In fact, the ability of an organization – or even a country – to be successful is directly linked to the acceptance of responsibility by its members or citizens. History shows that… [READ MORE]
August 15, 2016
Despite success, talent or hard work, there are times when you’re in a rut.
No matter how successful, talented, or hardworking you are, there are times when you find yourself in a rut. This usually happens after a period of success and hard work. Suddenly, you realize the joy of doing something you are good at has faded… [READ MORE]
August 8, 2016
What makes a true champion? Perhaps it’s not a gold medal.
I am not a supporter, in any way, of giving children or participants at any level, a trophy for participation. Having said that, the idea that the only people who are champions are the few who win a gold medal, or finish first, is shortsighted and foolish. This was illustrated in two separate ways in… [READ MORE]
August 1, 2016
Do small businesses really affect the overall US economy?
The recent political conventions have included a plethora of rhetoric about how each political party is going to make the economy stronger. Unfortunately, neither party adequately discussed the most important engine of economic growth. That engine is small businesses… [READ MORE]
July 25, 2016
How can you truly become all you were meant to be?
Long time readers of these Insight articles know that I believe that one of the great secrets of the modern world is the power of the mind. Most great athletes and many other successful people have learned from coaches who stress the… [READ MORE]
July 18, 2016
What is true success and how can we actually achieve it?
One of the most sought-after goals for all human beings is to be successful. Unfortunately, if you ask most people what being successful means, they find it difficult to tell you what their definition of success actually is. Based on many years of reading… [READ MORE]
July 11, 2016
Colonel Sanders died a billionaire, but his life was far from ideal.
Off the top I want to come clean. I am not a big fan of fried chicken. In fact, I have not eaten fried chicken in probably ten to fifteen years. And when I ate it then, it is likely because there were no alternatives. In that vein, when members of my family get… [READ MORE]
July 5, 2016
What does Brexit mean for your future? Find out here.
During the last ten days, people who know that I follow the world markets have frequently asked me about Brexit. The questions ranged from confusion about exactly what Brexit is, to asking if this means the stock market is going to crash… [READ MORE]
June 27, 2016
Is your excuse-making holding you back? Here’s help!
In his excellent book, The Magic of Thinking Big, David Schwartz coined the word “excusitis.” He defined excusitis as, “The disease of the failures.” My observation is that all of us have… [READ MORE]
June 20, 2016
Can your mood really affect others? Absolutely!
This is an updated version of an Insight article I wrote almost three years ago. Last week I was reminded of it as I passed by the same McDonalds restaurant where the incident occurred. The original event happened in late summer 2013, when I stopped for very quick lunch at, of all places… [READ MORE]
June 13, 2016
How can the world’s tallest man help you overcome adversity?
I was reminded of the importance of overcoming adversity in our lives by an article I recently read about the world’s tallest man. Robert Wadlow was known to the world as the Alton Giant. He was the tallest man that ever lived. At the time of his death, he measured… [READ MORE]
June 6, 2016
Are you using peak-to-peak experiences to propel you forward?
Several weeks ago I was fortunate to be invited, through a client relationship, to a one-day excursion to one of the testing days for the Indianapolis 500. There were several memorable moments to the day, but perhaps the most memorable was… [READ MORE]
May 31, 2016
What’s on the horizon for the economy? Find out here.
Memorial Day marks the beginning of Summer and the end of the first third of the year. At this time each year, I update my annual economic outlook for the year. I also take a quick look back at what I predicted early in the year to see… [READ MORE]
May 23, 2016
When you face a problem, how do you react? Here’s help!
One of my favorite scenes from the Raiders of the Lost Ark movies is the scene where Indiana Jones and his attractive accomplice are caught in a cave-like area hovering over a bunch of scary-looking snakes that are below them. The girl says… [READ MORE]
May 16, 2016
A lesson on greatness from our nation’s 26th president.
One of my favorite historical figures is Theodore Roosevelt. He was born into a wealthy family in New York City in 1858. As a child, he struggled with various illnesses including asthma. The challenges of his early life prepared him to serve his country in assorted political and governmental roles until… [READ MORE]
May 9, 2016
Do you want to learn? Learning will make you a better leader.
I am in the middle of reading a wonderful biography about Abraham Lincoln. As I have read, many things have struck me about Lincoln’s life. In particular, I have learned that the numerous failures, setbacks, and personal losses in his life before the Presidency were critical steps that prepared him to… [READ MORE]
May 2, 2016
How can you realistically make changes in your organization?
This famous saying – “Rome wasn’t built in a day” – emphasizes the point that you cannot expect to do anything that is significant or great in a short period of time. Unfortunately, most people, especially in our society, don’t like waiting for that final outcome… [READ MORE]
April 25, 2016
Practical and accessible leadership skills you need to know.
I was talking about leadership recently with a friend who has a strong theatre background. She spoke with warm recollection about one of her professors from her college theatre program. During our discussion, she commented, “Each of us would have done anything to… [READ MORE]
April 18, 2016
What’s far more important than a college degree?
A client of mine runs a very successful business. He graduated from high school and then got involved in the family business shortly after that. The demands of the company prevented him from finishing college. At a relatively young age, he was put in charge of… [READ MORE]
April 11, 2016
Leadership lessons from one of history’s greatest leaders.
Winston Churchill. Likely you studied a bit about him in school. Perhaps you’ve read and heard about him later in life. But do you have a clear sense of who he was and what made him so great? Our recollections of Churchill are… [READ MORE]
April 4, 2016
If you’re not winning, maybe you’re aiming at the wrong goal.
With the NCAA basketball tournament about to reach its peak, I am reminded of UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden. He was one of the most successful basketball coaches of all time. More importantly, he was… [READ MORE]
March 28, 2016
Can having a positive attitude really make you successful?
Like most people, I did not grow up in a positive home. I was much more likely to be criticized for something not done correctly than complimented for a job well done. In addition, in my childhood years there was… [READ MORE]
March 21, 2016
What could you learn from the world’s best CEOs?
This week, Barron’s published its annual list of the 30 best CEOs of public corporations from around the world. It is a diverse list in terms of age and type of business. To be eligible, each CEO had to be in their position at least five years, although several haves… [READ MORE]
March 14, 2016
The extraordinary value of a complementary partner.
Last Sunday morning, when I heard that Nancy Reagan had passed away, I knew that I wanted to write an Insight article remembering her contributions to her husband and to our country. I also wanted to use her passing as a rare opportunity to acknowledge… [READ MORE]
March 7, 2016
Will the GOP survive the election of 2016?
I am by no means a political expert. I am neither Republican nor Democrat. I guess that means I am an Independent. Actually what it really means is that both the Democrat and Republican parties promote policies that I cannot… [READ MORE]
February 29, 2016
Good customer service starts with the employee selection process.
There is an old song entitled, “People,” made popular by Barbara Streisand. The song says, “People who love people are the luckiest people in the world.” This song came to mind shortly after I had a brief conversation with the manager of one of favorite… [READ MORE]
February 22, 2016
What others aren’t saying about the economy and the election.
Several weeks ago, I wrote about the 2016 economy. At that time, I stated that I was unsure about whether or not we were likely to have a recession in 2016. I also recently wrote about the election and shared the possibilities that… [READ MORE]
February 15, 2016
Wondering how you can retain good employees? Here’s help.
For more than twenty years, the Gallup organization has conducted research about why good employees change jobs. The results are surprising. The top four reasons, in order, are… [READ MORE]
February 8, 2016
How low will oil prices go and what do those prices mean?
On my way home from Kansas City last Sunday, I stopped at a QuikTrip and filled up my gas tank. After pumping nearly 16 gallons, I was shocked to see that the total purchase was just over $22. I then looked at the price on the pump and noted that it was $1.39 per gallon… [READ MORE]
February 1, 2016
The start of the election season is upon us. What’s ahead?
Many years ago there was a weekly comedy series entitled, “This is the Week that Was.” The show took the headline news stories of the week as the basis for a comedy about current events. As we sit on the eve of the 2016 primary season, I wonder if… [READ MORE]
January 25, 2016
What’s happening in the stock market, and what does it mean?
My editor asked me early last week why I have not written my annual economic outlook article for 2016. I laughed and said, “As soon as I figure out what my outlook is, I’ll write it.” After thinking about it the rest of week, I concluded that… [READ MORE]
January 18, 2016
Local and regional leaders worked together toward a major goal.
Well, I made a prediction two-and-a-half years ago. I said the Rams wouldn’t stay in St. Louis. There were two reasons for me saying that. And, as it turns out, I was right about one and I was wrong about other… [READ MORE]
January 11, 2016
Here are practical steps to making lasting changes.
Human beings are creatures of habit. As we move through life on a day-to-day basis, much of the day passes by with us unknowingly doing the same things today that we did yesterday. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The good habits… [READ MORE]
January 4, 2016
A singular focus can make you more successful making changes.
The beginning of the year seems to be a popular time for pondering potential. It is right about now that many people make their annual New Year’s resolutions. Of course, the majority of those resolutions only last for a few days or a few weeks. Despite the best… [READ MORE]
December 21, 2015
Holiday parties and creating friendships all year long.
This week marks the homestretch of the holiday season. After a multi-week focus on shopping and parties, most people will turn their attention to faith, friends and family this week. The week will be full of gift exchanges and… [READ MORE]
December 14, 2015
Do you more often cut down or build up? Your answer is crucial.
Last week I had a meeting with a client. We discussed what his company could accomplish in 2016. As we talked, I shared with him that feedback from people who worked for him indicated that many employees felt they received hardly any recognition for… [READ MORE]
December 7, 2015
Stocks, terrorism, politics – what in the world is going on?
Recent events in the world and the financial markets have caused a number of thoughts to be floating around in my head. As a result, today I am going to… [READ MORE]
November 30, 2015
A successful leader empowers others to learn and grow.
If you have ever had a boss who allowed you the freedom to truly learn and grow, you know how invigorating that can be. It is a pleasure to work for a leader who fosters an environment that empowers others. Conversely, there are few things more stifling than… [READ MORE]
November 23, 2015
Do we really recognize the blessings we’ve received?
While I was driving home recently, I was tired of listening to the repetitive trivia covered over and over on sports radio. So, I changed the radio to a local country station. I thought it might be a refreshing change of pace. Fortunately for me… [READ MORE]
November 16, 2015
What do the Paris attacks have to do with the 2016 elections?
Friday’s terrorist attack was unfortunately inevitable. It could have happened in London, Munich, New York, Chicago or St. Louis. But this time, the event was in Paris, France. Next time? Another large city in either the US, Europe, or somewhere else… [READ MORE]
November 9, 2015
Is it possible to consistently maintain a positive attitude?
I recently wrote one of these Weekly Insight articles that suggested that the attitude we woke up with in the morning did not have to define our day. In the article, I indicated that we can make the decision soon after we wake up whether or not we are going to… [READ MORE]
November 2, 2015
If you want to diversify your company, you need to know…
One of the best business books I have ever read, and one of my favorite books of all time, is Peter Lynch’s classic, One Up On Wall Street. Lynch recounts many of the techniques he used to make the Fidelity Magellan mutual fund one of the best performing mutual funds in history. One of the lessons he shared… [READ MORE]
October 26, 2015
Success means doing what is important, not what is convenient.
The journey to success starts on the inside. The reality is that we must travel many miles on the inside before we see progress on the outside. The journey to growth and success starts out as a private journey on a hidden private road. This journey is internally pursued for… [READ MORE]
October 19, 2015
Some people say millennials are too demanding. Is this true?
Several times each year I get asked by a client to tell them what they can do to attract and retain younger employees, specifically millennials. Millennials are 35% of the current workforce. By 2020, they will be nearly half of the working population. This means that… [READ MORE]
October 12, 2015
Is it possible that leadership isn’t what you think it is?
My oldest son is a talented drummer. Through him, I have learned that drumming is not just making thumping noises. Good drummers, better described as percussionists, are talented musicians who are able to establish a rhythm and help the other members of the ensemble or the band stay… [READ MORE]
September 21, 2015
Is a lack of intentionality hindering your potential success?
The picture that is shown at the top of this article is of a pastel painting that hangs on the wall of our kitchen. During the many hours of puppy-sitting, several weeks ago I began looking at this piece of artwork more carefully. What originally attracted me to the painting… [READ MORE]
September 14, 2015
Will the next President take positions that show strong leadership?
Several times in the last couple of years, I have commented in these articles that the US and the world are starved for leadership. Strong leadership by the top elected government officials of the major countries of the world has been sadly missing in the… [READ MORE]
September 7, 2015
Why was George Washington such an effective leader? Find out.
To be a leader that people can believe in, determination is critical. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington led his undermanned and under-equipped army to victory, largely as a result of the determination that he demonstrated to his men. This determination inspired his men to… [READ MORE]
August 31, 2015
What happened last week and what does it mean for the future?
Not surprisingly, the extreme volatility of the stock market last week was a frequent topic for conversation. This was particularly true for people who know that I regularly trade the stock market. As a result I have been trying to sort through the wild and confusing action of the stock market… [READ MORE]
August 24, 2015
What’s happening in the stock market and what does it mean?
After the carnage in the stock market last week, I waited until Monday to finish this article. The question was, based on Friday’s dramatic fall, would the market open up or down? And more importantly, would it rebound or continue to fall? [READ MORE]
August 17, 2015
Making friends doesn’t come naturally to many. Do we give up?
Sunday morning, our pastor related a dialogue that he had a few days ago with a young man who had just started at a new high school on Thursday. Kevin spoke with the teenager at a wedding rehearsal dinner on Thursday evening. He asked the boy how his… [READ MORE]
August 10, 2015
Bernie Miklasz shares some compelling lessons for leaders.
I am a fan of sports. However, I am not one to make great athletes and coaches into heroes. I am not a fan of all-star games or discussions about the greatness of individual players, especially in team sports. I do not believe that elevating individuals who have… [READ MORE]
August 3, 2015
Does everyone really deserve a comfortable life? Maybe not.
During a recent visit to KC to enjoy our grandchildren and their parents, we went to an exhibit at the Crown Center. It contained excellent visual displays illustrating various fairy tales and children’s stories. This interactive exhibit featured wonderful… [READ MORE]
July 20, 2015
Customer service – good or bad – can make or break a business.
We were recently invited to dinner with a couple who had just built and moved into a new home. In the course of the meal and the conversation afterward, we were surprised to learn that their good experience with the builder early on had become difficult as the process went along. Subsequently, while visiting them, I started talking to… [READ MORE]
July 13, 2015
Real keys for making each day as productive & enjoyable as possible.
I am at that age where about every two to three months I think, “Wow, it’s already spring!” or “I can’t believe the year is half over.” Time seems to fly past at breakneck speed. My wife and I were having one of these conversations last night… [READ MORE]
July 6, 2015
Knowing and following the details can make you more successful.
Lynn Schackleford played basketball for the UCLA Bruins from 1967-1969. He played for Coach John Wooden during the most successful time period for any men’s college basketball team in history. Schackleford recalls the importance that… [READ MORE]
June 29, 2015
At summer’s midpoint, where are we, economically, and where are we going?
This week we celebrate the Fourth of July. I’ve always thought of this as representing the middle of summer and, effectively, the start of the second half of the year. This is a good time to check… [READ MORE]
June 22, 2015
Can you positively overcome obstacles you encounter? Yes!
Obstacles come to instruct, not destruct. That phrase is one of my most precious quotations. It captures the essence of being able to react to negative events in a manner that is productive. It challenges us to confront obstacles with… [READ MORE]
June 15, 2015
Practical steps to being a good leader, leading by example.
My favorite book, and one of my favorite movies, is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. In the latter part of the movie, Gregory Peck, playing attorney Atticus Finch, begins to walk through the… [READ MORE]
June 8, 2015
What can having a vision do for your life and your business?
A recent article in the Ladue News referenced a biography about the Gateway Arch. Tracy Campbell’s best-selling book, The Gateway Arch: A Biography, discusses the fact that this symbol of St. Louis has a… [READ MORE]
June 1, 2015
Is it possible to both give and receive positive influence?
At the beginning of his message on Sunday, our pastor asked everyone to reflect on people in their lives who have had a great influence on the direction of their life. Specifically, he asked us to consider the question, “Who in your life caused… [READ MORE]
May 26, 2015
A peek into investments, riots, politics … and your summer
Memorial Day is a day to reflect on the extraordinary sacrifice by far too many of our best men and women through the years who have given their lives to preserve our freedom and the freedom of much of the world. If you have not taken… [READ MORE]
May 18, 2015
Certain traits and actions all truly successful people share.
I am not a fan of programs and books that advertise the “Ten Steps to Success in Real Estate,” or “Five Ways to Retire by Age 55.” However, the fact is that there are certain traits and actions that all truly successful people have in common. A list of these can… [READ MORE]
May 11, 2015
When it comes to success, just how important is perseverance?
The movie Unbroken is currently in theatres. It chronicles the true story of Louis Zamperini, the Olympic track star, who survived a plane crash in World War II, only to fight for his life against nature and then as a prisoner of war. Zamperini grew up as a rebellious kid… [READ MORE]
May 4, 2015
You know selfish people. How can you keep from being that way?
If you have read these weekly Insight articles for a while, you may have observed that, from a personal development standpoint, I prefer to emphasize what we should to do, rather than what we should not do. However, over the last few… [READ MORE]
April 27, 2015
Growing reasons to anticipate a major financial market threat.
Ever since I was in college, due to oil and the presence of Israel, the Mideast has played an important role in the peace and prosperity of the rest of the world. Two major wars involving multiple Western nations have been fought in the Mideast in the last twenty-five years. In addition, the region has been… [READ MORE]
April 20, 2015
Why is knowing your limitations vital to success? Find out…
One of my favorite Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood) lines is from the 1973 movie, Magnum Force. At the end of the movie, just after Harry has sent the last bad guy away with a bomb in the back seat of his car, he says, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” This line comes to mind periodically when I am… [READ MORE]
April 13, 2015
Controlling your attitude is a major key to success. Here’s how…
Have you ever noticed that, on certain days, every little thing that does not go your way bothers you? Yet, on another day, no matter what challenges or frustrations you encounter, you are able to successfully blast through the day without becoming frustrated or… [READ MORE]
April 6, 2015
The financial markets and your money: where is it headed?
Spring is in full swing as we enter the first full week of April. The beginning of a quarter is a good time to take a few moments to comment on the markets and world events since the first of the year. In addition, at the end of this article, I will comment briefly on… [READ MORE]
March 30, 2015
A book changed my life dramatically during my high school years.
“As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” This famous quotation is from the first pages of James Allen’s classic book, As a Man Thinketh. Published in 1902, Mr. Allen’s book changed my life when I read it during the summer between my junior and senior years of high school… [READ MORE]
March 23, 2015
Are you and I responsible for the lack of integrity in our society?
Three recent events have illustrated the death of integrity in our modern culture.
• The commission directed by the US Attorney General investigating the Ferguson events found… [READ MORE]
March 16, 2015
Why are true relationships so important? How can you build them?
I was fascinated by an article in the Wall Street Journal last week. It was about a study that formed the basis for the development of a model allowing employers to predict the likelihood that an employee will remain with the company or leave. Not surprisingly, the results… [READ MORE]
March 9, 2015
Most people have a misconception about true success. So what is it?
Two weeks ago I wrote a Weekly Insight that made the point that we should define ourselves by who we are, not by what we do. That article was the first of a series on success. The purpose of this article is… [READ MORE]
March 2, 2015
Despite popular opinion, electronic interaction isn’t real communication.
On Thursday afternoon, the media reported the shocking suicide of Tom Schweich. Mr. Schweich was a widely admired politician, currently holding the position of State Auditor in Missouri. He had also announced in January that he would be a candidate for Governor in the November 2016 election… [READ MORE]
February 16, 2015
What makes the difference between a good sales manager and a great one?
Several years ago, when I frequently did public speaking for corporate and industry events, I regularly delivered a speech entitled, “Sales Management, the Lost Art.” The speech was based in part on my experiences as a sales manager and also… [READ MORE]
February 9, 2015
There is a much economic uncertainty today. What’s really going on?
We are only about six weeks removed from my Insight article at the end of 2014, where I made some predictions for this year. Even though not much time has passed, there have been some notable events that are worthy of comment.
I stand by the predictions I made in… [READ MORE]
February 2, 2015
What does it really mean to work productively? Find out here…
Years ago when I was a partner in an accounting and consulting firm, I attended the national conference for the industry association to which we belonged. One of the most interesting presentations at the conference discussed the results of a survey that had been done of the member firms. In the results, I learned that our firm had the highest… [READ MORE]
January 26, 2015
If you don’t want a mediocre company, you might rethink pay increases.
Near the end or the beginning of each year, I am often asked by many clients what “roll rate,” or average pay raise I recommend for this year’s merit raises, based on cost of living and what other companies are doing. My answer to this question this year and for the last several years has been… [READ MORE]
January 19, 2015
Wealth brings responsibility. Some people clearly don’t recognize this.
Non-sports fans are free to delete this and not read it because this article uses sports to illustrate an important point. However, the points I will make in this article are relevant far beyond this sports example. Therefore, I encourage you to bear with me. As an avid – and foolish – St. Louis Blues fan… [READ MORE]
January 12, 2015
I am writing this while waiting for a train to Edinburgh, Scotland.
As I write this, I am sitting with my son in a coffee shop at the Newcastle Central Train Station, waiting for a train to Edinburgh, Scotland. We are in the last few days of a two week trip that started with four nights in London. Since then, we have been to… [READ MORE]
January 5, 2015
Ideas for changes that will result in a happier and improved quality of life.
The start of a new year is often a time when people make resolutions to make changes they believe will improve their life for the coming year. While most of these resolutions will end up not being accomplished, some will. And some of these changes will result in… [READ MORE]
December 29, 2014
What’s ahead for the market in 2015? Sound words to help you navigate.
As we near the beginning of 2015, the U.S. stock market is at a very interesting juncture. Just like the end of 2013, it will finish at or near the high for the year. It is very unusual for the stock market to… [READ MORE]
December 22, 2014
A quick review of the 2014 markets … and what it means for you.
At the end of each year, it is my tradition to review the markets for the year and then provide some thoughts on what to expect the following year. This week I will review 2014, and next week I’ll take the risk of providing a forecast for 2015. The most surprising economic story… [READ MORE]
December 8, 2014
Practical ideas a business owner or manager can use to improve profits
There are a variety of things to focus on when you run a business on a day-to-day basis. Increasing sales, improving customer service, developing new products, are all activities that increase the value of a business. However, sometimes… [READ MORE]
December 1, 2014
“Team” may be the most inappropriately used word in business today.
The word “team” may be the most overused – and inappropriately used – word in business today. Apparently, the supposed geniuses who run corporations think that if you refer to groups of people in your company as a team, instead of as a department or some other traditional label, then teamwork will magically break out… [READ MORE]
November 17, 2014
We’re all glad gasoline prices are so low. Do you really know why they are?
I will never forget waiting in line as a college student to buy gasoline on my designated day. I had textbooks spread out on the passenger seat so I could study during the one- to two-hour wait to fill up my car. As disturbing as the process was of getting gas each week… [READ MORE]
November 10, 2014
Might there be no actual significance to the elections?
Since the conclusion of the mid-term elections last Tuesday, several people have asked me how those results will influence the economy and the stock market. My simple answer, which I will… [READ MORE]
November 3, 2014
What types of attributes make a business owner truly successful?.
Multiple times each year, someone who has been in a corporate position asks to meet with me. They’re interested in starting or buying a small business. Usually during these meetings they raise the question about… [READ MORE]