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25 Oct



5 Tips To Get Your Company Ready for Your Radio Or TV Appearance

October 25, 2006 | By | 2 Comments


Your Business Blogger, Center

C-SPAN Your Business Blogger was honored to be the Master of Ceremonies at a recent fundraising event for the Center for Military Readiness. Donors were called, Honorary Sponsors highlighted, invitations mailed, the room readied. There was one thing left to do.

Invite C-SPAN.

As I talked with the producer in making the request, I was reminded of a recent article featuring the book Setting the Table reviewed by Jack Covert in 800-CEO-READ Blog.

The only thing worse than being turned down by a big media outlet…might actually be getting the big gig. Be careful what you pray for: Your marketing dream come true could be a nightmare.

Jack Covert tells the story of restaurateur Danny Meyer’s appearance on NBC’s Today Show. Here Jack quotes Danny,

I am not naturally inclined to send out a lot of emails whenever I’m going to be on television. (To her chagrin, I usually don’t even remember to tell my mother.) [B]ut by not forewarning anyone that day, I … failed to give my team adequate warning …The seven-minute segment on Today caused the day’s lunch business at Shake Shack to soar, and our staff had no idea what had hit them,…or how to prepare for it. … turning what should have been a public relations triumph into a fiasco.

Your radio or TV appearance will produce thousands or millions of ad impressions. Here are five quick action items to capitalize and monetize Your Big ShowBiz Break.

1) Mention to your clients. Your sales force is forever pestering you, the boss for something new; an excuse to visit or call on customers. This is it.

2) Tell your friends. And they will tell their friends. And etc. and etc. And that tell-a-friend network will get done what those budget-busting dreamers in your marketing department should have been doing all along.

3) Alert your staff. If the stars align — and that would be you among them — the team is in for a Peak Experience.

4) Warn your suppliers. Ask them if last minute emergency deliveries could be done at below-monopoly, non-extortion pricing — after all, you are a Celebrity. And the supplier might get a Celebrity Endorsement. Or Product Placement. No promises…but you never know…

And remember your website.

Charlie Jarvis, CEO of USANext, a non-profit here in DC was on a cable talk-show. He gave a barn-burning presentation that produced 100,000 hits in a few minutes on his modest-traffic site.

Which, as Alert Readers would guess, melted down his servers.

A high quality problem to be sure, but it could have been avoided by anticipating demand.

5) Call your mother. And the rest of the relatives. Your warm-body network should be a part of your marketing team and cheerleading squad. She’d appreciate the call anyway.

With the warning and reminder from 800-CEO-READ Blog, my non-profit was able to profit quite well.

And your business will profit too.

Read More

21 Oct



Business Etiquette Between Manager and Employee

October 21, 2006 | By | 5 Comments

Your Business Blogger is noticing a most disturbing trend with business clients. The younger employees do not, it appears, render proper subservience and groveling to their elder-better bosses. This disturbs my sense of order and entitlement.

Is good old fashioned boot-licking dead?


Cubicle Farm As I traverse cubicle farms across the fruited plain, I see entry-level drones toiling away. Plowing as straight a furrow as any dependable farm hand. Yet these hayseeds have yet to learn manners.

In the US of A the worker bees would continue typing and clicking away when the Boss and Your Observant Consultant would wander by and stand at the cube threshold. The employee’s eyes would remain on the monitor — ears open to the boss — listening, we were told, to the manager’s every instruction. The young employee would call this “multi-tasking.”

I call it rude.


On site in India I compare this ‘dis’ trend to the contrast of the warm glow Your Business Blogger would routinely feel when consulting in India. Whenever the business owner enters a room. All work would cease. All would stand.

Then the boss would magnanimously, graciously invite the employees to be seated and resume their work.

Of course, no one moved. Until the owner left the room.

(There’s a lot to be said for the kiss up, kick down management style of the sub-continent.)

In India the employees would stand up. In North America the employees don’t even look up.

The US Army, as usual, gets it right when dealing with rank:

The senior never thinks of it.

The junior never forgets it.

Whenever soldiers would cross paths, the junior would acknowledge the senior. If one is an officer the junior will salute the senior. And the senior will return the courtesy.

The private businesses who never had employees who were privates in the Army, think and behave as if everyone is equal.


There is far too much of this egalitarian nonsense in our culture. Much of it comes from the academy, where most nonsense originates.

At the University of Virginia where Charmaine earned her doctorate, the instructors are addressed as Mister. Not Doctor. Mr. Jefferson was a fan of fraternite and Voltaire and all things French.

Egalite run amuck.

But the manager and the ambitious young man, understanding the spirit of the times, knows that nothing changes in the human spirit. We all want to be appreciated. Even the boss.

So the young future leader desiring to be a stand out, will stand up when the boss enters.

The young man will stand up when a lady enters the room.

The employee with integrity will take a stand.

Be a stand up guy.

And everyone will accuse you of apple-polishing.

But you will soon fill those boots everyone thought you were a-licking.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Susan Ward has Test Your Knowledge With the Business Etiquette Quiz.

19 Sep



The FireDrill: Practice Success to Avoid Failure

September 19, 2006 | By | 4 Comments


The Diva

and Dancer at the

Air Force Academy Not long ago Your Business Blogger was advising a boss on a product roll out. His team had never done anything quite as large. I suggested a ‘FireDrill.’

It consists of three parts:

1) FireDrill; The plan

2) The Drill, and

3) The Fire

The Plan is a checklist, The Fire is the execution, But The Drill, the practice is the toughest. Because teams need dry runs to learn because things will always, always go wrong. Your team will gain wisdom and judgment through simulation. And learn. Today, permit me to be Your Drill Instructor. And learn how I was surprised by a pilot project.


The F-14 Tomcat

Your (Army) Business Blogger had no business in the cockpit. My instructor was a Vietnam vet with MigKlr license plates on his truck.

He said the F-14 was a “Man’s Plane.” He sounded sexist. He explained that the old-generation hydraulics required real strength — after a couple of hours, even the manliest studs needed two hands on the stick.

No place for girls.

Or so I thought.

But I was wrong, again.

I bring the Five-kid Penta-Posse to Oceana Naval Air Station to show them how macho military men (like their father) defeated Communism.

We get invited to some F-14 training. I climb in the simulator. No photography is permitted. And a good thing, too.

The instructor guides me through the take- off and some maneuvers. The room spins. The world spins.

And nobody was shooting at me. Although lots of people were yelling at me…

Time to bring the baby home. I turn. Lots more yelling. It might have been me.

The world freezes, the screen freezes. At a funny angle. In Real Life it would have been a $38 million mistake and DNA remains of Your Business Blogger.

My instructor: “Success. You did great!”

Me: ?

My instructor: “The seat is dry.”

Me: ?

My instructor: “No puke, no p!ss.”

Navy humor.

After my showing off, the Posse is not impressed. The Diva, age 6, female, issue-one-each slides into the (dry, thankyouverymuch) front seat sim. Confident. In control. And zooms. Flying circles around anything in the sky.

(I remember her as a little wee-one, who used to throw-up all the time. But not today, even on inverted rolls. Lord, where do the years go? Where did my baby girl go?) Practice is complete.

Perfect landing. “Just like PlayStation,” the Diva says.

I expected a few more years to pass before they passed by the Old Man. She had practiced. I didn’t.


The Diva

at a static display at

The Franklin Institute.

Entirely too comfortable

in the cockpit During the Drill no one is hurt. And we all process lessons and understand our capabilities.

And learn the limitations of the team.

And the boss. And the Dad.

A FireDrill will bring out the best in your people. And your managers.

Without the crash and burn.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Women are not permitted in land combat. Unfortunately, little girls (not much older than my Diva) are permitted to fly combat aircraft. The Air Force loses about 75 jets each year in routine accidents. The Navy budgets for the loss of two jets per carrier per deployment. The losses would be much higher, of course, absent intensive training, intensive practice.

The Lie: A Guide to Fibbing in the Job Interview

September 16, 2006 | By | One Comment



Sculpture by

Gianlorenzo Bernini

1652 An ancient Jewish Proverb goes He that covers his sins shall not prosper. There seems to be a disturbing trend that hiring managers are facing: job candidates who lie.

Director Mitch, The Window Manager, one of the best business blogs in the business, had a reader in a job interview with a dilemma:

How should a job candidate handle embarrassing, possibly unethical questions from a hiring authority?

He gives three interesting options. “I see the hiring process as a battle with HR and will use any means, fair or unfair, to trip them up,” says Mitch. That’s because he views questions about why any employee who left a previous job as “unethical” to begin with. So Mitch asserts that an unethical question does not deserve an ethical answer.

Your Business Blogger is not so sure.

I once asked my favorite management guru, Bill Oncken, about the challenge of dealing with supervisors who cross ethical lines from right to wrong. His wise advice was to separate, or fire, or not hire, or run away from any hint of a lack of character.

Only deal with people with integrity, says Oncken; who is filthy rich and never married with no hungry kids who need shoes and private schools. (His hobby is skydiving — out of boredom, I believe.)

But as the Window Manager outlines, sometimes you really, really need the job.

We’ve all been there. Sometimes we rationalize that “. . .the HR kumquat is a jerk who didn’t ask a fair question, or a legal question, . . . and no one will ever find out if there’s fudging on the job application. Evil deserves contempt. (Anti) Personnel departments don’t actually add value to a company, anyway.” Or so the thought goes.

When faced with an unethical boss or an unethical hiring manager, Bill Oncken, author of Managing Management Time, suggests leaving immediately. Even when the hit hurts your wallet.

“Sometimes,” Oncken says, “You have to finance your integrity.”

And this requires monetary as well as emotional maturity that not all of us possess.

I would not recommend lying as a response to any question, no matter how awful or illegal the interrogation. But Mitch does suggest humor or a superlative as a possible way out of troubling questions. As in “I took time off to train for my ascent of Everest.” Or something like that.

Humor is a dodge that Your Business Blogger used to use. My heartfelt response to questions about my misspent youth is, I’m not responsible for anything that happened during the Nixon Administration.

If humor or deflection does not work — that last sentence never worked for me — brutal truth might be necessary.

Years ago, I was once fired by a company – twice – in the same month, both times by fax, the insulting medium of the day. I would always reveal this firing whenever asked. I would explain that it was the dangerous downside of working for thinly capitalized companies in trouble. And my explanation had the added benefit of being true.

I would always get the hard stuff out of the way soonest. I would put it all on the table. Just as sales pro’s know: Whoever raises the objection, owns the objection. And get the “no’s” out early.

On my hiring travels as interviewer and –ee, I’ve learned that there are two kinds of problems: big and small.

Many small problems perhaps can be side-stepped – without being untruthful, like my little incident deep in North Carolina. (Hint: Never throw drink bottles from a ’57 Chevy at high speed.)

Early in my career, whenever that “Were you ever arrested?” silly question would come up, I would always write in NA. Drag racing on the interstate highway system was truly “Not Applicable” to the entry level sales job I was hunting. And if any explanation was required, I wanted to do it in person, rather than be eliminated by rote in HR. A face-to-face sales presentation has the highest close rate.

Fortunately, I don’t have big problems, like a felony conviction, but the terminations come close. I have been fired more times than any single reader of this reputable blog. Goodness, I’ll bet I’ve been fired more than ALL you readers combined, including Rush Limbaugh.

But there is hope for big problems on this side of eternity: Find a Friend. Any real position or client these days will be 1) A created position, 2) In high technology and 3) With someone you know.

Clients and projects and employment come these days through a network of friends and contacts. Who love you.

Like I do.

And that’s no lie.

To thine own self be true,

and it must follow,

as the night the day,

thou canst not then be false to any man. Shakespeare.

So. When to lie? Let slip a little fib?


Don’t bear false witness — even about yourself.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

It is not known if Rush Limbaugh actually reads this blog.

What Lily Tomlin Taught Me About Pilot Projects

September 12, 2006 | By | One Comment


Your (very young) Business Blogger

and Lily Tomlin Big Shows always start small. Lily Tomlin would test her acts, not on an off-Broadway hide-a-way in New York City — not even another country, like say, New Jersey.

No, Lily would test her lines and the script in another world: Branson, Missouri.

A few decades ago, Your Business Blogger — that’s me, the dork on the left — caught up with Tomlin backstage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. During the run of her solo — one woman performance in The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe.

It was no secret that Tomlin is the consumate professional whose presentations seemed effortless. Yes, she and her team practiced with military precision.

But she knew to do a bit more. One of her secrets was to practice in front of a live crowd. To test her timing. For the laughs and special effects. Practice and pace. To hit the marks and watch the sparks.

Her testing would require stops and starts and direct interaction with her Branson audience — which was a test market for her new show; her new product her new production. She would be a wizard alchemist reformulating as she observed and assessed her focus group’s response. And the laughs.

Comedy is hard work.

The challenge of conducting the practice, the dry runs, was that the critical, cynical New Yorker would not sit still through trial run. Tomlin as magician perfected her act behind the curtain, away from the show-bizzie chattering classes. So Lily would go to ‘fly-over country’ where normal people live, to hone her act.

To Branson, Missouri, the Show Me state where over 100 shows play in over 40 theaters. Branson is called “The Live Music Show Capital of the World.”

Lily Tomlin and her crew would then take her perfected, polished performance back to the Big Apple and the rest of civilization.

Her business lesson from show business was to quietly introduce a pilot show, a pilot project. Gauge reaction and launch a high percentage deal. And practice to a small sample size.

Because you will screw it up. And it is best to screw up on the farm team than before the big league crowd.

Do you have a pitch to practice? Find a small group who loves you.

Practice your sales pitch to a live audience. And ask for feedback.

Looking to flog your product on national television, the cables and network? Start with small radio wattage. Then take your show on the road.


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Getting Business Done On 9.11.01

September 9, 2006 | By | No Comments


Dad & The Dude

prepared for war

September 11, 2001

photo credit:

Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D. Just after 9am on 9.11, I was doing what all business owners were doing: selling something. I was on the phone with a client. Making a pitch to attend a series of seminars, with CNN on in the background. I was a bit distracted by the live feed of a burning building.

While making ‘the ask,’ it was clear that my customer was not aware that we had just been attacked. I wanted to say something, like, Turn on your TV and stare at real pain. It just didn’t look real. I continued instead with the conversation. Your Business Blogger is not normally so focused. In denial, perhaps. Disasters are not normally good for business.

There was work to be done. My next class was on September 19.

And I didn’t want the customer on the other end of the phone distracted until the sale was closed. Then we could go to war.

The deal done, I noticed my boy, The Dude, was concerned that the attacks would continue down to us in Charlottesville, Virginia. “We got to get ready!” he shouts and scampers around digging up my old uniform, boots, saber and his grandfather’s bayonet. (Old soldiers never die, they just file away. Apologies to MacArthur.)

The Dude spent the rest of the morning marching outside our front door. Looking out for terrorists. It must have worked.

Charlottesville was not attacked.

But we were affected. Everyone was. But I wasn’t sure that the bank was going to delay getting their money over a pesky act of war. I still had to earn a living.

How would the war affect business? Not the macro, but mine? I had a seminar and clients coming into town in little over a week and the world was on fire. Would anyone show up? Would anyone care?

We North Americans do business like we do war. We win. Donald Trump becomes Victor Davis Hanson. At 8 am on 19 September 2001, 86 professionals showed up and got down to business. A packed room.

The free lunch helped.

Even my business partner, Faisal Alam, came down from New York City to join us. He is Muslim.

The country was mourning, but on the move.

I started with a minute of silence in remembrance of those lost in the World Trade Towers.

Then we all got back to work. Each making the world a better place. Even with a war on.


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Thank you (foot)notes:


Basil’s Blog has open trackbacks.

California Conservative has Open Post 9.11.

06 Jul



The New Sales Cycle: Forecast Failure in 8 Easy Steps

July 6, 2006 | By | 2 Comments

Every motivational speaker uses Babe Ruth as the example to just keep swinging for the fences. Joy always comes with persistence. Keep Swinging!

This is a lie.


Your Business Blogger

with sales baubles:

Always avoid

braggards and


like this.

Managing salesfolks is the best job in the world.

And the worst job in the world. Your Business Blogger has had a number of sales teams full of Babe Ruths. The swings, the misses, the whining. The winning.

The pain. Even for the Babe, striking out would hurt.

But not all sales guys have Ruth’s talent.

Most fail.

And here is the script so that you, too, can see failure coming down the track. Like a whistle before the train wreck, listen for these clues.

It starts in the interview. The bragging sales guy [ tout chapeau aucun betail ]says, “Hire me…”

1) I can sell anything, (You Want Refrigerators in Antarctica? I’m Your Man) and so he begins,

2) Exaggerate the client’s interest, (They Love Us, Baby) with

3) Unfounded optimism, (The Deal is Done — Good as Booked) then

4) Excuses Galore, (The Order is Coming — Next Quarter, You Can Take That to the Bank) — here it is:

5) Disaster, (My Contact Quit, Stabbed in the Back, Poor Bugger.) followed by

6) More Optimism (We’ll get ’em Next Quarter — Guaranteed) and later

7) Finger Pointing (It’s a terrible territory; It’s not the man — it’s the land.) finally

8) Abandonment (Great concept; a little too soon…Sign this expense report.)

And he’s off to another start-up making even more money. (Not that I’d know.)

So, if your need something to sell; You Want Refrigerators in Anartica? I’m Your Man.

Meanwhile, check out my upcoming post on working with super star Bono — coming tomorrow. U 2 can be a star. (See #2 and #3 above.) “Hire me…”


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Be sure to know When to Quit.

And visit my weekly column in Anita Campbell’s Small Business Trends.

Plan Your Next Event — Be SAFE

July 4, 2006 | By | No Comments

In the Army, Your Business Blogger first learned the ‘7 P’s of Planning’: Proper Prior Planning Prevents [Pretty] Poor Performance.

Except the fifth ‘P’ wasn’t, well, Pretty.

Event Planning is made easy by being SAFE:





For more detail, please visit Event Planning: Keeping it SAFE in 4 Easy Steps at my weekly column in Small Business Trends.


Get a Blog; Get Hired — And the First Question

July 3, 2006 | By | One Comment


Blogs are better

than classifed ads Whenever Charmaine or Your Business Blogger have to hire someone, the first question we ask ourselves is,

Who do we know?

So we then tap into our network of contacts and friends and get the background propaganda on candidates.

But to really, really know a candidate, we’d like to check deeper on:

Their Opinions, and

Are their Opinions worthy? and

Does the Candidate want those Opinions known, and

Does the Candidate want to make a difference?

To learn it all fast and easy, we ask, “Does she have a blog?

We now have an (unwritten) rule: We like to hire only those who write and read blogs.

The most recent example is Joe Carter from Evangelical Outpost. Charmaine hired him for some work, and we only knew of his talents through the blogosphere.

For example, Tom McMahon quotes Joe in Important Stuff,

Why do so many people buy into the ridiculous notion that a daily diet of “current events’ is anything other than a mindless (though perhaps harmless) form of amusement? Even ardent news-hounds will admit that the bulk of daily “news” is nothing more than trivia or gossip. How much of what happens every day truly is all that important? How many of us have ever even stopped to ask why we have daily news?…

As Malcolm Muggeridge, himself a journalist, admitted, “I’ve often thougt…that if I’d been a journalist in the Holy Land at the time of our Lord’s ministry, I should have spent my time looking into what was happening in Herod’s court. I’d be wanting to sign Salome for her exclusive memoirs, and finding out what Pilate was up to, and…I would have missed completely the most important event there ever was.”

Indeed, imagine if Dan Rather had been a reporter during that era: “…three revolutionaries were crucified on Golgatha today. Included among the executions was a man called Jesus, who some Jews considered to be the messiah. Those hopes were dashed, however, around three P.M. when Roman soldiers declared Jesus dead. And now…this….”

Oz Guinness also wrote about our fast-paced world; the, “Now this…culture” where every event is superceded by something, anything, to hold our short attention spans.

Joe Carter is a guy who knows signal from noise.

And a guy who thinks like this is someone we needed on the payroll.

I wish we could get Tom McMahon.


To help in your job search see PASS this test.

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Manager's Tips at SBT

June 13, 2006 | By | No Comments


Your Business Blogger has 10 Reminders for Effective Management over on Small Business Trends.

I was recently asked by a small business owner to evaluate a manager’s management skill set. The manager was being overwhelmed. And he is not alone.

If you are like most managers, you feel you could be doing better. Much better.

As you set out to plan, organize, lead and control, how can you get the results you want?

The most common complaint I hear from managers is on time management.

But there may be something even more important on which a manager should focus.


We all want military-like discipline as we run our business units.

The Army has the perfect definition for discipline. It has two components. Most would be familiar with the first part:

1) Prompt obedience to orders.

But it’s the second part that managers really need from subordinates:

2) Initiation of appropriate action in the absence of orders.

Most often, we think prompt obedience will get the manager more time. Efficiency.

But what most managers really need is initiative from their team. More effectiveness.

This is a review of the basics to get more discipline in your business. Following are 10 tips to remember as you knock about your office…

Read the rest.


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