Category Archives:Communication

Communication skills

Applied DISC – how to write for different audiences

Our firm uses the DISC behavioral approach in almost everything we do. We teach teams to understand their own natural communication styles and to adapt when they are communicating with those who have different observable styles. We use DISC in sales training classes, in selecting our own team members, and in helping others resolve conflicts. It is a tool (which regularly involves exercises with crayons) that aids us every time we attempt to share or explain financial statements or tax returns.

DISC Colors

But DISC is also a valuable aid for writing. Once …

What’s Your Forecast?

Is it sunny, slightly overcast or down right nasty in “your world”?  Well that may depend on what I am referring to.  My blog always has a business spin but this time I am asking about you.  That’s right you, the dad, mom, daughter, son, aunt, uncle, sister, brother.  I know you must at least hold one of those titles.

Personally, I have moved from slightly overcast to bright and sunny.  How about you?

That’s right, I am done with doom and gloom that has surrounded so many people …

What is your story?

I have never met anyone who won every battle they fought or who got through every altercation unscathed. As mere mortals, we experience plenty of successes and failures. We regularly witness or experience both personal and business tragedies but in most cases we manage to persevere. The question is – how will we carry the scars of battle?

The key, in my opinion, is how we choose to view and tell our story. When a tragedy happens, do we take it as confirmation of our own failings, or do we look for lessons that we can learn from the episode? It’s never easy and I don’t want to trivialize the emotion of the moment or the …

Fire or Hot Air. Which Do You Have?

How will you do in 2012?  I think the key to your business’s success is pretty simple.  It all comes down to execution.

For many, this is easier said than done.  You’re either  going to dig deep inside and turn the switch from pilot light to ON or you will move through 2012 with a lot of talk about what you need to do.

Step 1:  Ignite the pilot light

Step 2:  Turn the switch to on

Step 3:  Prepare for lift off

Step 4:  Set your sights on immediate …

What drives you?

We are confronted with a myriad of choices all day, every day. Ranging from what time to set the alarm, to how to spend our evenings, to which organizations we support, every decision no matter how big or how small, has an impact on our life. Our most limited resource is time. Choosing to be involved with one cause means that we have less time to support another one. Taking on a particular project means that another project must be postponed or eliminated. Getting up earlier means that we should set an early bedtime or pay the price the next day.

When it comes to priorities, sometimes …

Are You In the Hunt?

Hunting for success

Why is it that young pups believe the next big customer lies just around the corner?  What’s not to love about this optimism?  For in it exists the creative drive often needed to reach people. 

I just read a report that said social media had no impact on retail sales.  Does this mean we should all abandon SM?  Of course not.  SM is still very young and there is a lot to be learned.  I would argue that SM is a unique platform for connecting with people.  More importantly, it is …

If your brain worked like Microsoft Excel

Spreadsheets are a wonderful thing.

They have functions and formulas and fonts.  They offer symmetry and order – all of the things that matter to accountants. When we’re feeling creative, we can apply conditional formatting to any spreadsheet cells that deserve a little extra color. We can auto-filter our way through a massive list of details to find only the pertinent information. We can sort a list of values so  the largest dollar amounts are at the top. We can combine strings of text to make other strings and we can turn data into tables.

Positive or Negative

Growing up as a kid my family referred to me as “Mr. Neg”.  I didn’t see the glass as half-full but really questioned whether the glass would be there for future use.  Boy, what a joy it was to hang out with me.  Many years have passed since then and I have gained a greater appreciation of how my perspective impacts those around me. 

Now you might be thinking, “Gee Craig, what a revelation. What took you so long?”  and I respond yep, you’re right!  Recognizing your short comings is one …

Guiding people to make good decisions

There’s a wonderful book called Nudge by Richard H. Thaler and  Cass R. Sunstein. It is full of interesting tidbits that involve getting people to make choices that are good for them. Rather than using punitive measures or trying to motivate people to do things that benefit them, the authors talk about making simple changes that can have a big impact. They use examples of arranging food in the cafeteria line so that the healthy foods get chosen first, setting  up enrollment programs, and even organ  donor programs at the DMV.

How it works.
Recently I found a great …

The Ghost Network: Connecting across generations

My Danish ancestors are apparently restless once again. Recently, in another close encounter of the ghost kind, I received a message on Facebook from a “stranger”.  As I read the young woman’s note, I felt as though a spectral hand had just reached out and touched me on the shoulder.  Her question was simple — was I related to the Henry and Maria Hollenstein who had lived near Salinas, California in the early 1900’s? 

After noticing that the surname of the “stranger” was the same as that of Maria Bonde Hollenstein’s brother-in-law,  I responded that, yes, I was their great-great …

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