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The Power of Clarity in Small Business Work Environments

Full disclosure, this is not an original idea of mine.

The credit goes to Ann Latham an internationally recognized
Expert in strategic clarity, Her website and brand is
Uncommon Clarity.

Ann’s book The Clarity Papers is a must-have for developing
clarity across every aspect of your organization.

It’s her work that has inspired me to bring clarity into my
work around communication, because clarity comes from

In the last email article I asked you to ponder two questions:

  • How is your work environment lacking in clarity?
  • What part of your company’s operations would benefit the
    most from greater clarity?

What answers come to mind?

Stephen M.R. Covey wrote a book, The Speed of Trust, in which
he points to his research on the importance of trust for moving
things forward.

My favorite quote from his book is “as trust goes down, speed
goes and costs go up,” and conversely, “ as trust goes up,
speed goes up and costs go down.”

The same can be said for clarity.

I’d argue that without clarity there can be no trust.

And, yet, as Latham’s work shows, organizational lack of clarity
is at epidemic proportions today.

Which means, the speed of getting things done is much slower
than it should be.

The 21st Century buzzword for this is friction.

Friction is a great term with regard to a lack of clarity in a work

Think about it.

What happens in your work environment when there is too much

Friction creates heat, doesn’t it?

Work environments that lack clarity are prone to heated
conversations, aren’t they?

Heated conversations caused by friction slow things down,
meaning its raising the costs of getting things done
(see Communication Cost Calculator in Article #2 in this series).

So, today’s tip for leading your championship work environment is…

Commit to Clarity.

That’s often easier said than done.

You see, The 7 Deadliest Workplace Communication SINs are
getting in the way.

(If you’re not familiar with The 7 Deadliest Workplace
Communication SINs
go here to download the guide now.)

The communication sins most impacting your company’s
lack of clarity:

  • A Lack of Specificity
  • A Lack of Desirable Behaviors
  • A Lack of Directness & Candor
  • A Lack of Focused Attention

The other three communication sins are peripherally involved, but
those four are your biggest culprits.

If you’d like to learn more about how The 7 Deadliest Workplace
Communication SINs
are impacting the lack of clarity in your
organization, and how you can reduce the friction in your work
environment I have a resource for you.

Go here to learn about how my FREE, no obligation Workplace
Communication Assessment
would benefit you and your company.

That’s all for now, next time you’ll learn about the core company
value of Responsiveness.

Stay tuned!

‘til then, Communicate With Power!




The Only 3 Values a Small Business Needs for Success

There are two types of values in all small businesses.

Professed values and perceived values.

Here’s the difference:

  • The professed values are those written on the walls.
  • Perceived values are what people experience in the halls.

When the two are in sync.  It’s magical!

Those are the type of work environments that I call “championship.”
Others might call them “high-performing.”

I’m confident you’ve worked in companies where the professed
values DID NOT match the perceived values.

I hope you’ve also had the opposite experience, too of working
in a championship work environment.

I’m less confident in the latter than the former.

There are an infinite number of potential corporate values so
I won’t bore you with them all here.

I’ll make it easy.

Your small business needs only three core values.

When your company integrates these three core values
nothing else will matter or need be done.

The three are:

  • Clarity
  • Responsiveness
  • Respect

The reason those three are all you need is that living by
those three will get you all you need for your company…

Greater positivity and productivity in the work environment,
which will lead to greater profitability for your company, see











I’ll leave it there for now and let you ponder those three fundamental
values and how they might make a difference in your company.

Here are two questions to ponder until next time:

  • How is your work environment lacking in those three values?
  • What part of your company’s operations would benefit the
    most from greater clarity, responsiveness, and respect?

Stay tuned!

Next time I’ll explain more about Clarity and how by raising
the standard for communication in your company’s work
environment will get you greater clarity.

I’ll also share some ideas on the many facets of your
business that will benefit from greater clarity.

Stay tuned!

‘til then, Communicate With Power!




The Hard Cost of the Poor & Ineffective “Soft Skill” of Communication for Small Business Workplaces

As I mentioned in my last article, there is a hard cost
to the “soft” skill of communication in the workplace.

All the problems small business owners struggle with
regarding employees stem directly from communication,
what too many people call a “soft” skill.

This soft skill causes real hard dollars and cents cost!

Are you tolerating the hard and soft costs of communication in
your workplace?

What are they and how can you calculate those costs so you
know where to look to raise the standards?

The soft costs lead to the hard costs.

The soft costs include:

  • Low employee morale
  • Low employee motivation
  • Low employee engagement
  • Passive-aggressive behavior
  • Employee conflict
  • Lack of follow-through on internal projects
  • Lack of responsiveness in customer service

The hard costs include:

  • All the wasted time each employee accumulates because
    of the soft costs
  • Loss of potential new customers
  • Lost of current customers who find other resources
  • Loss of opportunity for expanding existing customers
    beyond present levels

(If you’d like help distinguishing whether its an ability or attitude issue and the communication issues that may have caused it and how better communication can fix it – let’s have a conversation. To schedule a free, no obligation Workplace Communication Assessment Strategy Session, go here now)

It’s impossible to calculate the hard costs of the bottom three
listed above unless you have a real anecdotal story of a
customer who went away.

A recent new client of mine just lost a $50,000 client. For some
companies that’s not a big deal. But, for a company generating
only $1.2 million in annual revenue, that’s significant.

We’re meeting in a few days to debrief the situation so they can
learn from it without blaming anyone or anyone losing their job.

But, for the first one on the list “all the wasted time each
employee accumulates because of the soft costs,” that is
easily calculated.

In my book A New Standard for Workplace Communication:
Overcoming The 7 Deadliest Communication SINs I’ve included
a Communication Cost Calculator worksheet you can use to
calculate the cost of lost productivity in your work environment due
to the soft costs caused by a low standard for communication.

If you’d like the worksheet that is included in the book, buy the book!

Just kidding! 😉

If you’d like it, simply email me at and put
“communication cost calculator” in the subject line.

It’s pretty easy, though, you can do it on a napkin, just do this:

  1. Estimate the number of hours you think the average employee
    wastes each day.
  2. Multiply that by the number of days they work each year.
  3. Multiply the sum of 1 & 2 by the number of employees at
    your company.
  4. Multiply the sum of that by the average employees’ hourly
    salary and benefits package.
  5. Whatever number you get after the calculation I would then
    add 50% because you’re probably underestimating.

The reason this is so important is because small business
owners, and others in their work environments, typically:

…take communication for granted, and think its just something
that has to be tolerated.

Don’t you think that’s sad?

I do!

Workplaces could be so much more positive, productive, and
profitable if there was a higher expectation for communication
in the small business work environment.

When the standard of communication is raised and people are
provided with guidance on how to communicate with higher-level
interpersonal communication skills results rise.

It impacts your work environment in three ways and in my next article
you’ll learn about those three contexts and how they impact.

Stay tuned!

‘til then, Communicate With Power!

P.S. – Remember, if you’d like a copy of the
Communication Cost Calculator that’s in my new book,
simply email me at
with “communication cost calculator” in the subject line.

(If you’d like help distinguishing whether its an ability or attitude issue and the communication issues that may have caused it and how better communication can fix it – let’s have a conversation. To schedule a free, no obligation Workplace Communication Assessment Strategy Session, go here now)


It’s Time for Small Business Leaders to Set a New Standard for Workplace Communication

When it comes to communication in the small business workplace, you need to
stop tolerating and start initiating.

What I mean by that is most small business owners are reactive
and on the defensive when dealing with how their employees behave
and perform on the job.

The more small businesses I become more intimately involved
with helping improve communication in their work environments
the more appalled I become at the low expectations business
owners have for communication at their companies.

Small business owners tolerate a lot.

What are you tolerating in your workplace?

What I mean by that is that you probably don’t realize
how low expectations for communication in a work environment
impact your employees and their ability to do the best
job they can.

(If you’d like help distinguishing whether its an ability or attitude issue and the communication issues that may have caused it and how better communication can fix it – let’s have a conversation. To schedule a free, no obligation Workplace Communication Assessment Strategy Session, go here now)

It’s time to stop the insanity and get serious about communication
in the workplace, the good, the bad and the ugly.

First, there are three contexts of communication that impact your
small business, you must pay attention to:

  • IT Communication – are the hardware devices able to facilitate the flow of information effectively. Is the software 
compatible with the devices and whatever other software 
pieces that need to interact? Are the devices as up-to-date 
technologically as they need to be (you don’t need the 
latest and greatest but it should be relatively current.).
  • Process and Flow – does the company have a system for 
disseminating the right information to the right people at the 
right time so they can do the best job possible and put out the 
best impression for themselves and the company out to the
  • Interpersonal communication – what is communication like 
between co-workers and colleagues in the workplace and
 between company leaders and managers and their direct
 reports? Is it positive and productive? Is it civil? 
Does it allow people to feel supported and respected, etc.?

Typically, my audiences tell me the context that causes the biggest
frustrations, challenges, and issues is interpersonal communication.

That context also seems to be where most small business
leaders struggle, too.

It’s the place where the low standards of expectations lie, and
where the tolerations of the impact are most felt.

This manifests in many ways, such as employee conflicts with the
manager or business owner expected to play “referee” to “make the
call” for one side or the other.

This is not where you should be because, you know, the person most
booed in an arena or stadium is the referee. You don’t want to be
booed in your own company.

I also frequently hear how passive-aggressive behavior is pervasive
today’s workplace.

Many small business leaders struggle with how to address it.

They wish they could get people to follow through and be responsive
to requests from their colleagues, co-workers, bosses, and customers.

What about you?

There is way too much chasing and waiting, waiting and chasing.

Communication comes with real costs to a business’ bottom line.

What do you notice regarding communication in your workplace?

If you were to set a new standard for communication in your
workplace, what areas would you choose?

My next article will discuss the real “hard” costs of tolerating a
low standard of communication in your workplace.

Stay tuned.



(If you’d like help distinguishing whether its an ability or attitude issue and the communication issues that may have caused it and how better communication can fix it – let’s have a conversation. To schedule a free, no obligation Workplace Communication Assessment Strategy Session, go here now)


Don’t Blame Negative, Under-Performing Employees – 3 Reasons They Are Not at Fault

In a recent survey 44% of small business owners reported being unhappy with the performance of their employees.

To solve this type of problem, small business owners must first identify the cause and then create applicable solutions. There can be many reasons why employees under-perform and some leaders may point to poor attitudes, low motivation, low morale and individuals’ inability to work with others, or accept and adapt to change.

Although those reasons may be valid on the surface, there are always underlying issues that have led to the causes identified by the business leader.

The good news is that there are only two aspects to evaluate with under-performing employees. It’s either due to an individual’s:

  • ability, or
  • their attitude.

In either instance, the employee is not at fault.

(If you’d like help distinguishing whether its an ability or attitude issue and the communication issues that may have caused it and how better communication can fix it – let’s have a conversation. To schedule a free, no obligation Workplace Communication Assessment Strategy Session, go here now)

There are three primary communication mistakes business leaders make that prevent employees from being engaged in their workplace and contributing at higher levels:

Business Leader Mistake #1 – Not Giving Employees a Reason to be Engaged, Motivated & Contribute

Many business leaders mistakenly believe that providing someone the privilege of a steady income and certain quality of life via a paycheck should be enough to create a motivated employee.

Yet, studies continue to show that salary and benefits, although important for providing base levels of motivation, is not enough to generate higher levels of engagement.

Many managers and leaders say they are frustrated with the feeling they have to continually find ways to light a fire under their people to get them to do what needs to be done. Instead they should be investing energy in connecting to their employees on a personal level to instead find ways to light a fire within them.

One extremely effective way to do this is to apply the Employee Engagement Equation.

The Employee Motivation Equation begins with creating an inspiring vision for the company that employees at all levels will be excited to contribute to. Daniel Pink, in his 2010 book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us identified “Purpose” as one of the key motivating components for a 21st Century workforce.

Business Leader Mistake #2 – Creating a De-Motivating Environment

In any new relationship there is always a honeymoon period where all the parties involved have good feelings about the possibilities moving forward. It’s the same when a new hire joins a company.

Unfortunately, a survey of about 1.2 million employees at mostly Fortune 1000 companies in the early part of this century conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence, and revealed in 2005 that in 85% of companies, employee morale sharply declines after an employee’s first six months on the job, and continues to fade in ensuring years.

In a significant number of companies, as this Sirota research shows, something is occurring in these work environments that causes an enthusiastic and engaged employee to change their attitude.

Many factors can be attributed to this drop off, some of which include:

  • Poorly communicated job descriptions and responsibilities causing uncertain performance expectations for the individual,
  • Inequity in managers addressing inappropriate behaviors and poor performance of co-workers,
  • Managers that play favorites and communicate disrespectfully in the workplace,
  • Lack of positive feedback for contributions made

Business Leader Mistake #3 – Making a Wrong Hiring Choice

In the haste to fill positions, often those making the hiring decisions fail to invest enough time in making sure the new hire is a good fit for the position.

A “good fit’ includes assessing skills, knowledge, attitude, talent, and the education and experience a prospective team member will bring into the work environment. I call this the S.K.A.T.E. Hiring Profile (Skills, Knowledge, Attitude, Talent, & Education/Experience).

Additionally, sometimes due to unforeseen circumstances employees are asked to fill roles not originally intended, and for which their skills and talents are not the best fit.

In these situations, despite the employee’s best efforts he or she is unable to meet desired performance expectations, causing both the employee and the employer become disenchanted with the relationship. Yet, the onus must be on the employer to get it right when inviting someone into his or her work culture, and when asking a team member to take on additional work responsibilities.

What You Can Do

Before proclaiming employees are unmotivated, and/or unwilling, to perform to expectations and bring positive attitudes to the work environment start evaluating these three workforce mistakes from an organizational leadership and communication perspective to see where there is room for improvement.

Remember that it comes down to only two causes. It is either an ability problem or an attitude problem. too many times training and coaching are provided as solutions to an attitude problem, which is a huge waste of resources. As you might imagine, fixing an attitude problem is much different, and much harder, than an ability problem, in most cases.

Here are 3 steps to get you started:

  1. First step is to get clarity there.
  2. Second, once you make that decision, know that for whichever you choose, the foundational cause of that situation is some form of communication.
  3. Third, decide on the best way to approach the situation and the individual.

(If you’d like help distinguishing whether its an ability or attitude issue and the communication issues that may have caused it and how better communication can fix it – let’s have a conversation. To schedule a free, no obligation Workplace Communication Assessment Strategy Session, go here now)


Your Performance Review Conversations Are Killing Your Company & Ruining Employees

February is “performance review” month for three of my clients.

It’s always a challenging time because you know, if you’ve ever been responsible for writing up performance reviews, they take A LOT of TIME!

It’s a big investment that for most small businesses (and it’s even worse in large corporations) does not deliver a return. And if you talk to those involved, it probably becomes a negative drain on employee morale, motivation, and engagement.

There is one reason why performance review processes don’t deliver a return on investment in most small businesses.

The reason is because few people understand the purpose for the performance review process.

But, before I can divulge the singular purpose of the performance review that you must understand, focus on, and apply when engaging in the process, I need your help.

Go here to answer the 1-question survey. When you answer the question you’ll receive my guide on The 5 Master Keys to Effective Performance Conversations.

And, you will also receive an e-mail with what I believe is the only correct answer, and it is the one that will transform your workplace into a championship performer, after you submit your answer to my survey.

’til next time, “Communicate with Power!”

skip-weisman-professional speaker-small business championship coach


Sometimes “Winning” Isn’t Enough – That’s Why Your Small Business Needs a “Championship Vision”

Happy New Year!

The National Football League season concluded this past Sunday in the United States, and immediately teams fired their coaches after losing seasons.

Seventy percent of the 17 teams with winning records qualified for the championship playoff tournament. Of those five other teams with winning records that didn’t qualify for the post-season, one, the Detroit Lions, fired their coach.

Firing coaches with winning records isn’t unusual.

I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the playoff teams’ coaches that doesn’t get to the championship Super Bowl game loses his job.

After the 2017 Major League Baseball season three managers (Joe Girardi of the NY Yankees, Dusty Baker of the Washington Nationals, and John Farrell of the Boston Red Sox) who led their teams into the playoffs were fired when they failed to reach the ultimate goal, the World Series.

What does this mean for you?HVR_1999NYPChampions

Two things:

Every team has a “championship game vision” and if they don’t achieve that goal or are on track according to its projected timetable, look out!

For the ones with winning seasons that don’t get to that championship game, “winning” just isn’t good enough.

There are four reasons why they may fall short, which are the same four reasons your company may not be achieving its goals:

  • Strategy,
  • Personnel,
  • Leadership and Teamwork, and
  • Execution

Second, January is the start of the new 2018 business season (if you are on a fiscal calendar year), this is a great time to decide on your “championship game vision?”

Typically, this work should be done in December or sometime in the 4th quarter, which for participants in my Small Business Championship Game Plan program is “training camp,” but January is not too late.

Is your work environment championship ready for this season?

Let’s take this time to assess Your Championship Company – go to this link to take a free short assessment and get the results immediately sent to you.

’til next time, “Communicate with Power!”

skip-weisman-professional speaker-small business championship coach


Whose Job Is It? The Never-ending Small Business Workplace Challenge

A few months ago my wife and I gave my office a spring cleaning. It was overdue!
We found a linen wall hanging we bought 10 years ago when we were in Ireland.
I bought it because it was a perfect souvenir that explained many of my client’s work environments when we start working together.
This may resonate with you. This is what is on the linen wall hanging:
*****************WHOSE JOB?********************
This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job.
Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.
It ended up that Everbody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done!
It’s cute and it’s funny, BUT, it has serious implications for a company.
Has something like this ever happened at your company?
Are things like this still happening at your company?
Just wondering? Hopefully, it gave you a chuckle and something to think about.
Hope you enjoyed the all too real poem of many client work environments.
Now, I think I’m going to have to replace one of my sports memorabilia wall hangings with this.
What do you think?

‘til next time, remember, Communicate With Power!

skip-weisman-professional speaker-small business championship coach



One Strategy to Overcome Co-Worker Personality Conflicts in a Small Business Workplace

Do you notice that many, if not most, conflicts in the workplace tend to be between people whose personalities don’t seem to be a match.

This often isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, the case.

It only becomes a clash of personalities because there was some initial performance or behavior that was not addressed promptly, directly, and respectfully enough.

When these performance and behavior issues are left unaddressed co-workers often take matters into their own hands. Typically, they do it in a dis-empowering manner.

You’ve probably seen it.

A co-worker tries to address the problem by pointing fingers, blaming the other person, and worst of all, questioning the other person’s “intent.”

No wonder this person ends up with a bad attitude and difficult personality. I would too, if people were questioning my intent.

Often, people’s intent is good, but their ability or their approach isn’t at the level it needs to be.

One of the best ways to resolve “personality” differences that stem from co-workers just getting in each other’s way while doing their respective jobs is to separate the individual’s personality and intent, from the actual performance of the job or task.

Focus on whether the individual performed the job and achieved the desired results expected of them.

Take personality and intent out of it.

Assume positive intent. Assume they wanted to do a good job and just missed the mark.

It’s much easier to have a conversation around someone’s performance than someone’s personality.

Never question someone’s intent because then you are making assumptions and trying to be a mind-reader and come across as only looking to serve your own purposes.

What do you think? Leave a comment below to continue the discussion.

‘til next time, remember, Communicate With Power!

skip-weisman-professional speaker-small business championship coach



Hey Small Business Leaders – “Teamwork” Is An Individual Sport

Yes, you read that right!

Think about it.

The only thing that makes teamwork work is when every individual on the team commits to being a “team” player.

When have you experienced a breakdown in “teamwork?”

What was the cause?

Most of my clients tell me that it’s typically when one or more individuals “drop the ball” on their role in the teamwork.

Every day in athletic events there are great examples of teammates working closely together to make a play.

Yet, each act that allows that play to be successful is an individual act.

A simple example from baseball would be if a batter hits a ground ball to the shortstop. He picks up the ball and throws it to first base and the first baseman drops the ball.

The expected teamwork worked perfectly. Each player moved into their respective (if softball) position as required, BUT, the first baseman failed to execute his role.

In football, the quarterback drops back to pass. He is well protected by the offensive lineman. He throws a perfect pass to the receiver standing alone in the end zone with no defenders in the area for 20-yards.

He, too, drops the ball.

In both of those examples, the flow of teamwork worked perfectly. It was an individual who failed to execute their respective role that caused “teamwork” to fail.

That’s why I say, “teamwork” is an individual sport.

A few years ago I was working on a project to help a senior leadership team at a regional credit union raise their level of “teamwork.”

I asked for definitions of teamwork and one of the participants suggested this:

“Teamwork is a series of individual interdependent successful efforts.”

I loved it! And, with her permission have adopted it.

This is a vitally important concept in workplaces today.

There is too much emphasis on creating teamwork and not enough emphasis on providing individual team members the incentive and the reasons for them to participate in teamwork.

And, when “teamwork” fails, teamwork gets blamed, and no one is responsible or held accountable.

Have you ever experienced that?

The Small Business Championship Game Plan solves that issue by implementing proven strategies (the same ones used by championship athletic teams) and creates high-level teamwork in any small business work environment. If you’d like to learn more go here.

So, what do you think? Leave a comment below and continue the conversation.

Feel free to argue with me, too. I’d love to explore this concept deeper.

‘til next time, remember, Communicate With Power!

skip-weisman-professional speaker-small business championship coach



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