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Modern DC Business Masthead

I began blogging for Modern DC Business Magazine in April 2011. Since then, the publication has featured more than 300 entries under my byline. Below you will find links to articles related to leadership, culture, and the other business challenges managers face when designing companies to stand the test of time.

Are Introverts More Authentic than Extroverts?
October 1, 2012

A Forbes article on the differences between introverted and extroverted leaders promotes some basic stereotypes that give readers the wrong impression about a couple of very important business dynamics. Based on the book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, the hypothesis is that we used to live in a “culture of character” whereby people conducted themselves with morality and quiet integrity. With the advent of big business (and self promotion), we apparently transformed into a “culture of personality” where glitz and glamour outweigh the mores of an earlier time. <More>

How to Measure “Thinking Time”
August 31, 2012

For professionals that specialize in the softer disciplines (branding, marketing, design, software development, etc.), people frequently ask for seemingly simple things and expect immediate turnaround. Anyone involved in a creative process knows the ‘simple’ things really aren’t that straight forward. Creative professionals have keen problem solving intelligence, spend years developing intuition specific to their disciplines, and develop creative styles and processes all their own. <More>

The Natural Law of Customer Acquisition
August 8, 2o12

How do government agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deal with technological convergence? The folks at the FDA get stymied when presented with things like wireless medical devices (think pacemakers, sensors, and wearable devices) because they’re looking at something completely new that falls outside of their expertise and comfort zones.

Workforce of the Future Requires Change in Leadership Style
August 3, 2012

Take a peek a Maximizing Millennials, an infographic produced by Tim Willingham gives a sneak peek at what the changes companies will need to make in order to attract top talent… or maybe any talent in the future. Eight years from now, Gen Yers will comprise 46% of the workforce. That means employers will have to take there preferences into account.

You Can Legislate Or Lead, But Not Both
July 20, 2012

An article in today’s BizReport reveals that employees spend an average of 1.5 hours a day on social media while at work. “Particularly for those with office-based jobs, it’s not difficult to see why they might get tempted to access their social network profiles when they should be working.”

Treat Employees Like People Rather than Assets
June 22, 2012

I recently ran across a Forbes post “Why Companies are Terrible at Selecting, Retaining and Motivating Their Talent.” Contributor Eric Jacskson identifies 10 common pitfalls companies experience when attracting and retaining the “assets go down the elevator at night.”

Hmmm. It’s true that managers commonly refer to employees as assets. And yet, the word asset rings hollow. Using that terminology turns employees into things. You buy and manage assets. You compensate and lead people. There’s a difference. Let’s add the following five points to Jackson’s original list.

There’s No Hierarchical Structure in Salad
June 14, 2o12

Image of vegetable salad with roasted chicken

© Jacek Chabraszewski /

Last week Murry A. Mann, Principal of Global Diversity Solutions Group, illustrated the impact of diversity programs at TEDx in Adams Morgan. Although an engaging speaker, Mann’s use of props stole the show. Prior to his entrance a small table was set with a glass container of milk, carafe of red wine, and three bottles of various ice cream syrups.

When Strategic Change Really Isn’t Change
June 11, 2o12

Last month the Harvard Business Review published an interesting article about strategy derailment. Most of us have experienced it first-hand. The executive team rolls out a new strategy to capture market share, cut costs, or create synergies to streamline execution. And then the change initiative stalls out.

Typecasting Stops Recruitment Process in Its Tracks
June 4, 2012

Image two business women in casual poses

© Oleksil Sergieiev / Fotolia

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) describes one of today’s biggest hurdles for job seekers: Screening software. Getting the software to find a ‘match’ when compared with a laundry list of required skills has become a formidable barrier to entry… even if you’re the best candidate for the job. Case and point: The example cited in the WSJ had to do with a company seeking a standard engineering position. Of the 25,000 applicants who submitted their resumes, not one fit the requirements. I guarantee that particular employer missed more than one needle in the haystack.

Loyalty Builds Community

May 25, 2012

I was mortified to read that “many companies have grown to look at their employees as “short-term disposable assets” in yesterday’s CEO Briefing. If true, then corporate “leaders” have completely lost their way.

How To Overcome Workplace Dissatisfaction
May 18, 2012

Image of bored businessman

© Image Source IS2 / Fotolia

A recent article by FastCompany says more than 1/2 of American employees hate their jobs. Unfortunately job satisfaction has declined steadily for the past several decades. It contributes to mediocre performance, which produces a dismal domestic economy.

Why Failure is a Critical Success Factor
May 17, 2012

Yesterday panelists at The Democratization of Innovation from the JOBS Act to 3D Printing uniformly agreed that the best entrepreneurs make mistakes. That particular idea intimidates people who have been trained to find one right answer.

How to Differentiate on Business Philosophy Alone
May 15, 2012

Paul Saginaw, co-founder of Zingerman’s Family of Businesses, unveiled the secrets required to build a $40 million enterprise with 600 employees without any proprietary products or services at Friday’s DO GOOD SUMMIT. The company’s outstanding success hinges on a business philosophy that enables people to tap into and grow their talents in an honest, open, and supportive environment. Zingerman’s offers a prime example of how powerful an authentic company can be.  And it starts with vision.

The Fallacy of First Mover Advantage
April 25, 2012

You work for a startup. Product development has taken twice as long as expected. Market conditions have shifted and you’re certain someone else is working on a similar idea. You feel a sense of urgency to get the product out the door before first mover advantage slips through your fingers.

How Customink Turned Its Brand into an Asset
April 24, 2012

Image Customink LogoPeople sometimes have the misconception that brand is synonymous with logo. Sean Murphy, EVP of eCommerce at CustomInk, dispelled that misconception during his presentation at the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit on Friday. His company spent 6-figures for logo development during last year’s rebranding effort. The mark, an octopus named Inky, personifies the company’s core values and thus effectively expresses the experience customers get when they use CustomInk to order t-shirts online. <More…>

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