Monthly Archives: March 2014


My friend’s Mother died 17 days ago after a long illness. And without warning, her Dad died two weeks later. I cared for several aunts in their last years, including handling their final hospitalizations, hospice, funerals, and estates. This is pretty common for many employees who are care-givers.

Yet here I am again talking with an organization which wants to define quite carefully the three days for bereavement leave and who it applies to. Can you even get to the funeral and back in three days, much less help your family cope?

Sure, I have known of an employee who had four grandmothers die within 18 months and was gaming the 3 day bereavement system at his company. But one of those in four decades leaves me wondering why we feel such a need for a tight policy. And when a manager’s son was killed in a skiing accident, do you think the company actually enforced its ‘3 day’ rule? Of course not.

One of the bigger risks you can take is to have a policy – on any topic – and ignore it. Too often that may be done for reasons you think are valid. But a good lawyer can find that you did it in a discriminatory manner against their client.

Did you really get anything positive out of your policy in the first place? For every potential issue it may have been meant to protect you against, did it?  Or did it also send a message that you did not trust your employees or did not think they were adults.

This be the right time to look at your policies and see whether you really need them all. Think of it as spring cleaning. Which ones […]

Giving up ‘Always On’

Saw a short article recently stating about 17% of people who participate in giving something up for Lent were reducing their social media time and turning off their smartphones for periods each day. Whether you could actually manage to do this or not, it raises interesting questions.

How do you grow and run your business successfully when you do not make time for uninterrupted thought and planning? Many successful CEOs schedule regular time for such work and give it their undivided attention.

What legals risks do you take, without thinking, if you are given to emailing your employees outside normal work hours? Worse yet, what is this doing to your employees’ creativity and engagement?

Research shows that multi-tasking is a myth. Our brains love the feeling of being important which being always connected provides. But they do not function effectively when doing more than one thing at a time, even though most of us believe we are being more effective!

What message are you giving to others when you check messages during a meeting? A meal? An event? If you do not respect their time and are not committed enough to pay full attention, why are you there?

OK, I can and do shut always-on connections down regularly. Can you? Do you? Now, can I give up mindless TV late each night….

How Can I Help You?

I was appointed to the Virginia Small Business Development Center’s Advisory Board and am quite honored. One of our roles has to do with enhancing outreach. What does this mean to you and your organization?

Do you know about the many services available through your local SBDC? Do you attend events there to meet people who might be good business connections? Or go to learn critical information to your success?

I have worked for several years with the Alexandria SBDC to provide free seminars on critical HR topics for small businesses and non-profits. Last year they began offering their clients a free hour of my time to discuss HR issues – and we have covered a wild (and wide) range. They offer many other such free seminars and events covering social media, marketing, health-care reform, and business planning.
If you are interested in learning more, do contact your local SBDC and see what they can do for your organization! If you are interested in specific issues which might be a good focus for the SBDCs across Virginia, let me know. I look forward to helping small organizations benefit from SBDC services. And to representing small organizations, solopreneurs, and veterans to the Virginia SBDC.