Monthly Archives: July 2014


Now is the time many organizations start thinking about the next year’s pay raises. Before you start the hunt for ‘market rates’, projected pay raise averages, budget or other data – think a bit about what you are paying for.

Very few founders, CEOs, or senior executives have thought about their philosophy of compensation directly. Fewer still have tied it to their desired culture.

And so, over the decades, I have talked about these issues with many senior folks. Often I also use a short quiz and set up the scenario:
You have two people in the same role, both are equally productive.
And I ask a series of questions about how one would calculate the pay raise for each. One question is: John comes in early and stays late every day, he works many long hours each week. Tom works his regular schedule but rarely puts in extra time unless asked to help others.

And nearly 3/4 say that they would give John a larger raise.

Do you see the issue? Most do not until I ask why they are rewarding the person who cannot get their work done in a timely manner over the one who does. Remember – the conditions were that both were equally productive. So Tom is doing the same amount and quality of work in less time than John.
As you think about your salary planning for next year, here are some questions to ask yourself. Pick the top three in each and rank order those.

1. Do we want to compensate for:
– individual productivity
– teamwork
– cost of living changes
– our financial success
– increased productivity
– market pricing changes
– seniority
– client growth
– revenue growth (funding growth for non-profits)

2. Will an individual be rewarded with a base salary […]

Problems: Are You a Victim or Moving Forward?

My own work history is replete with examples of times that being a woman was a negative and made my life more difficult, but I moved on. Small business owners often complain that the business world and government rules are stacked against them, yet many succeed. Military in transition regularly fear that employers discriminate against them, yet most become quite successful in the private sector.

Each of us chooses whether to use these perceived and real problems as stopping us, hindering us, or just life. In 2007 Robert L. Johnson, founder of BET, gave a commencement address I have kept as a reminder – or a kick in the tuckus, as needed.

Need a bit of inspiration? Read on.

“My message to you is that you have to work harder for yourself. Unfortunately, and this sometimes affects us as African Americans, we say: ‘The deck is stacked against us. There’s racism. There’s Jim Crowism. There’s sexism. There are glass ceilings. There are all these things that cause us to say we can’t achieve because the deck is stacked against us, and we can’t break through.’ That to me is a basic surrender to some other force controlling your destiny. (…)

I’m telling you: Welcome to life. Welcome to the business world. Welcome to where you are not going to get breaks. (…)

In my opinion, racism is like rain. It’ll always be out there. You know what you do? You put on your raincoat, grab an umbrella and go out there.”

If you own a business, your success and that of your business is directly tied to your ability to solve problems and to create a culture that does also.

Most days I love my work. I have great clients. I […]


Whether your business is old or new, clarity about your vision and goals is critical. Make a bit of time to think about these soon! Don’t just go back to some old statements but look to the future. Your goals, your organization, your industry, and external factors change. What do you want to keep and what will you update?

The three week plan
Think about each question over a full week. Make notes. Then spend an hour alone defining your answers as clearly and concisely as possible. In a partnership? Do this process separately and then get together to discuss afterwards.

Week 1. What is my vision?

Week 2. What is my definition of success?

Week 3. What makes our company unique?


Inspiration and ideas: quotes from successful local business women on growing and strengthening your business ideas.

“Be sure you really love what you’ve chosen to do. Your passion will help you cope with the reality that pretty much every task and project you undertake along your journey will take at least twice as long to complete as you anticipate.”  Linda Rivero,  Global Action Women

“Get comfortable with ambiguity. Don’t let not knowing stop you.”

“Ask for help.” Diane Cohen, Coaching2Connect

“Know what you don’t know! So many of us feel we have to be wonder-women that we don’t honestly assess our own weaknesses and plan accordingly.” Joan Porte, CTC,

“Pay careful attention to cash flow. My annual earnings have been great since year one, but it is only now (year 3) that my cash flow isn’t causing me palpitations.” Carlisle J. Levine, Ph.D., BLE Solutions

“Have a solid support network built upon experience and trust. Don’t discount the information given from others but use all information to draw your own conclusion.” Jennifer […]

By |July 11th, 2014|values|0 Comments