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Recent Blogs

Blaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Milking need not be back breaking anymore

So many of the older farmers I encountered as a kid complained of arthritic joints.

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Forward HR

with Diane Hamilton and Nilesh Patel

Stop the mind reading — give candid feedback

Providing feedback (positive and constructive) is Management 101. Giving feedback to direct reports, coworkers, or team members is essential to success. Providing upward feedback, while sometimes tricky, helps contribute to a transparent environment focused on growth and development.

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Financial Perspectives

with Michael Dubis, CFP

Financial planning should drive the investment plan, not the other way around

I get a fair number of prospective client calls and a number of them lead off with questions around investing, investment management, returns, etc. Asking a financial planner about investments first is putting the cart before the horse. It’s not how good financial planners operate.

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Inside Wisconsin

with Tom Still

Cool cities are hot cities: Smaller communities can compete for talent

Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna is direct when he’s asked why Appleton and its neighbors collaborated with private supporters to build the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in the early 2000s.

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Leader to Leader

with Terry Siebert

Make superior customer service your routine

Last week, after finishing up my shopping, the last point of contact in the store was with the bagger. After she finished up, she sent me on my way with, “Have a nice day.” Unfortunately, she said this with a tone like, “Your dog died.” Not very friendly and certainly not very focused on the customer. I am sure that this place has a manual that tells their baggers to say the phrase. That same manual might even suggest that it be said with a positive attitude. However, what happened is an indicator of how many customer service people go through the paces and really do not have a customer-focused attitude.

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Left Business Brain

with Tom Breuer

Handicapping Scott Walker’s potential presidential rivals

There’s something terribly revealing — and inadvertently uninspiring — about the Ready for Hillary PAC’s apt but deadly dull tagline, “Ready for Hillary.” It evokes a long-neglected, distasteful obligation, like going back to school after summer vacation or getting your first colonoscopy. It may very well be for the best but … hmm.

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Mind Your Business

with Corey Chambas

Keep calm and supervise on

The problem would have been averted if everyone just followed the rules. Unexpected behavior can lead to bad consequences.

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Smart Sustainable Biz

with Jessie Lerner

MPower Champions show Greater Madison businesses the meaning of sustainability

The MPower Business Champions were in a sharing mood at the Jan. 23 MPower Champion Public Showcase (video link). Reynolds Transfer & Storage and Shopbop shared their bike repair stand projects. Trek Bicycles and Aprilaire shared information about their sustainable food projects. And State Street restaurant Tutto Pasta shared its energy-efficiency projects.

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The Bottom Line

with contributors from Associated Bank

14 proactive strategies to avoid workers’ compensation claims

Most employers are well aware of the taxing cost of workers’ compensation insurance and how this burden can increase exponentially with claims. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates employers pay $1 billion per week for direct workers’ compensation costs. When factoring in indirect costs, such as training replacement employees, investigating the accident, and taking corrective action, the cost to an employer is a staggering amount.

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Mad @ Mgmt

with Walter Simson

Love for sale — by the airline

I am a frequent flier. Usually a trip a week, with average distances of 700–1,000 miles flown. I am loyal, pay my bills, and keep my mouth shut. I would think that I would be a prized customer.

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Taking Stock

with Nathan Brinkman

When your child asks for a loan, should you say yes?

You raised them, helped get them through school, and now your children are on their own. Or are they? Even adult children sometimes need financial help. But if your child asks you for a loan, don’t pull out your checkbook until you’ve examined the financial and emotional costs. Start the process by considering a few key questions.

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Open for Business

with Jody Glynn Patrick

What’s your policy on hiring felons?

The least painful or expensive way to learn best business practices is not by making mistakes but rather by joining the IB family, where we highlight success stories and share cautionary tales about the missteps of others in workshops, in print, and online. Toward that goal, here’s another learning opportunity.

Comments: 12

Legal Login

with contributors from Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek

Data breach wonderland: What's a business to do?

In February 2015, I reported with some optimism that the current U.S. Congress may actually pass a federal data breach notification law. But alas, in the dog days of summer, that optimism has waned and the likelihood of passing a federal law this year has significantly diminished. Concerns about the preemption of tougher state laws, vague security standards, and consumer privacy concerns have doomed federal efforts.

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The Web Chef's Cafe

with Paul Gibler

3 tools to support your visual content marketing

2015 is the year of visual content marketing. A big reason why is the explosive growth of visual social media networks like Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine. These networks allow for the distribution and sharing of a wide array of visual content, including slides, photos, videos, charts, infographics, and more.

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Open Mic

Send us your blog for consideration!

Get Fit producing more than just fitness gains

In these past six months, we’ve all had our shares of ups and downs, but it really feels like we’ve created some sustainable awareness and made positive changes in the way we take care of each other and ourselves.

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The Gray Area

with Donna Gray

How old is too old?

This past weekend, I shopped in a big-box store. The salesperson who helped me was a friend from my past. Since this person was a former professional in the business world, I asked about the transition to working in a retail environment and was surprised and disappointed to hear about how this person was “downsized” out of a very important and responsible position, especially when told that the replacement in this position was younger and less experienced.

Comments: 1

Small Business, Big Ideas

with Jean Willard

5 tax-planning opportunities to think about right now

As 2014 draws to a close, you have more tax-planning opportunities available to you than ever before, but you also face more tax challenges. More than 50 popular tax provisions expired at the end of 2013 (many are projected to be reinstated, but as of today they have not been), so some new planning techniques are going to be needed.

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Van Lines

with Joe Vanden Plas

About Walker’s jobs record …

The day after Donald Trump’s rambling screed introducing himself as a presidential candidate — God help us — America’s favorite real estate mogul/egomaniac was asked to handicap the rest of the Republican primary field. When he got to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who recently announced his candidacy, “The Donald” noted the problems Walker has in Wisconsin.

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Transportation Matters

with Craig Thompson

Here’s to no unwanted headlines at the 97th PGA Championship

Next week, the eyes of the world are going to be on Sheboygan and its magnificent Whistling Straits golf course, as the last golf major of the year — the 2015 PGA championship — begins on August 13. The headline we don’t need to see is yet another about a traffic accident along Highway 23.

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In Biz

with Bill Haight

A common-sense quiz about forced minimum wages

1) An appliance store sells a particular TV set for $500. A government tax or regulation requires it to raise this price to $600. The store will likely sell: a. More of these TV sets; b. Fewer of these TV sets; c. The same number of these TV sets.

Comments: 3

It's All About Content

with Thomas Marks

What your website’s ‘About Us’ page should say

Let’s talk About Us. Or we can talk about About, or even about Us. The point is, there’s some disagreement about About on your website. About how important About is, about if it should be About Us rather than About or even Us. But I’m stepping in to call a truce. I think it is important and it starts with some pretty interesting research.

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