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Recent Blogs

Blaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Walker haters got to hate; cue the vitriol

A Republican governor appoints conservatives to the UW Board of Regents and the Dane County bench. Cue the vuvuzela symphony! Liberals, progressives, and socialists are outraged. Oh my!

Comments: 10

Forward HR

with Diane Hamilton and Nilesh Patel

Creating a high-performing environment

Leaders play an important role in creating a motivating work environment. They set the tone by demonstrating respect, valuing employees, and creating a supportive and encouraging atmosphere.

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Financial Perspectives

with Michael Dubis, CFP

Back to basics: To hit retirement goals, start saving a large percentage of gross income

Financial independence is the primary savings and investing driver for most people, and with good reason. In order to be successful in retirement, most folks will require a higher-than-anticipated wealth position, appropriate insurance coverage, and adherence to a very controlled spending plan. Almost every new client I speak with is not adequately prepared for this reality. I spend a lot of time in the first year simply broadening the discussion and assumptions, and I hope to do a little bit of that here as well.

Comments: 2

Inside Wisconsin

with Tom Still

Uncertain about mission of state economic agency? It’s called competition

During a debate over what to do next about Wisconsin’s lead economic development agency, a Republican member of the Legislature’s budget-writing committee took an openly skeptical stance.

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Leader to Leader

with Terry Siebert

Ugh! Performance review time

A recent HR Magazine article presented some interesting statistics from the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) that speak to the general satisfaction level of the performance review process by employees, managers, and HR professionals.

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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

Execution eats strategy for lunch

When I started doing this blog, one of my concerns was sharing our “secret sauce” for success, and allowing our competitors in on some of our strategies and tactics. We are a niche financial services company and we definitely do some unique things. I was worried that I was making us vulnerable by letting competitors know what we were trying to do and how we were trying to do it. But I no longer worry, as I’ve come to realize that execution eats strategy for lunch.

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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

Turning work into a game is serious business

Gamification can help engage employees in their benefits, wellness, and other crucial areas. It’s a simple concept: When you make work fun, you can improve both productivity and employee morale.

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Mad @ Mgmt

with Walter Simson

Interim executives are in!

When you set yourself up in the holy orders of the advice-giving business, there are usually three types of engagements.

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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: 10

Legal Login

with contributors from Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek

Bridging the gap: IT contracting between large companies and small emerging companies

Large companies may find it advantageous to utilize the innovation and flexibility of a small, emerging company when outsourcing research and development (R&D) of new technology. The large company secures access to new proprietary technology, and the emerging company is able to more rapidly develop its proprietary technology. However, issues often arise when these two very different parties enter into contractual negotiations.

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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!

How search engine optimization (SEO) works in plain English

Google has one job — to provide answers to questions. You’ve heard the quote, “If it’s not written down it didn’t happen?” In this case it’s, “If it’s not written on your website, Google doesn’t know it exists.”

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The Gray Area

with Donna Gray

Manners count!

I’m a people watcher — an observer. No matter where I go, I’m learning something. I consider it “continuing education” to observe how others treat their customers/clients and vendors, no matter the field or industry.

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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

Has tech blown chance to narrow pay gap?

This was going to be a column about the pay gap between men and women, and why the real solution should be linked to convincing more young women to pursue careers in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and math. I was going to point out that if we’re going to close that gap, which is roughly 23 cents on every $1 that men make (if you believe the advocates), companies operating in STEM would have to diversify because they have the highest-paying occupations and are male dominated.

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Transportation Matters

with Craig Thompson

Leadership isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible either

Lawmakers in Wisconsin are facing their moment of truth when it comes to the transportation budget. The issue has been framed about as clearly as it can be by the media, and the lawmakers themselves.

Comments: 2

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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