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Recent Blogs

Leader to Leader

with Terry Siebert

Leaders, get to know your people!

It never ceases to amaze me when people in leadership roles tell me how unimportant it is to get to know their team members on a personal level. The usual comment is something like, “This is work, they’re getting paid to do a job — why should I care about their personal lives?” To answer this question, I will start with an example and then outline an effective way to connect with each person on your team, one by one.

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Forward HR

with Diane Hamilton and Nilesh Patel

3 keys to building credibility as a leader

We hear a lot about credibility these days, particularly as it relates to our elected officials. It has even surfaced as we evaluate the results of our sporting events (e.g., deflated footballs, blown calls). Credibility is the quality of being believable or worthy of trust. As a leader, it allows your employees to put their faith in you to make good decisions, communicate with transparency, and be a reliable source of information.

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Blaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Madison liberals will protest the city they have created and governed

Who knew? Madison — a city governed by liberals, progressives, and socialists for the past 40 years — does not have enough regulations to contain the bloodlust of its police! At least, so those self-same rulers say.

Comments: 32

Taking Stock

with Nathan Brinkman

Points to consider if your retirement goal seems out of reach

Each year in its annual Retirement Confidence Survey, the Employee Benefit Research Institute reiterates that goal-setting is a key factor influencing overall retirement confidence. But for many, a retirement savings goal that could reach $1 million or more may seem like a daunting, even impossible, mountain to climb.

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Mad @ Mgmt

with Walter Simson

On Wisconsin education: why politics and restructuring are bad bedfellows

Wisconsin has always seemed to have an influence in this big wide world larger than its population of 5.7 million would suggest. Part of that influence arises from the audacious mission of the University of Wisconsin, which includes the directive “to serve and stimulate society.”

Comments: 1

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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Inside Wisconsin

with Tom Still

American Family helping set standard for ‘big company’ role in emerging economy

From the outside, American Family Insurance might strike observers as a buttoned-down, old-line company operating in a traditional business market. Beneath that blue-chip exterior beats the heart of a corporate entrepreneur.

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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: 7

Legal Login

with contributors from Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek

Why you need cyber insurance

The adage used to be “nothing is certain in life but death and taxes,” but thanks to the efforts of innovative hackers across the globe, that can now be changed to “death, taxes, and security breaches.” To paraphrase Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill, there are two types of companies out there, those that know they’ve been hacked and those that haven’t yet learned about it.

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Open Mic

Send us your blog for consideration!

Market and economic update: Fed meeting takes place amid a backdrop of softer U.S. economic data

The Fed appears to remain on a path to the end of its zero-interest-rate policy, despite softer U.S. economic data. The key drivers appear to remain employment and inflation data.

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Mind Your Business

with Corey Chambas

Evil Email: Go old school to communicate more effectively

You may get the impression from the title that I hate email. Actually, it’s a love/hate relationship. One thing that I get frustrated by, as I’m sure you do, is the sheer volume of email that I receive at work. If I’m not keeping up throughout the day, I’ll have about 75 to 100 emails — and I’m pretty diligent about unsubscribing and blocking senders, so there’s another 25-plus in my spam!

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The Gray Area

with Donna Gray

How to find and hire great employees

We were in hiring mode last month, and I wanted to make sure we found the right person for the job, so when I attended a recent luncheon I asked some business friends where and how they found their most impressive team members.

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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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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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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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Financial Perspectives

with Michael Dubis, CFP

The long-term case for emerging markets

I received this question recently: “Remind me again: why are emerging markets in my portfolio?” A good question. Emerging markets aren’t doing very well lately compared to the U.S. and many other developed markets; it makes sense to wonder why we would want to be invested in them.

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The Bottom Line

with contributors from Associated Bank

5 tips for developing effective leaders

A winning team rarely comes together spontaneously. It takes hard work, discipline, and effective team leadership. More specifically, an effective leader takes responsibility for ensuring that each individual within the team is in a position to be a contributing member, that collaborative team dynamics are supported, and that the overall business unit achieves results.

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Transportation Matters

with Craig Thompson

Madison and D.C. not so different on transportation policy, unfortunately

The U.S. Capitol building and the Wisconsin State Capitol look very similar. The State Capitol is 284 feet, 5 inches tall from the ground floor to the top of the statue on the dome, making it 3 feet shorter than the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

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Van Lines

with Joe Vanden Plas

Don't kill the American energy advantage

The nation’s energy renaissance arrived just in time, but for some strange reason, some elected officials are trying to undermine it. Thanks to recent breakthroughs in drilling technology, we have emerged as the world’s top producer of natural gas, and our ability to locate and extract shale oil makes OPEC very nervous.

Comments: 1

It's All About Content

with Thomas Marks

How to make your website a sales machine

David Ogilvy was a legendary adman and salesman who cut his teeth selling stoves door to door. Decades ago, Ogilvy said, “The worst fault a salesman can commit is to be a bore. Foster any attempt to talk about other things; the longer you stay, the better you get to know the prospect, and the more you will be trusted.”

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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

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