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Recent Blogs

Leader to Leader

with Terry Siebert

Why you should spend more time working ‘on’ rather than ‘in’ your business

All too often we get wrapped up in taking care of “urgent” tasks at the expense of working on those areas that are even more important.

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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

Help Chief Koval keep folks out of jail: demand individual responsibility

I am blown away by Madison Police Chief Mike Koval and said so Monday evening at the last of his recent series of community meetings, attended by a good 100 citizens at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on Raymond Road in Meadowood.

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Taking Stock

with Nathan Brinkman

No matter what your age, your Social Security statement matters

Fifteen years ago, the Social Security Administration (SSA) created the Social Security statement, a tool to help Americans understand the features and benefits that Social Security offers. Since then, millions of Americans have reviewed their personalized statements to see a detailed record of their earnings, as well as estimates of retirement, survivor, and disability benefits based on those earnings.

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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.”

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The Web Chef's Cafe

with Paul Gibler

10 tips for using Twitter

Twitter celebrated its eighth anniversary on March 6. Since its founding as Twttr, a name based on the popular photo-sharing site Flickr, the microblogging platform has continued to evolve. Today it has more than 271 million monthly active users who spend an average of 170 minutes per month on the site. These users send out around 500 million tweets per day.

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Inside Wisconsin

with Tom Still

When does ‘right to choose’ on vaccinations hurt others?

I asked a top infectious disease expert at the National Institutes of Health the other day for his take on why some parents are choosing not to get vaccinations for their kids. His answer was simple enough: Those parents have no memory of why such vaccinations became a public health standard in the first place. They lack any firsthand knowledge of the serious, sometimes fatal, nature of the diseases in question.

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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.

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Legal Login

with contributors from Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek

Data security: Congress and courts step into the breach

In early February 2015, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield (f/n/a WellPoint Inc.), one of the nation’s largest health insurance companies, announced that a cyber-attack, possibly originating from China, exposed substantial personal data of 80 million customers, including Social Security numbers, home and email addresses, telephone numbers, medical identification numbers and income data.

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Open Mic

Send us your blog for consideration!

Market and economic update: The markets watch Greece as it attempts to tackle its debt

Politics and monetary policies remain important regarding the path of global economic activity. Last week, Greece reached an agreement with European ministers to delay the implementation of new austerity measures for four months. Greek government officials are attempting to reduce austerity measures, as per their election promises.

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Mind Your Business

with Corey Chambas

Woodworker’s credo: a business strategy?

A few years ago when we had our kitchen remodeled, we had a butcher block put in. The remodeler who did the work told me that the butcher block needed to be oiled. When I asked how often, he said something along the lines of “once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year, and then once a quarter thereafter.”

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The Gray Area

with Donna Gray

Fighting the machines: Why good customer service requires real human voices

Not too long ago, I made a phone call to our then-provider of Internet, TV, and telephone service. I don’t like making these calls because I’m not patient when it comes to the series of steps you need to go through before talking to a live human being.

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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

How did I do on my investment predictions for 2014?

It’s very easy for people to make predictions about the future, especially when they don’t look back to see how they did. At the beginning of the year, I wrote a piece titled “Potential investment themes for 2014.” Below is a recap of those themes, along with a report card on how I did.

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The Bottom Line

with contributors from Associated Bank

How to manage fiduciary responsibility as an HR professional

Growing regulatory complexity, scrutiny on compliance, and litigation cases have made it increasingly challenging to administer and manage qualified retirement plans. Additionally, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) has set forth rules to ensure the protection of plan participants’ rights. For HR managers and their organizations, falling short of these could mean corporate and personal liability.

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Transportation Matters

with Craig Thompson

We have transportation funding options; we just need to level with ourselves

The warning bells about growing debt levels in Wisconsin’s transportation fund have been sounded by commissions, legislators, the media, and stakeholder groups for several years now. That’s why it wasn’t terribly surprising that the Walker administration’s proposal to ramp up bonding in the transportation fund to $1.3 billion over the next two years went over like an osmium balloon. (Osmium is twice as dense as lead, by the way.)

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Van Lines

with Joe Vanden Plas

Now that job-hopping has lost its stigma ...

Thanks to seemingly irreversible workforce trends, job-hopping doesn’t carry the stigma it once did, and that’s a dilemma for employers who are virtually compelled to reduce the phenomenon.

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It's All About Content

with Thomas Marks

How much website content should your business create?

Just how much is enough? That’s a really good question. I’d say eat until you’re comfortable, but don’t overeat and don’t think it’s okay to stand up at the table, unbutton your Sansabelts, and get ready for round 2. But hey, I’m not a dietician; I’m a website writer and strategist.

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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.

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