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Recent Blogs

Leader to Leader

with Terry Siebert

How to use praise and encouragement to improve employee performance

As I am sure many of you know, there often comes a time in a career when a person is having difficulty hitting his or her required targets. Or worse yet, he or she is put on a performance improvement plan (PIP). This is certainly not a situation anyone wants to be in. However, it does happen. After repeated warnings, coaching, and follow-up, the individual is just not performing up to the required standards.

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Forward HR

with Diane Hamilton and Nilesh Patel

Will more federal laws be tested in wake of Hobby Lobby decision?

Somewhere, Mitt Romney is feeling vindicated. The former presidential candidate drew much ire and ridicule for saying “corporations are people.” That sentiment did not help Romney on the election trail. However, it was recently memorialized in the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.

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Blaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Should free-market capitalists enjoy the appearance of free speech?

If you really want to understand the yin and yang of campaign finance law, hire a $300/hour attorney specializing in the field. If you can settle for the gist, one need only understand that the voluminous laws and regulations amount simply to this: avoiding the “appearance of corruption.”

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Taking Stock

with Nathan Brinkman

4 common retirement myths (and realities)

We all have some preconceived notions about what retirement will be like. But how do those notions compare with the reality of retirement? Here are four common retirement myths to consider.

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Mad @ Mgmt

with Walter Simson

Top Mech: Why can’t the trades become as popular as the culinary arts?

When I was young I got a summer job at a French country restaurant in New England. The idea was to live at the restaurant in an effort to make big bucks and sharpen my French. The days were incredibly long. Breakfast at 7, serve coffee and pastry to the owner and the chef for their working meeting at 8, vacuum the dining room at 9, fold napkins and polish silver at 10. Lunch service from 11:30 to 3. Our dinner of leftovers at 4:30, followed by more folding, polishing, and vacuuming.

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The Web Chef's Cafe

with Paul Gibler

How to use the growing power of Instagram to boost your business

Instagram is among the fastest-growing social sharing platforms, with more than 200 million users, 1.6 billion daily likes, and more than 60 million photos posted per day. Instagram is a mobile photo and video-sharing platform that was launched in 2010 and was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012.

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Inside Wisconsin

with Tom Still

Campaign for governor may hinge on new answers to old question

A generation ago, presidential candidate Ronald Reagan may have sealed his victory over incumbent Jimmy Carter with this question posed during a televised debate: “Next Tuesday all of you will go to the polls, will stand there in the polling place and make a decision. I think when you make that decision, it might be well if you would ask yourself: Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

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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

Estate planning for copyrights in the digital-media era

As digital media evolves, owners of copyrighted material are discovering new avenues to disseminate and monetize their property. More and more, copyright owners are increasing the value of their intellectual property by distributing their material via smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and other next-generation devices.

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Open Mic

Send us your blog for consideration!

Market and economic update: Fed dominated last week’s economic data

Federal Reserve news dominated economic data last week. The minutes of the July Federal Open Market Committee meeting seemed to indicate the Fed believes the economy and labor markets are consistently improving and rates may be allowed to rise sooner rather than later.

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Mind Your Business

with Corey Chambas

Work like a dog

From the headline, you probably thought this blog was going to be about how if you work really hard you’ll get ahead and succeed. While that’s true, that’s not where I’m going. I’m thinking more about how you can succeed at work, and life in general, if you mimic the lovable traits of man’s best friend.

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The Gray Area

with Donna Gray

How to make friends … and get business

This past week I was in networking mode, with something on the calendar almost every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even with today’s emphasis on social media marketing, many of my business friends feel that in-person networking events still help pave the way to business deals.

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Smart Sustainable Biz

with Jessie Lerner

How to make a profit while making a difference

How do you solve society’s most vexing environmental and social issues while becoming more profitable at the same time? Collaboration. Sound too hard? Shift your frame of reference in order to view communities as partners, not just resources. Shift your frame of reference and treat employees and customers as multifaceted humans, not just as worker bees and consumers.

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Small Business, Big Ideas

with Jean Willard

IRS helps cover the costs of looking after kiddos ... even in the summer

Most working parents are well aware that they get a tax break to help cover the costs of sending their children to day care during the school year. What they might not realize is that now with their children in alternative care for the summer, some of those tax advantages continue to be available.

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Left Business Brain

with Tom Breuer

Eliminate state treasurer? Sure. While we’re at it, let’s ax these pointless jobs

You won’t get five paragraphs into Friday’s Wisconsin State Journal staff editorial without guffawing like a ’shrooming Arizona octogenarian at a Carrot Top concert.

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Financial Perspectives

with Michael Dubis, CFP

Can cash really be an ‘investment’?

Cash or cash equivalents like money markets or savings accounts are occasionally considered money “not doing anything” for you. And I don’t blame folks for thinking this way, given that yields on cash are essentially 0% to maybe 0.75% (judging by a cursory review of FDIC options via various online banks).

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The Bottom Line

with contributors from Associated Bank

How to use voluntary benefits to retain and recruit talented employees

Employee retention continues to be a top concern for employers, even more so than last year, according to a Pay Scale survey of more than 4,000 executives and human resources professionals. In 2014, a staggering 59% of employers were more concerned about retaining talent than anything else. Five years ago, only half of those employers said retention was their number one concern.

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Transportation Matters

with Craig Thompson

One issue we can (almost) all agree on this November

This November we will have the opportunity to vote on more than just candidates for federal, state, and local races. We will be asked to vote on a constitutional amendment that would require that gas tax and vehicle registration fee dollars remain in the transportation fund to be used to pay for the transportation system we use every day.

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Van Lines

with Joe Vanden Plas

Goyke all aboard MAD-CHI train service

When you’re a lawmaker turned lobbyist, it helps to have a passion for the things you lobby for. Gary Goyke has a passion for trains. While the prospective Madison-to-Chicago train service has many advocates, Goyke, 67, might well be the driving force behind it. He recently invited fellow travelers to get a sneak preview of the service as part of an Iowa Pacific excursion ride to Prairie du Chien, and I’d say he created a few rail romantics.

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It's All About Content

with Thomas Marks

Why content marketing is absolutely crucial for your business

Let’s get real. Content marketing isn’t anything that my generation initiated, or the greatest generation of all before me, or several generations before them. In fact, men living in London in 1731 were content-marketed by a chap named Edward Cave — no doubt the originator of the man-Cave.

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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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