Monday Mornings with Madison

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The Halo Effect in Business and Brands, Part 1

Never judge a book by its cover. That bit of wisdom cautions not to prejudge based on superficial or unrelated factors. This adage is a warning against the “Halo Effect,” a type of cognitive bias in which one person’s overall impression of a person, place or thing is influenced by assumptions based on unrelated, concrete information. For example, a good looking or nice person is more likely to be hired and promoted because it is often assumed that an attractive or likeable person is also intelligent and capable. So how does the Halo Effect affect business and brands? Continue reading

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Prepared to Do the Job

Fact: Most employees need training. Training ensures new hires get oriented and existing staff stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest tools, techniques, systems and skills. But, training takes time and eats into productivity. For many managers, the act of “teaching” employees feels wasteful. Leaders often feel that employees paid to do a job should already know how to do the job, or worry that money invested in training leaves when an employee leaves. So just how much should companies invest in training so employees are prepared to do the job? Continue reading

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Workplace Communication– Part 2

There is a lot of talking done at work. But all talk is not created equal. Some conversations are critical for success and take time. Some chats are casual and should be limited. And some discussions go nowhere and should not happen at all. So how does a manager determine which conversations are beneficial, which are pointless blather and which are beneficial to get everyone working on productive tasks? And, how does a leader get employees to work more and waste less time talking? Continue reading

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Workplace Communication– Part 1

Business professionals spend a lot of time talking. Interviews. Collaboration. Coordination. Teamwork. Sales. Experts advise. Strategizing. Planning. Goal setting. Indeed, clear communication is arguably one of the most valuable workplace skills. But, while clear communication is an integral part of most any business, can there be such a thing as too much talk? Who’s doing the talking and is it valuable? How does a manager determine which conversations are beneficial, eliminate idle blather and get everyone working on productive tasks? Here’s the natter on workplace chatter. Continue reading

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Broken Promises: When a Brand Fails to Deliver on its Commitments

Every company makes promises to its customers. Those promises are communicated both verbally and in writing through the company’s website or app, brochures, ads, employee conversations, signage, mission statements, corporate filings, and a myriad of other actions and representations. Brand promises are also communicated through professional oaths and written contracts. These promises are sometimes legally-binding, but they are always socially binding. People expect companies to live up to their promises. So what happens if a company repeatedly – or worse, routinely — fails to live up to one or more of your brand promises? Continue reading

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Analysis Paralysis: When Decision-Making Gets Stuck and How to Get Unstuck

Every day, a child makes about 3,000 decisions and an adult makes about 35,000 decisions. Most are ‘remotely conscious’ decisions about insignificant things. But some decisions really matter. As a person’s level of responsibility rises, so does the weight and volume of decisions. In business, leaders and managers must be able to assess a situation and make a sound decision quickly. But most everyone has situations where they get stuck and can’t decide due to overthinking. That’s analysis paralysis and it is quicksand for decision-making. Here’s why it happens and what to do to get “unstuck.” Continue reading

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Why Resolutions Fail 90% of the Time, Part 2

2019 has begun and resolutions are rampant. Did you resolve to do better and be better? And how many of those resolutions have already been discarded, swept away with the confetti? Resolutions often fail because people try to go it alone, set too many precursors to starting, or create goals that are too lofty and/or expensive. Those are common mistakes but there are other obstacles as well. Don’t let these common mistakes trip up your goals for 2019! Continue reading

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Why Resolutions Fail 90% of the Time, Part 1

It’s that time again. As the fiscal year ends, people think about what they want to improve in 2019. It’s a smorgasbord of good intentions. There is desire do better… turn over a new leaf… wipe the slate clean. Resolutions abound. Lists are made. In fact, drafting a list of resolutions is so ingrained in U.S. culture that even the government has a list of the top resolutions and provides resources for achieving them. Yet, in no time at all, 90% of all resolutions are discarded or forgotten. Why? Understanding why resolutions fail might help you keep yours. Continue reading

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When Failure Is and Is Not Okay

All failures are not created equal. It’s one thing for an employee to try a new idea, process or project and, on occasion, get it wrong. It’s another for an employee to regularly get tasks wrong due to inability or ineptitude. It’s the difference between innovation failure and incompetence failure. When is ‘getting it wrong’ okay and when is it cause for dismissal? How can managers tell the difference? And how should they manage for that? Continue reading

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The Highest and Best Use of Your Team, Part 2

People are an organization’s single greatest asset and resource. Every leader should know and leverage the most valuable skills of each employee they manage. A key part of translating those abilities into action for the success of the organization depends on the employee’s ongoing growth and level of engagement. Not only should tasks that each employee performs for a company involve the most valuable skills they possess, managers are responsible to help employees flourish and manage the factors that influence individual and team performance. So what are the factors that affect performance and maximize utility? Continue reading

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