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Affirmatively Defenseless: Avoiding Workplace Blowouts

Ask senior executives to assess the risk in a business matter and many will turn first to their lawyers for guidance. They’ll seek a legal opinion on topics ranging from employment decisions, to work practices, to product development, to financial transactions to manufacturing processes. In our litigious society where legal costs and damages can be crippling, this makes sense.  Skilled lawyers can quickly identify legal

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Announcing a New Contest: Best Places to Get Work Done

Do a quick Google search for “Best Places to Work,” and you’ll turn up an astonishing 92 million results, including Fortune Magazine’s Top 100 Employers, Working Mother 100 Best Companies, and Best Places to Work in Federal Government.  Scroll down and you’ll see a best companies list for just about every major city in America. For the organizations lucky enough to find a highly coveted

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Values Trump Laws for Risk Management

Legal protections and the threat of financial damages clearly were not enough to prevent the recent catastrophic explosions on the BP deep-sea rig and in Massey Coal’s doomed mine. Initially, the penalties imposed on BP were said to be limited to $75 million, a pittance compared to the vast wealth of sea-bottom treasure anticipated by successful drilling. In the case of Massey Coal, the company successfully

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How Do We Keep Civil Treatment Alive After Our Training?

Two ELI clients recently asked me, “What does your company offer to refresh the Civil Treatment® learning we’ve just done?” or “What workplace ethics and compliance training should we provide next?” In some cases, these questions are prompted by new regulatory initiatives such as the Department of Labor’s new Plan/Prevent/Protect compliance strategy. For these clients, the immediate solution may be Wage & Hour-FLSA training. For other HR executives, the more

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Banish Soft Skills At Work

We need to banish soft skills at work. I’m not talking about the concept but the term. It’s misleading and counterproductive, making the underlying skills sound as if they are pointless, wasteful frills. Yet, any respected leader will tell you it’s the “soft skills” that distinguish effective leaders from outstanding operational producers or, at the management level, distrusted tyrants. Check any of the online dictionaries, and

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Shakespeare on Values, Accountability and Leadership

I just read and watched William Shakespeare’s history play, Henry V. The story tells how Henry V led his Army through France in 1415, defeating a much larger force at Agincourt. Written in 1599, Shakespeare did not use the terms accountability, leadership or values; yet we can learn a lot about them from his drama. The good news is that Henry V’s accomplishments — without

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