Contributed Blogs

Candid feedback saves a life

imo-blogDuring a recent meeting, contributing columnist Tom Cox noticed one attendee — an older, overweight guy — was speaking more “thickly” than usual. "It reminded me of some early stroke symptoms I’d read about. I had to decide — do I say anything? What do I say? How do I say it in a way most likely to encourage the desired behavior? And what if I’m wrong?"

CEO Scott Schroeder discusses outsourcing

imo-blogVested outsourcing is a topic you likely have not heard much about yet. It is an innovative approach to improving the outcome and effectiveness between companies and their suppliers. It is particularly important to companies that make things themselves or currently outsource production off-shore. Contributing writer Jerry Saveriano discusses vested outsourcing with Scott Schroeder, president and CEO of Mega Tech of Oregon, in a two-part interview series.

Bad praise worse than none at all

imo-blogEffective praise is one of those leadership skills that seems to come in only two varieties — there's the natural and highly effective praise of the "born leader," and then there's the unnatural and highly ineffective praise of people who haven't yet learned how.

The logic of cutting payroll taxes

imo-blogPayroll taxes are by no means the only thing that stops people from working, but one of President Obama’s payroll tax cut proposals could nonetheless create a million or more jobs, according to economics professor Casey B. Mulligan.

Making pay-for-performance plans pay off

imo-blogPay for performance systems are easy to get wrong — encouraging the wrong behaviors while creating uncertainty and resentment. Here are four steps to getting them right, developed with the input of turnaround CEO Bob Papes.

The customer is always right — and talkative

imo-blogCustomer’s expectations are at an all-time high and for a lot of people and a lot of companies, it is frightening.  For years businesses have been able to get by treating people mediocre and still making the deal.  They were able to hold a high gross profit all while having a low customer satisfaction number.  Well not anymore.

Create trust with the humble job description

imo-blogThe CEO should be first in line to push for accurate, public job descriptions. When a team member is doing exactly what she should do, and everyone can tell she’s exceeding expectations, and then she gets promoted, that promotion creates a sense of satisfaction for everyone.

The danger of structural unemployment

imo-blogPoliticians are going to great lengths to avoid talking about the real effect of structural unemployment that we are now facing. This oblivious attitude, this constant pointing to the sliver of sunlight on dark and dreary days, is not only wishful thinking but destructive.

Flailing newspaper economy takes experience down with it

imo-blogOSU economist Patrick Emerson bemoans the "children's crusade" at the Oregonian newspaper, and the failing newspaper economy that has pushed the state's largest daily into hiring cheaper, younger reporters while letting veterans go.