Communication Lessons Learned from the Penn State Scandal

Penn State football received a monumental NCAA ruling Monday, hitting the university with $60 million in fines, taking it out of the postseason for four years and will cap scholarships at 20 for the next four years as well, below the normal limit. Once-revered coach Joe Paterno’s 14 years of winnings were also stripped away.

Despite its venerated athletic prowess, Penn State lacked a game plan for workplace communication.

Missing was a formal system for:

Direct, open, 2-way communication, where everyone feels safe to speak up and provides an opportunity for individuals to be heard
Personal accountability, where everyone feels responsible and takes responsibility for sharing timely information
Regular assessmentwhere everyone is honestly evaluated for his or her behavior to clear, consistent performance criteria.

The result is horrific.

How to Keep Learning as a Leader... on a Budget

In business, success hinges on staying current or risk falling behind.

That’s especially true for your learning process. Self-education becomes a personal requirement, as does taking on the role of a lifetime learner.

Time pressures make that a tall order – and few have the budget to partake in the executive education program at Wharton or Stanford. 

But learning can happen – and will happen – when you see everything around you as a classroom. We come in contact with situations every day that offer rich opportunities to learn and grow—without a high price tag. All you have to do is take a look around and observe.

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Restoring Your Reputation in the Court of Public Opinion

There's been a lot of reputation management lately of high-profile figures in the world of business, sports and politics. This week, Roger Clemens, one of the most decorated pitchers in MLB history, was acquitted on all charges that he lied to Congress when he denied using steroids to extend his career.

No doubt a huge legal victory for Clemens, but the court of public opinion is an entirely different beast.

Cyclist Lance Armstrong finds himself in a similar situation. The seven-time Tour de France winner is facing charges so serious that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is considering banning him from the sport.

For Clemens and Armstrong, there’s still an immense amount of damage control that needs to be done to restore the reputations they once had. Ditto for former Senator John Edwards, who last month was acquitted of one charge of campaign-finance fraud. Mistrial hasn’t cleared Edwards’ tarnished reputation.

Companies are also working overtime as well to restore their reputation luster. JPMorgan Chase is among the latest corporate casualties, thanks to a $2 billion-plus trading loss.

A withered reputation—whether personal or business—doesn’t have to be permanent. Turnaround takes time, relentless focus and rock-solid sincerity. These five steps can help get your rep back on track: 

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The Responsibility of Leaders to Tell the Truth

No one likes being lied to. It’s deceitful and disrespectful, especially when it happens on the job. But, the truth is…lying in the workplace happens.

I’ve seen it over and over again with big and small companies—and, increasingly, during challenging times. In the face of bad news, there is a tendency for leaders to soften the blow by not fully disclosing how tough business really is, how sales have dropped or how customer complaints have climbed.

Are You a Part of Your Workplace—or Apart From It?


These days it’s pretty easy to zone out at work with all the technology right at our fingertips. Earbuds have become mainstay office wear—transporting workers to their own world without leaving their cubicles.

A frustrated colleague of mine said her co-workers not only wear headphones all day, but also use instant messaging for information exchanges with co-workers sitting just a few feet away.

Cones of silence have stunted real conversations.

Commenting about this phenomenon in a recent Harvard Business Review article, "Workers, Take Off Your Headphones," author Anne Kreamer noted, “If an employee is glued to her desk with headphones on, immersed in music and G-chatting with her best buddy, she is missing the opportunity to create relationships with people on the job.”

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the power of technology. But I believe even more in the power of direct conversations to fuel relationships and results in the workplace.

Last week in a commencement address at Boston University, Google CEO Eric Schmidt advised graduates to unplug for one hour a day. “Engage with the world around you… feel… and taste… and smell… and hug what’s there, right in front of you – not what’s a click away,” he said.

If you know more about the playlist on your favorite Pandora station than the to-do-list for your work team’s latest project, then you’ve got a problem and need to recalculate. Here are some tips to help you unplug from technology and tune in to your team:"

Assess yourself. How cemented are your earbuds to your ears or your keyboard to your fingertips? Always? Most of the time? Some of the time?  Rarely? What’s your plugged-in rating? Assess your work practices and calculate the time you really spend “plugged-in” to you own private island. If you’re treading in the high-use zone, breaking free will be a tougher task than if you are an occasional user. Get started on your assessment with this quick poll.

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How to Make Yourself Memorable in a Distracted Workplace

This time of the year, the media is on overflow with advice columns for college grads about standing out from the pack during job searches and interviews. And for good reason, an estimated 1.7 million U.S. college graduates are readying to enter the job market.

That’s even more competition for getting attention in a workplace that is increasingly distracted. Standing out and being memorable is far from a requirement for tassel-turners. It’s the challenge-du-jour for seasoned workers, regardless of level or industry.

Being memorable makes things happen—for you and your workplace. People who captivate others’ attention and keep them thinking about them create a connection. That connection leads to dividends—a phone message from a traveling colleague that gets promptly returned, for example. An accepted lunch invitation from a busy client, or full participation at a team meeting that you are leading.

Nobody wants to be forgotten. But it takes work to register positively on others’ radar screens. Here are seven tips to help make you simply unforgettable:

No. 1: Have a face. If you can’t be there face-to-face for an interview, use virtual and social media to convey who YOU are through a photograph, Skype or LinkedIn entry. We live in a very visual world. Seeing someone helps create a memory and a lasting impression.

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Get Rid of Stale Survey Data With Instant Insight ™



What’s keeping your workforce from giving their best?

You  can’t afford to wait 12 months for an employee survey to tell you. Rapidly  gauge the attitude and actions of your organization with Dulye & Co.'s Instant  Insight™.

This unique measurement program goes beyond any survey  software by delivering hard results, simple analysis and actionable approaches  for improving performance lags.  No  lost time on cumbersome analytics, demographic sorts and statistical reviews.

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Engage Employees to Give Their Best

Employee engagement looms large as a challenge facing all organizations, big or small. For the past two years, “keeping employees engaged” was rated as the most significant workplace challenge by nearly 800 global business leaders in a major industry study.

Now, as the job market and economy rebound, concerns are growing not only about engaging employees to give their best, but retaining those employees that you spent time engaging. So, with all of this in mind, I lead a webinar this week on “How to Engage Employees to Give Their Best,” – and it really struck a nerve.
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Engage Employees to Give Their Best

Thank you to everyone who attended the Engage Employees to Give Their Best webinar!

We would like to provide you with a complimentary consulting session on creating a Specator-Free Workplace where employees will go above and beyond. If you are interested in the complimentary session, or have any questions about the topics covered in the webinar, please contact Roger Gibboni at / 845-987-7744.

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Don’t Go Down Like the Titanic in Your Next Job Interview



Over the last few years, many have compared the U.S. economy to the Titanic – headed straight for an iceberg – and ultimately disaster. But despite all of the ups and downs, business leaders remain optimistic about the economic prospects in the year ahead.
In a new survey by Chase Commercial Banking, more than half of the senior financial decision makers polled at 1,000 U.S. companies said they plan to hire more workers.
Great news for current or soon-to-be job hunters. But are you ready for the big interview?