Communicate, Negotiate and Delegate in a Turnaround

This week I’ll be in Jekyll Island at the Turnaround Management Southeastern Conference, where I’ll be on a panel called Titans of the Turnaround. I chuckle about being called a Titan, as I was for an article written about my book, “How Not to Hire a Guy Like Me: Lessons Learned from CEOs’ Mistakes.” I never played football for Tennessee.

But it has me thinking about the skills that I have found to be the most useful in my career in the turnaround business. These include the ability to communicate, negotiate and delegate.


I’ve written several times about the need for communication, because it doesn’t matter how smart or visionary you are, if you can’t communicate to your employees you will not be a successful leader. As Lee Iacocca said, “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”

When I am hired as interim CEO or consultant at a company in trouble, I stress the need to senior management to communicate openly and honestly about the situation. I often have to work hard to open up lines of communications with employees at all levels, as they may have become accustomed to being kept in the dark.

Some employees work night shifts and may feel particularly left out of what’s going on. At one company, I hosted a midnight barbecue and chatted with the employees as I grilled hamburgers. In addition to enjoying my superb cooking skills, they left feeling listened to and informed.

As a “Titan” I also have to communicate effectively with everyone involved with the company, including lenders, vendors and customers.


I’ve written about my need to negotiate as the Turnaround Authority, which has earned me the nickname the Monty Hall of business. Every day is a game of  “Let’s Make a Deal” for me. You cannot be successful in the turnaround field without the ability to negotiate effectively with all interested parties.

In the negotiation process, I employ communication skills while always searching for creative solutions. Because I have not been involved in the company as it began to suffer financial difficulties, I can clearly see the situation, while the CEO has often become too emotional to determine and handle what needs to be done.

I worked with one company that had lost control of its brand and entered into licensing agreements with substandard manufacturers. It was embroiled in trademark issues and meanwhile had accumulated large debts.

I was able to renegotiate licensing agreements and default substantial licenses, getting the company back on track and focusing on its fantastic design department.

To read more about negotiation, please see my previous post, “A Key Ingredient to a Successful Negotiation.”


I’ve seen it more times than I can remember in companies in crisis. A CEO who should be focusing his time and talent on getting his company back to financial health is instead working on tasks that could easily be handled by someone else. Usually it’s because he has not learned to properly delegate and let go of tasks that are not the best use of his time.

This inability to delegate is often one of the reasons the company has ended up in trouble in the first place. The CEO did not know how to let go of tasks or was micromanaging those that he had delegated.

All CEOs and business owners have to learn the art of delegation. That involves giving clear instruction on what needs to be done and when the deadline is. Another key is making sure you delegate the task to the right person.

The CEO needs to see himself as the catalyst to get the job done. He also needs to have the skills to communicate, negotiate and delegate.

Never Skew the Facts to Sell the Deal

My work as the turnaround authority has given me a front-row seat to the behavior of CEOs that led them to crises. This experience provided plenty of fodder for my book, “How Not to Hire a Guy Like Me: Lessons Learned from CEOs’ Mistakes.”

One of the mistakes CEOs make, which I covered in a white paper I wrote, is that they skew the facts to boards, creditors and constituents to “sell the deal.” Now, I often have to deal with unpleasant situations and work with companies in dire straits. But no matter how bad the situation, honesty really is the best policy. Changing the facts, or omitting crucial information to get your way is never the way to go.

Here are two stories to illustrate my point. Both these situations involved CEOs bending the facts so they could qualify for financing their companies couldn’t support.

The CEO of a hard drive manufacturer in California desperately wanted a line of credit from his bank for $60 million, so he stuffed the channel in order to make his company appear more credit worthy.

Stuffing the channel is when a manufacturer oversells product to put sales on the books, despite knowing that much of the merchandise will come back unsold. This inflates the books by overstating the top line, thereby improving the bottom line.

This strategy worked. He got the loan, but when the company repurchased the inventory on the channel within 60 days, it became out of compliance on the line of credit and the bank put the company in default.

That’s when I was brought in to salvage what I could and to hopefully restructure the company. The company survived, thanks to some hedge fund loans, but the CEO lost his job because he skewed the facts and misrepresented the true financial situation of the company.

Not bending the facts is so important that it deserves this second story. Before the technology was so ubiquitous, laser tag equipment had a very high value. A Texas-based company was seeking a large loan and claimed it had more inventory on its books than it did by adding the inventory in its Ireland-based location to the U.S. books. The auditors never verified the inventory and granted the company a far larger loan than it could handle.

When the company filed for Chapter 11, I went to the “plant” in Ireland and was not happy to discover it was just an empty lot. That inventory was just a figment of the president and CFO’s imagination and the company was now $75 million short in inventory.

I immediately went to the judge to convert the case to a Chapter 7 rather than try to bring the company through bankruptcy and be embarrassed by the fraud. The creditors ultimately sued the accounting firm and recovered millions of dollars from faulty accounting, once again highlighting the blunder of skewing facts.

Don’t manipulate data to give an unrealistic picture of your company, especially when it comes to qualifying for financing. There are reasons for the rules that prevent companies from getting loans they can’t handle, and yes, those rules do apply to you.

Top Tips for Keeping Employees Engaged

Last week in the column, “When Your Employees Hate Their Job,” I wrote about the lack of engagement among workers. In the U.S. it is estimated that only 30 percent of employees claim to be engaged at work, according to a recent Gallup survey of 5.4 million adults. I also included tips on what you could do about it that included changing vacation and sick day policies and letting employees write their own job descriptions.

This week, I’d like to share more radical approaches some companies have taken to make sure they have a more engaged work force. I will also share my top tips for re-engaging employees after a company goes through tough times.

How about paying people to quit? Yep, that’s what Amazon does. You can be paid up to $5,000 just to quit. This simple program is called Pay to Quit and that’s exactly what it is. All employees in the fulfillment centers are eligible for it.

Jeff Bezos, chief of Amazon, talked about the program in a recent article in Time magazine, “Amazon Will Pay You $5,000 to Quit Your Job.”

“Once a year, we offer to pay our associates to quit. The first year the offer is made, it’s for $2,000. Then it goes up one thousand dollars a year until it reaches $5,000,” he said.

The company doesn’t really want its employees to quit. In fact, the headline on the offer is  “Please Don’t Take This Offer.” The goal is to get rid of unmotivated employees. As Bezos said, “In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.”

The program started at Zappos and was adapted by Amazon when it purchased the online shoe retailer. The reasoning is that it costs less in the long run to get rid of employees who don’t wish to be there than keeping these unmotivated employees on the payroll.

It’s not the first such offer the employees get. After an intensive four-week training program and one week on the actual job at Zappos, employees receive “The Offer.” They will receive a $2,000 bonus in addition to pay for the amount of time they have worked if they leave. According to Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, 97 percent decline.

In my work as a turnaround authority, I have seen what can happen to companies when the employees are actively disengaged. In fact, reengaging employees is one of my greatest challenges when I take over a company. It can be almost impossible to turnaround a company when employees are unmotivated. They work slower, make more mistakes due to basic negligence and may ignore requests of their supervisors.

So how do you do get them back on board when a company is in such bad shape? By that point, it’s too late for measures like changing leave policies or paying folks to leave. They would probably exit in droves!

At that point my ability to reengage employees and turn the company around relies on two things: communication and buy-in.

I tell the story in my book “How Not to Hire a Guy Like Me” about working with an apparel manufacturer. The president had been fired and the company was undergoing a crisis of leadership. The interim president was constantly changing restructuring plans and announcing firings and closings almost daily, creating an emotional roller coast for the staff.

We had to conduct extensive meetings to earn support to proceed with our forbearance agreement and have time to hire a new president.

We had to be very open and honest about our plans with the staff. Once they learned they were an integral part of the process and were hearing the truth from us, we earned their trust. And we got buy-in from them for the path we were taking.

This kind of buy-in was contagious up and down the organization, and this spirit amongst the staff contributed immensely because people felt they were a part of the turnaround. They were committed to the company and seeing it survive. Anything I needed from them I got. I couldn’t have done it without communication and buy-in.

What to Tell Your Lender, and When

Nobody really likes to share bad news. And when that news pertains to problems with your business, you may think the last person you should share that with is your lender. Maybe you are thinking you can turn things around before your lender has to find out. You wouldn’t want them to worry, would you?

Wrong. When your business encounters difficulties, you need to be in touch with your lender even more often. Lenders hate surprises. The key to maintaining a good relationship with your lender is to keep him informed every step of the way when you are handling a financial crisis. You can never give your lender too much information.

Open communication is the best way for your lender to be an advocate for your business and help you through the situation. Remember, your banker wants you to succeed and will do what he can to help you. But he can only do that if you keep him informed.

In my book, “How Not to Hire a Guy Like Me: Lessons Learned From CEOs’ Mistakes,” I talk about the 10 C’s of Bank Relationships for CEOs. Communication is one of those C’s, and in fact, almost every one of the other C’s hinges on it. (To learn the other nine, you can buy my book!)

I worked with a company I’ll call Giant Manufacturing, which had been a booming business for decades prior to 2007. But some unprofitable long-term contracts, coupled with the broader economic decline in the United States, resulted in severe declines in cash flow.

The company did not inform the bank until it was in dire straits. As you can imagine, the bank was not happy. Because it was so surprised and caught off guard by the situation, it cut back on availability of funds for Giant Manufacturing, which gave the company even less money to operate.

Had the CEO been proactive and called the bank immediately and continued to keep them informed, he could have potentially kept the bank on his team as he worked to get the company back to profitability. But because he kept them in the dark, they no longer trusted his ability and shut down access to much-needed operating capital.

After I took over, one of my main challenges was to obtain funding. Most sources had already declined to fund the company. But after 16 months, we were able to turn around Giant Manufacturing to having a positive cash flow position and a new lender was more receptive because of the speed of the turnaround. He could trust that the company was operating in a fiscally responsible way.

But an important part of obtaining that credit was educating the new bank. Yes, we shared our successes with the turnaround, but also the challenges we faced and the ones that had led to severe decline in revenues.

Giant Manufacturing learned its lesson and maintains a healthy relationship with its bank. And like any healthy relationship, it depends on ongoing and honest communication.

Mark Twain said, “A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.”  With respect to Mr. Twain, I’d alter that quote just a bit. The banker is quite happy for you to hang onto that umbrella, just as long as you keep him informed of any storms you are encountering and allow him to work as a team member to help your business weather them.


Let’s Get Personal — About Those Guarantees

How many personal guarantees have you signed? If you are like most business owners and CEOs, you most likely have a lot more than you think. The majority of CEOs I’ve worked with have lost track long ago of personal guarantees they have signed.

If you have an American Express business card, a business loan from a bank or you process credit cards, you have made a personal guarantee. You’d be surprised where personal guarantees show up, and you may have signed some without truly understanding the consequences. Vendors, creditors, banks and landlords could all have asked for a personal guarantee.

I had a client once who told me he was setting up credit card processing for his business and the bank wanted him to sign a personal guarantee for any customer charge backs and the recovery costs for the life of the contract. He was able to negotiate with the credit card processor that he would sign a limited personal guarantee for one year. If he paid his bill on time every month, then after one year the guarantee would automatically drop off.

While this particular contract would probably not have involved a lot of money if he had complied as originally requested, it’s an example of how prevalent these guarantees are and how you may be able to negotiate better terms when asked to sign one.

Should you ever experience trouble with your business, those guarantees could spell trouble. I’ve seen way too many unfortunate consequences of business owners who did not keep track of or understand the consequences of these personal guarantees. They have lost homes, money, yachts and prize-winning horses to the person who held the strongest personal guarantee when their business failed.

One CEO thought his house was safe because it was in his wife’s name and he thought she hadn’t signed anything. But I found that she had signed a document at one point that put their house in jeopardy.

If a business is just starting out and has no credit record, then it’s customary to be asked for a personal guarantee by the bank or person who is risking their money or property. The bank has no other way of ensuring that the money will be paid back. But there is room for negotiation, as my client discovered.

All personal guarantees last forever but you can ask that the guarantee be dropped after a certain amount of on-time payments, as he did. Another option is to ask that the amount of the personal guarantee be limited to a percentage of the total amount or if you are willing to pay a higher interest rate, you could ask for the personal guarantee to be dropped altogether.

The important thing about personal guarantees is that you keep track of them and how much you have at risk. And if your business has been around for awhile and has established good credit, then you could ask to have the personal guarantee removed.


Valentine’s Day Cards Are Nice, But Here’s How to Improve Your Marriage Every Day

I had returned to my hotel room during a recent business trip to Minnesota. It had been a long, tiring day and I still had a lot of work to do. I knew I’d be up until 3 or 4 in the morning getting it done. But before I started back in, there was one thing I had to do first.

Call my wife.

We spoke for about 15 minutes about what we had done that day, and caught up on anything else that was going on. I hung up the phone and returned to my work, focused.

That phone call was the travel version of an activity that my wife, Arlene, and I engage in every night. We call it Couch Time. Each night, usually right after dinner, we sit down in our living room and spend the next 30-60 minutes discussing things like what happened that day, how the grandkids are doing, where we should go on our next vacation.

We also discuss business, and she knows the names of all my clients and the projects I am working on. Sometimes we drink a glass of wine and often hold hands.

Neither one of us is quite sure how Couch Time got started. It sort of evolved from our first date, and it’s something we have continued religiously during our seven years of marriage.

Last week we went to dinner with some friends and had a lovely time. On the way home we realized we had not had Couch Time yet, so when we returned, we settled in for our nightly discussion.

In my book, How Not to Hire a Guy Like Me: Lessons Learned from CEOs Mistakes, I discuss the 10 C’s of bank relationships for CEOs. One of these is Communication and as I note in the book, nothing is more important to a banker than communication. I’ll go out on a limb here and say communication is also the key to a successful marriage.

As Valentine’s Day approaches and people are encouraged to recognize a loved one on February 14, I thought about how a good relationship cannot be sustained just by buying expensive gifts and flowers on one day a year. It may even be a challenge with just a weekly date night. It takes daily maintenance.

I read about a recent study in an article on, “Act Like a Long-Distance Couple Even If You’re Not,” that said long-distance couples can form stronger bonds than couples who live in the same place.

“Long-distance couples try harder than geographically close couples in communicating affection and intimacy, and their efforts do pay back,” says Crystal Jiang, Ph.D., who coauthored the 2013 study, which appeared in the Journal of Communication. “People in long-distance relationships often have stronger bonds from more constant, and deeper, communication than normal relationships.”

The good news is you don’t have to move away from your loved one to form those bonds. You just need to make an effort to strengthen them by incorporating that level of communication into your daily lives.

So go ahead and celebrate Valentine’s Day with a heartfelt card, flowers and a nice dinner out. But to really keep the marriage on track all year long, you don’t need to venture farther than your couch.

CEOS Behaving Badly

Just like my many stories of fraud, there will never be any shortage of stories about CEOs behaving badly. I’ve witnessed several notable incidents myself during my career as the Turnaround Authority and include many of the more salacious ones in my book “How Not to Hire a Guy Like Me: Lessons Learned from CEOs’ Mistakes” in the section called The CEO Can’t Keep It Zipped. You can figure out what those stories are about.

It’s not just philandering that gets CEOs in trouble. The latest tale comes from the CEO of T-Mobile, whose mamma apparently neglected to inform him that you don’t go to parties to which you have not been invited. Claiming he was a fan of the band Macklemore, John Legere crashed a private concert party in Las Vegas hosted by competitor AT&T with whom he’s been engaged in a public battle after AT&T offered T-Mobile customers $200 in credit to switch. He was barely there for 20 minutes, long enough to have his photo posted on Twitter, before he was escorted out of the party.

Of course, the flashy CEO attempted to turn the event to his advantage, and milked his expulsion for everything he could on social media, making himself the talk of the International Consumer Electronics Show.

Jason Goldberg founded, an online shopping site. He took to Facebook to express his dissatisfaction with a fellow passenger on a flight from Stockholm to Newark who had the audacity to turn down his offer of $100 to switch seats with him. The other passenger’s lame excuse? He wanted to sit close to his family. “Who does that? … Grrr.” Goldberg posted, exposing both his arrogance and disdain for people who seem to care about their family members.

Tumblr founder David Karp managed to alienate his entire workforce when he attended the Cannes Lion International Festival in June. He went there to talk with advertisers, but apparently became impressed with the crowd he was addressing. “You guys are more talented than anyone in the Tumblr office or in Palo Alto or Sunnyvale. We’re constantly in awe. Constantly in service.” I doubt he got much of a welcome back party on his return.

The CEO of Barilla Pasta Company found himself in very hot water. (Sorry, couldn’t resist that one.) For some reason, Guido Barilla felt it was important to let the world know that he would never have gay people in his ads. “We won’t include gays in our ads, because we like the traditional family. If gays don’t like it, they can always eat another brand of pasta.” He later claimed he “simply wanted to highlight the central role of women in the family.”

I didn’t read much response from women, many of whom may not feel that their central role is to boil noodles, but one gay person politely responded. Aurelio Mancuso, president of Equality Italia, said, “We accept his invitation to not eat his pasta.”

Meanwhile Barilla US fought the huge PR crisis he dumped on that division by apologizing profusely on Twitter and Facebook.

CEOs who behave badly may enjoy the resulting publicity or just may not have anticipated how widely news of their antics would be spread. Whatever the reason, it’s a dangerous game. They risk alienating their customers, who may also invite themselves not to use their products or services.

It’s a good reminder that when you are a CEO or business owner and are interviewed or go on social media, you are always representing the company, not just yourself.

Discovering Fraud By Walking Around

Have a fraud story to share? Send me yours for a chance to win a copy of my book! See details below.

I’ve had a front row view of more instances of fraud than I could have imagined when I first began my career. In my work as the Turnaround Authority™, I’ve seen hundreds of millions of dollars stolen from the companies I’ve worked with. Almost half of my clients have encountered some type of fraudulent situation.

You may think that I uncover fraud by going over the books and discovering something wasn’t quite right. And in many cases that is what has happened. I have plenty of those stories, of accounting personnel setting up dummy companies and payroll accounts, and embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars.

My favorite story of uncovering fraud this way was when I sat myself down at the CFO’s computer, one I suspected of stealing. He was so organized that he had created a folder on his desktop with an entire spreadsheet detailing all the money he had stolen from the company. It’s so handy when thieves do a lot of my work for me.

But I’ve also found out about many cases of fraud from other employees in a company by employing a form of MBWA, management by walking around. Popular in the 1980s, MWBA really just means walking around and talking to people, face to face, and getting a sense of what is really going on in the office. (For more on MWBA, read my previous column about it, “Get Out of the Corner Office and Hit the Front Line.”)

In one instance of a twist on MBWA, I hosted a midnight barbecue for people working the nightshift. You could call it MBGH, management by grilling hamburgers. As I was grilling and we were all standing around chatting, the employees opened up to me and we began swapping stories. And boy, did I hear a doozy. One of the guys mentioned that he had a concern about excess inventory purchasing. Of course I made a mental note of that. Turned out to be a case of multi-million dollar fraud, which I uncovered because the employee felt comfortable chatting with me in the informal atmosphere.

I uncovered another case of fraud when I learned that a payroll clerk had returned to work the day after an appendectomy. That raised a red flag for me, as it seemed to be an extreme example of devotion to a job. After casually chatting with some other employees about her dedication, I learned they were in awe of sweet “Aunt Tess” because she had not missed a single payroll day in 25 years. Isn’t that something? Why yes it is, and that something is criminal. Aunt Tess was there every payroll day so she could handle the paychecks for the fake employees she had created, allowing her to steal up to $100,000 a year.

One of the best ways to uncover fraud in your company is to create an open door policy, a feeling of camaraderie where communication is encouraged. Generally, if fraud is occurring, someone in the company knows about it or is suspicious that something not quite right is going on. You want to encourage them to share their concerns with you so you can follow up.

I have plenty more stories about fraud and ways to prevent it in my book, “How Not to Hire a Guy Like Me: Lessons Learned from CEOs’ Mistakes.” One of the most rewarding parts of writing this book has been hearing from readers who share their stories of fraudulent activity with me.

Do you have a story of fraud? Please share it with me at I’ll print the stories here, and the best story will win a copy of my book.

Sales Were Up, Profits Were Down: What Happened?

In my last blog, “Big Sales Don’t Mean Big Profits,” I told the story of two companies I worked with that had increasing sales but declining profits. They both had problems with their product mix.

It was too late for one company — the owners didn’t want to make the investment needed to keep it running after we identified the problem so they closed it down after 30 years.

We were able to save the other company, although it shrunk from a $600 million company to a $350 million company.

What could both of these companies have done differently? What could have kept them out of this situation, which caused one of them to go out of business completely and the other to shrink to almost half its size?

Although the circumstances related to the issues with their product mixes were very different, the root cause of the problem in both cases was the same: a lack of communication.

Company A, which was a $2 million company that manufactured and distributed products, ran into trouble when their lower-profit sales to big box stores increased, pushing their margins down until they were no longer profitable. The operations and sales manager knew that the percentage of the lower profit sales to the big box companies was increasing — it went from 20% to 80% — yet no one discussed it.

The chief financial officer must have recognized the situation because the profitability of the company was severely impacted, but also didn’t raise the issue. Because no one talked about it, no one attempted to fix it. As Peter Drucker said, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge. So the situation just got worse.

With Company B, whose management assured me they did not have a problem with their product mix, we found that even though the company had spent millions on computer systems to make sure they knew exactly what their costs were, there was still a breakdown in the system.

We found that there had been a lot of turnover in one of the key positions responsible for the accuracy of the data going into the computer systems. The new people taking over were not being properly trained. So the company had been selling products based on inaccurate cost structures. Again, there was a failure in communication.

In this case, I was reminded of a quote by George Bernard Shaw, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

Communication is one of the keys to the success of any business. In my book, “How Not to Hire a Guy Like Me: Lessons Learned from CEOs’ Mistakes” I discuss the value of honest and open communication. In the case of Company A, the management of the company should have noticed the drastic change that was taking place in their product mix and discussed the situation. Together they could have determined what the effect on the business would be and taken steps to deal with the inevitable decline in profits.

As for Company B, it had a breakdown in the quality of training new staff. The duties of people in a key position were not being adequately communicated so the job was not being performed as it should have been.

Good communication at all levels of an organization can alert you to ways to improve your company while also providing early warning signs if things are starting to go wrong. Open communication will not only help steer your company through hard times, it can prevent them from occurring in the first place.

The Value of the Low-Tech Whiteboard in a High-Tech World

I had to chuckle when I saw an article last week in the Wall Street Journal, “High Tech’s Secret Weapon: The White Board.” Even though I am a fast adopter of technology, I am a major supporter of using the whiteboard in my work as the Turnaround Authority. In fact, I even devoted a whole subchapter of my book, “How Not to Hire a Guy Like Me: Lessons Learned from CEOs’ Mistakes,” to the whiteboard, touting it as one of the keys to success.

So I found it humorous to see this old-fashioned tool referred to as a secret weapon. What was even more interesting is that the article is about the company that developed the note-taking app Evernote. I use Evernote every day, making notes in my iPad that are automatically synced to my computer so I have them with me wherever I go. I can take photos and create to-do lists as well. And the best thing is that these notes are totally searchable so I never waste time tracking down information I need.

I loved learning that almost every surface of the offices of Evernote in Silicon Valley are covered with IdeaPaint, which allows the employees to write on the walls with dry-erase markers. Evernote relies on this low-tech way to engage employees in focusing on developing their high tech products. And it seems many other high tech firms do the same.

As the author, Farhad Manjoo, noted, “Whiteboards are to Silicon Valley what legal pads are to lawyers, what Excel is to accountants, and what long sleeves are to magicians.”

Here are just a few things to love about the use of a whiteboard for business.

1. Anyone can use it

We can all pick up a marker and draw on a whiteboard. I can’t say the same for the ability for everyone to master collaborative software or being able to share documents digitally.

2. It allows people to focus

I would argue that we focus better when looking at the large canvas of the whiteboard than staring at the small screen of a computer, having been conditioned since we were children by the teacher diagramming sentences and doing math problems on a large chalkboard.

3. It points out gaps in logic

One of my favorite ways to use a whiteboard is to draw timelines. I find that drawing on a whiteboard helps a group to clarify complex situations and analyze the issues involved in a particular situation.

For example, I once worked with a racetrack that took 18 months and $100 million to build, and just 30 days to run out of cash. We created a 12-month timeline to get the racetrack out of bankruptcy. It was ambitious, as we had a lot to accomplish for the company to make that goal. But by putting everything that needed to be done on the whiteboard, each person could visualize their own responsibilities and how crucial it was that they each complete their jobs on time so we could make the deadline.

4. It enables collaboration and buy-in

When people participate in the whiteboard process they can clearly visualize their roles and how they all need to work together to accomplish the set goal. And if everyone is allowed to participate and share their ideas freely, you generally achieve automatic buy-in of the steps to achieve that goal.

I’ll continue to incorporate the latest technology into my business. But I will forever be a fan of the good old whiteboard. It’s nice to know all the whiz kids in Silicon Valley agree with me.

Look for me November 10 at 4:30 at the Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. I’ll be discussing my book,  ”How Not to Hire a Guy Like Me: Lessons Learned from CEOs’ Mistakes.” The event is free and open to the public. Click here for more information.