Monday Morning Notes

Restoration and Cleaning Business Consultant Chuck Violand offers a free weekly email series titled Monday Morning Notes that currently goes out to over 1,500 owners and professionals in the restoration and cleaning small businesses. Every other week Chuck writes a small essay on a topic related to growing your restoration or cleaning business through developing your professional abilities that is entertaining, informative, and relates directly to challenges you face every day. On the weeks in between the essays, he provides an inspirational quote from a variety of sources designed to inspire you for the week ahead. To sign up to receive the Monday Morning Notes series each week, click here. If there is a particular Monday Morning Note from years past that is not listed below but you would like us to email you a copy of it, click here and let us know the topic in the message box.


Exposed, Part I (5.18.20)

In a recent video, I spoke about how the coronavirus pandemic is a balance of opposites: loss vs. renewal; darkness vs. light; threats vs. opportunities. While it’s important for us to pay attention to the threats posed to us and our businesses, I prefer to explore the abundance of opportunities it also presents.


Play Ball (5.04.20)

With all the emphasis on the coronavirus pandemic, it’s easy to overlook other things in daily life, like the start of the Major League Baseball season. Opening Day was supposed to happen over a month ago, on March 26. Then an unwelcome guest, COVID-19, decided to show up and crash the party. Still, I think there are some lessons we can take from baseball that are relevant to our coronavirus world.


Never Give In, Part II (4.20.20)

Things were looking pretty grim for the people of Britain on the day Winston Churchill gave his speech at Harrow School. The outcome of the war was anything but certain. If something didn’t change soon, it appeared all of Britain would be speaking German before much longer. Yet there stood Sir Winston before a group of school boys with the unshakable conviction that the path he was on was the right one and that in the end he and Britain would prevail.


Never Give In, Part I (4.6.20)

The Second World War was still gaining momentum when Sir Winston Churchill spoke at the Harrow School in London. It was October 29, 1941. The horrific Nazi carpet bombing known as the Battle of Britain had ended just months earlier and the United States wouldn’t officially enter the war in support of Britain until December of that year. Yet there stood Churchill in the face of overwhelming adversity admonishing the students to “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”


Keep Breathing (3.23.20)

Uncertain times like we’re experiencing with the coronavirus outbreak can cause any of us to be concerned about the physical and financial well-being of ourselves and our loved ones. Let’s not kid ourselves. What we’re dealing with is serious stuff—not just from a health and safety perspective for our customers, our employees, and ourselves, but also from a financial perspective. It’s easy for people to feel worried and anxious.


Cardboard Boxes (3.9.20)

Shortly after our oldest child’s first Christmas, my wife and I decided to invest in an artificial Christmas tree. We didn’t have much money at the time, but we felt that investing in a good, sturdy tree that would last and save us money in the long run over buying live trees was a good idea. Thirty-five years later, I think we’ve come out on top, and the tree continues to hold its natural looking beauty as we use it each year.


Gratitude, Part II (2.24.20)

In addition to the obvious benefits that expressing gratitude brings not only to the recipient but also to the sender, there are more subtle benefits that can contribute to business success as well. Here are just a few.


Gratitude, Part I (2.10.20)

Most of us learn at an early age that it’s polite to thank others for the kindnesses they extend to us. The process of saying “please” and “thank you” becomes routine. And while gratitude is always a good thing, I think it’s important that we regularly remind ourselves of the impact that expressing gratitude can have on the people around us.


Ask Two Questions (1.27.20)

The route to outstanding leadership doesn’t always go through elevated titles or C-suite boardrooms. Instead, it travels a path anyone can navigate. And it doesn’t matter what position a person occupies within an organization; everyone can practice it.


Internal Work, Part II (1.13.20)

If we expect the strategic plan we write for our business to succeed, we must accept responsibility for the changes that may need to take place within us as the owner and principal author of the plan.


Internal Work, Part I (12.30.19)

As part of the Strategies for Success program I’ve done through Jon-Don for years, I walk the class through a thumbnail visioning exercise and ask them to paint a word picture of how they want their businesses to look in five years.

Ken’s Advice (12.16.19)

A short while ago, I was listening to the podcast of an interview Tim Ferriss did with Ken Burns, a highly acclaimed American documentary filmmaker. In the interview, Ken talked about the three things he uses to keep himself centered and to help him through difficult times. Naturally, I immediately thought about business owners; how we struggle through difficult times but how we just as frequently enjoy successful times.

Three Qualities, Part III (12.2.19)

The third quality that we have found leads to a company’s success, and one that is also critical to maintaining profitable growth, is perseverance. Having the focus to establish a handful of business priorities and the discipline to avoid the always-present distractions is a good start. But persevering through the physical, emotional, and financial trials and setbacks is what will elevate your company above the rest.

Three Qualities, Part II (11.18.19)

Two of the three qualities that we have found lead to a company’s success work hand-in-hand, yet they’re significantly different.

Three Qualities, Part I (11.4.19)

One of the favorite parts of my work at Violand Management is when I’m able to conduct our new client onboarding webinar. This is usually the first conference we have with new clients. It’s where we welcome them into our company and acquaint them with how we’ll be working together.

Loafing (10.21.19)

In the late 1800’s, a French agricultural engineer named Max Ringelmann conducted experiments to determine if people pulling on a rope pulled as hard when they pulled as a group as they did when pulling individually. To his surprise, he discovered that people pulling individually actually pulled harder than when they pulled as a group.

Flying Coach (10.7.19)

Our local newspaper recently had an article about Holly Branson flying economy on a Virgin Airline flight with her three kids in tow. What made this story newsworthy is that Holly is the daughter of billionaire Richard Branson.

Island Vacations (9.23.19)

After being invited to attend a business conference in Australia awhile back, my wife and I took the opportunity to extend our stay and spend a little time exploring.

Competing Too Much (9.9.19)

If you’re like most business owners you’re probably hardwired to be competitive and to want to be right. Many of us have been socialized this way most of our lives, starting from when we were kids.

Enlarged Hearts (8.26.19)

Being told by a doctor that you have an enlarged heart is not great news, and the consequences can be severe, despite the symptoms not always being easy to detect.

Business Lessons From The Dinner Table, Part V (8.12.19)

Lessons 7 and Conclusion

Business Lessons From The Dinner Table, Part IV (7.29.19)

Lessons 5 and 6

Business Lessons From The Dinner Table, Part III (7.15.19)

Lessons 3 and 4

Business Lessons From The Dinner Table, Part II (7.1.19)

Lessons 1 and 2

Business Lessons From The Dinner Table, Part I (6.17.19)

My wife was the first to acquaint me with the concept of business management fads that seem to permeate businesses, especially big businesses. She was a senior pricing analyst with one of the nation’s largest freight carriers, headquartered in Akron, Ohio. We were young, but she had already grown weary of the “theory du jour” (to use her words) that would be run up the company flagpole as the next best thing.

Kinds In The Back Seat (6.3.19)

Anybody who’s owned a business for any length of time has experienced periods when their job as CEO felt more like a parent driving a car with unruly kids in the backseat than it did the enlightened leader of a growing business. And, although the wisdom contained in the parenting phrases we heard as kids in the back seat―or have found ourselves repeating to our own kids from the front seat―can be good advice at times, does it also apply to business? When you’re a parent, the kids can’t get out of the moving car and find another family to join. Employees can, and it’s usually pretty costly when they do, so we need to be sure our wisdom is sound. Let’s look at a few phrases.

When Leaders Wear Work Boots (5.20.19)

Working with client companies in my role at Violand Management includes the opportunity to work on various projects with operations staff members. Recently, near the end of a meeting, I asked a project manager how he knew he was being successful at his job. This is a question I frequently ask, as it helps me to understand what success looks like in the eyes of the people I’m working with. And understanding this allows me to ensure that we are working toward a common goal. The response I received honestly shocked me.

Hardball, Part II (5.6.19)

In the current job market, highly talented job seekers can afford to be selective about the companies they consider, making it more important than ever for small businesses to correct internal deficiencies before recruiting new hires. Below are more hardball questions you may want to ask yourself to ensure your company is in the best shape possible to attract the best candidates.

Hardball, Part I (4.22.19)

With record low unemployment causing intense competition for talented people at every level in business, from frontline workers to senior managers, it’s more important than ever to view the recruiting process in a different light. This is especially true for small businesses that have to compete within the same pool of candidates as well-funded, multi-national companies.

B-School 101, Part II (4.8.19)

When the professor stated that trust was the most important factor that leads to business success, he couldn’t help but notice the confusion on some of his students’ faces. He figured a good place to explain his reasoning was to show how trust was at the heart of each of the answers they had given when confronted with the question.

B-School 101, Part I (3.25.19)

The students sat, eagerly waiting for their professor to start the day’s class. This was a required course for their graduate program, so most were giving him their full attention.

Photographic Memory (3.11.19)

In 1880, a young banker invented dry plates, an early product used in the development of photographic images. Over the next four years, after leaving the bank to work full time on his business, changing the name of the company to the Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company, buying the patents for roll film, and registering the name Kodak, George Eastman’s company was off and running.

Changing Perspective (2.25.19)

A while back, I was talking with Jim, a friend of mine who had just finished writing his second book. He shared that this one had been completed in a fraction of the time it had taken to write his first book—one that had been difficult for him to write.While attending a conference several years ago, I listened to a speaker offer interesting explanations of various types of leadership. While his talk was directed toward non-profits, he could just as easily have been speaking to small business owners.

Voluntary Leadership (2.11.19)

While attending a conference several years ago, I listened to a speaker offer interesting explanations of various types of leadership. While his talk was directed toward non-profits, he could just as easily have been speaking to small business owners.

Bellyaching (1.28.19)

The subject of company culture has gotten lots of attention in recent years, for good reason. Research points out the connection between a healthy company culture and its financial performance. Companies with healthy cultures also seem to be more fun places to work. As a business advisor, I can tell you they’re a lot more fun to work with.

The Three Cs, Part V – Comfort (1.14.19)

Of the three Cs, perhaps the leading determinant of a company’s ultimate size is the owner’s level of Comfort with his personal security, lifestyle, and business.


The Three Cs, Part IV – Confidence (12.31.18)

Having the Competence to drive a business forward is one thing. As discussed in Parts II and III of this series, a business leader can develop both the Emotional and Technical Competence needed to grow a successful larger business.

The Three Cs, Part III – Technical Competence (12.17.18)

As explained in Part III of this series, an owner’s Competence can be divided into two broad categories: Emotional Competence and Technical Competence.

The Three Cs, Part II – Emotional Competence (12.3.18)

A good place to start discussing the three Cs is with the easiest of them to address: the owner’s Competence to grow their business. And while it’s the easiest of the three, it isn’t necessarily easy.

The Three Cs, Part I (11.19.18)

With as much media coverage as the stock market gets, it’s hard to imagine that there are fewer than 4000 companies whose stocks are actively traded on it. There are another 15,000 whose stocks are traded over the counter, but not on the New York Stock Exchange. In total, this makes fewer than 20,000 publicly traded companies in the U.S.

Centerboards (11.5.18)

For years, nautical vessels have been used as metaphors for business, as the parallels between ships and businesses are unmistakable. I’ve even used them in some of my previous writings and in a presentation I give titled “Sailboats, Yachts, and Tall-Masted Ships.” The presentation describes the changes a small business experiences as it grows, likening those to the changing responsibilities of a captain and his crew, depending on the size of the vessel being commanded.

The 50% Rule (10.22.18)

Shortly after The Violand Executive Summit in June, one of the Summit instructors, Jim Bagnola, stopped by our office to visit. While here, Jim relayed a story told to him by his friend—a retired Navy Lieutenant Commander and F-15 Fighter pilot.

Get Lost (10.8.18)

As children most of us learn that getting lost isn’t a good thing. It can present unseen dangers that we aren’t yet prepared to handle. We can get hurt, and in extreme cases, we can even risk losing our lives.

All In The Family (9.24.18)

My father was reasonably handy around the house. Guys of his generation had to be. There was no Google or YouTube to go to for videos on how to repair things. You had to figure stuff out on your own, and people took great pride in doing so.

Back To School(9.10.18)

For many parents of school-age children throughout North America this is the most wonderful time of the year. No, it’s not the Christmas holiday season where you can almost hear Andy Williams crooning about parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow. Instead, it’s the time when kids go back to school.

Messiness (8.27.18)

I’m a generally messy person. It’s one of the characteristics carried over from my youth. Growing up, there was never any doubt about where I sat at the dinner table. All you had to do was look to see where the most food crumbs were after the table had been cleared, and that was my spot. While I continually strive to improve in this area, it can still drive my wife and the people I work with crazy. I think it’s even possible they’ve decided I’m most comfortable in a messy environment, and this includes my thinking.

Professor Okok (8.13.18)

Okok (pronounced Oh-Coke) was the name of the 32-year-old Ethiopian Uber driver taking me back to Denver International Airport. His dreads hung below his shoulders and his broken English made it hard to follow him at times, but there was no misunderstanding his bright smile and infectious, cheerful demeaner.

What DO You Get To Do Today?, Part II (7.30.18)

In Part I of this series, I shared an experience from my early work career about a co-worker, Duncan Hardin, who taught me some invaluable life lessons that have stayed with me to this day.

What DO You Get To Do Today?, Part I (7.16.18)

When evaluating a business for sale, business brokers often consider the “intangibles” in the value of the business. Intangibles are things you can’t see or touch.

When Loyalty Overrides Performance, Part III (7.2.18)

In parts I and II of this series, we discussed what to do when a loyal employee or family member is no longer able to effectively perform in their position because the company has grown and the needs of the position have changed. But what if you think this might be the case, although you’re not sure? What if you’re asking yourself whether this applies to you and your company … but don’t know the answer?

When Loyalty Overrides Performance, Part II (6.18.18)

As you can imagine, situations where a loyal employee can no longer handle their job well become even more complicated when they involve family members who are active in the business. But, as tough as it might be, you must keep in mind your loyalty and responsibility to everyone in the company.

When Loyalty Overrides Performance, Part I (6.4.18)

We all know that loyalty is an indispensable part of any relationship, whether that relationship is in our personal life or in business. In the hierarchy of values, most of us rate loyalty right alongside trust, integrity, transparency, and honesty.

Off The Leash Reprise (5.21.18)

This sentence from your Monday Morning Note, “Off The Leash,” brought a lot home to me: “Letting go involves many of the soft skills that entrepreneurs are notorious for undervaluing; things like communication, openness, trust, and accountability.”

Off The Leash (5.7.18)

As part of a presentation I give on the challenges a business owner experiences as their business grows, I use the expression “off the leash.” It’s one borrowed from a friend, and while I use it with respect to business, I’m sure many parents can relate.

An Unlikely Classroom (4.23.18)

Alan Doyle is a Canadian singer/songwriter and actor from Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove, Newfoundland. He gained fame as lead singer of the band Great Big Sea and through his books Where I Belong and A Newfoundlander In Canada: Always Going Somewhere, Always Coming Home.

Food For Thought (4.9.18)

Many entrepreneurs struggle to transition from performing tasks to leading people. But once the goals the owner worked so hard to accomplish have been met and the company no longer requires the owner’s undivided attention, it’sRecently, I read about a retired 25-year Marine Corps and Army cook with a unique sense of mission—to boost the morale of soldiers. Floyd Lee chose to come out of retirement to run Pegasus, a mess hall in Iraq. Floyd said, “The good Lord gave me a second chance to feed soldiers. I’ve waited for this job all my life, and here I am in Baghdad.”

Unintended Consequences, Part II (3.16.18)

Many entrepreneurs struggle to transition from performing tasks to leading people. But once the goals the owner worked so hard to accomplish have been met and the company no longer requires the owner’s undivided attention, it’s a needed change.

Unintended Consequences, Part I (3.12.18)

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Business Owner’s Beatitudes. Some of the more popular ones are: “Blessed are the owners who work on their businesses and not in them.”

When Helicopters Crash (2.26.18)

If you haven’t had a chance to watch the video of Rob O’Neill, the Navy SEAL who claims to have fired the shot that ended the life of Osama bin Laden, I would highly recommend doing so. While the video relates the story of a military operation, the business metaphors are impossible to ignore.

Fire (2.12.18)

This is one of those times when I don’t believe I can improve upon a blank sheet of paper by filling it up with my own words, or add value to the musings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin by trying to relate it to business.


Shopping Carts, Business, and Life, Part II

Shopping Carts, Business, and Life, Part I


Who Am I Now? Part VII (3.28.16)


Who Am I Now? Part VI (3.14.16)

Tracking Performance

Who Am I Now? Part V (2.29.16)

Managing and Developing Our People

Who Am I Now? Part IV (2.15.16)

Hiring the Right People

Who Am I Now? Part III (2.1.16)

Charting the Course: Your Role as Chief Cultural Officer

Who Am I Now? Part II (1.18.16)

Charting the Course: The Plan for your Business

Who Am I Now? Part I (1.4.16)

Recently, I was talking with a business owner who was struggling with what he should be focused on in his company.


Staying Thirsty (12.21.15)

As 2015 comes to an end, don’t miss the opportunity to improve in 2016. Never ever get satisfied. Always thirst for more.

Head Start (12.7.15)

Having an advantage when you start your business is a reason to celebrate, not shy away from. But what you do with that advantage is what is most important.

Too Many Wrong Mistakes, Part II (11.23.15)

In Part two, Jeff take a different approach with Yogi-isms, showing how they describe certain unpleasant thoughts your employees may be having but are too afraid to tell you.

Too Many Wrong Mistakes, Part I (11.9.15)

Violand’s Director of Sales and Marketing takes over for a two-part series on exploring the unconventional business wisdom of baseball great Yogi Berra through his famous Yogi-isms. Can you relate?

Finishing Second, Part II (10.26.15)

Believe it or not, there may be more reasons why you may be sabotaging your efforts to win. They include too much complaining, always attempting to be a self-made success, and lack of total effort.

Finishing Second, Part I (10.12.15)

A several part series discussing decisions and actions you might be doing to unintentionally finish second.

Competing, Part II (9.28.15)

When the need to win causes a company to stray from its’ core values, negative consequences may occur. It’s important to keep it healthy. A little goes a long way.

Competing, Part I (9.14.15)

Conventional wisdom says competition is good for business. But what happens when a little becomes to much and starts to overtake your company and mindset.

Hiding Out, Part VI (8.31.15)

Now for the most important part, how do you address hiding out and begin to overcome it before it tears apart your business or ruins important relationships.

Hiding Out, Part V (8.17.15)

Now that you know what hiding out is, what it looks like, and what causes it, Part 5 discusses the consequences it can produce. They are not pretty.

Hiding Out, Part IV (8.3.15)

In Part 4 Chuck identifies several more root causes of hiding out and how it may be affecting your business, especially if it is a family business.

Hiding Out, Part III (7.20.15)

Moving on from symptoms, let’s discuss the root causes of hiding out. Now it gets a little tougher.

Hiding Out, Part II (7.6.15)

Many times when business owners are hiding out it’s unintentional. In Part 2, Chuck identifies several symptoms. Are any of these familiar?

Hiding Out, Part I (6.22.15)

Hiding out is one of the most common issues Violand experiences when working with clients. Too often owners are ignoring the tough stuff, hiding out like it’s never going on.

The Oracle, Part II (6.8.15)

Warren Buffet’s 2nd and 3rd weapons in his investment arsenal: emotion and information. He doesn’t use them like you would think.

The Oracle, Part I (5.25.15)

The first of a two part series into learning from The Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet. Part one covers playing offense through effective cash management.

Shut Up and Listen ( 5.11.15)

Shouting orders does not make you a leader. Keep doing that and the hippos will eat all your tomatoes.

Internal Contradictions (4.27.15)

Understand how many of the same issues that caused the internal fall of the Soviet Union may be present in your business and how to go about not reliving history.

Being Right (4.13.15)

Chuck returns to an older Monday Morning Note from 2007 that discusses why sometimes owners feel being right is more important than doing what is right.

Nice Guys (3.30.15)

Nobody wants to lay people off or break bad news. What happens when well-intentioned entrepreneurs have to make the tough decisions.

The Reluctant Leader, Part VI (3.16.15)

The final part covers what to do next when you reach the point where you honestly don’t know how to grow your your business beyond it’s current size.

The Reluctant Leader, Part V (3.2.15)

In part five, Chuck discusses two factors found in Peter Senge’s book The Fifth Discipline that affect the size an entrepreneur grows his business; capability and deserving.

The Reluctant Leader, Part IV (2.16.15)

The next aspect of my series involves a fear that many of us may never have heard of and can hardly recognize. It just goes to show that some of the most debilitating characteristics of a leader are not necessarily the most obvious.

The Reluctant Leader, Part III (2.2.15)

Intentionally choosing to keep our businesses small is the right choice for a lot of business owners. But if we make the decision to try to grow them, we may be held back because of our subconscious fears, not just reasonable caution. Today I explore another common fear that gets in the way of growing our companies and some possible reasons behind this fear.

The Reluctant Leader, Part II (1.19.15)

Sometimes our reluctance to grow our companies is warranted, even planned. Balancing a growing business with personal goals is a struggle for any business owner, myself included.

The Reluctant Leader, Part I (1.5.15)

All businesses aren’t destined to be big, but they can all be great. The single most important factor influencing these outcomes are the people who launch and run the businesses. This is why I found the question I was asked a short time ago so intriguing.


It Is All About You (12.22.14)

With the end of the year quickly approaching, we typically spend time reflecting on the accomplishments and shortcomings of the last 12 months as well as our “New Year’s Resolutions” for the coming year.

In this week’s Note, I offer a few suggestions on how we can take greater responsibility for achieving the things we say we want to accomplish in our companies in the coming year.
Yellers (12.8.14)

If you’ve ever been to a party or family function, whether it’s your own or someone else’s, that is so loud you can’t hear the person sitting next to you, then you’ll appreciate today’s Note. It’s about people with loud voices, and I’m one of them.

We speak loudly much of the time, not because we’re mad but because we’re emphasizing our point or we’re excited about what we’re saying. We don’t even realize we’re being loud! But the people around us do, and they may not know it’s out of excitement, not anger. This week’s Note offers a couple suggestions on how to keep our excitement from getting the better of us and negatively impacting our companies’ cultures.
Hail To The Losers (11.24.14)

At a recent VMA event, I was reminded of the complicated effects emotionally-charged memories from our childhoods, like being chosen last for a team, have on our lives. These effects don’t only apply to childhood failures, either. Professional setbacks also have a profound effect on our lives and future decision-making.

In this week’s Note, I discuss how we can try to turn these failures into helpful life lessons to drive us to succeed in the future.
Uncommon Courtesy (11.10.14)

In business, we’re used to jargon like profit margin, bottom line, and buy-in. But in life, there are a few other magic words: please, thank you, and you’re welcome.

What would happen if we added life’s magic words to our business jargon repertoire when speaking to our customers? In this week’s Note, I discuss just how much this can impact how we conduct our businesses.
In Spite of our Complaints, Part II (10.27.14)
Poor performance is not some boogey man we have to hide from under the covers of our complaints. It’s not a nuisance we have to learn to tolerate, either.
In this week’s Note, I discuss how we can face our fears of holding others accountable, despite having our never-ending complaints to hide behind.
In Spite of our Complaints, Part I (10.13.14)
It seems like people are complaining all the time: the weather, politics, sports. You name it, somebody’s going to have a complaint about it. It makes you wonder if complaining is our real national pastime!
If the time spent complaining was redirected into productive activities, I’ve got to believe it would have a significant impact on our businesses.
Today I begin a two-part series on how complaining may actually be covering up our underlying beliefs and fears.
Basics, Part III (9.15.14)
To wrap up this three-part series, I close with four final suggestions to keep your businesses simple and focused.
Basics, Part II (9.15.14)
Sometimes the most important things we have to do to as the leaders of our companies are also the most simple-although not necessarily the easiest. These things usually involve gaining a better understanding of ourselves as leaders and how we can apply this knowledge to better manage our businesses. Often times it is the “soft” side of business-relationships, behaviors, people skills-that is the hardest to work on.
In Part II of this three-part series, I discuss the additional steps to take when trying to develop the people aspect of your company, especially yourself.
Basics, Part I (9.1.14)
Sometimes the most important things we have to do to as the leaders of our companies are also the most simple-although not necessarily the easiest. These things usually involve gaining a better understanding of ourselves as leaders and how we can apply this knowledge to better manage our businesses.
The Monday Morning Notes series I start today is an effort to help you avoid over-complicating things that can otherwise be simple.
Capture The Flag, Part II (8.18.14)

Today’s Note references research that was conducted at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada on the value play has in our daily lives. Apparently in countries where they have more recess time in school, they enjoy higher academic scores than in countries with less recess time.

While this research is one more excuse I can no longer use to explain my own performance in school, I think it also holds valuable lessons we can apply in our businesses
Capture The Flag, Part I (8.04.14)

When I was a kid growing up in the city, we used to play a game called kick the can.

Pilgrims (7.21.14)

When you think of the word pilgrim, two images typically come to mind. One is of a person dressed in a black waistcoat wearing a tall, brimmed hat and buckles galore.

Freedom, Liberty (7.07.14)

238 years ago, a group of 56 men who were gathered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors in the pursuit of fundamental concepts that, today, much of the world takes for granted.

Benfold (7.04.14)

Operating an 8,600 ton floating piece of artillery with radar so advanced it can detect a bird-sized object from 50 miles away is quite a responsibility.

A Close Second (6.23.14)

In 1983, Jackie Joyner-Kersee finished second in the Heptathlon in the Los Angeles Summer Olympics.

Keep Running (6.09.14)

For years I had a plaque hanging in my office that read “The race does not always go to the swift, but to the one who keeps on running.”

Make A Difference (5.26.14)

Political commentators Cokie and Steve Roberts wrote an article about a survey Gallup and Purdue University conducted to determine what things have the most influence on successful college graduates who are engaged at work and experiencing high well-being after graduation.

Alpha Talk, 2014 (5.12.14)

Not long ago, one of my sons’ friends told me he had gotten a job at a local golf course as a “turf maintenance engineer.”

Handcuffed (4.28.14)

A business owner’s actions impact the future of his company both positively and negatively in many different ways.

I Don’t Wanna Grow Up, Part II (3.31.14)

One of the main reasons small businesses stop growing is because the owner himself stops growing.

I Don’t Wanna Grow Up, Part I (3.17.14)

At some point in our lives, I would expect all of us have been exposed to the story of Peter Pan, either through books, stage plays, or films like the 1991 movie Hook starring Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, and Julia Roberts.

Residue Epilogue – Sabanizing (3.03.14)

Instead of having his players focus on wins and championships, Alabama’s head football coach, Nick Saban, has them focus on what he calls The Process.

Fungineering (2.17.14)

At the risk of sounding like an old curmudgeon with respect to business, whatever happened to the notion that hard work itself is rewarding enough?

Residue, Part II (1.20.14)

Borrowing from a page in the orientation handbook of Quicken Loans, Inc.: “Numbers and money follow; they don’t lead.”

Residue, Part I (1.20.14)

The name Branch Rickey gained renewed recognition with the release of 42, the 2013 movie about Jackie Robinson.

What Happens Next (1.06.14)

A recent conversation with a business owner ended in a discussion about shortterm versus longterm implications of a decision he was about to make in his business.


Holding On Too Tight (12.23.13)

Chuck compares Navy Fighter Pilot Cougar from the classic 80s movie Top Gun to a learning point from Steven R. Covey on not holding on to the point of failure.

Money Maturity (12.09.13)

How business owners who have enjoyed financial success throughout the year can maintain the financial discipline that contributed to it.

Playing Together in the Sandbox (11.25.13)

A common sense lesson from Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Company, given to him from his parents growing up on the importance of being nice.

The Four Ds, Part III (11.11.13)

Holly, Tom, and Chuck dig even deeper into some of the underlying causes of disagreements in small businesses.

The Four Ds, Part II (10.28.13)

Holly Bognar and Tom Cline weigh in with strategies they’ve found effective in addressing disagreements in the businesses with whom they work. As you might have guessed, while the suggestions are pretty simple in nature, they’re not necessarily easy to execute.

The Four Ds, Part I (10.14.13)

Given that the basics of business are so simple, why is it that so many businesses struggle for survival, much less growth?

Meatloaf (9.30.13)

Generation communication issues cause challenges in and out of business.

Letting Go (9.16.13)

Delegating responsibility to other employees can sometimes be the most difficult part of growing a business for an owner used to handling everything.

The Sport Of Business (8.19.13)

Unsettling trends in professional sports and business are remarkably similar.

Plain Vanilla (8.05.13)

Integrating diversified viewpoints in your business may be difficult but is more important than ever.

Living “As if” (7.22.13)

Are you ignoring the warning signs and running your business “As if” they don’t exist because of too much positive thinking?

The Entrepreneurial Paradox Part II™ (8.19.13)

How do we address the conflict that arises when we grow ourselves out of the jobs we enjoy doing?

The Entrepreneurial Paradox Part I™ (6.24.13)

Have you ever heard someone offer to sell you their business for $20? Here’s why.

Overcoming Stage II Stall™ Part X (6.10.13)

The final installment on how to recognize and overcome issues affecting businesses experiencing little to no growth.

Overcoming Stage II Stall™ Part IX (5.27.13)

Cause 4, Swollen Egos. Success can easily go to a CEO’s head and become the greatest obstacle.

Overcoming Stage II Stall™ Part VIII (5.13.13)

Cause 3, Arrested Professional Growth, Solutions. If you don’t develop yourself and your employees, no one can develop your company.

Overcoming Stage II Stall™ Part VII (4.29.13)

Cause 3, Arrested Professional Growth. Training and development never ends, no matter how capable you feel your business is.

Be the Person You Can Be (4.15.13)

Chuck takes a break from Overcoming Stage II Stall™ to celebrate 10 years of Monday Morning Notes.

Overcoming Stage II Stall™ Part VI (4.01.13)

Cause 2, Checking Out, Solutions. Checking out can happen to any business owner. Here is how to recognize and resolve the condition

Overcoming Stage II Stall™ Part V (3.18.13)

Cause 2, Checking Out. The daily grind of running a business causes many owners to simply “check out.”

Overcoming Stage II Stall™ Part IV (3.04.13)

Cause 1, Loss of Focus, Solutions. Here are solutions for employers and employees when the owner has lost focus.

>Overcoming Stage II Stall™ Part III (2.18.13)

Cause 1, Loss of Focus. The first of the four most common factors of why a business may start to experience stalled growth.

Overcoming Stage II Stall™ Part II (2.04.13)

Part II – Stage II Companies. What defines a Stage II company and some initial signs of stalling?

Overcoming Stage II Stall™ (1.21.13)

Part I – An Introduction. The first in the series on what is Stage II Stall™, what are the symptoms, and how to correct it in your business.

Monsters in the Closet (1.07.13)

Sometimes business owners can conjure up their own boogeymen out of fear of the unknown.


Courage (12.24.12)

Most people think of courage as a big, heroic act. But often times it’s found in the everyday actions of everyday people.

Explosive Growth (12.10.12)

A tongue-in-cheek look at the outlandish claims marketers try to get you to fall for.

Thanks (11.26.12)

There are so many people and opportunities for which Violand Management is thankful.

Guts (11.12.12)

Here are some surprising and not so surprising areas where guts really come into play in our businesses and professional lives.

Who Owns It (10.29.12)

Here are three ways CEOs inadvertently get in the way of accountability when it comes to cleaning up a mess.

In Praise of Janitors (10.15.12)

Even if you are the head of a very large company, it is important for you to take the time to still be a janitor.
Hitting the Pause Button (10.01.12)
When running a business, if we don’t learn how to get out of our own way, we might be our own worst enemy.

Flying Lessons (9.17.12)

How Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly” applies to starting and running a business.

Where To Be On the Battlefield Part III (9.03.12)

Over 90% of small business owners fail this vital step or choose not to even attempt it.

Where To Be On the Battlefield Part II (8.20.12)

How to make sure you are in the right positions to make the important calls for tomorrow.

Where to Be on the Battlefield Part I (8.06.12)

Business owners must position themselves to make the right decisions for the company and their employees.

Mind Your Own Business (7.23.12)

Quit comparing your business to someone else’s and worry about making it the best you can instead.

The Law of the Garbage Truck Part V (7.09.12)

How Our Behaviors Affect Us As Leaders. If you want to lead others, you must act as a leader in every aspect of your life.

The Law of the Garbage Truck Part IV (6.25.12)

How Our Behavior Affects Us As Leaders. It’s easy to justify our own bad behavior when no one holds us accountable.

The Law of the Garbage Truck Part III (6.11.12)

How Our Behavior Affects Us As Leaders. Scott Tackett weighs in on the most recognizable results of garbage truck behavior.

The Law of the Garbage Truck Part II (5.28.12)

How Our Behavior Affects Us As Leaders. How garbage truck behavior produces unintended and unwanted results in our businesses.


How Our Behavior Affects Us As Leaders. What garbage truck behavior is and how it appears in the lives of business people.

Facing the Boss (4.30.12)

Celebrating the 9th anniversary of Monday Morning Notes, Chuck reruns a well-received post from August 23rd, 2004.

Affluenza Part III (4.16.12)

Here are both highly visible and subtle causes of Affluenza in our businesses.

Affluenza Part II (4.02.12)

A very familiar and all too common story of what happens when an owner of a small business is infected by Affluenza.

Affluenza Part I (3.19.12)

The first in a three part series on a “virus” that is overtaking successful business owners but can easily be prevented.

Right Sized (3.05.12)

Tim Hull guest writes a piece on how to manage the difficult decision of how big you really want your company to get.

Alpha Talk 2012 (2.20.12)

Here is a light hearted look at the outcome when you try to soften a difficult message.

Never Give In Part II (2.06.12)

An in depth look at how one of Winston Churchill’s most famous speeches applies directly to small businesses during their roughest patches.

Never Give In Part I (1.23.12)

Great inspiration that can be applied to both our personal and our professional lives.

Belching At the Table Part V (1.09.12)

The pitfalls successful CEOs must diligently work to avoid.


Belching At the Table Part IV (12.26.11)

Why a CEO must continually grow him- or herself to stay ahead of the company.

Belching At the Table Part III (12.12.11)

The impact developing or not developing your people will have on your business.

Belching At the Table Part II (11.28.11)

The questions all CEOs must be willing to ask themselves and have their employees ask them.

Belching At the Table Part I (11.14.11)

The first in a five part series on measuring CEO job performance.

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish Part II (10.31.11)

Don’t take yourself too seriously or you may lose what made you successful.

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish (10.17.11)

Why Steve Jobs showed that, to stay on top, you must stay hungry.

Respect Part II (10.03.11)

Here are practical, everyday ways to show respect to the people around us.

Respect Part I (9.19.11)

Don’t overlook the influence your actions have on the behavior of your people.

Bullies Part IV (9.05.11)

Here are several levels bosses use to bully people in their office.

Bullies Part III (8.22.11)

Scott Tackett weighs in on two forms of abusive office behavior.

Bullies Part II (8.08.11)

Chuck and Scott discuss two ways bullying can manifest itself in an organization.

Bullies Part I (7.25.11)

Chuck highlights several forms bullies can take in the office and how it affects the company.

Are You Loved? (7.11.11)

A recent incident reminds Chuck about the best business advice he ever received.

Somebody Always Pays Part II (6.27.11)

Offering free services to attract new customers can hurt the loyal ones you already have.

Somebody Always Pays Part I (6.13.11)

There is no such thing as a free lunch!

Second Fiddle Part II (5.30.11)

Rhythm and harmony of an organization are often managed by people who fill the sideman role.

Second Fiddle Part I (5.16.11)

The second fiddle in an organization often is what really leads to success.

Throwing the Heat (5.02.11)

Chuck celebrates the 8th anniversary of Monday Morning Notes by rerunning a post from October 2004.

Escaping Groundhog Day Management Part VIII – Conclusion (4.18.11)

Chuck concludes the series by detailing how to cure the issues.

Escaping Groundhog Day Management Part VII – Discipline (4.04.11)

How owners bottleneck growth and generally get in the way.

Escaping Groundhog Day Management Part VI – Discipline (3.21.11)

Accountability within a business flows in multiple directions.

Escaping Groundhog Day Management Part V – Discipline (3.07.11)

Another skill successful executives must possess.

Escaping Groundhog Day Management Part IV – Focus (2.21.11)

The last part to escaping groundhog management is follow through.

Escaping Groundhog Day Management Part III – Focus (2.07.11)

Four questions to help you avoid the distractions that can derail your success.

Escaping Groundhog Day Management Part II – Focus (1.24.11)

How one company’s loss of focus almost cost them everything.

Escaping Groundhog Day Management Part I (1.10.11)

Inspired by the movie, this essay discusses how we end up reliving some of the same business conditions over and over.