Bridging the gap between academics and reality

This September at the CorePurpose Business Blog, I am highlighting some great business books we grown ups can take advantage of as the kids head back to school.  At the beginning of the month I shared a peek into Amilya Antonetti’s The Recipe: A fable for leaders and teams and Professor Robert Sutton’s Good Boss, Bad Boss two books that share great stories about leadership in their own unique way. Continue reading

Timing is everything and the time is now

According to the the New York Times, there is an Epic Battle Looming Over the Expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts.  Here is an excerpt from the article:architecture,buildings,capitol buildings,capitols,congresses,domed buildings,domes,government,landmarks,legislatures,lights,nighttimes,photographs,United States,USA,Washington,Washington D.C.

Democratic leaders, including Mr. Obama, say they are intent on letting the tax cuts for the wealthy expire as scheduled at the end of this year. But they have pledged to continue the lower tax rates for individuals earning less than $200,000 and families earning less than $250,000 — what Democrats call the middle class.

Most Republicans want to extend the tax cuts for everyone, and some Democrats agree, saying it would be unwise to raise taxes on anyone while the economy remains weak. If no action is taken, taxes on income, dividends, capital gains and estates would all rise.

The issue has generated little public attention this year as Congress grappled with health care, financial regulation, energy, a Supreme Court nomination and other divisive topics. But it will move to the top of the agenda when lawmakers return to Washington in September from their summer recess, just as the midterm campaign gets under way in earnest. In recent days, intense discussions have begun at the Capitol.

It’s a matter of priorities

As we look at our nation from an economic perspective we have two critical priorities, 1) reducing a ballooning  Federal Deficit and 2) building an economy that is sustaining and creating more jobs.  In reading the preceding sentence, it may seem that these are two separate and distinct issues, when in fact they should be considered together. The question becomes one of a short term fix or a long term gain.

Where will the dollars do the most good?

Letting the tax cuts expire is a short term fix.  There is no question that the middle class (as defined above) needs help.  Lowering taxes for lower and middle income Americans may help reduce credit card debt or increase consumer spending a little per household. Yet raising taxes on “the rich” will reduce their consumer spending and investment capital.  Thus we get a little more spending from one side while reducing spending AND investment more on the other as we shift the net tax increase to the Federal Government to apply to the budget and hopefully the deficit. (This Net Gain is calculated as an Upper Income Tax Increase LESS  Middle and Lower Income tax reduction)   

The argument for renewing the tax cuts is simple, keep the money in the economy and in the hands of the people who can use it to invest in struggling markets, to support business growth, and most importantly to create and protect jobs.   In today’s economy, the capital to do this comes from the people.  Many of “the rich” are small business owners who are investing in their business, others are family businesses that may be crippled by estate taxes should a business owner pass away.  Still others are investors whose money goes into the capital markets to support the capital needs of larger businesses through the stock market or as angel investments.  Renewing the tax cuts so they do not expire leaves the money in the hands of the people who directly or indirectly support job growth.For when people are working THEY pay taxes which again the Federal Government can apply to the deficit.

The greatest Net Gain

Most decisions have pros and cons.  This one is no different.   The big question is where the American people and the country will get the greatest net gain.  Congress has three choices:

  • They can extend the tax cuts.
  • They  can let them permanently expire and then institute a new structure to help lower and middle income earners.
  • They can issue a temporary extension and pass the buck on the decision to the next session.

Why the time for the people to act is now

On August 9th the Senate and the House begin the Summer Recess that extends until after Labor Day. Our elected representatives are headed home to meet with constituents and in many cases to hit the campaign trail either for themselves or others.  If we have an opinion, NOW is the time to voice it.  Contacting your Congressman is easy.  You don’t even have to go to a rally or make an appointment.  Just reach out to them. Every phone call or email does have an impact.  Your Congressman may not personally read it but their staffers do and the feedback ends up in the briefings they get when it comes time to vote.  So what ever side of the battle you rest on, don’t miss your chance to be heard.  After all, the beauty of our system of government is that it is supposed to be representative of the people.  So help them do their their job and tell them what you think.


Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

HELP! We ALL Need Some

As the song says… “When I was younger so much younger than today, I never needed anybody’s help in any way…”

Well today, we all need help whether it is with a personal goal, a business challenge, or in making a difference on a much broader scale.

Help by the Beatles

I was in kindergarten in 1965 when the Beatles released Help!.  It did not mean much to me except as a song with a catchy beat to bop around the kitchen to.  Mom was the one who probably needed HELP! back then with 4 babies under the age of 6 and another on on the way.  Our country needed HELP! too.  Key topics of the day included a war we could not win, healthcare, racial inequality, new technologies, and a generation struggling to make a difference and leave a mark  a new way.  Well the song means a lot more to me now.  It’s been a long time since kindergarten – but interestingly, in 2010, many of the same themes remain. The words and the names are different – but there is still a need for help.

Help Requires Courage

Whether you are asking for help or offering it, help requires courage.

We often won’t ask for help when we need it.  Perhaps because people might think we are weak or don’t know what we are doing.  Yet if the fear of asking for help holds us back – we rarely get it when we need it.

Offering to help can be just as scary.  People don’t always appreciate you when you offer to help.  I’ve seen leaders and volunteers alike become targets  personally and professionally just because they stepped out, spoke up, or got involved in helping someone else.  Yet true leaders keep doing it.  They make the time, proactively offer assistance,  take the criticism, and keep moving forward.

Helping Takes Commitment

I’ve watched Lynn Tilton take her message of how to turn the economy around and create more jobs out across traditional and social media while working 20 hour days, seven days a week to help save companies and jobs.  It must be working – Lynn and her team have saved 250,000 jobs on the last 9 years. (You can hear what Lynn has to say about this when she will be the featured guest on Huckabee, at 8:00pm ET on the FOX News Channel tomorrow (Saturday, July 17th) with on FOX News Channel at 8:00pm and 11:00pm ET on Sunday, July 18th she’ll be talking about job creation in the current economic crisis.)

Francine Hardaway is committed to job creation too.  Working at the ground level with entrepreneurs in the Southwest and around the country, she has not stopped for 30 years.  Whether it is flying to Kansas City on her own dime to learn about programs she can bring back to help other entrepreneurs, launching a conference to bring entrepreneurs and thought leaders together, or just spending time one on one, Francine is committed to making a difference with the entrepreneurs she touches.

Dr. Michelle Hanna, founder of RiboMed Biotechnologies, has dedicated the last ten years of her life to developing new tests that will help us battle cancer.  Today she and her team are focusing on ways to make a major difference not just in the lives of the patients but  have also found a way to do so that could result in billions of dollars in healthcare savings and that affects ALL of us.

Amilya Antonetti, founder of Soapworks, today takes what she learned along the journey to help other entrepreneurs bring out products that provide better choices to today’s consumer.  Along the way she learned that every leader needs the help of their team – to share it she wove it into a story and wrote a book.

In a quiet manner, one on one, Morris Callaman shares his story and his expertise in helping entrepreneurs with great ideas move forward.  A successful investor and venture attorney, Morris finds projects that he believes will make a difference and help people – and in turn he helps them.

But you don’t have to be running a $7 billion private equity fund, be a social media maven, a PhD, a serial entrepreneur, or a certified member of MENSA, to help others.  You just have to have something to offer and be willing to share.

Everyone can help

Take a look at this post by Domenic Alvaro who graduated High School with my son Nick this year. He has a better handle on how our attitude makes a difference than many adults I know.  And he is sharing it with others so that what he has learned in his life can help them.

Each of us will need help sometime.  And each of us has something to offer that will help someone else.  We just need the courage, the commitment, and the willingness to HELP!


Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

P.S. to everyone who has helped me along the journey -Thank You!  I promise to keep passing it forward to help others too. ~ JKW

Why we do what we do

When we meet new people, in business settings and in casual ones, sooner or later the question comes up…What do you do?   Rarely does someone ask you WHY do you do what you do.  I wonder why?  After all, wouldn’t that answer be a lot more interesting?

Someone must think so.  There are lots of different words we apply to the WHY behind what we do.  Think about it:  motive, purpose, goal, strategy, aim, basis, drive,  impulse, incentive, incitement, inducement, influence, inspiration, intent, intention,  motivation, objective, passion, rationale, root,  spur, stimulus, thinking, and more all tie back to our why. 

WHY is one of my favorite words.  I’m sure I drove my parents crazy with my incessant “whying” when I was young just as it probably has frustrated my supervisors, co-workers, and employees as I moved through my career, not to mention the poor folks who’ve had to live with me.  But for me at least, I can’t get to the What and the How until I understand the WHY.  In fact, it is the WHY that ultimately shapes the What and How of getting the job done. 

In its purest sense, the WHY is at the root of our business and our being.  The answer to our WHY in business and in life is our core purpose.  The ultimate answer to WHY.  Years ago, when I started my company, I was struggling with what to call it. Ultimately, CorePurpose, Inc. was born to help businesses grow by focusing on their WHY.

You see, once you know WHY you are doing something, it’s much easier to set goals, make plans,and follow through on them.  And when you can explain your WHY to others, you just might find that they believe in your core purpose also and will join you on the journey. 

So take some time to think about WHY.  Once you have the answer, the What, How, Who, and When come naturally. 

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…


Joan Koerber-Walker


P.S. Please join me on July 7, 2010 at 9:30 AM Central Time when I will be sharing ideas on Blog Talk Radio with host Zane Safrit around putting the WHY to work in your business and how to focus yourself and your team on building, connecting, growing around YOUR core purpose.  For more information, click here.


Don’t Call Me. I’ll call you

scan0055We’ve all heard it said so many different ways.  That infamous and rarely welcome message –

“Don’t Call Me – I’ll Call You.”

Whether it’s said in the spirit of efficiency –

“I don’t have an answer yet – when I do, I’ll call you.” 

or as the ultimate brush off. 

“Yeah, Yeah – I’ll get back to you on that.”

knowing when to wait and when to follow up can be a delicate dance of one step forward and two steps back.

Whether you are an entrepreneur working on getting that next round of funding, an employee moving a decision up the corporate decision ladder, or a sales person trying to close that BIG order, it is important to be able to get over the “Don’t Call Me” hurdle.  Here are some tactics that have worked for me.  They just might work for you too.

Ask a clear question that can be answered. 

Be sure to clearly state the question and make sure the other person knows what you are asking.  Nothing is more frustrating that waiting for an answer and when it comes,  YOUR question is still unanswered.  When this happens you end  up  starting the process all over again. 

Ask a champion to help you get an answer. 

Just like the photo above, find someone who can help you place that call.  Your champion may have the inside information or access to get through when you do not.

Help the other party understand why making a decision is good for THEM. 

While we often focus on what we need, that will not necessarily be a high priority for the other person.  If you can demonstrate why coming to a decision is good for the person on the  other side, you might quickly find that you are both on the SAME side.

Wishing won’t make it so.

Years ago, I was waiting for a VERY important answer on a very big deal.  If we did not have an answer that day, the deal would not go through and weeks of my team’s work would have been for naught.  I got so frustrated that I finally just sat in my office staring at the phone and willing it to ring.  My assistant was not used to seeing me sit still that long and came in to see what was up.  When she realized what I was doing, she started to laugh.

“That’s no way to get an answer.  You have to do something to move things forward.  Wishing won’t make it so.”

The glare I gave her would have made strong men tremble as I muttered under my breath and turned back to stare at the phone even harder. 

  “Maybe I can help” she said.

With that she went back to her desk and called an assistant at the other company.  Explaining that her boss was driving her crazy, she asked the other assistant to help.  Within 15 minutes,  I got my answer.  My company got  the deal AND my assistant got a raise.  And, she did not even have to ask!

So whatever you need to do to get YOUR answer, do it.  You never know, it just might be the one you’ve been waiting for.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

Business in the Fast Lane

1981 Porsche 928 (3)Are you looking to move your business into high gear and get things moving this summer? Business in the fast lane sounds great.  Think of how we describe it –

Taking the Lead

Going all Out

Racing Through the Checkered Flag

But running at high speed can be tricky. 

Here are some helpful hints I’ve learned along my journey. Maybe they’ll come in handy for you too. 

Map your course

Whether you are running a race or growing a business, you need to know where you are going.  Champion drivers on the course or in the board room will tell you that the secret to winning the race is a solid plan.  You need to map out the course, know where the detours are, and how you will accelerate through the curves that are sure to lie ahead. Then you need to stay the course and keep your eyes open for the unexpected. 

Check your gas tank

1980 Chevroley Corvette (1)Before you rev your engines, check your gas tank!  There is nothing worse than pulling to the head of the business pack  and then sputtering to a stop because you ran out of gas! Fuel for your business comes in many different forms.  It can be the right resources, a strong marketing plan, or the capital you need to make it to the finish line.  Many a race has been lost because the driver simply ran out of gas!

Assemble a great pit crew

Winning drivers have winning teams.  No one wins the race alone.  The driver may be the person everyone sees out in front, but it is the pit crew that makes sure that he or she can stay there.  The same is true for winning businesses.  Your business pit crew is essential.  They are the people that ensure that your business can deliver on its promises, stay on course, speed up when it needs to, and go the distance.

Be sure your vehicle fits.

1997 Chevrolet Tahoe

When we look at a race track, the cars look very alike. They are small and sleek and nimble.  When it comes to the business race, you have a wide choice of vehicles to get you to where you want to go.  The trick is to know the right size, features and benefits will be the best fit for you and  your goals.  Running fast and sleek in stealth mode may be what your business needs, but when you are packing for a long haul, you might want to look around for a workhorse that can carry the load.  It might be yours, or it might belong to a strategic partner – but either way you need the right style and fit to achieve your goals and get the job done.

But most of all…

DSC00261what ever vehicle you choose to get you where you are going …

Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

After all what is the point of starting the race if you don’t enjoy the process of winning it.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker