This month is the five-year anniversary of my stepping away from being a full-time corporate CEO and starting my career as a professor and Executive in Residence at Northern Arizona University. Five years ago, I wondered how I would stay current on what was happening in corporate America, so that I … [Read more...] about Jump Up and Down on the Table and Scream
T. Paul Thomas
Most of my columns are based on experiences I’ve had with my former companies. Most of my organizations were in business-to-business selling, so my experience with retail is relatively limited to personal buying experiences. That being said, I think many of the practices I used still apply to … [Read more...] about Ask the CEO: Exceptional Customer Service
My column last month was titled, “Five Habits of Great Managers.” I always re-post my columns on social media and that column had by far the most views of any column I’ve ever written. In addition, I received a long list of emails about the topic. One of the most interesting questions I received … [Read more...] about Can You Learn to be a Great Manager?
This was an interesting week for me at Northern Arizona University. Two things happened that reminded me our successes are not the result of our individual work and effort. Our successes are the result of others who have reached out and helped us climb the career ladder. The first thing that … [Read more...] about You Did Not Get to the Top All By Yourself
I have been extremely fortunate during my life to have had a wide range of jobs, from delivering newspapers to helping the poorest of the poor in Kenya to leading a $130 million public company. One of the greatest opportunities and challenges is being an executive director/CEO/president of an … [Read more...] about Is it My Fault That Company Morale is Terrible?
As a manager, one of the worst things we can hear is, “I’m quitting” from one of our employees. Our immediate thought is that we are already over-worked and understaffed. Then we start thinking about the hassle of recruiting, and trying to find someone qualified to accept the pay for the … [Read more...] about How Will You Treat Me After I Resign; Does it Matter?
A couple weeks ago, I had lunch with a local CEO that was going back and forth over firing an employee. She was reluctant for two reasons: the employee was in a key position and she was worried what impact it would have on the organization and senior team. Also, the employee had been loyal. It is a … [Read more...] about When Should I Fire an Employee?
This week I had a student in my management class ask which job taught me the most about running a business. As I thought back it, I realized it was probably my newspaper route in Ohio, delivering the Ravenna Record-Courier. I’m not sure which is more unfortunate; the fact that fewer and fewer … [Read more...] about Everything I Needed to Know about Business I Learned from My Newspaper Route
Over the last several months, I have received emails or have had students stop by my office and ask what it takes to become a CEO. I really don’t know if there are steps to get there, but in my experience, if you are a great leader, you will eventually become a CEO. I’ve put together a simple list … [Read more...] about Focus on Five Things to Be a Great Leader
Buy Your Employee Lunch on the First Day and Last An interesting thing happened to my son, Ross, recently. After graduating from college with two degrees, he has decided to return to school. This time, at a trade school that will train him in the science of Non-Destructive Testing. As part of … [Read more...] about Ask the CEO