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  • About the Author: Stephen M. Paskoff, Esq.

    Stephen M. Paskoff, Esq., is the founder, president and CEO of ELI®, a training company that teaches professional workplace conduct, helping clients translate their values into behaviors, increase…

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11 Jul. 2017 | Comments (0)
Civility is a "soft skill" with hard results
Civility in the workplace is sometimes viewed as a “soft skill” that is too vague to understand and control. Civility Rules! challenges that notion. What’s soft about preventing millions of dollars in damage? Preserving your firm’s reputation? Creating an environment where you can get the most out of your human capital investment? Avoiding breaches of compliance? Perhaps even saving lives?

21 Jul. 2016 | Comments (0)
Forget Politically Correct – Time to Be Humanely Correct
Some say our words and related acts must not be limited to that which is “politically correct.” The greater risk is that our unfiltered words and acts can inflict widespread reactive rage, nonproductive divisiveness, mistrust and public harm. We’re seeing that almost every day. I say it’s time for us to guard our words and acts to be “humanely correct.”

20 Nov. 2015 | Comments (0)
Motivation To Learn
Too much of what passes for today’s workplace training focuses on the delivery of information. Then, HR and training professionals verify that learners receive the information. With so many priorities facing all of us, when training is delivered solely to document its delivery, that shallow objective becomes obvious to the learner.

09 Nov. 2015 | Comments (1)
No More "Whistleblowers" at Work
It’s usually easy for us to recognize the obvious signs of a potentially serious violation. What’s really hard is to know what, if anything, to do. This is not because of a lack of systems, processes, or policies. Instead, it is the lack of organizational credibility.

16 Sep. 2015 | Comments (0)
Documenting Learning or Managing Behavior?
Ask this question: “Is our organization addressing ethics and civility with anything like the sort of emphasis as other important issues which can likewise affect performance and cause harm?” If the answer is no, then don’t be surprised if your leaders and others make the headlines.

08 Sep. 2015 | Comments (0)
I'm the APP: Delivering Learning to Your Employees
Some lessons, especially those dealing with how we act and apply values, have to be delivered by the right instructor; the "learning" platform must be direct, human, and credible. One of our strategic challenges is to figure out which lessons must be delivered like this to have a lasting impact.

27 Aug. 2015 | Comments (0)
The Art of Complaining
Complaining properly is an art that needs more attention. While much has been written about welcoming concerns and not retaliating against the messengers, less has been written about what should be the corresponding responsibilities and behaviors of those individuals who should and do bring issues forward.

17 Aug. 2015 | Comments (0)
Install Civility as a Business Process
Tell business leaders there’s a new operational process that will increase safety, quality, teamwork and innovation, cut down on mistakes, surface problems, boost profitability, safeguard their brand, and reduce regulatory risk. Many executives will say they’re in the business of reality – not magical thinking – though perhaps in saltier language.

13 Jul. 2015 | Comments (0)
Click, Click, Click: Complete that Online Compliance Training or No Bonus for You
We all know that information alone doesn't change behavior. If it did, none of us would smoke, eat junk food or get speeding tickets. Is it any wonder then that workplace behavior and lack of compliance with specific rules and policies continue to be problems?

21 Apr. 2015 | Comments (0)
The Bonfire of Silicon Valley – Major Venture Capital Firm Wins Trial but Loses Reputation War
Last month, a California jury ruled in favor of a leading venture capital firm, rejecting a female employee’s claims of sex-based discrimination. While in the end, the firm’s actions were not deemed illegal, these distractions spawned the daily release of details through headlines.

09 Apr. 2015 | Comments (0)
Are We All Really Just Unconscious?
The majority of our actions do include conscious thoughts. These conscious decisions include, for example, what type of careers we’ll pursue, who will be our friends, or where we’ll live. However, we also make quick, unconscious decisions, sometimes unaware that we’ve even made them.

23 Mar. 2015 | Comments (0)
Loyal to the Core – Nuclear Values at Work
Each day, plant leaders deal with challenging variables and priorities. They face an extreme version of what most of us go through in our daily work lives. So, how do they make the right decisions in such a complex environment?

16 Mar. 2015 | Comments (0)
Anchor Away: The Cost of Brian Williams’ Misbehavior and Lessons for Enterprise Leaders
It’s harder and, yet perhaps more critical, in today’s world of instantaneous communications that enterprise leaders more generally assess the business and reputational risk of other leader misdeeds, including those which may not directly violate regulatory prohibitions.

19 Feb. 2015 | Comments (0)
Is Managing Grumpiness the Key to Managing Risk?
Business leaders recognize that statutory regulation and vigorous whistleblower provisions may not be enough to halt dangerous acts before they inflict great internal and public harm to the organization – and, they’re right.

03 Feb. 2015 | Comments (0)
What’s Lurking in Our Workplaces
Here's a famous optical illusion. When you look at it, you’ll see either a young woman or an older woman. Your friend who’s sitting right next to you may see a young woman gazing off to the side, while you see an elderly woman with her eyes cast downward. Who's right?

15 Dec. 2014 | Comments (0)
Time to Move On and Forward
Sooner or later, each of us is going to say or communicate something that is hurtful, insensitive, or just plain stupid. Over the course of a business lifetime, this will occur on more than just a few occasions. To err is human; to forgive, not divine – it just makes good business sense.

17 Nov. 2014 | Comments (0)
I Think I Said Something Wrong: How to Rebuild Trust with Your Colleagues After Hurtful Remarks
We all have our own personal characteristics and sensitivities. What’s critical in our workplaces and communities is for us to speak up when things bother us so they don’t poison our relationships.

21 Oct. 2014 | Comments (0)
Engagement Starts With Them
A recent Gallup survey found that 70% of American workers are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” and are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces. These findings are troubling because high levels of engagement translate into better productivity, creativity, retention, and reputation.

07 Oct. 2014 | Comments (0)
Implicit Bias – Explicit Results
In our workplaces, biases can lead to bad and potentially illegal business decisions. This unconscious process can conflict with organizational commitments to maximize the best talents of applicants and employees and to avoid making decisions that are unfair, divisive, and potentially illegal.

25 Jul. 2014 | Comments (0)
A Prescription to Stop Workplace Bullying
Your physician informs you that your blood pressure is extremely high, but she doesn’t tell you how to treat the condition or what could happen if you do nothing. Not a very effective way of convincing you to adjust your habits, is it? That’s how some organizations are handling bullying.

04 Jun. 2014 | Comments (0)
Legal Poisons at Work
Behaviors, like noxious gases, can be poisonous at work. There are racial epithets, sexual demands, or overt job threats that compel pressing urgency to act when we find out about them. Corrective steps are easy to identify and implement when significant legal risk stares us in the face.

13 May. 2014 | Comments (0)
How to Avoid Disruptive Behavior Damage
Often, abusive behavior can come from self-motivated, high-performing perfectionists, especially when particular pressures arise while working with team members to deliver results. When errors occur in a team setting, the perfectionist’s reaction may be to explode with rage.

28 Apr. 2014 | Comments (0)
Preventing Abusive Workplace Conduct: No Quick Learning Fix
We can deliver content multiple ways: on-line courses, webinars, virtual instructional learning, self-study, and in the classroom. However, with this explosion of choices, leaders often focus on what’s expedient, with lower costs and time investments.

28 Mar. 2014 | Comments (0)
Rapid Culture Change Is Possible. March Madness/April Fool's Day Edition
Does your organization need to quickly change its culture in regards to issues involving workplace conduct and ethics? If your goal is to just do the bare minimum to defend your organization from a costly mistake, then here’s a roadmap to get you started.

14 Mar. 2014 | Comments (0)
Why Wait For the Law – Stop Bullying Now
I recently participated in a webcast discussing current workplace issues which included bullying or abusive conduct. So far, such behavior, however defined or named, has not been recognized as illegal at the state or federal level.

21 Feb. 2014 | Comments (0)
Tackling Offensive Conduct – Inside and Out of The Locker Room
The NFL has released its investigative report arising out of Jonathan Martin’s claim that his teammates’ abuse forced him to leave the Miami Dolphins last November. Lawyers from a prestigious outside firm spoke with more than a hundred witnesses.

04 Feb. 2014 | Comments (0)
Action Tips for Values-Based Leaders
How do you build an enduring business or enterprise when the world is changing so fast? For years now, I’ve heard leaders from various industries ask their leadership teams that very question. Many answer the question by focusing on products and services that are or will soon be needed.

17 Jan. 2014 | Comments (0)
What We’ll Learn in 2014
A New Year has arrived, and it’s time for predictions. I’ll make one and add some suggestions to help deal with a change I see on the horizon relating to learning investments. My prediction is that organizations will increasingly look at learning effectiveness.

25 Nov. 2013 | Comments (0)
The Honor of Public Service and the Need For Civility
As federal workers struggle with the aftereffects of the shutdown and challenges to their organizations’ budgets, it’s a good time to recall what President John F. Kennedy said about government employment more than 50 years ago.

19 Nov. 2013 | Comments (0)
Jocks, Profs and Docs: Should Incognito’s Behavior Be Considered Foul Play?
Incognito’s language and conduct are way out of bounds for most any workplace environment. Shocking as it is, this reminds me of behavioral patterns I’ve seen among top-ranked medical professionals, educators, and others.

04 Nov. 2013 | Comments (0)
How to Build a Healthy Website, Power Plant, or Workplace: Lessons from The ACA Website
Irrespective of party affiliation, I’m willing to bet that most Americans are, at the very least, irked over the failure of the ACA website to effectively launch after the government invested hundreds of millions of dollars to create it. What caused this to happen?

28 Oct. 2013 | Comments (0)
Can Ethical Behavior Be Taught?
Recently, I’ve found myself speaking to several professional groups about whether ethics and professionalism can be taught. The good news is that, yes, these subjects can be instructed. However, there’s more to consider than simply teaching these concepts.

04 Oct. 2013 | Comments (0)
Will This Change Our Culture?
Success is not linear – there will be quick accomplishments, setbacks, even some stalls or reversals. If you advise a leader considering a people-treatment initiative to build or enhance standards of civility, ethics, and inclusion, here are the questions he or she will probably ask you.

20 Sep. 2013 | Comments (0)
When Leaders Mean It
How do you know when an organization is really committed to a culture change initiative? I believe the lodestar boils down to this: whether it’s being led by or simply given token support by senior leaders.

12 Sep. 2013 | Comments (0)
When Facetime Matters
Just as technology has changed how we read newspapers, listen to music, and watch TV shows, movies, and other content-rich events, it’s also altered the academic and workplace classroom and how we deliver learning.

04 Sep. 2013 | Comments (0)
More Than 50 Shades of Grey at Work – Part One
Clear, obvious, “black-and-white” people issues are relatively rare. However, when they surface, we know what must happen. Though grey issues are, by definition, less obvious than blatant harms, in their own way, they can be just as insidious.

20 Aug. 2013 | Comments (0)
Sustaining What We Learn; Changing What We Do: What Neurobiology Can Teach Us
How much of what we learn do we remember, and, how do we make sure that what we learn has an enduring impact on our behavior? Neurobiologists from the best institutions study these questions.

01 Aug. 2013 | Comments (0)
Thoughts on the Global Workplace from Hanoi
During my stay in Hanoi, I learned at least as much as I taught. Surprisingly, I found that much of what is applicable in terms of core behavioral standards and expectations in the U.S., Europe, and South America also translates in Asia, and likely other global locales, as well.

24 Jul. 2013 | Comments (0)
Supreme Court Rulings Won’t Resolve Workplace Business Problems
As it finished up its historic term in June, the Supreme Court issued several rulings whose impact, many practicing employment lawyers say, will relieve organizations from the burden of rising workplace harassment and retaliation claims. I’m a contrarian here.

18 Jun. 2013 | Comments (0)
When Culture Killers Are Top Performers
I’ve worked with “culture killers.” In some organizations, those who are responsible for big revenues or have important technical skills, can, through their demeaning or abstract behavior and apparent invulnerability, undermine the work and commitment of many.

12 Jun. 2013 | Comments (0)
Sexual Assaults in the Military and Mission Effectiveness
The news has recently been reporting on the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and rape in the military. While the conduct may not appear to be occurring with the same pervasiveness in business, there are still profound lessons for business leaders.

23 May. 2013 | Comments (0)
Restoring Workplace Trust, Part II
In the past several weeks, two stories have tarnished the reputation of our military and the Internal Revenue Service. While the facts are still emerging, it’s clear that certain steps will have to be taken to address the harm each has caused.

10 May. 2013 | Comments (1)
Restoring Workplace Trust
At ELI®, we’ve been talking to and surveying senior executives and other business leaders about issues in their workplaces. A common concern amongst business leaders is high employee distrust of both their organizations and leadership.

30 Apr. 2013 | Comments (0)
Training, Framing, Retaining, Sustaining
How is it that some learning initiatives are geared to delivering messages which participants absorb and apply, while others fail without generating business results, wasting both time and money in the process?

22 Apr. 2013 | Comments (0)
The Final Four Verdict – Rutgers Fouls Out
Rutgers is a fine institution which is committed to building a respectful community. Parsing abusive conduct without regard to its impact on that community, its organizational values, reputation, and overall brand is narrow, shortsighted, and unworthy of the University.

09 Apr. 2013 | Comments (0)
Does Stealing Attention Violate Your Code of Conduct?
Codes of conduct cover just about everything. They span a wide swath of legal and operational territory, so let me suggest one more rule to prevent workplace behavior which drains productivity, creativity and efficiency.

12 Mar. 2013 | Comments (0)
Georgia March Madness Meets Watergate: Egil Krogh’s Leadership Lessons
I attended a sobering presentation on ethics delivered by Egil Krogh, one of the White House officials convicted of conspiring to violate civil rights during the Watergate crisis. Krogh’s message suggests we give greater emphasis to basic leadership and citizenship.

06 Mar. 2013 | Comments (0)
Power Hungry in Today's Workplace
We talk about performance as being the key metric which drives decisions. Yet, too many choices are still guided by irrelevancies or illegalities. We can have every smart device available – or soon to be created – but they don’t eliminate our own biases; they magnify and reveal them.

22 Feb. 2013 | Comments (0)
Reaching The Learning Resistant
What effective learning must do is address conceptual resistance to critical principles. Often, it’s this underlying disagreement which causes individuals not to apply what they have been taught, concluding important lessons are impractical or against their own values or leadership instincts.

13 Feb. 2013 | Comments (0)
MOOCs and Workforce Training: Does Technology Create Competency?
In academia, Massive Open Online Courses are now either the latest college fad or a seismic change akin to eliminating parietals and creating mixed male/female dorms. To an extent, online training already exists in the workplace. Yet, school and work are not the same.

28 Jan. 2013 | Comments (0)
Lance’s Lot: The Cost of Fraud
Every organization has rules. However, many rules are only enforced retroactively, after the damage is already done. We need to think more about the costs of our actions before we do them and temper our desire to win with integrity.

17 Jan. 2013 | Comments (0)
When HR and Legal Worlds Collide
Between your human resource and legal advisers, which group is more likely to say: “It looks like we’re in pretty good shape?" Of the two groups, lawyers are generally more likely to see the state of the workplace landscape this way.

10 Jan. 2013 | Comments (0)
New Year Equals New Rules For New Communications
Who doesn’t want to increase productivity, cut waste, reduce spending, improve teamwork and inclusion, and decrease risk? Here are eight suggestions regarding electronic communication, which don’t cost a dime. Spread these suggestions throughout your organization for huge payoffs.

16 Nov. 2012 | Comments (0)
Scandal Reflex: Focus on the Leaders
I was visiting with my friend just as two scandals broke. Lockheed Martin’s incoming CEO, Christopher Kubasik, resigned his position as a result of having a “close personal relationship” with a subordinate. Then, General David Petraeus’ resignation as Director of the CIA hit the news.

12 Oct. 2012 | Comments (0)
Revisiting Penn State: You Call (or Text or Email or See) Me
Jerry Sandusky has been sentenced for acts of sexual abuse committed against young boys at Penn State. Most likely, he’ll spend the rest of his life behind bars. How could this have happened, and how could so many signs have been ignored?

05 Oct. 2012 | Comments (0)
Don’t Give Them What They Want
Considering learner preference is one of many choices to consider, but it is an abdication of leadership responsibility to let students determine what delivery systems work best for them when there may be more effective ways for them to master critical knowledge and applications.

28 Sep. 2012 | Comments (0)
Time to Talk Politics at Work
Conventional workplace wisdom says keep politics out of the workplace — it’s too divisive, breeds bad feelings, and limits productivity. There are two problems with this counsel.

06 Sep. 2012 | Comments (0)
Bullying, Power, and Safety
All along the workforce spectrum, bullying affects productivity, morale, teamwork, efficiency, problem solving, and, ultimately, safety in relation to employees and the public. Virtually every organization needs to include “respect for each other” as a core value.

10 Aug. 2012 | Comments (0)
Fly Fishing and Workplace Learning
I bike, I hike, I exercise a lot, but I don't fish – at least not very often. The "simple" casting movement takes a lot of practice, skill, and touch. What's this have to do with workplace learning, particularly on topics where leadership skill and communication are involved? Everything.

06 Aug. 2012 | Comments (0)
My German Shepherd, Memphis, and Sustaining What We Learn
As I sit here writing this blog, it’s occurred to me that everything I need to know about creating sustained learning I can learn from Memphis – Memphis being my five-year-old German Shepherd, who is resting by my chair, as she does every morning.

25 Jul. 2012 | Comments (0)
Sustaining Behavioral Change at Work – Technology Meets On-the-Job Leading and Teaching
How do we sustain what we teach? That’s the most frequent question I hear when it comes to workplace learning on civility, inclusion, and compliance. Cost and productivity are constantly being balanced against the urgent need to deliver key messages that result in lasting behavioral change.

21 Jun. 2012 | Comments (1)
Rapid Culture Change: The Lessons I've Learned
Most management books will tell you that culture change is extremely difficult and takes a long time. But I’ve been through experiences where cultures changed almost overnight, and wondered if we could learn from those events.

14 Jun. 2012 | Comments (0)
Lessons from a 40-Year Reunion: What We Learn and Apply
Last weekend, I attended my 40th year reunion of the Hamilton College. I thought about the lessons I’ve carried forward in my career from my time in college, and why they’ve stayed with me. Two of these lessons stand out the most.

23 May. 2012 | Comments (0)
Make it Matter. Make it Simple. Make it Stick
Have you taken a class, gone through a webinar or completed an online module more than a week ago? Quick – don’t check your notes or, review the syllabus – what do you remember? My guess: the more complex and detailed the topic, the less likely it is you’ll recall what you were taught.

04 May. 2012 | Comments (0)
Legality, Civility, Productivity
Civility is critical. However, for several reasons, it is a mistake if we isolate civility, viewing it as being wholly separate and distinct from mandated initiatives dealing with EEO issues. We should think of civility as an umbrella of behaviors that generate a wide range of benefits.

27 Apr. 2012 | Comments (0)
Should You Have An Attention Management Strategy?
Every company today is fighting to attract and retain talent. But there’s another, overlooked, talent war that could yield greater benefits if won, and greater harm if lost. All of our great new forms of communication are eroding our ability to maximize our own talents.

17 Apr. 2012 | Comments (0)
Fighting Workplace Spam – Our Own
They pop in your mailbox. You get more of them a day than you can absorb and remember. They don’t communicate much of value or interest – but they are there and they impact your effectiveness. If this sounds familiar, you’ve been spammed.

06 Apr. 2012 | Comments (0)
Conquering Fear and Workplace Retaliation
You might expect I’d be writing about how fear drives employees to remain silent even as they see hazards and potential catastrophes grow like poisonous weeds around them. But for a change, let’s take a step back and focus on the fear that triggers retaliation.

21 Mar. 2012 | Comments (0)
Selling Women’s Shoes — A Guide to Culture Change At Work
A common complaint mentioned on engagement surveys is that managers don’t welcome, listen, and respond to concerns, which means problems fester and good ideas to go unheard.

13 Mar. 2012 | Comments (0)
Community Learning at Work
Colleagues are often your best tutors. They’re the ones who can give you a different perspective, challenge your assumptions, or explain an issue in a way that is specific to the work you do

27 Feb. 2012 | Comments (0)
Teach Trust First
A few weeks ago, the EEOC released its annual charge filing and resolution statistics. The report tracks case trends from 1997 through 2011.

23 Feb. 2012 | Comments (0)
Curbing Wasteful Compliance Training
I’m writing this blog as I sit in a cavernous auditorium with 14 other Georgia attorneys. This experience reinforces my belief that a lot of required training wastes money, time and attention.

14 Feb. 2012 | Comments (0)
Going Nuclear – To More Safe Power For Georgia’s People
Within the week, I read two headlines whose pairing is striking.

06 Feb. 2012 | Comments (0)
Subtle Bias From Grade School to the Workplace
In our workplaces, now in 2012, we’re making a huge mistake if we focus only on outrageous actions without addressing so-called "grey" areas whose impact is brutal and lasting.

30 Jan. 2012 | Comments (0)
New Rules of Gravity for Today’s Leaders
How does it happen that brilliant leaders act so mindlessly and how do you prevent their self-initiated destruction and the damage they leave behind

23 Jan. 2012 | Comments (0)
Apple Takes A Bite At Learning
This will revolutionize the educational and, ultimately, business learning industries.

17 Jan. 2012 | Comments (0)
Learning As Punishment – Sound Engaging?
When it comes to training on workplace compliance and ethical issues, too much of our learning is like this, presented as infrequent punishment rather than an ongoing experience intended to benefit adult learners.

09 Jan. 2012 | Comments (0)
2012: The Year of Retaliation or Professionalism and Courage
Preventing retaliation has to be approached from a cultural point of view linked to improving business and professional outcomes.

02 Jan. 2012 | Comments (0)
12 Prescriptions NOT Predictions for 2012
Predictions are as common as hangovers at the start of the New Year and usually just as useful.

27 Dec. 2011 | Comments (0)
Click, Click, Click Revisited – Complete That Training or No Bonus For You
The good news is that business has picked up.

26 Dec. 2011 | Comments (0)
Blinded by Human Nature and Compliance
Unless we rethink compliance processes, compliance will continue to mean compliance with an unspoken drive to conform rather than act to prevent catastrophe.

26 Dec. 2011 | Comments (0)
Can Those HR People Help Us Build Our Tanks?
When professionals staffing those functions are viewed as unnecessary at best and a drag on productivity at worst, it's generally caused by one key professional shortcoming.

20 Dec. 2011 | Comments (0)
Locker Room Leadership - Is That a Winning Workplace Strategy?
We discussed values, culture and the role of speaking up in the face of organizational misdeeds.

12 Dec. 2011 | Comments (0)
When Crisis Strikes
Are we aware of potential disasters waiting to happen?