I was lucky to know Lee Smith

December 21, 2016 - by: Dan Oswald 4 COMMENTS

by Dan Oswald

I was extremely sad to learn today that Lee Smith, the founder of M. Lee Smith Publishers, passed away Tuesday night.

Lee was a true southern gentleman and a savvy businessman. Lee founded his company in 1975 and built an incredible business that successfully served hundreds of thousands of customers over the years. I had the privilege of knowing Lee as a colleague in our industry for many years before having the opportunity to relocate to Tennessee and purchase his company from him.

I’d like to share the story of how I came to own M. Lee Smith Publishers because it provides great insight into the man Lee was. In late 2002, Lee called me in an attempt to recruit me to run the company he had founded. I was flattered, but I informed him that I was really interested in acquiring a company. His response was, “Well, let’s talk about that.” So we did. Through a couple of conversations, I discovered that Lee was actually open to the idea of selling the company he had built.

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Categories: Life's Lessons

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A real friend sticks closer than a brother

December 21, 2016 - by: Dan Oswald 1 COMMENTS

Editor’s Note: Dan invited former Tennessee Employment Law Letter editor John Phillips to share his memories of business colleague and “lasting friend” Lee Smith.

by John Phillips

In March of 1986, I started The Tennessee Employment Law Update, a monthly newsletter. Some lawyers subscribed to the newsletter, but it was primarily designed for HR professionals.

It was a small operation: me and my wife. I was the writer. She ran everything else. Much to our delight (and surprise), the newsletter did pretty well.

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Great leaders have R-E-S-P-E-C-T

December 19, 2016 - by: Dan Oswald 1 COMMENTS

Multi ethnic group architects working on plans at business boardroomby Dan Oswald

The other day, in a conversation about the recent U.S. presidential election, I mentioned that one of the ways I evaluate politicians is to consider whether I’d be willing to either work for the person or have the candidate work for me. It’s pretty simple—I want to work with people I respect.

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How to win by losing strategically

December 05, 2016 - by: Dan Oswald 1 COMMENTS

Girls rallying before a rugby gameby Elizabeth Petersen

This contribution is the second in a two-part series from BLR Executive Vice President Elizabeth Petersen about business lessons learned through sports.

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Hottest gift this holiday season? Work-life balance

November 28, 2016 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

White Christmas gift with red ribbonby Dan Oswald

Thanksgiving is behind us, and the holidays are in full swing. Most of us feel busier than ever this time of year. With parties to attend, gifts to buy, and anticipated travel for the holidays, there certainly is a lot going on. How do we find time to get everything done and still do our jobs?

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Do you think you could possibly read this? If it’s not a problem?

November 21, 2016 - by: Dan Oswald 3 COMMENTS

rugby woman player silhouetteby Elizabeth Petersen

By way of introduction, my name is Elizabeth Petersen, and I’m the executive vice president of BLR’s healthcare division.

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Active listening allows you to hear what is being said

November 14, 2016 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

Be An Active Listener, message on paperby Dan Oswald

When I was in elementary school, it wasn’t unusual for my report card to come home with a note from the teacher at the bottom that read something like, “Danny is well-behaved, but he must learn not to talk so much in class.” I somehow escaped the “Danny” moniker by middle school, but that’s a story for another day. I remember, on more than one occasion, a teacher making me write “I will not talk in class” a hundred times for being disruptive in class. Obviously, I had a hard time keeping my mouth shut.

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Wells Fargo scandal shows serious lack of effective leadership

November 07, 2016 - by: Dan Oswald 1 COMMENTS

Peru, IN - March 2016: Wells Fargo Retail Bank IIby Dan Oswald

President Harry S. Truman famously had a plaque on his desk that read, “The buck stops here.” It was a reminder to himself that he couldn’t pass responsibility for the way the country was governed. Ultimately, he was responsible.

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Bring your parents to work and show them what they helped you achieve

October 31, 2016 - by: Dan Oswald 4 COMMENTS

Woman helping an elderly person using laptop for internet searchby Dan Oswald

Recently, one of my colleagues suggested that we have a “bring your parents to work” day at the company. It’s a great idea and one that I, frankly, would have never thought of even though it makes perfect sense. Many companies have a “bring your kids to work” day, although many people don’t have kids or their children are really too young to understand what it is mom or dad does. So bringing our adult parents, who can grasp the roles we play at work, into the office to see where their children work and what they do makes sense.

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Cubs make it to World Series—and teach valuable lessons along the way

October 24, 2016 - by: Dan Oswald 2 COMMENTS

Wrigley Fieldby Dan Oswald

Let me apologize in advance, but today I’m going to write about the Chicago Cubs. On Saturday night, the Cubs clinched a trip to the World Series by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0. It’s the first World Series trip for the Chicago baseball franchise since 1945. The 71-year drought had been the longest current streak in major league baseball. I considered waiting to write about the team until after the World Series, but being a Cubs fan, I was afraid I might be too distraught to write about them then. I’ve been disappointed before, so I decided to seize the opportunity.

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