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It’s You!


ROI by Frank J. Rich








By Frank J. Rich


More than any other question is the one that defines each individual, each effort toward the achievement of the next planned goal—the simple definition of success. In advising others, we occupy sacred ground. How do we help without giving over to a simple expression of the way we are, as though our way is the answer for everyone who asks: What should I do with my life? Today, the most quoted answer is engineering, healthcare, or government. These are the high-growth areas. We must first, and foremost, take stock of who, in the most essential guise, is the asker.


Once a common understanding of this quality joins our thinking, we may ask the second essential question: How good do you want to be… at something? Same question in different words: How hard are you willing to work to achieve it? The answer helps to clear the way for the potential in the asker. We may all be “able to prepare” for the outcome we seek, but few are willing to do the work. The so-called work begins with a realistic self-assessment, the stuff that begins the process of self-esteem building. The last, though not least among its building blocks is “personal accomplishment.” Without these, one can only imagine a brighter future. The idea is more the “Hollywood Effect,” or the mistaken notion that if others, their apparent success as witness, can reach great heights, so can we.


Unfortunately, one may only move from one place to another by taking individual steps. Some things we alone must accomplish. Good luck—where preparation and opportunity meet—may appear given of little personal effort, but the experienced would deny it.
The people you work with are the incredible resources necessary to a brighter future. When we invest ourselves in their success, and they do likewise, the results are astounding. Join with those that are going somewhere, with purpose, and for the good of all, and personal dreams come into focus. This is how one engages others and how many become the vehicle to personal dreams. This level of fulfillment is not only personal, but also delivers the energy that fuels collaborative work.
We gain fulfillment when actively engaged in meaningful work. When joined with others of the same mind, financial and corporate results soar. Organizations with strong financial results have employee engagement levels that are twice those with poor financial results. The numbers are similar for those organizations that have better customer experiences, which relate directly to the attitude of the organization’s most valuable resource—people.
The limbic system of the human brain informs much of how we feel about things and the decisions we make. Few elements of brain function provide more direction than this system to realize one’s personal aspirations. Although there is much to do in exercising the healthy use of it, the limbic system benefits greatly from an outside/inside view of the world. That is, how we see it as an extension of ourselves.
When one sees another living out a core value of the group or society, engagement jumps by double digits, according to studies. It is no wonder that the very powerful sense of belonging (to others) that is in each plays such a significant part in the achievement of life goals. Fulfillment may be just two levels above, but requires that we first grow a healthy model in addressing our sense of belonging. In the pursuit of our personal best, we must do a few simple things:
1.  Find Clarity: Know where you are going, how it feels to imagine it, and write it down. Thought becomes behavior. The simple act of acknowledgement begins the process called “knowing,” the total body immersion in the person you want to become.
2. Commit to Action: Envision the steps along the way. Include the hard parts, such as a long educational commitment, or apprenticeship. Map out the sequence of events, and add the flexibility necessary to adjustments (not excuses) along the way.
3.  See Your Dreams Moving “Toward You”: See all things as puzzle pieces to your goals, as though each has purpose and fits well. Take a position as one who claims the things that happen daily as necessary to your ultimate goals. Watch them coming toward you.
We have little more important to do than to grow with every tick of the clock. We must be ready and available as growth opportunities arise. It is not only our desire to fulfill our personal dreams; it is also our birthright.

March 7, 2019 |



ROI by Frank J. Rich







By Frank J. Rich


If we can do little without the “follow through” of discipline (last week’s column), integrity may be the foundation for everything we hope to achieve. Some may see the priorities in virtue differently—kindness may be the “politically correct” leader on the list of them. Oddly, none of the lists of virtues—name this one as above. Justice may be the closest, but “integrity” is what underlies all virtue.

A simple rule of business is that organizations make promises to their customers, stakeholders; they then proceed to deliver on them. Business is little more; and it need not be. But just what does integrity mean, and what does it look like in the workplace?

Integrity is the internally consistent framework of principles that is reflected in one’s behavior or actions1. When everything we do is derived from the same set of principles or core values, we are exhibiting “integrity.” Thus, those with a heightened sense of what’s “politically correct”—perhaps the issue of an alter-cultural and quasi-moral religiosity–find themselves outside this model of integrity. “Him/her” and “waitperson” are examples.

Integrity is revealed in behavior from moment to moment, but it is honed over years of character building. We have it or we don’t, and it looks like the following:

• Accepting responsibility
• Keeping one’s word
• Keeping the vigil in the little things
• Being honest
• Standing up for what’s right
• Maintaining honor and virtue
• Being morally upright
• Making “right” choices, not just “the right” choices
• Finding solutions not fault

Though it is common to hear someone pronouncing his integrity (people who make a point of outlining their virtues usually are bereft of them), integrity either is or is not evident in one’s behavior. If our foundation is one of integrity, our decisions, demeanor (low anxiety), and style will reveal it. Telling another that we “have it” is just so much conversation. Consequently, the view that we can operate without it by suggesting that “it’s just business” is no more than an excuse for a corrupt character.

In a conversation some years ago a friend told me that he was planning to build and occupy a new facility for his very successful company. After congratulating him I remembered that he had just taken occupancy of the building he was in, and asked if he was planning to occupy both. “No,” he replied. How then, I asked, would he exit from the long-term lease he had with the landlord. “I’ll get my lawyers to find something wrong with the lease, and break it,” he said.

We were good friends, so I felt comfortable (and compelled) to tell him what I thought of his solution. My final words to him were: “If you entered the lease in good faith (he was in the commercial real estate business and knew the principle well), why not negotiate good terms for a buy out of the lease?” I left it at that.

Whether making good on a simple promise to deliver a report when agreed to, or moving to multi-million dollar digs, the principles of right behavior remain the same—integrity first. Anything less is called “situational ethics.”

Action Theory
Though a noun, integrity is very much a product of action theory, that is, behavior caused by an agent in a particular set of circumstances. The fruits of integrity are revealed in actions. Thus, integrity is better understood (and distinguished from its kissing cousin “honesty”) by the behavior it elicits. To be clear, honesty requires integrity; integrity produces honesty—they are more action verbs in this context.

The agents in honesty (most behaviors) are desires and beliefs. Perhaps, this is why most organizations include a document of their values and beliefs in employee manuals. A simple example is my desiring to be refreshed on a hot day and believing that lake of cool liquid in front of me is water, leading to the bodily behavior of submerging myself for a swim.

In simple theory, the desire and belief jointly cause the action. Some have added intent as basic to beliefs and desires. This is, perhaps, why when asking a child to decide his own punishment (for an offense both he and his parents agree upon), he typically meats out more stringent terms than his parents would have devised. His underlying sense of integrity, and intention to do right and please his parents, over-compensates for his behavior with more rigorous punishment.

On balance, the theories suggest that a desire (plus a belief) about the means of satisfying that desire, are always what is behind an action. The aim of agents (in acting out behavior) is to maximize the satisfaction of their desires. This idea of prospective rationality underlies much of economics and other social sciences within the framework of Rational Choice or Action Theory, a structural foundation for understanding and often formally modeling social and economic behavior.

Integrity has its price; failed commitments, premature loan demands, handshake agreements between friends, etc, are common to our experience. However, if we are to first believe, then integrity always has a greater value, whatever the price. In our efforts to succeed (at any cost), we would do well to be reminded of the words of Albert Einstein, “Try not to become a person of success, but rather, a person of value.”

March 7, 2019 |

The Catalyst


ROI by Frank J. Rich







By Frank J. Rich


The work of a manager is said to consist of planning, organizing, coordinating, and controlling. The role is usually that of the doer in organizations, leaving the vision and ideation to leaders. Clearly, good managers are also leaders, but the distinction applies, especially to the catalysts in organizations.

A catalyst is defined as a substance that increases the rate of chemical reaction without itself undergoing change, or somebody or something that makes a change happen (in someone or something) or brings about an event.

Among the most common chemical catalysts are enzymes, whose “activation” energy is responsible for causing change in a process or other chemicals and compounds by it—a kind of organic synthesis. As with humans, catalysts that increase the rate of reaction are called positive catalysts or, simply, catalysts, while those who decrease the rate of reaction are negative catalysts or inhibitors.

Consultants and coaches, for instance, are such catalysts, causing something to happen without change to them. Their positive “activation” energy causes catalysis, or the effect of making something happen that would not have happened without them. To be sure, catalysts in organizations have a way of getting involved just enough to spur others to achievement, to their credit, while remaining in the background.

They are influencers, but not authority figures, under most circumstances. Increasingly, consultants (as catalysts) are moving from the so-called doctor model to the partner model. The doctor model positions the client as suffering from a disease or ailment and needing expert advice to cure it. This approach has a number of failings, not least the tendency to make the client an expatriate in his own affairs. The partner plays the role of a friend, philosopher and guide. As such, he is more involved in the business and can act as a provocative thinking member of the client’s team and help avoid likely problems.

A good catalyst is always thinking about how to bring people and processes together to multiply their effect. They are the collectors and connectors of people, the “deal makers,” the “banners and buttons” types who see hidden gains in the obvious and whose desire is to help. When there is a catalyst present, things start to happen by the natural tendencies of the role. And, like most good managers, after gathering the necessary elements for a reaction to occur, the catalyst gets out of the way.

Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom, in their book, The Starfish and the Spider, describe the catalyst as one of the keys to decentralization that is integral to any open system. In their preferential model, the starfish represents the quintessential open system, where decentralization of the key elements of organization act both to guarantee continuance and to provide necessary succession of those key elements. It is the reason that such social networks and websites as Facebook and Wikepedia can continue without hierarchy or the authority of anyone in command.


In their view, the absence of structure, leadership, and formal organization has given way to a model of decentralization that had lain dormant for millennia. Much like the starfish, the catalyst figures prominently as one of the five legs of organizations necessary to achieve decentralization.

To succeed, the catalyst must have tools. He may be the progenitor of good things, but he cannot lead the implementation. This must be accomplished by others, independent of formal leadership. That is, the catalyst causes a reaction, and workers must then exercise their self-leadership to make the changes necessary to achievement.



The Catalyst’s Tools
Genuine interest and investment in people and things—To the catalyst, all information is lined with opportunity. In it, and the people who carry it, are nuggets that have been hidden in plain view, things that most just do not see. When we are genuinely interested and invested in others, the information they have starts to flow. A catalyst combines it with information he has gathered from others to form an idea that brings people and ideas together for productive gain. But we must see real value in others and meet them where they are. It’s never about the catalyst.

Cataloging of people and experiences—When was the last time you looked for a felt pad to deaden the sound of a door closing? You knew you put it somewhere, but where? Catalysts depend on their ability to collect people and experiences and map their contributions to form opportunities for all. They move easily along these interconnected highways, creating new connections and forming fresh opportunities with them.

A sincere desire to help—What is the first question to ask another at a networking meeting? “How can I help you?” We are social creatures, quick to form with others who demonstrate sincere interest in us, in our abilities, in joining to make something happen. Things happen on byways—two-way streets. We participate because we benefit from membership in something. It’s what Maslow called “belonging,” the third level on his hierarchy of needs.

Emotional connections first—Most catalysts are clever people, but they tend to lead with emotions; it’s what forms real bonds between people. It’s also what helps form decentralized organizations, that sense of belonging to something larger than the individuals tending it. A shepherd loves his flock, and they are devoted to him—but is a servant above all.

Trust and tolerance for the unknown—Things happen best when from any direction. A basketball team depends most for its success on different members stepping up at various times in a game or season. The team is often led by surprising contributions. Not knowing something is better than knowing everything. In the latter there is no opportunity for growth.

Getting out of the way—After putting the key pieces of a venture together, the catalyst steps aside and ultimately leaves.

March 7, 2019 |

Smarter Snacking with Nutrition in Mind


In Good Taste










(Family Features) Planning health-conscious New Year’s resolutions typically includes cutting back on unhealthy foods during meals from breakfast to dinner. However, it’s also important to cut out sugary, calorie-laden snacks that can counteract all your hard work throughout the rest of the day.

Rather than skipping snacks entirely, it’s possible to instead incorporate nutritious options that pack protein to help you recharge without going overboard on calories, sodium and sugars. Opt for quick bites like Baked White Bean and Artichoke Dip paired with light, crunchy, low-sugar crackers to get the fuel you need between meals.

This snack idea can be especially filling yet nutritious when you dip with an option like gluten-free, non-GMO Crunchmaster Protein Snack Crackers, made with wholesome ingredients crafted to fit healthy, active lifestyles. With five grams of plant-based protein per serving, the cholesterol-free crackers can aid in providing energy without unnecessary sugars.

As you take steps to incorporate a healthier lifestyle in the New Year, be sure to take into account healthy activities along with nutritious eating habits from the first meal of the day to the last, and each snack in-between.

For more nutritious snacking ideas and recipes, visit

Baked White Bean and Artichoke Dip with Crackers

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Servings: 8

1              can (15 ounces) organic white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1              can (14 fluid ounces) water-packed artichoke hearts, drained

1/3         cup olive oil

2             tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, divided

1             teaspoon lemon zest

1            tablespoon lemon juice

1            tablespoon white wine vinegar

2            cloves garlic

1/2         teaspoon salt

1/4         teaspoon pepper

pinch of cayenne pepper

1            package (3.54 ounces) Crunchmaster Protein Snack Crackers in Roasted Garlic flavor

Heat oven to 400 F.

In food processor, puree beans, artichokes, olive oil, 1 tablespoon chives, lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne until smooth. Scrape into 4-cup baking dish and smooth over top.

Bake 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining chives and serve with crackers.

Tip: Substitute parsley or mint for chives, if desired.

Nutrition information per serving: 200 calories; 10 g fat; 1 g saturated fat; 580 mg sodium; 21 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 7 g protein.




December 26, 2018 |

Simplify Holiday Entertaining


In Good Taste









(Family Features) Preparing side dishes can be time consuming. Save those precious minutes to enjoy the holidays by using refrigerated, never-frozen options like mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, baked apples and even macaroni and cheese that can be heated in the microwave and ready to serve in minutes.

Like many hosts, you are likely searching for perfection in your holiday get-togethers. While those expectations are lofty, and each year may seem more and more difficult with an ever-expanding guest list, you can make things easier by serving ready-to-eat options like refrigerated macaroni and cheese, made with real milk and cheese.

Find more ideas to make your holiday sides simply delicious at

Fancy Mac

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

Nonstick cooking spray

1          package Bob Evans Macaroni and Cheese

1          package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1 1/4    cups shredded Gouda cheese, divided

1          package Bob Evans Thick Sliced Hardwood Smoked Bacon, cooked and broken into pieces

1/2       teaspoon salt

1/2       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2          eggs, lightly beaten

Heat oven to 400 F. Spray four ramekins with cooking spray.

Heat macaroni and cheese according to package directions. Once cooked, stir in spinach, 1 cup cheese, bacon, salt and pepper.

Let mixture stand 10-15 minutes to cool. Add eggs. Spoon evenly into ramekins. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake 20 minutes, or until centers are set.


Sweet Potato Cookies

Prep time: 28-33 minutes

Cook time: 10-12 minutes

Serves: 36

3/4       cup vegetable shortening

3/4       cup brown sugar

1          large egg

1          cup Bob Evans Mashed Sweet Potatoes

2          cups all-purpose flour

1          teaspoon baking soda

1          teaspoon kosher salt

1          teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1          cup butter, unsalted

3          cups powdered sugar

1/2       teaspoon maple extract

chopped honey roasted pecans (optional)

mini marshmallows (optional)

Heat oven to 350 F.

In large bowl, using hand mixer or paddle attachment, cream shortening and brown sugar. Add egg and sweet potatoes; mix until combined.

In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. With mixer on low speed, slowly add flour mixture to egg mixture until well mixed. Using small cookie scoop, drop rounds onto greased baking sheets.

Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely before frosting.

In separate bowl, beat together butter, powdered sugar and maple extract until frosting is light and fluffy. Frost each cooled cookie with maple butter cream frosting.

Sprinkle with pecans and mini marshmallows, if desired. Carefully toast marshmallows with culinary torch, if desired, while avoiding melting frosting.



December 19, 2018 |

A Fitting Snack for Holiday Festivities


In Good Taste








(Family Features) The to-do list for holiday hosts seems to be a never-ending one, starting with planning, guest lists and preparation then ending with goodbyes and cleanup. The hours of work that go into a festive get-together are almost always worth it in the end, and family members surely appreciate the hospitality – especially when it comes to food.

When hosting for the holidays, it can be a challenge to accommodate all of your guests’ favorite tastes while factoring in dietary preferences and restrictions. Building out a balanced menu, like other parts of hosting, starts with devising a thought-out plan.

To help accomplish this task without cooking up personal dishes for everybody in the house, consider these simple tips:

  • Request that guests RSVP. Assuming you have a basic understanding of which friends and family members adhere to special diets, knowing exactly who is coming can be a major help before heading to the store.
  • Think back to past festivities. Try to remember which dishes were hits at last year’s party, and which ones were hardly touched. Maybe the appetizers that disappeared in a flash will be good ideas to repeat this year.
  • Create dishes that fit (almost) everyone. While you can’t control guests’ flavor preferences, it is possible to whip up snack trays, main courses, desserts and more that fit a multitude of dietary restrictions. For example, these Bacon, Baked Brie and Cranberry Holiday Melts feature Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers for a gluten-free, non-GMO, low-sugar, tasty crunch. Because they’re made with wholesome ingredients, these simple snacks are crafted to fit nearly every healthy lifestyle. Plus, if multiple family members adhere to vegetarian lifestyles, you can simply omit the bacon.
  • Add “warning” labels. Despite your best efforts, it can be nearly impossible to create foods every single person can enjoy. If you make a dish containing a common allergen, such as peanuts, simply place a card next to the bowl, tray, plate or pan that informs guests of the ingredients included.

For other recipes, coupons, tips and nutritional information, visit

Bacon, Baked Brie and Cranberry Holiday Melts

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Servings: 6

24        Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers, Sea Salt flavor

24        small slices Brie cheese

1/4       cup prepared cranberry sauce

2          slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Heat broiler to high and position rack in center of oven. Arrange crackers in single layer on foil-lined baking sheet.

Top each cracker with slice of Brie, 1/2 teaspoon cranberry sauce and sprinkle of bacon. Broil 1-2 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Tip: For vegetarian option, substitute chopped hickory-smoked almonds or pecans for bacon.

Nutritional information per serving: 200 calories; 13 g fat; 7 g saturated fat; 45 mg cholesterol; 350 mg sodium; 11 g carbohydrates; 1 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 10 g protein.




December 12, 2018 |

Switch Up Your Game Day Menu


In Good Taste









(Family Features) Burgers and dogs may be typical game day grub, but a lineup that never changes can get tiresome a few weeks into the season. Infuse new energy and homemade favorites into your game day menu so you can enjoy great games and good eats for a winning combination.

Explore new flavors. Add variety by building your meal around a different main dish, like ribs or pulled pork instead of burgers. Or invite guests to get in on the action and offer a DIY pizza or taco bar with a wide range of toppings for the ultimate custom plate. Then adapt your side dishes to fit the theme, like adding a barbecue spice seasoning to your party mix, for example, or offering a chipotle-style dip for veggies and chips.

Add an unexpected twist. If you prefer a more traditional menu, there’s no reason to abandon all your favorite game day fare. Instead, reimagine a popular dish with a special or unexpected ingredient. For example, this recipe features a homemade pizza topped with creamy ranch dressing. An option like Litehouse Homestyle Ranch has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup and is gluten free. The dressing is a versatile addition to your game day spread since you can use it to top off everything from pizza and fries to tacos, burgers and more. For easy serving, look for the 20-ounce squeeze bottle, or opt for a glass jar or dip tub, whichever your recipe requires.

Don’t forget dessert. A good game requires lots of savory, hearty foods, but by the fourth quarter, you’re likely to start craving sweet victory and a sweet treat to go along with the win. Easy individual desserts are a great bet, that way you can grab a quick bite and get back to the screen before you miss any action. Think along the lines of finger foods like marshmallow cereal bars, brownies and cookies to offer a little something for everyone.

Find more ideas for your game day gathering at


Homemade Pizza Recipe

Total time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4


1          ball pizza dough (store-bought or homemade)

1          jar pizza sauce

pepperoni (optional)

sausage (optional)

ham or Canadian bacon (optional)

black olives (optional)

mushrooms (optional)

peppers (optional)

1          package (8 ounces) fresh mozzarella, shredded

1          squeeze bottle (20 ounces) Litehouse Homestyle Ranch dressing

Heat oven to 425 F.

Prepare dough by pressing it onto a pizza pan or pizza stone. Spread pizza sauce over crust and top with pepperoni, sausage, ham or Canadian bacon, black olives, mushrooms and peppers, if desired. Sprinkle cheese evenly over top of pizza. Bake 20-30 minutes.

Top with ranch dressing before serving.

Note: Toppings can be substituted as desired.


December 5, 2018 |
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