Category Archives: A Step Ahead

Teaching Toughness

There are times in life when you can't just coast on through. © Can Stock Photo Inc. / creatista

Comedian/actor Dennis Leary has written several books that have the same common-sense, knock-you-upside-the-head candor. Also, Leary’s voice can be heard on the Ford truck commercials urging viewers to “listen up” and “get it straight.” He’s become an icon of the tough-guy attitude and the whole “get-over-yourself” mindset. I identify with his pleas to the men in this country to “just stop whining.” In some of his writings, he has actually thanked the former bullies in his life as well as … Continue reading

Posted in A Step Ahead, April 2013, Columns, Issues, Parks and Rec Business | Leave a comment

Successful Communication

Keep the lines of communication open and clear. © Can Stock Photo Inc. / michaeldb

Those who read this column regularly know that many of my theories and conclusions are derived from the notion that things should be kept simple. Everything can be divided into simpler, more manageable elements; achieving goals comes through disassembling the parts, understanding them, and then reassembling them. I have also observed that any solution to a particular problem, even a current one, has usually been seen previously. For example, many people believe Henry Ford “invented” the automobile; however, the truth … Continue reading

Posted in A Step Ahead, Columns, Issues, March 2013, Parks and Rec Business | Leave a comment

Performance Evaluations

Tips on how to do a useful employee evaluation.

One of the most difficult tasks expected of management is the end-of-the-year evaluation. Do you say too much? Do you say too little? Do you inadvertently offend the employee with a casual remark that you had no intention of uttering? It happens all the time. I’ve written comments in performance evaluations that have downright haunted me and the employee because he brought it up for years. These episodes made me so gun-shy I was almost afraid to write anything after … Continue reading

Posted in A Step Ahead, Columns, February 2013, Issues, Parks and Rec Business | Leave a comment

Take Time To Teach

Father and son, a few years back!

Over the holidays this year my son finally mastered the art of tying a necktie. I was also around 15 or 16 when my dad taught me. We Ciancutti men wear a half-Windsor drawn very tight. There’s nothing sloppier-looking than a big, loose top knot parked under a man’s chin; it makes him look like he’s wearing an ascot. Sammy nailed it on the third try before we headed off to a formal dinner. It’s been easier coaxing him into … Continue reading

Posted in A Step Ahead, Columns, Issues, January 2013, Parks and Rec Business | Leave a comment

Simple Standards

Getting back to being a "simple man." © Can Stock Photo Inc. / martijnmulder (guitar)

Forget your lust, for the rich man’s gold, All that you need, is in your soul, And you can do this, if you try. All that I want for you, my son, Is to be satisfied. And be a simple kind of man. Be something you love and understand. Be a simple kind of man. Won’t you do this for me, son, If you can? –Lynard Skynard The band Lynard Skynard recorded “Simple Man” in 1973, but the song peaked … Continue reading

Posted in A Step Ahead, Columns, December 2012, Issues, Parks and Rec Business | Leave a comment