What is leadership?

By Debby Winters

If you follow me on Twitter (@dwinters711), you may have noticed a weekly conversation that I tweet about called #bowtieconvo. @BowtieTodd has a deep interest in starting conversations to get people to think and engage. These conversations are centered on #leadership. This got me thinking about the question: What is leadership? And What do other people think about leadership?

Of course we all have our own spin on the concept, as well as our own definition. What I think is universally true however,  is that leadership one of those things, like pornography, that we know when we see.  In my participation in the #bowtieconvo, I’ve realized that as well as “knowing it when we see it” there are some keys to what everyone “sees” as leadership.
Here are the keys to leadership, as I have gleaned them from these #bowtieconvo chats.

  1. Have a vision:To establish that vision one must know one’s own talents.
  2. Cherish people:Find their talents and keep the passion for their work alive.
  3. Communicate:Foster listening as well as talking.
  4. Make decisions:To be consistent well over time, you’ve got to have a system.
  5. Nurture a healthy culture: Leaders create cultures. Cultures multiply results.

As well as knowing leadership when we see it, I’ve gleaned that most people think that leaders ask the right questions of the right people.

Here are the questions leaders ask.

  1. What is your dream?Ignite your passion and align your efforts.
  2. Do you deeply care for your people?Deeply and genuinely care for others.
  3. Are you connected with your people?Lead with your heart.
  4. Are you empowering your team? Provide clear goals, needed resources, and back-up.
  5. Are you proud, engaged, and happy?Most important of all because a team is a state of mind.

Do you want to become a leader? These lists didn’t come from research, but from listening to others, from listening to #leaders.

Join the #bowtieconvo every Tuesday at 7 pm CT on Twitter and tell us what you think of #leadership.

IRS Webinar for Small Business to Focus on Tax Basics for the Self-Employed

The Internal Revenue Service will hold a free webinar today, Wednesday, Aug. 26 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET designed to provide basic tax information to new entrepreneurs as well as owners of existing small businesses. The title of the webinar is “Business Taxes for the Self-Employed: The Basics.”

Topics include reporting profit or loss from a small business or profession on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ, businesses owned by married couples, deducting business expenses, and self-employment and quarterly estimated tax payments.

To register or access archived versions of past webinars, visit the Webinars for Small Businesses page. Topics of popular recent webinars have included tip income reporting, the home office deduction, and how to work effectively with a paid tax preparer.

IRS Tax Tips for Starting a Business

By Debby Winters


I frequently have clients who are starting a new business ask about their taxes.  While I can help clients determine the business structure best for the type of business they start, help them obtain their Employer Identification Number, and answer questions about health care for their employees, I recommend they talk to an accountant when they need advice on taxes and accounting methods.  When I came across a list of tips from the IRS, I thought sharing this list and the advice the IRS gives might help with having a place to start.  The IRS tips can be found at this link and it cover 5 basic subjects.

  • Business Structure.
  • Business Taxes.
  • Employer Identification Number.
  • Accounting Method.
  • Employee Health Care.

Your accountant or your business attorney can help answer questions that you have on these topics, but the IRS is a good source too. You might want to check out the tips the IRS gives as a starting point. Once you have some basic information, you should consult with your business attorney or accountant.

Good luck!

IP Provisions in Consulting Contracts- Part 2

By Debby Winters

Consulting contracts can be for work performed by an outside service provider or consultant, like market research, product design, product development, software implementation, employee benefit plan administration, and the list can go on. The consultant can begin to negotiate the consulting contract once the project proposal is accepted. Many times these contracts, as prepared by in-house counsel, are one-sided with intellectual property provisions that can be a disaster for the consultant with regards to future work. Believe me, I’ve been that in-house counsel drafting these contracts. The goal of in-house counsel is to protect your company but looking at these contracts from the consultants viewpoint, the contract can limit their ability to bid for and perform future work. In my last blog we looked at ownership of the work product. This time, let’s look at the confidentiality provisions in consulting contracts and suggests some possible approaches for workarounds.


Standard confidentiality clauses in consulting contracts can act as a way to prevent the consultant from using the intellectual property embodied in the project’s work product. Beware of standard confidentiality clauses providing that all project work product are “confidential information” that cannot be disclosed to third parties. These could prevent the consultant from re-using and adapting elements of the project for future clients.

The safest strategy is to strictly limit the “confidential information” concept to (1) proprietary documents and materials provided by the customer to the consultant (subject to the usual exceptions for public domain information and materials independently developed by the consultant) and (2) those specific elements of the project work product that the parties have agreed (in the IP ownership provisions) are to be owned and used exclusively by the customer.

Next time we’ll look at non-compete provisions in consulting agreements.