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I caution my kids all the time that the friends they surround themselves with will likely determine their path in life. I am sure I say that because my parents and others instilled that “truth’ in me. But was it truth or just the verbiage of over protective adults trying to keep me on the straight and narrow?

With the stroke of a pen in July 2015, former Secretary of Labor Tom Perez issued an “Interpretation” of the test to determine if an individual is an employee or an independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new interpretation determined that “most workers are employees.” Under this interpretation, independent flooring installers had to invest in their business beyond a truck and tools, had to show they had business skill not just technical skills, and could not work more than one or two jobs for a retailer or risk being classified as an employee.

Life happens…

I was recently shocked to hear of the passing of a dear friend from my High School Class. I moved my freshman year of high school – not the easiest time to transition. Peer groups were already established, and I was the new kid in town. Mike Rampy became one of my closest friends because of our common language – Soccer. Though neither of us had played before, we poured ourselves into it in such a way that it became part of the fiber of our being. In fact, both of us went on to coach soccer, pouring our love of the sport into the next generation.

Lowes recently paid $2.2 million to settled a class action lawsuit by job applicants who claimed the information contained in background checks run by the retailer violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  Similarly, a class action was recently filed in California federal court against Robert Half International Inc.

I just finished a great book called The Sender by Kevin Elko and Bill Beausay. It is based on a real life scenario where a person was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo multiple rounds of Chemo. During these 90 days of treatments, someone who identified themselves only as "The Sender", wrote a letter every day to the patient encouraging, challenging, and refocusing them. This book is full of amazing nuggets of truth that can be applied to your personal and professional life. Those nuggets I will share in a later post. In this post I simply address the question, "Why read?"

I never liked whip cream on my shake. In my mind it simply made it harder to get to the stuff I wanted to get to. To me the whip cream kept me from seeing the “good stuff” and had the potential of being real messy. Before you tune out and decide that I have finally lost my mind, I want you to know that Leadership is like a Milkshake. So often when I read books on leadership, I just wish they would cut through all the fluff and let me see what I really need to see. I wish they would help spell out how I can be a better leader by taking the cosmetic layer off the top.

Many states have scheduled increases in their minimum wage.  Fourteen states have announced they will be raising their minimum wages the first of the year.  A number of other states will adjust their rate annually based on the cost of living.  In addition, some cities, counties, state governments, and companies have higher minimum wage rates than the state minimum.  

I saw this headline while reading the editorial section in a morning newspaper recently. The subject of the article was local politics, but it struck me as defining exactly the position many independent flooring retailers are finding themselves in today. We at the WFCA are seeing far too many dealers who have been too busy and involved in the daily grind of their businesses, that they fail to take a longer term view of what course the flooring industry is taking.

In the 1980’s the American Floor Covering Association (AFA), one of the components of today’s World Floor Covering Association (WFCA), offered a five-day traveling university that featured Walter Guinan, Frank Mayfield and Herb Wolk as the instructors. All three were fantastic talents, as is exhibited by their all being in our industry’s Hall of Fame, who volunteered their time with the express purpose of passing along their considerable knowledge to those who were seeking to increase their sales abilities.

All companies have trade secrets. It may be a list of customers, the best installers, future opportunities, warehousing techniques or similar information. To protect this important information, it must be kept confidential and limit access to those that need to know.