Find focus: Reach goals

adult-blur-bokeh-712786 - pexelsDo you find yourself scattered all over the place when it comes to reaching your goals? Are you running in a dozen different directions at once?
Ambitious people often over-plan, over-schedule and take on way too many projects to accomplish what they’d really like to achieve.
If you’re one of those ‘do it all’ people who never seems to have done enough, it’s time to set limits for yourself. You’ll be amazed at the results.
At the beginning of each week, set no more than five (5) goals for your business or yourself. Write them down or key them in on your computer to keep your focus on those five. Then, devote one whole day to tackling each item on your list.
If you set just four goals, or three, each week, that could be even better. You’ll have more than a day to focus on each of the three or four.
WOW! By the end of each week, you’ll marvel at how far you’ve come from making your dreams come true!
Susan K. Maciak
Susan K. Maciak | CAMEO Communications, Career & Corporate Consulting LLC                 ||

Help new hires succeed

With record unemployment rates, business owners and managers are probably finding it hard to hire people with experience — if they can find new staff at all!Job interview

To keep your company running smoothly when experienced staff is rare, help new hires succeed on the job by getting them off to the right start.

Too many employers hire inexperienced workers and expect them to know exactly what to do.

Instead of leaving ‘business as usual’ up to chance, you can increase the odds of everyone’s success by taking a few practical steps when someone new joins your crew:

  1. Let all new employees know your expectations from the start.
  2. Put job responsibilities in writing to avoid miscommunication.
  3. Provide instructions and/or training on how to do the work.
  4. Encourage new employees to ask as questions about their job.
  5. Note and compliment new hires on their strengths and abilities.
  6. Help them overcome weaknesses with adequate training.

Far too often, employers expect new hires to step into a job and pick up the slack of an experienced person. No matter how well educated or impressive they may be, new staff members won’t know exactly how you want things done.

No one can read your mind. If you’d like your business to continue running well, you need to spend adequate time helping each employee learn how to handle their work. Your investment in time will pay off in customer satisfaction!

By Susan K. Maciak |CAMEO Career & Corporate Consulting | | For permission to reprint — or for consulting services on staff training or pr/communications:

How well do you cope? Here’s help

If you or someone you know ever suffered a setback, you’ll relate to a new book, co-authored by Susan K. Maciak and Will Ellermets.

ON THE REBOUND, inspired by a true story, provides hints on coping with loss.  Readers follow a young man’s painful, but sometimes amusing, break-up with a girlfriend. His agonizing ordeal helps him find his purpose in life.

ON THE REBOUND encourages people to hold onto hope, no matter how hopeless things may seem. It’s especially poignant for young adults making their way in the world today.

“This book puts losses in perspective, provides answers, and proves to readers that they, too, can rebound from life’s set-backs,” says Maciak. 

 “Our book can be funny,” adds Ellermets, “but it’s also a great tool to help people handle life’s disappointments in positive ways.”

ON THE REBOUND is a joint project of CAMEO Career & Corporate Consulting LLC and Battle of the Gains LLC. Both businesses strive to make differences in people’s lives.

Books and eBooks are available now at, the Apple store and other online booksellers worldwide. Copies will soon be sold at various West Michigan locations and venues in other parts of the country.

Let’s Talk Business! Blog by Susan K. Maciak, CAMEO Career & Corporate Consulting LLC  | |

Strategic Partnerships: Two minds beat one

pexels-photo-872955.jpegStrategic partnerships          let small firms accomplish more

How can you bring more brain power to a small business?

“Forge strategic partnerships,” says Susan K. Maciak.

Sole proprietor of two Michigan-based firms, Maciak looks for ways to do more with less for both of her enterprises, CAMEO Career & Corporate Consulting LLC and CAMEO Communications. To stretch her time, talent and customer base, she’s formed several strategic business partnerships with other companies in her area.

“We work together seamlessly as separate entities,” Maciak explains.

“We each maintain our own business, but work together on projects that require each others’ skills.”

Maciak maintains strategic relationships with web site developers, video makers and business consultants, for example, who need extra help in her areas of expertise:

  •  PR-Communications / Content writing / Blogging / Social media campaigns
  •  Presentations / PowerPoint programs / Promotional packages / PR advice
  • Career and corporate training materials / handbooks / handouts / Ads

In turn, Maciak’s strategic partners provide technical skills when her companies need web- or video-based expertise, such as launching blogs for clients, making video clips or putting promotional messages online.

Susan K. Maciak | CAMEO Communications, Career & Corporate Consulting LLC                                 ||



Wanted: World Problem Solvers

Big companies around the world agree on one thing: They like to hire problem solvers. Governments acpexels-photo-414916.jpegross the globe could also use a few more leaders able to find solutions to problems.

So school officials wonder: How do we turn today’s students into problem solvers? Employers ask: How can we help our people turn lemons into lemonade?

Promote thinking skills

A few years ago, we called it critical thinking. Today, we’re more likely to recognize the phrase complex problem solving. They’re pretty much the same. Problem solving is the ability to look at situations, think critically about them to make the best possible decisions in an increasingly complex world. This type of thinking requires:

  • Reading, seeing, or hearing all sides of an issue.
  • Ability to analyze information beyond its literal meanings.
  • Aptitude to ask probing questions and assess the ideas of others.
  • Capacity to seek out diverse points of view and multiple perspectives.
  • Use of evidence and reasoning to support ideas and opinions.
  • Competence in solving complex problems with apt solutions.

Teach problem solving

Teachers who encourage classroom discussion are on the right track. To become problem solvers, students need lessons that go beyond read and regurgitate. Rather than requiring 11th-graders just to read a chapter on the Civil War and list Who?, What?, When? and Where? on a work sheet, educators must urge them to probe further. Ask students and staff alike: Why? and How? 

Why was there a Civil War in the U.S.?

Why couldn’t North and South get along?

Why did each side feel the way they did?

How did North and South differ in their views?

How could states have resolved their differences peacefully?

How can we avoid this type of national disaster in the future?

Questions like these, along with facts and figures, help develop skill in finding solutions for complex problems. Relying on Why and How, rather than habit or instinct, or doing things as they’ve always been done, leads to deeper answers – both in the classroom and on the job.

It’s good to know the facts (Who, What, When and Where), but more important are the reasons (Why) and alternatives (How). Answers to those questions can change organizations, change lives and change the world.

For more communication, career or corporate insights:

Susan K. Maciak | CAMEO Communications, Career & Corporate Consulting LLC | |

Watch out for job scams

EVERY NEW YEAR brings new hopes and dreams. On Jan. 1, you will probably set your sights higher. If it’s a new job you want, watch out for scams.

PIC.14.performance reviewWork schemes are as rampant as New Year’s resolutions — even when the unemployment rate is low.


Here are a few rules to follow before jumping on the band wagon, or falling for what sounds like a good opportunity:

Rule 1: Never, ever pay for the privilege of working. No legitimate job requires upfront fees.

Rule 2: Run from anyone who asks you to buy something to get started in their business. You shouldn’t have to buy your own samples. Credible companies provide sales kits for their people at no cost to them.

Rule 3. Never deal with anyone who promises you a job. No one can guarantee that someone else will get a job. Real jobs always require you to meet standards through applications, resumes, interviews, etc.

Rule 4. Avoid schemes that offer training, certificates or degrees that guarantee jobs. Even if you have the right qualifications for a position, you still have to work hard at getting hired.

Rule 5. Don’t fall for promises that you can make big bucks working at home – especially if you have to invest money to get started. You might make a phone sale occasionally or work remotely from a job you already have, but most work at home schemes are time-consuming scams with little or no payback.

Rule 6. Don’t deal with any offer that requires you to act fast. Getting a job is usually a carefully thought out, lengthy process.

If you find yourself falling for any such schemes, the best you can do is make a report to save others from job cons.

Report your experience to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by phone: 1-877-382-4357 or report online at Any information you provide helps builds cases against swindlers.


Susan K. Maciak | CAMEO Communications, Career & Corporate Consulting LLC | | |

Key business words: creative, innovative

“Every business is show business,” says Bill Capodagli, author of “Innovate the Pixar Way.” He makes a case for promoting creativity and critical thinking in the workplace. Without both — 21st Century businesses are likely to fail.

Today’s customers crave creative solutions to problems and expect innovative, new products and services on a regular basis. Companies that can’t keep pace are doomed to distinction.

In his book, Capodagli, international corporate consultant, tells business leaders how to promote creativity and innovation within their companies. He stresses that a successful organization is one where everyone is encouraged to innovate — not just R & D Departments.

“Collective creativity within a corporate culture never happens by accident,” Capodagli said. “It begins with creative leadership that is trustworthy . . . trusts others to accomplish big dreams.”

See to find out more about creativity-building programs provided by CAMEO or email us:

Article by Susan K. Maciak, author / lead consultant, CAMEO Communications, Career & Corporate Consulting LLC.






New image for CAMEO

Have you noticed the new image used by CAMEO Consulting?

To reflect the wide variety of people we now serve, we’re featuring folks of all ages and from all walks of life.  (See above screenshot). 

Our clients include:

  • College students about to launch their careers.
  • Business owners and employees who want to go further.
  • Organizations that need to attract and keep customers.

To give extra value to our clients, CAMEO now offers extensive PR/Communications Services, along with corporate training and career consulting.

Check out what we now offer at:



Employed? Why Not? success
Why can’t I find a job?

“Why can’t I find a job? Why am I still unemployed? The economy is getting better, unemployment rates are down, I have a degree and a pretty good resume.”


A few years ago, the answer to this question might have varied:

  • I guess I don’t have the right skills.
  • Maybe, I’m over-qualified.
  • Money is tight so there are no jobs.
  • Most companies hire only insiders.

Disappointed job-seekers may have actually been eliminated for other reasons, including:

  • Poor interview skills.
  • Limited proficiency in technology. (Not enough software or internet savvy).
  • Missing information on applications. (Names, numbers, contact info for references or prior employers).

All of the above may be true, but another issue is rapidly becoming a top reason for not getting hired:

  • More and more job candidates are failing drug tests.
  • Loosening of marijuana laws has increased its use across the country.
  • Prescription drug abuse is causing an opioid epidemic in every state.

OnStaffUSA has over 400 unfilled job openings in West Michigan alone, according to an article by Jane Simons in a recent issue of MiBiz, a local business publication.

This growing problem has more than one implication. “When you have to turn down jobs because you don’t have enough employees, that affects the economy,” added Nora Balgoyen-Williams, outgoing director of economic development for Allegan County. When contracts are lost, companies stop hiring. Jobs go away altogether.

The bottom line: Drug abuse affects everyone – not just users.

Susan K. Maciak Let’s Talk Business! Blogs by Susan K. Maciak                                                                                                           CAMEO Consulting LLC:  |


Good grammar counts

Consultants Working  CREATIVE computers and great graphic art make it easy to compose internet content, social media blurbs and blog articles today.      Entrepreneurs often become their own marketers, communicators, and promoters . . . but should they?

Is ‘doing it all’ really the best way to be successful in business?   Not everyone is a great communicator. Even fewer of us are good spellers or grammarians. Publishing without polish can do more harm than good.

Most successful business owners excel in their area of expertise. They’re good at gardening, auto repair, or health care, for example. They may not do so well with writing. In that case, it pays to hire a professional to help communicate to the public.

Credibility counts                                                                                                               Even though business owners are often the best spokespeople for their products and services, their credibility can be ruined in an instant if they post a piece with obvious spelling or grammar errors. If writing style is archaic, hard to read or doesn’t communicate messages correctly, it can do more harm than good.

From the class genius to the guy who got Cs or Ds in English, everyone notices typos in print. Customers equate sentence fragments, grammar mistakes and spelling bloopers with incompetence. Such errors reflect poorly on any business.

Since computers can’t read words in context, the best spell checkers occasionally goof.  They may make corrections that aren’t needed, turning right words into wrong ones. Old-fashioned proofreading is still your best bet. A few simple tips include:

  • Two / To / Too: Use “two” to write out a number (two cats). “Too” means also (I want to go, too. I want to go also). Use “to” as a connector (to the store, to the car, to the person in front of me).
  • It’s / Its:“It’s is always a contraction, meaning “it is” (“It’s raining”); Its (without an apostrophe) is a possessive. (The dog lost its bone) Its shows ownership.
  • You’re / Your: “You’re” stands for “you are” (“You’re late); “Your” is a possessive pronoun, as in “Get your coat.”
  • There / Their / They’re: “There” refers to a place (“Let’s go there.”); “Their” is a possessive pronoun, as in “Get their coats.” A contraction spelled “they’re” replaces two words “They are.” (They’re going on vacation).
  • Who / Whom: Use “who” in place of it, he or she. Use “whom” where you would write him, her, us.
  • Punctuation and quotation marks:  Commas separating a direct quote from the rest of a sentence should be placed inside the quotation marks. The same is true for periods. Question marks should be inside quotes only if they are part of the quote. Outside, if not.

Fool-proof your proofreading                                                                                         It’s not always easy to proofread your own work. If you know exactly what something is supposed to say, you may subconsciously see what should be there rather than what’s actually on the page. Here are a few suggestions for fool-proofing your work while proofreading:

  • Increase font size to 150 percent to better see your words and more easily spot errors. (Don’t forget to switch it back to normal size when done proofreading).
  • Change the font to Courier, a mono-spaced font, to disrupt typical pattern recognition. This will help you pay closer attention to the text while proofing.
  • Read your work out loud. Hearing it helps you spot mistakes you might not see.
  • Print out a document to catch errors on paper that you’d miss on the monitor.
  • Ask a few other people to read your writing for accuracy before publishing it.

Keep in mind that everything the public sees makes an impression  – positive or negative. Misspelled words, bad grammar, or sub-par writing skills can lead to loss of business, no matter what business you’re in!

Susan K. Maciak Let’s Talk Business! Blogs by Susan K. Maciak                                                            CAMEO Consulting LLC:  | by Susan K. Maciak

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