Life Coaching

THE CRITICAL QUESTION FOR BUSINESS OWNERS: DEFINING SUCCESS – WHY ARE YOU ON THIS ROAD? By recent article in Forbes magazine by John Jennings described this as the “money and happiness” paradox. In his article, Jennings discussed an important psychological study from 2003, which determined that although having more money is associated with happiness, seeking more money dampens life satisfaction and impairs happiness: [T]he study found that “the greater your goal for financial success, the lower your satisfaction with family life, regardless of household income.” This paradox teaches that money boosts happiness when it is a result, not when it is a primary goal, or as Ed Diener noted in his book his TED Talk that has more than 55 million views. Sinek’s website describes the book this way: Sinek presents a simple yet powerful idea: the most successful and influential companies and leaders start with the “why” of their business, rather than focusing solely on the “what” and “how.” By starting with purpose and beliefs, companies can create a clear and compelling message that resonates with their customers and employees. This is the first question for the business owner to answer: Why am I doing this? Having a clear purpose means that the owner will not shy away from challenges arising in the business. The owner’s purpose is the lodestar that keeps both the owner and the company on track and able to surmount these challenges. A business owner who knows the why has purpose that drives the business, and fulfilling the owner’s purpose will help define success. What Is the Quality of My Relationships? This question about relationships may be less obvious than deciding on one’s purpose, but it is no less important. We are human beings. We exist in relation to other humans, which is especially true in the business world. People do not succeed or experience success in business in a vacuum. There are two types of relationships for the business owner to consider: those within the company and those that the owner has with family and friends outside the business. Both of these are important and help the business owner to define and experience success. Inside the business, successful business owners stress the importance of building solid, meaningful relationships. Sam Kaufman, an entrepreneur and a member of the Forbesbusiness council, expressed this powerfully in a interview in 2021, he said: “Younger employees consistently rank corporate responsibility at or near the top of their criteria for working at a particular company. This means community actions are key, but not just from a talent perspective.” When asked why companies should compare about community impact, he stated: “It’s the connection between community and long-run company performance. That shows up in everything from what kind of brand do I build over time, to the knock-on effects of that brand, to the way my employees feel about the company, with respect to how I am engaging in community.” — Dave Young, a senior partner with Boston Consulting Group The point is not to suggest that business owners have to become “corporate do-gooders” to find success. But, if owners choose to disregard the impacts their companies are having on the communities in which they do business, they may find success to be an elusive goal. Conclusion Defining success is an individual process for business owners, who will reach different conclusions, but the process is a vital exercise to undertake. Owners who eschew the need to consider their path to success may find themselves lost or overwhelmed on an uncharted road. By undertaking the deliberative process required to define success, business owners will develop a clear sense of purpose, appreciate the important relationships in their lives and fully grasp how their company impacts the community in which it operates.

“What will I do after selling my business?” he asked. I hear that a lot both in my M&A practice, True North Advisors Group and my coaching business, The Platinum Years. “I fear I will fall into a void, if I sell”, is another common refrain. As we get into our 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, many of us who have achieved financial and business success, start to wonder about this. As my fellow business advisor Josh Patrick, wrote recently, we want to stay “relevant”. But what does that mean, and how to achieve it? For some it is selling and traveling, for others it is hiring a career coach and starting anew. Sadly, other freeze up and do nothing. Of course, that is a bit like letting choosing to let others plan your future – they will clean up your mess after you are gone. If you are a late-career business owner, there is a small step to think more deeply about your future. It is called the What’s Next Self-Assessment (online assessment, book and workbook). Beats wondering how to stay relevant… Learn More:   

And the Beginning! Change is the external event, situation, or relationship that morphs into something new/different/better/worse. After a 30-year successful run, the founder/business owner sells his or her business. That’s the change. Here’s how my client, Jim, described it to me this week: One day I’m in my office and the next day I am at home with no emails in my inbox, no meetings to attend, no need to ever think about sales and marketing, and no team members to celebrate births, marriages, and graduations with. The final six months of executing the deal were so intense that I didn’t even have time to think about life after the sale. It’s been three months now and I have no idea what to do with myself. I don’t know if I need coaching or therapy. I feel lost and invisible. Transition is what happens internally as we move from where we were to a different (hopefully better) place. All major transitions have a phase, that’s called the messy middle. Rosabeth Moss-Canter is quoted as saying, “Everything in the middle feels like failure.” I think Jim would agree. Then comes the new reality. While we all know change is inevitable, it’s easy to get lost in the flood of emotions, and/or the need for action, that change ushers in, even if that change is the successful sale of a business. Whether we’ve planned for it or not, the messy middle is an uncomfortable, scary time filled with loss and sadness about what is gone, and uncertainty and confusion about next steps. The entrepreneur’s strong impulse is to muscle through this phase to get past the discomfort and uncertainty as quickly as possible. Here’s the good news. This is where a skilled coach can provide guidance and support, and most of all – permission for the client to be in the moment, in the process, and let go of fear or anxiety as the new normal unfolds. “Unlearning” is much harder than learning, and clients need support as they let go of old routines, identities, and successful habits, enabling them to emerge empowered to chart a course for their desired future. If you are a service provider who works in any capacity with business owners to help them sell their businesses for the maximum buyout, I am sure you have high-fived them and popped the champagne at the closing. It’s likely that many of you have also checked in with them a month or so later to find the initial elation gone, replaced by fear and uncertainty, and often dread over how the next ten years will unfold. The bad news… there is no magic bullet. Every situation is different. However, there are some proven action steps you can take that significantly increase the chances of a positive outcome, and a client who is invested and involved in the future he or she is creating. Here are some ways you can help them prepare psychologically. PREPARE At least a year before the sale, begin to ask questions about what they are doing to prepare themselves psychologically for the transition. ENCOURAGE Suggest they talk to an experienced coach, counselor, or peer who has been through a business sale. Learning about the necessary steps of major transitions and asking for guidance or support well before the event from a trusted advisor can be the game changer. SUPPORT When clients express doubts and uncertainties about their future after the sale, listen, ask “Tell me more” questions, and empathize with their feelings. “I get it,” and “That really makes sense to me,” are far more helpful than, “Don’t worry, I’m sure everything will be fine.” Let them know you are willing to listen and help them find resources to navigate the transition. COMMIT Check in with clients after the sale at least once a quarter for the first year to see how they are doing. If they are floundering, suggest they reach out to a qualified transition professional for support. Any major transition, especially in the last third of life, can be the beginning of a devastating downward spiral or the catalyst for personal transformation and growth. As we know, studies show that the vast majority of business owners regret the sale. I believe that in large part, it is because they are not prepared or equipped to create a life and a future that they love. It would be a privilege to share more about my successes with this process and all it can do for your clients who may be struggling with how to make their next chapter their best chapter. Here’s the best news! I’m here for you. Please do drop me an email at the address below and we will schedule a 30-minute discovery call. Contact: info@themindconnector.com Webpage:

How to shift from doom to possibility so you can serve your clients well during this uncertain time.  I say it all the time, but I want to gently remind you.  Your mind’s activity works in a way that sometimes is NOT helpful.  Especially in these days, living in the catastrophe’s and pandemic life right now, our minds are on overdrive protecting us.  How in the world do we stop worrying and fretting right now? Remember that Circumstances trigger not only thoughts but stories.  I.e. the stock market dips and our mind says we are going to lose everything.  Our mind is a frickin’ drama king/queen. And it steals our joy and our ability to be focused on the people and the activities we love.  It robs us of our flow/productivity at work. What’s a person to do? Interrupt the story, get curious about the story, give yourself some grace while you peek in and look at what your mind is doing there.   The action of interruption is powerful. What does interrupting, getting curious look like? 🗣In conversation: “Wow, with all that is going on today, I am making some really crappy conclusions.” SPEAKING THE THOUGHTS OUT LOUD helps you to look at them instead of think them, believe them. ✍🏽In journaling:  Listing everything that you’re thinking and reading it over, can create a powerful awareness instead of BEING IN those thoughts. WE DO NOT HAVE TO THINK DIFFERENTLY. Just watching and observing our thoughts creates a powerful agency over ugly thoughts. 🧠In your mind:  Ask better questions.  Ask open ended questions and keep them coming until you feel a shift to a less dire state.   OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS disrupt powerfully, pointing the brain in another direction.  What is possible here? What shift could I make? What’s another way to think about it? Could I give myself some grace here? Lean into 🧠✍🏽🗣 and see what works for you here. Diana Mindset/Life Coach for Expert Advisors and Owners in Exit ps I discuss all of these issues on my podcast.  Here is one of my favorite recent episodes on building momentum. pss my website is full of resources:  dianamurphycoaching.com

“So, tell me about yourself.” “What’s happening on the big project?” “How are our quarterly numbers?” If you want to sound confident, your response to any question should be clear and engaging. “Ummm, that’s a good question…” or “Well, that depends…” does not communicate confidence. At The Confident Communicator, we coach aspiring leaders to start an answer by showing they’ve heard the question and want to engage in a positive way. “Tell me about yourself.” “I’d be happy to….” Author Judith Humphrey calls this a “grabber.” It grabs the listener by the lapel and says: hey, come with me! “How is the project coming?” “It’s on track…” Grabbers respond to the question but do not provide a full answer. They provide a bridge from the question to the answer. The second component of a confident response is a succinct message. Your message should capture the main point you want to make in a phrase or single sentence. If the other person remembers nothing else from what you said, it’s this one thing. “Tell me about yourself” “I’d be happy to. I thrive on creative projects.” Boom! Grabber + Succinct Answer = Confident. “How are our quarterly numbers looking?” “Excellent. “We increased new applicants by 40%.” Even when answering a factual question, your message can transcend the facts. Pro Tip: in advance, think of a succinct answer to tough questions you may be asked. Be ready! Sign up for your daily leadership communications tip at

People have been selling businesses and retiring forever, so why is this important? Well, after nearly 30 years in healthcare, I’ve seen a startling trend that must be addressed. Let’s walk through two scenarios, and you pick the one that reflects your future desires. Retirement Scenario 1 – The Cliff It is not uncommon for people, especially very successful men, to become defined by their work. It is their source of fulfillment, accolades, confidence, social engagement, power, notoriety, and significance. The years or months leading to retirement are filled with final goals, succession planning, financial projections, and a whirlwind of activity related to the retirement itself. Then Monday arrives. He has no agenda for the day, no one waiting in line with questions, no ringing phones, no fires to put out, and no expectations for his time. This might even be fun and relaxing for a short time. He might have some trips to take and some family time to enjoy. But then what? If he has no longer-term plan or defined purpose, retirement can feel like falling off a cliff. I have seen this happen in so many men, even those with well-developed hobbies or even nonprofit roles. When there is no plan, health can decline rapidly. All of the stress, disappointment, anxiety, loss of self, loss of purpose can lead to decline in physical health. Depression, increased blood pressure, increased weight, increased blood sugar, disrupted sleep, and more can quickly put him at risk of stroke, heart attack, or other future-limiting event. Then, add the impact on relationships that is a key part of the Learn more here. Schedule a 

This has been a challenging year for business owners. I’ve seen it all, your own powerful pivots whilst guiding clients through revenue loss, and their market changes. Navigating your own business in the middle of a LOT of uncertainty, handling an entirely new lifestyle of work and home life.  Just wow! Can we just give ourselves a big pat on the back? Staying in the energy of response for too long can burn you out.  In fact for most of us, we are already there.  We’ve been on high alert since March 13th, 2020, handling every twist and turn and I believe it has taken a toll.   I have been thinking about this a lot and have decided I wanted to do something to support my owner colleagues as coach.  I’ve created a powerful course designed for business owners with 3 modules that stand alone but also build on one another. THIS IS THE INFO FOR THE COURSE: (November 5, 12, 19-Recordings available) This podcast will give you the first step. (This is the 1st module of the Course). Episode 40: From Stress to Clarity & Inspiration We have such a great opportunity for growth in 2022 if we recharge our mental batteries now. Just email me diana@dianamurphycoaching.com and my team and I will answer any of your questions. Diana

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I once had the thrill of interviewing Jerry West on management. He was “The Logo” for the NBA, although back then they didn’t advertise him as such. Only the Laker followers knew for sure. In 1989 the “Showtime” Lakers were coming off back-to-back championships.  Pat Riley was a year away from his first of three Coach of the Year awards. 

Can you Offer Too Many SKUs to Your Customers? The short answer is YES! A SKU, or Stock Keeping Unit, defines each different product version that you sell and keep inventory of.  There may be different SKUs of the same overall item based on size, color, capacity (think computer or cellphone memory), features, and many other parameters.  For build to forecast businesses, that number of variations can quickly explode and become difficult to manage. Your customers are busy and want ordering simplified. Of course, they may need (or want) more than one variation of a product. That is reasonable and a common aspect of business – one size does not fit all! But there is a point where too offering too many SKUs is not value added either for your customer or your business.  In his April 30, 2013 article “Successful Retailers Learn That Fewer Choices Trigger More Sales” in Forbes, Carmine Gallo discusses his experience and a study about “choice overload” by other authors. He writes about a retailer that “has discovered that giving a customer more than three choices at one time actually overwhelms customers and makes them frustrated…when the customer is faced with too many choices at once, it leaves the customer confused and less likely to buy from any of the choices!” Choice overload is well-documented in consumer studies but can apply in B2B as well. While customer satisfaction is important, another key concern is the often-hidden costs associated with a business offering and managing a large number of SKUs for a given product type. These costs include holding inventory, S&OP (Sales and Operations Planning) team time, small production runs, and scrapping inventory. Holding inventory takes up space, which may come with a cost or utilize racks that could be used for other products. Scheduled inventory counts take up employee time and may result in blackout periods when the warehouse is not shipping product.  The more SKUs there are, including extra SKUS, the greater the potential impact. The Sales team’s forecasting and the Operations team’s purchasing reviews that are part of the S&OP process can occupy more of their valuable time if they need to consider these times. If small orders or forecasts require a new production run, this could be costly and create excess inventory. Whether from this new production or past builds, eventually it will make sense to write off and scrap old inventory, another cost impact to the company. How do you know which SKUs to focus on if you wish to look at reducing your total number of SKUs? Start by examining SKUs that have: Low historic sales over a period of time Small variations between SKUs that customers do not value Older technology or model when newer option SKUs are available This requires a true partnership between Sales and Operations. It starts with educating both teams on the costs involved – neither group may be aware of the money and time impact to the company. Periodic (such as quarterly) reviews of SKUs that meet the above descriptions should become a fixed part of the calendar. A review of the data and other available for sale options should result in the identification of SKUs which may not be needed. At that point, it is helpful to have a customer friendly EOL (End of Life) Notice process by which you inform customers of last time buy requirements for this SKU and alternates available. It is usually best to provide some time for the last time buy in the interest of customer satisfaction, although that may not always be necessary. At a company that designed and sold electronics, a robust SKU rationalization process was implemented to help address these issues. A representative from the Operations team analyzed SKUs that met a version of the above criteria and suggested candidates for the EOL process. Next, a member of the Sales team reviewed them and, where appropriate, issued product change or EOL notices to customers, providing them time for last time buy orders when needed. These steps helped reduce the work involved in maintaining these SKUs while not leading to any customer complaints. A final note – sometimes it makes sense to continue offering low selling SKUs – to support customers buying other items (hopefully in larger quantities). It may be worthwhile to encourage them to keep coming back to you for all of their product needs and this may be a way to accomplish that. But it helps to understand that this is truly the case and not assume that this customer would not be equally happy with another, more popular, SKU.   Steven Lustig is founder and CEO of Lustig Global Consulting and an experienced Supply Chain Executive.  He is a recognized thought leader in supply chain and risk mitigation, and serves on the Boards of Directors for Loh Medical and Atlanta Technology Angels.

When it comes to careers, business owners are a minority of the population. In conversations this week, I mentioned the statistics several times, and each owner I was discussing it with was surprised that they had so few peers. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), there are over 33,000,000 businesses in the US. Let’s discount those with zero employees. Many are shell companies or real estate holding entities. Also, those with fewer than 5 employees, true “Mom and Pop” businesses, are hard to distinguish from a job. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Association, lists businesses with 5 to 99 employees at about 3,300,000, and 123,000 have 100 to 500 employees (the SBA’s largest “small business” classification.) Overall, that means about 1% of the country are private employers. Owners are a small minority, a very small minority, of the population. Even if we only count working adults (161,000,000) business owners represent only a little more than 2% of that population. So What? Where am I going with this, and how does it relate to our recent discussions of purpose in business exit planning? It’s an important issue to consider when discussing an owner’s identity after transition. Whether or not individual owners know the statistics of their “rare species” status in society, they instinctively understand that they are different. They are identified with their owner status in every aspect of their business and personal life. At a social event, when asked “What do you do?” they will often respond “I own a business.” It’s an immediate differentiator from describing a job. “I am a carpenter.” or “I work in systems engineering,” describes a function. “I am a business owner” describes a life role. When asked for further information, the owner frequently replies in the Imperial first person plural. “We build multi-family housing,” is never mistaken for a personal role in the company. No one takes that answer to mean that the speaker swings a hammer all day. Owners are a Minority We process much of our information subconsciously. If a man enters a business gathering, for example, and the others in the room are 75% female, he will know instinctively, without consciously counting, that this business meeting or organization is different from others he attends. Similarly, business owners accept their minority status without thinking about it. They expect that the vast majority of the people they meet socially, who attend their church, or who have kids that play sports with theirs, work for someone else. There are places where owners congregate, but otherwise, they don’t expect to meet many other owners in the normal course of daily activity. This can be an issue after they exit the business. You see, telling people “I’m retired” has no distinction. Roughly 98% of the other people who say that never built an organization. They didn’t take the same risks. Others didn’t deal with the same broad variety of issues and challenges. Most didn’t have to personally live with the impact of every daily decision they made, or watch others suffer the consequences of their bad calls. That is why so many former owners suffer from a lack of identity after they leave. Subconsciously, they expect to stand out from the other 98%. “I’m retired” carries no such distinction.       This article was originally published by John F. Dini, CBEC, CExP, CEPA on

In a recent research study by The Value Builder System™, they analyzed data from 20,000 business owners who completed a Value Builder assessment of their business and discovered that owners who have businesses dependent on them, known as Hub & Spoke owners are facing a 35% discount on the value of their businesses and part of the problem may be the degree of customization they offer. For the purposes of the study, a Hub & Spoke owner is someone who answered the question “Which of the following best describes your personal relationship with your company’s customers?” with the response, “I know each of my customers by first name and they expect that I personally get involved when they buy from my company.”  One reason customers want the owner to personally attend to their project is the degree of customization Hub & Spoke owners offer.  In fact, the study shows that Hub & Spoke owners are more than twice as likely to say they offer a complete custom solution for each customer.  Since the owner is usually the person with the most subject matter expertise inside their company, it’s not surprising customers want the owner’s full attention on their job. The secret to making a business less reliant on its owner is to stop offering a custom solution for every customer.   How Ned MacPherson Built More Value By Doing Less   Ned MacPherson is a digital marketing guru, so it’s not surprising that when he first started offering his time, it was in demand.   In the early days as a consultant, he offered all sorts of growth hacking services. But when demand outstripped his supply of time, Ned had a decision to make. He could either turn away prospective clients or build a team of consultants underneath him.  As a growth guy, the idea of treading water didn’t appeal to Ned, so he opted to build a team. However, to ensure his team could execute without him, Ned decided to focus on one service offering: post-click analysis. Rather than help optimize a website for the entire customer journey, Ned’s company would become one of the world’s leading firms on optimizing a customer’s journey after they opted in to a website.   Most digital marketing consultants offer a wide range of services, but Ned knew it would be impossible to remove himself if they offered help in too many areas. By specializing in post-click analysis, Ned and his team were able to streamline their offering. Demand for Ned’s time started to diminish as his employees became some of the world’s leading experts in a narrow slice of the analytics market.   Within seven years of starting Endrock Growth & Analytics, Ned had 70 employees, more than $2 million a year in EBITDA, and multiple acquisition offers.   

The sale of a business marks a major life event. It’s emotional, stressful, and exciting all at the same time. And unfortunately, it’s often a lot of work. Most business owners will only experience the process of selling a business once in their life. This is both good and bad news. On the bright side, you only need to get through it once. But many business owners aren’t ready for the process and risk leaving money on the table as a result. With many sellers relying on the sale to fund their retirement and lifelong financial goals, getting it right from the start is critical. Here are tips from sell-side business advisors on what to do (and not do) when selling a business. What to do (and not do) when selling a business Start thinking about selling your business early — really early One of the top mistakes sellers make when selling their business is not starting the process early enough. There are many reasons starting last minute can really hurt your bottom line. It’s not uncommon for business owners to assume they’ll never retire at some point during their life. But as often happens, life changes. Perhaps health concerns for you or a spouse make continuing to run your business difficult. Or maybe you eventually lose the excitement when getting up every day and want a change of pace. Sudden sales or immediate retirements Unfortunately, when business owners want to sell with a tight timeline (or fire sale), they may have fewer options to exit. It’s not uncommon for some buyers to want the owner and/or members of the management team to stay on for a period to help with the transition. If there’s an earn-out, it’ll usually require the seller to stick with the company for different milestones (time, financial, or otherwise) to earn the full purchase price. Earn-outs aren’t ideal for sellers, but if you’re unwilling or unable to consider deals with any continuation component, it could impact the sale price, timeline to find a buyer, or both. Make your business more sellable later by getting advice now Business brokers often recommend getting a valuation done years before expecting to sell the company. Sarah Grossman, Principal of BayState Business Brokers in Needham, MA, says this helps sellers “shape their timeline and any financial planning that needs to be completed prior to a sale.” Understanding the fair market value of the company is critical to setting expectations for the seller, but understanding the drivers of the valuation can help increase the sale price over time. Grossman says, “a [business] broker can advise them on things they can do in their business over the next few years to make it more saleable when it does go on the market.” How to maximize your cash at closing Aaron Naisbitt, Managing Director at Dunn Rush & Co, an investment bank focused on sell-side M&A in Boston, MA, emphasizes the importance of going to market and knowing what your business is worth. He says, “the biggest mistake many businesses owners make is not running a competitive process when the business is capable of attracting interest from a broad number of buyers. This mistake most often occurs when the owner has already made the second biggest mistake – not taking the time to educate themselves and prepare adequately for the process.” Not every business will be able to run a competitive process. But those that can, and don’t, “Will leave money and terms on the table if they do not do so” he adds. Getting professional help is key here as trying to negotiate a sale directly with a buyer might be short-sighted. Grossman says it’s not uncommon for sellers to be approached directly by competitors. She cautions sellers considering working with buyers directly as “They could be leaving significant money on the table without a clear understanding of the valuation of their company. Sellers also need to work with a broker and their advisors to understand a typical deal structure so that they can maximize their cash at closing.” The importance of understanding the terms of the deal cannot be overstated. This is where money is made or lost. Naisbitt cautions that sometimes terms can sound really good, but aren’t always common sense. He adds that without an advisor, sellers “Don’t know where to argue.” During negotiations, you have to consider “What is it that’s important to you and what are you willing to give up” he says. Exit planning is not time to DIY — assemble your team of advisors When selling a company, gathering your team of advisors early on is key to getting a successful outcome. Again, odds are you haven’t sold a business before and probably won’t again. We don’t know what we don’t know…and you only have one shot to get this right. Your team of business and personal advisors will be instrumental in getting the deal over the finish line. Your business advisory team may consist of: a business broker or M&A advisor, accounting and tax advisors, and transaction/M&A attorney. On the personal side, your sudden wealth advisor who focuses on helping individuals experiencing a transformative liquidity event. Be sure to involve your wealth advisor in discussions around deal terms too. For example, when considering deal structure, it’s important to ensure alignment with your objectives or financial needs. What are your income needs after the sale or do you have plans for a big purchase? Your advisor can help determine how much cash you need at closing and whether to consider the pros and cons of arrangements like an installment sale. And at closing, a financial advisor can help you determine Section 1202, realizing the gain over time with an installment sale, asset versus stock purchase, or state tax implications such as the charitable goals, legacy objectives for heirs, or estate tax planning strategies. Brokers explain what sellers are most unprepared for during the process Selling a business is a lot of work. In addition to running the company in the usual course of business, sellers also need to comply with a host of due diligence requests from the buyer’s team and the lender financing the transaction. The magnitude of this process is by far the most 

In March 2022, Florida enacted the politically charged Individual Freedom Act, informally known as the STOP WOKE (Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees) Act. Less than two years later, the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Eleventh Circuit blocked the enforcement of the Act on the grounds it violates employers’ right to free speech. This decision directly impacts employers in the Eleventh Circuit and will have a ripple effect on employers nationally.   How did the Individual Freedom Act (Stop WOKE Act) affect employers? The Act attempted to prevent employers from mandating training or meetings for employees which “promote” a “certain set of beliefs” the state “found offensive” and discriminatory. There are eight prohibited beliefs each relating to race, color, sex, and national origin. According to the Act, employers must not teach the following: Members of one race, color, sex, or national origin are morally superior to members of another race, color, sex, or national origin. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously. An individual’s moral character or status as either privileged or oppressed is determined by his or her race, color, sex, or national origin. Members of one race, color, sex, or national origin cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect due to race, color, sex, or national origin. An individual, based on his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears responsibility for, or should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of, actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin. An individual, based on his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment to achieve diversity, equity, or inclusion. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress because of actions, in which the individual played no part, and were committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin. Such virtues as merit, excellence, hard work, fairness, neutrality, objectivity, and racial colorblindness are racist or sexist, or were created by members of a particular race, color, sex, or national origin to oppress members of another race, color, sex, or national origin. Employers still had the ability to mandate employees attend sessions that either refute these concepts or present them in an “objective manner without endorsement.” This dictates how an employer deals with its employees and is particularly limiting in how employers address discrimination training. Employers who failed to adhere to the law were liable for “serious financial penalties—back pay, compensatory damages, and up to $100,000 in punitive damages, plus attorney’s fees—on top of injunctive relief.”   The Ruling – Honeyfund.com Inc. v. Governor [2024] In March 2024, the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Eleventh Circuit served an injunction preventing enforcement of the Act. Despite the state insisting the Act banned conduct rather than speech, the court ruled the Act unlawfully violated the First Amendment’s right of free speech by barring speech based on its content and penalizing certain viewpoints. While certain categories of speech such as “obscenity, fighting words, incitement, and the like” are traditionally unprotected, the court pointed out that “new categories of unprotected speech may not be added to the list by a legislature that concludes certain speech is too harmful to be tolerated.” Florida is keen to appeal against the decision.   What does this mean for employers? Regardless of one’s opinions on the matter, this can be viewed positively from an employer’s standpoint. Employers in the private sector can control speech in the workplace, and this ruling confirms their autonomy will continue. Whether or not the rest of the country will follow suit remains to be seen. This case, in tandem with the US Supreme Court’s ruling to ban race based affirmative action, signals today’s intense political climate is likely to continue to impact how employer diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are approached. Employers should continue to review their DEI initiatives, ensuring they are in line with the latest precedents. Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying with the latest local, state and federal employment laws.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.454.0560      

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