Is it time to re-evaluate?

A note from John

Can you remember back to January? You most likely had a vision of success for your business in 2016. Whether formal or informal, you were putting plans, strategies and tactics into action to result in a profitable 2016 for your business and family.

Now that we have just passed the halfway point of 2016, it’s time to evaluate where we are, compared to our plans. Are we on track? Here are 5 questions you should ask:

  1. Is our leadership and our vision of success communicated well and motivating to others?
  2. Are the people that we work with helping us move toward achieving our vision?
  3. Are we focused on improving the systems that would support our vision?
  4. Are our financial goals and budget forecast realistic and on track?
  5. Are our actions coordinated and resulting in profitable outcomes?

In preparing for the next half of 2016, the answers to these questions will help you to re-evaluate your action plans in order to achieve the success you desire.

If you have any difficulty answering these questions, ThistleSea’s staff can help you understand and evaluate the current situation and shed light on those areas to help you achieve success.

Contact us. Our team at ThistleSea just might be a good for for you and your team to identify and implement a best practices action plan for improved organizational performance,

Advice from a River

In September, 2015 Wendy had an exciting vacation with family in Yellowstone National Park. She picked up several “Advice from . . ." writings authored by Ilan Shamir and is sharing them with you to expand the thinking and apply to your business.

By Wendy Lydon

Photo by Wendy Lydon

Photo by Wendy Lydon

Go with the flow

Working on ALL aspects of your business to ensure continued success will allow you to enjoy smooth waters and prepare for the rough ones.

Immerse yourself in nature

Take time to enjoy your surroundings. Sometimes a nice walk to clear your mind will result in the most incredible ideas!

Slow down and meander

Take time to understand what is going on in your business. As an owner and leader, you must spend time with your staff, teammates and customers to be able to truly listen.  

Go around the obstacles

Obstacles are there for you as a checkpoint! Determine what's in the way and develop innovative ways to get around them to ensure continued success.

Be thoughtful of those downstream

An inspiring and kind leader will have followers. Always inspire and be considerate of your employees. If you understand and help them to achieve their goals, they will help you achieve yours!  

Stay current

Others will believe if you believe! How involved are you in your industry and market? Be sure to stay current with the trends and competitive environment. Network and create relationships. Claim the expert space as a speaker, trainer and mentor to your colleagues and staff.

The beauty is the journey

Being a leader is not a race! The leadership journey is one that provides you with growth and new understanding along the way. Be sure to celebrate yourself and those around you as you venture along your path of success and, more importantly, significance.

When I say "anti-social HR," what does it mean?

Would you describe your HR as “anti-social”?

I’ve been leading workshops for a not-for-profit group called Priority Two for about 10 years. Recently, I was leading a workshop of about 20 people, all with years of experience working in professional and administrative careers, who now found themselves seeking employment. Many of them had not sought employment for a decade or more. During our group discussions, the term “anti-social human resources” came up.

“What do you mean?” I asked them.

They stated that many companies’ HR representatives do not provide them with a great impression of the company. They said that the job functions, duties and responsibilities are not available or well-defined. They told me that success in the position could not be explained by HR representatives. There was no passion or excitement for the company and its direction. There wasn’t a clear agreement on exactly what the interviewer hoped to achieve during the interview. And finally, they mentioned the “HR black hole” – the experience of sending information to HR online and having it go forever unacknowledged.

NASA didn't realize they illustrated an all-too-familiar HR process.

NASA didn't realize they illustrated an all-too-familiar HR process.

How would your company stack up?

Have you recently reviewed your business plans to ensure you have a staffing plan? Are your current and future employees a functional fit for your short- and long-term business success?

Focus on effectively running your company’s human resources functions is critical. But why?

Because ALL employees must contribute to the bottom line, and there is less room today financially to carry non-productive employees. Competition for the great, productive employee is at an all-time high. They may cost a bit more, but so can non-productive employees and turnover.

If the business does not do the upfront work to recruit effectively and lead employees through the strongest agreements possible, it may never achieve the desired outcomes and success for the owner. A strong human resources program in today’s business environment is required.

The need to recruit, hire, on-board, train and retain top quality management and associates to your company is more critical than ever.

If you want to learn more about putting a productive human resources plan together for your company, give our team at ThistleSea a call.

Have a great summer!


Advice from a Buffalo

By Wendy Lydon

In September, 2015 Wendy had an exciting vacation with family in Yellowstone National Park. She picked up several “Advice from . . ." writings authored by Ilan Shamir and is sharing them with you to expand the thinking and apply to your business.

Stand your ground

Dream your dream and stay on track to achieve everything you envisioned. Don’t be derailed by any obstacles in your way. Be open enough to get assistance from other professionals to remove barriers quickly. 

Let the chips fall where they may. :)

Let the chips fall where they may. :)

Have a tough hide

It ain’t easy being an owner and leader. And it’s not for the faint of heart. Stay strong and continue to build your toughness through dedication, continued learning, and commitment to yourself and those you lead.

Keep moving on

Always work toward your goal and move forward to achieve them. Taking even small action steps every day toward your goal moves you closer to success.

Cherish wide open spaces

Take the time to think big! Allow yourself the space to create powerful new ideas. And get ready to execute these ideas. Sometimes small spaces are overcrowded with fear, caution, perfection and past experiences. Come out and enjoy a space where you are able to invent and work towards making a difference. 

Have a strong spirit

Another word for spirit is “will.” You can train yourself to use your will to get a hold of your mental throttle to turn on a full head of steam when necessary. Power up or power down when you need to. When you are able to access the powered-up state, you will find that you are not any more tired when running under full pressure, than when you are moving at a slow pace. This is a key to unlimited power in action.

Roam wild and free

A sense of restraint will squash creativity and innovation. Remember to remove barriers that may cause the business to evolve into what it needs to be to give you the life that you want. Sometimes the restraint may be YOU. Get out of the way of yourself.

Let the chips fall where they may

What happens – happens. Sometimes it is okay to let things play out . . . within reason. You have already taken the risk of being an owner and leader. Now is the time to work the business to reduce additional risk. 



Volunteer Leadership and Governance

Serving on a not-for-profit board

A note from John

Many busy business owners and executives devote time to serving on not-for-profit boards of directors. They give back to their communities, professions and special causes by providing their business expertise. This type of volunteer leadership improves communities and enhances the lives of those served by these outstanding men and women.

Taking on a role as part of a volunteer board, however, cannot be taken lightly.

There are certain legal responsibilities that each board member should be fully aware of before taking on the role. The board acts as trustee of the organization's assets and ensures that the not-for-profit is well managed and remains fiscally sound. In doing so, the board member must exercise proper oversight of the organization's operations and maintain the legal and ethical accountability of its staff and volunteers. The main legal responsibilities of a not-for-profit board are often summarized in "the three Ds."

  1. Duty of Care: Board members are expected to actively participate in organizational planning and decision-making and to make sound and informed judgments.
  2. Duty of Loyalty: When acting on behalf of the organization, board members must put the interests of the not-for-profit before any personal or professional concerns and avoid potential conflicts of interest.
  3. Duty of Obedience: Board members must ensure that the organization complies with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, and that it remains committed to its established mission.

In addition to its legal responsibilities, the board acts in a fiduciary role by maintaing oversight of the not-for-profit's finances. Board members must evaluate financial policies, approve annual budgets, and review periodic financial reports to ensure that the organization has the necessary resources to carry out its mission - and remains accountable to its donors and the general public.

It is important that your organization has up-to-date bylaws to ensure liability protection based on state law. Your not-for-profit should also have a risk management strategy, and each board member should be clear on their duties and responsibilities therein. When these elements exist, board members can focus their energy on accomplishing the mission through working together.

Adapted from

Advice from a Trail

Photo by Wendy Lydon

Photo by Wendy Lydon

In September, 2015 Wendy had an exciting vacation with family in Yellowstone National Park. She picked up several “Advice from . . ." writings authored by Ilan Shamir and is sharing them with you to expand the thinking and apply to your business.

Walk into beauty

Being a leader is a beautiful opportunity to change your lives and the lives of others. Take time to enjoy the business and life you have created for yourself, your team and your family.  

Stay on your path

Start with the end in mind and work towards achieving your dream. Outline your goals and stay on track to reach those goals.

Find inspiration around every turn

You just never know what may be around the next turn.  Leadership and ownership requires some flexibility and agility. You will always be faced with something new around each bend. Take the time to be inspired by others – and to be the inspiration for others.  

Tread lightly

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be vulnerable and allow others to truly see you. Your business needs your care and attention, so take the time to analyze opportunities before making decisions.

Pack life with good memories

Being a leader and business owner is an exciting opportunity for you to live the life that you want. Be sure to have fun and provide an environment where your team enjoys coming to work every day!  

Every day has its ups and downs

The life of a business owner and leader is not always an easy one! Stay focused on the great work you are doing and how you are providing opportunities for others to achieve their goals. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  

Watch your step!

Don’t move too fast. Be sure to build the plan and work the plan! And closely evaluate anything that may appear as an obstacle. Have an optimistic view that anything in your way is a checkpoint to regroup, reinvent and recharge!

Am I ready to hire my first employee?

So I have a company and I'm thinking about hiring an employee. Are there best practices I should follow?

Although the hiring process may be complex, ThistleSea outlines 10 specific steps to make it more clear.

We suggest you follow these 10 steps:

  1. Design the position.
  2. Prepare a revenue forecast.
  3. Prepare the job description, performance standards and performance evaluation.
  4. Seek candidates.
  5. Select the top 5-10 candidates for phone interviews.
  6. Disqualify candidates who do not meet the job requirements.
  7. Schedule and conduct first face-to-face interviews.
  8. Conduct employment checks.
  9. Schedule and conduct second face-to-face interviews, during which the performance standards are reviewed in detail. (At this time it may be appropriate to conduct behavioral assessments.)
  10. Make your decision and prepare the offer letter!

Would you like to hire with confidence? Contact ThistleSea to make it happen!

"Because your business should lead to abundance."

Advice from Yellowstone

In September, I had an exciting vacation with family in Yellowstone National Park. It was one of our all-time favorite trips. The time in the outdoors really provided me with fresh air and reflection time. I picked up several “Advice from . . ." writings authored by Ilan Shamir. I'd like to share those with you and expand the thinking for you to apply to your business.

Be natural

Be the leader that your employees, colleagues and friends need you to be. Even natural-born leaders sometime find it challenging to be vulnerable. Remember, let them see your authentic and genuine self.

Listen to the wind

Stop and listen to what is happening in your business. Are you asking customers for feedback – and listening to their responses? Do you listen to what your employees are saying (or not saying) about you, the organization, the customers, etc.? Your customers and employees are saying a lot. Are you listening?

Cherish wide open space

Sometimes the walls of the business seem like they may be closing in on you. Walk outside, breathe in the air – enjoy the open space with your staff. Even your staff needs space to create, innovate and develop. Be sure to give yourself and them the space they need to think!

Tread lightly

Don’t take anything for granted. Your most valuable assets are your people – they may be your staff, strategic partners or customers. Appreciate your relationships and the importance of their impact to your business.

Take time to reflect

Be sure to schedule time to reflect and grow! You need the time to work on your business – not just in it! Make the time to celebrate your success and replicate what has worked well and also to redesign what may need some special attention.

Go with the flow

Sometimes, you may find that you are making things a bit more difficult than they need to be. The rigidness and responsibilities of owning a business can be overwhelming. Although "anything is not okay," it can be very refreshing to think outside of the box and allow open brainstorming and creation, both for yourself and your employees. Sometimes you may need to try something new – and see what happens. You may be surprised.

Let off a little steam

When was the last time you had FUN? Is it part of the culture of your organization? Do you provide team building opportunities for your employees to learn, grow and have fun with one another? You may want to consider scheduling time within your organization to recharge and reinvest in one another!

Click here to email Wendy or find her on LinkedIn.

ThistleSea announces new team member; expansion to Harrisburg area

John D. Laslavic, President

ThistleSea Business Development, LLC
301 Smith Drive, Suite 5
Cranberry Twp., PA 16066
(724) 935-1930


Cranberry Township, PA – John D. Laslavic, Licensed Professional Business Coach and President of ThistleSea Business Development LLC, today announced a new member to the firm’s team and the company’s expansion into the South Central Pennsylvania market. Jayne H. Huston, Business Coach/Vice President, will assist the ThistleSea team in growing businesses through coaching, mentoring and consulting services from the firm’s new Harrisburg area office.

“I am especially passionate about women, small business and their success,” said Huston who most recently led Seton Hill University’s E-Magnify women’s business center, Greensburg, “and look forward to continuing my work with ThistleSea to assist small business owners in the South Central Pennsylvania market.”

At Seton Hill, Huston oversaw one of the nation’s leading Small Business Administration’s (SBA) women’s business centers funded by the Office of Women’s Business Ownership. The Center provided small businesses’ counseling, education, training and mentoring programs and services throughout Western Pennsylvania for nearly 25 years.

Noted John Laslavic, ThistleSea president, “We are extremely pleased to have Jayne on our ThistleSea Business Development team. She shares our passion to assist business owners and executives to develop their businesses to deliver what they need for themselves and their families to have abundant lives. Jayne brings a wealth of knowledge and relationships to our organization.”

Huston also currently serves as Chapter Chair for the Greensburg Women Presidents’ Organization Chapter (WPO), an International organization of multi-million dollar women-led companies that engage in peer learning to grow their businesses. Huston will launch a second chapter under her leadership in Harrisburg in March. Eighteen hundred members belong to 125 WPO Chapters worldwide.

Huston is a recipient of the “Business Women First Awards” presented by the Pittsburgh Business Times and was awarded the Gannon University Small Business Development Center’s Legacy Award at the Women in Leadership Development (WILD) Conference in Erie. She has also been recognized among the recipients of the Women of Achievement Awards in Pittsburgh; as the U.S. SBA’s Women’s Business Advocate, Region III; and counted among the “Top 100 People” and “Entrepreneur of the Year” (Non Profit) by Pennsylvania Business Central.

Huston is a member of the Professional Business Coaches Alliance (PBCA) and the Women Business Owner Center Organization (WBCO), York College, where she is participating in the organization’s new mentorship program for undergraduate young women. She additionally served on the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) Board of Directors, Enola, PA, for the past six years where she continues to contribute to the Development and PR and Vision of Hope Gala Committees.

Prior to her tenure at Seton Hill University, Huston had a successful health care marketing communications career in Central Pennsylvania during which time she led the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania’s PR & Marketing Society. She also served as Executive Director of the Somerset County Chamber of Commerce.

Huston earned an MBA from Seton Hill University and a BA in Journalism and Communications from Point Park University, Pittsburgh.


ThistleSea Business Development is a business coaching, strategy development, training and business services company offering business owners and executives custom one-on-one, face-to-face and group business coaching in western and south central Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, northern West Virginia and phone coaching across the United States. ThistleSea’s coaching practice is supported by resources from a network of over 100 affiliated business coaches located across the United States and Canada.

Wendy Lydon featured in "Common Threads: Inspiration"

Common Threads Inspiration: The Global Sisterhood of Empowering Women's Success Secrets by Dr. Shellie Hipsky profiles 33 women with inspirational stories of overcoming obstacles, living their dreams and helping others achieve success. 

Wendy describes what happens when she first meets with clients. "Usually the first thing is, we're sitting here in my office. I have a big whiteboard behind us... on one side, I always draw a sun. I ask, 'So what is the sun for you?'"

"We have to know where we're going, so we can determine how to get there."

This and other books in the Common Threads series are available from Amazon.

What is the sun for YOU? To learn more about business coaching at ThistleSea, click here to contact Wendy directly.

Wendy Lydon earns Master Business Coach designation

Only two people in North America earned certification in 2015

Wendy O. Lydon, Business Coach and Vice President at ThistleSea Business Development, has earned the designation of “Master Business Coach” from the Professional Business Coaches Alliance (PBCA). This certification, marked by a rigorous course of study, was earned by only two coaches in North America in 2015.

(L to R) pbca president jon denney, doug christy, wendy lydon

(L to R) pbca president jon denney, doug christy, wendy lydon

Lydon’s new certification was announced at the PBCA’s Annual Rainmaker Retreat in Las Vegas in October, 2015.

Lydon began coaching business owners and executives in 2010 and has coached more than 50 clients since then. In 2013, Lydon was recognized as the Eastern Region PBCA Business Coach of the Year. The award is given annually to the most successful business coach who has most effectively served her business community as a Licensed Professional Business Coach and mentor.

“Wendy Lydon is a highly-skilled, experienced, and passionate business coach. She is a leader among leaders in the world of business coaching,” noted PBCA president Jon Denney. ThistleSea President John D. Laslavic, LPBC commented, “Wendy has distinguished herself as an outstanding business coach and trainer. Her work effort and passion for helping clients are exceptional, and her results and desire for continued learning and growth set her apart from others in her field. This distinction is well deserved.”

wendy o. lydon, LPBC

wendy o. lydon, LPBC

Now in her fifth year of coaching, Lydon is a Licensed Professional Business Coach (LPBC), Advanced Professional Business Coach (APBC), and a PBCA Certified Master Coach (CMC).

ThistleSea Business Development, a locally-owned business coaching, consulting and training firm, serves clients in the manufacturing, professional services, quality and logistics industries. ThistleSea hosts #WiseWednesdays for business leaders and community members who desire continuous business education in an informal environment. More details are available at

If you’d like more information or to schedule an interview, please call Terri Hammond at 724-935-1930 or email

Pittsburgh-area business coaching practice moves to new offices.

ThistleSea Business Development, LLC is pleased to announce it has recently moved to a new location in Cranberry Township, PA. The new professional business development office is located in the Cranberry Professional Park at the following address: 301 Smith Drive, Suite 5, Cranberry Township, PA 16066.

John D. Laslavic, LPBC, president of ThistleSea Business Development commented, "Our new offices provide us with additional space to expand our coaching and training services to area businesses and to serve business owners more effectively." The company will also hold networking events on site.

ThistleSea Business Development, LLC has been serving area businesses since 2005. For more information, call John or Wendy at 724-935-1930.

Terri Hammond Receives ASQ-Certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt

Milwaukee, Wis., — The Certification Board of ASQ is pleased to announce that Teresa W. Hammond has completed the requirements to be named an ASQ-Certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt, or ASQ SSYB. 

As such, she has reached a significant level of professional recognition, indicating a proficiency in and a comprehension of Six Sigma principles and practices. 

“Earning an ASQ certification is more than a great accomplishment - it’s a formal recognition of professionals that they have demonstrated an understanding of, and a commitment to, quality practices in their field,” said ASQ Chair Cecilia Kimberlin. “This distinction represents an investment in one's future and provides a competitive advantage to those who earn ASQ certifications.” 

In order to sit for the Six Sigma Yellow Belt (SSYB) examination, an individual must have one year of work experience related to the Body of Knowledge. Certified SSYBs understand the fundamentals of Six Sigma and can help advance the concept and potential of using Six Sigma tools and methodologies within an organization.

Since 1968, when the first ASQ certification examination was administered, more than 190,000 individuals have taken the path to reaching their goal of becoming ASQ-certified in their field or profession, including many of who have attained more than one designation. To learn more about ASQ’s Certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt program, visit ASQ.

About ASQ
ASQ is a global community of people dedicated to quality who share the ideas and tools that make our world work better. With millions of individual and organizational members of the community in 150 countries, ASQ has the reputation and reach to bring together the diverse quality champions who are transforming the world’s corporations, organizations and communities to meet tomorrow’s critical challenges. ASQ is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., with national service centers in China, India, Mexico and a regional service center in the United Arab Emirates. Learn more about ASQ’s members, mission, technologies and 600 N. Plankinton Ave. - Milwaukee, WI 53203-2914 - 800-248-1946 - ASQ - a Global Leader in Quality Improvement & Standards