CEO's Notebook

Like most businesspeople, Jenai Lane of San Francisco­based Respect Inc., a producer of jewelry and accessories, doesn't relish the idea of letting employees go. After she fires someone at her close-knit 10-person office, Lane holds what she calls an emergency powwow. She asks employees to say what's on their minds about the dismissal.

"It takes a little prodding, but it's good to get people's feelings out in the open," says Lane, whose company projects 1996 sales of $2 million. To help employees understand what's expected of them, Lane writes job descriptions for new workers and switches from quarterly reviews to monthly reviews if employees fail to meet job requirements.