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anna-vander-stel-60342Business can be brutal sometimes.

And when you feel that stress, you tend to pass it on to your people. In the form of pressured deadlines, brutal feedback, and snippy interactions.

Your employees can put up with the normal pressures of their work, but it’s this stress that drives them away. The message is that you don’t care, and everyone’s life would be easier if they weren’t around. So they leave – maybe not today, but eventually.

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Work is the thing that you do when you’re not having a life.

Or at least that’s the mentality that most employees bring to their jobs.  Essentially, they’re renting their time and skills to the company while putting everything else on hold.

But you know the problem with this mindset:  You usually just get the minimum level of productivity and dedication to your customers.

This is a problem even in well-paying jobs, by the way.  Read the rest of this entry »

photo by Christopher SardegnaFor me, 2016 highlighted some important things about how we think.

It was amazing how much energy and attention was put into the presidential election. It consumed every waking moment, as if aliens had landed on the planet.

The fact is that government does what it does. Sometimes it affects what we do in our businesses, but mostly other things are far more important. Read the rest of this entry »

handshakeAnything significant is a commitment before it is actually done.

Let’s think about that for a moment. Why is it true? Because we make progress by deciding to do something first.

Perhaps it’s a commitment to yourself: I’m going to clean up the yard. I’m going to have that conversation I’ve been avoiding. I’m going to get that job done this afternoon.

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off the railsMeasuring progress in your business is one of the most important tools you have.

Sure, you actually have to deliver a great product and amazing customer service, and you have to be out there marketing so that the customers know about you.  But even when you do that well, it’s possible to run off the rails.

You need some feedback.

Imagine that you were trying to drive blind across the city.  Read the rest of this entry »

Source: James on Flickr

Source: James on Flickr

I hate to say this, but you might not be doing everything perfectly.  Sorry to break the news!

But this isn’t about making you feel guilty about all the stuff that you’re behind on.  You already have enough pressure there, and it’s probably stressing you out.

When we look at the big picture, the leader’s job is to define the direction and then to set the organization up for success.  Other people can do the details, but it’s the person in charge who is uniquely qualified to do these two things.

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It’s springtime! Time to poke your head out and look around a little!

I’m seeing a wealth of opportunities now for people to connect with peers, to get inspired, and to bring in some new ideas. Plus, for many, the energy has changed as the kids get out of school and we have more family time.

Small giants summitIn June, I’ll be reporting from the Small Giants Summit in Denver. That’s a great forum for business owners dedicated to changing the world through powerful, focused, and profitable business practices.

Sum+subThen the following week, Conscious Capitalism is sponsoring the local Sum+Substance event – a fresh and inspiring take on the TED talks that people know and love so much.

In July, you can catch the Quid Novi Summer Jams, a great chance to connect with innovators and business leaders in Fort Collins.

Jams_webThese are just a few of the creative gatherings which can help bring fresh ideas into your business. And, of course, take advantage of Denver Startup Week in September and whatever is going on in your particular industry.

Learn a lot, have fun, meet some great people, and drink some local brews!

It’s going to be a wonderful summer!


This article was first published in InnovatioNews.

OK, I’m going to show my age here.

Jack-Palance-as-Curly-shows-One-Thing-in-City-SlickersIn the 1991 movie City Slickers, there’s a conversation between the wide-eyed Mitch (Billy Crystal) and the grizzled veteran Curly (Jack Palance):

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?

[holds up one finger]

Curly: This.

Mitch: Your finger?

Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean s**t.

Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”

Curly: [smiles] That’s what *you* have to find out.

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Frog“I’ve interviewed tons of people, but nobody seems like a good fit for this job.”

“Well, you know it”s a numbers game! You have to talk to a whole bunch of people to find the good ones.”

There’s many places where we talk about the “numbers game” to be successful:

  • Sales prospecting
  • Finding employees
  • Dating
  • Finding a buyer for your house

Here’s the problem: It’s not exactly false, but it leads you into bad decisions.

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Org chartHow do you design your org chart?

In a small business, it’s common for roles and departments to grow organically, addressing the issues and pain points which have cropped up over the years.  Need to focus deeply on sales this year? Create a sales department and put someone in charge.

At some point, this system breaks down. You end up with duplications, overlaps, and other inefficiencies.

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