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louis-amal-365211You’re super busy. I get that – we all have lives totally crammed with activities, obligations, and tasks.

That’s a choice you’ve made. And that’s OK.

But the important distinction is that there’s usually a gap between what you intend and what you deliver. When the gap gets too big, that’s a problem.

Let’s say that I told my friend I’d meet her at 6:00. That’s pretty clear, right? Read the rest of this entry »

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sai-kiran-anagani-74899We love to hold up technology advancements in examples of moving society forward. Steam engines. Light bulbs. Drones. Cell phones.

But we only do this because they’re tangible. You can take a picture of it, perhaps even hold it in your hand.

I would argue that the vast majority of innovations aren’t technological at all. They’re process refinements, business models, and marketing strategies.

Read the rest of this entry »

ben-kuo-351000There have been lots of challenges out there in the real world recently. Hurricanes. Fires. North Korea.

The approach of many businesses is basically to ignore all that stuff, because … what can you do about it anyway? Well, maybe write a check to Red Cross, but that’s it.

The problem is that businesses that approach it this way have no heart. It looks like you have a heart because you wrote a big check, but that doesn’t go very deep.

And your employees know it.

Read the rest of this entry »

costea-alexandra-265234The growl of a school bus powering up the street awakened me this morning. Combined with one of the wettest Augusts I can remember, I now feel welcomed to Fall — even though it’s over a month away.

Seasonality is a significant part of many businesses. It might be the holiday retail season, the school year, weather cycles, or the calendar year. Most likely you see a significant yearly cycle in your industry.

The challenge is that your people — employees, contractors and leaders — are also a part of larger society. Read the rest of this entry »

piggybankMoney is a part of our culture that can be highly sensitive. For instance, it’s impolite to ask someone how much they make in their job or the size of their retirement savings.

And yes, I know that the biblical reference is that the love of money is the root of all evil, but it seems we’ve decided that money itself is a demonic force.

Here’s the truth:  money, in whatever form, is just a tool. It doesn’t matter if it’s cash in your wallet, or digits in a bank account, or access to others’ capital.

Read the rest of this entry »

james-padolsey-154227Has your business turned into a slog?

It’s real easy for that to happen, you know. You’re trying to make progress on a bazillion details, and there’s a new challenge every three minutes.

At the end of the day, it feels like you’re just spinning your wheels. Then you get to come back tomorrow and do it again.

And again.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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