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A new business concept is spreading around the world. You might know it under the labels “conscious”, “mission-driven”, “values-based”, “socially conscious”, or “benefit corporation.”

But it’s really not that new. In some ways, it’s a return to the days when businesses were an integral part of the community–not just treating them as consumers from which money is to be extracted.

Milton Friedman captured our current philosophy of business pretty well back in 1970: Read the rest of this entry »

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We’re surrounded by threats and challenges every day. Customers switch. Employees leave. Competitors surprise. Government regulates.

So how on earth can these contain opportunities?

It’s easy to see potential when a new market opens up, or you discover a great technology, or a competitor exits. But you have to be much more optimistic to see how a threat can be turned around.

It’s actually about your philosophy as a leader and how you choose to respond to events.

Read the rest of this entry »

A fundamental part of the Universal Human Experience is to search for meaning. We all look for significance, a deeper purpose for ourselves and what we love.

But what does that have to do with business?

The traditional view of work is that it’s what you do when you’re not living your life. You get a paycheck, which you can go out and spend on things that are enjoyable and what truly matters.

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As we head forward into 2018, I’m hearing various questions and concerns about the uncertain future.

  • We might see a big housing bubble.
  • International relationships are jumping all over.
  • Customers and markets are acting in unpredictable ways.

The truth is that there are always concerns, questions, and issues. When we look back in time, we see the patterns. But while it’s happening?

Not so easy.

Read the rest of this entry »

We’re moving from one year to the next. The counter is ticking over.

Why does it matter?

When I look back at my career and business growth, it’s clear that the most important times are directly linked to when I was intentional. I proposed to my girlfriend. I decided to write a book. I decided to go after the foreign service assignment. I changed my business model and joined up with Small Fish Business Coaching.

Read the rest of this entry »

There’s been a lot of chatter about company cultures recently. Unfortunately, that includes lots of bad examples.

  • Google employees are arguing about gender bias.
  • Airlines have opened up a debate about what enables great customer service.
  • Restaurants are starting to figure out that the roots of food contamination often start with how their workers think of their role in the company.
  • These events have increased the realization that businesses are more like organisms than machines. They’re based on how people believe and behave as a group.

Read the rest of this entry »

alex-blajan-99325There’s a lot of exciting progress happening. Property values are up. Unemployment is down. Communities are growing.

I’m honored to work with clients in an amazing diversity of industries, and I’m seeing that optimism is generally much higher than it was last year.

Of course, as business leaders, we’re charged with looking at the big picture and taking the long view. So we know that good news tends to blind us to problems, and an up-cycle will surely be followed by the down-cycle.

That’s not a bad thing. It’s how the world works.

Read the rest of this entry »

deniz-altindas-38128Running a business is hard work, and you don’t have enough hours in the day. Big surprise! Your attention on self-care is one of the first things to go.

You know as well as I do that this is hurting the business. And it may well put you in the hospital at an early age.

So how do you maintain health and balance as a leader?

Physical health

Your mental state reflects your physical health. I’m not talking about extraordinary health care, either, just attending to health issues quickly, eating wisely and maintaining a good weight.

Read the rest of this entry »

tribesWho’s your tribe?

In 2008, Seth Godin wrote a powerful book titled, “Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.” It digs into the concept of leadership by influence and attraction.

Some of the strongest leaders I work with have their own unique twist on this concept. Specifically, they map out the spheres of influence around their company’s mission.

This is powerful because businesses on a mission usually feel like they’re so unusual that nobody understands them. It starts feeling like nobody really cares.

That’s not true!

The fact is that if you’re working to make the world a better place — through people, products, services, or influence — that there are others who align with your values. They have a desire to help you succeed, even if they haven’t heard about you yet. Read the rest of this entry »

azyq0zd8zai-averie-woodardIt’s possible to lose your way in business.  Maybe the market doesn’t need you so much anymore.  Or processes that used to work well have been surpassed by the competition.

Perhaps you’ve lost your mojo and are just turning the crank.

It’s time to make a big decision.  You can follow the inevitable decline into irrelevance, or maybe just shut the company down because your heart isn’t in it.

Or you can reboot the business.

Read the rest of this entry »

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