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“You work for the customer. I don’t pay you. They do.”
—Jean-François Zobrist, CEO of FAVI

customersI came across this thought-provoking quote today, which referenced a 2012 article in Fast Company Magazine.

The article itself is how FAVI has created an extremely flat organization, and it’s well worth reading.  But what got me thinking was the concept of:  Management doesn’t pay you.  Customers do.

I find that to be a startlingly clear way of communicating why we’re in business.

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wordsLeaders often struggle with the capturing their “bigger why,” the compelling thing their organization is trying to achieve. One challenge is that there are multiple ways to represent it:

Purpose:  A statement of purpose focuses on how you relate to the world around you, capturing the unique and powerful role you want to play.

Mission: A mission statement conveys a sense of movement and accomplishment. You’re going toward something important and even exciting.

Vision: A vision describes an inspiring “end state” that, paradoxically, is usually unachievable.  But it captures a future scenario that is beautiful and compelling. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

bank accountI have a colleague who has been trying to get cooperation from a partner organization that I also happen to work with. I’ve been very pleased with the relationship I have, but he’s quite frustrated at the moment.

What’s the difference?

To me, it seems clear. I invested before I expected dividends. He’s wanting immediate results.

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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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Mission ProfitYou’re on a mission to achieve great things in your business, even to change the world. But the truth is that you spend more time worrying about how the economy is doing, and whether you’ll be able to make enough money to survive.

There’s hope for you!

The first question to ask yourself is: How essential is your mission to your business success? Read the rest of this entry »

SGCTen years ago, Bo Burlingham wrote a business book named Small Giants which became quite popular. So much so that communities have sprung up around the world to support businesses which are putting these concepts to work.

What’s the new idea?

Bo profiled a number of companies who built powerful organizations by choosing to remain privately held. Read the rest of this entry »

Arrows“We’ll decide on a case-by-case basis.”

This phrase can sometimes be a real cop-out, so be cautious in using it.  Often it really means:

  • I don’t want to think about it now.
  • I hope that conditions at the time will make the decision easier.
  • I have no idea how we’ll make the decision.

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graphI’ve been putting together a workshop at the local SBDC next week about incorporating mission and values into your business.  There’s a breakthrough concept that can be applied here which changes how you achieve your goals.

In business, we have assumptions that:

  • If it can’t be measured, it won’t get done.
  • Everything has to be measured in numbers, preferably with a dollar sign in front.

When I state it this bluntly, you can see where the fallacy is.  Can you imagine measuring your personal happiness this way?

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