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Photo by Gilles Lambert on UnsplashWe sure do focus a lot on innovation in technology.

And that’s fine, I guess, but it leads us to think that tech is how most problems get solved. And in my experience, it’s usually not the problem.

Most often, innovation needs to happen in the way people think and interact.

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Burning shipIt’s said that Cortéz, upon reaching the New World, directed his men to burn the ships behind them.  It’s a powerful image.

If you’re unfamiliar with this as a business concept, the idea is that at times you need to be fully committed to moving forward, having no option for retreat.

It flies directly in the face of contingency planning.  Which I’m a fan of.

So the real question is:  When is it appropriate to have irreversible commitment, to only look forward?

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BriefcaseI’ve talked with a lot of people looking to sell or otherwise retire from the business they own.  The image is that someday, someone’s going to come in with a briefcase full of hundred dollar bills.  The owner will gladly walk away, their future now secure.

But we all know it doesn’t happen that way.

What that briefcase really represents is the security that you have your future in hand, and no matter WHAT happens with the business, you don’t have to worry about it.

It’s about removing risk.

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Jim RohnMotivational speaker Jim Rohn offered these wise words many years ago:

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

I’m convinced that it’s absolutely true.  When I work with people who are on fire, they ignite me as well.  When I’m with folks who are depressed, my own mood goes downhill.  Quickly.

So what do we learn from this sage advice?
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I’ve been talking with quite a few people who are looking ahead to the day when they can retire as company owner. This is uncharted territory for most of us, though; it’s yet another phase that nobody prepared us for.

It doesn’t have to be as scary as you might think.

I’ve worked with several clients who are working through this transition, hoping to leave a healthy and prosperous business. Read the rest of this entry »

zappos2Oh, the media are all abuzz about Zappos and its announcement to adopt a holacracy organizational model.  It’s an interesting concept, and I wish them all the best in pulling this off.

It’s a unique and potentially powerful innovation.

There’s a very real danger, though, in considering this independently of the rest of the company’s culture and business model.  Let me give you another example.

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Coaches, by nature, tend to be optimistic.  We also tend to focus more on the future than on the past, because you can’t change the past – you just learn from it.

So a new year tends to help us look at all the great new possibilities which open up.

I agree that some of it can feel fake, just optimism put up because it’s the thing to do.  Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve decided to be optimistic.

Oh sure, there’s stuff all the time that gets me down.  I worry about stuff, bad things happen, plans fall apart.  I live in the same world as everyone else.

But optimism is more of a choice than a reaction.

Suppose you lose a major customer.  Read the rest of this entry »

SnowThose of you here in northern Colorado know about the big snow storm we had last week.  I think we got about 20 inches at our house, and it was extremely heavy stuff.

But, being Colorado, it was all melted by Sunday.  Glorious.

So the standard question THIS week is:  How did the storm affect you and your business?  Because, of course, it may uncover an interesting story.

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To blame is to choose to remain the same.”
Andy Stanley

I ran across this quote recently, and it struck me as very pertinent to the issues we’re confronting right now.  No doubt you have a great many things which frustrate you, which are holding you back from your vision for where you could be.

If only X wasn’t in the way.

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