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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.

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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.

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2017-06-16_1517Focus is a great thing. When you use a magnifying glass to focus the sun’s rays, you end up with a lot of power in a very specific place.

This power is useful in many ways.

When you specialize your coaching business, you’re bringing a more powerful message to the people who most care.

When you tighten the scope of a coaching discussion, you’re increasing the possible outcome for a specific area of work.

And when you concentrate on a particular area for the next hour, you’ve just increased the likelihood of accomplishing something useful.

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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 »

work-harderYou have some top priorities for your business: To create a great company. To solve real problems for your customers. To do it sustainably.

And your employees are your most important, most impactful asset. The question is whether they really are pulling the same direction to achieve your company’s mission.

Before you protest that you’ve delivered great training and make sure managers are closely directing the work.

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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 »

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 »