How to Avoid Getting Snared by the Busyness Trap

Customers need proof. Proof that we are what we say we are. Proof that we get them. Proof that we care. Proof that we’re capable, reliable, and trust-worthy. Proof that we’re in it for the long haul. Proof that we’re right for them. The best businesses create a continuous stream of proof—they walk their talk, again and again and again and again….  How to best create proof is a big…

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These 3 Identities are the Key to Easier Small Business Growth

Launching a small business is exhilarating… at first. But for most, the honeymoon is short-lived, replaced with long days of firefighting and diving catches. These people aspire to create a business, but what most create and take on is multiple jobs: owner, executive, marketer, sales person, operations manager, bookkeeper, and expert maker/doer. It’s no wonder so many small business owners are exhausted! To create more…

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The Means to Inspire Greatness is Hiding in Plain Sight

Shared stories unite business leaders, employees, and customers. The most powerful stories convey what people care most about, draw us in, and make us care too. They can even make us feel like family. Every business has stories. Stories with the potential to improve quality, efficiency, and effectiveness—to inspire greatness. When broadly shared, these stories make customers, employees, and leaders proud. They make us part…

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How to Prevent the Business from Becoming a Shipwreck

Internal forces command our attention. External forces make us successful. Internal forces are loud. External forces are silent. When external forces are ignored, we use speculation, assumption, or the highest paid opinion to make decisions. Internal forces put everyone, at every level of an organization, at risk of drowning in a sea of busy-ness. External forces that govern our effectiveness are things like: Customer preferencesCompetitive…

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This Simple Counter-Intuitive Investment Always Brings Good Returns

It’s vacation season. Vacations are fantastic (and necessary) because they refresh our perspective—giving us fresh eyes.  Fresh eyes and a clear mind allow us to conjure a hi-def picture of the future we’d like to see, and to contrast it against the present—to see what’s working, and what isn’t. Fresh eyes give us the ability to see how to get where we’d like to go. …

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The Hardest Part of Hard Work Isn’t the Work

Success is associated with hard work. In the industrial era hard work meant putting in long, grueling hours and working to the point of physical exhaustion. Today, work is more complex and mentally taxing. Hard work means something different. It now includes self-awareness, mental clarity, and good judgement—thinking straight. It’s tough to get good results when we’re not thinking straight. But thinking straight is easier…

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Stop Playing Whack-a-Mole & Take Back Your Time

A few years ago I learned that complexity gives rise to surprises (and not the good kind). These surprises push planned activities aside and force us to redo previously completed work, troubleshoot problems, or otherwise set things right (again). Surprises make us reactive. It doesn't take many to utterly derail us and transform our day (or week) into a game of whack-a-mole. Moles pop up…

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How to Cash in on the Golden Opportunity Concealed within this Incredibly Common Business Problem
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How to Cash in on the Golden Opportunity Concealed within this Incredibly Common Business Problem

The best businesses seem to sense what the customer needs and immediately respond with value. In fact, they deliver a continuous flow of value. They know that lulls, in which the customer must wait, dissolve trust and feed doubt.  Minimizing wait time delivers bottomline results, but wait time can be tough to pin down. It's sneaky. It hides in pathways, in cars & trucks, in…

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Strengthening These 5 Pillars Fuels Small Business Growth

Primary Growth Ingredients PeopleSystemsWork routinesInternal controlsVisualProcedural People are essential for growth (to get more done each day), but their effectiveness is limited by the systems they employ. Systems provide structural support in the form of a clear goal & effective routines. Effective systems provide predictable results, focus, motivation, & risk mitigation. They are recipes, that when followed, produce consistent outcomes. Core Business Pillars Leadership (inspiration…

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These Two Things Empower Your Small Business to Grow Without You Working Yourself to Death

Alice asked, “What road do I take?”The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?”“I don’t know,” Alice answered.“Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?”Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland In order to move forward, we have to know the way. We need to know where we want to end up―we need a goal. A good goal generates excitement. It’s personally meaningful…

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How One Simple, Yet Insanely Impactful Principle Empowers People to Achieve Extraordinary Results
Wednesday, October 16, 2013rFortune The Most Powerful WomenrWashington, D.C., USArr9:30 AM ONE ON ONErWarren Buffett, Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.?Interviewer: Carol Loomis, Senior Editor at Large, FortunerrPhotograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Most Powerful Women

How One Simple, Yet Insanely Impactful Principle Empowers People to Achieve Extraordinary Results

Sometimes the split is 70/30 or 90/10, but most of our results always come from only a few actions. This is the 80/20 principle. It’s interesting all by itself, but its immense business value is revealed when we apply the principle to itself, over and over again. Doing so produces a lens that allows us see how extraordinary results are achieved. We start by applying…

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Why Delegation is Paramount for Happy, Focused Growth & Gain

Clinging to the known is easy and comfortable, but it’s not satisfying. In fact it’s boring. Growth and gain come from doing the things we don’t really have to do. They come from stretching ourselves—by embracing discomfort.  But we don’t need to cannonball into new challenges, just dipping a toe in will do. As our toe gets comfortable, we need to put the rest of…

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These 3 Ps Make Finding & Keeping Good Employees Much, Much Easier

Employees are a business owner’s largest expense, and a massive source of wasted time and money in most companies. The ability to attract and retain great people separates thriving businesses from struggling ones. Engaged people amplify business effectiveness, but according to research, most people are not engaged. That’s a tragedy, especially when we consider that everyone enjoys engaging work. When engaged, we’re at our best.…

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Hiring? This is How to Spot a Diamond in the Rough

Which would you choose to attend, a blockbuster TED Talk or a blockbuster movie? Do you read more non-fiction or fiction? How do you feel about documentaries? Do you listen to anything other than music in the car? We all seek out a mix of pleasure and purpose in our daily lives. However, the mix that’s right for each of us varies. Paul Dolan and…

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This One Simple Counterintuitive Practice Will Make You More Successful at Work (and in Life)

Do you know the names of your eight great grandparents? Do you know any of their stories? How did their decisions impact your life? We all know moments become days, then weeks, then months, then years. Short-term often becomes long-term. And sadly, someday too often becomes never.  What story are you creating with your moments? Will your actions matter 50, 10, or even 5 years…

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How to Transform Work into a Game People Want to Play

On the day I turned 16, I was all gussied up and the first person out the door—determined to land my dream job. I chose the place because everyone working there always looked like they were having fun. When I arrived, I sheepishly asked the girl behind the counter if they were hiring. She said, “I think so, fill this out” and slid a blank…

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The Counter-Intuitive Path to Accomplishment, Confidence, Appreciation, Wonder, & Well-Being

Each day brings a thousand blinking buttons screaming to be pushed. Most do nothing, but five… five will change your life. They bring accomplishment, confidence, appreciation, wonder, and well-being. Joseph Moses Juran called this “The Law of the Vital Few.” The list of people that have used the The Law of the Vital Few to achieve extraordinary things is long. Warren Buffet owes 90% of…

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How to Wisely Choose Your Next Action in Difficult Situations

“Between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”Victor E. Frankl When we interact with anything, it changes. It's like adding cream to coffee. The cream swirls about as it makes its way through the coffee. It takes some time to settle in. In our own interactions,…

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Use This One Question to Hire Like Warren Buffett

“We look for three things when we hire people. We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy, and we look for integrity. And if they don't have the latter, the first two will kill you, because if you're going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb. I mean, you don't want a spark of energy out of them. So…

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Preserve Your Reputation with This Secret We All Know About Quality

The journey to achieving high quality starts when a person decides they are someone who does things well and in a lasting way. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best when he said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so…

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How to Keep Your Small Business on Track in an Irrational World

Humans are irrational. Yes, we're capable of being rational, but for the most part we go with what “feels right”.  We love novelty, but cling to familiar. We’re hard wired to seek out newness, but fear change. We travel to new, exotic places only to spend our time in a familiar hotel (with a Starbucks in the lobby). We love new for its dark, dangerous…

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