A Team Building Lesson from Nick Fury and The Avengers

Creating a dream team is like working a puzzle. It’s about recognizing each person's unique contribution—their strength—and putting them in a position to use it. Nick Fury did this in The Avengers. Fury selected each member for the unique strength they brought to the team. As a result, the capability of the team far exceeded the individual capability of its members—the whole became greater than…

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Great Teamwork Hinges on 3 Crucial Conditions

Accomplishing great things in business requires great teamwork. Steve Jobs put it this way, “Great things in business are never done by one person, but rather by a team of people.”  Achieving great teamwork depends on our ability to manage the team’s energy. For that, we need a compelling goal, a conducive environment, & effective systems. 1) A Compelling Goal A good goal is clear…

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To Set the Stage for Great Teamwork, Look No Further than the Sports Pages

Setting the stage for great teamwork in the workplace is a lot like creating a new team sport, like soccer nuevo. In team sports, how the game is won is crystal clear. There’s a time limit—urgency. There’s an arena and a well-defined playing field. There are rules. There’s a way to keep score in real-time. There’s a referee and a coach. These things frame up…

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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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How to Feel More ALIVE at Work

Most of us at one point or another have switched over to autopilot at work—just phoning it in. Once we're cozy within our comfort zone, we want to stay that way. If we keep doing what we've always done, we'll keep humming right along. Easy. Comfortable. Safe. Right? Not quite. It's logical, but there's a flaw. The flaw is that it perpetuates the status quo,…

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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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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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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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Why You Want to Keep a Twinkie in Your Team Building Toolbox

A team that rows as one is a symphony of motion. A harmonizing of spirits. It’s magical. And it's FAST! Assembling such a team is challenging work. The coach repeatedly assigns each rower to different positions in the boat, rooting out their strengths. Rowers are moved, swapped, and replaced until a magic combination is found. There’s an old story about a coach who just wasn't…

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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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Research Suggests People Bring Their Whole Heart & Mind to Work When These 3 Things are Present

I was walking the beach with a friend when we came upon a sandcastle under siege. The ocean was sending wave after wave to destroy the defenseless fortress. Each wave surging ever-closer. The sandcastle would soon be erased from the face of the Earth. Its only crime was daring to stand in defiance of the mighty ocean. Something had to be done. I immediately dropped…

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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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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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