Freedom to Shine: Empowerment through Free Will

There is recent research that points to the notion that the belief in free will is a significant predictor to personal achievement.  It is suggested through this work that one's motivation is often accelerated when they believe that their effort can determine results - and, that their progress will not be slowed or redirected by outside influencers that exist beyond their control. That said,…

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5 Ways to Become Indispensable

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "indispensable" as being absolutely necessary and not subject to being set aside or neglected.  Wouldn't you like to become indispensable to your clients and customers?  Sure, you would!  While there's no one sure-fire formula to follow to become indispensable, you can do some things to improve your chances that you'll "stick" to your customers. Here are 5…

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Welcome to Business 2.0 as Powered by New IT

Business 2.0 represents a new way of thinking and doing for early 21st Century companies. Unlike e-commerce where consumer transactions are done via the Web, Business 2.0 is about using the Internet-based services to drive entire business processes. Indeed, the work of transforming an enterprise to Business 2.0 is quite an undertaking. But, this transformation has an ally in "New IT"--a…

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Welcome to Strategic Planning 2.0

As a strategy consultant, I have had the opportunity to review a lot of strategic plans over the years. It's been truly amazing to discover just how many major organizations develop strategic plans that contain little more than a whole lot of budget estimates and revenue projections. Those firms practice what I call "Strategic Planning 1.0". Clearly, a new kind of planning approach is required to…

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Preparing Your Organization for the “Big Change”

Organizational change is inevitable. Like all living things, it's vital that organizations regularly adjust in order to accommodate the ebb and flow that goes on within the ecosystems in which they thrive. Every so often, though, a "Big Change" is needed to better position an organization for long-term success. In those times, proper preparation is required. Here are 6 steps that you can take to…

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8 Tips for ‘Keeping It Real’ During Your Cultural Transformation Effort

Whenever I consider the pain and toil that goes into every deep, cultural transformation effort I recall the words of Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, "pain is inevitable, suffering is optional." Indeed, transformation work is always challenging. You're asking people to change and to move out of their comfort zones. Resistance, misunderstanding and confusion abound! But, managing through change…

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How to Select the “Right” Approach For Your Next Strategic Initiative

Many of my clients struggle with how to determine the best way to tackle strategic opportunities as they arise through the strategic planning frameworks that I've help them to institutionalize. They ponder questions, like: "Does the new proposed effort lend itself to being managed as a project? "Does the work at hand deserve to be designated as program in order to achieve the desired results?"…

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4 Indisputable Principles for Building a Business Worthy of High Esteem

Over the past couple of years, I've written extensively in this column on the subject of competitive differentiation. Many of my articles offer advice on becoming "of choice" and "indispensable" among your customers. But, a business does not rise to a level of preeminence within its niche without developing another essential quality--integrity. Here are 4 principles that absolutely must be…

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5 Tips to Building a Business to Scale in Today’s Competitive Market

Francis Bacon, father of the scientific method, famously said: "He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator." I couldn't agree more! Certainly, the time has come for business leaders to "apply new remedies" in their pursuit of building organizations that can rapidly react and respond to changes in the marketplace. Indeed, re-imagining business…

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Data Storytelling: Big Data’s Next Frontier

If you're looking for a business prediction for the year, here's one: "Data Storytellers will be in high demand." Many self-proclaimed business gurus are predicting this year will be the year of "Big Data". For those unfamiliar with the concept, big data is a general term for the processes and automated tools related to the search, capture, storage, curation, analysis, and visualization of data.…

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5 Things You Can Do to Make 2020 Special

Do you have a 2020 agenda that will move your business forward smartly? Here are 5 things that you can do to make this year a special one for your business: Put Your Customer First: I know that every business leader says that the customer comes first. But, this often comes with a caveat, like, "as long as it doesn't cost too much to make it so." This year, change the dialogue and do whatever it…

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Raising the Bar: How to Leverage the Organization, Function, and Process Connection for Peak Performance

A business is the composite of its organizational structure, functional design, and process workflow. You can think of the three as the legs of a stool. If the legs of a stool are not in perfect alignment the stool will wobble. If one leg is too long or too short, the stool will collapse underweight. The same holds true for your business. A lack of synchronization among the organizational,…

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The No. 1 Thing Successful Companies Scale

I’ve often said, “if leadership doesn’t scale neither will your organization.” Experience has led me to conclude there is no greater contribution a leader can make to the enterprise than developing a true culture of leadership. Here’s the thing – a culture of leadership can only exist when leaders understand their primary obligation is to develop other leaders. If leadership is sought after,…

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The Leadership ‘X’ Factor That Can Fix Any Business

Businesses don’t fail – products don’t fail – projects don’t fail – leaders fail. I have little use for leaders who can effortlessly call upon the right clichés and buzzwords in conversation, but fail to put into practice what they so frequently wax eloquent about. Words matter; but they matter more when put into action, when they become real, when they make a difference. If you’re a CEO prone to…

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Business Planning for Funding Your Start-Up Part III: Financial Modeling

This 3-part series is intended to decipher the business planning process--making it easier for you to build one that can help you to secure the funding that you need to grow your business into the powerhouse that you want it to be. Part I covered the Business Synopsis section and Part II covered the Marketing and Sales section. We will survey the Financial Modeling Section of a standard business…

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How to Build a Compelling Marketing Plan for Your Startup

This 3-part series is intended to illuminate what goes into developing a superior business plan-one worth funding. I hope that you enjoyed Part I of the series last week. In this installment, we will examine the Marketing and Sales Section of the typical business plan. The Marketing and Sales Section is the "guts" of a business plan. Generally divided into three parts, the section traditionally…

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