These Common (and Unnecessary) Challenges Are Keeping Your Business From Success

The other day, I was watching Inc.'s very own Issie Lapowsky's Malcolm Gladwell interview. They were discussing Gladwell's most recent book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, when the topic of "Desirable Difficulties" was brought up in their conversation. As the theory goes, introducing certain difficulties into the learning process can greatly improve…

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7 Management Hacks Worthy of Tacking on Your Wall

It's easy to become overwhelmed when time is tight and the pressure is on. Use these 7 management hacks the next time you sense that you're about to lose control. They will help you to get things back in perspective and manage your way through those stressful times, which we all struggle with from time to time: Place Laser-Like Focus on What's Important and ignore the rest! Know that you can't…

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You’re a Control Freak: 5 Tips to Improve Your Leadership Effectiveness

Eugene Ionesco's absurdist drama Exit the King is, perhaps, his most enthralling. It is intended to demonstrate that the human desire to control one's universe is pointless in the end. We watch as King Berenger, the main character, tries to outsmart the cosmos. Yet, despite all his convoluted schemes to change his fate, he dies and fades into the mist. Exit the King delivers a perfect metaphor…

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All Trust Is Lost … and, It’s Messing With Your Business

Much of my work involves executive interviewing and workshop facilitation. It puts me in a place where I speak to many business people from all levels within the organizations that I help. What's been striking of late, is the emergence of a general feeling of discontent. From top to bottom, people are pointing to a sense that they have lost all trust in their organizations. The sentiment has been…

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How to Build Teamwork Through Heraldry

As a person of Scottish heritage, I grew up in a household that emphasized our rich family history. Our family's coat of arms served as the centerpiece of most discussions on the subject. Garnished in star and sun symbols colored in red, yellow and blue, I learned that our coat of arms represented different parts of our family's heritage and that its symbols and colors held important and specific…

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Why We Must Leverage What People Do Have (and Not Penalize Them for What They Don’t)

Once upon a time, people with disabilities had no place in business. Now, thanks to innovative programs being introduced at several large companies, those times may be coming to an end. Business leaders are beginning to recognize that people diagnosed with autism, for example, can bring some great things to the table. Companies, including SAP, Microsoft and HP have all begun programs intended to…

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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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The Art of the Management Huddle

When used in a football context, a huddle is used to call a play. Similarly, a "management huddle" can be used by business leaders to call a play, too. By definition, management huddles are a technique used by leaders to gather colleagues together for a short meeting to share status or brainstorm options that can help the organization arrive at quality decisions in short order. The technique can…

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Are You A Fearless Leader

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I'm about to discuss the fictional cartoon character, Fearless Leader, from Rocky and Bullwinkle show. But, nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, this piece is about helping you to understand that a certain amount of fearlessness is needed to be an effective and admired leader--one that people will want to follow. Indeed, there's been much…

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5 Reasons True Leadership Is All About Character

Norman Schwarzkopf once said, "Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy." I couldn't agree more. Titles, pedigree or organization charts do not a leader make! Rather, leaders must possess the necessary character to inspire others to follow. What does this mean? An exceptional leader must have the right combination of…

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5 Powerful Ways to Harness the Potential of Millennials

As many of my readers already know, I regularly cover the topic of the Gen Y worker and all of the opportunities and challenges that they represent in this column. In the past, I've offered some tips from mentoring to organizational restructuring. This piece takes a slightly different tack. It provides 5 solid ideas aimed at building the type of long-term relationships that work for businesses…

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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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Why 2016 Will Be the Year of the Millennial

I'm going on record as designating 2016, "The Year of the Millennial." There is no doubt in my mind that this year represents a tipping point among the number of 30-somethings reaching the management ranks of organizations around the globe. Because of this build-up of critical mass, we can assume that these newly minted Gen Y managers will greatly influence this year's business agenda. Here are 8…

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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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How to Use the Holiday Wind-Down to Generate Positive Energy for the Coming Year

Work slows a bit for many businesses during the Holiday Season. Even so, it can be quite a task to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead in the coming year, while immersed in the hustle and bustle of the Holidays. Let me suggest that we all become a bit more deliberate about using the Holiday slow-down to generate the positive energy that you'll need for the coming year. Here's how: Slow Down…

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