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The My Way Trap

My Way is a very dangerous place. My Way is the place we go to when we perceive we do not have time to explain a situation. My Way is the place we go to when we do not trust those around us. My Way is where we go to when we are afraid and confused. My Way means that decisions are made spontaneously, without research or review, and without collaboration, often causing people to either fail completely or fall short of their goals. My Way is expedient, but in the long run it is not effective. A business owner must find a way to create the time and framework to allow him or her the opportunity to work on the business of running the business.  This is to say the owner needs to be able to step back from the day-to-day operations and review how the business is...

What is the Biggest Threat to the Value of your Business?

There are so many reasons a business can be derailed, lack of capital, poor execution/delivery, new technology, new competitors.  The list can go on forever.  Building value in your business takes patience, discipline, and perseverance.  It requires you to create a practice that clearly identifies the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW and most importantly the WHY surrounding your business. Understanding “Where you are going, How you will get there, and Why you are going there.” Will help you stay on track.  But you also need to build repeatable processes and systems that your employees and customers clearly understand.  In addition, you need to be acutely aware of what new products and trends are impacting or may impact your industry, or who new...

Why do so many businesses fail?

It’s a simple question.  Let’s start with the assumption there is a market for what you do and your initial capital investment is adequate (without these basics the business is doomed even before it starts)… So why do the majority of new enterprises fail? Is it bad marketing? Too little cash flow? Poor quality (product or service)? Failure to adapt to change? These are some problems that can tank a company and I am sure if we put our minds to it, we could come up with a much longer list of problems.  However, these problems are not at the root of a business’ failure, they may have caused the final death blow… but these are really symptoms to a bigger problem. I believe we can agree, that there are many technical financial,...

Effective Meetings – Three Simple Rules

Meetings are the bane of every business.  We’ve all heard the complaints – This is a waste of time. We can’t seem to stay on track or get anything done.  I’d be more productive if I didn’t have to go to all these meetings. That said, meetings (both formal and informal) are the way we communicate our business’ mission and vision, our goals, the obstacles we face and it is the way we celebrate our successes.  But how do you conduct an effective meeting? It really is not that difficult.  Follow these simple rules and you will be well on the way to more effective and efficient meetings.   Don’t Boil the Ocean: All too often managers try to cram too much into a meeting.  They attempt to cover a wide array of...

Collaboration and building your “Thinking Platform”

Collaboration works and fails at a multitude of levels. We can see examples of this in government, business and our personal lives.  There are numerous articles extolling the virtues of effective collaboration and disasters that occur when done poorly.  From a business perspective, it is imperative to work effectively with others at a variety of levels. Doing so will give greater insights into the challenges that face your business, help you develop better solutions to those challenges and give you more time to focus on executing the plan.  Building an effective Thinking Platform is the foundation for establishing an efficient and successful collaborative process. By definition, Collaboration is working together towards a common end.  However, without a...

Hiring Practices… Why People Get it Wrong

It is costly to make a bad hire.  The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of that persons first year’s potential earnings.  This is in terms of training time and dollars, lost sales, reputation risk and fraud to name just a few.  Given the high cost of a hiring mistake, why do so many hires go wrong? Based on my experiences it is an inverted assessment process.  Most managers look at a persons qualifications first and foremost.  Then “sell” the benefits of their company to the desired new hire.  Little time is spent on values, desire, capacity… the decision is driven by perceived competence to do the job. So how do you fix the issue?  Re-engineer your hiring practices. Values...

Building Value: The 5 Keys for Achieving Success

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"This is the best of many books I've read on this topic – it helped me focus on getting the most value out of my company. As a small business owner, I found this a fresh and inspirational perspective of how to acquire real value." – Steve Strout, CEO, Blackwatch Data