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If you are like me you have a million ideas, until you need one. I recently read a short book from 1939 called A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young. I recommend you spend the $6 to get the book, it is less than 50 pages and can be read in less than an hour, well worth your investment. James Webb Young first states that we need to know the principle of creating ideas, then he provides his method. His 2 principles are straightforward: New ideas come from a combination of old information or elements  The ability to synthesize old information or elements into new combinations is contingent on the ability to see the relationships between those pieces of information and elements The ability to find relationships between a set of facts is key in coming up with new ideas James Webb Young then dives into the method he uses to create new ideas. It is important to note that the method produces creative ideas, not just […]

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Gratitude in Business

This post is meant to be immediately actionable, so we start with a to-do first, then get to the; what, why and how: To-Do: Show gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation, or recognition to three people this week. If possible, do it face to face (computer screen to computer screen works too) and watch their reaction. What did you notice? One of the early lessons I learned in leadership was how a little gratitude goes a long way. I was having lunch with my supervisor and we were talking about a particularly hard project we were working on and how the rest of the team was holding up. I told her that the team could use some positive feedback and/or recognition for the work they are doing. The initial response from her was not great (but common in the workplace), “that’s why they get paid.” Over the next week, much to my surprise my boss sent emails to the team when the team turned in a phase of the project and told […]

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What is Coaching?

According to the International Coach Federation (ICF), coaching is defined as a partnership with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires the individual to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaching is a client-driven process that is distinct from other service professions, such as counseling, mentoring, consulting, and training. Coaching allows an individual to unlock the possible from an impossible mindset. The conversation between coach and client focuses on the future, not the past. Goal accountability and support is one of the key activities of a coach. Goal creation and execution are the common threads woven through all the specialties of a coaching relationship, below is a quick breakdown of the main types of coaching relationships, with a breakdown of the audience and focus1: Business Coaching Audience: Entrepreneurs and business owners Focus: Business growth and success; Identifying goals for the future while improving current operations. Executive Coaching Audience: Business executives or senior leaders Focus: Improving leadership abilities; Managing organizational change; Finding work/life balance; People and performance management.  Leadership Coaching Audience: Individuals of any type who […]

Hire for Potential

As a small/medium sized business owner or leader, one of your many hats likely involves hiring. How successful have you been? Do you have a plan? Have you measured if that plan works? The statistics are staggering: 50% of new hires are no longer with their company after just 18-months. With the average cost of hiring an employee at $4,150, it will cost $8,300 to have an average employee stay more than 18-months (not including wages). Yet, most of us continue to hire based on the candidate’s current skill set, not for their potential. The main reason we hire for skills over potential is because the practice saves us time now, where hiring for potential is a long-term investment. Below are 4 reasons why you should consider hiring for potential. Reason #1: Skills can and will have to be taught, values cannot. When looking for talent, we believe skills are important, but not the most important criteria in the search process. Hiring for cultural fit (or add) is more […]

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Redeeming Meetings

Now more than ever your company should reset expectations on how it conducts meetings. The average employee spends 35% of their time in meetings and the average executive 50% of their time in meetings. It is estimated $37 billion is wasted per year on unproductive meetings (we all know this figure is low). The above stats and my personal experience lead me to two questions about meetings: Can we reduce the amount of time we spend in meetings? Can we make the meetings we have better? The answer to both questions is, yes! The solution is both simple, yet hard to implement. Below is a checklist to ensure you succeed in having more efficient and more rewarding meetings. First ask yourself, does it make sense to hold a meeting? Meetings are the default, we feel a lack of control without them, but meetings are not always efficient or needed Alternatives: email, team communication platforms (Slack), memos or phone calls Start and end meetings on time If a meeting starts […]

The Pixar Pitch

I recently finished the book To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink and found the section titled “The Six Successors to The Elevator Pitch” useful to my business. One of the six successors is “The Pixar Pitch”, which has you build your pitch based on a commonly used method Pixar uses to build a story.  Pink challenges his readers to use the following framework to craft your pitch to ensure your messaging is clear and concise: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___. An example from To Sell Is Human: Once upon a time there was a there was a health crisis haunting many parts of Africa.  Every day, thousands of people would die of AIDS and HIV-related illnesses, often because they did not know they carried the virus. One day we developed an inexpensive home HIV kit that allowed people to test themselves with sample saliva swab. Because of that, more […]