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Archive for the Leadership Category

Smart People Know They Don’t Know

Smart People Know They Don’t Know


There are three small words that can liberate you from a closed off, redundant world.

Three little words that enable consistent learning.

Three tiny words that engage others. More importantly, they’ll engage experts.

What are those three words? I Don’t Know.


Now, I don’t want to start an Abbot & Costello run of ‘Who’s on first?’. Those are actually the words.

“I Don’t Know.” Those words can be the key that unlock Pandora’s Box.


Let’s be realistic. No one knows everything. No one knows everything in their field. No one knows every perspective, every insight or every skill. No one. Nowhere. No how. In fact, they don’t know what they don’t know.


Bottom line is, the ‘know it all’s’ don’t know it all. And the world should be run by the open-minded, engaging, thoughtful people willing to have that little voice in their head that says….I Don’t Know.

The Magnificent 7 of Marketing

The Magnificent 7 of Marketing

It’s a stuffy room without windows and the meeting is approaching it’s second hour.  And, in the last 74 minutes you’ve heard 60 minutes of two voices (of the 9 people in the room).

They (think they) know everything.

They have all the answers (but few original thoughts).

They repeat what you’ve said as though it was their own revelation.

They shoot down everyone’s ideas.

Their words bulldoze through the great ideas of the magnificent, yet virtually silent, 7.

They have their own agenda…and it is them. They are the Vocals. They talk endlessly and often say nothing useful.


The magnificent 7 are:


Open Minded

Creative Collaborators




These are the people you want in on your team.  They are the FOCALS. They don’t claim to have all the answers, but ask the right questions.

They’re Focused on the task at hand.

They’re Open Minded and receptive to new ideas, new people and new concepts.

They’re Creative Collaborators who can weave seemingly disparate ideas.  They’re synthesizers of information and people.

They’re Analytical and evaluate solutions vs. resources. They can figure out the difference between dreams and plans.

They’re Listeners who read between the lines. They realize that good ideas can come from anyone at anytime.

They’re Strategic and focused on the objectives and not self-aggrandizement.


They are the font of ideas that can lead you to great success. The VOCALS can overwhelm you, breathing in all of the oxygen in a room. Don’t let them. Simply, don’t let them. Next time you’re in a meeting, open the door to the Magnificent 7. You may have never seen the movie (by the same name), but it’s said that they Magnificent 7 fought like 700. And, they can fight like 700 for you if you just open the door.


Wherever smart people work, doors are unlocked.  Steve Wozniak

People who think they know everything

16 Work Life Balance Tips That Don’t Work – – – And 3 That Do!

16 Work Life Balance Tips That Don't Work - - - And 3 That Do!

Work Life BalanceWork life balance is a big topic of conversation these days.  Everyone is looking for it, but very few are finding it.  Admittedly, there’s no shortage of advice out there.  Here are 16 tips from some reputable publications.  In my humble opinion, they’re pretty wacky!

From Time Magazine:

  1. Everything is not equally important. Do fewer things and do them well.
  2. Decide what your values are — and which ones take precedence.
  3. Do the things that get disproportionate results.
  4. Focus on the things only you can do.
  5. Do the important things which must be done now.


From Entrepreneur:

  1. Find the fun.
  2. Compartmentalize.
  3. Make lists.
  4. Be smart with your smartphone.
  5. Learn to delegate.
  6. Root out procrastination.
  7. Understand your creative cycles.
  8. Start your day before the sun rises.
  9. Schedule down time.
  10. Don’t forget your health.


Harvard Business Review has an esoteric idea about using the psychology of interval training to achieve your balance.

Is Work Life Balance Dead?

The real discussion about work life balance these days is that it’s dying, dead or irretrievably transformed.  I think it has.

The Huffington Post  just claimed today that:

Work Life Balance is dying as a concept, In the ninja world of corporate you make Work, Life & Family choices and the ratio in which you make the choices has its consequences. You or your family pays the price or enjoys the benefit.

The author, Jappreet Sethi, re-frames the discussion from work life balance to work life integration.  Fast Company also touted integration as the key – but with a technology flair.

Professionals in all industries are casting out the notions of work-life balance in order to build better work-life integration practices–where work and life are intertwined–by leveraging technology to make it happen.

3 Work-Life Integration Tips that Work

Use technology to your advantage.  Shut off your phone.  Put responses on auto-pilot where possible.  Work remotely.

Know what you need & want.  If your job demands 10 hours a day and you commute 2 hours each day, you’re not going to be able to go to the gym for an hour and still have time for that Little League game, dinner with your family and watching Jon Stewart.

Plan for your work and your life.  Think about where you want to be 5 or 10 years from now.  Now think about what you need to do to get there.  With that under your belt, you’ll be better equipped to prioritize … and integrate your life.

One Way Out

The Onion reports that one person did find that ever elusive balance.  He got fired.

Laid-Off Man Finally Achieves Perfect Work-Life Balance

Does Your Business Flutter, Flitter or Fly?

Does Your Business Flutter, Flitter or Fly?


Flutter and you’ll spend a lot of energy – but not go anywhere.

Flitter and you might get somewhere – but is it where you want to go?

Fly and you’ll have the power to go where you want, when you want!

Without a business plan, chances are that you’re fluttering or flittering.  But you could be flying, perhaps even soaring, if you just took a bit of time.

Creating a plan isn’t that difficult.  And, the process of building that plan is just as important as the plan itself.  Once you get your ‘planning state of mind’ energized, it will help you discover insights into your business and market that you never before considered.


flut·ter \ verb \ˈflə-tər \

of a bird or insect : to move or flap the wings quickly without flying


flit·ter \ verb\ flitər

move quickly in an apparently random or purposeless manner


fly \ verb\ flī

move quickly through the air (under control)

How Can Management Style Kill Your Business?

How Can Management Style Kill Your Business?


Business killersThe way you approach decision making throughout the day can make you more – or less – productive. It doesn’t only impact your productivity, but odds are that it’s affecting your team. Whether you intend to or not, you’re setting the management style for your business.  There are 3 core management styles – reactive, responsive and proactive.

Reactive Management

Some people enjoy the frenzied energy that comes with reactive management. They’re the folks always talking about how busy they are. Rarely are they the folks talking about how productive they are.
Reactive managers only consider one stimulus – the actions or problems of others. At the end of the day, they’ll blame others (customers, employees, peers) for their lack of productivity.
Reactive managers don’t have perspective to figure out whether or not the situation is really a problem They just go with a knee-jerk reaction.
Focused only on “here and now”, clouds the view of competitors, customer needs, profitability, sales growth. Life for reactive management teams are like the movie “Groundhog Day”, they re-live the same things every day.
Being reactive isn’t all bad. Every now and again, you need to just react. But, when knee-jerk reactions take up the majority of your day, you have a problem. If you want to focus your business on the future and the path to greater success, then read on.


Responsive Management

Responsive managers are often termed firefighters. And, firefighters are good … to a degree. After all, they’re responding to a real problem.
While reactive managers, react without much thought, firefighters look to stop the damage.
Every business needs some fire fighters some of the time. But, if your business is consistently putting out fires, you have a problem. Figuring out the root of the problem is key to becoming the most pr

Proactive Management

Proactive managers are problem solvers who think about the impact of the problems and their solutions.
Think of these folks as “Smokey The Bear”. They figure out how to stop the fires (so the firefighters can get on to more productive work).
Proactive managers engage with other employees and customers. They have the vision to know there are pitfalls and opportunities ahead and combine it with the intelligence and insight to figure out how to best deal with it.

The choice is yours. If you’re happy living your frenzied Groundhog Day over and over, just keep on being reactive. On the other hand, if you want your business to be in a better position tomorrow, be proactive. Don’t just fight fires. Figure out how to prevent them.


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We recently engaged Susan to help with a new product line launch.  Her strategic approach to the project, combined with her project management skills, led us to a great launch.  We would certainly not have been as successful (or as profitable) with this new product line without Susan’s help.

C.E. Accessories Company

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