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Business is A Lot like Sports.

Daily ReadBusiness is A Lot like Sports.

It’s a great day when your team wins and you can sit back and bask in their glory.  Pin the accomplishment on the Coach, the teamwork, the chemistry of the offense or a great fan base.  The amazing fact is there are a lot of similarities between sports and business and a huge amount we can learn from the example of top sports teams. Here are the top five:

  1. Teamwork is paramount. There is no I in team and surrounding yourself with great people means there is always somebody else who can step up and do a great job.  Try to go it alone and you will probably fail unless you have a strong support structure.
  2. Mentorship matters. A great sports mentor can teach the value of mental toughness to partner with natural talent and hard work.  It can be the missing link between a promising athlete or businessperson and a successful one.
  3. Be resilient and determined.  Any entrepreneur who expects instant success is setting themselves up for a fall. You need resilience and determination to keep getting back up every time you suffer a blow.
  4. Have pride and purpose.  Regardless of what stage your business is at, you should think about how you can make a positive impact upon people’s lives, not just focus upon profit.
  5. Delegate wherever possible.  There are some things you simply have to do for yourself. But as the tasks for any entrepreneur mount up, you need to delegate to others in order to free yourself up to think about the bigger picture, much like a head coach who defers to a trainer, conditioning coach, etc.

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Don’t Skip Your Workout!

Daily ReadDon’t Skip Your Workout!

You probably already know that sitting at your desk hunched over your computer for ten hours a day doesn’t make for a healthy lifestyle.  Working long hours or having snow on the sidewalks doesn’t exactly motivate you to throw on the running shows and go for a run either. Crunched for time yet fearing the consequences of a sedentary life, many office workers have begun adopting office workouts to at least give them some activity during the day.  Here’s a quick run-down of simple ways to squeeze your work-out in:

  1. Take 5 minutes, three to four times a day to do a series of desk push-ups, squats and chair dips.
  2. Take the stairs (yes, even if you are on the tenth floor!)
  3. Use a standing desk, bicycle desk, or sit on an exercise ball.
  4. Walk to your co-workers office to talk instead of sending an email
  5. Bring an exercise band and do a simple resistance workout.
  6. Take a walking lunch at a nearby mall or in a park if it’s warm enough.

The key is taking frequent breaks from being sedentary, even to do something that requires very minimal effort—and/or sitting less altogether—has been proven to be significantly beneficial to metabolism and it will make you a more productive worker!

How do you squeeze exercise in when you’re crunched for time?

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Hang on Tight to the Energy and Agility of the Early Days!

Daily ReadHang on Tight to the Energy and Agility of the Early Days!

“It was so much fun in the old days.” Never mind the stress of making payroll and the long nights- the energy and vibrancy of a start up’s office culture is hard to forget but easier than you think to imitate. Here are seven approaches to try:

  1. Stay agile, and move fast. As companies grow they agility and decision making can be slowed, but small startups are fast acting and move quickly – even when they make a wrong decision.
  2. Maintain always-on innovation. When we think of environment we think of perks like game rooms and snacks, but more important is remaining open to innovative and disruptive thinking;  employee-driven innovation.
  3. Stay close to your employees.  Building a culture of mutual respect and openness fosters a positive work environment.
  4. Create ways to stay small within the company. Operate regional offices and internal groups as mini-startups, each with their own mores and idiosyncrasies that inspire and energize your employees like small companies.
  5. Have a consistent line of communication.  By maintaining a culture of consistent communication, employees feel fully informed, valued, and invested in the business.
  6. Always listen. Keep an ear open to what employees have to say about everything related to the business. Use online internal communications that all employees have access to.
  7. Develop strong leaders. Allowing employees to explore different jobs within the organization builds great experience across the board, and it matches the best people to the best roles so you can build for the future.

Do you have any ways to keep the start-up culture that has worked for you?

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Being Aggressive is Great in Dodge Ball…but Not the Office.

Daily Read- Being Aggressive is Great in Dodge Ball…but Not the Office.

Aggression doesn’t just come in the form of verbally forceful or unnecessarily pushy. Avoiding responsibility for tasks, purposely missing deadlines, withholding important information, and going over a boss’s head to make him or her appear incompetent, are a few of the ways employees let passive aggression slip into the office. The workplace is ripe with passive aggression if for no other reason that people spend the majority of their waking hours at work where they have relationships that, human nature being what it is, inevitably result in angry feelings of some sort. Here are a handful of strategies you can deploy when dealing with these maddening covert attacks.

Don’t mirror the anger. Any passive-aggressive interaction involves two people: passive aggressive Player A, who hopes Player B, will respond angrily, essentially acting out Player A’s anger.

Foster direct communication. It helps if management makes a conscious effort to foster conditions for direct and face-to-face communication instead of electronic communication since passive-aggressive types tend to frequently leave notes or use emails and texts.

Delineate expectations. There’s less room for excuse making and finger pointing if you set crystal clear expectations regarding quantity of work, quality of work, whose responsibility it is, and when it’s due as well as what will happen if expectations aren’t met.

Allow for honesty. Ideally your work environment is one in which if employees are upset about something they’re allowed to voice it.

Ask about the anger. While it’s difficult to change an ingrained pattern of passive-aggressive behavior, calling someone on it can be effective.

Have you dealt with aggression in your office?

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Myth Busters and Entrepreneurship

Daily Read- Myth Busters and Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship has been on the rise lately, professionals and students alike don’t want to miss out on the excitement. Before you take the leap – consider what you’re getting into. Entrepreneurship is almost never about working in flip-flops in an incubator; it is tough work that requires extraordinary effort. It is super full-time and super risky. In today’s tough job market, “doing a startup” may sound better than “unemployed”. But entrepreneurship is for those who are laser-focused on building a company that will grow. Requiring a decade or longer of commitment. Anyone considering it should be prepared to separate myth from reality. Like most fads, entrepreneurship has its own mythology. Here are some favorites:

Having a startup makes you an entrepreneur. Saying that starting a new venture automatically makes you entrepreneur is a little like saying that if you put on skates and grab a stick, you’re a hockey player. The vast majority of startups are founded by people who do not see themselves creating a new market or who lack the managerial skill to go the distance.

Entrepreneurship is for the young. Not only are many valuable ventures started by people 40 and up, there is reason to believe that industry knowledge, wisdom, managerial experience and a rich contact list can help get a venture off the ground faster and with better backing. Even if launched by a student, grey-haired mentors, investors and partners are almost always required to get into the marketplace and the stamina to stay there.

Entrepreneurship requires passion. If by “passion” you mean energy, commitment, hard work, and self-confidence, well, yes, of course. But passion can make you blind. An entrepreneur who is going to conquer or create a market must have the ability to face facts without blinders, and course-correct or drop out when those facts force reconsideration.

Entrepreneurship requires innovation. The vast majority of successful ventures are based more on amazing execution than invention or innovation. Many are even outright copycats, pasting a proven business from one side of the globe to the other. Others are minor tweaks of an established winner. To be sure, there are many examples where new technologies, inventive business models and novel processes have been a key component of an entrepreneurial venture.

So if you’re weighing career options, question the simplistic assumptions about entrepreneurship. If you still think the entrepreneurial choice is for you, do it with eyes wide open!

Have you had an eye opening experience related entrepreneurship that could help others avoid the same pitfall?

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You Can Get What You Want, If You Know What You’re Looking For.

Daily ReadYou Can Get What You Want, If You Know What You’re Looking For.

You can’t always get what you want, but you might if you know what you’re looking for. When it comes to growing your business, hiring the right employees can help you reach your goals. To make sure your new recruits are good for your business, you’ll have to make some decisions early on in the hiring process. Before you begin looking at resumes, you need to define what you’re looking for first. Here’s how:

Know What You Need.  Look for someone who not only fits your immediate needs but can adjust to more customers, more capital, or a new business model. In other words, look for a candidate who can grow with your business and has more to offer than just fulfilling the current need.

Rank Your Must-Haves.  If your goal when hiring is to find someone with all the attributes you want who just so happens to fall in your salary range, you may find yourself searching for a very long time, so be realistic. Rank the candidates and choose the one with the top qualifications. Remember, there are no perfect employees-something will always be missing, take getting used to, or simply need work.

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Quality = Success.

Daily ReadQuality = Success.

 We live in an imperfect world: People make mistakes and machines break. Regardless of what your business is, delivering quality service or products is the No. 1 driver for a firm’s success. After all, growing sales is a heck of a lot easier when your foundation business remains consistent. How do you make sure quality is exceptional at your firm? Here are five tips to improve quality fast.

  1. Measure and Measure Some More. Two key performance indicators (KPIs) you should deploy today are quality escapes and quality captured. Mistakes fall into two categories – those that were captured internally and were never seen by the client and those that escape. Measuring the effect these mistakes have can help your team understand how/why they are so important.
  2. Focus on Process, Not People. In most cases, the defect is the process, not the person you trust. Remember that, and fix it by adding process steps or new checks to the system.
  3. Meet Weekly. Initially the meetings will be long and tedious. You need to discuss with all the players each quality issue that occurred, and get to the root cause. Confidence in your team will build as well as the speed and accuracy of catching problems.
  4. Create a Quality Chart. Sort the biggest quality issues by category and focus in on the big issues and work on them until they are small issues.
  5. Make It Public. Place your quality results in your lunchroom or break room so everyone should see this is a company emphasis and you want to improve in a transparent way.

How do you control quality to insure your company’s success?

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