Briefing Room

Briefing Room
The Worst Recipe Ever

The Worst Recipe Ever

Featured, Process
A while back I watched an online video claiming to show the ultimate grilled cheese recipe. As I watched I was amazed at how bad the recipe was. To be fair, there’s nothing wrong with the sandwich you get from the recipe. The problem is the recipe itself. At several points in the recipe, it is stated “if you can’t find this ingredient use whatever you want.” This is terrible for a recipe because you have just given up any idea of what the final product will be like because you have told the cook the ingredients don’t matter. I bring this up because a recipe is at its most basic an operations plan. It is the step by step instructions on how to create a specific outcome. Imagine if…
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Create An Executive Presence

Create An Executive Presence

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
Executive presence is not an innate quality; it is a set of behaviors that you can learn over time. Whether you are a natural wallflower or a social butterfly, you can enhance your presence by doing the following: Focus and relax. Calm is the foundation of presence. Use your breathing as an anchor that you return to when you get stressed or start to lose focus. Gain awareness. To change your behavior, you need to know how you are perceived. Pay attention to how people react to you and ask for candid feedback from those you trust. Practice with support. Telling a colleague or mentor you’re working on presence can boost your skills and confidence. The feedback you receive can also reinforce momentum.
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Understand Your Business Model

Understand Your Business Model

Featured, Process
A business model is the difference between a business and a hobby. It defines how your business activities will bring in money.  Having a clear understanding of your business model helps you focus on the direction your business takes. When you have that understanding you can make informed decisions about what to do and not to do. Sticking to this helps you create a concrete brand, makes decisions about where to take your business simpler, and helps you avoid chasing shiny objects. In order to get that clear vision of your model, here are some tips to follow: Define who you work with and how you help them. Map out your long-term plans. Where are you planning to take the company? Analyze how these things generate income. Define your brand.…
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Keep Experimenting with Different Leadership Styles

Keep Experimenting with Different Leadership Styles

Featured, Leadership
To grow as a leader you must dive into projects and activities, interact with different kinds of people, experiment with new ways of getting things done – and try out various leadership styles. Most learning involves some form of imitation (and understanding that nothing is “original”). So stop viewing authenticity as an intrinsic state. It’s really an ability to take elements you have learned from others’ styles and behaviors and make them your own. But don’t copy just one person’s leadership style; tap many diverse role models. There is a big difference between totally imitating someone and borrowing selectively from various people to create, modify, and improve your own leadership style. It’s OK to be inconsistent from one day to the next. That’s not being a fake: it’s how you…
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Stop Trying to Hide Your Failures

Stop Trying to Hide Your Failures

Featured, Improvement
Despite the movement to consider failure a learning experience, it’s still considered taboo in many workplaces. But the truth is that we need to experience failure in order to learn and grow. So how do we leverage a setback to succeed next time? First, we have to speak openly and honestly about our failures, so they are put into their proper context. Recognize that innovation requires failure. If you have a 100% success rate, you’re not doing anything new. Instead of hiding your mistakes, own your narrative. In some ways, it’s a reframing: it’s not so much that you’re creating something (such as a product or service) that failed; it’s that you’re steadily improving a series of drafts. And remember, failure is ongoing. After all, stretch goals are things outside…
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When You Give Feedback, Do You Listen, Too?

When You Give Feedback, Do You Listen, Too?

Communication, Featured
Very often it falls on us to offer feedback to a co-worker, partner, or subordinate. If you want people to really hear what you’re saying, you need to listen, too. Research suggests a manager’s attentive, nonjudgmental listening makes an employee more relaxed, more self-aware, and less defensive. The next time you’re coaching someone, listen carefully and thoughtfully to everything they say. Don’t jump to conclusions or interrupt. Give the person space to express themselves, and ask good questions to encourage them to keep talking. When people sense that others are truly hearing them, they’re much more likely to open up. Use eye contact and body language to signal that you’re focused on your employee and want to hear their thoughts. And refrain from suggesting solutions to problems. Even with feedback,…
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Keep a Difficult Conversation on Track

Keep a Difficult Conversation on Track

Communication, Featured
Sometimes, despite your best intentions, a difficult conversation veers off course. Maybe your counterpart’s emotions are making progress hard, or the conversation keeps drifting away from the topic at hand. Assess the situation by taking a deep breath, mentally popping out of the conversation — as if you’re a fly on the wall — and objectively looking at what’s happening. You might even describe it to yourself (in your head): “Every time I bring up the sales numbers, he raises his voice.” Next, state what you’re observing in a calm tone: “It seems as though whenever the sales numbers come up, you raise your voice. Can you help me understand why?” Then suggest a new approach: “If we put our heads together, we could probably come up with a way…
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The Most Valuable Real Estate In The World

The Most Valuable Real Estate In The World

Communication, Featured
We all know the old adage: the three most important things in real estate are location, location, and location. For many businesses the location of a store or office has been the difference between success and failure. Business has changed in recent years. According to Warren Buffett you need to be on the most valuable piece of real estate in the world. That real estate isn't a physical location. It's the screen on your customers' phones. The phone has become crucial to every business. People are spending more time on the phone. Your competition is no further than the phone. If you haven't staked out your piece of real estate there, you are being left behind. So how can you be present on that real estate? Mobile Website: It's not enough…
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The Best Bosses Follow These 5 Rules

The Best Bosses Follow These 5 Rules

Attitude and Mindset, Featured, Leadership
Amazing bosses try to make work meaningful and enjoyable for employees. They’re most successful when they adhere to a few best practices: Manage individuals, not just teams. When you’re under pressure, you can forget that employees have varying interests, abilities, goals, and styles of learning. But it’s important to understand what makes each person tick so that you can customize your interactions with them. Go big on meaning. Inspire people with a vision, set challenging goals, and articulate a clear purpose. Don’t rely on incentives like bonuses, stock options, or raises. Focus on feedback. Use regular (at least weekly) one-on-one conversations for coaching. Make the feedback clear, honest, and constructive. Don’t just talk — listen. Pose problems and challenges, and then ask questions to enlist the entire team in generating solutions. Be consistent. Be open to new…
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Rethink Your Assets

Rethink Your Assets

Evaluate, Featured
Wealth, as well as other kinds of success, generally rely on one factor. Your assets need to be greater than your liabilities. While these are usually associated with accounting, to use them to evaluate a project we need to look at them a little differently. An asset is generally considered to be something of value. However what appears as an asset on an accounting sheet may not really be one and what doesn't appear on an accounting ledger could have great value. First let's look at traditional assets and see why they may not be assets. A boat is considered an asset by traditional accounting methods, but when you calculate all the money spent on upkeep, storage etc. it can actually be a liability. The same goes for other traditional assets…
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