Education

Education

Seeking Too Much Proof Can Squelch an Innovative Idea

Innovation
“Prove it.” Those are the two words most deadly to innovation. It often makes sense to ask for analytical proof before making a decision, but this phrase can set a standard that’s impossible to meet. There is no data about how a genuinely new idea will interact with the world, so there is no way to prove it will work in advance. Sometimes you have to trust your gut. To keep innovators from being discouraged, you need to distinguish between when you are honing and refining an existing system and when you are attempting to create something genuinely new. In the former, it’s fine to ask for evidence. In the latter, you need to take an entirely different approach. Break the idea into small pieces and experiment with it. Implement small…
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Get More From Your Business Card

Communication, Improvement
Despite the proliferation of digital tools, the business card is not going away any time soon. Your card, and how you use it, can have a big effect on how you are perceived and whether or not you get a sale. Follow these tips to maximize your impact: Always Keep Some On You: You never know when a networking opportunity may spring up. A casual trip to the bank or running some errands could lead to a chance encounter with someone whose business might benefit you or your business. When such chance encounters happen, having a business card on hand makes information exchange seamless, as opposed to worrying about finding something to write your information down on. Exhibit Proper Etiquette: There is in fact a right way and a wrong way to…
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Turbo-Charge Your Presentation

Communication
Whether you have to present to a corporate meeting, a networking group, or a workshop most people at some point will need to make a presentation. It can be nerve-racking but it doesn't have to be. Follow these tips to get better results from your presentation. Prepare: You will not be able to pull off a dynamic presentation by the seat of your pants. The foundation of any presentation is the amount of preparation the speaker puts in behind the scenes. Develop a topic, flesh it out into concise, relevant and specific bullet points that  back to the central theme and develop a narrative arc to follow. Then perform a handful of dry runs -- in front of the mirror, a friend or colleague, your partner, your family, etc. Open…
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Monitor Your Social Media Presence In Less Than 10 Minutes A Day

Communication
Monitoring your social media presence is incredibly important - but many business owners and marketers are concerned it will take too much time. In fact you can keep up with with what people are saying in less than 10 minutes a day. Here are some simple steps to take to keep up while you enjoy a cup of coffee. Check Twitter for chatter about your company ( 2 minutes ): Use tools like TweetDeck or Twitter Search to monitor conversations about your company in real-time. Use Google Alerts ( 1.5 minutes ): Check Google Alerts for your company name, products, executives, industry or brand terms. To set this up, enter your search terms in a Google Alert and select to receive updates as they happen or once daily. Now, when people blog about your products, an alert will be sent to your inbox. Use…
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Pay Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain

Improvement
We all know the scene. The giant head is scaring Dorothy and friends when Toto pulls the curtain back revealing that the great and powerful Oz is really a traveling salesman. This is a great metaphor for success. What people see is the great and powerful Oz. All of the hard work and struggles take place behind the curtain. When we look at our contemporaries and competitors, we're seeing the wizard. It's easy to get jealous or envious because you're only seeing what they want you to see. The truth is behind the curtain. No one has ever had everything go their way. Everyone has a struggle to overcome. Some people wear that struggle on their sleeve and some keep it behind the curtain. Peek behind the curtain. That's where…
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It’s All Connected

Improvement, Innovation
When asked the question, what is the first thing you do in the morning, one businessperson answered, "That has nothing to do with my business."  Another posted a comment on a link to an article about Kanye West's branding that the link should be on Facebook because Kanye has nothing to do with business. These business people are looking at their lives through blinders. Things belong in one box or another. This is keeping them from being successful because everything you do and see is connected. Do you think that if things are bad at work it doesn't affect you at home? If you have problems at home, can you really turn it off while you're at work? People talk about work-life balance as if they weren't part of the…
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The Devil Is In The Details

Attitude and Mindset, Improvement
Not long ago I was making dinner and grabbed a box of Shake & Bake to coat some pork chops. For those of you who haven't used this, every box comes with two bags of coating and two bags. I grabbed Th first bag and noticed something amusing. There was no opening. Something went wrong on the assembly line a the cutter missed the bag. Then I looked at the second bag. It too was uncut.  This wasn't a big deal but when I found the same problem in another box it became obvious that someone wasn't paying attention to the details. The details in your business aren't a small thing. When the details aren't right, people notice. There are hundreds of pictures on social media captioned "You had one…
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When Starting a Company, Get Your Values Right

Attitude and Mindset
As a start-up gets off the ground, it has a short-lived opportunity to decide how it wants to do business. With each new hire company culture becomes more entrenched and somewhere after two dozen employees, it tends to cement. Establish a set of genuine values before your start-up gets too complex. Articulate a coherent philosophy about who you are and how you will work. Also be clear about who you aren't and what you won't do. This will make decisions easier and ultimately improve results. Rather than analyzing each new decision afresh, you'll have a common foundation from which to make them. If you don't do this deliberately when your organization is young, the culture will (often rigidly) form itself.
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Boost Your Presentation with Great Visuals

Communication
Most people respond better to visuals than the spoken word alone. But, not all visuals enhance a presentation: Inaccessible graphs or nonsensical clip art will detract from your message. To create visual aids that give your presentation impact, engage your audience, and make your points stick, Harvard Business school recommends these rules: Keep them simple. If your audience can't understand the visual within 30 seconds, remove it. Don't get too artistic. Only use graphics and icons to reinforce key concepts. Don't try to pretty up the presentation with irrelevant pictures. Edit heavily. Each slide or handout sheet should only convey one concept. Include no more than six lines of text, or else it's no longer a visual.
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Do You Really Know Who You Are?

Attitude and Mindset, Evaluate
It may seem like a strange question, but do you know who you really are? The question came to me after three conversations I had with three amazing women. Each one of them had built successful businesses or non-profits from the ground up. Each of them were talented individuals who had overcome challenges that would cause many people to give up and curl into the fetal position. Not one of them through that they were amazing. In general, I have found that people discount their own accomplishments. We figure if we could do it then anyone could have done it. In one of my first jobs my boss said to me that I had a very hard life. It was the first time anyone had said that to me. Up…
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