The Best Leaders Know How to Really Listen

The Best Leaders Know How to Really Listen

Communication, Featured
In a world of instantaneous global connection, one of the most authentic modes of communication still is just listening to someone. But listening can be a challenging skill to master. How can you build your ability? Start by creating space in your day. Block off time in your calendar to reflect on a recent conversation and to prepare for the next one. When a colleague or employee asks for advice, make sure you understand the situation. Before answering, ask a question. Clarify what they really need. And give people your full attention. Look them in the eye. Put down your phone and close your laptop. Leaders who make time for uninterrupted face-to-face conversation find that it’s one of their best management tools.
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Yes, The Economy Matters

Yes, The Economy Matters

Evaluate, Featured
Motivational speakers always tell you that you are responsible for your own success. This is absolutely true. However, some go further and tell you that the economy does not matter. That you can succeed no matter what the economy does. This is only partially true. You must be aware of economic trends in order to succeed. Want proof? Take a look at this list of previously successful industries. Do you really think you could succeed in any of them in 2016? Buggy whips Dial up internet service Leisure suits Gas lights By the same token, could you have imagined building a company based on app development or web design in 1985? Of course not. Remember Beanie Babies? If you sold them fast, you made money. If you held on to…
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Can A Business Add Too Much Value?

Can A Business Add Too Much Value?

Evaluate, Featured
Every business person knows that you have to give your customer value for their dollar. In most cases that takes the form of giving extra services or products for the same price. It can also include frequent buyer programs where customers get something free for a specified number of purchases. It can also take the form of a higher quality product or service for the same price as a competitor. These all provide value to the customer, although they are my no means the only ways to provide value. The question remains, can you add too much value? Yes, you can. There are two major effects that adding too much value can have on your business, and neither is good. You devalue your product/service. As counter intuitive as that sounds,…
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How You Should Negotiate New Assignments

How You Should Negotiate New Assignments

Customer, Featured, Planning
Welcome to the gig economy. More and more people are working for themselves for multiple companies. The trend is accelerating to the point that most believe it will become the dominant form of employment within the next 25 years. as a result the importance of negotiating a fair rate and relationship for your work is paramount. Here’s what to keep in mind during your next negotiation with a client: Remember, it’s agile. You’ll be expected to contribute on day one. Therefore, your negotiation should be based on a well-defined, realistic, and well-communicated plan of what you can achieve, by when, and how. Do your homework. Take the time to get to know the organization in advance — its business, strategy, values, and relevant news — and bring real organizational insight to the negotiation.…
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Watching For Unintended Consequences

Watching For Unintended Consequences

Featured, Leadership, Planning
Every action has consequences. There are the intended consequences, which are what you want to happen, and the unintended consequences, which may or may not be beneficial. For example, word that a company was for sale reached investors. As a result, investors jumped in and the stock price went up. As a result of the stock price going up, the company that was buying it decided it was now too expensive and pulled out. With no buyer, the stick dropped below where it had started. Is it good or bad? If you are an investor and you timed it right, it could have been very good because you made money by buying low and selling high. If you are the company and you needed to be bough, it's bad. The…
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Are You Measuring What Matters?

Are You Measuring What Matters?

Evaluate, Featured
Business people are inundated with numbers and metrics. You can measure almost anything. As a side effect, you can make decisions based on any metric you choose. Choosing the correct item to measure is crucial to your decision making process. As an example let's say you decided you wanted to lose weight. You start exercising, dieting and lifting weights. The result of this lifestyle change is that you have built up your muscles. When you get on the scale, however, you have only lost one pound. Is your weight the proper measure to use. Muscle weighs more than fat does. Did you measure your waistline? If your waistline shows you you lost 2 inches, then you may be succeeding in your goal despite what the scale says. To decide what…
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How Transparent Is Your Business?

How Transparent Is Your Business?

Communication, Customer, Featured
There is a great deal of discussion about transparency. In business and in politics it has become an ever present buzzword. Since it is mentioned so often it becomes easy to dismiss it. That is a mistake. Transparency is often used as a synonym for honesty. While honesty is part of it, transparency is more than being honest. It is ensuring that your customer (or any other affected party) knows exactly what you are doing and how it affects them. Case in point, a customer decides to cancel his cable service. He has been a customer for six years but has now decided to cut the cord. He calls to cancel his service and is told because he is still under contract he will have to pay a $140 early…
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The Importance Of Evergreen Content

The Importance Of Evergreen Content

Communication, Featured
It is well established that to get the most out of social media, you need to share content. Some off that content should be from others, some from yourself. Since social media moves so quickly, experts recommend that you repost content periodically. As Money magazine found out, you need to make sure your content is evergreen. Fo those not familiar with the term, evergreen content refers to information that will not expire and is not tied to a specific date. If you read evergreen content today or next year it is still relevant. On September 17, 2016 Money magazine posted an article titled "Buying an iPhone Now Is Just Plain Dumb" on their Facebook page. Regardless of whether to not you like the iPhone, this article made Money look ridiculous…
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Don’t Underestimate Your Ability to Generate Ideas

Don’t Underestimate Your Ability to Generate Ideas

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
People consistently underestimate the number of creative ideas they can come up with. Brian J. Lucas of the Booth School of Business and Loran Nordgren of the Kellogg School of Management conducted a study where 24 students were given 10 minutes to think of dishes to serve at Thanksgiving. Next, the students had to predict how many more ideas they could generate if they kept going for 10 more minutes. Then they were asked to try to generate ideas for another 10 minutes. On average, they predicted they could generate around 10 new ideas if they persisted — but they were actually able to come up with around 15. Several similar follow-up studies produced the same result. The researchers also found that the ideas generated while persisting were, on average, rated more creative than those generated initially. The…
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When Something Goes Terribly Wrong

When Something Goes Terribly Wrong

Featured, Improvement
We all hope everything runs smoothly. In the real world, things have a tendency to go astray. Sometimes the problem is minor and sometimes it can be catastrophic. How your custom,res react depends on how you handle the situation. Take Samsung. You can't have a more catastrophic problem than your product spontaneously exploding. Will customers flee? Probably not because Samsung handled the situation well. They got out in front, announced a recall, explained what caused the problem and replaced the defective product. Samsung was quick, transparent and didn't try to shift the blame. Likewise when Tylenol had its tampering scare in 1982. They handled the situation so well that it is still taught in crisis management courses. They removed the product from the shelves quickly and changed the packaging to…
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