Make Time for Strategic Thinking Every Day

Make Time for Strategic Thinking Every Day

Featured, Improvement, Leadership, Personal Growth
If you believe that only senior executives need to think strategically, think again. No matter what level you’re at, strategic thinking is a critical skill — one that can always be improved. To hone your capacity to see the big picture, start by making sure you have a solid understanding of the industry context and business drivers. Make it a routine to explore the internal trends in your day-to-day work. Pay attention to the issues that get raised repeatedly, and synthesize the common obstacles your colleagues face. Be proactive about connecting with peers in your organization and in your industry to understand their observations of the marketplace, and share this information across your network. Take the time to understand the unique information and perspective that your job function contributes to…
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Fiduciary Responsibility Isn’t Just For Finance

Fiduciary Responsibility Isn’t Just For Finance

Customer, Featured, Focus, Leadership
By law financial advisors are required to act with fiduciary responsibility. This means they are required to put the client's best interests before there own. This is a concept that isn't just for financial advisors, it should be applied in every industry. Your customer is the reason you are in business. Your customer is the reason you get paid. You are there to solve a problem for your customer. For these reasons and many others, you should be putting your customer before yourself. It is a step above customer service. It is about trust. When your customer knows that they are taken care of they come back over and over again. They refer more clients to you because they know you will take care of the people they refer. In…
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Partnering With Clients

Partnering With Clients

Attitude and Mindset, Customer, Featured, Leadership
"Partnering" has become one of those overused buzzwords that has lost its meaning. Every company talks about partnering with their clients. While it is imperative that you become a partner to your client, without understanding what that means, the term is useless. Partnering is not selling: Selling products or services to your client is not partnering. That's what every business does. Partnering with a customer does not mean offering discounts. Partnering is not about sales. It is about the service you give during and after the sales. Partnering requires understanding: I get a great many solicitations from companies that claim they want to partner with me. Further reading shows they have no idea what I do and simply grabbed my contact information from a mailing list. To be a partner…
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Give People Time and Space to Be More Creative

Give People Time and Space to Be More Creative

Attitude and Mindset, Featured, Leadership, Planning
Creativity takes time, requiring people to struggle down several blind alleys before finding the right solution. That’s why a lot of creative activity may look suspiciously like loafing around until a breakthrough happens. But if an organization truly wants creativity, it has to start by hiring more people than it needs to complete the tasks required for the company to stay afloat. Managers also need to provide some flexibility for employees to alter their schedules when an interesting idea begins to develop. And they need to reward employees for engaging in tasks that ultimately lead to creative solutions, like learning new things, developing new skills, having wide-ranging conversations with colleagues, and trying out ideas that don’t work.
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Good Leaders Don’t Ignore Their Personal Lives

Good Leaders Don’t Ignore Their Personal Lives

Featured, Leadership
Good leaders put aside their own needs for the good of the organization — but that doesn’t mean they completely sacrifice their personal lives. Leaders who subjugate their need for exercise, sleep, and recreation eventually succumb to brownout: the graduated loss of energy, focus, and passion. Brownout is often imperceptible to outsiders, but it affects a significant percentage of the executive population. Today’s superstar leaders supplement their commitment to others with an equally important commitment to themselves. Whether it’s promising you’ll stick to your exercise routine, enjoy hobbies, eat dinner with your family, or reflect on what’s important to you, putting aside time for yourself makes you a better, more fully realized version of yourself. Start by making one small but meaningful promise to yourself — and keep it. If…
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Your Colleagues Are Not Customers

Your Colleagues Are Not Customers

Attitude and Mindset, Featured, Leadership
Anyone who has spent time in a medium to large organization over the last ten years has probably heard the term “internal client.” The idea is that you should be treating your clients like royalty and your colleagues deserve the same treatment. This is an excellent idea, in theory. There are, however, big problems that develop when the idea is translated to the real world. When you communicate with a client, you likely have on your "game face" and project a high degree of professionalism. This should definitely be carried over when you communicate with internal colleagues, suppliers, partners, etc. Whether you are talking with an assistant, your boss, or the CEO of a client, it pays to be thoughtful and articulate every time. When you ask a question, make…
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The Business Coach Advantage

The Business Coach Advantage

Improvement, Leadership, Personal Growth, Planning, Process
Why should you have a business coach? Every athlete and every top performer uses a coach to bring out their best. Michael Jordan is widely considered to be the best basketball player ever. He has often credited his college basketball coach with turning him from a good player to a great one.  As a business person, you present yourself to your clients as a superstar. If Michael Jordan relied on his coach to get him to the top, shouldn’t you have a business coach of your own. A business coach is somebody who helps you move from where you are to where you want to be, and does so by solely focusing on your goals. You’ll never really know what you’re capable of until there’s someone to push you outside…
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Achieve More By Thinking Strategically

Achieve More By Thinking Strategically

Attitude and Mindset, Featured, Improvement, Leadership
To achieve more it is important to see the big picture. Because of the amount of work most people have and the pace at which it needs to get done, it is common to put your head down and plow through.  Doing this leads to missing key information that could help you focus, prioritize, and be proactive. In order to be strategic, you need a solid understanding of the industry context, trends, and business drivers. Here are some methods for improving your strategic mindset: Make it a routine exercise to explore and synthesize the internal trends in your day-to-day work. For example, pay attention to the issues that get raised over and over in your organization and synthesize the common obstacles your colleagues face. Be proactive about connecting with peers…
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What Is Networking?

What Is Networking?

Attitude and Mindset, Communication, Featured, Leadership
During the publicity tour for the book "Captivate," author Vanessa Van Edwards appeared on CBS This Morning. Discussing her book, she made it clear that she had no idea what networking was. The reporters asking her questions were similarly uninformed. Despite the importance of networking in the success of a business or a career, there is still a great deal of misunderstanding about what it is and how to do it. Networking is a process. The first mistake most people make is thinking that by attending a single networking event they are networking. The networking event is the first step in the process that has the goal of creating long-term relationships with will connect you to the resources you need. People you networking may never use your service or buy a…
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Has The “Extra Mile” Gotten Shorter?

Has The “Extra Mile” Gotten Shorter?

Attitude and Mindset, Featured, Leadership
While many people talk about going the extra mile, it seems that few people are actually doing it.  I had two interactions that took me by surprise, illustrating how short that extra mile has gotten. Upon  launching a new newsletter, the e-mail system sent the newsletter template out while it was being set up. So a portion of our list received a half done newsletter two weeks before it was supposed to launch. We quickly e-mailed those who received it an apology and explained what had happened. During this I received an e-mail from a woman who was unsure how she got on the mailing list and asked me to contact her, providing her phone number. I called her and had a brief discussion and we figured out what event she…
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