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The Four Common Features of Equally Successful but Different Cultures

We’ve been exploring the impact of different cultures and how they affect our organizations.

W hat are the common threads shared by these radically different cultures that you can apply to make your company equally successful?

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“Lary, give this customer a call. We’ve just received an unauthorized return, and I want these shoes sent back. Funny how the green shoes they bought don’t fit and the red ones fit perfectly.”

It wasn’t uncommon for the Chairman of company North (remember, “N” for “Nasty”?) to stop by my office with a message like this. His remarks were actually a code:

“The red shoes sold well but the green ones the customer bought aren’t selling … so now they’re claiming they don’t fit so they can return them. We’ve had no other such complaints. Tell them we won’t accept them and ship them back.”

I made a note to contact the customer, figuring I’d call them after lunch when I would be more likely to catch them three time zones away. No e-mail back then.

Unexpectedly, the Chairman returned to my office 20 minutes later to ask,

“What did they say?”

The first few times this happened I asked,

“Who?” …

failing to make the connection he expected.

While I learned the nuances of merchandising economics with these examples, what I finally realized was that the Chairman expected me to drop everything and call them immediately.

He wasn’t happy,

“What else are you doing?”,

and after a few unpleasant encounters, I finally caught on.

Don’t miss the 4 Common Threads that bind successful companies

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Can Radically Different Cultures Produce Equally Great Results?

There’s more emphasis every day on the value and influence of culture on business success.

W hat does it mean if your culture is dysfunctional and your employees think it’s a train wreck?

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“He threw a lead crystal ashtray at his son’s head?“ I asked. ”Thank God he missed.”

“He threw his secretary’s typewriter through a second story window – it wasn’t open – into a parking lot full of cars below?”

These are just a few of the stories I heard after I joined the firm.

You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Ever feel like you were a galley slave?

In short order, I recognized that the company’s cultural ancestors probably included a toga-clad, sweat-drenched galleon driver pounding out a cadence of “ramming speed” with a wooden mallet.

Their cost-containment strategy was medieval.

Keep reading to capture some of the most important elements of a great culture

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Four Sports Metaphors to Make you a More Effective Leader.

The simple things in life are often the most important … and the most memorable.

T hese are swing thoughts you can put to work immediately … and with powerful results.

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Who can say it better than Yogi …

“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore”,

“I always thought that record would stand until it was broken”,

“I wish I had an answer to that because I’m tired of answering that question.”

Yes, I know, you’re disappointed this week that I’m not talking about Newton’s Third Law of Motion or The Key to Understanding Quantum Physics … but my brain needs a rest … and I’m still straining with every molecule in my body to understand what Newton’s talking about.

When in doubt – sports.

Sports in this country have become a glutinous conundrum of romance, excitement and heroes, leavened with money, big egos and scandals.

Yet, sports are uniquely imbedded in our culture, and we can still glean valuable lessons from them.

Let me share with you 4 Powerful Sports Metaphors that will help you become a More Effective Leader

To scoop up these 4 nuggets or leave a comment, please click here

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How can you make sure that Common Practices are always Best Practices?

You’ve developed common practices you take for granted.

B ut, when was the last time you examined whether those “good practices” still represent “best practices”?

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Do you punt on fourth down because you always do?

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I … I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” ~ Robert Frost

Several years ago when my father was in his final days, his bonhomie in full bloom, I sat in the room while the doctors administered a few basic tests to assess his cognition.

“What country do you live in,” they asked and Dad answered correctly.

“What city do you live in,” they asked. Dad answered “Grand Rapids,” correct again.

“What state do you live in,” they continued. Dad, ever alert, laughed and responded …

“Discombobulation.”

I think my father would agree that the “state of discombobulation” is still a pretty good word choice today.

Keep reading to learn why you may not be getting the results you want

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Is it worth fighting for? How Committed Are You? Like Rocky? Rambo?

This may seem like a very strange blog post for a site dedicated to leadership. But not really.

N ot if you’re committed to managing your life, controlling your day and fighting for what you believe.

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Recently, I saw a profile of Sylvester Stallone and, serendipitously, stumbled across several articles and interviews about him at the same time. One of the stories was featured on CBS Sunday Morning which featured him and spotlighted his new movie, Creed.

In the process, I learned that Stallone broke through with his own writing and NOT with his acting. After some of his early acting failures, he began writing, relentlessly. He wrote almost 30 scripts.

He says 29 of them were crappy.

Rocky Balboa – Stallone’s breakout role

The 30th script was for Rocky, a $500 Million blockbuster movie … but as interest began to build in his script, he saw this as a unique opportunity to kickstart his career.

How did he do it?

What can we learn from Sylvester Stallone and his iconic characters?

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Turbocharge Your Resources with these 6 Pivot Points of Leverage

Car jack. Nail clippers. Claw Hammer. Teeter-totter. Tweezers. Nutcracker. Scissors.

W hat do these devices all have in common? They create leverage, a simple but extraordinary force that increases the power of everything to which it is applied. (Whenever a word is underlined with a dotted line, there is an accompanying definition when you click on the word. Most of them are used to explain specific financial terms, like leverage in this case.)

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Engineers and financial analysts use more specific definitions, but in simple terms, you need at least three things to create leverage:

1. A fulcrum, or pivot point,

2. A load being moved, and

3. A force that’s moving it.

Leverage has never been more important for a leader.

Leverage is even more invaluable in a demanding economy. Most of us have fewer resources to solve the problems we face every day … so we need as much leverage as we can muster to turbocharge the resources at our command.

Financial leverage may be one the first things that come to mind, but I want to talk about at least six pivot points that can drive your business to greater success.

1. Delegation

Are you doing everything possible to leverage your time? It not only empowers others to learn and grow, but it increases the chance the most important things won’t get overlooked.

Continue reading to learn the 6 Pivot Points to Gain More Leverage

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How to Dropkick Uncertainty | 5 Techniques to Master Your Domain

As leaders, we continually encounter issues over which we have no control.

U ncertainty hovers over our plans. We can do something about it by focusing only on what WE can control.

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Did you know there is an Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (IUS)?

It was developed in 1994 by a team of researchers in Quebec. The scale assesses how much people desire and seek out predictability, and how they react in ambiguous situations. A higher level of intolerance of uncertainty, or IU, is a “cognitive vulnerability,” according to Michel Dugas, a professor of psychology at the University of Quebec in Outaouais, and one of the architects of the IUS.

Here is one of the most important findings and research about uncertainty:

As a rule, humans prefer certainty to uncertainty. Studies have shown that people would rather definitely get an electric shock now than maybe be shocked later, and show greater nervous-system activation when waiting for an unpredictable shock (or other unpleasant stimulus) than an expected one. Where people differ is in the degree to which uncertainty bothers them.

Keep reading to learn the 4 Techniques to Gain Control …

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If your thinking is limited to today’s lunch, next year they’ll be eating your lunch!

There’s nothing more important … or more challenging … than the need to balance short-term results with long-range plans.

H ow is your organization focused? Are you encouraging long-range thinking or only what happens this week?

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Do you have the Attention Span of a Mosquito?

How many times have we asked Are Distractions Destroying Your Brain?

Whatever happened to that blank sheet of paper you were going to use to THINK, you know, that old-fashioned approach to problem solving and the creative process?

Do you agree that Google is making us stupid?

These are but variations on a theme … our increasingly short-term focus.

Keep reading to make sure you have a longer term perspective

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Five Lessons for Success from the Alabama Crimson Tide

It’s the heart of the college football season and there are valuable lessons we can learn from the most successful programs.

Y ou don’t have to be a football fan to embrace them. They are timeless lessons that apply to any business.

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“Who’s walking on my field?”

You’re lugging 40 pounds on your back in 100 degree temperature.

Your head’s tucked inside a small capsule like a two-pound sausage in a one-pound casing and sweat’s pouring down your face.

There’s no chance the sun will disappear … it’s only 10 a.m. … and while there’s water everywhere, your reach for the next bottle seems to exceed your grasp.

Oh, yeah, and the boss expects you to be running – not walking – on his field.

Run, don’t walk, to see the 5 Lessons for Success …

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Do You Want to Light a Fire Under Your Organization? Have you got the 3 Key Ingredients in Place?

Start your own fires. Begin the burn so your ideas catch fire and spread throughout the organization.

It takes 3 ingredients to start and sustain a fire. Make sure you’ve got all 3 ready to go when you launch your next plan.

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Fire has been around since before Prometheus stole it from Zeus and shared it with us mere mortals.

We won’t revisit the penalty that Zeus bestowed, but suffice it to say, Prometheus probably regretted his thievery.

Read about the 3 Key Ingredients to set your business on fire …

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