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The Power in a Blank Sheet of Paper

Brain Most of the time when we sit down to work, maybe in our favorite chair, we have a stack of papers or files and a list of some kind.

We then proceed to “work” as we’ve always defined it … plow through the stack and “get ‘er done”.

Try a different approach

This time, sit downt with blank sheet of paper, as I did again this morning. Nothing else.

Then, just sit back and noodle on the issues that are clogging your brain and keeping you up at night. … with  NO preconceived notions about them. Remember, you paper is blank so far.

You’ll be amazed at how your mind starts to do it’s favorite thing … and the thing it does best … adding some intellectual firepower to solving problems.

Give your brain some space to work

Our brain is not really that good at filing, sorting, recording and remembering what we need at the precise moment we need it. (more…)

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12 Holiday Morsels to Strengthen Your Business

Yes, the holidays are here and already the list of things to do continues to grow – completing the annual budget, planning parties, visiting with friends, figuring out what to get who for when … and so it goes.

Yet, my spirit remains strong, so I’ve prepared a menu of 12 holiday treats that I hope will slide down like Amaretto eggnog in front of a winter fire.

I’ve even scoured some of my earlier columns to find the most delectable morsels.

“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” — Yogi Berra

So, here’s a smorgasbord of lessons learned – a few appetizers, a choice of entrees, a little dessert – from executives of both extraordinary capability and numbing incompetence  — that should grace your executive table for 2015.

1.     It’s never about you.

It’s always about them. Customers, employees, suppliers … family, friends, colleagues.

Be clear about it and thrive.

Get it backwards?

Fail.

2.     If you don’t think you’ll ever have a management succession problem, you already have one.

Keep reading. There are 12 days. Remember?

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The 7 Qualities You Need to Get Your Company on the Medal Stand

What does it take to get on the Medal Stand and out of the Grandstands?

Jessica Long. One of the most decorated Paralympic athletes in history.

She’s won 17 Olympic medals. 12 of them are gold.

She holds 13 world records.

She’s been Sports Woman of the Year twice.

She’s obviously a remarkable swimmer.

She did all of it after having the lower part of both legs amputated when she was 18 months old.

Jessica Long’s drive, devotion and discipline are unquestioned.   Her determination is boundless. (NBC produced an in-depth look at her life you can find here.)

Is all of that enough? If you had each of those characteristics in immeasurable quantity, would it be enough to make you an Olympian?

Is drive, devotion and discipline enough?

Probably not.

Keep reading and download the 7 Olympic Qualities checklist …

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You can certainly sing this! The 12 Pains of Christmas

The holidays are here and we’re still trying to figure out how we’re going to get it all done.

So, instead of asking you to work at something – anything – I’ve decided to give you a gift of holiday music.

Elmo did it, so did Ren & Stimpy, Winnie the Pooh, Shrek, the Muppets … so with animated competition like this, what can go wrong with my first effort at song-writing?

There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime.  Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks and cottage cheese in them. — P.J. O’Rourke

Yeah, I know, don’t quit your day job.

So, feel free to sing along to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas. Key of D Sharp, please.

All together now:

The first thing in business that’s such a pain to me… is the never-ending stinking eee-mail.

The second thing in business that’s such a pain to me … stuff a-cumm-u-lating … and the never-ending stinking eee-mail.

The third thing in business that’s such a pain to me … meetings, meetings, meetings … stuff a-cumm-u-lating … and the never-ending stinking eee-mail.

The fourth thing in business that’s such a pain to meKeep going … there’s more pain coming …

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Video & Slides | Does Your Incentive Plan Really Drive Superior Results?

Does Your Incentive Plan Really Drive Superior Results?

Does Your Incentive Plan Really Drive Superior Results?

Can we develop an incentive plan to drive superior performance?

You can be pretty sure that’s the question someone was trying to address when your key incentive program was created.

At the time, the answer may have been yes.

Since then?

The chances are that question has never been asked again.

If we believe in the power of incentives … and we want to stimulate superior performance … why do we rarely take time to examine the programs already in place to see if those programs are accomplishing their intended objective?

Incentive Plans are rarely updated

When you look under the hood of your own incentive programs, you’re likely to find that incentive plans already in place aren’t working too well.

What started as a well-intended and robust incentive plan has now become a routine bonus program that participants expect to receive as a regular part of their income.

The plan doesn’t do anything to stimulate superior performance. Keep Reading for the Video & Slides

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