FRESH IDEAS, HAND-CRAFTED WEEKLY

Inspiring thoughts on innovation, growth, leadership, creativity, transformation, and disruption. Quick reads, powerful results.

The Chief Startup Officer

Organizations are generally led by a predictable C-suite of traditional roles with traditional responsibilities. The Chief Executive Officer reads reports from her Chief Financial Officer about the work of the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Sales Officer. The Chief Technology Officer and Chief Human Resource Officer team up with the Chief Marketing Officer to deliver […]

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What Rambo Can Teach Us About Achievement

The four Rambo films, released between 1982 and 2008, famously depicted John Rambo, a member of the US Army Special Forces known as the Green Beret. Throughout the films, Rambo singlehandedly outwits his opponents, adapts to changing circumstances and achieves at a super-human level.   While the movies glamorized his brute strength, the real-world Green […]

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What’s Your Training Schedule?

There’s an old saying in the boxing world: “Champions don’t become champions in the ring; they are merely recognized there.” The implication, of course, is that the hard work of winning happens during an intense training regimen. The blood, sweat, and tears on the gym floor; the relentless planning for every possible scenario; the sacrifice […]

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The Museum of Failure

In the Swedish City of Helsingborg, failures exist at an alarming rate. Just across the river from Denmark, the community isn’t actually screwing up but rather celebrating failures from around the globe. History was made when The Museum of Failures opened to the public in June. Colossal innovation failures -from the Apple Newton to the […]

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A Life-Changing 2.97%

We all know we should exercise. And read more. And eat less. We should be more kind, should be more punctual, should give more back to our community. We should do dozens of things, but who has the energy? In fact, there are so many shoulds in life that we’re overwhelmed and frustrated trying to tackle them all. In my case, no matter how hard I try, I’m often left with feelings […]

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Here’s What Happened When a Brilliant Entrepreneur Got Ticked

Chris Riley was ticked. Caught in a speed trap near his office in Coral Gables, Florida, the officer flagged Chris down like he was a hardened criminal. Yes, he was speeding…but not by much. Since he forgot his proof of insurance, the total cost for his minor infraction was over 500 bucks. Seething, his only […]

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Four Powerful Questions

It’s often said that the most successful people focus more on the questions they ask than the statements they make. Asking the right questions can unlock volumes of knowledge, wisdom, and insight. Yet we’re often so busy telling, that we miss out on the power of asking. While this applies to communication with other people, I’m referring […]

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How One Pizza Delivery Inspired the Nation

Benjamin Houston was having an especially rough night. As a Domino’s Pizza delivery driver in Flint, Michigan, it had been a tough road. The fact that Benjamin is deaf made his situation even more challenging. It all came to a head on July 15, when his car broke down on a delivery run near midnight in a […]

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Planting Seeds

How do you know if you’ve accomplished something today? What should you measure if you didn’t deliver something measurable? In an era of dashboards, metrics, and key performance indicators, should every ounce of your energy be directed at hitting near term deliverables? In studying the behavior of the most successful people, I’ve noticed that they […]

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7 Powerful Lessons from Ancient Japanese Wisdom

As we search for new approaches to our biggest challenges, we often seek the latest-and-greatest tactics from the hottest, cutting-edge research on performance. It feels like there’s a brand new management approach, tech tool, or leadership style on a daily basis. Yet sometimes we can progress even more by learning from those before us.    […]

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Efforts vs. Results

Imagine that a loved one is on the operating table in a life-or-death situation. You and your family gather in the waiting room waiting with bated breath for the doctor to communicate the results of this life-saving procedure. When the surgeon finally arrives, you don’t want to hear about how hard she and her team labored. You don’t want to hear that she “gave […]

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The Most Powerful Phrase to Boost your Company and Career

In our world of quick fixes and success hacks, there’s an old school approach that wins consistently. Think of it as the most potent high-octane formula to fuel your relationships, career trajectory, client satisfaction, investor relations, and company’s growth. A simple phrase that’s easy to say, but may require a mindset shift to fully embrace: […]

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What Kenyan Distance Runners Can Teach Us About Achievement

Why does one small tribe in Kenya – the Kalenjin – produce a statistically impossible percentage of the world’s fastest distance runners? According to David Epstein, Senior Editor at Sports Illustrated, “There are 17 American men in history who have run under 2:10 in the marathon, while there were 32 Kalenjin who did it in October of 2011.” This one […]

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Death by 1,000 Paper Cuts

We’ve all done it.  As you open an envelope or turn the pages of a magazine, the paper’s edge slices into your finger, causing you to wince with pain.  While not requiring emergency medical care, a nasty paper cut stings more than a trip to the dentist on Tax Day. Yet these small wounds, if […]

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Are You a Firebrand?

We all come across two types of companies (and individuals) in our lives. First there are those that blend in with the others, swim in a sea of sameness, and personify mediocrity. They don’t like to stand out, prefer the safety of the masses, and seek out a profit (or a living). And then there […]

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The 5 Obsessions of Innovators

In our turbulent business climate, we all seek new pathways to growth and success. Yes, winning can be elusive in these times of dizzying speed and ruthless competition. Companies like Tesla, Amazon, Netflix and JetBlue soar while their respective counterparts – Oldsmobile, Borders Books, Blockbuster, and PanAm – are merely tombstones in the business graveyard. […]

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3 Hacks to Boost Client Loyalty and Growth

In these highly competitive times, it’s become increasingly difficult to hold onto customers. Retention is tough, and client growth is even harder with fickle clients and fleeting loyalty. It turns out, building deep, loyal, profitable client relationships isn’t as complex as the DaVinci code. In fact, these three simple hacks can boost your client relationships […]

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Two Danger Traps to Avoid When Growing Your Business

Whether you run a 2-person graphic design shop or a 200,000 global manufacturing conglomerate, you’re likely craving growth. We all do. Expansion fuels profits, serves customers, drives share price, and impacts the world. Through building five companies of my own and helping at least 100 others scale, I’ve seen two repeating growth traps that have […]

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Don’t Stumble Over Something Behind You

We all face incredible challenges in our lives. Difficult people. Ruthless competition. Time constraints. But so many of us succumb to an imaginary and impotent demon that strangles our potential and restricts our progress. This fictitious monster is called simply … the past. While the past can be a great teacher, it can also shackle […]

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The Two Big Things United Got Wrong That You Can Get Right

The news of a 69-year-old physician being forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight has shocked the world and captured headlines around the clock. Millions have now watched passenger-taken videos of Dr. David Dao being brutally dragged off the plane to make room for United employees. His frequent flyer bonus was a broken nose, concussion, […]

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Vu Déjà

We’ve all experienced déjà vu, looking at an unfamiliar situation and feeling like we’ve seen it before. It turns out the most successful and creative people flip this around and consciously practice Vu Déjà – looking at a familiar situation as if you’ve never seen it before. Our brains are hardwired to play a devious […]

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The Sushi Donut

Millions of people love sushi. Even more love donuts. What would happen if you combined these two highly coveted delights? You guessed it… the mind-blowing Sushi Donut. This new concoction deviates from the traditional straight-cylinder sushi roll by being formed into a connected ring like a donut. Don’t worry, it’s made of rice instead of […]

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The Say-Do Ratio

Before I took the stage to deliver a keynote at a recent event, the CEO of my host company addressed the 1,200 distribution partners, employees, and customers in the audience. In his remarks, he reinforced his company’s commitment to having a positive integer for what he described as their Say-Do Ratio. If the ratio was […]

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How Dyson’s New Hair Blower is Blowing Up the Market

Your arm cramps as you hold your hot, loud hairdryer that blasts your mop top to a frizzy dryness. Same routine, just another day. The hair dryer has been pretty much the same for decades. You really don’t care which brand you use, as these commodities are all nearly identical. Enter James Dyson, the grandmaster […]

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There’s Nothing We Can Do

Lousy weather left the plane full of passengers stranded on a cold runway. Air Canada had to reroute the flight for safety, leaving passengers frustrated, late, and uncomfortable. As the plane languished on an open runway, passengers became restless… and hungry. The peanuts were gone and airline catering was closed. When demands for food intensified, […]

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How a Six-String CEO Revived an Iconic Brand

As a guitar player for over 50 years, Andy Mooney leapt at the chance to take the helm of the legendary Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. Setting the standard of guitar innovation with breakthrough models like the Stratocaster, the Telecaster, and the Mustang, the company had fallen on harder times. Silo thinking, a flat industry, and […]

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How Far Will You Go For Results?

Under the neon-lit skies of Las Vegas, Denny Marie Post just got inked. Her new tattoo was skillfully applied to her left shoulder while friends cheered her on. But unlike a typical college-age stunt that one lives to regret, the 59-year-old Post was actually delivering on a business commitment in her role as CEO of […]

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5 UNDISPUTED STEPS TO GET PROMOTED FAST(AKA HOW TO NEVER GET FIRED)

The allure of the corner office has captured the imagination of nearly everyone in the working world. A promotion to the next level – or the level after that – would be a gigantic win, both personally and professional. You’d be able to create a bigger impact, serve and lead more, and leave your fingerprints […]

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Hacking Innovation

Hackers are a global fascination, with cybercrime representing our single biggest threat to national security. Their exploits are front-page news, and may have impacted the outcome of our recent election. But putting their sinister motives aside, the dark, underworld of hackers contains some of the most creative minds on the planet. What if hacking approaches could […]

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