Tag: strategy

The Often-Overlooked Step That Can Boost the Quality of Your Work

We generally think that a great work product – especially an artistic effort – is imagined, conceived, and launched simultaneously. But the notion that a single, smart idea can immediately turn into a brilliant final version has the same logic flaw of a newborn baby popping out of the womb with a college degree. In fact, one of […]

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Random Acts of Creativity

It turns out, this past Saturday was National Creativity Day. Who knew? While I think it’s terrific that we have a holiday to celebrate the universal human gift of imagination, it made me think that everyday should really be National Creativity Day. We’ve been led to believe that for something to count as creative, it […]

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In Case of Emergency, Break Glass

As each day of economic free fall continues, many of us are struggling to figure out what to do next. Whole industries such as professional sports, corporate conventions, and vacation travel have been frozen in time with no full thaw in sight. There are certainly some of us that need to embrace the most dramatic […]

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The Ultimate Customer Experience

With glimpses of hope that our economy will reopen in the coming months, it’s time to start thinking about our businesses in a post-pandemic landscape. How will the world change? How will your industry be different? How will you adapt to the new circumstances? The sheer volume of unknowns can feel overwhelming, making it difficult to even […]

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How to Find the Best Parking Spot, Every Time

As you drive up to a crowded shopping plaza, your blood pressure rises quickly. Circling the parking lot, you search for the closest possible space. It quickly becomes a fierce competition, filling you with stress and sometimes anger if someone beats you to that one spot that should have been yours. Several laps and minutes […]

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IdeaSpewing – A Simple Technique to Unlock Creativity

Staring at the blank page can be intimidating. This could be the start of any creative project – from writing the next great American novel to crafting a new investment deck for your startup. Maybe your blank page is less grandiose, but still daunting such as organizing your thoughts for a sales pitch or drafting […]

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10 Customer-Centric Questions to Create Irresistible Value

With our Thanksgiving feasts behind us, ’tis the season of 2020 business planning. Ironically, the theme of gratitude may actually be our best strategy in the new year. In working with many businesses in different industries, I often hear the same refrains: “we need to sell more;” “we need better marketing;” “we need to cut […]

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How to Blast Off

When the space shuttle blasts off, two-thirds of its fuel is consumed in the first 20 minutes of flight. The remaining amount powers the shuttle for up to two weeks, including re-entry and landing. The phenomenon at play: escape velocity. Scientists describe the concept as the amount of force required to break free from the gravitational […]

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The Beauty of Uneaten Cantaloupe

On a recent business trip to Denver, I was able to grab breakfast at one of my favorite morning spots. Snooze Eatery is a funky, retro-themed breakfast joint with incredible food and service. They have an inventive menu and cool vibe, but so do many other AM cafes. As I sat down, I wondered what […]

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The Unique Problem-Solving Approach of History Makers

For decades, transportation experts and city planners who studied traffic congestion in major cities came to the conclusion that not much could be done to improve gridlock. Based on available street widths, speed limits, and other constraints, they were correct. But Elon Musk approached the problem in a completely different manner. Instead of reaching a […]

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The Can’t-Not

The promo for tonight’s local news runs across your screen: “Two of the items in your pantry right now could kill you. Tune in at 11:00 to find out which ones.” After hearing this announcement, you can’t not tune in. When you learn about a hot tech company that offers unlimited days off, tuition reimbursement, […]

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Playing Guitar With Three Missing Strings

Studying jazz guitar in college, I had a professor that would force me to remove strings from the instrument. One, two, sometimes three strings had to be removed before I attempted a performance. You might guess that gutting half of my available resources would crush my ability to play, let alone be creative. Yet a […]

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How The Most Successful Leaders Respond

We all get provoked. An angry associate; a cranky customer; a snarling spouse. In these cases, the primitive part of our brain designed to protect us in the wild kicks in and our autonomic response is to recklessly fire back. We lash out, hit below the belt, and respond with uncontrollable emotion. That’s where the […]

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What a French Creole Cooking Term Can Teach Us About Customer Loyalty

After finishing an incredible meal in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the best part of the experience may very well be the lagniappe (pronounced LAN-yap). While it sounds like a fancy seafood dish, a lagniappe is actually an unexpected gift. That special dessert, complements of the chef. The small box of chocolates for you […]

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When We Stop Doing The Things That Made Us Great

Last weekend, I went to one of Detroit’s most celebrated Italian restaurants. I’d been years ago and anticipated the same exquisite experience. Known for their impeccable service and inspired dishes, I was expecting them to nail every detail like they had in the past. Yet the very things that made them successful had obviously been […]

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One Word That Will Change Your Entire Outlook

As busy people, we often sprint from one obligation to the next. The mandatory client meeting, the business lunch, the kid’s soccer game… all while keeping your seven social media streams up to date, your boss happy, and your family fed. In the modern age, we can feel overwhelmed with all the things we just […]

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The Mother of Dragons

Spoiler Alert! (if you haven’t caught up on GOT, stop reading and JUMP to “SPOILER START” below) Wow. How incredible that the woman who built her career on kindness and empathy turned every heartfelt follower to ash this week. The power of the loyalty that she built was, prior to this week, unstoppable. Her motives […]

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How Google Kills Ideas to Drive Killer Innovation

According to its tombstone, Trendalyzer was a data trend viewing platform that lived a happy life from 2007-2017. Latitude, a location-aware feature of Google Maps, was just over 4 years old before it was euthanized in 2013. Fabric, a platform that helped mobile teams build better apps, was sentenced to death after only one month […]

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Nine Simple Pre-Game Questions to Maximize Business Results

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 hard work, day after day, in the cold gym is what enables a fighter to win. This makes sense in many areas of life. “Sweat more in practice, bleed […]

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Lifelong Kindergarten

Peeking into a typical kindergarten classroom, you’ll see a vibrant setting of creativity and collaboration. The colorful setting is messy, playful, and expressive as students smile with delight and their imaginations run free. Unfortunately, the creative wonder we experience as small children often declines in each subsequent year as we confront the world’s difficulties. It’s […]

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11 Leadership Lessons from Jazz Musicians

For over 40 years, I’ve proudly worn the title of jazz guitarist. Deeply passionate about the art form, I performed my way through college and continue to savor the delicious melodies of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Dizzy Gillespie. Ironically it was jazz – not B-school – that gave me the foundation to win in […]

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The Tyranny of Good Enough

Your chicken salad sandwich wasn’t bad, really. It was ‘good enough.’ The service wasn’t speedy, but also wasn’t horribly slow. It was just good enough. The environment was a bit messy and a tad dirty, but didn’t justify a call to the Health Department. “I guess it was good enough,” you mutter as you leave […]

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Inch-Wide, Mile-Deep

If you’re looking to buy a new knife, the choices seem limitless. A 21-function Swiss Army knife will run you around $39 bucks, less than $2 per blade. The all-purpose tool is versatile, but none of the functions represent the highest in quality. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the Ao-Ko Mizu Honyaki […]

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31 Tips to Reach Your Next Level of Greatness

We’re all trying to reach that next level of greatness – in our careers, families, and communities. But in today’s hyper-competitive world, achievement isn’t such an easy thing. In an environment of dizzying speed and exponential complexity, how can we take our game to world-class? How can we reach our full potential? Having spent 27 […]

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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 Red Zone

As football teams chase championship glory in their post-season battles, they practice diligently to deliver peak performance.  Coaches help players break the game down into specific components, developing strategies for offense and defense, the ground game and the passing game, kickoffs and returns. When a team arrives within striking distance of the goal line, traditional […]

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