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    If You Don't Have Twitter...You Don't Exist

    I remember seeing this video back in 2009.  Funny, Sad and True...All at the same time.



    Hunny, You're Risk Mitigating Again...

    Not a phrase I've ever heard from my wife...not likely that I have will.  The concept however, I hear all the time.

    In my professional life, it's what I do.  Internally with our team, externally with clients as they grow their business, asking the question: If you do this, what's the worst thing that could happen? Or better yet: If you do NOTHING, what's the worst thing that could happen?  At the core of Risk Mitigation is the promotion of strong decision-making.

    Risk Mitigation is boring.  Most people never think about it, because it's much more glamorous to run hard and chase dreams than lean on the emergency brake.

    Sometimes it's the language that you use that is important; "We're doomed if we do this!" Are you doomed...or are you just afraid?  Other times it's just the demographic you are in.  Entrepreneurs are known for being profoundly unbalanced in their both high-tolerance for risk, and intolerant for those that refuse to risk anything.

    There is however a healthy balance in the world of risk mitigation that can be summed up in a simple statement: Know the risks.

    The risk adverse person hates risky situations and/or environments that they steer clear of them altogether...often then by default steering clear of opportunity.

    The overtly risky person runs to risk...because where there is risk, there is opportunity!

    The balance is in the middle.  Define the risk, make a judgement call on the risk vs reward and move ahead.

    Sounds simple doesn't it!

    Unfortunately, when you're "gut" says jump, but all logic and those on your team say "don't"...what then?

    There are many stories of individuals that beat the odds, and jumped when everyone was staying put...and became a huge success.  Unfortunately, for every 1 of those stories, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of stories where the individual or company "jumped" and landed in bankruptcy or financial hardship.

    Making good decisions starts with surrounding yourself with great people, but the battle is often won or lost on the scale of knowing the risks!

    Happy Jumping!



    Your Workplace Culture Sucks

    If you are like most small and medium-sized businesses, that it's true...but don't take my word for it, ask your employees.  If that sounds like a daunting task, chances are...I'm right.

    Unfortunately, most business owners and their key managers are so out of touch with their staff that the idea of fixing it is scarier than the conclusion that it's not-so-hot.  Here are 3 ways you can size up how strong (or weak) your office culture is;

    1. Hierarchy -
    Organizations have levels of hierarchy, that is a fact.  However, a hierarchy can often detract from workplace culture, limiting teamwork, innovation and business growth.  Whether it is practically instituting a management open door policy, having regular employee functions and incentive programs or building into the employee calendar mutual learning times, these all build into human capital and against uneccessary and bureaucratic hierarchy.

    2. Turnover - Losing people is not always a bad thing.  This comes back to the idea of "Strategic Quitting."  When you find people that aren't a fit, it's time to let them now.  It's losing good people, frequently, that should cause you some concern.  Generally speaking, people want to be a part of a winning team.  When Vince Carter & Tracy McGrady wanted out of the Toronto wasn't because they didn't like's because the team sucked, and they wanted to win!  Build a winning team by (a) Attracting winning people (b) Practice winning together.

    3. Relational Depth - How well do you know your staff? How well do they know each other?  This is not to suggest that introducing Wing-Night-Wednesday is a good idea...because it's likely not.  But understanding the challenges your staff face on a day-to-day basis, and some of their interests outside of work will allow you to build relationship capital inside of work.  Increase your attentiveness to your staff's strengths/weaknesses and likes/dislikes and I assue you that you will make better decisions in charting a course for each of them in your organization.


    Solid Brands Are Timeless

    A strong brand should never become obsolete. Branding and marketing alike require a thought out process that allows for accountability and excellence to drive the brand forward. Before discussing the power of a well-developed brand, it is important to define what is not a brand. An established brand is not a fad or a trend, but rather remains timeless and relevant. In recent years, the ‘live strong’ yellow bracelets worn by cyclist Lance Armstrong have become quite a popular item.

    The bracelets original goal was to raise awareness and support cancer research. The bracelets became more of a fad then a brand, as once the ‘newness’ fell away, the public was off to the next market trend. Brand power is ultimately about longevity, as brand power develops the market around them, growing with the clientele. The bracelet example illustrates the importance of marketing, but also shows how a popular trend does not necessarily lead to a developed brand. A strong brand requires a commitment to quality, market momentum and industry leverage. With these three things in place, a product or organization can work towards moving past the trend stage and into a well-developed brand.

    Developing a strong brand is not an easy task, but must be planned, strategized and effectively orchestrated. A healthy brand builds deep relationships with their consumers, and has their hand on the pulse of what the market needs and wants. With longevity comes the ability to set products and ideas not around what the consumer wants today, but rather match what they wanted yesterday with what they will want tomorrow.

    In saying that no brand can last forever, critics negate many past examples of brands that have stood the test of time, and offered like Coca-Cola and Tide Detergent. These brands have continually adapted to market conditions without compromises the core values and objectives that have remained strong since their inception. Ultimately, for a brand to remain relevant across generations means that a comprehensive team committed to excellence has worked with a superior product or service over time.

    Brands that fail to remain competitive either lack one of the three key elements discussed, or are simply a fading trend. Brands that succeed have found a way to make it work. Whether it is giving the choice to customers like Burger King, or just creating a popular and desirable product like Coca-Cola, successful brands stand the test of time because they demonstrate the ability to set them apart and do what it takes to succeed.


    Be True...Be Consistent

    Words that most people would agree with...unfortunately, like most things worth doing, easier said than done!

    I'm not an avid hunter by any means...And by "not an avid hunter" I mean...I've never been hunting, but I do have a huge respect for the patience, discipline and consistency that is required to be a strong hunter.

    One of the specifics of hunting that I regularly think about and use in my own life is the importance of having the right tools.  Big game hunting requires the right weapons, gear and clothing, but consistent in any type of hunting is the need for your weapon to be "true."  Your aim could be perfect, but if the sight of the weapon isn't true, you will miss the target every time.  That's a perfect analogy for leaders and true.  Set a vision and plan for your business and life...and be true.

    I was reminded of this when speaking recently with one of my staff, in our need to constantly be bringing ourselves back to our original business plan and our core values.

    New Business Verticals: We enter new business lines or change existing ones and lose track of our "main thing."  If we stray to far from what made us successful in the first place...we will lose it...somethings all of it.

    Hiring: It's easy to hire around difficult situations.  A few staff leave...and we rush to replace them, often making mistakes and hiring outside of our core team values.

    Consistency plays along with the core value of "being true."  Jim Collins regularly talks about doing the same thing (hopefully the right thing) over and over and over.  Success is consistent.  It's difficult to fake and you can only pretend for so long.  If we commit to doing the right things consistently, and our plan isn't flawed (which is a whole different discussion), then success will come. 

    The biggest mistakes in life and business are made in haste and off the path of our core values.