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Bring strategic plan to life

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The other day I overheard a business owner utter the classic lament, “We spent so much time and effort developing our strategic plan, and it’s pretty good, too, but we just can’t seem to make it stick.” Breathe life into your strategic plan by designing a blueprint to support it. Create an operating plan that… Continue Reading Bring strategic plan to life

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Stingy. Overly conservative. Flush with money but not willing to help the average business owner. These are common remarks we hear about banks. Most of these comments come from a common misconception that banks are in the risk-taking business. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Making loans is simply the process of renting… Continue Reading Want a small business loan? Think like a banker

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Small business thoughts on the economy

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Tune in to Wall Street, and hope exists that the economic recovery might be strengthening. But that does not seem to be the predominant feeling on Main Street. Despite the obvious importance of Wall Street in terms of capital and credit, America very much is a nation of small businesses. For example, according to the… Continue Reading Small business thoughts on the economy

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Embrace open-book management style

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Open book management is not a new concept, but most businesses executives are still hesitant to embrace it. That trend is changing, however, starting with top performing companies. 83 percent of the 2010 Top Small Company Workplaces honored by Inc. Magazine open their books to employees. Many have been inspired to do so by the… Continue Reading Embrace open-book management style

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We recently met a business owner who was telling us about her company. After about 10 minutes she left and, by the blank look on both of our faces, it was clear that we had no idea what her business did. Worse yet, neither did she. We would like to say this only happens occasionally… Continue Reading A business strategy has to be crystal clear to work

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Don’t overcome resistance, explore it

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If you are leading any sort of change in your organization, you will encounter resistance. Many change leaders get frustrated by the roadblocks and speed bumps they encounter, and they attempt to steamroll over anyone who resists their change initiative. In reality, overpowering resistance doesn’t reduce problems, it simply hides them. And hidden problems are… Continue Reading Don’t overcome resistance, explore it

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Taking the hard road

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When did taking the easy way out become the way to do business? Or to boost the economy, build communities, improve our schools, raise our kids and solve our problems? When did we decide that being a leader was a cushy job? Deep down, don’t you remember the thrill of taking the hard road? The… Continue Reading Taking the hard road

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“Look up in the sky — it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s….” a bright shiny object — the next program of the month designed to save the company from the perils of the market or the organization’s culture. Whether it is another restructuring, a performance improvement program, business process re-engineering, or the latest guru’s… Continue Reading Beware of bright shiny objects, or next projects

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When it comes to government and spending, two quotes from history capture the central problem. John Randolph, a Virginian and early 19th-century member of Congress, observed: “The most delicious of all privileges — spending other people’s money.” Calvin Coolidge, president from 1923-29, added: “Nothing is easier than spending the public money. It does not appear… Continue Reading So many federal programs, and so much duplication

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By Wendy Mack and Vinnie Garufi Imagine that your firm has just completed its first employee engagement survey. The results aren’t nearly as good as you would like. What would you do? You could sit in a conference room with other leaders and try to come up with action plans that will lead to improvements.… Continue Reading Real employee engagement means involving everyone

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