The Quiet Price of Entrepreneurship

entrepreneurship

Read a selection of articles in most business publications and you will, undoubtedly, find more than a handful that explicitly or implicitly refer to entrepreneurs as stalwart heroes in some form or fashion. While there may be some level of “courage” (comfort with risk, ability to thrive in nebulous situations, ability to envision a future state that others can not, etc.) the overwhelming amount of content of this nature continues to reinforce a myth about entrepreneurs as mighty warriors who don’t blink in the face of danger. Adding further to this cycle, especially here in America, is our national culture of showcasing success and of loving a good underdog story.

Unfortunately, showcasing successful underdog entrepreneurs who have “made it” doesn’t really tell the full story. For every success there are multiple examples of failure- each one leaving indelible scars on those involved. For some, these failures may serve as the inspiration to try and try again while, for others, it may result in wounds that become insurmountable. Furthermore, even the entrepreneurs who do make it, in most cases, do so at the expense of many things in their lives, each adding stresses to them as individuals that are difficult to measure. Read More…

Creating Lasting Impact As An Interim Leader

lights

I remember growing up in the days when having a substitute teacher for the day meant watching a movie instead of moving forward with the planned content for the day. At the time, it left me with nearly the same feeling as a coveted snow day.

In the business world, stepping in as an interim leader can sometimes feel like you’re the substitute teacher, left to mind the store until a “real” leader steps in. I feel for substitute teachers and anyone stepping into a leadership role temporarily as they often feel somewhat powerless to act in the fear that they may break something.

Interim leadership roles can certainly come with their challenges, but these situations can also provide unforeseen opportunities that you otherwise may have missed.

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Remote Work Teams- There Are Many Fish In The Sea

fish in the sea

As the war for talent rages across the land with no end in sight and as competition in the market continues to bubble over at a fervent pace, many business leaders are finding that they must cast an ever widening net to succeed in securing the right people. Data from the updated Global Workforce Analytics study in June of 2017 on telecommuting found that people spend approximately 50-60% of their time away from their desks anyway and the many task are more conducive to solitude than collaboration. Read More…

How to Overcome the Anxiety of Change with Organizational Empathy

overcome anxiety of change with organizational empathy

We often talk about organizational change like inertia. We assume that the plans we put into motion will continue in motion unless they’re otherwise affected by some outside force.

But the truth is, organizational change is more akin to entropy. Even without the influence of outside forces, our processes tend to move toward disorder unless they’re continually and actively managed.

Change is a constant, unrelenting force that we as leaders must navigate every day. So how do we make sure we’re positioning ourselves and our teams to operate in such conditions?

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Why Company Culture is Critical to M&A Success

company culture mergers and acquisitions success

The actual results of mergers and acquisitions don’t always live up to expectations.

M&A growth strategies promise a multitude of strategic opportunities; from rapid growth, to elimination of competition, to access to new markets. And many organizations are currently, or have, embarked on merger and acquisition growth strategies to varying effect.

When asked about the primary causes of these mixed results, most leaders cite a misalignment between the two organizations’ cultures. This friction can wreak havoc as the members of different groups assimilate to drive the performance gains that M&A strategies forecast.

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The State of DevOps In 2017: Transformational Leadership is Key

State of DevOps 2017: Transformational Leadership

As our business environment continues to evolve and adopt a digital-first mindset, the percentage of people working on DevOps teams increases every year.

Organizations that have successfully adopted DevOps are able to deliver a better customer experience with significantly greater operational efficiency. And the writing seems to be on the wall: organizations that don’t embrace these ways of working will likely be left in the dust.

But where to start? With all the noise about DevOps lately, it’s difficult for CIOs and other leaders to find an authoritative source of information.

That’s where the annual State of DevOps Report comes in. For the past six years, Puppet and the DevOps Research and Assessment Group (DORA) have partnered to produce a set of research that is regarded—in many circles—as the first and last word on DevOps.

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Embrace a Culture of Self-Leadership to Stay Agile as You Scale

nurse next door culture of self leadership

One of the greatest challenges for rapidly growing organizations is how to remain nimble in the midst of growth.

As companies scale, more processes are required to coordinate the growing workforce. And the additional management layers that come with them can slow an organization down.

It’s often the reason why large organizations become weighed down with bureaucracy while small companies remain quick and agile.

Consider this recent story from Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes:

“Earlier this year, an employee wanted to send a customer a T-shirt with our logo as a gift. There was nothing special about this particular shirt. It was an ordinary, 100% cotton crew neck. But by the time this employee got approval—factoring in his own time and everyone else’s up the org chart who had to weigh in before signing off on the request—the cost of this t-shirt had ballooned to at least $200.”

Many organizations today are trying to hedge against inflated processes like these by changing their organizational structures. Hootsuite, for example, appointed a “Czar of Bad Systems” to help improve internal processes.

In today’s rapidly-evolving business environment, growing organizations need to remain fast and efficient. And some large, geographically dispersed and complex organizations seem to be able to maintain a level of agility despite their size.

How do they do it?

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Preserving A Culture People Love As Your Company Grows: Lessons from Zappos

Jamie Naughton Zappos

Being intentional about your company’s core values from day one can help to build a solid foundation to guide behavior as your organization grows; few leaders understand this as well as Zappos’ Tony Hsieh.

Zappos has long been an example of the power that company culture has on behavior and business performance. But what’s behind the curtain? What is the team at Zappos doing, specifically, that is driving their admirable levels of employee engagement and retention? 2016 was Zappos’ lowest turnover rate since its founding more than 18 years ago — and I wanted to know the how and the why.

To find out, I asked Jamie Naughton, Zappos’ Chief of Staff, to share her insights.

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How to Master the Art and Science of Effective Team Management

master the art and science of effective team management

A single perfect brush stroke does not make a painting. Nor does a single note make a song. Every work of art is a result of many individual pieces all working together in harmony to make the whole. Artists spend their entire lives learning how to improve these individual elements and learning how they fit together to create the final composition.

We don’t often think about this kind of dedication in business. No one spends their entire life devoted to the mastery of middle management. Yet, to excel as a manager, you will need to spend a considerable amount of time learning about the individual people that make up your team.

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