What to Do When We See People Struggling, Pushing, Fighting, Complaining, Burning Out, or Leaving.

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Hiring, Leading, Strategy, We=All Who Matter, What=Compelling Focus
Reading time: 2 min.

Every business must have a rhythm for people getting the right things done well together.

The rhythm includes

  • regular, sane, productive meetings,
  • a way to select, do, track, and course-correct strategic projects,
  • communication and accountability norms,
  • role designs that say what results (not tasks) we expect from each person,
  • hiring people who understand and support the rhythm, and
  • an organizational design (how to split up the work, who reports to whom) that supports the goals.

Our job as leaders of both new and existing organizations includes ensuring that this rhythm always evolves to match the age, stage, and size of our organizations, that people know how it all works, and that they work with the rhythm to succeed well, often, and happily.

It’s time to improve the rhythm whenever we see goals missed and people struggling, pushing hard, fighting, complaining, burning out, or leaving. We can tell we are doing this well when the right things consistently get done well, with ease, and we are hitting our goals.


In your corner,


PS: We may think that being the leader means being in charge. That is, we set the direction, make decisions, and delegate. Being in charge is an important part of leadership. Stewarding the rhythm is the other important part. If you prefer doing one part, consider hiring someone to take over the other part.


Today’s photo credit: Lif… cc

Powerful Leaders vs. Forceful Leaders

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Strategy, We=All Who Matter, Will=Our inner game
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We tend to confuse power with force.

Force makes things happen or makes people do what we want. Force generates and must constantly counter resistance. Force drains.

Power is clarity about and alignment of our purposes. With power, the right things get done with ease. There is no force in power. Power sustains.

We want to be powerful leaders, not forceful ones.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Graham Cook cc

These Aren’t The Solutions We’re Looking For

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Strategy, Will=Our inner game
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The solution that we crave will remain frustratingly hidden until we raise our buzz. When we raise our buzz, the solution comes into view. It will be so simple that we will wonder why we hadn’t seen it before.

And if we feel bad while considering, formulating, or enacting any solutions, these aren’t the solutions we’re looking for.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Tom Simpson cc


Most People

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Strategy, Will=Our inner game
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Most people come to know only one corner of their room, one spot near the window, one narrow strip on which they keep walking back and forth.

– Ranier Maria Rilke

And life waits patiently outside their door, wagging its tail, excited to show them all the delights and possibilities. If only they would be so bold as to step outside their narrow, little corner.

Let’s not be these people.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Ann Fisher cc


How to Build a Truly Compelling Goal

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Strategy, What=Compelling Focus
Reading time: 2 min.

Success demands a clear, compelling, and commonly understood vision or goal. Such a goal answers the big question, “Why?” We can probably write a clear goal. And we can include whoever matters as we build it so that the goal is commonly understood. But to make it compelling our goal needs to satisfy these criteria:

  1. It comes from within. A compelling goal is not something we derive from market data or what other people think. It comes from within us, our team, and our organization.
  2. It uses our talents. Our vision or goal must take advantage of what we as a team/organization are good at doing.
  3. It matters. Our goal or vision must resonate with our values or care-abouts.
  4. It meets our needs. If a goal doesn’t generate a valuable return, we will quickly run out of time, energy, and resources to achieve it.
  5. It meets a need for others. Our goal or vision solves a problem for other people or groups of people. And they will need to see that we understand them and the problem before they let us help them.
  6. It is big. Big goals seem scary because we can’t see how to achieve them. And that’s good. We challenge ourselves to find new ways. We learn, grow, feel vitally alive, and have a whale of a time along the way.

In our hearts we know that anything less won’t work.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Denis Hawkins cc


Are We Allowed to Fail?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Strategy, Will=Our inner game
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We have heard that the dramatically successful organizations embrace rather than fear failure. They see failure as really quite a good thing. And so failing early, often, and forward has become part of the accepted wisdom of work.

But what if we aren’t allowed to fail? What if failure brings embarrassment, loss of stature, or loss of bonus? Or possibly loss of job? Maybe it means that there is something broken within us. Maybe we’re not supposed to take risks. Then failure is really a bad thing.

The sad thing is that, despite all the effort to avoid failing, organizations that can’t fail well and fast end up failing poorly, slowly, and often finally.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: 8 Kome cc


All Is Nominal

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Anypreneur, Career, Do=Natural flow of action, Good: Your Good Work, Strategy, Success, Sweetspot, What=Compelling Focus, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1

People who fire rockets like to say, “Conditions are nominal,” when everything is good to go.

Guess what? Conditions are nominal. All the courage you need is already within you. All the resources you need are lined up, waiting for you.

All that remains is for you to decide what you really want to achieve and take the first steps.



In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Steve Jurvetson cc

a map

A Map to Better Business

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Strategy, What=Compelling Focus
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Pretend we’ve landed in a new city and we want to get from our hotel, through the city, and to a great restaurant we’ve heard about. We would have three choices. We could use a map (paper or electronic), we could ask for help (from, say, a cabbie or concierge), or we could just start walking. The latter probably won’t work. And the first two are essentially the same: we’re relying on a map (on paper, inside a GPS, or in a trusted aid’s head).

Maps work because they reduce the terrain to its essence, tell us where we are, and show us how to get where we want to go.

Using the Four Questions to diagnose our organizations is like using a map instead of wandering around. They work because they reduce our business challenges to the essence and give us a complete, coherent view of our journey to better.


In your corner,


PS: Wherever you see an organization seeming to wander about, you’re seeing an organization without a map.

Today’s photo credit: david cc


Diagnosing Business Trouble with Four Simple Questions

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Strategy, Success
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We can diagnose whatever ails any organization by asking four questions.

  1. To what extent does everyone (in or close to the organization) know and understand the same complete and compelling story about why the organization exists and what its goals are?
  2. How committed are people (in or close to the organization) to the rule, “I win and you win or we choose not to play,” for all who matter?
  3. How completely does the organization and its leaders maintain a high buzz level?
  4. To what extent does work get done consistently well, on time, and by the right people?

We call these the What, We, Can, and Do or the Strategy, People, Attitude, and Action parts of success. Most of our organizations come up short with one or more of these questions. Once we’ve identified where the shortfalls exist, the prescription for success is simple: make the answers to all four of these questions be, “quite a lot, actually.”


In your corner,


PS: Simple and perhaps not easy.


Today’s photo credit: Adrian Clark cc


Orders of Magnitude Impact

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Strategy, What=Compelling Focus
Reading time: 1

If we want to make a big impact, let’s get good at making a small impact then set a goal for one order of magnitude bigger.

Doing well at the smaller level earns us the cred to go bigger.

And setting a 1000% growth goal gives us the courage to make the changes needed to get there.


In your corner,


PS: Want to impact a billion people? Get good at impacting 100 million people. To do that, get good at impacting 10 million. On the way, you’ll need to get good serving 1 million. Etc.

PPS: We can of course choose to grow by 1%, 10%, or 100%. But the changes we need to make to have a 10x impact typically won’t happen with these smaller increments.


Today’s photo credit: Whatknot cc