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What Do You Say to a Liar?

Like so many young managers, Martha fell into the “lying trap”. Her boss asked her if she had followed-up on a sensitive customer issue and she said “yes.” But she hadn’t. Now she was in a fix. What would she do next? In a minute, I’ll tell you what happened. Have you ever suspected that someone you lead at work has lied to you? What did you do? I think confronting employees who have lied is very challenging, especially for less experienced leaders, and how you prepare for those conversations can make all the difference.

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What Would Harry Truman Do?

I am trying to imagine this week what it would have been like to be Harry Truman on April 12, 1945. He was the same age as me today. On that day he had just finished presiding over the Senate as Vice Presidents do. Then, while meeting in House Speaker Rayburn’s office, he received an urgent call to go over to the White House.

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How Leaders Can Lower High Anxiety

All of us experience anxiety. Even today I experienced it as I was driving through Boston on my way to appointments in Rhode Island. The weather was poor, the volume of traffic significant, and I wanted to be on time. Since being on time is important to me, I knew that the fear of being late would cause me anxiety. So how did I manage it? I left an hour early and arrived with plenty of time to spare.

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Can You Take on Coke and Pepsi as a Strategy?

When is it a good idea to take on Pepsi and Coke? Apparently you can when it involves the Super Bowl. I’ve just been reading about how a small company, SodaStream, tried to do just that and won in the eye of public opinion. And it teaches us how important public relations and the Internet are in building a marketing strategy today.

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Steve Jobs Selling Rules Work For Email Marketing

It’s been 18 months since the death of Steve Jobs however his wisdom and greatness lives on. An article published in Newsweek a few days after Steve’s death provided Steve’s 10 Rules for selling. Some of these lessons also apply to email marketing – check them out…..

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How Early Yearnings Can Give Insight into Your Talents

Recently I heard Jim Cramer of Mad Money fame give a short interview on Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me. Among the things I learned is that his talents as a stock market investor appeared during his early life – to steal a Marcus Buckingham phrase these were “yearnings.” I’ll get back to Jim Cramer’s story in a minute.

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So You Think Your Family Business is Old

This past weekend I discovered an interesting article about the World’s oldest family businesses. The article made me curious – curious to learn what is the oldest family business in the world and which are the oldest family-businesses in the United States.

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What is Your Success Formula? – Part 2

What is your organization’s success formula? Can you describe it clearly to others? If you can’t, you aren’t alone. While many organizations have developed practices that have sustained them for years, most have not developed a clear success formula. Great companies have a formula and know how to tweak it when they need to.

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What is Your Success Formula? – Part 1

Last year I wrote a Blog called How Great Companies Deal with Economic Asteroids and included important concepts from Great by Choice by Jim Collins and Morten Hansen. The one question I had after reading the book was, “do we know what our success formula is?” And, recently, another colleague raised the same question after finishing the book.

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6 Character Traits Every Entrepreneur Should Get Obsessed With

Entrepreneurs are special. They launch companies, help create products and services that solve problems, and they create wealth. They pay taxes and fees to support an economy and they create a legacy. None of that, however, comes with a tremendous amount of hard work, sacrifice, and a lifetime’s worth of work on self.

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Pete Seeger – An Authentic Leader

Last week I asked a young manager if he had heard of the musician Pete Seeger. He said, “I think so. I heard one of his songs at a wedding reception I went to. I think it was ‘Old Time Rock n’ Roll’ or something?” I told him that was Bob Seger, no relation to Pete Seeger. I then told him about Pete Seeger, who died a few weeks ago, and how he was an authentic leader.

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Lessons from Alan Wurtzel – Circuit City – Part 3

Alan Wurtzel opens his book Good to Great to Gone with this quote by William Knudsen, “In business, the competition will bite you if you keep running; if you stand still, they will swallow you.” And, while that may be the most important lesson Wurtzel teaches us about Circuit City, he also leaves us with many more lessons – and I am grateful.

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What Happened to Circuit City – Part 2

In Part 2 I’ll explore why Best Buy emerged as the market leader and what happened to Circuit City. A Great Company. In Good to Great, Jim Collins and his team selected Circuit City as one of 11 great companies that appeared on the Fortune 500 list from 1965 to 1995

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What Happened to Circuit City – Part I

Do you remember Circuit City? Again this holiday season I thought of them when I drove by their old building here in Portsmouth, NH on my way to Best Buy. The company lived for 61 years – born in 1948 and died in 2009. It is a story filled with many business and leadership lessons. Once considered a “great” company, how could it spiral downward and die?

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Braindrops from My Holiday Readings

Over the past few weeks I have been catching-up on my notes and reading. Here are six of my braindrops from those notes and readings. (A special thank you to the late George Carlin for giving us the phrase “braindropping.”)

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Scrooge Teaches Leaders They Can Be Influenced

It’s funny how things work out. This week I read three things that made me think more deeply about A Christmas Carol, which was published by Charles Dickens 170 years ago on December 17, 1843. I have always been intrigued with Scrooge, the lead character, and hope my family doesn’t see any resemblance.

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