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Leadership


The Balancing Act of Creative Direction

The Balancing Act of Creative Direction

The Journey Is the Destination When I was studying fiction at San Francisco State University, I had a professor that used to say, “If you know exactly what you want to write about, then why are you writing it?” It was a soft-ball criticism aimed at a particular kind of writer. Those that came in overconfident, inflexible, and usually with their entire story already mapped out beat for beat. In their rigid defense of what they thought the story should be, they missed the opportunity to truly discover what it is or what it could be. If there’s no journey of discovery, no unanswered questions...
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Mission, Vision, and Values: But First, Executive Alignment

Mission, Vision, and Values: But First, Executive Alignment

Start with Executive Alignment Vision, mission, and values give a company direction. They describe what a company stands for and what it doesn’t. Solid mission, vision, and values statements give guidelines for a brand’s behavior, help distinguish a company from its peers, and serve as a foundation for the brand’s ultimate personality. Without them, a company is rudderless. So when’s the right time to write these statements? Some companies don’t launch before they have a mission, vision, and values. Others develop them when time allows. Though timing varies, the most important element in...
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The Power of Debate in Meetings to Drive Business Forward

The Power of Debate in Meetings to Drive Business Forward

Meetings: Valuable or Valueless? What’s more frustrating than sitting through endless meetings and coming out on the other end asking: What was the point of those? As technology introduces even more ways to communicate offline, you would think we’d see the quantity of meetings decreasing. However, the opposite has been shown. Research shows meetings increasing in length and frequency. In the 1960s, executives spent less than 10 hours in meetings. Now, executives spend about 23 hours a week in them. And although no one loves a day jam-packed with meetings, what’s really at the heart of the...
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The Business Case for Trust: How Leaders Can Unlock the Full Power of Trust

The Business Case for Trust: How Leaders Can Unlock the Full Power of Trust

Trust Pays Off The business case for trust is straightforward and continues to grow. Each year, the data shows that companies with a culture of trust are more profitable than those without it. A culture of trust is not just a “nice-to-have.” It’s good business. Trust culture companies have outperformed the S&P 500 by a factor of three, and high-trust companies “are more than 2½ times more likely to be high performing revenue organizations” than lower-trust companies. Why? It turns out we come with an evolutionary hard-wired attraction to people we can trust and a visceral aversion to...
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Business Transformation: How to Drive Successful Change

Business Transformation: How to Drive Successful Change

The Need for Change Management There are many reasons why an organization might come face to face with the need for a business transformation. Increasing competition, new seemingly unattainable prospects, large growth goals, or not meeting the expected return on investment are among many of the most common we see. These reasons and warning signs are by no means mutually exclusive. A business transformation generally involves large shifts that dictate change at every level of the business and brand – small and large scale. And managing a change of this scale is no easy task for businesses or...
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How Great Leaders Accelerate Innovation Through Meaning

How Great Leaders Accelerate Innovation Through Meaning

Why the need to accelerate innovation? “No company in the future will be in a position to succeed if it squanders the imagination of its employees.” Professor Gary Hamel, co-founder of the Management Innovation eXchange (MIX) and the M-Prize: Innovating Innovation Challenge. Hamel says innovation is one of the most important and difficult challenges facing business around the world. At the same time, innovation is a vital capability for companies because it is the: > only insurance against irrelevance > only antidote to margin-crunching competition > only way you can...
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Empathy Brings Leaders Closer to their Customers and Employees

Empathy Brings Leaders Closer to their Customers and Employees

Why is there so much talk about empathy in business? One of the great opportunities in business today is to reduce the distance between what your business needs, and what customers and employees seek emotionally from you. What does “being closer” mean for your business? It means people will think, feel, and act in more helpful ways, either in their purchasing behavior and loyalty, or in their commitment and dedication to their work. It means they will listen more to what you say, and care enough to act upon your suggestions. It means your offering will be more appealing and more...
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Building the Perfect Team? Is it Even Possible?

Building the Perfect Team? Is it Even Possible?

A recent New York Times Magazine article, “What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team,” went viral and became one of the most emailed and widely shared stories for days – for good reason, in our opinion. Building a good team is a difficult task for most companies, organizations, agencies, classrooms, and families alike. And building the perfect team? That often feels impossible. So why do some groups thrive? Why do others falter? Is there a key to team success? These were the questions Google set out to answer. Here’s our spin on what Google discovered. Teams = Teams The...
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Leading a Digital Transformation: The Requirements of Today

Leading a Digital Transformation: The Requirements of Today

The Strength of Digital Today Across the globe, digital innovations are disrupting industries at lightning speed. And brands who want to be positioned to thrive, need to move fast enough to stay ahead. As a result, businesses leading digital transformations today are digitally innovating, digitally connecting, and digitally disrupting at record paces. Moving Digital Forward Accelerating into the future at this speed and competing in a landscape where every touchpoint is interconnected is hard work. Many CEOs are under a lot of pressure to locate and install the right technology as fast as...
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Why Business Leaders Must Address the Big Picture

Why Business Leaders Must Address the Big Picture

Business Leaders, Caught in the Small Picture It’s easy for business leaders to get caught up in the details of everyday business, assuming the role of micromanager, not leader. And because leaders may not be focusing on big picture questions surrounding the vision, mission, and value of their business and brand, many leaders end up feeling stuck – trying to figure out how to implement strategies without any real strategy to guide these decisions. As a result, employees and middle managers can often suffer as a result. Too often, big picture questions are dismissed as ‘important’, but...
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