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The Mark of a True Business Partnership: Working For Win/Wins

In the beating heart of every entrepreneur, business owner, and business partner, is a desire to move with ease and speed, to be one step ahead of the curve, to have a partner and team working smoothly in the flow, laser-focused on achieving mutual goals and agreed upon outcomes, driven to succeed. A business is fertile ground for partnering with one or more people, often with complimentary skills, energy and enthusiasm, sometimes investing money, bringing connections or a book of business. Like many relationships, business partnerships are sometimes humorously referred to as a working marriage. Both are “working relationships.” Humor highlights the complexity such close relationships bring. And like the long-term commitment of a personal relationship, the spirit that brings people together in business also requires interpersonal skill and attention to make the business and the relationship successful over the long-haul. Yet while business partners enter into their legal and working relationship with positive expectations, even enthusiasm, statistics show that anywhere between 50% to 70% of business partnerships ultimately fail. How do you inoculate yourself against such a demise? This is the first of many articles that introduce an approach to navigating an important business relationship that should be a great asset to you and your business. It offers insight into the mindset, skills, and tools to work as Big Picture Partners™. This style of relating in your business provides you the communication tools and processes so you arrive at mutually satisfying solutions to your business needs—so you enjoy the [...]

7 Ways to Manage for Innovation in Intergenerational Workplaces

DJHP / Leaders Companies often believe innovation comes from the individual — a notion likely stemming from the startup space. A fledgling company starts disrupting the marketplace, and the big guys on the block look to the founder as the source of the disruption. While the brainchild might be the individual’s, it doesn’t end with him or her. The true source of innovation came from a network of people, all working together toward a common goal. And that’s exactly how you should approach your leadership if you hope to encourage innovation within a team. Here are six ways I’ve found to be successful in encouraging innovation: 1. Trust your team. It’s easy to go in and micromanage a project. You came up with it after all. But this does nothing to encourage innovation. Trust the people you brought together enough to let them take the reigns and run with it. In fact, your trust in them allows the team to trust themselves and trust each other. This can then lead to greater transparency, promoting self-expression among the group and a group think-tank that brings out the best in one another. 2. Build in diversity. Some of the most productive and innovative teams are also the most diverse. Pull together people with different backgrounds and capabilities to create cross-specialty teams. The diversity can encourage out-of-the-box thinking to solve problems in more innovative ways. What’s more, the diverse approaches to business can push forward innovation in a more efficient manner. 3. Flatten [...]

How to Retain Employees by Transforming Feedback into Learning

DJHP /Leaders Sociologists and marketers tell us that Millennials are a fun-seeking, forward-thinking, and fearless bunch. They’re willing to tackle any project at any hour of the day if they find it interesting. That’s the vibrant upside. But as with most things, that upside comes with a downside. Generally, younger workers almost always seek constant communication and a fast learning curve. When you’re unable to provide it, they won’t stay engaged, making it difficult to not just grow employees but retain them. Leadership is now facing a challenge: to provide learning opportunities in a continuous, fast-paced and engaging way. The key lies in fully embracing this need for continuous feedback and turning it on its head for everyone in your organization. You do this by creating a company that places a high value on communication, but you do this through the company’s vision and culture — a culture where communication is educational. Here are 6 ways you do it: 1. Start off employees on the right foot. Hiring talent whose values closely align to those of your own is only half the equation. The onboarding process is just as important to their growth — and shouldn’t be confused with training. Onboarding mainly focuses on what the new hire feels, sees, and hears in relation to your organization. Be upfront about the company culture, explaining your expectations and the necessity of adopting the growth mindset. Make sure you, your team, and your company engage with the individual. Follow up with him [...]

Getting the Most out of Intergenerational Conversations

DJHP / Careers I recently had the honor of attending my cousin’s wedding in Kennebunkport, Maine. I was stunned by the beauty. The hotel, rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony, even the wedding party was filled with beautiful people. It was picture perfect and it brought tears of joy to my eyes. Aside from the wedding, I also reunited with family members I hadn’t seen in years, had my fill of Maine lobster and seafood, and I met my nephew for the first time since his birth a few months ago. Emotions were running high and the weekend was delightful. You’re probably wondering what the point of all of this is. Well, here it is. As I was able to reconnect and meet new people, I realized that this event of my life had a much bigger impact on me than I could have ever imagined. The ages at this wedding ranged from 95 years old to 10 weeks old. Every generation was present. People from all over the country were in attendance. Each person had their own style and personality. Each generation brought traits and attributes that at times were difficult for me to decipher. I was appalled by certain behaviors and overjoyed by others. It was not until after I returned and had time to think about everything that I realized I had learned one of the greatest lessons I have in my life: the extreme importance of intergenerational relationships. If you find yourself in such a situation, take advantage of [...]

7 Tips for Creating Relevant Content

Marketing is a huge part of any business. Content is a key issue that takes time to craft and perfect. Dana offers some great advice for creating content that is relevant for your people. Content is king. As cliché as this may sound, there’s still a lot of truth in these three little words — even more so now with all the changes to Google’s algorithms. But in the rush to generate content, we often fail to question its relevancy. For today’s marketing efforts to work, content must be relevant. It must add value. It must get folks talking. It must be so good that it needs to be shared. If content isn’t compelling, it does nothing for your position in the market. In fact, just creating content for content’s sake can damage your credibility. Tip 1: Focus on consumers. When creating content, keep the audience experience in mind. It should be something consumers want to read, something they want to watch or hear. Try to address their needs. And take the time to interact with them.Tip 2: Optimize content. While the focus is always on relevancy, don’t go throwing SEO out the window. Content must be searchable if it’s ever to be read. Define your keywords and use them in the copy as well as the title and URL.Tip 3: Align content with goals. Sounds obvious, right? But people still create content that doesn’t quite match their objectives. And this idea goes deeper than just generating leads or landing sales. It’s about image, [...]

Seeking the Feedback You Need

DJHP /Careers As a Millennial, I’m quite familiar with all of the characteristics that make up a “Millennial.” There are hundreds and hundreds of articles that categorize, compartmentalize, and classify Millennials. Although I do not agree with every single thing that’s printed about us, one topic that consistently comes up is the need for feedback, and it really rings true. Specifically speaking, I’ve had a number of jobs where the level of feedback ranged from zero to 100 — 100 being that everything I did was nitpicked and critiqued. Although I crave feedback and thrive in environments where feedback is fairly consistent (and constructive, I should add), I’m here to tell you that you can’t always get what you want and to offer some suggestions or techniques that may help the situation. Here are a few suggestions that I’ve found useful: Ask for the feedback. The first place to start is to just ask for it. This is my biggest mistake. I’ve been in positions where I wanted feedback and was frustrated for not getting it. The problem wasn’t that my superiors didn’t have any; it was that they didn’t know I was open to it. Consider asking for a bi-monthly 10-minute meeting to discuss progress, answer any questions, and catch up. Seek feedback elsewhere. It may be difficult to get specific feedback about your position from others outside of the environment, but having a friend, mentor, or even just someone to talk things out can very helpful. Use these [...]

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