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Organizational Strategy

Five Tips for Partnerships

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“I don’t want to mess up my friendship.” Sounds like a sitcom line between a guy and a girl who are thinking about dating. But it’s also the line I hear in nearly every partnership conversation I have. I heard a version of it recently during lunch with a friend. […]

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Leadership Scaling

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Fifteen years ago, if I told a client they should think about scale, there’s a 50/50 chance that they’d think I was suggesting weight loss. Today, my clients usually bring it up at a first meeting. They’re either anticipating hypergrowth or they’re right in the middle of it. Scaling is […]

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Third Places

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Stonemill Bakery is my Cheers, the place where everybody knows my name. I’ve been going there nearly 20 years, and I’m pretty sure we’ve both contributed to the physical growth of the other. And I think we all need a Stonemill. Or a Cheers. Third Places Twenty years ago, Robert […]

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My Four Filters for Investing

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What’s worth saying yes to? Every foundation and every venture capital firm have to answer this question on a perpetual basis. So do many people this time of the year facing requests for year-end giving show up in the mailbox or the inbox. I’ve been asking and answering this question […]

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The Evolution of Successful Boards

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Andrew Youn did what most twenty-somethings would do with a great idea: He talked it up to his friends. It was 2006, and 27-year-old Youn had an idea for a new model for equipping the farming poor in Africa to increase profits. Like most entrepreneurs, he simply took the idea […]

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Low Expectations, No Disappointments

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We don’t often expect to be wowed by customer service. Instead, we anticipate the worst. We know with every return or exchange, there will be a fight. We know that we have to look out for ourselves, because no one else is. In our defense, plenty of organizations have done […]

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The Risk in Hiring

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In his book, The Frontiers of Management, business guru Peter Drucker wrote the following about people decisions: “No other decisions are so long lasting in their consequences or so difficult to unmake. And yet, by and large, executives make poor promotion and staffing decisions.” In fact, Drucker observed that the “batting average” of […]

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Is Your Strategy Useful?

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I get paid to deliver strategy. These requests come through telephone calls or casual lunches or formal whiteboard sessions with business owners, entrepreneurs, or senior leaders, but the assignment is always the same: come in, analyze a situation, and provide useful information that will either reverse downward trends or accelerate […]

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How Many Yeses Do you Have in the Bank?

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Every “yes” carries a cost. We usually think that “no” carries the big cost, but a “yes” can even be more expensive than a “no.” Not long ago, I spent the day with a young entrepreneur whose business was growing at a phenomenal rate. The company was in a market-pull […]

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