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Organizational Strategy

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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Know Your Core Business

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There’s a fast-food burger place a couple miles from my house. I don’t eat there except for the occasional 6:00 a.m. biscuit run when I’m headed out to do some fishing. It’s at a major intersection, though, so I see it all the time. A few weeks ago, I was […]

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Get Going in the Gig Economy

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It was the Panera in San Antonio that brought it home to me. I was in San Antonio recently for some meetings. After a breakfast meeting, I had a couple hours to kill before the next one, so I made my way to a Panera to knock out a few […]

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“My Pleasure”

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Chick-fil-A is revolutionizing the cable repair business. Maybe that’s a tad overstated, but the other day, the cable repairman at my house answered my “thank you” with a “my pleasure.” And when you hear the phrase, “my pleasure,” you think of Chick-fil-A. The story behind the implementation of the phrase […]

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