Setting Boundaries on Your Business

I have recently had conversations with two different business leaders, in two different circumstances, who made very similar statements about the direction of their business for the year 2012.

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Relationships Matter

What is the value of a single piece of information without any context? Knowing that the answer is “three”, without any other relevant information is useless. Even with a label, such as miles, dollars, or customers, you still don’t have any way to judge whether “three” is good or bad until you see it in relation to some other piece of information. Relationships are key to understanding the value of the data.

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Ideas are Worthless

Most small business start with a great idea – it may be a revolutionary product, a service that meets a currently unmet need, or a small twist on an existing business that opens up a whole new market. There are businesses being founded every day on ideas that have the potential to change the world.

But then again, most small businesses also fail.

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Learning How to Juggle

If you ever talk to a juggler, ask them how they learned to do it.

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Putting People First

One of the traps many businesses fall into is relying too much on technology to solve their complex problems. Others rely on detailed processes to “control” their problems. But both of these are tools, which are only as good as the people using them.

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Dealing with Technical Perfectionists

Certain people, particularly highly technical people, are driven toward precision and perfection. They want to see things as black or white, on or off, yes or no, all or nothing.

But business is not about perfection; it’s about risks and rewards. Business leaders have to constantly weigh the cost of achieving perfection (or eliminating all risks) against the diminishing value of achieving it.

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Know Who You Can(‘t) Trust

I recently worked with a staff member at one of my clients who described how he used a certain phrase to essentially manipulate his boss. Later in that week, I caught him using that same phrase with me. I was suspicious, to say the least.

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Top Three ‘Agile’ Mistakes

There is a lot of talk these days about companies and teams being more “agile.” While it’s a great concept, it’s one that is often misunderstood and misapplied. Here are three things that “agile” is NOT:

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Consider Alternate Budget Cycles

Have you ever considered how many processes in our lives are built on and tied to standards that are completely unrelated to the process? Consider this question: What does a budget cycle have to do with the length of time it takes the earth to make a trip around the sun?

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The Real Purpose of Management

Management is a necessary role in any business. But it’s important to remember management is not the revenue-generating function of your business. The people doing the work are creating the product or service your business delivers.

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