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Category Archives: Leadership

The Perfect Brainstorm

By | Business, Business By The Book, Business Improvements, Leadership, Leadership | No Comments
Startup Stock Photos

  Poet Robert Frost once described the brain as something that “starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.” Okay, so you can jump start it again with a stiff cup of Folgers. The point is, much of what passes for work in the workplace requires—admit it—very little of your cerebral cortex. The mundane tasks that constitute the average workday are often far from intellectually stimulating—but that’s probably a good thing. A certain amount of routine helps us balance the stressful elements of operating a business. Too much…

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How Employees Really Act When the Owner Isn’t There

By | Business By The Book, Compensation Management, HR Management, Human Resources, Leadership | No Comments

As a follow up to my The Key to Motivating Employees post, I wanted to share an incident I experienced a couple of years ago that highlights the necessity of creating the proper incentives and culture to encourage employees to think more like owners. My family and I pulled up to a specialty cabinet store about twenty minutes before closing – sufficient time to run in and make a large purchase of around $1,000 for our farmhouse renovation project. Unbeknownst to the employees, we already had been all over their website and we knew exactly what we wanted. As I…

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The Necessity of Morality in Business

By | Business By The Book, Leadership, Leadership, Running a Business | No Comments
Morality in Business

Q: How do you explain the issues with capitalism when it comes to the potential for companies to do anything for a dollar out of greed? A: We’ve seen plenty of examples of companies selling harmful products or swindling public investors or mistreating employees. It really boils down to the fact that capitalism only works under the guiding hand of morality. And the truths of moral law can only come from a higher authority. Our Biblical values as Christians act as a counterbalance to potentially greedy decisions that might have a negative impact on customers or investors. I remember sitting…

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Running a Startup is Like Fighting in a War

By | Business By The Book, Leadership, Leadership, Ownership & Purpose, Running a Business, Starting Up | No Comments

Launching and running a startup is a lot like fighting in a war: You have imperfect information and inadequate resources You operate in the middle of mass confusion and chaos You will definitely take casualties and the life expectancy of the Lieutenants (your management team) is short, but if too many Lieutenants get killed, sooner or later, the Company Commander (you, the founder/CEO) gets replaced You have an all-volunteer force that buys into what they are doing because they believe in the cause, they like the excitement, and they willingly take on the known risks You forge fast and deep…

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He Was About To Fail, But Didn’t Realize It

By | Business By The Book, Cash Flow Management, Compensation Management, HR Management, Leadership, Leadership and Employees, Ownership & Purpose | No Comments

“The fence guys are here!” I exclaimed to my wife incredulously one March morning. They had shown up two days in a row and the surprise was clearly in my voice. The “fence guys” had been a frequent topic of conversation on our hobby farm over the previous several months. The “fence guys” were the fencing contractors that were building the white plank fence around our horse pasture and our farmstead. Believe it or not, this had all started nine months earlier when I selected this contractor over two others after receiving their proposals. The owner of the company was…

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The Key to Motivating Employees

By | Business By The Book, Compensation Management, HR Management, Human Resources, Leadership, Leadership and Employees | No Comments

Q: What issues should I anticipate when I hire my first employees in terms of how to motivate them? A: You introduce the “agency” problem into your workplace. Employees as paid agents will not care as much about your business as you will. Employees get paid no matter how much (or little) work is accomplished. Without creative compensation programs, their pay is not connected to how much they produce or how much value their work generates or how well the business performs. It’s the issue Jesus spoke about in John 10:12-13: “But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one…

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How to Give Employees Ownership or Equity Value

By | Benefits Management, Business By The Book, Compensation Management, Finance, HR Management, Human Resources, Leadership, Leadership and Employees | No Comments

Q: When and how should I give equity or other incentives to my senior managers in order to retain them? I’m considering giving them equity, but not sure how to do that. A: While I absolutely understand the need to retain key management staff, I would be careful about giving up ownership to them and the manner in which you do so. In order to create an incentive for managers to stay with an organization and to give them some “upside”, there are basically the following options: Form a corporation and issue stock options – This is the typical way of giving equity…

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Entrepreneurial Character Traits

By | Business By The Book, Leadership, Leadership, Self Evaluation | No Comments

Q: What are the character traits of a successful entrepreneur? A: As I started to pull together a list, I realized that most of entrepreneurial character traits were right off a typical list of the kind of traits that anyone would aspire to both have for ourselves as well as to instill in our children. These typical traits include: Initiative Perseverance and Persistence Creativity Diligence Flexibility Leadership Passion Patience Flexibility Boldness Persuasiveness Resourcefulness Enthusiasm Integrity But the unique traits that I think really set entrepreneurs apart as these: Motivation to achieve – success-oriented, competitive, enjoys big challenges, and sometimes motivated to a point…

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