The Beatles

Does Your Vision Pass the “Cool” Test?

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Your vision statement sucks. (And yes, it’s because of statements like this that I have no friends.) But c’mon, let’s be honest. Most vision statements suck. And if most vision statements suck, then, statistically, yours probably does too. That’s because most vision statements look something like this:

We will be the premier provider of value-added, customer-focused solutions in strategically chosen markets.

Okay, first of all, what does that even mean? And second of all—who cares? I mean really, if you were on ...

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3 Things, in the Right Order

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I was just reading the June issue of Mensa Bulletin, the magazine of American Mensa (whose standards are clearly much lower than you’d think), and in it is a feature about the best advice its members have ever received. One in particular, submitted by Bernard Kitt, Ph.D., caught my eye. He writes:

There are only three things to remember:

  1. I will be happy
  2. I will make some money
  3. I will make other people happy

One hundred percent of the people ...

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How to Get “Buy-In” for Your Ideas

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For 15 years, I was the producer of a sketch comedy TV show in Seattle. Each week we would have a “pitch meeting,” where we would sit around a table and read our new material, hoping to get it onto the show. Although the ultimate decision was mine, it was actually a pretty democratic process: if we laughed at something, it had a good chance; if we didn’t, it was out. Some pieces were clear winners or losers, but most ...

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Have You Set the Bar High Enough?

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How good is good? Consider the Beatles’ Let It Be album. It contains three #1 hits: the title track (Let It Be), Get Back, and The Long and Winding Road, along with several other wonderful songs (e.g., Two Of Us, Across the Universe, and I’ve Got a Feeling); the album itself went to #1; it won a Grammy for Best Original Score (since the album was basically the soundtrack to the movie of the same name),; and, if all that ...

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So…What’s YOUR Excuse?

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We all have our favorite excuses for not being where we want to be—in our lives and in our businesses. “I don’t have enough money.” “I live in this little backwater town.” “I don’t know the right people.” “I don’t have the proper education.” “I have a funny accent.” We’ve heard all these excuses, and dozens more just like them. We’ve probably made more than a few of them ourselves. But when you think about it, they’re all variations on ...

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Don’t Change Your Business; Redefine It

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Last week I was the guest on a radio show—two hours talking about the Beatles, which is heaven for me. One of the things we spent a great deal of time talking about was the Beatles’ incredible growth and evolution from album to album. I mean, in roughly five years these guys went from Please Please Me through Sgt. Pepper and the White album all the way to Abbey Road. That’s a growth curve that’s unprecedented and, so far, unequaled ...

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Stop Playing Tic-Tac-Toe Leadership

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I had a wonderful phone conversation yesterday with a fellow Beatles fan whom I’ll call “Rich,” because that’s his name. As is generally the case when Beatles fans (or, in this case, fanatics) talk, the conversation soon turned to Beatles trivia. Rich asked me some great questions, and then he wanted me to ask him some. I asked a few, but he kept saying, “C’mon—make them harder!” I asked some tougher ones, but he kept at me: “Make them harder!” ...

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3 Things You Can Do NOW to Build Your Business

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A friend of mine has a dog with cataracts. He (the dog) is perfectly happy going through his day, but he bumps into things a lot. It seems to me that a lot of businesses are plagued by “corporate cataracts.” There’s a lack of clarity, a lack of focus, in what they do. Their vision is cloudy, and this is costing them millions of dollars a year. So right now you’re either thinking, “Boy, I’m sure glad that’s not my ...

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How the Little Guy Can Win

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Say you run a small business. (Go ahead, say it: “I run a small business.”) And say you’re competing against one or more big players in your industry. (Ditto.) Is there any way you can come out ahead in such an uneven battle? Is there any way the little guy can win? Yes, there is—but not if you try to beat the big guy at his own game. You have to play a different game. It’s how underdog basketball teams ...

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Competitiveness: Friend or Foe?

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Competitiveness. It can be one of your greatest assets—or it can kill you. (Yes, there’s probably a middle ground in there, but I like to start these things off with a bang.) Like fire, it depends on how you use it. So how do you know if you’re on the right track? How do you know if you’re using competitiveness for good or evil? Like many business insights, the answer hit me this morning at the gym.

My gym is festooned ...

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