October 9, 2020
coffee mug on a napkin with the message you are fee to fail written on it
Permission to Fail, Part I
Permission to Fail, Part I Chuck Violand As a business owner it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we know more than the people who work for us and, sometimes, even more than we actually do. Some of us are so convinced of this that we’ll occasionally adopt a parental tone when talking to our people. You know the one I mean—a tone none of us enjoyed hearing from our parents when we were kids and one our employees certainly don’t enjoy hearing from us. In our quest to be right, sometimes we’ll arrange phrases, or entire conversations around those phrases, so that we come out looking like we’re right instead of wrong. While most of us have learned the hard way that there’s nothing to be gained (and much to be lost) by saying “I told you so” or “If you had just listened to me in the first place…” finished by any one of an endless list of condescending phrases, we catch ourselves doing it anyway. All to prove, once again, just how all-wise we are. The negative feelings our people can experience with these comments are amplified when we factor in the added dimensions of
October 9, 2020
young professional being consoled by his professional manager on a park bench in the middle of the day
Permission to Fail, Part II
Permission to Fail, Part II Chuck Violand   History has demonstrated, time and again, the high price that’s paid when someone doesn’t feel safe acknowledging their mistakes or when they feel the need to withhold critical information for fear of being criticized or punished. Nations have suffered, leaders have fallen, and institutions have collapsed, not because of the mistake that was made, but because it was covered up or not reported at all. While these examples might seem dramatic, it’s no different with small businesses where the effects are more keenly felt and the lives affected aren’t just numbers, they’re people you actually know. In my opinion, worse still is failing to act or take initiative for fear of making a mistake in the first place. Especially if this is based on a fear of reprisals. What opportunities have been lost? What gains have been missed by not acting? In Part I of this series, I mentioned the value of looking for the lessons that are byproducts of every mistake that’s made. Not just the financial lessons and the lessons to be learned by the person who made the mistake. Look deeper for secondary lessons, as these may be the
October 9, 2020
Declutter Your Career 
Declutter Your Career  Chris McQueen    Think of your bookshelf, or for those of you who are digitally minded, think about your e-reader or Audible subscription. You likely have hours of distilled wisdom in your possession, with many more waiting to be added today, tomorrow, and every day after. This leads to an issue of clutter and of wondering which ideas are best, who you should listen to, and how to decide which advice or method(s) to follow.    Even without the resources on your bookshelf, you are likely equipped to elevate your career or the business you participate in, but you may have missed a step or two along the way. In his book, The Learned Disciplines of Management: How to Make the Right Things Happen, author Jim Burkett’s first three disciplines are Planning, Organizing, and Measuring Performance.    While visiting hundreds of offices over the last half–decade, I noticed a common theme of the planning and organizing steps often being skipped. If you are currently measuring KPIs or other performance management indicators without a plan for how to use the information or having an organized path for how you will get to your goals, you are doing a disservice to yourself and those you work with.    The following four steps will help you organize your thoughts and aid in deciding which method or workflow to use in achieving your goals.      Dispose of the Clutter  There are excellent resources