Archive for December, 2014

Rule of Awesome

Posted: December 28, 2014 by Micah Baldwin in Culture, Leadership, People

Micah BaldwinFor years I have struggled with the concept of “hiring only A players.”

After all, what is an “A player?” Is there a test? Is there a list of characteristics that outlines the specific nature of an A player?

On top of that, the concept of an “A player” extends beyond just the skill set into the ability of that employee to engage and comfortably integrate into a set company culture.

The famed Facebook and Google interviews don’t always expose top notch employees. It certainly is a process that scares off a fair number of folks, but it doesn’t guarantee that the new employee is that unique combination of skills, personality, drive and compassionate intelligence necessary for the perfect fit within your organization.

About eight months ago I started to recognize a commonality among the employees at my startup and others that clearing indicated “A player”-ness.

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Zach-Taylor-3Recent articles published by Inc Magazine & Harvard Business Review have capped the increasing amount of attention paid to ‘Customer Experience’.  Apple, and the way they handle the massive crowds at their retail locations, catapulted the customer experience conversation that has exploded in the past two years. The concept originated in the service industry – hotels and restaurants – then moved into the retail environment (ie. Apple, car dealers, etc.), and is now everywhere we look.  The importance of customer experience continues to gain momentum in the B2B arena.  As the world gets smaller and competition grows, great execution of customer experience in the B2B space is now paramount.  While still not perfectly measurable, the strategy is sound: deliver an amazing customer experience and your customers will never leave you (they will buy more and provide referrals).

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Ensure Your Business Nurtures Creative Thinking and New Ideas

Posted: December 14, 2014 by Bill Cunningham in Culture, Innovation

Entrepreneurs exude creativity! Right? Every small business owner loves thinking and trying new things. Correct-a-mundo? Well the answer to these questions is a resounding YES, but only for those small businesses who value and nurture new ideas. Many firms seem to have a great culture of innovation and free thinking, and yet, many firms don’. How do you convert your company from a don’ter to a doer?

Start at the top

Embrace new ideas with a passion. Conduct ideas sessions frequently. Constantly look at how to do things better. A great approach to ideation is the I-Power technique. Created by Martin Edelston, it gives the captains of commerce a compass to inspire innovation. Very simply, I-Power takes the old suggestion box off the wall and places it squarely in the center of every group activity in your firm. At every meeting, each attendee must bring an idea on one of the company’s ideas forms. The CEO reviews them personally every weekend, and every one gets paid a dollar for each idea, and two dollars for a great idea. Now that doesn’t sound like much, but for Mr. Edelston, it generated about 30,000 new ideas in one year from his 275 employees. Some were good; some were bad; some were crazy; some were glad. His $30,000 investment in ideas gave everyone the license to think. By the way, one of these ideas saved $750,000 in printing costs . Nice ROI!

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WISE Entrepreneurs

Posted: December 7, 2014 by Chuck Matthews in Culture, Ecosystem, People, Startup

“Wisdom begins in wonder.” Socrates

Dr. Chuck MatthewsWhen it comes to new venture creation, never underestimate the power of experience and expertise. While there is no lack of attention appropriately focused on young entrepreneurs, the 50+ entrepreneur set has been quietly leading their own entrepreneurial revolution. Research by the Kaufman Foundation suggests that twice as many successful entrepreneurs are over 50 as under 25.

Interest in the “post-retirement entrepreneurship” movement is due in part to the numbers of baby boomers “aging up” but who are far from slowing down. The indomitable music icon, Cher, once challenged that she was too old to be singing rock n’ roll, reportedly replied, “You’d better check with Mick Jagger.”

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