Entrepreneurs: Leading the Way Out

Entrepreneurs Lead by Greg Pesci –
Entrepreneurs, free to pursue their economic dreams, built America! They are, and always have been, its creators of jobs, growth, and wealth.

In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America:“It may be said that, in the United States, there is no limit to the inventiveness of man to discover the ways of increasing wealth and to satisfy the public’s needs.” He continued, “the primary reason for [America’s] rapid progress, their strength and greatness is their bold approach to industrial undertakings.” What impressed De Tocqueville most about business in America was “not so much the marvelous grandeur of some undertaking as the innumerable multitude of small ones.”

Data from the Census Bureau (Business Dynamics Statistics) demonstrate that since 1977 American entrepreneurs in firms less than five years old have been responsible for literally all the net job creation in this country. For more than 30 years, new companies have led job creation in America. Recently, Carl J. Schramm of the Kauffman Foundation stated, “new and young companies and the entrepreneurs that create them are the engines of job creation and eventual recovery.” With 9.8 percent unemployment, if we want to create jobs in America we need to free up entrepreneurs and not burden them with increased taxes or regulation. [Read more…]

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Intel CEO Otellini on Successful Company Culture

Intel CEO Paul Otellini
Intel CEO Paul Otellini
by Rich Karlgaard –
(Note: Last week I sat down with Intel’s Paul Otellini to talk about technology in the 2-to-5-year future. Can Moore’s Law continue? What will smartphones, tablets and PCs look like in two years? I will publish our conversation in the March 14 issue of Forbes magazine. Meanwhile, enjoy Otellini’s riff on Intel’s amazing 43-year-old corporate culture. Steve Jobs may be the iconic entrepreneur/CEO of Silicon Valley, but Intel, I would argue, is the iconic culture.)

Name a Silicon Valley giant that has managed CEO succession well. HP hasn’t. Sun blew it. Advanced Micro Devices never adequately replaced Jerry Sanders. Apple dropped the baton repeatedly its first incarnation – Steve Jobs to John Sculley, Michael Spindler and Gil Amelio — and it’s too early to tell if Tim Cook can replace Jobs this time around. Larry Ellison still runs Oracle, and Cisco is only on its second CEO, John Chambers. Google has gone back to its founders, and Facebook is not even yet public.

Among large companies, only Intel has mastered CEO succession multiple times. [Read more…]

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How to Turn Disaster Into Gold

Campfire logo 37signals by Jason Fried –
When one of our products malfunctioned, thousands of stranded customers erupted in fury. Yet we came out of the crisis more credible than ever. Here’s what we did.

It was a really lousy week.

One of 37signals’s key products is Campfire, a real-time chat tool for small businesses. For about a week in mid-December, Campfire, which users access via the Web, kept bouncing on- and offline. This was the first major problem we have had with Campfire since it launched in 2006. For a product that needs to be as reliable as the dial tone on your phone, things couldn’t have been worse.

Thousands of companies rely on Campfire. At 37signals, we use Campfire to run our business. Because we have employees in a dozen cities around the world, Campfire is our lifeline. It’s how we communicate with one another in real time. Campfire is where we make decisions, share designs, debate ideas, broadcast companywide announcements, and keep up to date on what everyone’s working on. [Read more…]

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The Sociopath In The Office Next Door

Davia Temin
Davia Temin

11/19/2010 – Davia Temin –
Evil in the office. If you think about it, you’ll probably realize you’ve seen it play out at least once in your career.

All of a sudden a well-running, friendly, effective group or company begins to disintegrate for no apparent reason. People start to become demoralized and dysfunctional, efficiency plummets, client service and sales suffer and convoluted mistakes are made, up to and including illegal behavior such as fraud and larceny. Employees begin to develop psychosomatic illnesses, sick time rises and the best talent starts to leave.

What used to be a great work situation turns into a nightmare.

More often than not this dysfunction can be traced to the entry of one new employee, perhaps the boss, his or his assistant, the head of HR or a new shop steward. [Read more…]

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How to Make Your Employees Smile

Paul Spiegelman
Paul Spiegelman

11/19/2010 – Paul Spiegelman –
Paul Spiegelman, the founder and CEO of Beryl, a call-center company in Bedford, Texas, has built a unique, people-centric culture, which he chronicled in the book, Why is Everyone Smiling? His next book, co-authored with Beryl employees, is titled Smile Guide: Employee Perspectives on Culture, Loyalty and Profit. Here, Spiegelman shares tips on how to keep your workers happy.

1. Give People a Voice
“Listen to what your employees say,” says Spiegelman. “And don’t just listen – implement the ideas that they have, and give them credit for those ideas. As entrepreneurs, we might in our gut know the right answers to certain questions, but it is often better to let workers tell you what the answers are and give them credit.” [Read more…]

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New Leaders: Find Your Poker Face or Perish

8/8/2010 – Shawn Graham –

For most of my adult life, I was incredibly easy to read. I wore my heart, and most of my facial expressions, on my sleeve. On occasion, that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Other times, such as in my high school English class where the teacher threw note cards at me after I rolled my eyes, it was. Growing up I was never much of a card player so I didn’t have the chance to really develop and practice my poker face and that has, on more than one occasion, hampered my ability to successfully navigate organizational politics (or high school English classes). In speaking with other extroverts in leadership roles, those who struggle with filtering and/or masking their emotions and reactions often have a difficult time progressing through an organization. [Read more…]

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Sometimes Micromanaging Is Good–And Necessary

7/29/2010 – Christine M. Riordan –

Micromanage. A dreaded word. The dictionary defines it as “to direct or control in a detailed, often meddlesome manner.” Most popular management books call it something to avoid at all costs and give decisive tips on how not to do it.

As a professor of management, I often talk about empowering employees and avoiding micromanaging them. Sometimes very bad things happen when you micromanage your employees with too much attention to detail. [Read more…]

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The Five Basic Stories That Can Give Your Speeches Power

Success Speaking

5/12/2010 – Nick Morgan –
Tell one of these, and you’ll always succeed.

The culture we’re all immersed in together gives you a great gift as a presenter–a wealth of stories that already lie deep in any audience’s consciousness. Use these stories to give your speeches power and to connect immediately and deeply with your audience.

There are five of these basic stories: the quest, the stranger in a strange land, rags to riches, the love story and the tale of revenge. Each has its own structure and its own situations where it’s useful. [Read more…]

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How to Succeed in Business by Really Listening

5/4/2010 – George J. Dennis –
TV Ears device
My company, TV Ears, specializes in sound. We manufacture TV listening products that have helped more than one million people hear the television more clearly. The idea came about after I tried to find something for my dad that would help him hear the TV. Nothing helped, so I created TV Ears in 1998. My father taught me that hearing is a privilege, and listening should never be taken for granted.

While developing the company, I learned a lot about listening along the way and it’s become the cornerstone of my management philosophy. When seeking inspiration, I look to the people around me – both our employees as well as folks that I run into at my local coffee shop or restaurant. They all have ideas and insights and are more than willing to share them to those who are willing to take note. I would submit that an executive’s greatest asset in growing their business is their ability to listen; the absence of doing so is akin to living in a bubble, where reality becomes a precious and elusive commodity. I would highly recommend other executives do the same. Here are some ways I’ve found to make this part of my leadership style. [Read more…]

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Profit Over Principles

Townhall.com | by Cal Thomas | 3/2/2010
When Toyota President Akio Toyoda testified last week before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, an attitude was exposed that Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) correctly characterized as fostering a “cutthroat corporate” environment that placed costs ahead of quality and safety. Such a priority would have been anathema to Toyoda’s grandfather, Kiichiro Toyoda, who founded the company and turned it into an automotive juggernaut thanks to a business philosophy created by an American named W. Edwards Deming.

Deming believed in a business model that puts product quality and company relationships between workers and management first, favoring continual and systematic improvements of staff and of work processes. His philosophy dominated Toyota for more than 50 years. Quality products followed. Profit was the inevitable result. [Read more…]

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Lessons From a Blue-Collar Millionaire

Inc.com | by Bo Burlingham | 2/1/2010
When Nick Sarillo launched his pizza business, he had one goal in mind: to create a corporate culture unlike any he had seen.

It’s Takeout Tuesday at Nick’s Pizza & Pub, and the air is thick with the smells of hot pizza crust, peppers, onions, and cheese. Eighteen young men and women — most of them high school age — form an assembly line between a row of worktables and a long bank of pizza ovens. The kids laugh and shout, even as they focus intently on their tasks.

Nick Sarillo, 47, stands halfway down the assembly line, holding a giant wooden pizza board. As the company’s founder and CEO, he doesn’t usually work the pizza line anymore. [Read more…]

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A Little Less Conversation

A Little Less Conversation
Inc.com | by Joel Spolsky | 2/1/2010
Have you ever invited employees to a meeting just so they wouldn’t feel left out? If so, you may be an overcommunicator.

When was the last time you scheduled a meeting and invited eight people instead of the three people who really needed to be there simply because you didn’t want anyone to feel left out?

When was the last time you sent a companywide e-mail that said something like, “Hey, attention coffee drinkers: If you finish the pot, make another!” even though there is actually only one person who violates this rule (and she’s your co-founder)? [Read more…]

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