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Why Core Values Are Foundational to Your Success

When you hear the name Coca Cola what comes to mind? What about Starbucks? How about Google?

 

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I would bet in at least one case, something more than just thoughts came to mind. Maybe you could taste the fizzy soda or feel the refreshment on a hot summer day. Maybe you smiled and relaxed as you imagined sharing your favorite caffeinated beverage with a close friend while you took in the tantalizing aromas. Or, maybe you immediately felt a surge of confidence, knowing you could find the info you needed within seconds.

That, my friend, is the power of brand. What we often think of when we hear the word brand is logos, tag lines or color schemes. We think of marketing strategies or ad campaigns. Brand, however, is something much, much more. Your brand is the total sum of the interactions that others have with everyone in your organization. It’s the relationship that’s been created over time between your organization and others.

Some companies spend millions of dollars trying to create a brand through externals. The smart ones, in my opinion, direct their primary resources internally. Why? Because while externals do play a part, more important for your brand are the personal touch-points your people have with those using your product or service.

Consistency is one of the most powerful and important aspects of developing and maintaining a brand. Every touch-point you and your people have with others has the power to either reinforce or erode the brand you’re attempting to establish or maintain. The more consistent the customer’s experience, the stronger the brand becomes, even if the audience is small.

You might be thinking, “Branding is for large companies with a lot of resources.” Not true. Actually, if you’ve been in business for any length of time, you already have a brand whether you knew it or not, whether you like what it is or not, and whether you tried to create it or not.

You’ve developed relationships with your prospects, customers, suppliers, and possibly the community, through both intentional and unintentional means. They have all formed opinions about you as a result of the various interactions they have experienced.

So, how do you get the brand you want?

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Leadership

Three Reasons to End the Interview Immediately

I have interviewed hundreds and hundreds of candidates over the last 15 years. That means I have easily spent into the thousands of hours engaged in this challenging activity.

 

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I’ve interviewed some real doozies in my time. Like the guy who snuck into a foreign country to do a client project because he was tired of waiting for his visa. But wait, it gets better. When he finally got caught and was deported, he decided to sneak back in. Needless to say he didn’t receive an invitation to the next round of interviews.

As I reflect on those thousands of hours I come to the realization that I have wasted some of the best hours of my life with unqualified candidates. Sad, but true.

Your time is way too valuable to waste, and so is mine. So one thing I’ve learned is that there are some questions you need to ask toward the beginning of the interview. If they fail any one of these “tests” it is time to politely say “goodbye.”

I know that may feel awkward…no really awkward. And, I know you had an hour or more set aside for this interview, but you need to end it now. I’m dead serious. There is no reason to explore any further because these are absolute deal-breakers in my opinion.

It’s your decision, of course. But I’m confident that if you can overcome the barrier of awkwardness that you’ll agree with me. Let’s take a look.

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Hiring

What to Do When Your Plan Falls Apart

Last week was a perfect example. Everything was lined up. The equipment we needed was in hand and things were moving along nicely. The schedule was pretty tight, but the finish line was in view.

 

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Then it happened.

The rug was pulled out from under me. A critical resource I was depending on to complete an important phase of the project was unexpectedly taken away from me. I was crushed. We were so close.

My natural inclination in situations like that is to turn inward and spiral downward in disappointment and frustration over the fact that my plan has been ruined. It’s so easy to get fixated on what seems like an unnecessary detour in the road. Especially when it’s someone else’s fault. And even more especially when it looks like we’ll never make it to the finish line.

It’s just not fair, right? The temptation to give up is a strong one. But, let’s face it. If you’re the leader, or are trying to become one, that’s not really an option. At least it shouldn’t be except in extremely rare cases.

Have you ever had a plan that fell apart? Maybe I should ask if you’ve had a plan that fell apart in the last week. That would probably be a better question.

Here are four, simple steps you can take to get the train back on the rails.

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Leadership

How Evernote Has Made Life So Much Easier

Do you remember where you were? I do…like it was yesterday. How could I forget? The day I met Evernote changed my life.

 

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Actually, I’m totally serious…about remembering I mean.  I remember that day with extreme clarity. It was at least three years ago. I was doing a training event in Cedar Rapids, IA. On a break one of the trainees pulled me aside and showed me this cool app he had on his iPhone. He had no idea what he was starting.

And in some ways it really has changed my life. I don’t want to sound goofy, or too much like a techno-geek, but this tool has made an enormous difference in the organization of my entire life, not just work.

For those of you who don’t know already, I have a wife and nine children, own my own business, pastor a small church, lead a community coalition and am on two Boards. So, I have a few things going on in my life. But, so do you.

Like you, I have an overload of input in my life. Multiple email accounts, snail mail, texts, Slack channels, conversations, meetings, projects, blogs and books I read, websites I visit, and the list could go on and on. It makes me a little tired, just typing all that out.

Evernote has completely changed the game for me. I keep everything in Evernote. Everything I can digitize, that is. It’s the most amazing, electronic filing cabinet I’ve ever found. I have very little paper left in my life except my faithful Bible and journal. I still like hardcopy versions of those, although I did journal in Evernote for a couple of years.

Here are six (6) quick ways that Evernote has transformed things for me and can for you too.

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Productivity

Are You Willing for Extreme Ownership?

I was talking with a friend the other night whom I had not seen in a few months. He asked how things were going and, as usual, I had a hard time not being pretty transparent. One of the things I shared with him was my disappointment over the recent failure my team and I experienced with our product launch.

 

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Leadership

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