IWAS READING a powerful article recently about building a conscious company from a systems perspective. It got me thinking about the idea of how we tend to create success measures.

It matters because those measures drive all behavior in your company.

The question is: What if we would adopt our customers’ measures of success as our own? What would happen?

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RECENTLY I’VE BEEN THINKING about some of the principles that ground my life and my business. With some thought, I’ve been able to articulate one that’s pretty fundamental and serves me well.

I’m not the smartest guy around, but I get by. The reason is that I figure most anything can be learned given some focus.

I see that many people seem to really struggle when they run into barriers. I get that. When you’re standing right next to an obstacle, it looks really big. Even insurmountable.

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OLD TOWN MEDIA has developed an amazing reputation in northern Colorado. They’re a creative and thorough marketing agency based in Fort Collins. With a love for office dogs!

Every time I hear someone mention this business, the same words keep popping up:

  • Small and personal
  • Amazing expertise

When I had the chance to chat with CEO and Founder Miles Kailburn recently. We talked about the phases they’ve gone through since starting the company in 2007.

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WHEN I GOT my first professional job out of college, I was impressed with the array of employee benefits that companies would provide. Time off. Savings programs. Paid travel.

As I moved into management, and saw what it was like to work in a different country, I realized that a lot of these were supported or mandated by government programs and tax code.

Which is totally fine, even necessary. But those programs aren’t as compelling as we’d like to think, because they’re pretty much standard everywhere.

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WE SEEM TO HAVE a whole lot of things going on right now. Clients. Projects. Presentations. Prospects.

And, for whatever reason, I’m hearing similar things from a lot of other people as well.

This happens. But how do we keep from getting stressed out when things are super busy?

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HERE’S AN INTERESTING THOUGHT: In the mountains, the haze lies in the valley. To see further, you have to hike up.

It’s a wonderful metaphor for business.

Yes, you have to get down in the details; that’s where the progress is made. But it’s quite possible that you’re going in circles down there, so you have to pull yourself out occasionally to look at the big picture.

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SOME THINGS ARE really hard to nail down.

One of the biggest examples is how complicated business decisions are made, like taking on a partner or promoting an employee. There’s this amorphous mix of logic, feelings, history, and unique factors you never would have planned for.

When this happens, there’s a good chance you’ve gotten too immersed in the details, and need to go up a level.

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THE WORLD SEEMS like it’s sliding all over the place. Things we assumed were solid and unchanging are being constantly questioned.

Even my kids have noticed.

The honest truth, though, is that your business foundation is as solid as you want it to be.

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WE WOULD LIKE TO THINK that following the guidebook will make choices nice and neat and clean. So you might be discouraged at how, well, it’s a bit of a mess.

I just wanted to say this: you’re OK.

If it was nice and clean and orderly, everybody else could do it. The fact that choices ARE hard to make means that you have to put some work into creating order out of chaos.

And the universe is always going towards chaos.

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RUNNING A BUSINESS sure seems like a lot of work. I don’t want to disregard that.

But if that’s ALL it is, why bother? Go out and get a real job that’s less stress!

Let’s be honest: We do this because we find joy in the mission, the problem-solving, the control. There’s a lot of things which are a pain in the ***, but on the whole there’s a balance toward making the business work.

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