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We often get entranced by new things. As a software engineer, I found myself drawn to every new computer, operating system and application for many years.

But that was just me. Everybody has different things that turn them on!

Why should we care? Because you have to realize that the things that get you excited may not at all be what thrills your employees. Or customers.

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I’m honored to be speaking for the Soulful Entrepreneur Summit in January 2022. I’ll be part of a panel on day 3, focusing on Soulful Messaging.

But what does it mean to be soulful? Sounds a bit woo-woo, right?

My approach is to help clients bring together the heart of their business and their own personal passion. In a small company, this is what sustains you to do the hard work, week after week, year after year.

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I was recently honored with the title of Golden Fish! Actually, it is a big deal – for me – even though you’ve never heard of it.

It’s something that we’ve been doing this year in Small Fish Business Coaching to recognize contribution and achievement. The best part is that it’s a recognition of my peers in the company, people I work closely with and deeply respect.

The emotional impact is the most important part. Which got me thinking …

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Leadership is about telling people where to go and what to do. Right?

Well, no.

The truth is that, as Marshall Goldsmith proclaims, leadership is 80% listening. How do we resolve this disconnect?

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Leading in business is about planning. Creating plans, executing plans, and monitoring progress against those plans.

Here’s the problem: creating plans is about the future, then everything after that is about living in the past.

When are we ever in the present? Here’s why that’s important:

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Here’s today’s headline from Gallup’s research: What’s Driving Record-High Employee Engagement in the U.S.?

This great company has been monitoring the trends for many years, so seeing an upward trend in employee engagement is truly important. And a bit shocking, really, after all the bad news we’ve been hearing.

So what’s behind it?

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Business can be so stressful and serious. Deadlines. Money. Missed commitments. Disagreements.

So here’s the question: Do you permit yourself to have any fun in the business? I sure hope you have enjoyment in your personal activities and hobbies, but what about when you’re working?

Even if you’re not the boss, you can still do that, you know. But when you ARE the boss, it’s actually part of your job as a leader.

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We’re all looking for the magic key to managing employees. But despite all the support, the benefits, the encouragement … they never seem to care as much about the business as you do.

That’s natural. They haven’t poured their heart and soul into it for as long as you have. And, if you’re the owner, you may have your entire life savings tied up in this.

But it is possible to tap that energy, that passion, that caring.

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You’ve probably heard the stories by now. An employee just chooses to disappear one day without a trace. No contact at all.

It doesn’t really matter where this phenomenon came from. What matters is what it tells you about your organization. And yes, it really hurts.

There are a few reasons why someone would do this to you:

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The absence of job dissatisfaction is not satisfaction, much less engagement.

That was a powerful conclusion from the research of Fredrick Herzberg back in the middle of the last century, and it is certainly true today. It’s a fundamental principle of how we engage employees and others who work for us.

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