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I was listening to a great conversation with Ed and Peter Schein recently. They threw out a powerful concept:

“Accountability and transparency are needed when you don’t have trust and openness.”

Since I’m a fan of both trust and transparency, this challenged my thinking. But I think they have a great point which is worth exploring.

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They’re that wonderful customer. You’ve worked with them for years, but now they’re gone.

This has happened to my clients on occasion, and it really hurts. It can shake them to their foundation if they let it.

Here’s how I’ve helped pull them back from the ledge.

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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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Do you have the whole world figured out? I sure don’t.

There are days when I’m not sure I understand anything.

That’s where it pays to be curious. Like a child.

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Amazon.com is now over half a million people. For such an incredibly automated service, this is an astounding number of employees.

But you’d be hard pressed to find ANY business where its success doesn’t lie in the hands of its people.

So how do they manage this?

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There are times when your business is facing the truly big choices.

M&A (mergers & acquisitions) or taking your company public are the events that bring lots of press attention, but for a smaller company there are many more modest examples:

  • Hiring your first employee
  • Putting a management layer in for the first time
  • Retiring from your business
  • Expanding from single-location to multiple-location
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It may seem like the forces of darkness are out to get you. I feel like that myself sometimes.

If you have a deeper purpose or vision, though, you can cut through the darkness because it’s always available to you.

It’s even more fascinating to me that my light of inspiration can affect others even more than it does me. It’s infectious.

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What’s in it for me?

That’s a phrase which is particularly popular in sales, to help marketing and sales people to focus on the customer rather than themselves. WIIFM.

But do you want to be a self-focused person and leader?

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Milton Friedman declared that the primary purpose of a business is to make money. Over the course of the last century, we’ve kidded ourselves into thinking that this is the ONLY purpose of business.

But it’s not true.

The money is just a holding place for adding value to the world. Sure, you can transfer money to someone else and it makes them happy – but it hasn’t actually made the world a better place until someone uses it to DO something.

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My top priority is to protect my limited resources. And the only way I’ll win is to take some of yours.

This philosophy of scarcity is so incredibly powerful that we don’t even recognize that it’s as pervasive as the air we breathe.

But there is indeed another way. Not just for our personal lives, but for our businesses as well. The philosophy of abundance is rapidly changing our world – and for the better.

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