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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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You can do nothing about the past. So business should all be about the future, right?

So why bother looking at stuff we can’t affect? Because of what you can learn from it.

If you think about it, that’s why we track metrics and measures – because of how it informs and supports decisions about the future.

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I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, but for me this is a great time to avoid doing hard work. It’s cold. I just got back from vacation. Everybody’s out of the office.

Don’t get me wrong – we all need to have some relaxation and downtime.

But we know that most of these reasons are bogus excuses.

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NO DOUBT YOU SPENT many years in this classroom situation. Sit up. Pay attention. Take notes. Be quiet.

And there will be a test in a few weeks.

I’m not a fan of this model for adult learners like you and me. Why? Because it ignores the fact that the best learning is active collaboration.

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RECENTLY I HAD A CHANCE to speak on a panel about nurturing international and cross-cultural relationships. This is a wonderfully rich topic, because it can get to the core of who we are as humans.

Here’s the deal: I think I’m normal, but everyone else is various shades of weird.

We’re all like that.

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PLANNING IS FANTASTIC, but it has one big problem:

Reality gets in the way.

You go to all this work to create the fully robust plan, to get everyone on board, even to test various scenarios. It’s wonderful! But the plan was put in a binder on the shelf, never to be opened again.

Why is that?

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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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THERE WAS AN INTERESTING QUESTION on Quora recently, posed by an entrepreneur who is feeling the pressure of competition from large multi-national corporations. It’s very worrisome for him, and he’s struggling to figure out how to compete against those with more resources and shady tactics.

But every advantage has a weakness built in.

When I worked for a huge Fortune 50 company, I saw this exact situation – but from the inside. I was working for a team that was chartered to find new products and services to invest in.

But it was an almost impossible situation.

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DIVERSITY HAS BECOME WATERED DOWN. The honest truth that business in this country has adopted an attitude of “hire a racial minority and we’ll be good.”

I almost don’t even want to use the word any more, but there’s something important I’ve learned. We need to talk about it.

We all gravitate toward people and groups which are similar to us. I think it’s a hardwired aspect of being human, perhaps based on how our primitive ancestors maintained stable communities.

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ABSOLUTELY AMAZING THINGS HAPPEN when you stick to a great mission for years.

I wrote about The ShareLingo Project a couple of years ago, so I was super excited when James Archer contacted me about what’s been happening.  It turns out that he’s just 22 days away from launching his new book about developing programs which build cross-language learning through cross-cultural relationships.

Quick synopsis: ShareLingo brings together small teams of English and Spanish speakers where they learn the foreign language from each other while building personal relationships and deep appreciation for culture.  Feel free to check out that previous article for more of the story.

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