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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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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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WE’RE ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT at finding problems. Humans are hard-wired for it.

And people get rewarded for solving problems. So we get really good at it.

The problem is that this tendency means we’re not paying attention to what’s going right, what’s working. And your employees who aren’t creating problems tend to get ignored as well.

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IT’S REALLY DEPRESSING how many people are disengaged from their jobs.

I’ve been there, and you probably have too.  It’s not a great feeling.

But guess what? As a leader and business owner, you have the great opportunity to do something about it for your people.  And it’s not rocket science.

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RECENTLY I HAD THE CHANCE to speak with several people who are struggling with direction in their business.  They’re each working hard to deliver great products and services, but at the end of the day … it’s a lot of work with no forward movement.

Many can relate to this.  And if you’re feeling lost, how do you think those around you feel?

Employees are just turning the crank.

Partners are uninspired and not feelin’ the love.

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I

AM CONSTANTLY RUNNING ACROSS across smart and talented business leaders. And in conversation, I get the intensity of their passion. Yet when it comes to articulating that as a mission statement for employees, they end up with mush.

Our company exists to serve customers and improve lives through our market-leading products and services. We’re responsive, innovative, and deliver consistently high quality.

As said by every company ever. Who would claim they DON’T do that?

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WHAT DO YOU THINK when I say “business plan”?

Chances are you describe it with adjectives like overwhelming, tedious, and confusing.

Those kinds of descriptions will quickly put the whole exercise of business planning at the bottom of your list. After all, who wants tedium and overwhelm? It’s just easier to work on the day-to-day issues which are constantly swirling around like gnats.

What if business planning was joyful and amazing?
2017-04-03 It has to be beautiful
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T

he mission of your business is part of an amazing story.

That story starts with a cast of characters who encounter what seems to be an insurmountable barrier.  The tension mounts and the music swells.

Coming in to save the day is … your company!  The hero of the story, with your amazing product, an awesome culture, and a message which change these people’s lives.

It’s absolutely thrilling.

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uncertainIN THE 1960s, Paul Simon wrote a song entitled Fakin’ It. Here’s the second verse:

 

I’m such a dubious soul,
And a walk in the garden
Wears me down.
Tangled in the fallen vines,
Pickin’ up the punch lines,
I’ve just been fakin’ it,
Not really makin’ it.

This really speaks to the imposter syndrome which strikes a great many business leaders.

The truth is that we all feel weak and unsettled inside.  We all feel like we’re fakin’ it.

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careDO YOU WANT PRODUCTIVITY?

Here’s the simple truth of the matter.  You can’t beat people into being productive, at least not for long.

People put their passion and energy into what they care about, not what their boss cares about.

Sounds hopeless?  Well, there’s a solution.

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