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Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Science explains why beginner’s luck leads to overconfidence, which is behind the failure of many big-name CEOs.

It seems that every week we read about another big-name CEO being forced out the company he founded. WeWork founder Adam Neumann is just the most recent example of a chief executive who over-promised and under-delivered, in a particularly brazen display of overconfidence. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is another.

Why do so many of these founders let their early success go to their head? One scientific explanation is something called “the beginner’s bubble.”

When an entrepreneur makes it big fairly quickly (looking at you, Mark Zuckerberg), they over-estimate their abilities — big time. …


10 recession-proofing strategies you can use to leap ahead of the competition. How many is your company following?

Photo of a runner winning the Padova, Italy marathon (analogy to companies winning in a recession)
Photo of a runner winning the Padova, Italy marathon (analogy to companies winning in a recession)
Photo by Pietro Rampazzo on Unsplash

Few people want to think about the recession that’s just around the corner. The pain of the Great Recession hasn’t entirely faded for many companies and their employees.

Fewer still want to talk about it, fearing that the mere act of talking about a recession will somehow jinx things and cause it to happen sooner.

The reality is that forces more powerful than us are already at work, creating the conditions for the next economic downturn. You can’t control when the next recession hits or bad it will be. You can only control how to plan and react.

And what companies do in 2019 will determine their fates during — and after — the next recession. …


Hey, if it works for Google, maybe you should give it a try.

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No, this isn’t team building. Photo by David Armstrong on Unsplash

What was the best team building event you ever attended — and what made it so great?

Was it fun?

Did it generate a sense of camaraderie?

And now the big question: Did it lead to any breakthroughs in collaboration or innovation back at the office?

I suspect most people would say Yes to the first two questions and a big No to the third.

But you can actually have it all — fun, camaraderie, and improve company performance. I’m going to show you how.

First, what do we mean by team building?

I suspect many people associate “team building” with any fun, social outing that’s organized and paid for by your HR department. Rafting, scavenger hunts, ropes courses. Stuff like that.

Based on my decade of experience working with teams at Fortune 500 companies, effective team building is very different. It’s actually about helping team members learn to collaborate at achieving real business goals in the context of their actual work. It’s about developing the equivalent of “muscle memory” so you can work better back at the office. …


Leadership, Work, Equality

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Wonder Woman, CEO. Image by ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay.

Let me show you a picture. Tell me what you see.

This is a stock chart. It covers a 12-year period, from 2003 to 2015. On this chart are two lines, one green and one blue.

The green line made 3x more money than the blue line. Which line would you pick? Probably whatever produced the green line, right?


Insights From The World Of Startups

Startup Success Rates Increase Up To 3x As You Get Older. Here’s Why.

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Jim Lamon was 56 in 2013 when he founded solar power company Depcom, which now has $220M in revenue and is ranked #5 on Inc.’s Most Inspiring Companies of 2018. Company photo.

If you look at Inc.’s 2018 list of the fastest-growing companies in America, what’s most apparent is that the growth rate numbers are bonkers. Among the top 5, the median growth rate is 60,166%. What’s not obvious is the age of the top 5 founders when they started their company: the median is 37. And one of them, Depcom Power CEO Jim Lamon, was 56 when he founded his company.

This isn’t a coincidence. Older startup founders are up to 3x more likely to succeed compared to 25 year-old founders. Why? …


Leadership, Work, Purpose

How to succeed where most leaders fail: Helping your people find their purpose.

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NASA Photo on Unsplash

Why do you show up to work every day — other than for the paycheck? More importantly if you’re a manager, why do your employees show up? Can they connect what they do with why they do it?

By working with your team to connect the dots between the What and the Why, you will become a superior leader. You can boost financial performance, employee engagement, and staff retention.

Employees who can link their goals to the organization’s goals are 3.5x more engaged. Unfortunately, only 44% of employees can see this connection. — Gallup, State of the American Workplace

Organizations perform better financially when employees have clarity on their purpose. This makes sense because it means people can align their work in the direction of the organization’s goals. …


Work, Leadership, Strategy, Execution

Variety and structure, combined together in the right dose, is a potent cure for strategy execution ills.

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Author image. Lightbulb graphic by Vectors Point.

Research shows that up 75% of large organizations struggle to implement their strategies. Not surprisingly, this strategy execution malaise keeps CEOs up at night, according to surveys. My research and experience over the last decade working with a wide range of organizations around the world, from Fortune 500 companies to smaller NGOs, points to two missing elements: variety and structure.

Variety refers to the range of people and talents you involve in strategy development and execution. And structure refers to the process of how they interact. …


Work, Leadership, Women, Startups

Female leaders can help their companies think differently and outperform the competition — if they’re just given the chance.

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It’s lonely at the top … so let’s get some more women up there. (StockSnap via Pixabay)

On July 12, 2019 Julie Sweet was named CEO of consulting firm Accenture and in September, when she formally assumes the role, she will become only the 34th female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. My honest first reaction upon reading the news was: “OK, I need to buy some Accenture stock: they just appointed a female CEO.”


Leadership, Startup, Founders, Venture Capital

Founders need to get better at checking their ego and connecting with their people.

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Blowing smoke in more ways than one. Pixabay Photo.

It seems like every week we read about another startup founder CEO getting booted out of his own company. Research backs up this perception: up to 40% of founders do not remain in their original role. Usually the board replaces the founder with a leader who they believe has a better chance of guiding the company to a successful exit or the IPO market.

This is often unfortunate, for both the founder and the company. For example, one study of 4,000 startups found that firms which replaced the founder were much more likely to fail. …


Startups, Work, Collaboration, Open Concept Offices

Without the right corporate culture and collaboration methodology, open concept offices are a waste of time, money, and employee morale.

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“Hey, guys, let’s collaborate.” Pixabay Photo

The open office trend shows no sign of slowing down, as companies squeeze their workers into smaller and smaller spaces. This is despite significant pushback from large segments of the workforce, including many introverts, some boomers, and others who require quiet, focus, and privacy to do their best work. But what about the promised collaboration dividend?

Actually, there is a growing body of research that debunks the myth that collaboration is enhanced by open offices. For example, one recent and very cleverly designed study looked at the experience at two Fortune 500 multinationals transitioning to open concept spaces. They recorded vast amounts of data on employee interactions and collaboration before and after the walls came down. …

About

Mark McCarvill

Facilitator | Writer | Helping Organizations Think Better & Solve Faster

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