What if Your Summer Transportation was a Stagecoach?

We think nothing today of jumping into our air-conditioned cars and buzzing off for a 100-mile weekend get-away or even flying-off to Atlanta to visit friends. We certainly under-appreciate how lucky we are sometimes, especially when we are stuck in traffic. But what would it be like if you had to take a stagecoach to get to your destination? I enjoyed reading recently on the St. Croix Historical Society website about what a 36-hour, 100-mile stagecoach ride was like in about 1840 from Bangor to Calais, Maine, a trip I have made dozens of times. Imagine you are one of [...]

By | 2017-07-27T14:17:19+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

The 8-Cs of Our Company Culture

This week our Company had our annual “remote” celebration and it was no small feat. With about 35 teams of people located from Auburn, Maine to Palm Beach, Florida it was an amazing technological achievement for an organization like ours with limited financial resources, but plenty of heart. As I watched the live event this year with our Concord, NH team I was inspired by the wonderful culture our team members have created. As I thought about Paul Spiegelman’s 8 Cs of company culture, I think our team is right in line with him. Eight Cs of Company Culture. A [...]

By | 2017-07-20T09:06:27+00:00 July 20th, 2017|Organizational Culture, Teams & Culture|

Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Your Fireworks

Photo of fireworks by Alejandro Scaff What gets lost in the immigration rhetoric today is how many of our American businesses got started by immigrants. So as you watch beautiful fireworks this weekend, remember it was two immigrants to this country, Angelo Lanzetta and Antonio Zambelli, who created the two largest fireworks companies in the United States today -  Fireworks by Grucci and Zambelli Fireworks. If you would like to learn more about the fireworks industry in the United States you can read my article Business of Fireworks. Photo - Felix and Concetta Grucci - Grucci Website [...]

By | 2017-06-29T10:43:48+00:00 June 29th, 2017|Business, Entrepreneurship / Innovation, Uncategorized|

Will Cellphone Videos Limit Cop Promotions?

Last week I wrote about how important it is for us to know how to tell stories in less than 400 words, which, if spoken, is about four minutes. So today let me tell you an amusing 400 word story about why one older policeman might be glad we didn’t have 24/7 police video recordings in the 1970s. Policeman Thankful No Cellphones in 1970s I wonder how many of today’s police officers will never be promoted to police chief because of a publicly released cellphone video.  And I don’t mean a video of something bad they did, but rather of [...]

By | 2017-06-06T11:48:33+00:00 June 6th, 2017|Ethics, Human Behavior|

Five Tips for Writing Short Stories

I only know one Bart Simpson line, “I like Stories.” And I use this line often when someone says to me, “Do you want to hear a good story?” I bet you like good stories, too. Storytelling seems to be hot right now. Why? Because it is one communication strategy that really engages people when done effectively. Storytelling, whether spoken or written, is a skill. And it is a skill that effective leaders need to develop and continuously practice. This week I have done some reading about how to write effective stories. Here are my five tips for constructing an [...]

By | 2017-06-01T11:27:44+00:00 June 1st, 2017|Leadership Lessons|

Getting to the Point, Do You BLUF or BLAB?

Effective leaders know how to get to the point. Have you ever read a long email that never seems to get to the point? I know I have so I work very hard not to be one of those writers. Recently I read that military leaders train people to practice “BLUF” when speaking or writing. BLUF stands for “Bottom line up front”. My first reaction was that since this acronym did not fit the purpose, it would be easily forgotten. I was wrong. I can’t seem to get it out of my mind. I shared this concept with someone I [...]

By | 2017-05-23T17:31:28+00:00 May 23rd, 2017|Leadership, Leadership Lessons, Uncategorized|

Six of Your Jobs Robots Might Replace

When I got home from work the other day, Patti, my wife, was still smiling about a text she received that day. When she got out of a meeting and checked her phone for text messages and e-mails, this text jumped out at her, “Jeeves needs your immediate attention. His right front wheel is stuck.” I’m sure you are wondering who “Jeeves” is, right? If you are older you might remember that “Jeeves” was a butler or gentleman’s gentleman in author P. G. Wodehouse’s stories from the early 1900s. In our house we have no butler.  Jeeves is really what [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:46+00:00 April 27th, 2017|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Eight Character Questions from Theo Epstein

In our organization right now our focus is on building a culture that attracts and retains team members. We are especially focused on selecting the right people – unselfish people who want to be part of a team, who put the needs of others before themselves, and who, quite frankly, we want to be around every day. Pretty simple, right? No. In one of our divisions we have found we only hire three (3) out of 100 people we start with. It is really hard to find people who match-up with the criteria we are looking for. Even more, we [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:46+00:00 April 13th, 2017|Hiring & Team Composition|

Add Originality to Your Leadership

I love baseball, so I am excited the season opens next week. Anytime I read a book that has a baseball reference, I am instantly intrigued. That happened recently when I read about how Jackie Robinson’s birth order contributed to him being the perfect person to break the color barrier in baseball - more about Robinson in a moment. The book is Originals by Adam Grant. In this book, which I found fascinating, Grant explores dozens of studies and concepts that contribute to where personal originality comes from. (Steve Tip - I first listened to the book, but then purchased [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:46+00:00 March 30th, 2017|Just Plain Interesting|

Is Your Team a Mixed-Doubles Team?

We have been talking a great deal lately about teams, especially about constructing effective teams. Our recent focus has been centered on how to choose individuals who have the right attitude and will help create positivity. Sometimes we quote Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines and say, “Hire for attitude, train for skill.” When you construct a team I think it is also useful to think about the type of team you have and remember this – not all teams are alike. A few years ago I wrote an article about how the late Peter Drucker described the three types of [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:46+00:00 March 23rd, 2017|Hiring & Team Composition, Teams & Culture|

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