Business person reading book

The Best Educate Themselves

“I am reading every book by Peter Drucker I can get my hands on.” That’s what Tsukuba International School Principal, Shaney Crawford, said to me nearly nine years ago. Never before, nor since, has any salaried manager or company CEO ever told me anything even remotely similar even though this is precisely the type of self-education that most ought to be doing. When Shaney Crawford asked me to serve on the school’s board, I immediately agreed.

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Business person thinking

Conservatism isn’t the Problem

I define conservatism as clinging to traditional practices with opposition to change and innovation out of principle. You fight conservatism in an organization through initiating bold action independently and dealing with the consequences, not by insisting others change first. It is the way a person acts that makes him or her conservative, and not necessarily the way he or she thinks.

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Business people discussing sales

Reject Status Quo Salesforce Behavior

Rapid growth of business frequently means improved selling behavior of your salesforce. Some leaders I encounter are aware there are issues in their salesforce, but often don’t have complete visibility into specific behaviors that ought to be changed. Below are five of the most common behaviors of salespeople I have encountered and what I advised.

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Business people shaking hands and building relationships

Your Best People Build Relationships

Good employees are responsive to customers. Great employees innovate ways to build relationships. In a world where outstanding customer service is frequently the norm, it is customer relationships that count.

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A businessman pressing an Empowerment button on a transparent screen.

Empowerment That Counts

Empowering people can be motivating and serve as a boon to your business’s results, but only if you do it right. However, nothing engenders cynicism more than pro forma exercises in prima facie empowerment. Too frequently, I find ham-fisted attempts of managers at making people feel empowered, often at the behest of some kind of edict issued by HR managers who are oblivious to the damage they cause.

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man and woman look at the city

Ignore Prognosticators of Doom

There is no percentage in fear of the hypothetical, no matter how reasonable a hypothesis might sound. Anyone can prognosticate doom about anything someone doesn’t like for whatever reasons. The impossible is only something no one has done yet. 

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Business meeting talking about excellence and diversity.

Excellence, Not Diversity

If you are a business leader pursuing diversity, you are chasing the wrong goal. It is not diversity that matters, but rather excellence that counts. Diversity of people is merely a natural result.

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Leader holding up employee who stands out from mediocrity and tradition.

No Tradition in Mediocrity

If you have ever heard someone use the adjectives traditional Japanese to describe an uninspiring manager, the moniker is only half-true. Only by replacing the word traditional with mediocre can you accurately reflect reality. There is nothing traditional about mediocrity in Japan, just as anywhere else in the world.

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