Assuming the Worst

One of the biggest mistakes people make in business is writing someone off because of one aspect about that person that they may not like. This often leads to soured relationships and underestimating the competition.

We're all human and we're all flawed in one way or another. You don't have to agree with someone 100% of the time, but disagreeing with them doesn't automatically make them a bad person or a terrible company.

Be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Assuming that one flaw or difference in opinion defines the whole is a dangerous practice in both business and life.

Originally published May 2010

Creating A Loyal Team

People want to be valued, heard, and accepted. We all know that this is the core of what a brand should focus on when it comes to connecting with consumers.  

We also need to apply it to the people we work with — both to employees in our office and to colleagues we collaborate with — and to ourselves. 

If all your attention is going to keeping the squeaky wheel happy, the people who show up and deliver for you without demanding extra recognition or VIP treatment will leave. 

This is especially true for millennials (the generation born between 1979-2000, so any adult currently 39 or younger). Contrary to popular belief, millennials don't need extra special treatment, but because they were raised in a school system that in the early 1980's switched to prioritizing group work and all-in collaboration over independent study, they do need to feel heard.

Millennials will rarely tolerate being overlooked because of high-maintenance colleagues. If you aren't actively showing them that you value what they bring to the table, this group — who were also repeatedly taught never to settle or waste their life — will find a table that's more welcoming to true team players. 

Claiming that "no one is loyal anymore" is a lazy way of excusing your role in the matter. If a millennial stops trying to help you improve your company, it's because they've lost respect for you and feel they're now wasting their time. Loyalty is bred out of respect and that respect starts at the top. Respect yourself and others will respect you — and they'll stick around.

Originally published August 2016

What Collaborating With Passionate People Requires

Passionate people — people who want to see the world changed into a better place for themselves, their children and for others — often don't fit the status quo. Because of this, passionate people are often misunderstood. They're often accused of having malicious or self-serving ulterior motives when in reality there are none. 

Surrounding yourself with passionate people means you will have to work harder on your relationships. It means taking the time to understand what drives them. It means asking better questions. It means less assuming and deeper listening on your part.

This investment of time and energy is worth it.

Originally published June 2014