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Featured TPE Post December 22, 2009

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Thanks to Mike Michalowicz and TPE for featuring my tip for 2010 on today’s blog.  See #37, but take some time to look at the other great entrepreneurial ideas for next year and beyond!

Thanks to all my readers and commenters for your support this year.  Have a great 2010!

The Problem With Vision December 15, 2009

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Make no mistake – vision is necessary.  It is critical to developing a strategic approach to individual projects or overall business practices.  Unfortunately, many managers take the concept just far enough to feel powerless when visions do not turn into reality.  The frustration is understandable, and even palpable when a firm’s livelihood is on the line.

The problem with vision is that big picture goals do not in and of themselves comprise measurable or distinctly prioritized goals.  The problem with vision is that once you realize that the vision is not working out, it’s too late to change course.

In order to convert vision to execution, it is absolutely necessary to break the big picture into manageable, short-term goals.

Engagement, Support, Sponsorship December 6, 2009

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Any organizational endeavor requires some degree of involvement from leadership.  Without this, it is much more difficult to obtain buy-in from line managers, staff, and others who will actually be performing the work.

But it is not enough to simply engage leadership in conversation and notify them of the proposal.  Just because someone is aware of your project, it does not imply that they have been captivated and won over.  It takes much more effort to get over the hurdles when times are tough, money is tight, and people are happy just to have their jobs.

Nonetheless, as you move ahead with the project (it is a worthwhile project, with appropriate cost-benefit analysis, right?) it is critical to obtain support from corporate leaders.  Not just any support either.  Real, bona fide sponsorship — someone willing to step forward, defend the reasons for the project, and take on partial ownership of its success.

Like any business venture, there is an element of partnership inherent in this transaction.  There is also an element of politics.  That’s life.  Engineers cringe at the thought, but try selling some “equity” in your project to the proper levels of authority.  Without it, the endeavor may die a slow death, withering on the vine for lack of real passion from the people who write the checks.

Break in the Chain – Camel Guest Post December 3, 2009

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No matter how much we stress communication, there will always be a breakdown or two somewhere in the process. Despite the sometimes dire consequences, we accept that humans make errors and account for this by establishing procedures and setting standards.  MORE…