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Collective Wisdom by Paul Riecks

Launching a startup is hard. Sustaining a growing business is harder.

It’s time to build the organization you need to carry your company forward. There are two major steps to this project: Determine your highest and best use, and train yourself to own the results of your company’s work (not the process).
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Beyond your control: How to deal with (and adapt to) the things you cannot change

You have probably heard the Serenity Prayer authored by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Running a business does not stop with recognizing the difference. You have to take into account the things that cannot be changed and decide what you are
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Creating customer expectations to differentiate yourself from competitors

Determine the expectations customers have of your company that matter most to them, and then figure out what has to be done all the time, every day to meet them. Realizing that no person or organization is perfect, your company still has to be better than your competition at spotting failures and rectifying them.
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How to keep the four functions of your company strong and running together

There are four major functions to every business: marketing and sales, operations/manufacturing, finance and administration, and HR management. A lot of inefficiencies are created by the lack of collaboration between these functions.
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The Jim Collins way: Putting the right talent in the right jobs, doing the right things

There are two tough parts of leading an organization that no one tells you about. First: Leading means always being on the alert, never resting on your laurels and being willing to make the changes necessary to keep the organization on track. Second, you have to create a culture and environment in which your people produce the results you want.
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Hugging the monster: How embracing challenges can help you innovate

One of the most successful entrepreneurs I have ever known would always answer the question “What are the actions that made you successful?” with “Learn to hug the monster.” What he meant was that instead of avoiding the difficult, unpleasant or inconvenient situations, he faced them and dealt with them.
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Before you hire more people, consider optimizing the ones you have

There are two conditions that can create severe roadblocks to company growth: failure to delegate at various levels of the organization (including the top) and job duties that pull employees away from their highest and best uses.
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How to establish and sustain a great brand

The large amount of effort you put into designing the brand and rolling it out is only the first step. And design doesn’t just mean great-looking graphics and a logo. It means all the things that have to be done to create the processes and employee behaviors that reinforce who you are as an organization.
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Control what you can: Growth is great and can be managed

Sometimes success causes more problems than failure. They are good problems to be sure, but getting things under control can be difficult, especially if you have never experienced the situation before.
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Double vision: To lead, you need to see both where you are and where you’re going

While you are looking out into the future and envisioning what your business will be, you also have to keep your eye on where you are in the present. What you need is a kind of “double vision.”
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Paul headshotABOUT PAUL RIECKS: Paul A. Riecks is principal of Insight, which forms and facilitates peer groups of business owners and CEOs.