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Random acts of kindness

With Thanksgiving almost upon us, the timeliness of this fun example of generosity as a growth strategy couldn’t be better. Most of us in the Kansas City area know Tippin’s as one of most beloved brands in the grocery store when it comes to holiday menu-planning. The company’s website says it all: You say “Tippin’s” …

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Essential skills for leaders

The HBR Leader’s Handbook draws from years of research and experience observing and analyzing the world’s best run organizations – and the executives who lead them. Contributors Brook Manville and Ron Ashkenas are careful to point out that this primer for aspiring leaders is not enough just to read. Real proficiency is developed through continual …

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The principles of personal change

Kansas City’s own Gretchen Rubin has become an international authority on joy and how to find it. While her book “The Happiness Project” explores what creates a joyful life, her second book “Better Than Before” focuses more on how to get there through personal growth and change. But how do we change? It’s not easy, you can’t …

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Getting out of a rut

We all lose the spark of productivity and creativity from time to time. We grow too familiar with the same places and tasks. We see obstacles everywhere. And we get tired of capitulating to colleagues who overrule ideas that “won’t work because they’ve been tried too many times.” A good groove can turn into a rut if …

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Looking on the bright side

Headwinds, flat sales, and downright tough times can be enough to dim even the sunniest outlooks. But getting yourself and others to stay focused on the positive is essential. Maintaining an orientation toward what you can do rather than what you cannot do is one way to overcome dark days. John Baldoni is the author of “Moxie: The Secret …

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Designing products that sell

Only 1 in 20 new products actually succeeds. Whether you’re designing software, soap or surgical equipment, the chance of failure is high. To develop and sell a successful product requires the perfect recipe of innovation, iteration, hard work and luck. Here are three keys to developing new products: 1. Solve real problems Innovation occurs as a result of solving the most fundamental …

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Who can you believe?

Success in business undeniably requires some willingness to have faith in others. If you think about it, you can’t even get to the contract stage of a deal without first assessing the trust and confidence of the individuals involved. Which means you’ve got to be practiced in the art of reading people when dealing with partners, clients, job candidates, and …

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Embracing sadness

Negative emotions are natural, normal and to be expected. As Harvard psychologist Susan David puts it, “discomfort is the price of admission for a meaningful life.” In fact, in the world of arts, letters and music, melancholy is one of the most fruitful and productive emotional states. Why not harness that emotional productivity in business …

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Putting failure behind you

Failure is inevitable. There’s no way around it. And failure feels bad. When we lose, when we experience setbacks, when we get stuck — that can be frustrating and deflating. But mourning the failure – fast – and moving on is the key. Here’s how: Talk about it with family, friends, and colleagues. While we may want to run and hide, …

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A change of mind

Want to make better decisions? And be right a lot more? If so, then be prepared to change your mind more often, or at least be more open to it. Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame (and now the world’s richest person) says one-track thinking – trying to make a case for just one point of view – should be …

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