I recently wrote an article (login required) for Business Law Currents, a Thompson Reuters publication, that laid out the top dozen issues parties to a prospective joint venture need to consider before investing the time and resources necessary to achieve the expected benefits of collaboration.

The discussions surrounding each of those issues are important in establishing the overall goals and objectives of the JV and the framework for implementation. However, while well-drafted legal documents are useful, they obviously are not enough to assure the success of a JV.

While a JV and a merger are distinctly different strategies, they share one thing in common: the need for a clear planning and building agenda for the first 90 days following the announcement of the combination. In the merger context, this is often referred to as an “integration plan.” When a JV is on the horizon, the idea is to move it from being just an announcement to an accepted part of the day-to-day experience of personnel from both parties. (read more…)

Being a manager means never having to say you’re sorry. No wait, that’s some dumb line from a horrible 1970s movie. However, there may be some truth in that statement.

Sometimes, as a manager, you have to have difficult conversations with employees that are guaranteed to make them defensive, angry, and not want to hang out with you after work anymore. You may feel like a cad and want to apologize, but there’s really nothing to apologize for. You’re just doing your job.

That’s why managers get paid the big bucks. Because when there’s an issue with an employee, everyone expects the manager to “do something about it.” And if you don’t, they’ll think you’re a wimp and that nobody really gives a @#%$.

In no particular order, here are 10 employee conversations that managers would rather not have. But you may have to. So, I’ve included links from credible sources to some practical guidelines for each conversation. (read more…)

Most organizations invest significant time and resources in developing their annual business plans, yet surprisingly few achieve the desired results.

Success requires flawless execution

Business planning has been studied, researched, debated and redefined. Despite the unending quest to improve planning methodology, few organizations organize, resource and implement the key directives as an integral part of the planning process.

A well-developed plan, poorly executed, is more than just a waste of time and resources. The real cost of unrealized plans includes lost customer credibility and trust, lost competitive advantage, reduced organizational confidence and will to win. The opportunity costs can be significant and can have a detrimental long-term impact on the value of the business. And yes, it can be career limiting.

Here are 10 reasons why “great” business plans fail to deliver:

1. The plan isn’t that great.

Most plans try to do much. Said another way, the plan hasn’t made the tough strategic choices. (read more…)

The following responses are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council, an invitation-only organization composed of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and e-mail lessons. All photos are courtesy of YEC. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

David Ehrenberg

1. A clean inbox

I believe in a clean inbox. If I have over a page of old e-mails at the end of any given day, I consider that day a failure. This clean-inbox theory carries over into my to-do list. Every day, I write a list of action items. By the end of the day, I need to have crossed off at least half of those action items in order to consider the day a success. If I can cross off all the items, even better! (read more…)

Leaders, are you seen as “of the people” you have chosen to lead or as separate from them?

I understand that leaders have unique responsibilities. They carry a different, often greater load than employees who do not formally manage people, departments or divisions. However, that greater burden does not grant leaders freedom from connection with those they’re charged with leading.

Think of your #GreatBosses, leaders who inspired you to strong performance as well as consistent engagement in your work and with your peers. Your best boss wasn’t insulated from you and your team members, right? It is likely that your best boss was consistently present, consistently listening and learning from you, and consistently tweaking the work environment to reduce employee frustration.

Leaders who separate themselves are typically seen as aloof and uncaring about their employees. There is commonly more cynicism and less trust of leaders who do not foster proactive connections with staff. (read more…)