None of us succeed without some kind of setback.

Too often, we don’t acknowledge our ability to deal with the negatives. As a result, we may stay negative, or too self-critical, and, as a result, not recognize the inner resolve that fuels us.

Defeat may always lurk around the corner, but it’s how we deal with it that defines us as the individuals we are, and can become. (read more…)

Allowing people room to conceive and try things. Bringing in “troublemakers and tinkerers.” Encouraging ideas from everyone, then allowing “people to collide and generate ideas.”

These traits are part of the process that allows companies to adapt to change, to disrupt themselves and fend off competitors, and improve without losing sight of what they are. But it wasn’t just speaker Dirk Beveridge of 4th Generation Systems saying this — it was a CEO of a $50 million company and a corporate sales manager of a $1.6 billion operation. They model these traits as part of their vision, instill them in the culture, and ultimately inspire companies that iterate, think and adapt with guidance, but not micromanagement, from their leaders.

All this matters because, as Scott McKain said later on Thursday at the NAW 2015 Executive Summit, “Great isn’t good enough to grow a business in today’s economy.” If you are doing great work but can’t say what makes you different than your competitors, than your marketplace, then you aren’t differentiated or truly focused on customers. (read more…)

“The question is not whether AmazonSupply will be a threat,” says Richard Balaban, who has studied the site for management consulting firm Oliver Wyman. “Rather it is which customers, purchase occasions and categories will be attacked first.” ~ Forbes magazine, May 26, 2014

The goal of Amazon, in a way, has always been to become The Everything Store, the title of Businessweek senior writer Brad Stone’s 2013 book about the company and its founder, Jeff Bezos.

But does “everything” include the world of industrial supplies? That was one question Stone attempted to answer, with the help of knowledgeable insiders and the audience, at the NAW 2015 Executive Summit on Wednesday.

Amazon was first known as an online seller of books, then of retail, then of devices like the Kindle. Since then, it’s also become a producer of Golden Globe-winning television, tried its hand at a phone (and, so far, has failed), and has its hand in same-day delivery, grocery delivery, drones, and more. (read more…)

It’s no secret that being confident in your message will make you a more engaging speaker and increase the impact of your presentation. But occasionally we all need some tools to increase our presentation prowess. What if you had a few tools at your disposal that would help you take your presentation to the next level? Tools so powerful you’ll feel like Superman at the podium, rather than Clark Kent?

Today, we share with you the three “superpowers” of public speaking — tools which are guaranteed to improve your message, boost your confidence, and help you successfully connect with your audience.

Superpower No. 1: Focus on the “why” instead of the “what”

Almost without fail, the purpose of every presentation is to bring about some kind of change: inform listeners of new information, shape their opinion, or motivate them to take some action. Typically, speakers focus their message on WHAT they are trying to accomplish. (read more…)

If someone were taking inappropriate or illegal actions in your organization, you, as a business leader, would hope that another employee who was aware of these actions would report the matter. You strive to set up an organization in which reporting a concern could be done without fear of retaliation.

But what if an employee believed that any action taken by someone higher on the corporate ladder was, by default, appropriate; or blindly assumed that senior management was aware of these questionable activities?

Individuals occupying a lower-ranking position tend to form highly positive perceptions of their superiors’ competence, leading them to believe that those individuals should make more of the contributions. Chris Argyris, a Harvard professor and business theorist, argued that employees in lower-ranking positions become more dependent on their superiors and defer to them more, similar to the way children become dependent on and defer to their parents.

Research has shown that individuals with higher rank are viewed as more intelligent and task-skilled, independent of their actual competence levels (Darley & Gross,1983; Sande, Ellard, & Ross, 1986). (read more…)