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Scenario: "Dude, don't think about it. Just stop. Be strong. Yay!" What do you do when fear strikes?

  • a) "I'll try to run away from it!"
  • b) "I'll embrace fear like it's free pizza!"

If you try running away from fear, something super-crazy happens: Fear remains. It sticks with you. It destroys your confidence. Why? It's the association factor: If someone sends you the following command: "Don't think of an elephant." What do you do? You start thinking of a fat-freakin' elephant. !@^^! Similarly, when you tell yourself:

  • "I will not think of fear!"
  • "I will escape it!"
  • "I will not think about it!"

Fear inevitably remains with you -- regardless of how hard you try to fight it. What's the best way then to defeat fear like the muth-!@^^% that is? Respond to fear by embracing the sucka; you'll subconsciously start to overcome it.

Why Embrace Fear

Say you fear a rabbit:

  1. Your heart starts pounding.
  2. Your breathing becomes shallow.
  3. Your muscles start contracting.

And then you try to follow the advice from those self-proclaimed 'gurus' -- who tell you: "Just don't think about it. Yay!" Fat-freakin'-elephant, !@^^.

Instead, when you fully embrace your fear, something paradoxically cool happens physiologically:

  • You start breathing fuller/deeper/sexier.
  • That calms your nerves.
  • Your brain becomes clearer/smarter with more oxygen.

Then, you start freakishly getting more energy/determination/power to overcome the fear. Win.

Ways to Approach Your Fear

The moment you start feeling that fearful thingamajigger, embrace it:

  • "Come to me, baby."
  • "I love you. Come, come."
  • "Yes, I feel you fear. Oh, yes."
  • "I surrender to you, baby."

By confronting that fear (i.e. not running away from it), you ready your badass to gradually defeat the mutha-!@^^%^.

And Remember...

The more times you confront your fear (i.e. the more times you expose yourself to it), the likelier you'll destroy it. Prep yo-bad-self:

  • "If I fear sales, I'll sell ___ times next month."
  • "If I fear networking, I'll network with ___ people this year."
  • "If I fear failing, I'll intentionally fail ___ time this year."
  • "If I fear rabbits, I'll visit rabbits ___ times this week."

Sure, you'll probably start out sucking. But as you progressively expose yourself to it, fear gradually diminishes. Rule of thumb: You'll steadily demolish a fear the more times you confront those fears. So the next time you're feeling fear:

Start embracing the mutha-!@^^%^.


Posted on May 07

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Scenario: "Dude, tell me how much you rock. Thanks! High-Five!" What's wrong with most interview questions? Most won't show how well Prospect Prospy would do your in company. For instance, questions such as:

  • "What are your biggest weakness?"
  • "What are your biggest strengths?"
  • "Where do you want to be in 5 years?"

paint a superficial exterior of candidates. Instead of relying solely on the 'traditional behavioral' interview questions, couple those with ones demonstrating what they'd do in certain scenarios. That, folks, gives you a much better predictor on their success with your company.

"What Kind of Questions?"

Demonstrative questions. Demonstrative questions show you what prospects would do in:

  • Company Situation A
  • Company Situation B
  • Company Situation C

An altered example from New York Executive Consultant Justin Menkes


"You are the manager of a small software company.
  1. Your prices are being severely undercut by competitors.
  2. Your team recognizes a desperate need to cut costs.
  3. Your employee concludes that the answer is to outsource most of the company's programming to foreign subcontractors, thereby reducing labor costs.
  4. In fact, your employee has already received a number of bids from service firms in India.
What questions do you have about his proposal?"

What would a solid response be? According to Menkes:

  1. "[She] would explain that the core assumption underlying the COO's conclusion needs to be confirmed'that is, outsourcing automatically equals cheaper production."
  2. "She might point out that there may be indirect costs (up-front investment, ongoing customer service, and software development issues) involved with such a move that must be considered."
  3. "Further, she would cite the probable unintended consequences of the COO's proposal, such as how using a distant workforce might affect productivity or labor relations."

Someone that answers outright: "Hey! Solid idea! Let's throw all our resources into it!" -- or something similarly superficial -- would probably have sound decision problems.

What Demonstrative Questions Rock?

Menkes recommends scenario questions be:

  • Original: The more original, the less BSing they could do.
  • Relevant: The more company relevant, the clearer their abilities for your company.

When you're out preparing your interview questions for your next superstars, keep this sucka handy:

"Yo, yo, yo! What'd you do in this scenario: ____?"


Posted on May 04

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Scenario: "Dude, you can't. You just have it or you don't. Yay!"

  1. What makes people shine?
  2. What makes them be the most creative badasses?
  3. What makes outside-the-box ideas develop?

It's your intuition (i.e. your instincts). You don't derive some ridiculously-creative idea in the world through "strategic planning." Oh no -- your awesome ideas come from that "POP!" inside your unconscious mind when you're resting, showering, walking in the park, blah, blah. That's where the world's creative juices lie -- where you get your greatest ideas that the world covets. But how do you empower that intuition? Through knowledge.

How Your Brain Makes Gut Decisions

  1. Think of a balloon.
  2. You start blowing into it.
  3. It becomes fatter, then fatter, then before you know it...
  4. POP!

That's akin to how solid intuition works. You fill up your brain with as much knowledge as humanly possible, then before you know it:

  • !@^^-!@^^%^-POP!

You just braced your brain for a super-amazingly-awesome idea whenever you need it. Once you fill up your knowledge stream, you start empowering your instincts.

Do You Need Knowledge?

A superficial 'gut feeling' -- with no relevant background/knowledge -- drives you to make shoddy decisions. For instance, say you're running a multi-multi-million dollar company:

  1. You take some college dude with no business background.
  2. You let him run your company.
  3. What results? Bankruptcy through his speculative 'gut' decisions.

He has no knowledge of running a business -- much less deep knowledge of your business, so his gut feelings will destroy everything you built. Instead, if you want to pass over controls to somebody else, how do you freakishly boost your business's chances at succeeding? You do it by giving it to somebody who's worked with your business for a long time -- and knows the business's ins-and-outs more than anyone other than you. With that freakish knowledge to serve him/her, that new leader will make sound-intuitive decisions:

  • "I just have a feeling we can increase opportunities through..."
  • "I just really have a gut feeling about this hire..."
  • "That vendor gives me a bad feeling about..."
  • "I really think we need to hold off on..."

Sexy Knowledge + Intuition = Win.

"But what if my intuition is wrong?!"

Don't sweat: making quick decisions, and then adapting to the environment is how people/organizations/yadda rock -- and overcome any barriers on their paths. You won't have all the facts, the data, the yadda -- to plan conclusively for the future. That's why most economists who 'predict the future' eat their words days/months/years later.

  • And, that's why Warren Buffet still invests in poor companies.
  • That's why the best Silicon Valley venture capitalists get most investments wrong.
  • That's why successful entrepreneurs still fail, then fail some more.

Instead, making sound decisions takes adapting to the current environment as many times as possible. Your intuition -- then -- will drive you to make those quick decisions, based on your ridiculously fat database of knowledge -- and adapt to your current realities. (Remember the rule of thumb: The person who most adapts to the current realities and environment wins just about every time.)

And sure, you won't win every-single-freakin'-time.

Instead, think of running your business/life like you're playing a game of poker: It's not about results; it's about making consistently good decisions. You want to make consistently good decisions -- that over time -- will pull you ahead. Filling your brain with fat knowledge, then trusting your instincts -- will drive you toward that celebration. To ensure that intuitive gut-feeling rocks:

"Where's my fat-sexy knowledge fillers?!"


Posted on May 03

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Scenario: "Money, fame, and awards motivates them. So, we'll entice them with those rewards. High-five!"

  • Company A motivates its employees with Hawaii trips.
  • Company B motivates its employees with stock options.
  • Company C motivates its employees with big bonuses.
  • Company D motivates its employees with recognition.
  • Company E motivates its employees with all-of-the-above.

So, conventional wisdom would tell your badass: "I gotta motivate the troops with freakishly good rewards. Yay!" You'd think: More rewards = Higher performance. Yet, peep this question:

What Motivated History's Greatest?

The world's greatest-in-the-universe-and-its-mama motivated themselves not by using the filthy "What Can I Get?" -- but by the sexy: "What Can I Freakishly Accomplish?"

  • Beethoven? Composing freakishly good music.
  • Edison? Inventing freakishly good inventions.
  • Hewlett and Packard? Building a freakishly good business.
  • Gandhi? Leading the freakishly biggest resistance.
  • Lincoln? Freakishly keeping a nation intact.

Pursuit of amazingly awesome work drives people to work like a mutha-!@^^%^. According to an InformationWeek study:

On-the-job challenge ranks well above salary and other financial incentives as the key source of motivation.

External rewards? Blah.

The Pursuit of Excellence

Think back to when you were at your most productive -- where:

  1. You felt giddy just working.
  2. You voluntarily trapped yourself to your work.
  3. You completed 984928502 items of work in seconds.

What drove you?

It wasn't external rewards that motivated you -- oh no, it was this: You wanted to kick mutha-!@^^% ass. Likewise, your workers/employees/partners/yadda crave those enormous challenges -- but don't consciously know it.

How to Motivate Employees

It takes three steps to inspire Emma to rock:

  1. Work with Emma to find a super-crazy challenging goal -- that benefits the company.
  2. Give her the necessary resources.
  3. Stand back, and watch the magic.

Why collaborate with Emma on her goal?

She knows more:

  1. about her inherent/learned abilities than you do
  2. what would inspire her to do amazingly awesome work

And when she's accomplished freakishly good work:

How to Reward Emma

If your awesome Emma just accomplished some really-really-really great work, how do you reward her? Traditional managers would think:

  • "Send her to the Bahamas!"
  • "Give her big bonuses!"
  • "Give her a signature trophy!"

But, if the pursuit of excellent work motivates people, Emma's greatest reward in the world-and-its-mama would be this: Another freakishly challenging !@^^-!@^^%^ project. Yes, bonuses, stock options, raises, and Hawaiian trips would certainly serve as sweet asides -- but, Emma would rather have another ridiculously inspiring project. Your employees want it like a fat kid wants cake:



Posted on May 02

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[...] For a taste, Why You Need a Chaotic Business: [...]
Posted on May 01

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Scenario: "Dude, just plan everything before you do anything. Yay!" You're about to race across 3,000 miles. What do you do?

  • You get the resources you'll need.
  • You ask for experienced advice.
  • You get the people you need on the journey.

Then, you start going. When you're on the trip, you discover:

  • You change plans according to current realities.
  • You detour certain areas to arrive quicker.
  • You take stops to recharge yourself.

Yet, one thing always stays constant: "Everything I do guides me to that finish line." That's akin to leading a fabulous life. You know you're !@^^%^ rock-star when everything you do leads to your ultimate goal.


Three ways:

  1. You start doing what matters most.

    Before you do anything, you psychologically start thinking: "How can I make the biggest leap to my goal?" Then, you plan your actions accordingly.
  2. You become smartly productive.

    You won't waste your precious kick-butt time with unnecessary junk -- or, spending a kabillion hours doing something that moves you a sucky two inches toward your ultimate goal.
  3. You become ridiculously happier.

    When you're making progress, you release happy brain chemicals that produces that oh-so-sexy-good-feeling. (The corollary: Seeing yourself making no progress cripples your soul.)

Progress: Filthy good.

The Roadmap to Fabulousity

  1. Choose your ultimate goal.
  2. From this day forward: "Everything I do guides me to my ultimate goal as quickly as possible."
  3. Rock.

Tips For That Ultimate Goal

  1. Make it big.
    Make it something that (1) you can achieve, and (2) inspires you to rock every-!@^^%^-day.
  2. Keep it concrete.
    That is, you'll know when you've reached that freakish goal -- where you'll then set an even higher milestone. Otherwise, you'll wander aimlessly -- constantly doubting your every action.

"What about relaxing and playing?!"

Formula 1 drivers need frequent pit-stops to refuel their juice. Likewise, your body uses breaks to refuel your kick-ass-energy reserves. Without breaks, you'll eventually run on a snail's pace. (Imagine running across the country without refueling.)

What do "breaks" include?

Breaks include anything that refuels you juices for some more butt-kicking later on. Some examples:

  1. Chillaxin'.
  2. Reading a novel.
  3. Playing ball with the homies.
  4. Vacationing faraway.
  5. Going on a dinner date.
  6. Yadda.

Seek your world-inspiring goal.

Then, chase that down and beat that mutha-!@^^%^ into submission.

Destination. Car. Go.


Posted on April 30

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Scenario: "Dude, if our secrets leaked, our business is done. Kaboom. Let's keep them tightly-confined. High-five!" This conversation might seem familiar:

  1. Johnny: "I have the world's greatest idea. I can't tell you until I become a billionaire."
  2. Sally: "No, I have the greatest idea. I'll be the billionaire."
  3. Matty: "No! I do, you sons-of-!@^^%!"

And in the meantime, what do they all -- silently -- think of each other's ideas?

  1. Johnny: "Sally and Matty are so blind."
  2. Sally: "Johnny and Matty are so blind."
  3. Matty: "Johnny and Sally are so blind."

The takeaway: No matter how super-totally-fantastic-2-cool-4-school your ideas are, Joe Schmo thinks he has a better idea. You could expose your secrets to your fiercest competitors, and your business would probably still run blemish-free.

Nobody Really Cares About Your Ideas

You've lived, breathed, and througt about your very-highly-secretive ideas for years. No: decades!

  • "If these leaked, I'd be ruined! Ruined!"

But dude/ette (likely): No one cares. While you've been tinkering with your ideas for decades, Sally Jay -- on the other side of town -- has been tinkering with her own billion-dollar-plan-to-take-over-the-frickin'-world for decades, too. If you exposed your ideas to Sally, she'd probably dismiss it.

Her train of thought:

  1. No! I've researched my idea for decades.
  2. And, my idea will make billions! Not yours.
  3. I've listened to yours for seconds.
  4. To me, you conceived that idea in seconds.
  5. I conceived my idea over decades.
  6. Therefore, I have a more substantive idea!
  7. And thus, I will continue tinkering with my idea -- and ignore yours.

You have your own reason for thinking the way you do.

Sammy, Kathy, Phuong, Tomas, Miguel, Patty, Charlie, Dave, Navarro, Dung, Bobby, Hendy, Alex, Senia, Noura live a totally different life, with different ideas, different approaches, different contexts, different lifestyles, different ideas, yadda, yadda, yadda. Your idea works for you because you've built it on top of your unique strengths, abilities, and experiences.

  1. Dikembe would have to relive your life to put your ideas to full-use.
  2. Otherwise, you'd have one ridiculously-awesome-major advantage over him in exploiting those ideas.

According to a study by Harvard's Business Professor Karim Lakhani on open source workplaces:

Practice doesn't prove that out in the sense that even if other people know about the problems you're working on or have seen your solutions, it's very hard to implement those solutions in other settings. Knowledge is actually very sticky. Even if you reveal everything about what's going on, there's tacit knowledge behind a lot of scientific and technological activities.

Secrets, folks, are oh-so-overrated.

Why Leak Your Secrets

You know who can develop your ideas to those next 985039043523 levels?

  1. An outsider, who'll see your idea from her very-own-unique perspective -- one that she's developed since birth.
  2. You bring on another outsider, and he'll optimize that newly-conceived idea even further -- using his own-unique-one-of-a-kind life context.

According to Professor Lakhani study:

The benefit of opening up your problems to outsiders is that in fact you can get novel solutions - quicker solutions than what the firm or R&D lab might develop. It also opens up new domains for the pursuit of knowledge and activities.

Secrets = blah! And no, we're not telling you to parade your entire corporate handbook on Times Square; here's what we're saying: You'll optimize your 'secretive' ideas much further if you held them looser. Remember:

  1. Bill Gates, Oprah, Steve Jobs, Sam Walton, Michael Dell, Mark Cuban, Donald Trump, Larry Ellison, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, yadda, didn't make their billions by keeping quiet.
  2. Instead, they surrounded themselves with people who could push their ideas to those next 985039043523 levels.

Share, optimize, grow. Win.


Posted on April 27

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Scenario: "Dude, we're running a top-notch organization because our employees aren't complaining/suggesting/innovating. We're 100% optimized. Yay!" What if Employee Debbie knew how to:

  • Improve customer service.
  • Boost employee morale.
  • Increase team productivity.
  • Ramp up sales.

Would she tell you?

  • a) Yes! Why wouldn't she?
  • b) No! She won't.

Answer (b)? Ding! Ding! Mutha ding! Ding! You're right. Your employees fear retribution if they break the corporate equilibrium by:

  • Speaking up.
  • Giving feedback.
  • Trying to innovate.
  • Taking the initiative.

"Won't the Boss fire me?!" they wonder. And instead of improving the company, Employee Debbie reverts back to the ol' COG that she is. Her superstar potential to rock your company = gone. If you're looking to optimize your entire company, encourage those badasses to speak up.

Why Your Employees Are Scuurrred

Harvard's Amy Edmonson and Penn State's James Detert interviewed nearly 200 employees about their approaching their bosses in the workplace. The result:

What they were most reticent to talk about were not problems but rather creative ideas for improving products, processes, or performance. Why? In a phrase, self-preservation. We found the innate protective instinct so powerful that it also inhibited speech that clearly would have been intended to help the organization. People often instinctively played it safe by keeping quiet. Their frequent conclusion seemed to be, "When in doubt, keep your mouth shut."

90859820958309899528098530922 innovative ideas to improve companies all over the world. Trapped. Too bad.

Why Encourage Employee Input

A soldier on the front-line knows how to win a battle much more than someone situated a million miles away. Likewise, your front-line employees know how to:

  • Build a better widget than you.
  • Increase customer happiness more than you.
  • Boost team productivity more than you.
  • Yadda, yadda, yadda.

You might think you're a badass, but your employees are expertos excellente at their domains. Embrace their knowledge, and -- collectively -- they'll optimize your business at every level of your soon-to-be-sexy-fabulous organization.

How to Encourage Your People to Speak Up

Systemize the process (i.e. make it an unofficial policy), so you'll receive a stream of brutal feedback constantly/repeatedly/forever-and-a-day. Some examples include:

  • "Every week, list 5 sucky things about our company."
  • "After every client project, list 3 ways we can improve."
  • "At the beginning of each month, tell us how to boost company morale."
  • "After every shipped widget, describe how we can build a better one."

Once you systemize the process, you'll confront how much sucky-suck-suck your company really is -- and discover immediately what you can do to improve the sucker. The side benefit: Your employees will take "ownership" of the company's direction, increasing their productivity as a result.

The takeaway from all of this:

  1. Your employees know much more about how to improve something that you don't.
  2. They're not telling you because they fear retribution.
  3. So, actively embrace and encourage their input.

Start asking each your each and everyone of your badasses:

"You're the expert. How would you improve the business?"

Posted on April 26

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Scenario: "Dude, we just need to generate lots of Benjamins. Then we'll buy Bimmers! High-five!" To be super happy, people think it takes:

  1. making lots of money
  2. getting all-star promotions
  3. getting lots of rewards
  4. achieving lots of recognition

But if you recount your past, and ask yourself:

"What really made me happy working?"

It was probably this: Progress. That is, you plowed your way through some freakish barrier -- then, subconsciously thought afterward: "Oh shizzle! I'm further down the road now than where I was yesterday! Yay!" The happiness juices in your ridiculously awesome brain started flowing. You became one happy dude/tte.

Progress Breeds Happiness

Harvard's Teresa Amabile and Researcher Steven Kramer studied how people became most happy at their work


We found that the single most important differentiator was a sense of being able to make progress in their work. Achieving a goal, accomplishing a task, or solving a problem often evoked great pleasure and sometimes elation. Even making good progress toward such goals could elicit the same reactions. Even very mundane successes led to positive feelings.

If you're running your business (i.e. have no one to set your tasks), do it this way:

  1. Think of your ultimate destination (e.g. your 20-year goal).
  2. Then, start itching away at it.

If progress makes you happy...

What Makes You Unhappy?

One word: Stagnation. Setbacks that impede your progress destroy your morale. If you feel that you're going nowhere, the anxieties start creeping. According to the researchers:

The worst days - the most frustrating, sad, and fearful days - were characterized by setbacks in the work. Again, the magnitude of the event is not important: Even seemingly small setbacks had a substantial impact on inner work life.

The minute you feel pushed back, immediately do this:

Do something -- anything! -- that reverses that setback, and keeps you moving forward. For instance: if some angry customer sends you a crazy complaint, take one easy step that reverses that stagnation: Acknowledge it. Rule of thumb: As long as you're moving forward, you'll set your booty up for some happiness.

"So how can my butt seek super happiness today?!"

Three steps to follow:

  1. Think of the biggest problem you that you can defeat in a minute/hour/half-day/full-day.
  2. Tackle the problem like the !@^^ that it is.
  3. Notice how freakishly happy your booty becomes driving home.

High-!@^^%^-five to you. Get some progress; be happy.

Seek progress.


Posted on April 25

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Scenario: "Dude, we must fix our weaknesses. Cuz we suck, and we want to be better Yay! High-five!"

Bam! You're running a small candy store.

You're: (1) great at customer service, but (2) seriously suck at marketing.

  • Your customer service skills rock: You're caring, considerate, and have the potential to be a 'legend' at servicing your customers.
  • Your marketing skills super suck: You have no design experience, you have no interest in color psychology, and you think branding is some sort of fraternity ritual.

You have absolutely no interest in marketing, but think: "I need to learn marketing to improve my business!"

Like most people confronting their weaknesses, what do you start doing?

Ignoring your customer service skills -- since "I'm already good at that! yay-yay!" -- you start trying to learn as much about marketing as possible:

  • You read marketing books.
  • You join marketing clubs.
  • You sign-up for marketing newsletters.
  • You network with marketing professionals.

What happens? Though you become a little more proficient at marketing, you still (1) suck at it -- because (2) you dread it -- and (3) know you will never Wow! people with it.

The bigger crime?

Throughout that time, you've ignored your customer service skills; like a muscle that's ignored, your customer service skills:

  1. loses its potential to kick some more @ss
  2. gradually weakens

Instead of being that 'legend' at servicing your customers, you end up with:

  • Mediocre customer service skills.
  • Still sucky marketing skills.

When you start trying to fix your weaknesses, you gradually throw your strength out the window. Net result: You become 'just like any other company out there.'

How to Deal With Your Weaknesses

It starts with asking: "How can I minimize my weaknesses?" When you minimize your weaknesses, you leave room to empower your strength. The two-step approach:

  • List where you're weak.
  • Seek ways to circumvent those weaknesses.

Example: "Small Ball" with The Golden State Warriors

Keeping up with the NBA Playoffs? Here's how the Warriors ("the worst team in the playoffs") beat the Dallas Mavericks ("the best team in the playoffs") on Sunday: Reality check: The Golden State Warriors basketball team have no inside presence -- that is, they have no big players ("Biggies") to dominate near the basket. Solution: To resolve that weakness, they leverage their smaller players' strength:

  • They use more fast-breaks. ('Biggies can't run with us.')
  • They shoot more 3-pointers. ('Biggies won't block our shots.')
  • They quicken up the game. ('Biggies will lose stamina.')
  • They double- and triple-team the Biggies. ('We'll distract the Biggies from their game.')
  • They play less inside-defense to leave players open on the wings for those fast-breaks. ('We'll force the tired Biggies to muscle their way inside. We'll leave players on the wing for quick scores. That will tire the Biggies even more, leaving many more opportunities for us.')

They had all season (82-games/328-quarters/3936-minutes), to work on their inside game, but chose to strengthen their strength. Good thing: instead of being mediocre all-around, they became phenomenal at where they could !@^^%^ rock -- then leveraged that all-world strength to kick major ass.

Where Does Your Business Suck?

You won't know what to strengthen until you know where your business sucks. Seek that weakness list, then notice where you could rock. Remember, your business could fall into one of these camps:

  • a) Jack-of-all-trades: You're to be the best at everything (or a lot of things) -- but sacrificing your real strength. You become like most companies out there.
  • b) Master of one: You're minimizing where you suck, focusing on where you rock -- then continually strengthening it. You're in the company of Starbucks, Google, McKinsey, Goldman, Wachtell, and Berkshire. Your potential to !@^^-!@^^%^ rock: insane.

To leverage your sexy strengths, seek ways to:

Minimize your weaknesses.


Posted on April 24

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