Great Tips from Mike Splinter

Great Tips from Mike Splinter

I was reading the current issue of Fortune Magazine and there is a regular section in the Technology pages called 'The Best Advice I Ever Got'.  This week I particularly enjoyed the tips that were shared by Mike Splinter, CEO of Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) in California.  In my opinion he has really hit the nail on the head in terms of some of the characteristics and key behaviours of true leaders. Mike first speaks about the best advice he ever got, from former Intel CEO Andy Grove.  Grove was giving a talk to new management hires trying to provide them with some foundation and understanding of the Intel culture.  In his talk he told them to "always assume it's your responsibility." Always assume it's your responsibility. What a great concept and an incredible underpinning for a corporate culture.  What if everyone in your business assumed that everything was their responsibility?  As a small store owner can you imagine a world where all of your employees took it upon themselves to sweep...
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Intelligent Perseverance Yields Results

Intelligent Perseverance Yields Results

In my last entry I talked about some of the key traits that an Entrepreneur needs to have, one of which was an ability to 'relish the door slam'.  Ironically shortly after I wrote that entry I received this week's Harvey Mackay column (highly recommended) that spoke about perseverance in tough times. While Harvey was speaking in general about the state of the economy and its effect on business in general, I think that the element of perseverance is even more important when it comes to small business owners and Entrepreneurs.  Even beyond the ability to relish the door slam, Entrepreneurs require the discipline to stay the course when finances are tight, the work/life balance is hopelessly out of alignment, and when nothing seems to be going right for weeks on end. This is not to say that Entrepreneurs should stick to their same routine when things aren't going their way.  Dr. Phil is famous for asking "how's that working for you" and while I can't say I watch...
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It’s Game Day!

It’s Game Day!

I was reading through my news headlines in Google Reader this afternoon and was reminded that the NHL hockey season is once again around the corner and in fact today is the first pre-season game for my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs.  You can pity me all you want... I was born with the Leaf blood running through my veins (thanks Grandpa!)... we will win the cup again (one of these days). The fact that it's Game Day reminded me of an article I read the other day from the Harvard Business Review about just that topic with an Entrepreneurial twist.  Turns out professional athletes have it easy (who would have thought ) only having to put on their game face once every two to three days during the playing season.  Monica Tate-Maile, in her article For Entrepreneurs, Every Day Is Game Day, highlights the differences between the corporate world and the Entrepreneurial world when it comes to anyone looking at starting their own business. She specifically gives three pieces of...
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Business Adoption of Web 2.0

Business Adoption of Web 2.0

In the current installment of the McKinsey Quarterly newletter (much recommended for anyone who doesn't already subscribe) they have released an interactive tool that provides the results of their Web 2.0 and Business survey from this year. There are some interesting trends that show up in the survey if you look at the trends over the last couple years: Looking at employee use of some Web 2.0 technologies within the workplace there is an increase in the use of video sharing, wikis, mashups and blogs, but a significant decrease in the use of social networks, tagging, and P2P networking for business use. There has been a significant increase in the use of Web 2.0 technologies for internal and customer facing uses, but their use for partner relationships and supply chain has remained fairly constant over the past three years. Over half (54%) of companies still plan to increase their investment in Web 2.0 technologies which is virtually unchanged from last year.  Considering the current state of the...
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What is your Unique Value Proposition? (UVP)

What is your Unique Value Proposition? (UVP)

I was sitting with one of my trusted network centers of influence on Friday discussing opportunities and business and she asked me what should have been a simple question to try to identify any connections she could make for me: "What is your unique value proposition?  What is it that you do that makes you stand apart from everyone else?" I went in to a 5 minute diatribe about people, process, structure, and start-ups and finally she stopped me.  See, the problem is that I never really identified anything that I do that sets me apart.  I forget sometimes that at the senior level, anyone that a start-up brings in can handle the people, process, and structure part (or they wouldn't be considered senior).  What she wanted to know was what I did differently that would help a start-up succeed so that they wouldn't have to call her in (she is a turnaround expert) in six months. In addition to simply identifying my...
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