Photo by Josefine Granding Larsson, courtesy of flickr

I’m not much of a sports person, but I do know that what make a truly great team is more than just a handful of big-name star players.

What Makes a Team a GREAT Team

Sure, a great team may have a few high-profile stars, but those stars need to be backed up by skilled and consistent supporting players to keep up a winning record. Both the stars and supporting players rely on coaches who are experts in both the mechanics of the game and the strengths of each player. …

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

If there is one common theme connecting all the terrifying, life-altering, and tragic events of 2020 thus far, it might be the prevalence of bad systems. All around us, we are seeing that the institutions and structures that surround us and shape every aspect of our lives are insufficient (at best) and dangerous (at worst).

Remember the toilet paper shortages in the early weeks of the COVID pandemic? The problem was exacerbated by an overly specialized toilet paper industry that prized efficiency over functionality.

The never-ending instances of overly forceful police responses toward demonstrations against unjustly violent, racist, reactionary police…

Image by Cara Shelton from Pixabay

If you are anything like me, you’re probably having a hard time wrapping your head around the myriad ways covid-19 is affecting our lives. I know I’m struggling to figure out what the new (hopefully very temporary) “normal” will be, as we all try to balance family, health and safety, personal wellness, and work.

I keep flashing back to the more personal crisis I experienced a few years ago that forced me to do some serious exploration into my core values and true self. That rough period of my life made me realize that my true passion and superpower is…

“Say noo-noos” : My 3-year old niece and curiosity muse!

Ugh, February.

While I’m naturally a very optimistic and curious person who prefers to seek out activity and experiences, in these colder, darker months I have a tendency to adopt hibernation-like behaviors. This means lots of time hanging out at home focusing inward, and less time engaging with the people and world around me. This winter, though, I’ve found a new muse who’s shown me new opportunities for inspiration: my 3-and-a-half-year-old niece!

As adults, we take so many aspects of our day-to-day life for granted. Once we commit to our chosen world view, we instinctively practice social norms and are…

Me, standing in between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates in in Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

In my monthly newsletter for December, I encouraged readers to set aside some time during the craziness of the holidays and do two things to help with their business and professional goals:

1) Reflect back on 2019, celebrating your accomplishments and acknowledging how and where they could have done better.

2) Transform those reflections into valuable lessons learned to make them even more triumphant in 2020 and beyond.

Before leaving on my holiday vacation, I took my own advice.

Reflecting back on 2019, my biggest accomplishment was helping 16 consulting clients and more than 75 workshop attendees gain clarity and…

“My, how you’ve grown!”

Remember when you were a kid, and one day you’d go to put on your favorite pair of jeans, only to find that they were suddenly 5 inches too short? You didn’t even notice you were growing. One week the pants fit, and the next week they didn’t!

We regularly talk about kids having growth spurts — short periods of time in which immense physical change occurs, right in front of our eyes, yet no one even notices until it’s done.

The same thing happens in small businesses. You’ll be going about your day-to-day routine —…

By Alexandra Suchman and Alison Mendoza-Walters

Part 2: Can You Measure Fulfillment?

Can You Measure Fulfillment?

For many mission-driven small businesses, the ultimate goal of the business owner is to feel personally fulfilled by providing a service or product that genuinely helps people, being able to work on her own terms, and/or doing what she loves for work. In order to be effective, however, you need to have some way to discern if your business is living up to your mission. In short, you need to use some form of business metrics.

I know, I know. The phrase “business metrics” sounds so corporate. So cold. So…

By Alexandra Suchman and Alison Mendoza-Walters

Part 1: What does a successful business look like?

What does a successful business look like?

Most people would probably answer this question with something about revenue exceeding expenses, generating high profits, or maximizing efficiencies. In our society, the concepts of business and profits are so inextricably linked that we often assume that the primary goal of every business is to make as much money as possible.

It’s true that profits are fundamental concepts for every business — they are, in fact, what distinguish business entities from nonprofit entities. …

We need to talk about success.

People tend to think of it as the end result of a competition — a race with a finish line, and at the end of the finish line are wealth, power, and influence. In this view of success, there are winners and losers: not everyone will cross that finish line and some people will cross it sooner or faster than others. In other words, this success isn’t something that everyone can have, and some people must be more successful than others.

I see this definition of success as a dangerous trap for both businesses…

Photos of show cards are screenshots and fall under Fair Use. Special thanks to Daven Ralston for designs.

I am not a cold weather person, so I pass the winter months by doing a lot of binge watching. This winter I was on a big BBC kick, and a few series left me with more substantial takeaways than just their pure entertainment value. They’ve also inspired some interesting insights into honest communication, strategies for productive meetings, and beneficial management practices.

In this series of posts, I share some great show recommendations, accompanied by tips for how these shows can help you solve some of your workplace’s most pressing problems, all from the comfort of your own couch. This…

AIS Collaborations helps small businesses get the processes and systems they need to grow and thrive. Do Good Work Better!

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