Company Building

Advice for entrepreneurs, founders, and business leaders who want to build high growth companies that are lasting.

Hey Boss: Your “Open Door” Policy Is a Joke

open door policy

The big boss strolls into the big corner office. “Remember, my door is always open,” they call out to the team. If this sounds like the start of a bad joke, that is because in a way it is. “Open door” policies are usually empty gestures. Because if you have to tell people that you are open and accessible, then it is probably not true. And you have a transparency problem.

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4 Ways Being Nice Is Hurting Your Career

are you too nice at work

Are we morally obligated to always tell the truth? What about telling a small fib with good intentions? White lies are one of those things that give deep thinkers fits. Soften or obscure the truth to avoid hurting somebody — it frequently happens at home and at work. And it is a problem. Because this ends up doing more harm than good. Read more…

The Founder’s Paradox: So You Want a Team of Superstars?

founders paradox superstars

Pelé. Beyonce. Chavez. Oprah. Salk. Magic. There are some names that require no explanation. You know exactly who these superstars are. The level of talent and impact supersede the need for their complete name — these folks have moved from mere mortals to one-name legends. But there are plenty of other stars in our midst. Read more…

19 Big Myths About Remote Work

Aha! product roadmap software remote team

I feel like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day. You know that feeling when you keep having the same conversation again and again? You try to be patient. But you feel the repetition starting and you tense up. For me, that conversation goes something like this…

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Do Your Company’s Core Values Mirror Your Own Values?

Aha! product management software remote company

What are your core values? I am not referring to the aspirational traits that you want to strive towards. Or the bare minimum morals you require of yourself and others. I mean the beliefs that are deeply personal to you. They are part of your DNA. These core values are the fundamentals that guide your actions and choices every day — especially when no one is looking.

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Can You Be Perfect Every Day?

perfect moment Aha! product management team

There are moments in all of our lives when we experience a deep sense of satisfaction. When we have worked incredibly hard and realized our true best. Instant flashes of mental and emotional euphoria. Masterpieces that no one else needs to appreciate. But you know that what you just accomplished means everything. And guess what? These moments can happen at work too.

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What This CEO Learned After Writing More Than 100 Blogs in 2017

2017 Brian de Haaff blog

I have a hard time slowing down. A voice in my head always says, “Why wait? Keep going.” So, I almost never stop. I quickly move forward from finishing one project to starting the next. Always focused on the next big goal, the next big step for our company. It has worked for us so far. Aha! is one of the fastest growing software companies in the U.S. — and yet…

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The One Thing Successful Founders Do to Create Winning Teams

startup founder peer network

Were you an awkward teenager? Not yet an adult but not a kid anymore. I know there were times when I was not quite sure where I fit in and what my role was. This is the beauty of growing up — you have time to try and figure it out (only to realize that the answer is never clear).

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Hey Customer: Stop Treating Me Like a Jerk

angry customer

Angry customers. I have encountered a few. And I bet you have too — even if it was just in passing. Have you ever overheard a customer ranting at their waiter about a meal? Walked into a store while a rage-filled return was in progress? The reason for this anger is usually not whatever the customer is yelling about. The core issue typically stems from something that happened earlier in the day and not feeling valued. The frustration is simply redirected. Unfortunately. 

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Hey Boss: You Are Setting Me Up for Failure

new hire onboarding

A terrible first day at a new job. You show up only to find your wonderful new boss is not ready for you. Nobody greets you. I would like to say I am making this up — but it happened to me. I once sat in the lobby for over an hour waiting to get going at a new job after graduate school.

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Remote Work Is Not Your Scapegoat

remote work scapegoat

This is a tale of a company at a crossroads. Innovation had stalled. Teamwork was anemic. It was a time of stagnation. Leaders wrung their hands over the ailing enterprise. So they issued a decree. “Hear ye, hear ye! Remote work is banned. All employees must return to the closest regional office.”

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How to Be Transparent at Work (Without Making People Cry)

open office layout

Extreme openness. This was the original intention of the open-office design. Breaking down walls would also break down barriers — everyone could exchange ideas throughout the day. The organization would realize a hyper-state of transparency where the best ideas would always win. But I bet you have experienced a different reality with this floor plan.

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Your Company Is Not a Democracy

a company is not a democracy

We are living in unsettling times. In 2016, you may have found yourself saying “What?!” out loud a lot. And I am betting that this year your knee-jerk response has become, “Now what?” But uncertainty in the world is nothing new. And it definitely is no stranger to business.

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How to Silence the Office Donkey

office donkey

My friend Mary recently shared a recurring nightmare. It involved a twisted metamorphosis into a donkey. It was Disney’s fault — specifically, the film Pinocchio. You know, the scene where the mischievous boys transform into jackasses? It scared the heck out of her as a kid. But these days a different type of donkey haunts my friend.

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Your Remote Co-workers Feel Left Out

remote coworkers left out

I was recently talking with a CEO who was having trouble hiring and retaining good people. He was considering opening new locations and adding a few remote workers. His thinking? More people. My thinking? More problems. Guaranteed.

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