Company Building

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

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…

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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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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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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It Is Time to Eliminate Sales Commissions

sales commissions

Crazy quotas. Anything to close a deal. Pushing customers no matter the cost. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you already know how I feel about the traditional approach to sales. Customers have changed, yet the selling process has not. But here is a surprise — I am about to come to the defense of salespeople everywhere.

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5 Steps to Set Your 2018 Business Goals

goal setting teddy bear

Getting lost used to be much easier. One wrong turn and you could lose your way. You might pull over to unfold a faded paper map. Maybe even ask a stranger at a gas station for directions. Now smartphones and GPS have changed the way we navigate. But even the best technology cannot tell you where you want to go.

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The 10 Main Components of a Business Model

business model book

I learned how to write business models in graduate school. Although, it really felt more like writing long and complicated novels. I once spent three months working on one for a hypothetical home services referral website. I even conjured up crowd-sourced reviews for my would-be business. The process revealed a depressing plot twist.

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Stop Your Next Presentation to Honor the Now

Aha! product roadmap software team presentation

I am always thinking about what’s next at work. (Even on vacation sometimes, like now.) But at our recent, all-team meeting I made a conscious decision to stop. And I did something I have never done before — I interrupted my presentation and asked everyone to stop too. I wanted us all to take a moment to be in the “now.”

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