Executive Education Archives - Blog

Celebrating Life and Relationships with Neen James

What can I say?  Neen James rocks! The petite fireball lives up to her Attention Pays message, commanding a room of over 100 CEO’s and their teams last Friday at our 13th Annual Growth Strategies Breakfast at the Union League of Philadelphia. I loved welcoming her back for an “encore” performance. She was the Key…

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What’s your biggest Challenge? It’s People – again!

Last month we shared the results from our 12th Annual Growth Strategies survey and no surprise, when we asked CEO’s about their biggest challenge for growth, the answer was People. Attracting and retaining talent, being a better Coach and Manager and creating an engaged and aligned workforce were all cited as major stumbling blocks to…

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12 Quotable Million $$$ Quotes from Howard Shore

“Howard was AWESOME! And right on point!” “The workshop and the message were outstanding, informative, and very pertinent. And I enjoyed meeting the CEO Think Tank® community too!”  “I really enjoyed listening to Howard and only wish I had known him years ago…he could have saved me millions!” Howard Shore delivered an insightful and amazing keynote…

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How to Win the “Great Game” of Business

Mid-Atlantic Behavioral Health, a growing therapeutic firm in Delaware, is dedicated to supporting individuals, families, and groups to reach their fullest potential. And their team is committed to taking an active role in enhancing the quality of mental health care in their community. Enthusiastic students of Verne Harnish’s “Scaling Up” business operating system, Traci Bolander, the CEO,…

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15 Lessons from a 4th Gen Entrepreneur

It’s Planning Season again… It’s time to pull your team together and celebrate your accomplishments, talk about what you want to continue to do AND what you need to stop doing.  (As Murray’s character discovered, you’ll keep stepping in the same pothole of ice-cold water if you don’t learn from your mistakes. :))

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10 Picks for late Summer Reading

There’s plenty of time for summer reading…almost half of August is left and of course Labor Day weekend – whatever these final weeks might hold in store for you.  If you haven’t had a chance to “catch up” on your pile of shame, I’ll add to your list with these 10 enlightening authors.  🙂  With…

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THE GREAT GAME of BUSINESS: Coming to Philadelphia

When I was a young engineer at Procter and Gamble, Jack Stack was already becoming a legend in the business world for what he was able to do with a traditional, blue-collar workforce.

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How to Fly a Horse – or the “Secret” History of Creation

Creative genius is a myth.  And great flashes of inspiration are never the work of just one person, even if one person gets all the credit.

So argues author Kevin Ashton, technology pioneer and entrepreneur in his best-selling book, “How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention and Discovery”.

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The Power of “Power Posing”

Amy Cuddy wasn’t supposed to become a successful scientist. In fact, she wasn’t even supposed to finish her undergraduate degree. Early in her college career, Cuddy suffered a severe head injury in a car accident, and doctors said she would struggle to fully regain her mental capacity and finish her undergraduate degree.

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5 Tips for Engaging and Retaining your Top Talent

You’ve just spent valuable time, energy and money over the last 90 days looking for the RIGHT Talent to fill a critical seat in your company – AND you’ve found an amazing A Player who fits the bill perfectly for what you need to grow the company.

But now that you’ve made a great hire, how do you keep them?  (HINT: It’s not about the money.)

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A “Magic Wand” for building Accountability

Holding people accountable can be one of the most time-consuming and thankless jobs out there.  Maybe that’s why many leaders struggle to do it – or don’t do it as consistently and relentlessly as they should.  The payback isn’t always immediate or apparent, the conversations can be difficult and there’s way too many other priorities.

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Are you ready to take the LEAP?

It’s just as important to follow the money as follow your passion.  And, contrary to popular belief, you’re better off doing only a very few things that you do exceptionally well – and finding others to do the rest.

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Five “Must Reads” for 2015

My mother was a librarian.

That’s the “excuse” that I often give when my clients and other people in my circle accuse me of overloading them in the book recommendation department.

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No Fairy Godmothers – 3 Things every Leader needs to Know

How do YOU find and hire the right players for your company? That’s the question that was posed at a CEO Roundtable I attended a few weeks ago.  A challenging topic for sure. While hiring the right people can certainly difficult, especially for the small mid-market, there are methodologies and assessments out there (as well…

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3 Key Qualities of a Successful Leader

Vern Harnish once said “There are two qualities I have noticed in those who get where they want to go.  While intelligence, passion, and discipline are all useful qualities, success belongs to those who have these two attributes – an insatiable need to learn and an unquenchable penchant for action.

But there is one more missing quality that all leaders need to have – if they want to be successful.


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4 Challenges and 4 “Tips” for 2014 – Part 1

People, Money, Management and Sales…those were the top 4 challenges that small mid-market CEO’s cited as facing them in 2014 in our 8th Annual Growth Strategies Survey.

What’s more important is what these CEO’s are doing to overcome them.  And if they’re issues that are facing you, what are YOU doing?

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3 “How To’s” to Nail the Fundamentals

Why the fundamentals? Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Packers, was famous for saying at the start of every season, “Gentleman, this is a football.” Lombardi knew the power of fundamentals. Randy Pausch, the former Computer Science professor at Carnegie Mellon who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2008, also spoke to the “basics” in…

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Are you a Lead Generator…or just “Taking Orders”?

Are you a Lead Generator … or just “Taking Orders”  Before you take a complete break for the holidays, make sure to plan some “think” time to clear your head and get ready for 2014.  Your Marketing and Sales plans are just the place to start.  Take our quick 5 question quiz to help prime the pump.  Guaranteed to give you some great ideas for leveraging your time and improving your top line in the weeks and months ahead!

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The Dark Side of Success…and 3 Lessons Learned

There’s a Chinese proverb, “Failure is the Mother of Success”. Many of us work hard to achieve success, to “climb the mountain”, but in our efforts to get to where ever it is that we’re going, not only do we forget to look back and celebrate how far we’ve come – we also sometimes forget that the pinnacle can be the most dangerous part of the journey. For with great achievements can come hubris – the dark side of success.  And Phil Jaurigue has experienced that first hand.

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A “cheat sheet” for “Navigating the Growth Curve”

Several years ago, James Fischer, had an ambitious goal. The co-Founder of the Origin Institutea research and consulting company out of Boulder, Colorado, wanted to understand and decipher the patterns, behaviors and the characteristics in entrepreneurial enterprises – and – develop best practices to better navigate the trials and tribulations of business growth.

Six years and over 700 CEO interviews later, Jim documented his findings in the book, “Navigating the Growth Curve: 9 Fundamentals that Build a Profit-driven, People-centered, Growth-smart Company”.

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A “Map App” for your business

Last week I spent five wonderful days touring the Douro Valley in Portugal with my husband, my sister and brother-in-law. The spa/ hotel where we stayed had terrific service and accommodations; we ate fabulous Portuguese food and took several day trips to the visit the local wineries that are ubiquitous in this part of the world.

The views were breathtakingly gorgeous as we wandered around impossibly high mountains in a tiny little Volvo, attempting to navigate unfamiliar roads in a foreign country.

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Four simple solutions if you’re “Stuck”…

“You don’t look like a chemical engineer,”another (male) chemical engineer said to me, upon being introduced as his new colleague, as if I was some strange aberration of the “species”.  (Twenty years later, I still get a laugh remembering his reaction.)

“What’s an engineer supposed to look like?”, I asked him with a smile.  It wasn’t the first time that I had heard that type of comment from a man upon introducing myself (certainly not the last) and why get angry when humor can often be the best response?

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Five Failures or Five Reminders?

Take this short quiz  (courtesy of the speakers at the Fortune Leadership Summit in Orlando a week ago) and see!


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Do you have a “tsunami” goal?

If a tsunami affected your business tomorrow, would you still stay on track with your plan?

A few years ago, that exact scenario happened to one of our clients, who was implementing the “Habits”.  Thanks to the Habits, the executive team had a plan, were aligned to their priorities, and had great meeting rhythms. The whole company remained focused, despite the turbulence and they still hit most of their goals for the year.

So what’s your “tsunami” goal? If your business was affected by a major crisis tomorrow, would you be able to stay focused on your goals and deal with the disaster too?

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Have you hit “the wall”? Or are you just running in place?

Someplace between $5M and $25M, most companies hit “the wall”, and executives feel like they’re running in place – no matter what they do to try and grow their businesses.

Not a straightforward or simple task as many of you know. Predicting, delegating and managing effectively take more than having the right talent.

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How to create a Culture of Accountability…

For the fourth year in a row, “Holding key people accountable” has been in the top 2 challenges that CEO’s have cited on our Growth Strategies Survey of small and mid-market businesses throughout the region.

When one CEO in the audience, somewhat perplexed asked, “Why does that keep coming up? Aren’t you helping them to do something about it?”  I was a bit stumped for a minute. The answer seemed obvious to me – but maybe not to him.

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What are the obstacles to your success?

If achieving a desired future were easy, everyone would do it – quickly and easily. Even if your vision is clear and you can articulate a detailed destiny, there are always obstacles in the path.

In our experience, we find that obstacles come in three flavors…

Wondering what your obstacles are?  Click below read more!

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Are you falling victim to Procrastination?

The election is next week. The holidays are close behind, and 2013 is just around the corner. And yet many companies still don’t have a formal strategic plan on the books OR a meeting scheduled to create a strategic plan and align their team.

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Cash is Queen…

People are the life blood of a business – but getting them engaged and committed can seem like a daunting task at times…

  1. What are you doing to foster engagement in your company?
  2. How are you getting people on the same page and pulling in the same direction?
  3. How much time do you spend reinforcing what’s important AND what are the consequences of not performing?

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Before the year gets away from you…

Summer’s winding down…at least in the northern hemisphere…and I’m starting to hear talks of annual planning for 2013 – along with lots of“strategic thinking” and “what if” conversations. Of course, there’s always the critical prioritization question given all of the things you could be doing…

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Learning to say “No”…

Learning to say “NO” to opportunities for new business has been a major business lesson for me over the past few years. In the dozen years that I’ve worked in the small and small mid-market sector, I’ve noticed an intriguing but not surprising pattern… Only a very small percentage of CEO’s in this space are truly willing to adopt the discipline…

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What’s your Number?

Ed Sullivan, four-time entrepreneur and currently CEO of G2Link, has a track record with companies that might turn a few of you green with envy.     And, while he is highly creative, he is also extremely disciplined when it comes to running his businesses. At a recent lunch with him and a couple of my clients, Ed…

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And the Survey Says…

Well the results are in from our Sixth Annual Growth Strategies surveyof the CEO’s of small and mid-market companies in the Greater Philly region and for those of you who haven’t seen the results yet, they’re very encouraging. Some of the key highlights… Businesses that survived the downmarket are now investing and growing Finding, developing and keeping good people…

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So what about those “practical” examples?

As I shared with you last week, the companies that are successful at long-term growth are the ones that find a new “S” curve for their business, according to Dave Power of Power Strategy, the speaker at our upcoming Growth Strategies Breakfast next Friday, the 16th.  Whether it’s a new product, a new way of doing things, a new…

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Sometimes Life catches Up with You…

In what will continue to be challenging economic times, how do you grow and sustain your company? Strategy and People That’s the message that came through loud and clear two weeks ago at the Fortune Growth Summit in Phoenix.  My biggest takeway? The companies that will weather the storm in the next few years will do so…

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Success can breed some very bad habits…

Founded in 1989 by Phil Jaurigue and two partners, Sabre Systems, Inc. is a technology and engineering consulting company that has grown to over 600 professionals operating both nationally and internationally.  They’ve won the Philly 100 eight times, have competed successfully with the likes of Lockheed Martin and Computer Sciences Corp, and built a well-respected and well-run business. One…

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Save the “Ides of May”…and still looking for your votes!

I’m headed off this weekend to Tucson, Arizona for the Fortune Gazelles Growth conference.  It promises to be a great event with a number of thought—provoking speakers including Dan Pink, author of “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” and the CEO and Founder of Go Daddy, Bob Parsons. As always, I’ll be blogging about my biggest learnings so stay tuned! BUT…

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Two exciting “launches” to announce…and a REMINDER…

Along with our upcoming Rockefeller Habits workshop on December 8th – for more information or to sign up click here – and our first ROARingvideo workshop on November 2nd… I’m pleased to announce the launch of Ballantree Consulting’s new website… www.BallantreeConsulting.com and our new Habits video! Would love to hear your reviews and comments! (And vote for your favorite character on the video…

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There are always a few bumps…

Jeff Backal and Merrick Rosenberg have been partners in Team Builders Plus for twenty years.  Over that time their team of trainers and facilitators has worked with thousands of businesses including over 60 of the current Fortune 100 as well as smaller mid-market companies. They’ve had lots of successes with their clients as well as being named aPhilly…

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We can’t change the past…

Wil Reynolds has made mistakes – like every business person whom I’ve met. But he’s also learned from them – and created a profitable and highly successful Internet Marketing company in the process. Seer Interactive was started by Wil almost a decade ago, in 2002. The company is now a national leader among SEO companies, has a…

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Why should you care about Core Values?

From its inception nearly 30 years ago PERFORMANCE CONTROLS, INC.® (PCI), has had the same mission: To design, manufacture, sell, and service high bandwidth, low noise electronics for precision applications  in the medical, government, and industrial markets. Perry Walraven has been the CEO for the past eight years and has seen the company grow 300% in that time,…

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The mistakes CEO’s make…

A few months back (April to be precise), the Harvard Business Review did an entire issue on Failures. Appropriately named, the “FAILURE” issue : How to Understand it, Learn from it, and Recover from it – the issue featured all sorts of articles about learning from failure, recovering from failure and even the need to study success – which…

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The odds are not in your favor…but things may be looking up!

Only 4 out of 10 businesses will make it to $1Million.  And only 4% of those businesses will make it to $10Million.  The numbers decline from there. The odds are not in your favor as an entrepreneur and as a CEO trying to grow – and there are lots of ways that you can fail. …

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Calling all “time-starved” CEO’s and Executives….

I’ve spent the last six months or so telling stories about leaders who have achieved success by implementing the Rockefeller Habitsand the Four Decisions in their companies.  There’s tens of thousands of them BTW – world-wide. Given our upcoming Rockefeller Habits Four Decisions Executive Workshop (Link does not work) on May 18th in Philadelphia – an amazing bargain for those of you ready to get serious…

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How do you create and sustain a Great Strategy…?

Over 50% of the small business CEO’s that we surveyed in our most recent Growth Strategies Survey have used the “opportunity” posed by the aftermath of the recession to re-evaluate their strategies and their business models – not a surprising finding I imagine for many of you. Many CEO’s also shared that they now recognize…

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What’s one of the biggest mistakes that a CEO can make…

So what’s one of the biggest mistakes that a CEO can make when he or she decides to expand overseas? “Not spending enough time – yourself – ‘in country’.” That’s a key insight of Lucinda Holt’s after spending time with over thirty other executives and leaders from around the world and traveling overseas as part of a year-long Eisenhower Fellowship….

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Every great poem contains a line from another…

Lucinda Holt has led a number of successful companies as CEO over the past decade.  She’s also won numerous awards including E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in Philadelphia. But it’s one of her most recent experiences – being one of the emerging leaders selected to participate in an Eisenhower Fellowship last year – which really inspired and engaged her.  And…

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