Could the new year mean a new business direction?

Find the sweet spot between the misery of rich and poor | practice (split each time) | Could the new year mean a new business direction?
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January 8, 2024
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Leading the Way
Find the sweet spot between the misery of rich and poor
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Neither being fabulously wealthy nor destitute will make you happy, writes Joe Procopio, the founder of TeachingStartup.com, who offers tips on how to find the "sweet spot" between the two where you can enjoy success, understanding that you won't always be happy. "You have to put on a stupidly happy face when you're staring down failure or frustration or pressure. That's what being a successful business leader means," Procopio asserts.
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Put it into practice: Never chase happiness or success, Procopio advises, because you will find neither. The key to happiness is in the process where you ultimately discover what true success means to you -- and it may be different from what others envision for themselves.
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Could the new year mean a new business direction?
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Leaders should take a page from Lighthouse Consulting founder Larry Robertson's neighbors, who assessed their current home and decided to build a new house to better meet their needs when they found it lacking. "In other words, deliberately take time to look at your organization -- not the physical, so much as the operational and the aspirational, and then ask yourselves: Is this how we should be living and doing, or do we need to make some serious adjustments?" Robertson writes.
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Put it into practice: The new year offers leaders the time to reevaluate their plans, business model and processes to refresh stale systems and toss out whatever isn't working, Robertson writes. "It truly is a cost-of-living-where-you-are assessment -- an appraisal of where and how you're living right now and whether or not it's yielding the returns you want and need or costing you."
Read more from Larry Robertson on SmartBrief on Leadership
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Dutch American CEO and executive coach Michel Koopman says that while the Dutch appreciate forthright talk, many other cultures consider such directness "tactless, insensitive or even rude" -- so Koopman has learned to speak transparently instead. This approach includes the direct message but "incorporates a gentler, more contextually aware, and empathetic approach" that "fosters enhanced relationships, nurtures trust, and bonds teams more effectively," Koopman writes.
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Put it into practice: Start with praise before diving into "nuanced constructive criticism," and then suggest working together on ways to tackle the issue differently, Koopman advises, offering examples that include empathy, clarity and active listening. Remember, "transparency forges a connection of understanding rather than constructing barriers of criticism," Koopman explains.
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Be more productive with Barbara Corcoran's strategy
Corcoran (Janette Pellegrini/Getty Images)
"Shark Tank" star Barbara Corcoran has a two-fold strategy to be more productive: get clear about your goals and then group related ones together and assign them to be completed on specific days. Corcoran's other secret is to keep a paper calendar instead of a digital one, saying putting pen to paper helps improve her memory.
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Daily Diversion
Were your library reads among the most popular in 2023?
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If you went to the library last year and checked out Bonnie Garmus' "Lesson in Chemistry," you were not the only one. The 2022 novel about a female chemist was the most checked-out book last year, along with "Spare" by Prince Harry and "Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow" by Gabrielle Zevin, and some librarians noted that checkouts of e-books outpaced physical ones.
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About The Editor
Candace Chellew
Candace Chellew
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I once had a friend who said exactly what he thought. I found it refreshing until I didn't. Eventually, I realized his forthrightness was not so much about being honest but was, in fact, a subtle form of bullying.

This became clear over lunch one day when he spent most of our mealtime criticizing me and telling me how difficult it was for people to approach me. At the same time, I had another dear friend -- whose communication skills were gentler but still direct -- texting me, telling me that I was terrific and easy to talk to.

As Michel Koopman points out, this second form of communication tends to land better than the first. My in-person friend was indeed being direct, but he was also rude in communicating. I heard his criticism, but it landed with a thud, while my texting friend's praise felt more helpful and uplifting.

What's your communication style? Do you prefer to be direct? If so, have you considered how your direct approach lands with others? Can you adopt a more transparent style that is still direct but feels gentler to those you're addressing?

Tell me your techniques and experiences.

If this newsletter helps you, please tell your colleagues, friends or anyone who can benefit. Forward them this email, or send this link.

What topics do you see in your daily work that I should know about? Do you have praise? Criticism? Drop me a note. And don't forget to send me photos of your pets, your office and where you spend your time off.
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