7 Employees You Should Fire Now

What is one of the toughest decisions you, as an owner and leader, have to make? In my experience, it is when you must fire an executive or leadership team member. Often, they are very effective and talented but simply unmanageable, or so divisive that they are more trouble than they are worth. There are more or less seven kinds of people you simply have to get rid of. No ifs ands or buts, and sooner rather than later. Here are those magnificent seven …

FastCompany – 15 Tech Trends Defining 2014

Drones, driverless cars, bucking the price norm, and the digital dragon of China are some of the things that will change our economy and our lives in 2014. Fast Company has recently published defining technology trends as predicted by Frog design. Frog is a global innovation firm with an interdisciplinary team of more than 600 designers, strategists, and technologists. They forecast that this is “the year of technological kickback, when privacy goes mainstream and we take the reins on our own quantified self, when artists tame 3-D printers and we learn to unplug.”

Avoiding the "Big Black Hole" of Business Proposals

Have you experienced this? You will receive a well earned request for a proposal, spend precious time crafting it, hit “send” and anxiously await a response. You follow up with an email. Nothing. You leave a voicemail. Nada. You send another email. Nope, nothing doing. Welcome to what I call the the “Big Black Hole” of business proposals – where proposals go to curl and die. If this happens to your company, you’ve got company. Nobody has time to waste on proposals that go nowhere. Here are a few concrete steps you can take to maintain control of the sale and keep your proposals away from the “Big Black Hole”!

RPD/Radical Personal Development

Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence and founder of the excellence revolution, advocates all of us to “outlearn the competition.” On 1 January 2014, Tom tweeted: “Accelerating tech changes/etc.= Middle class in tank: good jobs are falling to algorithmic automation and offshoring. ONLY answer/ONLY chance: Determined/intensive commitment to personal growth.”

Tom continued: “You totally misunderstand overall economic context if you choose not to start today on RPD/Radical Personal Development.” Check out Tom’s latest manifesto, “Excellence. NO EXCUSES.”- 57 guides to develop excellence in your life. Focus on a few of these 57 ways to make your work-life-output Excellent now.

FORTUNE – The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders

FORTUNE states: “In an era that feels starved for leadership, we’ve found men and women who will inspire you — some famous, others little known, all of them energizing their followers and making the world better.” Here is their list of the worlds 50 greatest leaders – led by Pope Francis. Merkel, Buffet, Clinton are in the top five as well. Check out the full list and see if you agree.

Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd

Youngme Moon of the Harvard Business School created this video introducing her new book, DIFFERENT, an intimately drawn meditation on the meaning of business differentiation. She teaches one of the most sought-after courses in the school’s curriculum, and has published some of the best-selling case studies in the world.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things

A lot of people talk about how great it is to start and run a business, but only Ben Horowitz, one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, is brutally honest about how hard it is to run one. His new book “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs and owners as well as those aspiring to their own companies. His advice is grounded in anecdotes from his own hard-earned experience—from co-founding the early cloud service provider Loudcloud to building the successful Andreessen Horowitz venture capital firm, both with fellow tech colleague Marc Andreessen (inventor of Mosaic, the Internet’s first popular Web browser).

Five Ways to Protect Your Ideas

“Eighty-eight percent of big companies’ value is based on their brands, methodologies, content, training systems, and other innovations, and the same holds true for many smaller players”, says attorney Andrew Sherman, a partner at Jones Day and the author of Harvesting Intangible Assets. Verne Harnish’s latest FORTUNE column gives you five ways to protect your ideas. Are you asleep at the wheel when it comes to properly protecting and defending this critical asset – from employee contracts to trademarks to patents? Take 1 minute to scan the five quick hints.