4 Top Business Leadership Lessons from 2022

4 Top Business Leadership Lessons from 2022

To close out the year, here are four great leadership lessons from the past 12 months that you can apply to your business in 2023.

“I decided to build properties so cool that people would come to me,” she says. “The house itself — not the location — would be the destination.” — Kristie Wolfe, one of the most influential Airbnb proprietors in the world

People use Airbnb to find a place to stay once they’ve already decided where they want to go for a trip. Location is an Airbnb customer’s primary consideration for fulfilling their need. But Wolfe discovered a way to drive more business, provide greater value and differentiate herself from competing Airbnb hosts by offering one-of-a-kind properties. She exponentially expanded the market for what she offers from “people who needed a place to stay” to “people seeking a great experience.”

Lesson: Expanding your customers’ understanding of what you offer opens the way to new growth.

“The idea of radical transparency is not to be brutally truthful, it’s to share your thinking and make your thinking accessible to everybody.” Mark Bertolini, Co-CEO of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s biggest hedge fund firm

One of the guiding principles of the business culture at Bridgewater is that honest and immediate feedback in meetings results in better business decisions. To facilitate this process, they use an internal app in meetings for sharing feedback called the Dot Collector that enables people to express their thoughts and ideas and see their colleagues’ thoughts in real time.

Lesson: The app also allows users to rate one another’s comments. Bridgewater takes the idea of transparency to an extreme, but the basic principle of encouraging employees to share feedback promotes a positive workplace culture.

“Solve customer problems and make sure that the customer is representative of a large market and then you will have a pretty good formula.” Melanie Perkins, Founder & CEO of Canva, a graphics design business 

Perkins and her partner Cliff Obrecht a business in her mother’s living room with the idea of helping schools design yearbooks because they thought the existing graphics design tools required an excessive amount of training. It wasn’t just high schools that needed a better way of creating graphics, however: the whole world needed an easier tool to create visual content, turning Canva into a $40B business.

Lesson: Focus on your customers’ needs and look for opportunities to expand your market.

“It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success.” Lionel Messi, champion soccer player

Messi made this statement back in 2004, but it’s just as apt this year as it was in 2004. It’s been 36 years since Argentina’s national soccer team won the World Cup.

Lesson: As long as you keep working, you’re working towards achieving your dream. Don’t pin your business hopes on being an overnight success; it’s great if it happens. But if it doesn’t happen, keep working so you can make it happen.

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

Here’s Your Year-End Business Checklist

Here’s Your Year-End Business Checklist

The end of the year is the perfect time to look back at what you’ve accomplished in the past twelve months. You and your team have put in a lot of hard work, and it’s time to give yourselves a pat on the back.

It’s also a good time to make sure you’ve taken care of everything to keep your business on track in the new year. Goal-setting is a big year-end task, of course, but there are many other important tasks that need to be done at least annually. I’ve created a checklist of items to help you get started.

Reconcile accounts receivable

Organize expenses

Analyze cash flow

Create end-of-year reports

Here are some key financial reports, and you may have others appropriate for your specific business:

  • Year-to-date actuals (actual numbers versus budget)
  • Year-to-date projections (what we think our actual numbers will be)
  • General ledger overview (a top-level look at all accounts)

Perform computer maintenance

Depending on your equipment, you may need to:

  • Run virus scans and anti-malware programs
  • Update operating system and software
  • Clean up your file directory on your computer

Update contact information

Verify you have current contact information for the following:

  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Vendors
  • Advisors

Update website information

Update social media profile information

Conduct physical inventory of business assets and equipment

Schedule holiday closures for 2023 on your business calendar

Consider any charitable donations you may wish to make before the year’s end

I hope these ideas for closing out the year are helpful to you. If you’d like additional information about any of these items, please reach out. 

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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4 Leadership Decision-Making Styles: Which Is Yours?

4 Leadership Decision-Making Styles: Which Is Yours?

As a business leader, you’re faced with big and small decisions every day.

Leadership decision-making styles are all over the board, and it doesn’t help that there is no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to making good decisions. Everyone has his or her own way of choosing a course of action, based on personality, experience and training or coaching.

Some leaders rely on their gut instincts to make a fast decision. Others prefer to mull it over and consult others for diverse input and support for their decisions. Still others serve as a facilitator, putting decisions into the hands of their team.

Understanding how you typically make decisions and what different styles of decision-making are most effective in a given situation will help you make better decisions.


Autocratic leaders take full control of decision-making, and their word is final. They avoid consulting others because they feel others don’t know as much as they do about the situation. This is an old-school approach to decision-making, but it may be useful in high-stress situations; for example, when an urgent decision must be made quickly and the decision-maker has all the necessary information.


Analytical decision-makers look at the facts, data, and figures to make informed decisions. They “run the numbers,” taking into consideration the big picture and the impact on the entire organization. They look at future implications of the decision. This approach is useful when deciding to make large investments and when the consequences of a bad decision are high, but it can take time to gather numbers, conduct research and meet with advisors. Another drawback of this approach is that the focus on data can obscure the human factor.


Leaders who practice the behavioral style of decision-making are empathetic and often have high emotional intelligence. They rely on instinct and past experiences to inform their decision-making process, but they also prioritize relationships with their team. They are considerate of the impact their decision has on others and communicate this clearly, so everyone in the organization feels recognized. This decision-making style fosters a collaborative, harmonious business culture, and is useful in making decisions that are relevant to everyone in an organization and don’t require a specific expertise or knowledge.


Conceptual decision-makers are visionary thinkers and focus almost exclusively on the big picture. They work as facilitators, leading their team to brainstorm possibilities and arrive at consensus. This approach is useful in making long-term decisions about the direction of a business or tackling thorny problems where the solution isn’t obvious. It’s not an effective approach when immediate decisions are required or to address day-to-day operations.

These are just four of the many decision-making approaches leaders have. The key takeaway for today is that effective leaders have  a mix of decision-making approaches in their toolbox, because each will work better in certain situations.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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Keys to Successfully Delegating Tasks in a Small Business

Keys to Successfully Delegating Tasks in a Small Business

Delegating tasks is an important leadership skill in all types of businesses, but especially for small business owners. In theory, it sounds easy: all you have to do is assign tasks to others.

For some business owners, however, delegating can be challenging. One common reason: it’s tough to let go of control when an owner feels no one else would ever be able to do the task as well as he or she can. Others put off delegating because they fear it will take too much time to train someone else to do the job right.

Investing time upfront to prepare to delegate tasks and providing critical support during the hand-off will save you time in the long run.

Identify tasks to delegate

Before you can delegate effectively, you must identify which tasks are best suited for others. Start with a self-audit of how you spend your working hours.

Tasks to consider delegating are ones that are simple, repetitive, and teachable, or tasks that are just too tedious for you. Also, there may be opportunities to divide a complicated task into two parts, where a team member does part of the task and you give it the finishing touches.

Choose the right person for the task

Know your team and their strengths. Have one-on-one meetings to get a better feel for those who might have an interest in taking on more tasks and learning new skills. You may discover that one of your team members is better suited for a task than you are.

Consider timing

When you delegate a task, make sure you have enough time to train the employee on how to do it and provide support during the learning curve.

Start with small steps on complicated tasks

Don’t give the employee more than they can handle at once. If given too much information or responsibility at once, they may be overwhelmed and not learn as quickly as they would otherwise.

Document process

If the task is complicated or requires specific resources, create a checklist or a reference guide for the employee taking on the task.

Give constructive feedback

Once the employee starts performing the task, meet regularly to discuss how things are going. Be sure to offer praise if deserved.

Remember, you can’t do everything yourself, and you don’t have to. Delegating tasks effectively frees up time for you to focus on important tasks that only you should manage.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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Prepare to Unplug and Unwind During the Holidays

Prepare to Unplug and Unwind During the Holidays

Whether the holidays are the busiest or slowest time of the year for your business, plan ahead to give yourself and your employees time to relax, gather with family and friends, and celebrate the season. Here are some ways to ensure that everyone gets a chance to step away from work.

Make a list of routine and important tasks that you can get done ahead of the holidays.

It may mean extra work for your team now, but everyone will appreciate not having to face a mountain of overdue tasks when they return to work after the holidays.

Give employees important contact information.

If your employees will be working while you’re out of town, provide information and contacts for handling emergencies.

Be sure customers know how they can contact your business during the holidays.

If your business will be closed for specific days, let customers know well in advance so they aren’t expecting an email reply or a callback. Post an announcement on your website if that’s how people typically connect with you. Ask everyone on your team who receives external emails and calls on a company line to set out-of-office response messages for their days off. If appropriate, identify a designated point of contact during their absence.

On their days off, encourage your team members to ignore work-related electronic communications and, whenever possible, do the same yourself.

A real break will allow you to spend more time with family and friends and leave you feeling refreshed.

If you or your employees must work over the holidays, be sure to provide special treats for morale.

There are countless ways at every price level to show your appreciation to employees who are working during the holidays. Choose something you know will be valued.

Every business will have its own unique needs and challenges to address during the holiday season. Planning ahead and flexibility are two keys to reducing stress and providing time off for you and your employees.

Do You Have an Abundance or Scarcity Mindset?

Do You Have an Abundance or Scarcity Mindset?

As a business owner, your mindset is one of your greatest assets. Your mindset is the lens with which you view the world and your opportunities to succeed. It informs how you pursue your goals and how you lead your employees.  While your mindset was influenced in childhood by your family life, it’s something you can control and change.

Life feels like a constant struggle for those with a scarcity mindset. There’s never enough time or money or resources to do what needs to be done. Fear and worry wear them down and affect the morale of people around them.

On the other hand, those who have an abundance mindset always seem relaxed, even in the face of a challenge. They have confidence in themselves and a belief that things will work out. It’s not that they are naive or Pollyannna-ish; rather, they know that doing something moves them closer to their goal than worrying about how they might fail.

Not only is it easy to get stuck in a scarcity mindset, but it can also spread from your home life to your work life or vice versa. Taking a mindful approach to maintaining an abundance mindset will keep you from slipping into a self-defeating scarcity mindset. Here’s how:

Practice a beginner’s mind

Apply this Zen concept to approach each situation with fresh eyes, as if you are encountering it for the first time. A beginner’s mind allows you to see an abundance of possibilities because you won’t start with preconceptions based on negative experiences in the past. Thinking of yourself as a beginner also relieves you of the burden of having to know all the answers before you get started.

Tap into the power of words

Your words are a source of inspiration or negativity for yourself and for your employees. Words affect your thinking and actions, so try to always use language that reflects your aspirations, not your doubts. Taking a moment each day to articulate your gratitude also helps reinforce an abundance mindset.

Flip your perspective

If you find yourself facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles, look at the situation in a completely different way. Maybe you can’t build a bridge, but can you discover a different route to the same destination?

First think big, then narrow your options

To avoid getting bogged down by limitations, focus on finding all the opportunities in a situation before identifying obstacles. If your starting point is overwhelmingly negative, it takes more work and greater momentum to envision a positive outcome. Once you’ve identified possibilities, then you can begin to evaluate the pros and cons of your options.

Surround yourself with people who share your abundance mindset

It’s challenging to row against the flow. If everyone around you shares a scarcity mindset, it’s hard to remain positive. Your attitude also influences the people who work with you — abundance is contagious!

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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Three Guiding Principles for Success

Three Guiding Principles for Success

One of the major differences between people who are successful in achieving their goals in life and people who fail to achieve their goals is having a comprehensive plan. It’s not enough to focus on just the business side of life; success comes more quickly to those who align all aspects of their life with their goals. In other words, how you manage your time away from work is just as important as how you manage your business. Here are three basic guiding principles that will accelerate your path to success.

1) Set aside time for planning on a regular basis

Planning helps you to focus on what’s important by clarifying your priorities, setting goals and objectives, making sure you have the resources you need to achieve those goals, and keeping track of your progress along the way so that if something needs to change in response to new information or circumstances, it can be done quickly.

Most of us routinely make short- and long-term business plans but how many of us apply our planning mindset to our lives outside of work? A comprehensive approach to planning creates a healthy work-life balance, preserves time for family and friends, and allows you to engage in activities that support your mental and physical well-being.

2) Focus on getting things done, not being perfect

Focus on what you can do now to keep things moving forward instead of worrying about achieving perfection. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or feel discouraged if your goal seems unreachable. Instead, aim to be persistent in your efforts, and allow your progress, no matter how slow and steady, to inspire you to persist.  

3) Develop good habits

Habits are a great way to make things that feel hard to do seem easier and more enjoyable. For example, if you want to take up jogging, it’s probably not always going to be easy to keep it up regularly during the first 30 days, the length of time researchers believe it takes to form a habit. But if you stick with it, you’ll feel less resistance with every run. At some point, jogging will become second nature, and keeping a “streak” going will be sufficient motivation.

Creating good habits that support a healthy lifestyle will give you the strength, stamina, and mindset to continue working towards your goals, even in the face of occasional setbacks. Here are some examples of lifestyle habits that will contribute to your overall success:

  • Eat a nutritious diet
  • Workout regularly
  • Get sufficient sleep
  • Give back to others
  • Socialize on a regular basis
  • Engage in lifelong learning

There are many other strategies for success both in life and at work, but these simple guiding principles will help you stay on track to achieve the success you’ve always dreamed of.

There’s More to Work than Just Work

There’s More to Work than Just Work

A little fun at work goes a long way. It shows that you appreciate your employees not just for getting their jobs done but also as people. Fun activities also help foster a sense of community, improve the overall morale of the workplace, and can even prevent burnout. In fact, research has shown that playfulness can lead to better performance at work — especially when it comes to creativity. Engaging in play gets us away from problems for a bit so we can come up with creative solutions for them later on.

Having fun is not just about celebrating birthdays — but let’s not forget the cake. Here are some ways to give employees a reason to look forward to coming to work. 

Theme days and seasonal observances

It doesn’t take much creativity to come up with an excuse to decorate your workplace or put on some spirit wear with your business logo. Besides celebrating Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and the other usual suspects, you might throw a founder’s day party to mark the day you started your business or reward your employees for landing a new client or successfully completing a massive project by catering a lunch for everyone to enjoy together. 

Group activities

Games are great ways of promoting teamwork within your company because they encourage people to interact with one another in a non-stressful situation. Make it a friendly competition for a valuable prize or for a worthy cause to encourage participation. 

Inviting your people to lunch or an after-work get-together or hosting a family day are other ways to bring your people together and build rapport. The more your employees feel a sense of belonging, the less likely they are to look for other jobs.

Make it meaningful 

Take a moment to share some reflections with your team about how you value these moments of fun with them. Make connections between team activities and your overall culture and ambition for the business.

Lastly, be sure to be inclusive and engage personally with everyone at your events. These casual moments help you and your employees get to know each other better and build trust.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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5 Ways to Cultivate an Ownership Mindset

5 Ways to Cultivate an Ownership Mindset

Every business can benefit from a culture of ownership that encourages employees at all levels to take initiative. Without an ownership culture, your employees may end up being too dependent on your personal presence and control over every decision and detail — and that’s not productive. 

More critically, your employees’ failure to make a timely decision when you aren’t available could negatively impact your business. Additionally, employees who don’t feel a sense of ownership are less motivated, less engaged, and more likely to leave the company when they do find better opportunities elsewhere. 

An ownership culture starts at the top. Your team looks to you to demonstrate what ownership looks like. They’ll also need your support to learn how to take ownership. Here are five ways you can build 

Provide the resources your employees need to be successful

This might mean providing training courses on new technology and tools, creating mentorship pairings, and practicing communication skills. 

Communicate the big picture

It’s also important that all employees gain a solid understanding of all aspects of your business and how different areas connect and what the different roles do. This understanding provides the broad knowledge base that employees may need for solving a problem or serving a client.

Encourage self-reflection 

Make your one-on-ones with employees a two-way street. Before offering feedback and advice, invite them to assess their performance or bring up things that are going well as well as things that require improvement. 

Give employees freedom within a framework

Set clear expectations and boundaries, so employees feel empowered to make decisions and suggest improvements but also understand the limits of their authority.

Let your team lead

Look for the right opportunities for your team to develop solutions without your guidance or involvement. Task them to explore options, report on their findings, and make recommendations for your consideration. If you do make a final decision that differs from their recommendation, take time to fully explain your thinking and express your gratitude for their work.

An ownership culture empowers those who work within it by giving them the opportunity to take responsibility for their decisions rather than just following orders from above. When everyone feels responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly, productivity is higher than ever!

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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What’s All the Noise About Quiet Quitting and Quiet Firing?

What’s All the Noise About Quiet Quitting and Quiet Firing?

In some contexts quiet is a good thing, but when it comes to employment status, keep the lines open and conversations going strong. Here’s what you need to know to prevent quiet quitting and avoid quiet firing.

What is quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting generally refers to the behavior of employees who don’t formally quit a job but do the bare minimum to stay employed. Less often it’s used to describe the act of leaving a job without giving notice.

The phrase has been around for a while, but lately quiet quitting has been in the news more frequently. Many attribute the increase in quiet quitting to changes in attitudes about work during the pandemic and its aftermath.

Causes of quiet quitting

There are various factors that contribute to quiet quitting, but one of the most common is disengagement, which in turn occurs for a variety of reasons. Here are some examples:

  • Lack of opportunities for advancement
  • Feeling unappreciated
  • Comparatively low wages
  • Long and/or unpredictable working hours
  • Ongoing friction with business management

The costs of quiet quitting

Costs start adding up before disengaged employees leave, because they aren’t going above and beyond to contribute to the overall success of the business. Once they do leave, the business faces the costs of hiring and training and may experience lower productivity rates during the transition process.

Investing in increasing and maintaining employee engagement can help avoid or reduce the high costs of disengaged employees and employee turnover.

What is quiet firing?

On the flip side of the coin, quiet firing is when employers prompt employees to quit without directly firing them. Some of the tactics are obvious, like not giving raises or reviews, leaving the employee out of meetings, and avoiding casual interaction. Sometimes an employer isn’t intentionally trying to make the employee quit, but is avoiding dealing with an employee who isn’t working out.

The costs of quiet firing

Keeping a nonperforming employee on the payroll creates a negative impact on the business’s culture and lowers overall productivity.

The solution is to address the situation directly. Engage the employee in conversation to gain a full understanding of the situation, work out a plan for improvement, and monitor progress. If things don’t get better, then it’s probably time to let the employee go.


Keeping conversations going with employees can prevent costly misunderstandings that result in losses for your business.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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