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How do you know if your plan will work? Having a solid plan is one thing; knowing that it will work is something entirely different.  In the transition from idea on paper to success in the real world, refining the plan though testing is probably one of the smartest things

She started her own business late in life and turned it into a multi-million dollar enterprise.  She donated millions to worthy causes.  She was once named the most outstanding business woman of the 20th century.  Much of her success was the direct result of good old fashioned hard work and

What do you do when things go wrong? Leading can seem fun and easy when things are going our way, but it’s when things go wrong that true leaders emerge.  In this example from an Antarctic expedition gone disastrously wrong, one leader achieved great feats of endurance and survival to

What if that carrot we offer actually slows them down? In the effort to motivate our teammates, we are quick to offer carrots we think will incentivize them to greater efforts.  But as this story of the Soviet Union’s most prolific athlete shows, sometimes our incentive system can do the

Not long ago, my son called me from Oregon.  He was driving some friends to the airport when his car suddenly quit and wouldn’t restart.  Beyond attempting to diagnose the problem over the phone, there was little I could do to help from where I was in Minnesota. The good

What’s it like to run an Ultra-Marathon, and how do you motivate yourself to finish any great challenge? Today’s post will be a little different.  In 2014, the year I turned 50, I somehow came to the notion that I should celebrate a half-century of life by trying to run

“How do you find the courage to continue?” Teddy Roosevelt once reminded us that “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.”  But in our struggles to achieve, that difficulty can be enough to make us want to quit. Where can we

How do you improve your team with an After Action Review? The After Action Review (AAR) is a deceptively simple yet powerful way to stimulate the growth and performance of any group of people.  As an organizational learning tool it has been used to transform small teams and entire armies into

I’m building a new team; who should be on it? Often we just inherit the teams we lead, but occasionally we have the opportunity to build a new team from scratch.  How do you know who to pick?    Here are five action steps you can take when building a

What kind of virtual team building can I do with my distributed team? We all know that teamwork is critical to getting things done through people.  Building cohesive teams is already a challenge when everybody is face to face.  But developing trust, communicating well, collaborating readily, and problem-solving effectively become

Kennedy said that “leadership and learning are indispensable to each other,” so how do we make sure we keep learning? It’s easy to get caught up in the daily business of getting things done.  But if we’re not careful, though we may accomplish much, we don’t become better in the

The Ransberger Pivot - How to Win an Argument by Not Arguing

“Do you ever really ‘win’ an argument?” When someone says something that we don’t agree with, our first impulse is often to contradict or correct them.  They are wrong.  We are right.  Then they argue back.  The debate becomes heated, personal, and ultimately counterproductive.  No minds are changed.  If anything,

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