I had a very proud moment last week. To read about it you'll have to scroll down to the last story. Before sharing about that I have other items for you related to strategic ownership, disruptive innovation, sales meeting preparation, and a terrific book recommendation. Let's get on with this issue of Build and Balance. Thank you for being here!

Seek Diversity in Your Company

The word 'diversity' gets a lot of play in Silicon Valley. Many tech companies are diligently trying to increase the diversity in their staff. There are two reasons why this is the case: 
1. It's starting to look really bad when you're called out for having a lack of diversity whether it was your intention or not; and 
2. It's good for business. McKinsey & Company did some research on this topic and found on many levels that ethnic diversity greatly increases a company's likelihood to outperform over those that don't have such a makeup. 
Here's another key stat from their findings: Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. That's significant! Look at the staff of your company. If they are not ethnically and racially diverse you could be hamstringing your chances for long-term success. You can find the article here
Incidentally if you are seeking to increase diversity at your company you may want to exhibit at this career fair coming up in late February. Diversity is the focus.
A Disruptive Printer

Raise your hand if you're tired of buying ink cartridges for your printer. Keep it up if you've ever had to stop a print job before it was done because you ran out of ink (happened to me last week). I feel like I'm buying ink every other month for either my printer at home or the one at the office. I'm sure I'm spending between $200 and $300 a year on ink. That's nuts and needs to end. Enter Epson with a fresh idea. Their new eco-tank printers come with enough ink to print thousands of pages and last for up to 2 years with the ink you get with the unit. Moreover, the ink resides in tanks, which can be refilled. No more time wasted buying ink cartridges that cost too much for so little ink. I plan to buy one for my office after my current printer runs out of ink. I'll be getting  this model because it prints a little faster than the less expensive ones. As you ponder this innovation consider this, you can start a business or create a product that does the opposite of what everyone else is doing. Think Southwest with their 'bags fly free' feature, or Tender Belly with their bacon that costs many times what the competition is charging. 

Send this Email Before Your Next Meeting w/ a Prospect

I received an article from my Edward Jones advisor, Mandy Andrei, a few weeks back and I thought it was brilliant. Written on the Art of Charm blog it says that you should carefully prepare an email to send to prospective customers (or referral partners) before they meet you for the first time. The email should highlight your accomplishments and credibility, confirm the reason for the meeting, and get the other person excited to meet with you. 
When you think about it this email makes much more sense than the usual email, which would simply confirm the time and place. For one thing it feels a little funny talking about your accomplishments face to face. However, in print it's helpful for the other party to be able to read about what you've done for others like them. This email will also greatly lessen the time spent going over these things when you do get together. I'm meeting with a coaching prospect in a few weeks. In the interim I'll be preparing this email! You can see the full article with a sample template here. If you listen to podcasts consider listening to theirs. It's pretty darn good.
Last Chance to Join Me at 
2 Upcoming Events

I'll keep this short. If you have wanted to register for my brand new program: How to Become a Better Speaker in 90 Days, time is running out. The class starts on Friday. Just added to this first class is a 2-hour session with a voice coach who'll help you to find your best speaking voice. The quality of your voice can make a huge difference in your speaking. Students in this class will have an edge after this exclusive meeting. You can learn more about the program, see all the bonuses that come with registration, and check my guarantee here.  
The Business Growth Series is coming on Feb. 5th. I literally have just a few spaces left. This event is all about growing your business in 2016. If you attend this event and can't see how you'll easily exceed the small investment for this day by acting on the ideas you receive and generate, then I'll give you your money back and you can keep the lunch! Get the full scoop on this program and register here. Use promo code 'REBOOT' to save $50.  
Book Recommendation: Decisive

The person you are today is the sum total of the decisions you've made in the past. This year will be fantastic, great, average, or fair in large part due to the decisions you'll make. Every day we're driven to make decisions in our businesses about strategy, employees, marketing, finance and more. Considering how often we make decisions, doesn't it make you wonder why you haven't read a book about how to make better decisions? It's time to read Decisive. Authored by two brothers, Chip and Dan Heath, the book is packed with great stories and methods to employ for better decision-making. I will venture to say you could take your year up a notch if you read and apply the ideas in this book. It's that good. Here's one decision-making process from the Heath brothers: The 10-10-10 process. How will the decision you're about to make affect you in 10 minutes? 10 months? How about 10 years? Looking at a decision's effects in different timeframes can cause you to see it altogether differently. It's time to go beyond asking close friends, or drawing a line down a piece of paper and scratching out the pros and cons. Decide now to read Decisive (also available as an audiobook).

Don't Be an Askhole

I'm not very fond of this coined term from the Darren Daily blog, but Darren makes a great point. 

Why spend tons of time gathering great information only to sit on it and do nothing? Honestly, my life changed radically when I stopped doing that. I'm not done changing so this was a good reminder for me. Get Darren's perspective here.
A Proud Moment

My daughter, Stephanie, is now 11 and in the 6th grade. Since sometime in November she's been studying lists of words in preparation for a regional spelling bee where she would represent her school with one other classmate. That regional bee was last week. She came in 1st by spelling masquerade correctly. That qualified her to immediately go to the Spell Off where the top 4 finishers from each grade-specific bee will compete head to head. Being in 6th grade that means she'll be going up against 12 kids from the 5th, 7th and 8th grade bees along with the 3 kids that placed behind her in the 6th grade bee. A little daunting. Well, she was ready for it. She went up there and spelled every word they threw at her correctly including accoucheur, a French word for a male midwife. What? You didn't know that word? Neither did I until I encountered it during our practice sessions. One day she may have a use outside of a bee for all the exotic words she's learned. When all was said and done, she took 1st place again. Talk about a proud moment. She's living proof of what the combination of commitment, hard work, and confidence can achieve. 
Quote of the Issue...
"Excellence just doesn't happen, it must be forged, tested and used. It must be passed downward into the very fabric of our soul until it becomes our nature." 
- General Charles C. Krulack

I have to say that January is going swimmingly so far. I can't wait to see what February brings. I hope you got something from this issue. Wishing you the best in your business and life. Your next issue will arrive on the 10th of February.

Michael Neuendorff | The Growth Coach | 650.373.2022 

The Growth Coach | 533 Airport Blvd. | Suite 400 | Burlingame | CA | 94010