SPAC Success Can Hinge on This Single Factor

For founders looking to take their company public, special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) offer a less risky, shorter alternative to traditional IPOs, if a few best practices are observed. In a SPAC, companies are formed in order to raise capital in an initial public offering and then uses the cash to acquire a private company, thereby taking it public, usually within a two-year time frame.

The process recently has become popular, especially because SPACs allow founders to avoid the extensive disclosures mandated by the traditional IPO process. Often, SPAC investors don’t even know the startup they will be acquiring–earning SPACs the nickname of “blank-check companies.” In 2021, there were 30 percent more SPAC issuances than traditional IPOs, according to The Financial Times.

But if you’re considering a blank-check deal, keep in mind that there’s one factor that is the best determinant of success. According to Wolfe Research, SPACs led by “experienced operators,” or CEOs with direct operating experience in the industry of the company being acquired, had greater returns on average than those that did not. The research found that just one year out, SPACs with experienced operators averaged a 73 percent rally, whereas those lacking an industry veteran suffered a 14 percent loss on average.

As reported by CNBC, a rather volatile market led some SPAC deals to unravel, causing companies to settle for less-than-optimal targets or change the deal all together. For this reason, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission warned investors in March to re-consider putting money in SPACs, especially those run by celebrities.

“It is never a good idea to invest in a SPAC just because someone famous sponsors or invests in it or says it is a good investment,” the SEC wrote on its website. That’s why if you’re considering a SPAC, don’t be swayed by big dollar amounts or celebrity names. Instead, think carefully about the experience that the blank-check company leaders are bringing to the table.

By Brit Morse, Assistant editor, Inc.

Source: SPAC Success Can Hinge on This Single Factor | Inc.com

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Critics:

Special Purpose Acquisition Company  also known as a “blank check company“, is a shell corporation listed on a stock exchange with the purpose of acquiring a private company, thus making it public without going through the traditional initial public offering process. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), “A SPAC is created specifically to pool funds in order to finance a merger or acquisition opportunity within a set timeframe. The opportunity usually has yet to be identified”. SPACs raised a record $82 billion in 2020, a period sometimes referred to as the “blank check boom”.

Because a SPAC is registered with the SEC and is a publicly-traded company, the general public can buy its shares before the merger or acquisition takes place. For this reason they’ve been referred to as the ‘poor man’s private equity funds.’

Academic analysis shows the investor returns on SPACs post-merger are almost uniformly heavily negative (however, sponsors at the flotation of the SPAC can earn excess returns), and their proliferation usually accelerates around periods of economic bubbles, such as the everything bubble in 2020–2021, when the volume and quantity of capital raised by SPACs set new all-time records.

SPACs generally trade as units and/or as separate common shares and warrants on the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange (as of 2008) once the public offering has been declared effective by the SEC, distinguishing the SPAC from a blank check company formed under SEC Rule 419. Commonly, units are denoted with the letter “u” (for unit) appended to the ticker symbol of SPAC shares.

Trading liquidity of the SPAC’s securities provide investors with a flexible exit strategy. In addition, the public currency enhances the position of the SPAC when negotiating a business combination with a potential merger or acquisition target. The common share price must be added to the trading price of the warrants to get an accurate picture of the SPAC’s performance.

References

The 5 Biggest IT Mistakes Companies Make And How To Avoid Them

Young woman working at home

A new study released by research firm Gartner shows that employees are nearly two times more likely to pretend to be working when their employers use tracking systems to monitor their output. Gartner surveyed more than 2,400 professionals in January 2021.

Across the world, IT professionals are in charge of an increasing number of servers and data coming in from disparate sources, and they’re using way too many monitoring tools to make sense of it all. The Reducing Complexity in IT Infrastructure Monitoring: A Study of Global Organizations report by the Ponemon Institute sheds light on the challenges of troubleshooting and monitoring cloud and on-premises environments.

  • 24% said the handling of scale and complexity of IT infrastructure has improved
  • 29% said the ability to easily deploy and maintain server monitoring technologies has improved

The survey also found that while a significant percentage of IT practitioners are in charge of monitoring over 50 servers, only 33% felt that they could ensure performance and system availability with their current toolset. So how can IT effectively manage increasingly complex, hybrid environments, and what are the major missteps IT organizations can correct to build a more efficient approach to infrastructure monitoring and troubleshooting?

Here are some of the biggest IT mistakes companies of all sizes make — and how to avoid them.

Problem #1: Too Many Tools

Seventy percent of IT professionals in the survey said that using data to determine root cause slows them down — ingesting and normalizing data of differing formats and types is tedious and unmanageable, and it’s difficult to make real-time decisions. This is often because companies use too many monitoring tools for single layers of their IT stack, such as networks or applications, which creates silos and inefficiencies. When data lives inside one tool but can’t access or communicate with data confined to other tools, IT practitioners lose context on what’s happening in their environment because they’re seeing only a part of the picture.

The Solution: The solution to too many tools and disparate data is a single, scalable monitoring tool that provides end-to-end operational visibility into hybrid environments.

Problem #2: IT and Business Friction

As digital business infrastructure increases in complexity, IT teams feel more pressure than ever to reduce business-impacting incidents. When IT systems fail, the ramifications go beyond the immediate financial loss of downtime — a business could lose customers and jeopardize its reputation, a harsh reality that keeps IT teams up day and night. According to Ponemon’s research, 61 percent of IT professionals say that lack of system availability and poor performance creates friction between IT and lines of business.

The Solution

In addition to a solution that allows IT to find the root cause to identify service interruptions, IT and business need to work together to design business and technical requirements in tandem.

Problem #3: No Way to Easily Identify Root Cause

Across the globe, IT professionals spend their days identifying and fixing server environment problems. Indeed, the Ponemon survey found that the top two challenges of troubleshooting, monitoring and cloud migration are:

  • Lack of insights to quickly pinpoint issues and identify the root cause
  • Complexity and diversity of IT systems and technology

When IT can’t find and fix issues quickly, it has a direct effect on the business.

The Solution: For IT to quickly fix problems, they need a monitoring tool that can surface an issue’s root cause with an alert about where and why something is wrong. Issue resolution time can be cut in half with a monitoring solution that correlates metrics and logs, and provides visualizations of alerts, trends and logs in one place. Making sure your monitoring tool can enable those types of actions and resolution planning is critical for success.

Problem #4: The Wrong Skills to Manage Application Complexity

When Ponemon asked IT professionals about the biggest risks to their ability to troubleshoot, monitor and migrate to the cloud:

  • 55%  said the increasing complexity of applications running on infrastructure
  • 44%  said a lack of skills and expertise to deal with application complexity

As infrastructure grows and evolves, it becomes increasingly difficult for IT teams to successfully manage, monitor and troubleshoot systems. Couple that with an IT skills gap that makes it difficult for organizations to attract and retain qualified talent, and it becomes clear why IT teams feel nonstop pressure.

The Solution: To effectively troubleshoot, monitor and migrate to the cloud, you need a solid plan that takes future growth into account is necessary for smooth IT operations. Business and IT need to work together to create an IT environment roadmap, followed by a talent strategy that aligns to that plan. Be sure to:

  • Identify skills gaps and adjust hiring
  • Identify and train qualified employees for advancement
  • Include succession planning for inevitable changes

Problem #5: Lack of Visibility Throughout Cloud Migration

Sixty-eight percent of IT practitioners said that ensuring application performance and availability throughout cloud migration caused the most stress. Over half said both cost and the inability to monitor and troubleshoot applications were their biggest pain points.

As infrastructure increases in complexity, the core responsibilities of IT to monitor and measure remain the same. So how can IT achieve infrastructure visibility and workload insights when performance data spans diverse environments?

The Solution: It’s critical to monitor performance across hybrid architectures with a monitoring solution that collects and correlates data from every location. Full visibility is needed throughout the migration process, so choose an end-to-end monitoring tool that allows you to establish a pre-migration baseline, mid-migration insights and post-migration success.

Before cloud migration, measure the baseline user experience and performance, and define acceptable post-migration levels. To accurately validate a migration’s success, use the same monitoring tool throughout the migration process. A unified tool can analyze centralized data and provide better insights from dashboards and reports.

For more of the biggest IT mistakes and solutions and examples of companies that have solved the problem check out: 8 Biggest Mistakes IT Practitioners Make and How to Avoid Them.

Splunk Inc. turns data into doing with the Data-to-Everything Platform. Splunk technology is designed to investigate, monitor, analyze and act on data at any scale.

Source: The 5 Biggest IT Mistakes Companies Make And How To Avoid Them

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Warren Buffett Says You Should Practice the 4 Habits That Separate The Best From The Rest

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett.

Warren Buffett, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, turns 91 in August. Remarkably, at an age where most people’s cognitive functions have entirely regressed, where many are now at the hands of caretakers, Buffett still captures the world’s attention as the fifth richest person on the planet.

The greatest investor of this generation has amassed a following of millions who’ve learned, like Buffett, that long-term success is achieved by making smart decisions — in investing and in life.

Here are four Buffett lessons that will yield good returns when you choose to act on them.

1. Master the practice of “boundaries”

With all the demands on him every day, Buffett learned a long time ago that the greatest commodity of all is time. He simply mastered the art and practice of setting boundaries for himself. That’s why this Buffett quote remains a powerful life lesson. The mega-mogul said:

The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.

Buffett’s advice is a bull’s-eye to our conscience. We have to know what to shoot for to simplify our lives. It means saying no over and over again to the unimportant things flying in our direction every day and remaining focused on saying yes to the few things that truly matter.

2. Invest in your personal development

What assets should you be investing in the most? In a 2019 interview, Buffett said: “By far the best investment you can make is in yourself.”

As Buffett has repeatedly taught us, it means to never stop acquiring knowledge — the kind of knowledge that betters yourself as a whole person, not just as an investor.

Buffett’s lifelong pursuit of learning, which he shares with his longtime Berkshire Hathaway partner and colleague Charlie Munger, is the secret sauce of his success.

3. Model the leadership behaviors of the best managers

In Buffett’s 2015 letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, he summarized how one arrives at leadership greatness in a few words:

Much of what you become in life depends on whom you choose to admire and copy.

The quote was in reference to Tom Murphy, who taught Buffett everything he learned about managing a company. Murphy, who was Buffett’s biggest admirer, gave plenty of lessons on the best management practices that Buffett has adapted for his own companies, including:

  • Give autonomy to workers.
  • Delegate your authority effectively and wisely.
  • Hire for integrity.

4. Build a positive reputation

Buffett’s reputation is founded on his principled and level-headed approach to his personal and professional life. When it comes to building a good reputation, these are some things worth prioritizing:

  • Establishing trust, transparency, and fairness
  • Offering good value and high-quality products and services
  • Treating people with dignity and respect
  • Communicating clearly and promptly
  • Providing a service to the community

You should treat your business practice as a reflection of yourself, and that means being thoughtful and considerate of how your decisions affect others. If you embrace professional opportunities as a chance to add value to your community, your reputation will reflect your own personal growth.

Source: Warren Buffett Says You Should Practice the 4 Habits That Separate the Best From the Rest | Inc.com

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“Poor People Should Do This!” Warren Buffett ***SUBLIMINAL PROGRAMS*** – http://bit.ly/2jVoXRb ►If you struggle and have a hard time, consider taking an online therapy session with our partner BetterHelp. https://tryonlinetherapy.com/dailymot…. We receive commissions for referrals to BetterHelp. We only recommend products we know and trust. ►MOTIVATIONAL CLOTHES Be a Dreamer http://onlydreamersallowed.com ____________________ 👉Follow us on: https://twitter.com/dailyM_channel https://www.facebook.com/dailyMOTIVAT… https://www.instagram.com/dailymotiva…
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Inside Thoma Bravo’s $9 Billion Mortgage Market Windfall

Upon further review, it was deemed a giant mistake.

In 2018, the Federal Reserve’s four interest rate hikes put its benchmark rate at between 2.25% and 2.5% by year-end, ending a decade of free money. The hikes eventually got painful as rising rates stalled the housing market and a mini stock market meltdown in the fall of 2018 ensued, leading to outcries from Trump. Within months the Fed backtracked. Now, the big question is whether rates will fall below 0%.

For San Francisco-based software private equity giant Thoma Bravo, the Fed’s epic interest rate boomerang is set to usher in a huge deal making coup, an about $9 billion windfall in a 16-month span on Ellie Mae, a software provider to the mortgage market. Thoma Bravo put up about $2.2 billion of equity to take Ellie Mae private in a leveraged buyout in April 2019, financing the rest of the $3.7 billion purchase price. Earlier in August, it struck a deal to sell the company to Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange for about $11 billion in cash and stock.

Ellie Mae is a case study in the deal-making zeitgeist. The window of opportunity for Thoma Bravo was just a few months as the Fed shifted course, and the price paid was far beyond traditional buyout valuation multiples. But stock market darlings like Ellie Mae are rarely put up for sale. Now a mixture of low rates, surging growth, and soaring multiples make these software businesses more valuable than ever.

On public markets, Ellie Mae should have been the type of company buy-and-hold investors own in perpetuity. Its Encompass software is a soup-to-nuts platform for mortgage originators, where they can manage marketing, originate and process home loans, and complete closing and funding documents. It’s in a poll position to do away with the paper mortgage once-and-for-all.

Its Ellie Mae Network also connects lenders and investors with originators sourcing loans, acting as a digital network for mortgage loans. With a base of stable subscription fees and those tied to loan processing volumes, Ellie Mae attracted the savviest small and mid-cap mutual funds like Brown Capital, Kayne Anderson Rudnick, and Primecap. From its April 2011 IPO through mid-2018, Ellie Mae shares rose twenty-fold as annual revenues grew from $50 million to over $500 million. 

When mortgage rates started to rise due to the Fed in 2018, Ellie Mae’s processing revenues dried up and public investors mistakenly abandoned the company’s stock. Over a span of three months between August and November, Ellie Mae’s stock plunged about 50%, culminating in late October when the company revealed a growth slowdown.

“Rising rates, low housing inventory, and overall home affordability are serving as significant headwinds to the overall mortgage market… they are prompting us to reset our assumptions for the year,” admitted CEO Jonathan Corr on an Oct 28 earnings release. Soon investors were valuing Ellie Mae as a declining business with uncertain prospects, instead of the blue chip growth multiple it had one commanded.

Buyout funds saw an obvious mistake. Within days, three firms including Thoma Bravo were knocking on Ellie Mae’s door, inquiring about taking the company private.

An unnamed buyer set the stakes for Ellie Mae at $100 a share, or $3.7 billion. Ultimately, after about three months, about eight interested parties kicked the tires on buying Ellie Mae. The sale process leaked, causing the original high bidder for Ellie Mae to back out of its original offer, opening a window for Thoma Bravo. In mid-February, Ellie Mae’s board decided to sell to the new highest bidder, Thoma Bravo, at $99 a share, or about 40% more than its October lows. But a coup was in the offing. The purchase price was nearly 20% below Ellie’s midyear high.

Two decades ago, Orlando Bravo, the billionaire co-founder of Thoma Bravo focused the firm on software, building specialized teams of investors targeting companies in digital applications, web infrastructure and cyber security. Its playbook is to refocus struggling tech businesses on their strengths, and acquire competitors or new technologies to bolster growth. The Ellie Mae LBO was a mixture of its typical moves.

Led by Thoma Bravo managing partner Holden Spaht, it first laid off about 10% of Ellie’s workforce and cut costs, and further boosted the bottom line by outsourcing some of its workforce from the expensive Bay Area. Thoma Bravo shuttered some stagnating investment initiatives. With customers, it increased pricing, removing discounts given to some older clients even as the product improved. With increased profitability, Ellie Mae and Spaht also searched for acquisitions to improve its overall software bundle.  

In October 2019, Ellie Mae paid about $350 million to buy Capsilon, a natural language processing and machine learning startup that could help customers more accurately pull data from voluminous mortgage applications, lowering errors and exceptions. The business filled out an area where Ellie Mae had invested heavily, but not seen great results.

By 2020, the Federal Reserve was back at zero interest rates and telling the bond market to expect no changes for the foreseeable future. Mortgage rates were touching new record lows and the housing market was on fire. Ellie Mae’s business was surging. Its networked business, connecting all parts of the mortgage market on one platform, had picked up market share. Forecast revenues of about $900 million were almost double the trailing revenues at the time of Thoma Bravo’s buyout, and operating cash flow more than tripled.

The Coronavirus pandemic came early in 2020 and rates only fell further. After a brief slowdown, the housing market took off with record increases in new and pending transaction activity. Valuations for software companies also began to soar as the pandemic revealed the financial potency of companies digitizing entire industries. Thoma Bravo considered an initial public offering of Ellie Mae, but found a ready buyer in Intercontinental Exchange, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange.

Already a giant cog in the trading of stocks, bonds and derivatives globally, mortgages had long been an area of investment for ICE but where success was still halting. In one fell swoop, it could finance a deal for Thoma Bravo’s portfolio company at record low rates and catapult ICE into an industry lead. While the bet is no sure thing, low mortgage rates and geographic shifts created by the pandemic may give the housing market years of pent up activity for Ellie to service. And thanks to the Fed, ICE has already raised $6.5 billion in financing at rates of between 0.7% and 3% for debt maturing between 2023 and 2060.

For Thoma Bravo, the $11 billion deal will yield over $9 billion for its limited partners, over $7 billion above its cost. So far, it’s the signature deal of Thoma Bravo’s $12.6 billion flagship Fund 13, and all but certain to make it an early standout among a recent crop of record-size buyout funds. As it sells down shares in cloud software provider Dynatrace, another giant coup housed mostly in a prior fund, Thoma Bravo is poised to return well over $10 billion to its limited partners in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The firm isn’t alone in seeing massive gains from investments where quick action and conviction were paramount, even at once-unthinkable valuations.

BC Partners bought nascent online pet retailer Chewy for $3 billion a few years ago,  then merged and split it from brick and mortar retailer PetSmart. Now Chewy’s worth $24 billion. Large buyout funds like Blackstone that have tilted their portfolios towards growth bets are sitting on potentially the biggest windfalls in their history, like warehouse space operator GLP and trading platform Tradeweb, a spun off piece of its $17 billion Thomson Reuters financial data deal.

Vista Equity Partners is beginning to take a portfolio teeming with valuable software companies like Ping Identity and Jamf public. The idea that buyout firms must act decisively in order to put money to work in this market was on display when Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries raised about $10 billion from a “who’s who” of PE firms at the depths of the pandemic by selling a small piece his Jio mobile business. 

In public markets, investors targeting expensive, but fast growing enterprise software and internet companies such as Whale Rock, Abdiel, Light Street, ARK Investments, Tiger Global, Zevenbergen and Baillie Gifford are having some of their best years ever as the pandemic accelerates digital change. The conviction has even extended to those traditionally dubbed value investors. 

A few years ago, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger lamented missing out on tech giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook. Then they invested $35 billion into Apple over the span of about a year, a massive sum even at Berkshire. Now their shares are worth $90 billion. Without the courage to invest in Apple at valuation nearing $1 trillion, Berkshire easily could have “missed” what stands to be among its best-ever investments alongside Geico.

Antoine Gara

By: Antoine Gara

I’m a staff writer and associate editor at Forbes, where I cover finance and investing. My beat includes hedge funds, private equity, fintech, mutual funds, mergers, and banks. I’m a graduate of Middlebury College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and I’ve worked at TheStreet and Businessweek. Before becoming a financial scribe, I was a member of the fateful 2008 analyst class at Lehman Brothers. Email thoughts and tips to agara@forbes.com. Follow me on Twitter at @antoinegara

Here Are 7 Companies Experts Think Microsoft Could Try To Acquire Aside From TikTok

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As Microsoft attempts to acquire viral video app TikTok’s US operations, analysts speculated on a few other names that might be on the tech titan’s shopping list. The list of seven potential Microsoft acquisitions includes Dropbox, Slack, Twilio, Docusign and VMware, which Dell is considering spinning out, plus startups Mmhmm and Superhuman.

Keep in mind, Microsoft’s largest acquisition to date was its $26.2 billion LinkedIn deal, and while it appears Microsoft might be willing to pay more for TikTok, multibillion-dollar deals still are pretty uncommon for the company.

While Microsoft’s bid to acquire viral video app TikTok’s US operations may have come as a surprise, there are a few other big deals that industry-watchers think are a little more predictable.

Business Insider compiled a list of companies analysts say Microsoft could try to buy, based on which buys could bolster key Microsoft businesses such as its Microsoft 365 suite of business software applications, Azure cloud computing business, or Dynamics customer relationship management software.

Related: How to start a real estate business by investing of only 500$

It’s worth noting most of the companies on the list cost significantly more than Microsoft has ever paid to acquire any company. Microsoft’s largest acquisition to date was its LinkedIn deal worth $26.2 billion.

Morningstar analyst Dan Romanoff named big companies like Twilio and Docusign as potential targets, for example, but said he generally expects Microsoft to stick mostly to smaller deals.

“I would really expect [Microsoft] to continue to do deals at $1 [billion] or less that generally won’t mean much to casual observers,” he said, “but will serve to add important functionality to one of its existing product areas.”

Here are seven companies, aside from TikTok, that experts say Microsoft could acquire:

Mmhmmm

Valuation: Unknown

Mmhmm is building an app intended to allow people to virtually share their screen in a video call and remain in the picture at the same time, as Business Insider’s Katie Canales writes, and was founded by by ex-Evernote CEO Phil Libin.

The company is still very young, and just raised $4.5 million from investors including Sequoia Capital and cofounders of Instagram, Twitter, and Eventbrite.

Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi thinks Mmhmm could be a good acquisition target for Microsoft to build out its popular Teams workplace chat app and “help with the huge number of kids who like to do videos while playing Minecraft.”

Superhuman

Valuation: $270 million as of June 2019, per PitchBook

Superhuman builds an app intended to help users empty their inboxes in what it bills as “the fastest email experience ever made.” Unlike most other email apps, it’s not free — rather, it requires a $30/month subscription to use. In return, users get access to all kinds of email decluttering tools, including a conversational view that makes email look like a text message, as well as powerful keyboard shortcuts.

Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi said Superhuman could help Microsoft “modernize” its Outlook email app…….

Read More: Business Insider

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4 Dirty Little Secrets You Need To Know About Successful People

There is no shortage of disappointment and pain in the world. No shortage of helplessness. No shortage of regret. No shortage of failure.

If you’re feeling down because you got fired yesterday. So what? You didn’t get the promotion. So what? You hate your boss, and your business failed. So what? You never got to graduate from high school. Maybe you didn’t graduate college. So what? You graduated college but aren’t happy in your career? You made it all the way to the C-suite but don’t feel fulfilled. So what? If this is your reality, what are you going to do about it?

You can fall into despair and complain about how miserable life is. I have been there and done that. You can go to work every day and whine about your job, your colleagues or your boss. You can settle for a life and career of mediocrity and spend 40+ hours a week on a job you hate. Lots of people do this.

You can continue to gripe about Mondays and wish your life away rushing to Friday, or you can put in the work – and make the sacrifice – that success demands. That’s the rub though – sacrifice. People don’t just wake up successful. They work for it. They trade for it. They sacrifice for it. Are you willing to do the work and go through the pain necessary to achieve and sustain success?

Here are the four dirty little secrets that you need to know about successful people if you want to become one.

1. Successful people trade one pain for another.

“We must all suffer one of two things in life: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”

Years ago I read this quote by Jim Rohn, and it hit me. I realized that I’d have to struggle and go through some hard stuff in my life and to build my career. I realized that there was no such thing as a pain-free life. Since there would be no way to avoid struggles, I decided to buckle down and stop looking for one. I decided I’d rather suffer the pain of discipline and began my success journey. I suggest you do too.

Contrary to popular belief, successful people don’t get to escape life’s pains. They just trade one pain for another whenever and wherever possible. Successful people trade the pain of regret with the pain of discipline. They trade the pain of stopping with the pain of starting. They trade the pain of failure for the pain of consistency, and they trade the pain of saying yes too often with the pain of saying no in an effort to protect and focus the most limited resource they have – time.

Successful people fear failure just like everyone else, but they don’t let it stop them because they know that regret causes more pain than failure ever will. If you want to be successful, you really can be afraid to fail, but you can‘t be afraid to try.

2. Successful people take risks and lose.

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

This quote by Michael Jordan revealed a lot to me about risk and losing. When you run from failure, you inevitably run from success. Successful people put it all on the line. They risk humiliation and embarrassment. They risk disappointing others. They risk it all – including their careers – to achieve their goals.

If you want your career to soar, you must be willing to see it plummet. And though this may cause extreme discomfort and anxiety, success goes hand-in-hand with risk so you need to get more comfortable being uncomfortable. Successful people lean into ambiguity and uncertainty because they know that in order to achieve the greatest heights of success they have to be willing to experience despair.

If you want to be successful, realize that nothing ventured really does mean nothing gained. Successful people have to take risks – financial and career risks and personal and professional ones as well.

3. Successful people want to give up.

“You have to fight for what you want because what you want won’t fight for you!”

Demarjay Smith, Ellen DeGeneres’ favorite kid trainer, hit it on the nose with this quote. It may seem like it will never happen for you. You may feel like you are sinking when you aren’t. The difference between losing and being a loser is giving up. Successful people want to give up sometimes just like everyone else, but they don’t, and you shouldn’t either.

Take it from 12-year-old Demarjay, and fight for what you want. While his goal is to get an education and develop physical strength, that is not the point. Your goal is your goal. Maybe you want to start a business, get a promotion, change careers, become a manager, be a teacher, make it to the C-suite, write a book, become a famous singer, actor, director, etc. What are your goals? What do you want to accomplish? The message is the same regardless. Successful people get up each and every day and fight for what they want.

If you want to be successful, learn to reach deep for the power that’s within you so you don’t give up. Successful people have breakdowns sometimes, but they muster up everything they have within themselves to ultimately reach a breakthrough. And the breakthrough is amazing! I know from personal experience.

When you get back up after falling, when you fail but still push to succeed, when you cry, but still find a reason to laugh and when you thought you had nothing else to give but you still manage to get up and put one foot in front of the other. That is you showing that you have the power within yourself to make it across the line and not give up.

4. Successful people get rejected.

“Most fears of rejection rest on the desire for approval from other people. Don’t base your self-esteem on their opinions.” – Harvey Mackay

The first thing I think about when I hear the word rejection is that every single syllable hurts. I hate it. I’ve been rejected for so many things that I now just consider it a normal part of the success journey. Still, I hate it. But if the choice is between being rejected or never going for what we want; never asking for what we want; never reaching for our dreams, then rejection it is.

Successful people get rejected, but they don’t let it stop them. They take steps to limit the power that rejection has over them by doing these three things.

  1. expect to be rejected
  2. stay true to yourself and
  3. get away from small-minded people

If you want to be successful, you need to expect rejection. Sometimes people can’t see your value. Sometimes they can’t appreciate your brilliance. They can’t understand your goals. They don’t dream like you do, and this is okay. Surround yourself with people who will support you. Instead of trying to persuade small-minded people, I recommend you build a different support system and connect with new friends who will believe in you and cheer you on.

Get up and own your power.

Are you willing to do the dirty work required to achieve and sustain success?

If you want a different job, a different boss or a different career, what are you going to do about it? If you want to change your life, you have to get up. Get up and put one foot in front of the other. Get up and believe in yourself. Get up and do something to create the life you want. And don’t ever let anyone – including yourself – cause you to be defeated. You have the power to create a better life, a better career, a better you. You have what it takes to achieve success.

Never forget this. There is pain in everything. To get different, you will have to be different; to accomplish more, you will have to do more. And the dirty little secret is that successful people don’t get to escape life’s pains, risks, failures and rejections. Quite the contrary. Successful people actually embrace them, and this is how they achieve success in the first place.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

I am a strategist, management consultant, executive coach and international speaker and have delivered meaningful results for executives and leaders in 43 states and 6 countries across 3 continents. I serve as CEO for ARVis Institute, a strategy, change, performance and human capital consulting firm. I have committed my research, education and professional talents to transforming governments, corporations, nonprofits and educational institutions and develop leaders and managers who have the capacity to create high-performing organizations and the competence to affect positive change.

Source: 4 Dirty Little Secrets You Need To Know About Successful People

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The Upward Spiral Of Doing The Right Thing

Have you ever noticed that you eat less junk during the weeks when you hit your target of working out four times? And when you are eating better, you pause before ordering that next drink? And then as you’re working out a bit more, eating better, and drinking less, you get to bed a bit earlier and wake up more readily?

This is the upward spiral of good habits. The same effect can be observed for work habits, financial practices, or any other element of our lives. And it also happens in organizations. Let’s consider the example of Ellevate, a community of professional women committed to helping each other succeed, and a certified B Corp.

First, a word on B Corps: these are for-profit companies that have been certified (and re-certified every three years) by the not-for-profit organization B Lab, which created the B Corp certification. B Lab’s B Impact Assessment (BIA), on which the certification is based, is a rigorous set of standards for how a company operates, with about 200 indicators in five areas (customers, community, workers, environment, and governance).

Companies must earn at least 80 points on these questions, which range from the training and benefits they offer employees to ratio of the lowest and highest salaries, ethics policies and procedures, and whether you’re working with the landlord to improve your facility’s environmental performance.

Ellevate was established as a strongly mission-driven for-profit company in 1997, by women who worked at Goldman Sachs and called the group 85 Broads, in reference to their employer’s corporate address. As other women expressed an interest in the peer support offered by the group, it expanded to include others beyond the GS network. In 2013, Sallie Krawcheck acquired the company and rebranded as Ellevate to capitalize on the business opportunity of helping women advance in leadership, which has been shown to have great economic benefit to employers and the communities around them.

The mission of Ellevate, then, has been the same for over 20 years. It may have become more newsworthy in today’s #MeToo era, but it’s no more or less important now than then. What has changed is the way that Ellevate executes on that mission. The group certified as a B Corp in 2016, earning a score of 88 on the 200-point BIA.

Perhaps Ellevate’s identity as a mission-driven company made this transition to B Corp more likely, but many of the other 3,000 certified B Corps are very standard businesses, selling cleaning products, ice cream, branding advice, or even electricity. Whether or not a company’s ‘what’ is inherently good for the world, in an increasingly transparent world, Ellevate isn’t the only company thinking more about not just what they do, but how they do it.

And this is where B Corp certification comes in, as Samantha Giannangeli, Ellevate’s Operations Lead, said: “It’s worth it for the introspective take on your business – not just what you hope to achieve, but how.“

Regardless of what they sell, all companies have myriad opportunities to create less harm and ultimately generate benefit to the people and planet around them. The BIA offers 200 very specific such opportunities, such as including social and environmental performance in job descriptions and performance reviews; managing customer data privacy; and sharing resources about best environmental practices for virtual employees. CEOs are generally assigned the most direct responsibility – and credit – for how a company operates. Indeed, Giannangeli said that Wallace, “is a driving force behind our work with B Corp. She leads by example every day, and we’re lucky to work with her.”

But the upward spiral that you’ve felt during those healthy eating weeks kicks in quickly once a CEO states or signals that they support operating the business in a way that’s good for the world. After all, CEOs do very little of any company’s day-to-day operations. Decisions about fair hiring practices, good environmental practices, and customer support and protection are made by middle management and executed (or not) by frontline employees.

Giannangeli described how Wallace’s commitment to improving Ellevate’s operating principles engages and reflects employees, saying that Wallace “listens to us, and takes the time to understand the challenges we bring to the workforce – and the challenges we want to solve.”

The vast majority of us want to make a positive contribution to the world through our work, whether by improving a single person’s day or making a system more equitable. So getting permission from leadership and learning best practices for doing business that’s good for the world (from the BIA for example) is enough to activate a team to improve the pieces of a company’s operations that they’re responsible for.

Ellevate’s team “drastically increased our energy efficiency, launched a series of trainings on cultural awareness and anti-discrimination and harassment, and developed an internship program focused on first generation college students.” These initiatives have nothing to do with the company’s core business of supporting women at work – they would fit equally well in a cleaning products or ice cream company.

As a result of these efforts, Ellevate’s BIA score rose from 88 to 115 when they were re-certified in 2019. They became a Best for the World honoree, indicating that their score in the Workers category falls in the top 10% of all B Corps. Giannangeli pointed out that the practices that earned this recognition “were employee-driven, and employee-led.”

What’s more, during recent testimony to the House Committee on Small Business, Ellevate CEO Kristy Wallace said: “I’d also like to note that our business revenues doubled during that time period illustrating that being good for society is also good for business.” This understanding that doing well by doing good is not only possible for businesses to attain, but increasingly a mandate from customers, investor, and employees. And there’s nothing like revenue growth to drive an upward spiral of being good for society.

So regardless of your position, industry, and function, check out the BIA. Find one or two indicators that you or your team participate in or influence. And think about what small step you could take to improve your company’s performance on that one small factor. You could stop buying individually packaged snacks in favor of bulk purchases that go into reusable containers to reduce your waste.

Or institute a team-wide afternoon stretch break to improve employee well-being. Or start a Slack channel for online articles, podcasts, videos, and courses to offer low-cost, self-scheduling professional development that helps colleagues stay on the cutting edge of your industry.

These are all small and very low-cost initiatives, but they’re much more likely to get your colleagues and leadership thinking about other ways your company could be better for the people and planet around you than doing nothing. And these and similar small actions can also be taken in your home, informal communities, or even just your personal habits, like the gym and healthy eating we started with. So what will you do in 2020 to kickstart an upward spiral?

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I am the founder and CEO of Inspiring Capital, a certified B Corp. We help employees connect their work to its impact in the world, increasing engagement, innovation, an…

Source: The Upward Spiral Of Doing The  Right Thing

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** Please Like the Video and Subscribe, Thanks ** We’re just going to talk about what is employee engagement, what is the definition of employee engagement? Let’s start with what it’s not. See, a lot of people think employee engagement is the same as employee satisfaction, but satisfaction doesn’t raise the bar high enough. See, I can be satisfied as I clock into work at nine and satisfied as I take my breaks and lunch and clock out at five o’clock. I’m satisfied and I do what is asked of me. More importantly, I’m satisfied but I’ll take that executive recruiter phone call that says, “Kevin, are you interested in that job opening from the competitor across the street?” “Ah, I’m pretty satisfied here, actually.” “I can get you a ten percent raise.” “Oh, well, okay, I’ll take that job interview.” Satisfaction just doesn’t set the bar high enough. Others will say, oh, what it’s really about is happiness. We’re trying to create happy workers, a happy workplace. I’m not against happiness. I hope everybody is happy, but just because you’re happy doesn’t mean you’re working on behalf of the organization. I’ve got two teenage daughters who I had to take to the mall to go clothes shopping recently, every parent’s worst nightmare. We went into one of these trendy teen clothing stores with the cool-looking young people working everywhere and the music blasting through the speakers. I noticed, we walked in, the workers seemed pretty happy, looking down at their smartphones, but nobody greeted me as we came in the door. They were laughing at one point in the corner, all talking with each other. Not once did they come over and ask me if we were finding everything we needed. When we were checking out, the young woman behind the cash register, she was happily bopping her head to the beats blasting through the speakers, but she didn’t try to up-sell me. She didn’t offer me the company credit card. The workers there, I really noticed it right away. They sure seemed happy at work. They seemed like they were having a fun, good time, but they weren’t necessarily doing the behaviors or performing the way their company leadership probably wanted them to. If engagement isn’t satisfaction and it isn’t happy, what is it? Basically, employee engagement is the emotional commitment that we have to our organization and the organization’s goals. When we’re engaged, when we’re emotionally committed, it means we’re going to give discretionary effort. We’re going to go the extra mile. That’s the secret sauce. That’s why engagement is so important and so powerful. When we are engaged, we give discretionary effort. That means if you have an engaged salesperson, she’s going to sell just as hard on a Friday afternoon as she does on a Monday afternoon. If you have an engaged customer service professional, he’s going to be just as patient with that irate customer at 4:59 at the end of the shift as he would be at 9:30 in the morning. If you have engaged factory workers, they’re productivity is going to be higher, the quality is going to be higher, fewer defects and mistakes, and most importantly, they’re going to get hurt less often. Your safety record is going to improve as people are more mindful and aware. Discretionary effort leads to better business results no matter what your job role or responsibility in an organization. Now this is a shame, because the C-level executives, they would care more about engagement if they understood the differences. What they care about, the C-level executives, they really care about investor returns. They care about their stock price. Employee engagement is the lever that can move that needle. I call it the engagement profit chain. Engaged employees give discretionary effort. They’re going to sell harder. The service is going to be better. Productivity is going to be higher. That means customers are going to be happier. The more satisfied your customers are, the more they’re going to buy and the more they’re going to refer you. As sales go up, as profits go up, inevitably your stock price is going to go up Shareholder returns are going to go up. Employee engagement, so-called soft stuff leads to a hard ROI. Several years ago, the Kenexa Research Institute did a study and they found that companies with engaged employees, their stock price was five times higher than companies with disengaged employees, over a five-year time period. I hope that you will help me to spread the gospel of engagement, and it starts with making sure that everybody is on the same page with what engagement really is. I invite you to just forward this video to friends and colleagues, get us all on the same page. -~-~~-~~~-~~-~- Most Recent Video: “How To Talk ANYONE Into ANYTHING | Negotiation Tips From Former FBI Negotiator Chris Voss ” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jqj3…

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How To Incorporate Mindfulness Into Company Culture

Nowhere do first impressions count more than with work culture. When candidates come by for that crucial in-person interview, the culture they experience dictates whether or not they look elsewhere. When workers hang up their coat each morning, the environment they step into influences their productivity. Especially on young teams, culture is meaningfully tied to turnover, absenteeism, productivity, morale, and even company growth.

The good news is that a tight-knit culture comes naturally during the startup phase. Employees who get in on the ground floor are often happy to work long hours toward goals they’re passionate about.

As startups grow, their sense of unity and closeness tends to decay. But the solution isn’t to strangle growth; it’s to scale that culture along with the company.

Scaling Culture Through Collaboration

As teams grow and are siloed into departments, employees’ sense of connectedness blurs. As management layers are added, workers may feel further removed from the company’s original mission. Communication and collaboration suffer.

As with most initiatives, the answer to a thinning culture is teamwork. To keep your culture healthy and thriving, consider these four collaboration strategies:

1. Hire for complementary character.

To improve engagement and retention, hire people who fit with the culture you’re trying to maintain. The trick isn’t to hire people who are exactly like you and your teammates; it’s to bring in cooperative people whose character complements the bases you’ve already covered.

If you’ve got a bubbly, extroverted salesperson, perhaps a contemplative marketer is a good match. Collaborative teams need multiple perspectives to draw from.

As with culture itself, first impressions are key. Jot down notes from that first interaction with the person so you can share it with the wider team: Did a candidate come across as a go-getter with a sharp sense of humor? Did she seem honest and helpful?

If the candidate gets the green light from you, bring in a few trusted team members for the final interview. Make sure their first impression matches yours. To encourage genuine responses, tell each person to write down his or her take before sharing it with the wider group.

2. Balance formality and fun. 

Even if you hire well, everyone has a different idea of how formal work should be. To salespeople, going to happy hour may feel like part of the job. But if marketing is filling out forms and logging every task, friction between the two teams is bound to develop.

People in different roles operate in different worlds, each with their own goals and discipline-specific jargon. Start with what you share: your purpose and values. Remind everyone why they do the work, even when working together is challenging.

With that sense of unity, start to dig into the processes that get you there: Is swapping memes important to team morale? Perhaps it should be codified as part of your culture. Does logging each project accurately in a spreadsheet keep stress levels low? Do that, too.

Your team has to be both happy and productive. Decide what processes you need to get there, and put them in writing for everyone to follow.

3. Create opportunities for employee connection.

If high-profile projects are the only reasons your workers interact with others outside their team, they’re likely to associate those people with stress and frustration. To avoid this, create opportunities for cross-department engagement.

As much of a buzzword as it’s become, team building still has an important role in your company’s culture. To bridge the gap between departments, CRM provider Ontraport puts together employee peer groups that meet on a regular basis. Regularly exposing employees to others’ perspectives and challenges fosters empathy, making it easier to work through obstacles together when they arise.

Plan extracurricular activities — like lunch-and-learns, volunteering, or even laser tag — involving two or more departments. Give employees the opportunity to get to know each other outside of their roles at work.

4. Celebrate wins together.

When a whole-company project draws to a close, it’s easy to breathe a sigh of relief and move on to the next. Build a sense of camaraderie by taking the time to celebrate those accomplishments, big or small.

A company celebration doesn’t have to be an all-day event or an expensive bonus. Think outside the box. Some of the best ones are free and collaborative. To people nominated by their peers, Stoneridge Software gives “Stoney Awards,” including “Most Likely to Leave a Whiteboard Dirty,” and provides periodic bonus holidays.

Encourage employees to congratulate each other. Distribute company-branded thank-you cards to everyone, not just managers, and challenge everyone to give them all out by a certain date. Tell people to focus not just on outcomes, but also on effort and intention. A sense of appreciation is contagious.

As you grow, you can’t save everything that’s great about being a startup. But no matter how big your company becomes, you can always be a place where people want to work together. And when a candidate or employee walks in and sees that on a Monday morning, it makes all the difference.

Check out my website.

Serenity Gibbons is a former assistant editor at The Wall Street Journal. The local unit lead for the NAACP in Northern California and a consultant helping to build diverse workforces, Serenity enjoys gathering insights from people who are creating better workplaces and making a difference in the business world.

Source: How To Incorporate Mindfulness Into Company Culture

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Parham Vasaiely and Matt Champion will share practical experience of why mindfulness in the workplace is bringing about a new state of consciousness within their respective organisations. The session will explore why we need mindfulness? How to establish mindfulness in the workplace? And the benefits mindfulness enables at both human and organisational levels. You will also learn how Jaguar Land Rover’s Mindfulness programme is helping them to establish a foundation for an Agile culture and approach.
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