Conversations Across Cultures: Best Practices for Rolling Out Fierce in a Global Market

When it comes to rolling out Fierce programs across a global market versus a domestic one, they're not all that different. As our VP of Global and Channel Partners Jaime Navarro mentioned in her recent blog post on training across the globe , very few if any changes are made to the program content. What's generally left to consider are the internal...
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Why Emotions Belong in the Workplace

Emotion . It's a critical business component that's often overlooked or avoided altogether, yet it's actually the driving force behind all other aspects of business including productivity, revenue, and innovation.  And it's time for leaders to embrace it. I was recently discussing a project with Tom, our EVP of Learning. Af...
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4 Barriers to Personal and Professional Growth (And How to Tear ‘em Down)

Throughout our lives, we experience moments of momentum where we feel like we're expanding, moving upward, and spreading our fierce little wings. Other times, we feel like our own growth has become sluggish or blocked in some way. When this stagnation occurs, it's an indication that it's time to get curious and shake things up. As a leader, you are not exempt from the reality that growth requires conscious effort. You spend a lot of time focusing on the growth of those around you, and while this is a critical focus for anyone in a position of leadership, it's important to maintain an awareness of your own development and make adjustments as needed. When your own development becomes stagnant, it can be quite comfortable in the beginning. It feels safe and secure, at least at first. The natural progression of an individual involves continual growth. Once basic needs are met,...
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Conversations Across Cultures: A Brief Intro to Training Across the Globe

At Fierce, we're often asked about how our programs translate across countries and cultures. At times, there's a false assumption that content can't translate across global markets without major customization. This is a misnomer. We've been training internationally, partnering with multi-national organizations and local re-sellers who service small...
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Mining for Solutions: How to Empower Your Employees to be Problem-solvers

Do you consider advice-giving to be part of your role as a business leader? Even better, do you enjoy giving advice, solving problems, and suggesting best courses of action? What if a guide wasn't necessarily someone that tells you what's the best route forward to reach your end goal, but instead helped you illuminate your path so that you—the empl...
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Fierce Goals, Fierce Purpose: Tapping into the Soul of Your Organization

In my role here at Fierce as EVP of Sales & Marketing, one area I've recently been placing a lot of thought and strategic focus on is purpose . One reason for my focus in this area, aside from it being a subject that's very near and dear to me, is that our company goals are quite ambitious this year. Among all of the drive, change, growth, coll...
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Building Client Relationships: Why External Conversations Are Critical to Success

Fierce Conversations training is often sought out to shift organizational cultures and improve internal relationships, including the relationships between team leaders and their teams, between colleagues, and between departments. However, the skills learned in Fierce training can also be applied directly to the conversations happening daily between...
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Mergers and Acquisitions: Why Provoke Learning Around This Topic?

With stock prices higher than ever and interest rates still low, the past two years have been ideal environments for companies to invest their growing cash reserves to purchase another company. After surveying 1000 CEO and venture capitalist investors, Deloitte's annual Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Report predicts 2018 is another year of cont...
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3 Conversations To Develop Yourself

“While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a company, a relationship or a life – any single conversation can.” When I was in the entertainment industry, my friends and family loved to tell me about the fresh faced actor who landed in Hollywood, and on their first day, was plucked out of the crowd and put onto the path of stardom. I had to break the bad news to them. 99% of the time this story is not the entire truth, and rather, a glossed over version from a PR team. They pitch it that way, because many of us love the idea of being that one in a million, that person who has a glow and is launched on the path of success and prosperity. The reality? It doesn’t actually happen that way. You’re selling yourself short to buy into it. While someone...
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How to Propose a New Idea in a Closed Environment

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” -Steve Jobs Anyone can be a leader within an organization. Whether or not your role has the “leader” title assigned to it, you can be someone on the forefront innovating. Organizations that encourage everyone, from individual contributors, managers, all the way up to the CEO, to take on a leadership mindset create cultures that don’t settle. Few companies are really in this place. Many choose to abide by an old rank and file hierarchy that squashes creativity and inevitably disengaging employees. So what can you do if you work inside a culture where new ideas are not welcomed? Do you have to accept it for what it is and keep your creativity to yourself? No. The beauty of culture is that it is made up of the people who inhabit it. Meaning, everyone impacts how things operate, not just those at the...
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5 Ways to Embrace Change at Work and in Life

This week’s Friday resource comes from Inc . and offers 5 ways to welcome change when it arises in the workplace and in our personal lives. Avoiding the unavoidable is a fight we can’t win. Change is unavoidable—and continual. The antidote for the negative feelings we have when change arises is to embrace it. What we are able to see when we give up the fight is that most changes are positive in the long run, and they have a purpose that can serve our personal growth and the growth of organizations. Changes often occur as a means of improvement and as the result of something “not working.” Per Rhett Power, Head Coach and Inc. contributor, here are some ways to let go of resistance to change: 1. Change is Inevitable and Embracing Change Encourages Development “Because we repel change, we sometimes go through life without ever living up to...
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Do You Love or Loathe Change? How Workplace Change Can Strengthen Your Organization

“You get the journey and you get the stress. At the end, you’re a different person. But both elements are part of the deal.” –Seth Godin Change can be surprising, scary, and uncertain. It is also a catalyst for new ideas and opportunities to be seized. It opens doorways to step into, even when what’s on the other side isn’t clear. It summons courage and builds strength, character, and lessons we can harness. In our personal lives, the workplace, and the world at large, change is constant. There’s not one form of media where this isn’t on display any moment of the day. No matter where you go or what you do, change will find you . If you’re a leader who wants to create a culture where change is viewed as a healthy element for growth, the first step is to embrace change yourself. Acknowledge it, hold an accountable...
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Leadership Tips: Embrace Change

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything . — George Bernard Shaw Change is hard. We all know. And we all have different tolerances for it, based on our experiences. I am the daughter of a Naval Officer, and growing up I lived in 12 houses before I was 18 years old. My friends joke and say that I was a “change manager” before I ever went into the human capital space. The thing is – change was always hard – even when I had a lot of it. We are deeply wired to stay in our comfort zone. However, I know I grew a lot, because I was continually uncomfortable. I had to be okay with being vulnerable and open to learning new things and making new friends. I remind myself of that. Where can you embrace variation in your life?...
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3 Ways to Clear Barriers to Development for Women Leaders

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by The International Public Management Association for Human Resources and shares three ways to clear barriers to development for women leaders. As women assume more leadership and management roles in today’s workforce it becomes increasingly obvious that they bring with them different experiences, perspectives, and competencies that their male coworkers have not historically provided. And while providing specific leadership programs for women to continue their professional growth meets diversity initiatives, it is also a smart business move. While many workplaces have begun women-specific professional development and leadership programs, many barriers still remain, especially in male-dominated industries. According to Marcie Mueller, three ways to remove barriers and develop women leaders include: 1. Initiate Ways for Women to Gain Corporate Exposure . The old adage of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” can be applied to corporate development and professional advancement within...
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Benchmarking Human Capital Metrics

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by SHRM and explains how organizations can benchmark human capital metrics. There are dozens of reasons why organizations use benchmarking. With sales roles that deal exclusively with numbers, it can seem a lot easier to benchmark progress and use the data to support business strategy and goals. The Human Resources function at companies is no different and benefits from the same ability to align their human capital metrics to support overall business strategy. Benchmarking is quickly becoming a necessary tool that all HR professionals must equip their departments with to accurately measure processes, practices, and results within their industry. When used correctly, benchmarking can show how an organization’s HR strategies can influence and shape organizational performance and company culture. When a company decides to roll out a new human capital initiative, it is important to understand the expectations of what that program should...
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Leadership Tips: Don’t Procrastinate with Your Conversations

What conversations are you currently stalling? At work? At home?   No one likes to admit it, yet we do often put off tasks and responsibilities. Many studies report that extreme procrastination affects over 20% of the population. Even if you aren’t in this group, the lure of waiting until tomorrow affects us all at times. An online survey by The Procrastination Research Group posed the question, “To what extent is procrastination having a negative impact on your happiness?” Of the 2,700 responses, 46% said “quite a bit” or “very much,” and 18% claimed “extreme negative effect.” And yet, there are real reasons we put off doing things that are important. When it comes to conversations, we often put off the vital ones we need to have for reasons like: It will take too long.   The other person can’t handle it.   It’s not the right time. Those are...
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5 Steps for Giving Productive Feedback

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Entrepreneur and shares five steps for giving productive feedback that helps employees grow. Providing open and honest feedback to colleagues and employees is the most important element of growth and professional development. However, providing this feedback consistently is not always easy for both manager and employee. Many people cringe at the words, “Can I give you some feedback?” It is dependent on the manager to create enough trust and rapport with their reports to alleviate the fear and anxiety that is associated with a feedback conversation. By managing feedback in a positive way that helps the employee understand that feedback is meant to improve their performance and develop their skills, the individual receiving the feedback can approach the conversation calm and ready to listen. Per Scott Halford, there are five tips managers can exercise to create productive feedback that sticks: 1. Create...
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American Workplace: Changing at a Dizzying Pace

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Gallup and shares data from workplace studies on the rapid pace of change in the workplace. Change has always been a constant and prevalent force within the business world. It is woven into the very nature of business. Yet, something feels different about the torrid pace in which change is occurring now. Technology and shifts in organizational structure have required businesses to reconsider how they manage their people and their work. With flexible work hours, the traditional 9-5 is no longer the norm as virtual teams interact via email or video conferencing. Ed O'Boyle and Annamarie Mann, Gallup, attribute much of this change to Millennials assuming the majority of today’s workforce. “They want their work to have meaning and purpose. They want to use their talents and strengths to do what they do best every day. They want their jobs to fit...
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6 Tips for Dealing with Unwanted Change in the Workplace

“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving—we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it—but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr Change in the workplace can create a ripple effect of distress throughout an entire organization. Unwanted transitions may include big budget cuts, sudden layoffs, company relocations, or the introduction of different programs or processes that come with undesirable drawbacks. These types of changes are necessary at times, but depending on the circumstances, they can weigh heavily on employee morale and even affect an organization’s reputation. As unsettling as it can be at first, change is often positive. But on occasion, an organization may begin heading in a direction that compromises its values or mission. While the hope is that leadership will make decisions that...
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Leadership Tips: Ask Your Team

"Unity is strength . . . when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved." -Mattie Stepanek Think about a time that a leader in your organization has made a decision without consulting the people it affected. How was the decision received? Was there resistance? Most of the time, when there is an issue with a decision, it is because people’s opinions and concerns were not addressed in the first place. People ultimately want to know that their perspectives matter. The engagement piece is more important than the final outcome. At Fierce, we have a culture committee – composed of cross department members – that is focused on bringing our core values to life. They explore and recommend opportunities from recognition programs to mentorship to coordinating our company-wide fantasy draft team. Why do we have this group? Because it is critical for our team members to help steer how...
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Why Women Entrepreneurs will be the Economic Force to Reckon with in 2017

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by CNBC and explains why women entrepreneurs will be an economic force to be reckoned with in 2017 and moving forward. This past Wednesday we celebrated International Women’s Day across the globe and celebrated the ever-growing success of women in business. CNBC’s inaugural Upstart 25 List , featuring promising young start-ups, included 10 women-owned businesses. This only looks to increase as female-owned companies are growing at a rate of five times the national average and increased a whopping 45 percent over the last decade, eclipsing over $1.6 trillion in revenue. This trend is not exclusive to the United States either, as rates of women’s entrepreneurship have grown 10 percent over the last two years compared to only 5 percent for men across 51 different global economies. Per Elaine Pofeldt, CNBC, as the gender gap continues to decrease, women can look to other female...
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Women Leadership: A Reason, a Caution, and a Bottom Line

On this International Women's Day, I want to celebrate women all around the world. This day makes me reflect on the strong women leaders in my life who have propelled my career and have forever changed me—for the better. I am so grateful to you. You know who you are. Based on recent articles that struck me, I want to offer some considerations for propelling women into leadership roles. Let’s start with the current February 2017 stats. According to Catalyst, of the S&P 500 companies, 5.4% of CEOs are women, 9.5% of top earners are women, 19.9% of board seats are women, 25.1% of executive officers are women, and 36.4% of middle management are women. Given that the total employee base is 44.3% women, there is continual opportunity for women to rise to the higher managerial and leadership levels. These numbers have increased significantly in the last few years. This...
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How Technology and Work Culture Drive Each Other

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Huffington Post and explores the link between employee engagement and the future of workplace technology. The need to keep up with ever changing technology can sometimes leave your head spinning. But if used in the proper way it can also lead to higher productivity and happier, more engaged employees. The trick is not to bring in a new solution expecting it to be one-size-fits-all. According to How Technology and Work Culture Drive Each Other , gamification, intra-company social networks, and external applications all pay a role when it comes to maintaining the health and well-being of employees. Each solution also brings its own set of problems, which if left unchecked can make it less effective. Is technology making life for your team easier or harder? “While cash prizes are nice, they are not as rewarding as simple recognition. People want to be...
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How Women Can Show Passion at Work Without Seeming 'Emotional'

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Harvard Business Review and explores why women are often labeled “too emotional” in the workplace. Even with gender equality initiatives, women are still underrepresented in most senior leadership positions across corporate America. Women account for less than 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs, less than 15% of executive officers at those companies, and only 6% of partners in venture capital firms. Why does gender imbalance still exist? It’s partially due to the way women are misinterpreted at work. According to How Women Can Show Passion at Work Without Seeming “Emotional” , certain gender biases lead to women being labeled “too emotional” in the workplace. Studies have shown that when women passionately argue against the consensus, their male colleagues view them as “emotional” rather than credible. How do we make sure communication isn’t lost in translation? “Combining passion with logic, specificity, creativity, and experience...
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Advice to Young Girls

While thinking about this blog, I turned to the best source for advice to young girls – other young girls who are happy and thriving - so I asked my granddaughters and the daughters of one of our leaders here at Fierce what advice they would give a freshman girl in high school. Clara, 15 : “Do not judge someone until you know them well enough, talk to as many people as possible, wear things that make you love your body and make you feel beautiful, attend as many sports games as you can, join clubs or sports, go to homecoming because there are only 4 in your life! Don’t be afraid to ask your teachers questions if you are confused, be nice to everyone.” Maizy, 17: “Be nice. To everyone. People aren’t as scary as you imagine and making someone’s day is so worth it. I would agree with...
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Most Company Wellness Programs Are A Bust

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Gallup.com and identifies time-off as a key contributor for increased productivity, enhanced engagement, and improved well-being. Most Company Wellness Programs Are a Bust found that by creating a culture that encourages general well-being, organizations gain a competitive edge. Managers need to shift their focus to seeing employee well-being as an end in itself, instead of a means to an end. Time-off is something we all talk about, but rarely use. What’s stopping you from taking your dream vacation? “ Managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores  across business units. At your company, do your managers carve out time to take vacation, go to the gym or attend their children's school events? If managers don't do these sorts of things, employees will feel they can't either.” Read the full article.

Improve Decision-Making With Help From the Crowd

This week's Fierce Resource was first published on the  Harvard Business Review  website and was written by Brad Power. Improve Decision-Making With Help From the Crowd  explores how leaders can integrate crowdsourcing into their management processes. There are three core frontiers that can be explored: funding decisions, new product development, and prioritization of projects. "This revolution in decision-making processes will challenge conventional management approaches and shift power from your current leaders to employees and customers. It will surely meet resistance. The critical question is, will today’s leaders be willing to give more say to employees and customers, as IBM and Valve have? It will take trust in the cumulative wisdom of your customers and employees. For many organizations, this may take a long time, but for some, the revolution is already underway." To read the full article, click  here .

3 Benefits for Leaders Who Say Yes

Effective leaders say yes! They understand that a leader's focus should be to encourage innovation and maximize the wisdom in the room. In order to do this, you need to provide individuals the space to come up with ways they can reach their goals and build opportunity, not only for themselves but the organization as a whole. It can be scary to take a risk on your employees and say yes. It might not always seem like a career enhancing move, and yet the alternative, being a leader that allows no room for employees to drive their own success or innovate, is not the safer choice. It is the quickest way to have unengaged workers and middle of the road results. So to help make the process of saying yes easier, below you will find three benefits for leaders who say yes. #1 A Team That Isn’t Afraid to Fail...
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3 Commitments to Speak to People Rather Than About Them

In partnership with Fierce in the Schools, the Learning Forward Blog publishes an exclusive article for our Fierce blog. Our guest writer is Stephanie Hirsh , the Executive Director of Learning Forward , Please visit the Learning Forward Blog , hosted by Education Week , to read more of their blog posts. Lately, I have experienced several challenges that have made me reflect on one of the staff agreements we list at Learning Forward: Speak to people rather than about them. Do not say something about someone who is not present unless you intend to share it with them and are seeking help in clarifying your request. Given my recent challenges, I asked myself - what can I do, as a leader, to build a climate where all people feel comfortable in sharing their point of view, and would not consider it necessary to represent the views of others? I...
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Expert Advice on Mastering the Art of Delegation

This week's Fierce Resource was first published on February 14th on the Intuit Small Business Blog . Written by Sheryl Nance-Nash, Expert Advice on Mastering the Art of Delegation features Fierce President & CEO, Halley Bock . Exploring the art of delegation, Halley recommends using the Fierce Delegation Decision Tree model to delegate clearly and foster accountability within your workplace. "Someone can be delegated a responsibility at four different levels of the decision tree (leaf, branch, trunk, or root). Each level has a clear, concise definition of what is expected for that project and sets guidelines on how to interact with the leader."     To read the full article, click here .

How to Shift Your Leader’s Opinion

It is common to hear things like “if my leader was different, then my job would be easier.”  Or “you know who really needs this stuff is our company’s executives.” Although this may be true, opinions and beliefs are strong at play here – yours and theirs. So how do you shift your leader’s opinion or context about a situation? Well first, it begins with you. You must make the first shift and believe that a skillful conversation with your leader does have the potential to drive change.  If you don’t believe it’s possible, then it won’t be. Once you are confident in your ability to be influential by offering up your perspective or unveiling a viewpoint that has yet to be considered, you are then empowered to shift your leader’s context. Consider these three items upon entering into this conversation: 1. Recognize that your leader’s context is valid and...
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Leadership Tips: Be Open to Change by Having Conversations

Change is a visceral word. It can mean so many different things to each person. There are piles of books dedicated to helping handle the transitions that life throws your way. However, when you boil down what we need to do when change occurs - it’s communicate better. This week’s Fierce tip is to be open to change by engaging in conversations. What can make change scary is the uncertainty that surrounds it. In order to make sure the transition is a smooth one, you need to bump up the quality of the conversations - not necessarily the amount of them. When change happens, people tend to focus on the  logistical details that need to be sorted out. Too often, the emotions around the transition are pushed to the side. This doesn’t help anyone. Don’t discount what your needs are in the situation. Be proactive and tackle this tough challenge...
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How to Take Responsibility for Your Conversations

There is no trivial comment for leaders. I would also argue: for anyone. How you show up and what you say have impact. Your actions and conversations are monitored at all times by those you work with. The upside of that is you have great ability to influence change and your culture. Nobody is perfect, and your co-workers shouldn’t expect you to be. However, not fully owning your conversations will quickly produce an environment of low morale and engagement. If you’re having a bad day and you show up at a meeting with a bad attitude, that will be noticed, talked about, and internalized by those around you . Have multiple bad days in a row, and you can watch people quickly disengage from you. Below are three steps you can take to help you more fully own your conversations. Step 1: Obey your Instincts Want to build emotional capital...
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Talk Less, Listen More: My Challenge for the Week

"The experience of being understood, versus interpreted, is so compelling you can charge admission" Joseph Pine, author of "The Experience Economy" What would happen in your world if you talked less and listened more? If a client, colleague or spouse voiced a problem and instead of trying to fix it or give an opinion, you asked “Say more about that”? Say more about the situation. Say more about how you feel about it. Say more about your ideal resolution. My challenge this week is to do this. I’m going to fight my desire to share my opinion and advice, and instead let others do the talking. To do this, I’m going to use 3 of the 7 principles of a Fierce Conversation , as tools to achieve my goal and keep me on track. #1 Let Silence Do the Heavy Lifting Often I mistake a pause in the conversation as...
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Collaboration Killer: The Illusion of Inclusion

"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers." -Voltaire If you're a leader, you've heard a version of this quote a million times. And it has been (properly) drilled into your head that working cross-boundary is essential to the development and growth of a successful business . It’s all true. There is great reason that this quote, or some version therein, is tossed around on twitter like the latest diagnosis of Charlie Sheen's epic plunge into absurdity . However, there is a key element to this that is too often overlooked. And that is, if you want true collaboration and you want to wholly embody mindful leadership, then when you ask those questions, you must REALLY ask. And then REALLY listen . Too often, leaders play the role by going through the motions – they hold meetings to gather feedback or confer one on one – yet...
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Are We Too Politically Correct?

Politically Correct. What does that mean exactly? Are we trying so hard to be politically correct that we have removed the meat from the bun? “Where’s the beef?” There are companies that I have seen, have experienced, that make me wonder how they ever get things done. How can you hold meeting after meeting trying to reach, politically correct consensus, and still get the job done? Is the outcome really the best decision? I ask you, if you have ever participated in a consensus decision, were you really happy in the end? Or did you give up a bit (or a lot) of what you really wanted, to compromise with the others - just to finally see a decision being made? When did we become so concerned with dissenting opinions and so focused on making everyone happy? We use rounded corners here at Fierce. It’s part of our brand. And...
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