Conversations Across Cultures: 4 Key Insights from Successful Global Leadership Programs

When working with global clients, we often come across unique scenarios that illustrate how Fierce training is being integrated into organizations' larger leadership development strategies, and how rollout is being implemented on an international scale. One of our clients, an established global manufacturing company in the automotive industry with ...
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Different Perspectives Lead to the Best Ideas. Here's Why.

You've probably heard it before… Seek input, be inclusive, welcome perspectives, collaborate with others. But why? Where does the premise come from that this type of inclusion is beneficial for individuals, teams, or organizations? In a recent Lunch & Learn hosted by Director of Client Development Justin Perun, he discussed the effectiveness of...
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How to Get Your People to See Themselves as Industry Experts (and Defeat Impostor Syndrome)

You are an expert. How does that feel when you read it? Do you believe it? Throughout my career, I've witnessed how difficult it can be for people, including myself, to refer to oneself as an "expert." An expert? Who, me? You must be talking to the person behind me…there must be someone who can do this better, or who knows more about this than me… ...
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Learning How to Learn: Strategies for More Durable Learning

Whether you want to reinforce Fierce training, learn to play the violin, or memorize a work manual, how you approach learning can make all the difference in how well you know the material, and how long you're able to remember it. If we're going to spend our time learning, it helps if we know how to do it the right way. The right way meaning how you...
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Why a Self-Driven Approach Matters for Employee Development, and How to Integrate it

There's no question whether organizations should prioritize professional development, especially if they want to retain talent. But not all organizations are having the types of growth conversations that put employees in the driver's seat and set them up for success. According to Gallup , 87% of millennials and 69% of non-millennials rate "pro...
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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 Tips for Leaders to Avoid Insanity

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” -Albert Einstein As a leader, have you ever tried to solve the same problem the same exact way over and over again? In hindsight it might seem insane, however, in the moment the plan was set forth with great intentions and a level head. So where is the disconnect?  How can we make sure that when we come back to the drawing board we don’t keep doing the same thing we did before? Below are 3 proactive tips to help innovate with intention for your own sanity . Tip #1: Mix It Up In the Fierce Team model , we focus on seeking out different, competing perspectives from team members. This skill set can be incredibly useful when problem solving. In order to make sure, as a leader, you keep your wits about you, if your first attempt...
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Leadership Tips: Think Outside the Box

It’s easy to fall into a pattern. It’s only natural to apply your knowledge of a process, that you know works, to similar projects. You might think to yourself: I know an effective way to do this, why fix something that isn’t broken? This week’s tip is to question your processes, patterns, and ideas. Challenge yourself and those around you to think outside the box. This can be an effective exercise whether you’re in a defined, “official” leader role or not. Sometimes when our first instinct is to just streamline an idea, it can dampen the instinct to innovate. Thinking outside the box doesn’t mean making things more complicated. It can be as simple as getting more creative with how you spend your time in weekly meetings, how your organization handles customer service interaction, and even a new way your audience can interact with the brand of your company. If...
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3 Ways Leaders Can Increase Empathy

This week’s Friday resource comes from Forbes and lists ways leaders can grow in empathy. Research reveals that today’s most successful leaders all have a trait in common: empathy. Empathy allows a person to step into another person’s shoes and understand their perspective. This trait is beneficial because it allows whomever is in the position of leadership to approach the needs of their team members with genuine concern, which creates trust and strengthens relationships within teams and organizations. In conversation, empathy shifts how a leader will guide and respond to the discussion. A conversation with an empathic leader often leaves people feeling seen, heard, and cared for. Per Teri Citterman, CEO of Talonn and Forbes contributor, here are some ways you can increase empathy as a leader. 1. Know more. “Do you know what’s most important to each of your team members? Not what you think is, but what actually...
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Leadership Tips: Ask What Else

  In our coaching model, we instruct you to ask “ what else? ” at least 3 times in different parts of the conversation. Each time you ask, you are going deeper into the question. You are exploring – unlocking new territory.   The need to ask “ what else?” is everywhere.   For example, think about when someone asks you: How’s it going?   How do you usually respond?   When I ask people this, the initial answer is usually very surface. Examples: Work is busy but good. Family is good. Vacation was good.   This conversation is always different when I ask “what else?” after they give me the first, ceremonial answer. Only after the “ what else” does something juicier come out. It is almost like “ what else” translates to “ no, really, I want to know.”   This week’s tip is to concentrate on where...
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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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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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Using Emotional Intelligence Is a Woman Leader's Secret Weapon

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Forbes.com and explains why using emotional intelligence is a woman leader’s secret weapon. In the article, LaRae Quy, former FBI counterintelligence agent talks about the role emotional intelligence (EQ) played in her career advancement within the FBI. Unlike many of her colleagues, Quy advanced her career and became an organizational leader by having a strong voice, not the loudest. Quy’s deviation from the FBI norm – tactics including aggressive, bullying behavior that relies heavily on intimidation to be effective allowed her to be extremely successful in her role. “Loud, boisterous, and pushy behavior may get attention, but it certainly does not get respect.” Quy provides four reasons emotional intelligence can be a woman leaders most powerful tool. Two are: Women Have Permission to Be Emotionally Intelligent; Men, Not So Much “Women in the workforce need to grab success however they can, but...
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Leadership Tips: Have a Scary Conversation

In the vein of Halloween’s ghosts, gremlins, and other frightening characters, think of something that is equally scary: a conversation you are avoiding. Perhaps it is a conversation with your boss about something she is doing that is not helpful. Or a conversation with a peer about what you are noticing that is not working for him. Or taking it home, maybe it is a conversation with your spouse or family member to discuss something that you do not feel the other is willing to talk about. Ok, do you have that conversation in mind? Does the thought of this conversation make you want to evaporate? Or run out the door? Or go on vacation? If so, that's a good sign. This week’s tip is to stop stalling and have the scary conversation now. Why? Because you own the fear, and the cost of not having the conversation is much...
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Taking Responsibility Is the Highest Mark of Great Leaders

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by  Forbes and describes why leaders with a track record of taking responsibility – for both individual and team actions – are more likely to be promoted than candidates with similar qualifications. Forbes Contributor, Zack Zenger, believes that a leader’s demonstrated willingness to behave responsibly is one of the most undervalued leadership characteristics. This often overlooked aspect in leadership literature is the driving force for many promotional decisions within organizations. Zenger asserts that responsibility extends far beyond accountability. Being accountable means you are willing to accept the results of a team project or activity as your own. A responsible leader understands that they are the person who must make things happen. They set their own agenda and personal goals aside, and continually pursue goals that benefit the company as a whole. “Responsible behavior includes doing things for which there is no immediate reward,...
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Everything Is Possible with Momentum Thinking

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by  Huffington Post and explains the benefits of “momentum thinking” and how this approach can open doors in all facets of your life. In recent years there has been a lot of talk about the benefits and conversely the harm that positive thinking can bring while at work. Although phycologists and executive coaches can argue both sides of the debate, a new approach is gaining traction. That approach is momentum thinking.  Momentum thinking focuses on possibilities rather than expectations. Humans are inherently limiting their potential in work and life when they set expectations. When you set expectations for how your business will perform this year or your life will eventually turn out – you are limiting your potential by pre-determining the outcome. “There’s no way to be open to all possibilities if you don’t trust in what you can’t control.” Jeffrey Shaw believes...
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Nature vs. Nurture: Are Leaders Born or Developed?

The question of whether leaders are born or developed is a hot button issue. Nature versus nurture? This pesky question manifests in two scenarios. Scenario A:  If your organization thinks leaders are born, then they believe there are ready-made leaders waiting to rise through the appropriate ranks and land themselves in leadership positions. Scenario B: If your organization thinks leaders are developed, then they believe they need to offer leadership development and training programs so those who wish to become leaders can obtain the skills necessary to grow into leadership roles. Culturally these are two very different companies. Which culture do you have? At Fierce, we are not neutral. We believe that leaders are developed. We focus on the conversations that every leader needs to master. We teach that conversation skill set, and every day we hear stories about how people have “upped” their leadership game. What do you believe? Are leaders born or...
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Get It Right – Don’t Worry About Always Being Right

Reading the news today, I’m sure you can identify many leaders that seem more worried about being right instead of getting it right – for their people, for their organizations, for their purpose. Last week, we launched our new fierce survey results , and I was not surprised that we found more than 71% of professionals surveyed believe neither their companies nor their government acts in their best interest. Acting in others’ best interests requires deeper understanding of needs and goals. And when you really step back for a moment as an employee and a voter, you should know that it is not possible for your leaders to know everything on their own. They can’t possibly make the best decisions without engaging and learning along the way. That’s why they must focus outward. They shouldn’t focus on “being right”, having the savviest answer, or the most logical argument. They need...
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Leadership Tips: Challenge the Status Quo

This week Fierce is in Denver, Colorado at the Association for Talent Development's annual international conference . We are gathered to meet with learning leaders, trainers, and people invested in the human capital space. We are gathered to question. To explore. To learn. To have fun. ( Follow us at #befierceatd .) Today, esteemed thought leader Simon Sinek is speaking about how the leaders and companies that make the greatest impact are the ones who are able to inspire – they challenge the status quo and act in very specific patterns. One of my favorite Sinek quotes is, “We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe. Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us.” It is a leader’s responsibility to have a...
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What It Means To Lead

Fierce CEO, Halley Bock, is currently writing a column for  Business 2  Community . We wanted to share with you her  most recent article , published Wednesday, June 11th.  Recently in May, I was honored to present at the Women in Real Life (WiRL)  Leadership Summit  on the topic of “Leadership Beyond Title.” As an executive myself, I’ve seen my fair share of those who lead  through  title (borrowed authority) and those who lead  free  of title (earned authority). The former typically run a short-lived course with hit-or-miss results, the latter a long-term life cycle with predictable success. Always the curious type, I dove deeper into exploring the differences between these two leaders and what sets them apart. As a first stop, I hit up the dictionary to see what we are telling ourselves about leadership and came across a gem. While the definition of “leader” was a bit rigid...
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Getting Outside the Box: The 5 Behaviors of Successful Leaders

This week’s Fierce Resource comes from TLNT.com and was written by Laura Stack. Getting Outside the Box: The 5 Behaviors of Successful Leaders shares tips on how you can continue to expand your perspective and push the boundaries you may have created without realizing it. Often we come to a point when we know something needs to give, yet we fear the change that lies ahead. Instead of resorting to what is comfortable, take the time to learn what else is out there. Do your research, ask experts, and talk to those around you to expand your learning. You may be surprised at what you find. How will you find your way outside of the box? “Although overuse has run it into the ground, the lesson remains valid: don’t let your preconceptions, habits, lack of information, and narrow-mindedness keep you from considering all possible aspects of a problem. Get outside...
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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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Widen Your Perspective

When was the last time one of your strongly held beliefs was flipped upside down? What about something that caught you by complete surprise? These scenarios usually happen to me when I travel outside of the USA, my home. Right when I least expect it, a belief or assumption I have gets thoroughly jolted. I’m usually not prepared for it. When I was traveling in Morocco last week, I was completely caught off-guard, in a beautiful and touching way, by how many people expressed sympathy and heart-felt sorrow about the attack in Boston. I had assumed that even though it was all over the international news, there were other things top of mind for the local people – much like it is for me when I am at home. When I shared that I was from the United States, more than not, people would say things like “My heart goes...
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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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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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Why Leaders Should Fail

In an ever competing global business world, it seems like there is less forgiveness of leaders for their failures. Perfection is no longer something to strive for, it’s expected. I hate to break the news, but the cliché statement that nobody’s perfect, is true! Leaders are going to make mistakes and organizations need them to. Why? Because the alternative is that leaders live in a state of paralysis, brought on by the fear of being looked at in a negative light or worse, fired. As a result, the entire organization will stagnate because of inaction, and employee engagement will tank due to fear of consequences. The failure itself may cost the organization – how the company reacts to it will determine the extent. At Fierce, we focus on the fact that the conversation is the relationship . A culture that embraces the chance to learn from its failures by embracing...
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3 Tips to Avoid Making Assumptions as a Leader

Human beings make assumptions. We take information from the outside world that we can see, hear, touch, smell, and taste and process that through our context. This is all for the purpose of making sense of our surroundings. When there are gaps in the information collected, we fill in those blanks to reconcile what we are experiencing with what we think is going on. We don’t even realize we do this. The danger is, that what our senses are telling us, and what we think is happening, may not be reality . As a leader it’s hard to not make assumptions. You’re busy, with possibly a lot of people to manage, and even more responsibilities on your plate.  On a hectic day, it can sometimes feel like you're experiencing life through sound bites. The good news is there is a remedy to avoid being an assumptive leader: conversations. A simple...
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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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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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