Innovation is not intuitive. Innovation is one of the most challenging parts of progress, because you have to predict needs before the need arises. Customers can’t tell you which direction to go for your product or your service designs. You have to develop an innovation strategy that incorporates feedback from your users and customers, but thinks well beyond where they are today and predicts where they’re going to land.

Innovation is like a fire, but it’s up to you whether it’s an uncontrollable forest fire or a slow and controlled burn. The actual fire is not the main focus of…

I hate rules. I have an aversion to following instructions or doing what I am told. But, business processes are built on rules, and rule-based business processes are the key to empowering your employees and growing your business.

The most successful, dynamic businesses enjoy well-designed processes based on rules. The vast majority of business activities follow a set of rules. Codify those rules and document your business processes, and you have a solid business foundation upon which to grow. Once you set up rule-based processes and decisions, the vast majority of your business activities flow efficiently without consuming employee…

Never launch a strategic plan with only one way to win. Winning strategies require multiple paths to achieve success in order to adapt to real world dynamics. The discipline of devising three paths to achieve success offers flexibility and a much greater likelihood of meeting or exceeding objectives when the unexpected inevitably occurs.

What do I mean by three ways to win? I literally mean three completely independent sets of detailed initiatives that each achieve your desired outcome. …

How the 9-to-5 Myth Hurts Women (And Your Business)

A huge misconception exists among companies that suggests that there isn’t enough talent available. That’s completely wrong. We have a huge pool of under-utilized, very talented people in our society that perhaps can’t work a strict eight hours, make a full commitment every day or commute to the office: specifically, women and single parents. The problem is that the traditional employer-employee relationship does not typically accommodate the needs of women and single parents to allow them to contribute fully in a professional capacity.

The Washington Post reported that of the 54…

The California judge’s rejection of Prop 22 brings forth a very important business issue facing all companies — company-sponsored healthcare. The U.S. relies far too heavily on employers to provide healthcare coverage and, in today’s world, we don’t have a way to make healthcare coverage portable from one company to another.

People shouldn’t lose medical insurance if they leave or lose their job. Company-sponsored healthcare prevents many individuals from getting initial employment due to the company’s cost “burden” of supporting a new employee, and it prevents many more individuals from improving their station in life by seeking better employment with…

When you think of what a CEO should know, the most obvious answers are finance, marketing and management. But that’s not enough. Today’s CEO must have a deep, working knowledge of technology and how it works. Demonstrated technology expertise is critical, because many truly effective business solutions are technology-based.

A CEO must understand how to utilize technology to streamline their business and quickly develop new products. Success requires direct knowledge and experience with challenges and potential pitfalls of writing software and deploying new hardware.

Being a CEO isn’t getting any easier. In addition to broad and deep knowledge in traditional leadership, financial and operational disciplines, technology skills are essential to transform and scale the business.

Technology can be a very effective weapon. Learn how to use it.

As the leader of the team, you need to understand that your people have other priorities and responsibilities outside of the workplace. You also need to be a reliable source for help and understanding with those responsibilities, should they need it.

Helping your employees doesn’t stop once the work day is over, and can go past the walls of the office. When presented with a problem, your first step is to assess the issue and find a solution. For example, let’s say that one of your employees is having car troubles. Do they need help finding a garage? Do they…

PHOTO CREDIT: Whitney Curtis for The New York Times

The days of $10 or $12 hourly wages are over. Salaries of $30–40k no longer cut it. As the pandemic subsides and employers attempt to fill the “millions of open positions” available to jobseekers, is anyone surprised at the lack of interest from unemployed or underemployed people? Certain lawmakers would have you believe the federal government’s weekly unemployment supplement of $300 is to blame for workers lackluster response to job openings. Others argue that people just don’t want to work. Neither is true — most CEOs just don’t get it. The problem is that salaries and wages offered are insulting.

Want to really know what’s going on in your company? Get out of your office and talk to people. Every single day.

A CEO is a puzzle master. Leading a company requires continual feedback from all corners of your organization to make decisions and adjustments in priorities. And the best information can’t be found in your office.

I spend most of my time among employees in all departments — listening, asking questions, and gathering information. Away from my desk. Outside my office. With employees at all levels. I walk the factory floor. I am consistently in all parts of manufacturing and warehouse operations to foster communication, observe, and ask questions. I visit accounting, finance and credit operations several times daily. I discuss…

Too many businesses view their people as assets or numbers on a balance sheet. The key to growing a successful business is treating your people as, well, people. A lot of business owners have a one-track mind — to maximize profits — but, the only way to do that is by recognizing every employee as a valuable member of a working machine. If only one part of the machine is broken, the entire machine is broken.

Every successful business, from a mom-and-pop shop to an international enterprise, needs people who believe in the mission and are as committed to the…

Brent Wouters

Brent Wouters transforms companies using a combination of high-touch human interaction and high-efficiency technological innovation to build a Culture of Belief

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