New Belgium Brewery–An Exemplary Certified B Corp

I recently wrote about B Lab and its certified B Corps, which are businesses that focus on more than just the bottom line.  New Belgium Brewery is one of those corporations; its deserving of your support — its the kind of company that the world needs more of.

In 2016 New Belgium opened its second brewery in Asheville, North Carolina. Based in Colorado since its founding in 1991, the move to the east coast was largely spurred by a goal of reducing the environmental impact of cross-country shipping.  In 2009 the company started its east coast search, specifically looking for a “brownfield,”  a property where development is “complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.”   A friend who visited the finished Asheville site said the company rescued a vacant lot and created a cool vibrant space that’s now  a social hub in town.  According to county employee Clark Duncan, the county “saw working with New Belgium as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to remediate and transform that site and help revitalize a key part of our community

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B-lab: Using Business as a Force for Good

doinggoodConscious capitalism? Impact investing? Shared Value?  This movement towards business doing good has been increasing — and B Corp has created a certification for a companies that stringently strive to do “good” for more than just the shareholders.

This idea of doing good for others as well as yourself  applies equally to individuals as it does to companies.  For me, I have a long history of trying to do good and help people. In the early 90s I was disillusioned with businesses solely driven by profit so I started working for nonprofits.  I’m certainly not the first to want to “do some good” or find “meaning in my work,”  and the number of people sharing my perspective is growing exponentially.  According to Karl Moore’s article in Forbes,  a “search for meaning and purpose is on the agendas of most Millennials in the Western World and increasingly in the developing economies.”

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The Three Seasons of a Start Up

Mother Nature is wise and has given us seasons.  Not just outdoors, but there are also seasons in life, work, and business:

  1. WINTER is a time to REGENERATE:  sleep, think, contemplate, rest, re-charge, dream, get ready.
  2. SPRING is a time to CHANGE: act, create chaos, pivot, switch, adapt, move.
  3. SUMMER is a time to GROW:  stretch, extend, strain, go far, push, drive.

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It’s a simple concept:  a winter of regenerating, a spring of changing, and a summer of growing … then falling back through autumn (the fourth season), to regenerate again.

Repeat.

It’s important not to skip any season.  But why?

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Single-tasking is the New Black … I Hope

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Imagine going out for dinner with friends, and no one pulls out their phone; or trying to remember that name of Robert Downey Jr.’s most recent film without checking Google (Captain America: Civil War); or sitting on a bus and not having your neighbor talking loudly to his mother. Don’t get me wrong — I’m all for using cellphones, google-ing, and calling your mother. But research shows that there is a significant cost of both multi-tasking and being distracted by the phone — cost to brain development, creativity, and happiness.

“Wait, what?” you say. “My brain? My creativity? My happiness? But I can’t get my job done unless I multitask!” It’s time to re-think this.

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Choosing Your Next Career

windyroadCareer advice is easy to get — maybe too easy because there is too much information and too many people who think they know what’s best for you.  So, how do you wade through it all? My straight-forward advice is to pace yourself and complete a thorough process such as these five steps:

  1. Understand yourself
  2. Be practical (and budget minded)
  3. Explore your options
  4. Be inspired
  5. Be brave and take a leap

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Ask Five Good Questions

imgresIn May of 2016 James Ryan, Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, gave a commencement speech  about asking good questions.  While his words were directed at future teachers and leaders in education, they are invaluable to a much broader audience.
His speech includes a reference to Raymond Carver’s poem “Late Fragment.” In just thirty words, Carver beautifully articulates the simple desires that so many of us want at the end of our lives: “to call myself beloved” and “to feel myself beloved on the earth.”

Seems simple.

And it is.

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How to Write That Cold-call Email

nametag-hello-01Want to get a meeting with someone who you don’t personally know ?  Skip the Dear Sir/Madam email– it’s a long shot in this busy world, so a waste of your time. So, what can you do? It’s simpler than you think:  write a compelling and flawless email, and follow up.

There are so many reasons why you might want to meet a stranger.   If you’re in sales, you hopefully already know how to do outbound cold calls. If you don’t know, there a is a lot of readily available advice on how to sell something.

But what if what you’re selling is YOU?  How do you convince someone to share their valuable time?

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