Archive for the 'NEXGEN – On Day 91' Category

Finding Your Peak, Mastering Fear in Business Planning

Speaker: John Thompson



Our guest speaker John Thompson, president of Simpl Mortgage, discusses tried-and-true techniques when it comes to business planning.

My top takeaways:

Thinking Like a Lizard

The reptilian part of our brains – often referred to as the lizard brain — is all about our instinctual behavior, including how we respond to fear. COVID is an example of how our fear of the implications of a pandemic has given us an excuse to avoid making decisions and moving forward. It’s why so many of us are finding it difficult to self-motivate. How to defeat the lizard brain?  Eliminate self-criticism. Be open to new ideas. Instead of avoiding new opportunities, determine to make a plan to embrace them.

Success Can Breed Failure? Oh, the Irony

There is such a thing as “fear of opportunity.” Does success breed resistance? In other words, those who become used to being successful can become so comfortable that they no longer move forward – in other words, complacency. To counter this, they need a plan that is not grandiose but immediately actionable – 90 days not 3 years. 

Roller Blade Whenever 

Break the norms, change the rules. We are in unprecedented times. John talked about coming across a mother and her young son roller-blading in the morning hours mid-week. This exemplifies “breaking the norms” – a workday and school day, but now we work and learn from home. Thanks to COVID, where the so-called new normal isn’t fully determined, it’s OK to break a few rules. Have some fun, and live life fully.

Interested? Watch the presentation replay to learn more! 

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admin on December 9th 2020 in NEXGEN - On Day 91, Web Stuff

Gettysburg Leadership Lessons for 21st Century Leaders



Speaker: Jeffery McCausland

Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret)  

Speaker: Tom Vossler

Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret


Our guest speakers Jeff McClausland and Tom Vossler, co-authors of the new book “Battle Tested,” use storytelling to illustrate how key leadership traits observed in the battle of Gettysburg remain relevant in business today.  

My top takeaways:

Why Gettysburg?

Gettysburg is an amazing foundation for discussing leadership lessons from a battle that occurred more than 150 years ago. It is a story that illustrates traits of initiative, authority vs responsibility, and timing. In many ways, the lessons of Gettysburg were the gateway to another leadership model, the OODA cycle (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) developed by USAF Colonel John Boyd who served in the Korean War.

Nuances of Leadership

It’s easy to confuse leadership with management. They are actually quite different.  Leadership is about vision, motivation, and trust – including mastering change. In contrast, management is more about work standards, resource allocation, and organization design. Many can be managers, but fewer are true leaders.

Initiative for the Greater Good

One of the best tests of leadership is to observe an organization experiencing monumental change or crisis. Watching how individuals “step up” with initiative often requires asking why they are making a choice: for their own benefit or for the organization as a whole.

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admin on November 23rd 2020 in NEXGEN - On Day 91, Web Stuff

It’s Gone From e-Nothing to e-Everything – Easy Tips to Grow Sales

Speaker:  Hema Dey of Iffel International Inc.



Our guest speaker Hema Dey, an expert on SEO marketing and sales, offers tips and lessons learned on 2021 strategic marketing for businesses of all sizes and industries.   

My top takeaways:

E-Everything is Everywhere

Since March 2020, there has been a radical shift to digital marketing – mobile and online. If you are not on digital platforms, your competitors are getting your business. And this “e-everything” environment is congested and combative. This means being equally aggressive and strategic in building marketing plans for 2021.

Where to Start?

Be surgical, not scatter-shot, in your marketing investments. First up, examine your website.  Are you talking the language of your buyers and customers?  (As opposed to telling YOUR story.)  Are you focused on how you will solve their problems?

Find the In-Grown Toenail

Hema describes how she helped her client podiatrist to invigorate the doctor’s digital strategy. The first step was to identify the doctor’s top cash-cow client and market specifically to those potential buyers. In the podiatrist’s case, she chose in-grown toenails. Why? She was an expert at it, her services provided immediate relief, and it would generate the greatest income. This is a solid tenet for all businesses wanting to rapidly reset: identify cash cows that are selling in 2020 and promote those products as part of your 2021 marketing strategy.

Aristotle Had It Right

To engage with customers, you need to craft a compelling story. This means, as always, establishing your credibility and trustworthiness — ethos.  And your presentation needs logos: messaging that reinforces logic (reasoning, facts, data, and case studies). Most importantly,  you need to forge an emotional connection – pathos – that reflects what’s in it for the customer. This is known as the Aristotelian Rhetorical Triangle.

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admin on November 16th 2020 in NEXGEN - On Day 91, Web Stuff

Make your Business Stronger In 2021

Secrets to creating innovation from within

Presenter: Jim Twerdahl


The Takeaways

  • How to look beyond what you’ve done in the past.
  • Springboard for discussion with your senior team.
  • How to challenge outside resources.
  • “If it ain’t broke” you’d better break it.

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admin on November 9th 2020 in NEXGEN - On Day 91

Hackers Innovate. Who Is Attacking? What Do They Want?

Speaker:  Dave Watts of Inovo InfoSec

Watch the Video


Our guest speaker Dave Watts, an information security expert, discusses cybersecurity risks and opportunities.   

My top takeaways:

High Risk, Higher Damage Potential

The perpetrators are not bored college kids looking to make a few bucks or entertain themselves. These are professional criminals (basically organized crime) who are often in different countries where there are fewer or no laws making their activities illegal. Because there are no global government measures to guarantee your data safety, mediation is up to you, the business owner.

What’s Their End Game?

In the realm of Small and Medium Business (SMB), basically, every company has something of value to cyber-criminals. While high-profile news coverage would imply the top want is big money (as in, ransom), often it’s not so. Many attacks are aimed to compromise vulnerable systems in order to sell access to specialists who will monetize the data. Others are looking to distribute malware, send spam, or help launch a denial-of-service attack.

IT to IS: Apples to Oranges

In the majority, it’s the Information Security (IS) team that is responsible for averting breaches. Information Technology (IT) should be a partner in executing policies and procedures, but it is the IS organization that creates the company’s strategy, roadmap, and budget.

Key Partners in (Avoiding) Crime

Statistics show that 60% of all U.S. small businesses go out of business six months after a cyber-attack. Being proactive and pulling in all partners is the best strategy to avoid this fate.  In addition to IT and IS teams, business owners should coordinate with their attorneys – Which laws and regulations apply? What are my legal obligations if my clients’ information is breached? – and with their insurance agents – Do I have cyber liability insurance? What does my policy cover and exclude? In other words, a good offense is a good defense.

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admin on November 2nd 2020 in NEXGEN - On Day 91

Resilient Organizations, Beyond Surviving to Thriving.

Speaker:  Robin Johnson, a specialist on the Secrets of Building a Resilient Organization



Our guest speaker Robin Johnson discusses resilient organizations, beyond surviving to thriving.

My top takeaways:

Why Resilience Matters

Perhaps under-appreciated, resilience is a “must-have” for leaders and organizations today when so much is beyond their control. A resilient organization benefits from reduced anxiety and stress and has greater energy and creativity. Another trait is the learned capability to identify and enhance areas of strength.

Resilience Doesn’t Just Happen

There are a number of building blocks – protective factors – that can be used to ensure resilience at both the individual and organization levels.  For example, real-time resilience is a strategy that helps us be ready for unplanned change. Another tactic is realistic optimism: using evidence (that is accurate) to frame the change, rather than taking a “Pollyanna” approach or focusing only on the negative.

Know Your “Why”

The most successful companies have employees who know why their companies exist: what’s the actual benefit, not just what they manufacture or sell. An example is the maker of WD-40, a company that is about more than just a can of oil; they make families’ lives better and companies run more efficiently.  

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admin on October 9th 2020 in NEXGEN - On Day 91, Web Stuff

Ultra-Low Power Machine Learning at the Edge for Voice and Sound

NexGen – 45-Minute Business Brief
Presenter: Dave Garrett
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Putting Machine Learning (ML) algorithms into edge applications on the Internet of Things (iOT) is the latest use of ML to solve interesting business problems using voice and sensor analysis. In the post-COVID19 world, the voice interface is becoming much more important to solve real-world challenges.

The Takeaways

  • A tremendous amount of computing needs to happen at the edge (cloud-compute is not an option for everyone)
  • Machine Learning (ML) is amazingly good at solving recognition problems
  • Syntiant has a combination of custom ultra-low-power silicon, and ML software infrastructure

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admin on October 2nd 2020 in NEXGEN - On Day 91

Learn Why a New Client Should Choose YOU

NexGen – 45-Minute Business Brief
Speaker:  Bruce La Fetra – Managing Partner and Growth Strategist, Eastwood Strategy Advisors

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Think Like a Client Handout
Why. Should a Client Choose You Summary


Our guest speaker Bruce La Fetra (aka, the Client Whisperer) describes how to reverse engineer your marketing approach from the customer’s point of view.  

My top takeaways:

  • A simple lesson that makes your marketing far more effective.
  • How to connect faster and deeper with prospects using basic neuroscience.
  • How to think like your clients by asking yourself one question.

Client Don’t Care About You

What do clients care about? How you can help them achieve their goals. And to do so, you need to think like your clients. This means developing a different mindset in order to secure an emotional connection as early as possible.

Enlist Your Best Clients

Use your best clients – the ones you would clone if you could – to learn about yourself and why your service is valued. You won’t get honest input from vendors, industry experts or prospects. To identify practical and actionable insights you need to talk to real clients.  This is the key part of the reverse engineering process.

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admin on September 28th 2020 in NEXGEN - On Day 91

How to Recruit the Best Technical Talent in the COVID Era

NexGen – 45-Minute Business Brief

Speaker: Joe Van Tassel – LinkedIn
Integress – Engineering & Technical Recruiter
Watch the Video
The Takeaways
– What are the top candidates looking for?
– How do you find the RIGHT candidates?
– How has COVID effected recruiting?
-What makes your company more competitive

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admin on September 12th 2020 in NEXGEN - On Day 91

Implementation Challenges in the Covid Era

“The greatest opportunities lie on the other side of Adversity” – John Thompson


COVID fog got your brain?  How to make your business productive?

The key to progress in life and business (once you know where you are going) is Implementation. There are ways to get work finished, including brute force, caffeine, liquor, or paying others. It is not complicated!  

Tools and strategies Implementation Challenges. 

  • Why most business plans fail
  • You cannot manage time… stop trying?
  • Why Making your Bed is so Important?

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admin on August 11th 2020 in NEXGEN - On Day 91, Web Stuff