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Endeavor and Linda Rottenberg Profiled in The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor, a U.S.-based international news publication, recently profiled Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg and the story of Endeavor, spotlighting the organization’s journey and its rapidly growing global impact. In particular, the article calls […]

April 16th, 2014 — by admin

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Endeavor and Ernst & Young share best practices for corporate volunteers in Stanford Social Innovation Review

Endeavor CEO and Co-Founder Linda Rottenberg was published in the 10th Anniversary Issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. The article, focusing on best practices in corporate volunteer programs, was co-authored with Deborah K. Holmes, […]

March 10th, 2013 — by admin

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Linda Rottenberg interviewed for Hürriyet

During a recent trip to Turkey, Endeavor Co-Founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg participated in a video interview for Bloomberg Turkey, and was interviewed by Hurriyet, a top Turkish newspaper. Below is a translated summary of Linda’s remarks:

“You have entrepreneurship in your DNA.”

Linda Rottenberg says that Endeavor is a community where innovative, creative people gather together — where entrepreneurs who think big can get the help and support they need to reach their goals.

According to Rottenberg there is a fast growing entrepreneurship ecosystem in Turkey. “When I was studying at Harvard during the 80’s many of my friends were looking for jobs in big firms, but my Turkish friends were more into creating ideas and starting their own companies. During the financial crisis in the United States everyone is talking about what should be done but nothing is actually being done. They’ve lost the spark. However in emerging markets like Turkey people are talking less and actually going after their visions and dreams. I think that’s the biggest difference. The global crisis also created many opportunities for small to medium enterprises in emerging markets in terms of both human resources and the opportunity to buy or merge with bigger brands.”

Rottenberg says that investors have taken more interest in Turkey than China or India recently and Turkish entrepreneurs are taking this opportunity and using it to their advantage. She is soon expecting “garage companies” like Google and Apple to come out from Turkey. “There are already some Turkish technology companies that are known very well worldwide in their sector but not known widely because their models are business to business, not of business to customer.” “The new trend is emerging to emerging (E2E) where emerging markets are taking an interest in one another. It is not just developed countries like the U.S.A taking an interest in Turkey but China, India and others are too!”

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The article also mentions Investor Trek, where many members of Endeavor’s Investor Network will be gathering in Turkey in December 2011 to meet with Turkish Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

UAE newspaper highlights Endeavor’s role in the Middle East

UAE-based newspaper The National recently published a feature on Endeavor’s role in the MENA region, including plans to eventually open an office in Dubai. For the time being, Endeavor Global operates a satellite “support” office in the country, in partnership with Abraaj Capital.

The article quotes Linda Rottenberg, Endeavor’s co-founder and CEO:

“‘The Middle East is really one of the hotbeds of entrepreneurial activity…A support office that could marry a lot of the investors and [business] networks that come through Dubai seems to mirror what we have found in Silicon Valley and New York City. This is an entry point where I hope to service entrepreneurs not only from the region, but in the UAE and GCC.”

The article goes on to discuss the growing focus on start-ups in the region, emphasizing their transformation into larger enterprises:

In the UAE, specifically, efforts to boost the overall number of small to medium-sized businesses over the years have largely focused on the creation of new start-ups.

Many of the services offered through Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Fund provide Emirati entrepreneurs with start-up capital or advisory services focused on selecting a business idea and evaluating its feasibility.

A number of universities throughout the country have also created competitions that reward students who come up with business plans for new start-ups.

But there is also a growing effort to expand smaller firms into medium or even large-scale enterprises.

The piece makes further mention of Endeavor’s role in the region:

Endeavor Global, which opened a branch in Lebanon last year and plans to open one in Saudi Arabia during the first quarter of next year, customises its services depending on what an entrepreneur most needs. A larger business looking to expand into international markets might be provided with high-level strategic mentorship, while a smaller company could gain assistance with targeted employee recruitment or marketing initiatives.

The full article can be found here.

The difference between entrepreneurship and scalable entrepreneurship

According to a recent article in Slate, “Why Small Businesses Aren’t Innovative,” as world governments have reacted to the recession, significant focus has been placed on job creation and how to best support the so-called small business owner. Indeed, the small business owner has long been considered a central force behind the world’s free economies. At Endeavor, we too have long championed SMEs, but with a caveat. Our focus has been on scalable or “high impact” SMEs — businesses that have significant growth potential and can therefore play a disproportionate role in emerging market development.

The article goes on to discuss how in their scramble to find ways to motivate entrepreneurs to invest, expand, and hire, academics and policy makers have uncovered some interesting outcomes. In particular, in their paper “What Do Small Businesses Do?,” University of Chicago economists Erik Hurst and Benjamin Pugsley have shed light on the importance of identifying businesses truly capable of significant expansion. According to Hurst and Pugsley, the growth-seeking and innovative entrepreneur is truly a rare thing; and most small business owners lack both the desire and the innovative idea necessary to foster significant growth.

Inasmuch as this is the case, there are significant implications in terms of public policy. Rather than create programs designed to stimulate small businesses en masse, perhaps it would be more efficient to focus on those rare entrepreneurs capable of creating the kind of growth that we so desperately need. In other words, when seeking scale, stimulate the scalable.

A new Ernst and Young sponsored report released by Endeavor and the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) provides a similar perspective, validating that a powerful answer to job creation lies in high-impact entrepreneurship. Endeavor has long held this view — and the increased focus on business solutions to employment in light to today’s economic climate seems to have lent it further credence.

2011 Impact Report

Endeavor has released its 2010-2011 Impact Report! DOWNLOAD THE REPORT [PDF] for insight into how Endeavor is transforming the world through High-Impact Entrepreneurship. From Entrepreneur spotlights to country snapshots to colorful photos of events and network members, it’s all here!

For a quick glance at our most recent impact metrics, click here.

Debut exit for Colombia VC firm: Endeavor company Ecoflora spins off agriculture business

By Justine Hart, Daniel Uribe and Melissa Tran.

Ecoflora, a Colombian biotech and natural products company pioneered by Endeavor Entrepreneur Nicolás Cock Duque, has spun off its agricultural business unit to create Ecoflora Agro. The new subsidiary company was formed in partnership with Gowan Company, LLC, an American leader in crop protection solutions worldwide. Gowan’s share in Ecoflora was purchased from Promotora venture capital fund Progresa Capital, making this transaction the first exit of a Venture Capital fund in Colombia.

“This exit demonstrates our interest in developing the industry of Private Equity and Venture Capital in our country,” said Francisco Mira, Promotora’s CEO. “We remain committed to accompany Ecoflora and other companies of our portfolio in executing their business plans and finding and linking strategic partners that enable them to grow rapidly and efficiently.”

This partnership gives Gowan Company and its global marketing companies the exclusive right to develop, register, and market EcoFlora’s current unique plant extract based portfolio and robust product pipeline. The entry of Gowan responds to Ecoflora’s current growth strategy. “We are very excited about having Gowan as our global platform to bring our innovative and green plant extract biopesticides to such important markets around the globe. Ecoflora Agro has been working for 12 years to develop its crop protection portfolio based upon the rich biodiversity and the great and talented people that Colombia has,” says Nicolás. Gowan will participate in the operations of Ecoflora Agro along with Ecoflora’s original founders and entrepreneurs.

Gowan, recognizing demand for more environmentally friendly agricultural products, has taken on Ecoflora as part of its ongoing Gowan Green strategy. “Our goal is to develop an innovative IPM program combining our current portfolio with Ecoflora’s plant extracts. Ecoflora Agro’s existing and future products will enhance and globally strengthen our Gowan Green strategy, and they will provide unique solutions to our customers in the over 70 countries we serve,” said Sergio Comparini, Gowan’s Business Development Manager.

Ecoflora Agro will promote and sell green biopesticides and fungicides around the world, as Ecoflora has already done in a number of Latin American countries. EcoFlora Agro has developed and marketed plant extract products (bio fungicides and bio insecticides) to support growers in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, and is known for providing its customers with innovative products and solutions to address their pest control needs. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, biopesticides are certain types of pesticides derived from natural materials such as animals, plants, bacteria, and certain minerals. According to the US Department of Agriculture, biofungicides are composed of beneficial microorganisms that attack and control plant pathogens. These products represent the core business values of Ecoflora, which develops environmentally friendly products for the agricultural, cosmetic, and pet care sectors, using natural components, bioinputs, and bioactives as their main ingredients to provide an alternative to highly contaminating products.

Nicolás Cock Duque, EcoFlora’s founder and current CEO was selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in 2007, and since then Endeavor Colombia has been working with Nicolás to connect him with mentorship in the area of strategic planning, intellectual property rights, human resources, among others.

One the most successful Endeavor Services programs in which EcoFlora has participated is MIT G-LABs. As part of this program, in the fall of 2009 four MIT Sloan School of Management students were paired with EcoFlora to design the company an entrance strategy into the US market. During the course of the program semester, the students analyzed various possible entrance strategies, and determined that Ecoflora should seek a joint venture with a US manufacturer.

Among companies that the team identified as potential joint venture partners for EcoFlora was Gowan Company. The G-LAB team helped to establish initial contact between the two companies, and outlined the necessary steps that Ecoflora should take to pursue this alliance. During the negotiation process with Gowan Company, Endeavor Colombia mentors provided EcoFlora with legal and strategic support.

About GOWAN

The Gowan Marketing Companies include Gowan USA, Gowan Canada, Gowan Comercio Internacional e Servicos, Limitada, Gowan Mexicana, Gowan Espanola, Gowan France, Gowan Italia and Agrotechnology in Chile, amongst other companies and partners that guarantee a global distribution platform. These companies provide an expanding offering of quality crop protection solutions for specialty crops and niche markets of agriculture. Gowan committed and dedicated to supporting specialty crop growers through regulatory defense, market experience and product development.

Endeavor Entrepreneur Nada Debs mentioned in Wall Street Journal

An article in The Wall Street Journal‘s Life & Culture Section, “Beirut,” gives a nod to Endeavor Entrepreneur Nada Debs’ Boutique.

“After years of chaos, Lebanon’s cosmopolitan capital is making a stylish comeback,” asserts the article, explaining that Nada Debs “designs furniture and objects that blend Middle and Far Eastern influences. Her pieces are modern, but with a touch of tradition—and beautifully made.”

Nada Debs, one of the first Endeavor Entrepreneurs selected by Endeavor Lebanon in 2011, has build an elite Lebanese design brand, displaying products in top furniture stores worldwide. She spent her child in Japan, and designs peaceful zen-like furniture with a mix of the aesthetic traditions of her native Middle East. Along with The Wall Street Journal, Nada’s products have been featured in The New York Times, Vogue, Monocle, and over 120 other magazines and newspapers. Featured in top furniture stores worldwide, Nada’s products give the world a tasteful peak into Beirut’s old and new culture. Check out Nada’s designs here.

Magnetic leadership

Reprinted from www.under30ceo.com. See the original post here.

By Dianne Durkin, founder and president of Loyalty Factor LLC — a training and consulting company

What is Magnetic Leadership?

The answer to that question comes from defining what it is not.

Uninspired leadership that disengages employees is the “reverse polarity” of Magnetic Leadership.

• Think of the successful professional who may have climbed the ladder without ever learning how to play well with others.
• Think of leadership that does not connect with people because the vision and purpose are not relevant to them.
• Think of leadership that talks without listening.
• Think of leadership that promises without delivering.
• Think about the cost of unengaged employees.

According to pollster Gallup, actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. workforce more than $300 billion in lost productivity alone. How much is employee disengagement costing you?

If there is weak or non-existent leadership in an organization, it is like spraying a big can of people repellent into the air that employees breathe. It kills creativity, productivity and the spark that ignites new ideas. Those organizations risk losing top talent and cultivating people with promise.

Here’s the good news: you can create Magnetic Leadership in your organization. And you don’t have to look like a rock star or a celebrity to do it. You just have to have heart, be open to some organizational soul searching, and most importantly, you have to be R.E.A.L.:

• Take an active interest in others
• Listen to people
• Act decisively and consistently based on what you hear and do

You can transform your organization, energize your employees and boost your bottom line with Magnetic Leadership. With the R.E.A.L. acronym as your guideposts, you have the opportunity to look at yourself as a leader and ask some hard questions along the way. Each answer brings you closer to being a Magnetic Leader who inspires others in your organization.

Let me highlight some of the concepts of Leadership. (more…)

Ridiculously transparent — by Scott Weiss, general partner of Andreessen Horowitz

Reprinted from Ben’s Blog. See the original post here.

By Scott Weiss, general partner of Andreessen Horowitz

I had a real struggle preparing to be a public company CEO. And it had little to do with having scalable internal systems or making the quarterly numbers… I just couldn’t keep secrets from my employees.

As CEO of IronPort, I wanted to be completely transparent with my entire team but my board of seasoned industry veterans was sharply opposed… They raised several serious issues: do you want to leak critical weaknesses to your competitors? Do you want to panic your employees? Do you want to completely reconstruct your culture when you go public? It was just a bad idea. However, the more that I thought about it, the more I believed that sharing absolutely everything would create massive advantages and that we should live with whatever consequences resulted.

So, after board meetings, we would assemble the company and go through every board slide… How much cash in the bank? What’s our burn rate? What are the biggest problems we are facing? Did we decide to build, buy or acquire a critical component? The first couple of go rounds, there was dead silence. No questions—just head nodding and a couple of blank stares. After some probing, we realized that people needed to feel comfortable speaking up, that it didn’t just come naturally. We brainstormed a bunch of different ways to get over this hurdle and here were some experiments that ultimately worked:

- We amped up the frequency of communication to all employees. Different members of the leadership team would send out weekly emails to all about customer trips, conferences attended, schedules slips and customer issues. These were written very off-the-cuff, informal and in the voice of the different leaders. I suppose we’d be all be tweeting or blogging today…

- When an employee would reply to an email with a comment or question, we treated it like it came from a customer who deserved an immediate, detailed and thoughtful response.

- After the weekly staff meetings, we’d send out a summary of the decisions and issues to all of the directors/managers who would then share it with their teams.

- We emphasized “speaking up” as a core value at every opportunity. Our employee orientation, performance reviews and leadership training all emphasized everyone having an obligation to dissent…

- We would leave 30 minutes for questions after every all-hands meeting and then press, often uncomfortably, for no fewer than five questions from the group.

Over time, the benefits of transparency coupled with an emerging cultural norm of speaking up became more apparent:

I thought we would surface creative answers faster. When everyone had a clear understanding of the hard problems, their collective brains were on the table for parallel processing. The best information rarely sat with the senior executives but with the employees that were closest to the product and closest to the customers. And the best answers would often come from the most unlikely of places. For example, some of our most innovative features came from customer support reps identifying customers trying to use the product in ways it wasn’t intended.

Initially, it worked better than we expected. IronPort experienced zero voluntary turnover for the first three years. Because we let everyone’s head under the tent, we implicitly trusted them and it worked both ways. For instance, it wasn’t a shocker when we stopped hiring as we were raising money. Everyone knew exactly what was going on: we were running low on cash and had no idea how long the process would last.

Lastly, nobody was confused about what was important and people would point out any inconsistencies and solve them in the background. I remember standing up at a company meeting talking about how excited I was that IronPort anti-spam was working and we’d finally be able to drop our partner Brightmail. After the meeting, the accounts receivable clerk knocked on my door and said, “I thought you should know that two customers are withholding payment because IronPort anti-spam isn’t performing.” Oh crap. But much better to know about it and fix it than go on believing there wasn’t a problem.

As we were preparing to file our S-1, we hired a CFO with public company experience that insisted that we start “practicing” as a public company. Hmm—I knew that our level of transparency would have to change but what did that mean exactly? “You can’t tell everyone how we did this quarter at midnight quarter-end” and “You can’t go through all the board slides like that—too much sensitive information.” So, we started editing, putting shrouds on issues because we were afraid that the information would leak. I remember our first all-hands during the “practice” time. I felt muzzled and cautious, trying to strike a balance between our wonderful transparent culture and an intricate set of Sarbanes-Oxley rules. As it turned out, the practice was critical in working out the kinks. Here are a few things we did:

- Our CFO and I listened to dozens of public company earnings calls to get a sense for the dynamic and what information was typically shared. The best duos had the CFO as the play-by-play man and the CEO as the color commentator.

- We then staged mock earnings calls with the employees as the analysts asking the questions. This proved to be a very useful format for reining in my over-sharing and was instructive to the employees as they saw us struggle with what we could and couldn’t reveal.

- We prepared a mock earnings press release a few weeks after the quarter closed. This helped us practice keeping the numbers quiet, which was difficult because everyone wanted to know how we did at quarter-end.

Although we eventually opted for an acquisition by Cisco versus an IPO, I came to believe that our type of total transparency was a competitive weapon that applied primarily to private companies. In the end, my board members were right—we did have to limit what we shared with employees on the way to going public. That said, I believe it was much healthier to set the default to full disclosure while we were private. When you prepare for an IPO, it’s definitely a high-class problem to have to work backwards with concrete reasons to withhold information from the employees. And when that time comes, they totally understand.

7 common traits of ineffective leaders

Reprinted from CompanyFounder.com. See original post here.

By Paul Morin

This list of seven traits is not all-inclusive, nor is it in order of importance. These are simply seven traits that I see all the time, which undermine the ability of leaders to help their organizations and themselves achieve all that they can.

I also want to point out that not all the following characteristics are intrinsically “bad”. There are certain situations that call for some or all of them.  In “everyday” leadership scenarios and organizations not in crisis though, the following seven leader traits are not likely to result in an optimal outcome.

Common Ineffective Leader Trait #1: Micro-Managing

Wait, are we talking about leadership or management? Sometimes the line becomes blurred. My favorite metaphor illustrating the difference between management and leadership is from Stephen Covey’s story of a logging crew working in the forest. The crew is working hard and someone yells from atop a nearby mountain (paraphrasing), “Hey, you down there” … “What? We’re busy making progress, don’t interrupt us” … response: “You’re in the wrong forest”!

The effective leader is not the one that goes around “getting into everyone’s business”. Rather, the effective leader makes sure the organization and everyone in it is in the “right forest,” then let’s them get their jobs done.

Common Ineffective Leader Trait #2: Unclear Objectives

Many, if not most, organizations do not have clear objectives for where they are trying to go. The leadership of the organization has not taken the time to define where the organization is trying to go or what it is trying to achieve. In other cases, the objectives have been clearly defined, but they have not been effectively communicated to the members of the organization. Following on the forest metaphor above, the organization may even actually be in the “right forest,” but due to poor communication, the team may not know whether they’re supposed to be cutting it down or planting more trees.

Common Ineffective Leader Trait #3: Frequent Direction Changes

There aren’t too many things more demoralizing to someone working hard toward an objective, than having it change, constantly. We’ve all seen, and some of us have had the displeasure to work in, organizations where the direction and objectives seem to change with the capriciousness of the wind. We all start “rowing in the same direction” only to be informed, or worst yet, find out second-hand, that the objectives have changed and we’re supposed to be rowing in an entirely different direction. If you want to be an effective leader, don’t do this to your team on a frequent basis, and if it’s absolutely necessary at some point, explain it well. Your team will hold it against you a lot less if you communicate with them as openly and honestly as possible regarding why all the work they just expended “was for nothing”.

Common Ineffective Leader Trait #4: No Culture Of Accountability

Once you have clear goals in place and have communicated them effectively to your team, it’s critical to develop a “culture of accountability”. Your team must understand that they have their part to do, in order to help the organization achieve its goals. This “part” must be well-defined, with milestones and target dates for completion. Progress toward the milestones and overall completion must be tracked and reviewed on a regular basis. Variances or deviations from plan should be explained and if necessary, course correction must be facilitated and monitored. Without a “culture of accountability,” it’s too easy for members of the team to get sidetracked “putting out fires” and to never quite complete their “part”. If this happens systemically, the organization will never reach its goals and the leadership will have failed.

Common Ineffective Leader Trait #5: Don’t Walk Their Talk

There are some leaders who are tremendous talkers. They can “wax eloquently” on most any subject and they inspire confidence with their bold pronouncements. The issue arises when all the hyperbole does not coincide with reality and specifically, when the leader displays behavior that is inconsistent with what he or she is “preaching”. Leaders, as persons who are supposed to inspire confidence, like it or not, are held to a higher standard.  If you aspire to be a “great leader,” it’s important that you “walk your talk”. Don’t make eloquent pronouncements, then contradict them with your behavior. That will be the quickest route to lose the respect and confidence of your team and other relevant constituencies.

Common Ineffective Leader Trait #6: Run People Over

Ineffective leaders, frequently unable to persuade with logic or emotional appeals that make sense to their team, often just “run people over”. That usually takes the form of “you’ll do it because I said so”. This approach can be necessary in certain situations, particularly where a team member does not want to listen to reason, or simply cannot be given enough information to fully grasp the rationale for a particular mandate. However, if this approach is used as a matter of routine, then it is likely to alienate many members of the team. This point is highly related to the point above regarding effective communication.  If you communicate effectively as a leader and you have selected good members to your team, you typically will not have the need to “run people over”. That would be ideal, because when intelligent people get run over, they typically find a way to use their formal or informal power within the organization to make you “pay the price”. They undermine you every chance they get, even if just in a passive aggressive way.

Common Ineffective Leader Trait #7: Take Credit For Everything

If something works well in your organization, give credit to your team. Why? Well first, it’s the right thing to do. If you are playing a leadership role, while you may have put everyone in the “right forest,” it’s highly likely that the remainder of your organization did the execution necessary to “make it happen”. Second, you will look and feel a lot better if you “give credit where credit is due”. Even if the reward is not monetary, pretty much everyone appreciates a pat on the back for a job well done. Remember the adage, “praise in public and criticize in private”. Don’t be shy about highlighting the tremendous performance of your team and certain individuals with your team. While some underperformers may get jealous, the achievers will appreciate the recognition and are likely to continue performing at a high level, for you and for the organization.

So there you have “7 Common Traits of Ineffective Leaders” and some ideas on how you can avoid those traits and continue on your path to becoming an effective leader.  As I said at the outset, I realize that this is not an all-inclusive list and I realize that in some situations, these “bad” traits may be necessary.

Every business must manage three things: purpose, projects, and process

Cartoon by Mark AndersonReprinted from Ducttapemarketing.com. See original post here.

By John Jantsch

While one business may be organized in departments, job titles and roles and another basically made up of only one person doing it all, every business that grows and thrives internally and externally figures out how to manage three things at all times: purpose, projects and process.

Lots of employees come into businesses hoping to rise to the ranks of management. The thing is every employee in a business is a manager of something. Lots of business owners start a business and quickly realize they must manage everything. The question is manage what?

As a customer, if you enjoyed a remarkable experience with a business there’s a very good chance that experience enjoyed the complete attention of management from three very distinct points of view – but what really made it remarkable was that it didn’t feel managed at all.

No matter how simple or complex a business may seem if it is to come to life it does so essentially orchestrating these three things – communicating purpose as strategy, delivering innovation, growth and positioning through the implementation of project after project and creating a remarkable culture and consistent customer experience through the operation of process after process.

No matter how many people actually go to work in a business, every business needs to fill the role of Purpose Manager, Project Manager and Process Manager even if all three of these roles are played by the same person.

The role of the Purpose Manager is to create and tell the story of why the business does what it does, create and keep the picture of where the business is headed and act as the filter for business decisions made in the name of the brand’s positioning.

The role of the Project Manager is to continually look to break every business innovation, question, challenge, initiative or campaign into logical projects complete with required action steps and resources.

The role of the Process Manager is to receive and implement the tasks and action steps that fall from each project plan and operate established processes that ensure trust is maintained through consistency.

No matter how complicated we want to make our businesses, this is what success comes down to.

But, this is what makes owning a business such a challenge, this is what makes managing people such a challenge, this is what makes doing a job such a challenge. Finding the places where these three roles divide and where they come back together again is the art of the business and it’s not always obvious or even natural.

If you’re the sole employee you must spend some part of each day playing these distinct roles no matter that your innate talents may reside squarely in one or the other.

As you hire staff you must focus on first hiring for your weaknesses in performing or managing one or more of the three roles not on job titles or departments.

As you grow your business you must build purpose, project and process thinking into every new department, innovation and initiative.

You must also guide your entire team to approach their work in this manner and give them the tools that will allow them to embrace purpose, think in terms of projects and know when and how process that delivers purpose is the right path.

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