The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

What is one app that has made you a more productive leader and why?

yec_Lawrence Watkins1. Contactually

Contactually is a CRM that makes it very simple to follow up with employees, mentors, customers and other people in your network. For most businesses, relationships are a key component for growth. The simple reminders from Contactually suggest who you should follow up with to keep your business objectives moving forward. — Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers

yec_Michael Quinn2. Basecamp

Basecamp is a project management and collaborative software that keeps our team on task. It makes communicating with our clients as well as assigning tasks to our remote teams a breeze. And, we all have the app on our phone, so we can stay in touch while on the go.…

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Over the course of my two decades in journalism, I have met and interviewed everyone from the worker-owner of a corner deli to magnates of industry, and what separates the winners and loser is something very simple — working in a successful culture.

It doesn’t matter what size organization you are working or running — culture is key to achieving success. One of the easiest examples of how a weak corporate culture can topple a company was AOL/Time Warner. There was the buttoned-down corporate culture of Time Warner on the one hand, and the entrepreneurial spirit of AOL on the other. It was one of the key factors that led to the demise of the largest merger in the history of U.S. business.

So how does one create a healthy culture? There are four basic ingredients:

  • Knowing your strengths and weaknesses
  • Having a mantra
  • Staying the course
  • Valuing “human capital”

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses

To create an environment of growth and inclusion, you need to know the basics of who you are, what you want your business to be, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of yourself and your company as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your competition.Why?…

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textbooksAt the end of a long day, a tired first grade student lifts her chair, flips it over and lays the seat down on the top of her desk. The story of the journey of how it got there can tell us a lot about what she learns at school and what it means to be a student.

Like the choice in Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken, how a teacher chooses to get the student to put the chair on the desk might at first seem not too matter much, but in the long run it can make all the difference. Or does it?

Before we look at the choices a teacher has in getting the chair from the floor to the top of the desk, let’s examine what both choices have in common:

  • First-grade students in general are not intrinsically motivated to put chairs on the desks.
  • Even though they might not be motivated to do so, it is a worthwhile task for a student to do and learn to accept responsibility for.
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The Food Waste Reduction Alliance released its Best Practices and Emerging Solutions Toolkit last week, as part of an effort led by the Food Marketing Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association and National Restaurant Association to help the food industry reduce food waste. The toolkit includes best practices and strategies for measuring and managing food waste by keeping it out of landfills, overcoming donation challenges and reducing the generation of food waste to begin with.

“We realized early on that we needed to communicate beyond this group to the broader membership of our respective trade associations if we were going to be able to get traction on this issue and make meaningful progress,” ConAgra Foods Vice President of Sustainable Development and toolkit co-author Gail Tavill said. “This is only the beginning, but it’s a way to lay the groundwork to enable the entire food industry to address this environmental, social and economic issue.”

The dozens of organizations participating in FWRA realized they were all dealing with challenges related to food waste using different techniques, so the alliance’s Best Practices and Emerging Solutions Committee decided to start collecting those case studies and practices, she said.…

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R+ Book 5th edition print cover v4The following is an excerpt from “Performance Management: Changing Behavior That Drives Organizational Effectiveness,” Fifth Edition, revised, by Aubrey C. Daniels, PhD., and Jon S. Bailey, Ph.D., for Performance Management Publications, a division of Aubrey Daniels International Inc.

Success in business is defined by an organization’s ability to produce results. If you don’t make a profit, you will go out of business. The same is true for each managerial position within your organization. If a manager does not produce results, he/she will not be judged as successful.

All organizational results are the products of human behavior. Every result is produced by someone doing something. If you want to improve results, you must first get employees to change what they are doing. You want people to do some things either more or less often, or in some cases, to do something entirely different.

To change results, you must change behavior.…

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