Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

Becoming a More Decisive Leader
Feb28

Becoming a More Decisive Leader

You go to your editor because you’re confused about how to best approach an upcoming story. Instead of providing guidance about the story’s frame or talking you through possible sources, the editor says they aren’t sure who you should interview and asks your opinion. They also say they’re uncertain if the story is worth writing, ending the conversation with “maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.” You’re more confused than when you asked for help. Are you supposed to write the story or not? If so, you’ll have to figure out where to start because you aren’t sure who to contact or what the story is even about. You likely don’t recognize the importance of decisive leadership — proactively making good decisions for your team or organization — until you’ve worked with an indecisive leader. Once you’ve worked with an indecisive leader (an oxymoronic term, in my opinion), you know you don’t want to work with one again and you certainly don’t ever want to be one. But are you already? Are you a decisive leader? The best way to know if you’re a decisive leader is to ask those you lead. If you aren’t comfortable asking, candidly answer the following questions about yourself in your leadership role: Do you gather the right amount of information before making decisions? Decisive leaders gather the information they need to make an informed decision, but they don’t procrastinate making decisions with continued information gathering. Do I use all of my resources when collecting information? […]

Read More
Let’s Talk About the “F” Word: Feedback
Feb28

Let’s Talk About the “F” Word: Feedback

Feedback. We dread it. We fear it. While conceptually we all understand the importance of feedback, just the word feedback can be associated with negative feelings for people on either side of the desk. Managers dread the employee’s reaction in response to their feedback. Employees fear feedback because criticism can feel like an assault to their personal character. The good news is that managers can alter how their feedback is perceived by changing how they deliver it. Below we list some of the elements that make feedback effective. 1) Effective feedback is constructive. “Constructive feedback is always good feedback.” – Jarred Thomas, Iota Consultants Constructive feedback means that the feedback is action-based and forward-looking. As flattering as ‘you’re smart’ might sound, it is not actionable. People can’t repeat or correct traits (intelligence in this example). Instead, feedback should be focused on behaviors which can be repeated or corrected. Focusing on behaviors becomes even more critical with negative or corrective feedback. Negative feedback without actionable steps can leave employees feeling disengaged and fearing what will happen in their next feedback conversation. Feedback always has to be actionable. Constructive feedback is also forward-looking. Many employees know when they are not performing up to standards – they just don’t know how to improve or they are just too afraid to ask. Research shows that forward-looking feedback, not backward-looking, can improve employee performance by as much as 13%. 2) Effective feedback should be continuous and in real-time. “Learners need endless feedback more than they […]

Read More
Innovation as the Escape Route from Financial Slowdowns
Feb27

Innovation as the Escape Route from Financial Slowdowns

qimono / Pixabay It is too soon to say that humanity has the upper hand on the Coronavirus, but data coming in recently is undoubtedly encouraging. The United States, for example, recently saw a 19% decline in cases of COVID-19. This has been the case in multiple countries, even those that have been the most harshly impacted. Whether it’s because of mass vaccination or the fact that people have learned to live their lives alongside the virus, recent numbers are leaving room for optimism. We’re talking about the lowest number of worldwide weekly cases of COVID-19 recorded since October 2020 and a continuing decline in weekly deaths as well. While this does not mean in any way that the disease is behind us, it can mean that it’s time to talk about getting economies back on their feet. Slowly and cautiously, the world will start thinking about dealing with the pandemic’s financial repercussions, which some consider no less harsh than the medical one. Innovate, inform, inspire As cliché as the saying above has become, it is incredibly relevant to today’s reality. The ticket out of this situation and onward is through initiative rather than responsive economy. In other words, this is the time for thinking about new ways to get the economy’s wheels moving, rather than sticking to old patterns – which have shown they are not effective in this case. The key to success, hence, is innovation and entrepreneurship. This is the time for the human mind to create, […]

Read More
How to Open a Business Bank Account (and Why You Need One)
Feb27

How to Open a Business Bank Account (and Why You Need One)

Wondering how to open a business bank account or why you might need one? Although it’s possible to run a small business using your personal bank account, there are benefits to having a dedicated account for your business. Keeping your business finances separate from your personal money will make it easier to manage cash flow and track business expenses. Another reason for opening a business checking account is that it will make you seem more professional to your customers in case they want to write you a check or you need to write them one. Lastly, having a business bank account can help you qualify for business financing, which you may need at some point. With this guide, you will get answers to the most asked questions about how to open a business bank account, such as: How do I choose a bank? What do I need to open a business bank account? Which kinds of business accounts do I need? How do I open a business bank account and make the first deposit? How do I choose a bank? Once you have decided to open a business account, it’s time to settle on a bank. Banking will be a major part of your everyday life as a business owner, so choosing a financial institution should not be taken lightly. Here are some factors to consider when looking for a bank that will best meet your needs: Monthly costs and other fees Most business checking accounts will charge monthly fees […]

Read More
Product Innovation: How to Build Products Your Customers Love
Feb27

Product Innovation: How to Build Products Your Customers Love

How do you go from good to great? How do you remain relevant as your competition continues to gain more market share? As the technology and business landscape continues to shift rapidly, companies that embrace innovation will have a clear advantage over those who don’t. As with most things in marketing and business, product innovation isn’t something that happens from a few meetings or putting together a polished slide deck. From who you hire to holding your team accountable for certain OKRs, innovation requires buy-in from your entire organization. In this article, I’ll share what product innovation is, why it matters, and how to build a company culture where innovation is the standard. What is product innovation? (Image source) When you hear the word innovation, what immediately comes to mind? Do you think of companies like Amazon and Google? Does product innovation refer to creating entirely new products or improving previous offerings? At the most basic level, product innovation is the process of developing and marketing a new or improved product to solve your customer’s problems. In The Innovation Delusion: How Our Obsession with the New Has Disrupted the Work That Matters Most, authors Lee Vinsel and Andrew L. Russel have a more direct take: “Innovation, at its core, is change that can be measured because it generates profits.” No matter how great your product or service is now, innovation is critical for continuing to serve your customers based on their current needs and desires and avoiding becoming an afterthought. […]

Read More