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6 min read

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No matter the size of your business, your corporate culture matters. Having a strong culture leads to increased employee retention and a competitive edge when hiring. Statistics from the Digest of Company Culture show that a strong culture can reduce employee turnover from 48.4 percent to 13.9 percent. In addition to helping you build and keep a strong team, a healthy culture can help to build your brand, increase your team’s overall productivity, and improve client and customer relationships. 

While having a strong culture is important, it’s not something that just happens on its own. Instead, it’s something that leaders have to plan for and consistently work towards. This can feel overwhelming to leaders, especially those at small businesses that are constantly pulled in different directions. Making culture even harder for small companies is the fact that most small businesses don’t have the budget for building culture that many big corporations do. 

That said, spending time on culture is important and is something that all business owners should do. Even without a budget for big events or perks, there are plenty of things that leaders can do to help develop a culture that will allow for building and keeping a talented, productive, and happy team. Here are a few key actions that all small-business owners should take. 

Step 1: Determine what you want your culture to look like

Corporate culture is nothing more than identifying core values and then finding ways to live them out. It’s easy to say that you want a strong culture, but for many leaders, it’s more difficult to identify specifics about that culture. The first step towards building a strong culture is clearly identifying what that culture should look like and tangible ways to determine whether you’re achieving it. This step might seem obvious, but too often leaders try to build culture without clearly defined goals

Co-founder of Buildium, Michael Monteiro, advises that answering some key questions about culture is an essential first step. He asserts that before you can build the culture you want, you have to be able to answer questions like: Why do you do what you do? What do you believe? Where do you want the company to go? 

Further, he encourages leaders to address these core values and plan for culture as soon as possible, warning that “without a defined culture, employees get disenchanted; they move on.” 

Related: Managing Your Company Culture Virtually Through a Pandemic

Step 2: Make core values a part of everyday life

Once you’ve determined your core values and what you want your culture to be centered around, it’s important to find ways to make these values a part of the everyday life of your business. As many leaders have learned, it’s all too easy to come up with core values that live on a shelf or on a poster. 

To avoid this and to make these values meaningful, they have to be a part of the everyday experience for your employees and customers. To do this, it’s important to find ways to make core values a part of your lifeblood and to find ways to constantly reinforce those values. 

Step 3: Keep culture in mind when hiring

It’s clear that building a strong culture takes consistent work and effort. As a result, it’s important to have a team that fits well with the culture that you’re building and that is willing to help support it. 

As a baseline, it’s important to make sure potential hires understand and appreciate your culture and values. On top of that, however, you should prioritize cultural fit when hiring. It can be tempting to hire based solely on skills and experience, but to build the most effective team possible, you want to prioritize cultural fit throughout every phase of the hiring process. 

Step 4: Prioritize communication

Whatever your core values, good communication is key for building a strong and healthy culture. And, it’s important for leaders to appreciate that the best way to build a business with healthy communication is from the top down. This means that it’s essential for leaders to consistently model good communication. This should include transparency and regular check-ins with employees and teams. Businesses with the healthiest communication styles also include effective feedback cycles, where leaders are consistently getting, reviewing, and responding to feedback from the team. 

Related: Does Your Company Culture Lead to Happy Customers?

Step 5: Plan sacred events to build culture

While corporate culture is much more than holiday parties or family picnic, strategically planning and executing some events can help to build a strong culture. These events don’t have to be fancy, in fact, they can be as simple as weekly lunches where the team gets together and just socializes. It doesn’t matter what you do, but come up with some regular events that help to build your culture and make these sacred among your team. When planning these, resist the temptation to use these events for things. For example, if you schedule a monthly lunch with the goal of building relationships, don’t use that time to get a status update on a new project. 

Conclusion

Strong corporate culture matters and it’s something that needs to be intentionally built and supported. While all businesses will have a unique culture, the above steps are some actions that all leaders can take to help plan for and build their culture. 

No matter the size of your organization, working to build a strong culture is an important way to make your organization as effective as possible. In fact, according to David Cummings, co-founder of Pardot, “corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur.”

Related: How to Create a Winning Company Culture

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Join us as we sit down with Linda Findley Kozlowski, CEO of Blue Apron, to discuss the challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs in today’s landscape.

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2 min read

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Businesses have either suffered or soared during the pandemic. If you want to hear from the CEO of a company that has thrived to become one of the most in-demand services during quarantine, mark your calendars. This C-suite leadership series is hosted by Comparably co-founder/CEO Jason Nazar as he sits down for a virtual fireside chat with Linda Findley Kozlowski, CEO of Blue Apron (NYSE: APRN) — the pioneer in healthy meal prep delivery service. The conversation will center around practical “If I Knew Then…” leadership advice, personal life philosophies and guiding principles, and the challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs in today’s landscape. 

Other topics that will be covered include:

  • The recipe for managing a public company with a spike in demand 
  • How to scale as a business in a rapidly changing market
  • Key ingredients for risk-taking leadership
  • The measurement of great workplace culture, pre- and post-pandemic
  • Food waste and the future of sustainability

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Jason Nazar is co-founder/CEO of Comparably, a leading workplace culture and compensation site that provides the most comprehensive and accurate representation of what it’s like to work at companies. Under his leadership, the online platform has accumulated more than 10 million employee ratings on 60,000 U.S. companies to become one of the most trusted third party resources for workplace and salary data since launching in 2016.

Linda Findley Kozlowski is Blue Apron’s President, CEO and a member of the company’s Board of Directors. Before joining Blue Apron, Linda most recently served as COO of Etsy, Inc. where she held responsibilities for product, marketing and customer engagement and acquisition. Prior to Etsy, Linda spent three years at Evernote Corporation, most recently serving as COO, where she oversaw worldwide operations, managed cross-functional teams across seven countries and led the successful launch of the company’s multi-tier pricing strategy to drive accelerated revenue.

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Join us as we discuss strategies women entrepreneurs can adopt to keep their networks robust during COVID-19 and beyond.

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In this webinar, a panel from Wilmington Trust will discuss the findings of a new survey on peer networking for women business owners, and issues they continue to confront versus their male counterparts. They will also talk about strategies women entrepreneurs can adopt to keep their networks robust during COVID-19 and beyond. 

Key Takeaways:

  • How women business owners and entrepreneurs can gain better access to peer networks
  • What are the networking challenges that women face as compared to men, and how do men and women perceive those challenges differently
  • How the pandemic is impacting face-to-face networking, and what are some techniques business owners can use to overcome those challenges

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Marguerite is responsible for the development and delivery of strategic advice offerings for clients of Wilmington Trust and M&T Emerald Advisory Services. She provides families and business owners with personal wealth planning and fiduciary services to assist them in the design and implementation of their estate, business succession, and family legacy plans.

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Whether you are in search of a single advisor or building an advisory board, different professionals can strategically elevate your business. Right now just might be the time to find them.


6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Building a high growth company, innovating new products and raising money is a challenge under any circumstances. But with a crashing economy and businesses in a holding pattern, accelerating your startup in these unprecedented times is an especially isolating uphill climb for founders. The bright side is that CEOs do not have to face all difficult decisions alone. Now is an optimal time to reach out to advisors or secure new ones.   

Related: How to Provide Investor Updates the Right Way

An expertly selected advisor or a curated advisory board can help navigate early-stage companies through the unknown. Industry leaders, academics and repeat entrepreneurs alike might be looking to dive into new opportunities and avail their services to founders as the nation reopens. This is the moment to re-evaluate the next steps and determine what tactical offensive actions you can take. The challenges we are facing now present a business-defining opportunity to target and assemble a dream advisory board.

The goal

No one has all the answers, even if this is not your first attempt at being a founder. An advisor can offer an independent perspective and impartial guidance. They can provide access and reach to resources, serve as a test customer or salesperson, be a cheerleader and at other times serve as an unbiased critic. A well-chosen advisor will guide you through your industry and all its hurdles and nuances. As seasoned professionals, they not only know how to avoid the pitfalls but also can help broaden your vision to look beyond the short term horizon. Connecting with a well-matched advisor with aligned incentives will put you in a better position to set and execute your goals.

To encourage an advisor to help you along your path, you should be able to clearly define what you want from this relationship. While the advisor is neither a co-founder nor an employee, they must be on board with your aspirations. What are your greatest concerns for your startup, and how do you envision your advisor guiding you? Did they work with previous advisees? Does their method match your style and/or your needs? And remember, even though your advisor is an expert, they are not a mind reader. Communication is key. Let your advisor know when and where you need help and how they can assist you in navigating through the roughest waters.

Related: How the Behavior of Job-Seekers Has Changed Since February (Infographic)

What to look for

Whether you are in search of a single advisor or building an advisory board, different professionals can strategically elevate your business: 

  1. Industry leaders – An executive with a big name in your vertical whose legacy and reputation are impeccable can be an excellent resource for an early-stage founder. This kind of advisor can open doors to top industry talent, first customers, strategic partnerships, etc. Recently retired industry experts are ideal, as they come without complicated conflicts of interest.
  2. Academics – If your industry is in a highly specialized field, an academic advisor can lend confidence by serving as a development partner. Technical advisor support can range from evaluating your tech stack from a different perspective, to assisting in the creation of your product.
  3. Repeat entrepreneurs – This type of advisor has the practical hands-on experience critical to helping a similar business grow. Repeat entrepreneurs who have both failed and succeeded, and who have learned how to pivot and rebound, are ideal advisors. From fundraising, go-to-market, building teams and landing and expanding customers, successful repeat entrepreneurs have experienced this process first-hand and will support you in the difficult times and champion you in the good ones.
  4. Ecosystem personalities – Famous, big personalities established in the ecosystem can help promote your brand and create confidence with customers. They can help you attain a positive reputation before your product even hits the market, positioning you for success.

Although you want an advisor who has experience in the area of your startup, you do not want someone with similar skill sets. Your advisor should offer knowledge or expertise that complements and expands upon your own. They can provide an added perspective while building the product or service as well as add clout to your introduction into the industry. This is especially key for emerging first-time founders.

Related: How the Crisis is Changing Consumer Behavior, and How Entrepreneurs Can Act on It

Making connections

Although every founder has different needs and expectations from their advisory board, one point remains the same: You want advisors who have experience in your field. Here are some recommendations for making those connections:

  • Create your ideal list of advisors and research all lines for warm introductions. This could come from the network you have already begun to establish and from the networks of your investors who can help facilitate those connections.
  • Be active in (virtual) events around your industry. Seek out other founders who can provide you with insights on advisors. Get to know people. Build friendships and working relationships to expand your network and reach.
  • After you have worked your existing connections, consider making cold introductions. Although you might question the success rate of this approach, given our current work-from-home situation, these leaders might have more time and interest in emerging startup opportunities. Do not be afraid to reach out to the big personalities and famous names in your field. They might just say yes.
  • Think creatively and take bold steps to foster new relationships. Host a webinar and ask a prospective advisor to join as a panelist or co-host, invite an industry leader to co-author an article with you or join in on a social media campaign.

Always keep in mind that this activity is also a selling proposition, and make it clear what is unique about this opportunity at your startup and what you are offering in exchange for their guidance.

Related: The Recovery Brings the Unique Opportunity to Shift Societal Norms

Why now is the right time to team up with an advisor

Founders must figure out how to go forward with their business operations and develop strategies on how to adapt to variable conditions. Leaders with 20-plus years of experience who have successfully weathered the dot com bubble burst and the past financial crisis can offer their learnings to ground you through all of the unknown hurdles ahead.

Although the world continues to cope with the health crisis and its impact, that is not going to be the case forever. Soon enough, the world will move forward. Right now you have a window to reach out to potential advisors, especially industry leaders and academics who may have a lull in their time commitments. With little-to-no travel happening, with conferences and large meetings canceled or virtual, and with university openings in an uncertain state, they might welcome a new opportunity to help founders develop an offensive strategy for a resurgence. Teaming up with an advisor now will help you get the ball rolling progressively toward our post-crisis world.

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Whether you’re managing a team of 15 or 1,500, the crisis has stretched the bounds of our workplaces and demanded that every professional think outside the box.

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5 min read

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Across the United States, nearly every nonessential business big and small has been forced to go remote. This puts people in leadership positions in a unique spot. As academic director of the Columbia Executive M.S. in Technology Management program, I interact with and coach hundreds of emerging leaders each year. The global health crisis has made the leadership skills we teach more important than ever. 

Related: How to Lessen Loneliness and Boost Belonging at Work

Despite what you may have heard, leadership is not innate: It can be taught. If you’re struggling to lead your team during this pandemic, here’s a roundup of my advice with the help of some successful students and alumni.

Be open 

An increase in news consumption and seeking of information are common psychological responses to a crisis. On a global level, we see governments holding daily press briefings and ramping up information sharing. It’s critical that business leaders also keep the information flowing. EMSTM alumna Sam Wilmot, now the VP of strategic programs at Xerox, says that this idea has kept her team going.

Wimot recommends increasing the number of check-ins you normally would have with your employees. She says it’s important to account for the fact that there are no “water-cooler moments,” where information is spontaneously shared or connections are made, and that this can lead to feelings of isolation amongst your team. As we continue into month three of working from home, try to keep up or even increase the amount of check-ins with employees. Even if you have no new information to share, sometimes a simple “hello” can go a long way. 

Related: Who Are Your ‘Friends’? Inclusive Leadership Starts With Your Social Circles

Be clear and calm

There are plenty of legitimate reasons for business leaders to feel wary during this unprecedented time, but it’s important to relay hope to employees who might feel lost. Wimot’s advice: Try not to offload too much and stay as bright and positive as possible — while remaining realistic. People are looking to you for cues and signals on the evolving situation. Be strong but be honest and always authentic.

To do this effectively, emotional intelligence is critical. Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. It should be in every executive’s repertoire. The skills it takes to successfully perform in a position of leadership, like emotional intelligence, can be learned and perfected with daily practice. Good leaders remember that every employee under their management is unique and can recognize how to interact with each person to maximize efficiency, productivity and happiness.

Related: A Brief Guide to Letting Black Entrepreneurs Be Entrepreneurs

Be flexible

This crisis has forced us to get comfortable with ambiguity. Laura Kudia, one of my current students and an incoming chief of staff at American Express, says this is one skill that has become particularly handy for her. Before enrolling in the EMSTM program, Kudia spent a decade in the media industry. Her shift to financial services was a complete career pivot. The program gave her “tools in the toolbox” — a combination of hard and soft skills — and taught her to speak the language of tech execs. It also taught her something just as important: to be ready to adapt to and learn from new situations quickly and efficiently. 

As chief of staff to the unit CIO who oversees global risk and tech transformation, Laura’s job is to be a translator for the organization. She must speak to the mission and challenges and communicate these to her direct-reports. This, of course, has involved a lot of spontaneous adjustment right now. The entirety of her onboarding was remote, for example. Of course it wasn’t ideal, but leaders need to be able to adapt to unforeseen challenges with grace and agility. She credits the ability to do this confidently to her weekly sessions with her Columbia mentor but says now is the time for all leaders to use their conviction.

Leadership is a timeless skill that’s being tested now more than ever before. Whether you’re managing a team of 15 or 1,500, the crisis has stretched the bounds of our workplaces and demanded that every professional think outside the box. Wilmot and Kudia are two examples of executives who are forging ahead in these uncertain times. If businesses are going to thrive in the weeks and months to come, they should follow their lead and re-examine what it means to be an effective leader. 

Related: How to Provide Investor Updates the Right Way

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6 min read

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Diverse teams carry diverse work and communication styles. As a generational speaker and trainer for over a decade, I have experienced first-hand how wide the communication gap can be on multi-generational teams. 

In fact, 83 percent of Generation Z workers prefer to engage with managers in person, yet 82 percent of managers believe their Gen Z employees prefer to communicate via instant message. Further, 57 percent of Gen Z want to receive feedback several times a week, but only 50 percent of their managers provide feedback to them that frequently.

The proliferation of mobile technology and ubiquitous connectivity has created an abundance of new communication channels. Email, text, chat, video call and social collaboration are relatively new forms of communication that didn’t exist for most of the 20th century.

Related: Gen Z Considers This Benefit More Important Than Salary

The complexity of communication intensifies when multiple channels are combined with the varying communication preferences and expectations of each generation in the workforce. Communicating between generations is challenging, but leaders want to get it right. The following five strategies should help.

1. Gain generational awareness

A general awareness of how each generation approaches communication is key to closing the communication gap. Keep in mind generational traits are clues — not absolutes — but they can help you connect and influence.

  • Baby Boomers appreciate formal and direct communications with a preference for using face-to-face, phone and email; they value background information and details.
  • Generation X appreciate informal and flexible communications with a preference for using email, phone, text and Facebook; they value a professional etiquette.
  • Millennials appreciate authentic and fast communications with a preference for using text, chat, email and Instagram; they value efficiency and a digital-first approach.
  • Generation Z appreciate transparent and visual communications with a preference for using face-to-face, Snapchat, YouTube, TikTok and FaceTime; they value video, voice-command and a mobile-only approach.

Surprisingly, over 70 percent of Gen Z want to communicate face-to-face at work. They will continue to weave in and out of the digital channels they are accustomed to while seeking more face-to-face encounters.

The communication gap is also exposed by how each generation uses emojis. Eighty-three percent of Gen Z emoji users are more comfortable expressing their emotions through emojis than a phone call, compared to Millennials (71 percent), Gen X (61 percent), and Baby Boomers (53 percent).

2. Defer to the person you’re communicating with

Use generations as clues and defer to the communication preference most widely used by that generation. For example, Baby Boomers who want to connect with Gen Z should not call and leave a voicemail. Instead, defer to texting or instant message. Conversely, Gen Zers who want to connect with Baby Boomers should not FaceTime or DM them on social media. Instead, defer to a phone call or face-to-face meeting.

Related: 8 Ways the Crisis Will Forever Change the Future Workforce

It’s no longer about how the communicator wants to deliver the intended message but how the other person is most likely to consume the message. 

It’s also important to match the right channel with the type of information. 

  • Phone call is for detailed, long, difficult or emotional conversations.
  • Email is for brief, informative and/or instructional information.
  • Chat is for general announcements, news, informal messages, team collaborating and socializing.
  • Video (Zoom, FaceTime, Teams, etc.) is for long, feedback-rich, focused, emotional or difficult conversations.

3. Mirror the communication

Respond to communications using the same channel in which it was received. For example, if a Gen Xer receives a text from a Millennial colleague, the Gen Xer should not call the Millennial but rather mirror the communication by sending back a text.

If alternating the communication channel is a must, then take the time to recap the previous correspondence in the new communication channel.

4. Set communication expectations 

If a team or individual hasn’t been explicit about their communication preferences, others are left guessing which of the myriad communication channels to use and will usually default to their personal preference.

Related: Gen Z Grads Say Companies Like Google and Facebook Are ‘Harmful,’ and Won’t Work For Them

Instead, be proactive about informing others of how they can best connect with you. For example, a Gen Z employee could mention they prefer a text over a phone call in their email signature or Slack profile. Or a Baby Boomer could mention they prefer an email over a voicemail in their voicemail recording.

5. Create a team communication agreement

The purpose of establishing a communication agreement is to create official guidelines that highlight the rules of how a team is to communicate with one another.

Clearly communicating about how to communicate is essential in today’s high-tech and digital work environments. A communication agreement helps to set expectations, create team buy-in, establish boundaries to protect crucial work and streamline communication.

Ask the following questions of your multi-generational team to gain consensus.

  • What communication challenges currently exist among the team?
    • Ex: Too much time-sensitive information is being sent via email instead of chat.
  • What is the team’s most-used communication channel? Is this the most efficient channel?
    • Ex: Email is the most prevalent, but a reduction in the daily number of emails would be welcomed.
  • Are there communications that need to be prioritized?
    • Ex: Any communications from current or potential customers should be prioritized.
  • What type of communications are non-negotiable?
    • Ex: Monthly all-hands, face-to-face or video meetings are non-negotiable in order to maintain team connections.
  • What are the expectations (said and unsaid) for response times to email, phone, text, chat, etc.? Are these expectations necessary or suitable for success?
    • Ex: Email response time expectations are 24 to 48 hours. If communication is needed sooner, use text or chat as the response time expectations are 15 to 30 minutes.
  • How should “do not disturb” times such as vacation, evenings, deep work, etc. be handled?
    • Ex: On workdays, employees are not expected to respond after 6 p.m.
  • Do work schedules need to be synced to allow for tighter collaboration? If so, what are the guidelines?
    • Ex: Every Tuesday all team members are expected to be online working between 3 and 4 p.m.
  • What communication channel should be used for “emergency only?”
    • Ex: Unprompted phone calls are for emergencies only and should be treated as high-priority by all team members.
  • How are meetings to be conducted to maximize participation and efficiency?
    • Ex: More frequent but shorter meetings (15 minutes or less) led by rotating team members.
  • What other actions are needed to improve communication efficiency and quality?
    • Ex: Out of office responders are required for any off days or times of uninterrupted work.

Consider creating a separate agreement for any external communications with clients, customers and vendors. Once you’re clear on how to communicate, you’ll be able to effectively lead your employees — no matter what generation they’re from. 

Related: 3 Ways to Market Effectively to Different Generations

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The author of Never Eat Alone and Who’s Got Your Back talks about his new book and strategies for elevating collaborative teams.

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2 min read

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Keith Ferrazzi is the founder and CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, a Los Angeles-based research and consulting business, and author of the bestselling books Never Eat Alone and Who’s Got Your Back? Ferrazzi talks with #ThePlaybook host David Meltzer about his new book Leading Without Authority and shares strategies for “co-elevating” teams.

Ferrazzi talks about typical team dynamics which generally consist of groups of siloed individuals with some overlap and who occasionally collaborate — but are usually simply coexisting. Leaders, then, assume responsibility and play whack-a-mole to address challenges. But to succeed, Ferrazzi explains, leaders should disperse responsibility, moving it from themselves and onto the team. Team members that lift each other up and care about each other succeed together. 

This “co-elevation” of teams involves changed behaviors and mindsets, but acting your way into a new way of thinking is more effective than thinking your way into a new way of acting, Ferrazzi says.

Ferrazzi suggests shifting to co-elevation by adopting the eight attributes of high-performing teams he details in his new book. Among them: 

  • Empathy, by starting meetings with “sweet and sour,” in which each team member discloses how they’re doing, to nurture the team’s growth in serving, sharing and caring
  • Courage and candor, for which Ferrazzi advises leaders to use breakout sessions of only three team members each during larger virtual meetings to provide psychological safety and spur innovation
  • Celebration and praise, adopting a weekly meeting agenda item for each team member to identify someone within the company for whom they are grateful 

Ferrazzi also talks about the current remote work environment as an opportunity to reboot and “recontract” teams, considering this as a time not to go back to work, but to go forward to work with a commitment to collaboration and co-creation.

Related: Fail Often, Fail Fast, Fail Cheap

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Their covert mission into Afghanistan inspired a book, a movie, a monument and now, an award-winning bourbon.

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2 min read


This week’s episode of Get a Real Job focuses on a group of brave men who have chosen action over safety for their entire lives.

In the days after 9/11, while many Americans were watching the news in a state of shock and horror, a team of 12 Green Berets covertly entered Afghanistan and waged war against the Taliban … on horseback.

Riding horses as they penetrated the forbidding landscape of Afghanistan wasn’t part of the plan. But almost nothing about their mission, code-named Task Force Dagger, had a plan anyway. They were dropped in-country and basically told to figure it out as they went along. 

Despite being outnumbered 40 to one and having little-to-no contact with their command headquarters, these men, The Horse Soldiers, fought in a series of intense battles side-by-side with militia allies and successfully captured the city of Mazar-i-Sharif from the Taliban, a strategic stronghold.

The Horse Soldier’s story inspired a book, a movie and a monument that can be seen at the 9/11 Memorial in New York. Nearly 20 years after Task Force Dagger’s success, retired Special Operators Scott Neil, Rob Schaefer, Mark Nutsch, Bob Pennington, Tyler Garner and John Koko, along with Elizabeth Pritchard-Koko, found a new mission: they founded American Freedom Distillery. The all-American company’s signature offering is the award-winning Horse Soldier Bourbon, which is sold in bottles pressed in molds made from steel salvaged from the World Trade Center site. 

Related: How To Get Into The Whiskey Business When You Don’t Know Anything About the Whiskey Business

Neil, Nutsch and Pennington came by the Entrepreneur office to discuss their lives and their business for this week’s episode. We hope you enjoy and feel inspired. And to the Horse Soldiers, and all military men and women listening, we thank you for your service.

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Jessica Abo talks with Comcast’s SVP of Community Impact about how leaders can effectively bring about change.

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2 min read

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Empowering underserved communities with corporate initiatives has long been a goal of Dalila Wilson-Scott, Comcast SVP of Community Impact and President of the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation. At the 2019 Social Innovation Summit in Los Angeles, Jessica Abo spoke with Wilson-Scott about how business leaders can positively impact the lives of their customers and employees.

Wilson-Scott discusses accessibility programs Comcast has pursued with the help of partner organizations, allowing them to test features with the customers they’re intended to empower. 

Wilson-Scott suggests company leaders stay true to their business’ values by leveraging corporate culture to plan social impact work and to start by soliciting employee input — programs with employee buy-in are the most impactful. 

Starting small is another strategy Wilson-Scott suggests to avoid analysis paralysis and help companies understand their social mission. 

Wilson-Scott discusses the importance of diversity and inclusion at Comcast and how limited access to technology negatively impacts communities of color. One way Comcast addresses this, Wilson-Scott says, is with a representative staff. 

Wilson-Scott also advises leaders to aim for authenticity, consistency and being present.

Related: How WW International Is Trying to ‘Be Better and Do Better’ Right Now

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