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What Is the PRO Act and How Might It Affect Small Businesses and Subcontractors?

The PRO Act is back. It was passed by the House last year but never advanced beyond that.
Now, the PRO Act is back — reintroduced in early February — and it could have a big impact on your small business.
The PRO Act is touted as “a labor rights bill” needed to improve worker benefits and safety. It was presented in the House and Senate as a “discussion draft” which seeks to amend the National Labor Relations Act.
The Act is supported by Democrats in Congress. Since both the House and Senate are controlled by the Democrats, this time the proposed bill has legs and at least has a chance to pass.

The PRO Act – What Small Business Owners Need to Know
The bulk of the PRO Act addresses labor unions and has guidelines protecting employees’ rights to organize and addresses using freelancers and independent contractors. Adherence to the legislation would be overseen by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Of concern to a small business owner is the definition of an employee, as included in the proposed legislation. The language makes a distinction between an employee and an independent contractor or freelancer.
If the PRO Act passes, this definition would be part of National Labor Relations law.
The PRO Act and the Independent Contractor Classification
The proposed legislation “aims to reduce the use of the independent contractor classification for workers.”
That might raise the interest of any small business owner out there right now relying on freelancers and independent contractors for regular work or help with special projects. It can also have a major impact on freelancers and independent contractors, too, who thrive in the gig economy or are looking to grow their footprint in it.
Here’s the exact language regarding the definition of an employee, as it’s currently written in the draft form of the PRO Act.
An individual performing any service shall be considered an employee and NOT an independent contractor unless:

The individual is free from control or direction in connection with the performance of the service.
The service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer.
The individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed.

This legislation is also designed to make it easier for employees of a company to formally organize. Here’s a look at how the PRO Act would change current labor rules.
How Many Employees Are Needed to Form a Union?
Under the proposed PRO Act, the short answer: Just two.
Even if your business only contains a handful of employees in non-supervisory roles, they may unionize, according to the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRA applies to all private employers who are engaged in interstate commerce. Under the NRLA, an appropriate “bargaining unit” necessary to form a union can be made up of two or more eligible employees who “share a community of interest.” According to statistics, currently about 10 percent of all American workers are unionized.
Background of the Pending PRO Act
The PRO Act was introduced February 4, 2021, by Robert (Bobby) C. Scott, who chairs the House Committee on Education and Labor. At the same time, it was also introduced in the Senate by the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. “Unions are critical to increasing wages and addressing growing income equally,” Scott said in support of the bill. “Union members earn an average of 19 percent more than people with similar education, occupation and experience.”
Chairman Scott said that the PRO Act is “a major step forward toward ensuring that workers can exercise their basic right to form a union and collectively bargain for higher pay, safer working conditions and decent benefits,” by strengthening federal laws that protect worker’s right to form a union.
What Are the Proposed Amendments to the NLRA in the PRO Act?
The PRO Act would impose financial penalties on companies that violate worker’s rights. Examples of violations of worker’s rights include wrongful termination – such as termination for attempting to unionize.
The PRO Act would add personal financial liability on a business’s corporate directors and officers. The financial liability would be imposed if those individuals had knowledge of violations and failed to take action to protect an employee or employees.
The PRO Act would streamline the process by created an automatic injunction to reinstate an employee or employees while a case is pending before the NLRB.
The PRO Act adds language which would allow employees to continue a case in court if the NLRB fails to take their case.
Expansion of Worker’s Collective Bargaining rights by allowing unions to collect “fair share” fees to cover the costs of collective bargaining. In other words, if there are employees of a business who have not joined the union there, they would contribute “fair share” fees if the business’s unionized employees are engaged in collective bargaining.
Workers can support boycotts, strikes and other acts of solidarity ongoing by workers at other companies.
Workers cannot be denied remedies on the basis of their immigration status.
Image: Depositphotos

Shein's New Jeans Baffle Shoppers

Sometimes, innovation in the world of fashion can be a double-edged sword.
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February 18, 2021 3 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Generally when you are looking for a pair of jeans, they have to cover certain basics; That they are comfortable, they conform to the body, that the fabric is of good quality and well … that they cover you. However, tastes break genres, something that the Chinese clothing brand Shein knows very well, which has a wide variety of designs to cover many markets, but one of its latest jeans that it launched puzzled buyers.
Image: Shein
In a post, which has already been deleted, a photograph of a model showing the new product was included: jeans open at the crotch. A very grunchy style or a return to the 2000s of wearing underwear on the outside, but that is exactly the line that puzzles most. Comments from confused customers were swift:
One wrote: “Wait what? Who wants to show off their underwear? This is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Another asked, “What the hell is happening to Shein?”
Now we enter a debate, is it cool to show the underwear right in the crotch or is it just a new style?
Image: Shein
The jeans come with a standard button that closes just at the waist, with pockets and a covered butt, thankfully. In addition, they are straight cut from the high part of the thigh to the floor. They cost 566 Mexican pesos and sizes range from XS to L, of course, pantyhose are not included.
Image: Shein
For the more daring, they may be worn only with pantyhose or they could be worn with shorts or leggings underneath, but, by themselves, they are quite an extroverted bet.
According to the Metro page, it is not the first time that Shein has made headlines for displaying controversial designs. The company removed a necklace from its site because it looked like a swastika after several complaints. Also, he sold rugs that looked like Muslim prayer mats (which were also removed).
In 2019, the proposal of denim pants began to be seen on the catwalks, which was also highly criticized to the point of being compared to adult diapers. The trend did not pass to adults and we did not see people using them on the street, but they did generate controversy.

So while jeans with a large crotch hole are not to your taste and are officially not offensive, as long as you use something to cover the genitals, maybe they are just another proposal that passes without pain or glory.
Meanwhile, we keep asking ourselves, can innovation be a double-edged sword in the world of fashion?

SoftBank Joins Initiative to Train Diverse Talent in Data Science and AI

The alliance aims to train and improve the skills of underrepresented communities seeking opportunity.
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February 18, 2021 3 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

SoftBank Group Corp, as part of its Academy of Artificial Intelligence (AI), announced on February 18 its support for Data Science for All / Empowerment (DS4A / Empowerment, for its acronym in English). This alliance aims to train and improve the skills of underrepresented communities seeking opportunities in the field of data science.
Developed by Correlation One, DS4A / Empowerment aims to train 10,000 people giving priority to Afro-descendants, Latinos, women, LGBTQ + and United States military veterans, over the next three years, providing new paths to economic opportunities in one of the fastest growing industries in the world.
The SoftBank AI Academy supports programs that complement the theoretical training of traditional technical education courses with practical lessons, including artificial intelligence and data management skills that can be immediately applied to business needs.
DS4A / Empowerment will provide training to employees of SoftBank Group International portfolio companies, including the Opportunity Fund and Latam Fund, as well as external candidates from the United States and Latin America, including Mexico.
The program is specifically designed to address gender equity and talent gaps in a field that has historically been inaccessible to many people, leading to a significant under -representation of women and Afro-descendants. Participants will work on real case studies that are expected to have a measurable impact on the operating performance of participating companies.
IDB Lab, the innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, will join SoftBank and provide more than 10 full scholarships to underrepresented candidates in Latin America, while Beacon Council will offer 4 full scholarships for underrepresented candidates based in Miami.
Program participants will receive 13 weeks of data and analytics training (including optional Python training) while working on case studies and projects, including projects presented by SoftBank’s portfolio of companies. The initiative will also link participants with mentors who will provide career development and guidance. Upon completion of the program, external participants will be connected to employment opportunities at SoftBank and leading companies in the business, financial services, technology, healthcare, consulting and consumer sectors.
Program and enrollment details
DS4A Empowerment is an online program taught in English over a period of 13 weeks. Classes will be held on Saturdays from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm (Eastern Time, ET), beginning April 17, 2021.
The program registration period ends on March 7, 2021. Applicants who might consider applying include employees from the portfolio of companies affiliated with SoftBank in the region, as well as software engineers, technical product managers, technical marketers and anyone with a background in STEM who is interested in learning data analysis. To apply and learn more about the program, interested candidates can visit the official website of DS4A Empowerment .

4 Classic Business Books Recommended by Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg

February 18, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Books can save us from years of trial and error and monumental mistakes. A book contains experiments. Decades of learning. It allows us to discover in 100 or 200 pages all the author’s thoughts and experiences. For only ten dollars! It’s magic, isn’t it?
If you’re looking for a good read, can we suggest Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg’s favorite books and an economics classic? Get ready to be inspired and surprised! 

Investor and businessman Warren Buffett recommended this book (and gave it away) to Microsoft’s founder, who had never heard of it. It had been out of print since the 1960s, and the author died in 1993. But a few years ago, Gates said: “More than two decades after Warren Buffett loaned it to me and more than four decades after its first publication, this book is still the best business book I have ever read.”
“Business Adventures” is a collection of 12 true stories, which have little in common except the style in which they are told. One story describes the “great crash” of May 28, 1962, as vividly related by numerous sources who recall how they lived through it, what the environment was like, and how it ended. Another tells the story of the Edsel, the car named after Henry Ford’s son and which nearly bankrupted the auto giant in the mid-20th century. Then there’s the General Electric scandal and the impressive rise of Xerox. Great stuff!
Related: 9 Must-Read Books to Prepare Entrepreneurs for 2021 

Today, Amazon is one of the three largest companies in the world, but it wasn’t always like that. In early 2001, the company was four years old and had yet to report a profit. Then Jeff Bezos had an idea and picked up the phone.
On the other end of the line was Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … And Others Don’t”. Collins listened to Bezos and decided to pay a visit to Amazon headquarters.
After Collins spoke to the company’s management team, Jeff decided to change the economic structure according to Collins’s advice.
In a podcast with Kara Swisher, Collins remembered that he told them to stop focusing on short-term gains and make long-term decisions – what he calls the “inexorable logic” of success.
“What a company spends its time doing should be concerned with developing and generating momentum,” Collins explained.
Collins’ work suggests that a company should focus on building one thing to drive another.
“If you can get the compound momentum out of your flywheel in a world that wants you to do something fast and overnight, it is enormously powerful,” said Collins.
Indeed, the plan must have been very logical because it worked. The last quarter of 2001 was when Amazon first reported a profit.
With that knowledge built in, Bezos and his team at Amazon were able to make the necessary strategic changes in the business to establish their flywheel for success.
The lessons Amazon absorbed and that catapulted it to global domination are collected in the book. We don’t guarantee that after you read it, you will have a net worth of more than $182 billion, but we’re pretty sure you’ll have a better idea of how to build a healthy and thriving business.
Related: 5 Books to Read Before Starting Your Business 

This classic, first published in 1776, is still required reading in university Economics departments. The Scotsman Adam Smith was the first to write about a complex subject that had massive repercussions; his book built the foundation for capitalism.
“The Wealth of Nations” describes the roots of prosperity in England and the Netherlands and proposes economic theories about work, the market, the nature of wealth, wages, and capital accumulation, among other concepts. To Smith, the market was guided by an “invisible hand,” or the free pursuit of individual interests that benefited the common good by solving problems.
Related: 11 Business Books Entrepreneurs Must Reread in 2021 

“A Year of Books” is the name of Mark Zuckerberg’s virtual reading circle, which devotes itself to a new book every 14 days. After Zuckerberg recommended this book to his Facebook group, it sold out in less than 48 hours all over the world. The Financial Times voted it the best book of the year in 2013, and its fame has only grown since then.
In “The End of Power”, Moisés Naím, a celebrated Venezuelan journalist, describes the struggle between the once-dominant mega players and the new micro powers that now challenge them in all areas of human activity. The author explains how the end of power is changing everything in our world, from large corporations to agile entrepreneurs, from presidential palaces to public squares.
The beautiful and reliable thing about power is that it never disappears. It just shifts –from General Motors to Google, for example. Or from literary criticism to Oprah Winfrey and Elke Heidenreich, and from there to people like Mark Zuckerberg.
Power, like energy, is neither created nor destroyed, but inevitably disseminated among a multitude of agents and micro-powers in whose hands it ends up being degraded. This degradation, and its effect on the march of the world in the 21st century, is the central theme of The End of Power.

Meet The Computer Scientist Who Puts Equity In Diversity And Inclusion Work Culture

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Lisa Gelobter
Lisa Gelobter from Valence
As the world remains impacted by the global pandemic, the new White House administration grapples with all that it inherited. Families continue to manage remote work and home-schooling schedules. Meanwhile, companies are faced with its own set of challenges around adjusting to telework norms while ensuring that company values, culture, and performance remain intact.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Lisa Gelobter who can relate to all that government, families, and companies are dealing with during these times. She was the Chief Digital Officer for the Department of Education under the Obama Administration. Today she is the CEO and Founder of tEQuitable, a company whose mission is to create a work culture that works for everyone by making workplaces more equitable.
We talked about becoming a computer scientist, landing her job at the White House, and pivoting into entrepreneurship. She also cleared up being credited with the creation of GIFs and shared what she considers to be her most impactful contribution to the tech industry to date.

Jumoke Dada: Tell me about one of your earliest or most significant experiences with technology.
Lisa Gelobter: Let me start by sharing that it took me 24 years to graduate from college. I started college early on then I dropped out to work then I went back to finish. To answer your question, I have a memory from the school where it was around 4 AM and I was up working on a robot project. I remember trying to figure out how to make it move towards the light. I had a moment when I realized that no one had figured it out and it dawned on me that I could actually invent something new.
Dada: As a computer scientist, you may have had multiple options for employment opportunities. How and why did you work in the entertainment industry?
Gelobter: I worked at Black Entertainment Television Networks (BET) and Hulu prior to working at the White House. From the outside, it looks like I was super intentional with my career moves. However, every time that I learned about a job opportunity, I would ask myself if I would learn or grow from it because I’m a big believer that every company is a tech company. I worked on the tech side of the entertainment industry by inventing the Shockwave technology that media companies were able to build upon. Shockwave was the invention of animation on the web.

New York, New York, United States of America – January 4th, 2018: Portrait of Lisa Gelobter at her … [+] home in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Gelobter, a former technology executive at BET and Hulu, said she experienced “a moment of clarity.” during the #MeToo movement. She wanted to take her own experiences with discrimination as a black woman in tech and co-found a startup, tEQuitable, aimed at helping companies and employees address issues of bias, discrimination, and harassment. Gelobter most recently worked as the chief digital service officer in the Obama administration’s U.S. Department of Education, helping companies improve their cultures and address complaints. (Photo by An Rong Xu for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
The Washington Post via Getty Images
Dada: What about your experience with launching HULU?
Gelobter: I usually talk about Shockwave first because, in my opinion, it was groundbreaking as it set the foundation for the modern web. It was the thing that made the web move and had the most significant impact in the U.S. from a technological perspective.
Hulu transformed the way people thought about digital media and consumed it. However, Shockwave laid the groundwork and the platform for building it. The Hulu development experience was interesting and amazing. When we first launched it, I was the only person at the company who had previously worked at a media and software company. As a result, I ended up being the translator between my software and media colleagues.
Dada: What about graphics interchange format (GIFs)?
Gelobter: I want to clarify that I did not create GIFs although I get credited for it a lot. I think people conflated thinking about animation on the web as being animated GIFs but that was Shockwave. Again, what we did with Shockwave was transformative.
Dada: What would you describe as your biggest contribution to the tech industry to date?
Gelobter: From a technology perspective, Shockwave has had the most impact and has had the most things built on or stem from it. Hulu has had the biggest impact from a consumer perspective. What I worked at the Department of Education under the Obama administration has had the most societal impact.
Dada: How did you land your job at the White House under the Obama Administration? 
Gelobter: It’s a funny story. I was in my office while working at BET and I got a call from the White House. I was invited to attend a roundtable discussion focused on the government using technology to serve the American people better. I flew to Washington, D.C. to attend. About a dozen of us met with the former chief technology officer of the USA, former chief information officer, and former deputy administrator for the office of management. We then learned that it was a recruitment event. They shared the potential of the impact of our work and after some time, in walks former President Obama. It was my first time meeting him and after that meeting, I decided that I wanted to work for his administration.
I actually don’t tell this story often partially because when I got to the Department of Education, I realized that there were people on the ground daily who had been doing good work for years with little credit. They are the real heroes.
Dada: After working in government, why did you become an entrepreneur?
Gelobter: While at the White House I enjoyed working on a project called College Scorecard which helped students make informed choices about where they would go to school.
After leaving, I realized that I could help make systemic change. I decided that having worked on transformative technologies in tech, media, and government, I wanted to apply my experience to help the underrepresented, underserved, and underestimated.
I never planned to become an entrepreneur. At the time, Bloomberg Beta started Future Founders. I received an invite while working at the White House so I went and learned about it which helped me when I started my company.
Dada: Let’s talk about your company. What is tEQuitable?
Gelobter: I was fortunate as I don’t have the typical entrepreneurial journey. Through conversations with contacts at Kapor Capital, I was supported. I am risk-averse so if I had to raise on my own, like a friend and family round, for instance, I wouldn’t have done it. I also went through Y-Combinator to start.
My company is tEQuitable and we’re using technology to make workplaces more equitable. We help employees figure out their next steps when inappropriate things happen in the workplace like harassment, discrimination, etc. Companies don’t always have a good pulse on their work culture therefore we also provide data and insights so that they can make systematic change.
We created a third-party, confidential platform to address issues. For employees, we provide a sounding board where they can get advice, explore their options, and figure out their next steps. Meanwhile, we’re gathering data that we anonymize and aggregate, and use to identify systemic issues within an organization’s culture. Based on our findings, we create a report for the management team with actionable recommendations. For us, it’s really important that we work on both sides of the equation.

O’Reilly Conferences from Velocity New York 2015
Photography by Tricia O’Neill. May be used for editorial and blog articles about Velocity 2015 or O’Reilly Media, Inc. Personal,
 Dada: What do you believe is one of the biggest problems that women of color experience as entrepreneurs?
Gelobter: Every circumstance is different but I would say that it is fundraising. I’ll also add that there is something about the types of businesses that we create. Many black women, including myself, start mission-oriented or social impact businesses that may be considered to niche for funding opportunities. Kapor Capital only does social impact investing. They fund organizations that will have an impact on closing gaps and opportunities in life and work. We were fortunate to end up with investors whose values aligned with our mission.
 Dada: How has your company adjusted to the “new normal” during the pandemic?
Gelobter: We’re a small software company. When covid-19 first struck, companies had to adapt to their new normal. We did a lot of work with reaching out to employees and companies for surveys and providing materials, accommodations, and remediations. We also made suggestions of things they could put into place culture, norms and behaviors.
Dada: Diversity and Inclusion is a hot topic, what are some programs that your company has in place to address it?
Gelobter: Our company is black and brown. What we do for a living is help companies address diversity and inclusion issues.  
At the beginning of the pandemic, my biggest concern was that the strides that our company made in terms of people talking about culture, belonging, would take a hit due to budget changes. However, the business has taken off.
The fact of the matter is, in this new world, you want services like what we provide in place because you want employees to feel like they have somewhere to turn. Our services are something that can be dropped in to augment your HR team. Also, people use tEQuitable in uncertain times to reinforce the culture and values.
On the one hand, I’m glad that that business is taking off but on the other hand, it infuriates me that it took civil unrest and more for people to start addressing issues. We have been trying to tackle inequities and systemic injustices since we started the business. Now it’s not just about having companies step up but it’s also how making them bring a lens of inclusion to their company culture.

O’Reilly Conferences from Velocity New York 2015
Photography by Tricia O’Neill. May be used for editorial and blog articles about Velocity 2015 or O’Reilly Media, Inc. Personal,
Dada: Who inspires you and why?
Gelobter: My parents. They are immigrants who left everything behind to come to this country. My dad is a holocaust survivor from Poland and my mom is from the Caribbean. As people who have lost almost everything, they’ve owned more than once, they have a resilience that I admire. They are remarkable human beings who just celebrated their 60th anniversary. I even believe that my dad was a feminist before the word existed.
Dada: What advice do you have for future computer scientists, who are currently in or recently graduated from college?
Gelobter: I’m inspired by the younger generation, too. I believe that I can learn a lot from them. I feel like they don’t adhere to our standards and norms. They are about making change and questioning the status quo. I really appreciate it and I want to encourage them to continue to do two things: be true to themselves and make a social impact.

O’Reilly Conferences from Velocity New York 2015
Photography by Tricia O’Neill. May be used for editorial and blog articles about Velocity 2015 or O’Reilly Media, Inc. Personal,
The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Are You Sabotaging Your Success by Blaming Others?

Blaming others sabotages your progress and productivity. If you want to be an entrepreneur and a leader, take ownership and accountability.

February 18, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
If you’re an entrepreneur or a leader, you dream big. You think larger than what you want for breakfast and what do with your day. You dream about how you can change lives, make a difference in the world, create something that has never been created before. Maybe you find yourself flooded with idea after idea. You can’t help it — you’re wired that way. 
But what if your big dreams were limited or even squandered because you’re keeping yourself playing small? What if you were sabotaging your own potential? 
So many of us have an invisible glass ceiling we place above us and never realize that we have the ability to smash it with this one minor shift to how we approach life.
Blame.
Blame is a game that keeps you playing small. The truth is, it feels good to blame others. It takes ownership and responsibility away from ourselves. It helps us get sympathy and maybe empathy from others, which can feel like a big hug on a tough day. 
You poor thing. Look what happened to you. It wasn’t your fault your business started tanking. It wasn’t your fault someone dirtied up your white shoes. It wasn’t your fault your employee stole from the company. 
The truth is, you’re sabotaging your ability to progress forward and you are keeping yourself playing small.
Related: 7 Ways to Influence Other People
First, you keep yourself in the past. This is what happened, that is what happened. There is absolutely nothing that can be done about what has already happened, and blame doesn’t allow you to let go. The only way to move forward is to be in the present. Today is the only mark in time that you can control.    
Second, when you place blame on others, you’ll find yourself in a state of frustration, anger and resentment. All of these are low energetic states. Energy is what we need in order to sustain physical or mental activity, and blaming results in counter-energy. So, as you seek to find solutions (which require energy), you are countering your productivity with the negative energy of blame, and you may not be as innovative, insightful or creative as you might have been if you simply accepted the situation for what it was, took ownership and removed blame.
Finally, imagine you are the CEO of a company. There is a security breach and it makes the news. It wasn’t the CEO that was hacking the system, but the CEO was hired to deal with tough situations. A communication plan needs to be devised, an analysis of the root cause needs to be done, and a path forward needs to be forged. The CEO takes ownership and accountability — even if it wasn’t his or her direct fault.
Imagine what would happen if the CEO chose to blame and not take ownership, create an action plan or communicate.  Likely, there would be a new leader put in place. No one hires or expects that the leader of the company is out to only blame and not take responsibility for what happens within the company. A good leader looks to see what can be done better, not just with the company but internally as well. What questions should have been asked about the security and systems in the company ahead of time? Was there an appropriate budget allocated to keeping the company secure? Does the company have the right staff and knowledge in order to protect penetrations and leaks from happening? Maybe these are all questions that should have been asked ahead of time and should be questions to be asked going forward.
Related: Why Establishing High Expectations Is a Quality of Good Leadership
As you approach your life, are you sabotaging your own energy by blaming others?  Do you find yourself stuck in the past where nothing can be done, or are you operating in the present, the only place and time that can be changed? Are you the respected CEO who looks for both improvements with the company and internally, or do you blame others when things don’t pan out the way you envision them?
Become the leader that deals with problems head-on. Face them with the energy to come up with well-thought-out solutions and clarity. Take ownership and accountability. Even if that looks to be a harder road, it’s the respected and expected road of a leader. 
Blame will stunt your productivity and potential. Become mindful of it and replace it with ownership and accountability. You’ll not only be more productive, but you’ll also gain a higher level of respect and a knowledgebase of lessons learned to keep you growing stronger and more successful in your own life.

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Worried About Your Succession Plan? Focus on Your Processes, Not Your Leaders.

Turnover is going to happen. If you are prepared, it won’t hinder your success or growth.

February 18, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Many companies are very concerned about “succession planning” or not having a strong “bench” of talent in the company. They do a number of things, like 9-box talent reviews and leadership training, to try to combat this issue. These things are fine and generally helpful, especially at higher levels in the company. But it’s often more important to have well-defined and documented processes than succession planning.
Having good processes ensures effectiveness and scalability even if a strong leader or other key employee leaves. There are three key ways to give your company great processes:
Focus on outcomes and signoff tests
Benchmark your top performers
Cover all the bases
Related: Passion, People, Process
Most companies don’t do any of these things. But it’s a game-changer when they do. And what’s nice about these things is that they make everything very simple and clear. They distill a lot of information, thoughts and feelings into their tangible essence.
In fact, when you see the finished product of your work around this — a proper Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) — you will likely say to yourself, “Wow. That seems so obvious and clear.” And yet it never existed until you did it. You finally put into crystal clear words for everyone to see that which some people (but not everyone) innately understood or felt but could not really articulate.
1. Focus on outcomes and signoff tests
An outcome is a product you produce. It is a noun — a person, place, or thing. But it has to be deeper than that.
What you have to do is incorporate an adjective, adjective phrase or descriptor that describes the noun in terms based on a standard that proves the outcome is correct or successful. That is the real outcome you are looking for. So in the case of a manufacturing company that produces widgets, your real outcome would likely be something like a finished widget or a defect-free widget. In the case of a service business, your outcome might be satisfied customers or resolved disputes. For a doctor, the desired outcome is a cured patient or a healthy person.
In almost all cases, you will need to further define how you judge whether the descriptor has been achieved. I call this a “signoff test.” From the examples above, the questions that lead to the answers are: How do you know when a customer is “satisfied?” How do you know when a dispute is “resolved?” How do you know when a patient is “cured?” How do you justify that a person is “healthy?”
Sometimes it’s hard work to think about and define. But consider this. If it’s hard for you to define, how do you think the people in your company know what to do? Often, they don’t. And that’s why performance is so variable and you struggle so much when someone leaves.
Related: Leading an Agile Organization with an Efficiency Mindset
2. Benchmark your top performers
This is the “secret sauce” to how your company can succeed. Paul Elliott is the pioneer of it in his book Exemplary Performance. Benchmarking your top performers allows you to intentionally replicate the best performance throughout the organization, which is something you must do to ensure your company is as successful as possible.  
Here are the general steps for how to do this:
Figure out what the desired outcomes are for your entire company.
Figure out the roles that contribute most to your company’s desired outcomes.
Figure out who the top performers are in those roles.
Formally observe and/or interview the top performers.
Create a Profile of Exemplary Performance (PEP) or Role Excellence Profile (REP) based on the observations of the top performers.
Create the SOP documentation.
Implement the new SOPs.
3. Cover all the bases
Covering all the bases means making sure you include all key details in your SOPs. If you don’t, they won’t be as useful, and that will be another problem you will need to deal with.
One of the biggest mistakes companies make with their process documentation is that they only list what people need to do but not how they need to do it or how to know when it’s done.
Proper SOP documentation has eight primary components:
Specific desired outcome
Signoff test
Tasks
Triggers
Duration
Key stakeholders
Decision-making flow
Potential de-railers, consequences and solutions
Related: The ABC’s of Documenting Standard Operating Procedures — And Why Your Business Can’t Afford Not To
The SOP is the foundation that creates a common language that can be repurposed throughout the company related to the process or topic, thus creating natural alignment and a shared understanding of what needs to be done and produced.
Proper processes and SOPs are what will truly ensure that you always have great succession planning and bench strength in your company. They will make new leaders and employees productive much more quickly whenever there is turnover. 

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Braulio Arsuaga From Grupo Presidente Is the New Shark of 'Shark Tank México'

Arsuaga has extensive experience in the business world, as he is also a Director of Grupo Gigante, Inmobiliaria Conjunto Polanco, Fundación Gigante, Novag Infancia and Ver Bien para Aprender Mejor.
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February 18, 2021 2 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

We have a new shark for the popular Shark Tank México program! Braulio Arsuaga de Grupo President and President of the National Tourism Business Council (CNET) joins as an investor in the sixth season of the popular Sony Channel program .
In this way, the recognized business and tourism sector leader will add his experience and investments to the advice of Arturo Elías Ayub , the funny phrases of Carlos Bremer , the ideas of Marcus Dantus and the stories of Rodrigo Herrera. Further announcements about more investors are expected in the coming days.
Arsuaga has extensive experience in the business world as he is also a Director of Grupo Gigante, Inmobiliaria Conjunto Polanco, Fundación Gigante, Novag Infancia and Ver Bien para Aprender Mejor. Since February 2020, Braulio Arsuaga was elected president of the National Tourism Business Council (CNET), a top body that brings together 96 percent of the country’s tourism companies. As a representative of this important body, he has achieved the union of different national identities to sign the Emerging National Alliance for Tourism. In 2014, the Anahuac University awarded him the Anahuac Leadership in Tourism Medal, for his success in the hospitality industry in Mexico.
The new season of Shark Tank México will premiere on Sony Channel and Claro video with a date to be confirmed.