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5 Lessons We Learned in 2016

The beginning of a new year is a time to evaluate where you’ve been and where you want to go. It’s a time when most people create goals for themselves and their business, but it’s also a time for reflection.

As you create goals for 2017, look back on this past year. What do you wish you could go back and change? What worked well? What inspired you?

Your 2017 goals are a way for you to take those reflections and turn them into action. When we at PaperWise sat down and reflected on 2016, we realized that the past year was full of inspiration. It drove us. It was the guiding force behind everything we did as a company and as individuals. As such, we wanted to share just a few of our inspirations with you.

Tracing Life, John O’Leary Live Inspired

I had the opportunity to hear John O’Leary speak at an Accounting conference I went to in September. He has a very inspiring message based on a tragic accident where he burned 100% of his body at the age of nine. He was given a one percent change to live and persevered through many challenges to have a beautiful life today that he is able to share, encourage and motivate others with.

All of his blog posts are great. This is one that has a very meaningful, sincere message about seeing things through a different lens and how life is how we choose to see it. –Heather Woody, Chief Financial Officer

10 Rules for Success, Gary Vaynerchuk

I have become a big @garyvee fan this year. When I need some motivation for my sales and marketing efforts, I go to his podcasts. From all of Gary’s content, this podcast is my favorite and one that I have listened to several times over.

Rule six, especially, is a great example of “why” and “how” to do business.

Servicing clients through technology can sometimes be a challenge, but those that provide technology solutions need to always put yourself in the customer’s shoes. The focus of service should not be the feature or the current support issue. The focus should be in how this helps that person do their job (or the latter, how it may hinder). I get inspired when I see our techs helping our clients through a weekend or after hours. I can tell that their satisfaction isn’t from “fixing the software or building a solution,” it’s for helping the client improve their work or environment. It’s common for me to hear, “I helped Heather get back up and running, so now she can get her payables done” or “I created a solution for Dan to automate that task so it frees up his time.” Much like Gary’s Wine Delivery story, it’s not the ROI from the event that should be measured as the reason why. It’s the caring beyond the event that will drive a business to success. –David Rust, Director of Sales

Hooked, Nir Eyal

Last year I was really inspired by Nir Eyal’s Hooked. It takes a critical look at the psychology behind how apps become addictive. As CEO, knowing how and why users integrate apps into their life and what motivates them to keep coming back is invaluable business information. It helps me plan the solutions we produce to make sure that they truly benefit a user’s life—both personally and professionally.

This book reminded me of why I started in software to begin with: to build something that people use every day. The goal behind everything we produce is to improve the ways in which people use technology throughout their day. Eyal’s 4 Point Cycle is now an integral part of our process when considering user experience. It allows us to understand how user’s approach software applications and how best to meet their needs. –Dan Langhofer, Chief Executive Officer

The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell

What I particularly like about The Tipping Point is that Gladwell not only poses the change problem and deconstructs it conceptually, but he also offers suggestions that executives can implement. He makes this key point: “A world that follows the rules of epidemics is a very different place from the world we think we live in now. …We are all, at heart, gradualists, our expectations set by the steady passage of time. But the world of the tipping point is a place in which the unexpected becomes expected, where radical change is more than a possibility. It is – contrary to all our expectations – a certainty.” Executives who want to initiate positive, meaningful change need to change their mindset dramatically; they need to shake up their thinking; they need to get outside the box; above all, they need to be prepared to act boldly. All this, of course, is no small task. But it will never happen if it is not front of mind.

The Tipping Point’s ratio of value and usefulness to time required to read it is as high as any book I have seen for some time. Gladwell’s idea that change has much in common with a virus is one that executives should have firmly in mind. The book is also a joy! This is one book for the executive who can see some quiet, uncommitted time ahead. It is the kind of book you read twice. It is the kind of book you should think about a lot. It is the kind of book that can make you a better executive. –Eric Wubbena, Director of Business Development

A 5 Minute Plea to Do, Gary Vaynerchuck

We get so caught up in being told that we need to learn, research, read, etc., etc., and we forget that the most important thing is to “DO.” Sometimes we get over-analytical. Sometimes we spend all our energy thinking about what we are “gonna” do that we never get around to actually accomplishing anything. This video reminded me that there may be a time for reading and research, but there also comes a time when you just have to do. –Hunter Abbey, Chief Operating Officer


What were your 2016 inspirations? Let us know in the comments.

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