June 30, 2009

The Theatrics of Business

"I don't necessarily agree with everything I say."

Marshall McLuhan
Canadian Educator, Philosopher, Scholar

I think this is one of those truths you don't think about that is nonetheless true.

Do you honestly believe and mean everything you say and do, or is some of it said for affect?

How do you keep track of what you mean versus say/do for reaction?

June 29, 2009

The Fine Ethical Line

"The most dangerous untruths are truths moderately distorted."

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Mid 18th Century German Scientist

We've covered this before and the comment consensus is that there can be no gray area; you either are truthful or you're not. But I don't see things that clear cut in the real world.

Call it what you will, white lies, bending the truth, distortions, etc., accidental or purposeful, is ingrained in business and I'm not talking about the blatant Enron stuff. Day-to-day seemingly minor distortions, sometimes with negative consequences, sometimes not.

Do you see it?

Do you do it?

June 26, 2009

Standing Still: Not an Option

"He not busy being born is busy dying."

"It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)"
Bob Dylan

While Bob was referring to a person dying, the same holds true for companies, which, when all is said and done, are nothing more than the people who work in them.

Is yours busy being born (continually renewing) or dying (stagnant)?

What about you?

June 25, 2009

Insanely Great!

"There is a fine line between genius and insanity."

Oscar Levant

And that line is often a matter of timing.

When Mr. Obama first said he wanted to be president.

When Mr. Jobs first said he wanted Apple to be the leading seller of music and music players.

When you first set what appears to be an impossible goal.

Genius or insanity?

June 24, 2009

As The Plaque on the Wall Says . . .

"Our major obligation is to not mistake slogans for solutions."

Edward R. Murrow

And doesn't business just love slogans?

From the plaques we hang on our corporate walls touting our community spirit and commitment to employees, to the one-liners we append to our company names, one would think the company's product was simply being good.

While you can't quantify it, if you could, what percent of all that sloganeering do you think our companies actually do?

June 23, 2009

Planning to Succeed?

"Truth be told, most business plans fail to make much impression on potential investors."

John W. Mullins
Associate Professor of Management Practice

London Business School

More than just stating what should be obvious, Dr. Mullins also suggests how to write a plan that will do more than just appeal to investors. A plan you could actually use to run your business.

Does your plan align with his

Do you have a plan?

June 22, 2009

Partnerships: Do The Pieces Fit?

"Our industry is littered with strategic partnerships gone south . . . Generally strategic partnerships don't work out unless one partner is acquired."

Denise Sangster
Channel Analyst and CEO Global Touch
Quote suggested by Kerry Moyer, CEA Senior Director

Denise is right but I would qualify her last statement by adding, and even then they often don't work (when one partner is acquired by another.)

This refers to one company joining with another but the concept holds all the way down to one-to-one personal relations.

Short of one side attempting to bludgeon the other into doing what they want (which rarely works and then only for a short time), successful partnerships are based on win/win.


June 19, 2009

Enthusiasm: Staying in the Game

"The worst bankruptcy in the world is the person who has lost his enthusiasm."

H.W. Arnold

Unfortunately that happens to a lot of people who go through a personal, financial bankruptcy, but it is not limited to them nor to only those undergoing problems, financial or otherwise.

We all have low points but our business lives assume we will always be able to manage our way through them just as we must manage all the responsibilities of our position. Sometimes easier said than done.

How (do?) you keep your enthusiasm level as high as it needs to be?

June 18, 2009

Preparedness: Ready to Be Lucky?

"In the field of observation, chance favors only the prepared mind."

Louis Pasteur

I should think in any field actually.

When someone says she or he makes their luck, I believe it is more a case of being prepared to act (a "prepared mind") on whatever circumstance ("chance") presents itself.

Are you prepared? For what?

June 17, 2009

Self-determination: Who Are You?

"Accept no one's definition of your life, but define yourself."

Harvey S. Firestone
Founder, Firestone Tire and Rubber

This is one of those quotes that seems obvious.

Don't let others tell you what to do/run your life/make your decisions for you . . . define yourself.

Do you?

June 16, 2009

Part Time Ethics: Acceptable?

"Hope of ill gain is the beginning of loss."

400 BC Greek Philosopher

Democritus is referring to dishonesty when he says "ill gain", stating that those who are dishonest will lose.

Not may lose, will lose.

Being a philosopher, he may well have been referring to the personal loss one who is generally ethical feels when they know they have done or said something that is less than ethical.

To what extent are occasional lapses in business ethics acceptable? Under what circumstances?

June 15, 2009

Leadership: True North

"Leadership is intentional influence."

Michael McKinney

Well said Michael.

Leadership is leading and the more you can do that without being obvious, which is what influence does, the better.

Are you influential?

June 12, 2009

Accepting Help

"He that won't be counseled, can't be helped."

Benjamin Franklin

Is there any among us who would not occasionally benefit from the help of someone else?

We all are paid for what we know and know how to do but none of us knows it all.

How open are you to the counsel of others?

June 11, 2009

Performance: At What Price?

"You get what you don't pay for."

Bill Matthies

"Penny wise and pound foolish" comes to mind as well.

During austere times such as now, it is essential that we measure each and every dollar we spend. There simply is no room for waste.

But "waste" can be many things, many of which have little or nothing to do with how much they cost.

Are shoes that cost $100 a waste while those costing $10 are not? What if the $100 shoes fit perfectly enabling the wearer to do what they cannot with the ill fitting $10 pair?

How are you deciding what is and is not "wasteful" in your business?

June 10, 2009

Honesty: What You Are

"Man is what he believes."
Anton Chekhov
Late 19th century Russian Author

(And least anyone doubt it, women too.)

Saying this may seem unnecessary but it's not. We are what we believe, not what we say we believe.

For some, the difference is significant.

Which are you?

June 09, 2009

Data: The Foundation for Decision Making

"You are the embodiment of the information you choose to accept and act upon."

Adlin Sinclair

(You are what you eat.)

Your business will ultimately be based on the sources of information and data you access and of greater importance, actually use, including little or none.

How does input and data other than what you already know or believe, influence your business decisions?

June 08, 2009

Innovation: The Silver Lining in Failure

"Create some tolerance for failure."

Tom Koulopoulos
Founder/CEO Delphi Group

There is opportunity in failure but your culture has to be open to it.

Are you?

June 05, 2009

Management: Evolutionary Change

"Once an organization loses its spirit of pioneering and rests on its early work; its progress stops."

Thomas J. Watson, Senior
First President IBM

Actually, once anything loses its spirit of pioneering and certainly if it attempts to live off past accomplishments, that's it. Game, set, match.

Most would agree that pertains to products but what about people?

Can a manager who has been successful in the past, continue to be so doing what they always done, in the same way?

June 04, 2009

Management: How Much?

"That government is best which governs the least."

Henry David Thoreau

Whether it be government, a boat's tiller, a fly fishing rod or business management, for many the message is less is more.


June 03, 2009

Employees: What They "Do" Or What They Can Do?

"Let each man exercise the art he knows."

4th century BC Greek Writer

Theoretically everyone you hire has something to contribute (if that isn't true, why did you hire them?)

Making sure that is so and getting it from them is the responsibility of management.

When you look at employees, do you see the jobs you hired them to do, the unique contribution they can make to the company, or both?

Is there a difference?

June 02, 2009

Decision Making: Based On What We Think Or What We Know?

"Prejudice is opinion without judgment."


Maybe sometimes but there are many observable instances of business judgment based on little more than opinionated prejudice.

Make a decision based on what you think others think, because you think but don't know for certain you know who they are . . . what would you call that?

June 01, 2009

Planning: Who's In Control?

"Drive thy business or it will drive thee."

Benjamin Franklin

Run your business or it or others will do it for you, likely not as you want.

We are all swept along by events, however we can and should attempt to influence, if not control, as much as possible.

Have you ever considered how much of what happens is directly related to what you do as opposed to what others do?