August 31, 2009

Not What You Say But How You Say It

"I have often regretted my speech, never my silence."

Publilius Syrus
1st century BC writer of maxims

If you've ever been involved in an office argument, you know what this means. Moreover while speech is one thing, the problem is compounded with email and text communication.

My email/text communication rules:
  1. Never say anything negative to or about someone in email. If it is important enough to think, it is important enough to be said rather than written.
  2. Let some time pass before having any conversation in which you plan to criticize someone else. You will often find you see things differently if you do.
  3. If you need to say something negative about someone to a third person, have them present when you do.
  4. What about ccing others? If you follow the first three rules, that won't be an issue.
Do you have rules? What are they?

Have I ever had problems with this? Why do you think I now have rules?

August 28, 2009

What Are You Selling?

"Everyone lives by selling something."

R L Stevenson
19th century Scottish novelist

Have you ever said you are not a salesperson, glad you are not a salesperson and/or criticized, berated, made fun of salespeople?

No matter what you do for a living, you sell. Whether it be your ideas, proposals, concepts, suggestions, you have to sell them to someone even when you are the one giving orders.

And when you look for a job, guess what. You are absolutely selling . . . you.

Now who's the salesperson?

August 27, 2009

Are You Listening?

"My eyes make pictures when they are shut."

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Early 19th century English poet

They do, but a closed mind . . . an altogether different picture wouldn't you say?

How open are you to new business ideas?

August 26, 2009

What You Are, What You Aren't

"Analyzing what you haven't got as well as what you have is a necessary ingredient of a career."

Orison Swett Marden
Early 20th century writer, medical doctor, author

In today's speak, a personal SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis; taking stock of the assets and lack thereof that you bring to the game.

SWOT is typically associated with business rather than the individuals who work in them, but why wouldn't you want to know this about yourself as well?

Do you?

August 25, 2009

Investment: Talking to Angels

"Angels are like messengers, but sometimes we misunderstand their language."

Linda Solegato


Linda was likely referring to the heavenly type but the thought applies equally well to the investment version as well.

If you are looking for non institutional money to start or grow your business, learn the language of "angel" investors. If you do you will find it is as much if not more about what you will do for them as it is what they will do for you.

As it should be.

August 24, 2009

Individuals Pulling Together

"The multitude which does not reduce itself to unity is confusion."

Blaise Pascal
17th century French Mathematician

You know what he's saying don't you? In the end, groups must come to consensus of action, if not total agreement concerning how they got there, otherwise confusion results.

And with confusion the probability of contradictory action, even lack of action, increases significantly.

We don't have to see things the same way but we do need to agree regarding what we will do, regardless of our differences.

August 21, 2009

My Way or . . . ?

"The belief that there is only one truth, and that oneself is in possession of it, is the root of all evil in the world."

Max Born

Early 20th century Anatomist and Embryologist

There are few things where there is only one way, one truth and because that is so, I know the odds that what I believe to be the best way, actually being so, is quite small.

My skill, such as it is, is to find the better alternatives.

And you?

August 20, 2009

"What I'm Trying to Say Is . . ."

"To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement."

Mark Twain

This is ironically part of a longer quote addressing the importance of brevity.

What would happen in our meetings if we could impose a "half as many words as normal" rule?

In other words, no meeting can include more than half the words used in a typical meeting.

August 19, 2009

Management Arrogance Versus Ignorance

"It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument."

William G. McAdoo
Early 20th Century American Statesman

Mr. McAdoo should know. He was both a lawyer and a US Senator, and was no doubt involved in many arguments.

As are most all of us in business.

So how can you be certain when you are dealing with ignorance versus someone who is right to your wrong?

August 18, 2009

What A Leader Is

"The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant."

Max DePree
Writer, Son of Founder Herman Miller Furniture Company

Is there any other position in business whose role is more debatable than that of a "leader"?

From "order giver" to "servant"; a continuum of often conflicting definitions.

What do you think a leader is?

August 17, 2009

Life Beyond the End of Your Desk

"A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world."

John LeCare

Mr. LeCare writes crime stories and is suggesting he couldn't do that well without the perspective of reality.

Nor can we manage our business if all we see is in our office.

August 14, 2009

Who'll Be Wherever You Go?

"Followers are more important to leaders than leaders are to followers."

Barbara Kellerman
Lecturer, Public Leadership, Harvard University

Particularly in business, even in tough economic times such as now.

While all bosses have employees, not all have followers.

Do you?

August 13, 2009

What You Don't Know Won't Hurt You?

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."

John Wooden
Basketball Hall of Fame Coach and Player
10 national championships in 12 seasons as UCLA Head Coach

This quote is aimed at those who would miss the irony of the thought. The moment you realize you don't know it all, you've learned something valuable.


August 12, 2009

What Do You Have To Say?

"The art of communication is the language of leadership."

James Humes
Former Trial Lawyer, Author, Presidential Speech Writer

Which is more important?

Great ideas with mediocre ability to communicate them to others, or the reverse?

Regardless of importance, which would you rather have?

August 11, 2009

Looking for the Inner Self

"Look at the means which a man employs, consider his motives, observe his pleasures. A man simply cannot conceal himself."


Can we agree that if Confucius were writing today, this would be gender neutral, meaning, it applies equally well to men and women?

The message is, look hard enough and you will see what a person really is.

August 10, 2009

It's Up to Each of Us

"At 50, everyone has the face he deserves."

George Orwell

More than just face, by 50 we have just about everything we deserve, assuming we define "deserve" as what we've worked for.

And least you think otherwise, that can and often does include, nothing.

Regardless of your age, what have you worked for?

What will you work for?

August 07, 2009

Success: The Difficult Road

"Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. But if you're not frightened by those things the opportunities today are just as great as they ever were."

David Rockefeller

There are a few other requirements; things like vision and planning, but we can lump those in with Mr. Rockefeller's list.

The point is still, success is out there if you really want it and are willing to work for it.

Do you? Are you?

August 06, 2009

When Enough is Enough

"The search for the perfect venture can turn into procrastination."

Author Unknown

A number of BW's quotes discuss the need to thoughtfully consider what you will do versus the need to act. But this quote may point to the root problem.

Can there ever be a "perfect" venture or decision?

Too little thought leads to rash decisions. Too much, inaction. The trick is to strike the right balance.

How do you do that?

August 05, 2009

The Future: What Do You See?

"The future is an opaque mirror. Anyone who tries to look into it sees nothing but the dim outline of an old and worried face."

Jim Bishop

Meaning, I suppose, that there is little or no point in attempting to foresee the future??

Is that what those who look forward are doing; attempting to see the future?

I don't think so. I think it is more like looking out the windshield as you drive, trying to be ready for whatever comes your way.

Do you and are you?

August 04, 2009

Maybe Not the Three Gates of Hell . . . However

"Hell has three gates: lust, anger and greed."

Bhagavad Gita
Hindu Scripture

While lust plays a role in business, let's leave that for another blog.

Anger and greed are definitely daily factors in business.

How angry, greedy are you? To what extent do you feel your anger and/or greed helps or hinders you in business?

August 03, 2009

I Didn't Have Enough Time

"I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work."

Pearl S. Buck

Ms. Buck is telling us we don't have the luxury of waiting until the moment is "right", or any other time related expression/excuse as to why we didn't accomplish our goals.

To quote Larry the Cable Guy, "Get 'er done!"

Do you?