November 30, 2009

Teamwork: All For One Or One For All?

"No member of a crew is praised for the rugged individuality of his rowing."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I suppose because all that rowing was always only about getting the shell across the finish line before the other team?

Maybe it's similar to the lack of attention paid to the effort of any one individual ant by all the other ants in the colony. If they don't all work, the colony dies.

But still, no praise for individual effort within a team?

November 27, 2009

Management: Age Is Only A Number

"Age is no guarantee of maturity."

Lawana Blackwell

Nor of much else including wisdom.

While the odds improve that one will be wiser, more mature as they grow older (because they've had more years to become so), whether or not that will actually happen is another matter.

Do you assume older managers will be better than younger ones, or vice versa, and regardless, why, in what ways?

November 25, 2009

Managing Versus Complaining

"Complaining is good for you as long as you are not complaining to the person you are complaining about."

Lynn Johnston
Canadian Cartoonist

When as managers we review employees and have something negative to say about their performance, are we complaining?

If so, is Lynn right?

November 24, 2009

Results: Nothing Less!

"Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts."

Edward R. Murrow

Often I heard from employees and kids why something expected would not be happening.

I found it difficult to explain that no matter the reason, our client, the teacher, coach, etc., wouldn't care why something they were told would happen, wasn't going to as they assumed.

However, as Mr. Murrow said, the fact that I found getting this point across to be difficult, did not relieve me of the responsibility to do so.

In the end, reward goes to those who perform rather than those who explain why they don't and that is just as true for us adults as it is for our kids.

November 23, 2009

Great Ideas! Everyone Has Them

"An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that only exists as an idea."


I generally like to hold back my thoughts hoping to hear yours but in this case . . .

There are no perfect ideas, plans, etc. Even what in retrospect appears to have been great, most likely started off as something else and evolved to its current state.

Have an idea, develop it to a point but then take action.

November 20, 2009

Before You Can Tell Someone Else What To Do . . .

"The first and best victory is to conquer self."


Particularly for a manager of people, money or things.


If you don't have it, someone will impose it on you.

November 19, 2009

The First Step to Success Is . . . The First Step

"Glory lies in the attempt to reach one's goal and not in reaching it."

Mohandas Gandhi

What did our parents tell us; it's not whether you win or lose but that you try.

Well, I'm not so sure all parents who say that, mean it every time, in every situation; however the concept is a good one.

And just as it is in our personal lives so it is in business; if we never try, we never succeed.

November 18, 2009

The Value of Consultants

"Good counselors lack no clients."

William Shakespeare

Do you suppose he was talking about consultants?

If so, my capability apparently varies one day to the next.

How about you?

November 17, 2009

Your Customers: Are You Listening?

"Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning."

Bill Gates

How true, assuming you listen to what they have to say.

And now that I think about it, if Bill did listen, he has to be extremely learned.

November 16, 2009

Now What?

"Most of our assumptions have outlived their uselessness."

Marshall McLuhan

Eight words that say so much.

That we make and act on too many assumptions. That they have limited value. That they live on even when proved false.

But what are you going to do? When it comes to business, we know much less than we don't know.

The problem isn't making and acting on assumptions, it is not being prepared to change our minds when what we thought we knew, proved not to be true.

November 13, 2009

Self-Assured or Self-Centered Management?

"Too many people over value what they are not and under value what they are."

Malcolm S. Forbes

True, unless you are extremely self-confident (maybe too much so.)

Which are you?

November 12, 2009

Employee Appreciation

"He who does not thank for little, will not thank for much."

Estonian Proverb

Other quotes having to do with gratitude say we don't express it as much as we should. We feel it, think it, but don't say it.

They're probably right.

Everything we get and become is, to varying degrees, the result of what others have done for us and on our behalf and nowhere is this more true than in business.

What do you have to be grateful about and who have you thanked?

November 11, 2009

Employees: Let Them Do The Job

"Our work is the presentation of our capabilities."

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
18th century German writer

All employees should read and embrace this thought; however, if employers do not give them the latitude necessary to do their best work, they will know it and will perform accordingly.

November 10, 2009

Managment: It's Not What You look Like But What You Do

"Design is not just what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works."

Steve Jobs

And not just for products.

I've seen many organizational structures that seemed logical, capable, which failed functionally.

Define your organization but don't fall in love with the structure. If it's not working, change it.

November 09, 2009

The Future: Will It Happen To You Or With You?

"When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people; those who let it happen, those who make it happen and those who wonder what happened."

John M. Richardson, Jr.

I like this, particularly because it comes from an educator; one, I hope, teaches this concept to his students.

But I'll bet if you are option 1, you are almost by definition, also option 3.

Which are you?

November 06, 2009

Don't Look Now . . .

"In just two days, tomorrow will be yesterday."


A simple reminder how quickly things either change or appear to have changed.

Our responsibility as managers is to determine which.

November 05, 2009

Management Myopia, What To Do

"I have done that", says my memory. "I cannot have done that", says my pride, and remains adamant. At last, memory yields."

Friedrich Nietzsche
19th century German Philosopher

I heard a song this morning with a line about old men playing cards, drinking beer, "lying about their lives."

Old guys sitting around, embellishing past accomplishments is one thing, but in business, being too out of touch with reality can be disastrous.

All the more reason to have objective voices telling us what they think of what we do and say.

Do you? Do you listen to them?

November 04, 2009

Management: Not How Much You Have, It's What You Do With It

"It is pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness; poverty and wealth have both failed."

Kim Hubbard
Early 20th century American humorist

And they do not necessarily bring success or failure in business either.

Certainly having more assets at your disposal is usually better than not, but it doesn't mean you still won't squander them.

November 03, 2009

Tell Me What You Think

"If I had to reduce the responsibilities of a good follower to just one rule, it would be to speak the truth to power."

Warren Bennis
Organizational Consultant

I'll bet many of you never even thought about followers having responsibilities, nonetheless they do. Every relationship imposes them on both parties regardless of rank.

Of course, along with the requirement that the follower be ready to speak the truth to those in power is the responsibility of those in power being ready to listen, and of greater importance, not penalizing the follower for having done so.

Does it work that way in your organization?

November 02, 2009

Management: "Are There Any Questions?"

"If there are no stupid questions, then what type of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?"

Scott Adams
"Dilbert" cartoonist

Interesting perspective on what our teachers always told us.

Being stupid does not mean you can't ask a non stupid question, anymore than
not being stupid insures your questions will all be (what?) unstupified.

We all have a little pointy hair'd boss in us sometimes.