January 29, 2010

Start-Ups: Free At Last!

"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

Kris Kristofferson

While "freedom" is high on the agenda of most entrepreneurs just starting out, few understand how much this great song lyric also applies to them.

And when you add to it, "Busted flat in Baton Rouge (substitute the name of whatever town you're starting your business in) from the same song, well . . .

In business, value freedom but fear and respect it as well.

January 28, 2010

How Are We Doing?

"Remember, even at a Mensa convention, someone is the dumbest person in the room."


And in a not so smart crowd, someone is the smartest.

While much is made of our individual talents, is enough considered about how well the group does?

January 27, 2010

Open Minded: Seeing Both Sides at Once

"The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."

F. Scott Fitzgerald

This seems simple enough but in practice it's not for many. Emotion takes over and we tend to do whatever it was we were predisposed to do in the first place.

But can you think of any other management trait more desirable than the ability to challenge one's own preconceived notions?

Do you?

January 26, 2010

More Than The Will To Win, Much More

"It's not the will to win that matters, everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that matters."

Paul "Bear" Bryant
Legendary College Football Coach

Most sports quotes related to business, have to do with never giving up, perseverance, etc.

This is different.

You want to win but what do you do to prepare to win?

January 25, 2010

Good Management: But Only To A Point

"Everyone rises to their level of incompetence."

Dr. Laurence J. Peter
Professor of Management/Author

For those too young to know, this comes from the 1969 book, "The Peter Principle".

The assertion; that all work is accomplished by those who have not yet (but ultimately will) rise to a position they are incompetent to hold.

The book was meant to be a humours assessment of our limits in business, but when you think about it . . .

How far can you go?

January 22, 2010

The Role of Attitude

"Many an optimist has become rich buying out a pessimist."

Robert G. Allen
Author/Speaker Regarding Real Estate Wealth

And to be fair, many others didn't.

It's not just your outlook is it? Timing also plays a role.

But attitude is where it starts. If you anticipate failure, you're halfway there.

January 21, 2010

Employee Respect

"The defect of equality is that we only desire it with our superiors."

Henry Becque
19th century French dramatist

Most of us report to someone with some having others report to us.

If both apply to you, are you as anxious for equality with one as the other?

January 20, 2010

The Habit of Good Management

"Nothing is stronger than habit."

1st century BC Roman poet

Good and bad, what we habitually do drives our success and failure and personal habits soon become part of a company's culture.

Do you consider that when attempting to bring change to your organization?

January 19, 2010

Management Fighting the Paralysis of Fear

"Fear itself has a large shadow but he himself is small."

Ruth Gendler

Being afraid, regardless of what you fear, is worst than the thing you fear.

Given all we have to fear in business today, probably a good time to remind ourselves how true that is.

January 18, 2010

The Importance of Perspective

"There are truths on this side of the Pyrenees, which are falsehoods on the other."

Blaise Pascal
17th century French mathematician

Like the blind men feeling different parts of the elephant, "seeing" different animals depending on what part they touched, what we see in our business lives has everything to do with perspective.

Do you take perspective into account when making decisions?

January 15, 2010

Job or Career?

"The difference between a job and a career is the difference between 40 and 60 hours a week."

Robert Frost

While there is more to it than that, the implication of the thought is clear.

(And while not critical to the point, the fact that this observation comes from a poet, surprised me.

Are you working only/as many hours a week as you would like?

January 14, 2010

Management Anticipation

"Health is not simply the absence of sickness."

Hannah Green

Applied to business, a company with few if any obvious problems is not necessarily in good shape. I know of many whose management complacently accepts the status quo with no apparent understanding of what lay ahead.

The best managers get paid more for seeing what others cannot.

How's your company when it comes to anticipation?

January 13, 2010

The Limb: How Far Out Are You Willing To Go?

"He ner'er is crowned with immortality who fears to follow where airy voices lead."

John Keats

Ok, possibly a bit touchy feeling for a business oriented blog, but the sentiment is applicable.

You'll never achieve greatness if you are not willing to step out from the norm.

Are you?

January 12, 2010

The Limits of Authority

"The disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far reaching consequence of submission to authority."

Stanley Milgram
20th century American psychologist

So, you want to be "in charge" but watch how much so you are.

At some point, exerting too much authority results in a lack of initiative on the part of those you lead.

January 11, 2010

The Business of Revenge

"You cannot get ahead while getting even."

Dick Armey
Ex US Congressman

Is there a role in business for revenge and if so, what is it?

January 08, 2010

About The Need To Be Heard

"He must be very ignorant because he answers every question he is asked."

18th century French writer

Notice Voltaire draws no distinction between answering correctly and incorrectly.

One of the hardest concepts I see younger workers struggling with is that sometimes less (from them) really is more.

January 07, 2010

Done! What's Next?

"As peace is the end of war, so to be idle is the ultimate purpose of the busy."

Samuel Johnson
18th century Englishman of letters

I don't think so. I get things done so I can do other things.

Taken literally, this sounds too close to the quote attributed to then (1899) head of the US Patent Office, Charles Duell, who supposedly said the patent office could be closed because "Everything that can be invented has been invented."

What do you think about the concept of working to be "finished" as opposed to working to be able to move on to other things?

January 06, 2010

Management Perspective: Yesterday, Today or Tomorrow?

"It wouldn't be New Years if I didn't have regrets."

William Thomas, (which William Thomas, unknown)

A number of management books tell us to "learn from the past", "look forward, never back", and "live in the now."

I see value in all three but am not always certain how much of each I should be doing, at any point in time.

What about you?

January 05, 2010

Embellished Truth

"If you add to the truth, you subtract from it."

The Talmud
(click on image to enlarge)

Everyone exaggerates something sometime.

Everyone, and if somehow that turns out not to be true, at least I just did.

What is the impact on our business decisions when we exaggerate?

January 04, 2010

Hiring the Unconventional

"We are half ruined by conformity; but we should be wholly ruined without it."

Charles Dudley Warner
19th century essayist/novelist

Would you have hired Santa to head up distribution?