May 28, 2010

Problem Assessment

"The soft stuff is always harder than the hard stuff."

Roger Enrico

Former president/CEO PepsiCo

What do you suppose he meant by this?

My guess would be it has to do with our perception of what is/will be difficult.

I know I have over/under estimated numerous problems and in doing so, created bigger ones.

May 27, 2010

Learning: Enough Never Is

"Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late."

Benjamin Franklin

It's never too late to recognize what we don't, but should know, and of greater importance, then do something about it.

How much of your success in business has come from what you knew versus what you learned?

May 26, 2010

Effective Communication Goes Both Ways

"Two monologues do not make a dialog."

Jeff Daly

One person saying something to another, with no response, is communication. However not very effective communication.

May 25, 2010

If You Have Something to Say . . .

"The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously."

Hubert Humphrey

Short of a legal proceeding, I'm not even certain one has a right to be heard.

If you have something to say, you must first convince others to listen.

May 24, 2010

Tempered Argument

"If you go in for argument, take care of your temper. Your logic, if you have any, will take care of itself."

Joseph Farrell

Economics Professor

You may be able to suppress others you argue with but you can never win based only or mostly on anger.

May 21, 2010

May 20, 2010

The Danger of Misinformation

"I honestly think it is better to know nothing than to know what ain't so."

Josh Billings
19th century American humorist

Mr. Billings is talking about believing you know something you actually don't and certainly acting on misinformation ("what ain't so") is not a good thing.

I think far too many managers do so, far too often.

May 19, 2010

The Cost of Thrift

"Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing."

Albert Einstein

I bought an office chair this weekend, which, as with so much today, was made in China at close to or at the lowest cost possible.

The price was definitely right but unfortunately the chair wasn't. I had to return the original due to defects, and then opened two replacements at the store before finding one that was right.

My version of Einstein's thought is you get what you don't pay for.

What cost is that to business?

May 18, 2010

Management: Heading in the Right Direction?

"Nothing is soft as water and yet who can resist the raging flood?"

Lao Ma

Fictional character in TV show "Xena: Warrior Princess"

While I don't know the context of this quote, it sounds like classic Asian philosophy having to do with the unyielding power of truth to overcome all obstacles. If so, ultimately I agree, however not necessarily in the short term.

Great damage can be done to a business when wrong thinking is in control. The trick is to know that is the case and make changes as quickly as possible.

How can you ever know for certain whether or not your company's fate is in the right hands?

May 17, 2010

What Do You (Think) You Know?

"Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well-informed just to be undecided about them."

Dr. Laurence J. Peter
Professor of Management/Author

Funny but true.

Sometimes the decision must come after first recognizing that you don't know enough to decide, which is very different than making decisions telling yourself you do know enough.

If you're rolling the dice, at least know that you are.

May 14, 2010

One For All Or One For One?

"We cannot be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand together until the end."

Woodrow Wilson
28th president of the United States

I love the sentiment.

How many groups of employees can say the same thing about their company?

May 13, 2010

Understanding the Customer

"In each of us there is a little of all of us."

Georg C. Lichtenberg
18th century German scientist

Ok, I see that, but what one does with this is critical, particularly for marketers.

There is danger in thinking we know what others believe and want based on knowing what we believe and want.
The image in the mirror does not always reflect reality.

The ability to objectively assess the needs of others is critical for those charged with marketing.

May 12, 2010

The Role of Love in Business

"I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I've ever known."

Walt Disney

Yesterday's quote had to do with hate and I've selected this one to make the opposite point.

I believe I understand Mr. Disney, given all that Mickey represented to his life's work, but what might his wife Lillian and his daughters Diane Marie and Sharon Mae have thought about that, not to mention Minnie Mouse?

As is true of hate, love is also a very strong word and we should be very careful when and how we use it, in our personal and business lives.

What do you think?

May 11, 2010

The Role of Hate in Business

"Hate is the consequence of fear. We fear something before we hate it."

Cyril Connolly
20th century English critic/author

A writer, particularly one who is also a critic, would recognize the role hate plays in our lives. And to this I would add envy.

So what about hate, fear and envy in business, and by that I don't mean that directed towards our competitors.

I'm talking about hate towards co-workers.

May 10, 2010

Breaking the Management Habit

"Old habits are strong and jealous."

Dorothea Brande
Early 20th century American writer/editor

How much of the way you run your business is due to habit?

May 07, 2010

Start-ups: Who Can You Bank On?

"A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove you don't need it."

Bob Hope

The humor in this would not have been obvious just a few short years ago, but today?

So, if you're just starting your business and need money, where will you go?

Is it really all that bad that banks will not likely prove to be a good source?

May 06, 2010

Management Flexibility: How Much?

"The one who adopts his policy to the time, prospers, and likewise that the one whose policy clashes with the demands of the time does not."

Niccolo Machiavelli
16th century Italian Philosopher

There are many variations of this theme; things like the tree that bends, survives, whereas the one that will not, does not.

But how do you know when to "adopt your policy" versus "stand your ground"? It doesn't look like Steve Jobs has done much "bending" recently and he appears to be doing OK.

And likewise there is a long list of managers in every industry you can think of, who, if they are still "standing their ground", are doing so outside of the company for which they used to work.

May 05, 2010

One Way Memory

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards."

Lewis Carroll
19th century English author/mathematician

As most do.

If we can recall what part of our business plan did not work, why can't we (often enough) also foresee what will not work in the future?

May 04, 2010

Requirments for Change

"If you want to truly understand something, try to change it."

Kurt Lewin

Early 20th century German-American psychologist

And the reverse is true as well.

You can only change things you thoroughly understand, and, as important, what you want them to become.

Most failed change efforts did not work because either or both conditions were not met.

May 03, 2010

One And All: Getting The Best

"None of us is as smart as all of us."

Japanese proverb

This will strike many of you as classic Japanese decision making theory; however it is not unique to the Japanese nor even Asia.

Elements of the belief in the power of numbers to get things right are finding their way into all sorts of thinking from Clay Shirky's "Here Comes Everybody" to California governor aspirant Meg Whitman's "The Power of Many."

My question is this.

How do we balance the benefits that comes from the contributions of many with the genius that is often only found in one?