July 30, 2010

How Good Are You?

"The sufficiency of my merit is to know my merit is not sufficient."

St. Augustine
4th century Roman philosopher

Knowing your limitations.

Do you?

July 29, 2010

The Importance of Clear Directions

"For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?"

King James Version, 1 Corinthians 14:8

Will you follow a leader when he or her does not sound as though they know where they want to go?

July 28, 2010

Business Caution

"No one was ever ruined by taking a profit."
Stock exchange maxim

"Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em."

Kenny Rogers
20th century American entertainer

Boy is this ever true.

And still we (too often) conduct business as though we were in Las Vegas, betting money we could afford to lose.

Partial wins beat full losses every time.

July 27, 2010

Business Certainty

"Only one thing is certain and that is, nothing is certain. And if this statement is true, it is also false."

Ancient unattributed paradox

Looking back at my career, I see there were times when this was all I could count on to be true.

Or was it?

July 26, 2010

Planning What's Next

"It's always wise to plan ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see."

Winston Churchill

Sorry Sir Winston but I disagree.

Actually quite easy to "look" further than you can "see", but very difficult to do so accurately.

Still, if you are in business, attempting to do so is near the top of the list of important things you must do.


July 23, 2010

The Cost of Need

"Nothing is cheap which is superfluous, for what one does not need, is dear at a penny."

1st century Greek essayist

I see that.

If you don't need it, no price, including one cent, is the right price.
But does "need" change when we include "want"?

And in business, whose needs and wants should we consider?

July 22, 2010

Is What You Are, What We Get?

"It is the unseen and spiritual in people that determines the outward and actual."

Thomas Carlyle
18th century British historian/essayist

Your core being determines how others see you and good or bad, you cannot hide whatever that is.

That said, do you think you can be one thing while managing in a different way?

July 21, 2010

There Can Be Many Roads To Success

"Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause."

Mahatma Gandhi

If what you want to accomplish is truly the right thing, why not listen to suggestions to the contrary?

Being a manager does not mean one is always right; there are often many more ways than one to accomplish goals.

July 20, 2010

Why You Do What You Do

"A man is known by the company he organizes."

Ambrose Bierce
19th century American newspaperman/short story writer

A wonderful play on the better known ". . . by the company he keeps."

As well as the essence of what management is all about.

July 19, 2010

You've Got To Work For It!

"Labor is the beginning, the middle, and the end of art."


As well as "genius" for that matter and not just in the art world.

Anything worth having requires hard work, including business success.

July 16, 2010

Truth, But How And When?

"A truth spoken before its time is dangerous."

Greek proverb

Interesting quote, seemingly at odds with other "truth" quotes encouraging unaltered honesty.

I believe in that too but understand the importance of how a truth is told, as well as when, particularly in business.

If how and when are not done right, what is said may never be heard.

July 15, 2010

New Employees

"A college education never hurt anyone who was willing to continue to learn after they graduated."


A message pertinent to all, none more so than new graduates.


You know what you've learned and now it's time to get that first job and begin what should be a life-long process of learning what you don't know.

July 14, 2010

Together: What Now?

"To marry is to halve your rights and double your duties."

Arthur Schopenhauer

18th century German philosopher

Substitute "merge" for "marry" and do you think the quote still works in business?

When it comes to mergers, acquisitions, etc., I do, at least for the successful ones.

July 13, 2010

You Are What You Work To Become

"Be the change you want."

Ed Seykota
Commodities Trader

Contributed by Manish

Pune, India

Mr. Seykota, and by extension, Manish, is telling us to be what we say we want to be.

Seems simple when you first think about it but it's too often not.

At one time or another all of us say we want something but are not committed to making it happen.

How do you decide when you've done all you can to make something you want, come about?

How bad do you want it?

July 12, 2010

The Importance of Striving

"One crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without it."

Sir Walter Scott
18th century Scottish novelist

All quotes such as this, and there are many, say the same thing.

Life is doing, accomplishing, including failing.

We have to try.

Do you?

July 09, 2010

Funny Until It's You

"Politics is the entertainment branch of industry."


Entertainment when it's you and not me but when you are in the center of a political issue at work, there's nothing entertaining about it.

How do you handle office politics?

July 08, 2010

You Can't Please Everyone All The Time

"To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing."

Elbert Hubbard
19th century American editor/author

Said another way, you can't make an omelette if you don't break an egg.

I've never known anyone in business worth anything who did not, multiple times, offend others.

How are you when it comes to alienating a few to a lot of people based on what you say and do?

July 07, 2010

You Can Do It!

"My chief want in life is someone who will make me do what I can."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many of us have had the experience of a parent who convinces us we can ride our first bike without training wheels or them holding us up.

We wanted to, weren't sure we could, but they pushed us to succeed.

The more fortunate among us have such encouragement throughout our lives because there is no end to the "bikes" we need to "ride" for the first time.

July 06, 2010

Inevitable Change

"Those who will not face improvements because they are changes, will face changes that are not improvements."

Charles T. Munger

Vice Chairman Berkshire Hathaway

Contributed by Manish

Pune, India

Manish and I have been trading thoughts on the subject of Change. We see most things in a very similar way, our likely different cultural orientations notwithstanding.

There are some indisputable truths in the world that transcend language, political and cultural differences, and just about everything having to do with Change falls into that category.

July 05, 2010

Proactive Change

"Most human beings have an infinite capacity for taking things for granted."

Aldous Huxley
20th century British author

And suppose they do, is that a problem?

I believe so if it keeps one from proactively changing (notice the definition of change begins with "To cause".)

July 02, 2010

The Cost of Anger

"Anger is like those ruins which smash themselves on what they fall.

5th century BC Roman philosopher

Most often, lose your temper, lose, period.

July 01, 2010

Analysis Yes, But Somebody Has To Decide

"Observation more than books, and experience more than persons, are the prime educators."

Amos Bronson Alcott
19th century American educator

As one who has made a career of formal market research, you might think I would disagree with this.

I don't.

At some point a human has to decide what to do next and all the research and analysis available to them, are only additional tools they can use to reach their decision.

Your Help Please!

No doubt you've noticed my personal interest in the Change Process.

So interested I am researching and writing a book with the goal of distilling what the best minds have to say on the subject, hopefully, yours included.

Take a few minutes to share your views anonymously and watch for more as the story unfolds.

Thanks in advance.

Bill Matthies