September 30, 2010

What They Hear More Than What You Say

"Talk low, talk slow and don't talk too much."
John Wayne
20th century American actor

The Duke's advice to aspiring actors applies in business as well.  
Our ability to talk often exceeds our ability to communicate.

September 29, 2010

Power To The Thinker

"To find yourself, think for yourself."

Advice about "finding" one's self has a decidedly hippy feel to it but Socrates wasn't talking flower power when he said that 400 years before the birth of Christ.
In business, substitute being a successful leader for "finding yourself", and to do that you must assimilate all the quality input you can prior to reaching decisions as to not only what it means, but what you should do as a result.
Thinking for yourself, what do you think?

September 28, 2010

Do You Believe?

"For they conquer who believe they can."
John Dryden
17th century English poet

Is it possible to "conquer" (succeed) if you don't believe you can?

September 27, 2010

Too Much Or Too Little?

"One must desire something to be alive."
Margaret Deland
Early 20th century American novelist
"I count him braver who overcomes his desires than he who overcomes his enemies."

If you're a long-term BW reader, you know there is a lot of seeming contradiction in what others have said, this apparently being one more example.
But is it?
While this time talking about desire, I see advice promoting equilibrium.
Many of us are not particularly good at that are we?

September 24, 2010

Less Is (Often) More

"I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead."
Mark Twain

Most of us at least occasionally suffer from "too much-itus", including me as my good friend Paula Johnson often tells me. What about you?  Be honest.

September 23, 2010

What You Know Versus Believe

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"If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place."
6th century founder of Taoism

Much of what you believe is true, certainly including the bad things, is really only what you believe.  And still we all act on those assumptions.
Not good in our personal lives and certainly not in business.  
In both, separate fact from perceived fact.

September 22, 2010

Which Way You Headed?

"The wake of a boat doesn't steer the boat."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

What you have been, good or bad, doesn't mean you have to or will be that in the future.
Sins and successes are soon forgotten.

September 21, 2010

New Growth Requires New Ways

"Habits rule the unreflecting herd."
William Wordsworth
18th century English poet

So, Mr. Wordsworth is telling us that those who do not think, live their life based on habit.
Since change is a given, how many habits can you think of that will continue to serve you as well as they (at best) may have in the past?

September 20, 2010

Working With What You've Got, Not What You Want

"Politicians say more taxes would solve everything.  And the band played on."
"Ball of Confusion"
The Temptations

Whether it be government or business, there comes a point where more money is not the solution.  
Nice to have too much rather than too little but since most of us never do, we have to know how to make the most of what there is.

Do you?

September 17, 2010

The Need For Equilibrium

"Order is not pressure that is imposed on society from without, but an equilibrium that is set up from within."
Jose Ortega y Gasset
Early 20th century Spanish philosopher

With all the recent quotes suggesting the importance of balance, I thought it would be good to include one telling us how to do that.
From within.
That suggests the need for management to consider how balanced is the culture it attempts to manage.

September 16, 2010

The Need For Change

"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

I've been reading everything I could get my hands on that has to do with the subject of "change", all of which more or less falls into two categories, business and personal.
As you might expect, the business advice is more rigid whereas personal is more touchy feely.
"Excuses Begone!" by Wayne Dyer is clearly self-help but counts among the best advice I've come across yet.
Read this book.

September 15, 2010

The Time To Act!

"There is only one time that is important--Now!  It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power."

Leo Tolstoy
Three Questions

The wave you see pictured crashing on the rocks, had no power yesterday, and will have none tomorrow.
When should you act?

Not much choice or question is there?

September 14, 2010

Who's The Boss Of You?

"Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking."
John Maynard Keynes

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Interesting coming from an economist; a profession that includes some who's analysis, rightfully or wrongly, correctly and incorrectly, tells the rest of us whether our retirement accounts will increase or decrease.
But I believe his point is, do not do that (be "unthinking").  Do not rely solely or primarily on what others think when making decisions that will affect your life.
When it comes to your major business/career decisions, how involved are you?

September 13, 2010

Action: The First Mouse Or The Early Riser Bird?

"The early bird may get the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

An amalgamation of two quotes; the first advocating early response, the second caution.  Which is most correct?
Being a "first mover" is often an advantage but in some (many?) cases,  being too quick only exposes the unseen dangers that will take out the first to act.  However the reverse is true as well.  Fail to move quick enough and the "train" may well have left the "station".
I've been both and often still don't know which is best.
Do you?

September 10, 2010

They're Not Called Obstacles For Nothing

"Obstacles are things a person sees when he take his eyes off his goal."

E. Joseph Crossman

Initially this sort of inspires you doesn't it?  Makes you want to move ahead no matter what lays in your path.  The problem is, things just aren't that simple.
Just as you will certainly crash if all you do while driving is concentrate on where you want to go, so too will you fail in business if you do not identify and attempt to neutralize the obstacles that can block your success.
With due respect to Mr. Crossman I suggest an alternative:  Obstacles are things a person needs to identity and remove so they can continue on to their goal.

September 09, 2010

Prepared To "Go The Distance"?

"The end justifies the mean."
Unattributed proverb
(Click to enlarge)

"I did what it took to win" has a "conquer all" quality to it that appeals to many, until, in many cases, you examine what "it" was, concluding you wouldn't have gone that far.  
How (do) you draw the line in terms of what you will and will not do to "win"?
I would particularly like to hear from defense attorneys on this.

September 08, 2010

Education Past, Present, Future

"Do not confine your children to your own learning for they were born in another time."

Chinese Proverb

The obvious; learn from younger employees whose education is newer.

Note to younger employees:  It applies equally to you as well, albeit in reverse.

Do not miss the education of older employees that could only have come from having learned in their time.

September 07, 2010

The Power of Generosity

"Many people are capable of doing a wise thing, more a cunning thing, but very few a generous thing."

Alexander Pope
18th century English poet

Doing what is good is itself a good thing, but doing good with no thought of personal gain is the generous thing; a rare commodity.
Where are you on the generosity scale?

I was recently the benefactor of a lot of generous, selfless help from Andrea Belz, an extraordinary planning/strategy consultant whose new book, "The McGraw-Hill 36 Hour Course: Product Development" will be available later this year.
Where does a business planning consultant like me go for help with my own business?  

September 06, 2010

The Lonely Entrepreneurial Road

"Loneliness is not intolerable when enthusiasm for a quest fills the mind."

Percy Fawcett
Early 20th century British explorer

If you're thinking about quitting your job and starting your own company, think about the loneliness of working alone.  You will have to deal with it and not all can.

But if your "quest" is real and you stay focused on your end goal, it is manageable.

September 03, 2010

Planning For The Inevitable Future

"The willing, Destiny guides them; the unwilling, Destiny drags them."

1st century AD Roman philosopher

It's called destiny for a reason, but that doesn't mean there is nothing you can do to shape the future.

Understood, to some degree, "inevitable" events can be manipulated; however you have know what they likely will be as well as plan what you will do as a result.

Do you?

September 02, 2010

Let The Good Times Roll (But Plan For The Bad)

"We only think when we are confronted with a problem."

John Dewey
Early 20th century American philosopher

I think he's right and if so, that's a big problem.
(When) business is good, we don't plan for trouble, believing the good times will continue.

September 01, 2010