December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

"In my beginning is my end."

T.S. Elliot
Early 20th century American-English poet/playwright

A reminder that everything ultimately ends, or at least changes to become something else, including all in your career and business.

On this last day of 2010, the day before the first day of 2011, well you should recognize this in your business life.

I wish you all your best year yet, only to be surpassed by those that will follow.


December 30, 2010

Think Small To Get Big

"Big jobs usually go to men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
19th century American poet

Advice to those just beginning your careers.

Don't shy away from the jobs you think are beneath you're ability.

Quickly get on with them, do them faster and better than most would expect, and if there is an advancement path for you to be on, you will be moved up.

And if there isn't, you will soon see that is the case and can go elsewhere.

December 29, 2010

The Art of Business

"Art is either plagiarism or revolution."

Paul Gaugin
19th century French artist

In business as well.

We most often "borrow" from others occasionally coming up with something entirely new.

When it is the latter we have a steep hill of doubt to climb before others see the revolution as we do, rather than just another folly.

December 28, 2010

How About You?

"More powerful than the will to win is the courage to begin."


And more than that, the courage to continue.

Most anyone can begin, and all of us can quit, but far fewer have what it takes to keep going.

Something to think about as we approach one more new year.

December 27, 2010

Running From Rather Than To

"I know what I am fleeing from, but not what I am in search of."

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
16th century French philosopher

Ain't that the truth.  

And as bad as not knowing where we want to go is, little of what we flee from/fear, turns out to have been worth the angst and effort.

So, the lesson is, carefully examine our fears, putting aside the inconsequential, dealing with the remaining few, all the time never losing sight of the need to simultaneously focus on our goals.

December 23, 2010

Time To Rethink? Before It's Too Late

"Whenever you find that you are on the side of a majority, it is time to reform."

Mark Twain
19th century American humorist/writer

Once again, with apologies, I edit.

It is time to consider reform.

Being with others who agree on something does not itself indicate the need for change.

Being with others who agree on something, and who are also not willing to continually consider alternatives, is another story altogether.

December 22, 2010

Employee Relations: Trust Or Cut Bait

 "If you suspect a man, don't employ him, and if you employ him, don't suspect him."

Chinese proverb

As is often true with these quotes and proverbs, this feels reasonable in theory but a bit difficult in practise.  

There are gray areas where we only begin to doubt a person, not yet to the point of even suspecting them, certainly not being convinced they are untrustworthy.

Too soon to act.

But I would couple with this with another saying which urges resolution over ongoing status quo.

"Fish or cut bait."

December 21, 2010

People Not Things!

"The history of the world is but the biography of great men."

Thomas Carlyle
19th century British historian

And women.

This is also the key finding of my research into the process of change.

Everything centers on people.

Every change, both good and bad, has at it's core, individuals.

If you want to change something, start by focusing on the people who will be necessary to do whatever it is you want to do.

Without them, nothing will happen.  Nothing!

December 20, 2010

The Role of Revenge

"Revenge converts a little right into a great wrong."

German proverb

Just as it does in our personal lives, so too does revenge play a role in our business decisions, with the only question being, to what degree?

It shouldn't because in theory, all we decide to do and not do should be based on unemotional facts, but that's not the way things work all the time.

To what extent are you guided by a desire to get even?  

December 17, 2010

Learn Now Or Pay Later

 "A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials."

Chinese proverb

While this suggests two things (one's openness to criticism ("friction") and the inevitability of challenges), of even greater worth for me is the unsaid wisdom that ties the two together.

The more likely we are to accept suggestions of ways we can improve, the less likely it is we will later make mistakes resulting in "trials."

December 16, 2010

On Being Your Own Boss

"By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day."

Robert Frost
Early 20th century American poet

A variation of something I've often said about the time I've spent running my companies.  

I'm in charge, no one tells me what to do.  Only I pick which 20 of every 24 hours I will work.

Thinking about starting your own company?

Think carefully.

December 15, 2010

Reaching Only For What You Can Already Touch?

"Don't let your will roar when you power only whispers."

Thomas Fuller
17th century British clergy/author

I have mixed feelings about this.

It might be telling us to temper our aspirations when we are not in a position to achieve them, or does it go even further, suggesting we should never reach beyond what we can already grasp?

If it is the second, how would we ever get beyond the starting point?

Few I know, and certainly not me, began from a position of power.

December 14, 2010

Where You Headed?

"One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree.  "Which road do I take?", she asked.  "Where do you want to go?", was his response.  "I don't know", answered Alice.  "Then", said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

Lewis Carroll
19th century English mathematician and novelist

I chose the complete quote rather than the more business oriented abbreviated version most all involved in planning will recognize from planning literature, to remind us that goal setting is just as critical in our personal lives as it is in our business lives.

Where do you want to go?

December 13, 2010

Helping You Helps Me

"Don't tell your complaint to one who has no pity."

Irish proverb

If your business results in customer complaints, is your goal to deal with them because you must, or do you wish to resolve issues to the satisfaction of those who complain?

Your answer defines what could be called your "pity", which at the same time could also be called your own "self-interest".

If the former, don't be surprised if you have fewer and fewer complaints, the result of having fewer and fewer customers.

December 10, 2010

The Clock Ticks Even In Eternity

"Forever is a long bargain."

German proverb

And for most things, an impossibility.

Do you account for for longevity in your business decisions?

You should.

December 09, 2010

The Business of Kindness

"To cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business life."

Samuel Johnson
18th century British author

Looking back over my career, including all the interaction I have had with so many people, I cannot recall much thought given to the roll, or lack thereof, that kindness plays in business.

This is not to say that others were not kind to me or me to them.  They were and I was.  

But having read this quote I now wonder how much of that was purposeful versus a byproduct of normal human interaction.

Should we attempt to be more kind in business?

December 08, 2010

The Win To Those Who Prepare

"The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity."

Erich Fromm
20th century psychoanalyst/social philosopher

Excellent advice for anyone starting his or her career.

The days of lifetime employment, if they ever existed, are now gone.  Whatever security you have you will make.

But don't fear that.  Understanding that is what is, is half the battle with the other half being, you must prepare accordingly.

December 07, 2010

Beware The Fine Print

"It is in the treatment of trifles that a person shows what they are."

Arthur Schopenhauer
Early 19th century German philosopher

"Trifles" suggests things inconsequential but when it comes to business, are you always certain you know what is and is not important?

Be careful, it's the small stuff that can take you down.

December 06, 2010

What About Tomorrow?

"You are young at any age if you are planning for tomorrow."


And this is not just about how we should live our personal lives as we age; it applies to everything, certainly including our business lives.

How many people do you know who could show you their life's plan, assuming you asked to see it?

How many do you know who could show you their business or personal occupational plan?

The numbers (unfortunately) are similar and certainly low.

December 03, 2010

The Power of Changing Your Mind

"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."

George Bernard Shaw
Late 19th, early 20th century Irish writer

As many of you know, I am working on a book regarding "change", and felt this quote well represented me a few months back.

Until that point, I had been working one way, making what was to me, acceptable but very little progress.  The sum of my excuses for lack of output was greater than my output.

Then I re-thought things resulting in a different approach.  

Today, the book is essentially written, I am in the editing stage with considerably more to do, but much more done than would be true had I not "changed my mind."

Changing your mind.  It works.

December 02, 2010

She Knows!

"Counsel woven into the fiber of real life is wisdom."

Walter Benjamin
Early 20th century German philosopher

And wisdom is exactly what you'll get from Andrea Belz.

Meet her up close and personal to see how true that is.

Join her for her book launch party 7:00 PM, Friday December 10 at:

695 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, Cal 91101

December 01, 2010

If Only I Had The Time . . . You Do!

"Time is the only critic without ambition."

John Steinbeck
American author

You can complain about not having enough time but in the end, how much you do versus what you say you will do is completely up to you.