March 31, 2011

Thank You!

"It is wise to apply the oil of refined politeness to the mechanisms of friendship."

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
Early 20th century French novelist

Manners, etiquette still matter as in the past, and not just in friendship but in all aspects of business.

March 30, 2011

In Business As In War

"A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies."

 Oscar Wilde
19th century Irish writer/poet

Never thought about "choosing" your enemies?

You often do by your actions, not theirs.

Choose wisely.

March 29, 2011

The Difference Between Want And Need

"Necessity has no law."

Benjamin Franklin
18th century American statement/inventor

This relates to yesterday's post.

What is and is not necessary depends on one's views.

How do you decide?

March 28, 2011

What You Won't As Much As What You Will

"Wisdom is learning what to overlook."

William James
Late 19th century American psychologist/philosopher

Particularly in business.

You simply can't know it all, not even try to know it all.

As Bob Seger said, "What to leave in, what to leave out?"

March 25, 2011

Doubling Down or Investing?

"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."

Paul Newman in "The Color of Money"
20th century American actor

This movie and Mr. Newman's comment was about gambling and was in no way related to business, but in reality are they all that different (gambling and business)?

Both involve risk and reward with outcomes based more on assumptions than knowns.

And yet many who would never consider gambling will willingly put money into business ventures.

How about you?

March 24, 2011

The Inevitable Inevitability

"He who rejects change is the architect of decay."

Harold Wilson
20th century British prime minister

I'm not at all certain you can "reject" change anymore than you can hold back the tide.

But it is clear that you can be an "architect of decay" by trying to do so.

I like Willy Nelson's take on this:

"Don't you hold on to 'nuthin' too long."

March 23, 2011

What's In A Word?

"Man needs difficulties; they are necessary for health."

Carl Gustav Jung
Early 20th century Swiss psychologist/psychiatrist

If this bothers you would it set better if we exchanged "challenges" for "difficulties".

It kind of does for me.

Funny the unsaid implications of some words.

March 22, 2011

Winning Battles, Losing Wars

"That which proves too much proves nothing."

Unattributed proverb

Particularly in an argument.

Make your point but be careful not to over do it. 

March 21, 2011

Who's In Control Here?

"Humility is the only true wisdom by which we prepare our minds for all the possible changes of life."

George Arliss
Late 19th century/early 20th century English actor/author

Suggesting that being humble is about more than simply not being self-centered.

I've spent much of the last 3 years researching and writing a book about change, advocating that we should do as much as we can to guide our destiny rather than simply be subject to whatever comes along.

But at the top of the list for everyone who does so must be the realization that the real goal is to understand rather control, and that in understanding there is control.

March 18, 2011

You Can't Tell Me Nothin'!

"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence."

Robert Frost
20th century American poet

Ironically to me, based on this definition, my "education" was at its lowest point when I had just completed my MBA; a time when my knowledge should have been the freshest it would ever be.

Since then I have become more tolerant and accepting of alternative views, realizing in the process how much there was to learn after I had graduated from college.

How about you?

March 17, 2011

What Do You Have To Do To Make It?

"I don't care too much for money, money can't buy me love."

John Lennon
20th century musician

In business money buys things and the time of others, but not necessarily results.

What else is necessary to achieve business goals?

March 16, 2011

What Were You Thinking?

"Among mortals second thoughts are wisest."

1st century Greek philosopher

I realize some don't see themselves as mortals but for the rest of us who do . . .

Think twice, speak once.

March 15, 2011

What You Are, Forever?

"Defend your limitations and you own them."



Should I define and accept my limitations, which is what I believe "owning" them is, versus only doing so to overcome them?

Are (some? all?) limitations forever or unchangeable?

March 14, 2011

Delusional Security

"The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion."

Edmund Burke
18th century British political writer

What "liberties" do we give up in our business lives, and for what "delusion"?

No matter if we work for someone else or ourselves, we trade absolute freedom, whatever that may be, for the promise of financial security (the money we receive for what we do.)

If Burke agreed with my interpretation he might also point out that it is delusional to believe that you ever have certain financial security, or that it can even be defined.

Will whatever it is today, be so tomorrow?

March 11, 2011

Are You Ready?

"Always have your hook baited in the pool you least think there will be a fish."

1st century Roman poet

I've noticed that sometimes the deals I thought I would get did not happen while the ones I assumed would not, did.

And none of those would have had my "hook" not been "baited".

I wonder how many I missed because I never went after them?

March 10, 2011

What Have You Done Lately?

"When we have nothing to worry about we are not doing much, and not doing much may supply us with plenty of future worries."

Chinese proverb

I can think of two reasons you might not being doing much.
  1. You're too tired.
  2. You see no reason to be doing something.
The first is ok as long as you start doing something once rested.

The second and you're on your way to plenty of future worries.

March 09, 2011

The Difference Between Knowing and Assuming

"Not everything which is bad comes to hurt us."

Italian proverb

On the surface, contradictory; if it's bad it will hurt.

But when you add the perception that it is or will be bad, it makes sense.

How much have you not attempted or done simply because you feared the outcome?

March 08, 2011

Dreams Grounded In Reality

"The true ideal is not opposed to the real but lies within it; and blessed are the eyes that find it."

James Russell Lowell
19th century American poet

Mr. Lowell tells us that there must be a link between our ideas and reality; that one without the other is the same as if neither existed.

Dream, but at some point live in reality as well.

March 07, 2011

Not (Always) What We Seem

"Every normal person, in fact, is only normal on the average."

Sigmund Freud
19th/20th century psychiatrist

Keep this in mind as you conduct business with others you assume are "normal".

March 04, 2011

Ready! Fire! Aim?

"Success comes to the person who does today what you were thinking about doing tomorrow."


Similarly, General Patton is quoted as saying that a good plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow.

But all that is relative; the trick is to make sure that you have a "good" plan and are not simply acting.

How do you do that?

March 03, 2011

A Never Ending Struggle?

"The workers of the world have nothing to lose but their chains.  Workers of the world unite!"

Karl Marx
19th century German philosopher

We appear to be heading in a new direction of sine wave feelings towards unions although it isn't clear to me whether the trend is up or down.

Why must it be either?

Is labor and management forever condemned to constant struggle?

March 02, 2011

Neither A Borrower Or A Lender Be?

"If you can't pay for a thing, don't buy it.  If you can't get paid for a thing, don't sell it."

 Benjamin Franklin
18th century American statesman

Leave it to old Ben to reduce commerce to its most basic form, with a dose of New England pragmatism thrown in for good measure.

Don't over extend is still good advice but how practical is it to attempt to conduct business this way?  

I never could have started and grown my companies had I not sometimes borrowed and had I not accepted some assignments where I might not (sometimes did not) get paid.

March 01, 2011

Just Tell Me I'm Right

"We ask advice but we mean approbation."

Charles Caleb Colton
18th century British clergy/author

As a consultant, I can attest to this.

What is your ratio of advice asked for/accepted?