November 30, 2011

The Job Won't Kill You But The Boredom Might

"Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it."

5th century BC founder of Buddhism

I would imagine this is hard to imagine for those who really don't like their jobs.

If that's you, the problem is you are simply doing your job and never really discovered what that job should be.

They call it "work" but it doesn't always have to be.

November 29, 2011

The Teaching Manager

"Who can direct when all pretend to know?"

Oliver Goldsmith
18th century Irish writer/poet

Why would employees "pretend to know"?

They might if management expected them to know even when that expectation is unreasonable.

Discover what needs to be learned and then teach it.

November 28, 2011

Truth Or Consequences

"Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies."

Friedrich Nietzsche
19th century German-Swiss writer/philosopher

Because the liar knows they are lying and may be persuaded not to, but those things held as irrefutable are more difficult to expose given the veneer of truth.

Have your convictions but understand the difference between them and a potentially different reality.

November 25, 2011

Knowing the Difference

"Though wisdom cannot be gotten for gold, still less can be gotten without it."

Samuel Butler
17th century British poet

That's the easy part, the hard part is deciding what is and is not "wisdom" (a question I grapple with in BW 5 days a week.)

How do you decide?

November 23, 2011

Being Grateful

"If "thank you" is the only prayer you say, that will be good enough."

Meister Eckhart
13th century German philosopher

This seemed appropriate this day before Thanksgiving.

Thank you for reading and sharing your wisdom in BW.

November 22, 2011

Thank You!

"There is as much greatness of mind in acknowledging a good turn as in doing it."

4th century BC Roman philosopher

And yet so few people do.

The next time someone helps you find a job, get a promotion, or with some part of your job, thank them.

November 21, 2011

Seeing What Does Not Exist

"When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge."

Albert Einstein
20th century German-Swiss-US scientist

"Absorbing positive knowledge" implies learning that which already exists, something any number of people could do.

But it is the ability to fantasize constructively that sets a few apart from most.

Almost everything we do as children is original creation, only to fall away the older we get.

How sad.

November 18, 2011

Working To Live Or Living To Work?

"The best work never was and never will be done for money."

John Ruskin
19th century English art critic

Maybe it takes someone from the arts to recognize this.

November 17, 2011

Who Called This Meeting?

"Meetings are indispensable when you don't want to do anything."

John Kenneth Galbraith
20th century Canadian/American economist

I agree with one caveat.

The fault is not with the meeting but with the meeting participants.

Just as in planning, if you don't have a clear agenda and of greater importance, a solid commitment from the participants to take personal responsibility for what happens, nothing good will come from it.

And by the way, all that time wasted in the meeting will continue to be wasted in the participant's personal work space if they don't organize themselves there any better than they did in the meeting.

November 16, 2011

November 15, 2011

Got The Time?

"You are not born of fame if you don't know the value of time."

Marquis de Vauvenargues
18th century French writer

All the talent and resources in the world will amount to little if you lack the time to do what you wish to do.

Waste it now, regret it later.

November 14, 2011

More Than Hope

"The person who lives by hope will die by despair."

Italian proverb

Maybe too extreme, better to add "mostly" before "lives", but either way the message is still clear.

Simply wanting something will not get the job done; you must do everything necessary to achieve your goals.

Take time to think about what that means.

November 11, 2011

I Could Have Told You That!

"Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon or star."

5th century BC Chinese philosopher

A situation made even worse when the ignorant believe they see "moon or stars" when no one else does, and act accordingly.

But how do any of us know for sure that the "light" we think we see is truth?

We celebrate business leaders who take the alternative path and succeed, Steve Jobs being but one obvious example.

And we ridicule those who do exactly the same thing and fail, as if we knew all along that they were wrong.

Somewhere in this is the middle ground of speculative judgement we all should seek to find.

On a completely separate subject, to all those who served our country in the past, or who do so today, thank you!  Have a great Veteran's Day!

November 10, 2011

For Your Sake, Please Read!

This will not be the normal BW post but I hope you will take the time to read nonetheless.  Also, versions of this have appeared on both Facebook and G+ so if you've seen it there no need to reread here.  

Back to normal tomorrow.

Most of you who know me also know I typically do not use social media networks for personal posts; however this will be an exception, one I hope you read and forward to others.

In mid September I was diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer. As I write this I am now one week beyond successful radical robotic laparoscopic prostatectomy, which, in my doctor’s words, based on the post surgery pathology, was “a cure not a treatment.”

Detected early, as was true in my case, colon, breast, skin, and prostate cancer are all very treatable with excellent prognosis for the future, but there is a catch. You have to discover each of them as early as possible and the responsibility for that largely rests with us as individuals.

I’d like to say I was very diligent but other than having an annual physical, expecting to be told I was healthy, I really didn’t pay much attention. Fortunately for me my primary physician did and noticed a somewhat elevated PSA number just short of a year to the day ahead of my surgery. Had I not gone to see him, had he not browsed my file as we talked about something completely unrelated, I might be telling you a completely different story at some point in the not too distant future.

So what can and should you do?

1. Get very involved in your healthcare. Don’t assume the medical healthcare workers in your life are up-to-the-minute on you and your “numbers” (the results of your annual tests); ask for them and understand what they mean. Be proactive.

2. Pay attention to minor changes in your health and do not hesitate to see your doctor more often than for just an annual physical.

3. Consider supporting any number of organizations whose research may one day benefit you or someone you love. For example, when it comes to prostate cancer Movember (

4. If you or someone you care about is diagnosed with any of the diseases that threaten us all, don’t panic. Seek out knowledge and advice, working in concert with your doctors to find the best solution for you.

My story has a happy ending and I fully appreciate how lucky I am relative to so many, no doubt including some of you now reading this. Looking back I only regret that I was not more aware than lucky and I hope that becomes true for you as well.

November 09, 2011

November 08, 2011

Learning From That Which Does Not Kill Us

"There is no greater misfortune than to not be able to endure misfortune."

English proverb

Maybe there is.

The misfortune that results from not having learned that we can endure misfortune.

November 07, 2011


"Life's heaviest burden is having nothing to carry."


My son asked if I would help an early 20's friend of his, network for a job.

Absolutely; the friend is a well educated all-round great guy who has the misfortune of needing a job in one of the worst economic times any of us can remember.

That got me thinking about doing more than just help in those random one-off situations.

What about establishing an informal, all volunteer, 1 to 1 ("121"), generally but not always older person to younger person, free job mentor program, matching those who need jobs with those who know the people who have the jobs?

Those looking for a job must still prepare themselves with education, training, etc., but those of us with established careers and contacts could proactively open our networks to them, coaching them as needed.  

Approximately 90% of the workforce has a job, which means 1 out of 10 don't.  Why can't the 9 of us who do help the 1 who doesn't?  And this would not be limited to just college graduates; everyone needs something to "carry".

As of now, just a thought but one I intend to act on.  Let me know if you would like to be involved.

Bill Matthies
714 726-2901

November 04, 2011

When All Is Said And Done . . .

"The purpose of a business is to create a customer."

Peter F. Drucker
20th century American business consultant, author, educator

Bordering on but not actually over simplifying what business is about.

November 03, 2011

Instead, How About . . .

"In war as in life, it is often necessary when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might."

Winston Churchill
20th century British statesman

Adaptability is one of the most underrated qualities of management.

Are you?

Enough so?

November 02, 2011

Familiarity Breeds Contempt?

"The people who are absent are the ideal; those who are present seem to be quite common place."

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Late 18th, early 19th century German author

As a consultant I sometimes find that clients who hire me, more value my opinion than they do that coming from some of their employees.

I understand I need to make a contribution, and more often than not, I actually do.  

However, taking nothing away from me, there are times when what that is was in-house all along, had senior management only listened to their employees.

November 01, 2011

Only "Own" What Is Yours

"What is not yours always chirps for its master."

Spanish proverb

And this is not just a matter of acting as though a suggestion or idea came from you; it must actually have done so or it will be apparent to others when it did not.

But even if that weren't true (it must be; I don't believe the Spanish would have turned it into a proverb were it not), there is as much if not more gratification to come from supporting the contributions of others.

Particularly if you are management.