December 30, 2011

You Want? You've Got To Give

"Every man is a consumer, and ought to be a producer."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
19th century American poet/essayist

Mr. Emerson's possibly unintended comment on social welfare programs?

December 29, 2011

Now Let Me Show You How It's Done

"I invent nothing, I rediscover."

Auguste Rodin
Late 19th, early 20th century French sculptor

Have you ever noticed how new management often throws out all that was in place before they assumed control?

Why is that?

December 28, 2011

From Dreams To Reality

"The dream was always running ahead of me.  To catch up with it, to live for a moment with it in unison, that was the miracle."

Anais Nin
20th century French/Cuban author

This should be the goal for all of us, both in our personal and professional lives.

Too much dream, not enough reality, and nothing gets done.

And the reverse is too boring to contemplate.

Ms. Nin is new to me and now that I've discovered her and like what she has to say, I will look for more of her works.

And the fact that we share a birthday is an added plus.  Us dreamer Pisces must stick together.

December 27, 2011


"Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences."

19th century Scottish novelist

To what extent if at all do you consider the consequences of your management decisions?

I'm not talking about the chance for success.

I mean the impact of your decisions on those who report to you.

December 26, 2011

An Attitude, But Which One?

"So of cheerfulness, or a good temper, the more it is spent the more it remains."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
19th century American poet/essayist

Sounds like Mr. Emerson thinks being cheerful, of good temper, is a good thing.

Do you?

In business as in one's personal life?

December 23, 2011

In The Beginning

"Even for practical purposes theory generally turns out the most important thing in the end."

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Late 19th, early 20th century American jurist

And as part of "generally" I will take the liberty of including business.

You must start somewhere and in absence of anything else, a theory is an excellent place to begin.

December 22, 2011

Too Much Technology Never Is?

"Technological progress is like an ax in the hands of a pathological criminal."

Albert Einstein
20th century German/Swiss/US scientist

Coming from anyone else I might just chalk this up to being technology adverse, but from Mr. Einstein?

I believe but don't know for certain that he may have been over-generalizing about the ill effects of technology for the sake of technology.

How do you decide how much technology your business needs?

December 21, 2011

The Unseen Prejudice

"All the people like us are WE, and everyone else is THEY."

Rudyard Kipling
19th/20th century British writer

You may feel this way even though you profess otherwise, possibly without even knowing you do.

If so and your job is marketing or sales . . .

December 20, 2011

Let's Shake On It

"By the time a partnership has dissolved, it has dissolved."

John Updike
20th century American writer

Like marriages, business partnerships are relatively easily to enter with termination consequences that often ends the business as well.

Be careful!

December 19, 2011

Not Your Problem?

"The mind of man is like a clock that is always running down, and requires to be constantly wound up."

William Hazlitt
Early 19th century British essayist

The job you need done may be repetitious but at some point the person doing it will be less effective because it is, unless you do something to help them.

What, if anything, would that be?

December 16, 2011

At The Heart Of Every Labor Negotiation

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

Karl Marx
19th century German philosopher/political economist

What if anything do you think this 1875 quote has to do with economics in the world today?

What about your business?

Don't know, don't care?

You need to, you REALLY need to.

December 15, 2011

Information For What Purpose?

"Kings have many ears and eyes."


But the important question is, what do they do with them?

Being kings they can gather information to keep their subjects in check, or they can do so to learn what they must do to be the best king possible.

If you are a CEO, VP, manager, etc., what do you do?

December 14, 2011

My Bad

"A man's first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart, and his next to escape the censures of the world."

Joseph Addison
18th century English essayists/poet

Do you identify and "own" your mistakes before or after others do?

It will be one or the other.

December 13, 2011

Enough To Let Them Hang Themselves?

"The first mistake are theirs who commit them, the second are theirs who permit them."


Along the lines of "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me".

Increasingly management does not have the luxury of being fooled even the first time.

How much "rope" do you let out?

December 12, 2011

I Can Explain!

"The accidental reveals man."

Pablo Picasso
20th century Spanish painter

Accidents do happen but if you find you are often explaining your failures as being the result of things beyond your control . . .

Whether stated clearly as such or not, one of management's greatest responsibilities is to reduce "accidents".

December 09, 2011

(Is It) All In Your Mind(?)

"The pain of the mind is worse than the pain of the body."

Publilius Syrus
1st century BC Roman writer/poet


I've never experienced a physical pain that could make itself worse than it was meant to be, however my mind has done so.

How (do) you check the validity of what your mind is telling you?

December 08, 2011

There Are Two Ways To Look At It

"My sun sets to rise again."

Robert Browning
19th century British poet

The more common reference to optimism, "my glass is half full."

Why did your sun go down?

December 07, 2011

"Win" And You Just Might Lose

"The desire to conquer is itself a sort of subjection."

George Eliot
19th century British writer

And he's not referring to whomever or whatever you wish to conquer.

He means you.

Is it more important to win or achieve your goals?

They're often not the same.

December 06, 2011

Is Everything Old, New Again?

"All cases are unique and very similar to others."

T.S. Eliot
20th century American-English poet, playwright

Look for completely new ideas.

Create new variants from that which already exists.

Which works best for you?

December 05, 2011

"The Copy Machine's Down"

"A little neglect may breed great mischief."

Benjamin Franklin
18th century American statesman, scientist, philosopher

And this includes everything in business, both the obvious as well as well as the less obvious.

Neglect your copy machines and people at your own peril.

December 02, 2011

Who Are You?

"Nationalist pride, like other variants of pride, can be a substitute for self-respect."

Eric Hoffer
20th century American philosopher/author

And the equivalent in business would be what, pride in one's company?

I am not suggesting that large numbers of those who work for companies with well known/respected brands have no self-respect.

Were that the case the brands would not be successful.

But you do meet a lot of people who, when asked what they do, answer with a title prominently focused on the company brand as opposed to them as individuals.

Individual self-respect first or nothing good will follow for the company.

December 01, 2011

Philosophically Speaking . . .

"Many talk like philosophers but act like fools."


Most likely, we all do at one time or another, hopefully by accident rather than purposely.

But you still need philosophy in your approach to business.

What's yours?