January 31, 2011

What You Hear More Than You Say

"Every absurdity has a champion to defend it, for error is always talkative."

Oliver Goldsmith
18th century British author

Nowhere is "less is more", more true than when it comes to talkativeness in business.

Maybe ok between seagulls but not in business.

January 28, 2011

Looking Ahead??

"The empires of the future are empires of the mind."

Winston Churchill

Meaning, if you can't envision it you can't do it.

What are your visions?

January 27, 2011

The Power of Attitude

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitude of mind."

William James
19th century American psychologist

And it is likely that many of you have no idea how important this fact is when it comes to business.

There are many things you cannot change but your attitude shouldn't be one of them.

January 26, 2011

Who You Know Or What You Know?

"I realized that talent would get me as far as middle management, but beyond that point it would become a matter of politics and currying favor with bosses."

Masahario Origuchi
Japanese businessman

Those who know Origuchi-san well will not be surprised by this statement.  His business history is, shall we say, colorful.

However there are many who firmly believe in and practice the power of office politics.

What about you?

January 25, 2011

What Happens When You Leave The Room?

"Some cause happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go."

Oscar Wilde
19th century Irish poet

This may seem a stretch in a business blog, but not really.

While the point of business is not to create happiness, there is nothing that says it shouldn't be a byproduct of whatever is the point of business.

And regardless, do you really believe that unhappy workers will produce as much as happy workers?

January 24, 2011

What You Know More Than What You Think You Know

"We know nothing about motivation all we can do is write books about it."

Peter Drucker
Business Educator/Consultant

Mr. Drucker understood the difference between knowledge and presumed knowledge.

Do you?

January 21, 2011

What More Than How Many

"A man is not necessarily intelligent because he has plenty of ideas, anymore than he is a good general because he has plenty of soldiers."

Nicolas Chamfort
18th century French writer

When a quote expressing a thought many of us have likely never had before, is as obviously true as this is, nothing more need be said.

January 20, 2011

Self-Critical Management

"There is no place in a fanatic's head where reason can enter."

Napoleon Bonaparte
18th century French general

And the line between fanaticism and strong belief in one's convictions is not always clear.

What test, if any, can you give yourself to determine if you take the position you do because you are convinced it is right, or simply because it is your position?

January 19, 2011

Hanging In There

"Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that final victory comes."


Particularly in business, being able to keep going in spite of what others think, is more dependent on our beliefs and attitudes than it is our muscles.

How strong are you?

January 18, 2011

Because You Should Or Because You Want To?

"We are never deceived, we deceive ourselves."

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Late 18th century German poet/novelist

Not allowing myself to get hung up on the absolute of this ("never"), I agree.

In business, we do many things because we want to, maybe more than what we do being certain they are the right things to do.

The trick is to recognize your decisions based on clear fact and logic, from those founded on hope and desire.

A difficult but necessary task for any manager.

January 17, 2011

The Power Of We

"Don't surround yourself with yourself."

"I've Seen All Good People"
Late 1960's British rock group

Great business advice on every level imaginable.

Listening primarily, or worse, exclusively to yourself, will only serve to reinforce what you believe, and no matter how good you are, you are probably wrong as much as the rest of us.

"We" will invariably find the better way, sooner and more often than "I" ever will.

January 14, 2011

More Than One Word

"Just think of the tragedy of not teaching children to doubt."

Clarence S. Darrow
Late 19th century, early 20th century American lawyer

The concept of "doubt" seems to me a "gate" that swings both ways.

Mr. Darrow uses it to suggest the role doubt plays in learning, whereas doubt leading to inaction is often counter-productive.

Along with ambition, caution, aggressiveness, indifference, and many more terms used to describe human behaviors, how do we sort out the good from the bad?

Or is it only possible to do so when we use these terms in context with something else, as Mr. Darrow has done?

Think about that the next time you find yourself describing a business peer or customer with just one word.

January 13, 2011

Ceremony Yes, But Who's Ceremony?

"Ceremony is the smoke of friendship."

Chinese proverb

I've spent the better part of my career working with Asian based companies, in the US and throughout Asia, and clearly understand the importance, if not sometimes aggravating role ceremony plays in business dealings.

Question to my Asian friends:  Do you recognize the Western business person's propensity for informality as a form of ceremony?

Is there such a thing as "informal ceremony" in business, possibly in the same way a wedding on the beach in Maui is still a wedding ceremony?

January 12, 2011

I Assure You . . .

"The very act of believing creates strengths of its own."


But how do we really know what we really believe versus what we think or say we believe?

The answer to that is important when it comes to the difference between our convictions and our willingness to convince others of things we ourselves do not believe.

Let me be the first to admit, I'm not always sure which is which.

Are you?

January 11, 2011

Plan To Act, But Above All Else, Act

"Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try."


I'm a planning consultant and firmly believe in the need for action based on plans; but at some point, emphasis must shift to action.

Many may think they meet the action criteria suggested in this quote because they've made "the decision to try".   But that alone is only half of it.

A decision to do something without a date for when that something will happen, or worse, one that never happens, is useless.

January 10, 2011

Setting Priorities


"A pessimist is one, who when he has the choice of two evils, chooses both."

Oscar Wilde
19th century Irish poet

How good are you at prioritizing things in business?  

Not all "evils" need be simultaneously addressed, with some never needing attention.

Do you know which is which, when?

January 07, 2011


"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear -- not the absence of fear."

Mark Twain

I offer this to all of you currently facing a situation, both business and personal, which causes you to be afraid.

Do not be ashamed that you are, but at the same time, do not let fear dictate what you do.

And understand, you are not alone.

I am reading a very good book talking about the role one's attitude plays in achieving success.  It includes discussion on how to deal with fear and I recommend it to anyone struggling to control their mind's reaction to current problems.

"The Difference Maker:  Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset" by John C. Maxwell

January 06, 2011

Minimize Reactive Management

"Incidents should not govern policy; but policy, incidents."

Napoleon Bonaparte
Late 18th century French general

Eight words, which, in my opinion, should be the center piece of management philosophy.

Don't react to transitory events. 

Manage in a way that is, as much as possible, appropriate for the great majority of likely events.

January 05, 2011

You And Your Company: One And The Same?

"Positive anything is better than negative nothing."

Elbert Hubbard
Late 19th century American editor/publisher

What do you think?

"Anything" and "nothing" seems a bit too absolute to me, as if there is no place for negative thinking.

Regardless, how does a manager balance their own tendency to be optimistic or pessimistic, with the need to do whatever is best for their company?

Is it acceptable to project our personalities into the actions we take on behalf of the companies we work for?

January 04, 2011

What Is Your Self-Image?

"You have to believe in yourself."

Sun Tzu
5th century BC Chinese general/author

He says this meaning you should as opposed to you are compelled to do so.

Wouldn't it be great if both were true?

January 03, 2011

When Things Don't Go As You Would Like

"Kites rise against, not with, the wind."

John Neal
19th century American author

A poetic way to make the case for a certain amount of adversity in our lives.

Things will not always go the way we want and in that there is some good.  

We just have to look for it.