May 31, 2011

It Doesn't Have To Be That Way

"Our history is not our destiny."

Alan Cohen

Do you manage as you always have or to achieve the results you want?

Is there a difference between the two?

May 27, 2011

That's Not True, This Is!

"Get your facts first and then you can distort them as much as you please."

Mark Twain
19th century American author/humorist

Which raises an interesting question . . . exactly what is a "fact"?

May 26, 2011

Now That's Just Cold!

"No one traveling on a business trip would be missed if he failed to arrive."

Thorstein Veblen
Early 20th century US economist and social philosopher


Don't know for sure, just guessing, but I'd bet Mr. Veblen was very possibly a communist.

But be that as it may, there are plenty of people far less left of center who take a dim view of those of us "in business".

Since we are all "in business" no matter how we earn our livings, how did that happen?

May 25, 2011

When The Audience Is No Longer There

"Old age is when you know all the answers but no one asks you the questions."

Laurence J. Peters
20th century Canadian born American educator. author of "The Peter Principle"

If you are accustomed to being listened to, that is important to you, and you are near retirement, prepare yourself for what may be the biggest challenge you have ever faced.

Prepare yourself, don't fear it.

May 24, 2011

What Might Have Been But For Regrets and Fear

"Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves--regret for the past and fear for the future."

Fulton Oursler
First half 20th century American playwright
No man's land.

How much might you have accomplished were it not for being in one of these two places, and likely, on occasion, in both at once?

May 23, 2011

I'm Not Like You

"I may not be better than other people but at least I'm different."

Jean Jacques Rousseau
18th century Swiss political philosopher

We focus a lot on experience and iconic indications of education in business, without saying much about the value of our differences.

What if we all were top 10% in our Harvard MBA class? 

If we were, how would we set ourselves apart from each other?

May 20, 2011

When You Look Over Your Shoulder, What Do You See?

"Clear conscience never fears midnight knocking."

Chinese proverb

Have you ever "cut corners" not to mention knowingly done things you knew were wrong, possibly illegal, in your business dealings?

Let me go first; I have.

If you felt bad for having done so (I did) you know what this is about.

It's just not worth it.

May 19, 2011

Who Do You Hire?

"The test of any man lies in action."

4th century BC Greek poet

But which action?  

In this case, is the ability to build one's chair a good indication of how effective an Ikea applicant will be?

How do you test potential employees?

May 18, 2011

From Nothing To Something

"Our strength grows out of our weakness."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
19th century US poet, lecturer

I don't know if I believe that additional strength can also grow from our existing strength, but I completely understand the potential for growth from weakness.

At least potentially.  

Without effort on our part, beginning with recognizing what our weaknesses are, nothing will change.

May 17, 2011

Different Yes, But In What Way?

"You have to work at creating your own culture."

Mitch Albom
American writer

Good advice for anyone starting their own company, saying to themselves, "My company will be different than all the others."

It will be but you'll have to work at it to make that difference positive.

May 16, 2011

Organized Thought

"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking."

Albert Einstein
20th century German, Swiss, US scientist

In other words, science brings order to what would otherwise be disordered thinking.

Which is exactly what business planning brings to business.

Do you plan?

May 13, 2011

I Had Nothing To Do With It (Unless It Worked)

 A tyrant's authority for crime and a fool's excuse for failure."

Ambrose Bierce
19th century American journalist/writer
It kind of is that isn't it?

When we have no explanation for our bad behavior or failures, we call it destiny, as if we had no control over the outcome.

Do you recall a time when you succeeded at something, saying "I had nothing to do with it, it was destiny"?

May 12, 2011

Rearview Mirror Management?

 "If you look back too much you will soon be headed that way."


I am a student of history and believe strongly in the adage that those who do not study the past are condemned to repeat it.  But at the same time this makes sense as well.

I believe the difference is in what you do with what you see.

Do you run your business based on what has been, what is, or what you think will be?

May 11, 2011

Do You Build Or Destroy?

"People are eternally divided into two classes, the believer, builder and praiser, and the unbeliever, destroyer and critic."

John Ruskin
19th century English art critic

I don't know about only two classes and particularly so with these two greatly polarized opposites, but I do get the general idea.

However, given his profession as a critic, it does make me wonder which class Mr. Ruskin saw himself belonging to.

How about you?  Which are you?

May 10, 2011

The Power(?) of Feared Management

"In time we hate that which we often fear."

William Shakespeare
16th century British playwright

 Does it matter to you as a manager if you are feared, hated, or both?

May 09, 2011

Because I Said So! (i don't think so)

"We thought, because we had power, we had wisdom."

Stephen Vincent Benet
Early 20th century American writer

Whoever "they" were they were not the first nor the last to confuse the two.

And to the list of things they did not have I would add "control".

At most (and then not always) managers only manage.

May 06, 2011

What Did You Say?

"Language is the source of misunderstandings."

Antoine de Saint-Exupery
20th century French writer/aviator

So many of us too often assume our words, both written and spoken, are communication.

Sometimes they are, often not.


May 05, 2011

Time To Get Your Mind Right

"Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives."

William James
19th century American psychologist

I've been researching change methodology for the last three years and if I were to cite the one thing that is essential for anyone attempting to bring about positive change in their business or personal lives, this would be it.

How's your attitude?

Time for a change?

May 04, 2011

Ready For A Change?

"Getting fired is nature's way of telling you that you had the wrong job in the first place."

Hal Lancaster

Are you in your job because you fear change?

That would be the "wrong job".

May 03, 2011

You Can Count On . . .

"There is nothing certain but the uncertain."


I'll twist this another way.

Change is certain with the outcome of what changes, uncertain.

May 02, 2011

Free At Last?

"Who then is free?  The wise man who can govern himself."

1st century BC Roman poet

Start your own company, particularly if one of your goals is to be "free" from corporate life.

But understand the serious and real implications in the need to be "wise" and the requirement that you must also "govern" yourself.

Not doing so may leave you with more free time than you expected or wanted.