August 31, 2011

The Mean Person

"I consider myself an average man except in the fact that I consider myself an average man."

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
16th century French philosopher

Actually, being average has its advantages when it comes to managing people, the majority of which are average.

August 30, 2011

Don't Worry, Be Happy??

"Nothing is so wretched or foolish as to anticipate misfortunes.  What madness is it to be expecting evil before it comes."

1st century BC Roman philosopher/playwright

I'm not so sure.

You cannot plan for eventualities unless you anticipate them and you certainly should be thinking about what might be.

Think about not obsess.

August 29, 2011

Anarchist or Entrepreneur?

"Any fool can make a rule and every fool will mind it."

Henry David Thoreau
19th century American naturalist/philosopher

True, but without rules we have anarchy.

The trick is to find balance between the need for structure and the benefit that comes from entrepreneurial thinking and behavior.

How do you do that?

(A great discussion on this comes from Clayton Christensen's "The Innovator's Dilemma".)

August 26, 2011

The REAL Boogie Man

"Imaginary evils soon become real ones by indulging our reflections on them."

John Ruskin
19th century English art critic

The art of business planning is separating real challenges from those we think are real.

August 25, 2011

How Much Are You Worth?

"He who does not think much of himself is much more esteemed than he imagines."

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
18th century German poet

Some of the world's most successful business leaders are also egotists beyond anything the rest of us ever imagined.

Does success create that or are some of us naturally born to like ourselves more than will most?

Does not "thinking much of ourselves" necessarily imply we depreciate our worth?

August 24, 2011

Ketchup And Other Passionate Stuff

"He only employs his passion who can make no use of his reason."

Marcus Tulius Cicero
1st century BC Roman writer/orator

Personally I think passion in business is a little overrated and certainly applied far too easily to way too many things.

"Passionate" about ketchup?

No doubt there is somewhere a ketchup brand manager who claims to be.

August 23, 2011

I Don't Want To Hear That!

"Beware of the person of one book."

Saint Thomas Aquinas
13th century Catholic priest/philosopher

Or of the manager of one mind, thought, opinion, etc.

August 22, 2011

Give No Quarter!

"Surely the best way to meet the enemy is head on, in the field, and not wait until they plunder our homes."

Oliver Goldsmith
18th century Irish writer

You compete but have you ever really thought about what that means?

Do you react to your competitor or do they react to you?

Who's meeting who head on?

August 19, 2011

How Much Is Too Much?

"Milk the cow but do not pull off the udder."

Greek proverb

During these deficit times it is almost a certainty that taxes will increase, business tax included.

How do we decide how much to take without taking the udder (losing jobs)?

August 18, 2011

Well Thought Out?

"Thought is the parent of the deed."

Thomas Carlyle
19th century British historian

But do we think enough?

How many of your company's decisions are based on sufficient thought?  


How about yours?

August 17, 2011

Buy Low, Sell High?

"Take care to sell your horse before he dies.  The art of life is passing losses on."

Robert Frost
20th century American poet

What do you think, is this unethical?

How do you balance considerations for honesty with a desire to achieve?

Is how you do that in your personal life different than it is in business?

If so, how so?

August 16, 2011

Never Surrender?

"Obstinacy in a bad cause is but constancy in a good."

Sir Thomas Browne
17th century English author

Advocating for what you believe it is a good thing with the trick being to recognize when you are standing your ground versus being buried under it.

August 15, 2011

You'll Hear From My (very expensive) Lawyer!

"I was never ruined but twice; once when I lost a lawsuit and once when I won one."

18th century French writer

And yet in business we all too often pursue legal remedy to what could be settled by simple conversation and negotiation.

August 12, 2011

Regrets, I Have A Few . . . But Then Again . . .Too Few To Mention

"Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets."

Arthur Miller
20th century American dramatist

If you really need more than a "top 5" list of things you regret in your career, maybe you're in the wrong job.

August 11, 2011

Upon Graduation . . .

"In the business world everyone is paid in two coin: cash and experience.  Take the experience first, the cash will come later."

(Click to enlarge)
Harold Geneen
20th century American businessman

Great advice for new graduates, and a graph for everyone who doubts the value of education.

August 10, 2011

When In The Eye Of The Storm

"The first thing a great person does is make us realize the insignificance of circumstance."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
19th century American poet

In business great leaders make it possible for otherwise average employees to do great things regardless of how tumultuous things may seem.

August 09, 2011

The Company You Keep

"A long dispute means that both parties are wrong."

18th century French writer

Before any of you point it out, I do know this absolutely applies to the US Congress but as with everything in BW, my focus is business.

We shouldn't time our management debates but limiting the time we do before moving on would be a good idea.

Otherwise we risk being seen as (God forbid) politicians.

August 08, 2011

Reaching For An Empty Holster

"It is impossible to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person."

Suggested by Ron Hixon

Good advice but just make sure which of you is unarmed.

I have on many occasions thought it was the other person only to realize later, it was me.

August 05, 2011

Any Questions?

"An order that can be misunderstood will be misunderstood."

Napoleon Bonaparte
18th/19th century French general

When giving direction to others how often do you say something other than what you intend?

And notice I said "how often" rather than "do you".

August 04, 2011

One More Time, Listen Carefully!

"To spell out the obvious is often to call it in question."

Eric Hoffer
20th century American philosopher

Food for thought the next time you find yourself restating the "obvious" more than once.

August 03, 2011

Managing Within Your Means?

"Better to see rightly on a pound a week than to squint on a million."

George Bernard Shaw
19th/20th century Irish writer

Likely on a million you don't and possibly never will have.

Don't plan to spend what you don't yet have.

August 02, 2011

The Eye Of The Beholder

"Nothing is beautiful from every point of view."

1st century BC Latin poet

Think about this the next time you have an idea you are certain all your co-workers will just love.

August 01, 2011

Is That It?

"Only the most acute and active animals are capable of boredom."

Friedrich Nietzsche
19th century German philosopher

While you want to employ thinking, active individuals, you must do all you can to continually challenge them because if you don't they won't stay with you for long.