September 30, 2011

Are You Up To It?

"No one would ever have crossed the ocean if he could have gotten off the ship in a storm."

Unknown source

Not only do I think some would but am certain many have, although far from a majority or even a large number.

The truth is most will avoid difficult challenges, particularly when the odds are against them, the consequences of negative outcome severe.

Whether it be a start-up or a new venture within an established entity, what is your appetite for risk?

Making it more personal, will you tell your boss you think she's wrong?

September 29, 2011

It Was Worth It!

"They never fail who die in a great cause."

Lord Byron
Late 18th/early 19th century British poet

So in business you never fail if what you attempt is worthy of your effort?

Other than ROI, what if anything defines our business efforts as being, or not, worthy?

September 28, 2011

I'm Not Afraid Of You(?)

"Be larger than your task."

Orison Swett Marden
Late 19th century/early 20th century American author, founder of Success magazine

I can think of many tasks in my business career I absolutely did not feel larger than; to the contrary I felt overwhelmed.

Part of that is the result of understanding the difference between "being" and "acting" in control, "larger" than your tasks.

I work at it, what do you do?

September 27, 2011

The Power of Negotiation

"The greatest conqueror is he who overcomes the enemy without a blow."

Chinese proverb

The more broad your interpretation of "overcome", the more empathy you have for your "enemies", the easier this is to do.

And yes I mean in business, particularly in business.

September 26, 2011

Because You Said So? Really?

"Do you know what amazes me more than anything else?  The impotence of force to organize anything."

Napoleon Bonaparte
18th century French general

And at some point simply ordering organization is no different than attempting to force it into existence.

How dictatorial is your management style?

September 23, 2011

To The Victors Go The Spoils . . . Whether They Want Them Or Not?

"We acquire the strength we have overcome."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
19th century American poet/essayist

What do you acquire from competitors you have overcome?

Because of having overcome them, there is something about their "strength" that makes me question its value to me.

September 22, 2011

Go For It, Reasonably

"Earnestness is enthusiasm tempered by reason."

Blaise Pascal
17th century French mathematician/philosopher

Pretty astute observation, particularly coming from one who is both a mathematician and a philosopher (talk about the potential for internal conflict.)

The goal is well reasoned enthusiasm.

September 21, 2011

Manager = Big, Effective Thinker?

"Big thinking precedes great achievement."

Wilferd Peterson
20th century American author

Saying that is the easy part with the hard part being actually doing not only "big" thinking, but thinking that is also effective.

And just because you've got the manager title does not guarantee your thoughts are either big or effective.

I can point to many issues I've thought long and hard about with little or nothing to show for the effort. 

How about you?

September 20, 2011

Chameleon Insight

"Adaptability is not imitation.  It means power of resistance and assimilation."

Mahatma Gandhi
20th century Indian politician

Of course one can adapt by simply imitating; that happens every day in companies all over the world.

But effective adaptation comes from the right combination of resisting what needs to change while assimilating what should not.

How are you and your company at doing that?

September 19, 2011

If You Tell Yourself, "I've Had It", You Probably Have

"No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking."

Voltaire 18th century French writer/historian

With emphasis on "sustained", another way to describe perseverance of thought.

September 16, 2011

Heads Or Tails Or . . .

"A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion."

 Chinese proverb

What this doesn't talk about is what that "wise man" will base his (or her) decision on.

If the ultimate responsibility for action falls to me, I will make the decision accepting the consequence, but I will do that with as much credible input as possible, from as many credible sources available.

September 15, 2011

Ok, Now I'm Worried!

"Nothing in the affairs of men is worthy of great anxiety."

4th century BC Greek philosopher

We'll need to parse this one a bit.

I can think of countless things in both my professional and personal lives where (as it turned out) I had been unnecessarily overly anxious.

Some but not all of that could have been avoided and the trick is to decide what is and is not "worthy of great anxiety".

But maybe Plato was the smart guy we all think he was and was just observing that great anxiety is rarely worth the effort, while at the same time understanding it is also too often unavoidable.

Not knowing if that was true makes me very anxious.

September 14, 2011

Measure Twice, Cut Once (Again)

"Haste and rashness are storms and tempests, breaking and wrecking business."

 Thomas Fuller17th century British clergy/author

In business as in carpentry the better companies are thoughtfully built, the inevitable threats that would otherwise defeat them, neutralized.

Little good ever comes from decisions made in haste.

September 13, 2011

The Company Or You?

"It is not I who became addicted it is my body."

Jean Cocteau
20th century French film maker

Have you ever worked in a company where you found yourself saying, "It's not me it's them."?

Was it?

At what point is the company you, or at least the accumulation of its employees, one of which is you?

September 12, 2011

That's Not The Way We Do Things Around Here

"Woe to that nation whose literature is cut short by the intrusion of force."

Alexander Solzhenitsyn
20th century Russian author/political activist

What about in business?

What happens when thought contrary to whatever is considered "right" is suppressed?

September 09, 2011

Lost In Time?

"Lost time is never found again."


I relate to this.

I've been diddling along far too long on my "change" book, much longer than necessary had I better managed my time.

How's your time management skills, in general, as well as those of the management teams you are a part of, specifically?

September 08, 2011

I Know What You Know, Show Me What You've Done

"Knowledge is only potential power."

Napoleon Hill
20th century American speaker/writer

As one whose company sold millions of dollars worth of market research, I can say without hesitation this is absolutely correct.

So little of business knowledge ever gets acted upon and that which doesn't has zero value to anyone.

September 07, 2011

Think About It

"The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get to the office."

Robert Frost
20th century American poet

I appreciate Mr. Frost's tongue-in-cheek humor while at the same time seeing the underlying truth for so many who hate what they do.

How bad must it be to spend your working life wishing you were doing just about anything other than your job.

September 06, 2011

Continuing Education

"Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity."

3rd century Greek philosopher

We generally expect employees to come to work with their educations complete.

Should we?

Is there a set of circumstances where it makes sense for the company to offer/insist on continuing education?

September 02, 2011

As Far As You Can And Then Just A Little Farther

"What we obtain too cheaply we esteem too lightly."

Thomas Paine
18th century English philosopher


Those goals easily reached may not have been worth bothering with in the first place.

Reach, really reach.