October 31, 2012

Knowing Is Not Doing

"If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience."

George Bernard Shaw
Late 19th/early 20th century Irish poet/co-found of the London School of Economics
(Contributed by Ron Hixon)

While I don't think the unexpected "always" happens, I do so enough to understand the point of this quote.

We are capable of learning from experience, we just don't choose to do so nearly enough.

October 30, 2012

I Feel Your Pain?

"Those that will not hear must be made to feel."

German proverb

Maybe should be but how often will that happen, particularly in business?

Making people "feel" what they cannot "hear" is a lot more difficult than doing the reverse.

October 29, 2012

Ready, Set, Doubt?

"It is always the same; once you are liberated you are forced to ask who you are."

Jean  Baudrillard
20th century French sociologist/philosopher

And for young people "liberation" comes with graduation and first jobs.

You feel you know your strengths and weaknesses.

Do you really?

October 26, 2012

Can There Be Orderly Revolution?

"Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit."

Henry Brooks Adams
19th century American historian

I can see that.

But too much of one at the expense of the other and you end up with nothing.

How do you balance the two, particularly in a large company?

October 25, 2012

Your Replacement Is Here To See You

"To the old, the new is usually bad news."

Eric Hoffer
20th century American philosopher

But as a manager (old) part of your job is to find employees (new) who could potentially do your job.

What do you think of that?

October 24, 2012

The Devil Is The Devil You Don't Know

"For it is not death or hardship that is a fearful thing, but the fear of death and hardship."

1st century Greek philosopher

In business as in our personal lives, we fear what we do not know.

Replace unknowns and assumptions with facts.  Verify, plan, and the right path will become clear, the fear diminished.

October 23, 2012

How Much Time Do We Have Left?

"Nothing is to be rated higher than the value of the day."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Late 18th/early 19th century German poet/author

And still we often wish the day would end.

We can't include time on our balance sheets even though it is the one asset which often has most to do with our success or failure.

October 22, 2012

The Illusion Of Truth

"Pleasure can be supported by an illusion; but happiness rests upon truth."

Nicholas Chamfort
18th century French writer

How many of your business decisions are based upon illusion versus truth?

How do you know which is which?

October 19, 2012

Imagine There's No Imagination

"Imagination is the eye of the soul."

Joseph Joubert
18th century French moralist

If you don't consider yourself to be particularly imaginative, hire some people who are.

October 18, 2012

Foolish Business

"Many talked like philosophers yet lived like fools."


And this doesn't just apply to philosophy either.

A business plan, or management managing without one, are expressions of a philosophy.

October 17, 2012


"Only by acceptance of the past can you alter it."

T.S. Elliot
20th century American-English poet playwright

And before you can accept it you must understand it, including things you've done and said you now wish you hadn't.

October 16, 2012

You Can't Say That!

"Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books accept the books nobody reads."

George Benard Shaw
Late 19th/early 20th century Irish playwright/ co-founder of the London School of Economics

While the topic is important to us all, it is specifically so to a friend and colleague who recently found himself on the receiving end of irrational censorship.

Thinking about it more, when is censorship ever rational?

If you'd like to learn more check out the discussion on Green Book.

October 15, 2012

Change For The Better

"Without adventure civilization is in full decay."

Alfred North Whitehead
Late 19th/early 20th century English mathematician

Today's quote in honor of Felix Baumgartner.  


October 12, 2012

Awakening Minds

"I am not a teacher but an awakener."

Robert Frost
20th century American poet

Mr. Frost created new thinking that never would have existed were it not for his poetry.

What do you think?

The essence of good management?

October 11, 2012

The Same Only Different

"It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation."

Herman Melville
19th century American writer

Apple would agree, Samsung maybe not.

What do you think?

October 10, 2012

"Yeah Team!"

"TEAM:  Together Everyone Achieves More"


While often (but not always) true, I really don't like overly simplistic statements such as this.

All too frequently such platitudes are substituted for the detailed planning that will be necessary if real progress is to be achieved.

Alone or together, there's real work to do.

October 09, 2012

Expecting? What?

"We love to expect, and when expectation is either disappointment or gratified, we want to be expecting again."

Samuel Johnson
18th century British author

Anticipation is often better than having what is anticipated.

How do you use that to your advantage in business?

How do you deal with it when you can't?

October 08, 2012

Here's What I Think

"Think all you speak, but speak not all you think."


And still most of us most of the time do the opposite.

October 05, 2012

You'll Hear From My Attorney!

"He who goes to the law for a sheep loses his cow."

Spanish proverb

This slight to sheep aside, there is truth in this, particularly in business.

Make sure the value of a potential legal victory is worth the cost of the court battle to win it.

October 04, 2012

Now What?

"We have perhaps a natural fear of ends.  We would rather always be on the way than arrive."

Eric Hoffer
20th century American philosopher

Is that because we know that with most ends there soon follows a new beginning?

The devil you know versus the one you don't?

October 03, 2012

Been (To Places Similar To) There, Done (Things Similar To) That

"No man steps into the same river twice because it's not the same river and he's not the same man."

5th century BC Greek philosopher

Learn from your mistakes but don't compound them by thinking they will always be as they have in the past.

Likely similar but not the same.

October 02, 2012

You Can't Fix It If You Don't Know What It Is

"We are more prone to generalize the bad than the good."

Eric Hoffer
20th century American philosopher

And in doing so we minimize the chance to fix things.

You won't often resolve problems if you don't first understand what they are.

October 01, 2012

What Am I Laughing At?

"Levity is often less foolish and gravity less wise than each of them appears."

Charles Caleb Colton
18th century British clergyman

Jokes about the company you work for can serve two purposes.

They can make you laugh and they can point you towards what needs to change.

It's no laughing matter if all you do is laugh.