January 31, 2012

Am I Kidding Me?

"Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others."

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
19th century Russian writer

More nicely put, we "kid" ourselves.

But whatever you call it the outcome is the same.

You can't expect to get the truth if you don't first give it to yourself.

January 30, 2012

Money Talks?

"Fidelity purchased with money, money can destroy."

Lucius Annaeus Seneca
1st century BC Roman philosopher/playwright

We secure the labor of others by paying them money, only to have someone else take them away by paying them more.

Unless that is, we owe and pay them something more than money.

Do we, should we?

January 27, 2012

No Time Like The Present!

"Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; adversity not without many comforts and hopes."

Francis Bacon
16th century British statesman

We are ever so slowly emerging from extremely difficult economic times and with that comes a lot of cautious business people who say they are waiting for things to improve before once again spending to grow their business.

Waiting for what?

As Mr. Bacon says, there is bad in all good, and good in all bad.

Get on with it!

January 26, 2012

I've Got You Now!

"Men are the sport of circumstance when it seems that circumstance is the sport of men."

Lord Byron
18th century British poet

Sun Tzu also makes this point in "The Art of War".

Victory often comes to those whose opponents think they have the upper hand.

As in war, so too is it in business. 

January 25, 2012

Fear As An Option

"The best safety lies in fear."

William Shakespeare
16th century British playwright/poet

To a point and rarely if ever in business.

Companies simply do not have the option to standstill out of fear of what may happen.

If they are not willing to proactively take risk and change, change will come to them, often in ways they will not like.

January 24, 2012

(You Don't Always Have To) GET REAL!

"It is respectful to have no illusions, and safe, and profitable and dull."

Joseph Conrad
Late 19th/early 20th century British novelist

Not always profitable.

Success in business is more often dependent on assumptions than facts, and that includes many things that begin life as an illusion.

January 23, 2012

Free To . . . ?

"Surely there is grandeur in knowing that in the realm of thought, at least you are without a chain; that you have the right to explore all heights and depths; that there are no walls or fences, nor prohibited places, nor sacred corners in all the vast expanse of thought."

Robert Green Ingersoll
19th century American politician

True, but do you?

January 20, 2012

What Do You Want?

"It is part of the cure to wish to be cured."

Lucius Annaeus Seneca
1st century BC Roman philosopher/playwright

If you are sick, believing you can be well again does much to help you regain your health.

Likewise being willing to accept views counter to yours will help you do whatever is best, regardless of whose idea it is.

You have to want what is right rather than want to be right.

January 19, 2012

Never Give Up The Ship???

"They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance."

Edmund Burke
18th century British political writer

"Sticking to your guns" is all good and well but you should first do all you can to make certain your opinion is worth defending.

January 18, 2012

I Hear You

"Thinking is not to agree or disagree. That is voting."

Robert Frost
20th century American poet

The Japanese have an interesting communication characteristic often misunderstood by westerners.

Upon hearing what the other person has to say, they will repeatedly say "hai", which mean yes.

To many non Japanese this is mistakenly interpreted as agreement when in fact the listener is only saying "I hear you."

When was the last time you acknowledged hearing what the other person said to you, and if you did, did you then think about what it meant?

January 17, 2012

One Or All?

"There is no monument erected to the memory of a committee."

Lester J. Pourciau
20th century American educator/author

There are many times more derogatory committee quotes than there are positive ones, this being but one example of the milder ones.

Why do so many find so much negative about committees while at the same time celebrating collaboration, strength in numbers, and other positive expressions of group activity?

January 16, 2012

The Art of Business

"Art . . . the end result of perception, wisdom, intelligence, discipline, hard work, passion, luck, accident, and coincidence."


Strike "art" and we're talking business even though the more analytical among you, MBA's in particular (chill, I'm one too), would likely say there is no connection between the two.

January 13, 2012

Get Out Of Their Way

"The only way of knowing a person is to love them without hope."

Walter Benjamin
20th century German philosopher

(I can hear you now; "How will he connect this one to business?")

If we substitute "trust" for "love" and "expectations" for "hope", are we not zeroing in on the goal we have for all new hires?

And note this is not to suggest that you don't do all possible to have reason to trust, as well as to establish expectations for performance, all prior to offering the job, but once you've done that . . .

The message is, do your best to find the right people and then step back and let them perform.

January 12, 2012

How Thick Is Your Employee Handbook?

"The more corrupt the state, the more laws."

Publius Cornelius Tacitus
1st century Roman historian

In business too?

I suspect so.

At the very least the more personal behavior is governed by rules, the less individual creativity can be expected and that can't be good for business.

January 11, 2012

Some Help Please!

"Never do that by proxy which you can do yourself."

Italian proverb

I never completely disagree with these quotes and here's the exception that proves the rule.

While there are things we all must do for ourselves, far more gets done through cooperation with others.

How independent are you?

January 10, 2012

The Empty Suit

"Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the evil and the ugly in us, but our emptiness.  The hardest thing to hide is something that is not there."

Eric Hoffer
20th century American author/philosopher

Quality, capability, talent.

You know it when it is not there.

January 09, 2012

Mind Fire

"The fire of glory is the torch of the mind."


More than patents, equipment, technology, or money in the bank, the company who realizes the worth of their employees minds, and rewards them accordingly, will be those who succeed the most.

January 06, 2012

The Protective (Company) State

"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government."

Thomas Jefferson
Third US President

Regardless of how you feel about this relative to politics, what about in business?

Are you politically a small government advocate as well as a micro manager at work?

Be honest.

January 05, 2012

Think Big!

"If you would attain greatness, think no little thoughts."


Another easy to say, difficult to do piece of advice.

I think a lot of what are actually "little thoughts" but generally not on purpose.

But fortunately I am usually able to sort out which are which and increasingly take the time to do so.

January 04, 2012

When Enough May Not Be

"Security is the chief enemy of mortals."

William Shakespeare
16the century British playwright/poet

Well security takes many forms and no one with too little to eat would agree with this.

But I do see his point.

Not a good thing to settle for what appears to be secure when you can and should accomplish more.

January 03, 2012

Managerial Empires

"An empire is an immense egotism."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
19th century American poet/essayist

You may have to manage a great number of people but you should never do so simply because you want to.

January 02, 2012

I Went To Colage, I Kno Stuf

 "Much learning does not teach understanding."

5th century BC Greek philosopher

I've met many individuals whose education is diametrically opposed to their apparent intelligence.

Unfortunately a reality that has, on occasion, applied to me as well.

How about you?