Archive for the ‘leadership’ Category

Think of every idea or suggestion you receive for your business as a person handing you cash.

Every suggestion that you receive has some worth. Maybe your spouse suggested you wear a different tie or necklace for a meeting instead of the one you chose, and it was a better suggestion. That’s a quick $1.

The barista at the coffee shop suggested you take a different route to get to a meeting downtown because you said you were worried about the traffic. Take it as $5 in your pocket if it saves you time, $20 if your competition ends up shows late. Think of it as a loss of money if the new route actually makes you late.

And everyday that million dollar idea for your company is just waiting to be born from a spark of creativity from any one of your employees, co-workers or partners. In the meantime, you’ll settle for a $100 idea here, and a $50 idea there, especially if you are a small business.

So if ideas and suggestions amount to ‘free money’ being handed to you, would there ever be a case where you would turn it down? If the person giving you the idea had some strings attached that made the money not only ‘not free,’ but put you in a situation where you were uncomfortable or at a serious disadvantage, you’d would politely take the idea ‘in consideration’ and do your best to distance yourself from the person and their idea.

Now that you’ve gotten a good grasp of ideas as dollars, take a day to observe how much free cash you are tossing in the dumpster instead of using to make into actual capital. Also keep an eye on how much political capital you are floundering throughout the workplace in the process.

When that quiet guy from IT came to you with an idea early in a process for you to consider. When a new secretary pointed out an issue she has with her new job that was fixed at an old job with a simple and easy solution. When that intern asked, ‘Why would anybody want to buy that,’ and was honestly confused by what seemed like batches of outdated processes. These are example of investors in your company, people with money already in the game, who want nothing more than to see even more success from you, scrapping together real money to put into your product, not shrugging off some pocket change and hoping for the best.

If an investor came to you with $1,000 with no strings attached, other than to use the money for something benefiting the company, could you use it for something? Would you find a way to accept it?

It might not be that million dollar idea being offered up to you, but every suggestions is worth something. Remember that, and make sure you are getting your money’s worth from each and every idea that comes your way.


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While there are as many detailed approaches to child raising as there are parents of children, here are two simple schools of thought that can adequately sum up the major approaches in teaching a child how to find their place among the world’s masses:

– Assurance Of No Limits: giving children expectations above their actual level of mastery with the hopes that having no limits will help them to surpass their expectations, and possibly even yours.

– Knowing Your Limits: knowing just how far along your children really are, and giving them expectation exactly on that level, to ensure they can reach their achievements with as little frustration from possible failure possible

While one would suspect ‘No Limits’ would be a more preferred philosophy than ‘Know Limits,’ there are pros and cons to using either approach, and the key lies in the individual child. Because eventually, they come to an age and level of maturity where their actual limits will play a greater role in the definition of their destiny, and their ability to overcome or circumvent these actual limits will make a difference.

Like say, in the work place, when they hit mid-twenties.

At that point, it will be their managers responsibility to make sure they are developing as well as possible in their career growth, or at least well enough to keep the manager from getting fired. This activity is a lot like raising an actual child, only the allowance and popularity contests that are now at stake are actually families, mortgages, career progression and possible lives, based on the nature of the occupation.

Here too, you can use the same basic approaches suited for raising children in hopes to lead your workers to fulfilled career growth.

The big difference here is that ‘No Limit’ is by far a more preferred philosophy over ‘Know Limits.’ But do keep in mind the exact dynamic you have to work with, and the abilities that actually exist in your company’s talent pool. You’ll probably not be lucky enough to have all-star talent to fill your entire work crew, and some employees will be adamant about how adequate (or not) they are in their performance. - $11 Billion in Scholarships – $11 Billion in Scholarships
Let’s say you’re shipwrecked. Assuming you’re free from any immediate danger (you’ve got a life raft and some supplies, there are no sharks or pirates lurking, etc.) would right now be the best time to debate with yourself if your nephew would rather have the Wolverine action claws or the Batman cape and mask for his birthday present next week?

You might think there are better things to focus on in a time of crisis, mainly surviving to the next moment. But what good is surviving to the next moment and the next moment and the next moment if you lose the sense of why you should be surviving. Otherwise, the alternative will start to feel more appealing and a lot less of a hassle.

When I when through my 2 days of survival training in the Air Force, the instructors knew that 95% of the cadets that were standing in front of them in the woods were basically on a camping trip and would never need any real field survival tips, but they taught us some mental tricks that would actually roll over well as basic life skills. The most important is the faith that you will survive, and the ability to keep those around you convinced of the same, despite the conditions you are facing. The common scenario for doom would be a group of survivors marching toward what they hope would be safety, where eventually, someone will start muttering “We’re all going to die…” Those words will quickly become a chorus in perfect lock-step harmony if not addressed immediately.

Take a look at the various aspects of your life. Whether it is the fear of more cutbacks and layoffs at work, or the strain of a spousal or parental relationship at home, all the battle plans in the world you can devise to survive an onslaught will do you no good if you’ve got nothing to live for after the war has been won.

Assuming you are not currently in the act of dodging bullets or arrows, now is exactly the right time to be planning that moment you’ll be looking forward too once you step off the field of battle. - $11 Billion in Scholarships – $11 Billion in Scholarships

How many times have you past up a great personal opportunity, with the only reasoning being you figure you could live with the good thing you already had going? How did it make you feel in the short and long run, as you watched greatness continue and you flounder?

How many times have you watched as your bosses balked at the chance to go after a potentially great employee hire, get in on the bottom floor of a potentially great business opportunity, or expand on a potential great internal program?

There might be good reason (no sustainable capital, not enough physical resources or manpower, possible conflicts in our business model, contractual loopholes to battle out of, etc). Then again, there might not be any reason other than being able to live with the ‘good’ thing we got right now, even if that thing is more along the lines of ‘serviceable,’ or ‘adequate.’

How does that make you feel in the short and long run, as you watch greatness continue for other job sites and yours continue to flounder?

And in some cases, you will find not only opposition to the change that can take your good to great status, you will find much more effort and energy to keeping things status quo that taking your new initiative to greatest, especially if the current state of affairs is closer to the sub par than the par .range

Anytime you take a risks, despite how minimal you can make it, if there is no risk, there is no reward. Even getting out of bed has some risk involved, even if the much more pleasing alternative offers enough consequences to make the decision not to particularly silly.

If you get the opportunity to reach out and touch great, you need to take that opportunity.

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I used to sell electronics for a chain store, one that actually still exists, but had long standing trouble with where its identity was taking it at the time I was working there. I was hired as a seasonal worker and assigned to an inner city store because the hiring manager I interviewed with thought my maturity from my past work experience would help balance out the new manager they assigned to the store. The store was failing, but the new manager had proven an ability to move a lot of product, so they were giving him a shot.

The workers were on salary, but received commission bonuses on the dollar value of sales, accessories and service warranties added on to purchases, and various specific items.

It wasn’t long until I figured out what the young manager did to make his numbers look great. He targeted a high bonus product–cell phones–and sold a lot of free upgrade phones. Obviously, as a sales person, it’s not your job to worry if a customer can afford the new plan that was bundled with the upgraded free phone, but as the supposed customer server oriented sales people we were told to portray ourselves as, it should have mattered if the upgrade was needed, and if the new phone was worth it. And since we were a failing store that would get the minimum amount of good merchandise since the store could never really prove its worth, the phones we had available really weren’t worth it.

This same manager taped cables and batteries to our Christmas door buster items that came with cables and batteries, ringing them up as they came to the register to boost our accessory count for the day, then shifted the category numbers from the returns of the unneeded accessories to other sales clerks.

So the store was pretty well known across the city as a cell phone turn around location, with no other products on hand worth selling to repeat customers whom we had gained trust. Oh, and they called us for help setting up electronics they had purchased elsewhere.

The hiring manager who interviewed me was from another region, and was just there to help out the seasonal hiring for the city. A little research into his region found that the antics we pulled wouldn’t fly in his territory. My actual regional manager, who I didn’t meet until after I was kept on staff after the holidays were over, didn’t care what we did as long as we kept the cheap cell phones flowing, and only got rid of the young manager after an inventory showed that he was awful at keeping up paperwork. He was reassigned to a new store where he could use his learned tricks on new customers as just a regular salesman, and continued to do just fine.

A new manager was assigned to my store that brought in some truly old school salesmen. While they didn’t operate on as many questionable practices as the young manager did, you would have been amazed at what a veteran sales guy would do you keep up his numbers. I was let go fairly soon after the new manager came in.

I will tell anyone who will listen that I am a horrible salesperson because I don’t know how to effectively close a deal. But I make up for my lack of working up a proper transfer of money for goods and services by creating quality goods and providing over the top service. That was what was hoped would have rubbed off on the young manager. Only in an environment where hard, fast dollars what the only thing getting our regional manager’s attention, ‘the right way’ to do business didn’t stand a chance.

Maybe now that the light is starting to shine on the business tactics of our failing financial services and banks, a new emphasis will be placed on business getting done right.

Maybe you will put a new emphasis on your employees doing the right things for the right reasons, not just getting the job done as quickly and cheaply as possible to inflate profit numbers.

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AIG used government bailout money that was supposed to help shore out the struggling insurance/investment giant to pay executive bonuses and avoid contract lawsuits, which could have but the company out of business for good. The right thing to do legally, but the American public, and its new President, are not happy.

NBC Universal finally found a new way to brand the Sci Fi Channel, and in few months it will just be SyFy. Seriously. With a new tag line of “Imagine Greater.” If you thought fan boy hate was reserved of geeks and comic book movies, search for some of the comments online about this one. The hate is coming on strong, and from plenty of people who were barely holding on the channel as it was.

Sometimes your company has to deal with bad timing. Sometimes your company has to deal with a serious gamble of a decision. As the economy continues to suffer, expect a lot more chances to test your crisis management skills while you have to explain your actions.

And make sure you are prepared for the backlash. Because its going to come.

Americans are losing money, jobs, and patience. American businesses are trying their best to adapt to the new economic world. It’s a frightful existence, and some very old companies with long standing reputations will not make it out of this.

So what happens when hard times come? People panic, leaders jump to a conclusion that they hope will get the best results with the least amount of effort and pain, and decisions are made that are meant to push the greater good, but looks more like the digging of their own graves.

Now is the time to make smart decisions that take advantage of the disadvantages of the current reality. Now is the time to continue advertising, so negotiate for new rates with your outlets that have taken good care of you so that you can continue to take good care of them. Now is the time to reach out to new, nontraditional customers to make up for the regulars you are bound to lose, but not alienate your current customer base that has gotten you this far. Now is the time to make sure the tough decisions you make are the right decisions, not just legally binding.

Now is definitely not the time for perplexing moves for the soul propose of generating buzz. There really is such a thing as bad press.

Take the time to plan for your child's future.

Upromise: Take the time to plan for your child’s future.
Early into my marriage, my stepson, who was about 11 at the time, did two things that 11-year-old boys do pretty frequently: did something dumb enough to get himself grounded when he eventually got caught, and ratted himself out under the assumption he could guilt his mother into going easy on him.

But I wasn’t having it. The two foolish acts of the 11-year old was just too blatant to let go, despite and pressure I knew he was going to toss his grandmother’s way to pressure us to him off easy. he was grounded as soon as we got home (we were about 15 minutes away from a Christmas party for my wife’s job and we had one of her co-workers riding with us, so there was literally no turning back), with the major consequence being the ‘super fun activity’ planed for the next day (I have no recollection of what the actual activity was) was definitely canceled.

Having parents with the annoying habit of punishing me when I did something wrong, I was prepared to be the bad guy. And I was, to my new wife, who was so hyped up on whatever we were going to do the next day she didn’t want to ground her son at all, at least not until after we had finished.

The lesson I wanted to teach my stepson that went over his head as I battled with his mother is that all actions have consequences, and as bad as most of the consequences may seem, once you deal with them, there gone. As long as you don’t repeat the situation that got you in trouble in the first place, your chances of avoiding similar consequences are extremely high.

The lesson I wasn’t trying to teach my wife that went over her head as I battled with her was that plans change, and sometimes pretty quickly. When those plans change, it doesn’t matter how much you have vested in current plan of action, if the plan is no longer valid. My stepson had ruined the chance for fun for himself AND the rest of the family by messing up, and looking the other way would just reinforce his bad behavior as valid.

I’m sure there are similar instances that have occurred in your personal live, made much more obvious if you are raising kids at home. I’m also sure that if you think about it, you can find similar instances around the job.

Missed deadlines and sales projections are more common than they should be in today’s business place. While they might just be used as guideline and aren’t considered ‘that important,’ why even have them if you’re not at least giving some weighted consideration them? If you’re taking the time to put a plan in place, and you see the plan isn’t going to work, take the time to come up with another plan. If you’re seeing people missing the mark because they know there is no consequence for not trying, add some sort of consequence (not punishment).

The lesson I ended up learning as I battled with my wife over the immediate punishment of my stepson was to stand my ground, since both my wife and I knew the right thing to do was to cancel the fun because my stepson had done quite a bit to un-earn the rights to have fun in the span of his ten minute confessional. I learned to not be upset with my wife for being disappointed and upset, but having my parents teach me my since of right and wrong wasn’t just a way to pass the time until they could kick me out of the house at 18. It was the basis for the life skills I now have the honor and privilege of teaching my stepson, so that when his 11-year-old kids and his subordinates at work starts mouthing off (and we all know that BOTH will), he’ll have the mechanisms in place to properly handle the situation. If he fails to do so, well, there will of course be consequences.

In working on my new writings, I’ve been reviewing lots of old writings to see if there are strings of pearls of wisdom that I can claim…or if I have been a classic flip-flopper. Submitted for your review and approval, and article I put on the web in October of 2005. It received no known response…



The October 31st, 2005 issue of U.S. News & World Report has a cover story on “America’s Best Leaders,” chosen by a committee convened by the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The article highlighted 25 of the best leaders, for a variety of industry backgrounds, to including names like Bill & Melinda Gates for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Steve Jobs for Apple Computer and Pixar, Brian Lamb for C-SPAN, Condoleezza Rice as United States Secretary of State, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, and Oprah Winfrey for HARPO Inc. and `The Oprah Winfrey Show.’

So what does this mean to you as a reader of an article on issues pertaining to the job market? The answer to that question is another question. The answer to that question isn’t as simple as it may seem.

Who do you want to work for?

The best answer most people want to give is for the best boss possible. And that would seem to be someone who instills many similar traits to those displayed in this list of best leaders.

But in reality, some of the best leaders live and work in conditions that require some of the most intense and strict behaviors, and are truly some of the hardest people to work for. May be there expectations are too high and there demands are too strict. Maybe your a little more laid back your career (or just lazy period) and the meeting the constant goals of an super-achiever are going to conflict with your plans to play pick-up basketball with the fellas later.

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates may have mellowed over the years since the initial wars over which personal computer platform would dominate the market. Or maybe now that they have more money, they can hire better publicists. The horror stories of the original days at Apple and Microsoft are legendary. Remember that Jobs was pushed out of Apple for a while for being overbearing and lording over personal projects that weren’t meeting the bottom line.

Remember that Bill Gates made this list for the charitable foundation that he oversees with his wife, **not** for growing Microsoft into what is simultaneously one of the most influential and most hated companies in the world.

As you search the classified for that next possible dream job, make sure you always remember to do your homework. Study up on the company, its performance, and especially its leadership. For every episode of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ that has Oprah giving away one hundred cars, there a story about her sending staff to by her coffee and lunch because she doesn’t carry small bills–and her not being good at remembering to pay them back. Whether true or the fabrication of disgruntled bad employees, you can’t get the full picture from a special report.

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