Friday, February 10, 2017

Beware of Sloppy Thinking


Have you ever thought that, if you just had this or that, you could do something great? The reason why you don’t accomplish what you want to do is because you don’t have what you need to do so. That may be true. However, abundant resources can create sloppy thinking. And sloppy thinking is a bigger problem than limited resources.

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Be Careful with “The Facts”


Facts are never wrong. However, they are always incomplete. Without context, facts mean nothing. For that reason, we must be careful when we are a consumer of facts.

If you have ever seen a debate on television or the internet, you quickly realize that both sides are usually “informed.” They always have their own set of lock-down irrefutable facts that support what they are saying. Yet when the facts start flying, they generate a lot of heat and very little light.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Beware of the Wrong Narrative


The truth isn’t a point of view. Sir Winston Churchill said, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”

Truth isn’t a popularity contest, Nobel laureate Anatole France explained, “If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.”

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Rules Are Best Written in Sand


All of us know the frustration of having to follow stupid rules. We all know what it is like to be working on a worthy goal only to have some arbitrary, irrelevant, or outdated rule get in our way. As a government employee, I spend so much of my time trying to figure out how to be productive despite all the ridiculous rules I must follow.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Gaining Focus: Sage Advice from the Oracle of Omaha

Warren Buffett

Success requires focus. Not just a little focus. It requires a lot of focus. The most successful people are always the ones who have the greatest focus.

The best advice I have ever heard on staying focused came from Warren Buffett. He gave this advice to the pilot of his jet. Buffett asked him if that’s all he wanted to do with his life. Do you want to spend the best years of your life being a glorified chauffeur in the sky?

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Do You Want a Job or Do You Want a Career?

Career Ladder

I recently had a conversation with a former student of mine. Larry works for a large insurance company. The career path within the company that he would like to take is blocked. Larry needs the support of his immediate supervisor. Unfortunately, that supervisor won’t support him.

The reason the supervisor won’t support him is that this supervisor gave him a project. The supervisor told Larry that it needed to be done by a particular date. At the time, Larry said that he couldn’t finish it by that date. Larry gave the supervisor a date by which he felt the project could be reasonably completed.

Larry did turn in the project by the date he gave the supervisor but not by the date that the supervisor gave him. The fact that Larry did not finish it by the date given to him by his supervisor now is killing his career advancement within that company.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Three Great Quotes on Leadership


Perhaps the world’s greatest authority on leadership is John Maxwell. He says that everything rises or falls on leadership. Everything! That is so true. If you see a thriving organization, it is because the organization has great leadership. If you see one that is struggling, it is because that organization has a leadership problem. Time and time again, I have seen good organizations crash and struggling organizations begin to thrive when there was a change in leadership. The future of any organization is only as bright as the leaders it will attract.

So what does great leadership require? It requires three things. Organizations thrive when a great leader has great followers and there is a great connection between them. The three quotes I want to share on leadership address each “great” in this requirement.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

What Is Marketing Really All About?


Let’s look at marketing from a marketing perspective. Having taught marketing for thirty-five years, I have thought about this a lot. It seems to me that we take an approach that is not very marketing-like when we try to explain marketing.

Marketing Isn’t About the Tools

If you have taken a basic marketing class in the last 50+ years, it has been taught the same way. In 1960, Jerome McCarthy of Michigan State laid the foundation for how marketing was to be explained to students. He took the concept of a marketing mix developed by Neil Borden of Harvard and made it the foundation for how we teach marketing.

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Friday, June 3, 2016

The Four Great Motivators

Four Stories of Motivation

A sales manager was over a division that was not doing well. Quarter after quarter, they failed to meet the company’s expectations. At one sales meeting this manager was hammering his salespeople. He said that he was considering firing them all.

It just so happened that one of the salespeople was a former professional football player. This sales manager asked him a question. “What would they do in the NFL if a team always lost? They would fire the players, right?”

The former athlete answered, “No, they would fire the coach.”

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