Monthly Archives: August 2007
Anyone who thinks they can be a leader without successful management experience is fooling themselves. That’s like trying to do Algebra III without having first memorized the multiplication tables. A leader’s biggest job is to get the management team engaged, which requires mastery of management skills combined with strategic vision and the willingness and ability to guide and develop others. Continue reading
Say we have a good that we love to sell. It suits our identity, our personality, and it’s fun for us. We love it, so why wouldn’t everyone else? And besides, we make some money on it. And all profit dollars are the same, right? Wrong! Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong! Continue reading
Here’s a quick quiz: For each dollar of investment you make how much revenue do you generate? What kind of customer are you going to serve next? What kind of products do they want you to carry? How much of it should you buy? How should you price it? How are you going to reduce the price and clear it? This is a six point question. The ability to answer all of them correctly gets you an A. The ability to answer only five of them correctly gets you a D. Continue reading
After weeks of distraction, escalating distrust of other humans, and a really scary fully armed guy named Hamid (why would you show up to meet a potential buyer of your Mazda 3-series truck fully armed???), I did what I have done for the last 10 cars. Continue reading
This is the point at which Branding 3.0 begins. Branding 2.0 is being hailed as the flowering of brand’s promise, but it’s still pretty superficial out there. The ingredients necessary to achieve a brand’s promise (or, in the case of Malden Mills, recovery) don’t have to do with public recognition or warm fuzzy feelings. The ingredients are those necessary to create staying power. Continue reading
There are two things that I was taught early on in my career that I have taken to heart. The first is ‘the higher you fly, the more you get shot at.’ So don’t pursue leadership if you’re too thin skinned to handle getting treated like skeet.
The second is ‘Push people because you owe it to them, not because they’ll appreciate it – because they won’t.’ Continue reading
What happened? Two things. First, the owner doesn’t understand that the primary responsibility of any business owner is to provide excellent, confidence-building leadership to their staff, whom they must treat with great regard. Second, she doesn’t understand that it’s all the little details that count. Continue reading
I was reading an article about hedge fund managers, and Jim Leitner from Falcon Management said “the propensity to challenge conventions is one of the things that differentiates a hedgie, and it’s something that humans are not necessarily wired to do . . . When someone is bullish on oil, they tend to pick out the pro-oil arguments in whatever they read. Very few people train themselves to look for disconfirming evidence” (Bonaccolta, 2007, p. G1). Continue reading
Here’s a challenge to try for one day. Every time you make a decision, large or small, jot down in a notebook what the decision was and why you made it. There are a host of potential reasons: This is a decision I make every day, or this is a textbook management example with sound theory, or it felt right, or this is the way our company recommends we do it, or if I didn’t make that decision our customer would have sued us, or . . . it could be quite a long list.
Go back at the end of the day and review each decision to identify the assumptions that informed it. In the example of the one where the customer might have sued, the assumptions might have been: 1) I assumed there was no other option, 2) I assumed the decision had to be made at that time, 3) I assumed there was a genuine risk of lawsuit, 4) I assumed this solution would satisfy them based on . . . . what? Continue reading
Fear is the biggest taskmaster in the current environment. Fear is not necessarily a bad thing, because as I said earlier, many little corrections now are healthier than one giant correction later. But now is not the time for you to be frightened. Let your competitors be frightened. One of the most compelling urges of businesspeople who do not understand the technicalities of running a business or the implications of economic cycles is to contract the business based on fear. There is no evidence that contracting a healthy business is good for it. And don’t confuse contracting your business with dumping non-performing areas, because the difference is significant! Continue reading