Editorial Results (free)
1. The Myth of Rationality
- Monday, May 20, 2013
Do decisive people base their decisions on rational factors or do they often rely on intuition and emotions? According to Jan Halper’s book “Quite Desperation: The Truth About Successful Men,” if the truth were known, most executives rely more on emotional factors when making important decisions.
2. Strategy for Very Familiar Questions
- Monday, May 13, 2013
OK, I was trying to be somewhat nice in the title. This article is really about answering those questions that you have heard hundreds or perhaps thousands of times. Questions that make you think, “If I have to answer that question one more time, I might just go crazy!”
3. Go Ahead, Make Someone’s Day
- Monday, May 06, 2013
Many years ago when I began my career with a national CPA firm I was quickly bombarded with information related to numerous firm policies and procedures. I was told about everything including when to show up for work and which color pencil to use. I’m not kidding about the pencil choosing policy.
4. A Quick, Cheap Fix for Stress
- Monday, April 29, 2013
If you read much about stress, you quickly find out that stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The human stress response, or fight-or-flight system, was designed by Mother Nature to be your friend and help you in times of potential trouble. However, if you read on you also learn that, to state it somewhat bluntly, stress can kill you. So there you go; from not being so bad to … it can kill you. That’s not very confusing is it?
5. Deal With the Stress Before the Mess
- Monday, April 22, 2013
When I get curious, I read a lot. Last week I got very curious about a form of ineffective behavior that seems all too common these days.
The behavior in question relates to ineffective listening habits, especially in situations fraught with stress or other forms of heightened emotions. So, I plowed through four books on the topic last week. Thank goodness for that Evelyn Wood speed-reading course I took 24 years ago.
6. Greenleaf on Servant Leadership
- Monday, April 15, 2013
This weekend I took the time to reread Robert K. Greenleaf’s essay titled “The Servant as a Leader.” I thought some of the ideas in the essay were worth sharing with you.
After spending 40 years researching management development, Greenleaf came to the conclusion that the command and control authoritarian leadership style so prevalent in American institutions and organizations was an ineffective way to lead people. He then spent the next 26 years of his life helping people understand the basics of what he referred to as servant leadership. In a nutshell, great leaders are servants first. In fact, being a servant and being seen as a servant by those you lead are keys to greatness.
7. The Anatomy of a Habit
- Monday, April 08, 2013
As humans, we would have a hard time getting through the day without our strongly ingrained habits. But as you know, some habits produce good results, some produce undesirable results.
In the case of workplace habits, it’s a good idea to consider your current inventory of habits and determine the results they are producing. Think about all the daily routines that are driven by your habits. For example, how do you handle incoming emails, phone calls, pieces of paper that flow into your office, meetings, boredom, anxiety and other triggering events with the potential to influence or alter your behavior?
8. Marketing Power of Predictability
- Monday, April 01, 2013
When I was a very young man many, many years ago, I remember being fascinated by the information on the bottom of the McDonald’s hamburgers signage. Of course, I didn’t know about the word signage back then. I just knew McDonald’s had really cool signs with golden arches and big red and white words. The words at the bottom of the sign intrigued me most.
9. A Very Good Question to Ask
- Monday, March 25, 2013
What if you knew the best predictor of future growth for your business? Think about it. If you knew the best predictor, you could look into it, see how you’re doing with regard to it and focus much of your time and energy on it.
10. The Problem With Problem Solving
- Monday, March 18, 2013
Years ago I stumbled across an interesting book titled “The Logic of Failure” by Dietrich Dörner. The main premise of the book is that if you are not careful, the side effects of some solutions will make things worse.
- Wednesday, March 13, 2013
The Rotary Club of Memphis East will meet Wednesday, March 13, at noon at The Racquet Club of Memphis, 5111 Sanderlin Ave. Meri Armour, president and CEO of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, will speak. Cost is $17. R.S.V.P. to Lee Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Monday, March 11, 2013
The Memphis Chapter International Association of Administrative Professionals will meet Monday, March 11, at 6 p.m. at Memphis Marriott East, 5795 Poplar Ave. IAAP past president Jane Bratton, executive assistant at Smith & Nephew, will present “The Multi-Manager Admin: Tips for Working for Multiple Executives.” Cost is $22. R.S.V.P. to email@example.com or 752-6213.
13. Toast, Cats and Motivation
- Monday, March 11, 2013
Most people have no problem accepting that it’s possible to receive wireless signals with their computers. However, the fact that similar wireless-like communication occurs between human beings often seems mysterious to the same people. Interestingly, it is a proven fact that humans communicate with each other wirelessly all the time.
- Saturday, March 09, 2013
The Brew Movement Against Multiple Sclerosis will hold the fourth annual Beauty in the Eye of the Beer Holder fundraiser for the Mid South Chapter of the National MS Society Thursday, March 14, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Memphis Pink Palace Museum, 3050 Central Ave. Attendees can sample unique homebrews created for the event, craft beers and microbrews. Tickets are $30. Visit msbrewmovement.org.
15. Serious Consequences
- Monday, March 04, 2013
So you have tried all the subtle ways to get a subordinate to start doing something that needs to be done to make things better in your business, or stop doing something that is causing problems. What do you do now? Maybe it’s time to turn up the intensity a bit. Maybe it’s time for the “serious consequences” conversation.
16. The Last-Second Madness
- Monday, February 25, 2013
Many people in the relatively danger-free world of modern white-collar workers seem to be stressed out these days. Perhaps this is because they are ill-equipped to function in the modern world. I’ve been playing around with mathematics and time to help explain what is going on.
17. The Before and After of Buying
- Monday, February 18, 2013
When you spend several years selling, delivering and supporting a product or service, you naturally learn quite a bit about the logical questions someone should ask when they are contemplating buying the product or service you are selling. For example, if you have sold used cars for more than a decade, odds are you would do an absolutely fantastic job of questioning another used car salesperson and uncovering the most important issues related to a typical used car transaction. With your experience, you may or may not be a great seller of used cars – but I’ll bet you would be a great buyer of used cars. Hopefully, you would be both.
18. Are You 100 Percent Sure of Beliefs?
- Monday, February 11, 2013
Here’s a statement that is worth pondering: Among a group of people, the most successful person is usually the person whose beliefs correspond most closely with reality.
How closely do you think your beliefs correspond with reality? My guess is that about 100 percent of you answered 100 percent to that question. Of course that would mean that some of you are wrong, since there is no way 100 percent of the people in the world believe 100 percent of what you believe.
19. The Story in the Numbers
- Monday, February 04, 2013
I began my career as a CPA with one of the major accounting firms. It was fun for a while, but after a few years I decided the profession was not for me. That’s OK – different strokes for different folks and all that kind of stuff.
20. Goal for a Life Well-Lived
- Monday, January 28, 2013
Lately I’ve talked with several people who were struggling with the question, “What is the goal of life?” Those of you who know me personally might remember that I have a daughter in college. Therefore, you might be thinking I’ve been talking with young students home for the holidays. Nope – most people pondering this question were adults well into their careers.
21. Resolving Resolution Relapse
- Monday, January 21, 2013
For most of you, it’s about that time of the year again. It’s about the time that you have completely abandoned all those New Year’s resolutions you felt so strongly about a few weeks ago. If this is the case, two of the main reasons the resolutions didn’t work out for you are: 1) You forget to define some sort of specific behavior that supports the resolution and/or, 2) You didn’t hang in there and repeat the specific behavior related to the new belief long enough.
22. One Secret of 'The Secret'
- Monday, January 14, 2013
Several years ago a short video went viral and spread the word throughout the land that you could pretty much have anything you want in life, including health, wealth and happiness, if you simply ask the universe for it in the right way. In a nutshell, it was yet another of the periodic Wallace Wattle-like rediscoveries of the power of positive thinking and creative visualization. In this case, the discovery was categorized as a so-called “Secret” that you too could gain access to for the price of the video.
23. Who Serves as Your Truth-Teller?
- Monday, January 07, 2013
My wife and I were recently strolling through a small tourist spot when we happened upon one of those vintage machines that guesses your weight, your age and tells your fortune. According to the instructions, all you had to do was stand very still facing the machine and drop a specified coin in the slot.
24. Getting More Organized
- Monday, December 31, 2012
It’s that time of year. People are thinking about getting more organized. As a consultant who occasionally helps people follow up on such thoughts, I’ve found that your beliefs make all the difference in the world if you want to get organized. Here are five false beliefs and five true beliefs that you must consider if you are serious about getting organized.
25. The Christmas Truce
- Monday, December 24, 2012
Why would a group of people who were literally trying to kill each other one day, joyfully celebrate together the very next day? And, can you learn any lessons from these people that might help you minimize or deal with conflict in your work environment?
26. So What Happened to Auburn?
- Monday, December 17, 2012
For years I have been telling my clients that if you desire or need to change something in your life you basically have three options: You can change something about yourself (the least used, most effective option), you can try to change something about someone else (the most used, least effective option), or you can change something about your environment. With this in mind, I recently had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine who happens to be a serious Auburn University football fan.
27. Partially Emulating Santa Claus
- Monday, December 10, 2012
So you’ve got this guy who shows up every year wearing a funny outfit, smoking a pipe and apparently fond of consuming mass quantities of milk and cookies. He’s not really what you might consider a great role model for rational and healthy behavior.
28. Become Great by Choice
- Monday, December 03, 2012
There are those who continually improve their knowledge and skills and have accumulated 30 years experience. And then there are those who simply repeat their initial year of experience 30 times, learning very little along the way.
29. Things That Matter
- Monday, November 26, 2012
This morning I read in the news that John Gagliardi, the somewhat maverick coach of the St. John’s “Johnnies” Division III football team, is retiring after 64 years of coaching. In addition to holding the record for coaching longevity, there is one more little thing about Gagliardi that is worth noting. Let’s talk a little about football history.
30. Lessons of the Popcorn Experiment
- Monday, November 19, 2012
“For anything to change, someone has to start acting differently.” I ran across that statement a couple of years ago in a book titled “Switch, How to Change Things When Change is Hard” by Chip and Dan Heath. I love such simple, clarifying statements.
31. Millennials, Merit and Malarkey
- Monday, November 12, 2012
If you’re looking for answers on how to handle millennials, you will not find them in this article. Experts can’t even agree on exactly who to include in this category of young employees now entering the workforce. They generally seem to think of millennials as those born somewhere between the early 1980s and around 2000.
32. Because I Said So
- Monday, November 05, 2012
Persuasion involves providing sound reasons for doing something and getting others to take action on your request. Sales professionals use persuasion to sell products, medical professionals use persuasion to sell healthy lifestyle choices, managers use persuasion to sell ideas, parents use persuasion (but often default to the old standard, “Because I said so!”) to get their children to do things. In other words, most of us frequently find ourselves in situations that call for us to persuade others of something.
33. The Magic Of Mental Images
- Monday, October 29, 2012
As it turns out, it appears that your brain does not know the difference in real or imagined events. That’s why some golfers practice by imagining golf shots, some tennis players practice by imagining tennis shots and other athletes practice by imagining doing whatever their chosen sport requires them to do well. Pretty much the same brain cells fire whether you are doing something or thinking about doing it; and brain cells firing in unison is one way to describe learning.
34. Resolve to Resolve the Unresolved
- Monday, October 22, 2012
So, if you are reasonably conscientious about your health, you probably get dental checkups semi-annually and a general physical exam annually. If all goes well, you catch and treat any little problems before they become big problems. Maybe you should consider establishing a similar routine related to your co-worker relationships.
35. Establishing Orderly Chaos
- Monday, October 15, 2012
Have you ever accidentally, or perhaps purposely, kicked the top off an anthill? If you have, you have some idea of what it would look like if you could visit New York City and somehow magically lift Madison Square Garden and observe what’s going on below it.
36. Are You Better Off?
- Monday, October 08, 2012
Many people are currently asking the question, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” More often than not, the people asking this question have some sort of political agenda in mind.
37. Infectious Thinking
- Monday, October 01, 2012
Last Sunday morning while channel surfing through the cacophony of talking head shows, I ran across a very interesting discussion about foreign affairs. The guest was a certain former world political leader who shall remain nameless since, regardless of the wisdom of his utterances, many people would absolutely refuse to listen to due to the fact that he is who he is. I’ll let you figure out who the “is” is in this case. That should not be too difficult since I just gave you a strong hint.
38. Three Elements of Planning
- Monday, September 24, 2012
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II supposedly said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” This sounds like a very practical approach to planning to me and I like Ike’s thinking on this issue.
39. Mysterious Human Connections
- Monday, September 17, 2012
Every day, most of us sit and routinely use computers that are somehow connected to virtually every part of the planet we inhabit. Recently we have viewed events occurring as far away as Mars. And we do all this wirelessly. I suspect most of us do not question it, or even find it all that unusual, that we receive signals over long distances without any connecting wires. In view of this, maybe you won’t find it so unusual that signals also pass between and among human beings interacting with each other.
40. Behave Yourself More Productively
- Monday, September 10, 2012
Let’s talk about a zero-cost strategy that can significantly improve the productivity and job satisfaction of your employees. The strategy involves understanding four major behavior modes referred to as the Stern Parent, Adapted Child, Adult and Natural Child.
41. Declarations, Conversations
- Monday, September 03, 2012
Declarations can change the way we see, hear, interpret and respond to the events in our lives. Words, in the form of declarations, have been used throughout history to change the course taken by entire groups of people.
42. Unflattering News For Some Bosses
- Monday, August 27, 2012
If you were walking along the street and saw $100 bill on the ground, would you pick it up, or would you just walk on by and leave it there? I’m not asking this question to test your ethics. Assume it was dropped on the ground and there is no hope of finding the owner. I’ll bet most of you would pick it up and get a little rush; a feeling that it’s your lucky day. The skill of delegation is similar to that $100 bill lying on the ground, and many of you walk right by it and leave the delegation option untouched every day.
43. Lessons of Lucy And Ethel
- Monday, August 20, 2012
While preparing for a presentation recently, I remembered a scene from an old episode of the 1950s television show “I Love Lucy.” I looked it up on YouTube and sure enough the video clip of the scene is there (you can find it by putting the words “Lucy candy factory” in the search field).
44. Be Careful What You Ask For
- Monday, August 13, 2012
The other day I saw an advertisement for a major company recruiting highly aggressive employees. I feel certain they didn’t really mean that. The choice of words in the ad brings up an important issue regarding the distinction between being assertive and being aggressive. Unfortunately, many people do not seem to understand the distinction. It’s probably not a good idea to hire a group of highly aggressive people. This is one of those cases where you need to be careful what you ask for, because you might just get it.
45. Help Me, Help You
- Monday, August 06, 2012
One of the more memorable lines from the movie “Jerry Maguire” was when Jerry, a sports agent, pleaded with his client, “Help me, help you!” Recently, I conducted a training session with a group of administrative assistants. To prepare for the session, I decided to do some research to find out more about what it’s like to be an administrative assistant. The overall theme of what I learned is well summed up by Jerry Maguire’s line, “Help me, help you!”
46. Assess Job With Mental Report Cards
- Monday, July 30, 2012
When was the last time you received a report card? I suspect most of you would say it’s been a while. However, if you are involved with a business you probably receive a report card everyday. It’s more of a mental report card than a printed report card.
47. Link Between Business And Surgery
- Monday, July 23, 2012
It is my understanding that if you want to master a surgical procedure you follow a relatively simple three-step process: you hear about it, you see it, and you do it. In other words, you might listen to someone deliver a lecture on a particular surgical procedure, then you observe a surgeon performing the procedure, and then you personally perform the procedure. It strikes me that this three-step process needs to be used more often in the business world.
48. Look For Keystone Habits
- Monday, July 16, 2012
I recently bought a hybrid car. After a few weeks of driving the car, I suddenly became aware that my driving habits were changing significantly. You see, the car has a little indicator on the dashboard that constantly monitors the gas mileage. If I drive the car gently, I can get well over 40 miles per gallon in town on the model that I bought. I’m not sure if this is true for everyone, but in my case I find myself playing a little game with my car. I drive it as gently as possible in an attempt to increase the gas mileage.
49. Are You Ready for Sully Events?
- Monday, July 09, 2012
At approximately 3:25 p.m. on Jan. 15, 2009, the pilot and co-pilot in command eased their Airbus A320 upward off runway 4 at New York’s LaGuardia airport and, as aviation enthusiasts sometimes say, “Escaped the surly bonds of earth.”
50. Are You Bowling Or Making Music At Work?
- Monday, July 02, 2012
There is a story about a family with a problem child. The situation eventually became so troublesome that the parents decided to take the child to a therapist. After a brief interview, the therapist suggested a few sessions with the entire family. The parents responded by saying, “Why do we all need to attend? He’s the one with the problem!”
51. Nothing Wrong With Occasional Flip-Flopping
- Monday, June 25, 2012
So, I heard today that John Kerry is going to play the role of Mitt Romney in President Barack Obama’s debate preparation sessions. Hearing this made me think of an article I read years ago titled “The Dog Handler” published in Time Magazine.
52. A Simple Question
- Monday, June 18, 2012
Recently I read something that prompted a very simple but important question: Who are the 10 most important people in my business life? Do you know who they are in your life? It’s a simple question, but I realized I didn’t know the answer.
53. The Red Bead Experiment
- Monday, June 11, 2012
What can thousands of red and white beads and a paddle teach us about leadership and management? The short answer is that many leaders are not really leaders and many managers do not really manage.
54. Keep a Grip On Reality
- Monday, June 04, 2012
Business owners who lose touch with reality usually end up going out of business. So let’s chat a bit about reality this week. Among a group of people, the most successful person is usually the one whose viewpoint or image of reality is most closely related to reality. But why would someone’s image of reality deviate from reality in the first place? It’s easy to understand how that can happen if you understand how the brain creates images of reality.
55. Ask Yourself What Would Goethe Do?
- Monday, May 28, 2012
If you take the time to read about the German writer, artist, biologist, physicist, and all-around highly productive guy Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, you will find that he accomplished quite a bit during his 80-plus years on the planet Earth. And since he lived in the late 1700s and early 1800s, he did it all without a cell phone, iPad, Bluetooth, spell check or any of our modern technological conveniences and so-called necessities.
56. One of The Oldest New Problems
- Monday, May 21, 2012
One of the most significant problems I hear about in my consulting practice is: “I never have enough time to get everything done.”
I thought of that comment the other day when I was looking for a solution to one of my problems. Here’s a recap of the steps I took to solve the problem: I jumped on Google and found a chat area on the topic I was exploring.
57. Johnny Pawn’s Indecision
- Monday, May 14, 2012
When Johnny Pawn (not his real name) was very little, his parents made decisions for him. Since Johnny was just a baby at the time, this was a good thing. They were good-hearted, caring people and only wanted the best for him.
58. How to Avoid Getting Whacked
- Monday, May 07, 2012
I recently read something interesting in a book titled “The Biology of Belief” by Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D. In the chapter “Growth and Protection,” Dr. Lipton discusses how the human body generates and uses energy. Lipton is a cell biologist and for some reason, his comments about allocating energy to the various growth and protection systems of the body reminded me of the game Whac-A-Mole. Whac-A-Mole is a simple game. Moles constantly pop up through holes and you whack them with a mallet. Unfortunately, there are several holes, many moles and only one mallet.
59. Going From Preaching To Prospecting?
- Monday, April 30, 2012
Two of the most successful sales professionals I have encountered had one thing in common – they were both ordained ministers before they pursued careers in professional sales.
In one case, the former pastor of a small country church generated millions in revenues, and millions in personal commissions, in a single year. Being a curious person, I asked the super-selling reverend to tell me about the secret to his success. I not only wanted to know how he did it, I wanted to know how he made it look so easy. He said, “Come on over to the house tonight, we’ll have supper and I’ll tell you all about it.” For those of you not from the Deep South, “supper” typically refers to the evening meal. A meal that is usually served well before the sun goes down and long before anyone should be eating an evening meal.
60. You Teach What You Allow
- Monday, April 23, 2012
The next time you catch yourself complaining about co-workers’ behavior in the workplace, pause and think, “Am I doing something to teach or encourage those around me to behave in this way?” In general, we teach what we allow.
61. World Changing Starts at Home
- Monday, April 16, 2012
World changing is a fairly common goal among human beings, and I personally think being thought of as a world changer would be pretty cool. When people ask me what I like to do with my time, talent and energy, I could cleverly work being a change agent for the world into the conversation by saying, “I write books, watch some TV, play guitar, change the world, enjoy good meals, and drink a little wine from time to time.” Yes, I think being a world-changer has a good ring to it. It is a nice conversation starter.
62. The History Of Your Behavior
- Monday, April 09, 2012
They say those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I believe this idea applies personally and it is true in your business life. If you want to go to the next level in your career, whatever that means for you, it’s a good idea to explore the history of your behavior and look for significant behavior-shaping people and events. Behavior related to people and events that have so far helped you succeed; and behavior that might be limiting your success.
63. Multiple Right Answers
- Monday, April 02, 2012
My spouse and I had the opportunity to visit a very nice resort on an island in the Caribbean. The resort had many fine restaurants, pools, shops and other recreation areas. It also had a matrix of paths and sidewalks connecting the various facilities.
64. Is It All About The Money?
- Monday, March 26, 2012
Some say money makes the world go around. But in reality, how much does money make the business world go around? And how important is money to the people who make the business world go around?
People like to say, “It’s not what happens to you that matters as much as how you respond to what happens to you.” I think it is a good idea to look at money in a similar way. In other words, money doesn’t matter as much as how you respond to money. You can tell a lot about a person by observing how they respond to compliments, and in similar fashion, money.
65. If the Shoe Doesn’t Fit …
- Monday, March 19, 2012
For many years, I paid little attention to the shoes I bought. I typically purchased name-brand shoes – assuming that within reason, shoes were shoes and that I didn’t need to spend much time and effort on shoe selection.
66. Learning Balance From Kids
- Monday, March 12, 2012
Have you ever seen little kids spin around and around until they get so dizzy they become totally out of balance and fall down? They try to get up a few times and fall down again and again.
When they regain their equilibrium and their ability to stand up, what do they do? They start spinning around and around until they fall down again! Kids laugh and have a great time as they repeatedly spin around, lose their balance and fall. It’s a fun game.
67. Strange Thing About Tough Times
- Monday, March 05, 2012
It was April 2011, the force of the storm was awesome, and the devastation was appalling. Everything in the path of the powerful twisting funnel of wind was almost completely destroyed.
In the aftermath of the violence, the people of the community worked together to pick up the pieces of their lives. Within a few short days, they mourned and buried the dead, cared for the injured, began clearing the debris and rebuilding their homes and businesses.
68. ‘If Only’ Answer Is Balance
- Monday, February 27, 2012
A lot of you probably have to manage your fair share of “if only” employees. People who love to constantly and vocally proclaim, “I could do a better job if only I had this, or if only I had that. If only I had more people, or more time, or more money, or more whatever – I could make big things happen around here.”
69. Time For Status Check
- Monday, February 20, 2012
Who knows if it will last, but there are signs that the economy is improving. If the improvement continues, it might be a good time to take a very close look at the status of your key employees.
Of course you should always be doing this, but now more than ever it’s important to do whatever it takes to make sure some of your most valuable assets don’t walk out the door.
70. Sneaky Traffic-Flow Designers
- Monday, February 13, 2012
I don’t know much about traffic-light timing. However, I suspect that a mischievous traffic-flow designer might be having fun at the expense of lead-footed drivers in our fair city.
On one particular stretch of road, the timing of the lights and the inevitable consequences of hastily accelerating and exceeding the speed limit between any two given traffic lights seems way too predictable to be a coincidence.
71. 15 Square Inches to Success
- Monday, February 06, 2012
I decided to lose a few pounds in 2012. It’s not a New Year’s resolution and I’m not in a hurry. I’ve studied the psychology of weight loss enough to understand it’s not a good idea to lose too much weight quickly. Rapid weight loss is often interpreted by your nervous system as starvation. And your nervous system has a plethora of tricks up its sleeve to encourage you to not only eat but to binge eat to respond to such a situation.
72. Learn Success By Responding To Failure
- Monday, January 30, 2012
There is a place of business I enjoy visiting on my trips to another city. The business is always well-stocked with interesting items, the employees are knowledgeable and friendly and the prices are reasonable. All in all, it looks as if they have come up with a pretty good formula for business success.
73. Cookies, History And Business
- Monday, January 23, 2012
Recently, I rekindled my interest in world history to prepare for a new book project. If you reflect on history, things have unfolded much like the events in the children’s book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”
74. Draw Line To Prevent Overloading
- Monday, January 16, 2012
What if by simply drawing a line you could reduce the suffering and anguish of thousands and save lives in the process? Wouldn’t you think it was a good idea?
In 1874, seafarer Samuel Plimsoll did just that. Plimsoll found a way to prevent ships from being overloaded and sinking under the weight of excess cargo. Literally thousands of lives were saved because Plimsoll Lines, indicating the maximum vessel load capacity, were painted on the sides of ships. Given today’s overloaded workplaces and lifestyles, we can learn a lot from Plimsoll’s approach. We can learn to draw a line indicating our maximum capacity and prevent the negative effects of personal overloading.
75. Attracting Clients With Clarity
- Monday, January 09, 2012
In my role as a consultant, I occasionally encounter situations where, shall we say, things are not going well for my clients and they want solutions to their problems.
Recently, a client asked me the following interesting question, “If you were asked to give your clients the best advice you could offer in one sentence or less, what would you say to them?” Without thinking much about it, I replied, “Seek and provide clarity.”
76. Gain Peace With Circular View of Time
- Monday, January 02, 2012
Sometimes a slight mental adjustment can make all the difference in the world. For example, how you choose to view the passage of time can lead to significant frustration or ongoing peace of mind.
Unless you consider some of the oddities of quantum physics, there are basically two ways to think about the passage of time. You can adopt a linear view of time (which seems to be most people’s choice) or you can adopt a circular view of time. Allow me to illustrate the difference by using imaginary dominoes.
77. Toss ‘Dented Stereos’ Before 2012 Begins
- Monday, December 26, 2011
It is a great time of year for renewals. Thinking of new things to do, new ways to do old things, recommitting to things undone and so forth and so on. As some say this time of year, “Out with the old, in with the new.”
78. Holidays Perfect Chance To Assess ‘Family Tapes’
- Monday, December 19, 2011
When I was young, neighborhood friends and I would get together to play football, baseball or other games. Often we would play all day, and sometimes we would still be playing when dinnertime rolled around.
79. Hokey Plans Can Be Effective
- Tuesday, December 13, 2011
As Jimmy Buffett said in his song: “What if the hokey pokey is what it really is all about?” Here are three things I like about the hokey pokey: 1. It’s simple. 2. It’s easy to understand. 3. It’s easy to implement.
80. Organization Isn’t So Tough
- Tuesday, December 06, 2011
It’s that time of year again when many people begin thinking about getting organized. There are two very different aspects of getting organized. One has to do with the physical side of getting organized, for example, creating a more orderly working environment. The other has to do with the mental side of getting organized and being more focused.
81. Knowing Where You Stand
- Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Edward Irvine “Ed” Koch, three-term mayor of New York City, liked to ride or walk around the city and ask everyone, “How am I doing?” It was his trademark question. He didn’t seem to be trying to elicit praise from his constituents; he seemed to genuinely want ideas on how he could do his job better. It strikes me that this is a great question to constantly address in the workplace; only unlike Ed, employees of your business should not have to ask the question. They should get ongoing feedback without asking.
82. The Manager Of Promises
- Tuesday, November 22, 2011
OK, I’ll admit up front this week that I am going to get in a bit of a soapbox mode because my cable service went out this weekend in the middle of a very interesting football game. Andy Rooney is gone and can no longer whine about supercilious issues on Sunday evenings, so some of us will have to take up the slack.
83. Taste of What Customers Want
- Tuesday, November 15, 2011
It’s the big question that all business professionals constantly think about – or at least should think about: What do my customers really want? Trying to answer this question is like chasing a greased pig. Sometimes, just when you think you have come up with a good answer, your customers change their minds and some or all of your business from them suddenly slips away.
84. Address Problems One Step at a Time
- Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Sometimes when you set out to accomplish something, the order of the actions you must take to accomplish your goal doesn’t really matter. Sometimes it matters a lot.
Say, for example, you want to put gas in your car. Let’s look at the process beginning at the point when you pull up to the gas pump. It does not really matter if you do all the things to get the pump ready to operate (lift the hose nozzle, select the grade of gas, etc.) and then open the gas cap, or if you open the gas cap first and then get the pump ready. However, it matters a lot that you (1.) open the access door to your gas tank, (2.) remove the gas cap and (3.) begin pumping gas – in that exact order. Omitting Step 1 and Step 2 in this case would make Step 3 difficult or ineffective.
85. Find Facts To Solve Sales Inertia
- Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Inertia is a noun meaning a tendency to do nothing or remain unchanged. Writers, painters and other artists sometimes develop a state of inertia and become artistically blocked. A woman named Julia Cameron wrote an entire book, “The Artist’s Way,” full of ideas on how to overcome artistic blockages.
86. New Perspective On ‘Growing’ Your Business
- Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Previously, I wrote about the fact that nature tends to get things right, and if you replicate patterns found in nature, you will likely be successful at whatever you desire to accomplish at work. Now let’s take things a step further and consider a situation where humans and nature must totally cooperate to accomplish a desired result: Let’s talk about farming.
87. Mathematics And Management
- Tuesday, October 18, 2011
In last week’s article, I discussed a few examples of the ongoing patterns in nature and how observing these patterns can teach you important lessons about management. Not only is it not nice to try to fool Mother Nature, it is very difficult to do so.
88. Mother Nature And Management
- Tuesday, October 11, 2011
If you desire to become a better manager, you can read a plethora of management books and experiment with the ideas you encounter. However, this is, at best, a hit-and-miss approach. Some authors know of what they speak and some couldn’t pour water (shall we say) out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel. If you desire to improve your management skills, occasionally turn to Mother Nature for guidance.
89. ‘Moneyball’ And Your Business
- Tuesday, October 04, 2011
If you read my column last week, you might remember that when given a choice of three identical fast-food restaurants (in terms of product offerings), I consistently choose the location farthest away from my home. To be more specific, I drive 1.1 to 1.7 miles farther than required to purchase the same food I could get at any of the three restaurants. Basically, I do this because they consistently serve me quicker and get me in and out faster.
90. Differentiating Sameness
- Tuesday, September 27, 2011
If you used my home as the central point on a map and drew a circle with a four-mile radius, you would discover three identical fast-food restaurants within the circle. They are identical in terms of their franchise name; they are identical in appearance and identical in terms of their product offerings.
91. The Coolidge Effect And Your Business
- Tuesday, September 20, 2011
OK, I was minding my own business this week, leisurely reading my latest issue of Scientific American Mind magazine – not thinking about sex. Then I ran across an article titled “A Tale of Two Rodents.” It was actually the subtitle that grabbed my attention: “Rats teach a neuroscientist lessons of love – or at least sex.”
92. Reverse Thinking
- Tuesday, September 13, 2011
It’s wrap-up time for summer beach trips and kick-off time for fall football season. So naturally, this makes me think of beach balls and football fields. I’m sure several of you have the same thoughts this time of year.
93. Design Solutions
- Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Recently, I went on a relaxing cruise up and down the Mississippi River with friends. The river has a way of helping you relax and think about things. As we cruised down the river, I thought how great it is to know someone who owns a boat. You’ve all heard the old pearl of wisdom, “What is better than owning a boat? Having a friend who owns a boat.”
94. Three is the Magic Number For Sales
- Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Three is an interesting number. It is a number that comes up quite often in life. There are the Three Bears, the Three Little Pigs, the Three Stooges, the Three Musketeers, the Three Blind Mice, the Three Laws of Robotics (for science fiction/Isaac Asimov fan) and then there’s the big three in school: reading, writing and arithmetic. The list goes on and on and on.
95. Pecha Kucha, Baby!
- Tuesday, August 23, 2011
When I first heard the term Pecha Kucha, I thought it was probably a line from the 1970s TV crime drama “Kojak.” For those who were not around in the ‘70s, the star of “Kojak” was a guy named Aristotelis Savalas – also know as Telly. Telly liked to solve crimes, suck on lollipops and use the word “baby.” So, when I first heard the term Pecha Kucha, I envisioned Telly walking up to an attractive woman and saying, “Pecha Kucha, Baby!”
96. Selling Happiness
- Tuesday, August 16, 2011
According to many who study behavior, happiness is the most sought-after thing in the world. That’s a pretty strong statement; however, I agree with those who believe this. I do not believe the folks saying this are talking about happiness in a sense that you are always laughing, or partying or dancing in the streets. That may or may not be the case. I think they are talking about happiness in the sense that you feel peaceful, serene, content, joyful or satisfied.
97. Cool Method For Organization
- Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Recently, I experienced yet another birthday. Sure, that’s better than the alternative; however, even by boomer-adjusted standards (such as “60 is the new 40”, or whatever) I am getting old. When you get older, three things happen: One, you forget things more often. Two, uhhh – I can’t remember the second or third things. Anyhow, this week I’m going to share a very simple idea that I believe will help you in many ways, including easily retrieving information that might prove to be useful.
98. Priming to Improve Your Business
- Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Knowledge is stored in an associative manner. In plain English, that simply means pieces of information that somehow relate to each other are linked in your brain. For example, if I say the word Graceland to most longtime Memphis residents, it will probably trigger a series of linked thoughts: Elvis, Lisa Marie, airplane, stone fence, graffiti, Whitehaven, tourists, and so forth and so on.
99. Hiring Winners
- Tuesday, July 26, 2011
If you could pick one characteristic of your key employees, or, for that matter, all your employees, what would it be? Of course, there is no absolutely correct answer to this question; however, I’ll bet high on most hiring managers’ lists is picking someone with a passion for what they are going to be asked to do at work. Life is weird. A job that one person absolutely detests is another person’s dream job. A job that drains one person energizes another. As the old saying goes, “Different strokes for different folks.”
100. The Homeostasis Hump
- Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Cut your finger and your body immediately launches measures to repair the damage. When your temperature rises, your body automatically initiates action to get it back to normal. In general, your body is designed to keep things the way they are, to maintain the status quo. This process is called homeostasis and it’s a good thing … unless you want to form a new habit.