• Lessons,  Management

    Leadership with Integrity

    https://hbr.org/2019/07/leading-with-trust Leading with trust and integrity was never more important than it is now. With many people working from home, motivation can be difficult for all of us. Personally I would much rather get back to day-to-day operations than worrying about the health and welfare of our employees and their families. Sometimes I get bogged down by the weight of it all. The thing I’ve done that been most helpful to me has been one-on-one video calls with my fellow teammates. They are quick 2-10 minute calls to just catch up. I don’t know if it’s helped them at all, but it’s helped me tremendously. We made the call early…

  • Lessons

    Please Stay Home

    TL;DR: Stay home. I responded to a FB post from March 9th that said that Jeffrey Dahmer had killed more people than COVID-19. That attitude is what is going to get over a million Americans killed. At that time I predicted 300 dead and 10,000 infected by Monday March 23 and 2 major US cities in lockdown. I was low. We are at 340 deaths and 24,378 confirmed. Entire states are on lockdown instead of just cities…but not nearly enough of them. My prediction for 2 weeks from today – Monday April 6: 50,000 infected and 5,000 deaths. All hospital beds in major cities are full. Doctors are choosing who…

  • Lessons,  Management,  Management Gore

    Customer Service and Profits

    “American consumers spend, on average, 13 hours per year in calling queue. According to a 2010 study by Mike Desmarais in the journal Cost Management, …” Customer Service. According to this Harvard Business Review article, many companies provide sub-par customer service knowingly as a way to increase profits. Mostly the article talks about customer service related to receiving some sort of restitution – a rebate, return or other redress. Their logic is that if you present the consumer with more hoops to jump through, they are less likely to make it all the way to the end where they receive satisfaction and you have saved yourself the cost of that redress. My question is,…

  • Lessons,  Management

    The Circus of Performance Reviews

    “Out of all of the methods used to rate and grade employees, the dreaded annual or semiannual performance reviews are especially unhelpful and potentially harmful…” Performance Reviews. I’m not sure who hates performance reviews more – the managers who have to give them or the employees who have to receive them. They are loathsome all around. The well written and well-researched article from www.knowablemagazine.org is full of alternatives. The best alternative, however, is the hardest to implement: daily evaluation and feedback. Does that mean I have to actually talk to my employees? Yes. Yes it does. It very specifically means daily interaction. If you have more than about a dozen…

  • Lessons,  Management

    Growth via Simplicity

    “The lesson: Growth is best achieved by making things simpler for your customer rather than for you.”   Another great article from Harvard Business Review (register to read full articles).  The McDonalds case study is illuminating and I’ll let you read it, but the real less is making your product work for your customer, not for you. I love that stat that says 64% of cunsumers say they would pay more for a simpler and more convenient experience.  That reminds me of a recent tweet where a large desk phone manufacturer showed a video of a user ordering a pizza via the browser on the desk phone.  My response was…

  • Lessons,  Management

    Role of Luck in Business

    There was a lot of talk about luck this summer!  Mostly due to this paper outlining a well-done lab experiment on luck. Additionally the  MIT Technology Review  (a great resource for business information, especially if you are looking for advice and commentary with a technology bent) had additional analysis. Especially in America, we see success as the natural fallout of talent + hard work.  But does hard work always (or every) guarantee success?  How about talent?  If so, how do they factor in?  If I work 10% more than you (44 hours vs. 40 hours) will I earn 10% more?  How about investors who earn 1,000 times what some people…

  • Lessons,  Management

    Creativity and Boredom

    You find business advice in some of the most interesting places. Take this video for example: https://youtu.be/UzO56i7nUBs It’s by a YouTube artist know as Chris Ramsay. I found his channel one day looking at puzzle solutions. I have a friend, let’s call him David, who loves puzzles (as do I), but he’s always frustrated that he solves them too quickly – this is NOT a problem I have. I was hoping to find some puzzles that were real stumpers to challenge David with. Chris’s channel did not disappoint.  Chris has an easy demeanor onscreen and walks you through his solving process.  He also has quite a few videos on magic…

  • Lessons,  Management

    Why Employees Quit their Job

    In his book DRiVE, Daniel Pink takes a scientific view of what actually motivates us. The answer is simple: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. (Interestingly, money is not on that list. You need to make enough money to make it a non-issue, but after that, we are motivated by Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.) Autonomy in that we have some say over how we do our job, Mastery in that we are given the opportunity to learn and grow in our profession, and Purpose in that we are working for a greater good. In a recent Harvard Business Review post, they come to similar conclusions as to why people quit their jobs.…

  • Lessons,  Management,  What I Learned from Yoga

    Handling Stress

    Stress.  As a CEO you’re supposed to be immune to stress.  You’re the captain of the ship; the general of the army.  Never let them see you sweat…all that stuff.  But, you’re also human.  All humans experience stress in one form or another and a various times.  The important thing is what to do about it.  The way you handle the stress that life presents is the key. The other issue as a CEO is that you rarely have people you can confide in.  No one really wants to hear about your troubles, and, see above, you are not supposed to have any troubles.  Many of the activities you can…

  • Lessons

    Passion and Business

    Passion.  That’s what I learned about when I attended the 2017 Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans this last weekend.  Everywhere I looked, I saw performers loving what they were doing and concert-goers thrilled to be a part of the experience. In the Gospel tent local choirs moved the audience to tears and living legends like Irma Thomas completely transformed herself and the crowd by her presence.   On some of the larger stages I saw fans listening to music not because the pop-music industry machine told them that they had to go see whatever the latest boy band was, but because they wanted to be there.  They wanted to be transformed. The Crown…