The Amazing Banana King Entrepreneur

I love bananas and plantains, which are very similar to bananas and commonly found in the Caribbean. Until a recent trip to Trinidad, however, I had never given the banana industry second thought. On this trip, however, I listened to a terrific audiobook called The Fish that Ate the Whale and my hunger to learn more about the banana industry grew. The Banana King. The Fish that Ate the Whale - The Life and Times of America’s Banana King was written by Richard Cohen. It is a biography of banana entrepreneur, Samuel Zemurray, who was born in the Russian Empire [...]

By | 2018-04-05T15:09:36+00:00 April 5th, 2018|Business, Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Five Amazing and Crazy Braindrops from March 2018

So many topics, so little time. Over the past few weeks I have encountered many interesting topics that might intrigue you – here are five. Africa is Much Larger Than I Thought. Because my family traveled so much when I was a little guy, I have always had an interest in geography. But recently I learned something new about Africa that still amazes me even as I write this. A few weeks ago we were in the Cayman Islands and visited our daughter Alie’s friends, Bridget and Richard. While they live in the Cayman Islands, they had just returned from [...]

By | 2018-03-22T11:21:23+00:00 March 22nd, 2018|Business, General|

To Catch a Thief

I must admit, I used to be quite naïve. While I was fascinated with newspaper stories and movies of how crooks stole money, those stories always felt like fiction because they happened to someone else. After all, I thought, I only work with law-abiding citizens with solid sets of ethical principles – no one I know would ever steal money or product from their employer. Right? Wrong. Along came our very own John Robie – an unethical colleague who saw no problem in stealing from us. I’ll tell you more about our Robie case in a few moments. (By the [...]

By | 2018-03-06T13:39:26+00:00 March 6th, 2018|Business, General|

Do You Have These Four Leadership Traits?

Photo by Tommy Lisbin Just this week I have been thinking about our Company’s future. We are almost 36 years old and have wonderful leaders at every level of our company. Even so, we are trying to develop even more leadership capacity because we know we need to change – and only effective leaders can lead change. As we look to build leadership capacity, I wonder what traits we should look for in people who have the “potential” to be our change leaders? Four Traits that Predict Success. In the December issue of Harvard Business Review I read [...]

By | 2018-02-22T14:06:17+00:00 February 22nd, 2018|Leadership, Leadership Lessons|

Some Thoughts on Border Walls

View from El Paso toward Ciudad Juarez, Mexico In January Patti and I were near El Paso, Texas on a short birding trip and saw the Mexican border Wall close up. On our first day we followed the border and Wall southeast for about 35 miles along the Rio Grande River. What was interesting was that the Wall came to end about 30 miles south of El Paso (see picture below) where the pecan orchards flourished, the other geography harsh, and the spacing between houses on both sides of the border widened. Thoughts from Jesus. Among the people [...]

By | 2018-02-02T10:44:16+00:00 February 1st, 2018|Business, General|

Customers Want Solutions Not Sympathy

Not too long ago I was really, really mad at Southwest Airlines and I must tell you why, but I am really, really sorry if this bores you. Patti and I were flying home on Southwest Airlines from Orlando with a connecting flight in Baltimore. The plane in Orlando had mechanical problems and we got started 90 minutes late. (When planning we knew connecting flights were problematic so we allowed over two hours for the connection.) On our flight from Orlando there were about 20 passengers who were trying to make the same connecting flight in Baltimore to Boston. We [...]

By | 2018-01-18T08:45:41+00:00 January 18th, 2018|Change Leadership|

Four Tips for Becoming a Learning Leader in 2018

It is a new year and I wonder if you want to grow this year? By “grow” I mean learn new things or do old things better. Photo by Patricia Maxwell Wood Successful people and leaders resist the inertia to just keep doing the same thing. They seek opportunities to learn even when it requires them to become a novice again and embrace the failure that may accompany new learning. In a moment I will share four attributes researchers have connected to this group of successful learners. Patti Wood, Bird Photographer. My wife, Patti, is a Registered Dietician [...]

By | 2018-01-04T14:55:33+00:00 January 4th, 2018|Leadership, Leadership Lessons|

Five Cool Inventions in 2017

I have always admired people who invent helpful products and get them into the market. Many of you know and see this when you watch Shark Tank. This month Time Magazine published its top 25 inventions of 2017. Here are my five favorites. Glasses that Help the Legally Blind See.  My favorite invention is a set of glasses called eSight 3 from eSight Eyewear that helps the legally blind navigate the world. Using 3D technology these glasses take-in surrounding information and instantly create high definition images the person can see. This can reduce the need for canes and guide dogs. [...]

By | 2017-12-07T08:35:09+00:00 December 7th, 2017|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Why Sellers Might Flip-out and Overvalue Things

Human behavior can make us flip sometimes. A few weeks ago when I was visiting our Rhode Island market I had interesting conversations with two of our team members. In the first one I learned that Dave, one of our Providence team members, was a part-time realtor. That by itself was not really notable, but what I learned next was. Dave told me that he specializes in being a “buyer’s broker”. When I asked him why, he said, “Because buyers are almost always happy after the closing and often invite me to their first house party. Sellers,  though, are almost [...]

By | 2017-11-30T10:48:31+00:00 November 30th, 2017|Team Leadership / Teamwork|

I Am Grateful for Thanksgiving Laughter

Photo by Toa Heftiba Yesterday in Church our Pastor gave a children’s message focused on gratitude. After asking the children what they were grateful for, she passed around a clipboard asking each of us to share something we were grateful for. I wrote down “meaningful work”, which I am grateful for every day. Since yesterday as I thought about all the stress in the world these days, I have reminded myself how really grateful I am for good laughs – something we have always had around our family’s Thanksgiving table over the decades. So this week I thought [...]

By | 2017-11-20T15:03:05+00:00 November 20th, 2017|Credibility & Inspiration, Team Leadership / Teamwork|

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