Do you know anyone who strives to be average? While few people admit this is true, about half of us do. And, of course, the same is true of companies and organizations because they are only as good as their people. What I have observed is that average and below average performers either do not have goals or their goals are flawed or their goals do not inspire them. One symptom of goal absence or weakness is when people do what they want to do before they do what they need to do. Do What You Need to Do First. [...]
This morning there are many happy Chicago Cubs fans. Their dream and millions of wishes have come true - they are baseball’s world champions for the first time in 108 years. We are a dream and wish society. When we are children we are encouraged to “dream big” and “reach for the stars.” As adults we are offered racks full of encouraging books and many programs that teach us how to achieve our dreams. While many of these are wonderful and help us feel good, once the day’s reality sets in and distract us, our dreams often fade into the [...]
Sometimes I just work stupid. Last week I was trying to do too many things at the same time and a funny thing happened. I was trying to coordinate a phone conference with one of our vendors, who I’ll call Sally, and our wires got crossed. Sally sent me an e-mail asking what number she should use to call me. I wrote an answer to her while speaking with someone else and I was clearly distracted. Sally didn’t call me on time, which surprised me because she is very prompt. After another e-mail exchange I called her and we connected. [...]
What if most everything we are writing now in this information age is lost, forever? What will peoples centuries from now know about us? Those are the questions raised by Vint Cerf in a Newsweek article by Grant Burningham this week. Vint Cerf is considered one of the fathers of the Internet and was a manager with the United States' Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the late 1970s that developed the foundation for the Internet. Today he works at Google as its “chief internet evangelist” and is really a futurist, using his wide experience to help frame the [...]
Three things happen every January. First, the foot traffic in my health club increases immensely. Second, everywhere I turn I see articles about how you can better achieve your New Year’s resolutions. And, third, by the end of the month the health club foot traffic returns to normal. All of us have important changes we should make personally and at work, but we struggle. I guess this is just part of being human. One thoughtful writer I enjoy is James Clear. A few weeks ago he wrote an article called The Akrasia Effect: Why We Don’t Follow Through on What [...]
Sunset at Boothbay Harbor, Maine (Photo by Steve Wood) When well-meaning legislators pass laws they usually have no idea what might happen afterwards. Quite often laws create governmental jobs and whole departments that work hard to sustain themselves and create unintended, poor service side effects. In a minute I will share one example with you. One way to prevent this is to have meaningful “sunset” provisions. In basic terms a law that has a sunset provision means that at a certain date the law ceases. This forces citizens, bureaucrats, and legislators to review the law’s substance and refine [...]
Simon Winchester captures the history of the Atlantic Ocean in his book, Atlantic. The reader learns about the Atlantic’s geological formation, explorers, scientists, entrepreneurs, merchants, poets, painters, and pollution.
When is it a good idea to take on Pepsi and Coke? Apparently you can when it involves the Super Bowl. I’ve just been reading about how a small company, SodaStream, tried to do just that and won in the eye of public opinion. And it teaches us how important public relations and the Internet are in building a marketing strategy today.
It is that time of year when some companies begin to develop plans for 2014. When I speak with leaders in small and mid-sized companies I find they often confuse “planning” with “budgeting”. And if I ask what strategies have been successful this year, they sometimes don’t know how to answer.
Happy Money. The researchers asked this question, “Think of purchases you’ve made with the goal of increasing your own happiness. Think of one that was a material thing and one that was an experience. Which gave you more happiness?”