Old school – What is limiting job growth?

Jobs.  The latest 4 letter word being thrown across the aisle in Washington ... before Congress took a 1 month vacation.  There is a battle for your hearts, minds, and votes. There is a problem with the jobs debate.  The debate is based on the pre-1992 economy.   We are arguing about an economy that died when new technologies took on life.  We are arguing about a service economy that required people to deliver service.  The post 1992 economy is different. Frederick Winslow Taylor created … [Read more...]

Out through the In Door

I was down in a depressive funk for the last few weeks.  It tends to happen each year as approach my birthday.  This year wasn't an exception.   I was walking in the morning.  Walking in the sunlight is a prescription for the funk.  As I walked I prayed.  I was asking for a way out.  I received an answer. "Stop looking for a way out.  Look for a way in." Looking for a way out isn't about finding something new.  It's about leaving something old.  You're not going anywhere.  You're … [Read more...]

Bye-bye, Borders!

This morning I was reading about Borders Bookstore on Inc.com.  They are closing the book on Borders.  Their remaining 399 stores are closing their doors.  What happened?  They couldn't escape their own gravity. Borders evolved to be the Wal-mart of bookstores.  They delivered an expansive inventory that small shops couldn't compete with.  They had the same impact on mom and pop book shops that Wal-mart has had on small retailers.  The small shops died. The small shops couldn't compete on … [Read more...]

Understanding the gravity of the (business) situation

Gravity is generated by objects that have mass.   The greater the mass, the stronger the pull of gravity.  The stronger the pull, the more it influences everything within it's reach.  We float weightlessly when there is no gravity.   We are like immovable boulders when there is a lot gravity. The longer a business is around the more likely it is to accumulate mass.  The mass accumulates in the form of people, processes, culture, habits, inventory, customers, etc.  As mass accumulates, so does … [Read more...]

Perfect is a myth… A simple way to overcome it

I said, "Quality is overrated."   Richard's jaw dropped.  This was heresy to a man of German heritage like Richard.  I took time to explain.  If we wait for perfection to get something out the door, we can wait a long time.  A working prototype comes before the good enough product.  Focus on getting to "It works ... enough"  before striving for perfection. Ernest Hemingway said "The first draft of anything is sh!t." The first draft of anything is a draft completed.  It is a completed piece of … [Read more...]

How to Keep Cool in the Texas heat

It's getting hot in Texas. The temps are in the high 90s by June.  It happens every year.   At the same time of year people start complaining about the weather.  Here's a question I heard last week:   "Can you believe it's so hot!?"   Yes.  I believe it.  It happens every year.  It's Texas.  It's supposed to be hot. I learned to get used to the Texas heat.  I had a theory: Exercise in the peak heat and I'll feel more comfortable when at rest in the heat.  I tested it.  I started jogging in … [Read more...]

WTF! If you don’t show it, they don’t know it.

Jen was standing in my arms crying.  She sobbed, "It was so beautiful.  I couldn't imagine it just going to just anybody on Craigslist." My wife, Jen and I are expecting twins.  We've been amazed at the outpouring of support from others.  Friends have showered us with what was once part of their journey of having babies.  We're so grateful that our friends and acquaintances are so generous in spirit (I apologize for Thank You notes that you haven't seen yet). We were offered a crib.  The … [Read more...]

WTF! Communicate Effectively…

A few weeks ago, I forwarded a Harvard Business Review "Management Tip of the Day" to a friend.    The tip was about ensuring effective communication.  Effective communication often means successful execution.  Poor communication often translates into poor execution.  Effective communication costs a little extra time.  Poor communication costs a lot of money. My friend is gifted at boiling things down to their most essential parts.  He's mastered Einstein's ideal:  make everything as simple … [Read more...]

Move the Heat Around

To light a fire, light kindling in different places.  This increases the likelihood that the fire will catch.  As a fire is lighting, we may reposition the heat.   We move the kindling around to expand the reach of the heat. A quick review - Fire requires heat, oxygen and fuel.  Your message is the heat.  The visibility of the message is your oxygen.  People are your fuel.  Your kindling is your Innovators and Early Adopters.  Identify who they are.  Light them with your message. Want to … [Read more...]

Should I Kindle?

Have you ever tried to light a log on fire without kindling?  I've made this mistake.  It's hard to light a log on fire without kindling.  I'd light some paper.  The paper goes below the log.  The paper burns out before the log catches.  At best, I char the outside of the log. Want a toasty, roaring fire?  Lighting a fire requires layers.  This is why people who are good with fire use progressively larger fuel elements to get a fire going.  Lighting paper is easy.  The paper can light twigs.  … [Read more...]