Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I believe that the adage is, "Necessity is the mother of invention."  I remember being taught in pee-wee baseball that "Hesitation is the mother of disaster".  It seemed true back then but as I have grown older, I would say that it is far from true in life.  

Like the eskimos have many names for snow, hesitation can be thought of as 1) Good- hesitation that allows one to stop, think, sort their head and weigh out the consequences of a decision or move.  2) Bad - hesitation that comes from fear and uncertainty and removes the  possibility of making a move, even when calculated. 3)  Worst - hesitation that gets one stuck with no possibility of moving forward but with extreme anxiety and stress from not having done so.  

So, hesitation as defined in scenario 2 and 3 are recipes for disaster, but scenario 1 can save us from disaster.  The question is, "How do we know the difference?"  

The antidote lies somewhere in experience, trusting one's gut and instincts, relying on trusted advice and counsel and not allowing pride, hubris or arrogance get in the way of hearing that calm and caring voice within us.  

It is an art, not a science. 

It cannot be taught without real-word learning lab experiences.  

But, mastering hesitation can be a game-changer and differentiation from good to great.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Ladder

I watched a worker as he climbed a ladder. At the first few rungs he bounded up, sometimes skipping rungs along the way.  In the middle of the ladder he began to slow down and he paid more attention to each footing and where he placed his hands.  As he got to the top of the ladder he was barely moving forward, hanging on with his eyes watching each move of his feet and hands to be sure that the grip and footing were precise. From where I was watching, it was hard to tell what it was that he was after but it was beyond the top of the ladder and he was going to need to go all the way to the top, ignoring the safety stickers he saw along the way.  As he went for that top step he had to do it all with balance as there wasn't anywhere for his hands to hold onto. He looked so alone there perched on the top step.  It was terrifying to watch and all better judgment of me and those around me told us that something bad was about to happen. And then it did.  He slipped and waving his arms wildly and shouting at the top of his lungs he fell.  Coming down the ladder he grabbed furiously at rungs, but he couldn't get hold and in a fraction of the time it took him to climb the ladder he was off of it, lying on the ground moaning, groaning, with tears in his eyes of humiliation, frustration and anger at himself and what had happened. It was awful to watch the fall. It had been exciting at first to see the ascent but even as a bystander it became anxiety filled as he worked his way through the rungs and it became clear that he wasn't going to stop, even when he was warned to do so.

Even now I wish he hadn't been so ambitious and taken that CEO job.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Will You Pay 10X?

If I asked if you would pay 10X for something that you could buy for 10 times less elsewhere, I have a very good idea of what your answer would be, "Heck, no!  Who would do that?"

But, you see, we do it every day.  I watched my wife do it and with nothing but a little shrug and laugh made the payment.  And, believe me, she is thrifty.  What in the world would she pay 10X for? 

The answer: a banana.  She buys bananas in a bunch at the grocery store for 0.19 per banana.  But on this day, before boarding a plane at SFO she paid $1.82 for one banana.  She is not alone.  We do the same with a cup of coffee.  We can buy a pound of coffee for what one venti latte can cost. And the same is true of all of the food ingredients that we can make a meal at home versus eat out at nice restaurant. The irony is that we only do this with low cost items. For everything else we comparative shop and only allow a small markup. 

This is the new dilemma for those industries (especially food) where the DIY, grow it yourself market is booming. If what we produce or make and sell doesn't feel like there is enough "value" (or in the case of bananas and coffee, convenience) we will forever be chasing the lowest cost. 

As we create and think about our businesses, finding greater value and offers for the consumer allows for higher price point ratios between what they expect and what they will pay.

(For a further faith-based application of this post you can visit here)

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Alignment Day

Every business has a day of the week that is best for meetings, planning and setting up the days ahead.  Usually that is Monday, but not always.

I have been doing some consulting work with a company that executes their business primarily over the weekend and it's not until Tuesday when everyone can take a deep breath and get ready together for the coming week. 

Regardless of the day of the week, there is one that we should be gathering to look back to celebrate and adjust and then to forwardly align and go into operational mode.  This day is really the first day of the week as if it is done right, all will flow from there. 

If you haven't put that day in place yet, you are missing an opportunity to get the team all on one page and to ensure that everything is in place to get out there and win.

(For a further faith-based application of this post you can visit here)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Net Promoter Scores

As we think about what we should do with measuring our businesses, a simple and easy to implement process is to adopt the Net Promoter Score measurement.  It's actually very clear and boils down a bunch of complex ways of looking at the business to a 10 point scale answer to; "How likely is it that would recommend (the name of your company) to a friend or colleague?"

That then allows us to stratify the answers into three groups: promoters, passives and detractors.  Once you have that then to get to the "net" part of the responses you subtract he percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters and that gives you an NPS Score. 

If this is done consistently and often, we can measure where the company stands today and where it is going.  Why this is important is that we when we can boil it all down to one simple measurement, then it gives up the opportunity to change other things that we think can influence that consistent scoring.

Whether it is the NPS, or something else, getting to a baseline core measurement can yield positive results.

(For a further faith-based application of this post, you can visit here)

Monday, October 7, 2013

#AddaWordRuinAMovie The Meme

may well be the funniest and best Meme I have ever seen on Twitter.  The Meme was created on Friday night and by the time I saw it on Saturday morning, it was blowing up.  Why?  The social media people in our marketing departments try so hard to come up with something that will go viral and catch the jet stream.  Millions of dollars are spent experimenting and trying to come up with something that catches on. And, then along comes something so simple that grabs a ton of attention.  Let's dissect why has taken off.  First, without even thinking much about it the Meme title intrigues us and we want to know more.  Once we click on the Meme we realize that it's a simple and fun game that anyone can play.  We all know movies.  We all can be creative enough to add a word to a movie title, and we can laugh, and sometimes be amazed, at the creativity of someone else.  A simple and compelling game that we can play with others. That's what we should be thinking about it if we want to create something that gets our customers/consumers engaged with our product/service.

(For a further faith-based application of this post you can visit here)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Records Retention - Where More Is Not Better

What to keep?  What not to keep? What to keep and for how long?  These were once loose rules that we each made up for ourselves, but today, we can get in trouble for not keeping something long enough, or worse yet, for keeping something too long. 

There are people who now make their living advising others on their records retention policies.  I grew up business-wise in the age of retaining. With the advent of the digital age we have gained with each year a greater and greater amount of available storage. The cloud and services like dropbox and box give even the smallest of businesses the chance to store and retain what never could have been kept before.

There aren't enough steel storage case cabinets available to handle what even one of us stores today digitally.

But, is this a good thing?  Ask a lawyer and the answer will be no.  Whatever is available is discoverable.  Whatever is randomly stored or randomly deleted is suspect. Knowing the different is the key.  It behooves us to have a policy of record retention, follow and embrace it. 

Ironic, but in this age of more availability, that less is still better.

(For a further faith-based application of this post you can visit here)