The Dark Side of Success

By | December 18th, 2017|

Startups pine for profits, predictable cash flow, a sustainable competitive advantage, and the personal wealth and comfort that come from success. Not many will get there. The ones that do are mostly deserving of all those accoutrements previously mentioned. The leaders of that organization toiled and stressed and made do and sacrificed a great deal [...]

Peter, Where Art Thou?

By | December 11th, 2017|

The first book I bought for my first graduate school class decades ago was “Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices” by Peter Drucker. He wrote it in 1973, and it’s 800 pages of pure genius. I’m not sure I needed to buy another business book. Seriously. I was reminded of this when I recently read “The 250 [...]

Bad Math

By | November 13th, 2017|

Business and math are inextricably linked. Big data, income statements, turnover, weighted average cost of capital, customer satisfaction scores and quotas — just to name a few. And accuracy is vital. Don’t you dare make a miscalculation in a 10Q! But accuracy and efficacy are two different things. I may have a bang-on measure of [...]

Board or Bored Relations?

By | October 30th, 2017|

For the CEO of a company with a fiduciary board (as opposed to an advisory board), there’s perhaps nothing more complex than developing a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship with the board. I’ve been on numerous boards, worked for a few and observed many management-board relationships up close and personal. Few of them work on the [...]

The Organizational Effectiveness of Democracy

By | July 1st, 2017|

I’ve been thinking a lot about democracy and capitalism recently so thought that I’d share a few interesting quotes—some of them conflicting messages—from some very bright fellows to whom I looked for guidance. Before you read them, please ponder this quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in [...]

“Your Momma Don’t Dance and Your Daddy Don’t Rock and Roll”—Family Business Matters

By | June 19th, 2017|

Common wisdom says that family businesses have an extremely high failure rate when moving from the first to second to third generation, and that’s absolutely true. The numbers often cited state that 30 percent survive the second generation, and it decreases to midteens by the third and single digits by the fourth. What you don’t [...]

Trips Without Destinations

By | May 30th, 2017|

When I was a kid, we’d sometimes go for a Sunday drive after church. I suspect my mother, a widow with two kids, just wanted some quiet time, but I remember mostly being bored. We lived in the Midwest and frankly, once you’ve seen one field of sugar beets, the others aren’t that interesting! We [...]

The Four Pillars to Defeat Chaos

By | February 20th, 2017|

I’ve read with some interest, amazement and amusement about “new” organizational structures in the past few years. And I believe that if everyone followed all the rules, we’d still have a feudal society. There are some interesting experiments regarding how democratic a work environment should be, but one thing I know for sure: If the [...]

Declare War on Bureaucracy

By | January 9th, 2017|

Insidious as termites, as hard to destroy as a nuclear-hardened bomb shelter, disguised as health food but as nasty as deep-fried butter, bureaucracy is killing you. Tolerating organizational bureaucracy is like breathing secondhand smoke for decades. You can see it, it’s annoying and it’ll eventually kill you, but it won’t kill you today, so you [...]

Make It A Great Day, But Have A Damn Plan

By | November 7th, 2016|

I’m as web-based as the next guy — searching, buying, posting, texting and noodling just like most of you. I’m also pretty disciplined, so I try to do my noodling only after finishing my work. But I don’t often peruse social media looking for deep thoughts. I still shudder at the poor-quality content that self-made [...]