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Showing posts from August, 2008

The Power of 'AND'

I have been fortunate to be helping two startups over the past few months. I think both of these startups have a great chance because they are combining two disparate things into a new service or product. One thing that I have noticed about successful companies (both startups and giants), is that those which tend to be successful employ the “Power of ‘AND’.” This means they take traditionally mutually exclusive characteristics and then combine them into a new and novel way.
Examples include Southwest Airlines (low cost fares with on-time, high quality service), Wal-Mart (low prices with large selection), and Apple (high technology with high styling) to name a few. That is not to say that companies that do not use the 'power of and' are not successful, it just seems like the odds for success tend to tilt towards people and companies who can pull this feat off.
Ronald Reagan was able to combine a forceful, “hawkish” leadership, with the everyman personal touch. So much so…

Consulting Lesson

Many business owners get stuck at times and feel the need to hire a consultant to supposedly turn the situation around. Here is a timeless lesson on how consultants can make a difference for an organization.

Last week, we took some friends out to a new restaurant, and noticed that the waiter who took our order carried a spoon in his shirt pocket. It seemed a little strange. When the busboy brought our water and utensils, I noticed he also had a spoon in his shirt pocket. Then I looked around saw that all the staff had spoons in their pockets. When the waiter came back to serve our soup I asked, "Why the spoon?"

"Well," he explained, "the restaurant's owners hired Andersen Consulting to revamp all our processes. After several months of analysis, they concluded that the spoon was the most frequently dropped utensil. It represents a drop frequency of approximately 3 spoons per table per hour. If our personnel are better prepared, we can reduce the number of tr…

Potent Quotables

List of quotations that are insightful, thoughtful, and timeless. This web site has a listing of quotations I have found inspiring, intriguing, intuitive, and thought provoking. Hopefully, you will find them the same.  Search for Author in search bar at the top of the page, or by categories below.

Where Will Your Next Idea Come From?

You know, the BIG NEW thing nowadays is creativity in the workplace. Companies of all sizes are asking how can we come up with new ideas, or get our employees to be more creative, or somehow come up with more ideas on how to solve problems...And that's the rub! The more you try to FORCE creativity, the less creative you are..but have you ever noticed how children have NO PROBLEM with being creative? In any case, I thought this little story about how a father sees his kids seeing the world might shed a little light on the subject.
Through Their Eyes - author unknown When I look at a patch of dandelions, I see a bunch of weeds that are going to take over my yard. My kids see flowers for Mom and blowing white fluff, you can wish on.

When I look at an old drunk and he smiles at me, I see a smelly, dirty person who probably wants money and I look away. My kids see someone smiling at them and they smile back.

When I hear music I love, I know I can't carry a tune and don't have m…

When Adversity Hits

You know in business as in life in general, adversity hits. We are all met with adversity from time to time, but how we handle it makes us or breaks us. As Ben Johnson once said, "He knows not his own strength that has not met adversity." So in saying, I thought this little story about how some friends' adversity changed them might shed some light on how you might handle the next hurdle you come across. Four friends went fishing. They found a perfect campsite in a pine grove next to a river that shimmered with promise. As fast as they could, they set up their big tent, stowed belongings, and set off eagerly down the river with their rods and reels.

When they returned to their campsite a few hours later, tired but happy, they stood open-mouthed in disbelief. There was a big empty space where their tent had stood. It was gone!

A quick search showed that everything else was still there -- stove, tools, food, sleeping bags, etc. Their stunned confusion soon changed to a…

Pipe Dreams?

Marketing is mostly about perception, and that perception, good or bad, is developed by the quality of a product, the company’s innovation, price and ability to serve its clientele. So when all things are considered equal quality, pricing, workmanship, etc. , a company’s image is enhanced essentially by how it treats its customers. Nordstrom’s is renowned for its customer service, often going far beyond expectations. A friend of mine reminded me recently about a scene in the movie Mr. Mom where Teri Garr proposed a give back from the tuna fish company. Yes, that was fictional Hollywood. Still, image a CEO of a large American oil company getting on TV and saying that 'we understand that America is hurting, and we have just recorded record profits, and to show our gratitude, we would like to rebate our loyal credit card customers who have been with us throughout the years with a 10% rebate?' Yes, this may cost a few hundred million dollars in cost, but as they say “the goodwil…