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BartsBooks Quips
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Like a little fun in your business day?

Afterthought:

  In the belief that the greatest wisdom comes wrapped in a little humor & delight, we offer to the hard working community BartsBooks Business Quips. These weekly witticisms poke a little wry and revealing fun at everything from cherished misconceptions to bluderfully bizarre marketing trends. Then following each Quip, I present a brief Afterthought which jovially adds a touch of reason and provides the reader with a little takeaway tool or thought to ponder. Sound like fun? For a free subscription, email info@bartsbooks.com.

Desperate Classified Ads - Wanted: College grads with a greater-than-one-Tweet attention span; and Boomers with the patience to solve at least one computer glitch without a tantrum.

Afterthought:
Fate teaches each generation new flaws. That does not mean you have to adopt them.  P.S. Desperately wanted: Gen Xers with a more realistic vision of their own worth.

And the Workin’ is Easy - In business, summer is the season when work moves slower and ideas flow faster. Why is that?

Afterthought:
The only downside to this season of dreams, schemes, and solutions is that everyone you want to share them with is on vacation.

The Curse in Cursive - My boss just handed me my annual performance review. He gives a whole new meaning to the term cursive writing.

Afterthought:
Who says you must be a passive recipient in your review?  Why not take your boss to lunch beforehand, present her with your own list of achievements – and places where you seem to be falling down – and areas where you might perform better with some help? 

HR’s New & Unimproved - Hiring by computerized resume screening is like selecting your bride by analyzing her DNA. It gives you all of the science and none of the truth.

Afterthought:
The tools of science and technology give us much, but are incapable of determine human quality and potential.  HR professionals should be ashamed of employing such Procrustean, slot-and-box methods.  The next Einstein, Gates, or Jobs will always be cyber-nixed in favor of conforming nebbishes.  Hey, Mr. HR exec, remember what the “H” in your title stands for?   
 

Delving Deep vs. Often - Resumes are like marriage proposals. They bring bliss not to he who distributes the most, but to he who has best assessed the recipient.

Afterthought:

“Bunches-O-jobs” website is an excellent place for employers to solicit, but not so great for the career-seeker.
Just because current technology allows you to paper the planet with the patter of your little feats, does not make it an ideal job-finding strategy.  Why not deeply study and get to know the people in one firm, then another….until your astute courtship strikes gold and a fulfilling fit?

Our CEO is a champion at getting others to follow him. Now, if he could only figure out where he is leading us…..

Afterthought:

The old rule of leadership still holds: you must first lead yourself before leading others.  Additionally, there is a basic human attraction toward visibly directed people.  Knowing absolutely where you are headed holds motivational advantage all its own. 

By Sweat or Crook - If they won’t buy your product, try lobbying the government. It’s just another, more vicarious way of getting your hands on the same money.

Afterthought:

 Lobbying provides you a fat slice of tax dollars which the government has already collected and bundled for your convenience.  Small wonder so many large firms are spending more on lobbying than product.    

A Title’s Worth a Tittle - Rank is the refuge of the incompetent manager.

Afterthought:
Giving a man the title of manager, alas, does not make
him so.  Likewise, not having an executive title in no way prevents
you from taking the lead and guiding your team toward a consensually
long sought goal.  Why wait for official approvals - leadership may
push from the bottom just as well as draw from the top.

The Cost of Innovation - I’ve just returned from the innovation conference where I spent $1100, three days of my life, and probably a third of my liver, and all I got out of it was that I’d better invent something new.

Afterthought:
Sometimes it does indeed take a lavish and costly conference to shake us from our complacency.  And sometimes one person’s spark may contagiously set a new idea flaming in our own minds.  But if you are not establishing a system of encouragement to have every member of your firm actively seek enhancements, ‘tis but a flash in the pan.

Charging Over the Cliff - Our CEO is a champion at getting others to follow him. Now, if he could only figure out where he is leading us…..

Afterthought:
The old rule of leadership still holds: you must first lead yourself before leading others.  Additionally, there is a basic human attraction toward visibly directed people.  Knowing absolutely where you are headed holds motivational advantage all its own. 

The Mask of Numbers - Marketing analytics is the fine art of reducing customers to numbers in hopes of gaining their personal loyalty.

Afterthought:
Obviously, measuring the effectiveness of marketing efforts is vital, and frequently demands masses of numeric data.  However, the trick, throughout all the numbers crunching, is to remember that each little cipher represents a living, breathing, emotional individual with  hopes and dreams that need satisfying – a lot like you.

Size Truly matters - Small men seek to out-achieve their fellows. Great men seek to out--achieve their dreams.

Afterthought:
Using the accomplishments of others forces you to keep your head distractedly down – looking at the horse beside you.  Why not instead concentrate on the real powerhouse – the seething potential that lies within. 

Non-extraditional Tax Breaks - Our tax accountant has urgently suggested we consider going global – preferably before April 15.

Afterthought:

Sometimes the value of a proposal depends as much on its source as its details.  If your CFO advises you to go global, it’s probably time to grow.  But if your tax accountant makes the same suggestion, while she is packing her own bags, ‘tis time to get out of town.   Hint: before you leap from one legal frying pan, you may want to check the temperature of the laws in your new landing place. 

All Recipes Aside - To say that the entire art of business leadership may be mastered with five steps or six simple sigmas is like stating that all it takes to make a world-competitive Cabernet is squished grapes and time.

Afterthought:

Excellence in business or anything else worthwhile demands more than a recipe.  Such over-simplified, cookie-cutter formulae enrich only their authors.  So yes, study the books, tease out those applicable elements of experience, and then add them to your arsenal of weapons, along with those already provided by your own marvelous self.

A Virtual Sale - Social media marketing allows you to know what your client desires for breakfast, in a soul mate, and on a mattress without ever knowing their name.

Afterthought:

Marketing by remote statistical groupings can be unavoidable and very effective.  However, the wise executive seeking ongoing success visits, travels, throws parties, and does whatever it takes to greet, look clients in the eye and chat.
Those who remain dependent on data from the flickering screen alone will soon find that all their sales turn virtual.

Careful What You Wish For - The gentleman who gasses up our CEO’s Lamborghini works 12 hours a day, and envies our CEO who puts in 16-hour days, and sleeps peacefully only two.

Afterthought:

Be careful what you wish for.  The life of leadership is an exhilarating potion for certain individuals in certain situations.  For others such a position is only a grindstone worn heavily about the neck.

Auto Anger - The frustration generated by one 14-automobile line of commuters waiting for a single red light to change could power the surrounding town’s streetlights for a week. Auto Anger - The frustration generated by one 14-automobile line of c

Afterthought:

‘Tis a century-old truth: green is serene, and red is #$&%@.  You can try isometrics exercise, Zen meditations, or a violent release of vitriolic curses at the idiot ahead of you to cure the travail of modern travel.  But if you are a really clever entrepreneur, maybe you are that special genius capable of transforming teeth-clenching Auto Anger into profitable electricity.

The Warm Glare of Truth - Resumes are sales brochures that shine a dim light in the direction of the truth, but are careful not to illumine it too fully

Afterthought:

The toughest words most of us ever compose are those set painstakingly into place in hopes of convincing some employer that we are the worthiest soul for the job.  Perhaps rather than trying to dress up a series of near-victories, you might try pausing your pen, considering the real triumphs of all facets of your life – those accomplishments that have pleased you most.  Set those down.  The employer who appreciates them is one worthy of having you on her team

Words Will Not Suffice - A Networking Event is where you go to make connections for wildly profitable dream ventures you are far too busy to ever follow up on.

Afterthought:
Of course they are fun, friendly, filial, and perhaps the most effective way to catch up the news in your field of endeavor.  That said, networking gigs are best approached with a momentary reality check made at the threshold.  How many new deals and partnerings can your already-top-heavy schedule afford?  If you cannot put your whole back into a project, maybe its best not push at all. 

The Whole Elephant - Businesses are best run by leaders who can receive each blind man’s report and accurately envision a full elephant.

Afterthought:
The parable about the blind men and the elephant holds more truth than ever.  Our companies are filled with very expert specialists who examine the elephant’s tail, his trunk, his tusk and from their narrowed vantage believe that the whole product must revolve around only the segment they personally have their hands on.  A good leader has the vision to see the whole, and pass that vision on to his valuable specialists.
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Tech Favors the Brave - Technology provides brave folks the tools for living a richer life, and allows the fearful people a virtual way to escape into a pretend adventure.

Afterthought:
As always, it is the content of your character, not the tool, that lifts you to the top.  Perhaps today might be the day to spend some time adjusting your own attitudes and let the computer chips fall where they may.
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The Ultimate Pitch - Just because a man is very good at selling himself – doesn’t always mean he has the best product.

Afterthought:
If you really want to make folks appreciate how marvelous you really are, tell them how much fun you had creating your latest achievement, rather than telling them how great it is.  And if you didn’t have fun doing it, for heavens sake get out of that line of work and find something that pleases you enormously.
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The Well Laid Course - In American business, innovation has become a competitive sport. We care more if it’s utterly new than if it works.

Afterthought:
It’s fine to admire the lofty visionary, just so long as you also credit the navigator who deftly steers that grand course around the rocks lying beneath the surface. 
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My Mental Worth - If I could only get a paycheck that reflects my occupational self-esteem, I could buy half the planet.

Afterthought:
Here’s hoping you actually do think the world of yourself.  You need that esteem to face the slings and arrows of this life.  Yet viewing your achievements in light of benefits to your coworkers and company may afford a more realistic perspective.
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Oh, Don’t Forget the Work - We’ve just hired the Deluxe Model Marketing Director. He comes not only with the standard “innovative” ideas, but with the energy and drive to carry them out.

Afterthought:
A professional is one who has, presumably, the ability to expertly profess wise words on some topic.  The term “executive” indicates that its bearer actually executes those ideas (whatever their source) that will bring more cash into the business.  ‘Tis best to be both a professional and an executive. 
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The Swamp of Regulations - All government protective regulations are wise, sensible and required – except those that regulate MY industry and its products.

Afterthought:
All of us are eager to be protected from theft, fraud, inadequate or unsafe products.  And there is no doubt that when the government gets in the business of helping the buyer be more wary that many of the regulations pinch hard even on the honest, high-quality firms.  It is the price all of us must pay for building a national reputation of trustworthy goods from trustworthy companies.  Yet in the end, it is that very trusted reputation that keeps customers coming back.
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The Art of Relating - My Boss despises me. I loathe him – and told him so. He fired me. My monthly income dropped to $0. It’s true. Business is all about relationships.

Afterthought:
The key to relationships is not how you feel. But how you treat the other person.  Enough said.
 
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License to Coast - Our firm’s gotten so big we don’t make products anymore. We just make buyouts and brand labels.

Afterthought:

The popular M&A trend of “retreating to core mission” has proved, for large corporations, to be less of a retreat and more of a frenzied gobble of every similar company in sight.  While such strategies can offer fast profits all around, allow us to remind buyers of the lessons from history concerning firms that grew too huge to provide proper oversight.

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The Loan that Bites - Going to foreign venture capital financers without a guide is like fishing for shark by hanging your toes overboard.

Afterthought:
Forget the facile tongue and verbal tricks.  Your best negotiating asset is a thorough knowledge of the team sitting across the table.  Have you got a dependable ally who knows the lay of the fiscal landscape you are entering – someone who’s been through it all before, successfully?

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Vision & Sweat - Vision that engages only the imagination is fantasy. Vision that also engages the back and brain is called business.

Afterthought:
The surest way to inspire people to place their shoulders, sweat, and effort behind your marvelous new plan is to make sure that
a) it holds some reward for them personally,

and b) make darn sure it really is achievable. 

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Money vs. Adoration - The trouble with our internet marketing is that we have too many visitors clicking “Like” and not enough clicking “Add to Cart.

Afterthought:
From website catalogs to the most esoteric social media, cyberspace marketing wallows in its own bizarre numbers game.  The trick is to constantly measure the cost of your marketing effort and assess the values of the actual sales it is bringing to your coffers.

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Generational Traumas - Our millennial workers hold amazingly high opinions of themselves, but each is too terrified to express any solid opinion about our company’s work. Unfortunately, our boomers are the exact opposite.

Afterthought:
‘Tis tough to be part of a generation so hoveringly instructed that decisions and opinions were all spoon-fed.  It’s also tough to be part of a generation that urged you to speak up constantly or not be counted.  Isn’t it time to shake off your upbringing traumas and plunge into the fun of business?
 
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Gunboat Diplomacy - My boss is a lot like Britain. He believes in team unity only with those members he has first conquered and brought to their knees.

Afterthought:
England historically plays very well and profitably with Scotland, Ireland, India, Tibet, Canada, and other nations wrenched into the Grand Empire.  But it’s never gotten this functioning-with-equals thing down.  Do you need a hierarchy to operate effectively with others?  Have you gained the right consensus-building skills? 

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The British are Leaving! - Britain’s cutting ties with the European Union is like the man who burns down his own house so his divorcing wife will not get shared custody.

Afterthought:
Within every contract or deal lies the potential for the other party to get a seemingly larger share than you’re getting. Such balances tipped in the other guy’s favor are annoying, particularly if you never liked the other guy.  But that’s not a deal-breaking issue.  The only real deal make/break question is, would your team be richer or poorer if you didn’t have this contract in place? 

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Clothes make the $$ -The difference between a broker and an investment banker lies in the custom tailoring – of the suit, I mean.

Afterthought:
The art of easing M&A and managing funds are duties that frequently fall on the shoulders of CPAs, attorneys, and brokers.  But, as always, once these duties are specialized and turned over to a specialist, the fees skyrocket.  (Hopefully, so does the expert service.) 

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De Feet Wisdom - If you sit in your office chair and work like mad all day, every day, it’s a race as to whether your body or your business will collapse first.

Afterthought:
Physicians assure us that sitting is the new smoking.  Bodies constantly at rest tend to deteriorate and die early.  Likewise, businesses that are commanded by butt-to-the-chair managers who never venture outside will grow pale and die of starvation.  So rise up, my son and get walking.  Attend to clients.  Visit the contractors.  Find out the real thoughts and innovations of your staff.  Have a drink with your competitors.  Give your mind, body, and enterprise a stimulating shot.

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The Woeful Web - There’s an awful lot of starving spiders who spend their time spinning the perfect web where it is most convenient, rather than trying to figure out where the most flies are.

Afterthought:
Customers are a lot like you.  They have certain places they like to congregate and specific things that peak their interest and inspire them to buy.  But unlike you, they are not necessarily enamored with your web simply because you have spun it.

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School of Soft Knocks - Those wise enough to learn from the experiences of others, may not learn the lesson as deeply, but they bear a lot less scar tissue as they struggle forward. School of Soft Knocks - Those wise enough to learn from the experience

Afterthought:
The good news is you do not have to taste every leaf in the forest to know which plants are bad to eat.  You can less traumatically learn what practices are worthy of emulation and what blunders to avoid by simply keeping both eyes and ears open.  You do keep them open, don’t you? When you hear a cohort tell of some success or regret, you do listen intently and distill the essence that applies to you – don’t you?

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The MBA Elite(?) - This year a record 104,000 MBA’s will be conferred in America, leaving the largest employment gap ever between expected job placement and actual job placement ever in hiring history.

Afterthought:
Education is designed to make you a richer person, not a richer pay paycheck.  However, the right education will fill your quiver with high-level ammunition when it comes to proving yourself as a valuable asset. So keep the tools sharp, cultivate the attitude, and remember, it’s not where you start, it’s how much you contribute that will set your career on a Horatio Alger rise.

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Foot in the door - The entry-level position presumes that you will rise higher because that foot which got you into the door is not your most valuable asset.

Afterthought:
Having your feet carryyou to the office on time every day on time is a fine thing.  Doing well all the assigned tasks is also nice.  And if these are your primary workplace attributes, you should be able to hold down that same entry level job for years.

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Damn the Torpedoes….The American Founding Fathers were able to win the Revolution because they forgot to assign anybody to Risk Assessment.

Afterthought:
Damn the Torpedoes….The American Founding Fathers were able to win the Revolution because they forgot to assign anybody to Risk Assessment.

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Perish the Thought - They just raised my pay to meet the new minimum wage. Does this mean I’ll now have to perform some level of minimum work?

Afterthought:
Pay and performance hold, at best, a coincidental relationship.  For some employees, enthusiastic performance springs from merely finding the right challenge.  For others, it would take a divine miracle.

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Truth vs. Attorney -Every crushing business disaster holds one glimmer of redemption: the outcome is never as bad as that envisioned by your nightmares, your friends, or your attorney.

Afterthought:

Take heart. Reality seems seldom able to produce disasters as hideous as the mind can conjure.  So, as a bit of after disaster planning, forget weeping over charred assets, and count your remaining tools.  What can you make from theses? 



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Fictions vs. Fact - Individual stars are fictions created by the press. Victories are a fact created by long hours of compromising and coordinating as a team.

Afterthought:
Gather together a bunch of bull-headed experts each of whom is more concerned with getting his own way than with the group’s final product, and you will have one loosing team or one truly off-key orchestra.  Can you see merit in the ideas of another? 

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Fondling Your Hopes - A job interview is a process whereby you place your utmost hopes in the hands of another, allow them to fondle & examine them, and see how long you can go without squirming.

Afterthought:
The wise candidate never approaches an interview as a beggar.  He never seeks a job, but rather, he is always offering his services.  Like an evangelist who offers good news that will make the listener stronger & richer, the wise candidate is sharing the opportunity for great potential with an employer clever enough to seize upon this advantageous individual as a windfall. 

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Polishing Your Brilliance - I think the reason so many people keep asking me to write my ideas down is so that will not be bothered with having to listen to them.

Afterthought:
Take a sparkling diamond of an idea, slather it over with dull grey verbiage and no one will recognize it as a true gem.  So perhaps, instead of letting your excitement gush forth a river of sentences explaining your latest brainstorm, you could pause, distill, and frame your idea in words worthy of it.  Hint: also remember what motivates your listening audience.  

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Quivering C-Suite - For most corporations, a “Leader” is someone who can get others to do uncomplainingly what the CEO has in mind.

Afterthought:
Are you, Mr. Supervisor, scared of real leaders?  Once you have your heart set on scaling that wall, do you call on managers to make sure that all the ladders are in place for the assault – or are you brave enough to let a leader explore his own way and find a back-door route into town involving less cost and effort?  A leader chained to your personal compliance can be, of course, no leader at all. 

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Cash Flow & Weather - When the clouds grow dark, it’s a bad sign for the poor. When the sun begins to shine, ’tis a good omen for the rich.

Afterthought:
 If there is any advantage to having limited funds, it is that you learn to make the very best use of each asset you hold – to cling to it and cultivate it.  Developing this golden coin of character will help you weather the toughest of situations.

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Target Spam - This past week I have been invited, “after exhaustive review,” to join the Worldwide Association of Female Executives as well as the Young Jewish Men of Distinction under 40. Not a bad week for an old, Protestant white guy.

Afterthought:
The lesson so richly exemplified by these pay-for-the-honor spam masters is that one must be more, not less, precise when e-mail blitzing potential clients.  Once your company makes a mis-mailing like these above, your firm becomes the butt of a joke you can ill-afford. 

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An Appreciative Audience - Pundits teach that leaders who’ve refined the art of story telling will motivate employees to profitably produce. Yet such tales motivate IRS agents only to audit. Not everyone appreciates good fiction.

Afterthought:
Today’s trendy managerial mentors arefixated onstorytelling as the most effective way to drive home your point and seduce the hearts and minds of employees.  Doubtless, tomorrow will bring yet some other trick to surge lagging worker spirits.  Of course, leaders could try simply setting an admirable example and treating everyone they encounter with utmost respect.  It may work wonders, but it scarcely provides fodder for costly keynote speeches.   

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The Forgotten Middle - A Mid-size business may defined as one too large to qualify for any government aid packages, and too small to handle the paperwork for any government contracts.

Afterthought:
Once you achieve a certain level of success, you’ve earned the privilege to stand completely on your own.  The mid-market caveat lies in realizing that the tools and techniques that brought you this far, will not necessarily work in hoisting you off oyur comfy plateau and up onto the next level.    

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The Vagaries of Title - You know you’re dealing with an important corporation when neither the executive’s title nor its owner’s description give any indication as to what he actually does.

Afterthought:
Yes, the company managers should make perfectly clear each employee’s value and his expected contribution toward the specific corporate mission.  But the blame for such ignorance of one’s individual role falls primarily on the shoulders of the employee himself.  Have you discerned exactly where you fit in in your firm?

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Cookie Cutter Success - Our firm’s owner is so busy embracing all the habits of highly successful achievers, he’s forgotten to do any work.

Afterthought:
As game-winningest NFL coach Vince Lombardi was fond of saying, the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.  Success does not burgeon from a lifestyle, emulated habits, or even an attitude.  It flows from the finger of Fate, and seems to most frequently rest upon those who labor ceaselessly – and wisely.

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Teeth & Customers - Customers are like your teeth: ignore them and they will go away.

Afterthought:
You brush and floss daily because you find it really handy to chew food and bring in the required sustenance.  So, what have you done today to retain your clients and polish up the relationship to keep it strong?

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The Loophole Squeeze Tax “loopholes” belong not only to the wealthy or wise, but for those with enough dogged persistence to read the endless, dreary forms.

Afterthought:
Business, like democracy, is the rule of the most energetic. Invest the time and you may find a way to get credit for hiring new people, serve and sell wine in your restaurant without a liquor license, and receive tax rebates for training your employees.  Who knows, the  IRS tax code may prove the most enriching book you’ve read in years. 

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Babe in the Woods ‘Tis fine to face the New Year with hopeful eyes, brimming with resolution. Just don’t forget to pack in all those lessons from last year’s experience – without ‘em, you’re just a babe in the woods.

Afterthought:
Janus, the ancient Roman deity of change and transitions, was wisely gifted with two faces: one looking forward into the new year, the other staring back over his shoulder into the old.  May we all look in both directions before plunging into 2016’s novel innovations….and perhaps a little prayer and counsel from colleagues might also serve.

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The Spirit of Giving - The Holidays are when nice folks metamorphose into legions of consumers who stampede through the worst possible weather to pay the highest possible prices to ensure that retailers have nice gifts for their families.

Afterthought:
You don’t have to fully understand Christmas to profit from it.  But maybe, just maybe, there is something more to this giving spirit than pure marketing seduction.  Perhaps a little thoughtful reflection and a visit to your house of faith might give you a hint as to what power’s at work here. 

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Eyes on the Odds or the Prize? No high-stakes gambler would ever back the bet placed by an entrepreneur. The former sees only the odds; the latter envisions only the possibilities.

Afterthought:
Any time, in any nation, roughly four out of five startups will fail within their first year.  But the good news is that entrepreneurs intentionally blinder themselves to these odds and yield to that innate human craving to create.  This is good news because without a fresh crop of these doers/dreamers in our society, our civilization would collapse indeed.

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Password Blight - A Password is a safeguard preventing its originator from gaining access to his own information, while affording only a minor time delay to parties who have no right to it.

Afterthought:
It is seductively easy to become plagued by “what if” worry and wrap your pet’s play date list in excessive firewalls.  Yet could it be that the real threat of our cybersecurity mania is the constant state of fear that takes up residence in our precious minds?

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Exotic Marketing -Marketing is the art of putting pears on an apple tree and selling them as exotic.

Afterthought:
In the days of ancient Greece, traders brought home “golden apples” which were rare, sweet and dribblingly juicy.  In truth, they were oranges – a fruit only found in what’s now southern Spain.  But I’m sure the myth of Atlas and Hercules did wonders for this import’s sale.

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The Lousy Leader - “Johnson is a lousy leader, a bumbling manager, a stuttering spokesman, but he makes one hell of a CEO. I vote Yes to his raise.” - insightful board member

Afterthought:
Every individual who takes the corporate helm grasps the tiller in his own way.  Leadership, managerial, and speaking abilities are merely tools.  In the factual case of CEO “Johnson” his inventive and innovative prowess so awed his staff that they readily fell in behind to fill his gaps.  Measure results, not tools.

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A Hellfire Reputation - Three things you cannot cover up: Your true intentions; your attitude toward your employees; and products that tend to catch on fire.

Afterthought:
Recently, Toyota Motor Corporation made bold, multimedia announcements worldwide that it was recalling more than six million autos due to faulty power window switches.  The company’s stock, sales, and global opinion never wavered during this broadcasting and repair of their honest mistake.
Meanwhile, another carmaker’s attempt to cover up its use of illegal, emissions-cheating software has sparked rumors that their engines themselves have a tropism toward exploding.  As you mother told you, cheaters seldom prosper.

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M&A – Skinner vs. Skinnee A merger is a business deal involving two parties who feel cheated, and two parties who swear they made out like bandits – making, in all, two.

Afterthought:
‘Tis funny how often M&A victories seem to go to those negotiators who care more about gaining specific goals, and less about defeating the other guy.

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Intelligence Limited Our CEO states he believes in surrounding himself with people smarter than he is. Alas, in his case, ‘tis impossible to do otherwise.

Afterthought:
Granted, intelligence is a handy asset.  But send me that diligent worker who really wants to improve herself and this company.  That’s the one I’ll hire.  I owe it to our shareholders to hire her.

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When it’s your own $$...To enhance your own career, think boldly, decide swiftly, and act unhesitatingly. But To enhance your own business – think exhaustively, decide cautiously.

Afterthought:
We praise and promote those who act boldly with other people’s money.  Speed and decisiveness make a lovely impression.  But when it’s your own hard-won cash & company you are putting on the table, you have earned the right to pause and take some thoughtful time.

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The computer industry has developed a startling new concept – it’s called the store. They fill it with trained people who deliberately give aid to former and potential customers.

Afterthought:
We dwell in an age of giant retail warehouses where personnel are considered a frill and service is seen as lavish waste.  Amidst this, ‘tis nice to witness the highest tech resurrecting the old hands-on, kick-the-tires, “May-I-help-you-sir” retail store.  And you giant chains, take note – these stores are bulging with customers and profits.

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Computers on the Sly - We can learn a lot from computers. Any device that convinces its operators to routinely accept full blame for all its own errors is worthy of great study.

Afterthought:

The computer’s fine art of blame transference and the accompanying inferiority complexes is seldom matched anywhere – except in the case of children who affix it to their parents.

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Intelligence Limited - Our CEO states he believes in surrounding himself with people smarter than he is. Alas, in his case, ‘tis impossible to do otherwise.

Afterthought:
Granted, intelligence is a handy asset.  But send me that diligent worker who really wants to improve herself and this company.  That’s the one I’ll hire.  I owe it to our shareholders to hire her.

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Where’d the $$ Go?? - During a recession, money is camouflaged – it is not burned.

Afterthought:
When mortgages fail and the market plunges, there is actually no less cash to be spent – or earned.  During our last major recession, both a republican, then a democratic President found $800+ billion in stimulus funds.  So when hard times next hit, why not try thinking a little harder? 

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Back into Harness

Afterthought:
Somehow, when the children go back to school the whole pace of business increases from summer canter to breakneck gallop.  It must be the threat of paying college tuition.
All ages seem to fall naturally into step with the gentler ease of summer.  ‘Tis a good thing which allows us to review, talk a little more to folks we’ve missed, and perhaps gain a bit of thoughtful insight before plunging back into the madding race pace.


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Convenient Ethics - An ethical businessperson is the one who is currently serving your own self-interest.

Afterthought:
Comfy as this belief is – it ain’t so.  How well an individual or product serves you is no indication of how well he/it serves humanity.  And a crime performed by your company, friend, or political party is still a crime – even if it makes you money.

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A Rose by Any Name - Our publicist refers to our CEO as a “nonstop communicator.” The rest of us refer to him as “A Bigmouth.”

Afterthought:
Almost every attribute holds some merit.  Have you tried viewing those less attractive traits of the folks on your team from a new perspective?  Perhaps among the mounds of misdirected moments, you just might unearth some beneficial tools and capabilities. 

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The Art of Aiming Low - Technology is the process by which humankind’s ultimate quest is continually lowered from the pursuit of wisdom, to the pursuit of data.

Afterthought:

The nice thing about basing one’s decisions on data (the numerical results of others’ efforts) is that it forms such a lovely scapegoat and avoids the onerous chore of original thought.

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Better than You Deserve If you truly believe that you are an entirely self-made man – then you have doubtless botched your creation.

Afterthought:

All of us have stood on the shoulders of giants to reach whatever we achieve.  Most of us get more than we deserve.  The wise are aware of both these facts.   Enter each situation as if you deserve nothing and you’ll be much happier – and more correct.

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The Not-so Rugged Individual An entrepreneur is someone who believes he could be prosperous if only he had the right boss.

Afterthought:

There are many good reasons for stepping out on your own and starting up your own shop.  However, if unhappiness at working with others or working under others is your primary reason, you might want to patch up your personal interaction issues before mantling leadership of your own business.

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A Diet of Blunders - Today’s MBA “scholars” are fed a rich diet of other folks’ past blunders. This allows them upon graduation to enter your company and creatively invent their own.

Afterthought:

No doubt about it, formal business education offers a swift, safe, arms-length way to examine many possible business pathways to emulate or avoid.  At the same time, nothing drives the lessons home as hard as frontline experience.  So allow us to suggest a career of in-the-trenches experimentation, coupled with a life long habit of book learning.

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Out of Your Shell - Persistence, avarice, and ambition can fire you into a powerful force of one. But compassion will put an entire army behind you.

Afterthought:
Compassion is both an innate emotion and a cultivated habit.  At your next team meeting or networking gathering, why not practice that concern for others and watch your army of allies grow?

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Tsunami of Fiscal Advice. Nothing exceeds the number of today’s new investment instruments – except the number of financial “experts” who seek to fondle, guide, and share in your wealth.

Afterthought:
In finance, no one is your complete regent.  No matter how pure of heart and experienced your counselor, if you want to invest your hard-earned cash wisely, you’ve got to dig in and do a little studying on your own.  The better your questions, the more you’ll profit from your advisor’s answers.

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The Copier’s Down Again Having “printer’s ink in your veins” was an old journalists’ compliment. But today having “toner in your veins” means, alas, your life will run out far too soon.

Afterthought:
So many of today’s products are designed for continued re-purchasing replenishment.  It provides the maker with an assured income stream.  But if you want to bet on better profits, try building a little competitive durability into your product and watch the clients smile.  

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Quickie Leadership Recipes - Apparently, we are in a “Leadership Revolution.” This means, abandoning all intelligent human instinct for any of the avalanche of recipes, such as “10 easy steps to becoming Alexander the Great.”

Afterthought:
Each of us holds within us the ability to successfully lead others.  Your personal style, whatever it is, will offer an ample avenue for leading folks forward.  So go ahead, browse the leadership recipe books.  Just remember you are not shopping for a total makeover, but merely snatching up a few helpful tools. 

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Networking Jovialities Networking is a process that gathers like business folks together to discuss the same problems that have plagued industry since the Pharaohs, produces no new solutions, and sends everyone away feeling much better. Afterthough

Afterthought:
So why do you, and all your fellow networks walk out of the hotel ballroom feeling euphoric?  Because you have touched the most vital and enjoyable aspect of business:  its individual people.  Now, if you can carry that positive back to the office and share it with your coworkers every day, you will doubtless achieve fulfillment.

Social Media Realities - The key to social media is to create completely artificial relationships from which you glean very real dollars

Afterthought:
‘Tis amusing to follow, post, poke, like and participate in all the virtual connectivities on the social media.  So go ahead -  grab yourself some entertainment.  But if you seek SM participation as a business growth tool, why not study your time investment as carefully as you do your product design or ad budget?

The Ultimate Firewall - Our firm’s not worried about cyber security. The last hacker who broke into our books left a sympathy card.

Afterthought:
Sure, go to the security seminars, get the expert advice, and install all reasonable protections.  Like insurance and legal counsel – data security is one of today’s costs of doing business. Just remember that your first concern as an individual of business should lie in the thrill of what you are creating, not fearfully wringing your hands over what might be skulking out in cyberspace.  Try to avoid forming emotional attachments to security – save that for falling in love with your product. 

Hi-tech theft$$ - Teach a man to shoplift and you can feed him for a day – Teach him to steal your identity and he will dine on steak and caviar far into the future. Teach a man to shoplift and you can feed him for a day – Teach him to steal your i

Afterthought:
Of course cyber thieves are getting smarter – more seductive patter and better technology.  The good news is that they  must try to get past trained employees who believe in protecting your company.  You have trained them – haven’t you?  You have made your company admirable in fact and in their eyes – haven’t you?

Intoxicating Info - Information is like barley – either one left in a silo will fall prey to the rats and rot. But spread either around in the open air with the right ingredients, and the resulting elixir is intoxicating.

Afterthought:
Valuable information does not leap beyond one person’s cubicle by itself.  You have to pick up the shovel and actively toss it into strange new corners; then mix it up.  The best innovation flows from minds well fueled.  

An entrepreneur is someone who fears missing out on the fun of an opportunity more than she fears failing at it.

Afterthought:

Wouldn’t it be just terrible to let this ripe plumb slip by me without tasting it?  Who cares if it ends up tasting really sour in my mouth and if everybody laughs at me for trying – some juicy things you just can’t pass up.  Don’t you just love people who approach life that way?  Don’t you just envy them?

If you see an entrepreneur who, within the last five minutes, has not come up with some fantastic new plan to completely turn her company around – check her pulse – she’s probably dead.

Afterthought:
‘Tis a great and endearing quality of entrepreneurs that they bubble into the office with a score of new grand schemes that came to them overnight.  All the good ones have them.  And all the great ones know specifically which one or two are worth throwing their limited resources behind.

Laden with Wishes - We’ve tacked onto our product every bell & whistle the marketing guys say the customers want. Trouble is, no one can lift it, or figure it out any more.

Afterthought:
Engineers want it astoundingly new and complex; CFOs want it impossibly cheap; Marketing folks want to please everybody on the planet; the truth is none of the above is possible.  What buyers dream they want vs. what they can actually afford and use lie within completely differing realms.  Your only salvation lies in heavy doses of common sense.
 

Our Boss’s management style is based on the latest management article he has read. We’re trying to get him to either switch journals, or give up reading.

Afterthought:
Listening and reading the ideas of others is a good thing.  But unless you carefully scrutinizing them and weighing their value, you might as well be reading fantasy fiction.

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Our COO is the sort of person who would have not signed the Declaration of Independence if he found the word "pursuit" misspelled.

Afterthought:

 Finding flaws in the works of others does indeed give one a small, smug sense of satisfaction.  It also provides a set of blinders that effectively blocks your ability to benefit from their wisdom.  Is feeding your ego worth that ignorance? 


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The Empty Tongue - If you have nothing to say, either say nothing or hire yourself out as a keynote speaker.

Afterthought:

  In the realm of business, the prime reason to speak is not to say something – not even to be listened to.  The prime goal is to elicit a desired action from the folks you address.  To keep your words from being mere audio wallpaper, why not consider the audience and what words and ideas would most likely move them to act.  Then open your mouth.

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The Shareholders’ Dance - Our company’s board is so diligently devoted to its shareholders that they are willing to sacrifice every last employee and client to keep them happy.

Afterthought:
 

 Shareholders, my friend, care only for the health of this quarter’s investment, not the health of your company.  And their smiles are a very poor bellwether of your managerial success.  However, if you can have your customers walk away with satisfied smiles, your shareholders will soon be dancing for joy. 

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Our project manager is a genius at gathering a consensus, particularly when you consider how bad are the decisions he's getting us to support.

Afterthought:
  The goal is not to have everybody pulling on the same rope, but on the right rope in the most profitable direction.  Have you ever listened to that one fellow who never seems to get aligned with things? Maybe he is deliberately moving out of step because the team is marching in the wrong direction.  Teamwork is fine, but dissent is also worth heeding. 

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In American business, being successful is helpful. Appearing successful is a necessity.

Afterthought:

 
 Everyone wants to stand in the midst of, share drinks with, and buy from those who are successful.  ‘Tis natural for us homo sapiens.  So keeping the facade of prosperity may actually win you contacts and clients.  However, appearances do not make it so.  So after you’ve impressed all the folks at that lovely organizational gathering, don’t forget to return to the office where the sweat of success really begins.  (Hint: Heard any new ideas lately that may help you thrive?)
 

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Let's Cut Off Our Hands - Our Board citing low revenue, has ordered us to retreat to our "core mission." Trouble is, nobody want our core anymore - it's the pits.

Afterthought:

Go Ahead. Be as flexible as pig iron.  Refuse to adapt.  And get ready for extinction.  Recently a major non-profit with failing funds opted such a retreat.  This involved closing down their profit-making stores because they didn't fit "our original mission."  Sweet strategy: amputate your limbs to keep the heart pumping - even if the limbs are feeding you. 

 

Present or Not Guilty?

Afterthought:

 When they call the role in our board room, most members don’t know whether to answer “present” or “not guilty.”

 The CEO friend of ours who recently paraphrased Theodore Roosevelt’s assessment of the early 20th century Senate, spoke in ironic jest to thinly mask his true mistrust of his firm’s leadership. 

With the increase of online and multi-media surveillance, corporations who do not visibly act above all reproach are finding it a lot tougher to hide their misdeeds.  Meanwhile, America’s judiciary continually tatters the old corporate veil and hands out very real jail time to law-breaking corporate leaders.  Perhaps the best solution is to take up the maxim that the easiest buck to make is an honest one.  And while you’re at it, make some positive societal contributions – and make sure all those surveiling folks hear about it.
 

"You have to pretend you're 100 percent sure. You have to take action; you can't hesitate or hedge your bets

Afterthought:

 You have to take action; you can't hestiate or hedge your bets. Anything less will condemn your efforts to failure. 
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What's a Boss to do?

Afterthought:

  My boss is great.  He encourages, praises, and gets  behind my every new idea.  I think its because he never had any of his own.There is a place for the creative innovator, and there is an equally valuable place for that individual who knows what to do with that idea after its author gives it birth.  Just as there is a place for writers, and a place for publishers.  The key is to never attribute ownership.  It is not her idea – it is the best, most applicable idea we’ve come up with.  So, Mr. Bossman, establish an ideal atmosphere for her to create the manuscript; credit her for her original writing.  But making those pages a best seller takes a united team effort, and that, sir, is your very necessary responsibility.  

 

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What Price IPO? A reverse merger is like a healthy elephant who allows himself to be swallowed by an aged snake so he may more easily slither into greener pastures. What price IPO?

Afterthought:
Making that Initial Public Offering has become quite the status symbol – showing that your firm can play with the big boys on the Big Board.  And certainly, the robust, young company that merges with an inactive corporation that’s already publically traded, can save a  bundle and gain access to public investment.  Yet allow us to proffer this word of caution: The real status in business is not how many investors you have, but how many you can pay back profitably.  Try to think of investment as a tool for growth, not a goal in itself, and select the tool that best suits your needs.

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For some the attache case carries an evening full of work and worry; for others it holds only the relief of ham on rye.

Afterthought:

You can tell a lot about what the businessperson totes around with them all day.  If your case holds more hours of labor than you are achieving at the office, it may be time to take a squint at your schedule - and your life priorities.  How effectively are you working in each venue?  Where do you accomplish what type of work best? 

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Simple Task

Afterthought:

A corporation is a group of men and women assembled to support the words and rectify the actions of the CEO.  ‘Tis a simple, yet telling, task for any leader.  Look over that last inspiring speech which motivated the troops and drew rave reviews.  Jot down those lofty ideals and goals of which you spoke.  Nov, on another list, record what you have performed and achieved this past month.  How do the lists compare?  Hint: It’s probably more profitable to raise your actions than water down your ideals. 

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A Person of Small Desserts - Our new CEO views herself as one of those superior individuals who has finally risen to the rank which she so richly deserves.

Afterthought:
The most fulfilling workday attitude is to just go on operating as if you deserved absolutely nothing - and let yourself be surprised by those nice rewards your labors produce.

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If our firm cuts out any more middle management, the CEO will be forced to talk to the workers himself.

Afterthought:

 Let's get real here.  Middle managers are brought on board to serve as channels, not protective buffers.  In truth, no CEO can possibly hire enough management staff to take over his primary duty of walking the floor and meeting the team.  Before you fire a single middle manager, learn the value of what that individual does for the firm.  Before you turn out one more widget, talk to the people who are actually making it - now. 
 

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Long Hours Under a Lost Boss

Afterthought:

"I'm not sure if our workdays run longer under this new manager - I think they just seem longer."
                        - disgruntled employee

  When I told my first boss I was willing to work hard, he responded with, "I don't care how hard you work, son.  I only care how well you produce."  He then proceeded to make my workdays so challenging and exciting that I completley forgot about how long or how hard.  Enough said.

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"If I had known how much money launching this business was going to cost me, I wouldn't have." - bewildered entrepreneur

Afterthought:

  No matter how exquisite your business plan, it's virtually impossible to accurately figure (or even imagine) how much cash you are going to shovel out the back door before paying customers begin coming through the front.  What you may more accurately approximate is how long it will take before the revenue stream begins a steady flow.  Knowing how many days you'll have to survive on dreams alone, without income, can help you determine if you've got a viable venture in the making. 

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Travel away from the responsibilities of house and family once a year and they call it vacation. Do it every day and they call it a commute.

Afterthought:

By car, foot, bicycle, or train those enforced daily travel minutes may be your one chance to relax with yourself and get to know you.  Perhaps, take a few moments to close the book, pull out the ear buds, and cogitate a bit & dream a little bit.

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Statistical Alchemy

Afterthought:

Harvard Business Review studies "prove" the ideal length of tenure for a CEO is 4.8 years. Then again, these are the same academics whose CEO Time Allotment Studies totaled 142 percent. Afterthought: Actually most of the CEO's I've met I wish would either hold the fort for another two decades, or be gone yesterday. In judging any person, examine today's performance, the quality of their character, and their ability to sustain both. P.S. 100 percent of the CEO's we surveyed feel 142 percent is an underestimation of their work day.

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Banks Acknowledge Depositors! Two Major U.S. banks were recently praised for innovative service when they referred to customer's deposits as "the customer's own money".

Afterthought:

Policy be darned.  The real spokespeople for a company are the folks who work for it.  CUstomers take their cue - they come back or quit - based on the attitude and personal service the employees give.  Ever watch how your team treats clients or potential clients?  What few words would make all the difference?. 
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In the last quarter, private industry has spent and produced more than anytime this decade. Government spending has dropped to two-decade lows. Such success affords everyone from economists to environmentalists a chance to complain.

Afterthought:

Warmongers gripe about defense cuts.  Economists say government thrift is killing growth.  Liberals bemoan the loss of traditional services.  Conservatives rage at the existance of government at all.  Lawmakers sit in wise and masterful inactivity.  But business people - the smart ones anyway - ignore it all, buzz about, and make a little more honey every day. 

Not home, alone - Travel away from the responsibilities of house and family once a year and they call it vacation. Do it every day and they call it a commute.

Afterthought:

  By car, foot, bicycle, or train those enforced daily travel minutes may be your one chance to relax with yourself and get to know you.  Perhaps, take a few moments to close the book, pull out the ear buds, and cogitate a bit & dream a little bit.

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Green-eyed Imitation John has just beaten me out of the department head slot. He has an MBA and blonde hair. My career coach suggested I dye my hair.

Afterthought:
  Correlation is not cause.  Steve Jobs and Bill Gates both wore glasses.  Is it time to get your eyes checked?  Perhaps it is.  Perhaps your inner eye is unable to see the many strengths you possess that will lead you to a fulfilling career once you forget about the other horses and concentrate on the fun of the race and your many abilities to run it well.

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Following the $$: Many sizeable corporations are now spending more on their lobbying forces than on products. Apparently government offers less sales resistance than customers.

Afterthought:

Just because your company hasn’t provided you with your own corporate jet (yet) doesn’t mean that you don’t have any leverage with legislators.  Your best and thriftiest bet for dealing with government is offered by the Small Business Association’s Office of Advocacy.  These moral, legal, and highly effective business advocates constantly help small and mid-size companies overcome legal and governmental snares by going straight to the legislators and bureau chief’s in charge.  It’s nice to have a good champion on your side.  Why not give them a call.

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Lightening the CEO's Load - Count on it, son, when you're doing squats with a 250-pound barbell on your shoulders, those niggling cares of being a CEO vanish like blown smoke.

Afterthought:

All of us require that post-work decompress time when we pump iron, heft a cognac, or kiss a lover.  Even 4-hour Work Week's Tim Ferris noted that his 164 weekly hours were pestered by work worries.  We don't suggest you take Ferriss's route of selling your business, rather try a permanent, ongoing diversion that entices your full and joyfull concentation.

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CEOs grudgingly yield to the board. The board cringes before customers and investors, who slavishly follow the media’s suasions. And the media takes its information from – guess who? The CEOs.

Afterthought:

 The benefit of this Dilbertian cycle is that is allows company leaders to literally talk their firm into success. If you can keep convincing all the parties to literally talk their firm into success. If you can keep convincing all the parties involved of their vital importance to your company’s progress and then very, very honestly provide reasonable corporate targets, you will become the trusted resource. And all others in the chain will help make your goals come true. Worked for Jack Welch.
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Everyone is a Spin Doctor - This recession has made everyone a spin doctor. Even the corner fruit vendor whose pushcart got hit by a truck refers to the incident as "taking losses in the market."

Afterthought:

Meanwhile, my accountant gleefully rubs his hands over my disastrous plummeting stock portfolio and calls it "tax loss harvesting benefits." Granted, no one in business seems to be calling spades, spades anymore.  There is, however, an upside to this.  One of the surest ways out of a recession is to literally talk your way out.  Keep making it clear that business is plugging along with all its usual prosperity potential and others may begin to believe it.  Even if you remain doubtful,  their trust in your future makes investment and purchases more likely. 
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Misguided Math - Our CFO’s idea of pleasing both shareholders and employees is to fire three quarters of the staff and then double the salaries of those remaining.

Afterthought:
Draconian staff slashings have become a favorite, if misguided, fiction.  You simply cannot trim your way into success.  Better to innovate a new series of products or projects to set the existing staff slaving away profitably.  However, our CFO’s idea of boosting the salary of the company’s elite producers sends the right message indeed. 

 

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Where to Stuff a Consultant

Afterthought:

 I know he’s never heard of our company until yesterday, but he has two MBA’s at age 24.  He must know how to fix our firm’s sales problems. 

 Alas, impressive sheepskins do not necessarily lead to practical insight.  However, before tossing aside the ideas of that inexperienced consultant of high repute, seek out his real strength.  Such consultants usually have a bag full of cutting-edge practices and ways to gain corporate overview.  Draw out their knowledge - scrutinize it – and use the pieces that fit.
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A Kinder, Slimmer IRS We say it's high time to put the Tax Code on a diet — and if that doesn't work, try bypass surgery. - Guy McPhail, CPA

Afterthought:
  Running a tad shy of 4 million words, the current U.S. Tax Code is, as Mr. McPhail notes, longer than all the Harry Potter books combined, with none of their wizardry and charm.  We applaud any businessperson who seeks to make life easier for his clients, even at the expense of his own meat and potatoes. 

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Ideas Whose Time is Long Past

Afterthought:

   Pyramid reporting models are the quill pens of communication – both were good ideas whose time is long past.

Nix running ideas up to senior staff for high-ranking approval.  Instead, carefully design a list of all folks affected by your latest scheme and see what they suggest.

The Scent of High Rank

Afterthought:

Giving a man the title of Creative Director doesn't make him so.  Innovative ideas, alas, are no respecters of impressively high rank.

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Seriousness is an attempt to banish joy in hopes of gaining focus. While not terribly effective, it has become the moral value and yardstick of HR.

Afterthought:
Being serious is merely an emotional approach, which though currently lauded as a sign of a great work ethic, opens the door to angst, fear, and unproductive petrification.  Better to face your latest challenge with concentration, and a smile. 
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