Thursday, December 23, 2010

Weird Christmas Cards and Letters

It seems that the digital communication revolution has created opportunities for some weird outreach at Christmas time.

I have (so far . . .) received four “thank you” cards, thanking me for my support/business in 2010. They came from people I have, with one exception, never met and with whom I have – without exception – never done business.

Then I got a “special gift” from someone else, in the form of an invitation to take a look at her new web site. What’s that all about?

And another “gift” – 10% off a coaching network’s membership dues. And I’m not even a coach! Don’t want to become one, either.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pay & Performance

Pay & Performance.

The idea, in the business world, is that the compensation you receive is commensurate with your performance level. You do a good job, even exceed expectations, and you get paid handsomely. Your performance is not up to snuff and your pay gets docked.

Seems fair? I would say so.

So, here is the guy in charge of Heathrow Airport (I never liked the place, going back decades!), who had some half a million people stranded for days because of the weather, with many forced to line up outside for what must have seemed like an eternity. So what does he do? He “magnanimously” decides to forego his 2010 bonus. Ha!

Isn’t his salary (before bonus) already $900 thousand a year? Or is that 900 thousand pounds (= $1.3 million)? I think he should be out there helping to shovel snow for a while, to earn some appreciation for performance, before he gets his next pay check.

Welcome, International Readers!

My most recent international readers have signed on from the Bahamas, Algeria, Dominica, Belize, the Cayman Islands, Macau and Saint Lucia.

FYI . . ., of these, Belize is the only country I have visited. Good memories!


I was recently encouraged to follow the blog of an expert on ethical leadership. The encouragement came from a respected source, so I decided to take a look. For 2010, the blog has a total of four posts, the most recent one in early May.

This does not mean that the blogger does not know what he is talking about.

However, anyone who decides to share his expertise via a blog owes his readers more than four posts per year.

How often do you blog? At least once a month, I hope. Your readers deserve it!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Running a Profitable Business

You have probably received the same sort of letter from your accountant that my CPA sent me and all her other clients the other week. It has to do with a new law that gives the IRS the right to ascertain that tax preparers maintain client files that show complete and accurate income and expense details.

It all makes perfectly good sense to me – reporting gross receipts, mileage expense recording, charitable contributions’ receipts, etc., etc., etc.

One sentence in particular stood out for me: “The IRS expects you to make a profit in 3 out of 5 years.”

That seems like a no-brainer to me! If your business cannot produce a profit in 3 out of 5 years, you ought to close its doors, or make such changes that will get it to be profitable again in no time at all.

I hope your business has been profitable in 2010 and will be so again in 2011!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Social Networking

LinkedIn is not the only on-line network, but for business and career connections it is the best. So, why am I still getting so much resistance?

In discussions that played out over several months, a prospective client for a LinkedIn profile told me in our last conversation that he was not yet convinced that this was a good venue for him (his prospects are CEOs of private companies in the $5-$20 million arena), but he would ask a few of his peers and if they recommended it, he would hire me to optimize his profile. He would call me the following week.

I never heard from him again.

So, for him, and for others with the same mindset, go to Amazon and buy a copy of “Let's Connect: Using LinkedIn to get ahead at work”, by Ajay Jain. An easy read and the perfect primer for people who deep-down know they need to be active in at least one social network but are unsure of how to go about it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Early Friday Afternoon . . .

Do you ever experience an early Friday afternoon when you tell yourself: "Enough - the work week is over!"?

I'm having such a day today. I finished one installment of a project for a client in New York and should get started on a project for a European client, but . . . enough! It will wait till Monday.

Wherever you are in the world . . ., happy week-end! :-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gordon MacKenzie, a Genius of our Time

Gordon MacKenzie was a man who did not fit his time: an artist, a genius, making a living in a structured corporate environment. As his book, Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace, tells us, his employer, Hallmark Cards, did not favor ideas that the hierarchy did not see meshing with corporate productivity goals.

He made it work for himself, as the company’s “Creative Paradox”, up to a point. Then he retired and began traveling around the country, speaking, in high-energy, marvelous performances, to audiences about maintaining creativity in bureaucratic environments. Then he died.

Yesterday, arriving early for a typical “girlfriends’ luncheon”, I had a copy of Daniel Pink’s “A Whole New Mind” in my bag -- I always have something to read with me, as I am more often early for a meeting than late or on time -- and whose name did I see when I turned to page 68? Gordon MacKenzie’s!

Such memories, immediately! I met, interviewed and had dinner with Gordon MacKenzie when he was in Atlanta for a workshop in, I think, 1999, and attended his what can only be called “performance”. Truly a genius!

His book is still in print. Buy it. Also Dan Pink’s book, and absorb both of them over the holiday season. Then go back to your work environment in January with the confirmation that you arrived in this life with a rolled canvas under our arm and that it is up to you – not anybody else – to paint your masterpiece.