Archive for November, 2012

@maurilio:

2

A Dysfunctional Team? Blame the Boss

“I just wish my team would get along,” I heard from a leader not long ago. That’s not an uncommon complaint. But the more I learn about organizational health, the more I blame the leader for getting it in such predicament. In my experience, unrest, infighting among departments or ministries, or divisions within an organization can be traced back to two main factors: lack of clarity and/or organizational culture. And in either case, they are always set from the top down. Lack of clarity allows any good idea to be valid. Without a clear and articulable focus for your organization, any good idea is worth fighting for. I have worked with leaders who want to lead by consensus without a clear focus of identity and purpose. It’s a disaster. Usually the person with the strongest personality within the organization gets his or her way while others resent and get frustrated.…

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18

How I Lost Weight During The Holidays

Last year I actually lost weight during the holidays. It was not a special diet but tweaking my eating habits that allowed me to lose 10 lbs during a time where most people gain 10 lbs. I don’t know about you, but most people come out of the holidays and into the new year broken and bloated.  Conventional wisdom begs the question, “how many pounds can I really gain between Thanksgiving and the new year?” Well, in my experience the answer is 14. Yes.  Once I gained 14 pounds in 14 days. Don’t ask. It was ugly. Last year, however, I decided to see if I could hold my weight in check during the month of parties, baked goods, and eating bonanzas. Not only was I able to keep my weight in check, surprisingly,  I was able to drop 10 lbs during the month of December. Crazy, isn’t it? Here’s…

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17

Expose Yourself Out of Business

“We priced it low because we wanted the exposure.” Every young, and even some seasoned entrepreneur can fall on the trap of the “exposure” temptation. In the search for legitimacy and clout, entrepreneurs want to have the recognizable “big fish” names in our portfolios.  After all, that means great PR and lots of new clients, right? Wrong. There are several traps of  such reasoning: It sets the wrong expectations. You will enter an organization at the wrong level. Your first job defines what level of player you are. You do not want to be the “cheap” guy. Trust me on this one. It’s not sustainable. Even if your project is successful and the client loves the results, you have set an unrealistic expectation of cost, timelines, and services. When your next bid comes in at twice the price of your first, your new client will balk. “They’re good but not…

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2

Start Over or Start Again?

The appeal of a new beginning to all of us is the opportunity for a “do over,” to wipe the virtual slate clean. But what often happens is quite the opposite. Recently I talked with a friend who is starting over. It’s a complete new start: a new career, a new town, a new perspective in life. My advice to him was simple: make sure you start over and not start again. I think a lot of people miss the point of the start over and find a way to repeat the same mistakes in a different environment, different business, or different relationship. We didn’t learn the lesson we should have learned, so instead of starting over, we start again. It’s just a matter of time before we find ourselves in the same predicament that caused us pain before. But with every start again, the price we pay gets higher.…

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2

Know Your Audience and Improvise: A Lesson from a Restaurant Server

Understanding your audience’s motivation is key in finding opportunities to reach them. That point was driven home a while back during dinner at J. Alexander’s in north Atlanta. Our server, Jimmy, did something I haven’t seen done much lately in a restaurant. He assessed the situation and improvised, getting our gratitude as well as up-selling us another course. As I looked at the description for the sea bass special, the words “puddle of brown butter sauce” got my attention. I told Jimmy I was trying to eat clean and if there were an alternative to my butter dilemma. Shortly after our exchange he asked if we wanted an appetizer. Since our options were fried, cheesy, or fried and cheesy, I declined. Thinking on his feet, literally, Jimmy asked, “What about our seared Ahi tuna appetizer?” Interestingly there was not an Ahi tuna appetizer on the menu. “It’s not there, but…

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11

What to Do on a No-Win Business Situation

One of the toughest lessons I had to learn as a businessman was to identify and successfully deal with a no-win situation. That’s a very difficult situation for an entrepreneur to navigate because most of us are optimists by nature. We want to believe we can rescue the relationship, deliver on our promise,s and save the day. But with experience and better understanding of human behavior, I have come to believe that sometimes the best course of action is to cut your losses and walk away before the hole you find yourself in becomes your grave. No one wants to admit failure and throw in the towel too soon, but here are a few scenarios that if you find yourself in, you should consider walking away. Lost trust. Whether one or both side loses trust, it’s time to call it quits. If you cannot trust your partner, an employee, a…

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