It’s that time of the year again; time to find that unique present for the special people in your world, whether business or personal. So, in the interests of lending a helping hand, I thought that over the next four Wednesdays I’d offer up some unique presents for boss, colleagues and other business connections as well as loved ones.
“And that brings us to the ultimate irony. When we talked about firing people, we were thinking about those higher on the org chart, not lower. We meant the boss and senior management team. … We thought we made this implicit in the article. Judging from the response, we didn’t. We should have made it clearer.”
Communicating takes effort and the number one rule of clarity is no assumptions.
Read the articles and save them to read again whenever you find a disconnect between what you communicate and your team’s actions to be sure that you aren’t the source of the problem.
Many managers would write that off as irrelevant at best and valueless at the least, unless it was an agriculture-related position.
Not so fast.
Consider Gamaliel Rizzo, an apartment dweller from Brooklyn who is studying to become a doctor. He says he spent more time honing skills like public speaking and developing business budgets than learning about farming.
“What amazes me is the degree to which they have made themselves relevant when by all expectations they should have simply ceased to exist.” –Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, historian at Iowa State University.
And it’s not just in the heartland that the FAA is thriving.
About 70 percent of its members live in rural areas, and 19 percent live in small towns. The fastest growing segment, however, is in urban and suburban areas, now making up 10 percent of the membership.
So what’s the take away on this?
If you want the unusual, look for the unusual.
If you want to hire people who think outside the norm then you should look for those who did things outside the norm.
If you need talent that will challenge conventional thinking and not cave to the nay-sayers look for the ones who went against the tide and persevered in spite of the cardinal sin of “not fitting in.”
It’s not that conventional activities, such as chess, debate and sports, aren’t good, but looking further, even if it’s not on the resume, will help you uncover the hidden gems that others miss.
‘Sustainable’ always finds an audience, especially when you can relate them to unusual topics.
This one is especially useful, because it applies to gardeners, those interested in healthcare and vampires—the liquid inside young coconuts is used as a substitute for blood plasma.
For those who have trouble waking up and mainline coffee in the morning you can suggest this healthy alternative, apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning, but I don’t know why.
In case you end up making conversation with snobs who love showing off their wealth you can mention that they should be careful around the salad dressing, since pearls dissolve in vinegar.
Finally, to lift the mood of the over-fifty remind them that oak trees don’t produce acorns until they are fifty (50) years of age or older and that they are at least as proficient as a tree.
People tend to take their role models whole; kind of an all or nothing approach, which isn’t a very smart approach. A few weeks ago I wrote that in some ways Steve Jobs isn’t the greatest role model. Take a look at some others better taken piecemeal or even not at all.
Graham B. Spanier did an amazing job growing Penn State into a powerhouse, but threw up defenses at the first hint of criticism. Says close-to-retiring anthropology professor E. Paul Durrenberger, “If you’re always focused on promoting the brand and there’s no scrutiny, that leads to covering up.”
On the surface Eric Lefkofsky, co-founder and chairman of Groupon, may look like a great role model, but due diligence is as important when assessing role models as investments.
Lefkofsky’s track record, reflecting failures and successes, bears certain hallmarks: rapid revenue growth accompanied by big losses, a penchant to sell stock early on, and lawsuits filed by investors, lenders or customers who feel they have been wronged. … Lefkofsky and his family have already cashed out $382 million from Groupon before the IPO filing.
Successful founders are considered excellent role models, but is there a down side when they stay?
Visionaries are fantastic, but their companies are often notoriously hard to run. Sometimes, these leaders cling to dated visions and stifle innovation. And sometimes, they simply won’t get out of the way. Promising executives with new ideas get fed up and leave.
Many entrepreneurs are known for the size of their egos and none more so than those from Russia, but not all of them buy a sports team, larger yacht or another home. Several years ago Vladimir Kekhman, who made millions in bananas and other fruit, left his company to focus on the local ballet company; he just pulled off another “first” by pirating two premier dancers from the Bolshoi.
And Mr. Kekhman, at age 43, recently gave up all of his day-to-day responsibilities as a major owner of Russia’s biggest fruit company to focus on the Mikhailovsky. “I have a new profession right now,” he said. “And this profession has brought a new life to me.”
Finally, good health role models lurking in a place you would never expect to find any—long-haul truckers.
“I’m being stupid if I don’t lose the weight,” she said, “because I’ll lose my job.” — Jill Garcia, 50, a driver from San Antonio
A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read allIf the Shoe Fits posts here
People never cease to amaze me even though I know that what you see isn’t always what you get.
“Pete” is a great example of that.
Pete is an entrepreneur and a friend of mine works for his company.
My friend raves about the great culture. He says it is merit-based, treats everyone fairly and has very little of the politics and favoritism he has seen at other companies. He likes the values and Pete’s attitude to giving back to the community.
The company isn’t new, but it is still private, so when my friend heard that Pete was thinking of issuing stock he sent a link to Option Sanity and introduced me.
Long story short, we had an extensive conversation; Pete talked about his belief in the importance of fairness and merit and giving back and I explained how Option Sanity™ would strengthen his culture and work to ensure the fairness that seemed so important to him.
And because Pete was so emphatic about the importance of giving back I told him about 1% of Nothing, started by Shervin Pishevar and Matt Galligan, with the goal of getting startups to donate 1% of their equity to a charity of their choice.
Pete ended our conversation saying he wanted to think about it and work with the Option Sanity demo.
I just received an email and I thought it ironic that it came on Thanksgiving.
Although he dressed up his response in complimentary language, the upshot of what he said was that both Option Sanity™ and 1% of Nothing were naïve ideas.
He said that he wanted to have complete freedom when awarding incentive stock as opposed to committing to a methodology, even though he structured it. Some employees were relatives or good friends and he wanted the ability to give them more. He wasn’t worried about performance, because he could always rescind the grant or fire them.
With regards to 1% of Nothing, although he planned to give to some of the proceeds of an eventual sale to charity there was a good chance that certain products in development would substantially increase the value of the company.
He had a specific dollar amount in mind for charity and saw no reason to possibly exceed that by giving the 1%.
I was totally floored.
Option Sanity™ is authentic
Come visit Option Sanity for an easy-to-understand, simple-to-implement stock process. It’s so easy a CEO can do it.
Do not attempt to use Option Sanity™ without a strong commitment to business planning, financial controls, honesty, ethics, and “doing the right thing.” Use only as directed.
Users of Option Sanity may experience sudden increases in team cohesion and worker satisfaction. In cases where team productivity, retention and company success is greater than typical, expect media interest and invitations as keynote speaker.