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Ryan’s Journal: Partnership

Thursday, June 8th, 2017


Partnership is an aspect of culture that I think could be explored further.

We all have partners we deal with in life that range from personal to professional. And isn’t it nice to have a partner throughout your day? Someone to help shoulder the burden?

But there is a fine line between a partnership and a parasite and it’s important to remember the distinction.

I work in a partnership daily. My company, Flycast Partners, is a partner of several large scale software vendors. We work hand in hand daily to increase sales, provide services and support. We are essentially an extension of the vendor and work hard on maintaining those partnerships.

This past week my company had the honor of being named partner of the year for North America by BMC software. It was a surprise and unexpected. We are only about 70 strong right now and there are partners that are much larger than we are.

We asked why we were chosen. Was it revenue? Was it the number of accounts we grew? Was it some other tangible thing?

The simple answer was none of that. We didn’t bring in the most revenue or the most new accounts. What we brought was a trusted partnership.

BMC Software is the 7th largest software company in the world and their CEO personally said it was because they knew we acted in the best interest of the customer and BMC.

What drove us to this place?

For one, integrity. The president of my company, Nathan George, believes that you should be honest in all dealings, meet your commitments and do what you say you will do.

He hires based on those criteria. To me these are fairly simple concepts, but not always followed. It would be easy to take the low road sometimes, but not sustainable.

We have competition out there, but we don’t dwell on them. We work on building relationships and providing value.

This is an instance where the partnership benefits both parties.

Next week I will highlight where a partnership can turn parasitic.

Flickr image credit: K-State Research

It’s Called Integrity

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Plum Creek Portraits

Mixed in with all the bad stuff over the last few weeks of 2014 were some feel-good stories to provide a bit of balance.

One of them that you probably missed was truly surprising.

After all, how many CEOs give back their bonus because they don’t think they deserve and say so publicly?
But that’s exactly what Rick Holley, CEO of Plum Creek Timber Co., did.

He returned 44,445 restricted stock units worth nearly two million dollars.

Holley said, “he does not believe that he should receive such an award unless Plum Creek’s stockholders see an increase in their investment return.”

The board members were surprised, to say the least, CEOs do not refuse, let alone give back, bonuses.

“I told them I wasn’t asking for their approval. They had given these to me and I appreciated their confidence in me, but I didn’t feel comfortable taking them… This has been a year where total shareholder returns are down 10% or more. It just wasn’t the right thing to do.”

And while it’s obvious to any investor or employee that not taking a bonus in a bad year is “the right thing to do” it apparently came as a revelation to those with fiduciary responsibility for all stakeholders.

Apparently the board didn’t realize Holley possesses a trait that’s rarely seen these days, especially where money is concerned.

It’s called integrity.

Image credit: Plum Creek Timber Co.

Expand Your Mind: Hodgepodge

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

As you may have guessed there is no unifying theme today; just some very interesting stuff.

According to the media today’s college grad wants to either start a company or work in a startup, but is that really true? An article in the The Brown Daily Herald says otherwise, but obviously, the external media probably knows more than an internal college paper.

Of the 67 percent of Brown graduates who entered the workforce after graduation in 2011, 20 percent — 171 students ­— worked in either consulting or finance. Teach for America was the top employer of graduates, followed by Google and Goldman Sachs.

Next, Tien Tzuo, CEO of Zuora, shares great career wisdom from Larry Ellison, Marc Benioff and Scott Thompson, the CEO’s of Oracle, Salesforce.com and Yahoo

Larry Ellison, Oracle founder/CEO: “Sometimes, you need to piss off the boss.”

Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com founder/CEO: “Break the glass ceiling in your head.”

Scott Thompson, Yahoo CEO: “Your job is to make people successful”

Those who favor a meatier subject should read new research from Michael C. Jensen, the Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, on the impact of integrity in the real world.

Behavior that lacks integrity leads to value destruction. This paper analyzes some common beliefs, actions, and activities in finance that are inconsistent with being a person or a firm of integrity. Each of these beliefs leads to a system that lacks integrity, i.e., one that is not whole and complete and therefore creates unworkability and destroys value.

How do the magazines treat your personal information when you subscribe? Do you have value to them beyond the price of your subscription? That’s what a reporter wondered, so she did an informal test to find out.

“It is revenue-producing for a publisher to collect subscribers’ information and sell it,” said Paul Stephens, the director of policy and advocacy at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a consumer group in San Diego. “It’s just information that is very valuable to advertisers who want to target individuals based on their interests.”

Now that you’ve eaten your meat and veggies here’s a goody for dessert. It’s the best version I’ve seen of images set to Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start The Fire. Turn up your speakers, go to full screen and enjoy!

Flickr image credit: pedroelcarvalho

If the Shoe Fits: Is Groupon a Role Model?

Friday, April 6th, 2012

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mLast fall I commented on Zynga’s foot-in-mouth incentive stock errors; now it’s Groupon’s turn to open-mouth-insert-foot and they’ve done a bang up job—and not for the first time.

Once again Groupon says it needs to revise its numbers and once again the revision is in a southerly direction (along with the stock price).

Investors, whether co-founders, friends, family, angels or VCs, let alone the public markets, do not look kindly on management that gets its numbers wrong.

They may excuse it the first time, but from then on every restatement becomes a serious blow to the management teams credibility and integrity, not to mention the overall effect on trust.

Perhaps Groupon drank its own Kool-Aid (a major no-no), since it acts as if its golden boy status excuses it from the mundane requirements, such as accurate sales reports, faced by other companies.

I understand that startups love to brag about their hyper growth and lack of bureaucracy, but when internal controls are counted as bureaucracy the company is headed for a fall.

On another note, if you are a small biz looking for a successful approach  to daily deals that has the metrics in place to really measure the value and will work with you to maximize where you already are check out this 14 year old alternative, with references up the wazoo, called Constant Contact.

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Flickr image credit: HikingArtist

Quotable Quotes: Ethics = Integrity

Sunday, July 18th, 2010


Ethics. Integrity. Both words weave their way through most business and political news these days. So I thought is would be fun to see what some famous folks have said about them over the years.

As I read through dozens of quotes I couldn’t help wondering at the hypocrisy of so many in politics and the financial industries had ever done the same—or if they would even recognize themselves if they did.

Think about it; Albert Camus said, “A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.” If that is the case there are a lot of beasts running around these days.

If it’s true that “integrity is doing the right thing, even if nobody is watching,” I wonder what it means when people skip, ignore or just don’t bother when people are watching—maybe that’s the real definition of arrogance.

If Samuel Richardson was correct when he said, “Calamity is the test of integrity,” then Washington and Wall Street fail miserably and they certainly don’t believe Anon’s common wisdom that says, “Don’t worry so much about your self-esteem. Worry more about your character. Integrity is its own reward.”

Perhaps they aren’t guilty by reason of insanity—that is if we concur with Nietzsche, “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule.”

The last word goes to Albert Einstein, “Relativity applies to physics, not ethics.”

Join me tomorrow for a look at why flexible ethics are what really pave the road to Hell.

Flickr image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/erdogan/3112323705/

Leadership’s Future: Should Creativity Trump Integrity?

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Columnist Donald J. Myers, a retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel, bemoans the lack of integrity so prevalent today, in and out of the military.

The military goes to extreme lengths to develop integrity because, unlike the civilian world, a lack of integrity in the military costs lives — not just money.

I would argue that the excessive lack of integrity in the corporate world has also cost lives; the thousands whose lives were destroyed by Enron and the recent banking debacle, among others, cost lives and, although most are still walking, they are definitely wounded, some mortally.

creativity-integrityThe last couple of years media has been trumpeting the importance of leadership integrity and various surveys of global executives confirmed its importance.

But that was then and this is now.

Fast Company cites a new study by IBM—

For CEOs, creativity is now the most important leadership quality for success in business, outweighing even integrity and global thinking… The study is the largest known sample of one-on-one CEO interviews, with over 1,500 corporate heads and public sector leaders across 60 nations and 33 industries polled on what drives them in managing their companies in today’s world.

Here’s how the numbers broke down—

About 60% of CEOs polled cited creativity as the most important leadership quality, compared with 52% for integrity and 35% for global thinking.

(Yes, I realize that totals 147%, but it’s IBM…)

I have no argument with creativity, after all creativity gave us Avatar, iPods and Viagra, but it also gave us CDMs and CDOs.

This points up how important it is for leaders to practice integrity as they embrace creativity.

Image credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/963443

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