Home Leadership Turn Archives Me RampUp Solutions Option Sanity
 


  • Categories

  • Archives
 

Golden Oldies: If the Shoe Fits: Wave Deafness

Monday, June 19th, 2017

It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.

Golden Oldies are a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.

When I wrote this originally it was aimed directly at entrepreneurs, especially the ones who don’t seem to hear their people very often — if at all.

Coming across it five years later I decided it’s so apropos across the board that it definitely qualified as a golden oldie.

Read other Golden Oldies here.

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

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mLast year I wrote about Tony Hsieh’s approach to employee empowerment, featuring some great quotes from him.

As I said then, the thing that sets Hsieh apart is security.

Hsieh is comfortable in his own skin; secure in his own competency and limitations, so he doesn’t need to be the font from which all else flows.

Entrepreneurs can learn from this.

Startup hiring usually comes in waves as the company progresses.

While most founders will listen to their initial team and first few hires, those hired later often find it difficult to get their ideas heard.

Unfortunately, this behavior often sets a pattern, with the ideas and comments of each successive wave becoming fainter and fainter and those employees less and less engaged—and that translates to them caring less and less about your company’s success—call it wave deafness.

Wave deafness is costly.

Costly in productivity and passion, but even more costly in lost opportunities.

As Hsieh points out, there is no way he can think of as many good ideas as are produced if each employee has just one good idea in a year.

And not just from certain positions. I never heard of a manager, let alone a founder, admit to hiring dummies for any position, no matter the level.

So if you hire smart people and don’t listen to them, who is the dummy?

Image credit: HikingArtist

Golden Oldies: The Perfect Attitude

Monday, June 12th, 2017

It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.

Golden Oldies are a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.

Attitude. That illusive quality with the giant impact. It’s the ‘A’ in MAP — mindset, attitude, philosophy — and a large part of the reason you land the job or ‘the one’.

Read other Golden Oldies here.

Have you ever wondered what the perfect attitude is? Not just a top dog or the person out front, but for any entrepreneur who aspires to succeed and, for that matter, every person who lives and breathes.

I recognize it when I see it, know when I’m doing it, and can explain it when I’m coaching, but I’ve never seen it so perfectly boiled down to ten short words—all self-explanatory, nothing to look-up or study or requiring training.

I found those words in a friend’s description of how his daughter lives.

Like 3 year olds, be passionate, humble, impatient, grateful…daily.

Do it and change your life—and your world—guaranteed!

Image credit: LizMarie on flickr

What Is Success?

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

https://www.flickr.com/photos/planeta/5306860886/Yesterday we considered the idiocy of postponing your career in an effort to “find your passion.”

The popular attitude is that if you do something you are passionate about then it will lead to success.

Of course, that depends on how you define success.

Most people believe that if they are successful they will also be happy.

Coincidentlly, a large percentage of them have also bought into the current attitude that equates success with money.

So it comes as a major surprise to many who have achieved financial success to discover they still aren’t happy.

Rather than my opinions, I thought you would find these stories more enlightening.

First, an unhappy $150K a year millennial woman at 26 to happy single momhood and $50K five years later.

I realized that higher pay didn’t equate to a better job fit for me. I do know that at the end of the day, life is so much richer than the number on your tax form — and that’s a lesson that’s priceless.

Not that there is anything wrong with financial success.

Ed Schweitzer moved his company into the future decades ago and has already accomplished in terms of good jobs what Washington claims it’s going to do by turning back the clock.  

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, a manufacturer of sophisticated equipment for the global power industry based in Pullman, WA, solved its people problem internally.

While others outsource, Schweitzer goes DIY. While others establish a tightly focused definition of work history and skills they’re looking for, Schweitzer focuses on fundamentals: “I like to hire smart people with good values and strong fundamental education,” says founder Ed Schweitzer, who started the company in his basement 35 years ago. Today, it employs just over 5,000 and has revenue of nearly $1billion.

Schweitzer also set the company up as an ESOP, meaning it’s employee-owned.

Even in Silicon Valley, maximizing financial success isn’t everyone’s preferred road, like Craig Newmark — the Craig in Craig’s List.

“Basically I just decided on a different business model in ’99, nothing altruistic,” he said. “While Silicon Valley VCs and bankers were telling me I should become a billionaire, I decided no one needs to be a billionaire — you should know when enough is enough. So I decided on a minimal business model, and that’s worked out pretty well. This means I can give away tremendous amounts of money to the nonprofits I believe in … I wish I had charisma, hair, and a better sense of humor,” he added in a completely deadpan voice. “I think I could be far more effective.”

When enough is enough.

A quaint concept by today’s standards.

Read the stories.

Think about them.

Then create your own definition of success—what you want, not what you’re supposed to want.

Image credit: Ron Mader

Ducks in a Row: The Myth Of Finding Passion

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

https://www.flickr.com/photos/44412176@N05/4461384285/

I know it gets old, but here is yet another reason to subscribe to CB Insights newsletter. At the end there is a section called The Blurb that provides four links to exceptionally excellent content, such as

Mark Manson’s thoughts on “passion.”

Manson is referring to the oft stated advice to new grads to “find your passion” when looking for work. Seems a lot of those people write him saying they don’t know what their passion is and asking how to find it.

But more importantly, what I want to say to these people is this: that’s the whole point — “not knowing” is the whole fucking point. Life is all about not knowing, and then doing something anyway. All of life is like this. All of it.

He points out some basic truths about work and passion/loving what you do.

  • Priorities, like buying food and paying the rent/mortgage, often trump passion.
  • You can work for the priorities and spend the rest of your time on your passion.
  • Even your dream job will include parts that suck and some days when it all sucks.

If you’re passionate about something, it will already feel like such an ingrained part of your life that you will have to be reminded by people that it’s not normal, that other people aren’t like that.

If you have to look for what you’re passionate about, then you’re probably not passionate about it at all.

A child does not walk onto a playground and say to herself, “How do I find fun?” She just goes and has fun.  

Further,

  • You won’t find your passion in a set of data points.
  • Nor will you find it by looking/asking/ranting/whining.
  • Just because your best friend loves their job doesn’t mean you would.
  • People change. Your passion at 25 may not be your passion at 45, let alone at 65.

Don’t just read Manson’s essay, think about it and then apply the lessons learned to your own life.

I guarantee you’ll be a far happier/satisfied/passionate person.

Flickr image credit: gorfor

 

Golden Oldies: Passion Unchecked

Monday, June 5th, 2017

It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.

Golden Oldies are a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.

Passion. Everybdy talks about it; builds companies around it; it infuses cultures — personal, company, country. But, like most powerful emotions, it’s a two-edged sword.

Read other Golden Oldies here.

Last spring I wrote that passion sustains me and keeps my writing, but that even passion needs a day off now and then.

But what happens with there is no day off; when passion is continually cranked up?

When passion runs wild it can lose touch with reality.

You can see the aftermath of unchecked passion in companies whose positional leaders were so focused on their vision that they allowed nothing to stand in the way and the political leaders who are more focused on spreading their ideology than fixing their country.

Passion unchecked yields freely to fanaticism.

Fanaticism obliterates humanity.

Flickr image credit: JM3

Entrepreneurs: Change the World — or Yourself?

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

https://www.flickr.com/photos/inspiyr/9670184989/The entrepreneurial mantra that weaves through every startup vision and recruitment effort focuses on how X product/service will change the world.

This particular passion applies whether it’s a cure for cancer, a big data application, a new messaging app, social network or dating app.

How does one truly change the world?

Or is it a phrase with no real meaning?

Even if one does change it does the change make the world better?

Better by what yardstick and whose standards?

Change isn’t always a positive.

What is your responsibility if you do change it?

In his graduation speech at USC, Larry Ellison said, “You will change the world and the world will change you.”

For better or worse, change is the only true constant.

Flickr image credit: Inspiyr.com

Ducks in a Row: Gary Kelly and Southwest Airlines

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

https://www.flickr.com/photos/akandbdl/4929952917/

What drives a company’s success as it grows?

Its people.

What drives a company’s culture?

Its people — all of them from CEO to entry-level grunt.

Since Southwest started in 1971 has grown to 47,000, but what is truly amazing is its employment record over those 45 years.

The most astonishing factoid about Southwest is that it has not had a single layoff in its 44 years—a stunning accomplishment in an industry that leads the economy in bankruptcies, re-organizations, mergers and companies that have disappeared. Think Eastern and Pan Am.

SWA was number 13 on Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work in 2015 and nearly 180,000 people applied for work. What criteria does SWA consider most important?

“We have a passion for what we do and we look for people that share that passion. Our mantra is, we hire for attitude and we train for skill. Since our early days we seek people who don’t just have the skill, but also have the passion and the attitude to take care of each other and to take great care of our customers. We work hard to identify that. Many people want to be a part of a team like this. But many times we’ll have employees that say, “You know what? This just isn’t for me and it’s not the right fit.”

Southwest’s CEO Gary Kelly has been with the company for 29 years, the first 15 as CFO, but doesn’t claim hero status.

In an eye-opening interview Kelly talks about the importance of SWA’s culture as a competitive edge and how it’s been maintained over the decades.

If you’re going to have a team, you’ve got to invest the time to create the relationships. The bigger the company gets, the more effort it takes. We use a variety of techniques to do that. Right near my office is a group called Internal Customer Care that keeps track of important things happening in our employees’ lives. (…)I get a pile of thank you notes and in turn I send out thank you notes. It’s creates a very human connection. It’s basic, but very meaningful. That’s why we put the heart symbol in our logo. We’re not the American Heart Association, but our employees believe in the heart and when we deviate from living by the golden rule, people call each other on that. It makes for a very powerful culture.

In short, management spends time walking as opposed to time talking.

Read the interview. While you/your company may not have the money to match Southwest’s benefits, you can certainly create the relationships.

Flickr image credit: Keith Laverack

If the Shoe Fits: 5 Instantly Useful Links

Friday, August 28th, 2015

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

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mI found several useful/interesting reads yesterday and thought I’d share them with you.

If you’re wondering what’s hot (security) and what’s not (social and dating apps) take a look at the thoughts of Sequoia Capital’s Mike Moritz after recently listening to 146 pitches in a row.

Investing in startups is like bird-watching, (…) For venture capitalists, Moritz advises not to look at the flock, but at each individual startup. “Each one is different, and I try to find an interestingly complected bird in a flock rather than try to make an observation about an entire flock,” Moritz has said.

That said, some trends appear when the looking at the group as a whole.

Moritz is also the PayPal board member whose penny-pinching advice saved the company in 2008 and every founder should be following it now.

“That focus was instrumental in PayPal’s survival,” Roelof Botha said. “We could have been spending money willy-nilly and fallen by the wayside by accident.”

Tenacity is lauded in the startup world; the idea is that passion and never quitting are the hallmark of successful founders, but the story of François Reichelt proves that Kenny Rogers offers a more common sense approach.

“Know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em.”

Last are two links that provide useful tools for you.

First is a way to find company emails when you have the name.

Oleg Campbell has automated the process of hunting for someone’s corporate email with a nifty new Chrome extension built on top of Gmail. It’s called, descriptively, Name2Email.

Second is tech lawyer David Tollen’s Tech Contracts book and website, with helpful information and free forms for SaaS, software licensing, and other IT agreements.

It’s a plain-English how-to guide on IT contracts for lawyers, contract managers, salespeople, IT staffers, and executives.

Image credit: HikingArtist

Entrepreneurs: Emily White

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Emily White

Emily White is a long-time friend of mine.

We met at the end of the last century over our startups.

Like me, Emily isn’t a twenty-something-guy-in-a-hoodie.

She founded OnlineHR, one of the earliest social networks, in 1999. Then 47, “I didn’t know what I didn’t know.”

Emily is back with a vengeance as an entrepreneur, although she never really left. She reached into her past to pay the bills, while searching for her next startup idea.

In search of that next unidentified problem and solution, White returned to social work 30 years after earning a masters degree. Working for five organizations—all of them related to geriatrics, a personal interest and expertise—over the course of seven years, she “saw the problem was in care transition.”

In doing so, she also tapped into her passion for better senior care and combined it with technology to find a viable, affordable solution in the booming healthcare arena.

All of that led her, at the age of 61, to two 20-somethings, both MIT graduates, with a big idea. In 2014, White joined GeriJoy as co-founder and vice president of strategic alliance. GeriJoy is a tablet-based chronic care management and virtual caregiving tool backed by real health advocates. Bottom line? GeriJoy leads to lower hospital readmission rates. (…)GeriJoy has already successfully reduced emergency room readmissions for users and, in tests, had good results with people who are experiencing various forms of dementia. The combination of a human interface and artificial intelligence puts GeriJoy at the forefront of healthcare tech start-ups.

Contrary to popular media, nearly a quarter of startups are founded by the over 55 crowd.

Leaping in to entrepreneurialism as an older adult, White is not alone. According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, 1996-2011, 23.4 percent of American entrepreneurs in 2013 were people between the ages of 55 and 64, up from 18.7 percent in 2003.

Read the full story here.

Image credit: Emily White

Model What You Want

Monday, March 17th, 2014

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomhenrich/10042682546/

What kind of boss/colleague/subordinate are you?

Does William Butler Yeats’s line “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity,” fit you?

Sounds like a bad thing, but actually it’s a great attitude to cultivate.

Look at the two parts separately.

Let’s take the second part first; I believe while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity” refers to people who espouse a certain approach or methodology so emphatically that nothing sways them that there may be a better way or even that a different method will accomplish the same thing.

“The best lack all conviction” could be taken to mean being totally wish-washy with no firm beliefs, but taken together with the second part I think it means being open to new ideas/approaches.

In other words, the first is open to learning and the second is a ‘my way or the highway’ type.

Who would you rather work with?

If you want the first, be sure not to model the second.

Flickr image credit: Tom Henrich

RSS2 Subscribe to
MAPping Company Success

Enter your Email
Powered by FeedBlitz

About Miki View Miki Saxon's profile on LinkedIn

About Ryan ryanrpew

About Marc marc-dorneles-cpcu-b8b43425

About KG View KG Charles-Harris' profile on LinkedIn

About Ajo View Ajo Fod's profile on LinkedIn

Clarify your exec summary, website, marketing collateral, etc.

Have a question or just want to chat @ no cost? Feel free to write or call me at 360.335.8054

Download useful assistance now.

Entrepreneurs face difficulties that are hard for most people to imagine, let alone understand. You can find anonymous help and connections that do understand at 7 cups of tea.

Give your mind a rest. Here are 2 quick ways to get rid of kinks, break a logjam or juice your creativity!

Crises never end.
$10 really does make a difference and you'll never miss it,
while $10 a month has exponential power.
Always donate what you can whenever you can.

The following accept cash and in-kind donations:

Web site development: NTR Lab
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 License.