Doom Loop

When I was speaking regularly—two or three keynotes a month—I found a slew of human resources and learning and development people who were fanatic about using questionnaires (“smile sheets”) to assess whether the audiences liked the speaker. I remember I was introduced at Toyota once as “the highest ranked speaker in our history.” Companies such as IBM, Nissan, and Mercedes used these with great punctiliousness. Company such as Merck, HP, and JPMorgan/Chase did not. These low level people (who were …


To Be Continued?

We just binge-watched Westworld, which a lot of people had recommended, and we greatly enjoyed it. It’s the kind of raw stuff that could never be on network television. However, after the first, confusing episode we nearly abandoned it. I’m willing to work through uncertainty and strange plots, but I don’t respond well to an arrogance that I thought the producers were exhibiting toward their audience. Our friends said, “The first episode or two have to be tolerated, but after …


Making Change

In the last couple of months, I’ve noticed clerks and cashiers in California, New Jersey, Nantucket, and Rhode Island struggling to make change. The register tells them that the bill was $26,85 and that $50.00 was submitted, therefore the change is $23.15. The clerks take the twenty from the till, but then have some trouble with the three singles and the fifteen cents. The put the money in their palms like marbles, and their mouths move as they count. Forget …


Why I Am Not Running This By You

I have some bad news. Consensus is about something you can live with, not about something you would die for. It’s not unanimity. Most times, consensus is simply an idealistic vision which has virtually no bearing on the quality of the decision at hand. Too many of your clients (and, perhaps, you) are wasting time trying to get buy-in and commitment from people who simply don’t matter in the long run. Ineffective and frightened leaders strive for “consensus” to protect …


Dismissed

In US Navy tradition, when a commander loses faith in a subordinate’s judgment, that subordinate is removed—almost always a career-ending move. The admiral running the Pacific Fleet has just removed the three-star admiral running the Seventh Fleet, which has had four separate accidents over the past year involving two destroyers and two cruisers. (The Seventh Fleet has only 12 destroyers in total,  and there are only 22 cruisers in the entire US Navy, globally.) That might not be a bad …


The Scent of A Buyer

Olfactory sense is important in order to appreciate taste. (An onion and apple crunch the exact same way if there’s no sense of smell and you can’t see the food. I watch the color of the coffee as I add cream to determine the right amount, I don’t taste the coffee as I add cream to test the flavor. We use touch to tell us if things are too hot (soup on our lips) or too cold (undercooked steak). We …



Whoops!

A  dangerous convict, shackled in the back of a police car for transport, nevertheless is able to choke the police officer driving the car, cause  a crash, grab his gun, force him to unshackle him, then take his cell phone and money and disable the car’s radio. There was no partition between the officer and the prisoner, and no second officer in the car. Now, what could go wrong with that? You can buy every flak jacket, piece of weaponry, …


Express Lane, Four Items Only

Why were you interested in seeing me today? If you had unlimited resources to improve just one thing, what would it be? I can help you with that, may I ask you some questions so that I can prepare a proposal? I have everything I need, I’ll have this on your desk tomorrow, can we talk the day after that at, say, 10 am?


Ownership

The intellectual capital you walk into a client with is yours, and you walk out with it. The only “work product” that the client has paid for and can keep is what, specifically, you create for that company. Don’t allow a client to pay you to work in one location and then take your proprietary approaches and simply implement them in other locations unless you’re duly compensated. You don’t buy a ticket to a movie with the expectation that your …