Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 8/24/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: One reader objected to my description of Nantucket last week, demanding that I provide more “practical help.” The fact that this is a free newsletter was not apparently appreciated! Then a woman on Twitter admonished me for not taking seriously EVERY piece of unsolicited feedback I receive, saying I showed “poor leadership”! If we allow people having a bad day, or the zealots who believe that if we’re not following their value path we’re astray, to …


Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 8/17/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: I wander down a narrow path abutted by dune grass from the house here in Nantucket to the sea, a solitary man. The beach is quiet in the mornings, the receding tide behaving itself, offering azure that meets cerulean about ten miles out at the horizon. Down the beach I see houses, perhaps 300 yards apart, barbicans and battlements defending the heights from the pounding waves. Gulls float over sandpipers running along the shore snatching up …


Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 8/10/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: My personal feeling is that people deserve respect. I don’t meet someone with a belief that they are “broken” and need to be fixed, and I don’t write my books with the idea that my readers need remedial help. The antipodal position is that of the bully, who berates people. Psychologically, bullies are highly insecure and have inferiority complexes. Their bullying behavior is an attempt to compensate for their perceived inferior status by physically and/or emotionally …


Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 8/3/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: A quarter century ago, Larry Wilson, founder of Wilson Learning, told me he loved to be surrounded by books, because he felt more creative and productive merely by being in their presence. Okay, I thought, but I’m also reading the books! Today, I do surround myself with bright, creative, and risk-accepting people who challenge me to help them and surprise them. The key is never to be threatened by intellect and success, but rather to surround …


Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 7/27/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: I deal with people daily who are afraid to ask for referrals. They give others referrals all the time, but they aren’t comfortable asking for themselves. They fear rejection from the source (they won’t be given a referral) or from the referral (they won’t respond to their request). Yet referral business entails almost no cost of acquisition and is the lifeblood of most businesses. I’ve found that it’s a mindset issue. If you think you’re “selling” …


Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 7/20/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: One of the major differences I’ve seen in people’s choices of careers, often unconscious and unspoken, is affiliation needs. If you don’t need people around you, a solo career suits you fine. But if you do, it can be enervating to work alone. I can work with people but I certainly don’t require it, and I’d see employees as just so many “baby chicks” to be fed constantly. However, some people derive ideas and strength from …


Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 7/13/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: We’ve made our annual pilgrimage to the Jersey Shore. There are thousands of people here in the water, on the sand, walking the boardwalk, enjoying their families. Fishing boats and dolphins make early morning forays for fish, gulls make continual raids on unprotected food, barkers call to you for games that are hard to win and prizes that are silly if you do. This is the American middle class vacation, and a wonderful thing it is. …


Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 7/6/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: When I worked in Princeton for a consulting firm early in my career, I found myself in many corporate classrooms teaching the details of decision making in business. I was in my 20s, and pointed out to a group one day, logically I thought, that you can’t make a decision based on investing more resources than you had available. “What would you call that phenomenon?” asked a participant. “Bankruptcy,” I said, without thinking. That’s what’s happening …


Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 6/29/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: I’m sure you’ve heard the apothegm, “The harder I work the luckier I get.” The hardest work for most of us is mental work. Oh, it’s rough to dig a ditch or build a foundation, no question, but it seems far more difficult for people to develop and monetize new ideas; harder to respond to a prospect’s objections; more wearying to create an outline for a new book! Physical labor is reduced and streamlined when it’s …


Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 6/22/15

Alan's Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: I’m astounded by the lack of common sense of many small business owners. It’s not “big box” stores or technology diminishing their profits. It’s small thinking and bad habits. You need someone answering phones who has not had their personality surgically removed. You need to get back to callers within a few hours (there’s this invention called a “cell phone”). You need to listen and diagnose, not ignore and prescribe. You need to trust customers, not …