Are You Feeling What I’m Thinking?

Therapists are famous for responding to a patient’s comment with: “I didn’t ask what you thought about your family, I asked how you feel about your family.” My observation in business is that logic tends to make people think and emotion tends to encourage people to act. However: As consultants, you have to revert to the logical and not the emotional. You may feel someone isn’t treated well, or that the boss doesn’t give proper credit, or that the environment stifles …


How Does This Work?

Someone in my community who’s a technical whiz just explained to me how to use the terrific magnifier on my iPhone X. There isn’t an instruction at all that comes with it. In fact, when I received my new iMac Pro, my son-in-law had a good time explaining to me how to turn it on (a small, recessed button, black-on-black, in the back). These days a new doorknob comes with an instructional video. My pool robot has NASA-like documentation, videos, …


Who’s Allowing This?

Here’s something I’ve learned repeatedly in consulting and in working directly with the highest level, best-performing executives in Fortune 200 companies: When you find a performance deficit of any kind, do not start with the performer in terms of correction. Find the performer’s immediate superior and determine why this has been allowed to persist, and if it’s isolated or an issue with all of his or her subordinates. That’s the shortcut to the cause.


It’s This Simple….

Clarity and simplicity are two foundations of value. Stop self-editing by saying, “How can I provide the buyer with something this simple?” Simple answers to complex issues are far better than complex answers to simple issues, trust me. If people need complexity and opaqueness and a lot of time and money spent, they can hire McKinsey. About 90% of my high-fee consulting work was about verifying for clients that they were doing the right things well. Client: “How are we …


Please Don’t Leave A Message At The “Beep”

Both Kensington and FileMaker put representatives on the phone within a 90-second wait to help me make adaptations for my new iMacPro. High tech, high touch. Apple  provides 30 minutes of live phone time when you purchase the iMac or the iPhone X. Every business is a relationship business, from Microsoft to Amazon, Boeing to Sears. Some do it well, many do it terribly. I trust Emirates Airlines, they always get the benefit of the doubt, but I wouldn’t walk …


A Day At the Office

The Patriots beat the Titans last night as they should have, one of the very best teams in the league playing a team that is lucky to even have a winning record. New England fans started leaving in the third quarter to beat the traffic and get out of the cold. All this despite the media frenzy trying to create a rift among owner Bob Craft, coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady. That’s what the media do, they try …


Why Did This Happen to Me?

You can’t blame your bad luck. You can’t blame God. Or the Fates. Because it’s usually your fault, and even if it isn’t, you’re still stuck with making it better or right. Branch Rickey, the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who brought Jackie Robinson to the majors and integrated baseball, said, “Luck is the residue of design.” If you come to me to turn around your bad luck, I can’t help you. I’m not a necromancer. But if you …


The Fault Is NOT In Our Stars

That horrible Amtrak accident, with excessive speed, was almost certainly caused by human error. While I haven’t seen the cause of the Atlanta Airport fire, placing the backup system activation so close to the primary—thereby enabling one event to wreck both of them—was clearly human error. Most of the problems you’ll find in you clients involve human error, either in judgment or performance (attitude or skills). Stop redesigning processes that already work well, and focus on people who are making …


“This Survey Should Only Take About 20 Minutes and We’ll Put You In A Raffle”

Almost every survey I receive I ignore, because they are too long, try to serve too many objectives, and are basically asking me for a favor. I tend to respond when I’m just asked a few questions and I can qualitatively respond, not check someone else’s metrics (boxes). The reward for using my time can’t be some raffle that I’ll never win and I have no proof will even take place. Here’s a good survey: “What did we do best, …


If I Only Had A Brain….

The New York Giants football team, in a horrible slump, has benched Eli Manning, the quarterback, who has previously won two Super Bowls. The Cleveland Browns, who are zero for the 21st Century, keep juggling their lineups and coaches. Does it occur to anyone that long-term problems are the result of poor decisions made by the general management and owners? GE recently forced out their CEO before his tenure would have been up because they were unhappy with performance. They …