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 …



The Frisbee Rule

Bentley and I try to get some Frisbee in every day. It’s easy for me, I stand in one spot at the top of the yard and he races downhill after the disk (for the analytic among you, in excess of 32 MPH), and then returns it to me. When I’m done exercising my wrist muscles, I call, “Bring it in,” and he heads for the back door and a biscuit (as does Buddy Beagle, knowing if Bentley gets a …


Preventive vs Contingent

After a month, hundreds of law enforcement people finally killed and captured the two escaped convicts from the Clinton Correctional Facility at a cost of tens of millions. I don’t think anyone could fault the diligence and organization of the pursuit. However, the pursuit was necessary because preventive actions failed. The inmates received tools, developed relationships with prison civilian workers, used dummies to avoid an apparently not-too-rigid bed check. Contingent actions can be highly effective, yet no matter how well …



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 …


Try A Sample

When you buy online from Kiehl’s, the high-end skin care company, they “demand” that you choose three free samples to be shipped along with your order. I haven’t figured out how to avoid this (I assume there’s a box to check somewhere) so I simply choose three. Inevitably, my wife or I find at least one worth ordering in the future. At Kiehl’s counters, they lavish you with free samples, and the same offer is made over the phone. It’s …



Is It an Event or A Process?

People tend to see hiring as a series of events: find talent, interview, make a decision, make an offer, and so forth. But hiring is a process that really looks like this: Identify need and results required Search for talent Interview against criteria Make offer and hire Provide acculturation and orientation Provide emotional and logistical support Provide with a mentor or coach Integrate rapidly into the business Evaluate, monitor, support, develop Study successes, longevity Change the process as needed as …


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 …