The Art of Email

Tim Sanders has a great post today titled Master Your Subject Line.  He tackles the art of e-mailing-e-mailing well.  In our hurried world, getting better at communicating through e-mail is essential.

Some of my former colleagues would tell you that I hated e-mail that contained three or four paragraphs.  Shakespeare was right…brevity is the soul of wisdom. 

Tim stays on the issue of subject lines, which is a good place to start the dialog.


In a post from today’s The Juggle you get a regrettable story around life choices.  So what’s more important, your life or your career.  I know its not an either/or game, but our culture has elevated career to a place not intended.  In my upcoming book ("Waking Up in Corporate America") I try to emphasize that work is a tool to grow your life…not the other way around. 

Yes, often it is better to choose your daughter’s dance recital over a work project.  If you’re a results oriented professional (meaning you’re good at what you do), then don’t be afraid of the consequences.  Talented people are always in demand.

We’re surrounded by so many fears.

Walking in the Customer’s Shoes

Guy Kawasaki has a great post today about The Top Ten Ways to Hinder Market Adaption.  I learned a few things for my online pursuits, but I also came away encouraged that someone else in the universe feels my same frustration.  This pertains to the mind-numbing approach that some companies take in making it "easy" for customers to interact with said company.

I have been outspoken about corporate America’s failure in producing leaders.  Guy’s examples are fitting with my critique.  Why would you make it hard for customers to do business (however you measure that)?  Security…online or otherwise?  You can make a customer happy and still be secure.  If you can’t, you probably are soon to be out of business.

Great leaders understand that you begin with the end and then work your way back.  In other words, the customer’s happiness back to their entrance (online or in-person) to your business. 

These principles are pretty simple, but you have to be able to see it.

Age and Power

David Widener’s piece from Market Watch Weekend on Citigroup doesn’t say it all.  Quite frankly, he glosses over the reason why Citi is struggling.  Their culture is ripe for the problems it faces today.  The story around Todd Thompson’s departure is ironic sense he was a key leader charting the future for the organization.  Wow, do you really need a wood burning fireplace in your office? 

Certainly Mr. Thompson’s age and the power granted was the issue.  If anybody new the importance of managing the P&L it would have been him.  Sadly, power has a way of corrupting our best intentions…even average intentions.

So few executives no how to handle the power they’ve been given.  Ask the majority of Fortune 500 companies how they prepare their top leaders for the power given and you’ll most likely get an awkward pause.  It’s not that they don’t want leaders that handle power well, they just trample the issue on their way to the analyst conference call. 

Maybe Citigroup should invest in a development program that address "power management."  If they already have one, then maybe they need to evaluate how effective the program is…in delivering results.

Buffett on Management

This post from the Wall Street Journal Davos Blog is telling on Warren Buffett’s management style.  Melinda Gates makes a glowing comment at the World Economic Forum about Buffett and his approach to a $30 billion dollar gift to the Gates Foundation

Now if this guy who gives away billions can let go and get out of the way, then why do leaders in some organizations take a different approach?  Who’s got more to lose?  Maybe Buffett realizes the connection between risk and reward…I guess his investment returns reflect that.

If you’re a manager with a tight reign (more than likely because you’re afraid of loss), take some hints from Warren.  You might be surprised by how many people are waiting for you to let go and get out of the way.


When you’re on hold with a large organization, do you like the background music and messages?  You know; "thank you for choosing (fill in the blank) we appreciate you and your business." 

Well, have you ever wanted to throw the phone against the wall because the company doesn’t come close to living up to the slogan?  Today, I experienced just that.  I live in suburbia where trash removal is just another part of taking care of things.  My appreciative provider is Waste Management.  And yes, they play music and messages while you’re on hold that claims how much they appreciate the business.

I won’t bore you with the details of my disgust, but they need a disclaimer before they play that lousy music and message.  Something like; "the information you are about to hear reflects our own delusional belief that we really care about our customers.  In truth, we only care about our revenue and expenses and you are nothing more than means to an end."

Think I should change trash removal services?

The Opposition

If you choose to pursue your purpose and destiny what are the chances you will be opposed?  My experience says the chances are great.  Why?  I think mostly because purpose and destiny leads back to God…our origins and such.  It makes us uncomfortable to think that there is this great story wrapped up in our life.

It is a great tragedy that the very opportunity for happiness in work and life is avoided by most.  Opposition is a key reason. 

You might be surprised by those that will rally forces to thwart you.  Friends, family, career to name a few.  I don’t offer any magic pills for dealing with opposition besides…DON’T GIVE UP! 

When this ride around the Sun is over you won’t want regret defining you.  It will be too late to do it over (sorry my Hindu friends).  The following are some links to help you on your journey:

  1. Success Built To Last
  2. The Juggle
  3. Fast Company/John Baldoni