Don’t Forget the Small Stuff

Somebody once told me to never forget the small stuff (thank you, return phone call/email, etc.).  I’m glad I listened. 

Struck a deal today with someone I hadn’t seen for almost seven years.  Our business transaction was born out of many small things I did with him long ago.

You never know when things will return and pay dividends…or penalties.  It’s your choice as to which one.

What small things are you doing today?

We Knew It Was Coming

Welcome to the world of networking…the rating variety that is.  Asher raises his hand on rating current and former bosses at  Not sure how it makes money, but the idea is intriguing. 

What if this type of networking became as regular as other types of social networking?  Would managers/leaders do anything different?  Maybe…maybe not.  Let’s face it, being a jerk boss is another form of addiction.  Don’t believe me?  Then how likely would a twenty-year jerk boss just quit being a jerk?  You see what I mean?

The best therapy for a jerk boss is for them to resign (from any and all leading of people) or go do something else inside the company.  I guess I not a believer in jerk rehab.

What say you?

Are You Busy?

To say that Americans are busy would be putting it mildly.  Look no further than the average corporate soldier for proof.  He/She has a Blackberry full of meetings, outings, dinners, off-sites and much more.  They may be "well titled" or have no title to speak of, but you can bet their running hard.

Now here’s the million dollar question; Are they making a difference?  By that I mean, are they really accomplishing anything that will have some impact after they’ve left the organization?  Is it just a flurry of activity that someone else will take over when they’re released or retired?

Most people are not leaving a mark.  They’ve substituted activity for true results that matter…is it any wonder why happiness has eluded them.  Why are these folks unhappy?  I think it has to with a part of the human core that knows they don’t have forever to leave a brilliant light behind (thank you Bernie Taupin).  Why do all the meetings if nothing of significance is produced?

So what do you do if you find yourself in a predicament like the above?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Listen to this Seth Godin Podcast around his new book.
  • Read the comments from Anon on Penelope Trunk’s Blog).
  • Ask yourself what’s holding you back from doing what you want.
  • If you’re married DO NOT follow your dream without your spouse.
  • Any organization that’s better at meetings than producing dynamic products/service, is a company to be avoided.

Calling All Sychophants

Some believe that corporate America is overrun by sycophants (those who feel the need to kiss ________).  I’m not writing to measure that statistic, but I do want to write to those who are courageous enough to admit that they are part of the "sycophant club."

Why are you doing it?  If you’re older than 40, has it worked as a strategy for you?  Have written a book on the subject?  Are teaching a course on how to be a better sycophant?

The ironic thing here is many don’t know they have the problem and a good number of others don’t care. 

Here are some reasons why group #1 (ignorance) behaves the way they do:

  • They live with and are driven by multiple fears.
  • They’ve observed others (fellow sycophants) and blindly follow.
  • No one of importance in their lives told them it was OK to be authentic.
  • They work in an organization that rewards sycophant tendencies.

Now for group #2 (plotters):

  • They worship the 21st century trinity (me, myself and I).
  • See the fourth bullet above.
  • They’re calloused beyond a habit.
  • They’re hurting deeply and won’t let on.

If all of my insight nerves you, then maybe there is hope.  Go find someone who will tell you the truth and loves people.  You just might find an awakening…

What sycophant experiences have you had?

The Future State

Found this interview with Joseph Ellis courtesy of InsideWork.  Mr. Ellis is a master of strategic thinking and vision.  He was formally with Goldman Sachs and is a well noted author.

How do you approach your strategic thinking?  When you consider the future do you see anything?  By the way, strategic thinking is not a meeting at an off-site with your boss.  It can happen there, but it starts with you and the years of practice (strategic thinking and visioning).

Keep in-mind that what you see may not always be the yellow brick road.  Maybe you’ll see that what your doing today is destined to become extinct.  Some organizations and people should have exited their markets years ago (see the music business).  There are other dreams to dream, other businesses to be involved in.

Humans are notorious for self-delusion.  Our retirement, out second home on the coast or the new Lexus keep us hostage to a present reality that only we see.  No wonder innovation and change are so often dreaded in corporate America.  If you’re truly a visionary and a strategic thinker, then you’ll realize that there is an ebb and flow to all things.  Timing is everything here.

Take a deep breathe and See.

Just Return the Call

One thing that drives me nuts is someone not returning the call.  Now, if someone was in a serious accident or was called into an emergency meeting, I would understand a delay in responding.  But I have no sympathy for those who lack the professionalism, organizational skill or some other dysfunction.

I find it ironic that organizations that tout their "customer-centric" culture are some of the greatest abusers of responding in a timely manner.  Maybe its arrogance or complacency.  Just the same, the taste left in the mouth of the person/client waiting to hear is bitter.  Here’s a clue; if you can’t do the small things (responding for example), then you won’t be able to do the big things.

If you’re not returning a customer’s call, then you must be confused as to how you make money.  If it is your lead or contact, then you must not care about your future opportunities.   

Do your business a favor and just return the call.

News You Can Use

Don’t be alarmed by this post, I’m not turning into an investment adviser.  But today’s post ("Watch the 10 Year U.S. Treasury Yield") from Rich Karlgaard makes you think…might help your investments as well.

I’m reminded of how there is always more to the story than meets the eye.  It doesn’t mean that all information is valuable.  But the more relevant you are, the more attractive you’ll be.  How are you supplying information to your audience?  What relevance is there in your information.

If you’re the only one benefiting from what you provide, then you’re in a self-serving business model.  Business models like this are destined for mediocrity and/or failure.  Forbes has created added-value for it’s readers by what Mr. Karlgaard is dispensing. 

I wonder what ROI they’re getting from his blog?