Monday, January 30, 2012

BVC Op Race Against the Machine

The BVC Opinion
Big Picture Summary, Opinion, Thought Provoking Questions, and Applications on Leading Books and Articles by
Rich Steel of Brandywine Valley Consulting January 30, 2012
Race Against the Machine:
How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy
By Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee Digital Frontier Press 2011

Good news- Easy enough to read, thought provoking, extremely timely, very well researched, and ultimately hopeful.

Bad news- Too many statistics and therefore enough people won’t read it!

Good news- They offer 19 ideas to help solve the problems, a few stand out and are absolutely worth considering, and as usual, I offer suggestions on applying them right away.

Why has median income stopped rising in the US? Why is the share of population that is working falling so rapidly? Why are our economy and society becoming more unequal? Is this 99%-1% phenomenon for real? The popular explanation right now is that the root cause of these symptoms is technological stagnation; a slowdown in the kinds of ideas and inventions that bring about progress and prosperity. In Race Against the Machine, MIT's Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee present a very different rationale. Drawing on research by their team, they show that there has been no real stagnation in technology; in fact, the digital revolution is accelerating. Recent advances are the stuff of science fiction. Computers now park and drive cars in traffic, translate between human languages effectively, and beat the best human players on the TV game show, Jeopardy.

As these examples show, digital technologies are rapidly encroaching on skills that used to belong to humans. This phenomenon is both broad and deep, and has real economic implications. Some of these implications are positive; digital innovation increases productivity, reduces prices (sometimes to zero), and grows the overall economic pie. But digital innovation has also changed how the economic pie is distributed, and here the news is not good for the average worker. As technology races ahead, it can leave many people behind. Workers whose skills have been mastered by computers have less to offer the job market, and see their wages and prospects shrink. Entrepreneurial business models, new organizational structures and different institutions are needed to ensure that the average worker is not left behind by cutting-edge technology and cutting-edge machines.

In Race Against the Machine, the authors bring together a range of statistics, examples, and arguments to show that technological progress is accelerating, and that this trend has deep consequences for skills, wages, and jobs. The book makes the case that employment prospects are quite grim for many today not because technology has exploded, but instead because we humans and our organizations are not keeping up.

One example involves automated driving. In 2005, economists suggested that it would be "hard to imagine" computers ever being able to handle driving in traffic. Yet, just 6 years later, Google introduced automated cars that did exactly that. Progress in information technology is very likely to exceed our expectations and surprise us in the coming years.

Other examples include: efficient and systematically optimized offshore production combined with low cost and high volume sales (like Wal-Mart and Home Depot); disintermediation or destruction of local business (like Border’s vs. Amazon); Securities trading and hedge funds dominated by millisecond response trading programs; Creation, packaging and sale of financial instruments that are intentionally too complex and systematically risky to understand, but far too easy to sell in a deregulated environment (from Enron to Credit Default Swaps, to Occupy Wall Street).

Their hypothesis is not based on cheerleading for technology, but thoughtful observation on how computer based capabilities, doubling at Moore's law rates for decades, have enabled changes to the operational models of business, and the economic effect of these changes.
Computer technology investments improve productivity, but the workers who are fired or downsized go beyond the good paying and secure manufacturing jobs which built a strong middle class in developed nations through the end of the last century. Displaced workers include local merchants, sales people, bank tellers, clerks and more. The cost savings of increased productivity are real, as are the innovations in core processes, but they can increase rather than decrease middle class employment, increase income disparity, and in the financial sector increase the dominance of institutions too big to fail.

The authors end with some cautiously optimistic notes on how increased technological capabilities eventually lead to more competition and broadly based economic growth, because that is what has happened in the past. While the problems are laid out clearly and uniquely, some of the solutions offered are pretty conventional. The authors' call for revamping and upgrading schools, for example, is something that just about everyone can agree on. However, even if that occurred, the kids in school today would not enter the workforce for many years, and who knows what technology will be capable of by then?

The authors make 19 recommendations (most of which I support) regarding the problem of stagnating median income in four categories all having to do with “accelerating organizational innovation and human capital creation to keep pace with technology.” The categories are: 1.Education, 2.Entrepreneurship, 3.Investment and 4.Laws, Regulation & Taxes. Most of them are suggestions we can pass on to our local, state and national government representatives, but a few are ideas we can influence more directly. I have summarized them all, to be fair to the authors, and chosen the ones that seem to have the most relevant applications for us. My additions and thoughts are in bold.
1. Education
a. Invest in education; pay teachers more (this could apply to Trainers in HR)
b. Pay teachers for performance (ditto above)
c. Focus on learning, not testing in school (ditto again)
d. Keep K-12 kids in school more hours and more days
e. Increase the ratio of skilled workers in the U.S. by encouraging skilled immigrants
2. Entrepreneurship
a. Teach entrepreneurship as a skill not just in Business Schools but throughout higher education. Foster intra-preneurship inside of companies.
b. Boost entrepreneurship in U.S. by creating founder visas like those in Canada.
c. Make it easier to set up businesses through standardization.
d. Make it easier to set up businesses by getting rid of red tape.

3. Investment
a. Invest in infrastructure, especially communications and transportation (if you can in your field)
b. Increase funding for R&D (ditto above)
4. Laws, Regulation & Taxes
a. Resist regulations on hiring and firing (in your company)
b. Make it more beneficial to hire a person than to buy more technology through incentives and tax breaks
c. Make health insurance portable
d. Don’t over regulate Internet Businesses
e. Reduce the home mortgage subsidy to increase labor mobility
f. Eliminate “too big to fail” thinking
g. Reform the very complicated and time consuming patent system
h. Shorten copyright periods increasing the flexibility of fair use

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Why “Made in America” is Short-Sighted

I was recently asked by a client to offer my opinion on why "made in America" just might be short-sighted. Here is my opinion:

The concept of “made in America” seems like a good idea in principle, but may be a bit short-sighted or misguided. And it is certainly short-sighted relative to Quest Marketing Corporation. Many well-known economists and scholars agree. Best-selling author of The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman, agrees. The US Chamber of Commerce agrees and now, so does my eleven year-old grand-daughter, Eve.
Eve recently saw a bumper sticker that said “Buy Made in America” and asked me what that meant. I said, “Well, honey, some people think that we should only buy things that are made here in America”, and she asked, “Why?” I said, “I guess they think that since a lot of people are out of work here, (9% at last count) that if we only buy things that are made in America, more jobs will exist here and that will be a good thing.” She asked, “So we shouldn’t buy things that were made in China, India, Japan or France?” (She really wants to go to Paris some day!) , and I said, “That’s what some people think, but they are wrong.” She replied, “My dad says that a lot of jobs have gone to other countries”, and I said “Some have, but a lot of jobs have been created here too, since we sell things to just about every country in the world. So it works both ways.” She looked puzzled and said, “I don’t understand, Pappy.”
I said, “For a long time, since people have been able to travel from one place to another, they have traded with each other. Just like you might trade your cookies at lunch for your friend’s chips, people have traded furs for horses or wagons, guns for gold, spices for minerals, or whatever. And today, we trade with other countries all over the world. My car, and your dad’s, were made in Japan, and so was your flat screen TV. The wheat and corn people eat in Russia probably came from America, and most of the cars people drive in Mexico came from America too. The banana you had for breakfast grew in Brazil, the knife we used to cut the banana came from Germany and your sneakers were made in China. And all of the jobs people are in to make all of those things are all over the world. It’s what they call a global economy.” And she said, “What’s a global economy?”
“After World War II, in the 1940’s, which you are learning about in your History class, millions of soldiers came home, started families, bought houses, made cars, built roads, bridges, and railroads, started companies and there were lots of jobs to do. In the 1950’s, when I was born, that continued and we also helped Germany and Japan rebuild their countries. In the 1960’s we got into space exploration and early computers and more jobs were created. In the 1970’s, China opened up a bit and started trading with the rest of the world and we also had a war in Vietnam that was a sad time, but it created even more jobs. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, American companies figured out how to do lots of work with fewer people by automating and using more machines to do work. And since you were born, in 2000, we have continued that, all the while trading with just about every other country in the world. Some jobs have gone away, some have moved to other countries, but many jobs have been created too. When I was your age, nobody worked for Comcast, Verizon Wireless, Apple Computer, Google or Facebook because we didn’t have cable TV, cell phones or lap top computers that connected to the internet.” “What?” said my grand-daughter. “I get the global economy stuff, but you didn’t have cable TV or cell phones or lap tops? What did you do?” I said, “Well, life was just different then. And we didn’t really think much about a global economy or doing business all around the world.”
A few years ago, Thomas Friedman wrote a book about that global economy titled, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. It is an international bestselling book that analyzes globalization, in the early 21st century. The title is a metaphor for viewing the world as a level playing field in terms of commerce, where all competitors have an equal opportunity. As the cover illustration indicates,

the title also alludes to the perceptual shift required for countries, companies and individuals to remain competitive in a global market where historical and geographical divisions are becoming increasingly irrelevant.
In the book, Friedman recounts a journey to India , when he realized globalization had changed core economic concepts. In his opinion, this flattening is a product of a convergence of the personal computer with the rise of work flow software. Friedman recounts many examples of companies based in India and China that, by providing labor from typists and call center operators to accountants and computer programmers, have become integral parts of complex global supply chains for companies such as Dell, AOL, and Microsoft.
Friedman defines ten "flatteners" that he sees as leveling the global playing field:
#1: Collapse of the Berlin Wall on 11/9/89: Friedman refers to this as "When the walls came down, and the windows came up." The event not only symbolized the end of the Cold War, it allowed people from the other side of the wall to join the economic mainstream.
#2: Netscape On 8/9/95 Netscape went public at the price of $28. Netscape and the Web broadened the audience for the Internet from its roots as a communications medium used primarily by "early adopters and geeks" to something that made the Internet accessible to everyone.
#3: Workflow software: Friedman's catch-all for the standards and technologies that allowed work to flow. It is the ability of machines to talk to other machines with no humans involved. As Friedman said, "people can (now) work with other people on more stuff than ever before."
#4: Uploading: Communities uploading and collaborating on online projects through open source software, blogs, Wikipedia (and Twitter and Facebook).
#5: Outsourcing: Friedman argues that outsourcing has allowed companies to split service and manufacturing activities into components which can be subcontracted and performed in the most efficient, cost-effective way. This process became easier during the introduction of the World Wide Web.
#6: Off-shoring: The internal relocation of a company's manufacturing or other processes to a foreign land to take advantage of less costly operations. China's entrance in the World Trade Organization allowed for greater competition. Now countries such as Malaysia, Mexico, and Brazil must compete against China and each other to have businesses off-shored to them.
#7: Supply-chaining: Friedman compares the modern retail supply chain to a river, and points to Wal-Mart as the best example of a company using technology to streamline item sales, distribution, and shipping.
#8: In-sourcing: Where a company's employees perform services, beyond shipping, for another company. For example, UPS repairs Toshiba computers on behalf of Toshiba. The work is done at the UPS hub, by UPS employees.
#9: In-forming: The growth of search engines like Google is tremendous, which Friedman states is "now processing over one billion searches per day, up from 150 million just three years ago."
#10: "The Steroids": Cell phones, iPods, personal digital assistants, instant messaging, and Voice over Internet Protocol, can be done at high speed with total ease anywhere, anytime by anyone.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, countries that had followed the Soviet economic model, including India, China, Russia, and the nations of Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Central Asia, began to open up their economies to the world. When these new players converged with the rest of the globalized marketplace, they added new brain power to the whole playing field, enhanced horizontal collaboration across the globe and became the most important force shaping politics and economics in the early 21st century. Thomas Friedman believes that to meet the demands of a flattening world, the United States work force should keep updating its skills. Making the work force more adaptable will keep it more employable.
In the last few years, the world economy has not only become “flat” as Friedman defined it, but “flat”, as in not growing. In the US, in 2009, an economic stimulus package was passed by Congress. This has met with mixed reviews, depending on your political persuasion. Some have said it hurts that “buy made in America” concept. Others disagree.
In a NY Times Article on “Protectionism in the Obama Stimulus Package: Disaster Lessons from the 1930’s” dated February 11, 2009, Burton Folsom Jr., a professor of history and management at Hillsdale College and a senior historian at the Foundation for Economic Education writes:
“Slap a tariff on China and save American jobs,” the protectionists say. The collapsing export market after 1930 helped to set off a decline in American industry. This tempting line of reasoning is flawed for two reasons.
First, if Americans pay more for, say, American-made shoes or shirts, then they have less to spend for other things they might need — they are simply subsidizing inefficient local producers. And those American manufacturers, who are protected from foreign competitors, have little incentive to innovate and cut prices.
Second, if we refuse to buy China’s imports, China will refuse to buy our exports, including our first-rate computers and iPods. Our export market collapses. We saw this happen during the Great Depression when Congress passed, and President Herbert Hoover signed, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff in 1930. That tariff, the highest in United States history, foisted high import duties on more than 3,000 foreign items. The Europeans immediately retaliated, and this deepened the Depression throughout the world. When we refused to buy Swiss watches, for example, the Swiss refused to buy American wheat and Chevrolets.
The collapsing export market after 1930 helped to set off a decline in American industry. United States automakers sold more than five million cars and trucks in 1929, but only about 1.8 million in 1933. Other causes (including tax increases under both Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt) also made the Great Depression worse, but the Smoot-Hawley Tariff was a significant reason the Depression was as severe as it was — 25 percent unemployment at its worst.
Free trade benefits buyers and sellers. Tariffs benefit certain sellers at the expense of all buyers.
In that same NY Times article, Gary Clyde Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics writes:
The buy-American proposal in the stimulus package makes no sense; not for United States employment, and certainly not for spurring recovery from the world’s worst downturn since the Great Depression. The positive impact of the provision would be trivial; fewer than 9,000 American jobs and only a few billion dollars of American imports.
But the negative impact, coming as it does from the United States, would be a disaster. Essentially this measure says to the world: “Go ahead and put on new protection, just so long as you obey the letter of your commitments in the World Trade Organization.”
Supporters of the buy-American provision correctly state that other countries already impose higher barriers on their industrial imports than the United States does; that’s certainly true for Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa. But world recovery will be long delayed if countries decide that “leveling up” to the highest barriers is the right way to go.
The US Chamber of Commerce has also weighed in on this notion of buying “made in America”. As an introduction: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation, representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.
In a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, on March 16, 2011 titled, “Made in America: Increasing Jobs through Exports and Trade”, the US Chamber of Commerce said:
(We) believe that global interdependence provides an opportunity, not a threat. In addition to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 115 American Chambers of Commerce abroad, an increasing number of members are engaged in the export and import of both goods and services and have ongoing investment activities. The Chamber favors strengthened international competitiveness and opposes artificial U.S. and foreign barriers to international business. Positions on national issues are developed by a cross section of Chamber members serving on committees, subcommittees, and task forces. More than 1,000 business people participate in this process.
No priority facing our nation is more important than putting Americans back to work. Nearly 9% of the U.S. workforce is unemployed; a figure that doubles when those who have stopped looking for jobs and the millions of part-time workers who want to work full time are included. As a nation, the biggest policy challenge we face is to create the 20 million jobs needed in this decade to replace the jobs lost in the current recession and to meet the needs of America’s growing workforce. World trade will play a vital role in reaching this job-creation goal.
The bottom line is simple: If America fails to look abroad, our workers and businesses will miss out on huge opportunities.

So, best-selling authors, noted scholars and even the US Chamber of Commerce agree that this notion of “made in America” might be short-sighted. And, of course, now, so does my grand-daughter! But that’s not the whole story when it comes to Quest Marketing Corporation.
We believe that we have the world’s best, highest quality forged steel knives and offer them at a very competitive and value-based price. We looked all over the world to find the best steel and the best crafters to make our products. We also looked at characteristics like balance, heft, sharpness, durability, aesthetics, size, color and more. We considered form and function, feel and performance. And out of all this research and development, Quest Cutlery was born.
In our research, we found that some of the best steel in this “flat” world comes from Germany and have therefore partnered with a renowned steel manufacturer in Solingen, Germany. We also found that some of this “flat” world’s best crafters are located in Asia and have contracted with the best cutlery factory in Asia to manufacture only the finest quality Quest Cutlery.
Supporting the fact that German steel is of the highest quality, The One World Trade Center, which was formerly named Freedom Tower, is currently under construction on Ground Zero in the very heart of New York, the place where the World Trade Center was destroyed on September 11, 2001.

The corners of the skyscraper’s facade will be edged with stainless steel made in Germany. ThyssenKrupp Nirosta, Krefeld, produced the material using a customized rolling and heat-treatment process. A Cologne based partner company fabricated this high-quality material into complex facade elements for the corners of the building; some 250 tons in total. And supporting the high quality of Asian craftsmanship, the lower floors of the new skyscraper will be surrounded with blast-resistant glass from China!
So, again, best-selling authors, noted scholars, the US Chamber of Commerce, and even the architects of the new One World Trade Center agree that this notion of “made in America” might be short-sighted. But there’s more to the story of Quest Marketing Corporation.
To maintain the highest quality, we produce our products globally, but we are creating jobs in America; thousands now, and hundreds of thousands soon. We are creating jobs in sales and marketing, distribution, design, administration, management, leadership and more. And we are proud to do it!

Friday, January 30, 2009

More on Uncommon Thinking for Uncommon Times

More from Barack Obama's Inauguration Address:

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less.

It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.

Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West, endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died in places Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sanh.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed.

Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

More about James Stockdale and the uncommon thinking of his wife:

While a POW, little did Stockdale know that the actions of his wife, Mrs. Sybil Stockdale, had a tremendous impact on the North Vietnamese. Early in her husband's captivity she organized The League of American Families of POWs and MIAs, with other wives of servicemen who were in similar circumstance. By 1968 she and her organization, which called for the President and the U.S. Congress to publicly acknowledge the mistreatment of the POWs (something that they had never done even though they had evidence of gross mistreatment), was finally getting the attention of the American press and consequently the attention of the North Vietnamese. Mrs. Stockdale personally made these demands known at the Paris Peace Talks and private comments made to her by the head of the Vietnamese delegation there indicated concern that her organization might catch the attention of the American public, something the North Vietnamese knew could turn the tide against them. The result could not have been more fortunate for James Stockdale at the very time he slit his wrists.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

More on the Five Dysfunctions of a Team

The bold and italicized words are additional thoughts to my BVC Opinion. I would love to hear yours.

· Absence of Trust

o Teams are built from clarity and trust

o Being vulnerable with each other builds trust

o Without real trust we are stuck with invulnerability

Members of great teams trust each other on a fundamental, emotional level. They get to a point where they can be completely open with one another, without filters.

· Fear of Conflict

o Many of us fear or avoid conflict, but dealing with conflict constructively (once trust is built) can be a good thing

o So, disagree, challenge, and question one another

o Without this kind of atmosphere and approach, we are stuck with artificial harmony

Teams that trust one another do not hesitate to disagree with, challenge, and question one another all in the spirit of finding the best answers and making great decisions.

· Lack of Commitment

o We are more likely to commit to something if we have had our “say” on the issues, made suggestions, and raised concerns, even if we have raised conflict too

o Unfiltered conflict drives buy-in even without consensus

o Without commitment we have ambiguity

Teams tht engage in unfiltered conflict are able to achieve genuine buy-in around important decisions, even when some members initially disagree. That's because they ensure that all opinions are considered, giving confidence to team memers that no stone has been left unturned.

· Avoidance of Accountability

o Commit to decisions and hold one another accountable

o A team is a team, because it works together toward common goals

o Without trust, conflict and real commitment we often set our standards too low

Teams that commit to decisions and standards of performance hold one another accountable for adhering to those decisions and standards. And they do't rely on the Team Leader as the primary source of accountability; they go directly to their peers.

· Inattention to Results

o Even though teams are often made up of people from different functions or functional leaders, the team’s results (their collective results) must come before individual results or agendas

o Think of high performing teams you have been on or seen and also think of teams with members like ex-49er, ex-Eagle, current Dallas Cowboy, Terrell Owens or some other over paid professional @$$&0/3’s. Do words like status and ego come to mind?

Teams that trust one another, engage in conflict, commit to decisions, and hold one another accountable focus on what's best for the team and achieve results.

Monday, April 17, 2006

I am reading two new books these days. One is Doris Kearns Goodwin's latest book called Team of Rivals: The Political Genious of Abraham Lincoln. Looks like there might be some team lessons in it for us. After Lincoln's election he assembled his disgruntled opponents and created "the most unusual cabinet in history, (marshalling) their talents to the task of preserving the Union and winning the war. I am doing you a big favor on this one, since it is nearly a thousand pages. The other book I am reading is by Tom Friedman and is titled The World is Flat. It is a brief history of the 21st Century focusing on " the convergence of technology and events that allowed India and China and so many other countries to become part of the global supply chain for services and manufacturing, creating an explosion of wealth in the middle classes of the world's two biggest nations and giving them a huge new stake in the success of globalization." Friedman just published a revised addition of this book (just after I bought the first one) which gives some advice and suggesions for us regarding what to do about all this. That is where my next BVC Opinion will focus.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Monday Morning Leadership Part Deux

OK, in my latest BVC Opinion, I listed the eight topics Tony covered in his Monday Morning Mentoring Sessions with Jeff. And I went into some detail on Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing. Tony's topics or lessons are listed in bold and his main points are captured below. I want to elaborate on the first one this time and will add more thoughts later:

Drivers and Passengers (there are both…be a driver)
Until you accept total responsibility, no matter what, you will not be able to put plans in place to accomplish your goals.
Transitioning from manager to leader requires that you make different decisions. Leading and managing are different. As a Consultant, I need to lead and drive most of the time. If I blame my client for something, even his or her resistance, I am missing the point. If something is going wrong on a project, I need to accept responsibility for it and kick it up a notch. I can do this by re-contracting, clarifying the project's objectives, working harder or working smarter. I sometimes need to challenge my clients and confront them with tough issues, but the responsibility for successful completion of the project is mine. When I am marketing and lookig for business, the same thinking applies. Timing matters and I need to catch people in the right frame of mind, but if I don't lead and drive my marketing efforts and accept full responsibility for this part of my business, I won't get very far. I think this type of thinking fits for Leaders in other walks of life too. Passengers don't decide or plan much. Drivers do. Be a driver !!!
Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing (stay focused)
People have different perceptions of what the main thing is (know your mission and make sure others do too).
Escape from Management Land
Get (and stay) in touch with your people.
Your job is not to lower the bottom by adjusting to and accommodating the fallen stars. You should be raising the top by recognizing and rewarding superstar behavior.
The “Do Right” Rule
Develop your action plan before you get into a crisis. Anticipate potential problems, act to prevent them, and have contingencies.
Guard your integrity like it’s your most precious management possession.
Hire Tough
The most important asset in your company is having the right people on your team.
Never lower your standards just to fill a position. You will pay for it later.
Do Less or Work Faster
Your time is your responsibility. Take control of your time so you can take control of your life.
Look for small increments of time by prioritizing, limiting interruptions, and effectively managing meetings.
Buckets and Dippers (Don’t be a dipper and take from others)
Fill lots of buckets by:
i. Knowing the main things
ii. Giving feedback on performance
iii. Providing recognition
iv. Communicating the team score
The more buckets you fill, the more your bucket is filled.
Enter the Learning Zone
Get out of your comfort zone and live in the learning zone
Read one management/leadership book a month (or at least the BVC Opinions!)
Read at least 10 minutes a day
Set goals / Stay positive / Give back