Are You A Business Chef Or Cook

In business, there are many buckets in which we can categorize people. One of my favorites is Chef or Cook. Chef (AKA Strategist) - A Chef is creative. They are motivated by intrinsic forces That is they are driven by satisfying the internal need to discover, to learn, to do that which has never been done, to create. They do what makes them happy. Great startup, entrepreneurial CEOs are usually Chefs, they have a unique vision, the need to do what hasn't been done. They don't follow the well-worn path, they blaze the new path. Cook (AKA Executioner) - A Cook is an operator. They are extrinsically motivated. They are motivated by external rewards or avoidance of punishment. A cook doesn't mind doing the same thing over and over again. If there is a pot of gold at the end of the task, they will do that task over and over again and do it well. Being A Chef is a good thing. Being a Cook is a good thing. One is not better than the other just like an Apple isn't better than an Orange or just like a 3rd baseperson (there goes Mr. PC Cranky) s not better than...

Executive Coaching – Caring Criticism

Executive coaching is all about asking questions. Executive coaching is about being critical without criticizing. Judging without being judgemental.  Good executive coaches don't tell clients what to do, they get clients to figure out what to do. People have a higher probability of succeeding on plans they've developed themselves than on plans developed for them. When a client asks me, "What would you do?" My answer is, "I could tell you what I'd do and it would work...

Business Climate Change

A few years ago, a goofy senator, from the oil-producing state of Oklahoma, backed by the carbon producing lobby brought a snowball into the Senate as proof that the climate is not warming.  I guess Senator Inhofe confused weather extremes with climate change. There is irrefutable proof that the earth is warming. Just as there is irrefutable proof that as I type this on February 20th it is snowing outside. Whether talking about business or the earth, climate should not be confused with the weather. Weather is what you experience when you step outside on any given day. In other words, it is the state of the atmosphere at a particular location over the short-term. Climate is the average of the weather patterns in a location over a longer period of time, usually 30 years or more. - NOAA Legend says that in 1913 Cecil B. DeMille set out from the east coast to film "Squaw Man" in Arizona. The climate in Arizona, warm, dry, sunny. Unfortunately for Arizona, the weather that week was cold, overcast with some rain. Not conducive for an early film industry that required massive amounts of light (sunlight) to achieve acceptable film images. DeMille, kept moved further west and Hollywood became Hollywood. He...

Being Your 24-Year-Old Self

It's difficult to believe a bumblebee can fly. If you just look at the size of the body, the thin, undersized wings, the weight-to-lift-ratio (which is something that just tumbled off my fingertips in an attempt to appear like I know what I'm talking about. Trust me. I don't.)...

Lessons from Machiavelli

Traditionally, at best, calling someone Machivillian meant that person was manipulative and at worst meant they were evil. Whether you believe Machiavelli is the devil or a prophet there is no denying that his thinking on power and influence stands the test of time. Born in Florence in the late 13th century, Niccolò Machiavelli was the epitome of a Renaissance Man, He was a diplomat, politician, historian, philosopher, humanist, writer, playwright, poet and the number one performing fine collector of overdue books at the Florence library. He was a primary political advisor to the Midici'sduring their rule over the Republic of Florence. His book, The Prince is an examination of methods to gain, consolidate and maintain power. Every leader can learn from Machiavelli. For instance: "It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both." A leader that only panders to gain favor with their flock will not be respected. If you easily forgive bad behavior or lack of performance, exceptional team members will be demotivated to thrive. A great leader holds his team accountable and there are consequences for consistent non-performance. "Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for everyone can see and few can feel. Every one sees what...

Competitive Strategy: Value Discipline

Imagine you were building a football team from the ground up. Would you just go about willy-nilly picking the best available players?  Do you think after you filled your roster and realized you had 10 quarterbacks, and no running backs or receivers you’d ever win a game? What is your value discipline? No, when you build a team, you build a team around the best talent available to execute a particular style of play.  You choose a style of play, build a team around that style. You build a strategy around the optimal path to exploit your resources and compete against the other teams. If there are no great throwing quarterbacks available and there are a ton of mobile quarterbacks and running backs, you build a running team. To build on that you would look for linemen that can help you support that running strategy. You declare to the team, "we are a ball control team." You better make sure everyone on the offense now understands we are a run oriented-offense. The coach declares to win we keep the ball on the ground, control the clock, and dominate the ground game. Everyone knows we are built to run. If the coach misses...