Cranky Old Fart as Product

You can't sell to everyone. Your products and services aren't right for all people or companies. So why are you spending so much time presenting a homogenized, milk toast, bland, offend-no-one image? Why are you so afraid of offending the people who make crappy customers? When I work with clients and ask them who are their best customers, they can answer quickly.  When I ask, who are your worst customers, they can rattle off a list faster than my brother-in-law heads for the bathroom when a waiter lays down the dinner bill. When I ask them what traits do they have in common, their answers come more slowly. Talking about good or bad customers is an abstraction. The human mind doesn't do well when making decisions based on abstractions. Here is a trick that can turn that abstraction into something more concrete. Try this trick. It's important to list the characteristics that make a great customer. For instance for me, here are a  few of the traits of a great coaching client: Never Knows Enough Seeks Unvarnished Feedback Runs a Healthy Growing Business Reads Non-Fiction Loves What They Do Make your list. Is every trait equally weighted? Of course not. Try to assign weights to...

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.)...

Leadership Integrity: Is Integrity A Mandatory Leadership Trait

Leadership and Integrity Of the numerous motivations behind committed loyal followers, developing loyalty via respect and trust in a leader is the most enduring. If humans believe their leader’s goals are aligned with theirs, if they agree on their why or purpose (see post) and that their leader has the skills, intellect, and character to lead the team to its goals… they will follow.  To be sure, loyalty to a competent, leader of high integrity isn’t the only way to lead. Despots lead through fear. There are cases of untrustworthy, incompetent leaders...

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...