Dan Snyder is Proof That Luck Can Be a Cruel Mistress

In Business, luck can be a cruel mistress. Too often, good luck can be mistaken for brilliance. Take the case of Daniel Snyder. He sold a schlock telesales operation and made hundreds of millions of dollars. Since then he's demonstrated his brillance in multiple ventures: In 2005, he began accumulated stock in Six Flags until he gained control of the board. He installed a buddy as CEO and named himself Chairman. In 2009 the company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Under the reorganization plan, Snyder was removed and lost his entire investment. A real businessman, named Bill Gates, owned 10,210,600 shares worth about $122 million when Snyder took control of the company in 2006. They were worth nothing by the time Snyder was ejected from the board. That's $122 million that the Gates Foundation could have used to eradicate malaria. Thanks, Dan! In 2006 he bought and nearly destroyed Johnny Rockets, and dumped it in 2013. In 2007 he paid $175 million for the rights to own and destroy Dick Clark products, which he later sold in 2012. But no failure has been more evident than what he has done with the Redskins, something I've been documenting for years. Brand Management:...

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...

Introspective Leadership – An AdvisoryCloud Tale

Great leaders are Introspective. They listen. They are open to feedback and they are not afraid to admit when they are wrong. One leadership expert could not have said it better when he said, Strategic introspection, which consists of purposely examining one's own motivations, personality traits, strengths, weaknesses, and emotional triggers, is a crucial element of leadership development, In fact, sense of self should be the first step in leadership development. It is common to hear leaders ask "Why does my staff or team member behave this way?" It is less common to hear leaders ask "How does my behavior manifest in this organization?" - Don the Leadership Expert You'd think a leadership "thought leader" as enlightened as Don would be open to feedback and "strategic introspection." Yet when he tweeted out, "I'm now available as an Adisor on AdvisoryCloud. You can request a meeting with me here if you're ever seeking advice."   You think he'd be thankful that Mr. Cranky, in his own delicate Mr. Cranky subtle way responded to his tweet with a, "How's that working out for you" and included this link which points out that AdvisoryCloud is a scam and that people who blindly sign up for the service without doing any...

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...