Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Enemy

The Italian Festival started in town here last night. Besides the usual rides and carnival games there is a LOT of food available so it seemed a good topic for Foodie Friday Fun. While we don’t attend this event any more (it’s hot, parking’s a pain, it’s kind of expensive, and no kids around to demand attendance), it’s interesting to listen to how some of our friends who go regularly describe it:

I hate it – I put on 5 pounds just walking in. Between the sausage and peppers and the pastries, I feel like I’m at war with my waistline and the Italian army of food is attacking from all sides.

Funny notion, and there’s a business thought in it.

You see, as the diet program slogan goes, food is NOT the enemy, obviously. As Pogo said, “we have met the enemy and he is us.”  Overeating and blaming the food is like wrecking your car and blaming the tree you hit.  But many of us do it every day in business.

We blame subordinates for shoddy work when we didn’t train them or given them clear instructions.  We blame suppliers when we deliver our product late even though we didn’t stay on top of the incoming deliveries of raw materials.  We blame consumers when they ask questions (don’t they know customer service costs money)?

If each of us quits blaming the food and deals with the real enemy, I think we’d be making a lot of progress.  You?

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I love connecting.  I love that technology makes staying in touch and up to date so easy.  I think it’s great that years and miles melt away at the touch of a “send” or “post” button.  I just want to add one thing for you to keep in mind as you do so:  shut up.  OK, so maybe that’s a bit harsh, but here’s what I mean – think before you hit that button because I’m not so sure all of us do. Continue reading

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These Got Me Wondering

Image representing New York Times as depicted ...

What if you made a product that was wildly popular but your business wasn’t set up to make any money off of it?  Suppose that millions of consumers were using what you made but because they were doing so in a manner different from what you had built your business to support, you were going bust?  I think you know where I’m heading with this but let’s just make sure. Continue reading

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Are You A Person?

Hardware-based IP phone.

The phone rang yesterday and out of that brief call comes a business thought. The person on the other end was calling a bookstore that used to have the same telephone number that my business now has. Obviously since I’ve had the number for over two years it’s been at least that long since the book store has had it but I get a call or two every month for them. It’s still in business, by the way – I’m not sure why they changed their number other than they moved to the next town. You’d think the search engines and phone books would have caught up by now. But that’s not the lesson. Continue reading

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How It’s Made

One of my favorite Canadian imports – besides hockey and Neil Young – is a quirky show called “How It’s Made.” You can see it on The Science Channel. Basically it shows you how lots of things both common and uncommon are created. Because today is Foodie Friday, and the Fourth of July, I’m embedding the clip on how hot dogs are made:

Yummy!  You can find lots of clips on the show’s site.

But I’ll also ask you to think about a business question – do you have any sense of how the things your business produces are made?  I mean, how well do you really understand the people and processes that are responsible for your economic health?  I always felt like I should know enough about each person’s job so that I could provide guidance by asking good questions.  That doesn’t mean I could, or wanted to, do their jobs.  But I could do mine, which was to help them do theirs.

But enough business – on to a great holiday weekend!

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