Tag Archives: Presidents’ Day

Thoughts From George

Presidents’ Day celebrates the births of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  You might not think of Washington as a successful businessman but he was, even after he left the presidency.  He made rye whiskey in retirement after a career as a tobacco farmer.  Since today is a holiday for many of you, I thought I’d get in the “day off” spirit by reposting something from 2009 that still is good advice – Washington’s, not mine!  

April 30: George Washington becomes the first ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s no surprise that almost 282 years after his birth, George Washington has some business thoughts. Now before you click to the next blog, let’s remember that this is the man who predicted the European Union a long time ago except that he called it the “United States of Europe“. His open letter to the American People, written as he left office, raises themes that are even more true today. He urged Americans to unite for the good of the whole country, to avoid permanent foreign alliances, particularly in Europe, and to keep morality first and foremost in government.

Turns out he had some pretty good business advice as well although I’m not sure he intended it as such. So, let’s follow his advice to “Let your Discourse with Men of Business be Short and Comprehensive” and look briefly at a few quotes.

Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.

We’ve discussed that point many times in this space. It’s impossible to do good business while doing bad things.

My observation is that whenever one person is found adequate to the discharge of a duty… it is worse executed by two persons, and scarcely done at all if three or more are employed therein.

Right-sizing, in other words, but also giving people responsibility and the freedom to act. I suspect that he knew a lot about conservation and deployment of resources from his time near the Delaware.

Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.

Oh boy. Is there a better quote to sum up all that has gone down in the housing and mortgage industries? Don’t do bad deals and you’ll sleep better! And finally:

Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.

For whom you work and with whom you do business say a lot about YOU! So Happy Presidents Day and let’s remember the people behind the holiday as well as what they had to say.

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Happy President’s Day!

Today we celebrate the birthday of George Washington and of course since the government decreed this a holiday it will never occur on his actual birthday (true!).

1795 - 1823

1795 – 1823 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In many places, the holiday also celebrates Lincoln’s birthday – these two men were born on dates only 10 days apart although separated by 70 years or so.  Since today is a holiday for many of you, I thought I’d get in the “day off” spirit by reposting something from 2009 that still is good advice – Washington’s, not mine!

It’s no surprise that almost 282 years after his birth, George Washington has some business thoughts.  Now before you click to the next blog, let’s remember that this is the man who predicted the European Union a long time ago except that he called it the “United States of Europe“.  His open letter to the American People, written as he left office, raises themes that are even more true today.  He urged Americans to unite for the good of the whole country, to avoid permanent foreign alliances, particularly in Europe, and to keep morality first and foremost in government.

Turns out he had some pretty good business advice as well although I’m not sure he intended it as such.  So, let’s follow his advice to “Let your Discourse with Men of Business be Short and Comprehensive” and look briefly at a few quotes.

Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.

We’ve discussed that point many times in this space.  It’s impossible to do good business while doing bad things.

My observation is that whenever one person is found adequate to the discharge of a duty… it is worse executed by two persons, and scarcely done at all if three or more are employed therein.

Right-sizing, in other words, but also giving people responsibility and the freedom to act.  I suspect that he knew a lot about conservation and deployment of resources from his time near the Delaware.

Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.

Oh boy.  Is there a better quote to sum up all that has gone down in the housing and mortgage industries?  Don’t do bad deals and you’ll sleep better!  And finally:

Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.

For whom you work and with whom you do business say a lot about YOU!  So Happy Presidents Day and let’s remember the people behind the holiday as well as what they had to say.

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Sitting Here In Limbo

Today is a day off for a number for folks in honor of presidents Washington and Lincoln.  While I was never a big fan of  having to come to the office on what was a holiday for many others, the silver lining was that it was a great day to catch up.  The cynics among you will say that returning a phone call on a holiday or sending an email when you know the recipient won’t be checking is evil.  I understand your thinking but I’d also argue that it’s a lot less evil than the alternative and that’s the point I’d like to make today.

All of us sell something at some point.  There are the obvious new business pitches and the not so obvious selling of ourselves to higher-ups for raises, promotions, etc.  What drives me crazy – and probably you as well – isn’t getting turned down; it’s no response at all.  I’m amazed, given the ease of modern communication, at the number of people who don’t respond at all to email or phone calls.  At first I thought that maybe it was just me but as I’ve spoken with others on the topic I’ve discovered that it’s a common problem.

I know that sometimes mail ends up in a spam folder, which is why I’ll often reach out via other means – telephone, social networks, etc. – if my first couple of mails go unacknowledged.  That term is very specific – even if you can’t take the time to give e thoughtful response, why not at least say “I have your note, I want to think about it, I promise I’ll get back to you within a few days”?  Or if you’re going to say you’re not interested, why not just say it?  I realize that to the person doing the selling this may be the most important thing in the world at the moment and it’s just not to you but at some point YOU will be doing the selling (or asking for a raise or a budget or something).  How about a little common courtesy?

Everyone I know is constantly pitching business.  We know we won’t close everything we pitch but at some point one has to stop pitching in case everyone says yes and hires us.  After all, there are only so many hours in a week.  What we can’t do is stay on hold.  So how about we all use the day off to respond to two or three folks who we’ve kept sitting in limbo and try to make an effort not to do that to anyone going forward?

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GW

It’s no surprise that almost 277 years after his birth, George Washington has some business thoughts.  Now before you click to the next blog, let’s remember that this is the man who predicted the European Union a long time ago except that he called it the “United States of Europe“.  His open letter to the American People, written as he left office, raises themes that are even more true today.  He urged Americans to unite for the good of the whole country, to avoid permanent foreign alliances, particularly in Europe, and to keep morality first and foremost in government. Continue reading

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