Monthly Archives: August 2012

//August

Happy People

You know when your business is perfect because you find yourself only surrounded by happy people. I must not speak too soon but even in these difficult days, I am in the enviable position that for the biggest part this is mostly the case in the Partnership. However, luckily for us, this is not so for our client’s.

I guess you are wondering why I find the fact that my client’s workplace being filled with unhappy people is lucky? It’s because that if this wasn’t the case we’d have no assignments. Think of it this way: Unhappy employees, customers or suppliers are mostly unhappy when things go wrong. Broken promises equal a broken supply chain. Going over the head of someone to speed up delivery displays a broken procurement or production process. And so it continues. Nearly everything we do can be described as a process.

So, according to my new theory, (I only invented it last week) ‘an unhappy person is the first sign of a broken process’. I am currently pressure testing it – so if you have any comments, feel free to post them here.  My theory can also be expanded to: ‘The unhappier the work place, the more broken the processes’. It’s as simple as that.

Hoping this is not the case where you work?

Have a good week,

Harley

2016-11-17T08:24:41+00:00 1 Comment

No doubt about it, I am a genius – how about you?

Who wants to think of themselves as ordinary? Certainly not me.  Believing that you are someone special is important for a balanced life. So imagine my delight when I discovered that, according to a commonly held definition, I am in fact a genius.

Apparently, genius is often defined as the ability to hold two contradictory opinions at the same time. The novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald even goes further by saying “… is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function”. In my line of work this ability is not a ‘nice to have’ but a necessity.

Let me give you an example: ‘I believe that my client should expand her business via franchising but under no circumstance should she franchise her business.’ Now if you think I have gone mad, it might be because there is very little difference between genius and madness. And if you think that my ultimate solution to my client’s problem is to do nothing, then you would be wrong.

The problem is that when most of us get an idea into our heads, it is not until someone else comes along and challenges it that we, with regret, either give it up or carry on regardless.

A genius in business is to be able to hold two, or more, contradictory opinions or ideas at once and to hold them with a passion. Because of this, when they finally make a decision, they have a fully objective and balanced view of their chosen direction. This enables them to understand both the pitfalls and opportunities of their chosen path and thereby have a suitable strategy in place to achieve their objective.

Relying on others to challenge your ideas is fine but one problem I have noticed is that the further you travel up the ladder of success, the less they are likely to do so and the less you are able to hear them.

Have a good week,

Harley

2016-11-17T08:24:42+00:00 2 Comments

Why do people hate e-mails all of a sudden?

Many people are trying to convince me to stop reading my e-mails and to use other types of social media instead. There’s a very good article from Sid Savara on why you shouldn’t read your e-mail in the morning that I fully support.  And while I agree that our valuable time can easily be distracted by incoming mail, will switching to other kinds of social media work any better as a business to business communication tool?

The way I see it is that there are two main kinds of activities that we do in business: Firstly there is the stuff we need to do to do our jobs and secondly there’s the stuff we need to do to help others do theirs. This new wave ‘Thatcherite’ attitude of just looking after No. 1. does not support my concept of efficient collective working.

In my office I have stopped using e-mails for task issuing and monitoring. Instead I have switched to the excellent ‘Action Method’.  This removes a great deal of e-mail chains and clumsy status analytics.  All tasks are delegated and sorted by project and topic, with all associated documentation and discussions neatly attached to the tasks themselves.  This leaves the good old fashioned e-mail for general communication, including sending of invitations and other contractural stuff.  In fact it takes me back in line with the old ‘internal memo’s’ and ‘Letters’ (if anyone remembers these two forms of communication).

In my office the phone has mostly been replaced by MS Lync or Skype for video conferencing, with its neat added chat and screen sharing features, only a few of my laggard colleagues are taking their time to catch on to what is now, in my opinion, a standard form of communication.

So I feel I am doing OK. Twitter’s alright for notifications but Facebook and business, try as I may, I just don’t get it yet.  All my business colleagues that use Facebook frequently, hardly ever use it for business related messages and when they try to it just doesn't work. Their business posts look so out of place next to their family photos and pets it's like seeing advertising posters in a church or a temple.

I am off now to write an e-mail to my lawyer,

Have a good week,

Harley

2016-11-17T08:24:42+00:00 1 Comment

Thunder on the mountain

“At the first sign of rain come straight back down!” The hotel receptionist’s voice rang loudly in my head as I walked towards the foot of the mountain.  I was keen to discover the source of the giant waterfall. Little more than an hour later I was out of breath and my legs were so tired I decided to take a short rest.

A short rest became a rather long pause while I took in the stunning view. I had climbed much higher than I had thought. To my right was a shear drop of several hundred meters where, on the other side of the gorge, the waterfall pounded its way down to the valley. To my left was the narrow rocky mountain path and the dark forest beyond.

Just then I noticed a small brown animal scurrying down the mountain but instead of carrying on, it veered off in my direction. I was amazed at just how fast the little mouse (for that’s what it turned out to be) could move. He came right up to me.  I froze perfectly still and the little creature popped his front paws onto the toecap of my shoe and looked straight up at me. He stared right into my eyes. His nose and whiskers twitched nervously but his eyes were as still as still can be.  It was then I heard it again, much closer this time, the thunder on the mountain.  Earlier I had optimistically mistaken it for the waterfall.

All at once the tiny mouse dashed off under a rock and moments later the rain began to fall.  Pitter patter at first and then rapidly rising into a deafening torrent. The wind was outrageous as I battled my way back down, rain was pouring through my shoes and my glasses steamed up so badly I soon had to remove them to see anything at all.

The hillside path was nowhere to be seen. Too frightened to try and find it, I made my way into the forest and traded upturned roots and mud for loose rocks and a shear drop. I swore to myself that if I ever make it back down to the safety of the hotel I would never go up a mountain again without all the proper protective clothing and a professional guide.

Sometimes our desire to prove something to ourselves, or to others, guides us into doing foolish things. Sometimes in life we are given warnings. Sometimes they come just in time and sometimes, just sometimes, in the most unexpected form.

Have a nice week,

Harley

2012-08-07T00:17:33+00:00 1 Comment