Week Of November 18, 2019

“We all savor victories and suffer defeats.  But neither victories or

defeats should describe us; rather, we are defined by whether we have

the will to get up and claw our way back into the game.  This is the

true challenge, one seemingly without end, for life is our ‘long game.’”

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“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.

Plato

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 18, 2019

 

“First, we want life to be romantic, later to be

bearable, finally, to be understandable.”

Poet Louise Bogan

 

“I want my children to have all the things I

couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them.”

Phyllis Diller

 

THIS WEEK’S STUFF

  • Actually, It’s Lonely In Two Places.
  • OK,OK, Let’s Talk
  • Carrots and Sticks
  • If/Then Success
  • Econ Recon: Clear Sailing?   A China Syndrome?

 

ACTUALLY, IT’S LONELY IN TWO PLACES 

In his play, “Henry IV,” Shakespeare observed, “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.”  One of the most common descriptions of the leader’s life is that, “It’s Lonely at the Top.”  Fred Crawford, former CEO of global consulting firm Alix penned a letter to CEOs in Chief Executive Magazine outlining the dangers of, as he puts it, “leading in a vacuum” (i.e., without good advisors).  In a short article he offers five options to make life at the top less lonely, and less dangerous, for those accountable for the fate of the enterprise.

Many of the most important business decisions are only made once.  Rarely are there “Mulligans,” or do-overs, in business.  CEOs who fail to get the decision-making edge that Mr. Crawford urges risk finding out that life at the bottom is even more lonely than life at the top.  [NOTE:  I am part of Vistage, the world’s leading peer advisory firm.  So please contact me if you’d like to talk with some CEOs who have already heeded Mr. Crawford’s advice].

 

OK, OK, LET’S TALK

If you’re a Boomer, the rallying cry of the 1960’s and early 1970’s was, “Don’t trust anyone over 30.”   In case you missed it, in recent weeks the Millennial version of this has gone viral: “Ok, Boomer.”

CNN to its credit invited two intelligent and thoughtful representatives of the Millennial and Boomer cohorts to a discussion about the friction between them, how it’s similar to what the Boomers and their parents of the “World War II” generation experienced, and how it’s different.  Check out their discussion on the CNN site.  It may be just the beginning of a long dialogue, which can be very helpful if in fact it is a dialogue.  “Ok, everyone?”

 

CARROTS AND STICKS

One of the few permanent competitive advantages a company can have is a culture that attracts, retains and motivates a quality work force.  So much has been written about culture, that many people are getting culture fatigue.  That doesn’t change its importance, but it does indicate a need to review the basic fundamentals of what a culture is, and what it isn’t.

Jocelyn Goldfein is a venture capitalist at Zetta Venture Partners, and has been an angel investor and engineer at Facebook, VMware and other successful firms so she may have some insights on culture that deserve your attention.  Culture is often defined as “how we do things around here.”  While such definitions are not inaccurate, they are not necessarily helpful.   Take a minute to understand why she suggests that a better way to think about it is that “Culture is the Behavior You Reward and Punish.”

 

IF/THEN SUCCESS

This article from Ideas.TED.com suggests that life is a little like poker.  We know what cards and chips we hold and must do the best with what we have.  Check out this a simple but powerful self-management tool that requires nothing more than stopping to have a little “If/Then” conversation with yourself before reality (i.e. your own humanity) interferes with the actions required to achieve your goals.  Check out this article and accompanying short video from MIT professor Bina Venkataraman (author of “The Optimist’s Telescope”).

 

ECON RECON

Clear Sailing?   The longer this longest-ever economic expansion goes on, the more likely a recession becomes, but when?  Dr. Brian Wesbury thinks the economy and the stock market still have a way to run.  Find out why he thinks there is “No Recession on the Horizon.”

The China Syndrome:   The stock market seems to be very sensitive to every rumor or pronouncement around our trade agreements with China.  Spend a few minutes with Dr. Alan Beaulieu of ITR Economics for an executive summary of what’s really happening in China and what it might mean for those doing business there, directly or indirectly.

 

Have a good week!