Category Archives: attitude

Political decisions

Risky business

Political decisions are risky because they're public and they're personal. They're political because they're about principles, policy and personalities. They're important and unavoidable.

Political decisions have to be made, not just in politics... in business and in life. The question is, will the decision be guided by the principals and the policy objectives or by the personalities and the politics in play?

As President John F. Kennedy described in his book, Profiles in Courage, the decision maker's courage and character are revealed by decisions that ignore the politics and the personal costs, but defend the most important principles and move everyone in the right direction.

Recent examples: John McCain defying President Trump and his Republican colleagues; Republicans defending Trump to protect their own careers; Maxime Bernier abandoning the Conservatives; Premier Couillard betraying loyalties prior to an election campaign.

What about political decisions in your business?

Also risky, important and unavoidable. Also revealing of courage and character.

In my own book, DON'T DO IT THE HARD WAY, I describe the Seven Biggest Mistakes that entrepreneurs make and how to avoid them.

Mistake #7: Distracted by Personal Issues

Personal issues in the business are usually political issues. Especially in family businesses. Company politics often detract from good management and decision making in the business, affecting performance. Personalities and political issues may relate to the owner, family members in the business, the management team or some key staff members.

Avoiding the Seven Biggest Mistakes is a question of balance. To avoid mistake #7, keep your personality in your business plan, but keep personal issues and politics out of your business.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

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Check out Uncle Ralph’s books: "Don't Do It the Hard Way" and "The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans" Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book. 

Warming up or procrastinating?

It’s your choice

Rock starsLike for the rock-stars, a warm up act can be good. A good warm up act gets the main act and the audience in the mood for a great performance.

If you’re working on your own big performance it’s a good idea to warm up, a little stretching or a quick jog around the track.  Or a few Blog posts and Tweets to warm up before working on the serious article or a new book. (This is me, doing that.)

BUT, be careful you’re not procrastinating. Stalling until you feel like you’re “in the mood” for it. Maybe it’s better to just “Do it!”

Warm up by getting started. Set a time to get going, when the bell rings or the puck drops.

Remember, the vacuuming and the laundry are not urgent! Re-organizing your files and cleaning up your junk mail, that’s procrastinating. They need to be done and done right, but not RIGHT NOW!

Make a distinction, are you warming up for the main act or postponing the important stuff with very poor excuses?

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com for more Blog posts and articles.

Join our mailing listfor regular e-mails with ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Check out Uncle Ralph’s books:"Don't Do It the Hard Way" and "The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans" Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book. 

Image is everything

Don’t let packaging become a problem

Does your packaging provide a competitive advantage? Does it appeal to customers and enhance your brand name? Raise your corporate profile?

Or is it annoying and dysfunctional? Loud and obnoxious, attracting the wrong kind of attention.

The trick is to make packaging decisions in favour of the customer first. Not just for flashy presentation on the shelf or to prevent shoplifting. Think about those packages you hate and make sure you’re not among them. Like those giant colourful, appealing boxes of cereal that turn out to be only two-thirds full. Or Gillette razor-blades that are locked down and set off alarms if you want to take a closer look.

Is that really helping sales? Making it look overpriced and hard to buy?

Some packaging is all about presentation and not at all practical for consumers when they get it home. Buy a new shirt or pair of socks and you’ll ask yourself, “Why do they need all the paper and cardboard wrapping? And 27 pins buried in painfully hard to find places?”

heinz-ketchup-bottlesAnd then there’s Ketchup. Fifty years of impractical glass bottles that were a challenge to get the tomato paste out of. Was it really a branding strategy to build a cult following of unusually persistent dedicated buyers? Pissing people off is not usually a good sales tactic. Finally some genius at Heinz introduced the squeezable upside-down plastic container. Great! And much easier to consume large quantities. Now that has to be good for sales.

How good is your packaging?

Instead of wrapping up your stuff in flashy exaggerated marketing B.S. and tying it down tight so nobody can steal it, think about higher values of being functional, appealing, authentic and socially and environmentally responsible. Easy to open, but secure from tampering or inappropriate use. Non-polluting.

And stop worrying about people stealing it.

Try giving it away instead. Those people may just become loyal repeat customers and raving fans who tell everybody how wonderful you and your product are. Those giveaways may be your best-performing marketing initiative.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson 

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com for more Blog posts and articles.

Join our mailing listfor regular e-mails with ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Check out Uncle Ralph’s books:"Don't Do It the Hard Way" and "The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans" Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

Lessons from the Masters

Business is like Golf

Masters 2018Four days of exciting Masters Tournament golf in the 82nd year of its memorable history at the beautiful and challenging Augusta National Golf Course also delivered some lessons for us all.

The winner of a suspenseful round on Sunday for the Masters trophy, the traditional green jacket and $1.98 million in prize money was 27-year old, Patrick Reed. He prevailed with four excellent rounds against strong challenges from the best young golfers in the world, Rory McIlroy, Ricky Fowler, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas and against the nostalgic hopes of the over-40 previous Masters winners Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer.

Here’s what we learned and why business is like golf:

  1. Young, new competitors are still most likely to win. Seven of the top ten finishers were under thirty years old. Younger, faster, stronger, and just as talented and tough, makes for very challenging contenders.
  2. Veterans can still do well.  If you stay fit, use current technology and maintain your commitment to getting results, then you can also share in the rewards. You don’t have to be best. Third place was worth $748,000. Four players, including two veterans, tied for fifth and won $386,000 each. Tiger Woods was back, but not at his best. He finished strong and remains a threat to the young guns.
  3. Consistent high performance is necessary to prevail.  Jordan Spieth had two record-breaking rounds and two ordinary rounds, he finished third. Rory McIlroy started in second place on Sunday, but lost his touch on the greens and finished fifth.
  4. Not every shot will be a good one.  It’s how you recover from your mistakes that matter. Fifty yards off the fairway and under the trees? Then hit it from the pine needles down the fairway and close to the pin.
  5. Even the good shots may end up badly.  A beautiful long curling 200-yard shot lands in the centre of the green, then rolls off the edge and into the water. Drop another ball and carry on.
  6. A good attitude, plus talent and hard work are necessary, but a little good luck also helps. Reed chipped too hard from the edge of the green and the ball was going fast across the green toward the water, but hit the flagstick and fell in the hole. Exactly what he intended!

Remember: Business is like golf.

Be better, do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Read more articles like this one at: Business is Like Golf Blog

 

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Check outUncle Ralph’s books, Don’t Do It the Hard Way and The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans. Available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

 

 

Perfect enough

Time to expose the flaws

artist at work (2)Don’t let perfectionism become an excuse for procrastinating. You can continue making improvements, editing, revising, polishing, testing and tuning without ever releasing a final product. But at some point, you have to decide it’s perfect enough.

It’s time to let fans, readers, customers find the remaining flaws. Maybe they’ll love it as it is. They’ll never see the same imperfections that you’re obsessing over. They may find some that you never noticed.

Let it go. Share your work with the world.

Work on the next one. It will start closer to perfection based on what you’ve already done.

Good enough is too low a threshold, perfect enough is better.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Hiding in anonymity

Who me?

Bad behaviour is easier when it’s anonymous. As you have noticed, I’m sure.

 In traffic behind tinted windows in a closed car, drivers are more likely to be rude, selfish and inconsiderate. Online, aggressive and inappropriate behaviour is even worse and made easier if it’s anonymous.

Some people enjoy the attention and notoriety of their Twitter tirades and posted rants, but for the most egregious, we don’t usually know exactly who it is or where they live.

So how do we raise standards of social behaviour and civil discourse? Maybe it starts with not allowing anyone to hide behind anonymity. If they were required to disclose their names and let us see their faces, they would be less likely to embarrass themselves. More likely to say and do things they can be proud of. Boasting is better than ranting, tell us who you are and where you work.

Think about it the next time you recognize that you are hiding in anonymity. Be proud. Better yet, make Mom proud. Tell us your name.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

“I knew that, I do that”

Obviously

Fist-Pump-ChampionSometimes when you’re working on self-improvement and reading the latest business textbook, or following a self-help advice column or participating in a workshop or seminar from your carefully chosen preferred expert, guru or philosopher king, you may suddenly think, “Hey, that’s obvious. I already knew that. Of course I do that.”

The experts agree! You’re doing it right.

But is that reassuring or disturbing? Good to have your own ideas and approach confirmed or, dammit, I paid too much for something I already know. Does it build your confidence and conviction or seed new doubt and anxiety? Maybe you need to keep searching for better answers?

I’m recommending you choose reassuring, building confidence and conviction. You’re smarter than you think. It’s time to stop searching and researching. Don't let preparation become an excuse for procrastination. Get to work and make the improvements.

But keep learning by doing. Keep developing and adapting your ideas and approach to your own circumstances and capabilities. Nobody knows the possibilities for constant improvement better than you.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, "Don't Do It the Hard Way" and "The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans" Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

The blame game

Goddamn the …?

My Dad grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan where the most hated institution was the CPR, responsible for the railway across the prairies. He liked to tell us the story of the poor farmer who complained “I lost my crop in a hail storm, my truck broke down, my dog died and my wife left me. Goddamn the CPR!”

angry_man ragingQuebec politicians for decades explained their every failure, “c’est la faute du fédéral!” It’s Ottawa’s fault.

We have lots of scapegoats available to us today. For every failure, foul-up, screw-up, disaster or disappointment, choose your favourite. Blame the oil companies, the media, or Donald Trump. Evil rich white guys. Google or Microsoft. It’s a long list if you try.

But the blame game is too easy and it gets us nowhere. Just a lazy way to end the conversation and stop doing anything to tackle the issue. It’s not my fault, there’s nothing I can do.

Let’s stop looking for who to blame.

Let’s look harder for who can fix it and how we can help.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at: Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs

 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, "Don't Do It the Hard Way" and "The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans" Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

 

 

 

 

Modern managers are smarter

Are you?

Remember the bad old days when managers judged performance by all the wrong indicators?

angry bossA managing partner who questioned a consultant ready for promotion because, “I’m not sure of his commitment to the firm, I never see him taking his briefcase home at night.” Not noticing the same consultant was usually going home after six and had a roster of very happy clients.

Or the ambitious manager promoting himself by denigrating a colleague for arriving late to his staff meeting, ignoring the fact he was the same individual willing to forego family obligations to attend corporate events on evenings and weekends.

Modern managers are more likely to look at real performance, not work habits or personality traits. Judging and rewarding for results, not effort and time spent at the office. Enabling work-life balance and accommodating family needs to improve employee satisfaction.

There is a very enlightening book on the subject, called First, Break all the Rules © 1999, by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, based on a study of high performance managers and how they succeed through their employees. The essential theme is to ignore the rules and standard company policy, treat everyone differently. Don’t try to change who they are and how they work, find out what they like to do and are good at, then let them do it their way.

Modern managers do not follow the lead of their rule-bound old-fashioned predecessors. Which group are you in?

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at: Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs

 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, "Don't Do It the Hard Way" and "The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans" Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

More celebrations

Fewer apologies 

It seems to be part of the new approach to historic anniversary celebrations to give more attention to apologizing for past failures and the sins of our ancestors than on recognizing our accomplishments and the progress we have made on all fronts since those evil events in our past.

celebrationsThe celebratory narrative is interrupted by vociferous activists and protestors directing the audience to their issues and raining on our parade. They do get our attention, but it’s not usually the time and place for constructive action on challenging issues. It is too easy to respond to the rhetoric and symbolism with more rhetoric and symbolism, instead of initiating creative and ambitious programs to make real progress. Another time and place, starting with an exchange of mutual respect and goodwill, will more likely lead to practical long-term solutions.

In life, business and politics, it is important and instructive to recognize our accomplishments as well as our failures. It is acceptable to create a mythical version of our history and who and what we are, without denying our errors and imperfections, as long as it inspires us to strive continuously to achieve those high ideals.

Apologizing is not enough. Let’s be more ambitious.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, "Don't Do It the Hard Way" and "The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans" Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.