Learning Blogs

More ideas, information, inspiration.

Explaining sales is hard to do

Where did that come from? Explaining sales is hard to do As a wise marketing agency executive once said, “I know that half of our advertising works, I’m just not sure which half.” I have the same impression of my own efforts at sales and marketing. Something’s working, I’m just not sure what. So how do you keep doing what’s Continue Reading

The secrets revealed! How to be a successful Enlightened Entrepreneur

The secrets revealed! How to be a successful Enlightened Entrepreneur Thank you for your interest in the STAPLES SPOTLIGHT EVENT , Wednesday evening, August 19th, on Enlightened Entrepreneurship.    Be a successful Enlightened Entrepreneur Have a Purpose and a Plan Avoid the Big Mistakes I wanted to follow-up with this article and also to provide the ZOOM meeting recording for your review , Continue Reading

How to be a (more successful) Enlightened Entrepreneur

How to be a (more successful) Enlightened Entrepreneur Two simple principles - Have a Purpose and a Plan. Avoid the Big Mistakes. Join us and learn how to be a (more successful) Enlightened Entrepreneur. Two simple principles - Have a Purpose and a Plan. Avoid the Big Mistakes. August 19th, 2020 - 7:00 PM. To learn more and register for Continue Reading

Boston Pizza demonstrates Enlightened Entrepreneurship

Thank you for your support during pandemic protocols Boston Pizza demonstrates Enlightened Entrepreneurship Recently tested over a pizza and a glass of wine, Boston Pizza restaurant staff showed exceptional empathy and understanding of how to be a socially responsible business and build loyal customer relationships. It started with a decision to try patio dining at a Boston Pizza restaurant on Continue Reading

Checklists for the re-start of your business after Covid-19

Checklists for the re-start of your business after Covid-19 Good management is required now more than ever. Looking back over the past three months, you may be thinking, OK, that was painful, but it has to get better from here. For most of us, the negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on our businesses were unexpected disasters and the final Continue Reading

The Magic of Entrepreneurship

The Magic of Entrepreneurship Demonstrated by the street vendors in Rome Find the magic of entrepreneurship. In the post-Covid-19 world you will need to be more creative, determined, flexible, responsive and persistent than ever. Be better. Do better. What entrepreneurs do best is identify an opportunity and respond to it. They observe the market, test customer response and then deliver Continue Reading

Yes, you need a Business Plan

Yes, you need a Business Plan From Start-up to Exit It may seem unnecessary, uncreatively old-fashioned, boringly bureaucratic, and inappropriate for your brilliant business idea where you “dare to be different.” Nobody wants to look at a thick document full of industry jargon, market research mumbo-jumbo and spreadsheets up the ying-yang, do they?  Sorry, but yes they do. The most Continue Reading

Best Advice Ever

Best Advice Ever And it still applies - Don’t Waste Time! One of the bizarre side effects of the economic shutdown and being told to self-isolate and work from home is that the pressure to be productive and meet deadlines seems to have evaporated. The sense of urgency has dissipated. Everybody is preoccupied with the pandemic and keeping themselves safe Continue Reading

Starting-up is hard to do. Re-starting in a pandemic is even harder.

Starting-up is hard to do Re-starting in a pandemic is even harder It’s time to pull out your original business plan and start re-thinking and re-writing it. Assuming you have one, I’m sure it didn’t include a contingency plan to survive a pandemic shutdown. Now you need a new plan to re-start your business in a world recovering from the coronavirus Continue Reading

Do-It-Yourself Business Plan? Yes, you can!

Do-It-Yourself Business Plan? Yes, you can! What? Why? What is a Business Plan? What are the results you  want?   Good questions. Here are my answers. A business plan is a document that describes your idea for realizing a business opportunity. It describes the market need that you have identified and the proposed strategies and plans to turn your idea into a profitable Continue Reading

Switching from Defense to Offense

Switching from Defense to Offense Are we there yet? Do you know your Basic Defensive Interval? For a business start-up, it’s the number of weeks or months before you get to break-even cash flow. For an operating business, it’s how long can you survive a disaster without any revenue. You may have business interruption insurance or a disaster plan, but Continue Reading

Enlightened Entrepreneurship: The Action Plan

Enlightened Entrepreneurship: The Action Plan If Enlightened Entrepreneurship requires us to practice it, promote it and defend it, does accepting that mission make us missionaries? Yes. Your mission has a Three-Part Plan: Practice enlightened entrepreneurship and lead by example. Help other entrepreneurs be more enlightened and thereby more successful. Advocate for enlightened entrepreneurs and help to defend entrepreneurship against the unfair critics. Continue Reading

Enlightened Entrepreneurship: The Next Step

Enlightened Entrepreneurship: The Next Step I continue to promote and recommend the concept of enlightened entrepreneurship, but we do not have a common understanding of the term. Some define it as a very spiritual or humanistic approach to business and others confuse it with social entrepreneurship, where the purpose of the business is to meet the social needs of society Continue Reading

The need now for Enlightened Entrepreneurship

Enlightened Entrepreneurship: The Need, now more than ever.  “I’m only in it for the money.” Really? Hardly anyone admits to it; most of us are accused of it. But we know that being motivated primarily by personal gain and short-term profit are losing propositions. We must have a higher purpose and a wider range of goals and objectives to satisfy Continue Reading

For your reading pleasure – reduced prices & free E-books

For your reading pleasure - reduced prices & free E-books. Crime fiction and advice for entrepreneurs  Dear friends, fellow writers and readers, We're missing the pleasure of meeting face to face during this challenging period and even if I am used to working at home alone and mostly online, it’s been more than a month of isolation in Montreal and Continue Reading

Looking for Readers & Reviewers, please.

Looking for Readers & Reviewers, please. New 2020 Editions from your Uncle Ralph  Please take a look. Take 3 seconds, 3 minutes or 3 hours if you have time and let me know what you think. Covers or content, style or presentation. I’m looking for honest critics and cheerleaders to join my mission and help support and promote Enlightened Entrepreneurship. Any Continue Reading

New 2020 Editions from your Uncle Ralph

They’re here! New 2020 Editions from your Uncle Ralph I did say March and today I’m making them available online everywhere! The 2020 editions of my two business books for entrepreneurs recently released. Learn how to start, manage, grow, and exit your business. Two simple messages in two easy-to-read books for entrepreneurs: Have a plan. Avoid the mistakes. Practical advice for Continue Reading

Managing in Difficult Times

Random Ramblings from your Uncle Ralph  In the current environment of a corona virus pandemic with its devastating effect on lives, businesses and economies around the world, this article seemed appropriate for reconsidering. (An extract from Don’t Do It the Hard Way – 2020 Edition, p.117) Managing in Difficult Times Ignoring or avoiding a difficult business environment is simply not Continue Reading

Are you a storyteller? 

Are you a storyteller?  Do you use stories to engage, communicate, sell or teach?   I shared my own Storytelling Journey from Entrepreneur to Author-preneur with a SPOTLIGHT Presentation at Staples/Bureau-en Gros on Nov 20th.    You can see the details here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/my-storytelling-journey-from-entrepreneur-to-author-preneur-tickets-80505796003   My Storytelling Journey from Entrepreneur to Author-preneur You can review the PowerPoint of the presentation. Click here: My Storytelling Journey My experience Continue Reading

My journey from Entrepreneur to Author-preneur

My journey from Entrepreneur to Author-preneur It’s about the journey, not the destination   Live! SPOTLIGHT PRESENTATION – STAPLES/BUREAU EN GROS Kirkland, Quebec – August 15th, 6:00PM  Including Author Sale & Book-signing, 12 noon – 7PM  In this presentation, Del Chatterson will discuss his journey from successful entrepreneur to published author and share his experiences and the lessons learned along the way. Helpful Continue Reading

Requesting Advance Reader Reviews – MERGER MANIAC

More summer reading! MERGER MANIAC, Novel #3  in the DALE HUNTER SERIES is now ready for early Reader Review. If you're interested, I'd love to hear your first impression or your reaction to the first 10 pages, or if you have time for a quick summer read of 200 pages, to send me your review comments. More stories of crime, Mafia, suspense Continue Reading

Learning & Storytelling

Learning & Storytelling - Presentation/Seminar including Author Sale & Book-signing. July 11th, 5-à-7 Bureau en gros, @ St. Charles & Transcanadienne, Kirkland, QC.   YOU'RE INVITED: Which do you prefer - Fact or Fiction?  Business text book or crime fiction with an entrepreneur as hero? Entrepreneurs learn best by sharing stories - Fact or Fiction?  A boring business textbook or a Continue Reading

Entrepreneurs learn best by sharing stories – Fact or Fiction?

Entrepreneurs learn best by sharing stories - Fact or Fiction? A boring business textbook or a crime thriller with the entrepreneur as hero? As an experienced entrepreneur and business advisor, I often tell stories as an effective means of communicating with other entrepreneurs. Storytelling helps to establish rapport based on shared experience and a good story makes the message more Continue Reading

Einstein: “The simple answer is always wrong.”

The false comfort of simple answers Comforting, but wrong. I know we shouldn’t quote Albert Einstein. As he often tells us, “Don’t believe all that sh*t you read the Internet.” But I can’t resist. The important statement attributed to Einstein was, “For every critical and complicated problem, there’s always an obvious simple answer, that’s wrong!” Whoever said it, they must Continue Reading

Christmas Shopping Lessons for Entrepreneurs

Christmas Shopping Lessons for Entrepreneurs Ho! Ho! Ho! I’ve always said I never wanted to work in retail. It’s hard work and unreasonable hours. Customers expect too much and are willing to pay too little. Employees ask too much for doing too little. And both groups are probably stealing from you. It’s a harsh judgement based on limited evidence, I Continue Reading

Expertise or Opinion. Which is it this time?

Expertise or Opinion Which is it this time? If you ask for an opinion you’ll get one. Almost nobody can resist giving you a response. They’re flattered that you asked and they don’t want to disappoint you. Apparently, you think they’re an expert in the subject. Or at least you think they might have an intelligent, insightful opinion.  Nobody is Continue Reading

Available NOW – Novel NO EASY MONEY and Uncle Ralph’s Business Books

Available NOW Novel NO EASY MONEY and Uncle Ralph's   Business Books NO EASY MONEY, “You never win playing by the rules.” The first in a series of Dale Hunter Crime Novels, this novel an explosive mix of crime, cash and computers in the 1980s. Entrepreneurs face challenges every day. It’s hard to be a hero. This is the story of a Continue Reading

Political decisions

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 Continue Reading

Entrepreneurs don’t read

Entrepreneurs don't read And business fiction doesn’t sell I’m trying to prove both assumptions are wrong. A futile exercise? Maybe you can help. First, entrepreneurs can and do read – mostly non-fiction books and articles, mostly related to business and self-improvement. I think we can agree, entrepreneurs are time-challenged and do not want to waste it on fiction. Many do Continue Reading

Good luck or bad bounce?

Good luck or bad bounce? Hazards of the British Open Tiger Woods was leading after nine holes. At one point it was Spieth, also Kisner, Schauffele, and Chappell. Finally the winner, after four days of challenging conditions and 72 difficult holes of Scottish links golf, was Francesco Molinari. How to explain it? Yes, the best golfer won, that’s the way Continue Reading

What did you learn today?

What did you learn today? You don’t have to be in school to learn something every day If your goal is to get better and do better, then you should be learning something new every day. You don’t have to be in school to be learning. There are many alternative learning strategies and they can all make a difference. Read Continue Reading

Bad behaviour needs to be changed, not explained

Bad behaviour Needs to be changed, not explained Bad behaviour needs to be changed, not analyzed, explained, rationalized or excused. Speculating over why it’s happening may keep the analysts and commentators busy, but it’s tiresome and irrelevant. If the bad behaviour can be stopped by removing the cause, then let’s do that, but if we cannot determine the cause, then Continue Reading

Enlightened Entrepreneurship – A wider perspective

Enlightened Entrepreneurship A wider perspective “I’m only in it for the money.” Really? Hardly anyone admits to it; most of us are accused of it. Most of us already know that being motivated by personal gain and short term profit are losing propositions. We must have a higher purpose and satisfy a wider spectrum of interested stakeholders to achieve sustainable Continue Reading

Results are all that matter

Wrong. Character matters Whether you are a CEO, politician, celebrity or simply a humble hard-working entrepreneur or employee, performance is continuously being assessed by the results you achieve. Does it matter how they are achieved? Some people think not, results are all that matter. They’re wrong. Character matters. Ethics, attitude and approach matter. Tactics and methods matter. Success and the Continue Reading

Listen to Mom

Listen to Mom Even when she’s not there   My Mom passed away almost eighteen months ago, but I still hear her talking to me, telling me her favourite stories, responding with great one-liners and encouraging me to do better and be better. I still try to make her proud. Sound familiar? If you can, be sure to tell her Continue Reading

Warming up or procrastinating?

Warming up or procrastinating? It’s your choice Like 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 Continue Reading

Image is everything

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 Continue Reading

Character makes a difference

Impressive, talented and tough Business is like golf Brooke Henderson showed great skill and determination on the weekend as she dominated the strong winds and the world-class competitors at Ko Olina Golf Club in Hawaii to win the Lotte Championship for her sixth LPGA Tour victory. After a disappointing round of shaky putting trouble in the third-round, Henderson finished strong at 12-under par for a four stroke Continue Reading

Video blog post: Bankers, Willing & Welcome?

Bankers - Willing & Welcome? Video blog post: Click to view the video: (8 mins.) https://youtu.be/p9goXIhSauU For a quick scan of the original post or to read it yourself, click on: Is your Bank a Welcome and Willing Partner in your Business?            

Is your Bank a Welcome and Willing Partner in your Business?

Is your Bank a Welcome and Willing Partner in your Business? Why not? Banks have their own version of what they want from you, in order to have a productive relationship. Here are my own tips, based on decades of working with both sides:  1. They will not get it.  2. It's only about the money.  3. They have a Continue Reading

Lessons from the Masters

Lessons from the Masters Business is like Golf Four 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 Continue Reading

Choose your critics

Choose your critics And maybe still ignore their input  Somewhere in the process you are going to hear from the critics. You may even ask for it. For product development, customer satisfaction, or market testing, you'll be asking, how do you like me so far? The first step in getting constructive feedback is to choose your critics wisely. Are they Continue Reading

Perfect enough

Perfect enough Time to expose the flaws 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 Continue Reading

Qualifying Questions

Qualifying Questions Is it Strategic or Operational? Before leaping into action, it is important to ask yourself some qualifying questions and make better decisions about both the immediate and the long-term action required. Entrepreneurs are inclined to act instinctively and “just do it” when they are presented with a new challenge, opportunity or problem. No time wasted. Let’s not make Continue Reading

Consultants: How to Choose, Use, and Not Abuse Them

Consultants: How to Choose, Use, and Not Abuse Them   Help them, help you Since my first consulting project over thirty years ago, I have learned a lot about how to successfully manage consulting projects and the client/consultant relationship. Here are some ideas that may help you with your consultants (and your lawyers, accountants and other professionals): Before you introduce Continue Reading

Deadlines can be deadly

Deadlines can be deadly Don’t overdo it Most of us agree that deadlines are necessary. They help us to scope the work and make a plan.  Awareness of the deadline helps us to focus and get the work done on time. But, the stated deadline may be entirely arbitrary or self-imposed and it may actually not be very important. Seldom Continue Reading

Juggling too many balls?

Juggling too many balls? Maybe more than one is the first mistake   It’s not the number. It’s the amount of time you spend on each one before throwing it back into the air. Try it. Be better. Do better. Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson  

High pressure sales tactics

High pressure sales tactics Because they work If you have recently strolled the beach near any southern resort hotel, you have probably been introduced to the “body snatchers,” timeshare salesmen offering attractive incentives – free dinner, golf, Cirque de Soleil tickets – for you to attend a brief sales presentation at their resort. And then you can easily waste half Continue Reading

Customer Service is Marketing?

Customer Service is Marketing? Simply deliver what you promised  A recent Linkedin article argued that Customer Service is the new method of Marketing – do it right and traditional marketing is unnecessary. I would argue that it’s an essential element of a three part process – Marketing, Sales and then Customer Service – to deliver the objective of attracting, satisfying Continue Reading

Exceeding expectations

Exceeding expectations Even if you’re not working for tips  Good waiters and bartenders get it. Prepare a good product and meet the minimum expectations for delivery, quality and price, then add the personal friendly touch, demonstrate your expertise and dispense your worldly wise advice to create a more knowledgeable buyer, who appreciates it all. It's good for tips. Even better Continue Reading

Lead by example

Lead by example Show the way and how to behave getting there Leadership means more than showing the way to achieve your goals and improve group performance. It requires demonstrating your guiding principles on dealing with challenges and working with colleagues, associates, suppliers and customers. People follow your example more than they will be persuaded by powerful rhetoric. Leadership by command Continue Reading

The Power of No

The Power of No Be willing to walk away It's not a tactic and it's not a bluff. It's a change in attitude that changes the relationship for both sides. Now you are only here because you both want to be. And you're working toward the same objective. Confronted with a firm no, both parties will find a better way Continue Reading

Pricing to please

Pricing to please Not everybody, but your target customers “Can you do better?” Back in the day, when I was selling computer hardware to resellers in Boston, that was usually their response, whenever I quoted a price. Actually, in Boston it was more like, “Can yuh do bettah?” In any case, my smart-ass reply was often, “Better for you or Continue Reading

2018 And it’s another New Year. So what.

It’s another New Year. So what. It’s still a good time to reflect and plan (Sorry for playing the old hits with a repeat of my message from January 2016, but it’s still appropriate and applicable to 2018.) You have already looked at too many year-end reviews and predictions for the New Year. The consensus seems to be that last Continue Reading

‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the Season For reflection and relationships Forget the shopping and the frenzy of holiday season obligations and year-end deadlines. Take time for reflection and relationships. The Holiday Season should be dedicated to finding quality time for quiet reflection on life and the world around us and for the relationships that are most important to us. First, with compliments to Continue Reading

Good salesmanship still works

Good salesmanship still works And you can’t fake sincerity Ambushed at the service counter. But it was such a smooth, subtle switch to the sales pitch that I was persuaded to sit down and listen. Before I got out of the car at the dealership service bay, I noticed the well-dressed young man coming to greet me who did not Continue Reading

Retail is dead?

Retail is dead Hah! They said that about the horse & buggy industry. We’ve been saying it about retail for over fifteen years.  E-commerce is coming, catch the wave or be drowned by it. Soon there will be nobody left but Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba. Maybe this Christmas shopping season will be the final slide into oblivion for traditional real-world Continue Reading

Breakfast Strategies

Breakfast Strategies More than 2 scrambled eggs, bacon, coffee, toast & jam. I have been working to establish a new family tradition of big boys’ breakfast on Sundays for grandpa, sons and grandsons. The variety of breakfast spots has been a useful lesson in strategic positioning. The specialty breakfast restaurant is a well-established concept, especially in Montréal, starting with Chez Continue Reading

Tiger lessons – Business is like Golf

Tiger lessons – Business is like Golf Coming back as a contender Tiger Woods is back. Playing in the Bahamas against the top 32 golfers in the world, he clearly belongs there again, hopefully for the 2018 season. Age 42, after four back surgeries and he has not played more than two tournaments in almost three years. How does he Continue Reading

It’s all about the Money

It’s all about the Money Of course As they keep telling us, “It’s always about the money.” Time to stop denying, explaining, apologizing? Maybe we can just ignore the critics and focus on the people that are really important to us. It’s the employees, customers and suppliers, maybe your bank and probably your family, that really need to know you Continue Reading

Under Promise & Over Deliver

Under Promise & Over Deliver But don’t Under Sell It’s a popular mantra: Under Promise & Over Deliver And it’s good advice to achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction. Promise delivery in the next 3-5 days, then deliver tomorrow. Wow! Customers love it. Except those customers who did not order it, because they needed it in two days. Cautious promises Continue Reading

Lonely at the top

Lonely at the top It doesn’t have to be You could be proud of the fact that you are all alone running your business. You could be constantly complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. Or you can make different choices. It can be lonely at the top, but it doesn’t have to be. Sharing your challenges and looking for solutions Continue Reading

Hiding in anonymity

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 Continue Reading

“I knew that, I do that”

“I knew that, I do that” Obviously Sometimes 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 Continue Reading

You’re fired!

You’re fired! Hire well, but fire better Donald Trump made his name as a Reality TV star with the trademark line, “You’re fired!” As President in the real world, instead of the very unreal Reality TV world, he may have used it one too many times. There is a lesson here for entrepreneurs. Firing an employee needs to be done Continue Reading

Disaster insurance

Disaster insurance Reducing risks Strange concept, insurance. You hope the disaster never happens, but you bet that it will and buy insurance to recover when it does. The insurance company takes your money and bets against you, also hoping it never happens. If it happens, you win (at least on the insurance), they lose. Flood, fire or theft, commercial liability, Continue Reading

No conflict of interest?

No conflict of interest? Look closer The next time an agent, broker, lawyer or advisor offers to help and work on both sides of the deal, say “No thanks”. If they try to tell you there is no conflict of interest for them, then reply, “Either you know you’re lying, or you do not. Either way, I’m disappointed. And the Continue Reading

Evil greedy entrepreneurs

Evil greedy entrepreneurs Reinforcing the stereotypes There is currently a lot of angry rhetoric around the Liberal government proposals for tax reform related to small business. “Trying to ensure fairness for the hard working middle class,” is their oft-claimed objective. “Removing corporate tax loop-holes only available to the wealthy.” But the policy debate quickly deteriorates into reinforcing preconceived stereotypes of Continue Reading

It takes a conversation

It takes a conversation Not a lecture “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate,” followed by the evil warden delivering a severe blow to drive the message into the dumb prisoner’s thick skull. Maybe it works in the movies. But the approach is probably as useless as raising the volume or relentlessly repeating the same message. If you Continue Reading

The people problem

The people problem The challenge of making good fits A recent conversation with an entrepreneur drawn unexpectedly into a family business, reminded me that the biggest challenge to building and growing a better business is managing the relationships within the organisation. Like him and most other entrepreneurs I know, you are confident and competent in the primary domain essential to Continue Reading

Participative management

Participative management You cannot fake it Is your business run democratically? Probably not. Employees do not get to vote, managers are supposed to be responsible and make consistently good decisions. Let’s not confuse them with too many contrary, ill-informed opinions. We have seen too many unhappy conclusions from democratic decision-making lately. It is easier to accept your role as lonely Continue Reading

Business value

Business value What is it really? Whenever you are looking at an investment in a private small business or a large public company, or if you are selling a business, it is always a challenge to define the value. Everyone leans on the price-to-earnings multiple, but it is never that simple. Simple to calculate, but not easy to get it right. Continue Reading

The blame game

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 Continue Reading

Summer jobs

Summer jobs What did you learn? It’s time to get back to school soon and the kids are enjoying the last few days of their summer jobs. Remember those days yourself? Fun in the sun, hanging out with friends, pool parties, BBQ and beer, working on your sun tan and hitting on the other cute kids. Is that what you Continue Reading

Modern managers are smarter

Modern managers are smarter Are you? Remember the bad old days when managers judged performance by all the wrong indicators? A 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 Continue Reading

The price is the price

The price is the price Almost never And it’s a problem. Pre-occupation with price leads to bad decisions, if we miss the important factors that determine the value. We have all seen frequent examples of nonsensical pricing and have our own favourite stories of a deal we have boasted about, without admitting that it turned out badly. TV ads. Only Continue Reading

Timing is everything

Timing is everything And it’s your choice In decision making, we often spend a lot of time analyzing the who, what, where and why, without giving sufficient consideration to the when. It seems obvious, as soon as possible, now that we’ve decided. But maybe not. We always have a choice to make. It’s now or later. Maybe never. Deciding not Continue Reading

Culture of creativity

Culture of creativity Encourage feedback Do you have a suggestion box? Have you done a survey lately? It is important to get new input and ideas to change your perspective and consider creative and innovative approaches to challenging issues. You cannot possibly have all the answers or even know all the issues that need to be addressed, unless you get Continue Reading

I can do this

I can do this I’ve seen it done. Hideki Matsuyama surprised everyone but himself, at the WGC-Bridgestone golf tournament on Sunday, with a 9-under-par 61 that tied the course record and gave him a sudden victory by five strokes over all the contenders, including World Golf leaders, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Zach Johnson. Matsuyama knew it was Continue Reading

Constructive, not criticism

Constructive, not criticism Please, no useless commentary. “Whoa, that didn’t work out as planned.” Thanks, but I already knew that. If you are going to comment on my performance, please take the time to suggest something helpful. Don’t just pile on with more useless criticism. All that does is kill the enthusiasm to try again. Every performance review will be Continue Reading

Necessary, but not sufficient

Necessary, but not sufficient You’re not there yet. “Keep your head down, focus, stay calm.” All good advice, but never sufficient to get you to the finish line with a higher level of performance. Remember there are usually a few more steps in the process of improvement. The first step is necessary, but never sufficient to initiate real change or Continue Reading

Pick your poison

Pick your poison Killing key relationships  There are many ways to kill important business relationships with customers, suppliers, employees, bankers or strategic partners. But why would you want to do that? You probably do NOT want to, but you or your staff may be doing it inadvertently. Habits and attitudes that will silently, slowly, but certainly poison relationships. Entirely contrary Continue Reading

Are you sensitive?

Are you sensitive? To rising interest rates? The Bank of Canada rate went up Wednesday from 0.50% to 0.75%. OMG!!! That’s a 50% increase! Well technically yes, but in reality no. The rate is essentially a basis for the banks to raise their rates by the same 0.25%. So if your current Line of Credit or variable rate mortgage is Continue Reading

More celebrations, Fewer apologies

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. The celebratory narrative is interrupted by vociferous Continue Reading

Make work fun

Make work fun A simple principle for good management Make work fun. It really is that simple. Don’t make it more complicated. I know, it is more complicated, but let’s try to simplify good management down to one guiding principle. Your job as a manager is to ensure that your employees are working effectively to meet the department’s and the Continue Reading

Annoying disturbances

Annoying disturbances To Prevent, Avoid or Ignore A pleasant walk in the sunshine this morning was interrupted first by the dive-bombing red-winged blackbirds along the riverside, then by the swarms of annoying mosquitoes in the woods. Back at the office it may continue. The noisy air-conditioning, the neighbour listening to the ranting on talk radio, or the constant interruptions by telemarketers. Continue Reading


Evolving People and processes The founder and CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, is stepping aside because his combative personality and the culture he created at Uber are no longer in line with the business’s need to be both more stable and predictable and more socially responsible and engaged with the communities where it is operating. His ruthlessly aggressive style has Continue Reading

By the numbers

By the numbers Not just the ones you already know Most entrepreneurs and business owners regularly monitor a few key numbers – sales, profit margins, operating expenses and the bottom line. All easy to understand and regularly reported. But it is not enough, if you want to be a top performer in your industry. You need to dig deeper to more Continue Reading

What crisis?

What crisis? Who needs a crisis? In times of crisis, it is easier to justify tough decisions. But why wait for a crisis? The challenges of business day-to-day should be sufficient to justify making those decisions all the time. We have all observed that the companies that survive a crisis come out stronger, correcting their weaknesses and building resiliency and Continue Reading

Chasing the big deal

Chasing the big deal Many small deals may be a better idea When you know that increasing sales will solve your problems, it is tempting to chase the one big deal that will get solve them all quickly. It could be a mistake. Maybe it’s better to say, “No thanks, for now.” It can be great for your ego and Continue Reading

Having a bad day?

Having a bad day? Don’t expect so much. Be grateful for what you’ve got. After one more setback it’s easy to slide down the road of regrets…, “If only…,” “I should have, could have,” “How did I get here?”, “Is this all there is?”, “Why am I not rich and famous yet?”, “Are my best years behind me?”, “There is Continue Reading

Manage like a Hockey Mom

Manage like a Hockey Mom But in a good way It is that time of year for hockey playoffs and not just in the NHL. It’s always exciting and entertaining and often provides inspiration and ideas for outside the hockey rink. At a grandson’s recent Peewee AAA hockey tournament in Montreal, the welcome brochure included the Quebec Hockey Association’s Code Continue Reading

Forgetting failure

Forgetting failure Don’t forget the lessons learned. Jordan Spieth is back at the Masters tournament at Augusta National this week and trying to forget his horrific collapse last year on the 12th hole that knocked him out of a commanding lead and caused him to finish second. He says he’s “over it”, but there will be powerful reminders, questions, and Continue Reading

Strategic choices: Porsche or Pick-up truck?

Strategic choices: Porsche or Pick-up truck? Focus and forget pleasing everybody. Whatever business issue or challenge you are facing, I believe you should always start from a strategic perspective. Step back, way back, and ask yourself if the solution you are considering is consistent with your strategic plan and will move you toward your long-term objectives.  Have you made explicit Continue Reading

Stick to the plan

Stick to the plan Calm and confident pays off Business is like golf. Consider the challenges faced by Canadian Adam Hadwin on the final round of the Valspar Championship on Sunday. This is his third year on the PGA Tour and Hadwin had recently attracted attention with the rare and remarkable achievement of a 59 on a par in California, Continue Reading

Performing past the obstacles

Performing past the obstacles Dustin Johnson keeps calm and gets the job done Dustin Johnson won again last weekend at the World Golf Championship event in Mexico City. He held off the challengers on Sunday and finished first, in spite of losing one ball in a tree, hitting into the water and stumbling on a couple of holes to suddenly Continue Reading

Take a break

Take a break It’s spring I know it’s blowing snow and -7C in Montreal today, but all the kids and parents are talking about Spring Break, so let’s take apply the concept more generally. Take a break. Take a break from all the distractions that keep us from making progress on improving our lives, achieving our business objectives, supporting family Continue Reading

Alternative Facts or Alternative Conclusions?

Alternative Facts Or alternative conclusions? We seem to be learning from the current political debate that not only is it OK to invent alternative facts, (what we used to call lying), but that they are useful to explain and justify bad ideas. It may have proven to be effective in political campaigns, but it is definitely not recommended for subsequently Continue Reading

Business without politics

Business without politics It’s not possible, never has been There was an old idea that you should never mix business and politics. The concern was that it can be hard to stay friends and keep customers, suppliers and employees loyal, if you strongly disagree on political issues. But it has always been a hopeless and futile mission to avoid politics Continue Reading

New top gun or one-hit wonder?

New top gun or one-hit wonder? Justin Thomas has a great start to 2017 Justin Thomas suddenly won two tournaments in a row in Hawaii with total scores at 49-under par and set all-time records with a round of 59 at age 23 and the lowest 72-hole score in Tour history. Who is this guy and where did he come Continue Reading