Saturday, March 31, 2012

Haircuts, Lipstick and Yogi

One day recently I dashed into a local haircut shop shortly after it opened, hoping to beat the rush and get a quick trim before a meeting.  It had been a while and I was looking and feeling shaggy.

The store is one of those national franchise chains that have grown, weed-like, to seemingly inhabit every local shopping center.  It has been hawking its franchises on CNBC, LinkedIn, and other media.

There was no one in the store when I entered…no customers and no employees up front.  After a couple of minutes, a young woman (I'll call her Abby) came up from the back and apologized for my wait, saying, “it takes us a little longer to open up because we are short-staffed these days.” 

My family and I patronize this store frequently.  The staff is attentive, friendly and professional.  The cost of its services are reasonable, the cuts competent and the customer loyalty program keeps us, well, loyal.  The store has been popular and can get crowded at peak times, hence my early morning visit.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Information duncity

Did you ever notice how some memes seemingly appear out of nowhere, then are suddenly ubiquitous -- like the car you never noticed until you bought one and now it seems everyone owns one?

I recently wrote about how failure can actually lead to success, and how "one's errors are a portals of discovery."  Turns out lots of people are talking and writing about mistakes lately.

One of the best pieces I've seen is one from TAB colleague John Dini, who recently wrote on the value of mistakes in business. His advice to start a "mistake budget" is one that I will steal gratefully, with generous attribution.

However, mistakes aren't always all they are cracked up to be.  In this unforgiving economy, we need to maximize "good" mistakes and minimize the "bad" ones.  We need to make better decisions.

And there's the rub.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Heat Burns

It's been an interesting week in damage control.
How well are you prepared to defend yourself in the court of public opinion?  Every organization -- whether a globe-straddling colossus or a start-up just launching itself -- will face an emergency at some point.  After all, accidents happen, things break, smart people do stupid things and sometimes good people do bad things -- occasionally on purpose. As the saying goes, "stuff" happens.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

You say you want an evolution

Change:  there are few words in the human lexicon that evoke more angst than this, both good and bad.

Strange, that.

Change is a constant in our lives.  As constant as the dawn or the sunset.  Every day is different and change is an ever-present aspect of living.

Change is feared because often we are not in control of it, especially in business. Key employees leave, new competitors emerge, customers disappear.  (These changes are in your control, but that's the subject of another post.)
It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin
Change forces us out of our habits.  And habits are a basic human mechanism for dealing with the  complexities of everyday life.
In a recent book, The Power of Habit, NY Times business writer Charles Duhigg explores the science behind why we do what we do (and how.)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Land of the free

So, how did you spend your free day on Wednesday?  You, know, February 29, aka Leap Day.

Ladies, did you channel your inner Sadie Hawkins?

Dudes, did you take it head on, mano-a-mano.

Was it a day of routines, deadlines, accomplishments, chores, sports, striving.  Just another day; one of 365 366? 

Pity if you didn't leverage this quadrennial opportunity. 

It was FREE.  What do you mean that  you didn't take advantage of it?  What's wrong with you?  Don't you love free stuff?  Doesn't everybody?  Didn't you get the memo?

It seems that there's a offer of "free" everywhere you look:  Buy One/Get One Free; Free Estimates; Free Consultation; Free Delivery.  Consumers lap it up.  And why not, it's FREEEE!

No wonder the country is broke.  We're giving it all away.  Increasingly so.  Hard to make a buck that way, isn't it?