Execupundit.com: Pick Seven

Dinner Table Setting

Michael Wade (AKA Execupundit) has an annoying habit of asking really difficult questions.

Here’s a doozy of an example that has nothing to do with college basketball games or who’s going to be the next Letterman:  

Execupundit.com: Pick Seven

Wondering how to answer a simple question in the Heartland ….


Making the Most and Making the Least …

Sara Teasdale“I make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes.”

Sara Teasdale

Interesting how a few words can make a difference.  The first version of this statement I saw read as follows: “I make the most of what comes and the least of what goes.”   I like the version above better, just because of the change to “all that” from “what” … seems more inclusive.

Now let’s think about this a little …

Making the Most …

What do you suppose Ms. Teasdale meant when she claimed to “ … make the most of all that comes”? 

Notice Ms. Teasdale did not say “ … the most of all I have.”    She is not advocating just being content with what you have.

Making the most of all you receive seems a tall order to me.  I have opportunities which pass my gaze on a daily basis, thanks to my engagement with social media and apparently unquenchable curiosity about things.  I could and often would like to take advantage of offers, explore possibilities, and try out new and exotic things … as long as I’m comfortable and back home for dinner.

Many things come, but fewer are chosen.  

Maybe she is talking about making commitments and fully engaging in a thing, once you have chosen to do so.

That“All” word is more problematic than I thought.  Some of us (hand quietly raised as I continue) have a little problem with focusing on just a few things … we want all the shiny objects.

Somewhere in here, the elements of choice and motivation have to be applied … otherwise, this way lies madness, as someone has undoubtedly said.

Making the Least …

This appears to remind us of two things:

1)  Things (people, relationships, jobs, titles, possessions, abilities, and so on) disappear from our lives sometimes. 

The passage of time, frailty of the human body, complexity of relationships, changing nature of business and technology, along with just plain happenstance combine to make part of our lives an ongoing series of losses.

2)  Letting go is often the most appropriate response to loss.

I have never been a great fan of enshrining “The Way Things Used To Be” or reveling in days gone by, especially when that reverence for the past comes at the cost of enjoying the present or living into the future.   I can enjoy a golden oldie tune from when I was younger, but I cannot live there.

Letting go is often a painful, difficult, and even sad experience … but it is also absolutely necessary more of the time than many of us like to admit.

After all, if you do not let go of some things, how will you have time and energy for all the new things coming to you? …

So what lessons for making choices and decisions would you take from this St. Louis poet’s thoughts?

Waxing slightly poetic about things past, things present, and things to come in the Heartland ….


How We Decide Not To Decide …

Deciding not to change is still a decision ….

Changing the tilesEven when we need to change, we often do not want to change.  My personal favorite quotation from change discussions:

“Well, I KNOW we need to do something.  I just don’t know if we should do THIS.”

This statement is usually NOT followed by any alternative suggestions or possibilities, but moves to the list below.

 When we decide to be afraid of change … and we do make a decision to do so …We act against change by:

… Rejecting alternatives.

… Wanting to water down the change until it is meaningless.

… Wanting to delay the change until conditions are perfect.

… Focusing on the imperfections of the suggested change.

… Giving the change decision to a committee of equals.

… Allowing the leader to make the decision alone.

… Being passive-aggressive when discussing possible change.

… Making it about personalities, rather than ideas and concepts.

… Moving the pieces of change around without really changing anything.

… Making the details the focus.

… Insisting on knowing everything, even when the general idea is accepted.

 Some of the above just cry for a little context, don’t they?  Not going to offer it today.  I do marvel that all this came from one relatively brief meeting with some shareholdersSmile.

 What types of deciding not to decide have I missed?

Wondering why change is so scary for so many in the Heartland ….


Book Review: The Age of The Customer: Prepare For the Moment of Relevance by Jim Blasingame

AgeOfTheCustomer_4b-300x300I was prepared not to care much for Jim Blasingame …

I think to myself:  Here is another opinionated, contrarily-minded, “expert” who’s going to tell me how things have changed and are changing, and then sell me his approach to how to successfully navigate that change … like he knows all there is we need to know … just like all the other authors in the leadership and business genre.

Pleasant Surprises:  

Yes, Jim is opinionated … but he backs up his opinions and they become well-thought out positions.

Yes, Jim is contrary .. . but not really.  He IS independently minded and does not suffer fools, fads, or fiction easily.

Yes, he is an “expert”, but you can remove the quotation marks, because he truly knows what he is talking about.

In all honesty, I am still reading this book, but the general idea is that the focus (and the power) is shifting from the seller to the customer.  Our brave new world of technology and connection has leveled the playing field a bunch and we are no longer dominated by a few mega-corporations.

This is good news for the little and medium-sized guys … not so good news for those who labor in mega-corporations

He also talks about the “moment of relevance” and how a small business can prepare to take advantage of this critical point and he does so clearly and with solid thinking.

Being a little bit contrary myself, I read Chapter 17 first … the title of “Social Media: A Rose by Any Other Name” caught my attention, since I spend much time in the social media environment.    Several things about this chapter make it an important one and a good choice for your start:

1)  Jim devotes the first paragraph to a self-description which provides a context for understanding his comments much  better.

2)  Whether we are comfortable with the idea or not, social media is going to continue to play a significant role in our shared future.

3)  Jim displays a common-sense and balanced approach to how we use social media.  This is way beyond the “You need a Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, and a Facebook page” level of coaching that is the norm these days for social media usage.

Jim’s observations and suggestions for how you, as a small business,  approach your social media presence and use are solidly anchored in what makes good business sense. 

Read this book, follow Jim’s advice, and your small business will be ready for your moments of relevance.

Enjoying reading a book I thought I would not enjoy in the Heartland ….



Jim Blasingame is one of the world’s foremost experts on small business and entrepreneurship, and was ranked as the #1 small business expert in the world by Google. President and founder of Small Business Network, Inc., Jim is the creator and award-winning host of The Small Business Advocate® Show, nationally syndicated since 1997. As a high-energy keynote speaker, Jim talks to small business audiences about how to compete in the 21st century global marketplace, and he talks with large companies about how to speak small business as a second language. A syndicated columnist and the author of three books, including Small Business Is Like a Bunch of Bananas and Three Minutes to Success, which have sold almost 100,000 copies combined; his third book, The Age of the CustomerTM, will be launching on January 27, 2014.

Disclaimer:  A copy of this book was provided to me for review purposes … and I am very happy that this happened, because I otherwise might not have been exposed to Jim and his thinking about how to move ahead.