Oh, I don’t really mean you, of course. I don’t expect anyone to fess up to being an overbearing SOB. But it’s a good bet you know plenty of other people who fit the description, right? And, just maybe, if you’re really willing to take a long, serious look at yourself … well, let’s just focus on all those other people for now.
The holiday season is a joyous time of year, or so we’re incessantly told. Yet, it’s well documented that suicides reach a peak during the month of December, as do bouts of depression. Emotions get a vigorous workout amid so much contrived conviviality.
A bizarre incident occurred near my community last winter that holds lessons for everyone in the business world. A suburban commuter train filled with hundreds of passengers during the morning rush was delayed for almost two hours while local police searched for a man aboard with a gun.
Amazing, isn’t it, that 41 years after being honorably discharged from the service, this veteran can still recite his military serial number instantly. I’m pretty sure I could still field strip an M-14 rifle as well. (OK, I might poke myself in the eye trying to present arms, but close order drill was never my favorite thing.) The U.S. military has its wacky ways, but I have to admit military training sure does lock in the lessons intended.
About a decade ago I attended a seminar by businessman and author Jack Stack that remains vivid in memory as filled with uncommon common sense. Stack is known as the father of “Open-Book Management,” a methodology centered around sharing financial and decision-making duties among all employees.
Several years ago I authored a training manual titled “Essentials of Profitable Wholesale-Distribution” for the American Supply Association and National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors. While doing research for the book I came across some information that startled me. Various business consultants insist that more businesses fail because of cash flow problems than due to unprofitability.
Many of you reading this own your company, so you don’t have to worry about being laid off, except in the sense of being put out of work by going bankrupt in a miserable economy. The marketplace is everyone’s ultimate boss, at least for those of us who work in the private sector.
I’m sure many of you are familiar with the tongue-in-cheek Darwin Awards, since the selection of annual winners seems to be among the most forwarded e-mails on the Internet. These awards are named after the father of evolutionary theory to “honor” people who improve the human gene pool by accidentally removing themselves from it - doing things like sleeping with a gun and accidentally blowing off key body parts while tossing and turning.