The Real Price of Winning at All Costs

Let me ask you a question. In the movie the Karate Kid, who is the American hero? Mr. Miyagi or the maniacal sensei of the Cobra Kai, John Kreese? You see we want winners in America, but we also expect a clean fight. Winning at all costs is sweeping the leg without any concern for the opponent: httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kr24G8jQpM Winning was the result of sanding the fence and waxing the car for young Daniel-san. The consistency of his applied training led to victory. but winning was not the goal. Then again I’m not really writing a post about the Karate Kid. The spate of scandals and investigations into corporate greed lately have had me thinking about profit as a goal. Winning, or profiting, at all costs sometimes results in sacrificing values in the name of the win. Coaches throwing basketballs at their players, corporations creating accounting fictions to pilfer every cent from…

Forget the Marketing Smoke and Mirrors…Just Give Me the Mirror

Don’t get me wrong, smoke and mirrors made P.T. Barnum a fortune. The Greatest “Show” on Earth was indeed a brilliant show, but what he created was a “show.” Magicians and showmen allow the audience to see only what they want them to see. That’s what makes it a show. I tell my clients, “if I do my job well, then marketing is easy…it will be simply holding up a mirror to your organization and reflecting it to the world.” That phrase strikes fear in the hearts of some and surprise in the minds of others as they process the reality of transparency. Organizations often want to smoke out the areas of the company that they want to hide from the world and “advertise” the aspects of their business that they want the world to “buy.” This point is well illustrated in the twenty-eighth thesis of the Cluetrain Manifesto. Most…

What’s Up With “Why?”

I spend several days a month facilitating retreats in high intensity, high energy rooms with executives of my clients’ organizations getting to the “core” of their business. Jim Collins pioneered much of this work of Core Purpose, Core Values, and Brand Promise in his 2001 book Good to Great. While others over the years have built on the foundations built by Collins, the basis of building an organizations core ideology has remained relatively unchanged. Over the past few weeks, I read Simon Sinek’s Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. While Sinek points at many of the same basic tenets as Collins, the ease of his explanation, works very well to explain the need for the core purpose, or as he says “the why.” Take a few minutes to see Sinek’s TED talk.

“Why” do you want to be when you grow up?

Sounds funny right? All our lives we ask, and have been asked, “what” you want to be when you grow up, but seldom do we ask “why?” The why is so critical to success, yet the what leads so many decisions and life choices. Is it any surprise that so many people have a luke warm sentiment about their jobs or God forbid their “careers?” At least twice in my life, I followed the paths of what careers–one by pure accident and another by great intention. The results were what you might expect: longing, dissatisfaction, frustration and anger. Over the last two years, I have spent most of my consulting hours, working with clients in the profit and non-profit sectors forcing the why questions. Relentlessly, we spend difficult hours cutting through all of the “stuff they do” to get to the reason that they are doing it. It’s amazing and fulfilling to walk this journey. This…

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I consume a number of audiobooks, but how do you retain all of the content? Here are a few tips that I use to improve comprehension and use of audiobooks.

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