Richard Owens went home to heaven this week. He was 106 years old. The back of the program for Mr. Owens Going Home service contained these words, written by him in 1979:
“Our morning thought concerns one of the most significant aspects of human life: Our Representative Capacity. We all have in us the power to stand for something. The way we use it, determines as hardly anything else does, our personal quality. In the first Chapter of the Book of Acts, for example, Jesus is reported to have said to his disciples: ‘Ye shall be My witnesses’. He is making a direct and definite appeal to their representative capacity, as though to say, you can be more than yourselves. You have the power to stand for high principles and worthy enterprises in your generation. Hardly, any element in you is more influential than the this power—to…
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Aisles are everywhere, and we usually don’t take notice of them unless they are crowded or blocked. Costco, Whole Foods, Macy’s, Trader Joes, Saks, Neiman Marcus, Sports Authority, the Pikes Place Fish Market, all have aisles. Parking lots have aisles. Theaters have aisles. Trains have aisles. Buses have aisles. Planes have aisles. But outside of those transportation related aisles, the one I most frequently traverse every Sunday is for praise and worship in church.
I am starting to look at the aisles in church a bit differently now. At least to me, church aisles seem to be getting bigger, growing in length, and narrowing in breadth between pew rows. Why? Because, to borrow a phrase from an Andre Crouch spiritual, “soon, very soon” my princess will become a queen, meeting King Sean at the altar of Holy matrimony, and as father of the bride, I will be walking her down…
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SOJOURN IN SEATTLE
Knowing that I am a Star Trek fan, as soon as I said “but” my daughter Kim responded with subzero metallic coldness: “RESISTANCE IS FUTILE”. My automatic defenses took over and I retorted before my mind could regain control of my mouth: “You are not the Borg, and this is not Star Trek!” She turned and seeming to move almost as slowly as molecules at absolute zero, Kim gave me a penetrating stare, that locked me into a mental force field of immobility, (Based on experience and memory, I am firmly convinced that only a daughter, a wife, a graduate school professor who calls on you when you are unprepared or perhaps a comic book superhero or supershero possesses this paralyzing stare power.) Kim icily intoned in the Borg-like voice of “7 0f 9” from Star Trek: “RESISTANCE IS FUTILE! I am your daughter. This…
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IV. Diagnostic Tools
“We know that what gets measured, gets managed. But what gets measured also defines a company’s culture. Why? Because it describes what is valued.”[i]
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”[ii]
“If you don’t measure it, it won’t get done. If you don’t measure it right, it won’t get done right.”[iii]
“If a performance measure is hard to understand, it’s not a good one. Use ratios whenever possible in creating measures such as revenues per employee, staff resources compared to line resources and the like.”
“The greatest enthusiasm in the world won’t make up for a business plan that doesn’t work.”[iv]
Diagnostic tools are important in many professions. Accountants and lawyers may both use compliance audits as a diagnostic tool. Doctors routinely take a patient’s blood pressure and blood samples as a diagnostic tool…
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V. Basic Economic Principles for Becoming a “Master Business Chief”
There are three key principles of business economics that apply with extra importance in order to meet the challenge of changing economic times. Here are those three principles and three questions related to each.
1. Selling Price Must Be Higher Than Your Cost
a) Do you know what your costs are?
b) How do you set your prices?
c) Do you monitor your “gross profit margin”?
2. Funds Coming In Must Exceed Funds Going Out
a) How do you know what your funds position is? When do you know?
b) Do you confuse “profit” with cash?
c) Do you manage cash? (To borrow a phrase from the popular movie Jerry Maguire, “Can you show me the Money!)
3. You Must Have Enough Funds To See Yourself Through.
a) How do you know how much you need?
b) What is…
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VII. EIGHT RULES TO USE IN MEETING THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGING TIMES A. EIGHT RULES
1. Don’t try to solve everything by yourself; even superheroes have sidekicks.
As Michael Jordan observed, “There is no “I” in team but there is in win” So “we” should find the best practical solution to “our” challenge.
The Boston Consulting Group stated this proposition this way: “You re not alone as a leader. As much as possible, bring in your broader leadership group to understand the challenges, participate in the planning, and cascade changes throughout the organization. There is power in numbers. The members of a broader team will provide complementary skills and multiply the manpower and brainpower available to tackle critical issues.”
2. Remember, everyone has to obsessively work for the customer today, tomorrow is too late.
“The fact that every employee works for the customer is a simple notion, but surprisingly difficult…
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A Functional Business Global Positioning Satellite System
To Meet The Challenge of Changing Times
IMPORTANT INTRODUCTORY NOTES:
This article consists of several sections, with a few pages in each section. The sections are independent of each other and do not have to be reviewed in order, so if, for example, you are only interested in the secton on Eight Rules To Use, feel free to go to that section first, or if you are only interested in the Fifteen Action Steps To Take, then feel free to go to that section first. Here are the sections:
II. Are the Times Challenging? How Do You Know?
III. Your Business Model and Value Proposition
V. Basic Business Economics Principles for Becoming a Master Business Chef
VI. Two Examples of Entrepreneurial Product Innovation
VII. Eight Rules
VIII. Fifteen Action Steps
IX. Closing Thoughts
This article has…
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Some good food for thought
Strategic Alliance Joint Venturing: A Business Tool For The Small Business Enterprise (“SBE”)
A Yoruba proverb observes: “When the door closes, you must learn to slide across the crack of the sill.” The comedienne Jackie ‘Moms” Mabley observed: “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” Demosthenes once observed that “small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.”
Think about these three observations. Each one contains some wisdom that applies to life and business, and particularly to how we can approach change, challenge, and opportunity. Though the observations were not referring to SBE strategic alliance joint ventures, the quoted words are applicable to them today. Why should an SBE consider entering into a strategic alliance joint venture?…
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Some things never change regardless of the passage of time
THE PRINCESS PATH
I knew it was coming, but there was nothing I could do about it. Like being in the eye of the storm. And you would think I would know better by now. After all, I had been doing this for so many years. But some things do not get better with practice or with the passage of time. And though I fought conscious awareness as hard as I could, it was no use. I sleepily opened one eye to see the digital clock reading. Even though it was still dark, I knew that in a few hours I had to get up take my princess Kimberly to the airport to fly back west. And so, in resignation and surrender, I just continued laying in bed and started thinking about The Princess Path (and no more late night Kwai Chang Caine (David Carradine) Kung Fu reruns for me).
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