When The Unimaginable Happens

April 21, 2014

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Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: leadership

This week, a South Korean ferry capsized killing perhaps 300 people. The captain and crew were ill-prepared to initiate the proper contingent actions once the ferry ran aground. The children did what the adults told them to–stay put and wait for further instructions–which, tragically, resulted in many unnecessary deaths.

In 1988, I took up scuba diving. I took advanced training as well as rescue diver training to be better equipped to deal with possible underwater emergencies. A good portion of scuba training is about “what to do if something goes wrong,” e.g., your regulator (breathing apparatus) is accidently pulled from your mouth, someone accidently kicks your mask off, your mask becomes fogged up and you can’t see, you or your scuba buddy get a calf cramp, etc.

Eventually, I had an emergency in a small tunnel in Cozumel, Mexico, at a depth of about 90 feet. I became stuck and could not move forward to exit the tunnel. Scary? Yeah! I followed my training which had become instinctual and started with “stop, think, breathe.”

I quickly figured out what I was going to do next to extricate myself from my situation. I executed my plan and, as a result, what could have been a calamity turned out to be a minor speed bump during in my dive. I was most grateful for my training and dive instructors.

When you are in a leadership position, you must have a plan for what to do when the unimaginable happens–a plan that can be executed with great speed and precision. Think of Captain Sully Sullenberger–a U.S. Airway’s pilot–who, after bird strikes disabled both engines, glided his commercial airplane to a landing on the Hudson River saving everyone on board.

It doesn’t matter if you on the high seas or part of a business dynamic–both can catch you off guard if you don’t have a plan for dealing with the unimaginable.

 

Photo Credit: DavidWatts1978, Flickr

Thought for the week:

“Don’t think what’s the cheapest way to do it or the fastest way to do it but what’s the most amazing way to do it!” – Sir Richard Branson
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

 

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Impenetrable Cultures

April 14, 2014

 

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Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: culture

Fourteen of us joined a manufacturing company as vice presidents with a new CEO as part of a significant transformation effort with major growth initiatives:

  • increase our market share in North America
  • increase global market presence and penetration
  • implement mass customization to promote efficiencies across the enterprise and into our dealer channel
  • implement a lean kaizen process

There were issues that never surfaced during the interview process:

  • the company had a long history of turning over its entire executive team every 18-24 months
  • the employees demonstrated repeatedly that, if they could stall or delay change initiatives, those initiatives would soon pass with the departure of the executive team–it was as predictable as the sun rising every day

No one seemed responsible for addressing the culture issues. And, without a culture shift, we had little hope of creating sustainable and dramatic change. Most of us were gone in the normal cycle of executive turnover.

As my mentor, Dr. Alan Weiss offers:

“Culture is merely a set of beliefs which governs behavior. Change the core belief systems and you change the culture. Simple (or as difficult) as that.”

He’s right. Culture is a key ingredient in accelerating growth that is too easily overlooked. It need not be.

 Photo Credit: Tony Bowden, Flickr, Ivangorod Fortress on the Russian side of the border from Estonia Ivangorod Fortress

Thought for the week:

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”  -Peter Drucker
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

 


Self-Esteem & Self-Talk

April 7, 2014

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Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: self-esteem

I overheard an executive assistant (after giving her boss an idea) say, “I’m just an executive assistant.”

What struck me was the notion that a person gives energy to “I’m just a ____.” Perhaps she was kidding. But what if she believes it? What does “I’m just a _____” do to one’s psyche?

  • It diminishes a person’s ability to feel good about contributing ideas
  • It demeans a person’s value add to the organization
  • It disempowers the person–it puts them in a box that they think they need to stay and know their place

“I’m just a ____” isn’t:

  • Uplifting
  • Empowering
  • Engaging

As Prentice Mulford offered as a book title in 1908, “Thoughts Are Things,” our thoughts impact our behavior and engender feelings about who we are and what we represent in our world.

If you ever think to yourself, “I’m just a ____,” I hope you’ll think again and reframe who you are in a positive way. This will help you thrive.

Photo credit: _scartissue on Flickr.com

 

 

Thought for the week:

The most dangerous phrase in the language is “we’ve always done it this way.”  - Rear Admiral Grace Hopper
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

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Finding Eternal Year Over Year Business Growth

March 31, 2014

Fishing Village on Bosphorus River near Istanbul

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: accelerating growth

Just as Ponce de Leon sought an eternal fountain of youth, business leaders have sought a key to year over year success. Let’s try this on for size:

“We all know that ideas are the currency of success these days. To win in your marketplace, it’s mission-critical to out-think, out-innovate, and out-create your competition. The person with the biggest ideas then blended with the best execution will lead the field.” -Robin Sharma, Little Black Book for Stunning Success, Page 25

Sound simple? It’s not. If it were, every person and company would be doing it. This is how you accelerate growth.

Thought for the week:

“Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.” – Peter Drucker
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

 

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Wildfire & Google–Not A Marriage Made In Heaven

March 24, 2014

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Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: mergers and acquisitions

There was a lot of excitement when Wildfire was acquired by Google. The Altimeter Group writes on March 14, 2014:

When Google bought Wildfire for $350M, it took many by surprise. What did Google want with a Social Relationship Management company? Google is in the ad business, not the SRM business. Last year Google announced it was integrating Wildfire’s technology into DoubleClick, and Wildfire dropped off the radar as a social business tool since then. So yesterday’s announcement that Wildfire Social Marketing Suite was being sunsetted was not a shock.

While getting acquired by Google had to feel wonderful at the time, Google acquired it for what Google would consider chump change. And, seeing that Google spent so little, the acquisition cost almost implies “we’ll try it and if things don’t work out so well, oh well.”

I wrote If I Sell You My Company Will You Respect Me In The Morning? In a relatively short time, we learned that Google didn’t respect Wildfire. Is there a lesson here?

Entrepreneurs much look at the bigger strategic fit and not get dazzled by the offering price or the suitor’s name. They must also consider potential downside should the acquiring company suddenly lose interest, e.g., Palm (HP), Pure Digital’s Flip Cameras (Cisco).

Thought for the week:

“An entrepreneur is an innovator, a job creator, a game changer, a business leader, a disruptor, an adventurer.” – Sir Richard Branson

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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

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Driving Better Execution of Strategy

March 17, 2014

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: strategy versus execution

What’s more important: strategy or execution? They are equally important. Here’s what we know anecdotally:

  • Too many companies have poor execution of their strategy.
  • We seldom hear about companies with great execution and a poor strategy.

Many top executives see their role as setting strategy. Yet, they are too trusting that their strategy will be properly executed by their teams.

The problem stems from not aligning the teams with the strategy and holding people accountable for executing their portion of the strategy. Poor execution of a great strategy leads to disappointment or worse.

The business world is littered with executives who had great strategic intentions but could not drive actual execution. This is an age-old business problem.

Are you interested in accelerating your growth? Call me so we have a discussion about a process and tools that can help you and your company thrive at strategy execution.

Thought for the week:

“The cost of being wrong is less than the cost of doing nothing”  - Seth Godin
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2013 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

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What Happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370?

March 11, 2014

There’s been a lot of speculation in the media about what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.  I have some ideas based on my passion for flying. [Full disclosure: I am not a pilot.]

A transponder is a device that “squawks” a unique code for each airplane allowing people on the ground to know where the plane is. I called a good friend and colleague, a former U.S. Navy Top Gun fighter pilot.  I wanted to confirm that a transponder can be switched off.  It can also “squawk” an emergency code to advise people the plan has been hijacked.

It’s been said “the plane disappeared from radar.”  This isn’t exactly true.  What is true is the plane stopped squawking it unique identifier telling others on the ground it’s airline, flight number, aircraft type, altitude, speed, departure airport and arrival airport. For example, when I look at www.flightaware.com for an inbound flight into San Jose, I see a flight with the following information transmitted via its transponder:

SWA1188 = Southwest Airlines Flight 1188

B737 = Boeing 737 Aircraft

71  260 where “71″ equals the altitude (7100 feet) and 260 equals 260 knots forward speed

KLAX KSJC tells me the flight departed from Los Angeles International and is destined for San Jose, California

3:28 pm is the estimated arrival time

So, what do I think could have happened?

The transponder quit transmitting which suggests it was either destroyed in either a catastrophic explosion or turned off  someone in the cockpit intent on bringing down the plane. With the transponder “off,” people on the ground really have no idea where the plane traveled next.

  • The fact that there has been no debris found in the area where the plane last was identified suggests the possibility of that the plane may have flown away from where it was last identified via its transponder. The searchers simply aren’t looking in the right area.
  • It is possible that one of the cockpit crew wanted to use the plane as a means to commit suicide. If someone was intent on doing that, it would be reasonable to turn off the transponder. And, they might fly in a different direction with the transponder off to make it harder to confirm what actually happened in an attempt to cover up their intent.
  • If an intruder or terrorist hijacked the plane, they, too, would want the transponder turned off so the plane could not be tracked.
  • If there was a catastophic explosion, that, too, could disable the transponder.

I’m not hearing the media discussing these scenarios.

I pray for all who have died and all the families and friends of those who perished and are struggling with their loss.

What do you think?

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Dave Gardner

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