Persistence – or How to be Successful

When I was a young man, I would read Analog magazine – every issue. In one issue, there was an editorial by Robert A. Heinlein.  He wrote about a time he was invited to address the cadets at the US Naval Academy.  When he got to the Academy, he […]

Authority Can be Delegated, But Responsibility Can’t

The news this week reported that the captain, executive officer and the senior enlisted sailor were removed from their positions aboard the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) which suffered a collision with a civilian ship on June 17, 2017.  It’s not unusual for the captain and senior personnel to be relieved […]

Who’s REALLY to Blame?

Unfortunately, we’ve had a wonderful opportunity to see human behavior at its worst this weekend.  There’s no denying that any rational, emotionally feeling human won’t be repulsed by the events that occurred in Charlottesville with the deliberate murder and attacks on people doing what they are guaranteed the right […]

Is Perfection Holding You Back?

We have many paintings in our house – most by professional artists that we have picked up over the years from art galleries during our travels.  But there is one painting by that hangs in our living room which is not by a professional.  Depicting a set of iris […]

No, I Won’t – Why I Took a Hiatus

Over the past five years, my business partner and I have written more than 300 blog posts – more than one a week.  Usually we would post a new entry on Tuesday while having a Throwback Thursday re-post.  But we’ve recently skipped several weeks because our production system was […]

Promises Made, Promises Not Kept

I’m sitting in the waiting room of a major oil change shop.  That’s not special, but the reason WHY I‘m in this one is.  I normally go to a different oil change shop but today when I arrived there shortly after 8:00 am, there was no one there.  Now […]

Where There’s Smoke

We’ve written about sexual harassment before – there’s no secret there.  But I would like to examine the economic benefits and costs associated with harassment today.  This examination is prompted by Bill O’Reilly’s firing by Fox after it was revealed that five women had been paid $13.5 million to […]

Waiting Rooms, Use Thereof

I’ve spent a lot of time in waiting rooms – especially since my wife had her stroke.  And while waiting rooms, particularly doctors’ waiting rooms, are not the most fun atmosphere, I find waiting rooms very useful because I’m always prepared.

How do you prepare for a waiting room?

I prepare […]

Lists – Making and Use Thereof

We’ve all used them – lists of things to do, things to buy, places to go, people to call, tasks to execute – the list is endless.  It’s the simplest of management tools and one of the most damaging.  We even compile lists of lists.  Compiling a list is […]

Secrets Aren’t Secret

Because I’ve spent a lot of time in the Washington, DC area working in and for the federal government, I’ve been asked frequently about recent news reports coming from the national capital.  Most of the questions are of the type, “Can the President/FBI/CIA/NSA/etc. really do ___________________ and keep it […]

When Things Go Wrong, COMPLAIN!

I generally encourage people to lower their voices and think before they speak – perhaps to not speak at all – it makes for more reasoned communication.  But there is one area that I personally violate that rule – when things go wrong.  And when things go wrong, I […]

$20 Sorry

I enjoy collecting stories that have a moral.  This is an ancient method of teaching exemplified by Aesop’s Fables, a collection of short stories that always illustrated a lesson about life.  We remember stories when we don’t remember facts or statements.  As humans, we’re wired that way.

The stories always […]

Theories X, Y and Z

Every organization has a culture established at its beginning and changed only with considerable effort and pain.  Leadership and management will operate on the basis of one of three theories of people – Theories X, Y and Z.

In a Theory X organization, people are considered lazy and therefore management […]

The Misuse of Audits

Two things happened that involved me within the last 24 hours that concern audits:  I completed an audit of an organization and I read a column in the SpokesmanReview about audits in Medicare.

I’ve been doing audits, and their cousin, inspections, for more than 30 years.  I remember what it […]

Highly Satisfied

I’m a big fan of customer surveys.  Not of giving them because mostly the results are skewed by the apostles and terrorists – I’ll explain later.  I’m a big fan of filling out the surveys for several reasons.

First of all, so few people actually fill out the surveys at […]

Five Questions to Ask

Recently, my business partner (and daughter), Meredith, was describing the products she saw at a craft trade show.  There were many wonderful products that she was excited about but, at the same time, there were products that left you scratching your head because they were neither innovative (the theme […]

Tactical Thinking vs. Strategic Thinking

Last week I wrote about the need to look ahead.  Today, I thought I would amplify my thoughts considering recent news reports without mentioning the specific actions but looking at the difference between tactical thinking and strategic thinking.

Tactical thinking is focused on the here and now or what’s close.  […]

Look Ahead

My wife and I go through a ritual most days – I’ll ask her sometime in the morning or early afternoon if she has given any thought to what to have for dinner and does she want me to get something out of the freezer?  Invariably, she’ll say no, […]

Looking Like a Professional

I’ve been an adjunct professor for most of this century, teaching graduate students quality and operations management as well as entrepreneurship.  Now, mind you, these were GRADUATE students.  For the most part, they had experience in the workplace after college.

And yet, they weren’t professionals.  By that, I mean they […]

Completed Staff Work

When I was supporting the Air Force in Washington, DC, I quickly learned a phrase that I hadn’t heard before but it represented a concept I was very familiar with – Completed Staff Work.  Completed Staff Work meant that you did everything so the only thing a colonel or […]