Lessons Learned From Infamy

December 7, 2016 is the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the Hawaiian Islands.  There are newspaper inserts and TV specials as well as countless articles and speeches retelling the stories and pointing out the lessons that were learned.  Usually, the lessons can be summed up as “we […]

Success and Failure (Part 3)

On this date in 1846 the Donner Party was preparing to set out for the last stretch to California the next day. At this point they had suffered more privation than most pioneers had. Unfortunately, the sufferings would only get worse as the party was trapped in the Sierra […]

Setting and Using the Right Boundaries

“Fifty Four Forty or Fight!” That was the campaign slogan for the Democrats following the 1844 presidential election which they won. Like many of the important issues of the past, today we either don’t remember or can’t imagine why it was important. Fifty Four Forty refers to where the […]

Thank you, George Westinghouse

Today is the birthday of George Westinghouse (1846), founder of the Westinghouse Company, inventor of the railway air brake, and the rival of Thomas Edison (and George won!) Yes, George Westinghouse championed alternating current (AC) electrical systems while Thomas wanted direct current (DC) systems. As you know, we use […]

In Defense of Results

Happy International Coffee Day! Coffee, the elixir that gets a lot of the world moving each day and produce results.

“Just because we can’t do everything doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do something.” – Bill Clinton, President

When my oldest child was 7, I was asked to become the Scouting Coordinator for […]

The OODA Loop & Business: When the Emperor has No Clothes

I’m a retired naval officer who specialized in the care and feeding of submarines. I have studied submarines literally from the inside out and from the earliest concepts to the latest developments. They are unsurpassed in capabilities to survey, hunt and destroy the enemy.

But in warfare, the battle is […]

Are you a Henry or a Marie?

Meredith and I had a discussion recently about leadership – we actually discuss the topic frequently – but this occasion was inspired by an article, “Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?”  The basic premise of the article was that the characteristics that get men promoted are what […]

Strategic Thinking- Everyone needs it!

The Yom Kippur War in 1973 was, in many ways, a continuation of the 1967 Six-Day War, as WWII was a continuation of WWI.  And, as with many wars, there are many lessons to be learned – assumptions lead to surprises, modern weaponry changes the landscape, and strategic […]

Real Crises in History: Remember the Alamo!

178 years ago today, on March 6, 1836, the Battle of the Alamo ended with the complete annihilation of the men defending it.  It has been the subject of epic movies starring John Wayne and the climax of one of the most successful series that Disney ever created, Davy Crockett.  […]

Survival Is Optional: What History Teaches Business Owners About Avoiding Failure

My son-in-law (Meredith’s husband) is a human behavior expert, and he has a simple mantra for understanding people in difficult situations: Remember that people are idiots.  He explains, “Even the smartest people do idiotic things for idiotic reasons. People are irrational. They have egos and emotions that influence their choices more […]

Three Business Lessons We Can Learn from 911 on Its 46th Birthday

46 years ago this week, the first 911 system was activated in the US.  Since then countless lives have been saved because of the improvement in first responders’ response times to genuine emergencies the world over. The history of 911 is interesting for several reasons: A single national emergency […]

The Quality of the Hit – The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre 1929

“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” -Sir Arthur Conan DoyleToday is the 85th anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.  Generally assumed to be directed by Al Capone, no one was ever convicted of the crime of killing 7 people in broad daylight with witnesses present. […]

Welcome to February – Maybe You’re Not a Genius!

February is special to me because it was on February 1, 1908 that the USS Plunger, SS 2, was launched. I kept a line drawing – basically an outline of the ship and its components – on the wall of my office for many years. It was […]

Management Lessons from the Cleaning Lady

Last week I had this exchange with the cleaning lady at the center where I teach a graduate-level evening class.  I always clear the white board when I’m done, but lately I’ve noticed that the dry eraser doesn’t wipe the marks off very well, no matter how hard I […]

Real Crisis in History (or, Ben Franklin was a Jerk) – Podcast, Episode 4

Remember that time Benjamin Franklin convinced thousands of people that one of his competitors was dead just to boost sales of Poor Richard’s Almanac? Except the guy was very much alive? No? Well… he did. Franklin publish his almanac of predictions under the pseudonym “Richard Saunders.” And in the […]