Friday, July 22, 2011

food for thought and building your own digital cookbook....

it’s a sweltering summer throughout most of the country (it'll be 101 in new york today!) but business goes on.  years ago, many saw the summer as slow-down time, people are on vacations, leaving early (at least on fridays) and so it became sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy.  but i firmly believe that business is almost as intense during the summer as it is during the rest of the year.  yes, people take vacations when you’d really like them to be waiting for your call or answering your email.  but that doesn’t mean that things come to a’s that things require more patience, which, is truly a virtue.

a very interesting report was published this week by egon zehnder international and mckinsey & company.  the title:  return on leadership.  a few morsels:

  • nothing matters more than customer impact
    • understanding the evolving needs of customers in detail
    • customer orientation is a key leadership competency necessary for improvement (along with people development and change leadership)
  • there is no standard skill for success but...
    • the organic revenue growth a company achieves by capitalizing on market growth of existing segments requires
      • outstanding, consistent execution across the organization and, often, across the globe which is driven by...
        • a strong cadre of senior managers (e.g. not the top team) who excel at business and people leadership
    • the senior management of companies with top-quartile portfolio momentum growth excelled in three key leadership competencies...
      • developing organizational capability
        • a systematic focus on developing critical skills throughout the organization
      • team leadership
        • the ability to focus, align and build high-performing teams
      • change leadership
        • the ability to drive large-scale, coordinated change across the entire organization
  • to summarize:
    • competencies for successful growth strategies require:
      • customer impact:  continually takes action to add value to the customer
      • market insight:  looks beyond current context
      • results orientation:  drives uncompromisingly for higher performance
      • change leadership:  advocates change
      • team leadership:  actively involves team
      • collaboration and influencing:  motivates others to work with self
      • strategic orientation:  defines strategy for own area

perfect for a busy friday travel day:  top 10 pet peeves of usa today's frequent business travelers (i’ve added some of my own comments in bold type).  btw, don’t most of these relate to simple common courtesy and common sense?

1.      loud cell phone conversations. (i put earplugs in as soon as i board to try to control my own environment as much as possible).
2.      people who disobey the rules and try to carry on too many bags or carry too much liquid through security.
3.      people who play music so loudly, even with earplugs or headphones, that others can hear it.
4.      disrespect that passengers show to flight attendants and gate personnel.
5.      parents who don't try to control their children. (rampant problem.  neither flight attendants, nor teachers for that matter, are responsible for either teaching their children manners or disciplining them.  that’s a parental job).
6.      people who think the "turn-off-all-electronics" message is not for them.  (these people did things behind the teachers’ back as well).
7.      passengers who carry on and eat messy or smelly food. (smelly is the problem).
8.      people who board with multiple or oversize bags and fill the bins in the front of the cabin when they're seated in the rear. (just plain rude but i know many flight attendants watch for this).
9.      reclining a seat in a tight coach cabin. (these people are just plain scum.)
10.      Leaving a window shade open when everyone else has closed theirs and is trying to sleep.

build your own a la carte digital cookbook! on tuesday, cookstr launched its first collection of ibooks recipes on apple's ibookstore, presenting renowned chef and cookbook author rozanne gold's 1-2-3 collection.  fifteen years ago, gold started a revolution around the idea of simplicity in cooking. today, her exciting three-ingredient recipes, available for the first time digitally, are breaking new ground in a format designed for in-kitchen use. each recipe is 140 words or less.  there are 250 recipes ($9.99), which can also be purchased separately by theme ($3.99 for 50 recipes) or chapter ($0.99 for 10 recipes). this is extremely cool and, in the spirit of full transparency, I know rozanne and her husband, the highly sought after international restaurant consultant, michael whiteman.  but this is just one great use of technology and could even get me to start cooking!

and, just a little more food for thought for the weekend.  a friend suggested I read the book “how life imitates chess.”  i went through the book last saturday and pulled some stuff out that i’d like to share with you:

  • you need to be able to identify your mistakes and analyze why you made them.
  • “the man who knows how will always have a job.  the man who also knows why will always be his boss.’  ralph waldo emerson
  • having a vision is not enough; if you fail to envision the potential of your creation, it will be left for others to exploit.  what you need is a vision and the ability to develop a strategy to achieve it.
  • don’t spend so much time worrying about the other guy that you lose sight of your own goals and your own performance.
  • how much more affective would you become if, at the end of each day, you asked yourself what lessons you had taken away for tomorrow?
  • “if a man has a talent and cannot use it, he has failed.” thomas wolfe
  • dedicate yourself to making the time, finding a space in which you can think and learn and finding new ideas with which to shock your adversaries. (note:  i was out to lunch this week with a good friend at a chinese restaurant in new york that has really smartly priced lunch specials in a very nice setting.  the fortune in his cookie was, “always do right-this will gratify some and astonish the rest.”  pretty heavy for lunch i’d say).
  • “what you can do or think you can do, begin it.  for boldness has magic, power and genius in it.” goethe (i first saw this quote when i was a consultant to herb kohler at kohler company.  i think it’s one of the most powerful things i’ve ever read.  the challenge is to do it!).

on the road....

july 25-aug. 14:  northern california
aug. 15-19:  new york
aug. 29-sept. 9:  vacation
sept. 12-16:  new york
sept. 20-21: amsterdam to moderate a panel at the PERE Global Forum
nov. 2-5: washington, dc to attend the CRE Annual convention
nov. 9-10: new york to moderate a panel at the PERE forum

these are my views and not that of my employer.

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