Somebody said we were allowed to think out loud. Pardon the mess.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Outsourcing, to the next level

The overhead costs. Performance challenges. Constant interruptions. High maintenance "people" issues. The endless obligatory small talk.

Does this describe your love life?

Then you need An Imaginary Girlfriend!

Yes, real girls. With most of the perks! Gushy notes on cute, perfumed stationery. (Smiley Face "i"s!!!) Pictures to show to your friends at work. Breathy voice mail messages. And syrupy emails clogging your in-box. Yes, all the sights, sounds and smells of a real girlfriend, but none of the hassles of management or HR!

Why get your chops busted? Bust some paradigms instead! Outsource your love today. Because proximity is so--20th-century!

Friday, March 12, 2004

Hey Brain-Boy! Where's the rest???

[Update: "Brain, Metaphor, Archetype, Brand" posts are here]

Just responded to a nice email from another reader looking forward to Part II of the brain posts. I'm sure he was too polite to say "Where is it?" or "When is it?"

Sorry but work has stomped on my nascent blogging career this week with several trips away from the office. I couldn't even watch The Apprentice last night!

Anyway, thanks for your patience. Post II is about where I'm happy with it and not TOO worried that it flies off into the ether. I've carved out some time to sit down and double check facts and stuff later in the day. Up by close of Business today. I promise.

(And hey, where are the comments--this was supposed to start a conversation, remember?)

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

FROM today's knowledge@wharton email:

Should Dick Grasso Return the Dough?
It's today's $139.5 million question: Why doesn't Richard Grasso, former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, give back at least some of the nearly $140 million in compensation that he was granted by the NYSE's board of directors? That the question is even being raised, of course, speaks to the sudden change in thinking about such issues as corporate governance and executive compensation. While some say that the New York Stock Exchange should be held as accountable as Grasso, right now it's the former chairman who is facing the most public outrage. The sentiment among corporate governance experts at Wharton is that Grasso should a) give some of the money back, or b) at least start talking about giving it back.
Puzzling through the Jobless Recovery. Or Is It a Fundamental Shift?
On March 5, the U.S. Labor Department announced that the U.S. economy had created only 21,000 new jobs in February, far below the 150,000 that economists had predicted. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.6%, but only because many people have given up on finding jobs. Economists and other employment experts offer a host of possible explanations but no definitive answers. What is clear, however, is that technology, productivity gains, and job shifting on a global basis are all contributing to new trends in hiring.

Things are looking a bit hectic today. I hope to have Part II of Brain, Metaphor, Archetype, Brand ready to post towards the end of the day.

In the meantime, a nice thought from Ralph:
"To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all . . . that is genius . . . a man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty."

-- Emerson

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Received a nice email about a comment I made over at Brandmantra on under-valuation of the marketing function in organizations. What the hey, I guess it's worth reposting here:
...Pardon the icky term, but when the "positioning" of Brand perception and its value is reoriented within organizations, it allows marketers to come out the ghetto. That's a chicken or the egg situation in many cases though. To which I offer three thoughts:

1. Don't curse the darkness, light a candle.
2. Execute the idea, not yourself.
2. Tis better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.

Translation: Think about your true problem and the first audience you must persuade--follow the ambition trail up to the top within your marketing organization and feed that latent, often unsatisfied need with your new language and approach.

Match passion with process and process with profit and people with everything--each alone is DOA.

And, be gutsy when you have your Eureka moments--don't let them die, keep refining and proofing it. Even if your idea doesn't survive where you are, if it is good it will be remembered. And it will make for one kick-ass interview the next time you're looking to jump. Seriously.
Hmmm... Sounds familiar. Oh, yeah...

Monday, March 08, 2004

Carnival of the Capitalists

Carnival of the Capitalists, hosted this week by Catallarchy, has very kindly pointed its readers to this motley collection of hurried prose and unbillable hours.

The post they mention is on Benevolent Leadership titled Are leaders born, or made? They're born, then unmade. Scroll down to below the Rummy Tai Chi pictures.

[Update: edited for bloggered permalink. Post in question is now imediately below this one]

Are leaders born or made? They're born, then un-made.

During work hours, we at Fouroboros Worldwide dabble in the dodgy business of advising poobahs on strategy and what-not. It gives us great opportunity to do what everyone has dreamed of at one time or another: Tell somebody in charge they're full of crap--but with a smile, naturally. We also get to make lots of cool charts like this:

...And create neato processes that save money or create money and/or get people to stop wringing each other's necks. Kinda like this...

But you know what? That's all comfort-food and left-brain permission for business people to do what they know they need to, but are somehow scared of: get out of their own way...
The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers, James M. Citrin and Richard A. Smith

Benevolent Leadership
Extraordinary leaders do not necessarily have to claw their way to the top — they are carried there

Just take a look in the business section of any bookstore and you'll find reinforcing titles such as Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive. Those who've battled their way to the top, therefore, must be the most aggressive, self-centered type of people, right?

Not necessarily. Happily, the facts show that the most successful individuals populating the top rung of the corporate ladder are more often those who can attract top talent and inspire them to exceptional levels of performance.
Are benevolent-leader CEOs more competent? There is certainly no evidence to support this. Yet, looking beyond some of the highly visible CEOs to mainstream executive leaders, research clearly indicates that benevolent leadership has a direct, positive impact on success.

Why is this the case?

The answer lies not in the ability of the CEO per se, but rather in the environment that this style of leadership generates within an organization and the resulting effect it has on the performance of team members. It is the creation of this type of organizational environment, we have found, that is consistently linked to superior long-term performance for these executives and their companies. Quite simply, benevolent leaders achieve advantage by creating an environment where the very best performers want and even seek to work, will perform at peak levels, and will remain loyal. In turn, the leader successful in creating this environment is rewarded by the performance of those working with him.
Good stuff. But if everybody's talking about the importance of evolving workplaces and innovation and merit and stuff, how do you convincingly communicate that they matter to you without feeling like Stuart Smalley or Tony Robbins? Simple. Sometimes you just have to get Medieval on the office furniture. Much more effective than Casual Friday or "empowerment" sessions.

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