What is your evidence of that?

What evidence supports that?A number of recent articles and press releases have touted the successful launch of products and progress of companies. Folks have interviewed these companies and praised their success. Interestingly, as I’ve reached out to congratulate some of these CEOs, their response has been a surprise. They aren’t actually doing that well. Sure, there is a win, but the underlying financial results aren’t there yet. If you did a poll on the streets, you’d think these companies are wildly successful. But, the perception and reality don’t line up.

It is an important lesson in business. Whether it is the performance of people, the progress of the business, or the interests of customers, it is important to be able to point to facts and not just perceptions. As a leader, working off perceptions and not facts can lead you down a problematic path. So, the next time someone is trying to influence you, ask: what is your evidence of that?



Are you clear?I was having coffee with a new acquaintance when she asked about what makes the difference between companies with a good strategy and those that don’t have one.  It comes down to clarity.  It starts with leadership. They are clear about the purpose of the business. There is an alignment of values, both personal and professional.  That guides who business is conducted with, how people are treated, what the business does, etc.  It shows up in the passion and energy in the people at every level. With clarity, everything becomes simple and people get it.  Unnecessary complexity falls away and the business runs well. Do you have clarity in your business?

Do you know when you are slowing down?

do you know what is slowing you down?You probably see this situation at least every day. I was walking behind a woman when she suddenly slowed down so much, she almost stopped. She had just pulled out her phone and was starting to text someone. She was so focused on the new activity, she didn’t realize she had slowed down. She was oblivious to everything around her, except for the phone.

Things pop up in business every day that create distractions and slow us down. Many times, they take us off our primary goals. Do you know what they are in your business? How do you ensure you don’t slow down?

Are you ready?

Are you ready?It is that time of year. New year’s resolutions are made and a wave of people show up at the gym. The influx lasts only a few weeks. Some push too hard, are too sore and don’t come back. Others come back a few times, but don’t make it past the end of the month. It isn’t a priority and eventually it falls off the schedule.

As you think about your business goals, have you made them a priority? Have you thought through what it will take to accomplish them? Have you put the necessary resources in place to accomplish your goals? If not, take time this week to set your business up for success.

Is it time to make changes in your business?

is it time to change?I was walking down the street in Southeast Portland as a mail carrier walked by with his bag of mail. He walked down the block, going up and down the stairs to drop mail through the mail slot in each house. Years ago, I lived in Houston and the mail was delivered the same way. In both of these cases, the homes are 80 or so years old and don’t have mailboxes. My current home was part of a development. The mail is delivered in one location for the entire neighborhood, a much more efficient method of delivery for the postal service. At a time where costs are rising, volume of mail is declining, delivery points are increasing and the postal service struggles its budget, the inefficiencies in mail delivery are strikingly obvious when you see them. And, the inefficiencies are not addressed. Do you have any inefficiencies in your business? What is holding you back from addressing them?

What is obscuring your view?

what is obscuring your viewIt is that time of year again. The steady rain has arrived in the pacific northwest. The sky stays gray for months. When the rain falls, trucks create a mist so encompassing that it is nearly impossible to see anything but a gray wall. The mist seems to reach the sky and becomes one.  But once you get around the trucks, you can see the road, cars and trees that were completely obscured moments before.

At times, there can be items obscuring your view. It may be a project, a customer, personal challenges or other pervasive items that don’t allow you to see what is in front of you. How are you getting around the items that are obscuring your view?

The end of an era

end of an era, time for changeIt has been a local draw for 54 years for those driving up and down the interstate. A place to stop and get a bite, and stretch your legs before continuing the journey. But with major development in the works, the location was about to experience a number of changes. So, the owners decided to sell the location and move on to a new adventure.  It is the end of an era, but also the start of a new one.

Change comes in a number of ways. Sometimes it is welcome, other times it is forced on us. How are you keeping an eye out to adjust directions when it is the right time for you?

Why is it easier for startups to disrupt?

why is it easier for start ups to disruptStartups typically exist because there is a need that is not being met. Businesses either don’t listen to what is creating dissatisfaction from customers or are so wed to the current structure, system or process that it doesn’t move to address the need. Startups are not encumbered by the past. They don’t have prior investments weighing them down. They don’t have a massive change initiative to redirect focus. They just need to enter the market and move quickly.

What does that mean for companies that are being threatened by disruptive forces? Here are a few thoughts:

  • Investment decisions should not be made on the basis of sunk costs. If you need to invest to innovate and compete, history should not weigh you down.
  • Decision making should be rapid and effective
  • The culture should be adaptive and innovative

How are you creating a culture in your organization that allows you to be agile and decisive? How are you looking for disruption in your industry?

Is your data leading you to the wrong conclusions?

Is your data leading you to the wrong conclusion?Have you ever started receiving advertising from a business that makes you scratch your head? You would never use the product they are targeting for you in personalized ads. I had that happen to me recently and realized the data they were using was leading them to the wrong conclusion.

I wear a night guard for my teeth. Every morning, I take it out, rinse it off and drop it in a container with denture cleaner to clean it. So, it was a surprise when I was barraged with advertising for a variety of denture related items because I don’t wear dentures. Clearly, their data that shows I buy denture cleaner led them to the wrong conclusion.

How are you using data in your organization? Do you have a mechanism in place that keeps you from drawing the wrong conclusion from the data?

What are you thankful for?

What are you thankful for?Thanksgiving is this week in the United States. People get together with friends and family to share the bounty of the season. It is a good time to reflect on what we are thankful for both personally and professionally and express our gratitude. What are you thankful for?