Archive for August, 2005

When Numbers Don’t Matter

I’m looking over the scores from last night’s baseball games while emitting a groan. The sound rolling up my chest and out my throat starts deep and ends deeper. It’s in synchrony with a nodding of the head side to side about an inch each way. Try it yourself and you’ll get the feeling right away. Now think of your team with a record of 64 wins and 66 losses. Yeah, now you’re getting it.

The San Diego Padres baseball team is my team. They’re the local boys, and since this is my home, they are my team. As a kid, I never had a favorite baseball team so it was natural for me to choose the local boys as my team when I moved here several years ago.


Jiffy Lunacy

Recently I took the Jeep to Jiffy Lube for an oil change. I arrived about 2:30 P.M. on Saturday afternoon to the surprise of a short line.

The young man took my order promptly at the computer terminal beside the service car. He asked a couple questions like, “What model car is it?” “A Jeep,” I said a little surprised. “What model?” he asked. “Wrangler,” I replied. “What year?” he continued. “2004,” I replied. He checked the mileage and the car was promptly driven over the hole in the floor below which stood another young man ready to dump the oil.

I entered the waiting area, which was clean, smelled of coffee and was buzzing with the voices of the cashier and the customer who was just paying. I went…

Why the Soft Stuff is Hard

Ah, the soft stuff. That part of management and leadership that perplexes and outright frustrates many businesspeople. If we could just focus on tasks and goals and forget the squidgy emotional soft stuff we’d get a lot more done, right? Well, certainly, especially if we were made of metal.

After the first week of a masters program in executive leadership, I remain convinced that the soft stuff - values, creating high morale, interpersonal intimacy, idealism, non-caustic relationships and the like, is very hard for many executives to make sense of, much less employ wisely. Why? Well, at the very least it’s because the American business system does not place much emphasis on it. The very term, “soft” (fluffy is another one) hints at how much credence we place give it; it’s…

No Reply at All - Part III

After all the invitations, I had one terrific meeting with a chap who runs a private investigation agency. I found him to be interesting, skilled and generous. I went away optimistic that more enjoyable and productive meetings like it will follow.

I have resolved to do the work that most people don’t do; I will continue to extend the invitations and meet with the people who accept them. And, I’ll be patient; some people accept invitations a long time after they are extended.

Don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean I won’t invite someone several times. I will - but I am not begging.

I think there is a way of working that follows the energy of positivity and connection more than the energy of negativity and strain. This is not…

No Reply at All - Part Two

As you know, four phone calls and one email were sent asking people with whom I’m in a business development/referral group to join me for coffee so that we can get acquainted. The idea was to learn about one another. I can’t refer someone to a person I care about without knowing them. And sitting in a room for 90 minutes once a week does not mean I know the people in the room. So, I invited four of them to coffee.

One person has a reputation for not returning emails or phone calls. His reputation is in no danger of changing.

One of the businesspeople said, “Hi David. You called me while I was out of town last week.” That was it, nothing more. A statement of fact. Now,…