Archives for February 2013

Strategy: Two Choices You Must Make

Every strategist knows the most difficult part about strategy is making choices.  But, to be effective, strategy demands we choose among options.  Here is a brief but clear presentation on the two most basic choices you must make.

To view the full 2.5 minute video click here HBR.ORG

CNN On “Tomorrow’s Funerals”

Here is a clip about a personalized funeral. But what is really the story behind the story, in my humble opinion, is that the owner of the funeral home (Ernie Heffner) has created an environment wherein his staff feels safe enough to take this kind of initiative in the arrangement conference without having to check first.  The second part of the story is that personalization doesn’t always have to be fancy and expensive.  Sometimes easy and a little irreverent and, best of all…fun is enough.

Notice also that the staff member is the one is acknowledged on nationwide TV.  That one small choice on the part of Mr. Heffner is worth a ton of motivational seminars.

Kudos to Heffner funeral home for showing us how it’s done.

Why You Don’t Get It Done Now

I like science.  And I am increasingly aware of the impact neuroscience and linguistics have on our unconscious behavior.  Well here is one that suprises me.  On little word can make a huge difference in how we handle life…


Want to be more effective personally, professionally, and economically? Apparently, one solution is kill will.

One of the CultureSync Approved Tribal Leaders Leslie Bennett reminds me to take “will” out of the proposals we develop together. Statements like “participants will learn about the connections between organizational culture and organizational performance” become “participants learn about the connections between organizational culture and organizational performance.”

As we make the change, I always think, removing “will” can’t be that important can it?

Turns out it just might be.

Behavioral Economist Keith Chen is researching language differences that align with differences in national behavior when it comes to savings as a percent of gross national product.

Early results are more than a little startling. Nations with languages that speak differently about the future than they do about present (think: It will rain tomorrow) have a 5% lower savings rate than nations who do not (think: It rain tomorrow).  see more at Culturesynch

Here is what I would do:

Start paying more attention to how you talk.  Self talk and common social talk reveal a lot about how  you think.  Remember:

“How you behave is what you believe no matter what you say”

Good Advice For Leading Younger Workers

There is a lot of noise coming from the Baby Boom generation about how the younger generation isn’t willing to work the long hours and endure the hardships they endured when they first started.  In fact, as I spend more and more time studying the cultures of funeral homes this is specifically where the divide comes in.

In my experience, however, Millenials, as the younger generation is called, need only be connected to a higher calling.  The need a purpose to link their work to.  Once that happens just get out of their way.  I have always believed that funeral service has a noble calling.  Boomers somehow got fixated on the long hours and arduous work pattern.  connect millenials to the work itself and you will see some wonderful things happen.  This article from Harvard Business Review contains some sound advice on this matter.

In the years I spent at West Point as the military leadership course director, I got to know some millennials pretty well. I came to appreciate them as ready to work just as hard as previous generations, perhaps even harder. West Point graduates from the millennial generation have selected the most dangerous initial assignments for their Army service at rates higher than previous generations. They aren’t looking for military jobs that will just set them up for good business careers later. They’re demonstrating with their very lives that they’re ready to join the real world.

It seems our differing generations suffer from two key stumbling blocks: communication gaps and preconceived notions. Communication has changed rapidly in the last ten years and not all of us have kept the pace. And both older and younger generations can fall victim to surrendering to negative chatter or stereotypes, instead of looking for common ground and goals.

So as leaders, you have a choice: You can make assumptions about the next generation or you can invest in them the way that others have invested in you….More at Don’t Make Assumptions About the Next Generation; Invest in It – Col