Like a little fun in your business day?

Book cover image of 101 Best Business Quips

Book cover image of 102 Best Business Quips

In the belief that the greatest wisdom comes wrapped in a little humor & delight, we offer to the hard working community BartsBooks Business Quips. These weekly witticisms poke a little wry and revealing fun at everything from cherished misconceptions to bluderfully bizarre marketing trends.

Our Business Quipsmeister Bart pronounces such gems as:

“Marketing is the art of pinning pears to an apple tree and selling them as exotic.” Then he follows it up with a wry and revealing Afterthought which affords the reader/listener a little takeaway tool to ponder. Sound like fun?  For a free subscription email

For those who believe that the greatest wisdom flies in most agreeably on the wings of laughter, we weekly offer the utensil of a scriptural reading from 101 Best Business Quips and 102 Best Business Quips. A few of our latest favorites include:

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Avoid Overthinking

Some things just work – like giving a woman diamonds.  You don’t know why – they just do.

Afterthought:  Doing unto others what you would particularly like to have done unto you, is a caring way to operate.  But sometimes it’s more effective to listen – really listen – and learn what others truly would want, even if it seems their wants seem a bit odd to you.


Multi-task Masters

I now do all my shopping online during our business Zooms.  Then, when it was time for my presentation, I discovered the rest of the team were doing the same thing.  Boy was I offended.

Afterthought: The goal is to live in the present – not two presents at once.  Even if you were not raised to be courteous, you may just find that actively listening to all others around you will prove to be in your own self-interest.


The Call of the Couch

I always shop for my exercise gear online.  It saves me the trouble of that long trek to the mall – with all those stairs.

Afterthought:  In the last two years, 80,000 retail stores have declared bankruptcy.  Apparently online-addicted American consumers are finding it too strenuous to trek to the mall for their running shoes and exercise bicycles.  But what will your FitBit say?


The More Things Change…

Currently we face a shortage of semi-vital goods. The problem is new, but the scapegoats remain ever the same: the Chinese, too much technology, lazy American workers, and bureaucrats.

Afterthought:  The causes of what’s wrong with this world are heirlooms we cling to dearly and pass on from one generation to the next.  It’s just easier that way.



The Traditional Cover Up

My attorney always wears a mask when he hands me his bill.  It somehow seems appropriate.

Afterthought:  I guess it’s only fairAttorneys have to make more laws, so the rest of us can remain legally off balance, and come begging for their aid in explaining the laws they’ve so complexedly created.  A person’s gotta do what he can to keep himself in business.


Homework Woes

Telecommuting allows me to simultaneously juggle the pressures of work, family, and home all in one cramped office.  If it weren’t for the short commute to the fridge, it’d be unbearable.

Afterthought:  ‘Tis ironic that everyone cheers when they can flee the office and begin working at home.  Then when offices open up, coworkers all flock joyfully back into their old desks like, well, old folks coming home.


Just Desserts

Wanted: an employee who currently does not feel that his ancestors, ethnicity, gender preference, or anything other than smart/hard work makes him/her worthy of promotion.

Afterthought:  The absolutely best attitude to carry across the threshold into your workplace is that you deserve nothing – yet…but just watch me prove myself.


Vacation’s Over

It is true: an Ivy League education really does lead to high-paying jobs.  You should see the jobs my wife and I are taking just to pay for our son’s Princeton tuition.

Afterthought: With all America’s children heading back to live schools and universities, their parents’ Covid career vacations have come crashing to a halt.  Back to the salt mines, Mom and Dad.


Tech-cozy Homes

“My realtor wants to “millennial stage” my house for quick sale. So now the dining room and workshop are featured as “spare computer workspaces with chandelier and nail gun outlet.”

Afterthought: For folks who feel at home only in the virtual realm, not much is required of a house except that it provides ways heat pizza, cool beer, and keep devices dry.


Eggshell Etiquette

We live in an era where it is considered crude to display any pride in one’s gender – unless, of course, it is not the one you were born with.

Afterthought: What is marvelous is that we are encouraging folks to freely display whatever dress, language, and behavior suits themselves as they see it.  Let’s just hope we can extend that open acceptance to all – regardless of whatever they select.


Help! Wanted!

The current employee shortage has a simple solution.  Just keep encouraging media to dangle more frivolous luxuries in front of those stay-at-homes, and we will have them transformed back into wage slaves before you know it.

Afterthought:  It’s a tried and true solution that never fails.  Or, I suppose, we could pass a law mandating every credit card be paid in full, on time.


Buying Sight Unseen

Purchasing online is so convenient.  I can now buy everything from my meals to my automobile online – and if I don’t like it, I just send it back…at my own expense.

Afterthought:  And don’t get me started on the environmental disaster of sending each individual retail item from manufacturer to the purchaser in its own wrapping, delivered via the gas-guzzling truck of the fulfillment agent.


Rolling Downhill

What this firm needs is an alternative energy solution – not for our building – for our employees.

Afterthought:  Enthusiasm, like innovation, is amazingly contagious. Any employee can catch it from his CEO.  (Providing the CEO has been infected.)


Genderless & Humorless

She asked me, “What are your pronouns?”  So I replied, “Well my Pro-nouns are ‘Hunk’ and ‘Best Beloved’ and it would tickle me if you could use them together when addressing me.”

Afterthought: Yes, there is a certain smug show of independence by insisting that you be addressed out-of-category.  But if you truly want to define yourself in others’ eyes, try filling your days with acts of caring and courage – then the appellations you seek will surely come your way.


Buzzword Besieged

We have strategically empowered a value-driven, customer-centric communications innovation which embraces utmost diversity while retaining entrepreneurial agility….and it flies like a pig.

Afterthought: Popular buzzwords are the varnish applied by the unsure to sell nonsense to those terrified of original thought.  Test: do any of the above words carry authority in your judgment?


Blinded by Greed

“I can never understand why my company’s hourly employees just don’t show the same enthusiasm for making more profits for my firm as I do.  My shareholders can’t figure it out either.”

Afterthought: This puzzled business owner’s inability to walk in her workers’ shoes is the type of attitude that has made aggressive unions an absolute necessity.


Wisdom: Long & Short

Most management consultant’s advice may be boiled down to a single, wise sentence.  But stretching it out into an entire book allows them to justify those more satisfying fees.

Afterthought:  And unfortunately, my dear, driving home most consultants’ vital wisdom into most managers takes an entire book plus several seminars before the distilled essence is absorbed – and practiced.


Necessity’s Unfunded Father

If everybody were given the opportunity to pay taxes only on those governmental programs they deem absolutely necessary and beneficial, there would be no IRS to collect them.

Afterthought: Every major venture, be it nation, notion, or corporation, demands a long list of unpopular, but vital functions to keep all the parts moving profitably along.  They are the parts that slogans and simple solutions ignore, and whose absence ensures collapse.


Status Scams

When established firms with upwards of $1 billion in revenue scam their customers by overbilling and double billing, they may politely dismiss it as “computer error.”  Firms with fewer assets committing the same practices are justly accused of running “confidence games.”

Afterthought:  Alas, companies of all sizes and reputations employ such dishonest revenue enhancers.  Despite the popularity of such ethical lapses, the most satisfying buck to make remains an honest buck.


Cultivating Competitors

What do you call that guy in your firm who always had the best ideas, but was never listened to?  Call him “that new competitor who is taking all our clients.”

Afterthought:  Of course, if your firm were smart, you’d be calling that guy “our new board member.”  Creativity brushed aside has a way of bubbling up to bite you from behind.  If you, Ms. Executive, are not encouraging your team, you are fostering competing entrepreneurs.


Your Skewed View

Hindsight has always been 20/20 but it has recently become true that 2020 is now always hindsight.

Afterthought:  Yes, we are entering a new era.  But then again, we always are.  May it dawn for you not by calendars or change in leaders, but from a new enthusiastic re-creation burgeoning from your own precious soul.  P.S. This quip was supplied courtesy of the razor-witted Rick McKee whose wry & sly comments keep me ever gorged with insight.


 Innovative Delegating

Our company has just appointed a Director of Innovation.  Thank goodness.  Now the rest of us don’t have to worry about coming up with something new.

Afterthought: “Innovative Group” is the new jargon for the old “Creative Department.” Nothing new about it –  same old dress with a new label.  Of course, in my firm, we don’t have a thinking elite.  We ask everybody to envision new improvements.  And we listen to all of them.


Zoom Zombied

…So after the first hour of our weekly departmental Zoom meeting, it slowly dawned on me that none of these people in the gallery were from my company.

Afterthought: If you spend enough time online, you begin to notice that the words are the same, but the faces have somehow changed. Oops. Time to hop outside, onto my bike and, feel life again.


Endlessly Breaking News

It has been documented that if every high school student in America was to spend as much time studying as his parents spent reading post-election commentary, every child could qualify for an ivy league scholarship.

Afterthought:  We may invest our time any way we choose, either hammering out our own personal course, or reveling in the critiques of distant dramas.  As said, ‘tis a free country.


Tricks, Treats & Masking Up

We have two political parties in America – one wears a mask covering only half the face.

Afterthought: We voters are a funny lot.  We keep saying we want to know the real, true candidate – but then we go right along as we always have, voting for the image over the issues.  Could it be that we are forcing our politicians to mask up?


Truth & Numbers

I firmly believe in two statistics: first, that 98 percent of all businesses in my profession pay their full of share of taxes; and second, that 87.4 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

Afterthought: Isn’t it amazing how sticking a number in front of some wild assertion seems to make folks believe in its authority?


The Price of Nose Rings

Those holding an unassailable integrity seem to prove themselves particularly pesky to those who have already sold their own.

Afterthought:  Whatever price you were paid to betray your own beliefs or neglect the common good, you were robbed.  There is not enough wine in all of France to begin to barter for sacrificing your individual self.


Legislative Greed index

I’m not saying my Senator’s a corporate lapdog, but he measures the nation’s economic health solely by the PWCP – his Personal War Chest Payments index.

Afterthought:  Yes, there are politicians who give a completely personal meaning to the term “Fortune 500.”  But, cynics aside, they remain a minority – as do the corrupt businesses buying their votes.


Tech Enamored

The difference between incurable techies and ordinary computer users is that the former truly believes all devices are friendly and all errors are human.

 Afterthought: When your Zoom suddenly shuts down your video, your butt makes a phone call to your ex-spouse, or your trusted and familiar photo export process suddenly decides to change the rules, can it be your fault?  Or are the Tech Deities testing your true faith?


As the Ball Falls…

I have found, after many New Years, it is much better to make  resolutions for others to keep – then blame them when they fail to live up to my expectations.

Afterthought:  Perhaps the only resolution worth keeping this year is to diligently seek out more joy than we did last year.  It is indeed out there – why not seek it out and revel in it?


Joy To Our World

This year we have witnessed so many of you laboring generously to lift up your fellows.

In this season of Hope, may that spirit which has guided us thus far continue to grow and may we all discover the joy which accompanies it.

With gratitude,

 Bart Jackson and the whole BartsBooks team


What’s on Your Wrist?

Amazon (‘natch) has just released its wearable device that continually tells you what emotions you are feeling.  I look forward to the upgrade when the device will simply have the emotions for me.

Afterthought:  I’m not sure that this is what Socrates meant when he quoth that the unexamined life is not worth living.   Doubtless, this vital tech-piece will sell wildly to all those individuals who truly do not know their own minds.


The Brilliant Solution

If you come up with a brilliant solution, you are a respected consultant.  If you can persuade others to happily implement it, you’re a good manager.  And if you dare to risk every asset you’ve made thus far in trying it out – then you are CEO material.

Afterthought:  To grow your firm, you need all three.  Unless, of course, you are an entrepreneur – then all three positions fall on the shoulders of one overstressed individual.


Polishing Your Position

What this company needs is more executives who view their title as a responsibility, rather than an avenue to privilege.

 Afterthought:  Does being raised to Director of Marketing scare you a bit?  It should.  The pesky thing about titles is that, unless they’re entirely empty, they carry a daunting challenge.  And a good leader knows how to confer the excitement of that challenge with the honor.


Two-Sided Coining

Knowledge is committing to memory the original ideas of many other people.  Creativity is inventing something useful like the wheel, again.  You need both.

Afterthought:  Academics tend to take great pride in their massive bodies of accumulated lore, while business folks get promotions for disruptively exchanging this old system for this new one.  Maybe these groups should talk.


Us vs. Stats

Recent politics, by so many unfortunate examples, have taught business one valuable lesson – ‘tis far more effective to make your appeal to real people, rather than statistical clusters.

Afterthought: No one likes to be treated as part of a category.  So, I won’t buy your product because I am a Millennial any more than I’ll vote for you because I am a female war veteran.  But if what you’ve got will solve my problem, son, I am all ears.


The Cause of Applause

Too many modern music composers strive to create pieces that are innovative and disruptive, rather than pleasing.  Unfortunately, too many business product developers are following in those footsteps.

Afterthought:  Satisfaction may come from expressing yourself in your creation.  Pride may swell your chest when you come up with something original.  But if you want folks to applaud & buy it, maybe you should try considering what appeals to them.


Distance + Rate = Savings

I was planning to buy the new, low-priced, all-electric car to save on fuel costs…until my Wife pointed out that all our food is delivered and my work commute consists of 37 steps from the bedroom.  So I bought a new FitBit instead.

Afterthought:  Miraculous technology may be worthy of admiration, but ‘tis not always worthy of investment, until you’ve carefully studied the marketplace.


An Army of One

Now Covid has banished us to locked-down laborers, I sit at home, no one calls, no one visits.  My gods, I’ve never accomplished more in my life!

Afterthought. One of the most neglected skills in our educational system is the art of living productively, fulfillingly alone.  But Wow.  I am ever amazed at how swiftly and creatively folks are learning this self-reliant art.  Go to it, tiger.


Bells & Whistles vs. Function

Marketers design products with ever more appealing claims.  Engineers gleefully add ever more complex technology.  So my new wheelbarrow counts my steps, includes a digital readout – but has no handles.

Afterthought: The customer thinks he wants a product that is simple, fast to set up, and functions dependably.  But marketing knows better.  He really wants confusing add-ons. After all, marketers have remote surveys with data piles to back up this complexity trend.


Covid’s Career Confinement

Jeff Bezos says any team you can’t feed with two pizzas is too big.  But I just got hired by Google and my “team” has just been fed a Happy Meal and two bottles of wine – devoured all alone in my home office.

Afterthought:  My congratulations to each of you who keeps the discipline to labor alone, unsupervised.  Yes, today’s technology allows everybody to tap keyboards at home and still be pulling on the same rope in the same direction.  But just watch me catch on fire when I can at last sit down, clasp hands, and scheme with my fellow dream chasers at the workplace.


Payroll Protection Unplanned

Our state has just formed a commission to make sense of the federal Payroll Protection Plan.  US Congress folks are willing to fund it, on the condition that the commission is able to explain it to them.

Afterthought:  The Payroll Protection Plan’s generosity comes with more strings than the New York Philharmonic’s violin section.  One beauty salon owner we know gleans 52 cents free and clear from her PPP check – to cover the month of July.


Tortured Stats

Since the February 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns, US bicycle sales have soared 300 percent, time spent reading books has risen 34 percent, and consumption of spirits shot up 23 times the norm.  I can only hope that Americans are not indulging in these new excesses simultaneously.

Afterthought:  Apparently Zoom is not accounting for all our spare lockdown hours.


E.U. Marshals a Plan

The European Union has issued a ban on any US citizens setting foot on European sod.  However, the same edict made it very clear that for US dollars, the gates stand wide open.

Afterthought: In bygone days, the only way for the Old World to get its hands on New World cash was to invite us to bring it over in person.  But now, thanks to electronic investment, they can enjoy our funding without enduring uppity colonials face to face.


Cyber Mysteries

After two hours spent reading the manual, I tried to load the new program; failed miserably; and gave it to my son.  Thirty minutes and nine tries later, he had it up and running.  There’s a great lesson here, I just don’t know what it is.

Afterthought: One of youth’s great advantages is the marvelous inability to distinguish failure from experimentation.  ‘Tis a sign of maturity to hang onto that gift.


The Anvil of Experience

Fail once, and folks will call you unlucky.  Fail three more times and they will brand you a looser.  Fail four more times, then succeed once, and they will call you an entrepreneur.

Afterthought:  Before Henry Ford’s wildly profitable Model T automobile, came his poorly received models A through S.  Hang in there, tiger.



Family Eccentricities

The recruiter told me my new firm treated all employees like family.  After three months of coworker infighting, listening to my boss’ grievances, and being blamed for others’ mistakes, I fear I must agree.

Afterthought: All business is personal – that’s the good and bad news.  At least, in the workplace, you can always maneuver yourself into an adoption by another clan.


As Others See Us

One little embarrassment keeps emerging in this Biz-by-Zoom season: I spend more time online seeing my image as others see me, and for that vision, I offer my humble apologies.

Afterthought: Based on my face, my fellow Zoom mates must be a forgiving bunch.  However, they do keep noting that my office needs a good cleaning – could that be a hint or a metaphor?



Taking the Drive Shaft

That turn-around specialist we hired really knows her stuff.  In one year we went from marginal profits into receivership, while she shifted herself from a Volkswagen into a Lamborghini.

Afterthought.  It’s easy to inspire someone to work for her own self-interest.  But to structure compensation that combines her benefits with your firm’s goals – that takes some careful planning.


Infectious Ideas

Since our Creative Director quarantined himself in his office back in 2012 – it’s worked.  Not one new profitable idea has infected any person in his department in all that time.


Afterthought.  The best laid plans, like a fine symphony, develop in layers, with each person’s idea joining in and swelling to a masterful chorus.  Unapproachable managers who cut themselves off from their fellows oft go astray.


The Debt Handler

After amassing oceans of debt and stiffing all his company’s contractors, my brother-in-law finally declared bankruptcy.  He claims this will make a great resume punch when he runs for political office.

Afterthought: There really is no spin needed for the bright, dedicated, and honest public servant.  Thank heavens we have so many of them.


MBA + Crystal Ball = ?

My broker has just put me onto a Market Analyst – you know, one of those Armani-clad, financial scholars who studies the past to predict the future with great authority.

Afterthought: The best two courses of study for the investor remain a) the company behind which you intend to place your life’s savings, and b) the track record of each “expert” selling advice.  Hint: Conservative dress does not necessarily indicate cautious investment tactics.


Creative Accounting

My son can’t balance his checkbook or pay his credit card bills.  But he sorts each of his purchases into categories and makes colorful pie charts on his iPhone.  Isn’t there a career for him somewhere?

Afterthought: Such marvelously theoretical skillsets call to mind the professions of financial planner or international economist.


Generational Blur

In business, the latest rave is to communicate by story telling.  In grammar school the latest rave is to teach children the art of launching businesses.  So Dad & Daughter may now share homework.

Afterthought:  “And that, my best beloveds, is how the elephant got his trunk and was able to sell its contents at a 300 percent markup.”  (with apologies to Rudyard Kipling.)


You’re Aging When…

In youth, your finances cannot keep up with your enthusiasms; then in age your joints cannot keep up with your enthusiasms.

Afterthought:  And you know you’ve reached middle age when you deem every enthusiasm of the young as inappropriate.


Education by Degrees

Alexander the Great conquered half the world and died at age 33.  Imagine what he might have accomplished if he has spent those years obtaining a Ph.D. and an MBA.

Afterthought:  I’m not sure when formal education’s “preparation for life” must make way for actually living life.  Perhaps it’s different for each individual.


Whatsamatta With Kids?

Today’s children are no more obedient to the behavior schemes we lay out for them than they were in the ancient days of Socrates.  It must be the kids’ fault.

Afterthought:  Children want to play enjoyable games, wander, and learn only things that interest them…you know, all those things we’re told we can do in retirement.


Whimsical Markets

At Age 10, I bought my first share of stock.  It was my ticket to witness how the power of emotion drives the fiction of finance.

Afterthought:  The only real fools in the market are those who insist that investing is a logical science whose secrets willingly unravel if you just crunch enough numbers and data. Blithely they ignore greed, excitement, fear, and all humanity, at their own fiscal peril.


The Payback Legacy


If you really want to punish your heirs with climatic irresponsibility, try making just the minimum payment on all your credit card statements.

Afterthought:  Long after you have shuffled off this mortal coil, unpaid credit card debt, with all its usurious interest rates, can become the gift that keeps on giving to your children and theirs.  Kind of makes you want to shoulder responsibility for both our atmospheric and financial environments, doesn’t it?


Media Menus

Today’s media offers us a menu of three fearful terrors: those you can buy your way out of; those you can vote your way out of; and those that may be safely avoided by clicking the “off” button.

Afterthought:  Once you get past the product ads encouraging you to purchase serenity, and the mud-slinging campaign ads that persuade us to choose the evil of two lessers, it’s amazing how few of the remaining horror tales delivered for our pleasure are worth the fear they seek to drum up.



Women + Men = Equality?

My wife finally explained feminist equality to me:  All men are equally oppressive and stupid; and all women are equally superior and supportive.

Afterthought:  Of course, this thought drips from the pen of a white, happily married male, so I assume I’ve probably got it wrong.  Guess my sole advantage is that I can take jokes without taking offense.


Dream De’ja Vu

Pilot, firefighter, musician, ballplayer, world explorer… Funny how all those childhood careers we dreamed of before getting “sensible” seem to return as we face retirement.

Afterthought:  Life, my friend, is very democratic – we each only get one shot at it.  Maybe this is the day to dust off your dreams.


Phony Phish Story___

After two years as targets of Nigerian “bank” phishing scams, our company just today received its first Chinese ransomware threat.  Finally, we’re playing in the big leagues.

Afterthought:  Granted, a person/firm may be measured by one’s enemies, but cyber attacks are no laughing matter.  Best tip heard to date: ‘tis great to set up prevention and reporting protocols, but what response plans have you laid in place for when the bandits actually breach the gates?


Real vs. Virtual Cheer

Every time my “Buddhify” meditation app buzzes on my phone, I plunge it into a pile of crisp broccoli and call a friend to go out for a beer.  This app really works – I feel more in touch & alive already.

Afterthought:  Yes, there actually are apps that instruct you how to find yourself by staring into a screen.  But those precious times spent in the company of good friends proffer a sense of serenity and well being that all technology is powerless to bestow.  Cheers.


Life is a Resume Punch 

I asked my parents for a puppy for Christmas.  Dad gave a conditional yes – as soon as Mom can determine which breed will look best on my college application.

Afterthought: Probably the breed of dog doesn’t matter.  Most dogs respond more lovingly to a short leash and a tight regimen than our children seem to – for some strange reason.


Super Sales Bowl LIV

Super Bowl: a contest, employing the world’s most superb athletes as a backdrop, in which corporations compete to release each viewer’s inner consumer.

Afterthought:  As a follow up, for those who really enjoy athletics, look for the astounding contortions these companies will go through in a few months to avoid paying the tax bill on the resulting profits.


One Master – One Slave

Every phone should own a human.  They are excellent beasts of mobility, plus they can be trained to keep you charged, maintained, and broaden your horizons with an endless array of apps.

Afterthought:  As phones grow in size, doesn’t it appear that the people addictively clinging to them seem to grow a little smaller – and less interesting?


Great Expectations

Sure as dath and tax evasion, you will die with your “To Do” list unfinished.

Afterthought:  If you are working like hell and you look at your “To Do” list and find you are falling further behind each day – You have only one choice – Tear up that damn To Do list.  (And while you’re at it: hoist a brandy, kiss your lover, and conspire a new life beside a roaring fire.)


Teetering on the Top

The gentleman on top, who disdains and belittles those laboring under him to create his wealth, is like the arborist who takes a saw to his own ladder.

Afterthought: My congratulations on your rise to the top, my friend.  Just remember that fickle Fate played a greater role than you probably realize in lifting you temporarily up.  And appreciation to those folks who sustain your lofty position is the wisest attitude.


Who’s Wisest?

After 300 episodes of The Art of the CEO radio show, I still don’t who is smarter: those business masters providing the wise counsel – or the listeners sharp enough to seize and act upon it.

Afterthought:  All I really know is that every week for the last six years it has been my privilege to chat with an array of exquisitely talented individuals.  And it has been my joy to share their insights with you – who have taken your precious time to listen.  My many thanks.


Data vs. Truth

The surest way to steer clear of the truth is to seek it with a survey.  Do you a) Strongly agree; b) Don’t care; c) Strongly disagree?

Afterthought: Force-fitting folks’ opinions on complex issues with pre-crafted questions and a limited number of multiple-guess replies has become a favored form of ammunition for bolstering decisions executives have already decided in their own minds.


A Thanksgiving Warning

Turkeys in the oven cost about $1.29 a pound.  But turkeys in the C-suite can cost a quarter of your entire year’s revenue.

Afterthought:  ‘Tis always better to eat turkeys than promote them.  (Or, of course, you can pardon them.)


Polishing Your Star

The trouble with self-promotion is that it only works when someone else does it for you.

Afterthought:  No sound grates harsher than that of someone reciting the patter of his own little feats.  The far better bet is to offer your efforts in a way that benefits another and let the surprised recipient o your gift be inspired to give you credit.


Dysfunctional Family Business

She was the sort of entrepreneur who on her deathbed would sell her daughter the family jewelry.

Afterthought:   And her husband probably proposed to her by selling her a share in their engagement ring.  Alas, greed is ever the enemy of romance.


Sideline Coaching

Our Board’s annual hindsight review comes down suspiciously like thunder critiquing a lightning strike.

Afterthought:  Advice from those on the sidelines always holds the greatest value when it is suggested as a warning to the fellow at the forge before he has begun to raise his hammer and create.


Idea Overflow

America boasts more consultants per acre than any other nation.  It is easier, after all, to point the way than make the journey.

Afterthought:  Rather than a sign of laziness, America’s numerous consultants indicate a culture filled to the brim with innovative ideas – that, like fine wines, happen to travel well.


Sacred Credentials

To become a company’s CEO, you must be popular.  But to become that CEO’s administrative assistant, now that takes hard-earned credentials.

Afterthought:  The great difference between a corporate Chief Executive Officer and almost any other job in the firm is that no one is quite sure of the skills required, nor the exact actions we want the CEO to take.   All we’re concerned with is the results – by whatever magic our fearless leader chooses.


A Matter of Choice

Most young people spend less care on choosing their initial career than on the clothes they will wear on a hopefully romantic evening.  Good to see they have their priorities straight.

Afterthought:  In our hearts, all of us know that whatever way you earn your daily bread can seem like a joyful slice of heaven if you have the right mate at your side rooting for you.


The Profit Igniter

The marvelous thing about profit is that it forces those who seek it to treat more carefully those who make it for them.

Afterthought:  And if you really seek profit eagerly enough, you will eventually come to that too-rare bit of uncommon sense that your profit seems to grow in direct ratio to how personably you engage and reward those laboring to create it.


Marketing’s Striptease

In the old days, companies pitched their products using endorsed, insincere superstars.  Now they employ data-driven talking machines.  Both annoy the consumer, but corporate marketers seem to trust the machines more.

Afterthought:  Too many marketers never seem to get it.  Show me a high-value, thoughtfully made product of which you are personally and justifiably proud – and I’ll open my wallet.  The rest is striptease.


The Art of Retail

Fortunes are not made by selling it cheaper than the competition – but by discovering some way to buy it cheaper than the competition, and charging what the market will bear.

Afterthought:  Sam Walton’s first Bentonville store sported toiletries at half the prices of any retailer in Arkansas.   Sam achieved this by a) after months of searching, discovering an unknown low-cost manufacturer, and b) making a six-hour round trip to the factory to pick up the toiletries three nights a week.


More Talk Than Action

The Open Office allows workers to communicate, mutually engage, develop team spirit – in fact do anything except perform productive hard work – to do that, they must go home.

Afterthought:  ‘Tis a marvelous goal to have workers labor and brainstorm together.  Just remember that the creative mind flows at its freest and most productive when it is offered a non-distractive atmosphere.


Growing to Death

Growing your firm bigger takes sweat.  Growing richer takes brains. Alas, performing the former does not guarantee the later.

Afterthought:  Profit is the goal – growth is merely one possible avenue.  The number of businesses that have expanded themselves into bankruptcy is legion.


The Art of Aiming Low

Technology is the process by which humankind’s ultimate quest is continually lowered from the pursuit of wisdom, to the pursuit of data.

Afterthought:  The nice thing about basing one’s decisions on data (the numerical results of others’ efforts) is that it forms such a lovely scapegoat and avoids the onerous chore of original thought.



The Price of Being “Liked”

With today’s social media, you may now buy “likes” with dollars.  Unfortunately, the reverse is does not seem to prove true.

Afterthought:  Social media provides an excellent opportunity for breeding awareness of you and your business among total strangers.

And while that makes a nice first step – there is a whole journey you must undertake to transform awareness into sales.


Overflowing a Board Seat

He knows nothing specifically and has an opinion on everything generally – that clearly points him to a seat on the board of directors.

Afterthought: Wisdom comes from amassing a field full of specific knowledge, then climbing on a 300-foot ladder to gain a generalized overview of this reality.  Of such abilities are great CEOs made.


The Improbable Dream

Fortunes are made by investors who doubt the enterprise’s probability, but revel in the dream of its possibility.

Afterthought:  Without a doubt, the best ROI your invested dollars can earn is a bit of excitement in your life.  Bucks alone are boring.



Value Among Thieves

Instead of jailing the guy who hacked into our system, our CEO has decided to bring him on as consultant.  After all, he’s the only one who can remember all the company passwords.

Afterthought:  I have so many files that are secure from myself and almost no one else that I’ve started backing up al my files on paper – in a big box with filing system that I understand, but would boggle any hacker.  Seems to work.



Know Thyself – Sort of

ID badges symbolize your organization’s disbelief that you are who you say you are.  They are especially prevalent in government offices.

Afterthought:  You know you have arrived, when the mention of your name is automatically followed by your latest achievement, (John, the guy who saved our…”), rather than the category on your identification badge.


Stat-Happy Marketing

There is no greater indicator of falsehood than the sentence beginning with, “Everyone in this age group (or gender or economic level) wants…..”

Afterthought: Stat-happy marketing wizards are fond of lumping buyers into age categories (Gen Z – Millenials – Boomers) and then, armed with the assumption that every individual is a cookie-cutter image of the group, they survey people they never meet and inflict their findings on the product design crew – and still no sales!


Greater Expectations

Our company is at that awkward stage: strong enough in reputation to get good growth funding, but not quite strong enough in sales to pay it back.

Afterthought:  Being big and growing bigger: ah, ‘tis a heady dream.  But the encouraging belief of others in your venture does not replace the need for numbers-crunching diligence.


Buy Stupid – Sell Low

When the market dips, fortunes are made by waiting for fools to panic and accommodating their fear.

Afterthought:  Why is it that investors who sit idly on their portfolios all year suddenly, when prices plummet, are smitten with the urge to sell off their life savings to ensure the lowest possible return?


Keeping Ideas at Bay

Our marketing firm spends one small fortune on a security team to protect our offices from uninvited strangers; and a second fortune on reaching out to unseen strangers begging their opinion.

Afterthought:  Currently our society’s “common wisdom” seems intent on scaring us and making us fearful of engaging all unknown people.  Does this mean you have to be unprofitably fearful?


Professor vs. CEO

Experts at acquiring knowledge are called professors.  Experts at acquiring companies are called CEOs.  Each views the other with suspicion and a soupcon of disdain.

Afterthought: Those who build walls between knowledge and implementation will limp along on one leg in their search for success.


Idealism Please

You cannot save the world with your business – but oh my good lord – you certainly can have a lot of fun by trying.

Afterthought:  Of course, you are in business to make money.  At least you’d better be.  Yet nothing adds spice to ones labors as witnessing a shower of benefits that you have engineered.


To Be or To Do?

 Edward burns with a powerful ambition to be recognized as the top executive in our firm.  It’s a shame he doesn’t have equal aspirations to put forth the accompanying performance.

Afterthought: The only two places reputation precedes work is in the dictionary and in one’s dreams.


Negotiation’s Daggers

Three daggers will kill your negotiations: a little fear, a lot of anger, or the assumption that we are all good fellows after the same thing.

Afterthought: The reason negotiating demands your fullest attention is that it is the process by which you are seizing what you truly want for yourself….and that, my friend, is always vital.


Our Just Rewards

This company was not built by our founding CEO.  It was built by the creative sweat lavished by each one of us in this firm.  And we keep at it because he never lets us forget it.

Afterthought: Nothing beats a slender, steady stream of honest appreciation. Now that, my friend, is leadership.


Buy Stupid – Sell Low

When the market dips, fortunes are made by waiting for fools to panic and accommodating their fear.

Afterthought:   Why is it that investors who sit idly on their portfolios all year suddenly, when prices plummet, are smitten with the urge to sell off their life savings to ensure the lowest possible return?


Birds of a Feather

Networking is a convivial flocking of dark-suited individuals each convinced that the others are destined to lead him to money.

Afterthought:  Sometimes, the net works and hope is fulfilled…provided you have carefully vetted the group beforehand, and checked your desperation at the door before entering.



The Cozy Coal Mines

Our workers will gladly risk their lives for time-and-a-half hazard pay, but ask them to retrain and change their routine? Heck, They’ll go on strike first.

Afterthought:  For us humans, there’s no greater enticement than the feel of the familiar – even if that familiar feel itches like Hades itself.  “By cracky, you can’t lure me from this coal mine until….”


Leadership Undressed

Business leadership consists of finding a task that will make you a profit, and convincing another person to do it eagerly and well.

Afterthought:  That’s the unvarnished truth and every employee understands it all too well.  Offer them fine rhetoric, fear, fancy titles or large carrots dangled just out of reach and they’ll respond with apathetic, grudging performance.  Ah, but give them a share of that profit….and stand back.


Those Vital Adornments 

In the old days, we’d say clothes made the man.  Now we say mastery of our devices makes the person.  Ah, If it were only that simple.

Afterthought:  We are forever enticed by the accoutrements that accompany those who’ve sweated their way into success.  But perhaps ‘tis better to mine the assets within, rather than emulate the adornments without.


Think for Thyself, John

The valued employee is the one who performs capably every task you asked for. But the one you promote to partner is that guy who keeps constantly surprising you.

Afterthought:  Dependability has its place, and will earn nice, predictable raises at regular intervals.  But the only way to soar into meteoric growth is on the wings of those with foresight and near-impossible visions.


Diversity by the Numbers

Diversity, in today’s bizspeak, means hiring women to higher positions, white guys almost never, and more visible minorities to make staff photos and HR stats more balanced.

Afterthought: True and beneficial diversity is the search for the broadest array of top talent to insure the broadest possible array of workable solutions.  Quotas are meaningless.


Laws of Wrath

Accountants are the Moses of the indecipherable tax tablets, who make plain the stern laws handed down from above.

Afterthought:  It’s not that I so much mind paying for schools, roads, defending my environment from polluters, and my shores from bipedal invaders; but it does seem the final insult when the tax laws are so Byzantine that I must hire an interpreter.   


Economics vs. Reality

Economic Indicators are like political promises: they provide great fodder for the pundits pontificating them, but they are nothing to bet the ranch or base your decisions on.

Afterthought: If you have just discovered a cure for the common computer virus and the world is beating a path to your door, do you really think that the Feds declaring a .2% rise in interest rates is going to stop your new venture dead in its tracks?


Marketers & Cyberthieves

Marketers and cyberthieves both secretly gather your personal information and employ it to withdraw money from your account.  The former usually leaves a product behind.

Afterthought:  Courtesy of the internet, a skilled hacker/data specialist within 10 minutes can discover more about you than your dearest friend will ever know. You cannot prevent their info gathering, but you can lock up your assets from their schemes and seductions.


Leadership for its Own Sake?

Our CEO ranks at the absolute top of the leadership scale.  In fact, he can get us to do anything, except turn a profit.

Afterthought: We stand lips deep in leadership seminars.  But if you haven’t a firm hand on a tiller and set your true course on a practical point, it doesn’t matter how hard you can get them to row.


Business as Zip-usual

The pace of our communication and our machines grows ever faster, but the pace of business remains constant: we need it yesterday.

Afterthought: Business is most joyful and exciting when things are urgent, but not frantic.  Not a bad attitude for leaders to exhibit.


Turning a Deaf Ear

“Does our COO value our opinion?  Well, it is rumored he went deaf four years ago and just realized it last month.”

Afterthought: If you are clever enough to seize a C-suite chair, you are probably smart enough to want every scrap of profitable counsel available.  Don’t you think your staff has that counsel?  Or are you letting your exalted rank stop up your ears?



If You Must Fall…

If you must fall in love with some aspect of your business – let it be your product – rather than your profits.

Afterthought: Business profits are mere scorecards that breed more servitude than adoration.  Actually the ideal business love target remains, as always, the client.



Overblown Ads

Honesty in advertising involves merely saying out loud what your customer already knows to be true.

Afterthought: Overblown ad claims soon prove to be as fleeting as romance in a brothel.  They quickly crumble in the face of reality, bringing down your precious reputation and brand with them.


Escape to Fantasyland

American children have Disneyland. Our corporate scoundrels have Dubai. The rest of us must make do with reality.

Afterthought:  Since the earliest days of business, pirates have always sought those fantasy hideaways with laws flexible enough to protect them from justice.  But take heart.  No island hideaway can match the rewards of honest compensation for honest enterprise.


A Gentleman Without Peer

Our CEO wanted to start a peer group, but he couldn’t find anyone he believed was his equal.

Afterthought: Each of us inflates our self-estimation with perhaps a bit of hot air.  ‘Tis a vanity a lot less destructive than viewing yourself as worthless.



Businesses’ Blind Eye

The one, apparently seldom-discovered truth about leadership is that there is no exact number of steps required to achieve it.

Afterthought:  Businesses’ love affair with science and quantifying has mushroomed countless Leadership-by-the-numbers seminars.  Ah, but the wise ones know that see beyond the recipes and realize that this human attribute also entails a hefty dose of individual, human artistry.


Fantasy Biz Fiction

Probably the surest recipe for unhappiness is to begin comparing your progress to that of your coworkers and entrepreneurs written up in glossy business journals.

Afterthought: Horse races are won not by keep your eyes on the competition beside you, but by looking deep inside and discovering that extra, hidden power.


The Wantonly Wise

The employer who lavishes every comfort and advantage on his employees is really wise, or really greedy, or both.

Afterthought: It is the rare fool who buys a cheap, second rate chip for his firm’s computers, or expects his machinery to run with without proper oiling.  Yet when it comes to spending a bit more to enhance the employee environs, such cost-cutting fools seem to abound by the thousands.


How the Money Goes

Our CEO sees no relation between the money we spend and the money we have.  Our CFO sees nothing else. Our C-suite needs a marriage counselor.

Afterthought:  Thrift is one of the many “old fashioned” virtues that has been steam-rollered under the crushing call to innovation. May well scrutinize


Live and Learn 

Parents urge their offspring into better colleges in hopes that they may land a job sufficiently high-salaried to pay back all those college loans.

Afterthought:  In truth, the college experience is designed to make you a richer person – not a richer paycheck.  Perhaps ‘tis time to stop making life a resume punch, and allow yourself and child to joyfully live and learn.


The Price of a Tale

An entrepreneur knows she has arrived when she can sell her success story for more than her business.

Afterthought:  It seems mandated that every business person who hits it big must follow up with a book and countless media appearances giving glossy version of how they made it – and how you can also.  Just remember to view these renderings for what they are. Grab a few useful tactics, and nix the glamour.


A Web of Betters

Networking events are the only type of party on the planet where each guest comes hoping he is the least important person in attendance.

Afterthought:  You will profit yourself much more if, as you enter any gathering, you leave your pre-conceptions about rank and comparison at the door.


Mandating Morale

In the interest of team unity, our CEO has mandated thrice-weekly, afterhours team-building exercises.  It seems to be working.  Now we all loathe him together.

Afterthought:  What really joins people together is mutually contributing to a worthwhile venture. If your product is admirable and the compensations high, everyone naturally enjoys pulling mightily on the same rope.  If not, what are you in business for anyway?


The Whole Ocean is Not A Tempest

It was not the state of the ocean that made Columbus succeed, but his planning, gumption, and the seaworthiness of his boat.

Afterthought:  The whole ocean is not a tempest. Forget national layoff figures. ‘Tis time to summon your abilities and set sail thoughtfully for that calm profitable niche.


Fell Outta My Seat…

Oh, that bruise?  I got it falling out of my seat when our board chairman actually came into our department to hear our thoughts on our new project.

Afterthought:  ‘Tis all too easy for active board members to view their company only through the distant lens of reports and statistics.  The more frequently you meet staff members in person and solicit their ideas, the more valuable will be your governance.  And as for you, Ms./Mr. Employee – have you requested to attend a board meeting lately?


The Cost of Control

Anxiety is the price paid by managers who seek to achieve control rather than trust.

Afterthought:  ‘Tis amazing the aura of serenity that surrounds even a frantically busy office when trusting coworkers labor in concert.


The Better Mousetrap

Build a better mousetrap and the world will NOT beat a path to your door, until you tell the world where you live and that you have mousetraps for sale.

Afterthought:  It is an aged and terrible myth-step that has lured many an entrepreneur to her ruin: “The key to my success is to devote all my time to making my product even more excellent.” Maybe ‘tis time to cease improving your product and begin improving your business.


Theological Hiring

If you are smarter than God and work like the devil – or think you’re close, please enter.

          – sign on a wise HR chief’s door

Afterthought: Others need not apply.  Sometimes, in our hunt to grow the firm, all the nuances, cultural fits, and resume punches need to be pushed aside and just set our sights on bagging the top talent to our team.


The Frantic Button

As a manager, being loud and frantic is guaranteed to seize every staff member’s attention.  I do not say it makes you worth listening to.

Afterthought: In truth, people listen to words to discern feelings.  Watching the boss run amok merely spreads contagious fear. Staffers may need to hear that a particular situation is urgent that their supervisor has it under control with a solution on hand, and that their individual efforts are of utmost importance.


 Take a Running Start and…

There is a vast chasm between carefully composing a business plan and mortgaging your home to get it launched.  And it cannot be leaped by incremental steps.

Afterthought: If you are wondering whether to put your cash and security on the line to fulfill your dream, you might as well summon your courage and follow the old weight lifters’ maxim: Go heavy or go home.

No Nit Goes Unpicked

Our project manager is the type who is more concerned that the shipping label conforms to company code than the quality of what’s actually in the box.

Afterthought:  Business abounds with – and too often treasures – folks whose detail orientation actually masks a great fear of authority.  Are you able to set the true goals and purposes in proper priority?  And do you convey that sense of priority to your team?


The Worth of Wealth

We live in an amazing age.  Folks who need no encouragement to share their video of their new child popping out of the womb, are mortally offended when asked to reveal how much money they make at work.

Afterthought:  No one really believes that his salary matches his true worth or contribution.  Yet we all scorn or admire each other based on the size of the paycheck.


Those Texting Thumbs

A text, in business, is a carelessly spelled missive sent in hopes of prodding the recipient’s rear, or covering the sender’s.

Afterthought:  The trouble with acts or messages tossed off thoughtlessly is that they tend to betray their creator’s lack of concern.  Perhaps taking that extra moment to courteously check your efforts might make them much more effectively received.


Social Mediators Wanted – He cares more about how many have heard him than about the wisdom of what he has said.  That clearly points to a social media career.

Afterthought:  Wisdom is not confined to any length or venue.  Those expressing wise and well-honed thoughts invariably seem to have the most followers.


A Question of Mastery – When we redesign our information to suite our devices rather than our people, we have become slaves indeed.

Afterthought:  Sometimes you require a swift, tweet-length text and other times an entire, carefully penned book, to set your brain on fire and provide you with the ideas you need.  Why not be master and decide which serves you best, at this hour?


Electronic Harassment – All of us must wear our barcoded ID tags at work, so the machine, which we trust more than ourselves, may validate our worth.

Afterthought: Yes, it is demeaning to be reduced to a machine-readable cipher.   Which harassment do you suppose inhibits job productivity more: one human being telling another she looks attractive, or an ID machine’s beeper reminding each worker that it is a mere functionary?


Reading vs. Writing – Business media has swapped the high-priced expertise of the experienced few for the free opinions of the many, thus making it more valuable to write than read.

Afterthought: Everybody has something to contribute.  And today we are drowning in a swamp of easy advice.  While treating all opinions equally is more democratic, I confess I prefer those journals whose editors feel that some advice may be more worth presenting than others.


Entrepreneurial Toast – Raise a glass to entrepreneurs!  Who else can serve herself and others simultaneously with such contagious enthusiasm.

Afterthought:  Have you got a little venture burning a hole in your back pocket?


The Jailmaker – Our new CFO comes highly recommended from our competitor.  He made his previous board a fortune, right up until their indictment.

Afterthought:  What messages are you sending your employees?  Like the sorcerer’s apprentice, if you command them only to fill the buckets with money, at any cost and by any method means possible, you cannot be terribly surprised when the outcome goes awry.  Whatever tasks you assign, don’t forget to include a solid dose of your personal and corporate principles in your directions.


Our Chief Marketing officer wants our new product to sell for a dime,  Our CFO wants a profit of a dollar, and our CEO want’s it produced yesterday – What this firm needs is a Chief Reality officer.

Afterthought: Each of us holds our personal ideal visions – based on our own narrow corporate perspective.  And that’s what creates the squabbles – If you want to obtain a profitable consensus, why



Breaking EvenBreaking even is when the size of the tax cut you finagle out of Congress is the same as your company’s legislative lobbying budget.

Afterthought:  Whether it’s lobbying, social media campaigns, product remakes, or a prized acquisition, the goal in business remains to make each project produce a net gain.   No mater how much you crave it, there is no outcome that you should be willing to achieve “at any cost.”  So before you purchase your next politician or competing firm, take a look at not only today’s price tqg, but the continued cost of upkeep.  It might be cheaper to honestly shoulder your legitimate tax burden than have a “partner” burning a hole in your pocket.


Selling into Greatness  A good salesperson knows everything about his product.  The great salesperson knows everything about his potential customer.

Afterthought:  The prime focus of every sale is, you guessed it, that person who is deciding whether or not to part with his cash.  Yes, the quality of the item sold, is a factor, and certainly your skill in the art of selling is a major value.  But in the end, the customer hands down the verdict.  An insightful salesperson knows how to size up a prospect and determine when he is fishing in a dry hole and how to swiftly disengage and move on to the next one.


On the Wings of Ego -Our CEO has delusions of grandeur – thank heavens.  Her crazy vision is the only thing that’s made our revenues soar ever since she arrived.

Afterthought:  Fortunes are made by those attempting the unwise and seemingly impossible.  And yes, so are Chapter 11 filings.  But if you never reach out and throw your heart into some grand venture, count on it.  You will punish yourself with regret ever after.


Read Any Good Books? If you cultivate technology, you will be able to talk to anyone anywhere on the planet.  If you cultivate your mind, you will have something to say. 

Afterthought: Take a gander at your last few texts and posts on your various devices.  Is it possible that the energy you employ to fill technology’s gaping communication void with “content” has actually pushed aside the time spent developing those profound thoughts of which you are capable?


Alexander the Comfortable No one aspires to be a follower, but only the rare few are willing to put in the labor required to lead.

Afterthought: Is today a good day to dust off your dreams and lay out some practical first steps toward reaching them?


Numbers vs. Truth – Business runs on money and truth.  So why are MBA students taught to strive for leveraged funds and data?

Afterthought:  Our love affair with fixed-recipe solutions has lured businesses into mistaking numbers for reality.  Are market surveys the true indication of how folks value our product? Is there a difference between funds borrowed and actual revenue?  The best laid formulae of even the most quoted pundits must, in the end, be weighed in the balance of real customers and real life.


Paying for Bad Boys – Rapacious companies leave victims and restrictive laws in their wake.  Your business pays for their crimes.

Afterthought: The sins of victimizing companies are visited upon us all.  Those business folks who view their products as true client- betterment tools, rather than cash extraction devices, will end up on the sunny side of ethics and do a favor to the entire business community.


Age, Sage, & YouthThose coworkers who tell you that you are too young to understand, assume that you are as big a damn fool as they were at your age.

Afterthought:  Old veterans are not necessarily wiser.  Youngsters are not necessarily more energetic.  The day you stop treating folks as categories (Millennials and Boomers) and start treating them as individuals, is the day you’ll find their true value – and yours.


Idea Envy – Nothing is so annoying in business as a profitable innovation – thought up by another person, I mean.

Afterthought:  No, you did not invent the iPhone, Six Sigma management, or the Chia Pet.  But are you strong enough to give credit to the fellow who did?  Smart enough to get to know the inventor?  And have you figured the best way to turn these innovations to your best personal advantage?   If so, the inventor has nothing on you.


The Advice Explosion -The only thing that’s expanding faster than our company is the amount of advice for sale on how we can grow even bigger.

Afterthought:  No, you don’t know it all.  Yes, there is ample sage wisdom out there to provide you with all the tools you need to grow.  So have you set up a sieve that holds back the consulting chaff and lets only the distilled, useable pearls drip through?


Desperate Classified Ads – Wanted: College grads with a greater-than-one-Tweet attention span; and Boomers with the patience to solve at least one computer glitch without a tantrum.

Afterthought: Fate teaches each generation new flaws. That does not mean you have to adopt them.  P.S. Desperately wanted: Gen Xers with a more realistic vision of their own worth.


Just ‘Cause You Can – Don’t – Our CTO has analyzed our data and discovered it is not making us any money.  He suggests we generate more of it.

Afterthought:  Bigger data is the current “gotta have” in today’s business.  But remember, data is merely an amassed jumble of anecdotes, kneaded and rolled out onto a pretty spreadsheet.  It is neither knowledge nor truth.  And though it is easier now than ever to compile great reams of data, that does not mean it necessarily serves your greater purpose.


And the Workin’ is Easy – In business, summer is the season when work moves slower and ideas flow faster.  Why is that?

Afterthought:  The only downside to this season of dreams, schemes, and solutions is that everyone you want to share them with is on vacation.


The Curse in Cursive – My boss just handed me my annual performance review.  He gives a whole new meaning to the term cursive writing.

Afterthought: Who says you must be a passive recipient in your review?  Why not take your boss to lunch beforehand, present her with your own list of achievements – and places where you seem to be falling down – and areas where you might perform better with some help?


Arrogance inflicted – Arrogance, when it is inflicted on others, is called self-confidence.

Afterthought: Boldly and condescendingly praising yourself in front of your listeners, is probably the most inefficient way of inspiring sincere praise from them.   Better to display your prowess while lending a helping hand. 


Delving Deep vs. Often – Resumes are like marriage proposals.  They bring bliss not to he who distributes the most, but to he who has best assessed the recipient.

Afterthought: “Bunches-O-jobs” website is an excellent place for employers to solicit, but not so great for the career-seeker.Just because current technology allows you to paper the planet with the patter of your little feats, does not make it an ideal job-finding strategy.  Why not deeply study and get to know the people in one firm, then another….until your astute courtship strikes gold and a fulfilling fit?


Charging Over the Cliff – Our CEO is a champion at getting others to follow him.  Now, if he could only figure out where he is leading us…..

Afterthought:  The old rule of leadership still holds: you must first lead yourself before leading others.  Additionally, there is a basic human attraction toward visibly directed people.  Knowing absolutely where you are headed holds motivational advantage all its own.


By Sweat or Crook – If they won’t buy your product, try lobbying the government.  It’s just another, more vicarious way of getting your hands on the same money. 

Afterthought:  The old rule of leadership still holds: you must first lead yourself before leading others.  Additionally, there is a basic human attraction toward visibly directed people.  Knowing absolutely where you are headed holds motivational advantage all its own.


There IS bad publicity – We’ve just been nominated to the Best 10 Clients in the Nation List.  Unfortunately the award came from the American Bar Association.

Afterthought: Alas, not all publicity and honors point to success.  The best legal counsel is one that is consulted early but not too often.  Unless yours is a business model that garners its greatest profit from unsavory post-contract lawsuits, find that attorney who steers clear of the courts and shares your vision.


A Title’s Worth a Tittle – Rank is the refuge of the incompetent manager.

Afterthought:  Giving a man the title of manager, alas, does not make him so.  Likewise, not having an executive title in no way prevents you from taking the lead and guiding your team toward a consensually long sought goal.  Why wait for official approvals – leadership may push from the bottom just as well as draw from the top.


The Lumpy Playing Field – Marketing data – without the injection of common & human sense – tells us that the key to success is smaller quantities sold in larger packages.

Afterthought: Your niche is unique – at least it had better be. So, will what makes one competitor’s product absolutely flourish in the market place today work equally well for you tomorrow? Well now, my budding entrepreneur, what does your common sense tell you?


Dancing on the edge – Private investing equity investing is currently so popular because it provides the maximum anxiety plus a chance to loose your shirt unseen.

Afterthought: There lies a true thrill in riding a new or growing enterprise right out of the starting gate.  Yet with this venturing comes some very sharp, knife-edge risks.  So perhaps the question you should be answering honestly is, “is this really for me?”


The Cost of Innovation – I’ve just returned from the innovation conference where I spent $1100, three days of my life, and probably a third of my liver, and all I got out of it was that I’d better invent something new.

Afterthought:  Sometimes it does indeed take a lavish and costly conference to shake us from our complacency.  And sometimes one person’s spark may contagiously set a new idea flaming in our own minds.  But if you are not establishing a system of encouragement to have every member of your firm actively seek enhancements, ‘tis but a flash in the pan.


The Mask of Numbers – Marketing analytics is the fine art of reducing customers to numbers in hopes of gaining their personal loyalty.

Afterthought: Obviously, measuring the effectiveness of marketing efforts is vital, and frequently demands masses of numeric data.  However, the trick, throughout all the numbers crunching, is to remember that each little cipher represents a living, breathing, emotional individual with  hopes and dreams that need satisfying – a lot like you.


Charging Over the Cliff – Our CEO is a champion at getting others to follow him.  Now, if he could only figure out where he is leading us…..

Afterthought:  The old rule of leadership still holds: you must first lead yourself before leading others.  Additionally, there is a basic human attraction toward visibly directed people.  Knowing absolutely where you are headed holds motivational advantage all its own.


Non-extraditional Tax Breaks – Our tax accountant has urgently suggested we consider going global – preferably before April 15.

Afterthought:  Sometimes the value of a proposal depends as much on its source as its details.  If your CFO advises you to go global, it’s probably time to grow.  But if your tax accountant makes the same suggestion, while she is packing her own bags, ‘tis time to get out of town.   Hint: before you leap from one legal frying pan, you may want to check the temperature of the laws in your new landing place.


A Committee of Camels – The only thing more bewildering than our board’s final directives are the individual opinions that go into making them up.

Afterthought: The camel, for all its seeming awkwardness, provided the swiftest method of long-distance land travel until the advent of the steam engine.  And for all the seeming awkwardness of the committee-decision process, it can produce true marvels beyond the product of any lone genius.  Look for such marvels if the group is team-spirited, and goal-directed enough to build one idea off of another.  But if the group meets in a combative arena of my idea vs. yours, look for a bewildering, five-legged giant sloth.


What’s Under the Rug? – Every corporate policy springs from two motivations: the one that makes the company look good, and the one that makes the company profits.

Afterthought:  It’s interesting that the more rapaciously destructive the company, the more money and effort it seems to spend on appearing humane and concerned.  Obviously, it’s vital for a firm to garner profits, and at least appear to be a good community neighbor.  But just maybe actually being a good, caring neighbor might involve less sweat and cost than keeping up a false façade.


Passion be Darned – The trouble with “following your passion” as career advice, is that even a heavenly job entails some truly hellish labor and snarls.

Afterthought:  Of course you’d like to love what you do.  I’d like peace in the Middle East and a doubled salary.  But enough of wishing.  Instead of hemming your choice into one field, why not explore beyond today’s whim?  Scrutinize a long list of opportunities, see which require capabilities you may grow into possessing, and offer some excitement.   And remember, every touchdown pass tossed by an NFL quarterback, is built upon countless hours sweating in the gym and untold thousands of boring pushups.


All Recipes Aside – To say that the entire art of business leadership may be mastered with five steps or six simple sigmas is like stating that all it takes to make a world-competitive Cabernet is squished grapes and time.

Afterthought:  Excellence in business or anything else worthwhile demands more than a recipe.  Such over-simplified, cookie-cutter formulae enrich only their authors.  So yes, study the books, tease out those applicable elements of experience, and then add them to your arsenal of weapons, along with those already provided by your own marvelous self.


A Virtual Sale – Social media marketing allows you to know what your client desires for breakfast, in a soul mate, and on a mattress without ever knowing their name.

Afterthought: Marketing by remote statistical groupings can be unavoidable and very effective.  However, the wise executive seeking ongoing success visits, travels, throws parties, and does whatever it takes to greet, look clients in the eye and chat.  Those who remain dependent on data from the flickering screen alone will soon find that all their sales turn virtual.


Careful What You Wish For – The gentleman who gasses up our CEO’s Lamborghini works 12 hours a day, and envies our CEO who puts in 16-hour days, and sleeps peacefully only two.

Afterthought: Be careful what you wish for.  The life of leadership is an exhilarating potion for certain individuals in certain situations.  For others such a position is only a grindstone worn heavily about the neck.


Auto Anger – The frustration generated by one 14-automobile line of commuters waiting for a single red light to change could power the surrounding town’s streetlights for a week.

Afterthought:  ‘Tis a century-old truth: green is serene, and red is #$&%@.  You can try isometrics exercise, Zen meditations, or a violent release of vitriolic curses at the idiot ahead of you to cure the travail of modern travel.  But if you are a really clever entrepreneur, maybe you are that special genius capable of transforming teeth-clenching Auto Anger into profitable electricity.


The Warm Glare of Truth – Resumes are sales brochures that shine a dim light in the direction of the truth, but are careful not to illumine it too fully.

Afterthought: The toughest words most of us ever compose are those set painstakingly into place in hopes of convincing some employer that we are the worthiest soul for the job.  Perhaps rather than trying to dress up a series of near-victories, you might try pausing your pen, considering the real triumphs of all facets of your life – those accomplishments that have pleased you most.  Set those down.  The employer who appreciates them is one worthy of having you on her team.


Words Will Not Suffice – A Networking Event is where you go to make connections for wildly profitable dream ventures you are far too busy to ever follow up on.

Afterthought: Of course they are fun, friendly, filial, and perhaps the most effective way to catch up the news in your field of endeavor.  That said, networking gigs are best approached with a momentary reality check made at the threshold.  How many new deals and partnerings can your already-top-heavy schedule afford?  If you cannot put your whole back into a project, maybe its best not push at all.


Herding Businessfolks – A business person is a bundle of whimsical, conflicting agendas wrapped in a fragile skin.  A corporation is a collection of such bundles wrapped within the myth of unified direction.  That’s what makes working so messy and such fun.

Afterthought: Teasing out the interests and inner drives of team members demands the peak of personal insight.  It’s surely not easy. But even a pond full of writhing salmon will, with the right motivation, all herd together, buck the upstream currents, and win through to their goal.


The Voice of Inexperience – ‘Tis puzzling that most of the advice on leading others comes from people who don’t.

Afterthought:  Like an abstinent priest advising newlyweds, experience is not the sole necessary ingredient in passing on workable wisdom.  When it comes to leadership training, there is no art so individually cultivated.  So gather examples and tactics from all corners, just remember that they must blend well with that marvelous essence that is you.


Golf & Business – Business is the perfect accompaniment to golf.  It allows you to walk through 18 frustrating holes and still accomplish something.

Afterthought:  Life needs balance.  Blend something at which you are particularly good (business) with something at which nobody is ever good enough.  Likewise, you don’t blend rock climbing with business because both are inordinately scary.  See?  Balance.


Bosses are like your children – both require ceaseless care and neither ever lets you finish a sentence. 

Afterthought:  It is a lot less important to get in the last word, if your first words have initially disarmed the troublesome individual.  With your boss, try a complimentary greeting or perhaps a quick query about that report he’s anxious for – or use one of those incisive remarks your mother used to employ to set you back on your pins.


The Whole Elephant – Businesses are best run by leaders who can receive each blind man’s report and accurately envision a full elephant.

Afterthought:  The parable about the blind men and the elephant holds more truth than ever.  Our companies are filled with very expert specialists who examine the elephant’s tail, his trunk, his tusk and from their narrowed vantage believe that the whole product must revolve around only the segment they personally have their hands on.  A good leader has the vision to see the whole, and pass that vision on to his valuable specialists.


Tech Favors the Brave – Technology provides brave folks the tools for living a richer life, and allows the fearful people a virtual way to escape into a pretend adventure.

Afterthought: As always, it is the content of your character, not the tool, that lifts you to the top.  Perhaps today might be the day to spend some time adjusting your own attitudes and let the computer chips fall where they may.


The Ultimate Pitch – Just because a man is very good at selling himself – doesn’t always mean he has the best product.

Afterthought: If you really want to make folks appreciate how marvelous you really are, tell them how much fun you had creating your latest achievement, rather than telling them how great it is.  And if you didn’t have fun doing it, for heavens sake get out of that line of work and find something that pleases you enormously.


The Well Laid Course – In American business, innovation has become a competitive sport.  We care more if it’s utterly new than if it works.

Afterthought: It’s fine to admire the lofty visionary, just so long as you also credit the navigator who deftly steers that grand course around the rocks lying beneath the surface.


The Brag Balloon -The trouble with self-promotion is that it only works when someone else does it for you.

Afterthought: No sound grates harsher than that of someone reciting the patter of his own little feats.  Te far better bet is to offer your efforts in a way that benefits another and let the surprised recipient o your gift be inspired to give you credit.


My Mental Worth – If I could only get a paycheck that reflects my occupational self-esteem, I could buy half the planet.The Swamp of Regulations  – All government protective regulations are wise, sensible and required – except those that regulate MY industry and its products.

Afterthought: Here’s hoping you actually do think the world of yourself.  You need that esteem to face the slings and arrows of this life.  Yet viewing your achievements in light of benefits to your coworkers and company may afford a more realistic perspective.


The Swamp of Regulations  – All government protective regulations are wise, sensible and required – except those that regulate MY industry and its products.

Afterthought.  All of us are eager to be protected from theft, fraud, inadequate or unsafe products.  And there is no doubt that when the government gets in the business of helping the buyer be more wary that many of the regulations pinch hard even on the honest, high-quality firms.  It is the price all of us must pay for building a national reputation of trustworthy goods from trustworthy companies.  Yet in the end, it is that very trusted reputation that keeps customers coming back.


Oh, Don’t Forget the Work – We’ve just hired the Deluxe Model Marketing Director.  He comes not only with the standard “innovative” ideas, but with the energy and drive to carry them out.

Afterthought:  A professional is one who has, presumably, the ability to expertly profess wise words on some topic.  The term “executive” indicates that its bearer actually executes those ideas (whatever their source) that will bring more cash into the business.  ‘Tis best to be both a professional and an executive.


Generational Traumas – “Our millennial workers hold amazingly high opinions of themselves, but each is too terrified to express any solid opinion about our company’s work.  Unfortunately, our boomers are the exact opposite.” – Exasperated CEO

Afterthought: ‘Tis tough to be part of a generation so hoveringly instructed that decisions and opinions were all spoon-fed.  It’s also tough to be part of a generation that urged you to speak up constantly or not be counted.  Isn’t it time to shake off your upbringing traumas and plunge into the fun of business?


The Art of Relating – My Boss despises me.  I loathe him – and told him so. He fired me.  My monthly income dropped to $0.  It’s true.  Business is all about relationships.

Afterthought: The key to relationships is not how you feel. But how you treat the other person.  Enough said.


Generational Traumas – “Our millennial workers hold amazingly high opinions of themselves, but each is too terrified to express any solid opinion about our company’s work.  Unfortunately, our boomers are the exact opposite.” – Exasperated CEO

Afterthought: ‘Tis tough to be part of a generation so hoveringly instructed that decisions and opinions were all spoon-fed.  It’s also tough to be part of a generation that urged you to speak up constantly or not be counted.  Isn’t it time to shake off your upbringing traumas and plunge into the fun of business?


License to Coast – Our firm’s gotten so big we don’t make products anymore.  We just make buyouts and brand labels.

Afterthought: The popular M&A trend of “retreating to core mission” has proved, for large corporations, to be less of a retreat and more of a frenzied gobble of every similar company in sight.  While such strategies can offer fast profits all around, allow us to remind buyers of the lessons from history concerning firms that grew too huge to provide proper oversight.


The British are Leaving! – Britain’s cutting ties with the European Union is like the man who burns down his own house so his divorcing wife will not get shared custody.

Afterthought: Within every contract or deal lies the potential for the other party to get a seemingly larger share than you’re getting. Such balances tipped in the other guy’s favor are annoying, particularly if you never liked the other guy.  But that’s not a deal-breaking issue.  The only real deal make/break question is, would your team be richer or poorer if you didn’t have this contract in place?


Fictions vs. Fact – Individual stars are fictions created by the press.  Victories are a fact created by long hours of compromising and coordinating as a team.

Afterthought:  Gather together a bunch of bull-headed experts each of whom is more concerned with getting his own way than with the group’s final product, and you will have one loosing team or one truly off-key orchestra.  Can you see merit in the ideas of another?

The MBA Elite(?) – This year a record 104,000 MBA’s will be conferred in America, leaving the largest employment gap ever between expected job placement and actual job placement ever in hiring history.

Afterthought: Education is designed to make you a richer person, not a richer pay paycheck. However, the right education will fill your quiver with high-level ammunition when it comes to proving yourself as a valuable asset. So keep the tools sharp, cultivate the attitude, and remember, it’s not where you start, it’s how much you contribute that will set your career on a Horatio Alger rise.

Foot in the door – The entry-level position presumes that you will rise higher because that foot which got you into the door is not your most valuable asset.

Afterthought: Having your feet carry you to the office on time every day on time is a fine thing. Doing well all the assigned tasks is also nice. And if these are your primary workplace attributes, you should be able to hold down that same entry level job for years.

Damn the Torpedoes….The American Founding Fathers were able to win the Revolution because they forgot to assign anybody to Risk Assessment.

Afterthought: No, you can never really know which battles you can win. Sometimes you best hope lies in a little intentional blindness. Can some rag tag, volunteer colonial rabble defeat the major military power in Europe? Can your small startup topple the mighty Microsoft? Well now, Microsoft hasn’t had a customer-beloved product in over a decade. Maybe…just maybe it might be worth a try….

Perish the Thought – “They just raised my pay to meet the new minimum wage. Does this mean I’ll now have to perform some level of minimum wage” – befuddled employee

Afterthought: Pay and performance hold, at best, a coincidental relationship. For some employees, enthusiastic performance springs from merely finding the right challenge. For others, it would take a divine miracle.

Disaster: Truth vs. Attorney – Every crushing business disaster holds one glimmer of redemption: the outcome is never as bad as that envisioned by your nightmares, your friends, or your attorney.

Afterthought: Take heart. Reality seems seldom able to produce disasters as hideous as the mind can conjure. So, as a bit of after disaster planning, forget weeping over charred assets, and count your remaining tools. What can you make from these?

Fictions vs. Fact – Individual stars are fictions created by the press. Victories are a fact created by long hours of compromising and coordinating as a team.

Afterthought: Gather together a bunch of bull-headed experts each of whom is more concerned with getting his own way than with the group’s final product, and you will have one loosing team or one truly off-key orchestra. Can you see merit in the ideas of another?

Fondling Your Hopes – A job interview is a process whereby you place your utmost hopes in the hands of another, allow them to fondle & examine them, and see how long you can go without squirming.

Afterthought: The wise candidate never approaches an interview as a beggar. He never seeks a job, but rather, he is always offering his services. Like an evangelist who offers good news that will make the listener stronger & richer, the wise candidate is sharing the opportunity for great potential with an employer clever enough to seize upon this advantageous individual as a windfall.

Polishing Your Brilliance – I think the reason so many people keep asking me to write my ideas down is so that will not be bothered with having to listen to them.

Afterthought: Take a sparkling diamond of an idea, slather it over with dull grey verbiage and no one will recognize it as a true gem. So perhaps, instead of letting your excitement gush forth a river of sentences explaining your latest brainstorm, you could pause, distill, and frame your idea in words worthy of it. Hint: also remember what motivates your listening audience.

Quivering C-Suite – For most corporations, a “Leader” is someone who can get others to do uncomplainingly what the CEO has in mind.

Afterthought: Are you, Mr. Supervisor, scared of real leaders? Once you have your heart set on scaling that wall, do you call on managers to make sure that all the ladders are in place for the assault – or are you brave enough to let a leader explore his own way and find a back-door route into town involving less cost and effort? A leader chained to your personal compliance can be, of course, no leader at all.

Cash Flow & Weather – When the clouds grow dark, it’s a bad sign for the poor. When the sun begins to shine, ’tis a good omen for the rich.

Afterthought: If there is any advantage to having limited funds, it is that you learn to make the very best use of each asset you hold – to cling to it and cultivate it. Developing this golden coin of character will help you weather the toughest of situations.

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