Sizzle Is Not Steak

There was an interesting quote in the Wall Street Journal the other day.


It was about how the stock brokers all too often hawked hot stocks to their unsuspecting and foolish clients:

You sold the sizzle, not the steak!


Wow, isn’t this all too often what happens with products and services in the marketplace?


People get you hyped up on all the excitement of something.


The latest and greatest widget or whatever. 


It’s gonna revolutionize the world!


Even when the thing itself may not be all that it’s cracked up to be.


Or in fact, it may be a complete dud!


But whatever sells goes, unfortunately, whether it’s right or wrong


Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle. 


Doesn’t that sizzle really make you want to buy the steak?


The Greater Fool Theory in full blossom. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Sometimes You Just Want To Say…

It funny, sometimes you just want to say…


Exactly what this ladies shirt says. 


My father used to say when certain people were nasty to him, he would just be nice to them.


And when they would still be really nasty to him then imperceptibly, quietly under his breath, he would say “F*** You.”


Ah, maybe not always so imperceptibly. LOL


Sure, we can’t always just come out and say it like this lady does boldly on her shirt.


Maybe it doesn’t help to use expletives, but sometimes some people can be such jerks that just saying it quietly is cathartic and truth-telling. 


Perhaps more important, saying it let’s you know that you still have  a moral compass and personal integrity, even if others around you have seriously compromised on theirs. :-)


(Credit Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

UNDERpromise + OVERdeliver

Every manager is rightly taught to underpromise and overdeliver. 


It’s sound planning and good risk management to plan for contingencies–and certainly these do happen. 


Build in some buffer time and resources into your estimates, because reality bites and you need to have the ammunition to respond. 


My father used to tell me:

“A word is a word!”


When you say something, promise something, commit to something then that is it!”


To do otherwise is to have no honor, no character, and no fear of G-d. 


Similarly, when you overpromise and underdeliver, you fail yourself and your customers.


People commit time, resources, and faith in you, so you owe it to them to set realistic goals and plans to accomplish them.


To do otherwise, you risk damage to the longterm relationship, you hurt your credibility, and maybe most importantly, you hurt the chances of genuine progress. 


The philosophy that I believe works best is:  Be thoughtful. Be strategic. Be direct. Be honest.  


That’s what I would want from others and that’s also what I strive to be. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

You Can’t See Yourself

So this donut-shaped art at the Outlets in Clarksburg is metallic and reflective. 


But what is really interesting to me is that when you stand in front of it (like I was literally doing here), you can’t see yourself. 


It made me wonder how you can look at yourself and yet not see yourself. 


And I thought of this as being a bigger lesson in life. 


When we are looking at ourself and there is a big donut whole in the mirror of ourselves then we are left blind to what should be reflecting back at us.  


No matter how hard we try to see ourselves and what we are doing right and wrong, it’s like a ghost out there–we are blind to it. 


To really see ourselves, our heart and mind have to be receptive to seeing the full picture. 


That means looking at ourselves as we really are, even when there seems to be a piece missing to the puzzle, and we have trouble being honest about what we see. 


To change, learn, grow–to become a better person, we need to look full on and be willing to see what we will see.  


You can’t see yourself until you can.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Braving Trust and Credibility

So I thought this was really good from a colleague this week. 


How to build trust and credibility in the workplace:


Credibility is about being “convincing and believable” and results from “expertise and experience.”


Trust is believing strongly in the honesty, reliability, character, and effectiveness of a person.”


BRAVING


Boundaries – Have good boundaries–respecting yours and having my own; show others respect in words and deeds. 


Reliability – Be someone who is both reliable (can be counted on)  and is authentic.


Accountability – Hold others and yourself accountable; we all own our mistakes, apologize and make amends. 


Vault – Keep information in confidence.


Integrity – Hold courage over comfort; choose what’s right over what’s fun, easy or fast; practice and not just profess values. 


Non-judgmental – Believe the best in people even when they occasionally disappoint you. 


Generosity – Offer and ask for help from others, and give generously of yourself in time and effort. 


No offense to anyone…the last thing they said was a little spicy for the workplace (but I know it was meant well):  “Good conversation with others should be like a miniskirt–short enough to retain interest and long enough to cover the topic.” 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

The Culture Key To Organizational Success

As I continue to learn more about organizational success strategies, I am coming to understand that the underlying culture of the organization is so very fundamental to its success.


I believe this is especially the case in terms of three critical competency areas:


– Communication – needs to be timely, constructive, multi-directional, and with emotional intelligence.


– Trust – must be be based on honesty and integrity including consistently supporting the success of everyone professionally and as a organization. 


– Collaboration – must be be anchored in respecting, valuing, empowering, and rewarding each and every person for their views and the contributions, both individually and as team members, and in treating diversity and collaboration, as a true force-multiplier. 


If any of these elements are missing or broken then it does not seem to me that the organization will be able to be successful for the long term.


Organizational success is built on ingredients that strengthen the ties of leadership and individuals and that foster contribution as individuals and as team members. 


No amount of smart, innovative, and even hard work, in my mind, will make up for shortfalls in these critical organizational success factors. 

So when planning for organizational success, make sure to build these in from the get-go. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Money Makes The World Go Round

almight-money-worship

I remember from years ago hearing this song called, “Money makes the world go around.”


It’s an unfortunate song. 


“The clinking clanking clunking sound.”


Then this week, I saw this sign in someone’s office. 


It was hung under a framed dollar bill, and said:


“VERY IMPORTANT MONEY FIRST”


It doesn’t say G-d first, or family, or integrity, or compassion, or anything meaningful and good. 


No, instead just money. 


What is wrong with people?


Yes, we all need money to live.


Life isn’t free. 


There are bills to pay and money to be saved for a rainy day.


But, “money first”???


“Very important!”


There is definitely something wrong with some people’s values.


They think:


To hell with doing the right thing if you can make lots of money.


To hell with being honest in business if you can make more money.


To hell with earning a decent day’s pay for an honest day’s work.


No, to some misguided people, it’s simply money first. 


And money also means power.


More, more, more…at almost any cost that is. 


Sell your souls to the devil for a buck fifty.


Is the temporary satisfaction that money can buy you really worth it.


No, money is not first, and never should be. 


Money is a means to an end, but never an end in itself.


Money is not the root of all evil, but perhaps underlying greed is. 


Take that awful sign down and the dollar bill in the shiny frame at the very top of the wall too! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)