Sunday, July 26, 2009

Leadership by Results

Do not seek balance in the short term Among other attributes of great leadership, one must consider results. That "You will know by their fruit" kind of evaluation. Of course, one must factor in numerous attributes in order to gain proper prospective on another's results. Few will have attempted exactly what you seek to accomplish. That "Your mileage may vary" thing. But still, learning about oranges when you sell apples may have great value. For example, I successfully applied the lessons of Open Source Software to create an eCommerce business in the late 1990s. Since 1981 I have been consulting with business owners and entrepreneurs. I have helped more than one generate millions of dollars of revenue. Capture market share. Put braces on their kids' teeth. And more. And yet, I feel that there is more than I can do; in fact, there is a lot more that I must do! The major complaint concerning "consultants" (think of that great movie Office Space) is simple: they tell us what to do, charge us a lot of money to have told us what to do, and then ride off into the sunset to cash our check. So what? Least you forget mister business owner, you are in charge. If that is the model you have adopted, then it is your fault. I know for a fact that there are alternatives. When I started consulting, I learned quickly that in order to be effective, I had to get my hands dirty. The responsibility for implementation in nine out of ten cases was mine to complete. However, in the mentoring environment (mostly where I do not charge) the client does the actual work. But that is rare. As Shane Falco in The Replacements told Coach McGinty, "I want the ball!" Consider one of my favorite expressions:
I can double the membership of most any Chamber of Commerce in the United States in just 90 days.
How? For that, you must pay me. But the not so secret secret is that I understand why more businesses do not join. Know too that I am one of the biggest fans of Chambers on planet Earth. They can be invaluable. Or a waste of time and money. Mister business owner, once again, you get to decide. Recall the exchange in the Old Testament where Naaman was told to "dip seven times in the Jordan" to be made whole? He did not want to dip in the dirty water. It was below his station in life.
And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? How much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? II Kings 5:13
Results are not hard to accomplish. Taking charge is! That my friend, defines just one aspect of leadership. Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey Desk: 843.564.4.SKI P.S. Need help at your Chamber? Call me. (c)Copyright 2009, Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Leadership by Horse Head in Bed

Ever wake up with a horse's head? There is a company selling pillows in the likeness of a horse head. Go figure! But consider the art of leadership What message does a real horse head in your bed convey? I just completed a great road trip from one side of South Carolina to the other (and back again!). I loved it. The Kaw Nomad performed as expected: flawlessly. Over 60,000 on the motorcycle and it does not burn (or leak) even one drop of oil. Amazing. For this trip we (the Nomad and I) covered just over 1900 miles. Yes, 1900+ miles in four days. That is a lot of motor scooter riding... but I digress. Leaderhip by Horse Head in the mail FYI: If you want to more fully understand leadership, you need to own (and consume) the Heifetz book, Leadership without Easy Answers. It frames the concept more completely than any other text on planet earth. Yes, it is that good. What if you hired me to provide a solution. And, what if I studied your situation and formulated a great solution and then conveyed that solution to you. However, what if you failed to follow my advice? Should I mail you a horse's head? The pillow version, of course. Would that get your attention? Probably not. In other words, it would be a waste of my money. Wasted time and money to send yet another message that you would ignore. So, over coffee this morning, I decided to create this post that I can simply email to those that choose to ignore my counsel. I will feel a lot better, and be fifty bucks (plus S&H) ahead! So, if you receive an email from me (or any one else that likes this idea) with this article as a link, please, PLEASE take a minute to ask yourself why. Why Next to God, probably the most important three-letter combination in the English language: w/h/y Ask yourself, "Why did SKI send me the horse's head?" I love what Bill Dettmer (H. William Dettmer for those new to my ramblings) said about me and the Socratic Method in the forward to my book, Purple Curve Effect:
Ski makes frequent mention of the Socratic method, a very valuable skill. If you choose to try to apply it, just keep in mind the explanation of how the Socratic method works, offered by its creator in 399 B.C., just before he died: “You ask questions, and then they kill you.”
Of course, it is more polite to kill the horse... but you get the idea, right? YOU SCREWED UP! Sorry. I did want to leave any doubt. The good news: no worries. Repent. And get back on the horse. Well, not literally. Pick up the phone and call me. Lets put humpty dumpty back together. It is much easier than you can imagine. Or believe. Yes, you must eat a little crow (do you love all these metaphors? Methinks I have gone a little too far but cannot help myself. Sorry).
"Pride goeth before destruction..." Proverbs 16:18 (KJV)
So, there you have it. Three steps to getting back to the simple (I did not say easy) process of making money:
  1. Admit you turned left, when you should have turned right
  2. Admit that someone else can see aspects of your life (business and personal) more clearly than you
  3. Ask for help
Yea, that third item can be a real show stopper. Actually, all three take a real commitment to success. Lip service just won't cut it. Believing that you are right is not enough. Many years ago, my dad would stop at a local fast food destination for coffee and some quiet time to study the Bible. Then, when he left, he would back out of his parking spot, and drive out the "in" lane to witness God's love. So, being me, I ask. "What message does that send, when you break the rules?" He started using the "out" lane. If you are reading this post from a link in an email from me, you are breaking a rule. If we have a relationship, and have built that relationship on mutual trust, then I have an obligation to point out the fact that from my vantage point, you have broken a rule of engagement. If you need me to spell it out, call me. I want to help. After all, that is probably how we connected in the first place. I offered some help. You took some help. And now I see you made a course correction that is not in your best interest. If it happened to me, I would want to know. Do you? Enthusiastically, Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey Desk: 843.564.4.SKI P.S. Regardless, we can still be friends. P.P.S If you have a friend with a business (or a business for sale), consider sending them this post via email, with the suggestion that maybe I can help. Please do not Cc or Bc me on that message. I don't want my email inbox to overflow! When they contact me, I will ask them how they learned of my services and follow up with you. And yes, I am actively seeking new mentorship opportunities (paid or free). My Mac address book (nicely cloned onto my iPod touch) is full of contacts... the help your friend needs may as close as an email. P.P.P.S. If you are in South Carolina, or want to grow your business here, please join the "LinkedIn South Carolina" group on LinkedIn. We are putting America back to work, one connection at a time. And yet, the growth is exponential! http://www.linkedin.com/in/consultski (c)Copyright 2009, Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

1st US Congress opens with Psalm 35

Best program on TV If you have never heard of American Historian David Barton, you might fall for Chicago-style politics... but there is hope! Proof positive that America was founded on Christian principles. Dr. Charles F. Stanley and In Touch Ministries presented David Barton of Wall Builders over July 4th weekend and is making the program, "Is America a Christian Nation?" available online. Nuggets include examples like the fact that the first Bible printed in America was printed by the US Congress. Or this:
"The General Principles on which the Fathers achieved Independence were the ... general principles of Christianity." —John Adams
Watch the program (with introduction by Dr. Stanley) online:
Windows Media (very large file) QuickTime (very large file)
Don't be fooled by those revisionists that want to steal your heritage. All that is required is for the "good" to do nothing.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Fourth of our July?

google pays tribute to our Fourth of July I have to wonder how much longer... How much longer we will be free to celebrate that outrageous act that became the United States of America? On a side note, I have to wonder if the picnic scene is the best representation of our freedom? Makes a great visual, but of what? With one in ten Americans out of work, how many picnics on serene grassy knolls are taking place today? News on the airwaves this week from Congress (no less) pointed out that hate crimes cannot be committed against white people. The point seemed to be that unless there was a long history of hate crimes against a group, the law would not apply. In other words, WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) have never been on the receiving end of hate. Ah, the power of revisionism. Bob Seger would be proud! As we continue to open our doors to the world, and WASPs become the minority, what will America look like? What will it sound like? Given that Spanish is now our second language, anybody have a pool going on when it will become our first language? Put a buck (oops, sorry!) Euro down for me on May 5, 2025. If man is still alive.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Biz Tip #8: Avoid the Left Turn

Wisdom worth its weight in Gold... I am pleased to do a fair amount of mentoring. Have since my early days in Personnel (before "HR" become a buzzword). Recently, this has become a favorite expression of mine:
"Avoid turning left, when you should turn right. Not only do you lose the time spent going the wrong direction, but you must drive that wrong section of road twice, in order to get back to square one. So that you can turn right and continue making progress."
I had mentioned in Purple Curve Effect (and/or perhaps TV program interviews promoting it) that while doing TQM (actually, the "Americanized version of TQM — which is a poor substitute compared to what Deming actually meant — but I digress...") in the Department of Transportation for the State of Ohio, we empowered all these teams to "go fix things," that unless you were the one (and only) team working on the true core constraint (the weakest link), all your effort was wasted. Guess what? It is even worse!
Not only was your effort wasted, but now those finite resources you sucked out of the organization are no longer available to apply to the real bottleneck.
Did that register? Please reread that last paragraph. I can wait... Get it? Hence, my "Avoid the Left Turn" metaphor. Or mnemonic. Need help putting the wheels back on your business? Give me a shout. I offer a "Results Based" fee structure that will have you jumping up and down in the car as you try to write me a five or six figure check. Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey Desk: 843.564.4.SKI P.S. Need a Made to Stick kind of reference? Okay, I was traveling and missed the turn. I was on a tight budget, heading home after a great (and expensive vacation), when I discovered that I had went about 60 miles west, when I should have been going north. Yes, it was dark. Still no excuse. However, many of you know the challenge near Wytheville, VA where I-77 splits from I-81. So, I get to retrace my path to catch I-77 North. So 120+ miles at say two bucks a gallon and 25MPG average equals $10 wasted that I did not have to spare. Ever look under the seat for spare change to pay the toll in West Virgina? I have. (c)Copyright 2009, Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey. All rights reserved.