If I haven't put you to sleep yet, you're not reading every one of my columns ... and guess what? By my count, this column is a milestone as column No. 100. Has anyone else written that many … other than Brad Bollinger, of course?
This journey began in the Fall, 2007 and for the most part, bi-weekly since then. The only exception is the most recent L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. series that was published over 12 consecutive weeks. Most of the columns have climbed around the monkey bars at the intersection of Strategy, Finance & Leadership, but according to several keen observers, I’ve also listened in on their boardroom conversations. Others have said they recognized themselves in my examples ... I'll never tell ... and some have even said, "stop writing about me." We'll never know if it was intentional or accidental, will we?
So, from that platform, I've decided to re-examine some of the concepts I’ve discussed over the last several years ... and since so many of you have remarked about how much you love the quotes that have accompanied each column ... and have liberally "borrowed" them ... I've used some of them again to re-introduce those concepts (and give you collective access to a bunch of them at once.)
In most cases, time has only strengthened my conviction about the importance of these concepts. Most of them deserve to be regularly refreshed and repeated as the touchstones of successful businesses."There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result."
This is one of my favorite quotes about entrepreneurship, capturing the risk and danger while highlighting the invigorating feeling it creates. Thanks, Sir Winston, for succinctly pinpointing the essence of what it means to pursue our entrepreneurial passions."If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will do." --Socrates"In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable." --Dwight D. Eisenhower
There are plenty more where these come from ... and each of them is a powerful reminder of the need for strategic thinking. I've frequently touched on strategy and planning as cornerstones of successful businesses. Yes, it's a time-consuming process and requires sharpshooter focus and relentless diligence ... but the rewards for companies who pursue it with a passion are unarguable.
I said then and reiterate now: "Countless business studies have shown that businesses with a disciplined and consistent process for formulating AND implementing their strategy have out-performed their industry peers by a significant margin."In business, the competition will bite you if you keep running; if you stand still, they will swallow you.” --William Knudsen Jr., former chairman, Ford Motor Company
This quote accompanied an article about competitive intelligence. I used a football analogy because football teams, and professional sports in general, invest heavily to assess the competition. While you may be unable to obtain videotape for every play your competition has made, don't let that stop you from evaluating the competition with as much vigor and rigor as you can muster."Some regard private enterprise as if it were a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look upon it as a cow that they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is -- the strong horse that pulls the whole cart.” --Winston Churchill
In my column entitled, “Put the business back in the family business!” I reflected on the strong predisposition to focus on the “family” part of the “family business” at the exclusion of an equally important discussion about the “business” of the family. I watch companies struggle with these issues every day, and urge them to remember that the strength of the "mother ship" is the fountainhead of family stability and harmony. Without it, squabbling crescendos and family dynamics tend to disintegrate.“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” --Albert Schweitzer“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand -- and melting like a snowflake.” --Sir Francis Bacon