by Joe on March 27, 2012
Many of us spent 4 years at an undergraduate business school learning the question that we boil business down to is: “What will best maximize shareholder return?“ But over time, I’ve realized that it is a question that fails to inspire and move me, and I’m guessing others, to action. So I’ve spent the last few years exploring how to approach business outside of the uninspiring shareholder-maximization mentality. After years of searching, I stumbled across this:
“Instead of asking…Which choice will maximize my ROI? We ask instead, Given the core competencies of my organization and the assets under it’s control, how can I best direct the organization to serve? Which products or services could we produce that would best enable my community to flourish?”
At first take, I asked how you can ignore profit? Well, you cant. The argument here is that profit is what helps the business attract sufficient capital to continue growing and enabling greater and greater levels of community flourishing and service.
These two compelling questions are inspiring my actions on a daily basis. How would your world change if you focused on these two questions in lieu of maximizing ROI?
by Joe on February 21, 2012
After reading what I’ve found to be one of the most well put together treatises of management with the subtitle of “On Becoming Your Self,” I thought I’d follow it up with a few quotes that have been useful to me as I’ve sought to be more fully myself.
- “One of the chief obstacles to this perfection of selfless charity, is the selfish anxiety to get the most out of everything, to be a brilliant success in our own eyes and in the eyes of other men. We can only get rid of this anxiety by being content to miss something in almost everything we do. We cannot master everything, taste everything, understand everything, drain every experience to its last dregs. But if we have the courage to let almost everything else go, we will probably be able to retain the one thing necessary for us -whatever it may be. If we are too eager to have everything, we will almost certainly miss even the one thing we need.
Happiness consists in finding out precisely what the ‘one thing necessary’ may be, in our lives, and in gladly relinquishing all the rest. For then, by a divine paradox, we find that everything else is given us together with the one thing we needed. “ – from No Man is an Island
- “All men seek peace first of all with themselves. That is necessary, because we do not naturally find rest even in our own being. We have to learn to commune with ourselves before we can communicate with other men and with God. A man who is not at peace with himself necessarily projects his interior fighting into the society of those he lives with, and spreads a contagion of conflict all around him. Even when he tries to do good to others his efforts are hopeless, since he does not know how to do good to himself. In moments of wildest idealism he may take it into his head to make other people happy: and in doing so he will overwhelm them with his own unhappiness. He seeks to find himself somehow in the work of making others happy. Therefore he throws himself into the work. As a result he gets out of the work all that he put into it: his own confusion, his own disintegration, his own unhappiness. “ – from No Man is an Island
- “The deep secrecy of my own being is often hidden from me by my own estimate of what I am. My idea of what I am is falsified by my admiration for what I do. And my illusions about myself are bred by contagion from the illusions of other men. We all seek to imitate one another’s imagined greatness.If I do not know who I am, it is because I think I am the sort of person everyone around me wants to be. Perhaps I have never asked myself whether I really wanted to become what everybody else seems to want to become. Perhaps if I only realized that I do not admire what everyone seems to admire, I would really begin to live after all. I would be liberated from the painful duty of saying what I really do not think and of acting in a way that betrays God’s truth and the integrity of my own soul.” - from “No Man is an Island”
How can we enable each other to become more fully ourselves? How can we enable our wives/girlfriends be more fully themselves and for them to do likewise to us?
by Joe on January 20, 2012
“…Life cannot be understood flat on a page. It has to be lived; a person has to get out of his head, has to fall in love, has to memorize poems, has to jump off bridges into rivers…We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it?”
Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts
I ventured out today. Booked a ticket to the Storyline conference. We were able to grab a group of 5 awesome guys to head out to Portland together.
Have you ventured out recently?
by Joe on September 26, 2011
Lately I’ve been merging my drive for personal success with the success of my organization. If I’m honest, it hasn’t been working. It is wrong of me to align the two – because when I do, I find myself frustrated. But if I can be focused on the success of the organization and her ability to achieve her goals, when we achieve them, I can be certain the personal success will follow. So its about time to think about how we can recognize it and be more intentional about combating.
So after thinking about this all week, I wondered what questions will help me determine if my drive is healthy. Thankfully, Michael Hyatt posted two questions that leaders should ask to determine what is driving them:
1. Am I using my strengths for the good of the project or the organization, or am I mainly seeking affirmation from outside sources like my boss or peers?
2. What is my true motivation for working on this project? Is it for the sake of others and the bigger picture or just to elevate my own status?
Now, I’m off to act on them. My goal is to spend the day for the sake of others and the bigger picture. Tomorrow, I’ll wake up and try again. It’ll take training, but the great thing is that we can choose to be teachable.
Today, I’m choosing to be taught. What about you? How would you answer these questions?
by Joe on May 31, 2011
Many times we find ourselves measuring success with a singular static key performance indicator like profits, margins or revenues. But, there are other measurements that can inform us of our directional progress. These directional measurements ensure we are headed the right direction.
So how can directional trend variables help more than static variables? Well, for me, knowing YoY change of balance sheet items are much more valuable than knowing a snap-shot of a company’s liabilities, and beyond that it is even more helpful to know how that liability load compares to its shareholder equity.
So why do we continue to measure our success with static measures? It may be fun to know how many Starbucks stores there are (17,009 in 2010) or the average revenue per store, but I’d rather know the percentage of those stores that have revenues that are higher than their three year averages. This type of measure helps us understand the direction of the stores – growing or shrinking.
Another effective dynamic measurement is to apply a cohort analysis to examine groups trends. Analyze groups of customers, stores or members in any grouping to show how different groupings compare.
While it may be a bit NSFW, OkCupid, an online dating site, uses its massive profile database to chart and graph a wonderfully told story on its blog, OkTrends. However un-sexy our own data may be, there are some lessons to be learned from how they use dynamic measures and cohort anaylsis to tell stories.
The ability to build measureable triggers in our business processes is paramount to building businesses that can be measured directionally and further support our ability to achieve our objectives. Whether we choose an outcome measure or a process measure. The difference between these two types of measurement points are for another day.