10 Tough Interview Questions

“Why are manhole covers round? How do you measure 4 gallons of water using only a 3 and 5 gallon jug? How many gas stations/dogs/windowpanes are there in the United States?”

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The “Infamous” Corporate Ladder!

“It’s good to be the King!”

Working hard and reaching the top is something that many strive for… and why not?  It’s recognition for your hard work… it’s validation that you have the right stuff to make things happen – and the perks… the perks could be wonderful!  Now, granted, there are a lot of challenges on your way to the top and, even more, once you arrive.  But today, we’re going to talk about a few simple scenarios about how you may actually get there!

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Board of Directors – Top 12!

It’s no secret that I believe having a board (of directors / advisers), formal or not, is critical to a company’s success.  As in life and in business, perspective is key when making important decisions and having someone who has your (or your company’s) best interest in mind, is a valuable resource.

As I was reading yesterday, I came across some great information about questions that a board must ask to really gauge the state of a company.  If you are a CEO who has a board and they are not asking these questions, maybe you need to augment your board (or, find new members all together).  If you are currently a board member and not asking these questions, you need to start.

Regardless on which side of the table you sit, these are critical questions that require considerable thought.  Granted – some questions may not apply to all businesses but, if nothing else, maybe asking some of these questions today will position the company on a successful track thereby allowing you to ask the remaining question later?

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How to E-mail Busy People…

It’s no secret that today’s world is highly interconnected and more interdependent than ever before.  And, in order to succeed in this world, obtaining the right guidance is more important than ever before.  The challenge, however, is that many times, the people you seek guidance from are not directly connected to you – so, how do you ask for help?  In many cases, we do what we feel most comfortable with – e-mail.  It provides us the ability to reach out while still remaining in our comfort zone.

The challenge with e-mail, as with many initial communication methods, is that there is an art behind getting what you want without burdening the other person.  All too often, we’re a mixed bag of information and rarely communicate all that we want to on the first attempt.  In fact, many times we find ourselves reflecting back on the conversation either regretting something we said, or worse, didn’t say.

I came across a great post by Jason Freedman who outlined some tips on how to e-mail busy people… below are the key points.  Valuable stuff.

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Hosting Effective Meetings…

“Let’s have a meeting about that meeting… need to clarify some stuff.  Yeah?”

Ever heard that one before?  If you’re like me, then the answer’s probably yes.  Today, meetings seem to be the abundant theme and while there’s a lot going on, it’s important to remember that meetings are only valuable when they are effective.  So, how do you execute a successful meeting?  Well, for me – it has everything to do with golf.

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Love thy Vendor!

I came across a great article today via HBR about the vendor-customer dynamic and how, unfortunately, vendors take an unnecessary beating  from their customers in the name of “good business”.  All to often, I think people tend to forget that business is done between people – not machines, not companies… but PEOPLE!  Therefore, if you want to get the best out of people, you need to start by putting the best into people – and you do that by exercising the Golden Rule (treat others as you would like to be treated).

Remember, in today’s globally competitive business environment, having strong ties to your vendors can yield tremendous insight, which could allow you to make better decisions.  Your vendors have relationships with your competitors and have powerful insights on how the market is moving along.  In addition, vendors can provide you with financing (e.g. net terms) that allow you to manage your cash flow more effectively.  So, why would you want to treat someone who can help you, badly?

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Does my company need a Board of Directors?

Board of DirectorsOkay – so let’s be clear on what a “board of directors” is.  According to Wikipedia, A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. The body sometimes has a different name, such as board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, board of visitors, or executive board. It is often simply referred to as “the board.”

All right – that’s done… so, let’s try to answer the question: Does a startup need a board of directors?  The answer is… it depends.  To be more clear – it depends on what stage the “company” is in specifically relating to its idea or product.
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The Art (behind) Strategy…

I came across a great article by Richard Rumelt, Professor of Business and Society at the UCLA Anderson School of Management titled: “The Perils of Bad Strategy”.  It’s a great read that discusses the impact of bad strategy and how, unfortunately, many organizations (and their leaders) believe that they have a strategy when they really don’t.

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The Power of Enchantment!

Recently, I was fortunate enough to hear Guy Kawasaki speak about his new book, Enchantment.  For those of you who don’t know who Guy Kawasaki is, he’s a local Silicon Valley guy who’s done many things including having written 10 great books.  His un-official bio reads as VC, start-up, and author.

It was a pleasure for me to hear Guy talk about his new venture and trust you too will enjoy it.

Guy Kawasaki at Stanford

Blue is the new Black!

For starters, it’s good to be back on the blogging scene.  I spent most of May traveling to Asia (Hong Kong, China, and Bangkok) getting an whirlwind overview on their economies, doing business in these booming markets, and what we can expect over the next few years.  Needless to say it was a great education…

Now… back to the topic at hand.  To clarify when I say “Blue is the new Black”, I’m not referring to fashion – in fact, I’m the last person that should be writing about that topic!  I’m talking about business… in accounting slang, it’s understood that when your business is operating in the “black”, the company is actually operating above the bottom line – in other words, doing well.  Conversely, when the company is operating in the “red”, it means the company is on fire and may need to be saved (or shut down – depending on which is more prudent). Continue reading “Blue is the new Black!”

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