Time to Say Goodbye…

At some point in every manager’s career, there comes a time when you will need to terminate someone’s employment.  Typically, this situation falls into one of two categories – a corporate layoff due to cost cutting / restructuring or letting an employee go for performance-related issues.  Regardless of the reason, it’s a difficult situation that requires careful planning and execution, compassion, and, for legal reasons, brevity.

The challenge in letting people go is acknowledging the fact that it’s not personal and doing your best to remain cognizant of that throughout the process.  Now, while I understand this is easy to “write”, I am very well aware of the fact that work becomes personal for many people.  Further, for many people, some of their closet relations have formed through their work so, again when I say, it’s technically not personal, I recognize that it very much is.

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“I’m Golden, baby!!”

Ahh… to be “golden” – what a great feeling!  For those of you don’t understand the context, being “golden” is when you can do no wrong.  Be it in your career or in your personal life – you basically have reached living bliss!  Everything you touch – turns to gold!  People love you!  They want to be around you!  It just doesn’t get any better!

All of us, at some point, have enjoyed being golden at some point.  Note the past tense?   That’s right – being golden isn’t, for many of us, a constant.  It’s a state that we enter and exit at different points in time.  Remember when Michael Phelps set all those world records for swimming?  No – what you remember is his being in the news for possession of marijuana!  Sorry Michael – not golden!  Or how about Tiger Woods and the fact the he’s probably the greatest golfer ever?  You get the point.

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My Thoughts on Taking “Vacations”

You put in the long hours at the office and after a period of time, you have earned enough hours to go on vacation!

In fact, given today’s naturally stressful work environment, vacations are important to help get recharged so you can continue to push forward and climb the corporate ladder.

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Sustainable Competitive Advantange

Recently, I was attending a session at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, where I am a class mentor, and we were talking about new venture opportunities. Specially, after you have gone through the screening process of identifying your next venture, you have to identify your sustainable competitive advantage and how that will map to your grand strategy.

Unfortunately, what I find is that many (inexperienced) entrepreneurs’ don’t place enough emphasis on this – partially because they believe, given what they are doing, it may not be that important and, in many cases, don’t really comprehend what a competitive advantage really is and what it can do for a company.

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Why Do Good People Fire Good Companies?

This is a question that I have given thought to repeatedly over the years. You have good, hard working people who join a good company and, over time, the relationship between the two changes. That doesn’t necessarily imply things are bad, but just different. The result, unfortunately in many cases, is that the real loss is felt by the company losing the talent and not by the individual losing the company because that prominent individual is very capable to securing a new position elsewhere.

This is clearly evident by the lack of good talent available in the market today and why, in many cases, there are bidding wars on the limited talent pool. If you are in Silicon Valley – I’d like to see you find a great software programmer – go on… find one that is just sitting idle waiting for your call!

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The Value of Facetime!

FacetimeCommunication, in itself, is a form of expression… communication between two people – well, that is an art!  I think people tend to underestimate how important effective communication is, regardless of the topic, in ensuring understanding between all those involved.

At times, speaking to people can be challenging for a myriad of reasons. Layer on a topic sensitive in nature or frame the conversation around a tense situation, and suddenly your intent of that straightforward talk doesn’t play out as you originally thought.

So, what’s the best way to have this “type” conversation?

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Know Thy Customer!

Of the many, many, many questions entrepreneurs must ask themselves, one of the most critical is “Who is my customer?”  Without understanding who your customer is, you cannot begin to perform other important tasks such as market research, building a value chain, conducting user experience studies, buyer behavior analysis, cost of acquisition information, etc.  Heck – if you haven’t determined who your customer really is – why are you even getting into business?

So…who is your customer?

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The Law of the “Hole”

it is inevitable that throughout the course of our lives, we will find ourselves in situations that potentially started out small, but through poor decision making, ends up becoming a much bigger issue.  In essence – we basically dig ourselves into a hole. 

So, the next time you find yourself in a hole – STOP DIGGING!

Outsource Your Decision Making!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you have heard of the term “outsourcing” or some variation thereof (e.g. near sourcing, co-sourcing, off-shoring, etc.).  Fundamentally, they all mean the same thing – basically, it’s “viewed as involving the contracting out of a business function – commonly one performed in house – to an external provider”.

Outsourcing, when used correctly, can yield tremendous benefits – some financial and sometimes more importantly, some intangible benefits, such as peace of mind.

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