To MBA or Not To MBA? Part II

So what is the “hidden” value of an MBA program?  My hint, in my previous post said, “it has nothing to do with education”.

Let’s try to look at this objectively.  As part of an MBA curriculum, a student is required to learn the core functions of a business.  Now, depending on the program itself, a student can specialize in a particular subject (e.g. finance), but generally speaking, the program will still need to cover other topics including, but not limited to, HR, Marketing, Finance, Ethics, Economics, and Strategy thereby providing the student with a broad knowledge base needed to operate a company.  So, regardless of whether you go to Columbia, Berkeley, Stanford, or Pepperdine, you’re going to have to learn the same topics.

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Which Plane Should I Catch?

Okay, I confess – this post technically has nothing to do with air travel, but the concept of hopping on a plane, does serve as an important symbol for communication.

So let’s get started – referencing the airplane images provided in this post, I’d like for you to answer the following questions.  And, for the record, they are not trick questions.

First, how high do you think the commercial airliner is flying?  Answer = Very high.

Second, how high do you think the combat plane is flying?  Answer = Not high at all.  In fact, it’s very low near the ground.

Let these images resonate with you for a bit because in a moment, I’m going to illustrate to you one of the most common communication mistakes people make… specifically at the office, where the impact of the mistake, could prove detrimental.

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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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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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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 →