“The plans of the diligent lead to profit, as surely as haste leads to poverty.”
2012 was a year defined by uncertainty regarding issues over which business leaders had little or no control. Many coped by adopting conservative strategies and taking a “wait and see” attitude. 2013 is all about resurgence and growth, and the most successful entrepreneurs make the revitalization of themselves the foundation for future prosperity.
“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.”
Once a hotbed of manufacturing, Pottstown’s more recent history has been characterized by a sluggish economy and high unemployment. But its eventual revival is a certainty, as it has far too many assets to remain in the doldrums for long. Taking advantage of all that Pottstown has going for it, however, will require some fresh thinking, a spirit of unity, and a concerted effort.
“The dumbest reason in the world to buy a stock is because it’s going up.”
Action, intrigue, uncertainty, elation, and exasperation. I’m not talking about the latest box office thriller; I’m referring to the stock market. Despite its perplexing ups and downs, it affects us all, no matter what business we’re in. For that reason, improving our understanding of what drives it is essential. And what drives “the market” is that which drives all business— human psychology.
“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”
Two things that business owners have in common are that (1) we survive by translating our time into dollars and cents; (2) the clock is more often an enemy than a friend. There are ways, however, to rethink how we look at both our priorities and our time that can help. The rewards for those who are willing to do so include better efficiency, less stress, and last but not least, improvements on the bottom line.
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
— Albert Einstein
A lot of businesses suffer because their owner-operators have a fear of numbers, a problem that is more common than assumed. This often leads to sloppy accounting practices that undermine profitability, but it doesn’t have to be that way. By dealing realistically with the “math phobia” that afflicts so many, a lot of struggling business owners can stop getting in their own way and begin to improve their margins.
Behavioral scientists have conducted extensive study of the “norm of reciprocity,” a social convention that governs exchanges between human beings. Its importance in various business functions (sales, leadership, teamwork, and bargaining) is often underestimated. Its workings are often subtle and nuanced, but its power cannot be overstated. It deserves our utmost respect and understanding.
A quick review of the news makes it evident that America is currently facing both internal and external challenges that are unprecedented in the lifetimes of most of us, and innumerable polls indicate that Americans feel that we’re lacking the kind of leadership required to meet those challenges effectively. But by facing certain realities squarely, “we the people” can be the key to our own better future.
“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”
— Albert Einstein
In our technology driven information age, we’ve accepted that clinging to old ways of thinking and doing things can be detrimental to business success. But information technology used independently of the timeless and unchanging principles that define wisdom and integrity can breed as many business failures as successes. In an age of complexity and rapid change, it’s important to remind ourselves of that reality.
“Sometimes you hit a point where you either change or self destruct.”
We all know of the antics of people such as Bernard Madoff, or Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling of Enron, who wrecked their own multibillion business concerns through behaviors that seemed bizarre to most of us. But these are just spectacular examples of a very common syndrome of self-destruction that affects businesses of all kinds. It’s more common than we think, and we should all be wary of it.
“America is the best half educated country in the world.”Nicholas M. Butler
Historically, education has been touted as the key to success in America, but for decades our educational system has been in decline in ways that range from the subtle, to the blatantly dysfunctional. In the meantime, the costs of education are skyrocketing. What follows is a discussion of the problems plaguing our institutions of learning, and some suggestions for how business leaders might help.
“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
Benjamin Franklin said, “time is money,” and spoke truth in doing so. But far too many businesses suffer because of the mismanagement of this invaluable resource. It’s the one thing that we can never replace and in an age of complexity, chaos, and competition for our attention, so we all need to be continually improving our use of it. The following discussion offers hope for devising means for doing exactly that.