Friday, May 29, 2009

Al Walsh with Tips for Finance Pros

Job Tips for Finance People

Patty DeDominic asked me to address some thoughts on how Finance people can stage themselves for job success in this market, so here goes.

As background, I’ve got 30-years business experience in a wide range of roles. Finance & Accounting has been at that core of my experience, including Bank Teller, Loan Officer, Stockbroker, CPA, Department Head, Controller, CFO, and Treasurer.

I won’t bore you with a litany of the usual core expectations. Every employer wants Finance people who are experts in their industry, know their IT systems like the back of their hand, etc. These are basic requisites. In this market, if you don’t have these core points under your belt you’re going to be “swimming against the tide”. Choose your employer prospects carefully to fit your skill-set. If you try to shotgun the market, you’ll just put yourself through an exercise in frustration.

What I really want to focus on is other characteristics that will separate you from the crowd.

The real crux of my message is that you should be able to display an understanding of the prospective employer’s business, and how you as a Finance person can support & nurture that business.

Far too many people in our field are mere technicians who don’t grasp the full role that they should be playing. This is particularly true for Controllers and CFOs. There are those of us who richly deserve the dreaded label of “bean-counter”.

For instance: working capital management is a critical subject for most companies in these challenging times. You need to be up with the times, have a solid understanding of the financial markets, and be able to display comprehension of your prospective employer’s situation & needs and how you as Finance officer might fulfill those needs.

The regulatory environment is crazy, and getting crazier. You need to be on top of it, and have an understanding of how it impacts your potential employer; and how you might mitigate the impact.

Many of us know that employers often call upon their Finance managers to spread their wings over other functions, such as H/R and IT. The ability to display comprehension and expertise outside the Finance function will make you more desirable; and open the door to possible career expansion such as that which I’ve experienced.

Far too many people in our field are mere record-keepers, with insufficient comprehension of what the numbers mean and how they can help manage the company. You need to display the ability to partner, nurture, and support the non-financial leaders with timely, meaningful data and valuable guidance. You need to be able to grasp the strategic & operational plans, become a part of the process, and ensure that the financial resources are there to achieve the established goals. You need to be a nurturer who can help raise the financial awareness of other leaders.

I could go on with other examples, but the gist of my message is that you will stand apart from the crowd if you can display the talents of a true businessperson, as opposed to being a mere “technician”.

Whether you’re going for a CFO position or a more humble role, the ability to telegraph comprehension and support of the overall business will be critical to success.

Do your homework before you walk into the interview. Learn all that you can about the prospective employer. Listen carefully during the interview, probe, and take every opportunity to convey your ability to fulfill their total need. Listen to the interviewer for items of key interest. Very likely, they’re shopping because the predecessor failed to fulfill some expectation. At some point in conversation they’re going to raise the point, and you don’t want to be caught “napping”. Try to keep the conversation focused on the present & future, and what you can do for them. Questions about the past will inevitably arise, in which case you should try to raise examples of repeatable accomplishments that the prospective employer would value.

Smile – a lot.
Try not to tense up (conveys a negative image), but also don’t be too relaxed (conveys sloth and inattentiveness).
Look them in the eye – while they’re speaking, and while you’re speaking.
Dress for success.
Listen, listen, listen.
I always go for an outward demeanor of “humble confidence”. A little humility never hurts, but they don’t want a “Harvey Milk-Toast” either.

Keep in mind that if you get an interview, they’re taking you seriously as a candidate. Now it’s a matter of convincing them that you’re the BEST candidate.

Good Hunting,

Al Walsh, CEO
Walsh Enterprises, Business Advisors
Huntington Beach, Ca

PS – I don’t think Patty will mind my mentioning that I offer free articles on Business and Economics. I author some, and borrow others that are of value. Feel free to peruse them on my website (above). I also have a Resource page on my website where I’ve created links to a wide variety of useful information sources that you might not be aware of. Enjoy.

Be a Mentor, Get a Mentor

Stand Out in the Crowd.......

Be Strong Smart and Bold.

I love that Girls Inc motto, helping all girls become Strong Smart and Bold! Yesterday I got to mentor 13 year old Santa Barbara resident, Breanna as part of the Girls Inc., Take Your Daughters To Work program. Breanna was not sure what she will become when she grows up.....but she loves English and she also loves animals so becoming a Veterinarian is one option for her.
We talked with other mentors and students yesterday. The girls were 13 years old, still pretty young to be career focused, but smart enoughto say yes to a program which enabled them to "go to a professional woman's job" and learn more about it. Other students at our table got to visit the "day in my life" of a kitchen designer, a cosmetologist and an advertising sales representative for the local newspaper. It was fun trying to explain to a 13 year old about Entrepreneurship and what an independent investor and a business coach is. But Breanna was smart, and she got the idea right away and didn't even seem to mind that I had suggested that it would take over 20 years for some people to gain enough experience in business to become an independent investor and business coach. I think she especially like the idea of working from a home office and the freedom to interact with my husband and our animals during the day: Just one of the perks of being an independent. It was fun to be a mentor yesterday for this one day future Vet or entrepreneur. I feel good that world is going to be in capable hands after "we" stop trying to run it!
I am pictured here a few years ago with one of my dearest friends and mentors, Dorothy Rogers.
Dorothy shared some of her life's lessons with me and others at SCORE as we helped create and leverage private fundraising for what had previously been a government funded program.
Dear Dorothy is in heaven now but I often look at this picture and remember how she mentored us in so many aspects of fund raising and how she got me so excited that I soon had made one of the biggest pledges and charitable gifts in my life. Dorothy was an enthusiastic dynamo who knew how to keep things fun yet how to fit into both conservative and liberal environments. Much of her professional life was spent in fund development for Universities on the east coast.....where she needed to fit in with the "old line" families yet work with faculty and students at the same time. She was extremely successful in generating support and enthusiasm.
Sincerity oozed from dear Dorothy whenever we met and I suspected in all she did. "You have to make a great case for support" Dorothy would tell us as we were discussing ways to leverage the U.S. Small Business Administrative funding for SCORE, the national free business consulting organization. She told us, no matter which worthy cause you were working to support.... "there are people out there just waiting to be properly informed about their opportunities to give." Note... not waiting to be begged for money, but given an "opportunity" to give.
My fundraising mentor also showed us how to set up a planned giving program, how to make the case and give donors options and how to properly thank supporters of all kinds. Over the years since Dorothy Rogers mentored us at SCORE dozens people have put SCORE in their will and for the past several years consistently, over one million dollars of private support comes into the oganization from the troops in the field aka Volunteers.
Dorothy and her successor Mark Dobosz knew how to Make the Case, and they also have been great mentors to me and lots of other leaders of leaders.
I am grateful for the many mentors I have had over the years and that is one of the reasons I said YES to Girls Inc. when asked if I wanted to participate in this years Take Your Daughter to Work Day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Executives Must be "ON Interview Ready" 24-7

There is a humorous book out by California publisher Blue Point Books

called Harry Says...... Boss Talk Without the Warm Fuzzies.

Editor Bruce Feldman provides wisdom shared by one of his friends, Harry, who built companies and was a successful if not tactful entrepreneur.

I recommend it and it you would like a free copy you may post a comment

with your email address and I can send copies to the first ten people who ask for it.

In the meantime I have tips for you Executives who are looking for work

or to those of you who are employed but may need to make a change in the next few years.

You are always "on display" and must remember that like an Actor who plays a role, it is important to demonstrate your professionalism in all you do.... On and Off the "Stage".

Search firms and boards of directors use a variety of methods to evaluate whether a candidate is suitable for positions they want to fill and use many screens and tests to further consideration. Experienced recruiters are looking for a skill set and a cultural fit for their clients. Their job is to screen OUT all the folks who think they need this job and who will not add to the interview process for the client.

YOUR job is to keep yourself in the process, IN THE GAME and go for the OFFER, until such time you determine the opportunity is not for you.

So - when you work with search firms or employment agencies, Please remember, they work for the CLIENT-Employers. (Not the job candidates in spite of how cordial they may seem).

Skilled recruiters are always listening for and detecting Capabilities and Accomplishments as well as liabilities of potential placements. Most recruiters have excellent listening skills and usually look for the same in job candidates. Sometimes the screening starts in the AD or job posting, but often times it starts before that in the Hidden Job Market. Your professional network is the first place for many opportunities to germinate ..... and it often determines whether the the job gets publicized or if an Ad is even posted at all.

Did you know that more than 50% of all executive jobs never get announced to the public?

Never underestimate the power of your personal and professional network.... that is where most of the leads come from and where most job offers originate. You, by your conduct and reputation, have been demonstrating who you are and what you can accomplish for many years now and what you say is often secondary to who you have been. Of course what you say in interviews is important, but the point I want to make is that you are ON DISPLAY long before your interview starts.

How does a search firm work?

Once an executive recruitment firm has an assignment to seek an executive they go to their own files first and to the contacts of their client and the industries professional association leaders. Often this outreach is informal and take place with a simple phone call. About half the jobs get advertised or posted....... and often after "insiders" have had a preview of the need of the client.

Candidates then are screened for initial job requirements and the persons responsiveness. Are they interested? Are they going to be responsive to the interviewer to the search committee? Many candidates cannot pass this basic "test" of simply following directions.

Successful candidates... those who get the actual offers usually follow all the instructions and often make up some of their own as well. It is OK to do more than expected, to prepare more and unless instructed otherwise, to reach out to the recruiter or the board members for support. Cautiously....but proactively, job candidates who demonstrate not only a fit for the position requirements but a real desire to win this job are often the first choice.

Over the years when I have recruited and placed Chief Executive and other senior officers for corporations and Non profits, we have asked for presentations which show relevant accomplishments and we ask the candidates to show us how they line up with the new job requirements. Professional interviewers (recruiters and HR pros) are also skilled at asking specific questions during the interviews, looking for specific responses as opposed to generalities. For example one might be asked to share specifics of a recent strategic plan, give the list of board members or show non-proprietary reports that the exec worked on.

Are there more "tests" for candidates? Is their popularity among hiring managers increasing?

In 2009 we have found many more legitimate candidates having lack of stable work history.

It seems we are indeed living in a “Gig Nation” and not all qualified professionals have just one professional employer. It becomes increasingly important to have ways to screen out the large numbers of applicants, to be able to have a quality procedure to cull through those who look good on paper. Professional recruiters and search firms almost always use a structured interview process to vet the best… matter what their employment history looks like. And, in today’s world – many executives work patterns look at bit spotty. This was considered a flake in the “olden days” twenty years ago and when I started my employment services firm in 1979, but more commonly today good people may have had a career that looks more like an ACTORS….. leading roles, and supporting roles, but successful people do have things in common and that usually includes happy fans who want to come back for more.

What do executives need to know to be prepared for interviews?

It is important to have references and credentials lined up before hand. Not necessary to

submit initially but please do understand that through your informal networks and professional organizations your background is being looked at when you are unaware that it is being scrutinized.

I recently told one CEO to think of herself as being on display 24/7. There is almost nothing you can say off the record that might not come back to be connected with you.

These “tests” go on all the time…. In the informal referral networks, in the friends of friends deciding who to refer and not to refer. References are checked in non linear ways so it is not only who you give as a reference but where else you have worked, how visible you have been and with whom you associate that impacts your reputation and your “halo” or lack thereof. I recall one time we were recruiting a CEO for a Chamber of Commerce. This candidate was extremely smart, capable and appeared qualified….however his style was to refer to his (bosses) board of directors as "Lay Leaders". This may have worked in his religious professional background but was the wrong cultural message to try to send to a Chamber of Commerce…. Which is filled with servant leaders who mostly see themselves as business leaders and professional community builders – not "Lay persons". This language alone, which in my opinion demonstrated that he was unaware of the culture of the industry he was interviewing for, caused the candidate to be dropped out of the process early on.

If you are approaching the job market again after a number of years, please consider getting an executive coach to help you through the process. Not only can they give you valuable feedback about your network, your resume and your "story" they can also serve as an added set of strategic eyes and ears while you find your next fulfilling role....not just a paycheck.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Health Care to Become the Next Trillion Dollar Industry

The Retail Healthcare Revolution,
by Tony Paquin, CEO, Paquin Healthcare

The Next Trillion Dollar Industry

Tony has written a new book which is available Now on

In his book, The Retail Healthcare Revolution, Tony Paquin upends traditional thinking about healthcare strategy. He demonstrates that short of a revolution in the current reimbursement-based healthcare industry, hospitals will continue to be economically unmanageable in their complexity.

Retail, consumer-driven healthcare, ultimately offers a breakthrough in the midst of this industry-wide economic crisis.

“Tony Paquin's The Retail Healthcare Revolution introduces you to the expanding new world of Retail Healthcare with elegance, clarity and concrete examples. His solutions and proposals will be implemented by healthcare organizations that want to survive and thrive in the 21st Century.” — GARY STRACK, FORMER PRESIDENT AND CEO OF TWO MAJOR HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS

“Tony Paquin is the definitive expert for Retail Healthcare and the guiding force for many of the strategies we are investing in currently. Retail Healthcare is a strong pathway to the future of shaping healthcare at North Shore-LIJ and we are privileged to partner with Tony, who challenges our thinking and advances our business models to meet the needs of the contemporary healthcare consumer.” — CHARLES TRUNZ, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, VIVO HEALTH, INC., A DIVISION OF NORTH SHORE-LIJ HEALTH SYSTEM

Sunday, May 24, 2009

State Senator Tony Strickland on Wasteful Government Spending

Wasteful government spending must stop:

California Needs Zero Based Budgeting

By Senator Tony Strickland

For countless families that I represent, these tough economic times are devastating. The folks who stop me at the grocery store, talk to me at the local coffee shop and call my office tell me how state cuts have affected their families and how they worry about future cuts to vital programs like education.

On Tuesday, the people of California sent a simple and clear message to politicians. They are tired of being used as a personal ATM for runaway government spending. Californians are demanding change from the 'business as usual' crowd in Sacramento. Instead, they want real fundamental reform.

I believe California has reached a tipping point and voters of all stripes -- Democrats, Independent and Republicans -- have spoken. They rejected more of the same and instead demanded change.

With unemployment at its highest levels since the Great Depression, we must listen and enact the necessary changes that will create jobs. Jobs are the life source to California's future. Stimulating job growth is the only way to have a stable economy. That must be our No. 1 goal.
I believe we will finally get the reforms we've been waiting for because it's usually in tough times that essential change occurs. We are due for a new beginning in Sacramento.

That's why politicians must focus on budget solutions such as zero-based budgeting and reducing bureaucratic waste, fraud and abuse. Our No. 1 goal must also be job creation. Unless we do major reforms, our massive budget deficit will drive us off the cliff.

When faced with hard economic times, families try their best to stretch their household budgets. They cut back on entertainment dollars, they use coupons and they shop for the cheapest gas. Just as you and I shop for the lowest prices, legislators, too, need to budget more wisely.

That's why California needs zero-based budgeting where we open up our entire checkbook and examine every program and every expense to make sure your hard-earned tax dollars are being spent wisely. Let's go line by line through the budget and find every penny of waste.

One way to cut the waste, fraud and abuse is by eliminating salaries from certain boards and commissions that make over $100,000 a year for one to two days worth of work a month. Instead, they should be given a $100 daily per diem for every day they work like most board members and commissioners get in California.

My bill, SB 685, which could have saved California $7,177,442 per year, would have done just that but failed in committee late last month. These boards should be the first items cut, but because they serve as soft landings for termed-out legislators, they have so far gone untouched.

However, I would like to applaud Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for including the cut to boards and commissions such as the Waste Management Board in his second proposal for the budget revision. In addition, California needs to reform its corporate tax structure so we are more in line with other states. Currently, it costs 20 percent more to do business in California. This fact alone drives local businesses and vital jobs out of our state. When we have fewer jobs, then less money is being paid into the government to help pay for vital services such as health care and education.California needs to foster a business environment that encourages innovation and the creation of new kinds of jobs entirely.

We must also focus on job growth by cutting unnecessary red tape on businesses.

By improving business competitiveness in California, we in turn encourage business development and job creation.
California must take into account real fundamental reform in order for us to regain our competitiveness and get back on the right track.
I encourage readers to call your state legislators and urge them to make the tough choices that must be made to help hard-working families.
Business as usual must change in Sacramento.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Your Next Career Might be that of an Author

Many people feel that writing and and publishing their memoirs or a great fiction would be a wonderful next chapter in the professional career. Local Community colleges offer wonderful resources to hone your skills and explore this as a career option.

Here is something special for those of you who wish to be mentored by a spectacular and commercially successful writer/author, Rebecca Walker.

The Art of Writing, Publishing, and Selling Your Book
Maui, Hawaii
with Rebecca Walker

June 14-21 2009

InvitationJoin bestselling author Rebecca Walker June 14-2, 2009

on Maui for a writing retreat to craft, market, and sell your work

in a challenging publishing climate. The workshop includes writing

sessions, one-to-one mentoring, and strategy sessions to bring your

work to publication readiness. Become one of a very special group

of published writers Rebecca has helped to sell their books as a result

of attending her workshops in the Netherlands, Thailand, the South of

France, Latin America and London. Space is limited.

Register now.
To reserve your space, ask questions, or inquire about scholarships contact our office. Once you’ve decided to come, we will do everything we can to help you get here, and make your stay a wonderful experience of Aloha.
Official Website

Accommodations The workshop (including lodging)
at Maui's beautiful Banyan Retreat and Cottages.

ArriveJune 14 Depart June 21

CostThe cost is $1595 now for June, or send a $500 deposit for our August retreat, or submit your manuscript for consultation.


About Rebecca Walker

Rebecca Walker is an award-winning author, journalist, editor and speaker. Born in the throes of the American civil rights movement in Jackson, Mississippi, she has lived in Manzanillo, Mombasa, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, and New Haven, where she graduated cum laude from Yale University. Time Magazine named her one of the fifty most influential American leaders of her generation for her fresh approach to identity politics, including the idea that no matter how you look on the outside, lasting change begins within.
Rebecca is the author of the original Third Wave primer To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism, about the relevance of feminism to generations X and Y; the bestselling post-civil rights memoir Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self, winner of the Alex Award from the American Library Association; and What Makes a Man: 22 Writers Imagine The Future, a book about new ways of being a man.
Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence, a memoir about feminism and motherhood, was published in 2007 to much productive controversy, and One Big Happy Family: 18 Writers Talks About Polyamory, Open Adoption, Mixed Marriage, Househusbandry, Single Motherhood and Other Realities of Truly Modern Love, a rocking, "cage-rattling" collection about courageous family configurations is out now from Riverhead Books.
Rebecca has spoken at hundreds of universities and high schools including Exeter, Harvard, Oberlin, Smith, MIT, and Stanford, and addressed organizations and corporations all over the world including the Walker Art Center, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, Sony Music, The National Council of Teachers of English, RuterDam Stockholm, the Black Magic Woman Festival in Amsterdam, Hewitt and Associates, and the Ministries of Culture and Gender of Estonia, at the first-ever Conference on Masculinity in the Baltics.
Her essays, articles, blog posts, and commentary can be read in Newsweek, Glamour, Child, Plum, Real Simple,, The Washington Post, BookForum, The Huffington Post, Spin, Babble, Salon, Marie Claire,, CNN.COM, Essence, Vibe, Buddhadharma, What is Enlightenment, Self, and several award-winning anthologies. She teaches the art of memoir at workshops, MFA programs, and writing conferences internationally, and consults with non-fiction writers developing their work for publication.
Rebecca is one of the original leaders of third wave feminism (she penned the rallying cry, "I am the Third Wave" in Ms. Magazine that sparked the imagination of thousands), and co-founder of the Third Wave Foundation, a non-profit that works through grant-making, leadership development, and philanthropic advocacy to support young women of all backgrounds, aged 15 to 30, working towards gender, racial, economic, and social justice.
She is the recipient of the Women Who Could Be President Award from the League of Women Voters, The Woman of Distinction Award from the American Association of University Women, and an Honorary Doctorate from the North Carolina School of the Arts. She's been featured on Charlie Rose, CNN, Fresh Air, Good Morning America, Oprah, and profiled in the New York Times, Washington Post, and several international dailies. She also had a feature role in Mike Nichols' movie Primary Colors with John Travolta and Emma Thompson.

Rebecca sits on the boards of the environmental organization Save the Bay, and Children As They Are, a project of GenderPac. She has studied Hinduism, Vedanta, and the three major traditions of Buddhism for almost twenty years, and is a teacher in the Vajrayana tradition.
She lives with her one big happy family in Hawaii.

Ichak Kalderon Adizes on Leadership Perspectives

Dr. Ichak Adizes talks with producer Ann Daniel during a 2008 Conference at Santa Barbara City College .

From the Adizes Institute Newsletter:

Where Did I or They Go Wrong?

By Ichak Kalderon Adizes, PhD.

Waiting for a plane in Kiev, Ukraine,
I picked up the Harvard Business Review
from January 2009.

Although I do not typically read this magazine, because it is so alien to my way of thinking, I did so because I was bored.

As I should have predicted, I became quite intellectually disturbed reading some passages and wondering, am I on the wrong track or is "the establishment," as represented by Harvard, on an old, outdated track?For example, page 21 on what it means to be a leader: "Leaders on the front line must anticipate merely what comes after current projects wrap up. People at the next level of leadership should be looking several years into the future. And those at the C suite must focus on a horizon some ten years distant."

Well, being proactive requires anticipating the future, granted. Predicting the future is a necessary variable, but not sufficient in itself to make one a successful leader. The variables
have to also be sufficient to produce the desired results, in this case to lead the company to success. Michael Kami, who was the chief strategic planner for Xerox forty years ago, has said-and I agree with him-that planning is not good enough. In today's increasingly turbulent environment it is almost impossible to anticipate what will happen ten years hence.How many companies predicted the oil crisis of the last century or the credit crisis of this century, in spite
of all the prediction models, and the millions of dollars spent on them. We live in what Peter Drucker called an era of discontinuity, and who can predict discontinuities? We can predict the future better if it is more or less like the past, but discontinuities are very difficult to predict with any workable benefit.So what to do? Kami already said it: Predict less and work more on making your company more flexible so it can easily change directions as conditions change.Now, what does it mean to be flexible? Eliminate hierarchies like some present gurus recommend? No, I say, because then you destroy accountability. Have no fixed strategy or budgets? Thank God, at least the well-meaning gurus have not got there yet. Obviously not. So what then?Create, nurture, feed, and reinforce a culture of mutual trust and respect so change is not threatening.

It is easier to turn on a dime when there are no suspicions of hidden interests and agendas.
It is easier to learn from each other's differences in opinion, and thus make better decisions, rather than have disrespect for each other's contributions and suffer from the maladies of "think tanks" where people cannot stand each other.Creating and nurturing the right culture is what leaders do especially in the turbulent environment in which we live where flexibility is essential for success. A leader is not the pointing finger. HE or SHE is the thumb, the finger that works with all other fingers to create a hand.

In my book, The Ideal Executive: Why You Cannot Be One and What to Do About It, I claimed that the difference between a manager and a mismanager is whether he/she has a zero in the PAEI code. If so, he is a mismanager. If not, he/she is a manager but not necessarily a leader.
A leader must have two of the PAEI roles in capital letters, and it is imperative that one of them be (I). What the other role should be depends on the task. For marketing, it is (E). For accounting, (A). For a CEO it depends where the organization is on the life cycle.We are all leaders as long as we are sensitive to those we lead and the environment in which we operate;
as long as the style is functional to the task at hand at the time it is needed. So may I strongly disagree with HBR : predicting the future is not sufficient to make a person a leader. And here is more: HBR, page 23 says: "The main thing...from day one, the new leader must put shareholders' interests first...and promote value creation."Sounds right. This is the cornerstone of microeconomic theory and Milton Friedman, the Noble Prize winner in economics, had it as a religion: The main responsibility of management is to the stockholders.How wrong. That is managing by earnings per share rather than managing for earnings per share.

There is a big difference in that one word; the difference is on what management focuses.Our mind is like a camera. Do you focus on the mountains behind and have the person close to you somewhat blurred, or do you focus on the person in front of you and have the mountains far away somewhat blurred?

When you focus on stockholders value creation you defocus your attention on the market, on your customers.That is why CFOs, without any marketing or sales experience, who become CEOs predictably and repeatedly lead their companies over the cliff. They are not watching the road. They are watching the dials....Management should focus on clients, on increasing repeat sales, which is an indication of client satisfaction. They should focus on post-purchase service. On pre-purchase market needs creation.

It is the market that produces revenue. Without revenue, no matter how much you cut costs, you are heading "south."It is so easy to miss this point. When you focus on increasing stockholders' value you might focus exclusively on the cost reduction side of the P&L and ignore that the market is slipping away, like what happened to the car industry in the US. It has been led for far too long by financial geniuses who focused on stockholders more and on clients not enough.Your first and most important stakeholder is the client. Your organization exists first and above all to satisfy the changing needs of the market.Focus on that and if you do well there, at a cost you can afford, stockholder value will follow.Manage for the stockholders, not by the stockholders. Oh well. It is not strange I can never get HBR to publish any of my thoughts. We just belong on different planets, I guess.

Ichak Kalderon Adizes, PhD.CEO/President, Adizes Institute
What do you think?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

DeDominic on Panel for Corporate Board Directors at UCLA

UCLA, Anderson School of Business is THE
place this week for executive education for
Corporate Board Directors.
Patty DeDominic,
who is ISS (Institutional Shareholders Certified)
spoke from her experience as a CEO,
Investor and Board member on
"Becoming a Risk Intelligent Organization"

Fay Feeney invited Patty DeDominic to speak on the panel
she helped create with Carol Fox of RIMS, Cam Findlay, Sr. Executive and General Counsel of Aon Corporation and Cesca de Luzuriaga, a former Mattel President and on the Board of Office Max on Becoming a Risk Intelligent" Organization.

Their presentations followed welcome and introductions from UCLA Luminaries such al Al Osborne and Carla Hayn.

Prestigous legal minds from both Gipson Dunn and Crutcher LLP and Latham & Watkins presented on Regulatory Changes Impacting the Board Room. The Obama administration and our representatives are busily working to change the way the Securities and Exchange Commission leads and promises plenty more enforcement.

Fay and Carol asked the Audience to identify the key RISKS that boards might encounter and the list was long! It is NOT JUST about Insurance now a days and the whole board and executive team must be aware of some of the things that could tank an otherwise healthy company's financials or it's reputation. Just a few of the Risks mentioned were Fraud, Product Liability, Operations or employee negligence, unstable governments, overeager regulatory enforcement of new legislation which might try to change corporate compensation, stock trades and securities rules. We also talked about the Contingency Plans that must be put into place...about the things board/corporations/executives/owners could easily anticipate and those things which one would have no way of knowing could go wrong. (Like buying triple A bonds of a top financial house only to have it go belly up)

DeDominic spoke briefly about the P's, D's and R's of the boards role in risk minimization.

I feel it is the board responsibility to ensure sustainability of the enterprise and maximize profitable and mission driven performance in the organization.

Reduce exposure to Risk with these two P's Prevent and Promote: Prevent problems before they snowball and Promote best practices though out the whole enterprise.

The two D's are Detect and Discern: by observing the executives, employees and other board members in and out of the boardroom, smart directors can detect irregular or behavior which does not pass the "gut or smell test". The board must ensure there are sufficient controls, e.g., audits, documented policies, exit interviews, procedures and people in place to do things right.

As a board member, you must always balance corporate culture with your Duties of Care as a director. I strive to create a culture of discernment, quest for integrity and enhanced productivity. How much to rock the boat? Or "get along"? Some issues are not work fighting over, yet you must always keep the organization moving towards positive progress without taking unnecessary risks due to fear of reduced productivity or costs of compliance.
This is a true Balancing Skill which I like to show as Progress ) Practicality ) towards Perfection.

The Final R's in the circle of Board member responsibilities are Respond and Resolve.
Board members must ask themselves, Is the Problem Unique or Systemic? If systemic then
it is important to install a regular process to look for, flush out and resolve risks and errors, vulnerable problem areas and potential concerns. The "Unique mistake" or flukes can happen at any time......but you can reduce the potential of problems by doing best practices audits in every area of vulnerability. It's important for the board not to let a Wild Card kill your organization due to not having a way to surface problems while they are still mole hills!

My two favorite types of planning are Contingency and Succession Planning. With good
plans in place most big problems can be reduced and often avoided. I am especially interested
in Succession Planning and have been an advocate for these types of strategic discussions on every board I have ever served on. Almost every month I help my organization clients talk about this important issue and feel it is a Key Component of a Risk Intelligent Organization and told the audience at UCLA Directors Education and Certification Program.

Today I pulled the following off the Harvard blog and I appreciate authors Goldsmith's insight:

Change is in the air.
Is it the smell of spring coming early?
Nope, it’s change, and it’s in the form of succession.
Leaders come and leaders go, whether we plan for it well or not.
How do you as the current leader gauge the readiness of your potential successor?
Obviously, internal succession is a little easier. We have opportunities to observe up-and-comers on the job, so we should know when they’re ready for the next step. But there are pitfalls to watch out for with internal succession:
Don’t assume that a person who excels at her current role will automatically succeed at the next level. Moving up is like going from playing high school basketball to playing college football. New skills will be required.
When evaluating the potential leader, think about the runway. What load (baggage) is the person carrying now? What engines (e.g., brains, judgment, strength) do they possess? What time do you have? Will he be able to take off when you need him?
Doing is the best teacher. It’s also the best evaluator. Give your potential new leader responsibility at that higher level and see how she performs.
Give feedback to the prospective leader that is projective (thinks ahead to the next role) and evaluative/instructive (how far from the target and how to improve).
Commit to coaching, or find someone to do it. Ideally you’ll find a person who has incredible potential, but there will be a need to smooth out the rough edges and ensure transition success.

For more on how you as the current leader can ensure that succession goes smoothly, check out Harvard Business Publishing’s blog post on the topic:

Remember, succession is an intentional process that won’t be successful if you just let it happen naturally. Your legacy is not based on how you left the company on your last day.
Your legacy will be determined by how the organization fared in the decade after you left.

If you have more questions about the UCLA Directors Education and Certification program please leave a comment here and or visit the Office of Executive Education, UCLA Anderson

Your Next Job Might be One You Create Yourself With The Help of the SBA

Looking for a Something more than just a new JOB?
Perhaps you might start your own business?
If you have deep expertise in an industry and a great idea
that you are ready to get behind, you might be ready to start your own company. Many millions have done just that and while most of small businesses fail before they reach two years of age, men and women are starting new businesses at a fast pace!
Perhaps you might want to tap into an SBA Loan.

Did you know you can get a Small Business Administration loan for up to $4 million with a payback period of 5 to 25 years?
The recently passed stimulus bill makes it easier for people running companies to get loans and refinance debt.
Vistage, (formerly TEC - The Executive Committee), a great resource for support and continuing education for successful entrepreneurs ran this quote in the recent newsletter.
“SBA lending, including 504 financing, will be a significant and integral part of the American small business recovery effort.” says Vistage member Kurt Chilcott, CEO of CDC Small Business Finance. “It’s going to be easier and less expensive for small businesses to get loans, grow their businesses and restore jobs and create new jobs.” Chilcott’s company provides SBA loans to California, Arizona and Nevada businesses. Here are some of the details of the new SBA loans available.

How do I apply for an SBA loan?
You can apply for an SBA loan at any participating bank or commercial lender.
You can also apply if your business is in Southern California to a real person, why not start
out at the top and send an email to the ChairWoman of Promerica Bank? They are a preferred lender and Maria Contreras Sweet tells me she will see that your inquiry is handled immediately.
you could also call or go on line 213 787 2833 I love them and have even invested in this bank personally.

How much do I need to put down on an SBA loan?
Those starting or buying a business typically need to come up with a down
payment of 10 to 30 percent, depending on the loan.

What are the different types of SBA loans?
7(a) guaranteed loans: Loans made through this program range from $25,000 to $2 million with maturities ranging from 5 to 25 years. The stimulus bill included a provision that allows the SBA to raise its loan guarantee to as much as 90 percent. This increase guarantee means you may qualify for a larger loan than previously. It also means that you may be able to refinance an existing higher interest loan.
504 Certified Development Company loans: Loans with long-term, fixed-rate financing are available to businesses purchasing a building, land and large equipment. These loans, done in partnership with your bank, can go as high as $10 million and require only 10 percent down. The interest rate is consistently below market. The stimulus bill provisions call for eliminating several borrower fees normally associated with this loan and may allow refinancing with the 504. The 504 loan is provided by Certified Development Companies, which are nonprofit organizations.

SBA Express loans: These loans of up to $350,000 are backed by an SBA guarantee of 50 percent and can be approved within 24 hours.

Business stabilization loans: Created by the stimulus plan, this deferred-payment loan of up to $35,000 is available to small businesses that need money to make payments on an existing, qualifying loan for up to six months. Repayment is required 12 months after the loan is fully disbursed. This loan can help a small business pay back other creditors, buy inventory, or get through a tight period.

Patriot Express loans: Loans of up to $500,000 are available to veteran and members of the military community.

Microloan program: Small-scale financing of $500 to $35,000 are bundled with technical assistance.

Export working capital loans: Loans of up to $1.5 million to finance export sales.
Disaster loans: Those in declared disaster areas are eligible for specific loans, the terms of which vary depending on the disaster and the region.

Can I refinance an existing bank loan with an SBA loan?
Yes. The stimulus plan gives the SBA the power to refinance existing loans (both SBA and non-SBA loans) for fixed assets. For more information on refinancing your existing SBA loan, contact your bank or lender.

What are the interest rates on SBA loans?
SBA sets a maximum interest rate on its guaranteed loans.
As of the spring of 2009 those rates are currently:
Prime plus 2.25% for loans under 7 years
Prime plus 2.75% for loans over 7 years
The SBA-504 rate for March (thru April 6) is 5.6% for a 20-year loan.

Additionally, lenders have the option of charging an additional 1 percent on loans under $50,000 and 2 percent on loans under $25,000. Also, the SBA can charge a fee from .25 percent to 3.5 percent, depending on the size of the loan.

Can the SBA help me obtain a bond?
The SBA helps companies obtain bid, performance and payment bonds. The stimulus bill recently raised the maximum contract amount that can be covered by an SBA-guaranteed surety bond from $2 million to $5 million, and, under certain circumstances, up to $10 million. Many small businesses need surety bonds in order to bid on and obtain federal and municipal contracts. SBA guarantees surety bonds to small businesses that private surety companies often are not able to extend.

Are there any drawbacks to getting an SBA loan?
Yes. The SBA typically requires that you put up both business assets and personal assets (such as your house) as collateral against the loan. If your company is unable to pay back the loan, then you will be required to pay the loan back out. If you cannot pay the loan, the SBA may go after your house or other assets.

Is there a deadline to apply for these loans?
I have more questions. How can I contact the SBA office in my area?
If your bank or lender can’t answer your questions, you can contact your local SBA office. Find your local SBA office here.
Need more Business Advice but not yet ready for a bank meeting?
Please go to where you can get free business counseling and advice
from experiences volunteers who really want to help you start or grow your business.
This resource is free, available to you 24/7 on line and in person in over 400 cities across
I wish you the very best..... Patty De

Lois Hollis, Creator of SOULSPEAKS Offers Guided Workshops

The beginnings of the life you deserve -
Lois Hollis, Author, Personal and Emotional Healing coach will guide participants to find emotional health and empowerment using the SOULSPEAKS approach to healing so-called negative emotions and changing them into powerful and positive ones.

One Eleven Art Gallery - 111 Pennsylvania Ave, Norfolk, VA 23508 Introductory - Saturday, June 20 & Saturday, July 11 - 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.Expanded - Monday, July 13 - 10 a.m. To 4 p.m.

To Your Health - 315B First Colonial Rd Virginia Beach, VA 23454 Introductory - Saturday, June 27 & Saturday, July 18 - 10 a.m. To 1 p.m.

An overview and introduction to other realms of living - Lois will guide participants to connect with their higher consciousness.

One Eleven Art Gallery - 111 Pennsylvania Ave, Norfolk, VA 23508 Saturday, July 25 - 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Workshops fill up quickly and space is limited. for more information or to register, please call Lois Hollis 928-254-9552

This is from Soul Speaks Newsletter for May 2009
Lois was an exhibitor and donor to the 2009 Women's Festivals in California


"It is the best of times… it is the worst of times."
I believe Charles Dickens' words ring clear for us today.
Our every move seems to be a critical move and yet there is serenity within our movement.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way." Charles Dickens - A TALE OF TWO CITIES - 1859

Today we are gifted with an acceleration of cosmic energies that brings with it wisdom and the seeds of greatness. Many people including myself are unable to stay with situations that are ‘not working.’ It seems that clarity of body and spirit is the goal and all that prohibits movement to that purpose is cast aside.

Today is a momentous time! It is a time of unparalleled opportunity.

Now we can do what we have not been able to do. We are now enjoying an inner beauty that seems to awaken us, exciting us to move forward within ourselves. Just as the out of date systems in the world are not working so too are our out of date emotional patterns not working. Light is also gracing us in increasing amounts in every area of our lives. We must now scrutinize what we have heretofore been able to cover up with denial.Often we do not even know what we have emotionally denied within ourselves. Therefore the universe has and continues to gift us with situations that show us those repressed emotions of the past. Upsetting is the word but it is usually the only way we as humans see what we need to heal.

We are all in it together. We all are changing. We are all seeing ourselves.

And why? In order to evolve we must evolve together.

We have witnessed the results of ‘scattered living.’ We are now thinking and living more in community.We are living as if others do matter. A CALL FOR INDIVIDUAL STORIES If you are also experiencing these changes, we'd like to hear from you. Write Lois and then look for your story in an upcoming edition of the SOULSPEAKS newsletter.

You can reach Lois at
Her website is

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Jane Pak Talks About the Power of Twitter for Entrepreneurs

Jane's thoughts on Twitter a great tool for entrepreneurs!

Fundamentally, entrepreneurialism is about ownership.
Ownership is power because you have control over what is yours.
The advent of continuingly evolving technology lends itself to entrepreneurialism
because when you take the time to understand it and utilize it, it becomes a tool
in which you can utilize and maximize the power over your own destiny.

What does that MEAN? Basically it means that as an entrepreneur, you need to harness what tools and resources you can access and are available to you. In the days before email, we were limited in our communication through the technology that existed – print and media advertising, telephone, postal service. You could only develop your brand so much as you could get your message out there – which had hard repetitive costs associated with them. Then came electronic communication – the internet and email – which gave us instant access to audiences around the world and suddenly (thanks to the dotcom era) we could develop our brand by saturating people with communication instantaneously – with optionally minimal impact to our bottom line.

It feels like every day, the second we take the time to familiarize ourselves with the “new” technology – its outdated and there’s a whole new “tool” out there to learn and familiarize ourselves with.

It is important to realize that the technology that we are bombarded with these days all generally fall within the realm of “Social Media”. These are communication tools, which can
be used for a myriad of reasons – but mainly so to project who we are and what we’re about.

Many of us are just getting acquainted with Facebook. We have a page, we have a profile and we change our status pretty regularly and we occasionally find the long lost friend from kindergarten and we say to ourselves, “My goodness, isn’t this Facebook-thing incredible”?

There’s one person who can firmly attest to how incredible a tool Facebook is – our current President – Barack Obama. In fact, many have heard what this past election cycle was dubbed – “The Facebook Election”

But even Facebook is no longer the hot new technology developed to help us communicate with a broad (or target) audience. In comes Twitter.

Here’s the basic ABC’s to what Twitter IS.

1) Twitter is referred to as a “micro-blogging” service – basically you have 150 characters to say either what you’re doing, what you think other should be reading/looking at or anything remotely interesting to passively display who you are and what you find interesting.
2) There is a number of twitter terminology – “Tweet” (your actual message out), “Tweeple” (the people you follow and those that follow you), “Twit-pic” (an application that allows you to tweet photos), “Tweetiquette” (well, twitter etiquette) etc.
3) Tweets often include “Tiny URLs” – this is just a link that compresses the full URL of an article you may be “tweeting” to your “tweeple” (which could include a “twit-pic”)

Generally speaking, for an entrepreneur – why would you be on Twitter?
It all depends. Why are you on Facebook? I like to equate Twitter to the “status update” on Facebook. It’s a limited space in which you say something OUTWARDLY to the vast cyber world. Some people use Twitter as a way to brand themselves. Some use Twitter as a way to show that they are technologically aware. Some use Twitter as a way to keep informed.

There is no simple answer as to why an entrepreneur would use Twitter because its application is broad and malleable. You use it for what you want it to do for you.

For example, I’ve been on Twitter for several months now.
I tweet on average once a day. I follow people who tweet interesting and relevant information and articles on things that matter to me and the overall business community. I go so far as to have those tweets sent directly to my cellular (Mobile Device ON option) so that I can be on top of breaking news. I tweet out when I find something that is relevant to the business world (particularly the women’s business community) and I use it as a tool to SHARE information, which I believe supports our organizational brand of being a resource to women’s business.

I find it my responsibility to be in the know of how these technologies in social media can be of best use to business owners because that is whom I serve. If you’re a business owner that sells widgets, you may use twitter as a way to show that you’re on top of the technologies that exist and as a way to promote your new “twitter-cal-a-fra-ga-listic-expialidotious” application. You could use it to slam your competitor’s faulty widget. You could use it to talk up your employees to boost company morale (if they’re all following you). You could use it to ask for feedback on your new website. Twitter is an open forum. You can use it for what its best use is for you and your business. But you’ll never know if you don’t try and like any endeavor; entrepreneurial or otherwise, do your homework, ask those who are in the know and jump in.

Jane Pak
CEO - National Association of Women Business Owners - Los Angeles (NAWBO-LA)

Follow me on TWITTER:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Are You Age Aware?

Baby Boomers with needs
and opportunities to mentor
and share wisdom.
This is from the Senior Planning Services Newsletter May 2009

Are you "age aware?"
As our society ages, the resulting
changes will affect us all.
By 2050, for the first time in history, seniors will outnumber children and youth with 40 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 50.
By 2030, the number of people aged 65 years of age and older is expected to reach 20 percent, whereas in 1900 it was a mere 4%.
At the same time, birth rates have declined. While the population of individuals over the age
of 50 will grow by nearly three-quarters over the next 15 years or so, the population of those under 50 is expected to increase by a mere 1 percent during the same period. The need for services provided to our aging population will increase accordingly.

At the far end of the aging spectrum, America's eldest population group will grow the fastest.
Americans age 85 and up numbered some 4 million in 2000.
That number is expected to pass 19 million by 2050.
No one knows what changes these demographic shifts will create, but it is certain that life as we know it will change. Let's make it for the better by planning now for long term care for ourselves and for our aging loved ones.
You can receive the Senior planning newsletter for free by subscribing at

About Senior Planning Services Founded in 1989 and locally owned and operated, Senior Planning Services was the first geriatric care management firm in Santa Barbara. Our unique ability to offer the most conscientious and comprehensive care directly relates to the quality of our professional staff and caregivers. Senior Planning Services brings together specialists in geriatric nursing, social work, rehabilitation, elder law and personal financial management who develop the most appropriate care plan for our clients and deliver home care you can count on. We provide a variety of services within the basic areas of our Eldercare Program, Fiduciary and Care Management. For more information, please visit our website at or call us at: 805-966-3312

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Google making Your Life Easier...... or Not?

A Business Week article announced that Google unveiled several updates to its search engine that take advantage of the increasing sophistication of the Web. The new offerings include Google Search Options, Google Squared, and an astrology-related Sky Map app.

Is life getting Better or just more complex?

I am sure it depends a lot on your perspective...and which side of the techy learning curve you are on. for me, I am not sure that all these bells and whistles are netting us progress in our daily productivity.

I do know of several larger organizations which are benefitting greatly from Google's technology as well as her generosity in sharing technology. Thank Goodness for Googles business model in that it allows for almost any of us to get our hands on specialized information about almost any topic in the world in just seconds and for free. Now THAT is a true benefit and I applaud them for it.

Trends indicate that Google is looking for more ways to monitize it's traffic. Wouldn't YOU?

Here's what else Businessweek had to say:

Google Search Options is a "rich set of tools that let you slice and dice your results," Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user experience, said during a presentation at Google's Mountain View headquarters.Specifically, once a user conducts a normal Web search, the user can drill down into different genres, including elements of time, visualization tools, and recently added blogs or images, combining a variety of Google search products into one.

The first enhancement users will notice is a small blue "show options" link in the light blue bar above the first page of their search results. By clicking on the link, people can choose to separately view results that are videos, reviews, or forums. Or they can sort the results by time, choosing to review results that were published only during the past 24 hours, the past week, or the past year.Options include a lighthearted "Wonder Wheel," which is a visual representation of suggestions for refining a search arranged like spokes of a wheel and a data-scraping experiment called Google Squared.

Google Squared will present information gathered by its Web crawler in square tables, rather than in a list of search results, so that people can quickly compare information on products or research topics.Google also introduced a new mobile phone application called Sky Map. Using a smartphone’s global positioning system capability, compass, and accelerometer, Sky Map can draw a real-time map of the stars that takes into account exactly where users are standing and even which direction they are facing.

Incredible, huh? All still for free. In the meantime who is going to help me with me electronics drawer? How did all those blue tooth gadgets, telephone chargers and mouses grow there?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Live with Passion, Purpose and Focus by Dianne Gubin

Tip of the Week
by Dianne Gubin

5 Ways to Put Passion into Your Work

How can you love what you do? What’s the key to putting passion into your professional work?

1) Consider activities outside of the office that you enjoy. Activities that make your heart sing. Can you bring this same enthusiasm to your office?

2) Let your teammates know that you’re happy, excited, and eager to be at work. Talk about your projects with excitement and enthusiasm.

3) Focus on elements of your work that you enjoy the most. Take care of the hardest parts first while you’re fresh… and save the best for last.

4) Make work fun. Consider inexpensive and upbeat ways to reward the team.

5) Set goals. People with goals and focus achieve the desired outcome and usually feel great about the process. It’s the journey that inspires passion, not just the result.
At the end of the day, when you love your work, you don’t know where the day has gone. Time is meaningless.

The key to achieving your goals is to know your goals. As we’re now midway through the year, this is an excellent time to dust off and re-evaluate your New Year’s resolutions.

Live with Passion, Purpose, and Focus.

Not sure how to find your passion at work?

Come to the Job Hunting Game Seminar!

Monday, May 11, 2009

a Message for Business Leaders from Al Walsh

People Run Businesses - For Good or Bad

People run businesses. Great teams can make a business hum, and flawed ones can wreak havoc. Recently I wrote an article in which I discussed the horrors experienced at one company when managers failed to properly review and understand contracts they were committing to. Another favorite story involves a defense contract at an aerospace firm.

I was asked by a former employer to return as consultant and review an old multi-year defense contract (from before my time), that had been a financial disaster, to determine if we had cause for a claim against the government.
To boil the story down:
The contract involved designing & manufacturing "strap-on" sub-systems for fighter aircraft. The government kicked off the debacle by providing out-of-date aircraft specs & drawings. Engineering designed to the government specs, then Manufacturing built prototypes and tested them; realizing in the process that they didn't work on the physical aircraft. Here's where things really started to break down. The Engineering & Manufacturing Managers (both canned by this point in time) hated each others' guts, and their staffs followed suit. Rather than revisit the flawed drawings & specs with Engineering, or try to determine what had gone wrong, Manufacturing just altered the drawings to suit the actual physical aircraft specs. The government then received product that worked, but drawings (the original Engineering designs) that didn't match. Engineering didn't know about the design problem so they had no hint that the original government aircraft specs were out of date or that their drawings had been altered.
Matters were further complicated by the reaction of the government contract overseer who, rather than try to get to the root of the problem, just shut down manufacturing for two months; at great expense to the company. The situation was even further complicated by the refusal of the Engineering & Manufacturing managers (and their staffs) to talk to each other.

There were even more complications to this sordid story, involving contract revisions, that I won't bore you with. I don't recall the specific circumstances as to how the dilemma was finally resolved, but at some point the CEO forced the Engineering & Manufacturing managers together and performed some "head-banging" to get to the bottom of things.

We were ultimately able to build a successful case for additional compensation based upon the government's initial delivery of outdated aircraft specs (turning a loss to a profit); but we sure had an awkward moment explaining the rest of the story.

There were other horror stories associated with this company. When I came in, they were in such horrible financial shape that crisis Turnaround measures were necessary. I was brought in because the Board was starting to get a glimmer of recognition that they had people problems, but the full extent took some time to uncover - including fraud by the former President; which was uncovered after his sudden death.

People run businesses, and they are fallible.
Despite great expenditures of time & money on systems, processes, and controls - ultimately people are the prime driver of a company's success or failure. I can recite other horror stories that I've encountered over the years. In the above case, the managers involved were technically competent, but emotionally immature; despite the fact that they were both in their early 50s.
Are your company's people giving you the value that you need?
Has your management team been carefully chosen? Do they work together?
If you're a management team member, are you part of the problem or part of the solution?
I'll let you draw your own conclusions from here.

Al Walsh, CEO
Walsh Enterprises, Business Advisors
Huntington Beach, Ca

Al Walsh on Ethics....and the Generational Perspective

Work Ethics – A Question of Perspective

Someone on a networking site recently posed questions relating to bickering among different generations regarding work ethics.

To me, the issue is largely a matter of experiential differences.

The World War II generation, due to the exigencies of war, largely adopted a self-sacrificing posture oriented toward serving larger issues. Serious matters were at hand, much was at stake, the contributions of all citizens were required, and the outcome was anything but certain. This philosophy was largely passed on to their children (including myself), and was reinforced by the Cold War (my father was a “steely-eyed missile man” who could have been many things but chose to answer his country’s call). This generation also came from a predominantly rural pre-war world that reflected deep conservative values. It was only with the advent of world war and post-war reconstruction that a mass exodus from rural to city life took place; slowly changing the complexion of the country.

The younger peace-era generations did not feel that compelling group-pressure, and have adopted a more laissez-fair posture in keeping with the fine old American tradition of self-interest; somewhat as their ancestors did before the war. This has spawned a growing focus on quality of life, as opposed to one of mere sacrifice. The war generation felt a certain freedom when they returned from the war, but the old values hung strong and were reflected in the business world for many years.

The peace-era generation is largely an urban/suburban group with a diverse mix of social, political, and religious values; a much less homogenous group than their war-era ancestors. They reflect the freedoms of thought and action that generations of Americans have worked so hard to nurture and protect.

Post-war reconstruction spawned a never-before-or-since-repeated era of booming economic opportunity as America utilized its massive resources and capabilities to help rebuild a war-torn world. People succeeded at business who might find it very difficult-going in today’s sketchy economy.

The peace-era generations have faced stiff, growing competition from those same rebuilt nations; plus others which have risen of their own accord. These generations face economic challenges akin to the political and military pressures of their ancestors. The outcome is now, as it was then, very much in doubt. The difference lies in the nature of the challenge, and the manner of dealing with it. No “great government effort” is going to win the economic “war”. Many from the younger generations have risen to the challenge with innovative new approaches.

Prior to the Depression and World War II, the US Government was much smaller and more narrowly-focused in its affairs. Since that time, the power and influence of government in the lives of citizens has grown exponentially; a situation that the war-era generation largely promoted. Today’s young business person faces political challenges that their ancestors could only imagine. Of course, part of that growth in government influence is a reflection of citizens’ desire for greater government interaction in social affairs; as reflected time and time again at the voting booth. The driver for this trend is multi-generational. Nation-building has also spawned a vast financial and monetary system which impacts the lives of citizens in myriad new ways. Just look at current events.

The immediate post-war generation that rose to predominance in the business world, bringing their fairly conservative values with them, now conflicts with and grudgingly makes compromises to younger workers in order to fill their company ranks.

We long-of-tooth are slowly fading away from the corridors of business power, and the younger generations are getting the chance to make their own unique mark. The transition is bringing a certain level of pain & confusion, as it always does. Such is the way of life.

We Americans have always been a diverse group that values individual freedom of thought & action. When outside threats arise, we rise as one to deal with them and then go back to our self-interest. The reaction to 911 taught me that our nation still stands ready to act as one when necessary; otherwise, it's business as usual.

I don’t see a difference in work ethics.
I just see massive changes in our world.

So, if you’re of a younger generation - know that your ancestors did what they had to in keeping with their times, and did it well. They made lots of mistakes, but they also kept the world from going down the toilet; and they did it largely out of love for you.

If you’re one us older folks, keep in mind that the younger people live in a very different world. If you think their work ethics are lacking, they’ll be the ones to suffer if you’re right. Frankly, I wouldn’t worry about it. From what I’ve seen, they look like a pretty resilient crowd.

Al Walsh, CEO
Walsh Enterprises, Business Advisors
Huntington Beach, Ca

You are Not Your Stuff......... Lessons Learned from the Santa Barbara Fires of 08 & 09

I live in Santa Barbara
and we were fortunate
not to have any fire damage
or even have to evacuate
during this recent disaster.

Many of our friends had short
notice to leave their homes and
some were forced to leave the
general area due to air quality.

There has been a great deal of news about
the Santa Barbara fires over this past week.
My husband kept me posted while I was in
Israel and Palestine last week. There is chatter
on his networks, part of the Montecito Association
and my business and women's networks.

We have stayed in touch!

Who got evacuated, how long it took, when it came..... 2am, 4pm, "just minutes after I told someone we were fine" is what our dear friend Marlys Boehm told me. Gene and I did not have to evacuate and we again feel fortunate that our lives were not disturbed much.

We have other friends who did lose their homes during the Gap and Tea Fires of 2008
and now during the Jesusita Fire. The attached is a photo taken by AP of a friends home,. Hers was miraculously was spared but the smoke and the fear associated with a disaster of this type lingers for a long long time.

Plenty of people are dislocated and suffering right now in Santa Barbara.....large and small homes, old and new, those in the fire's path were not spared. Makes you think, doesn't it?

Those of us not seriously affected are counting our blessings and doing what we can to help those who were. Anita Chambers PhD, another dear friend and client of mine reminded me that She is Not her Stuff...... she sent a message around to all that as she was forced to pack up her car and decide which things were essential, she was reminded that "things" while precious can almost always be replaced and are not the essence of her life.

She said " It's so nice to hear that all of us are safe and were fortunate in not losing our homes in this fire. Having been evacuated for 5 days during the Gap fire, my heart goes out to everyone who had to go through that process. It is gut wrenching to exist in that unknown of whether you have a place to go back to or not.

With that I'd like to share something that I learned in my only evacuation scenario. I learned that the experience may be harrowing, but at the same time it's a wonderful opportunity to really get clear that "you are not your stuff." I don't know a more eloquent way of saying that. But anyone who's just experienced it probably understands that when you have to choose the most important things that you have, that will also fit in your car, it's a wonderful opportunity to realize that your own greatness comes from "who you are" not "what you have," and no fire can take away "who you are." "

Good reminders to me...... to count my blessings daily.

Thank you firefighters and to all the volunteers who helped in the Santa Barbara disasters....and to all the friends who reached out to offer support.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Teaching Women Entrepreneurs About Advocacy in Jerusalem and Palestine

Mission Accomplished!

Mary Schnack, founder of Communication Bridges, Susan Solovic, CEO of Small Business TV and I just returned from the middle east where we were on a special mission with Vital Voices.

We arrived in Tel Aviv and were picked up by our driver who knew the various routes to Jerusalem. The first day we took an informal tour of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Just getting to know the lay of the land and learn more about the culture we have entered. We passed through various check points and learned of the roads that the Palestinians are not allow to use which makes their commute about an hour longer.

Our host organization, Vital Voices in cooperation with the US Dept of State and the Business Women's Forum in Ramallah provided two full days of business meetings and opportunities for us to interact with the entrepreneurs and policy makers. We visited entrepreneurs in their offices and learned about their challenges and successes. My colleague and friend, Susan Solovic spoke from the media's point of view, Mary Schnack did some excellent media training and assisted the local with talking points and I presented on the CEO's role in Advocacy for economic development.

We learned a great deal and we will share more in time. It was humbling to be in Israel and Palestine. We got a taste of what it is like to live in a part of the world where it is not unusual to have check points along the roads, to be stopped and made to show identification or to see men with machine guns.....including armed body guards tagging along with children going to the Dead Sea.

I will not be complaining about US Airport security, TSA for a while, that's for sure!