Hank Moore

The Big Picture of Business – The Making of a Classic: Houston Legends. How Entrepreneurs and Business Made City Grow.

My sixth book is Houston Legends, a definitive history of a dynamic global capitol.

Houston was the first word spoken from the moon. It is the hub of the world’s energy industry, headquarters of medical innovation and entrepreneurial phenomena. For 200 years, Houston has been the funnel to international commerce.

Houston Legends contains secrets of CEOs, trail blazers and community impresarios, from superstar Beyoncé to heart transplant pioneer Dr. Michael Debakey, from aviation pioneer and Hollywood movie mogul Howard Hughes to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, from business titan Jesse Jones to community visionary George Mitchell, from oil drilling inventions to NASA space explorers.

I chose representative industries and community service niches as snapshots of a wider photo album. Not every name and fact is in here, but this business focused look gives perspective to modern life. Recurring themes include pioneer spirit, business innovation, community give-back, growth and vision.

I am a business guru at the national and international levels. My other books are about business, save one on Hollywood (which is big business). This book is a nostalgic stroll down memory lane in Houston, with small doses of business advice thrown in. The purpose was to recall and remember our heritage of business, entrepreneurship and the will to achieve even more.

In researching for this book, I studied dozens of others. Most were picture books and dwelled in the old days from community settlement and emerging society perspectives. It was nice to read about the fight for Texas independence and see pictures of all the old homes that used to be located downtown. This book looks at specters of business, commerce, distribution, consumption and opportunity, which typify Houston’s dynamic growth. Hopefully, this history compliments those books full of old pictures.

I started visiting Houston in the early 1950’s. I had an aunt, uncle and cousins that lived here. Houston was so much bigger and more cosmopolitan than the little town that I lived in (Austin). Today, I see Houston as a collection of communities, economic engines and entrepreneurial opportunities. I work all over the world and finally got the opportunity to write a hometown book.

Houston represents many things to many people. This is where we live and work, where we are educated and entertained, where culture and community pride are stimulated and where we learn some lessons in living together with others.

Houston is a growth community. It has seen industries emerge and mature. It boasts generations of healthy families. It encompasses lifestyles, cultures and opportunity that no other world-class city can match.

Yet, when you look at Houston, it is a collection of neighborhoods, business districts and quality lifestyles. Houston embodies many growing communities, the confluence being an international hub for this nation. Creative partnerships account for Houston’s documented growth.

As the city lives the 21st Century, we celebrate the historical, utilize state-of-the art technology and reflect changing social needs will always be at the forefront of the future. With a sense of pride, reflection and optimism for the future, Houston’s business is dedicated to identifying, meeting and serving every need of our community.

Houston is a collection of neighborhoods, cultures and families. Communities which grow and prosper will analyze and serve the needs of present generations. While honoring the heritage, we carefully plan for the future. Whether in the global sense or on the blocks on which we live, layers of generations comprise our essence.

Every community is a collection of lifestyles, inspired through the structures in which they take place are centers of synergy. Houston leaders are contributing to the quality of life and encompass the needs and activities of Houstonians.

Everywhere that you look in Houston, you see the fingerprints of business. This includes downtown, the Medical Center, the universities and colleges, the Galleria, NASA, Greenway Plaza, entertainment and sports facilities, airports, churches, and schools. As business and industry were challenged to perform at their highest standards, the entire community has benefited exponentially. In the minds of innovators and those who have followed, we care, we achieve, and we look for ways to get better at what we do.

As a result, Houston has experienced several eras of planned, sustained growth. We’re more than a boom or a trend. When reading this history of Houston, you will find the legacy of business on almost every page. Orderly growth has been achieved by mastering technology, business standards and adapting to changing community dynamics. Entrepreneurs have embraced innovation, creativity, safety and commitment to quality.

The best indicator of progress made is to periodically re-examine our best work, celebrate the teamwork involved and then re-apply the winning ingredients toward the next phase of growth. Because our community has mastered the fine art of collaboration, we have many great successes to recognize and admire. Houston Legends are symbolic of the mission and actual practices of community leaders, bringing the best minds and resources into successful business partnerships.

Every facet of business plays a part in facilitating orderly community growth. As our communities prosper, so do our member firms. Collectively, we make artistic, technical, procedural and economic differences in the greater Houston area.

As the city progresses through the 21st Century, we celebrate the historical, utilize state-of-the-art technology and continually seek to improve the quality of life. Strategies which address and reflect changing social needs will always be at the forefront of the future.

About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.

Hank Moore

The Big Picture of Business – How and When to Collaborate, for Best Business Advantage.

The biggest source of growth and increased opportunities in today’s business climate lie in the way that individuals and companies work together. This article is a follow-up to my last column, “Collaborations, Partnering and Joint-Venturing.”

Situations Which Call for Teams to Collaborate

  1. Business Characteristics. Most industries and core business segments cannot be effectively served by one specialty. It is imperative that multiple disciplines within the core business muster their resources.
  2. Circumstances. People get thrown together by necessity and sometimes by accident. They are not visualized as a team and often start at cross-purposes. Few participants are taught how to best utilize each other’s respective expertise. Through osmosis, a working relationship evolves.
  3. Economics. In today’s downsized business environment, outsourcing, privatization and consortiums are fulfilling the work. Larger percentages of contracts are awarded each year to those who exemplify and justify their team approaches. Those who solve business problems and predict future challenges will be retained. Numerically, collaboration contracts are more likely to be renewed.
  4. Demands of the Marketplace. Savvy business owners know that no one supplier can “do it all.” Accomplished managers want teams that give value-added, create new ideas and work effectively. Consortiums must continually improve, in order to justify investments.
  5. Desire to Create New Products and Services. There are only four ways to grow one’s business: (1) sell more products-services, (2) cross-sell existing customers, (3) create new products-services and (4) joint-venture to create new opportunities. #3 and 4 cannot be accomplished without teaming with others.
  6. Opportunities to Be Created. Once one makes the commitment to collaborate, circumstances will define the exact teaming structures. The best opportunities are created.
  7. Strong Commitment Toward Partnering. Those of us who have collaborated with other professionals and organizations know the value. Once one sees the profitability and creative injections, then one aggressively advocates the teaming processes. It is difficult to work in a vacuum thereafter. Creative partnerships don’t just happen…they are creatively pursued.

What Collaborations, Partnering and Joint-Venturing Are NOT:

  • Shrouds to get business, where subcontractors may later be found to do the work.
  • Where one partner presents the work of others as their own.
  • Where one party misrepresents his-her capabilities… in such a way as to overshadow the promised team approach.
  • Where one partner treats others more like subcontractors or vendors.
  • Where one participant keeps other collaborators away from the client’s view.
  • Ego fiefdoms, where one participant assumes a demeanor that harms the project.
  • Where cost considerations preclude all partners from being utilized.
  • Where one partner steals business from another.
  • Where non-partners are given advantageous position over ground-floor members who paid the dues.
  • Where one or more parties are knowingly used for their knowledge and then dismissed.

Who Wants to Collaborate:

  • Those who have not stopped learning and continue to acquire knowledge.
  • Those who are good and wanting to get progressively better.
  • Those who have captained other teams and, thus, know the value of being a good member of someone else’s team.
  • Those who do their best work in collaboration with others.
  • Those who appreciate creativity and new challenges.
  • Those who have been mentored and who mentor others.
  • Those who don’t want to rest upon their laurels.
  • Those who appreciate fresh ideas, especially from unexpected sources.

Who Does NOT Want to Collaborate:

  • Those who have never had to collaborate, partner or joint-venture before.
  • Those who don’t believe in the concept… and usually give nebulous reasons why.
  • Those who think they’re sufficiently trained and learned to conduct business.
  • Those who want only to be the center of attention.
  • Those who fear being compared to others of stature in their own right.
  • Those who think that the marketplace may not buy the team approach.
  • Those who are afraid that their process or expertise will not stand the test when compared with others.
  • Those who had one or two bad experiences with partnering in the past… usually because they were on the periphery or really weren’t equal partners in the first place.

7 Stages of Relationship Building… Customers, Business Partners

  1. Want to Get Business. Seeking rub-off effect, success by association. Sounds good to the marketplace. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Why not try!
  2. Want to Garner Ideas. Learn more about the customer. Each team member must commit to professional development…taking the program to a higher level. Making sales calls (mandated or voluntarily) does not constitute relationship building.
  3. First Attempts. Conduct programs that get results, praise, requests for more. To succeed, it needs to be more than an advertising and direct marketing campaign.
  4. Mistakes, Successes & Lessons. Competition, marketplace changes or urgent need led the initiative to begin. Customer retention and enhancement program requires a cohesive team approach and multiple talents.
  5. Continued Collaborations. Collaborators truly understand teamwork and had prior successful experiences at customer service. The sophisticated ones are skilled at building and utilizing colleagues and outside experts.
  6. Want and advocate teamwork. Team members want to learn from each other. All share risks equally. Early successes inspire deeper activity. Business relationship building is considered an ongoing process, not a “once in awhile” action or marketing gimmick.
  7. Commitment to the concept and each other. Each team member realizes something of value. Customers recommend and freely refer business to the institution. What benefits one partner benefits all.

Successes with Collaborations and Joint-Ventures…

  • Crisis or urgent need forced the client to hire a consortium.
  • Time deadlines and nature of the project required a cohesive team approach.
  • The work required multiple professional skills.
  • Consortium members were tops in their fields.
  • Consortium members truly understood teamwork and had prior successful experiences in joint-venturing.
  • Consortium members wanted to learn from each other.
  • Early successes spurred future collaborations.
  • Joint-venturing was considered an ongoing process, not a “once in awhile” action.
  • Each team member realized something of value.
  • The client recommended the consortium to others.

Truisms of Collaborations…

  • Whatever measure you give will be the measure that you get back.
  • There are no free lunches in life.
  • The joy is in the journey, not in the final destination.
  • The best destinations are not pre-determined in the beginning, but they evolve out of circumstances.
  • Circumstances can be strategized, for maximum effectiveness.
  • You gotta give to get.
  • Getting and having are not the same thing.
  • One cannot live entirely through work.
  • One doesn’t just work to live.
  • As an integrated process of life skills, career has its place.
  • A body of work doesn’t just happen. It’s the culmination of a thoughtful, dedicated process… carefully strategized from some point forward.
  • The objective is to begin that strategizing point sooner rather than later.

My Own Disappointments with Previous Collaborations…

  • Failure to understand – and thus utilize – each other’s talents.
  • One or more participants have had one or a few bad experiences and tend to over-generalize about the worth of consortiums.
  • One partner puts another down on the basis of academic credentials or some professional designation that sets themselves apart from other team members.
  • Participants exhibit the ‘Lone Ranger’ syndrome… preferring the comfort of trusting the one person they have counted upon.
  • Participants exhibit the “I can do that” syndrome… thinking that they do the same exact things that other consortium members do and, thus, see no value in working together, sharing projects and referring business.
  • Junior associates of consortium members want to hoard the billing dollars in-house, to look good to their superiors, enhance their billable quotas or fulfill other objectives that they are not sophisticated enough to identify.
  • Junior associates of consortium members refuse to recognize seniority and wisdom of other associates… utilizing the power of the budget to control creative thoughts and strategic thinking of subcontractors.

My Suggested Reasons to Give the Concept a Chance…

  • Think of the “ones that got away”… the business opportunities that a team could have created.
  • Think of contracts that were awarded to others who exhibited a team approach.
  • Learn from industries where consortiums are the rule, rather than the exception (space, energy, construction, high-tech, etc.).
  • The marketplace is continually changing.
  • Subcontractor, supplier, support talent and vendor information can be shared.
  • Consortiums are inevitable. If we don’t do it early, others will beat us to it.

About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.

Hank Moore

The Big Picture of Business – Collaborations, Partnering and Joint-Venturing… Priority for Business.

The biggest source of growth and increased opportunities in today’s business climate lie in the way that individuals and companies work together.

It is becoming increasingly rare to find an individual or organization that has not yet been required to team with others. Lone rangers and sole-source providers simply cannot succeed in competitive environments and global economies. Those who benefit from collaborations, rather than become the victim of them, will log the biggest successes in business years ahead.

Just as empowerment, team building and other processes apply to formal organizational structures, then teamings of independents can likewise benefit from the concepts. There are rules of protocol that support and protect partnerships…having a direct relationship to those who profit most from teamings.

Definitions of these three terms will help to differentiate their intended objectives:

  • Collaborations – Parties willingly cooperating together. Working jointly with others, especially in an intellectual pursuit. Cooperation with an instrumentality with which one is not immediately connected.
  • Partnering – A formal relationship between two or more associates. Involves close cooperation among parties, with each having specified and joint rights and responsibilities.
  • Joint-Venturing – Partners come together for specific purposes or projects that may be beyond the scope of individual members. Each retains individual identity. The joint-venture itself has its own identity… reflecting favorably upon work to be done and upon the partners.

Here are some examples of Collaborations:

  • Parties and consultants involved in taking a company public work together as a team.
  • Niche specialists collectively conduct a research study or performance review.
  • Company turnaround situation requires a multi-disciplinary approach.
  • A group of consultants offer their collective talents to clients on a contract basis.
  • The client is opening new locations in new communities and asks its consultants to formulate a plan of action and oversee operating aspects.
  • Professional societies and associations.
  • Teams of health care professionals, as found in clinics and hospitals.
  • Composers and lyricists to write songs.
  • Artists of different media creating festivals, shows and museums.
  • Advocate groups for causes.
  • Communities rallying around certain causes (crime, education, drug abuse, literacy, youth activities, etc.).
  • Libraries and other repositories of information and knowledge.

Here are some examples of Partnering:

  • Non-competing disciplines create a new mousetrap, based upon their unique talents, and collectively pursue new marketplace opportunities.
  • Widget manufacturing companies team with retail management experts to open a string of widget stores.
  • A formal roll-up or corporation to provide full-scope professional service to customers.
  • Non-profit organizations banning resources for programs or fund-raising.
  • Institutions providing start-up or expansion capital.
  • Managing mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.
  • Procurement and purchasing capacities.
  • Corporations working with public sector and non-profit organizations to achieve mutual goals in the communities.
  • Private sector companies doing privatized work for public sector entities.
  • Organ donor banks and associations, in consortium with hospitals.
  • Vendors, trainers, computer consultants and other consultants who strategically team with clients to do business. Those who don’t help to develop the business on the front end are just vendors and subcontractors.

Here are some examples of Joint-Venturing:

  • Producers of energy create an independent drilling or marketing entity.
  • An industry alliance creates a lobbying arm or public awareness campaign.
  • Multiple companies find that doing business in a new country is easier when a consortium operates.
  • Hardware, software and component producers revolutionizing the next generation of technology.
  • Scientists, per research program.
  • Educators, in the creation and revision of curriculum materials.
  • Distribution centers and networks for retail products.
  • Aerospace contractors and subcontractors with NASA.
  • Telecommunications industry service providers.
  • Construction industry general contractors, subcontractors and service providers in major building projects.
  • Group marketing programs, such as auto dealer clusters, municipalities for economic development, travel and tourism destinations, trade association and product image upgrades.
  • International trade development, including research, marketing, relocation, negotiations and lobbying.

Characteristics of a Good Collaborator:

  • Already has a sense of self-worth.
  • Has a bona fide track record on their own.
  • Have a commitment toward knowledge enhancement.
  • Walk the Talk by their interactions with others.
  • Supports collaborators in developing their own businesses, offering referrals.
  • Have been on other teams in the past… with case studies of actually collaborations.
  • Have successes and failures to their credit, with an understanding of the causal factors, outcomes and lessons learned.

  • Benefits for participating principals and firms include…

    • Ongoing association and professional exchange with the best in respective fields.
    • Utilize professional synergy to create opportunities that individuals could not.
    • Serve as a beacon for professionalism.
    • Provide access to experts otherwise not known to potential clients.
    • Refer and cross-sell each others’ services.
    • Through demands uncovered, develop programs and materials to meet markets.

    About the Author

    Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

    Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

    Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.

Hank Moore

The Big Picture of Business – Business Moving Forward from the Dirty Side of the Recession.

The economy and business climate are now on the dirty side of the recession. Recognizing the damages done results in healthier run companies for the future.

This is comparable to what is called the ‘dirty side’ of a storm, hurricane or other weather created disaster. During those clean-up periods, the infrastructure rebuilds and optimistically moves forward by correcting certain damages done by the storms.

Signs are that our economy has somewhat recovered from the second worst recession in history. Many companies kept their heads in the sand during the economic downturn, fully intending to return to business as usual.

What happened in the recession was that many businesses went under. In my professional opinion, 25% of those that faded away probably should have. A great many frail companies were not on firm foundations and had abdicated their abilities to improve and serve customer bases.

As fallout from the recession, many people were thrown into the workforce. Many fell into jobs for which they were not suited. Many downsized and out-of-work people were forced to reinvent themselves.

Many became ‘consultants’ of one sort or another. Many fell victim to frauds and scams. Services and websites sprung up to capitalize upon the avalanche of new entrepreneurs. Some sites offered the platform to become a consultant with a national firm by paying them subscription fees. The already inflated world of “reputation management” websites lured people into buying advertising in order to create the facade of being a “consultant.”

Distinctions must be drawn into three consulting categories (and percentages of their occurrence in the marketplace):

  1. Vendors selling products which were produced by others. Those who sell their own produced works are designated as subcontractors. (82.99%)
  2. Consultants conduct programs designed by their companies, in repetitive motion. Their work is off-the-shelf, conforms to an established mode of operation, contains original thought and draws precedents from experience. (17%)
  3. High level strategists create all knowledge in their consulting. It is original, customized to the client and contains creativity and insight not available elsewhere. (.01%)

As one distinguishes past vendors and subcontractors, there are six types within the 18% which constitute consultants (with their percentages in the marketplace):

  1. Those who still lead in an industry and have specific niche expertise. (13.5%)
  2. Those who were downsized, out-placed or decided not to stay in the corporate fold and evolved into consulting. (28%)
  3. Out of work people who hang out consulting shingles in between jobs. (32%)
  4. Freelancers and moonlighters, whose consultancy may or may not relate to their day jobs. (16%)
  5. Veteran consultants who were trained for and have a track record in actual consulting. That’s what they have done for most of their careers. (2%)
  6. Sadly, there is another category: opportunists who masquerade as consultants, entrepreneurs who disguise their selling as consulting, people who routinely change niches as the dollars go. (8.5%)

Clients are confused and under-educated, not able to discern the ‘real deal’ consultants from the hype. That is why those of us who are veterans write these articles, speak and advise on best practices. Enlightened clients hire real consultants and get great value, as opposed to companies who fall prey to under-prepared resources.

There are five generations in workforce, more than any time in our history. Each generation has different working styles and must be considered according to their attributes. Age discrimination for workers over 40 is rampant and cruel.

Workplace illiteracy is higher than ever before. 50% of employees in the business world are considered functionally illiterate.

Society must not be lulled into a false sense of security right now,. The recovery phase of the recession has been steady and real. Much of the damage was done and will take years to fix. This could cause the next recession.

I believe that small business is resilient and will try its best to stay on firm grounding. Wise entrepreneurs will bring in qualified mentors, as opposed to wanna-be consultants. Cool heads will prevail, and small business will recover and prosper.

Small business has learned many lessons from the recession. While some will still fight change and adhere to the same processes that got them into trouble, I see great opportunities for forward-focused businesses.

The biggest source of growth and increased opportunities in today’s business climate lie in the way that individuals and companies work together. Those who benefit from collaborations, rather than become the victim of them, will log the biggest successes in business years ahead.

About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.

Hank Moore

The Big Picture of Business – The Fatal Flaws of Corporate Thinking

Barriers to Progress and Business Growth

Every business, company or organization goes through cycles in its evolution. At any point, each program or business unit is in a different phase from the others. Every astute organization assesses the status of each branch on its Business Tree™ and orients its management and team members to meet constant changes and fluctuations.

It’s not that some organizations ‘click’ and others do not. Multiple factors cause momentum, or the lack thereof. As companies operate, all make honest and predictable mistakes. Those with a willingness to learn from the mistakes and pursue growth will be successful. Others will remain stuck in frames of mind that set themselves up for the next round of defeat or, at best, partial-success.

The saddest fact is that businesses do not always know that they’re doing anything wrong. They do not realize that a Big Picture must exist or what it could look like. They have not been taught or challenged on how to craft a Big Picture. Managers, by default, see “band-aid surgery” as the only remedy for problems… but only when problems are so evident as to require action.

Is it any wonder that organizations stray off course? Perhaps no course was ever charted. Perhaps the order of business was to put out fires as they arose, rather than practicing preventive safety on the kindling organization. That’s how Business Trees in the forest burn.

This chapter studies obsolete management styles and corporate cultures that exist in the minds of out-of-touch management. Reliance upon many of these management tenets subsequently brought Enron and many others down.

This includes the characteristics of addictive organizations, their processes, promises and forms. It reviews the Addictive System, the company way and the organization as an addict. This chapter studies communications, thinking processes, management processes, self-inflicted crises and structural components of companies that go bad, or maybe never do what it takes to be good. Topics discussed include the society that produced business scandals, accountants and auditors, pedestals upon which CEOs are placed, spin doctoring, compensations and accountability issues with managers.

Companies are collections of individuals who possess fatal flaws of thinking. They come from different backgrounds and are products of a pop culture that puts its priorities and glories in the wrong places…a society that worships flash-and-sizzle over substance.

Characteristics of Corporate Arrogance

  • Support others who are like-minded to themselves
  • Scapegoat people who are the messengers of change
  • Blame others who cannot or will not defend themselves
  • Find public and vocal ways of placing blame upon others
  • Shame those people who make them accountable
  • Neither attends to details nor to pursue a Big Picture
  • Perpetuate co-dependencies
  • Selectively forgets the good that occurs
  • Find three wrongs for every right
  • Do little or nothing
  • At all costs, fight change… in every shape, form or concept
  • Making the wrong choices
  • Inability to listen. Refusal to hear what is said
  • Stubbornness
  • Listening to the wrong people
  • Failure to change. Fear of change
  • Comfort level with institutional mediocrity
  • Setting one’s self up for failure
  • Pride
  • Avoidance of responsibilities
  • Blaming and scapegoating others
  • People who filter out the truths
  • Non-risk-taking mode
  • Inaccessibility to independent thinkers
  • Calling something a tradition, when it really means refusal to change
  • Pretense
  • Worshipping false idols, employing artificial solutions
  • Preoccupation with deals, rather than running an ongoing business
  • Arrogant attitudes
  • Ignorance of modern management styles and societal concerns
  • Failure to benchmark results and accomplishments

Incorrect Assumptions that People Make

  • That wealth and success cure all ills
  • That business runs on data. That data projects the future
  • That data infrastructure hardware will navigate the business destiny and success
  • That all athletes are role models. That all well-paid athletes are national heroes
  • That the CEO can make or break the company single-handedly
  • That doctors don’t have to be accountable to their customers
  • That education stops after the last college degree received
  • That TV newscasters are celebrities and community leaders
  • That having an E-mail address or a website makes one an expert on technology
  • That the Internet is primarily an educational resource
  • That technology is the most important driving force in business and society
  • That buying the latest software program will cure all social ills and create success
  • That community stewardship applies to other people and does not require our own investment of time
  • That white-collar crime pays and that highly paid executives will avoid jail time
  • That senior corporate managers have all the answers and do not need to seek counsel
  • That return on shareholder investment is the only true measure of a company’s worth
  • That all people who grew up in the south are racist
  • That government bureaucrats are qualified to make decisions about taxpayer money
  • That activists for one cause are equally open-minded about other issues
  • That corporate mid-managers with expense accounts are community leaders
  • That deregulation is always desirable and in the public’s best interest
  • That home-based businesses are more wealth-producing than holding a job
  • That professionals can get by without developing public speaking and writing skills

Fatal Quotations Often Voiced to Justify Fatal Thinking

  • “Might makes right. Take no prisoners. Wear the other side down.”
  • “Everyone knows who we are and what we do.”
  • “Our accountants will catch it and take care of it.”
  • “It’s none of their business. The public be damned.”
  • “We’re not paying people to think… just to do. Make them understand.”
  • “We don’t need outsiders coming in and hogging the credit.”
  • “If you don’t cooperate with me, I’ll bring you down.”
  • “We cannot do that right now. Once this crisis is past, we can think about the future.”
  • “How does this contribute to our bottom line?”
  • “If it does not contribute directly to the bottom line, we’re not interested.”
  • “We have more business than we can handle.”
  • “Too much competition destroys free enterprise. We need to eliminate competition.”

Addictive Organizations

Addictive organizations are predicated upon maintaining a closed system. Alternately, they are marked by such traits as confusion, dishonesty and perfectionism. They are scarcity models, based upon quantity and the illusion of control. Only the high performers get the gold because there are not enough bonuses to go around. Addictive organizations show frozen feelings and ethical deterioration.

Addictive organizations dangle ‘the promise’ to employees, customers, stockholders and others affected. People are lured into doing things that enable the addictive management’s pseudopodic ego.

All that is different is either absorbed or purged. The addictive organization fabricates personality conflicts in order to keep people on the edge all the time. There exists a dualism of identifying the rightness of the choice and a co-dependence upon the rewards of the promise.

In such companies, the key person is an addict. The CEO and his chosen lieutenants have taken addictions with them from other organizations. The organization itself is an addictive substance, as well as being an addict to others. They numb people down and addict them to workaholism.

The addictive system views everything as ‘the company way.’ The entity is outwardly one big happy family. It is big and grandiose. The emphasis is upon the latest slogans of mission but does not look closely at how its systems operate. The term “mission” is a buffer, excuse, putdown and roadblock.

Rather than embrace the kinds of Big Picture strategies advocated in this book, the addictive system seeks artificial fixes to organizational problems, such as bonuses, benefits, slogans and promotions of like-minded executives.

Communications are always indirect, vague, written and confusing. People are purposefully left out of touch or are summarily put down for not co-depending. Secrets, gossip and triangulation persist, as a result. The addictive organization does communicate directly with the news media and often adopts a ‘no comment’ policy. Company officers (who should be accessible to media) are cloistered and unavailable. The addictive organization does not recognize that professional corporate communications are among the best resources in their potential arsenal.

The addictive system does not encourage managers to develop thinking and reasoning processes. The system portrays forgetfulness, selective memory and distorted facts into sweeping generalizations. We are expected to take them at their word, without requesting or demanding facts to justify.

In the addictive organization, those who challenge, blow whistles or suggest that things might be better handled are neither wanted nor tolerated. Addictive managers project externally originated criticism back onto internal scapegoats. There is always a strategy of people to blame and sins to be attributed to them.

Management processes tend to exemplify denial, dishonesty, isolation, self-centeredness, judgmentalism and a false sense of perfectionism. Intelligent people know that perfectionism does not exist and the quest for quality and excellence is the real game of life and business. Addictive organizations do not use terms like ‘quality’ and ‘excellence’ because such terms must be measured, periodically reexamined and communicated… the organization does not want any of that to occur.

There persists a crisis orientation, meaning that everything is down to the wire on deadlines (not to be confused with just-in-time delivery, which is a good concept). Things are kept perennially in turmoil, in order to keep people guessing or confused. Management seduces employees into setting up competing sides in bogus feuds and manipulating consumers.

Structural components include preserving the status quo, fostering political games, taking false measurements and pursuing activities that are incongruent with the organization’s announced mission.

7 Layers of Organizational Addictiveness.
Companies that Go Bad… self-inflicted Crises.

  1. Self Destructive Intelligence. There exists a logic override. Since the company does not believe itself to be smart enough to do the right things, then it creates a web of rationalism. Since the mind often plays tricks on itself, management capitalizes upon that phenomenon with people who may question or criticize.
  2. Hubris. This quality destroys those who possess it. Such executives exhibit stubborn pride, believing their own spin doctoring and surrounding themselves with people who spin quite well on their behalf. They adopt a “nobody does it as well as we can” mentality. Such companies scorn connections, collaborations and partnering with other organizations.
  3. Arrogance. Omnipotent fantasies cause management to go too far. The feeling is that nothing is beyond their capacity to succeed (defined in their minds as crushing all other competition).
  4. Narcissism. Company executives possess excessive conceit. They are disconnected from outside forces, self-centered and show a cruel indifference to others. The view is that the world must gratify them.
  5. Unconscious Need to Fail. These companies try too hard to keep on winning. With victory as the only possible end game, all others must be defeated along the way. In reality, these people and, thus, their organizations, possess low self-esteem. Inevitably, they get beaten at their own games.
  6. Feeling of Entitlement. Walls and filters have been established which insulate top management from criticism (which is viewed as harming the chain of armor, rather than as potentially constructive). Anger stimulates many of their decisions. The feeling is that they deserve it all. Power satisfies appetites. These executives have poor human relations skills. They believe that excesses are always justified.
  7. Collective Dumbness. Such organizations have totally reshaped reality to their own viewpoints. The emperor really has no clothes, but everyone overlooks the obvious and avoids addressing it forthrightly. The organization dumbs down the overall intelligence level, so that people are in the dark and cannot readily make judgment calls. Cults of expertise function in vacuums within the company. Neurotic departmental units do not interface often with others. Employees are slaves of the system. There exists total justification for what is done and an ostrich effect toward calls for accountability.
Reasons why companies fail.
Roadblocks to growth, opportunities missed.

Companies come and go. Not every start-up is destined to make it. Yet, in this era of super-hype about tech and companies, unrealistic expectations precluded most of their successes from the beginning.

The hype now is that the bubble burst. Former owners are crying that they were stripped of their entitled riches. Employees who were promised stock options came away without still knowing what it takes to build a real business.

The e-commerce and wars have more than their share of casualties because their players never had the artillery and mindset to play seriously in the first place. Overt marketing hype led to an unwatchful marketplace… which always wakes up to the realities of business eventually.

Technology companies must now learn the lessons that steady-growth companies in other industries absorbed. Actually, most companies still have not truly learned the lessons. Thus, most businesses are at frequent ‘crossroads,’ where turns have deep implications and far-reaching.

I advised several technology companies during their gravy years. I tried to warn them about the things that would get them into trouble:

  • Focusing upon technology… not upon running a business
  • Maintaining too much of an entrepreneur and family business mindset
  • Branding before being a real company
  • Their system’s inability to deal with any kind of disruption
  • Each side picks their favorite numbers for ‘success’ because they really do not know
  • Not comprehending the business you’re really in
  • Venturing too far from your areas of expertise
  • Thinking that the rules of corporate protocol did not apply to them
  • Misplaced priorities and timelines
  • Making financial yardsticks the only barometers
  • Wrong relationships with investors… letting angels call too many shots
  • Getting bad advice from the wrong people, mainly other tech professionals
  • Rationalizing excuses, ‘the rules have changed’
  • Feeling entitled to success and exemptions from business realities
  • Copycats of others’ perceived successes
  • Working long and hard, but not necessarily smart
  • Failure to contextualize the product, business, marketplace and bigger picture
  • Inability to plan
  • Refusal to change

Most of these pitfalls are common to so many industries. They simply were focused upon tech companies from 1994-2000 because they were the latest flavor. Some heeded the advice of myself and others… many did not avail themselves.

Reasons why some want to grow beyond their current boundaries:

  1. Prove to someone else that they can do it
  2. Strong quest for revenue and profits
  3. Corporate arrogance and ego, based upon power and influence (as well as money)
  4. Sincere desire to put expertise into new arena
  5. Really have talents, resources and adaptabilities beyond what they’re known for
  6. Diversifying as part of a plan of expansion, selling off and re-growing subsidiaries
  7. The marketplace dictates change as part of the company’s global being

Circumstances under which they expand include:

  1. Advantageous location became available
  2. Someone wanted to sell out… a great deal was tough to pass up
  3. Can’t sit still… must conquer new horizons
  4. Think they can make more money, amass more power
  5. Desire to edge out a competitor or dominate another industry
  6. Create jobs for existing employees (new challenges, new opportunities)
  7. Part of their growth strategy to go public, offering stock as a diversified company

This is what often happens as a result of unplanned growth:

  1. The original business gets shoved to the back burner
  2. The new business thrust gets proportionately more than its share of attention
  3. Capitalization is stretched beyond limits, and operations advance in a cash-poor mode
  4. Morale wavers and becomes uneven, per operating unit and division
  5. Attempts to bring consistency and uniformity drive further wedges into the operation
  6. Something has to give: people, financial resources, competitive edge, company vision
  7. The company expands and subsequently contracts without strategic planning

7 Defeating Signs for Growth Companies

  1. Systems are not in place to handle rapid growth, perhaps never were
  2. Their only interest is in booking more new business, rather than taking care of what they’ve already got
  3. Management is relying upon financial people as the primary source of advice, while ignoring the rest of the picture (90 percent)
  4. Team empowerment suffers. Morale is low or uneven. Commitment from workers drops because no corporate culture was created or sustained
  5. Customer service suffers during fast-growth periods. They have to back-pedal and recover customer confidence by doing surveys. Even with results of deteriorating customer service, growth-track companies pay lip service to really fixing their own problems
  6. People do not have the same Vision as the company founder… who has likely not taken enough time to fully develop a Vision and obtain buy-in from others
  7. Company founder remains arrogant and complacent, losing touch with marketplace realities and changing conditions

Everything we are in business stems from what we’ve been taught or not taught to date. A career is all about devoting resources to amplifying talents and abilities, with relevancy toward a viable end result.

Business evolution is an amalgamation of thoughts, technologies, approaches and commitment of the people, asking such tough questions as:

  1. What would you like for you and your organization to become?
  2. How important is it to build an organization well, rather than constantly spend time in managing conflict?
  3. Who are the customers?
  4. Do successful corporations operate without a strategy-vision?
  5. Do you and your organization presently have a strategy-vision?
  6. Are businesses really looking for creative ideas? Why?
  7. If no change occurs, is the research and self-reflection worth anything?

Failure to prepare for the future spells certain death for businesses and industries in which they function. The same analogies apply to personal lives, careers and Body of Work. Greater business awareness and heightened self-awareness are compatible and part of a holistic journey of growth.

Business is in transition… with unclear anchoring of where they’ve been and where they could head. Young and mid-level workers do not really know what it takes to succeed long-term and been.

About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.