Hank Moore

The Big Picture of Business- Flip Sides, Second Acts and Successful Careers

It used to be said that people have three careers in them. Those who are particularly successful have many more. It’s all about evolving. What we start out as is different from what we progress into, both for companies and individuals.

Have you ever had reunion business relationships? It’s amazing how the circumstances change things the next time around. The people who denied your friend requests on Linkedin are now pursuing you as a celebrity on Facebook. As they know and trust you, they want to associate with you. It’s all perspective and the building of a multi-tiered Body of Work, stellar reputation and track record.

One of the great music figures was Burt Bacharach. His role model was George Gershwin. Bacharach started his music writing career by taking ‘work for hire,’ tailoring songs to particular performers. He wrote a lot of flip sides to hit records and was recognized as a consistent hit maker. The Bacharach repertoire expanded, and he developed his signature musical style, along with lyricists such as Hal David.

That is the way that I am with business wisdom. I continually dust off old chestnuts and reapply them for clients, in my books, through my speeches and in sharing with mentees. The case studies become the substance of what we provide future clients. We benefit from going back and learning from our own early Body of Work, assuming that we stratregized our career to be a long-term thing, as Burt Bacharach did.

One of my favorite movies of all-time is “Laura.” It starred Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney. It was a stylized 1940’s film noir mystery, the epitome of style and glamour. Their reunion movie was ”Iron Curtain,” a gritty documentary-style portrait of Cold War Europe. They played spouses in the come-back drama of an unsettled post-war European world. The two movies could not have been so different. They included two A-list Hollywood actors, appearing against type and image.

Some of the most creative professionals work behind the scenes and then later get accorded star status. Many character actors who subsequently became stars included Humphrey Bogart, Edmond O’Brien, Anne Bancroft, Anthony Hopkins, Angela Lansbury, Jack Elam, Ruth Gordon, Wallace Beery, Christopher Walken, Cloris Leachman, Karl Malden, William Conrad, Madeline Kahn, Jack Klugman, Ward Bond, William Frawley, Shelley Duvall, Edward Everett Horton, Thelma Ritter, Tilda Swinton, Thomas Mitchell, Eddie Albert and James Woods. They worked continuously and played every kind of role. Well-trained and experienced actors carried the plays and films.

In the music world, singers front the bands. Talented people write the songs, design the arrangements and conduct the bands. One of the great men of music was Nelson Riddle. His expertise became the signature recording styles of Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and others. Sometimes, Riddle had hit records with his own band, including 1956’s “Lisbon Antigua” (#1 on the charts) and the theme songs to TV’s “Route 66” and “The Untouchables.” In 1979, I emceed a music symposium with Riddle as the guest. I produced a documentary of his music. While it was playing for the audience, I noticed Riddle’s hand behind the skirted table, conducting my documentary in time to the music.

Another favorite of mine is Perry Botkin Jr. The public does not recognize his name, but you liked his recordings over the years. His father (Perry Botkin Sr.) was a guitar player and bandleader who worked with Bing Crosby and other greats of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. Botkin Sr. played the guitar cues for the “Beverly Hillbillies” TV show in the 1960’s.

Enter Perry Jr. into music. He was a masterful arranger and orchestral conductor. He was to 1960’s and 70’s music what Nelson Riddle was in the 1940’s and 50’s. Botkin Jr. provided lush arrangements for easy listening singers such as Ed Ames, Carly Simon, Sammy Davis Jr., Vikki Carr and The Lettermen. He conducted the Capitol house orchestra, the Hollyridge Strings. One of the most popular Christmas records is “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano, and that’s Botkin’s arrangement.

My other favorite Perry Botkin Jr. productions were “Cast Your Fate to the Wind” by Shelby Flint, “Love or Let Me Be Lonely” by the Friends of Distinction, “Black Pearl” by Sonny Charles, “Flim Flam Man” by Barbra Streisand, “Nadia’s Theme/The Young and the Restless” by Barry DeVorzon, “Rhythm of the Rain” by the Cascades and “Day Break” by Bette Midler. He scored many films and the “Mork and Mindy” TV series.

Then, there are the second bananas. The greatest art in building successful companies is to select, nurture and support good #2 people and beyond. I call that strategy “the Ed McMahon syndrome.”

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. Failure to prepare for the future spells certain death for businesses and industries in which they function.

    These are the marks of building upon early business activity and moving forward to the next plateaus:

  • Personal abilities, talents and working style.
  • Resources being developed.
  • Relationships and interaction with other people
  • Ability to rise above circumstances beyond your control.
  • Timing. Things that were not achievable in early careers are now yours to master.

A rich and sustaining Body of Work results from a greater business commitment and heightened self-awareness. None of us can escape those pervasive influences that have affected our lives, including music and the messages contained in songs. Like sponges, we absorbed the information, giving us views of life that have helped mold our business and personal relationships.

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- Evergreen Business Strategies. Digest of Take-Aways From 36 Articles.

Last month, we celebrated the third anniversary of this magazine. My article was about the significance of anniversaries as important milestones. I am the only columnist who has been in every issue of this magazine. My articles reflect the Big Picture of Business. After that, the niche writers cover their areas.

This is the second part of the anniversary celebration. It seems fitting to reprise key take-away comments from the last three years, as a digest to apply to ultimate business success.

The biggest problem with business, in a one-sentence capsule, is: People exhibit misplaced priorities and impatience, seeking profit and power, possessing unrealistic views of purpose, and not fully willing to do the things necessary to sustain orderly growth and long-term success.

What organizations and individuals started out to become and what we’ve evolved into being are decidedly different things. The path toward progress takes many turns, expected and unexpected. How we evolve reflects the teachings, experiences and instincts that are not part of formal education.

Take ownership of planning programs, rather than abdicate them to human resources or accounting people. Predict the biggest crises that can beset your company. 85% of the time, you’ll prevent them from occurring. Challenge yourself to succeed by taking a Big Picture look…while others are still thinking and acting small-time. Your biggest resource is a wide scope…and the daring to visualize success and then all of its components.

An Institutional Review is a look at activities that contribute to an organization’s success and well-being. This transcends a traditional audit and identifies factors that already contribute well to the organization, rather than simply looking for ways to cut, curtail or penalize. It is more than just trimming the fat and criticizing incorrect activities in the organizational structure. This review is the basis for most elements that will appear in a strategic plan, including the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, actions, challenges, teamwork, change management, commitment, future trends and external forces.

Finely develop skills in every aspect of the organization, beyond the scope of professional training. Amplify upon philosophies of others. Mentoring, creating and leading have become the primary emphasis for your career. Never stop paying dues, learning and growing professionally. Develop and share own philosophies. Long-term track record, unlike anything accomplished by any other individual, all contributing toward organizational philosophy, purpose, vision, quality of life, ethics, long-term growth.

Niche consultants place emphasis in the areas where they have training, expertise and staff support for implementation…and will market their services accordingly. An accounting firm may suggest that an economic forecast is a full-scope business plan (which it is not). A trainer may recommend courses for human behavior, believing that these constitute a Visioning process (of which they are a small part). Marketers might contend that the latest advertising campaign is equivalent to re-engineering the client company (though the two concepts are light years apart). Niche consultants believe these things to be true, within their frames of reference. They sell what they need to sell, rather than what the client really needs. Let the buyer beware.

No entity can operate without affecting or being affected by its communities. Business must behave like a guest in its communities, never failing to give potlache or return courtesies. Community acceptance for one project does not mean than the job of community relations has been completed. It is not ‘insurance’ that can be bought overnight. It is tied to the bottom line and must be treated accordingly, with the resources and expertise to do it effectively. It is a bond of trust that, if violated, will haunt the business. If steadily built, the trust can be exponentially parlayed into successful long-term business relationships.

The hot new idea is to focus on depth-and-substance…not on flash-and-sizzle. Those who proclaim that hot ideas make good coaches, then they are vendors selling flavors of the month…not seasoned business advisors. If coaching is based only on hot ideas, it is nothing more than hucksterism. Coaching must be a thorough process of guiding the client through the levels of accomplishment.

Customer Focused Management is a concept that goes far beyond just smiling, answering queries and communicating with buyers. It transcends customer service training. In today’s highly competitive business environment, every dynamic of a successful organization must be toward ultimate customers. Companies must change their focus from products and processes toward the values which they share with customers. Customer Focused Management goes beyond just the dynamics of service and quality.

One learns three times more from failure than success. One learns three times more clearly when witnessing and analyzing the failures of others they know or have followed. History teaches us about cycles, trends, misapplications of resources, wrong approaches and vacuums of thought. People must apply history to their own lives-situations. If we document our own successes, then these case studies will make us more successful in the future.

There comes a point when the pieces fit. One becomes fully actualized and is able to approach their life’s Body of Work. That moment comes after years of trial and error, experiences, insights, successes and failures. As one matures, survives, life becomes a giant reflection. We appreciate the journey because we understand it much better. We know where we’ve gone because we know the twists and turns in the road there. Nobody, including ourselves, could have predicted every curve along the way.

Success and failure…it’s a matter of perspectives. Out of every 10 transactions in our lives, five will be unqualified successes. One will be a failure. Two will depend upon the circumstances. If approached responsibly, they will become successful. If approached irresponsibly, they will turn into failures. Two will either be successful or will fail, based strictly upon the person’s attitude. A 90% success rate for a person with a good attitude and responsible behavior is unbeatable. There is no such thing as perfection. Continuous quality improvement means that we benchmark accomplishments and set the next reach a little further.

Professionals who succeed the most are the products of mentoring. The mentor is a resource for business trends, societal issues and opportunities. The mentor becomes a role model, offering insights about their own life-career. This reflection shows the mentee levels of thinking and perception which were not previously available. The mentor is an advocate for progress and change. Such work empowers the mentee to hear, accept, believe and get results. The sharing of trust and ideas leads to developing business philosophies.

Visioning is the process where good ideas become something more. It is a catalyst toward long-term evaluation, planning and implementation. It is a vantage point by which forward-thinking organizations ask: What will we look like in the future? What do we want to become? How will we evolve? Vision is a realistic picture of what is possible.

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- When the Rules Don’t Fit the Game, Corporate Cultures Reflect Business Progress and 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.

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.

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%).
  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 wholistic 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.

Hank Moore

The Big Picture of Business- Professional Education Necessary for Company Success

Professional education is an important ingredient in corporate development. Today’s workforce will need three times the amount of training that it now gets if the organization intends to stay in business, remain competitive and tackle the future successfully.

Training is rarely allowed to be extensive. It is usually technical or sales/marketing in nature. Employees and executives are rarely mentored on the people skills necessary to have a winning team. Thus, they fail to establish a company vision and miss their business mark.

Outside of ‘think tanks’ for company executive committees, full-scope education does not occur. This is primarily because niche trainers recommend what they have to sell, rather than what the company needs. Niche trainers impart their own perspectives out of context to the whole of the organization.

Team building must be part of the corporate Vision first, not as a series of exercises delegated to trainers. I conduct Executive Think Tanks for corporate management. The success of this enables trainers with the ‘rank and file employees’ to be optimally successful. Organizations of all sizes must have the Think Tank…which delineates future operations, including education and training.

Training is unfairly blamed and scapegoated for pieces of the organizational mosaic that Strategic Planning and cohesive corporate Vision should have addressed early-on. Trainers cannot reconstruct organizational structure, nor can other niche consultants.

7 Steps of Professional Development:

1. Teaching-Training. Conveying information, insights and intelligence from various sources. Categorized by subject, grade level and methods of delivery. Expert teachers (fountains of learning material) are the building block in the educational process, and the student must be an active participant (rather than a non-involved or combative roadblock).
2. Studying. One cannot learn just by listening to a teacher. Review of material, taking notes, seeking supplementary materials and questing to learn additionally must occur.
3. Learning. The teacher instructs, informs and attempts to enlighten. The student accepts, interprets and catalogs the material taught. Periodically, the material is reviewed.
4. Information. As one amasses years of learning, one builds a repository of information, augmented by experiences of putting this learning into practice.
5. Analysis. One sorts through all that has been learned, matched with applicabilities to daily life. One determines what additional learning is necessary and desired. From this point forward, education is an ongoing process beyond that of formal schooling. If committed, the person turns the quest for knowledge into a life priority.
6. Knowledge. A Body of Knowledge is derived from years of living, learning, working, caring, sharing, failing and succeeding. This step is detailed in my monograph, “The Learning Tree”: (1) Life. (2) Living Well. (3) Working Well. (4) Education. (5) Philosophy. (6) Self Fulfillment. (7) Purpose and Commitment.
7. Wisdom. This requires many years of commitment to learning, compounded by the continuous development of knowledge. Few people attempt to get this far in the educational process. Those who do so have encompassed profound wisdom. This step is detailed in my monograph, “7 Layers of Wisdom”: (1) Glimmer of An Idea. (2) Learning Curve. (3) Applications for Lessons Learned. (4) Trial and Error, Success and Failure. (5) Teaching, Mentoring. (6) Insights, Beliefs, Systems of Thought. (7) Profound Wisdom, Life Perspectives.

Categories of Professional Education:

There is a difference between how one is basically educated and the ingredients needed to succeed in the longterm. Many people never amass those ingredients because they stop learning or don’t see the need to go any further. Many people think they are ‘going further’ but otherwise spin their wheels.

There is a large disconnect between indoctrinating people to tools of the trade and the myriad of elements they will need to assimilate for their own futures. Neither teachers nor students have all the necessary ingredients. It is up to both to obtain skills, inspiration, mentoring, processes, accountability, creativity and other components from niche experts.

Therein lies the problem. Training vendors sell what they have to provide…not what the constituencies or workforces need. Emphasis must be placed upon properly diagnosing the organization as a whole and then prescribing treatments for the whole, as well as the parts.

Training should be conducted within a formal, planned program that addresses the majority of organizational aspects.

7 Biggest Misconceptions About Training:

  1. One Size Fits All. If it’s not customized, it’s not going to be effective.
  2. Trainers Are Business Experts. Generally, they are vendors who sell ‘off the shelf’ products that target small niches within the organization. Few are schooled in full-scope business culture and have not been previously engaged to advise organizations at the top.
  3. Human Resources Oversees Training. By their nature, HR departments are designed to uphold processes and systems. Training is about change, which contradicts the basic construction of HR. Not all HR people are versed in the subtle nuances of people skills and are, thus, not the best to supervise training. It really should not be under the thumb of HR.
  4. Trainers Write the Training Plans. All major departmental plans should be written objectively and in concert with the Strategic Plan…by qualified advisors. Training companies often give free assessments in order to sell their programs. Free surveys do not constitute a cohesive plan. Let trainers do what they do best: training. Let experienced planners design the training plan, with input from trainers included. Don’t let the plan evolve from a training company’s sales pitch.
  5. Only Industry Experts Can Train in Our Company. What companies need most is objective business savvy and sophisticated overviews. Core industry ‘experts’ only know core industry issues from their own experiences. Quality training must focus on dynamics outside the core business, yet should have relativity to the organization.
  6. One Course Will Fix the Problem. Training is not a punishment for having done something ‘wrong.’ It’s a privilege…a major benefit of employment. It unlocks doors to greater success, growth and profitability…for those trained and for the sponsoring organization. In order to be competitive in the future, today’s workers will need three times the training that they are now getting.
  7. That It’s Supposed to Be Popular. The biggest mistake that meeting planners make is determining the effectiveness of training and training professionals via audience survey. Most conference evaluation forms are lightweight and ask for surface rankings…rather than for nuggets of knowledge learned. Speakers and training budgets are therefore judged upon whimsical comments of individual audience participants…which get harsher when the training is for topics they need, rather than things they would ‘prefer’ to hear. Voices of reality are always criticized by people who really are not qualified to assess them.

7 Levels of Training:

  1. Mandated.
  2. Basic Education.
  3. Informational.
  4. Technical, Niche Skills.
  5. Procedural.
  6. Optional.
  7. Insightful-Deep-Rich-Meaningful.

Levels of Mandated Training:

  1. Fix Those People.
  2. Stay Where You Are.
  3. This Is the Way It Is.
  4. Accept Our Pet Project.
  5. Things ‘They’ Are Making Us Do.
  6. What We Want to Teach You.
  7. You’ll Do It, and You’ll Like It.

Levels of Optional Training:

  1. Micro-Niche.
  2. Things to Perform Tasks.
  3. Process Administration.
  4. Procedural Adherence.
  5. Hobby-Fun-Entertainment.
  6. Skills Enrichment.
  7. Personal Development.

Levels of Training That Are Rare But Truly Needed:

  1. Pride in Workmanship.
  2. Learning, Growing, Mentoring.
  3. Fully Actualized Professionalism.
  4. Amassing People Skills.
  5. Pursuing Excellence.
  6. Adding Value to the Organization.
  7. Developing a Body of Work-Knowledge.

These pointers are suggested in the selection of training providers:

  • Ask a senior business advisor to help determine which consultants are needed, write the
    training program, evaluate credentials and recommend contracting options.
  • Understand what your company really needs and why.
  • Don’t pit one consultant against another, just to get free ideas.
  • Don’t base the training decisions on ‘apples to oranges’ comparisons.
  • Ask for case studies which were directly supervised by the person who will handle your training…not stock narratives from affiliate offices or a supervisor.
  • Find out their expertise in creating and customizing for clients…rather than off-the-shelf programs which they simply implement.
  • Determine their abilities to collaborate and interrelate with other consultants.

These pointers are suggested in budgeting for and pricing services:

  • Budget for training at the start of the fiscal year, averaging 10% of gross sales.
  • See training as an investment (short-term and long-term), not to be short-changed.
  • Every size of business needs training.
  • The company which makes the small investment on the front end (training) saves higher costs. Research shows that training investments foregone are multiplied six-fold in opportunity costs each year that action is put off. (This is another of my trademarked concepts, known as The High Cost of Doing Nothing.)

Questions to consider in evaluating training providers include:

  • Would you feel comfortable if they ran your company?
  • What is their longevity? Were they consultants 10-20 years ago? Consultants must have at least a 10-year track record to be at all viable as a judgment resource.
  • What is their maturity level? Could they appear before a board of directors?
  • How do they meet deadlines, initiate projects and offer ideas beyond the obvious?
  • If one level of consultant sells the business, will this same professional service your account? Big firms usually bring in junior associates after the sale is made. Demand that consultants of seniority staff the project.
  • How consistent are they with specific industries, types of projects and clients?
  • How good a generalist are they? Trainers with too narrow a niche will not ultimately serve your best interests.

Professional status is important. Prospective clients should inquire about the consultant’s:

  • Respect among current and recent clients.
  • Reputation among affected constituencies within the business community.
  • Activity in professional development and business education. If they do not pursue ongoing knowledge progression, they are obsolete and not valuable to clients.
  • Track record at mentoring other business professionals. Check to see that they give beyond the scope of billable hours.
  • Pro-bono community involvement. If they have done little or none, they are not worth hiring. Top professionals know the value of giving back to the community that supports them, becoming better consultants as a result.

The ideal training provider:

  • Clearly differentiates what he/she does…and will not presume to ‘do it all.’
  • Is a tenured full-time consultant, not a recently down-sized corporate employee or somebody seeking your work to ‘tide themselves over.’
  • Has actually run a business.
  • Has consulted companies of comparable size and complexity as yours.
  • Has current references and case histories.
  • Gives ‘value-added’ insight…in contrast to simply performing tasks.
  • Sees the scope of work as a professional achievement…rather than just billable hours.
  • Pursues client relationship building…as opposed to just rendering a contract service.

7 Biggest Benefits of Training:

  1. Measurements. Test scores, grades, class rankings, GPA, SAT, professional certifications, licensing examinations, juried awards. Whether in school or business, we are all measured. Knowledge helps to make and predict society’s measurements which are expected.
  2. Thinking-Reasoning Skills. What we learn is important. Further, what we do with lessons, how facts are interpreted, how we approach problems and the faculties of common sense are vital to economic, social and self-betterment success.
  3. Socialization-People Skills. Through trial-and-error, success-and-failure and the observation of other people’s strengths-and-weaknesses, we learn how to live and work with others. Mastering people skills makes for win-win propositions.
  4. Professional Development. Education does not stop after the highest degree completed…it merely begins. Training, professional enrichment, membership in associations and constructive business interaction are vital for career longevity and economic independence.
  5. Mentorship. Learning from others takes a higher plateau when under the wings of experts. Mentorship (which has seven levels) is a stairstep process of bettering all participants. Meaningful lessons, paying dues and developing relationships empower those who make the effort “go the distance.” Learning from different, ususual and informed sources is the art of mentorship.
  6. Earning Power. Education (formal schooling, professional development and enhanced-relationship study) has a direct relationship to financial rewards. It begins with school but bears fruit in the willingness to learn, change and grow professionally.
  7. Future Life. A truly successful person commits to mentoring others, giving back, mastering change and never failing to learn. Education is more than confirming one’s held beliefs. It plants knowledge roots, which sprout in ideas, applicabilities and lifelong insights.

I recommend that team building training be conducted as part of a company Strategic Plan, with top management participating. Companies must plan…predicting (rather than reacting to) strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Professional development must be offered to every employee, including mentoring for top executives and up-and-coming young people. Education should show decision makers all phases of the organization and what it takes to succeed and grow, personally and as a team.

Topics recommended to be taught:

  • Marketplace factors outside your company, how they can hurt or help your business.
  • Generational work ethics and why young people need executive mentoring to ‘go the distance’ in their careers, offering value to the company and profession.
  • Understanding the value of conducting independent company assessments, other than the ‘bean counter’ approach.
  • Workplace literacy. Much of the work force does not have basic skills, nor reasoning abilities. They embrace technology, rather than ideas and concepts.
  • Understand and celebrate diversity. This is a blessing, not a mandate.
  • Accept and embrace change. Research shows change is 90% beneficial. So why do people fight what is best for them?
  • What business the company is really in…why…where they are headed…with what resources-knowledge-skills…on what timeline…who plays a part in growth…and how (the process known as Visioning).

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- Anniversaries Honor the Past and Build Support for the Future

Anniversaries are important milestones. Organizations reflect on their heritage and accomplishments. In doing so, they build and widen stakeholder bases, enabling organizations to grow for the future.

I’ve recommended anniversary celebrations to client companies before. In each case, the results were phenomenal, because they took the effort to mount anniversary celebrations. In 1978, I was advising Uniroyal Tire Company. They wanted to sponsor a 40th anniversary for Little League Baseball. My research revealed that their company had in fact founded LLB, which younger generations of management did not know.

In 1998, I advised the Disney corporation and reminded them that Walt Disney’s 100th birthday in 2001 would offer great marketing and positioning opportunities. In 2007, I was advising the credit union industry of America, reminding them that their upcoming 100th anniversary in 2009 would provide outreach opportunities for chapter members around the country. This was news to them, and they jumped on it with relish. I’m the person who planted the ideas and strategy. Great organizations work tirelessly to celebrate and involve their customers.

When one reflects at changes, he-she sees directions for the future. Change is innovative. Customs come and go…some should pass and others might well have stayed with us. The past is an excellent barometer for the future. One can always learn from the past, dust it off and reapply it. Living in the past is not good, nor is living in the present without wisdom of the past.

Here are some recent celebrations that drew acclaim and participation: Rice University, 100th in 2012. Star Furniture, 100th in 2012. Houston Symphony Orchestra, 100th in 2013. Civil Rights Act, 50th. Beatles coming to America, 50th. The Port of Houston, 100th in 2014. “The Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key, 200th in 2014.

These anniversaries should be celebrated in 2015: The Galleria, 45th. The Astrodome, 50th. University of Texas System, 50th. Houston Ballet, 60th. Houston Grand Opera, 60th. Texas Medical Center, 70th. “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll, 150th.

These anniversaries should be celebrated in 2016: Houston Community College, 45th. Star Trek, 50th. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 75th. Houston Livestock Show and Rode, 85th. Gulf Oil, 100th. The Houston Chronicle, 115th. University of Texas Medical Branch, 125th. Scholz Garden in Austin (Texas’ oldest bar), 150th. Sir Isaac Newton discovering gravity, 350th.

These anniversaries should be celebrated in 2017: NASA’s move to Houston, 55th. launching of the world’s first satellite, Sputnik, 60th. The Alley Theatre, 70th. Texas Southern University, 70th. The Gulf Freeway (Texas’ first), 70th. The University of Houston, 90th. Exxon (Humble Oil & Refining Company), 100th. Phillips Petroleum, 100th.

These anniversaries should be celebrated in 2018: Metropolitan Transit Authority, 40th. Houston Public Television, 65th. Baylor College of Medicine moved to Houston, 75th. The Heights annexed by City of Houston, 100th. End of World War I, 100th. “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, 200th.

These anniversaries should be celebrated in 2019: Houston Intercontinental Airport, 50th. NASA lunar landing, 50th. Suez Canal, 150th.

There are seven kinds of anniversary reunions:

  1. Pleasurable. Seeing an old friend who has done well, moved in a new direction and is genuinely happy to see you too. These include chance meetings, reasons to reconnect and a concerted effort by one party to stay in the loop.
  2. Painful. Talking to someone who has not moved forward. It’s like the conversation you had with them 15 years ago simply resumed. They talk only about past matters and don’t want to hear what you’re doing now. These include people with whom you once worked, old romances, former neighbors and networkers who keep turning up like bad pennies and colleagues from another day and time.
  3. Mandated. Meetings, receptions, etc. Sometimes, they’re pleasurable, such as retirement parties, open houses, community service functions. Other times, they’re painful, such as funerals or attending a bankruptcy creditors’ meeting.
  4. Instructional. See what has progressed and who have changed. Hear the success stories. High school reunions fit into this category, their value depending upon the mindset you take with you to the occasion.
  5. Reflect Upon the Past. Reconnecting with old friends, former colleagues and citizens for whom you have great respect. This is an excellent way to share each other’s progress and give understanding for courses of choice.
  6. Benchmarking. Good opportunities to compare successes, case studies, methodologies, learning curves and insights. When “the best” connects with “the best,” this is highly energizing.
  7. Goal Inspiring. The synergy of your present and theirs inspires the future. Good thinkers are rare. Stay in contact with those whom you know, admire and respect. It will benefit all involved.

7 Levels of Learning from the Past:

  1. Re-reading, reviewing and finding new nuggets in old files.
  2. Applying pop culture to today.
  3. Review case studies and their patterns for repeating themselves.
  4. Discern the differences between trends and fads.
  5. Learn from successes and three times more from failures.
  6. Transition your focus from information to knowledge.
  7. Apply thinking processes to be truly innovative.

When we see how far we have come, it gives further direction for the future. Ideas make the future happen. Technology is but one tool of the trade. Futurism is about people, ideas and societal evolution, not fads and gimmicks. The marketplace tells us what they want, if we listen carefully. We also have an obligation to give them what they need.

Apply history to yourself. The past repeats itself. History is not something boring that you once studied in school. It tracks both vision and blind spots for human beings. History can be a wise mentor and help you to avoid making critical mistakes.

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.