StrategyDriven Expert Contributor Hank Moore

The Big Picture of Business – Business Success Checklist

When you own and operate a business you need to have certain procedures for an efficient and seamless function. Sometimes the difficulty of managing your time makes for a haphazard operation. An inefficient operation results in unproductive activities which often miss the point and worse yet, result in wasted time and wasted resources.

One of the ways in which you can optimize your business activities would be the focus and attention to detail that a checklist can stimulate. Here is my own business success checklist that will help you optimize your activities for a more efficient and purpose oriented endeavor. Success is inevitable.

Clearly defined purpose.
Having a clearly defined purpose will focus your activities to a customer-oriented perspective. When a business loses sight of the customer and what they really need they often run into difficulties. Your clearly defined purpose can also center the attention and be a source of inspiration for your employees.

Provide leadership.
A leader’s purpose and job is to give direction and purpose and motivate his people. Leaders must also provide support for the emotional needs of their employees while they are at work and even sometimes when they bring personal concerns to the working place. The business absolutely needs energetic and emotionally mature leaders for it to prosper.

Focus on excellence.
When a company is content with being merely mediocre it may survive but it will never do extremely well. The company must have an emphasis on high standards, a desire to create and give value to customers, accountability to the employers and to your customers, and the drive to learn. If these are incorporated into the culture of your company a culture of excellence in all things will soon be prevalent.

Plan for the future.
When your business has contingency plans for future scenarios you will seldom be caught by surprise. You never know when the next big recession will hit. Most successful businesses have planned responses to most scenarios because they took the time to think “What If”. It is important to identify swings and trends so that innovation can remain a strength of your business.

Instill discipline.
This is often an unpopular issue but this is a critical matter. The sharp focus and direction on your objectives and goals can only be maintained with constant monitoring of your procedures and processes. Whether your focus is on customer service, profits, investing, marketing, or company growth a constant awareness of your current position in relation to where you want to be is essential.

Business Success Checklist

1. The business you’re in

  • Study and refine your own core business characteristics.
  • Understand “The Business You’re In” and how it fits into the core business.
  • Design and re-engineering of products-services.
  • Development of technical abilities, specialties and expertise.
  • Utilization of industry consultants or technical specialists.
  • Development of core business supplier relationships.
  • Make investments toward quality controls.

2. Running the business

  • Objective analysis of how the organization has operated to date.
  • Formalize the organizational structure.
  • Document practices, procedures, operations and structure in writing.
  • Communicate policies and procedures to employees.
  • Physical plant is regularly studied, updated and modified.
  • Distribution standards are documented, practiced and measured.
  • Time management and “just in time” concepts are applied.
  • Plans are in writing to address inventories and reducing surplus.
  • Legal compliance and precautions plan is annually updated, with measurable goals.
  • Outsourcing, privatizing and collaborating plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Purchasing plan (with processes and vendor lists) is in writing.
  • Repair and maintenance contracts are routinely maintained.
  • Purchase and lease of equipment plan is annually updated, with measurable goals.
  • Continuous quality improvement plan is annually updated, with measurable goals.

3. Financial

  • Cost containment is one (but not the only) factor of company operations.
  • Each product-service is budgeted.
  • Long-term investments plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Assets are adequately valued and managed.
  • Cash flow, forecasting and budgeting are consistently monitored.
  • Written, consistent policies with payables and receivables are followed.
  • Strategic Plan includes provisions for refinancing, equity and debt financing.
  • Accounting firm utilization plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Banking and investing plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Payables plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Receivables plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Finance charges are negotiated.
  • Insurance plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Benefits plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.

4. People

  • Corporate culture reflects a formal Visioning Program.
  • Employees know their jobs, are empowered to make decisions and have high morale in carrying the company banner forward.
  • Top management has as a priority the need to develop and practice People development, skills and team building responsibilities.
  • Human Resources program is active, professional and responsive to the organization.
  • Incentives-rewards-bonus plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Personnel Policies and Procedures are written, and distributed to all employees.
  • Each employee has his-her own Position Results Oriented Description plan.
  • Training plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Professional development plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.

5. Business development

  • All members of top management have Business Development responsibilities.
  • Company has and regularly fine-tunes a communications strategy.
  • Sales plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Marketing plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Advertising plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Public relations plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Research plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Marketplace development plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Creative collaborator-vendor plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.

6. Body of Knowledge

  • Consultant plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Performance reviews are conducted annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Company learns how to benefit from changes.
  • Organization predicts and stays ahead of trends.
  • The company leads the industry.
  • Everything that goes on outside our company affects our business.
  • Willingness to invest in research.
  • Commitment toward collaboration and working with other companies.
  • Maintains active government and regulator relations program.
  • Maintains active community relations program.

7. The Big Picture

  • Shared Vision is crafted, articulated and followed.
  • Ongoing emphasis upon updating, fine-tuning and improving the corporate culture.
  • CEO accepts and ideas and philosophies with employees and stakeholders.
  • Creative business practices are most welcome here.
  • Strategic planning is viewed as vital to business survival and future success.
  • Outside-the-box thinking does indeed apply to us and will be sought.
  • The organization maintains and lives by an ethics statement.
  • The organization subscribes to continuous quality improvement ideologies-processes.
  • Maintains active crisis preparedness and prevention program.

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.

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor Hank Moore

The Big Picture of Business – Tribute to a Great Mentor. Remembering Cactus Pryor.

One never forgets their first mentor. I have had several great ones, who in turn taught me the value of passing it on to others. That’s why I advise businesses, write books, speak at conferences and more.

That first great mentor sticks with you always. Mine was legendary humorist and media figure Cactus Pryor. He died August 30, 2011 at the age of 88.

I started working for him in 1958, at KTBC Radio in Austin, Texas. A new show had premiered on TV entitled American Bandstand. I was 10 years old and wanted to be the Dick Clark of local media. Cactus was the program director and morning radio personality. His show, filled with humor, humanity and music, was the natural lead-in to Arthur Godfrey Time, which we carried from the CBS Radio Network.

Cactus was 34 at the time that he began mentoring me. He had grown up around show business. His father, Skinny Pryor, owned a movie theatre and entertained audiences with comedy routines during intermissions. Cactus was inspired by all that he saw. He joined KTBC as a disc jockey in 1945, becoming program director. When the station signed on its TV station on Thanksgiving Day, 1952, Cactus was the first personality on the screen. He welcomed viewers and introduced the first two programs, the University of Texas vs. Texas A&M football game, followed by the Howdy Doody Show from the NBC-TV Network.

Cactus had been doing his morning show from his home, with his kids as regulars, with the repartee being similar to Art Linkletter interviewing children. Early in 1958, he was doing his morning show back in the studio. I started as his regular on Saturday mornings, and he gave me segments to do.

From him, I learned several early valuable lessons:

  • You cannot be a carbon copy of everyone else. He wanted me to like and respect Dick Clark but not become a clone of him.
  • Being one of a kind is a long quest. He wanted me to set my own tone and not be labeled by others.

From Cactus Pryor and a 24-year old newscaster named Bill Moyers, I learned that if you take the dirtiest job and do it better than everyone else, you will be a solid expert. In the good old days of regulated broadcasting, stations had to keep logs of the music, to avoid the hint of Payola (a growing controversy at the time). I kept the logs and learned about the music, the record companies, the composers and much more.

Stations also had to perform Community Ascertainment by going into the community, inquiring about issues, and assuring that broadcasting addressed those issues. That’s where I learned to file license renewals. That’s where I learned the value of public service announcements and public affairs program, which deregulation precluded broadcasting from doing. From that mentoring, I fell in love with the non-profit culture, the organizations and the client bases affected by them. That early Community Ascertainment lead me to the lifelong championing of not-for-profit groups and their fine works. From that experience, I still advise corporations to set up non-profit foundations and do good deeds.

The early days of television were creative. Cactus hosted a local variety show on Channel 7. He interviewed interesting locals, showcased local talent and did comedy material. One of his advertisers was an appliance store and, while showing the latest TV sets, Cactus kicked their screens to demonstrate their rugged qualities. When the station left its first temporary home at the transmitter atop Mount Larson, Cactus was carried out in the chair in which he was sitting, a symbol that the variety show would move to the new studio at the corner of 6th and Brazos.

Cactus began developing special characters, with unique personas. That first year in which I worked with him, he created a puppet, Theopolous P. Duck. It was inspired by Edgar Bergen’s characters. Mr. Duck delivered jokes with a cultured accent. He appeared in comedy spoof segments on local KTBC-TV shows, such as Now Dig This (hosted by Ricci Ware), Woman’s World (hosted by Jean Covert Boone) and the Uncle Jay Show (hosted by Jay Hodgson).

During that time, he developed a famous sign-off phrase. Network stars had their own, such Garry Moore’s “Be very kind to each other.” Cactus used the phrase: “Thanks a lot. Lots of luck. And thermostrockamortimer.” He joked that his made-up term meant “go to hell.” But really, he wanted to tantalize people into thinking bigger thoughts and being their best.

Cactus loved to play on words, giving twists to keep the listeners alert. He used turns of phrases such as “capital entertainment for the capitol city” and “that solid sound in Austin town.” In talking breaks for our sister station (KRGV), he said “that solid sound in the valley round.”

He taught me how to deliver live commercials and to ad-lib. In those days, we would do live remotes for advertisers, inviting people to come out, get prizes and meet us at the external location. Doing such remotes got us appearance fees, and they really drew for the advertisers.

Through the remotes, I learned how to feed lines and develop the talent to speak in sound bites, as I do for business media interviews to this day. I was with Cactus at a remote for Armstrong-Johnson Ford. The out-cue was to describe the 1959 Ford model. Cactus said, “It’s sleek and dazzling, from its car-front to its car-rear.” That was a cue for the studio DJ to play a commercial for the Career Shop, a clothing retailer. Today, when I use nouns as verbs and place business terms out of context to make people think creatively, I’m thinking back to Cactus Pryor.

One remote on which I joined Cactus was for the fourth KFC franchise in the United States. We got to interview Colonel Harlan Sanders on his new business venture. Little did I know that, 20 years later, KFC would be a corporate client of mine, and I would be advising them how to vision forward, following the Colonel’s death.

Music programming was important to Cactus Pryor and, thus, to me. Mentees of his understood and advocated broad musical playlists, with the variety to appeal broadly. Under a “service radio” format, different dayparts showcased different musical genres. He believed that virtually any record could be played, within context. One of the programming tricks that I taught him was to commemorate Bing Crosby’s birthday each May by playing “White Christmas” and other holiday hits out of season, which got the listeners fascinated.

In those days, you could play rock n’ roll hits from the KTBC Pop Poll, a list that was circulated to local record stars as a cross-promotion. There were also positions in the “clock” devoted to easy listening artists, instrumentals, country cross-overs and what Cactus called “another KTBC golden disc, time tested for your pleasure.”

Cactus liked rock n’ roll but wanted to see that easy listening records got proper attention. He would indicate his interest in notes on the green shucks that encased the records. As a write this section, I’m holding “Many a Time,” a 1958 release by Steve Lawrence, an easy-listening star who was beginning to also be considered a teen idol. Here’s the dialog from this record jacket: “Plug hard as hell. Experiment to see if we can get it on the Pop Poll. Cactus.” One of the DJ’s wrote, “How hard is hell?” Cactus wrote a reply, “Hard, ain’t it hard.” Steve Lawrence would subsequently have many teen hits (Pretty Blue Eyes, Portrait of My Love, Go Away Little Girl, Walking Proud, etc.).

Humor was the beacon over everything that he did. Cactus began recording comedy records, such as Point of Order on the Four Star Label and still others for Austin-based Trinity Records. He began writing a humorous newspaper column, Cacti’s Comments.

Besides his radio work, Cactus Pryor got bookings as an after-dinner speaker. In the early years, he gave comedy monologues and historical narratives. Always lively and entertaining, he inspired audiences to think the bigger ideas and look beyond the obvious. I follow his tenets in delivering business keynotes and facilitating think tanks and corporate retreats.

His gigs got more humorous. Cactus created different personas, replete with costume and makeup. His first was a European diplomat who had the same voice and inflection as Theopolous P. Duck. He would deliver funny zingers, often touching upon political sacred cows. Then, he would peel off the mustache and ask, “Ain’t it tacky?” He would then divulge that he actually was humorist Cactus Pryor from Austin, Texas. The act was well accepted and perfected during the era when our boss, Lyndon B. Johnson, was President of the United States.

Cactus did national TV variety shows. He was the “other Richard Pryor.” He continued developing characters and entertaining audiences up through the 1990’s, when his son Paul had begun doing the circuit as well. Paul is a funny satirist as well, something that I had known back when he was a school buddy of my sister Julie.

John Wayne called Cactus “one of the funniest guys around” and invited him to appear in two classic Wayne movies, The Green Berets and The Hellfighters. I recall visiting Cactus on the set of The Green Berets in Benning, Georgia, and seeing him keep stars John Wayne, David Janssen, Jim Hutton and Bruce Cabot in stitches in between shots and poker games.

Though national fame beckoned, he kept his roots in Austin, claiming, “There is no way to follow laughs onstage but with pancakes at City Park.” He stayed in his beloved Centex community. He did write books on Texana and history. There were contributions to the news-talk stations. He kept active until the Alzheimer’s.

These are some lasting business-equitable things that I learned from my first mentor (Cactus Pryor), and I’ve shared them with corporations and audiences all over this world:

  • A great mentor, teacher and role model need not be from the same strata as those whom he-she inspires.
  • Top executives must set standards that others aspire to…including themselves. We train people to be trustworthy.
  • A Body of Work takes time, energy, resources and lots of heart to produce. This holds true for any company-organization and for any person.
  • Defining what is good taste is a matter of judgment, perspective and experience.
  • The process of sharpening and amassing life and professional skills is ongoing.
  • As an integrated process of life skills, career has its place.
  • Whatever measure you give will be the measure that you get back.
  • Getting and having are not the same thing.
  • One cannot live entirely through work.
  • One doesn’t just work to live.

And these are some of the insights that I have developed, inspired by his early mentoring:

  • Never assume that people place high priorities on anything other than meeting their immediate needs. After they’ve used you, they’ll forget you.
  • Set boundaries soon and often. Otherwise, it haunts you for the rest of your life and clouds your productivity. Too much focus is on what you wish you would have said, done and accomplished.
  • See through showboaters. Those who brag about contacts rarely have a clue. Dreamers and schemers are allowed to get by because of other people’s gullible, undiscerning and unsophisticated natures.
  • Learn to say no without apologizing. Say it neutrally and strongly. Mean it.
  • Put things in a crisis mode to illustrate your points. That’s what lawyers do. Couch planning as the only way to avert a crisis. Expect the best, but prepare for the worst. 85 percent of the time, proper planning averts crisis.
  • Etiquette is a direct reflection of what people were/were not taught. Their trustworthiness is reflected in the way they handle themselves, through walking etiquette, elevator etiquette, telephone etiquette, meeting etiquette and networking etiquette. People who we think should know better often do not.
  • Don’t make the margin of profit too low. Once you set low perimeters, people see them as the top ends. They will cut and skim. They will see you as the low-cost provider.
  • People get what they pay for… always have, always will.
  • Senior corporate executives, especially those who rose to the rank of CEO, have had to adapt more in their careers than young people who never rise past mid-management. When young people want it all now and think they know enough, older people are wise enough to see the longer perspective.
  • Things are never simple for one who must make decisions and policies. Many factors must be weighed.
  • One cannot always go the path that seems clearest. One who thinks differently and creatively will face opposition. With success of the concept, it gets embraced by others, who claim to have been visionary all along.
  • Shepherding good ideas and concepts does not get many external plaudits. The feeling of accomplishment must be internal. That is a true mark of wisdom.

Those of us who have known and worked with Cactus Pryor will never forget his humor, his sense of fairness, his encouraging ways, the twinkle in his eyes and the lasting impacts made on our later successes.

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.

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor 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.

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor 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.

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor 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.