The Big Picture of Business: Leadership for the New Order of Business Part 2

Within every corporate and structure, there exists a stair-step ladder. One enters the ladder at some professional level and is considered valuable for the category of services for which he or she has expertise. This ladder holds true for managers and employees within the organization, as well as outside consultants brought in.

Each professional rung on the ladder is important. At whatever level one enters the ladder, he-she should be trained, measured for performance and fit into the organization’s overall scope. This is the stair-step, paralleling The Business Tree:

  1. Resource. One has experience with equipment, tools, materials and schedules.
  2. Skills and Tasks. One is concerned with activities, procedures and project fulfillment.
  3. Role and Job. The position is defined according to assignments, responsibilities, functions, relationships, follow-through and accountability.
  4. Systems and Processes. These are managers, concerned with structure, hiring, control, work design, supervision and the effects of management decisions.
  5. Strategy. These executives spend much of their energies on planning, tactics, organizational development and business development.
  6. Culture and Mission. Upper management is most effective when it frames business decisions toward values, customs, beliefs, goals, objectives and the benchmarking of tactics.
  7. Philosophy. These are the visionaries who advise management in refining the organizational purpose, vision, quality of life, ethics and contributions toward the company’s long-term growth.

One rarely advances more than one rung on the ladder during the course of service to the organization unless he/she embodies that wider scope. The professional who succeeds the most is the one who sees himself/herself in the bigger picture and contextualizes what they do accordingly.

Value-added leadership is a healthy way of professional life that puts collaborations first. When all succeed, then profitability is much higher and more sustained than under the Hard Nose management style.

Value-added leadership requires a senior team commitment. Managers and employees begin seeing themselves as leaders and grow steadily into those roles. It is not acceptable to be a clone of what you perceive someone else to be. Those organizations and managers who use terms like ‘world class’ are usually wanna-be’s who won’t ever quite make the measuring stick.

Leadership means being consistently excellent and upholding standards to remain so. There is no such thing as perfection. Yet, excellence is a definitive process of achievement, dedication and expeditious use of resources. Exponential improvement each year is the objective.

Good professionals must be role models. Leadership comes from inner quests, ethical pursuits and professional diligence. Often, we teach others what we were never taught or what we learned the hard way. That’s how this book came into being…there was no executive encyclopedia for those to make it long-term. Those who take that knowledge into practice will lead their business and industry.

If every executive devoted at least 10% of his-her time to these activities, then corporate scandals would not occur. Thinking and reasoning skills are not taught in school, and they are amassed through a wealth of professional experiences. Planning is the thread woven through this book, and it is the key to the future. One can never review progress enough, with benchmarking being the key to implementing plans.

Many organizations fall into the trap of calling what they are doing a ‘tradition.’ That is an excuse used by many to avoid change and accountability. Just because something has been done one or two times, realize that it will get old and stale. Traditions are philosophies that are regularly fine-tuned, with elements added. Traditions are not stuck in ruts, though failing companies are.

If I could determine curriculum, every business school would require public speaking and writing courses. I’d have every professional development program devote more to leadership and thinking skills than they do to computer training. I’d also have courses with such titles as ‘The Business Executive as Community Leader,’ ‘Mentoring Your Own Staff’ and ‘Role Model 101.’

Management leads in strategically planned companies

Companies that are planned and have developed strategies to meet the future now subscribe to results based management, with the goal to improve program effectiveness, accountability and achieve results. This means that company leadership is committed to:

  • Establishing clear organizational vision, mission and priorities, which are translated into a four-year framework of goals, outputs, indicators, strategies and resources.
  • Encouraging an organizational and management culture that promotes innovation, learning, accountability, and transparency.
  • Delegating authority, empowering managers and holding them accountable for results.
  • Focusing on achieving results, through strategic planning, regular monitoring of progress, evaluation of performance, and reporting on performance.
  • Creating supportive mechanisms, policies and procedures, building and improving on what is already in place.
  • Sharing information, knowledge, learning lessons and feeding these back into improving decision-making and performance.
  • Optimizing human resources and building capacity among staff to manage for results.
  • Making the best use of financial resources in an efficient manner to achieve results.
  • Strengthening and diversifying partnerships at all levels.
  • Responding to external situations and needs within the organizational mandate.
  • We are the products of those who believe in us. Find role models and set out to be one yourself. To get, you must give. Career and life are not a short stint. Do what it takes to run the decathlon. Set personal and professional goals, standards and accountability.

    Stand for something. Making money is not enough. You must do something worth leaving behind, mentoring to others and of recognizable substance. Your views of professionalism must be known and shown.

    Mentoring and lifelong learning

    Professionals who succeed the most are the products of mentoring. I heartily endorse those that find a great mentor. I have had many excellent ones in my long career and have in turn mentored hundreds of others.

    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.

    The mentor endorses the mentee, messages ways to approach issues, helps draw distinctions and paints pictures of success. The mentor opens doors for the mentee. The mentor requests pro-active changes of mentee, evaluates realism of goals and offers truths about path to success and shortcomings of mentee’s approaches. This is a bonded collaboration toward each other’s success. The mentor stands for mentees throughout their careers and celebrates their successes. This is a lifelong dedication toward mentorship… in all aspects of one’s life.

    The most significant lessons that I learned in my business life from mentors, verified with experience, are shared here:

    1. You cannot go through life as a carbon copy of someone else.
    2. You must establish your own identity, which is a long, exacting process.
    3. As you establish a unique identity, others will criticize. Being different, you become a moving target.
    4. People criticize you because of what you represent, not who you are. It is rarely personal against you. Your success may bring out insecurities within others. You might be what they cannot or are not willing to become.
    5. If you cannot take the dirtiest job in any company and do it yourself, then you will never become ‘management.’
    6. Approach your career as a body of work. This requires planning, purpose and commitment. It’s a career, not just a series of jobs.
    7. The person who is only identified with one career accomplishment or by the identity of one company for whom he-she formerly worked is a one-hit wonder and, thus, has no body of work.
    8. The management that takes steps to “fix themselves” rather than always projecting problems upon other people will have a successful organization.
    9. It’s not when you learn. It’s that you learn.
    10. Many people do without the substantive insights into business because they have not really developed critical thinking skills.
    11. Analytical and reasoning skills are extensions of critical thinking skills.
    12. You perform your best work for free. How you fulfill commitments and pro-bono work speaks to the kind of professional that you are.
    13. People worry so much what others think about them. If they knew how little others thought, they wouldn’t worry so much. This too is your challenge to frame how they see you and your company.
    14. Fame is fleeting and artificial. The public is fickle and quick to jump on the newest flavor, without showing loyalty to the old ones, especially those who are truly original. Working in radio, I was taught, ‘They only care about you when you’re behind the microphone.’
    15. The pioneer and ‘one of a kind’ professional has a tough lot in life. It is tough to be first or so far ahead of the curve that others cannot see it. Few will understand you. Others will attain success with portions of what you did. None will do it as well.
    16. Consumers are under-educated and don’t know the substance of a pioneer. Our society takes more to the copycats and latest fads. Only the pioneer knows and appreciates what he/she really accomplished. That reassurance will have to be enough.
    17. Life and careers include peaks and valleys. It’s how one copes during the ‘down times’ that is the true measure of success.
    18. Long-term success must be earned. It is not automatic and is worthless if ill-gotten. The more dues one pays, the more you must continue paying.
    19. The next best achievement is the one you’re working on now, inspired by your body of knowledge to date.
    20. The person who never has aggressively pursued a dream or mounted a series of achievements cannot understand the quest of one with a deeply committed dream.
    21. A great percentage of the population does not achieve huge goals but still admires and learns from those who do persevere and succeed. The achiever thus becomes a lifelong mentor to others.
    22. Achievement is a continuum, but it must be benchmarked and enjoyed along the way.

    These are my concluding pieces of leadership advice. Know where you are going. Develop, update and maintain a career growth document. Keep a diary of lessons learned but not soon forgotten. Learn the reasons for success and, more importantly, from failure.

    Good bosses were good employees. They have keen understanding for both roles. Bad bosses likely were not ideal employees. They too are consistent in career history.

    Being your own boss is yet another lesson. People who were downsized from a corporate environment suddenly enter the entrepreneurial world and find the transition to be tough.

    Poor people skills cloud any job performance and overshadow good technical skills. The worst bosses do not sustain long careers at the top. Their track record catches up with them, whether they choose to acknowledge it or not.

    Good workers don’t automatically become good bosses. Just because someone is technically proficient or is an exemplary producer does not mean that he-she will transition to being a boss. The best school teachers do not want to become principals, for that reason. Good job performers are better left doing what they do best. Administrators, at all levels, need to be properly trained as such, not bumped up from the field to do something for which they have no inclination.

    Truth and ethics must be woven into how you conduct business. If you do not ‘walk the talk,’ who will? Realize that very little of what happens to you in business is personal. Find common meeting grounds with colleagues. The only workable solution is a win-win.

    Leadership and executive development skills are steadily learned and continually sharpened. One course or a quick-read book will not instill them. The best leaders are prepared to go the distance. Professional enrichment must be life-long. Early formal education is but a starting point. Study trends in business, in your industry and in the industries of your customers.
    People skills mastery applies to every profession. There is no organization that does not have to communicate to others about what it does. The process of open company dialogues must be developed to address conflicts, facilitate win-win solutions and further organizational goals.

    About the Author

    Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations). He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoke at five Economic Summits. He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, Futurism and Big Picture issues which profoundly affect the business climate. He conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree™ is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening and evolving business, while mastering change. To read Hank’s complete biography, click here.

    The Big Picture of Business: Leadership for the New Order of Business Part 1

    Just as companies have books of business and corporate cultures, so do individuals, who in turn populate and influence organizations. Last month, there were two of my columns on defining and recognizing what contributes to a Body of Work. The first used the analogies Fine, Aged Cheese and Valuable Antiques. The second looked through the analogies and focused upon business strategies and methodologies.

    I’m taking the same two-phase approach this month. This column looks through the prism of music and salutes the famed composer Burt Bacharach as the analogy for a fine, rich and definitive Body of Work. Next week’s follow-up takes it back to business and includes most of the great lessons of life that I successfully learned and applied.

    At the beginning of my career, I was a radio DJ. I started in 1958, a golden period for music. Because Payola was looming as an issue in our industry, we were required to keep logs of the songs that were played, containing the labels on which they appeared, the names of the composers and other information. In today’s industry, that would all be on spreadsheets. However, the manual writing of spreadsheets gave us the chance to digest and learn from the information, developing the skills to better program for our audience. To this day, I can look at the label of a record and, judging by the serial number, can tell you its date of release.

    A bunch of records were in the Top 40 at that time: ‘Magic Moments’ by Perry Como, ‘Story of My Life’ by Marty Robbins, ‘The Blob’ by the Five Blobs, ‘Another Time Another Place’ by Patti Page and ‘Hot Spell’ by Margaret Whiting. I zeroed into the fact that the music composer of all these diverse hits was Burt Bacharach, though the lyricists were different names.

    It occurred to me that this was a talent to watch, as I was already familiar with established composers such as George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and others. I sensed early-on that Bacharach would belong in that upper echelon on Tin Pan Alley icons. Concurrently, I became familiar with the work of other young emerging music composers, such as Carole King, Buddy Holly, Paul Anka, Barry Mann, Neil Sedaka, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

    Throughout the 1960’s, the music of Burt Bacharach and lyricist Hal David was everywhere. In the rock era, there were still hits and radio airplay for easy listening music, ballads, movie title songs and the like. The playlists were balanced and gave the public a full array of musical styles.

    One could spot a Bacharach tune because it had a definable style. Bacharach himself played piano on and conducted many of the important hits. His arrangements fit the performers and needs of each piece. Yet, the hits had identifiable traits of a Bacharach production. Many talented artists wanted to record his songs, with his arrangements. The public sought out recordings with his hits. All of that represents Body of Work for a composer.

    Through the 1960’s, Bacharach broadened and experimented in creative directions. There was a Broadway show, a TV musical revue, movie soundtracks and movie tie-in tunes. He hosted TV specials and performed concerts of his music.

    In the decades of the 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s, newer fans and younger generations kept discovering Burt Bacharach. His old songs spoke to them, were updated and re-recorded. He collaborated with other musical talents (Elvis Costello, Carole Bayer Sager and James Ingram). Every decade, he kept getting rediscovered and re-recorded. There were tribute concerts and retrospectives. The Body of Work stood the test of time and appealed to wider audiences.

    With the renewed interest in Burt Bacharach came the reissues of recordings. With the popularity of CDs came the retrospectives of his early work. Being a Bacharach fan, I acquired the compilations and fell in love with a whole new earlier Body of Work.

    There were songs that I had played on the radio but had not realized that they were by Burt Bacharach. These included ‘You’re Following Me’ by Perry Como, ‘Be True to Yourself’ by Bobby Vee, ‘Keep Me in Mind’ by Patti Page, ‘Heavenly’ by Johnny Mathis, ‘Take Me to Your Ladder’ by Buddy Clinton, ‘Along Came Joe’ by Merv Griffin, ‘Mexican Divorce’ by The Drifters, ‘The Night That Heaven Fell’ by Tony Bennett, ‘Blue on Blue’ by Bobby Vinton and ‘Don’t You Believe It’ by Andy Williams.

    Then came the motherlode. I started discovering all those songs from Bacharach’s early Body of Work that I had never heard before. As a Bacharach fan since 1958, I found myself in the same company as the younger music fans who have discovered his work and found relevance to their contemporary lives.

    My own personal favorites from these compilations (highly recommended that you hear, buy and download) include:

    • ‘I Looked For You’ by Charlie Gracie.
    • ‘Too Late To Worry’ by Babs Tino and Richard Anthony.
    • ‘Long Day, Short Night’ by The Shirelles, Dionne Warwick and Dawn Penn.
    • ‘With Open Arms’ by Jane Morgan
    • ‘Sittin’ in a Treehouse’ by Marty Robbins
    • ‘The Answer to Everything’ by Sam Fletcher
    • ‘Thirty Miles of Railroad Track’ by the Hammond Brothers

    What I found in these musical gems was magical. Many of those songs stood on their own merits, serving the needs of the performers at the time. They served as building blocks for what became the definitive Bacharach sound.

    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 strategized our career to be a long-term thing, as Burt Bacharach did.

    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.

    I’ll close by adding business analogies to some Burt Bacharach song hits:

    • ‘A House Is Not a Home’ – Organizations do not come with corporate cultures. They have to be nurtured. That’s the subject of Chapter 6 in my book, The Business Tree.
    • ‘Walk On By’ – Just because it is available business does not mean it is the best available. Go beyond the low-hanging fruit.
    • ‘There’s Always Something There to Remind Me’ – Go back through your old files. Uncover what inspired you in the first place. It becomes the beacon toward your future.
    • ‘Errand of Mercy’ – People can speak on your behalf and should be encouraged to do so. That does not absolve you from authoritatively stating your own case.
    • ‘They Long To Be Close To You’ – Success breeds more success. That signals the need to weed out those who will take unfair advantage. Some networkers are users.
    • ‘Odds and Ends of a Beautiful Love Affair’ – Go back and examine your company’s strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats.
    • ‘What the World Needs Now’ – Ethics and social responsibility must be parts of the business strategy.
    • ‘Knowing When to Leave’ – The way that we end business relationships is just as important as the manner in which they begin.
    • ‘Don’t Make Me Over’ – Branding is NOT strategy. Every way in which a company markets must be commensurate and fit under definable business strategies.
    • ‘That’s Not the Answer’ – When consultants peddle ‘solutions,’ that’s a vendor term for what they have to sell. Companies need to determine what they, and real business advisers will get them to that awareness.
    • ‘There Goes the Forgotten Man’ – If someone is identified by one job, then that’s not a Body of Work.
    • ‘Any Day Now’ – Perseverance pays off. That’s how businesses survive and go to the next plateau.
    • ‘My Little Red Book’ – Having a network of friends and resources is important.
    • ‘The Windows of the World’ – We are a global economy and must learn the business protocols of others. Going global is essential, and there are nuances to its effectiveness.
    • ‘Arthur’s Theme, Best That You Can Do’ – Employees should be encouraged to be their best. Empowered work teams are more valuable to the organization. Effective leaders encourage people to be their best, and it will benefit the company. That’s the subject of Chapter 7 in my book, The Business Tree.
    • ‘Living Together, Growing Together’ – Collaborations, partnering and joint-venturing are the most important new trend in business. That’s the subject of Chapter 8 in my book, The Business Tree.
    • ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ – Category 6 on my Business Tree looks at forces outside your company that can profoundly affect the climate in which you do business. Learn how to identify and nurture your stakeholders.
    • ‘Loneliness Remembers What Happiness Forgets’ – We learn three times more from failure than success. Learning from failures is how successful strategies are built. That’s the subject of Chapter 9 in my book, The Business Tree.
    • ‘Overnight Success’ – Learn to go the distance. Most overnight successes reflect many years of dues-paying.
    • ‘Turn On Your Heartlight’ – When the company functions at its best, then it continues setting higher sites. Organizations in the right business for the right reasons tend to practice continuous quality improvement. That’s the subject of Chapter 10 in my book, The Business Tree.

    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 Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations). He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoke at five Economic Summits. He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, Futurism and Big Picture issues which profoundly affect the business climate. He conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree™ is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening and evolving business, while mastering change. To read Hank’s complete biography, click here.

    The Big Picture of Business – Fine Wine, Aged Cheese and Valuable Antiques: Part II

    StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business ArticleThe successful professional person takes the time and appropriates the resources to develop a Body of Work, rather than just hold jobs. Business is approached as a lifetime track record of accomplishments. This sophisticated and vital category includes:

    • Building a clear, cohesive, operational Vision for the individual.
    • Conceptualizing a specific action plan to be effective on all branches of the tree.
    • Facilitating programs where progress is measured and maintained.
    • Attentiveness to company obligations.
    • Maintaining a well-earned reputation.
    • Contributing much to the economy and communities in which one lives and works.
    • Taking concepts (quality management, ethics, outside-the-box thinking) out of the esoteric and into daily operation.
    • Recommending new ideas and business practices which surpass the niches of others.

    The Big Picture provides leadership for progress, rather than following along. The successful person develops and champions the tools to change. The quest is to manage change, rather than falling the victim of it.

    Body of Work encompasses leadership development, mentoring and creative ways of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change, rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

    Executives’ value to organizations, employees, customers, influential constituencies and ascendancy to management is a direct reflection of mastering the life skills.

    Organizations are populated with individuals who possess a plethora of education, skills and talents. Companies are comprised of human beings, who bring their culturalization (or lack of it) to the job. Thus, they set the pace for the tree (company) in question.

    Business professionals are the sum of their life experiences. People, like organizations, develop, grow and thrive. If not, they are of little market value in a career.

    Core Values Worksheet: Criteria for Basing Your Professional Vision

    1. Core Industry… The Business You’re In.
    2. Rendering the Service… Administering Your Work.
    3. Accountability… Qualities with Which You Work.
    4. Your Relationships-Contributions to Other People… Colleagues, Stakeholders.
    5. Professional-Leadership Development… Your Path to the Future.
    6. Your Contributions to the Organization’s Overall Goals… Your Place in its Big Picture.
    7. Body of Work… Your Accomplishments to Date vs. Anticipated Future Output.

    Characteristics of a Top Professional:

    • Understands that careers evolve.
    • Prepares for the unexpected turns and benefit from them, rather than becoming the victim of them.
    • Realizes there are no quick fixes.
    • Finds a truthful blend of perception and reality… with sturdy emphasis upon substance, rather than style.
    • Has grown as a person and as a professional… and quests for more enlightenment.
    • Has succeeded and failed… and has learned from both.
    • Was a good ‘will be,’ taking enough time in early career years to steadily blossom… realizing that ‘fine wine’ status wouldn’t come quickly.
    • Has paid dues… and knows that, as the years go by, one’s dues paying accelerates, rather than decreases.

    Rising Stars

    Here are some characteristics of young people (rising stars) will make it as professionals and business leaders:

    • Act as though they will one day be management.
    • Think as a manager, not as a worker.
    • Learn and do the things it will take to assume management responsibility.
    • Be mentored by others.
    • Act as a mentor to still others.
    • Don’t expect status overnight.
    • Measure their output and expect to be measured as a profit center to the company.
    • Learn to pace…and be in the chosen career for the longrun.
    • Don’t expect that someone else will be the rescuer or enable you to cut corners in the path toward artificial success.
    • Learn from failures, reframing them as opportunities.
    • Learn to expect, predict, understand and relish success.
    • Behave as a gracious winner.
    • Acquire visionary perception.
    • Study and utilize marketing and business development techniques.
    • Contribute to the bottom line… directly and indirectly.
    • Offer value-added service.
    • Never stop paying dues… and see this continuum as ‘continuous quality improvement.’
    • Study and comprehend the subtleties of life.
    • Never stop learning, growing and doing. In short, never stop!

    And, If They Don’t…

    Here are characteristics of ‘wanna-be’s’ who do not choose to view their apprenticeships as a mode to grow, viewing it as a burden or unnecessary time. They think the dues paying process is for others, never themselves. Such persons will undoubtedly become stuck in the land of ‘never-gonna-be’ because they:

    • Perennially want the status that others have.
    • Will not go the distance or see their career as a longterm set of challenges.
    • Seek to become a carbon copy of someone else.
    • Fail to do adequate research into their industry and its business challenges.
    • Fail to pay sufficient dues.
    • Want a job, not a career.
    • Have poor people skills… and fail to improve them.
    • Show an unwillingness to learn beyond just the sheepskin on the wall.
    • Fail to show proper respect to their elders.
    • Assume they’re a senior member of the profession when they never mastered being an effective junior, let alone mastering the middle career years.
    • Constantly whine and say they are trying when they are not.
    • Use, abuse and knowingly waste the time of others.
    • Always have an excuse.
    • Skillfully learn to cover tracks and justify excuses.
    • Contend that it’s always someone else’s fault.
    • Maintain that ‘I can do that’ mentality… challenging seasoned professionals.
    • Don’t learn how to be a joiner.
    • Cannot ascend as a leader.
    • Always looking somewhere else, without appreciating the opportunities at hand.

    Differences Between a Career and a Job

    • Possession and nurturing of a dream.
    • An interest in pursuing and achieving, versus just doing something.
    • 20 hours a week.
    • Not knowing what a coffee break is.
    • Working smarter hours, not necessarily longer.
    • A career is not something that one retires from or puts on the shelf temporarily.
    • Thinking like the boss, whether or not you are it at this present position.
    • Money is not the dominant driving influence.
    • Training and professional development are rewards… not punishments.
    • The more you know, the more you realize what you don’t know…and proceed to learn.

    Truisms of a Career… and Life:

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

    The Moment of Truth

    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.

    Young people think that they can ‘have it all’ overnight. They don’t know how much they don’t know. Many aren’t willing to pay sufficient dues to ‘get there.’

    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.

    However, some basic tenets charted our course. To understand those tenets is to make full value out of the years ahead. The best is usually yet to come.

    Your output should be greater than the sum of your inputs. This is accomplished by reviewing the lessons of life, their contexts, their significances, their accountabilities, their shortcomings and their path in charting your future.

    Alas, all of us practice Futurism. It is not an esoteric concept. It is a potpourri of where we’ve been, why we’ve done well and what we’re going to do about the lessons learned. That’s the wholistic, common-sense approach to Futurism.

    About the Author

    Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations). He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoke at five Economic Summits. He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, Futurism and Big Picture issues which profoundly affect the business climate. He conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree™ is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening and evolving business, while mastering change. To read Hank’s complete biography, click here.

    The Big Picture of Business – Fine Wine, Aged Cheese and Valuable Antiques: Part I

    StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business ArticleA professional’s career and their collected Body of Work encompass time, energy, resources, perseverance and lots of commitment in order to produce. This holds true for any company, institution and for any person.

    The multiple parts of a successful company require care, attention, grooming and benchmarking. All branches must interact and contribute to the base of the organization. The base waters and feeds every part of the tree.

    There are three key ingredients in developing deep leadership roots. Long-term success for the company and a healthy career for the individual are attributable to:

    1. The manner in which an organization or professional lives and conducts business on a daily basis. I symbolize this with the analogy Fine Wine.
    2. The evolution, education, enrichment, professional development, training and life experiences that one amasses. This continuum is symbolized by the analogy Aged Cheese.
    3. What of value is really accomplished and left behind. This shows that the business or person actually existed and contributed meaningfully to society, rather than just filling time and space on this earth. This is symbolized by the analogy Valuable Antiques.


    Just because it is a bottled alcoholic beverage doesn’t mean that it contains great wine. In the marketplace, there exist large quantities of fair wine, some bad wine and some good wine. There’s very little great wine.

    Defining what is ‘good’ is a matter of judgment, perspective and prejudice. When one assigns the term ‘great,’ then the wine (used as an analogy for one’s daily process of living and working) takes on rare proportions.

    The general public is not exposed to the wine vineyard process and, thus, is not familiar with the characteristics of that special reserve:

    • A good crop of grapes from which to draw.
    • Skilled processes in picking and processing the grapes.
    • Knowledge in the making of wine.
    • Care for the industry, the product and the process (a defined Vision).
    • Skilled technicians, who transfer the intent of the wine maker into the bottle.
    • Packaging, distribution and marketing of the product.
    • Reputation of the winery, steadily built and carefully preserved.
    • An informed clientele, with the ability to appreciate and enjoy the wine.
    • The right settings in which to showcase the product.
    • A body of pleasurable and memorable experiences from which customers will build brand loyalty.
    • A reinforced manufacturing process that assures consistency in all areas.
    • Stated, refined strategies for the winery to remain in business, producing a quality product and maintaining clientele appreciation.


    We all eat and enjoy cheese, in some form. If it’s a brand or flavor we recognize, we think it’s good. When cheese is part of a favorite recipe, then it’s an essential ingredient, though we might not eat it by itself.

    The process of creating and curing the cheese (used as an analogy for the process of sharpening and amassing life and professional skills) is both an art and a science.

    When it comes to cheese, people generally uphold these constants:

    • Cheese is made from milk.
    • It is manufactured in various places, utilizing various processes.
    • Some sources of cheese making (Switzerland, Wisconsin) are acknowledged for their expertise.
    • Cheese is wrapped and packaged in various forms: sliced, chunks, rounds, barrels.
    • Sometimes, cheese is processed, liquified, smoked, whipped, grated or otherwise reconfigured.
    • Cheese is bought in stores where we regularly trade.
    • It comes from packages that are neatly wrapped and arranged for eye appeal in a clean, well-lit and suitably refrigerated dairy case.
    • Price is often a deciding factor in buying. Most people buy the cheapest brands.
    • The flavor of cheese we buy depends upon the use we have for it…be it as an appetizer, as an ingredient in an ensemble dish, as a salad enhancer or just to munch on.
    • Most often, we mix the cheese with something else.
    • Various styles of cheese are often served at a time, or mixed into recipes.
    • If it tastes good, we consume it again. If not, we will not likely give that flavor or brand another try.
    • If guests like it, we will serve it again. If not, their preferences will influence ours, and, thus, the cheese will not reappear.
    • If it is really good, we refer it to others…sometimes giving it as a gift.
    • The better it appears to be (marketing, wrapping, price, place of purchase) affects our viewpoint on its quality.
    • It is often served with wine, sometimes on antique trays or dishes.


    Antiques are rare, interesting, fanciful and out of the ordinary. They tend to stimulate affection, admiration and appreciation. They are generally thought of as joyful, artistic and quality-reflecting possessions which are in rare supply.

    Everyone owns and buys possessions, including clothing, equipment, furniture and household items. A small percentage of the public views unique versions of these same items as antiques, creating a preferred place for them in their lives.

    Antiques are perceived in different manners. The substance of antiques (used as an analogy for what one does-accomplishes with his-her life and organization) is that of the creator, not the seller or the collector.

    Among the truisms of antiques are:

    • Their quality and workmanship is set by the creator, with inspiration from diverse sources.
    • Their market value is set by the seller, who often is an appreciator or, at the least, has a profit motive.
    • Their purchase price is set by the buyer, who also believes that getting a bargain enhances the value of the antique.
    • The collector appreciates collectibles as a whole and their own specialties in particular.
    • The collector appreciates those who appreciate.
    • As one attaches value to the unique, one finds value in other things around them.
    • Appreciation for value becomes a quality of life ingredient.
    • Definitions of antiques vary from collector to collector, depending upon interest. To one, it may be a rare painting. To another, it is custom-made furniture. To still another, it may be a Roy Rogers wristwatch, one of Elvis Presley’s scarves or a Partridge Family lunchbox.
    • Seeking out new and unique places to find antiques is great fun, and one seeks to include friends in the quest.
    • The hunt is worth as much or more than the actual find.
    • As friends take up sub-specialties in collecting and preserving, we support their passions and interests.
    • Once one gets acclimated toward antiques, one does not ‘go back.’ As an interest, it becomes a ‘way of life.’
    • The nature of value continually changes and evolves.

    Nourishing a Body of Work (Antique)

    No company or individual sets out to create an antique (lifelong Body of Work). It just works out that way, depending upon such factors as:

    • The crafting artist, as a person and a professional.
    • The arsenal of tools which the creator has at hand.
    • Combinations of experiences, training and assimilation which were gleaned by the artist.
    • Unexpected twists, turns and situations which the craftor saw and seized upon.
    • Vision for the project, from concept through execution.
    • Sets of standards, with mediocrity not a rung on the ladder.
    • An innate sense of perspective, with the reality that no such thing as perfection exists.
    • Marketplace sensitive considered in the overall project, but not pandored to.
    • Applications for the concept and durability of the product for the long-run.

    The phenomena of people liking and admiring antiques, years after their creation, is like a successful wine and cheese party. But, this isn’t why the wine and cheese were made.

    There are many forces and outside influences who set standards for quality. Normally, it’s the marketplace. Who should be the arbitrator and benchmark? You should. Your company will. Your family must.

    7 Plateaus of Professionalism:

    1. Learning and Growing. Develop resources, skills and talents.
    2. Early Accomplishments. Learn what works and why. Incorporate your own successes into the organization’s portfolio of achievements.
    3. Observe Lack of Professionalism in Others. Commit to sets of standards as to role, job, responsibilities, relationships. Take stands against mediocrity, sloppiness, poor work and low quality. Learn about the culture and mission of organizations.
    4. Commitment to Career. Learn what constitutes excellence, and pursue it for the long-term. Enjoy well earned successes, sharing professional techniques with others.
    5. Seasoning. Refining career with several levels of achievement, honors, recognition. Learn about planning, tactics, organizational development, systems improvement. Active decision maker, able to take risks.
    6. Mentor-Leader-Advocate-Motivator. 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.
    7. Beyond the Level of Professional. 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.

    Criteria for Assessing and Nurturing Professionalism

    Fine Wine

    1. Core Values
      • Ethics
      • Professionalism
      • Quality
    2. Work with Colleagues
      • People Skills
      • Executive-Leadership Abilities
      • Collaborative Team Experience
      • References

    Aged Cheese

    1. Expertise
      • Talents, Skills
      • Education and Training
      • Resume
      • Industries Served
    2. Business
      • Marketplace Understanding
      • Business Savvy

    Valuable Antiques

    1. Track Record, Experience
      • Accomplishments
      • Case Studies
      • Professional Reputation
    2. Body of Knowledge
      • Original Ideas, Concepts
      • Self-Created Expertise
      • Published Materials
    3. Vision
      • Uniqueness
      • Creativity
      • Value-Added Contributions
      • Substance

    Continue to part 2…

    About the Author

    Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations). He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoke at five Economic Summits. He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, Futurism and Big Picture issues which profoundly affect the business climate. He conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree™ is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening and evolving business, while mastering change. To read Hank’s complete biography, click here.

    The Big Picture of Business – Think Tanks to Strategize

    StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business ArticleThe 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 which are not part of formal education.

    Pressures continue and accelerate for companies to stay in operation, become competitive, keep ahead of the marketplace and perform quality work. Businesses of all sizes are besieged with opportunities, competing information sources and large amounts of uncertainty.

    Executives are not fully prepared to handle challenges of the moment, much less to begin developing Big Picture thinking. Seasoned executives face burnout daily. Much of the workforce 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 are, for the most part, impaired from optimum achievement.

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

    I mentor business principals on all their options and the big ideas. I lay the groundwork so they can best utilize the niche consultants. I support all of the others and educate business owners on the best contexts to make consultants most effective.

    There are seven levels of strategy retreats and processes in which companies can engage, with #1 being a starting point and #7 being the ultimate outcome:

    1. Information Sharing. What’s new in the marketplace. What the competition is doing. New ways of looking at the core business.
    2. Reacting to a Crisis or Emergency. Responding to crises is a good way to get in the research-planning habit. Preparing for crises helps avert 85% of them.
    3. Niche Review. Some phase of the business requires re-evaluation.
    4. Growth Strategies. How and where to grow. Concepts of orderly growth. Dynamics of growth, in relation to other organizational factors.
    5. Planning for the Future. Planning, vision and strategic direction account for 15% of an organization’s full picture…constituting the trunk and roots of The Business Tree™. The company that does not plan will not achieve staying power.
    6. Visioning. Determining what the organization will become.
    7. Change, Growth. Determine how the organization will get where it needs to go. Creative thinking about new approaches. Develop a true corporate culture.

    7 Levels of What Companies Do with Think Tanks:

    1. Don’t understand the concept (confuse it with selling or training).
    2. Hold when the company is at a crossroads.
    3. Realize value and merit.
    4. Want to know and learn more. Eager to hold, assess and apply.
    5. Do something with it. Put findings to good use.
    6. Want to do more and evolve the business to higher plateaus.
    7. Change-Growth. Achieve advantages via knowledge. Make impacts on company future.

    What Is a Think Tank:

    • Source of new ideas from outside speaker-presenter (as opposed to a training facilitator).
    • Common sense reminders of things people already know.
    • Inspiration to try new things and be successful.
    • Injecting Big Picture thinking into each part of the organization, macro over the micro.
    • Inspires the development of organizational Vision.
    • Realistic views or company strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
    • Study of external forces that can hamper your ability to do business.
    • Mentorship and leadership development.
    • Outside-the-box approaches to old problems.
    • Creative learning that helps executives think new ways.
    • Ways to understand the organization’s people (its best resource) better.
    • Common sense updating of old principles, with Futuristic viewpoints.
    • Puts the demands of the moment into perspective.
    • Takes Futurism out of the esoteric and into cohesive applicability.
    • Converts learning to knowledge…and knowledge to wisdom.

    What a Think Tank is NOT… and Should Not Be Confused with Being:

    • Training. Political fund raising.
    • Sales or marketing support. Facilitated gripe session.
    • Bean counter approaches to processes. Ivory Tower academic exercise.
    • Internally conducted goal-setting workshop. Intellectual elitism.
    • Brokering of ideologies and hidden agendas. Research.

    This program will accomplish the following:

    • Help small businesses of any size focus more clearly on their niche, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
    • Apply Big Picture thinking toward all facets of the organization… to reduce costs of companies responding to problems with small-picture treatments.
    • Reduce costly organizational problems with planning on the front end.
    • Provide business owners with a totally different perspective on how they can operate and be more successful.

    Visioning is the process where good ideas become something more. Visioning is a catalyst toward long-term evaluation, planning and implementation. Visioning is a jump-off 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.

    Organizations will succeed by having, communicating and garnering support for a Shared Vision. Visioning sets the stage for necessary processes, such as growth strategies, re-engineering, training, enhancing shareholder value and organizational development. Without visioning, other functions (marketing, human resources, financial, production, quality control, public relations, etc.) are simply performing band-aid surgery.

    The Strategic Plan comes off the shelf and alive into action by being relative to all levels of the organization:

    1. Resource. Equipment, tools, materials, schedules.
    2. Skills-Tasks. Duties, activities, tasks, behaviors, attitudes, contracting, project fulfillment.
    3. Role-Job. Assignments, responsibilities, functions, relationships, accountability.
    4. Systems-Processes. Structure, hiring, control, work design, supervision, decisions.
    5. Strategy. Planning, tactics, organizational development.
    6. Culture-Mission. Values, customs, beliefs, goals, objectives, benchmarking.
    7. Philosophy. Organizational purpose, vision, quality of life, ethics, longterm growth.

    Organizational and Business Planning

    • Questions to ask the organization… basis for budgeting.
    • Guidelines for re-examing the business position…criteria and benchmarks.
    • The 10 most common benchmarking mistakes.
    • Guidelines for conducting Strategic Planning.
    • Steps, processes and methodologies encompassed in long-term Strategic Planning.
    • Benefits of Strategic Planning.
    • Big Picture Visioning issues and dynamics.
    • How to make the process productive in the long-run.

    About the Author

    Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations). He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoke at five Economic Summits. He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, Futurism and Big Picture issues which profoundly affect the business climate. He conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree™ is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening and evolving business, while mastering change. To read Hank’s complete biography, click here.