08-AUGUST 21-2021

How to Help Your Company Become a World Class Company

“Excellence can be obtained if you:

…care more than others think is wise;
…risk more than others think is safe;
…dream more than others think is practical;
…expect more than others think is possible.”

Most people think real change in an organization occurs as a result of top-level leadership.  This isn’t always the case.

Oftentimes, it’s someone within the rank and file who stands up and challenges the status quo.  Remember the old adage, “If the people will lead, the leaders will follow.”

Years ago, I was the sales manager for a company with about 30 employees.  The business was struggling, and a management consultant had been called in to try and get things back on track.

In one of my meetings with the consultant, I told him about some of the things that were going on that I didn’t agree with.  I explained that even though we were all encouraged to be open and honest, I feared that what I had to say might cost me my job.

His response was something I won’t forget.  He asked me if I really wanted to work for a World class
company that said one thing and did another.  He showed me that I really didn’t have any-thing to lose.  It was time to walk my talk.  I could no longer hide behind the fear of losing my job.  I had to speak my truth.

I did, and I didn’t get fired.  And even if I had been fired, it would have been worth it.

Anyone can be the catalyst for change.  Sometimes all it takes is a question.  Sometimes it requires a brave person pointing to the dusty mission statement hanging on the wall and saying, “Does this reflect our purpose?” or “Is this consistent with our core values?”

Those responsible for the Enron and WorldCom scandals did not do their greedy deeds in a vacuum.  Others knew something wasn’t right, and yet they remained silent.  At the very least, we all have a responsibility to report illegal activity.  We also should work toward making our company a world class company.

Yes, it’s true that it’s risky.  It takes courage.  But like that consultant said to me, what do you really have to lose?  Better to shake things up a bit than remain silent.  It’s easier to find another job with a company more in tune with your values than to treat an ulcer or high blood pressure.  Besides, it’s the right thing to do.

Sometimes leadership becomes enlightened by blinding flashes of the obvious illumination by those in the trenches.  And if management can’t handle the truth, it’s time to seek out new management.

My personal belief is whether you work for – or own – a company, you want it to be something you’re proud of.  You want the time and energy you invest in your career to be worthy of the best that’s within you.  You want it to make a difference.

Average isn’t good enough.  You want to look on your contribution with pride.  Just putting in your time and collecting a paycheck may work for some people, but it shouldn’t be sufficient for you.  Stand up for excellence.  Help your company become a world class company.

“Business is a lot like playing tennis; if you serve well, you’ll usually end up winning.” –Michael Angier

August 21, 2020

Future Looks ShinyGood morning.
When in doubt, go back to what has always worked for you.  That has to be what the investor class is telling itself as the market has been struggling to maintain any continuity.  I call this a grifter market because it’s so difficult to be long or short.  After spinning its wheels and failing to find leadership in recent weeks, it appears that Thursday investors went back to the only thing that has consistently worked in 2020, buying the top five largest companies in the S&P 500.

Now here’s the rest of the news:

The Dollar And Your Privacy Are Both In Jeopardy
Any time the federal government creates or gets involved in a major system, the results are almost always bad or ineffective.
They’ve meddled with Social Security, jeopardized retirement savings, even messed up a very important registration website for the Affordable Care Act.
Now the Fed is taking on the payment system at the root of everything.  Once anything like Fedcoin gets implemented, it could replace the dollar … Americans will be a short step away from a cashless society.
Robert Wenzel offered a strong warning about the current “update” from Brainard’s speech in a recent blog post: The update is not good news for privacy advocates who don’t want to see all their money transactions tracked by the government…  There is little doubt that such a digital Fed money will have the capability to track all transactions.
Wenzel’s warning means that wherever you shop, whatever you spend your “Fedcoin” on, even if you travel and spend money — in all those situations you could be tracked.  Any cash flow between services or products could also be controlled by the government.
In other words, this “update” from the Fed seems to indicate their sincere interest in changing the way money changes hands in the future.
How far in the future remains to be seen, but it sure seems like the U.S. is closer to the first major overhaul of the monetary system (and your private life) in decades.
Whoever Has the Gold and Silver Makes the Rules
Cash could be a thing of the past in the future.  Who knows how something like Fedcoin could mess with your retirement?
It’s a good idea to consider other options to protect your retirement with a tangible asset that can’t be converted into digital form.
Precious metals like gold and silver continue to hold value and have for thousands of years.  And because they are physical assets, you can’t be tracked as you could if Fedcoin moves even closer to becoming reality.
Gold’s Tailwinds Remain Poised to Push Prices Higher in 2020
The recent dip aside, the yellow metal continues to have many advantages in its favor.

Gold  slipped (-0.2%) to $1,942.96 this week, while Silver closed up (+1.3%) to $26.89

August 21, 2019

Ron Ashkenas, co-author of the “Harvard Business Review Leader’s Handbook,” explains that there are three fundamental concerns that cause people to be less than completely truthful.

T R U T HFirst, the impact of truth on yourself.  “It’s human nature to want people to think well of us, particularly those who have influence over our lives and careers,” he wrote.  “At the same time, we all make mistakes, so we create justifications and excuses — many of which are at best half-truths.”

Next, the impact of truth on others.  “One way to gain others’ approval is to avoid pointing out things that may damage their self-image,” he continued.

Finally, the impact of truth on business success.  “To be successful almost every organization needs to sell — be it a product, a service, a story or a promise.  But much of that selling is done without truthful disclosure of what it will take to fulfill the sale,” he maintained.  “The wiser course in many cases is to limit the truth and figure out how to ‘deliver’ later.”

While his first two points are recognizable to most of us, I find his third concern very troubling.  As a lifelong salesman and businessman, I cringe to think that a sale based on partial truth would be okay in any forum.

MackayMitchell Envelope CompanyI certainly wouldn’t appreciate a supplier promising me a product without knowing exactly what I would be receiving, and I absolutely do not want a reputation that I didn’t deliver what I promised and then some.

But I understand that some businesses operate that way, and do so at their own peril.  Customers find out quickly that promises made and kept are worth their weight in gold.  A tarnished reputation is mighty difficult to polish.

I constantly preach that trust is the most important word in business.  Of course, the most important part of establishing trust is being truthful — all the time, even when the truth is painful.

If we are not upfront with our customers at MackayMitchell Envelope Company as soon as a problem arises, whether it’s a supplier issue, equipment breakdown or a mistake with an order, we deserve to lose that customer.  And I really, really hate to lose a customer.  I’d rather lose money than lose a customer.

The good news is if we can find a way to fix a problem — and we usually do — our customers appreciate our honesty and efforts to turn lemons into lemonade.  But that only happens when we tell the truth.

“The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.”

And that my friends, is a Mackay’s Moral.  😉

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