Archive for August, 2010


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Dear Manager,

I’ve always believed that one of the greatest tools in preparing for the future is in an objective and ongoing reflection on the past. This perspective allows us to be much more candid with ourselves than we can as entrepreneurs simply fantasizing about our future. The future is unknown; the past is our “safe harbor” for having learned something along the way.

It can be easy to presume our most favorable and idealistic expectations into a false sense of reality. This is the nature of business (not to mention the stock market), and I would consider myself a card-carrying member of this group. While I’m not suggesting we alter this confident approach to our business future, I am suggesting that our personal history books can teach us much of what we need to know in order to proceed effectively.


We all evolve in our role as a manager. The question becomes: are we evolving at a rate similar to that of our company? In other words, are we ahead of or behind our company’s curve? If we’ve surrounded ourselves with top-notch assistants, is our management role challenging them and their expertise, or are they merely floating ahead while we lag behind their level of professional and personal growth? There’s nothing more counter productive than having a manager at the top that is really an anchor to their own team. I’ve seen it happen.

From time to time, all management falls just behind the curve – I know I have! We can get so caught up in the day-to-day operations of our companies that these much higher objectives can become blurred. There were many instances where, while “I was very busy,” I was also wrapped up in areas that should have been delegated, probably years ago.


If you were to go into rewind, what would your day-to-day routines have been five years ago? In these same five years, your company is likely to be 50% to 100% larger than it was at the time. Has your role, expertise and economic value evolved by an equal or greater percentage? Maintaining a creative and exciting energy as a manager is essential to ones legacy and success in management. In fact, it’s one of the most important aspects and essential traits of good management!


Think back on your own most rewarding and valuable times in your business career. It’s very possible that in this review, you would not pick your present circumstances. In fact, I’ll bet it would be much earlier in your career. The memory could be of when you made those very first steps in your business career. You clearly realized how little knowledge you had; there was only one way to find it and that was to experience it.

For many of us these were the most rewarding times. These were the days when we paid our dues, got our hands dirty, and even surprised others and ourselves with our net results. These were the days when we knew much less about failure, and our perceived and legitimate responsibilities were on a much smaller scale than what we have created in today’s climate. Yes, these were much simpler times; they may have been the best of times.


Could it be time to turn back the clock? Could it be time to recreate this sense of unbridled excitement for yourself and, in turn, for your organization? What’s missing today that pulled your trigger in days gone by?

As managers, our role and value to our organization evolves in the form and functions that best meet the need at any given time. Often this evolution is determined by others, and for reasons and needs outside of our own best interests. Yes, the path of our personal history has clearly led to our current reality. Is this reality meeting your current needs in addition to others, or are these prior decisions now controlling you? It could very well be time to “take back” that which was taken away from you.


There is no greater satisfaction than getting your hands dirty both individually and with the troops. Management can easily slip into the routine of “what’s expected” of management “types.” While critical thinking is important, all too often there simply isn’t that much to think critically about.

By now, haven’t we surrounded ourselves with capable individuals to take care of most of this “critical stuff?” If this is not the case, do yourself a favor and take care of this first. Now begin to schedule appointments that take you back to those areas that nourish and fulfill your personal and organizational objectives.

I often hear of individuals who haven’t taken a personal vacation for years. They say they simply can’t make the time. Who’s in charge of their schedule? All that’s required is to put it on the calendar and stick to it, period. Use this similar method in meeting your professional objectives, period.


Some of the greatest impact I provided my organization was during times of individual sales training (sometimes I trained them, sometimes they trained me!), or simply working with my associates in the field. Where better to learn about the pulse and heart of your organization? Where better to make a significant impact, day in and day out, within ones organization? These were my happiest and most fulfilling days. Looking back, these days should have occurred much more often, leaving the day-to-day operations to my very capable staff. It should have become a much more significant aspect of my management routine.

There will still be those who’ve convinced themselves that the temple will collapse in their absence. There are individuals, trained (by you), to fully anticipate seeing your face each and every day. You may even have established a reporting and justification system as to your ongoing “whereabouts.” Yes, you may have to retrain others as well as yourself! A perfect example comes with the sale of my own organization. They’re doing quite well, thank you very much!

I can’t help but wonder what greater impact and personal satisfaction may have been available for me in a bit different model? How much of our “busy work” would be taken care of, or simply take care of itself, in our absence? NEVER lose your availability, but being just a little less available can be a very good thing. Less can be more. Now, you just have to fight this with a company-issued cell phone on your hip!

Personal Regards,


INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2010. Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.ORG as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM


Management Rewards, Management Strategies, Sales Strategies No Comments »


Dear Manager,

When was the last time you got a good back scratch? My wife Sally is kind enough on occasion to provide me with the best back scratch in the world. I always try to reciprocate in kind; I sure wouldn’t want to discourage a future opportunity! The biggest issue for me is that God did not provide us with the tools to scratch our own backs; we must rely on others or devices to achieve this satisfaction!

In business, there is a very positive aspect of helping others reach areas they simply can’t reach on their own, and allowing others to do the same for us. Have you noticed how seemingly few understand the concept of sharing the rewards? In other words, scratching back! I have personally noticed as well as spoken to others about this “takers mentality.” This mentality has become prevalent to the degree that I believe all of us are much less likely to offer our services in reaching out to others. Too often they simply expect to have only their back scratched. Too bad.

For effective relationships to sustain themselves, there must be both give and take, and benefit to both parties. Even in charitable work, the rewards are very personal in having assisted others in need. It is natural to want to help others along their path. My concern is directed at those who are waiting in the bushes along the path to take advantage of our good nature.

Perhaps only a small number don’t fully understand this basic fundamental. Yet the takers of the world, looking for “somethin’ for nothin,’” seem to have affected many of our perspectives. I now find myself reluctant to ever ask for favors for fear that I will be perceived as a mooch. Once again, too bad.

Whenever possible in new relationships, I make the effort to discuss the individual needs of others prior to my own. Sharing an appreciation and sensitivity for another’s time and interests goes along way in establishing a beneficial relationship for all parties. I believe this can’t simply be implied; it must be verbally addressed specifically at this time in American Business.


If we think of ourselves as an island, this is exactly what we will become. While I understand the value of networking in many industries, I wouldn’t say that it’s been one of my priorities in the past. Those who network certainly scratch each other’s backs, but it seems to be a scratch here and scratch there. It would be difficult for me to keep score, much less invest the time to be effective at it. I’m not discouraging this practice, as it has been very effective for many. It’s just not my gig.

I’ve always relied much more on my ability to evaluate and participate with a much smaller group of individuals. This is a group I protect, appreciate, and will not compromise. In this highly professional environment there are no sellers, there are no buyers, and there is no need to keep score. It is simply a relationship whose value is apparent to all parties, and whose members will come to the rescue at a moments notice, and without a second thought.

We all share in these types of personal and professional relationships. As we prepare our organizations for a new world order in business, these types of relationships have heightened in their value. To insure a healthy organization, these relationships will become our cornerstone. Yes, this is the foundation that will sustain us in the years to come.


I have a fairly simplistic vision of American Business: steaming locomotives on parallel tracks, all heading in the same direction, each solving their own and often identical issues. Each is paying for identical and redundant services and overhead, each financing the coal to support their ability to be The Engineer.

Certainly there can be value in an independent business structure to innovate and lay a path for others to follow. But how many resources could be conserved if at least a “like coalition” hopped on a single locomotive and created an efficient “Super Train.” I warned you that this was a fairly simplistic analogy!

What would the cost savings be? What could your resources be devoted to if they weren’t redundantly directed at reinventing the wheel? Just how much more powerful and profitable could you be if you began to “train pool?” Be it stubbornness or pure ego, I am convinced there is not near enough collaboration from the very top echelons of business to the very bottom of the food chain. To survive the new economy, much more will be required in this area of collaboration.


More will be required, because business is changing so rapidly. The sheer costs to modernize, computerize, economize, and mobilize will tap many of our resources. Look at the bath the industry has endured in the 90’s. Talk about parallel tracks and redundant resource investment. Is that a train whistle I hear, or the sound of a vacuum draining resources and venture capital?

If we are going to survive and retain our leadership, we must do so in the form of strategic alliances. Obviously, these must be acquired with great care, mutual understanding and forethought. We certainly wouldn’t want to endure a head on collision! To proceed, some questions come to mind that must be answered not only with great care, but also with great candor.

 What are your greatest concerns for your company in the near and long term?

 What do you need to accomplish to address these concerns?

 What similarities and redundancies do you share with related companies? Are there needs similar to your own?

 What do you seriously need to accomplish, but are unable to dedicate the resources to?

 What position of strength do you admire in other companies or industries?

 What strengths do you have to offer in a collaborative and strategic alliance?

 What are your weaknesses that could be enhanced through this effort?

The final question is by far the most important. What individuals known or unknown, what companies known or unknown, what industries known or unknown would gain benefit or might need to collaborate in this strategic alliance?

What areas of business might benefit from this collaboration? The list seems endless dependant on the common needs of its participants. Areas that initially come to mind include: web site development, computer hardware and software, data entry, payroll, accounting, group purchasing, shared infrastructure, cloud computing, product design and development, advertising, trade shows and product promotions, to name just a few. As compared to purchasing these services independently, economies of scale impact favorably in each of these areas of investment.

Now that you have your game plan and model, it’s time to set out to find the individuals with shared values to form these alliances. You have a lot to offer, the mutual benefit is established; you are there to assist them in exchange for their assistance. You have the concept, the product and the team to sell from a distinct position of strength!

The leaders of American Business take great pride in their ability to out think, out maneuver, and outperform one another. It is time to put egos aside and use the collective resources that only an alliance and collaborative effort can provide. We all have powerful strengths and weaknesses. The power of acting as one is formidable.

Personal Regards,


INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2010. Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.ORG as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM