What Corporate Culture Are You Creating?

October 16, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

Earlier this week I was meeting with the CEO and owner of a company when the topic of corporate culture came up. I was interested to learn what the culture at his company was like. As he described his company’s culture, it was evident that many of the company’s traits mirrored that of the owner and CEO. His company’s culture reflected many of his personal strengths, but also, he was quick to point out, it also included some of his weaknesses.

In small and mid-size businesses, it’s common for the company culture to reflect the person at the top. Larger companies often have a very entrenched culture that likely was derived from the founder, but has survived multiple leaders. Of course, each new leader can affect that culture, but if the culture is strong, they can only do so in minor ways.

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Penny-wise and Pound Foolish?

October 09, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

I read the other day where Kenneth Feinberg, the Obama administration’s pay czar, is planning on limiting the compensation of top employees at firms receiving large amounts of government aid. Now the initial reaction of the masses might be that this is an excellent decision. In fact, my guess is that is exactly how the majority of voters would react and, since it’s a popular decision, it makes cutting executive compensation in government-controlled firms a very easy choice.

But easy isn’t necessarily right.

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Excellence Not Perfection

October 02, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 1 COMMENTS

The other day a friend of mine suggested I type “excellence vs. perfection” into the Google search box and see what came up. When I got back to my office, I did exactly as he had suggested. The very top organic search result was a link to the site www.boodrow.com/boodrow4/perfection.htm, which had a list that compared and contrasted excellence and perfection. Many thanks to the website’s creator for the list. The author is unknown.

  • Perfection is being right. Excellence is being willing to be wrong.
  • Perfection is fear. Excellence is taking a risk.
  • Perfection is anger and frustration. Excellence is powerful.
  • Perfection is control. Excellence is spontaneous.
  • Perfection is judgment. Excellence is accepting.
  • Perfection is taking. Excellence is giving.
  • Perfection is doubt. Excellence is confidence.
  • Perfection is pressure. Excellence is natural.
  • Perfection is the destination. Excellence is the journey

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Mother Knows Best

September 25, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

Last week, I wrote about the decline of civility in our world. It seemed to me that if we all would reflect on what we were taught as children by our mothers, we’d treat one another a whole lot better. That got me to thinking about the impact my mother has had on my life and led me to the conclusion that everything I need to know about managing people I learned from my mother.

Think about that for a minute. Remember all the things you learned from your mother, whether it was what she said or what she did? How many of those things apply to your role as a manager? My guess would be plenty. Let me give you a few examples.

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What Would Your Mother Say?

September 18, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

My mother is a wonderful woman. She’s a gentle, caring, nurturing person. When I was growing up, she instilled in me and my siblings a sense of how to treat others. My mother did this by example more than anything. She showed us how to treat others through her actions and words. She rarely, if ever, said anything derogatory about someone, and it was unusual for her to even raise her voice. That’s why I know she was shocked by some of the actions of recent weeks.

We saw a Congressman shout¬†“You lie!” at the President of the United States during the middle of the President’s speech. We had a highly visible tennis professional berate and threaten a line judge on national television. And we watched in amazement as a high-profile entertainer stole the spotlight from and embarrassed a young performer in the middle of her acceptance speech for an award she’d just won.

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Facing Adversity

September 10, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

My 12-year-old is facing a challenging situation for one of the first times in his young life. And as any parent can tell you, it’s tough to watch your child suffer. Now I don’t want to blow things out of proportion, I’m not talking life or death here, but he’s facing adversity and struggling with it.

I can’t help but to believe this will prove to be an important life lesson for both of us. How he responds to the adversity could make a difference in the person he becomes. And how I help guide him through this situation will make a lasting impression on him. The natural instinct of a person is to protect the child and shelter them from the hurt that is likely to occur. But another side of me believes what Disraeli said, “There is no education like adversity.”

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Categories: Business Management

What Does It Take To Be A Leader?

September 04, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

A lot is written about leaders. Go to your nearest bookstore and you will find shelves full of books written by politicians, businesspeople, and athletes on how to be a leader. Is there a secret recipe that if you follow every step will make you a leader? I don’t think so. But there are some common traits that all real leaders share.

If you take a look in the dictionary, you’ll find that a leader is defined as a person or thing that leads; a guiding or directing head, as of an army, movement, or political group. That definition does not get to the heart of what it takes to be a leader. By this definition, you’re a leader if you just happen to be standing in the front of the line. But we all know it takes much more than that to be a leader.

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Categories: Leadership

The Willingness to Dream

August 28, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

For a homework assignment, my youngest child had to find an inspirational quote that he liked and take it to school to share with the class. His choice was a quote that I had not heard before, but its message really struck me. I was impressed enough with his choice that I’d like to share it with you.

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.” — Leon J. Suenes

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Categories: Leadership


Favre Fumbles When It Comes to Leadership

August 21, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

I’m going to admit it upfront — I’m a huge Green Bay Packers fan. I grew up in Wisconsin and followed the Pack since I was a boy. I was in diapers when they won the first two Super Bowls and then suffered through some pretty lean years in the ’70s and ’80s. But the 1990s ushered in a new era with the arrival of Brett Favre. The three-time league MVP led them to a 1997 Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots, and everything was right in Green Bay. The once storied franchise was returned to its previous glory, and the conquering hero was Brett Favre.

I always thought Favre played the game the way it was meant to be played. He was a ferocious competitor, but he looked like he was having fun every minute he played. All of us should be so lucky to have a job that we love so much that each day when we awake we can’t wait to get to work. That’s the way I saw Brett Favre, and I respected him immensely for it.

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Categories: Leadership

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Management Lessons from the Oval Office

August 15, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

Last week, the Wall Street Journal ran a front-page article that discussed President Barack Obama’s management style. Among other things, the article said the President likes to get deeper into the details than many of his predecessors. It also discussed how he uses debate-like techniques to drill into subjects, even having staff members take and defend positions that are contrary to what they believe. Interesting stuff. The article got me thinking about what we can learn about management from those who have sat in the Oval Office.

I’ve never had the privilege of meeting one of our country’s presidents before, during, or after he held the highest office in the land, so my observations are based completely on what I’ve seen or read. Politics aside, here are a few lessons about management that I think we can learn from those¬†who have held the highest office in our land.

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