Friday, December 30, 2011

Find that success in 2012

Cathy Caprino has some sage advice to those slogging through 2011 and looking for success in 2012.

Intensive Focus

Focus more intently on the top two or three areas that I most want to expand most this year.

Something from Nothing
In challenging times, all around us we see despair, confusion and a lack of hope and energy.  It’s contagious.  We also see businesses drying up before our eyes.  It’s scary indeed.  But success comes from being your own source of positive energy, from finding a way to internally generate your own authentic enthusiasm, energy, and excitement about what you do, even when outside forces are pushing against you.
Several years ago, my son came home after school and told me that his teacher asked the students this year to “be the change you want to see” (Gandhi’s beautiful invitation to the world).  There’s such a keen nugget of truth in that for all of us.  If we want success, joy, meaning and purpose to come to us, we must first be that — embody and live the principles and experiences of the success and fulfillment before they’ve been manifested.  That is how doors open to new success.  Energy attracts like energy.

Undying Commitment
The key is to commit yourself without doubt, without reservation, to do what’s required, yet to be flexible and not overly attach to what “success” has to look like.  Realize that you have vulnerabilities and gaps in knowledge, ability and vision, and continually work to fill them.  Believe in yourself, get the outside help you need as soon as you need it to keep growing and learning. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Creating unique value

Joan Magretta channels Michael Porter

So as I worked on this book, I kept a list of those insights. Here it is.
  1. Competitive advantage is not about beating rivals; it's about creating unique value for customers. If you have a competitive advantage, it will show up on your P&L.
  2. No strategy is meaningful unless it makes clear what the organization will not do. Making trade-offs is the linchpin that makes competitive advantage possible and sustainable.
  3. There is no honor in size or growth if those are profit-less. Competition is about profits, not market share.
  4. Don't overestimate or underestimate the importance of good execution. It's unlikely to be a source of a sustainable advantage, but without it even the most brilliant strategy will fail to produce superior performance.
  5. Good strategies depend on many choices, not one, and on the connections among them. A core competence alone will rarely produce a sustainable competitive advantage.
  6. Flexibility in the face of uncertainty may sound like a good idea, but it means that your organization will never stand for anything or become good at anything. Too much change can be just as disastrous for strategy as too little.
  7. Committing to a strategy does not require heroic predictions about the future. Making that commitment actually improves your ability to innovate and to adapt to turbulence.
  8. Vying to be the best is an intuitive but self-destructive approach to competition.
  9. A distinctive value proposition is essential for strategy. But strategy is more than marketing. If your value proposition doesn't require a specifically tailored value chain to deliver it, it will have no strategic relevance.
  10. Don't feel you have to "delight" every possible customer out there. The sign of a good strategy is that it deliberately makes some customers unhappy.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Change is certain so rather than trying to avoid it perhaps our time would be better spent increasing our capacity to deal with it.

Seth explains

Is there really any other kind?
If we see turbulence coming, we tend to avoid it. The art is in knowing that turbulence might come and looking forward to it, bracing for it and embracing it at the same time.
If your plan will only succeed if there is no turbulence at any time, it's probably not a very good plan (either that or you're not going anywhere interesting.)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas hospitality

Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart. Washington Irving

Christmas day is for opening our hearts, our gifts and our posterity to those who are in need, whether in spirit or in the necessities of life.
May every day be Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve 00 plus 11

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

A visit from St Nicholasby Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice

The longest night has ended in a glorious sunrise over the icy cold waters of Lake Michigan. The conquest of light over the gathering darkness is complete. The days will grow longer now, building to the crescendo of Summer. The earth has completed another journey around the sun. Life is reborn, we start anew this day, this Winter Solstice.