What has happened to civility?

Before we had social media, “we” would discuss our differences face-to-face.  Today we post memes that struggle to include a scintilla of truth.  These short, and often vacuous, posts are more likely than not to be loaded with inflammatory language, sure to raise the ire of those who hold another view.

This isn’t debate – it’s at best cowardly.  At worst, you (right or left) are being used as an unpaid foot soldier by the political party and the wealthy to promote their message on social media.  Every share from some “independent” webpage is one more advertisement that didn’t cost them so much as a penny.

cropped-img_0009.jpgWhat is perhaps even more of a concern is that while we (the electorate) are busy attacking each other, we are distracted from the real problem: A bloated, out of control government that doesn’t reflect the limited Republic that Benjamin Franklin warned us about maintaining.

I am very concerned about the “state of politics” in the world today.  I am very concerned about loss of freedom, a federal government that is more in touch with Wall Street and the elitist than they are with “we the people.” But these emotional jabs, which lack any substance that friends are taking at one another, don’t further the cause of the country.  In my opinion, they only cause further division.

Perhaps we would all do well to meet in the town square, local coffee shop, or tavern and engage in respectful debate … face-to-face.

Great business wisdom in this post

The Wayward Journey

I attended a seminar last week by best-selling author and “get-out-of-debt” money expert Dave Ramsey. I was only able to sit in for part of the day, but boy did he pack a wallop into the brief time I was there.

The one-day event was based on Ramsey’s book “EntreLeadership,” which discusses how the best qualities of entrepreneurship (risk-taker, driven, fearless…) and leadership (visionary, charismatic, servant…) can be combined to create successful businesses, inspire teams and develop “the art of selling by serving.”

I liked Ramsey’s no-nonsense approach and the examples he gave from his own hard-knocks business experience. The Ramsey story is one of being down and out 20 years ago—dead broke after his real estate business collapsed—and then climbing out of bankruptcy to create the financial-advice powerhouse that is The Lampo Group.

No doubt about it, Ramsey has built a very marketable personal brand that includes books, a…

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Lofty or Lowly Matters Not

Your current struggle.

Your recent victory.

Your “circle” of friends and family.

Your job.

Your joys, your angst, the really big problems, your physical and emotional ups and downs…

That you are on top of the world or in the lowest of lows…

They all share one thing.

They might be grand.

They might be unimaginable.

They might just be…but

They are all temporary.  Plan accordingly.

What I Believe

This has nothing to do with sales, marketing, or leadership; rather, this post is simply the concerns of a middle-aged American.  I was a voting member of both major political parties (Democrat and Republican) at one point in my life.  Now I just want the freedom to be an American. But my beliefs are increasingly in the minority.

I believe…

  •  “These truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” are still some of the powerful words penned by mankind.
  • That we bear tremendous responsibility to preserve a society in which our rights are protected from tyranny.
  • In limiting the power those of govern us.
  • As government increases, liberty, choice, prosperity, and wealth decreases.
  • In the free market and the ideas of free men and women.
  • In the generosity of individual human actions over government institutions.
  • In a safety net and not a safety bed.
  • Individual and corporate success should be admired and applauded.
  • Individual and corporate failure provides invaluable lessons.
  • We were created to work, and that our very soul is corrupted when government creates a dependency that disallows and discounts our worth.

I believe that the United States has truly been a unique place where prosperity, ideas, and freedom have flourished and that this uniqueness is in serious jeopardy…

Finally, I believe that my views are not shared by all, but I believe that a society where we can disagree is worth preserving.

Marketing Consistence

I’ve actually heard people say in response to the need for more billable work, “We just haven’t spent enough time getting proposals out the door.”

No kidding, so we just need a Proposals Department, where someone cranks out bids.  Gee, I never knew business development was that easy…

Getting work in the door is a bit more complicated than sitting in front of your computer and sending out proposals, especially if you want profitable work.

Finding and understanding the various markets you want to target, understanding the challenges and “pain” unique to the prospects in this market, finding not just prospects, but the right prospects within that market, reaching your prospects with consistent credible marketing messages, and convincing them you can help relieve their pain…is a starting point.

If you want to keep work in the door, make sure you have an intelligent, consistent, and credible marketing plan at the center of your business plan, not an afterthought.

Give

Our society celebrates getting stuff – a new car, a new home, winning a jackpot!

But if getting is supposed to bring such happiness, why is it the most joyful people I have ever met are givers rather than takers?

Giving of our time, giving of our heart, giving as we have been gifted, will bring real joy

Passionately Detroit: A New Vision and Action

It was the summer of 1967.  My parents had taken my brother and me to Tiger Stadium in Downtown Detroit to enjoy America’s favorite pastime, baseball.  As best as I can recall, it was a great day at the old ballpark.

After the game we piled in the Chevy Impala and traveled I-75 north toward our home in the suburb. I distinctly recall looking out of the windows and asking my parents, “Why are there so many people standing along the highway looking down?” We continued to look, “Is something on fire? Where is the smoke coming from?” To be honest, mom and dad didn’t think much of it.

When we arrived home the phone was ringing – friends and family members wanted to know if we were okay.  Okay?  Well, why wouldn’t we be okay?

Riots! Haven’t you heard? Riots have broken out in Detroit!

The only thing else I remember about this chapter in my young life was the indelible memory of Moms and Dads sitting in their lawn chairs in their front yards with loaded rifles and shotguns, waiting to fend off any would be looters.

For many 1967 marked the beginning of the end of the great city of Detroit. The once great Detroit settled by the French in 1701 and later ruled by Great Britain.  The same Detroit that survived the great fire of 1805, the same Detroit that was once referred to as the Paris of the west because of its great architecture, Detroit, Motown, the Motor City was crumbling from within.

Following the riots of 1967 the politics of blame ensued as did the politics of handouts and the politics of poverty.

Blame didn’t stop the blight or crime. Handouts didn’t help anyone develop skills and poverty had grown into a generational problem.

Valiant efforts by some left the city wanting for rebirth.  It was nothing but a joke for comedians and an easy target for anyone that wanted to point to failure; it was sad, pitiful, and hopeless.

But something has changed recently in Detroit; that something is people that believe in the City, people with passion and plans, people with money and willing to invest their money and countless hours in something in which they believe.

A beautiful new football stadium downtown was developed, a spectacular baseball stadium with the revitalizing city’s silhouette providing a background on warm summer evenings, new theaters, growing medical facilities, a world class University (Wayne State), the once great architecture now being brought back to life, young “creatives” making the City home, residential lofts…and those visionaries.

Detroit is coming back but it’s not happening by accident, it’s happening because there is a plan and there is action.

A Japanese Proverb says, “Vision without action is a daydream, action without a vision is nightmare.”  But when you have vision and action – look out, these are the ingredients to make extraordinary changes the kind of changes that make history.

What is success?

They say, in order to be successful, you need to accept this and reject that.  They say to be successful you must attend one of these colleges.  And if you are not doing this…well, they will tell you that you have no hope for success.

Of course the underlying assumption in accepting these statements is they are correct. But have you considered they may be advising you from the standpoint of pop culture or what they have been told, rather than learned; this is not true wisdom.

I’m all in favor of the critical self-examination of our lives and striving for marvelous achievements.  But where we can go astray is examining our lives based on what they are telling us.  Let’s not forget the wisdom of the ages.  Looking at life through the lens of the moment is myopic.

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9 (circa 970 B.C.)

Before we get caught up in the moment, consider a much bigger picture…and I wish you all…success.

Back to the Drawing Board

Trying to keep work in the door on a consistent basis is a never ending challenge.  Perhaps it’s helpful to state the obvious; that is, there isn’t a solution that will solve your business development challenges “once and for all.”  This challenge is what keeps us reinventing and redefining who we are as a company.

Apple is an excellent example in our current economy. Consider their legacy; Macintosh, iPhone, iCloud, iPad, iTunes – and the new and improved versions (much to the chagrin of the current iPad 2 owners).  Certainly, some tremendous victories and even culturally changing products along the way…but never the end all and be all, because consumers and their demands change and the competition never rests.

But most of us don’t work for Apple and our products and services aren’t all that exciting. Nevertheless, the challenge remains to keep a constant flow of new opportunities coming in.  So when that idea you hatched in the middle of the night actually works (no matter how small)…celebrate it and build on that victory!

As for those middle-in-night ideas that haven’t work (yet), it’s okay because it means you are thinking and trying and you haven’t given up.  And as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”

Hope

As we attended worship last evening, I was reminded of the power of hope and how much hope means at this season of Christmas.  It was hope fulfilled that brought a multitude of angels to fill the night sky more than 2,000 years ago.

And so we have hope…

Hope for this day

Hope for this upcoming year

Hope for something much greater than our minds could imagine

Wishing you the Hope of the season throughout the year.