Monthly Bookmarks –
149th Edition – October 16, 2022
When hiring, you want to look for three things: integrity, intelligence, and drive. If, after you’ve hired the person, you discover he lacks integrity, you had better hope he’s stupid and lazy, too.Aaron Beam, former HealthSouth CFO, author, and speaker
1. CFO Family Member
Congrats to John Tyson who has been promoted to the top financial position at Tyson Foods Inc. Yes, he’s the Chairman’s son.
John, please forgive me when I write this promotion reminds me of the one at Crazy Eddie in the 1980s. Beyond the family connection, the comparison ends there.
Oddly, Crazy Eddie is probably known for its goofy commercials on late-night cable stations than one of the craziest and most brazen inventory frauds committed during the history of the SEC.
A year before the house of cards tumbled, pre-tax earnings at Crazy Eddie were about $21 million in 1987. But the real loss was estimated at around $20 to $25 million.
According to the CFO at the time, Sammy Antar said the key to such fraud was close family members in the top leadership positions and fiercely loyal friends after that.
To learn more, check out the new book about Crazy Eddie — Retail Gangster by Gary Weiss.
2. Would Ethics Training Have Resulted in a Profitable and Honest Crazy Eddie Store Chain?
I will not be offended or insulted if you disagree with me, but I have my doubts on this one. Does this mean we shouldn’t be subjected to ethics training throughout our careers? If so, how should it be taught? What type of education is the most effective in deterring crime?
Incidentally, there’s a 2019 study showing that ethics training can make a positive impact. As such, “financial advisors passing a rules and ethics-focused exam are more likely to depart employers experiencing scandals.” The research findings state such departures are predictive of future scandals.
If you have experienced great ethics training, I’d love to hear from you. Who was the teacher? What was the heart of the message? What were your takeaways?
For now, I’m continually suggesting Aaron Beam’s book on this topic, Ethics Playbook: Winning Ethically in Business.
3. A New Normal with the Higher Price of Time
I feel for those experiencing the pain of higher interest rates on their revolving lines of credit.
I’m probably too wimpy to share this with my CFO friends, but the depressed rates over an extended period of time were abnormal and fraught with unintended consequences according to an author who is an expert on the history of interest.
In The Price of Time, Edward Chancellor quotes a Canadian economist in 2012 on the effects of low rates:
(William) White suggested that the sharp decline in interest rates had encouraged households to spend more and save less. The downside of bringing forward consumption from the future, White suggested, was that people must in fact save more for any predetermined goal; and, given the prevailing low interest rates, it would take much longer to accumulate a satisfactory nest egg.
4. The Book I’ve Recently Been Recommending
According to the authors of Play Bigger, they claim that “The most exciting companies sell us something different“.
They replace our current point of view on the world with a new point of view. They make what came before seem outdated, clunky, inefficient, costly, or painful.Play Bigger, Chapter 1
Play Bigger is a quick and simple explanation of how companies become category kings through product, company, and category design.
But the book isn’t just for businesses. I thought the last chapter was great as the authors provided a category design for life:
- Define a new way to solve a problem that’s been around, or define a new problem that people didn’t know they had.
- Articulating the problem is critical as others will assume you know how to solve it.
- And finally, “The best way to start a category and make yourself its king is to find one of those problems, concisely define it, and make sure others see it as you see it. Chances are good that others will begin to see you as the person who can solve the problem.”
Chapter 10 alone is worth the price of the book if you are seeking a transition in your career just as Dave did in this chapter.
5. Your Most Important Number
Out of curiosity, I started skimming Lee Benson’s new book, Your Most Important Number. It’s okay, but I feel as though I’ve read this type of book more than once.
Then again, the author has the credentials–he once sold his business for nine figures, so he’s sharing his framework of growth and excellence in his new season of life.
Lee’s primary term is MIN, or the most important number, and the drivers to those MINs. For those of you focused on the business holistically and a student of systems thinking, thankfully he addresses the concept of MINs (plural) as well.
My biggest thumbs up to this book which is an effort to elevate his new consulting firm is found in chapter 7 regarding team member performance assessments. Each team member is graded on their team’s MIN performance, their personal outcome-based responsibilities, and their fit within the company culture.
Has this framework been shared before by other authors? Yes, but if you’ve yet to pick up a book similar to this one, it’s a quick and easy read you can finish in one or two evenings.
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