50th Edition — January 19, 2020
True procrastination is a complicated failure of self-regulation.Eric Jaffe, Author
1. Time to Discuss Ethics Again?
This past weekend, I was taken back by the headlines regarding the Houston Astros sign-stealing investigation which led to the dismissal of three Major League managers this week. Accordingly, I think we all learned that ethics are still important at work – even on a ball field.
What is your definition of ethics? Mine is doing the right thing when no one is looking.
I’m reminded of a favorite story regarding one person’s ethics. In Business by the Book, the late Larry Burkett tells the story about Sam who learned that his health-care business was reimbursed for $300,000 by Medicare for unauthorized services. No one knew about this except for Sam and his internal auditor. For Sam, integrity was not for sale. He returned every single penny.
2. Talking Ethics at the Next All-Hands Meeting
If your company hosts all-hands meetings periodically, consider this a great opportunity to talk about ethics. Here are 3 questions you can ask your CEO to present to the team:
- What are situational ethics?
- What are current examples of ethical priorities in this company?
- If you see someone violating our code of ethical conduct, what should you do?
Here’s one more exercise. Thomas Watson, Jr. penned A Business and Its Beliefs in 1963. Whether you run a business, a department, or just manage your own time, what do you believe to be true and right in your personal and business life? What are the daily actions that you consider to be non-negotiable?
3. My Favorite Customer-Centric Scorecard
This week, the U.S. Department of Transportation released its Air Travel Consumer Report. Here are the honorable mentions:
- On-time Arrivals – Delta is second overall at 88%, second behind Hawaiian Airlines. Southwest was 6th overall.
- Flight Cancellations – JetBlue was 1st followed by Delta. Southwest was 8th.
- Mishandled Baggage – Southwest was 2nd behind Allegiant Air.
- Consumer Complaints – Southwest is the best of major airlines. Endeavor Air is first overall.
One of the best books I’ve read by a CEO is From Worst to First: Behind the Scenes of Continental’s Remarkable Comeback by Gordon Bethune. When Bethune took over the nearly bankrupt Continental Airlines, he used the metrics above to bring his company into profitability which ultimately soared to number 1 in all of those DOT categories.
In your company, what do customers care the most about? Start measuring those items and figure out how to improve. In Bethune’s case, these customer-centric metrics were predictive of future gains in revenue.
4. Are You a Procrastinator?
On a scale of one to ten, how well does your team score at getting work done on time? I’m going out on a limb that procrastination is a leading reason that projects are either delayed or stalled. If you agree, what’s the cost of procrastination?
If this topic resonates, there are some excellent ideas in an Entrepreneur article entitled How to Beat Procrastination as You Grow Your Business. I especially like Dan Sullivan’s video below. Should you watch it, I’m making two predictions – you’ll watch it again and share it with your CEO.
5. Five, Ten, Twenty-Five, Fifty
How about a little fun and controversy? Now that 2020 is here, I’m picking the top business books 5, 10, 25, and 50 years ago. I know, it’s just opinion –
- 2015 – You might be thinking I’m going with Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance. Instead, I’m picking Losing the Signal by McNish and Silcoff
- 2010 – While I like The Lords of Strategy by Kiechel, my pick is The Big Short by Michael Lewis
- 1995 – While my personal favorite is The HP Way by David Packard, Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence is considered a classic, and that’s my pick for 25 years ago
- 1970 – Up the Organization by Robert Townsend still ranks high on many top business booklists
Regarding the Townsend book, Tom Peters once said, “Townsend shouldn’t just be read, he should be memorized.”
Thank You For Reading
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Take care and have a great week. Always be learning.