66th Edition – May 10, 2020
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.Alvin Toffler
1. What Would Bruce Tuckman Have to Say About Today’s Remote Workers?
In 1965, Tuckman brought us the organizational group model for development labeled …
Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing
He later added a fifth stage 12 years later, adjourning.
If a well-bonded team has already experienced these 4-5 stages, did this process start over during work-at-home directives? If so, I wonder how the ‘storming’ process evolved to the next stage, easily or with difficulty?
2. Will There be Life After Bankruptcy for Neiman Marcus?
While COVID-19 may have been the final nail in Neiman’s financial coffin as it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization this week, a heavy debt load and online competition were making life tough for this once iconic clothing brand.
The former president and chairman once said,
Success or failure is often determined not by ability alone, but by timing, economic conditions, internal competition, and by luck.Minding the Store, Stanley Marcus
This store chain once weathered the Great Depression, but is it now breathing its last breath?
3. British Toilet Paper Shortage
Think you’ve had it tough finding your favorite brand these past few weeks? After finishing Larson’s book about Churchill this past week, my heart went out for the King during the air raids of the early 1940s. One brand was in short supply in London, so the king arranged for special shipments from the British embassy in Washington, D.C.
We are getting short of a certain type of paper which is made in America and is unprocurable here. A packet or two of 500 sheets at intervals would be most acceptable.The Splendid and the Vile, Larson, page 245
I guess it helps to be part of the royalty. Incidentally, the brand was Bromo which made soft lavatory paper.
4. Financial Neanderthals
The BrewDog founders have found a way to market the best-selling craft beer in the UK. But in their early years, the co-founders knew nothing about finance. Today, they consider themselves experts.
In their somewhat edgy and irreverent, yet fun read, Business for Punks lists 5 basic skills every startup founder needs to master:
- putting together a cash flow model
- reading a P&L and balance sheet
- cost of goods calculations and calculating gross and net margins
- working out the burn rate
- working out break-even point
What would you have added?
5. Entrepreneurial Terror
I wonder if the founders at BrewDog ever felt terrorized during their early startup years? They did according to Wilson Harrell who founded more than 100 companies. In a 1987 Inc. article, he stated entrepreneurs don’t expect, can’t escape, and have no way of preparing for terror.
Entrepreneurial terror, on the other hand, is self-inflicted. It occurs when an otherwise normal person makes a conscious decision that carries him over the threshold of fear into a private world filled with monsters sucking at every morsel of his being.
On the other hand …
Aside from the terror, the experience also taught me the second secret of entrepreneurship — its reward. I realized then that the elation you feel more than makes up for the pain you have suffered. That high, like the terror, is an emotion especially reserved for those of us who start companies. It is food for our spirit.
Want more? It’s a great article. This week, give your founder a high five. Give him or her a second one for me.
Thank You For Reading
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Take care and stay confident and strong this week. Always be learning and growing in times of hardship.