First, the Bad News

Hagen meets WoltzI was watching Francis Ford Coppola’s classic adaptation of Mario Puzzo’s The Godfather the other day, and was again reminded of one of the lines that should be quoted more often than it is, especially for business owners. Early in the film, Tom Hagen goes to see the film producer Woltz to ask him to give Johnny Fontaine a part in his upcoming film. Woltz is holding a grudge against Fontaine, and doesn’t respond well to Hagen’s request. When he gives Hagen his final answer, Tom Hagen requests that his car take him directly to the airport. “Mr. Corleone is a man who insists on receiving bad news immediately.Mr. Corleone is a man who insists on receiving bad news immediately,” he explains. The scene occurs just before the famous horse head scene: astute aficionados have noted the bowl of oranges on the table during their dinner together at Woltz’s home.

Benjamin Franklin on Hindsight: So convenient a…

Quote

Benjamin Franklin on Hindsight:

So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one had a mind to do.

–Quoted by John Kay in Obliquity: Why our goals are best achieved indirectly. Kay refers to this hindsight rationalization as “Franklin’s Gambit”.

Focus Your Strengths, Don't Fault Them

Scott BelskyI’ve had this article on How to Make Your Business Dream a Reality open in my browser for a couple of weeks now since I saw it tweeted. I kept it there thinking I should riff on it, and just didn’t get to it… until now. The article subtitle is “Coming up with ideas is easy. Executing on them is the hard part. These tips from Scott Belsky can help get you started.” Sounds intriguing, right? Unfortunately, he had me sneering when I hit point #1, which reads:

Hire the killjoys.
The first step to activating the Action Method, Belsky says, is to create an “immune system” that kills ideas. This means hiring killjoys to capture every action step and say no to new ideas — rightfully so, in most cases.

The Ugly Underbelly of Mastermind and High End Coaching Programs

Corporate Fugitive Sherri Garrity recently decided it’d be a good idea to blow the lid off some of the “Mastermind” programs out there — ones which I’d call a scam. I find it hard to believe that people would charge (or pay!) $20,000 a year for a mentorship program that doesn’t provide regular one-on-one mentoring (read: no individualized input), especially one that consists largely of flogging other programs which cost even more money. Excuse me? As a small businessperson, you can buy a fair bit of consulting for $20 grand, and I’m sure it’d go a lot farther in filling in your knowledge gaps. Seems a heck of a better idea than joining some shady MLM scheme. Anyway, Sherri writes,

Do You Have Any Volcanic Vulnerabilities?

A few weeks ago, nobody who wasn’t living literally in the shadow of a volcano was giving much thought to the impact that a volcanic eruption could have on their lives. Of course, that was before the volcano-nobody-could-pronounce erupted in Iceland, shutting down air traffic in Europe for several days. Would-be travelers were faced with a choice between sitting tight in London (or wherever) and reading a book or sightseeing, or else hopping a train to race south and attempt to fly out of a different airport. For most travelers, it was a relatively minor inconvenience and perhaps a bit of unplanned expense. For the airlines, it would certainly have had a much bigger impact.

All Business is Personal

The GodfatherThe Godfather is the I-Ching. The Godfather is the sum of all wisdom.” — Joe Fox (Tom Hanks’ character in You’ve Got Mail).

I’m sure you’ve noticed that the phrase “nothing personal — just business” has entered the business lexicon over the years since 1972 when the movie adaptation of Mario Puzo’s 1962 novel The Godfather. Funny thing is, the movie gives you the wrong impression. I’ve read the novel, and Mario Puzo explains that the phrase is not a sentiment with which Don Corleone would agree. In fact in the novel, only Don Vito Corleone (and later, Don Michael Corleone) seem to properly understand the intersection between what is business and what is personal. The movie places the quote on Michael’s lips, but only if you’d read the book would you understand Micheal’s words to be merely intended to placate his brother Sonny and Tom Hagen, who are separating the two in the discussion about their response to the attempted murder of their father. If you only saw the movie, you’d think this was the philosophy espoused by the Don. It isn’t.