Sunday, May 31, 2009


Tomorrow is a big day for me. My first day at Nu Horizons. It feels a bit like being a kid on the first day of school. Excitement, anticipation, some apprehension. Will be fun, will be challenging.

I have not yet moved into my new Long Island house. There is still some construction being completed(like there is no kitchen and I cannot shower). It is behind schedule and not what I had planned. What I have learned in life though is we are often faced with the unexpected. Some things just are. So I will make do and do fine.

Last night I made the mistake of picking up a book late at night - "Chaotics - The Business of Managing and Marketing in the Age of Turbulence" by Phillip Kotler and John Caslioni. It was a page turner for me.

The thesis of the book is that the current turbulence is here to stay and that "times are different and always will be". I do not totally agree with the thesis. Through my business career, I have often lived through periods where people say "this is the worst", "I have never seen anything like this" and "this is different". What I have seen is things are not so different. At the same time, things always change.

I am a bit more of an optimist on the current turbulent situation as my article on thriving in turbulence suggests.

And regardless of the situation, we almost always reflect on the good old days. These are the good old days so enjoy them now.

I loved that the book is totally current with references to stock market declines, attacks in Mumbai etc. It adds impact to an already impactful book.

I also liked that they referenced some of my favorite authors and thinkers like Drucker and Christianson.

Chaotics makes the case that things are different now. It then goes on to give tools and insights to help deal with the situation. Things like "emphasize core values", faster strategic planning, high flexibility etc.

10 strategies outlined in the book include:

1 - keep recruiting. This means think long term and grab talent now.

2 - Don't recruit a problem. So elevate your recruiting standards, do not drop them.

3 - Allocate resources wisely (always right at any time in business. Especially when it comes to time use.)

4 - Increase communications

5 - Do not rely just on the CEOs message.

6 -be optimistic and opportunistic. There is always opportunity.

7 - Keep training. I totally believe in this one especially in tight times. People have enough slack that they can take hour off the phones to learn something that can make the business more successful in the future.

8 - Inspire the team. It takes the full engagement and commitment of the team to win.

9 - Follow through. This is not the time for lip service and starting without finishing.

10 - Keep your best people. People are the heart of any successful company.

All good common sense ideas.

It never hurts to use the prescriptions the books suggests just like it never hurts to plan for the worst even if things get better.

Great book. Well written. Good thought stimulator. Good action ideas.


At 8:49 AM, Anonymous Eric said...

I really want to work on my leadership skills and this might really help. Thank you for posting this.

At 8:55 PM, Blogger FRANCESCA said...

First off, I hope your first day @ Nu Horizons went well. I'm sure it did.

Sorry, but I'm laughing about the "no kitchen" but not so funny about the 'no shower' - I went without a kitchen for 8 weeks while the old one was gutted. It really was fun and I was amazed @ the great meals the bbq turned out. It's all what you make of it in life! Go with the flow and keep smiling. Ahh , but I'm not sure if I'd live without the shower lol.

I love when you review the books you've read. The concise info is great and I'm learning a lot by reading your blog!
Hope your new appointment allows you ample time to keep posting great stuff!

At 12:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jim,

Like yourself I'm a avid reader, but I don't generally read motivational nor time management-type material because, to be frank, I find the ideas in them to be perfectly obvious, i.e. make a list of priorities, treat your staff well, improve communications, delegate, etc. I mean, who doesn't know these things? Artful implementation of these ideas, on the other hand, is the key difference, I believe. And THAT boils down to the PERSONALITY of the leader, formed long, long before he or she might have ever taken up reading such literature.


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