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18.Sep, 2016 2

5,300 Employees Go Rogue

Yes, my friends…you read that right. 5,300 employees at Wells Fargo Bank had to be terminated for going rogue and signing up over 1.5 million customers for credit cards and other accounts that customers had not requested. “Going rogue?” That would have to be the case given no managers or senior leaders were aware of or held accountable for this. It’s the most profound example of “going rogue” I’ve ever witnessed. The top executive in charge is going to retire with a package of $125,000,000. Nice work if you can get it! Wells Fargo was fined $185 million which amounts…

11.Sep, 2016 0

The 15th Anniversary of 9/11

I remember 9/11 it like it was yesterday. 10 months after the horror of 9/11, I joined E-ONE, a fire/rescue vehicle manufacturer in Ocala, Florida, to help them implement mass customization. We had fire/rescue vehicles on backorder for the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) as a consequence of that fateful event. Most of that backlog was for our Saulsbury brand of stainless steel heavy rescue trucks then manufactured in Preble, New York, just outside Syracuse, NY. 343 firefighters died that day and about 80 fire/rescue vehicles were destroyed when the Twin Towers collapsed. That’s a staggering number of people…

4.Sep, 2016 0

The Man Behind The Boeing 747

You likely don’t know of Joe Sutter. Here’s what you need to know from his obituary this past week: Joe Sutter, 95, whose team of 4,500 engineers took just 29 months to design and build the first jumbo Boeing 747 jetliner, creating a gleaming late-20th-century airborne answer to the luxury ocean liner, died of pneumonia Tuesday in Bremerton, Wash. The plane, introduced in 1968, would transform commercial aviation and shrink the world for millions of passengers by traveling faster and farther than other, conventional jetliners, without having to refuel. What an achievement, particularly given the era in which the 747…

28.Aug, 2016 0

More Joy In Our Lives

I’ve made a decision to seek out things that bring me more joy. I need to be more intentional about seeking joy and believe my readers should consider this as well. As many of you know, I used to play trumpet professionally. Most of my paid work was playing jazz in my quartet, quintet and octet (the later of which played a lot of Blood, Sweat and Tears and Chicago music as well as James Brown and other artists). I also played in a number of big band jazz groups playing the music of Buddy Rich, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman,…

22.Aug, 2016 0

Jazz Harmonica–Toots Thielemans

Toots Thielemans passed at age of 94 today.  He was a giant in the jazz world. This Belgian-American played with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Benny Goodman. I want to share four joyous minutes of Toot’s performance of Bluesette with you. You may not recognize the name, but I’m sure you’ll recognize the tune. If you’ve got them, put on your headphones and crank up the sound–that’s what I did. What a sweet sound. R.I.P. Toots!  

21.Aug, 2016 0

If We Build It, Will They Come?

I love the “Field of Dreams” movie marketing theory: “If we build it, they will come.” How many companies use this as the premise for their entrepreneurial venture? The lessons of the “dot com” bubble should have been etched in entrepreneur’s minds. There is little evidence that this is true. Most entrepreneurs believe their idea is “the next big thing.” Yet, statistics reveal quite the opposite. What are the preventative actions? Create around actual customer needs and wants–not a theoretical view of what you perceive to be customer needs and wants. Make sure you know how the world will come…

14.Aug, 2016 0

Is This Any Way To Run An Airline?

Delta Airlines has just come off a challenging week for their customers and themselves after disrupting thousands of flights and untold numbers of customers. Delta is not alone: In June 2016, Southwest Airlines suffered a similar outage impacting 2300 flights over a few days In September 2015, American Airlines suffered for 6 hours with a rolling impact of hundreds of flights over several days The United/Continental merger has suffered several outages since 2010 Delta’s I.T. infrastructure is based on the infrastructure from a now defunct airline acquired back in 1982. This is not a typo. 1982. Can you imagine how…

7.Aug, 2016 0

What A Warranty Is And Isn’t

Not all problems raised on social media are what they appear to be. I read a Twitter thread between an entrepreneur and a customer service organization about a warranty issue this weekend. The entrepreneur is furious: her computer is down and she can’t afford any downtime to get the problem resolved. While she wants to blame the manufacturer, she needs to look more closely at her own business practices. I see several problems here: “Warranty” means that if something goes wrong, the customer will not be charged for the repair or replacement of the product. That replacement needs to be…

31.Jul, 2016 0

Changing Direction Unlike Yahoo!

This past week, comedian Professor Irwin Corey celebrated his 102nd birthday. Happy birthday, Professor! I once played in a big band that was the house band for a show he headlined at old Sheraton Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. His language got to be too coarse for the audience and his microphone was turned off soon after he started. He couldn’t believe that this happened. I was reminded of a Corey line: “If we don’t change direction soon, we’ll end up where we are going.” How many companies, systems, processes and people are caught up in a less-than desirable state…

24.Jul, 2016 0

The Toughest Business To Consult On

The toughest business to consult on is your own. It is too easy, as my mentor Alan Weiss says, “to breathe your own exhaust.” I know this for having been in business for over 20 years. The business world has only gotten more complex. How do you determine the right strategy? How do you set the right priorities? How do you deal with complex issues? Are you addressing issues that matter to customers? Is your business growing, flat-lined or in a state of decline? Is your team excited or feeling pretty blazé? Who do you turn to get confidential advice…