Category Archives: Thoughts

Don’t Base Business Partnerships on Personal Chemistry


When I hear that two CEOs are striking a deal in part because they get along well personally, I cringe. Of course, good personal rapport can help you see opportunities in working together and can get a complex deal done. And in long-term partnerships, it is essential to managing the inevitable unforeseen circumstances. But, don’t rely on chemistry — particularly if that chemistry is between only a few of the principals involved — in deciding and managing a major deal. Even trust is an unreliable foundation when it is held by individuals and not supported by broader organizational interests.

One large research organization experienced the danger of CEO chemistry firsthand. I heard the story after the fact, when a key alliance had failed. The opening of the story was already ominous: the companies began talking and found common ground because a scientist from the would-be partner firm had joined the research organization. True, that is how the idea for a deal may first arise. But in this case, it was the main reason for the in-depth conversations that followed, with little if any analysis of alternative partners.

In these discussions, the CEOs indeed hit it off swimmingly. There were full-court-press visits to each other’s headquarters, and deal details were worked out rapidly. The research organization promised to invest in special research over several years to develop the technology needed to combine with that of the partner firm, which was to employ this technology in its own product line. And that product line was a top priority of the partner’s CEO.


Coca-Cola Among FIFA Sponsors Telling Sepp Blatter He’s Not The Real Thing

Will FIFA president Sepp Blatter survive the latest investigation into his dealings? Not if Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Visa, and Budweiser have a say in it.
Forbes – Leadership


On feeling like a failure

Feeling like a failure has little correlation with actually failing.

There are people who have failed more times than you and I can count, who are happily continuing in their work.

There are others who have achieved more than most of us can imagine, who go to work each day feeling inadequate, behind, and yes, like failures and frauds.

These are not cases of extraordinary outliers. In fact, external data is almost useless in figuring out whether or not someone is going to adopt the narrative of being a failure.

Failure (as seen from the outside) is an event. It’s a moment when the spec isn’t met, when a project isn’t completed as planned.


Helping an Employee Overcome Their Self-Doubt


You want to give a member of your team a stretch assignment, but she tells you she’s just “not ready yet” — she’d like to get more experience before taking it on.

You offer to make a valuable introduction for someone you mentor. He seemed excited about it at first, but doesn’t follow up. Later, you discover that he felt intimidated, like he’d have nothing to say.

As managers and mentors, we frequently encounter situations like these, when we come up against the limiting voices of self-doubt in the people we support.


Before you can Lead Others, you need to Manage Yourself.

This post recently appeared in SmartBlog on Leadership:
Before you can earn the right to lead others, you need to “manage” yourself.

I know I’m not the first to use that phrase. Steven Covey wrote about it, and it’s taught in our leadership program at the University of New Hampshire.