Subscribe to The Garraud Files podcast in iTunes and get updates on the latest episodes.
Listen to my latest podcast where I Talk about when and why I started podcasting, my amateur radio roots and why I think we all enjoy communicating and telling stories.
The National Association for Amateur Radio (correction ARRL.org not net)
Link to my My Amateur Radio Weblog (no longer updated)
Musical selection: Two Sides by Scomber.
Click below to listen or go to the website
The Garraud Files Podcast was created in 2004. In 2005 after 55 episodes or so, I decided to discontinue it due to other pursuits. I recently re-created the GF as a mobile podcast and it is currently been hosted at Libsyn.com. I’m currently using the Bossjock Studio podcasting app (for iPhone and iPad) and the iRig Mic Cast Microphone. The app and microphone mentioned suit my needs perfectly as this podcast will take place mostly while on the go and discuss subject matters relating to business, technology and social media.
Click below and listen to my first episode or check it out at http://rayga.libsyn.com
As you go about your day to day activities, are you asking the right questions?
For example: Do you love what you do? That question has a lot more relevance today than ever before. People who love what they do are the ones that are doing the best work, being the most productive and making the greatest impact.
With a properly-framed question, finding a worthwhile answer becomes almost straightforward. And when you’re honest with your answers, you can begin the process of making the necessary changes that will impact you both personally and professionally.
In today’s society, we are trained to be solution-finders. In our careers, we are judged by the solutions that we propose, not the questions that we ask. Very often, in many areas of life, we are defined by the solutions we come up with rather than finding the best problems to tackle. Meanwhile, in order to get to the best solutions, we often overlook that asking the right questions in a systematic fashion is really the best way to get to a worthwhile solution.
How do you ask the right questions? Good questions are clear, even if they are broad. They have to be linked to an objective, the challenges posed by current approaches, the decision criteria, and the obstacles to adopting new solutions. Your questions will also depend on the complexity of the issue. Some will be simple, others will require that you delve a bit deeper into the issue.
Be introspective and proactive in managing your career and your life. It’s an effective personal and professional development strategy and it’s how powerful reputations are built. Of course, detailed questions are never as exciting as answers, but they are the starting point for asking the right questions that will in turn lead you to productive answers.
I’m reminded of this story someone shared with me a few years ago:
A French woman, upon seeing Picasso in a Parisian restaurant, approached the great master and insisted that he put down his coffee and make a quick sketch of her. Graciously, Picasso obliged. When he was done, she took the drawing, put it in her handbag, and then pulled out her billfold.
“How much do I owe you?” she asked.
“$5,000,” was Picasso’s reply.
“$5,000? But it took you only three minutes!” she exclaimed.
“No,” Picasso answered. “It took me all my life.”
This short story informs us that there’s value inherent in what we have to offer to the world. Whatever you’ve done up to this point in your life, has either enhanced your skills, improved your marketability and increased your value or held you back from achieving your goals. Think about what your services are worth and plan, deliver and execute accordingly.
Successful managers have high expectations, both of themselves and their team. These expectations are powerful, because they’re the frames in which people fit reality. We often see what we expect, rather than what is actually occurring.
Social psychologists have referred to this as the self-fulfilling prophecy or the Pygmalion effect. In Greek mythology, the sculptor Pygmalion carved a statue of a beautiful woman, fell in love with the statue and brought it to life by the strength of his perceptions. Many managers play Pygmalion-like roles in developing people. Research on the phenomenon of self fulfilling prophecies provides ample evidence that people act in ways that are consistent with our expectations of them. If a manager expects a subordinate to fail, they probably will.
Organization builders have their strongest and most powerful influence in times of economic uncertainty and turbulence. When accepted ways of doing things aren’t working well enough, a manager’s strong expectation about the destination, the processes to follow and the capabilities of the team serve as a driving force that gets the team moving in a positive direction.
In addition, great managers tend to not give up on people, because doing so means giving up on themselves, their judgment, and their ability to get the best out of others. When I ask people to describe exemplary managers, they consistently talk about those that were able to bring out the best in them. To have your team’s best interest in mind and doing what is necessary to help them develop the drive and motivation to be successful; that is one of the defining characteristics of a great manager.
At the heart of any entrepreneurial process is opportunity. Successful business people and investors know that a good idea is not necessarily a good opportunity. In fact, for every 100 ideas presented to investors in the form of a business plan or proposal, usually only 2 or 3 ever get funded. Over 80 percent of those rejections occur in the first few minutes; another 10 to 15 percent occur after investors have read the business plan and proposal carefully. Fewer than 10 percent attract enough attention to merit further consideration and investigation.
As an entrepreneur, it’s important to develop the ability to quickly evaluate whether serious potential exists in a business opportunity and decide how much time, effort and value to invest.
Here is a quick summary of what to initially look for when determining if a business venture is a good opportunity:
Market demand is a key ingredient in measuring opportunity
- Does market share and growth equal 20 percent of annual growth
- Is the customer reachable
Market structure and size
- is the market emerging or fragmented
- What is the revenue potential based on existing market share
Margin analysis helps differentiate an opportunity for an idea
- Capital requirement vs the competition
- Can we break even in 1 to 2 years?
Consider the underlying market demands as well as the value added properties of the product of service. Also up for careful scrutiny is whether the market size allows for a 20 percent or more growth potential; the economics of the business, solid gross margins (40 percent or more) and the free cash flow characteristics.
The business need not be operating perfectly. In fact, if there are some inconsistencies in existing service, some gaps in information and knowledge those can also be considered as potential to create opportunity and drive value. In the final analysis, there are many factors which when combined, will paint the total picture. But the basics as outlined above along with your professional experience and business acumen will help in bringing you to an appropriate conclusion.
Though these three words may sound exasperatingly similar, they have three very different meanings. When something is imminent, it is destined to happen e.g. “the imminent sunset.” Eminent can refer to a person of high rank or repute: “an eminent king,” or anything that noticeably pokes out like “an eminent nose.” But when something is immanent it is inherent or inborn. Will your immanent linguistic eminence shine through when you use these words correctly? Of course, it’s imminent!
A breakthrough in the peace talks is imminent.
The eminent senator was greeted by a standing ovation upon his return.
The protections of liberties is immanent in constitutional arrangements.
This is one of the best pieces about Management vs Leadership that I’ve read in a while. The article, ‘Management is (still) not Leadership’ from The Harvard Business Review by John Kotter makes quite a clear and concise distinction between the two roles. Here is an excerpt:
…Management is a set of well-known processes, like planning, budgeting, structuring jobs, staffing jobs, measuring performance and problem-solving, which help an organization to predictably do what it knows how to do well. Management helps you to produce products and services as you have promised, of consistent quality, on budget, day after day, week after week. In organizations of any size and complexity, this is an enormously difficult task. We constantly underestimate how complex this task really is, especially if we are not in senior management jobs. So, management is crucial — but it’s not leadership.
Leadership is entirely different. It is associated with taking an organization into the future, finding opportunities that are coming at it faster and faster and successfully exploiting those opportunities. Leadership is about vision, about people buying in, about empowerment and, most of all, about producing useful change. Leadership is not about attributes, it’s about behavior. And in an ever-faster-moving world, leadership is increasingly needed from more and more people, no matter where they are in a hierarchy. The notion that a few extraordinary people at the top can provide all the leadership needed today is ridiculous, and it’s a recipe for failure.