Author: Walter Simson

To Understand Your Company’s Critical Next Steps, Ask Your Team to Try This

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Sometimes, to achieve dramatic improvement in a company, I’ll ask the team to do something difficult: consider ways to make the company fail. That’s right, fail.  We gather in one room, take a look at a problem, then spend an agreed amount of time to work quietly and alone in listing ways to make that problem […]

The 11th Rockefeller Habit You Need to Practice

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I have met my share of lousy chief financial officers. Like the sportswear executive who didn’t know the various products’ margins–and then invested heavily in the losers. Or the manufacturing lady who spent a lot of time complaining about the bank’s interest rate, but couldn’t close the books on time. Or the guy who resists […]

How a Successful Interim Meets the Team

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When companies undergo a change in management, there is often a sense of anxiety among the employees. They are likely to think, Will the change hurt me? Will we be okay? Often, these are questions that cannot be answered right away. The new manager needs to get information, meet the people and get out into the market. That learning […]

Get Your Kid A Free Education…In Germany!

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There has been a lot written about how European universities offer “free” education.   These articles make it sound easy to sign up, get access to the European lifestyle and startup culture, and simply attend class. Well, my oldest son actually achieved this goal.  He is the only American in my circle to have done this, and as far as I […]

“Billions” and the Glare of Lighthouse Management

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In the Showtime drama “Billions,” Damian Lewis plays Bobby Axelrod, a brilliant, ruthless hedge fund manager who rules his trading room through fear. He walks in the room and glares at each trader in turn. The trader who flinches gets yelled at, grilled, or even fired. This is one aspect of the streaming envy-fest I […]

Relocation and Kryptonite

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Unlike most mortals, I have a super power. Yes, it’s true. I drive with a New Jersey License plate. Able to flip off lane changers in a single bound. Faster than a speeding Uber. Angrier than a kid driving behind the old man in a hat. But I have a flaw. My Kryptonite is…Potholes. In […]

Staring as a Sign of Financial Distress

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The company had been in financial distress for some time.  The accounting staff was overwhelmed with vendor calls, and had gone so far as to print piles and piles of unsent checks in anticipation of some day, some how, being able to pay.  The salespeople, normally out on appointments, pleaded the plant manager to use […]

Confessions of a French Major

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Well, Kentucky’s Republican Governor, Matt Bevin, has decided that the state will support the education of  accountants but wants to limit the downside risk on French majors.  Understandable, I suppose, but as one of those who specialized in French, I can say with some pride that I have never had a day of unemployment in […]

Positive Corporate Culture is Free

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It surprises many clients that, when I am helping them to become more profitable, I spend a lot of time diagnosing, then supporting, the company’s organization. They say, “Why are you wasting your time on how we’re organized? We want financial improvements!” Turns out, the finance department has less to do with getting financial improvements […]

Are You Ready to Succeed? Mindfulness Training for Professionals

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I have the easiest job in the world. Perhaps “easy” is not the right word. After all, my work involves constant travel, detailed analysis, crushing deadlines, and enough pressure to make a pair of diamond stud earrings. But it’s still easy, in that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I shudder to think what […]

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