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 […]

“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 […]

The Checklist Manifesto for Business

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The Checklist Manifesto for Business What do Harvard Medical School, The New Yorker and middle market business have in common? Usually very little, but courtesy of a remarkable book by a public health authority, I can make a meaningful connection that you will find profitable. The book is The Checklist Manifesto-How to Get Things Right […]

The #1 Secret to Success for Private Companies

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In the 1937 comic farce, “Topper,” a young Cary Grant portrays George Kerby, a playboy attending the board meeting of his family’s bank: Bank Chairman (reading in a droning tone of voice): “Bullion abroad and in transit, thirteen million, two hundred and two thousand, eight hundred and fifty-four dollars and no cents.” George Kerby, (reclining, […]

Ready for Shovels

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In the aftermath of the 2008 Lehman collapse, most banks froze lending and in fact requested their money back. At one point 74.5% of the banks said they were tightening their lending standards. This caused a full-blown banking crisis, in which money was leaving the economy at an alarming rate. In human terms, there was […]

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