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 […]

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 […]

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 #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, […]

Interims are In!

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When you set yourself up in the holy orders of advice-giving in business, there are usually three types of engagements: -Client says they have a problem. Can you help analyze the complexities, then present a conclusion that is suitably backed up with data? -Client says they have analyzed the problem. They now wonder– could you […]

What CNBC’s ‘The Profit’ Gets Wrong

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A few years ago I received a call from a television producer who wanted to verify that I was, indeed, a well-known turnaround consultant. This took me back because “well-known” was not necessarily in my marketing vocabulary. But I figured if someone from TV wanted to talk to me, I could at least become “less-obscure.” […]

It’s time for Competitive Marketing

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 I am getting the feeling that economic conditions are improving. One client is on allocation on manufactured goods – the demand is outstripping supply. Another is about to hire five people, in sales and accounting.Of course, another is worried that revenues are varying from month to month in seemingly unforeseeable ways. This client is in […]

Taking Control Amid Municipal Corruption: A Discussion with Harry Spence

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A couple of months ago, I got an email from Benton Harbor, Mich. It reported on the local strife following the appointment of a super-powerful municipal administrator under a new Michigan law. “Do you do this?” my correspondent asked. “Any comment?” And I replied that the only person I would trust to comment was someone […]

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