Sunday, November 29, 2009

You're Not a Leader

Fortune Magazine's latest issue on 'How to Build Great Leaders' is an anemic, less than insightful view what it takes to be a great leader (magazine woes and thinner issues are having an impact on Fortune's overall quality).

The cover picture though, seems quite insightful.

The picture of 1) a male 2) with an empty head 3) made of bricks 4) wearing a white shirt 5) and tie 6) dressed in a blue suit jacket is a depressing (and perhaps too realistic?) vision of leadership excellence.

And it's an interesting juxtaposition to Fortune's previous cover picture - of Steve Jobs - Fortune's CEO of the Decade.

Here's my ode to white-shirted, empty headers who will never be great leaders.

You’re not a leader if you don’t have any followers.
Do you get that?

They can give you every title in the book – CEO, COO, CFO, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer – it DOESN’T MATTER. If the people you’re supposed to be leading think you’re an ass – you’re not they’re leader.

You’re their whipping boy.


This isn’t about you.

This is about them.

This is about them trusting you. Them respecting you. Them looking up to you.

This is about them feeling like you listen. Them feeling like you care. Them feeling like you think they are capable. And smart.


And human.

This is about them thinking you are good at your job. Them seeing you take your role as seriously as they take theirs. Them knowing you care about the organization.

Not just about yourself.



You need to change.

Drop the ego and stop talking.

Stop being so f’ing smart.

Start learning. Start listening.

Start being nice.

Go for a beer. A lunch. Grab a coffee.

Ask about the kids. The gym. The vacation.

And start doing your job. Otherwise. You’ll never be their leader.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Umair Haque - Why Big Media's Anti-Google Counter-Revolution Will Fail -

Uh-oh: the Empire — industrial-era business as usual — is striking back. Will the rebels be crushed?

Not a chance. Blocking Google is about as smart as eating a pound of plutonium.

Umar's an interesting thinker. He pounds a couple of key themes - like thick vs. thin value, and constructive capitalism - but I like where his head's at. His theme's are almost impossible for many businesses to contemplate (given their current business models) - but I agree - keep turning out crap or creating anti-business models and there is only one outcome - value fail. Check out his various manifestos. They ring an interesting and consistent bell.

Posted via web from Jim's posterous

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Great Reply to 'In Search of a Real Space Ship'

Maybe if there was a meaningful space mission, we could come up with the right rocket. Not to be too much of a downer about it, but space flight has commoditized. We've been to the moon. There's nothing there. We've sent robots to Mars. There's nothing there. These earth-like planets they are finding would take 100,000 years to reach, at the speed of light. Launching satellites is the only meaningful mission, and guess what? Its not sexy and owest cost wins!

Posted via web from Jim's posterous

Buzz Aldrin: In Search of a Real Spaceship

Space capsules? That's right, instead of following the Shuttles with something as capable - something that can guarantee American space leadership - we're going to race China, India, and Russia in a competition to build a limited and ungainly spacecraft that America retired a generation ago. And guess what? It will take another seven years before the NASA Orion capsule is ready to ferry astronauts.

Really? Wow. The American space program is going back to space capsules? Seven years from now? Isn't that like going from the i-phone to the 8 track tape player? Seems like a giant leap...backwards. When is Richard Branson planning to start his Virgin space flights? Maybe US astronauts can get a seat on one of those flights.

Posted via web from Jim's posterous

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Future Shop Customer Service – Fail

Here's a blog post from my frustrated buddy John.

John if it's any consolation I was in an empty Staples around 6:30 and waited 20 minutes for the (only) nice counter lady to figure out how the chip card reader works (the stripe goes to the left. LEFT. Dammit). On Saturday Tim Hortons managed to lose yet another one of my orders because the manager serving me got embroiled in a brawl with an angry customer who was questioning the available options (lettuce or tomatoe and/or lettuce and tomatoe or/and/or nothing) on one of those BELT sandwiches (I'm pretty sure the L stands for lettuce and the T for tomatoe?). When it was all said and done, I was out my coffee and donut. I stayed VERY calm.

See John, apparently you're new to this. Not me. I'm a veteran. Happens to me all the time.

And like you, I've tried blogging and tweeting away my frustrations. Without much luck.

The first time Tim Hortons messed me up I tweeted my pain and got a response from some dude in the US. To this day I'm pretty certain he was just absolving the US of any responsibility. Do they even have bagels in the US?

When Westjet kept us all waiting for almost an hour to self check our bags, I sent out a flock of tweets - then sat next to the hot Westjet marketing lady on my flight to Miami. I showed her my tweets (she's dropping the charges). For three weeks those tweets sat on my twitter profile and on my blog. I never heard a thing from Westjet. I'm not even sure they're still in business?

So on Saturday I stayed calm. No tweeting or blogging. Same tonight with Staples.

John, I recognize that like you, I am doomed to be check-out/check-in challenged and to just grin and bear it. Besides, you think Future Shop is following your blog? Come on. Like Westjet, their customer service is probably still living in the past. Off-line.

Posted via web from Jim's posterous

Monday, November 23, 2009

Best Business Books 2009: Leadership

It's not on the list because it's a few years old (and perhaps not technically a leadership book?) but Marshall Goldsmith's 'What Got You Here Won't Get You There' is very good. Aimed at achievers who have 'made it' - and who are therefore self-certified that their approaches don't require upgrading - Goldsmith does an inspiring job addressing the needs and approaches for doing just that. A few simple tips from the book made me a better listener and more articulate coach. Like lots of these books - although the backdrop is largely business, the lessons can be applied almost anywhere.

Posted via web from Jim's posterous

Thursday, November 19, 2009

IFRS Implementation in Canada

International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are a set of accounting standards developed by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) that is becoming the global standard for the preparation of public company financial statements.

Largely off the radar screen for many including investors, the impact of IFRS on financial reporting for public companies could be significant. Here's an eye-opening Japanese example:

Nikkei Report
28 September 2009
via Dow Jones Factiva
© 2009 Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc.

TOKYO (Nikkei)--The planned introduction of international accounting standards will significantly change how Japanese companies evaluate and report their business results and financial conditions, and the implications for investors are enormous as well.

Take, for example, Nippon Steel Corp. (5401), which posted a group net profit of 155 billion yen for the year ended in March 2009. Under IFRS's key comprehensive income formula, the steelmaker would have reported a comprehensive loss to the tune of 200 billion yen for the year. That is because a decline in the value of the company's cross-shareholdings and losses on the investment of pension assets would have to be recognized in
comprehensive income.

Canadian IFRS Timeline. The Canadian AcSB announced in February 2008 that the transition to IFRS will affect interim and annual financial statements for fiscal years beginning on or after January 1, 2011. Here's the Canadian IFRS timeline:

So, with January 1, 2011 fast approaching, how are preparations going for the introduction of IFRS into Canada?

Talking to CA's and CFO's involved in the changeover here's my take: SLOWLY. VERY SLOWLY.

A recently released survey conducted by the Canadian Financial Executives (FEI) Research Foundation verifies this feedback. It indicates that the state of readiness for transition varies widely. IFRS Readiness in Canada 2009 Executive Research Report features results from senior financial executives from over 250 organizations.

The report shows that some companies have barely started migration, while others — many of the large, established public companies — are well on their way to meeting the 2011 deadline. Despite the fast-approaching conversion deadline, more than 12% of the 147 public companies surveyed had not yet taken the first step of starting their initial diagnostic assessments. Furthermore, roughly one in five private companies that intend to convert to IFRS stated they had also not yet begun the migration process.

At the Big 4 accounting firms, there is concern that too few companies grasp the effort required to make the IFRS transition and are leaving the heavy lifting required way too late into the timeline. Ultimately, this could be a billing bonanza for the Big 4 but there's a risk that the resources and IFRS expertise won't be available for a last minute scramble.

So, what's the situation at your company? With time beginning to rapidly run out do your finance people understand the implications of IFRS on your financial reporting and what effort will be required to comply? Will you be ready?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sales Guy v. Web Dude, Parts 2-4. Oh, Yeah.

Most of you have probably seen Sales Guy v. Web Dude, a hilarious video on the joys of tech support. If you haven’t seen it, kiss ten minutes goodbye and start there. It ranks up there with the stuff on Best Page In The Universe

in entertainment and laugh value.

The creator, Josh Weinberg

, was quiet for a long time after that video. But in the last few months have been productive for him. And he now has three new videos and posted them on The Website Is Down

. All, including the original, are embedded below:

Episode 1 – Sales Guy vs. Web Dude

The original website is down video web dude tries desperately to get his important work done while assaulted on all sides by rampant incompetence. Will he survive???

Episode 2 – Excel Hell

Video #2 from the website is down! Chip takes us on a wild ride into the life of a master salesman. How many sales can he make in a single video? One? Maybe?

Episode 3 – Remain Calm

Chip Demonstrates his special procedure for a hot-swap hardrive replacement using only his steel-toed boot and his razor thin patience. Watch and Learn!

Episode 4 – Sales Demolition

Biz Tip of the week: Get your clients in the room and shove your product down their throats in a sales demo!

Very, very funny. All of them.

Posted via web from Jim's posterous

Leadership Smeadership

Okay. I know it’s a settings thing. Sometime, a long, long time ago – probably when leadership was being invented – I must have indicat...