26 Nov, 2008 | by

Do you talk to your reader in your business letters?  Are you using language that is too formal or stuffy?  Worse yet, are you writing in a style that is too informal?

Formal Language
I talk to so many people that are confused about what is business appropriate in their written correspondence.  Many are convinced that the company expects them to use the old formal language.

Let’s look at an example:
Pursuant to your inquiry of March 17, 2008, I am enclosing some literature regarding our XYZ products.  Our organization is dedicated to providing the utmost quality and cost effectiveness.  We are confident our products will meet and exceed your standards of excellence.

This is too formal and most likely will bore your reader.  You should ask yourself if this is how you would speak to the customer in a face-to-face conversation. continue reading »

12 May, 2008 | by

 

Yesterday I read a very well written Fortune magazine article titled “what’s wrong with Wall Street and how to Fix It”. I’m sure by now you’ve read countless press releases on the sub prime debacle which don’t always provide a concise view of the situation we now found ourselves in. Rarely do you find articulation of such a complex topic, in written format, that provides just the right blend of depth to go with simplicity, to ensure it resonates with a broad audience. I believe this article fits that mold and wanted to summarize some of its key points and chime in with some personal commentary of my own.

The author, Shawn Tully, encapsulates Wall Street’s issues into three distinct categories. The first is their unyielding appetite for risky trading as opposed to more traditional and reliable fee based business that commercial banks tend to gravitate towards. The second is the dangerous levels of leverage these firms work with. continue reading »

8 Jan, 2008 | by
Topics: Strategy

It’s been nearly 30 years since Harvard Professor, Michael E. Porter, wrote his original, ground breaking, article on “How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy”. This framework has become a well known universal standard in strategic thought leadership in both management and marketing across any industry. It’s also part of just about any reputable core curriculum in most business schools across the nation. I vividly recall numerous references to “Porter’s Theory” in several courses back in my graduate school years. continue reading »

12 Dec, 2007 | by

About a month ago, a colleague and I were discussing the challenges associated with our respective engagements at the time. My colleague, whose name I will elect to leave out (I’ll refer to him as Master Yoda or Yoda for short), is one of those seasoned professionals who touts over 20 years in the IT industry along with an impressive string of credentials and unique experiences. He’s as sharp as they come and I find myself reaching out to him for professional advice periodically; he also boasts a humorous and engaging personality which makes for a great dialogue every time we speak. Not only do I consider him one of my most valuable mentors, I also consider him a friend who has doled out some important personal advice in the past which I still appreciate to this day. OK…Enough! I’ve inflated his ego enough and I will now proceed to move forward with the point of my trivial little blog entry.

The outcome of our therapeutic work debrief (that’s code for venting session) concluded with Yoda making a book recommendation. He said he was very much interested in my thoughts on the book so 5 minutes later, I logged onto Amazon and made my purchase. He then said: “the book will be very different then any book you’ve read before… continue reading »

21 Aug, 2007 | by

The recent news of New York base Cerberus, a private equity firm, buying and 80.1 percent stake in Chrysler from Daimler Chrysler AG for $7.4 billion has been major news to say the least. Business enthusiasts and investors have been speculating tirelessly in recent weeks as to how effective former Home Depot CEO, Robert Nardelli, will really be. I figured I’d throw my humble opinion into the speculative arena as well.

Robert Nardelli:
Robert Nardelli, a product of GE during the Neutron Jack years, is mainly known as a methodical cost cutter during his six years while at Home Depot. He was credited for doubling sales and the number of store operations while expanding into Mexico and China as well as delivering more than 20 percent earnings-per-share growth for four consecutive years and more than quintupling its dividend to 90 cents a share. continue reading »

1 Aug, 2007 | by
Topics: Leadership

I’ve always taken pride in personal and professional development. It’s something I’m very passionate about. Ever since I was a child, I’ve always set forth stretch goals to improve myself. I vividly recall practicing soccer in the back yard with my father, at a very young age. I remember at the end of each week I’d put together a mental checklist of things I needed to improve on in order to compete. It’s a trait I’ve carried with me over the years and I like to think it’s served me well.

Over the past few years, I’ve begun a new personal challenge which is geared towards giving back professionally via informal mentoring. I’ve had many mentors over the years, many of which I still communicate with on a regular basis. Words cannot express just how valuable those interactions have been and continue to be. continue reading »

4 Aug, 2006 | by

It’s been a while since I spoke to the GM saga, so I figured I’d chime with some interesting new developments. I recently read a great Fortune article about Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of both Nissan and Renault. It seems the prospect of fixing GM has struck Ghosn’s fancy. This new found interest could most succinctly be attributed to an invitation to assist by GM’s largest shareholder, Kirk Kerkorian. Kerkorian, who owns roughly 10% of GM, has made his presence felt by publicizing his dissatisfaction in the speed and steps being taken in the turnaround effort.

Enter Carlos Ghosn: Ghosn has been dubbed a turnaround specialist, by financial analysts and industry experts, for his past successes with reviving both Nissan and Renault. It seems Ghosn has proposed an alliance between his two organizations and GM. You heard me right. And here you thought he already had too much on his plate! continue reading »

11 Jul, 2006 | by


(Image Created By:  Kurt Griffith)

The topic is obscure to many, but now beginning to gain more and more traction in the political arena, not to mention public opinion forums. What is network neutrality? and should anyone really care? Rather than try and summarize what it’s all about from my perspective, I think I’ll borrow a nice piece that I recently read in the New York Times and kick off m commentary with that.

The author is Adam Green and he throws in his 2 cents as to why Network Neutrality is so important:

As the New York Times editorialized on July 9, 2006:
“Net neutrality” is a concept that is still unfamiliar to most Americans, but it keeps the Internet democratic. … One of the Internet’s great strengths is that a single blogger or a small political group can inexpensively create a Web page that is just as accessible to the world as Microsoft’s home page. continue reading »

16 Jun, 2006 | by
Topics: Technology

These days, financial institutions absorb an overwhelming amount of regulatory scrutiny for just about everything they do. In particular, execution and process are key indicators to just about every regulators recommendation. If you’ve been in the industry, for any extended period of time, you’ll find the following questions quite familiar. What is going to be done to make us feel secure about this process and how do you plan on doing it? Oh yeah, and when will you have this done by? Will see you next year to make sure what you said was going to be completed, was in fact, completed. You can imagine the type of unyielding pressure that CIO’s all the way down to the engineers must face on a regular basis. Sadly, this is only one of the many driving forces behind institutions frenetic pace behind the endless queue of projects.

One new industry concern, which has caught my attention, is that of Content Monitoring & Filtering (CMF). The topic has gained some traction over the years and which I don’t envision stopping any time soon. My basis for that comment stems from the fact (Gartner Research) that there is clearly a technological need for CMF given growing customer demand. There are also a handful of vendors positioning to be the future leader in this $40 million market. continue reading »

16 Apr, 2006 | by

I, like many students of business, have great admiration for Walmart’s tremendous success through its innovative supply chain management structure, relentless pursuit of always having the lowest prices, etc, etc.

This does not mean I admire their complete and total disregard of their own blue collar employees. i.e. Paltry medical benefits and just a shear disinterest in workers in general. I’ll just leave it at that.

Recently, Walmart has begun to cannibalize sales of their own existing stores in various locations. Essentially stores are opening up in close proximately to older stores. Now, you would think Walmart would recognize and avoid such a maneuver given past experience of other retail giants. i.e. Home Depot, Target, etc. continue reading »