Posted by Robert Beauchemin on Sep 9, 2010

As the saying goes, assuming often makes an ASS of U and ME. Assuming is often lethal in business, in sales, or in managing people. Assuming that history is a warrant for the future will likely prove wrong. Assuming that co-workers, partners, customers will tell you all the truth and nothing but the truth will likely prove wrong. Assuming that your staff will easily change their current modus operandi will likely prove wrong.

For me, the opposite of "to assume" is "to know". And knowing requires research, analysis, conversations, argumentations, points of view, experiences and validation. Clearly, no one can know everything about every little detail. There such a thing as wanting to know too much. It leads to indecisiveness, procrastination, analysis paralysis and stagnation.

But there is a balance. For me, although there no way to truly measure this, the balance is in the 75/25 range – 75% data and facts and 25% intuition and gut feel.  And yes, we can argue it should be 70/30 or even 60/40, and it can vary based on the situation. But for sure, you have to do better than the flip of a coin, leading to a 50/50 change of being right/wrong. Certainly, you cannot go running a business on 20/80 ratio without getting yourself into trouble many times, way too many times, or perhaps one time too many. Read the rest of this entry »

The Big Rocks

Posted by Robert Beauchemin on Jul 15, 2010

The busier you are, the more important it is to stop and read this story.

One day, an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration those students will never forget.

As he stood in front of the group of high-powered over-achievers, he said: "Okay, time for a quiz."

He then pulled out a one-gallon "wide-mouth" mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one by one, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked "Is this jar full?"

Everyone in the class said: "Yes." Then he said: "Really?"

He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar, causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the space between the big rocks. Then he asked the group once more: "Is this jar full?" Read the rest of this entry »

A Thousand Marbles

Posted by Robert Beauchemin on Jul 5, 2010

I don't know the author of this piece, but wanted to share it anyway.


A few weeks ago, what began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it.

I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whomever he was talking with something about "A Thousand Marbles." I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say.

"Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital he continued." "Let me tell you something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities."

And that's when he began to explain his theory of "A Thousand Marbles." "You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years." Read the rest of this entry »

Now you’re talking my language

Posted by Robert Beauchemin on Jun 20, 2010

I was recently asked to talk to a round table of executives about what is important in growing organizations. I elected to talk about the need for a Leadership Framework, as I believe it is the foundation of success.

Taken in a different context, if an individual wants to grow to become a great orator, he/she will need to have a communications framework assimilated in three steps:

  1. learn the basic of a given language (the words, the grammar rules, sentence construction),
  2. apply the previous learning to master the language (reading, writing, verb conjugation, synonyms, antonyms, style, story telling, organization thoughts)
  3. apply the previous learning to develop interesting subjects that will shaping understanding of audiences, mold their beliefs, impact their own thoughts.

Most organizations I visit continue to look like a Tower of Babel. A great number of people trying to achieve a common goal (hopefully one God would not despise) yet speaking a different language and as a result employees spend 51% of their time on activities not directly related to their organization's priorities, which causes 90% of well articulated strategies fail to be successfully executed. Read the rest of this entry »

Walking the talk

Posted by Robert Beauchemin on Mar 27, 2010

In one my past engagements, where we had agreed to implement a whole bunch of changes, the CEO asked me, "how do we do that?", "how do we implement this new way of thinking?" After explaining all the concepts of change leadership, operational alignment and organization alignment, I felt they were still not all on the same page. So, I added: "you have ALL to walk the talk", I said.

As smart as I thought I was, the answer clearly remained unfulfilling, I could see.

What does "walking the talk" mean?

We intuitively know that you can't say one thing, point everybody in one direction, and then walk in a different path. We all understand it means preaching by example.

But to preach something, by example or not, you need to have something to preach about. More precisely, you need to be complete, coherent and abundantly clear about your preaching. There should not be much room for interpretation. There should not be ambiguity. There should not dissonance in what is being preached. Read the rest of this entry »