Deemphasis by Emphasis of Tangible Assets

Growing up on a farm I was surrounded by tangible assets… land, buildings, tractors, implements, shop tools, etc. Maintaining and building stuff gave everyone on the farm a sense of great pride. “We did that” was a palpable, daily utterance… even if only to ourselves. The work, save, buy model of business is a fundamental Read more about Deemphasis by Emphasis of Tangible Assets[…]

The Books We Recommend During the Little Engine Ventures General Manager Training

Following a recent blog post, a subscriber said “it’s nice to see what you are reading, but what do you recommend?” And, then, “How do you put the learnings into action?” At first this is a huge request because we’ve drawn from so many books, each having influenced us in subtle ways. However, the question Read more about The Books We Recommend During the Little Engine Ventures General Manager Training[…]

The Types of Managers That Fail

We recently hosted our quarterly Advisory Committee meeting in Lafayette, Indiana. Jeff Peterson stuck around afterward to share some more detailed advice. I asked if I could share his notes –which he delivered from memory–I had to write down. He agreed and proceeded to say, “There are 3 types of managers that fail.” Ultimately, each Read more about The Types of Managers That Fail[…]

Strategy is Saying Yes to Lasting Margin Increases

For years I have said, “Strategy is systematically saying no.” But, while saying no is a discipline that establishes a habit of operational excellence, there is more that must be proactively pursued. You must say yes to something of greater value than your competitors. So, what is that strategy which is worthy of your focus? Read more about Strategy is Saying Yes to Lasting Margin Increases[…]

Coping Mechanisms for High Pressure Management

Pressure can result in higher or lower output. A healthy dose of pressure can result in flow state, increased focused, and clarity of decision making and action. Too much pressure and you are crushed by the weight and stress of the situation. What’s the difference? The output is determined by how the pressure is transformed Read more about Coping Mechanisms for High Pressure Management[…]

Distinguishing Make-to-Order versus Engineer-to-Order Service Businesses

Service businesses often begin by displacing the internal development or employment of a skill. For example, “I’ll hire you to shovel while I move on to this other thing.” As the sophistication of the skils move up the intellectual stack the singular skill is often replaced with judgement balancing across multiple skills. For example, “I’ll Read more about Distinguishing Make-to-Order versus Engineer-to-Order Service Businesses[…]