Monday Mornings with Madison

Monthly Archives:
November 2016

Preparing an Annual Marketing Plan

It is a lot of work to prepare an annual Marketing Plan.  After all, a company’s Marketing Plan should itemize — in great detail — all of the company’s goals, the objectives to reach those goals and the strategies to … Continue reading

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There is So Much for which to be Thankful

At this time every year, Americans spend a day “giving thanks” for their many blessings. Rightly so. The New York Times recently published an editorial that said that “In many ways, there has never been a better time to be alive.” The article acknowledged that, while there are certainly still many problems in the world, today “fewer among us are poor, fewer are hungry, fewer children are dying, and more men and women can read than ever before. In many countries, recognition of women’s and minority rights is now the norm. There is still much work to do, of course, but there is hope and there is progress.”
The article goes on to observe how people in struggling and violent parts of the world want to immigrate to richer, more peaceful nations such as the U.S. That’s understandable. Indeed, the U.S. has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world amongst capitalist countries. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the U.S. ranks 9th in the world. And when the United Nations combined physical capital (machinery, buildings, infrastructure and so on), human capital (the population’s education and skills), and natural capital (including land, forests, fossil fuels and minerals), the U.S. ranked #1 as the richest nation on earth.
And yet, a Gallup poll this year showed that 71% of Americans were dissatisfied with the U.S. economy and 8 out of 10 felt the country was going in the wrong direction. Those who live in the safest, most prosperous country on earth were feeling great uneasiness, bordering on hopelessness. Why such anger and discontent in the world’s most affluent country? What might account for the huge disconnect between America’s prosperity and the dissatisfaction most Americans feel? Perhaps it’s a matter of gratitude?
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Meeting Etiquette: Rules of the Road

Meetings cost organizations a lot of money. Consider the hourly rate (wages plus benefits) of each person at the meeting. Then add in the expense of bringing everyone together, if some of the participants are at different locations. It can add up. Yet, in all likelihood, most employees will attend dozens or hundreds of meetings throughout their careers. And most employees loathe attending meetings. That’s because meetings take up valuable time that a person could use to “get their work done.” To add insult to injury, not only do meetings eat away at productivity, they often feel like a waste of time. That’s because so many meetings veer off topic, devolve into entire conversations that have no place in the meeting, have numerous interruptions, and/or drag on way past their scheduled time, resulting in the need for another meeting.
Notwithstanding, meetings cannot be avoided and are surely not going to disappear from the business or professional world any time soon. There is no telling the boss “this is not the highest and best use of my time.” So how does an organization deal with the problems and pitfalls of meetings and ensure that meeting results warrant the cost? There are a number of steps that can ensure meetings are productive and focused … on point and on time! Here’s how. Continue reading

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Capricious or Cutting-Edge: When Should a Business Make Changes?

It’s been said that “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.” The point is that sometimes you have to break routines and try new processes, products, systems or strategies to find better ways of doing things. Innovation usually leads to improvement, and refusing to ever try new things is futile and foolish. Consider the Luddites. The Luddites were 19th-century English textile workers and weavers who, fearing the end of their trade, protested against newly developed labor-saving technologies between 1811 and 1816. New inventions such as the stocking frames, spinning frames and power of the Industrial Revolution threatened to replace Luddites with less-skilled, low-wage laborers, leaving them unemployed and obsolete. The Luddite movement culminated in a region-wide rebellion in Northwestern England that required a massive deployment of military force to suppress. So famous was their rebellion that today the term Luddite has become synonymous with anyone opposed to industrialization, automation, computerization or new technology, in general.

Of course, there is also an argument to be made that a business that is always changing processes, products and strategies may find itself wasting both time and talent. It can be expensive to constantly be shifting gears and updating systems. Learning new software or revamping procedures takes time and can be confusing – and even frustrating — for employees. So change for the sake of change can also be counterproductive and costly. It is important for businesses to evolve, but it should be done carefully and thoughtfully to ensure it causes the least amount of disturbance, distraction and distress internally and externally. Continue reading

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