Monday Mornings with Madison

Monthly Archives:
January 2017

Fear is the ‘Bad Word’ of Business

Even though we live in a technology-driven data-saturated world, emotion still plays a huge role in how businesses are managed and how economies function. When business leaders feel buoyant about the future, they are more likely to launch new products or expand into new markets. When they are hopeful about the outlook for business, they are more likely to hire staff, make capital expenditures to replace outdated equipment and invest in new technology. And most economists agree that the degree of optimism that consumers feel in regards to the economy and their personal financial situations is practically a self-fulfilling prophecy. When people feel strong, positive, secure and sure – whether those feelings are based on facts and concrete data or not – they are more likely to spend, hire and take calculated risks. The result of all that confidence is that it usually fuels innovation and economic growth which then fuels more optimism. It is a virtuous cycle.
If all those good feelings serve as fuel for expansion and progress which in turn generates more confidence, then what causes recessions and contractions? What causes the pendulum to swing from optimism to pessimism, breaking the virtuous cycle? One big contributor is fear. It is the curse word of the business world. Fear plays a big role in causing stock markets to fluctuate wildly. Fear often makes employers hold back on hiring even when they know they are short-staffed. Fear causes business owners hold on to old equipment and antiquated systems rather than invest in the tools needed to maximize productivity and increase efficiency. Fear often works as a paralyzing agent undermining businesses and economies. So how should leaders and execs deal with fear in business? What do we even know about how fear affects business? Continue reading

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Failures are Stepping Stones to Success

Failure and success. Winner and loser. Just what is the relationship between these concepts? Is there a vast ocean of qualities, traits, and achievements that separates failure from success? What makes a person a winner? Is success something you are, something you achieve or something you have? Do we consider someone a success because he or she has achieved certain milestones? What are those things? Education. Wealth. Respect. Fame. Power. Control. Relationships. Position.
What about failure? Does failing at some things in life make a person a failure? In truth, every person experiences at least some failures in their lifetime. Even billionaire President Donald Trump has had businesses that failed. That is just part of being human. People make mistakes. Social blunders. Professional missteps. Financial mistakes. Business miscalculations. Is it a cumulative effect? Does failing a certain number of times make a person a failure? If failing a lot doesn’t make a person a failure, then what does?
How do we define failure and success? Can someone who flopped at most everything he did for a large portion of his life later be seen as a success? There is plenty of evidence that failure and success seem to go hand-in-hand. Some of the people we most admire and respect in history were considered utter failures at one point in their life before achieving great success. Just how did those failures become successes? Is failure an essential part of the journey to success? Continue reading

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Essential Tools for Today’s Mobile Workers

Millions of professionals worldwide spend a huge part of their work life traveling. Salespeople are constantly driving from place to place, meeting with clients or potential clients or visiting job sites. Service professionals and consultants often go to their customer’s locations to provide support. Couriers and logistics companies constantly have their employees on the road. Even many dentists and doctors have multiple offices or hospitals to which they drive to daily. It is not unusual for busy execs to be ‘on the road’ half of their work week or more.
Working in a car is tough, even if it is only for part of each day. Mobile workers need to stay in touch all day. That’s not easy to do when constantly on the move. Staying connected to the Internet is key to remaining productive. That means having power, connectivity, and the ability to create, send, receive and print information… all from or in a car. Thankfully, technology has done a lot to make it easier than ever before to get online, dialed in, and powered up while on the road. Here’s how. Continue reading

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Remaining Relevant in 2017 and Beyond, Part 2

Many occupations have disappeared due to automation, advanced machinery and computers. Manufacturing jobs have decreased in number and salary. Clerical jobs have dwindled as technology has streamlined office processes. Clean forms of energy have hurt mining and related industries. Robotics, computer automation and engineering advances will surely put an end to even more jobs such as bon-bon dippers, check writers, finger cobblers, clock hand inspectors, and globe mounters.

Some fear that technology will eventually replace every job and make human labor obsolete. But consider that technological advances have been pushing people out of job since long before the Industrial Revolution. This is nothing new. While technology killed some jobs, those same technological advances created other new jobs. And while computers and robots can do a great many things, they are also many other things they simply cannot do… and will likely never be able to do.
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Remaining Relevant in 2017 and Beyond, Part 1

The world’s most sophisticated computers can out-think most humans today. They have more memory, greater instant access to information and don’t need anything except electricity (and maybe an Internet connection) to keep going 24 hours a day. Even the average laptop is able to perform many tasks that once required human involvement. And, as robotics are infused into more machinery and engineering, the work once done by humans to make things is also being increasingly replaced by computerized machines. Robots don’t need sleep, hydration, nutrition or oxygen to breath. Robots don’t take vacations, don’t go on maternity leave, don’t need coffee breaks (or coffee, for that matter), or want fringe benefits like increasingly expensive health insurance. Robots don’t have bad days, sick kids or aging parents. Computers and robots have a shorter life span, but can be depreciated and written off on taxes, along with other equipment. In short, technological innovations are increasingly making some jobs obsolete.
This could be of deep concern for those who are being phased out with each new technological development. Technology can cause some individuals to become unemployed and maybe even unemployable. For those who are afraid of become obsolete, consider that there are certain skills that even the most intelligent computers and sophisticated robots cannot do, and likely will never be able to do (or at least not in the foreseeable future). So what are those skills? Continue reading

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