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The Clone Game

By Gary Rich on Dec. 5, 2011 in

I often ask some of the executives I work with to address a seemingly simple construct. They are asked, “If you had a clone performing your current job exactly as you perform it today, what would you work on?”

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Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda

By Gary Rich on Nov. 28, 2011 in

A friend of mine is in a senior position at a mid cap that just filed bankruptcy. Sadly hundreds of employees will lose their jobs, investors and lenders will lose their money and everyone who poured their heart and soul into working there will experience a painful defeat. And that’s not even the bad news. 

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Business Ghosts

By Gary Rich on Nov. 21, 2011 in

In the 1988 movie, Gotham, Eddie Mallard (Tommy Lee Jones) finds himself in the unenviable position of dating a ghost played by Virginia Madsen. His friend provides him with some sound coaching, “You’re sleeping with a dead woman Eddie. There’s no future in it for you.”

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Do You Know Me?

By Gary Rich on Nov. 14, 2011 in

Twenty years ago I was working for American Express on a project that was relatively important. I was positioned about six levels down from the CEO. The project went on for months, long days and long nights. One afternoon, the CEO “dropped by” my office to see “how it was going.”

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Leading At The Very End

By Glenn Kaufman on Nov. 7, 2011 in

By Glenn Kaufman, Partner, The Leadership Room

My mother recently passed away, but she faced death courageously.  In her last few hours she fought delirium long enough to put us, her family, at ease.  She told us to look forward, but when looking back, to think of the “good times” and get energy and inspiration from them.  She didn’t want us to feel sorry for her, but mostly, she didn’t want us to feel sorry for ourselves.  She gave a context to “endings” that was all about “beginnings”.  Although she never held a corporate position or had a title other than “mom”, she was a leader.

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Time To Get Uncomfortable

By Gary Rich on Oct. 31, 2011 in Leadership Bites

Lifting weights is uncomfortable, so is running up hills, dieting, studying for a calculus exam, learning a new language or discussing your fears with a therapist. I can’t think of anything we do that facilitates our individual growth or development that’s as comfortable as sitting around in familiar surroundings, doing the usual.

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If You Can’t See The Target…

By Gary Rich on Oct. 24, 2011 in Leadership Bites

I remember my first budget submission as a GM like it was yesterday.  After a month of careful analysis and discussion with everyone involved, my CFO and I landed on a number that was both difficult but attainable. Some stretch but nothing crazy. I was proud of the discipline the team had applied to the exercise. After a full day presentation to the CEO he thanked us for our effort and said he’d get back to us once the other units had rolled up. Three days later he called and took my number up by twenty percent.

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Is Your Company A Soul Sink?

By Gary Rich on Sep. 29, 2011 in Leadership Bites

Restaurateurs know a lot about ambience. They understand that the way it feels to be in their restaurant is in many ways as important as the food they serve. The better managers know that they can’t judge their establishment’s ambience as well as someone walking through the door for the first time. Kind of the way people that live in smelly houses never know they do. Savvy business owners hire professionals or ask friends to stop in and report on the experience they have.

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“On China”

by Henry Kissinger

Reviewed by Glenn Kaufman on Sep. 29, 2011 in Biz Lit

Before I finally bought this book I thought, “here’s another former politician who will use this space to aggrandize himself and have history prove him right.”  To my utmost surprise, I was completely wrong.  As it turns out, “On China” is a must-read for anyone who does business in or with China, or anyone who wants to understand the Chinese ethos that has developed over centuries where cycles of stability and turmoil, insularity and “openness” have had a profound impact on the psyche of a people.

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A: They’re Hunting Caribou

I am such a hypocrite.

I spent the first fifteen years of my career being annoyed by sales people—until I became one. Back then, I was young and had an inflated sense of my own importance. I was annoyed by the sales people who tried to sell me and then there were the ones that worked for my company; I gnashed my teeth while watching them jet off to sales meetings in Vegas or scoot out of the office at 5:00, squash racquet in hand. To my mind, sales people were slick, oily and unpleasant. They travelled with an overnight bag filled with Hermes ties and carried a slight odor of sulphur.

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