Friday, September 22, 2023

What would be a good measure?

Goodhart's Law is a principle in economics and social science that states: "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure." It highlights the idea that once a particular metric is used as a basis for decision-making or as a target for optimization, people and organizations will often find ways to manipulate or game the system to achieve the desired outcome. Even if it means compromising the integrity of the original measure.

British economist Charles Goodhart; hence Goodhart’s Law, was first articulated in the context of monetary policy. He observed that when policymakers target specific economic indicators to achieve their goals, these indicators lose their reliability as accurate measures of economic stability or performance because people adjust their behavior to influence these indicators artificially.

Goodhart's Law has broad implications beyond economics and can be applied to various fields, including business management, education, and even social behavior. So, in a business context, if a company sets a specific sales target as a key performance indicator (KPI), employees may focus on meeting the target at the expense of other important factors. This can lead to unethical practices or short-term gains that harm the company's long-term prospects.

Knowing this, use caution when employing metrics or measurements as the primary basis for decision-making. People's behavior can and will likely change in response to those metrics, often in ways that undermine the original intent or accuracy of the measurement.

Do you really want to measure it now?

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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Do you think you are that different?

Despite the diverse businesses that exist, there are more similarities than differences in the problems businesses face. At the core, businesses share common challenges like how to grow the business, how to increase profits, should you enter a new market, should you react to a competitive threat, or should you introduce a new product. You can add to the list.

Your industry maybe different. But you share more similarities than you recognise. The faster you realise this, the faster you will be able to tap into the solutions others have used and save yourself some mefenamic acid.

Will your solution differ that much?

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Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Why aren’t there solutions?

The treasure trove of insights and growth opportunities can only be unlocked when you actively listen and refrain from creating excuses for each piece of advice given. Open-mindedness is the gateway to learning and personal development. Park your ego aside and lock your pride away. Consider alternative viewpoints, challenge your preconceptions, and make informed decisions. When you deflect advice with excuses, you lock yourself in the chamber of ignorance. Free yourself from the shackles of cynicism and skepticism to the collective wisdom of others, leading to better outcomes in both personal and professional spheres. The path to progress is only open to those who are receptive.

Do you really want advice?

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Tuesday, September 19, 2023

When should you think?

Take time to think. The relentless pace of business drowns you if you do not give yourself time to float above all the daily mud around you. These moments of reflection offer invaluable clarity and strategic vision. Bill Gates, during his tenure at Microsoft, would famously take "Think Weeks," isolating himself to ponder future industry shifts and innovation. Similarly, Mark Zuckerberg's annual "personal challenge" serves as a reflective exercise that led to the development of significant Facebook features. These CEOs understand that stepping back from daily operations allows for fresh perspectives, fostering innovation, and ensuring a company's long-term success.

"Working on the business, not in the business" is a common adage. But to work on the business, first you need to float. To float, you need to give yourself some space and some time.

When is the right time?

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Monday, September 18, 2023

Do you have their trust?

The substance must back the designation that you carry. You will have to pay your dues one way or another. The title is not important. Give it enough years in the work world and you will realise that the title only matters to people who don’t know better. Work for the trust not the title, and trust is built upon a solid foundation of hard work and time.

Would you like a sexy title?

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Friday, September 15, 2023

Are you getting nearer?

What has to happen now dictates what can happen later. If you are too focused on the future and your goals, it may actually detract you. Better to ask yourself, "What must I do NOW to get me closer to my goal?" than to keep thinking about your goal. Every small step taken is a step no matter how small. Every thought not acted upon is a waste of time no matter how lofty those plans are.

Are you drifting further?

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Thursday, September 14, 2023

Was it the right thing?

You make decisions based on whatever information you have at hand and in the time that is needed for the decision to be made. We don’t have complete information when we make those decisions. There will always be risk. Just because you have made a bad decision, it shouldn’t weigh you down and scar you into making faster and better decisions for the future. Even bad decisions open new doors and opportunities. Keep looking forward and keep making decisions so you get better at it and make better calls.

So what if it was wrong?

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Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Where are you wrong?

Instead of always being cynical, skeptical and thinking others are wrong, try asking, "Where are they right?" It helps you see the other side; it helps you be fairer and smarter too as you learn to see with a wider lens.

Where are they right?

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Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Would you dare to write it down?

Want to know if your strategy and plan would work? Then start writing it down. Your thinking plays tricks on you because they float around your head. You think you have thought it through but it’s merely one or two things that has been going in circles in your mind. But because you think you have thought about it all day, all week or even all months, really; it’s just two miserable thoughts.

Once you start writing, you will know how much you have got the details down. You will know where the vacuum exists and what you need to fill.

How do you get the details down?

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Monday, September 11, 2023

Are you rigorous?

I was telling some business associates last week that many eons ago. I told a brand manager that in order to achieve her sales target we would have to get every 3-year-old to drink 3 cans of 400gm milk power per week. An almost impossible marketing goal.

Be rigorous with your numbers. Here are some places where you need to be:

  • Marketing objectives
  • Sales numbers
  • Revenue and profit
  • Penetration rate
  • Usage frequency
  • Purchase frequency
  • Media numbers like share of voice

Learn to love the numbers that matter.

Do you have the numbers?

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Friday, September 8, 2023

How do you make money?

If you are struggling with your business, perhaps you are charging too cheap. The common adage that when you sell cheap you will get volume and that’s how you make money is just ONE of the many ways. It’s not the only way. The other way is really to raise prices so you have enough margin to do marketing and adverting. If no one knows you, no one knows your story, no one knows your value, why would anyone pay more for your product?

Why aren’t you making a profit?

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Thursday, September 7, 2023

When will they stop?

If you do what you like and you get criticized, mocked and laughed at, just keep on doing it. Even better if you are making money doing it. No one needs to know your intentions and objectives. They can keep laughing and eventually they will run out of stamina. When they run out of stamina and you are still running your show? That’s when you have an option to snigger at them.

When will it pay?

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Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Is it time to go?

When you think you have something workable, go. Don’t think too much. You may have heard of a minimum viable product. It means at an initial stage all you need to do is to get the product into the customers’ hands and let them try it. You get feedback and you keep improving. Don’t wait till it is perfect. You will be surprised you need a lot less than you need. No amount of research will be better than the real consumers in the market giving you feedback.

Why are you anxious?

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Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Who says it can’t be done?

It can’t be done until someone eventually succeeds in doing it. If you think about it, every innovation starts with not accepting a norm. When you go out of the norm to do things, you innovate. So don’t listen to the nay-sayers who on the one hand says they love innovation but on the other tells you it can’t be done.

What have they actually done?

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Monday, September 4, 2023

Will you win in the long-term?

Increase your chances of winning in the long term by positioning yourself for it. It means putting more effort in doing better at what you do, taking a long-term view of things when making decisions, taking on challenges with an open mind and accepting that they are part of the process rather than fight it.

What are you willing to do in the short-term?

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Friday, September 1, 2023

Do you think they will let you in?

Don’t look to hopping on someone’s train on your road to success. They won’t allow you. They built the train themselves the hard way and why would they let you on? Build your own train. It’s tough but you will get immense pleasure having the option to decide who gets to hop on your train.

Do you think you will let them in?

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Wednesday, August 30, 2023

When do you advertise?

before promotion.

You would think this is just common sense. But every other day when we get a brief from a client who says, “I want you to do marketing for my product.” (They actually mean advertising not marketing.) they have hardly got their distribution right.

Are you wasting money?

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Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Is there a structure?

It is interesting to see how people trained in the professional fields like engineers, doctors and accountants just throw frameworks, structures and processes out the window when it comes to marketing and branding. While less exacting in our standards, there are frameworks, structures and processes in place to safeguard the work in order to increase your chances of success as a client. So, you as the client do not approve or execute a plan or a name based on whether you like it or not. The system is there to protect you the client. Not to make us impressive.

Do you have a framework?

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Monday, August 28, 2023

Should you lead?

If you trust the recruitment system you have created, you would get good employees. If you again trust the training, mentorship, leadership and management you can provide, then it’s time to trust the system. Trust the system that it will mould and develop good managers.

Then let the manager do what they do best, take risks, make mistakes, screw up now and then, do great work occasionally. That’s how they grow and add value back into the organization. The shade that you provide may be well intentioned as protective. But it is stunting their growth. You should get out of their way. Just be ready to jump in to catch them if they do stumble.

Who’s in their way?

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Friday, August 25, 2023

Where should you grow?

Focus on profitability rather than growth. People then to equate growth as being profitable but you can grow and that growth in size could result in a loss. Well-intentioned people will always tell you product categories you should get into, industry you should expand, additional services you should offer. It will make you grow they say. It will make you grow in size. But will profit grow?

Remember, the profit and loss responsibility is yours. Not theirs. They don’t know your company’s core competencies, your raw material costs, your labour costs, your current financial standing. Let good intentions be what they are. Good intentions. Nothing more nothing less.

How should you grow?

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Thursday, August 24, 2023

Can’t wait to grow up?

Learn to be happy when you are small. Small allows you to take risks which you won’t take when you are bigger. Small is practice run for big later. If you can’t deal with these smaller issues now, how will you solve them when you are bigger? It’s a rites of passage for the right or passage.

Small prepares you for being big. Welcome it and savour it while it lasts.

Will you be happier when you are big?

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Wednesday, August 23, 2023

How do you develop company culture?

Company culture
is what you do. You can’t create it unless you act upon it and encourage it. If you trust your people and they start to trust one another, trust becomes a culture. If you take care of your staff and you encourage them to take care of one another and why it is important, caring becomes a culture. Culture is what people do. Culture needs time to develop. Encourage it, nudge it in the right way. But don’t force it. Let the fermentation naturally develop. You actively stirring it may just destroy it.

Is it like a petri dish?

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Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Are you short sighted?

Manage the short term but think long term. If you think long term, the decisions you make and how you weigh opportunity costs will be vastly different.

How far can you see?

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Monday, August 21, 2023

Which will you chase?

The challenge for many companies is that every opportunity for growth seems so seductive to them. They want to do everything. If you are one of these people, always remember that there will always be more opportunities than the resources that you have. Hence, selecting which are the ones to pursue and make a priority is important. Prioritize in such a way that you put the corporation’s commitment that translates into action. That is your strategic imperative.

Which is your priority?

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Friday, August 18, 2023

When will you get inspiration?

If you want something to work, don’t wait for inspiration. Inspiration is unreliable. Get committed via a checklist. What does it mean? Do up a checklist with a timeline of what you want done. Then do it. Regardless of weather, mood, inspiration or time. What matters is execution and perspiration.

Do you have a checklist?

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Thursday, August 17, 2023

Why are you hiding?

Share what you know if you want to grow. If you have an abundant mindset, you will attract like-minded people. When a few of these people get together, they help each other fertilize ideas and detox the poison that may have been accumulating while working solo.

Don’t be afraid to share your successes and your disasters. No one will copy your success and make you poorer. The world just doesn’t work that way. Your successes have a little secret. That is you. No one can copy that.

What’s your secret?

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Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Which ones should live?

All your ideas are good ideas. But you can only work on a few excellent ones at any one time. You have to massacre the good ideas so that the excellent ones may live.

Which ones should die?

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Tuesday, August 15, 2023

What can you change?

Changing your business is hard. But choosing one thing to change a day that will effect a bigger change is easy. If a day is too ambitious, then a week. Choose one important thing you can do for your business that will make the biggest effect for the week. 52 weeks of accumulated effects will give you critical mass to ignite a positive growth explosion.

What should you choose to do?

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Friday, August 11, 2023

Can you accept failure?

If you have big goals then you need to accept that failure in all shapes and sizes is inevitable. If you can accept this, you will increase your chances of achieving something you will be truly proud of. You won’t be afraid to aim big. Accepting failure teaches you humility as well. This tussle between humility, in keeping you grounded and freedom you give yourself to fail propels you to reach greater heights.

Will you be humble?

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Thursday, August 10, 2023

Why do farmers trim their trees?

We worked with a client recently that was making good money for the last two years and this year began to bleed. Turns out they have bred too many products. There were overlaps, it was making consumers confused in choosing the right product for themselves.

We worked hard on trimming the product portfolio and increasing the prices. We did simulations and showed the client how they can with some true hard effort, the year can still be saved. In the same meeting, the client with all good intention came up with some solutions of their own. The solutions are almost all about creating new products.

Sometimes throwing more things at a problem doesn’t solve it. It compounds the problem. Learn to cut. Work with less. It’s easier to polish and make each one shine when you have less to work with.

Should you be trimming some fat?

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Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Can you do what it takes?

Some clients do not like the assessments we have done for them. It can feel personal even though it is done with the best of intentions and in the most diplomatic ways. But as consultants we have to do what is required of us based on the challenges at hand. You can’t expect recommendations to make a positive difference in your business unless you can face the truth of your current position. In addition to that, the required remedial action needed to get to your goals.

The cold hard truth is that, nothing magical will happen at the end of the year if you are not prepared to do what is required. You get the results that you work for. If you want great results, then you need to do what is needed to get there. This applies from the quality of staff you have to the investments you are willing to put in for your marketing and branding.
Your actions must support goals. Otherwise, nothing magical will happen at the end of the year. You get what you work for.

Do you know what is required?

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Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Do you want to learn?

Some people say they want to learn but only in thinking. I think I want to learn. But my attitude towards learning is lukewarm and my action to back-up my thinking that I want to learn is cold.

You can’t learn by just thinking that you want to learn. Your attitude and action must match it. When all three are aligned; you will truly learn.

You will learn principles. You will learn from people with opposing views. That broadens your knowledge even more. You are open to different pedagogy. You will become a true student.

Do you act like you want to learn?

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Monday, August 7, 2023

Should we move on?

Decisions promote progress. Deliberations fuel regressions. What you can decide on today do not delay till tomorrow. Decisions are the foundations of progress. You like to deliberate not because you do not have the answer. It is because delay feels safe. It’s as if you owe yourself some time to slowly progress to the decision. It’s a puppet show you stage for yourself in an effort to say, “I have done my job.”

But your job is to decide. Make a decision and your business progresses with it. Create more deliberations and your business decays with them.

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Friday, August 4, 2023

Are you arguing too early?

Details make or break a project. That is true.

Hence arguing over the right details at the right time is crucial. Why do some meetings take forever to finish and yet fail to reach a consensus? Why do some great ideas die an early death?

One reason is because stakeholders argue over the details when they need to agree on the big picture first. Once you agree on that, you figure out how to make it work.

Agree that you want to have kids? Then how many kids? Then when you want to have kids? Not what their names should be and what colour of clothes they should be wearing. You can work out the details later once you agree on the big idea.

Does it matter at this stage?

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Thursday, August 3, 2023

What can you let go?

Getting the sequence of events right is crucial. Some entrepreneurs focus on the wrong thing at the wrong time. For example, at a birth stage of your company; your focus on production and distribution would be key. At this stage is branding important? Yes it is. But not as crucial as the production issues that you have and the distribution network that you need to build. Always ask yourself, what can’t you do without now before getting to the next stage.

What must you have?

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Wednesday, August 2, 2023

How much is better?

Less is more is only true if less is better. It’s not true all the time but from an entrepreneur’s perspective it is a good guideline to help maintain focus. Entrepreneurs are driven people. You tend to want to pursue more. You tend to want to do everything everywhere all at the same time and expect to do all of them well. But even if you have all the time, money and resources you can dream of, you have finite energy.

Keep your focus. Keep your goals (somewhere between 3 to 5 is best) and pursuits to the few key imperatives that you need to tackle every year and go after it.
Are goals distracting you?

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Tuesday, August 1, 2023

How do you do that?

Some people can do what they can do and impress you because they make a commitment. They don’t let constraints limit them. They surely complain less than you do about not having enough of this and that. They make commitments and let discipline take over. They prioritize and because it is a priority, they make time.

There are no big secrets.

Do you want it bad enough?

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Monday, July 31, 2023

What did you expect?

You have to embrace the process regardless of what you do. Doesn’t matter if you are a student, a worker or an entrepreneur. Most people overexaggerate the expectations of starting a business, dreaming of the big day they can cash in. How wonderful it is to be able to chart their path. But they underestimate the negatives that come along with the process that makes them grow. When the negatives happen, they get all disappointed forgetting that it is when they embrace the process that fluctuates between pain and pleasure, compliments and criticisms, prosperity and poverty. That’s when growth happens. Walking the path without being pulled too much into either side. That’s how you achieve your goal.

Why are you in pain?

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