Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 9/25/2023
We tend to record prized learning at key junctures: birthdays, anniversaries, births, and so forth. But on a recent long flight, I had finished my writing and reading, and the entertainment offerings weren’t very entertaining. So I began to think about what I’ve learned recently.
- Public accountability (announcing to others that you’re going to lose weight, or make a sale, or kayak rapids) is better than private accountability in that others can hold you accountable. But for those who are truly successful, the difference is intense personal and private accountability that produces results, meets deadlines, avoids procrastination, and admits and learns from errors. No one else is needed to enforce this discipline.
- Leaders today require two traits above all others to be successful in volatile times: the ability to deal confidently and assertively in conditions of ambiguity, and the resilience to “bounce forward” when making an error and resolving it.
- People who seek affection over respect in their business dealings will constantly be diluting and compromising their effectiveness so as not to lose the affection. That is not what highly successful people pursue. The seek a victory march, not an epithalamium.
- If you fail to say “thank you” and “please” to people because you feel they’re insignificant or their jobs are menial, or they’re somehow beneath you, you’re not merely rude. You’re a lout.
- Life is not an “on/off” switch. Whether it’s dealing with climate change, abortion, immigration, of any other critical issue, we need to understand that there is no “perfect” answer that will please everyone, and we had better be willing to accept compromise. Life IS a rheostat. The ontogenesis of successful movements and progress relies not on uniformity but on consensus.
- The more people use profanity to shock (as in a book title) or to describe (as adjectives in a conversation or post), the lower I consider their intellect and/or their socialization and respect for others.
- There is a “point of no return.” We no longer own black-and-white TVs, circuses are a memory of the past, we don’t use ocean liners to cross the Atlantic for business, or use overhead projectors in classrooms, and we don’t look for pay phones to make calls. Make no mistake that movie theaters, broadcast and cable TV, and regional and local newspapers will disappear in the next several years. They are seriously diminishing as you read this. There’s no “going back” once past the point of no return, just as a species can’t perpetuate itself if too few members are extant.
- Good intentions are wonderful, but without pragmatism and a plausible chance for success they are little better than fantasies. Leaving the landing lights on for Amelia Earhart is a nice gesture, but utterly meaningless.
- Even God makes mistakes: kale, the platypus, and the far too short lifespan of dogs.
It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure. —Bill Gates
Acceptance and tolerance and forgiveness, those are life-altering lessons. —Jessica Lange
Lessons are not given, they are taken. —Cesare Pavese