Never Split the Difference; Drucker’s Big Five; Stand Up and Stand Out; Econ Recon

Click here for this week’s dose of Holiday Cheer!

My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”

Bob Hope
1903-2003
Legendary Comedian who spent 57 Christmases
overseas entertaining our armed forces.

“Never Split the Difference”

Like it or not, much of life is a negotiation. Living in a democracy as we do, many of us just assume that compromise is as natural to negotiation as it is to politics. One master negotiator thinks otherwise.

Chris Voss started off his career as a street cop in Kansas City, MO and became the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. In his line of work, “splitting the difference” and other forms of compromise mean you might get two hostages back alive instead of three. Not a good outcome.

Mr. Voss’ book “Never Split the Difference” is a profound guide to the realities of negotiation based on the core idea that the situation is the adversary, not the person sitting across from you at the negotiating table and maintains that for most executives, “everything you’ve learned about negotiation is wrong.” He illustrates his unconventional negotiating principles with real life examples from his own experience with the FBI. It’s a page turner!

If you don’t read anything else in the coming year to make you a better executive, be sure you read this book.  In addition to the book, check out this riveting 60 minute video interview with Mr. Voss  ….and give yourself an edge in 2018!

Drucker’s Big Five

It’s hard to believe that the legendary Peter Drucker’s been gone for over a decade; perhaps it’s the timeliness of his work that keeps him top of mind with so many executives.

Many companies will be focusing on their strategic plans during December and it’s easy to get lost in the weeds of planning given the complexity of most businesses and the ever increasing uncertainty of the marketplace. Even so, you may find the process more productive with what Mr. Drucker felt were the five most important questions any executive can ask about his or her business. Have you asked them?   Can you answer them? Can your team?

Stand Up and Stand Out

We all dread those moments, especially in group settings when we want to speak out but fear doing so. Ironically, when someone does, we all wish we had his or her courage. A short TED video by Luvvie Ajayi is a great primer on how to know when to stand up, and stand out. In short, it’s all about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

Definitely worth 10 minutes of your life for her three question self-test to know when to take a risk.

Econ Recon:

Conspicuous Consumption: The stock market has been on a tear and many take this as a leading indicator for the economy as a whole. Brian Wesbury looks at some data around the consumer sector and concludes that consumer fundamentals are strong despite some concerns about rising debt levels. The consumer is two-thirds of the economy; directly or indirectly, it drives your business and career. Spend a few minutes understanding what lies ahead for the most important aspect of aggregate demand.

Pioneering Don’t Pay: The stock market isn’t the only thing that’s surging: Bitcoin topped $11,000 this week and many are looking at it as a serious investment vehicle. Brian Beaulieu of ITR Economics has some thoughts on the matter that put one in mind of Andrew Carnegie’s warning that “Pioneering ‘don’t’ pay.” Check it out!



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