Friday, November 20, 2009

Biz Philosophy

"As Dick Clark, the quiet, longtime head of Merck manufacturing who became CEO after Gilmartin, put it,'A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.'"

Jim Collins, How the Mighty Fall and Why Some Companies Never Give In

Now, who said that? I was at a green manufacturing conference last week in Chicago and speakers invoked this phrase at least three times -- and attributed it, of course, to Rahm Emmanuel. It's one of those business folk sayings that probably has no individual author -- although you never know.

"Addiction to scale is undisciplined. To neglect your core business while you leap after exciting new adventures is undisciplined. 'Packard's Law'...a geat company is more likely to to die of indigestion from too much opportunity than starvation from too little."

Scale is religiously invoked in the nonprofit and public policy worlds -- in contrast to boutique pilots. How many groups choke on scale?

"Failure is not so much a physical state as a state of mind; success is falling down,and getting up one more time without end."

This could have been Ben Franklin speaking until the "without end" put me in a Sisyphean stupor. Is success fun? Or just compulsive? Or both?

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