Thursday, November 29, 2007

Shades of Gray

A leader takes shades of gray and makes decisions that perhaps result in black or white answers to the recipient. To be a good leader, it's important that those impacted by those decisions understand what went into the decision and that every angle was considered.
It is a leader's obligation to never look at an issue at face value. But, their approaches are very different. There are 2 types of leaders. These are examined in Fred Kofman's Conscious Business. The leader , who thinks that their truth is the truth, doesn't listen to input or dissent. His decision is black and white since no external input is accepted. The leaders I admire and try to emulate show ontological humility. They are learners; they are listeners. These leaders can be just as decisive but their decision-making process is somewhat more complex. But, I believe those decisions are inclusive, thoughtful and thorough.
Here's to my organization's leaders... may you make many good decisions with humility and a sense of greater purpose.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Prayer

Happy Thanksgiving!
I say a little prayer to myself everyday and repeat it publicly at our Thanksgiving table each year- Please God keep my family happy, healthy, safe and secure. On this Thanksgiving I hope that my prayer comes true for you.
We are so fortunate to live in this country at this place in time and space. I don't think we appreciate what a great country this is. With all its warts, there is no place on earth that gives us opportunities to achieve success based on our ability, attitude and hard work. On this Thanksgiving day, on a day when my wife turns a special age, thanks to her and all those who have taught me the importance of appreciating what life has given me.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Challenging Times Ahead

I don't care how good an operator you are, I see lots of clouds on the horizon. Consumer tolerance for higher costs are directly proportional to their ability to absorb increased costs. The increasing costs of every day living- fuel, energy, food, health insurance, taxes- without a corresponding increase in wages, will force people to limit discretionary expenditures. The result for our businesses is that if you are dependant on discretionary spending of the middle class for your revenue growth challenges are on the way. For the food distributor: restaurant spending for middle income families will decline. My prediction is that mid-casual dining's growth will continue to be stymied. Fast food (low cost dining) should continue to grow and white table cloth dining- catering to business and the wealthy should remain stable. For the distributor, customer's will be very cost conscious and shop business more readily than in the past. That means margins for the distributor will be threatened. Cutting costs and aggressively pursuing competitor's business is the prescription for success in 2008.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The reason behind my blog....

Since I love to write and noticed that blogs were becoming a mainstream avenue for communicating ideas, I thought I'd give this a try. I hope someone finds these writings useful, its ok if you don't since I will enjoy writing down some of my ideas anyway.

I am so lucky. It's a quiet Saturday, which is very unusual. I love to be on the go, so having a Saturday at home is kind of nice for a change. That being said, I did go out last night for dinner, went to religious services this morning and in a few hours I will be going to the Maryland- Boston College football game.
Last night I had a great time with my wife and a couple who I've known for many years but had never socialized with. They came into the restaurant just after we arrived, and we invited them to join us. We didn't know we were interfering with their 21st anniversary, but I think we all had a good time. Our youngest son and their oldest daughter graduated high school together and both are freshman at the University of Maryland. We drank some wine, laughed a lot and I had alot of fun. The only thing that bothered me was when another couple came up to the table and I went to introduce them to our friends, I drew a blank on their names. It still bothers me today. I think the theme of this blog will be while I have the best of intentions, and do many good things, I am far from perfect and beat myself up inside constantly for being so inperfect.
Anyway, back to why I am so lucky. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by people who love me and look out for me. My wife and sons are all so supportive, I hope I give them as much as they give me. And, the people in my work life have become so much a part of me. My senior executives, Jeff, Rick, Dave and now Gary, Ledia and Mark, give every ounce of themselves to our company. We have accomplished so much together and I think we all realize how much more we can do together. I know I can't mention everyone at work, but I really like just about everyone at work, and, while I think they like working for me, more importantly, I think they really like working at Saval. Hopefully, over the next days, weeks and years, I can give some insight into how I got to this place in my life and what I hope to accomplish in the future.