Notes From My Journal 

An Interesting Angle on Teamwork

 Delray Beach, FL– You don’t have to be friends with your teammates. You just need something that Michael Bar-Eli calls task cohesion.

According to Bar-Eli, when a team has a high level of task cohesion, each member will do whatever it takes to reach that goal as a group, even if it means sacrificing their own self-interest. In Boost!: How the Psychology of Sports Can Enhance Your Performance in Management and Work, he gives the example of the Bayern München soccer team in the mid-1970s. Members of the team were far from friends. And yet, on the field, they were all perfectly united in what they wanted to accomplish. As a result, they won three consecutive European Championships between 1974 and 1976.

 

 From My “Work-in-Progress” Basket

Creating a Culture of Profit

You own four businesses in the same industry. They have the same sort of products. The same access to marketing intelligence. And they have unlimited access to cash. Three of them have been steadily growing their profits. One has not.

So you devote extra time and energy to that business. You work with the key people. You suggest ideas, make introductions, etc.

You feel certain that they are all working hard and with integrity. But even with your assistance, the bottom line is always red.

You wonder: What’s going on?

I have a theory about that…

It’s untested. It may be wrong. But it may be right.

 
Another Act of Binary Thinking

When it comes to company profits, there are two kinds of employees: those that are insanely attached to them (tiger sharks) and those that are not (goldfish).

Goldfish are very common. Tiger sharks are rare.

In a typical profit-oriented business, most employees, if asked, will tell you that they care about profits. And some of them may indeed see profitability as a positive thing. They realize that profits are not just something that shareholders benefit from. They may even understand that profits are the lifeblood of the business – that without them a business cannot sustain itself except by a regular infusion of new capital. (And since new capital is usually dumb capital, running a business on capital inflows is ultimately a bad idea.)

Tiger sharks understand all that. But their commitment to profits is much, much greater. They will do pretty much whatever it takes to create profitability. They will work endless hours. They will make tough decisions. They will fire their friends if needed and occasionally neglect their families. Like their namesake, they are always hungry. Aggressive and ferocious, they never stop going after their prey (profits).

So what does this mean?

It means that although 90+% of the work in any business can be competently done by goldfish, without a tiger shark at the top, profits will likely never happen.

 

Today’s Word: amour-propre (noun): Amour-propre (ah-moor PRAW-pruh) is a French term (literally, “self-love”) for self-esteem or self-respect. As used by Germaine Greer: “Man is jealous because of his amour-propre; woman is jealous because of her lack of it.”

 

Did You Know?: Scientists recently discovered 12 new moons orbiting Jupiter, bringing the total count to 79.

 

Worth Quoting:“Nature delights in punishing stupid people.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Art Notes

What You Need to Know If the Name “Auguste Rodin” Comes Up

The best-known sculptor of the “premodern” period, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) displays a great range of style and temperament in his sculptures – from soft and flowing to hard and almost abstract. Thomas Hoving, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, says Rodin’s portraits are “the most stellar in Western history.” Many critics say his best work was the monumental “Gates of Hell,” commissioned in 1884 but left unfinished at his death. Many of the characters in this work are taken from Dante’s Divine Comedy: The Inferno. Two other well-known Rodin works are “The Kiss” (1886-98) and “The Thinker” (1878-1889).

You should be aware that many art snobs will try to ridicule these works as sentimental or conventional. Don’t believe them. Say that you find them “brave” and “modern.” That may shut them up.