1. It takes the sustained effort of many people to create a positive corporate culture. It takes a few people no time at all to ruin it.
  2. When someone starts a sentence with “We benchmarked our performance against …” it means they screwed up, and are now covering their asses.
  3. Trying to build consensus where none is possible is not leadership. Making a decision respected by those who disagree is.
  4. People who do the least while in power are the most critical of their leaders while out of power.
  5. Thinking “out of the box” doesn’t make you clever. Having more tools in your box does.
  6. Many of the best business ideas seem obvious, like opening a bar across the street from a Baptist college.
  7. Lawyers generally abhor qualifying adverbs, while economists can rarely write a sentence without at least two of them.
  8. You can’t just tell people that you value them, you have to show them. You can’t just show people that you value them, you have to tell them.
  9. It takes less effort to act ethically than to create the pretense of acting ethically. Yet, most prefer the latter to the former.
  10. People read Top Ten lists. Even if you have only nine things to say, stretch it to ten.

Financial “analysis” like this makes my head spin:

Earnings … were expected to beat expectations. [The Street]
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Think of the Children! (But only on Sundays, say area liquor stores)

Connecticut is considering a law lifting the ban on Sunday liquor sales. The current prohibition is a throwback to the religious blue laws. Of course, like most legislation that comes under the banner of morality, someone is sneering and profiteering. Opposed to the legislation is the Connecticut association of liquor stores. Head cynic cretin (err, President) Alan Wilensky justifies his opposition:

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Free!*

No money Down!*

Satisfaction Guaranteed!*

Those ubiquitous asterisks used to point to standard disclaimers about war, riots, or force majeure, but the small print at four point font now occupies tomes. There is a fine line between disclaimers, limitations, conditions, restrictions, and outright fraud. The following examples are nowhere near that line.

Accident Forgiveness… Helps keep your rates from going up just because of an accident. Even if it’s your fault. [Allstate Auto Insurance]

Fine print: “Safe Driving Bonus is based on eligible premium for prior policy period and won’t apply after an accident.”

Translation: “We forgive you! (but you still pay)”

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Among the many issues with ranking schools, one of the most glaring is incorporating the input of those who are impacted by the result. Students reporting on MBA programs or University presidents ranking schools all put people influenced by the result in a position to influence the results. This creates quite the incentive problem.

Recent evidence comes from the rankings of schools (pdf) provided by University of Florida President Bernie Machen. The surveyed rankings are an integral part of the U.S. News ranking formula, and were obtained by the Gainesville Sun in a public records request. Other Florida university presidents were shrewd enough to “lose” theirs.

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