Lake Michigan – September

Lake MIch in Sept

Lake Michigan in September always seemed perfect. The above photo is from a camera near Holland, MI about 30 miles south of where we lived….though the dunes/beaches are very similar all along the shoreline of western Michigan.

So after a short walk through the dunes from our home….this would be the beach….very nice in September.

Major issues in western Michigan have always been not to overdevelop the shoreline…..for the most part successful….and more importantly how the abundance of fresh water can influence the economies of the Great Lakes states.

The challenge for many lakeshore communities (and the state) has been to protect the shoreline and to take advantage of a very significant natural resource….and also to use that resource for a long-term economic strategy.

I miss having the quick access to the “Big” lake…though in winter an entirely different picture!

Beneath the Surface

 Chef and The Farmer

Beneath the surface

UNC has a documentary: http://www.pbs.org/food/shows/a-chefs-life/  on a fine dining chef and her family opening a restaurant in Kinston, NC. The documentary takes us beneath the surface of the family returning to rural NC and the restaurant business.

The first episodes have been entertaining and interesting. entertaining because Chef Vivian Howard is an engaging and likeable person….as well as this all takes place in agricultural eastern NC.

Interesting because like other businesses, restaurant businesses are complicated….from equipment to resources to personnel. From the first episode….while well-known and highly rated….The Chef and Farmer operates on a week-to-week basis (I suspect meaning cash flow).

Another incident: Some disagreements between owners carried out before staff and into the restaurant….inappropriate.

In the first two episodes…..the restauarnt has a major fire….a significant set back….yet it seems they are able to recover.

The end result: Managing any business is a challenge.


Above & beyond

Even Better

Above and beyund

What can a business/organization do to gain strong customer loyalty. After all it’s the customers that pay the bills….and some businesses lose sight of that.

In our business, we worked hard at customer loyalty and satisfaction….yet did we go above and beyond?

For the most part….yes. Did we slip occasionally? yes.

To go above and beyond means doing more than what is expected. Not just resolving a problem….provide even more to the customer. Make the customer(s) cheerleaders for the business. Of course not all will do that….yet those that do are most valued customers. In the long-term that is the kind of customers every business wants.

Be a Better Company


Be Better

Walmart is one of the worlds largest companies….and often the target of critical reviews. Some of these reviews have certainly been justified.

The former Executive Vice-President for Corporate Affairs wrote in a Havard Business Review blog:


“So here’s my advice: If a drumbeat of criticism starts up against your company, don’t rush to raise your voice above it. Stop to listen. And commit to getting better”

In other words: Don’t spin a better story….be a better company.

Any business/organization….even Walmart has to get better and better.

Long Run

It’s a JourneyLong RunSeth Godin (09,10.13): “In the short run, sure, momentum may keep things going. But in the long run (and all the important stuff is in the long run) those individuals, that tribe, is going to care about what they always care about–itself. If you play a part in their version and vision of the future, then sure, go along for that ride. But no, you don’t own an audience.”

Being is business requires a long run perspective….while immediate success is important….if a business doesn’t look down the road it won’t be successful.

What we did as a family business….on how we treated our customers….the quality of the products….and follow-up service had a significant impact on our future business.

Businesses/organizations that don’t have a long-term view (and don’t understand the journey) just won’t last. It’s as simple as that!


Tell the Story


The best presentations always tells a story.

“In the internet era, your story is going to be inspected, held up to scrutiny and scoured for half-truths. But if your story is true, if it not only resonates with the worldview we insist on but actually delivers, then you’ve created something of lasting value.”- Seth Godin 09.09.13

The best business sites always tell a story….who founded the business….how it grew….where it’s headed. I like to know whom I dealing with. The story is important.

Using a story (stories) to develop key ideas is an effective presentation skill. Often I may not remember everything from the presentation….however I do remember the story.

For any business/organization: What’s Your Story?

Out of Sight

Out of Mind


I have followed various blogs over the years….some continue on….others disappear. For some blogs….Twitter has become the primary choice to post. Unfortunately….140 characters does not get a point across. While being succinct is fine….short bursts of words are meaningless.

A few other blogs have relatively little currency….in efect they have minimized their influence and relevancy….and thus are out-of-mind.

On my short Blog roll….Tom Peters uses Twitter more than his blog. Seth Godin uses only his blog. From my perspective Seth Godin (who posts almost every day) is far more effective in conveying his ideas.

The TrueNorth Blog: Concise and Descriptive

Handsome Coffee

Always Different


Coffee roasters/stores have exploded worldwide (of course Starbucks being the largest). What is fascinating is the unique/different coffee business that continue to open…..and for the most part are successful. And it seems to be taking place everywhere.

Handsome Coffee in Los Angeles is a good example.



How is everything?

Panera Bread Cary

We recently visited our local Panera Bread (photo)….a past favorite. On this visit we ordered two premium ($10.49/$8.79) sandwiches. They were up quickly and we proceeded to enjoy our dinner out. Mine was not up to Panera standards and inedible.

As we were about to leave….the shift supervisor asked: ” How was everything” I explained that my sandwich was not a good product. He asked if we wanted something from the bakery….we said no….and than walked away.

It would seem that if the question is asked “How is everything?”….and the response is everything is not OK …..the next response should be – let us make it right.

Seth Godin said:

“It doesn’t matter if you work for a search engine, run a plumbing service or organize a conference. If I’ve come to know you and trust you and then you turn your back on me, abandon me and make me feel like a fool for trusting you, I won’t be back any time soon.”

Panera Bread positions itself as casual dining restuarant with fresh ingredients. Customers trust Panera to provide a quality product.

And if it isn’t a quality product – make it right.

Note: visiting Panera listens dot-com resulted in no response. Unfortunately, Panera Bread failed at the store and corporate level.


Single Pilot-Cessna V

Citation V

Most corporate jet flights require two pilots….the workload is divided and safety is enhanced. However, on certain jets….single pilot operation is approved.

Guido Warnecke is a corporate pilot out of Danbury, CT. He makes some interesting videos of his flights, Watch this video and note the thorough approach to flying….very pricise….always crosschecking….using the checklist.  This is professionalism