Product & Service

Restaurant service

A recent N&O column: “New eateries should focus on service.”

An owner of two successful restaurants stated: “If you don’t have that (attentive, nice congenial service), you might as well not open a restaurant.”

The N&O restaurant critic has said the problem in the this area is the lack of professional wait staff and that most restaurants depend on part-time employees. While that may be the case….good restaurant operators should have a training process to ensure the level of customer service that is expected.

Service should be as important as the product….if our customer service was lacking than we certainly would not have repeat business. The same holds true for a restaurant.

Don’t take the customer for granted.

Toxic Leadership



The following story is baffling:

Leadership is an honor…. privilege and earned ….not an entitlement.

It appears the Battalion Commander was unfortunately trying to forcefully lead the battalion. A Lt. Col. certainly has learned or should have learned sound leadership skills.

Since the Fort Carson Commanding General is the immediate superior….I would expect that the Lt. Col will be called into his office for a chat. If I were in his position….I would very clearly state….”this story embarrasses “my army”….lead correctly or we will find another position for you”. Several years ago,  the same type of toxic situation occurred on the USS Cowpens….eventually the Captain was relieved of command.

A suggestion for the Lt.Col.: Read Mike Abrashoff’s –  “It’s Your ship” & It’s Our Ship”.

Business Books

My Favorites


As with all types of books, there are hundreds of business books….and everyone has their favorites. Over the past 20 years….my choices:

  • Tom Peters – How businesses/organizations should operate
  • Oren Harari – Very good on leadership/management
  • Jim Collins – What makes companies great
  • Peter Senge – A major work on Systems Thinking
  • John Maxwell – One of the best on leadership
  • Mike Abrashoff – Leadership in the Navy
  • Max DePree – An early proponent of people-driven management
  • Peter Drucker – The best on organizational management

Studying for an MBA meant several analytical courses….just using the above authors could have been a course of its own.

Sales Professional

Selling Appliances


Home Depot and Lowe’s are major appliance retailers. Home Depot has,at least once a month, a six page appliance circular. Lowe’s has four pages of appliances in its weekly circular.

Often in visiting a Lowe’s or Home Depot, there is no sales associate, or even more so, a sales professional in the appliance department. Selling large ticket items is an acquired skill rather than only looking up what models are in stock and entering an order. Appliances have so many features (and benefits)….that it really takes a well-trained professional to actually sell an appliance.

It’s possible that if these two large retailers thoroughly trained their associates….that their appliance sales would see a substantial increase.

The Right Thing

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”


Sometimes doing business isn’t as easy as it seems….there are often gray areas….that while not wrong may not be exactly right.

That’s why leadership is so important in the business/organization environment. Johnson Controls is a multi-billion dollar company….primary an automobile supplier.  The CEO is involved in an ethics issue.

The Johnson Controls board of directors seems to support (at least for the time being) the CEO. Perhaps they see the issue as a gray area. However from the outside….this certainly appears that while management may be doing things right….leadership is not doing the right thing. 





From the News and Observer:

The article states a customer purchased a product from Harris-Teeter and found pieces of foreign material in the product. The product was returned to the retailer….and the Harris-Teeter insurance company offered $2500 to resolve the matter. The customer was not satisfied because he did not find out exactly the nature of the foreign material.

Harris-Teeter’s response while meant to pacify the customer really didn’t solve the problem.

What they should have said:

We will thoroughly investigate this….and have a finding within 30 days….be assured our customers safety is foremost with respect to every product we sell.