Posts byThe Bull

Can you sell?

It’s one of the first questions I ask when I’m looking to hire someone. And it doesn’t matter what the role is either. The reactions I have got to this simple question, ranging from pure horror to disdain to fear to amusement to “of course,…

When “I Don’t Know” Is A Good Answer

A couple of years ago I was unexpectedly tapped on the shoulder by a large international company to lead their efforts to launch a new challenger brand into the Australian market. It was an intriguing opportunity and after careful consideration…

The Things That Don’t Scale

The Holy Grail for most business people and entrepreneurs is to create a massively scalable enterprise that changes markets and people’s lives while making a ton of money. That’s a great end game and some businesses actually achieve it.…

An experiment in personal redundancy…

In the 1998 movie Enemy of the State Gene Hackman plays a former CIA operative named Brill who lives off the grid. He doesn’t use phones, emails or credit cards. He doesn’t have a social security number and generates his own electricity. …

Victory Is Sweet

Back in the late 1980s I was standing on the sideline watching a game of rugby between two arch rivals. One of the teams had dominated the other for more than two years but this match was different. It was close and there was a real chance of an upset.…

The Next Big Thing

The next big thing?

 

What is it? Where is it?

 

I’ve got no idea. And even if I thought I did I’d probably be wrong. I’d be speculating (at best) and so would, I reckon, most other people. I also think it’s the wrong question. It’s…

Let The Thoroughbreds Run

Every so often you’ll come across a person in business that is special. Who sees things that others don’t. Who works that bit harder. Who pushes the envelope a bit further. Who takes charge without being asked or prompted.

They …

Being Endlessly Curious…

Last year I took my family, including my two young sons, to Borneo for a holiday. It wasn’t luxurious and we did some pretty rough traveling at times. Some of the accommodation we stayed in would barely rate a ½ star and that’s being generous.…

STOP, START, CONTINUE…

The term ‘continuous improvement’ gets used a lot in business. In some organisations it results in a lot of ‘busy’ work that doesn’t achieve much. In others it is a deeply embedded discipline that relentlessly drives a business …

Two Simple Rules for any Team…

 

One of my first ever bosses was a hard-headed, old-school business leader who was known for his gruffness and direct approach.  He operated by two simple rules with his team. Never lie and quickly admit if you screw up, even if it is minor.…

You’ll Never be (Quite) Ready…

You’ll never be (quite) ready…

  • To grab that opportunity
  • To start that business.
  • To quit that job.
  • To hire (or fire) that person.
  • To pivot and change direction.
  • To do that first keynote.
  • To write that book.
  • To get married.
  • To have children.

Don’t be a Saviour…

There’s always a temptation to jump in and re-write inadequate reports and take over projects from teammates if they are floundering. It feels like it is the right thing to do for both the person involved and for the organisation itself. Get…

The Importance of Relevancy

Blockbuster. Borders. Nokia. Motorola. Kodak. The list of large scale corporate failures has been long in recent times. Brands that held strong market leadership positions for decades are on their last legs or gone altogether. In their place…

The effects of Negative Talk

Negative talk, doubt sets in, confidence declines, performance suffers…

Right now I’m in the middle of helping out (a bit) to get 130 seasonal retail stores open. Ninety of them have opened in the past two weeks and the rest will…

Being Irreplaceable…

 

“You’re making the worst decision of your life. Letting me go will cripple this company. You can’t operate without me and you’ll quickly discover that. You’re screwed mate.”

Sacking the guy who headed up a small team in …

What is the “Secret” to Achieving Success?

This is one question that I believe gets over-asked. Why? Because it’s naïve to think there is a “secret” or a silver bullet to achieving success. In fact the route to success is usually painful and arduous. It involves taking risks and…

Building a high Performance, top Notch team

Let me state this up front – I enjoy team-building activities and I’ve done a ton of them over the years. Paintball, barefoot bowls, even conferences on tropical islands. All were great fun and helped me to get to know my team better. But I’ve…

What’s your net worth?

The concept of “net worth” is an interesting one. Most people, if asked, will do a quick mental tally of their personal assets and liabilities and come up with a $ figure. Others will grab their bank statements and mortgage documents, thump…

Powerful Ideas that Spread…

About three years ago Ben Rennie, CEO of the innovation lab 6.2, invited me to write for Uncluttered White Spaces. I had never written publicly before and wasn’t sure whether I had anything worthwhile to say or could in fact write in a coherent…

How to Meet Anyone…

“Hi mate. Just thought I’d reach out to you. You seem to be doing some interesting things and I’d love to buy you a coffee sometime and chat.”

I got this Linked in message recently from someone who I didn’t know. He wasn’t referred …

Customer Service 101 – What not to do…

One of the least enjoyable customer service experiences I have ever had was more than a decade ago when I was a member of a gym chain. It was easy enough to sign up and I was told if I needed to cancel the membership at any time all I needed to do was provide…

What Entrepreneurs will tell you in Private

I enjoy listening to successful business people talk about their journey – especially entrepreneurs who did a start-up. Depending on who they are talking to you might hear two versions of the same story. The first is that they identified…

Get Used to Chaos and Confusion…

Every year my wife and I sit down and have a think about what we would like to achieve in the next 12 months. We talk about goals for our family, our personal stuff as well as our business interests. We also look back and see what we achieved in the previous…

Becoming Slightly Famous

Remember Tim Shaw? He was the presenter of the infamous Demtel TV commercials encouraging us to buy with the memorable “but wait, there’s more”. Tim is an unforgettable personality but behind that quirky persona is a highly skilled

My Word is my Bond

My word is my bond. It’s a powerful sentiment, isn’t it?

How many meetings or conversations have you been in when someone is trying to convince you how fair, reasonable, sincere and committed they are? This is probably after they have failed…

Ditch your Business Card?

 

I remember when I got my first ever business card – Loans Officer, State Bank of New South Wales. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to show my parents and my friends. Then I got my first card with a Manager title and that was a …

Stop Planning; Start Doing…

 

When I started my first business in the mid-90s the internet barely existed. If you wanted to learn something you read the newspaper, watched TV, visited the library or bookstore or talked to people more knowledgeable than you were. …

You get What you Tolerate…

One of the hardest things to do in business is to let people go. It’s never an enjoyable task and most of us will have a few sleepless nights building up to it. We’ll also internally debate whether it’s “easier” just to persevere with…

What do you Dislike in Business?

I was once asked what I disliked in business. There are a few things but my pet hate is when customers don’t pay their bills on time. It’s even worse when clear payment expectations are agreed up-front, the goods or service are delivered…

It Pays to be Dogged

A while ago I was involved in getting a business out of voluntary administration. Eventually we only had one minor matter to deal with to allow us to complete the deal – we had to obtain a routine, written consent from a small counter-party.…