Mike Hartley
Top Seven Reads for Week Ending December 6, 2013

A Note from Michael T. Hartley, CEO DKE Inc.

2009 MTH Color 3RFollowing are links to seven articles I have selected to share that appeared in various media outlets last week.  They are focused on news you can use in your investment advisory practice.  This week’s articles include two articles on company strategy, articles on staff management, a TED talk about why expressing gratitude can help you become happier, and an in-depth look at a $100 million verdict against Grant Thornton that shows why clients sue their advisers.  This week I have also included a bonus link to a video from Stanford Business about a way to rethink your notions of time and goals management.

All of these articles appeared in our Flipboard e-magazine, DKE Daily Knowledge Engine.  I hope they prove useful to you.    Best regards, Mike

From Inc. Magazine:  5 Ways to Keep Your Company Ahead of the Curve

The world is advancing faster than ever before. Can you keep up? Here Inc. columnists share how to stay ahead of the game.

The rate of technological and cultural change is astounding.  The first text message was only 21 years ago. Due to cellphone usage, the government and phone companies are currently negotiating how to eliminate the use of the near obsolete copper phone and switching system. Google is only 15, Facebook will turn 10 in 2014 and Twitter has only been around 7 years. Companies and industries have seen infrastructure changes of mass proportions in the last 2 decades. 18-year-old Amazon is one of the fastest change agents. They have now added Sunday delivery and are actually developing the use of flying drones that can deliver individual packages to your door in 30 minutes.

From Forbes:  ‘Strategy Without Execution Is Hallucination!’

95% of most MBA programs’ strategy classes focus on the process of developing strategy and largely ignore execution. After interviewing over 200 CEOs I have concluded that for the vast majority it was almost the exact opposite in real life. Even for the vast majority of CEOs, 5% or maybe 10% of their time is spent on strategy development and +90% of their time was spent on doing – execution. CGI (a +70,000 strong IT company) CEO Mike Roach tells my MBA CEO Insights class, “Strategy without execution is hallucination!”.

From Entrepreneur:  “5 Ways to Get Your Staff on the Same Page”

When a major issue arises, is everybody at your company serving the same interests? Or is one person serving the engineering team, another person serving the sales team, one board member serving the VC fund, another serving the early-stage “angels” and another serving the CEO? If that’s the case, then your team is misaligned. No individual department’s interests are as important as the company’s.

From TED:  “David Steindl-Rast:  Want to be happy?  Be grateful.”

The one thing all humans have in common is that each of us wants to be happy, says Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar. And happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude. An inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you’re going, and above all, being grateful.

From Forbes:  “$100M Verdict Against Grant Thornton Shows Why Clients Sue Advisers”

Not every tax benefit is crystal clear. Our tax system is enormously complex, and some tax plays are aggressive, others not. That is one reason people use tax lawyers and accountants in the first place.

Some deals go way beyond normal tax efficiency and seem to defy simple economics. Others may seem too good to be true but can deliver business and tax advantages that can make 2 plus 2 equal 5. Usually, though, if it seems too good to be true, it is.

From Entrepreneur:  Breaking Up With a Client: What to Say

Breakin’ up is hard to do, particularly when it comes to ending a client relationship. These conversations can be awkward or even emotional, but it’s important to approach to situation directly. Nobody likes to be evaded or have a relationship broken off without knowing why, say our experts. Providing a clear, reasoned argument for why the business relationship needs to end and offering contacts or referrals for companies that you recommend to replace your services can help avoid bruised egos and burnt bridges. These will still be difficult conversations, but here are a few tips to make it a bit easier.

From Inc.:  “The real costs of keeping a toxic employee”

Stellar performance doesn’t excuse bad behavior. Check just how much damage one bad apple can bring to your team–and your bottom line.

You know the type. They can’t work with others. They’re negative, volatile, and often disruptive. Some people call these toxic employees “bad apples.”

Another way to think of them? “Hurricane” employees–because the damage they cause extends far beyond themselves.

Michelle K. Duffy, a professor at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, says that hurricane employees can affect each organization differently. But, in general, they have the ability to “destroy the social fabric of the organization by creating friction, drama, tension, and hostility among other employees,” Duffy told the blog Knowledge@Wharton. “Hurricanes damage not only the people in the network, but also the ties among them.”

Bonus video from Stanfordbusiness:  Jennifer Aaker- “Rethinking Time & the Power of Multipliers”

Finding time is the significant challenge for many people. Instead of giving up goals, Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Jennifer Aaker offers a new solution: rethinking time. This module illuminates how to align goals and execute on them by creating “Multipliers” (defined as one activities that fulfill multiple goals), which will enable you to achieve more goals that are important to you. Learn about Jennifer Aaker’s online course The Power of Story to Fuel Innovation: http://www.powerofstorystanford.com