Thursday, September 9, 2010

Joe Borowicz, Inc

I had lunch with a friend last week and we were discussing our personal successes, as well as some of the ways we're trying to promote our companies and ourselves. During this conversation, I think he made a very simple point, yet unrealized by many. He stated that "we are all our own personal corporation". Could this be any more of an obvious statement, yet if we truly viewed it this way, would our lives change?


In any business, if nobody knows you exist, you'll quickly go bankrupt. In life, this is also true. This is why we spend time bragging to our friends, courting spouses, and turning in resumes. Self promotion is done through conversations, Facebook, Linkedin, and shameless blogs like this. Whether you agree with what I say or care what I say, you're still hearing what I have to say. Somewhere in your mind, you know Joe Borowicz, Inc.


Accounting is easy. Spend more than you have and you're in trouble. This is such a simple concept yet in today's society, there seems to be more debt than prosperity. If you had a formal business entity, would you be so forgiving of the decisions you've made?


I don't think we're looking for any Six-Sigma Black Belts at home, but operations play a major part of your personal life. When is the optimal time to take a vacation? Don't schedule too many activities at once or you'll create a bottle-neck. Plan when to have children so you don't become over-capacity (ok...that may be a


I'm not thinking about production in the traditional sense, but more from a productivity standpoint. Are you putting in the right efforts to create a productive environment. Is one employee in your organization (family) putting in more effort and creating resentment? All these things happen at work and in your personal business.

Do you have a business plan for your life? Do you run personal financial statements? These things are probably in your head, but not formally documented. I encourage you to take some time to plan out your personal business and change your mindset. You may find that things are right where you want them to be, but you might also be surprised at what you find. And when you find these things, tackle them as if the fate of your company was at stake.

Please share your thoughts.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Words To Live By

I've been in the professional business world for about 15 years. In this time I've run into thousands of people and have had many hours of conversation related to business. There have been a few who have said things that have stuck with me. They may not have had any clue the impact they had. This post is to share some of these simple one-liners in the hopes that they may have a similar impact with you:

"Surprise and Delights" - Jerry McClelland, VP @ Marketing Associates

This was Jerry's personal mantra. We used to work together on the Ford College Graduate Rebate program. It was a fairly visible account with a certainly big-time client. He used to give me projects that I would complete. When I'd bring the completed work to him, he'd start asking me questions. Inevitably, I wouldn't know the answers b/c I was too busy doing the task. What he told me was you have to provide 'Surprise and Delights' to your clients and your boss. Not only should you strive to complete the task that was given, but also think two steps ahead and answer questions that haven't even been asked. This will build confidence in the receiver that you understand what you're doing and are taking the initiative to improve.

"The true test of a good employee is what they do when there's nothing to do" Dr. Lee Meadow - Professor at Walsh College

It was his belief that anybody can look productive when there is a lot of work to do. It's the real test of how good an employee is when there is nothing to do.

Many employees will simply sit at their desks, complain, or start socializing. It's the employees who are looking for ways to create work (thus profits) that will ultimately be successful.

"Get off your @ss and stop feeling sorry for yourself - Nadine Borowicz - N.A. Accounting Manager at IonBond

This one hit close to home as it was my wife (then girlfriend). I was between jobs, wasn't really doing good in school and really needed the kick in the pants to get going. Although the comment was said to me from a personal standpoint, I tend to still hear those words when I think things are going bad and it seems to get me going again.

What words of wisdom do you live by? Please post them and share with the group.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Profit At All Costs?

In many company's, there are employees who you know are not pulling their weight. It may be an unproductive assembly line worker, a salesperson who's not making quota, or simply an employee who can't handle the tasks they were given. My posting today uses these types of employees as a basis for asking the question...What is the goal of business?

Throughout my whole career, starting right from college, I was taught that a business does not exist for the benefit of the employee. The business exists to make a profit and provide a return to the shareholders. Many of my classes revolved around teaching operational efficiency in order to maximize profits. Much of these teaching touched on process improvement, line-balancing, and some lean concepts. What was underlying, but never really discussed was that in order to do many of these tasks, it involved automating or losing employees.

Let's go back to the 3 employees listed above. In most cases each of these employees has some good assets on their side. They may show up to work everyday, they may have been with the company for a long time, or they may truly be trying hard, but not succeeding. Based on my teachings and my beliefs up until this point, none of this should matter. The fact that they are not succeeding and can be replaced by a more 'competent' employee makes it an easy decision. But the reality of the matter is this decision is not always made. Why not?

I think the answer lies in the fact that today's business owner's simply can't win no matter what decisions they make. No longer does the owner make a decision and the rest will follow. Today it's all about teamwork, getting buy-in, and employees having a say. If owner X fires somebody with a family, he/she is heartless and greedy. Owner Y makes a decision to change a process and the complains start to flow about 'why don't we just do it the way it was before?' This has forced the owner to ultimately change...for the better.

These decisions still need to be made from time-to-time, but I think it has provided a conscience to the process. Yes, we can get rid of the under-performing salesperson, but if we are making a profit, what's the value in losing the friendship and loyalty for a few more bucks?

I've started to go through a change in my perceptions and it's probably based on the fact that I've put some years into my career. When I started out I needed all the money I could find, so it shaped my perception of business. When I was in college, it was still pushed that the business exists to make a profit. I would often be angered by decisions at work because they just didn't make sense from a profit/loss standpoint. Now that I'm a little more established, I'm starting to truly appreciate the gentleman that I work for and question what I truly believe the 'Goal' is. I still want more money, I still want nice things, but how much is enough?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts....

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Is Being Competent a Curse?

I've read many articles and blogs relating to the Curse of the Competent. One states that "in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level incompetence" (Peter Principal). Others point take the approach that the competent employees need to do a better job of making others competent (Rog42). My view is much simpler...Work is much easier and less stressful if you're an average or underachieving employee.

More Work
There's usually at least one extremely competent person at any successful company. This person generally has an entrepreneurial outlook and is well-versed in several aspects of the business. This person is usually identified quickly when hired. They're able to look at their job duties and make immediate changes to make it more operationally efficient. This leads to the employee finishing his/her job duties much faster than their predecessor. This is where the curse kicks in. This employee generally gets bored, but is still looking to make a good impression. He/She starts to ask questions about other areas of the business and starts to offer suggestions on how things can be changed. This employee now has added a job duty as they become the idea 'expert'. This will inevitably lead to being asked for opinions on several other company issues, which lead to being involved in more and more issues not directly related to what you were hired to do.

Unfortunately in today's business climate, competent employees are not always viewed as assets. Many managers will start to view this employee as a threat. This can lead to more tenured employees trying to discredit ideas, not work with the employee, or outright attempt to play the political game and turn other employees against them. The employee also has to start playing the 'game' by defending him/herself. All of these outcomes are detrimants to a productive 'team' environment that is supposed to be working to make the company better.

Because the employee is more 'front and center', their decisions are more visible. This opens the employee up to constant questioning and second-guessing. It also takes the employee out of the safety zone in which an error can quickly discredit the rest of thier ideas. The positive of this is it forces the employee to be sure of his thoughts prior to presenting.

Another big part of the Curse is still having to understand the business environment and that it cannot be changed overnight, if at all. This is the point where the employee realizes that not all his/her ideas are going to be exercised upon whether or not they were good ideas. He starts to look at other employees who are skating by doing the minimum and begins to develop a dislike for them for not having the same drive. This is the point where the employee has to make a decision...Does he/she accept that 'it is what it is?", continue to push the envelope for change, or look for other employment?

The question of competence being a curse is truly up to the employee. There are many employees who are highly competent that choose to simply do their job. There is NOTHING wrong with this. Those who choose to make themselves more visible do it because they have the drive to be heard or be in control. What needs to be done from a manager/owners standpoint is to understand all the variables that are happening (more work/backlash/fishbowl/emotions). Whether you are an owner, competent employee, or incompetent employee, everybody must remember that we go to work to make the business better.

Please give your feedback/examples on the matter.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Welcome To My Blog

I'm the type of person who likes to be heard and share my thoughts and ideas. I'm not saying that I'm always right, but I tend to not accept words at face value. I question for the sake of questioning. I love to play devil's advocate.

I believe that by questioning I benefit in the following ways:

1. Qualifying the Speaker - By asking a few follow up questions, I can accurately assess whether they believe/understand what they are saying or simply regurgitating information from another source. I think this goes for any conversation (i.e. business, sports, politics, etc)

2. Information Gathering - Within all conversations is valuable information. It may not be relevant at the time, but I've been surprised at how many times I've recalled conversations and used information at a later time. For boss used to live in a local Michigan community and would speak about the local politics. At the time I'd listen to be nice and it was important to him. Just the other day I ran into a potential client and he also was involved in politics in the same community. I was able to leverage the conversation to help build the relationship.

3. Relationship Building - People like to talk about what they know. I may have absolutely no interest in their stamp collection, but they feel important talking about an expertise they have. This goes more for first time meetings and I feel it tends to personalize the conversation.
Over the life of my blog, I'll be sharing my thoughts on many topics. I'm not claiming that I'm right on any of it. I encourage you to QUESTION my viewpoints.