Friday, July 26, 2013

The Tough Get Going...How?

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. But how do they do that? Where does one get the strength, after plowing through work or client meetings for hours on end, how do you find the strength to just do it?

When it seems like the project will never finish, when it looks like there is no assuaging the executives whims, or when you think you will get out that few minutes earlier on Friday and then do not, what keeps you going?

This week's pasrha reminds us that although the problems mount and the times look dark, look back on the good times and the great efforts that you, your team, with hashem's help, got you through it all.

In 7:17 it says:

17Will you say to yourself, "These nations are more numerous than I; how will I be able to drive them out"?
 
יז. כִּי תֹאמַר בִּלְבָבְךָ רַבִּים הַגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּה מִמֶּנִּי אֵיכָה אוּכַל לְהוֹרִישָׁם:
18You shall not fear them. You shall surely remember what the Lord, your God, did to Pharaoh and to all of Egypt:
 
יח. לֹא תִירָא מֵהֶם זָכֹר תִּזְכֹּר אֵת אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְפַרְעֹה וּלְכָל מִצְרָיִם:
19The great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, the wonders, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm with which the Lord, your God, brought you out. So will the Lord, Your God, do to all the peoples you fear.
 
יט. הַמַּסֹּת הַגְּדֹלֹת אֲשֶׁר רָאוּ עֵינֶיךָ וְהָאֹתֹת וְהַמֹּפְתִים וְהַיָּד הַחֲזָקָה וְהַזְּרֹעַ הַנְּטוּיָה אֲשֶׁר הוֹצִאֲךָ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ כֵּן יַעֲשֶׂה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְכָל הָעַמִּים אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה יָרֵא מִפְּנֵיהֶם:
Gain strength from your innermost thoughts and know it is not just you going through this. In a more business way, there is no I in team, they go with you and help you and do everything they need to do for you. Your team is made up of you God and your people, how could you not succeed?
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Parsha Eikev in the book of Devarim, Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25
It is said that the Torah or Bible could be interpreted in over 70 ways. More likely these days 100's of ways. In light of this idea, I am writing some posts that bring a business sense to what we can learn on a weekly basis. Enjoy, Shabbat Shalom

Friday, July 19, 2013

Play By The Rules

When you talk to your manager you probably have heard this before, "just tell him/her that we did x,y and z and make sure you say it exactly that way".

You are not likely a neanderthal so don't you think you can produce a reply for a client without the direction? Where does this need to limit change and impose will come from?

You could argue leadership, but maybe it is just a personality type. Should you take such exact notice of what you set in writing or when you ask someone to complete a task? Or should there be leeway for themselves to augment or adjust what you dictated?

There is no correct answer and no doubt many times you could pen a better reply than your boss, but you may be missing their point as well.

In this week's parsha which repeats the 10 Commandments has this to say in 4:2:
2. Do not add to the word which I command you, nor diminish from it, to observe the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.   ב. לֹא תֹסִפוּ עַל הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם וְלֹא תִגְרְעוּ מִמֶּנּוּ לִשְׁמֹר אֶת מִצְו‍ֹת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם:
 
Hashem is pretty clear on this one. He knows what he is doing so just go along with it and no one gets hurt. Wait what about free will? You are free to choose to observe the commandments, but not change them.

When you change the wording or texts, it is like changing the rules and disobeying a direct order. By choosing not to observe the Mitzvot or commandments you have made a choice. If you choose not to observe, then you have no reason to question those who do. Likewise if you do not follow your management's lead, you may find yourself without a position in the company and have no one to blame but yourself.

Play by the rules and no one gets hurt is a valid maxim to live by for some people and now we know where this saying came from as well.
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Parsha Vaetchanan in the book of Devarim, Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11
It is said that the Torah or Bible could be interpreted in over 70 ways. More likely these days 100's of ways. In light of this idea, I am writing some posts that bring a business sense to what we can learn on a weekly basis. Enjoy, Shabbat Shalom

Friday, July 12, 2013

It's not Easy Being the Leader

If you never believed practice makes perfect, would you believe a 120 year old stuttering man would deliver the longest and greatest soliloquy in history?

Orators of days past would love to have the ability to sway a group in such a way.

But who would have guessed he had it in him? Who am I talking about? Moshe.
Chapter 1
1These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel on that side of the Jordan in the desert, in the plain opposite the Red Sea, between Paran and Tofel and Lavan and Hazeroth and Di Zahav. א. אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר משֶׁה אֶל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן בַּמִּדְבָּר בָּעֲרָבָה מוֹל סוּף בֵּין פָּארָן וּבֵין תֹּפֶל וְלָבָן וַחֲצֵרֹת וְדִי זָהָב:
This week's parsha starts the farewell speech of Moshe. It will continue on until the end of the Book of Devarim. Lot of words for a man that suggests he has issues speaking. And yet he perseveres up until his death.

You can overcome your fate. Look at his story:

  1. Should have drowned as a baby
  2. Saved by a Princess
  3. Does not know his family for nearly 80 years
  4. Raised in the palace
  5. Commits a murder
  6. Hunted down by the palace
  7. Escapes the police to live in exile
  8. Gets Married
  9. Sees a Flaming Bush that does not burn
  10. Speaks to God and God speaks back to him and he lived
  11. Told to go save the slaves in the country he fled
  12. Finds out at 80 years old, he has a brother who will help him on this journey
  13. Puts his trust in God and goes back to the country where he is wanted for murder
  14. Demands from the ruler to let an estimated 2million slaves leave
  15. Brings 10 plagues on the country and it's people
  16. Leaves with the slaves and most of the metals, food, precious gems and other items of value
  17. Crosses a river that miraculously splits for him
  18. Receives the 10 commandments...twice
  19. Watches a golden calf get created and destroyed
  20. Wanders around int he desert for 40 years because after 2 years they can not put their trust in him or God
  21. And through the next 38 years he puts up with nagging, arguments, civil unrest and demands for food and water
  22. Battles numerous giants, nations, people and wins all the ones he took part in
  23. Survives a curse by a necromancer
  24. Lastly, because he hits a rock instead of speaking to it, gets to die on a mountain top vista overlooking the one goal he had for 40 years

You think you work hard? He had no life balance he was 100% a 24x7 leader...for 40 years.

You may not have all the "luck" Moshe had, but you may live and work long into your later years and you may find there is a better goal in mind in the end than what you started with back when you were young.

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Parsha Devarim in the book of Devarim, Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22
It is said that the Torah or Bible could be interpreted in over 70 ways. More likely these days 100's of ways. In light of this idea, I am writing some posts that bring a business sense to what we can learn on a weekly basis. Enjoy, Shabbat Shalom

Friday, July 5, 2013

No Honor Among Sales People

Sales commissions can drive you insane if you are the CFO of a company. These commissions can drive you crazy if you are not in sales either.

Why do they exist? Do they work and encourage sales? Do they prevent hoarding or thievery? Common saying is "there is no honor among thieves or sales people".

Even wonder about this and where it comes from? I may have a solution for you, it comes from this week's parsha. Think about these pieces of information:

The children of Israel are told to go out to war and they can keep the spoils of the war, subject to certain requirements, like a small piece goes to the priests, to Hashem as a thank you offering and some other items set aside for holy purposes.

Around 31:19-54, the breakdown of what went where and why is discussed but this sentence implies quite a bit at 31:53:
53. The soldiers had seized spoils for themselves.   נג. אַנְשֵׁי הַצָּבָא בָּזְזוּ אִישׁ לוֹ:
So even though it would all be split according to a purpose, there will still those that chose to take more. After all the livestock, metals and prisoners it wasn't enough? These guys wanted more.

Even when you compensate your staff in a way you deem appropriate, there will always be those that think otherwise. If everyone has the same compensation plan, that does not bode well for the truly great ones, nor for the bad ones. Every person should have a sales commission plan so IF they do help on any deals, they get some piece of the pie. A small price to pay in order to have a happy team work together.

Too often only the true sales people have any sales benefit plan. This causes some back office people and customer facing staff to not always perform at their best. However if they know they will get some benefit, however small, it is usually enough to bond them into giving it their all.

Saying a bonus is based on your ability to sell is not fair and neither is the shared group bonus. Include proper rewards for proper work and you will not have to worry about your soldiers taking spoils for themselves.

======================================================================== Parsha Matot and Massey in the book of Bamidbar, Numbers 30:2-36:13 It is said that the Torah or Bible could be interpreted in over 70 ways. More likely these days 100's of ways. In light of this idea, I am writing some posts that bring a business sense to what we can learn on a weekly basis. Enjoy, Shabbat Shalom