Tuna on toast, cole slaw, cup of coffee …

George : Yeah. No, no, no, wait a minute, I always have tuna on toast. Nothing’s ever worked out for me with tuna on toast. I want the complete opposite (see clip) of tuna on toast. Chicken salad, on rye, un-toasted with a side of potato salad and a cup of tea.

Elaine : Well, there’s no telling what can happen from this.

Jerry : You know chicken salad is not the opposite of tuna, salmon is the opposite of tuna, ‘cos salmon swim against the current, and the tuna swim with it.

George : Good for the tuna.

Shortly thereafter George landed a plum position with the New York Yankees.

What’s this doing in a business blog?  Today’s economics are as challenging as many of us have ever worked — it’s time to take a step back and look at what’s working, what not so much … as George did.  Look at ourselves, strengths, flaws, evaluate strategy, get back to some basics.

More years ago than I’d care to admit, after I’d heard I’m a bit black and white more than once, I had to practice what I preach.  My goals, vision and the like remained the same, my method to get there needed to improve — more patient & persuasive.  Listen more – talk less went a long way.  Two ears, one mouth … it’s a good ratio that I use almost everyday now.  Much like George did the opposite.

Some very broad examples of when doing the opposite might just help …

  • Strategy – When was the last time you focused on your long term goals, like you used to, rather than today?  There are no 5-run homers, 10 point touchdowns.  Focusing on the goal helps me identify the steps better than the other way around.
  • Relationships – Forget about the tasks now and then and focus on your people, on your culture … it’s not all numbers.
  • Honesty & Integrity – Say what you do, do what you say. One of the biggest challenges of my first successful turnaround was dealing with the past promises for “next year”. Never make a promise you can’t keep. I made real sure that when I made any promises about “next year” we had a pretty good shot at getting there. And we did!
  • Listen – Consider the aforementioned ratio.
  • Focus on Peoples Strengths – Particularly when areas where they may be less strong have little to do with performing their job responsibilities. Promote their strengths, suggest ways to enhance, how they can better use their skills to contribute towards achieving your goals.

Sometimes it can be a pretty good thing when life imitates art!

Does that make sense?


PS – George Costanza, then Jay Greenspan and I actually went to the same HS although I didn’t know him.  Livingston (NJ) High School … maybe some of those teachers actually were onto something?

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