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Wagging the Dog

(February 2010) posted on Thu Mar 11, 2010

Wagging the Dog

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By Craig Miller

For those of you left standing, 2009 was quite the challenge (understatement alert). For most of us, the past year felt like we were the violently wagged tail at the mercy of the big dog with the spiked black leather collar. It’s never good to be on the tail end of things. 

But there are actions you can take to turn the tables and be the one wagging the dog in 2010. Keep in mind that as the first quarter develops, you’ll need to be mentally sharp, physically and emotionally strong, fiscally responsible, and strategically bold. What follows are my own top 10 actions you can take to get your business in shape for the beginning of the new decade. And if you’re looking for even more suggestions, you can turn to this month’s “Business + Management” column on page 16, where Marty McGhie has provided his list for 2010.

Master of your tech destiny
One, channel yourself in a different direction: Stop watching the local and network news. It’s depressing and confusing. Especially avoid cable-channel political punditry. Imagine that Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann can transmit H1N1 through your TV screen. Join NPR. Listen to the stories from their website on your schedule. Pick segments that will bring you joy to listen to. Pick a newspaper you like and register or subscribe online. Only read the stories that are beneficial and inspiring. This is your assignment: Say this mantra, “I am only going to spend my finite pool of energy and time on those things I can control.”

Two, it’s face time: Schedule a face-to-face meeting with the people outside your company who can make a difference in your business this year. You can begin with your banker, the owner or major decision maker at each of your key vendors, and any sub-contractors or strategic allies. It might not be a bad idea to invite a competitor or two that you can stand to be in the same room with. For those people located in your city or town, invite them to a meeting at your plant. Where appropriate, lay out your plans and expectations. Let them know that you are all in this boat, and by ensuring that the relationships are mutually rewarding, everyone can prosper.