Sunday, November 19, 2017

Lessons from Sailing-How to Master the Art of Defeat?

In the throws of Hot Rum Races we battled magnificently around the mark with dozens of other boats competing for a few top spots. Over half way through our race and in a good position heading to the finish line the wind overpowered our boat. The mast was shaking, the mainsail lufted from the gusts, and the more we tightened the down-haul the tighter the wiggle. With a ripping sound the mainsail split open from one side to the other.

We were done! The race was over and we lost! Our ship fell behind. While we didn't win we were able to master defeat.

It didn't take us long to pull the main sail down and start concentrating on tweaking the jib to get us home. While we are not happy we did learn something about overpower the boat and pushing the limits without being prepared to suffer the consequences.

It was a semi-solemn sail to the finish line. Our ship stuck out like a sore thumb because we were the only one's without all of our sails up. A sort of limping duck to the finish line. The committee boat cheered anyway. :)

The Art of Defeat?

1.) Understand that you can't always win and losing can prepare you to win.

2.) While it seems to be very important at that time the feelings will pass.

3.) Analyze what went wrong and fit is for the future.

4.) Never assess blame because there are often multiple causes and lack of training at the root.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Why I'm a Lover of Costco?

I'm a Costco member and I can say that while my family size has changed and adjusted I stayed a member. There have been varying times when I purchased more products or less but at the end of the day I continue to frequent their stores. There are three things I love about Costco.

1.) Confidence in Quality and Returns: Costco ensures that products are of high quality before they are sold. If at any point the product is worn out they will return it with no questions asked. This raises my trust of the organization.

2.) Customer Service: Costco provides above average customer service. Almost all of my visits were positive. The one poor interaction was based on an individual employee that was not having a good day.

3.) Trendy: Most of their products are very trendy. The brands are solid and they are in style. They may not be in style for someone 18 years old but they are great for people in their 30-50s.

The 4 Categories of People and Luxury Products

Luxury goods are bought more for what they represent then what they actually are (Wiedmann, et. al., 2013). While functionality may be of interest to some that is not their essential value for someone who pays the higher luxury price. It is their perceived social status as someone wealthy that matters.

People often signal their status through the products they purchase (Han, Nunes & Dreze, 2010). They can be separated into 4 major groups:

1. Wealthy consumers who do not need status but want to signal to their own social crowd with quiet goods only other wealthy people recognize.

2. Wealthy consumers high in need for status who use "loud" luxury goods to signal to less influence they are "higher" than them.

3. People who cannot afford true luxury goods but use "loud" counterfeits to show others they should be perceived as "wealthy".

4. Those who don't care about wealth status and could care less if they associate with the wealthy or poor.

There are different type of people with different kinds of personality. Some only want to be part of their own crowd and have no negative view of people with less influence. Still, there are others regardless of whether they have money or not, that must look like they have money. Personally, I always found the big "Gucci" letters sort of obnoxious. It sort of screams "look at me" which indicates a lower sense of self.

Wiedmann, K. et. al. (2013). Creating Multi-Sensory Experiences in Luxury Marketing. Marketing Review St. Gallen, 30, (6).
Han, Y., Nunes, J. & Dreze, X. (2010). Signaling Status with Luxury Goods: The Role of Brand Prominence. Journal of Marketing, 74 (4). 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

How Much Time Should Professors Spend on Writing Versus Core Content?

Writing is increasingly becoming critically important for future career aspirations as more and more information is being sent via written letter. Whether one is turning on their computer, or reading a company email, they are inundated with written messages. As college professors, we often fight with ourselves over how much time we should spend on writing and how much on core content learning.

Knowing the Topic and Communicating It

I have found through business life that if a person can't communicate what they know well, then they don't likely know the topic thoroughly. Clarity and conciseness, assuming no physical or mental impairments, is one sign the student doesn't have depth. They are unable to form a concise image in their heads to explain to others in a way that is meaningful.

Clarity of Thought and Clarity of Writing

Furthermore, clarity in writing parallels clarity in thought. If the script is broad and not specific, then the knowledge is also general and not concise. If the paper doesn't provide some application of the material, then they are also unlikely to know how to apply it to their work lives.

Headings Teaches Us to Break Down Ideas

There are also those pesky little things like headings that separate main ideas. When these are missing all of the paper runs together. When this occurs, one has not mastered how to break concepts down into themes and explain them well to others so they may understand it well.

While I do not advocate grading mostly on writing, I do believe it is vitally important to learn writing skills that lead to clarity of thought and understanding. That doesn't mean I am the best writer or know all the grammatical rules, as I am not an English teacher. However, I can write a robust email and a more extended paper that breaks ideas down so others can understand them. In business, one will need to communicate to a broader group of people and having writing skills is essential for sharing one's knowledge and taking on management positions that direct the actions of others.

When to Pay for a Fitness Class and When to Learn on Your Own

Classes are great for teaching you form and how certain types of workouts are safely conducted. I'm an advocate of classes to help people stay motivated and learn proper techniques. However, once one has learned the basics they can move onto fitness study on their own. Yet this depends on their personality and whether or not they can stay motivated in solo routines.

If you are just learning something you will definitely need a class. They will show you how to complete certain moves that lead to the greatest benefits and a serious reduction in the chance of injury. You will spend your money wisely if you avoid a life-long injury.

Likewise, if you want to engage in group type sports and activities you will want to join a class. Being around other people helps you to learn and gain knowledge from different people. Most people are willing to show you how smart they are by sharing advice.

If you have a hard time staying motivated on your own you may need a regular few day a week class to socialize and create group support of each other. When you miss and your classmates text you then you will see how motivating group type work can be. Eventually you meet friends and create a social network.

Once you have learned the skills you need and have enough knowledge to practice on your own you don't need the same level of "hand holding" and costs inherent in classes. You will need to take your practice seriously and occasionally frequent a class if you need clarification on something or need a boost of motivation. Therefore, find "pay as you go" classes if you can.