Eamonn Lawless Success in Business and Management


Feeling Risk Averse?

Here's is a quotation I found.

"To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.

To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.

To reach out for another is to risk involvement.

To expose your feelings is to risk revealing your true self.

To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk rejection.

To love is to risk not being loved in return.

To live is to risk dying.

To hope is to risk despair.

To try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing at all. People who will risk nothing do nothing, have nothing, and become nothing. They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love or live. Chained by their certitudes, they are slaves.

They have forfeited their freedom. Only a person who risks is truly free.

And one last idea you can live and believe, is that the more that you give, the more you’ll receive."

Denis Waitley


Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

This famous philosophical work of the 1970's, by Robert Pirsig, was a must-read for every hippy "intellectual". Like James Joyce's Ulysses, it was known to many, read by not so many and probably understood by even fewer. I have been picking it up and putting it down for months now, trying to get some meaning out of  it.

Imagine my delight (yes, I may be sad! ) when I discoverd the following gem:

"To tear down a factory or revolt against a government or to avoid the repair of a motorcycle because it is a system is to attack effects rather than causes: and as long as attacks are against effects only,  no change is possible.

....If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government. There is so much talk about the system. And so little understanding."

Did I hear you say "So?"

Well, to bring it into 2010 Ireland, who elected the current government and every other failed government of the last century? Who will elect the next one? Answer - The people who think they will personally benefit from the representations of the candidate they vote for. These people will elect the next government hoping things will change in their favour.

However, the government is the system but the systematic patterns of thought that produces the goverment is intact i.e. the mindset, attitudes, expectations and culture of the electorate . Therefore we will repeatedly get the same results even though there may be some different people sitting in those ministerial offices. You may think that a change of government will changes everything. Sorry, but no! It time to move on!

So it's down to us as individuals to accept what is, make our own future, our own careers, our own lives.

Talking about recession is like talking about the weather. It is what it is! Think opportunity instead.

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Social Networks

Here is an extract from an article written by Tim Adams (The Guardian Sunday 3rd October 2010)

"Twitter and Facebook cannot change the real world, says Malcolm Gladwell

The bestselling author of The Tipping Point has enraged social network users by dismissing their impact on real issues.

Facebook "likers", he argued, are not sitters-in or nonviolent activists, they are not even marchers or candle-wavers; they may wish to associate themselves with a protest app, but the nature of their medium means they do so with negligible risk and therefore negligible effect.

The full article is worth reading at the Guardian website:


It is an interesting comment on the real involvement of people on social network sites in general but I think it also has relevance to sites such as LinkedIn where true engagement is a minority activity.


Fear of the Future

I read a headline in the Irish Independent recently which reported the " Two thirds of SME's Fear for the Future".

It isn't surprising that people in business are fearful. There is nothing but bad economic news and it seems to get worse by the day. But there is no doubt that many businesses are looking at a dramatic drop in revenues with serious implications for their survival.

So, if you are in business, what are you to do?

1. Take a cold hard look at where exactly you are currently. Look at the basics of your business and satisfy yourself that the business is still viable.  Look at your finances - your income,your outgoings, your assets and what you owe.  Try to project the situation 6 months down the road on the basis that you change nothing. Be brutally honest with yourself. Will your position be beter/worse.  If worse, then look at what  action you can take to improve the situation.

2.  Can you improve revenues? Are there new products or services that you sell that can bring in more revenue. New customers for existing products?

3. Reduce any costs you can - NOW. Don't wait, hoping things will improve. Begin a programme of cost reduction and implement efficiencies. Look at your staffing and your operating  hours. Don't just look for one big idea that will solve all your problems. Look for every single item that will contribute to  improving things - large and small - wages, phone, energy, raw materials, office expenses, travel, etc. Leave no stone unturned.  Then begin to implement your cost savings relentlessly, euro by euro, day by day starting  with the ones you can implement immediately and with the greatest impact.

4. Look at your cash flow. Can you get more cash in from the people who owe you money. Can you pay off debt that is costing you interest? Can you sell any surplus assets to turn them into cash. If the money going out is more than the money coming in, do something about it now or you are on the road to disaster.

5. Get help. Talk to your accountant and to people you know from the same business sector and see how they are coping.

6. Deal with the problems now. Don't ignore them. If you trade through a company be careful that you don't continue to trade while it is insolvent otherwise the company's debts could kick back on you personally if the company goes bust. Don't be afraid to take decisions. Better that you take decisions while you are still in control than have them forced on in the future.


A Thought on PR

It intrigues me how many businesses seem to think PR is a boxed off function or department rather than a global projection of their corporate identity.

They plough money into advertising, fawn over a potential new customer, take existing customers for granted, leave staff (other than marketing) out of the equation entirely and treat suppliers and service providers with disdain, as in "You need us more than we need you". They feel no obligation to reply to emails or letters. They use their voicemail like a virtual closed door and are selective about who they call back.

They seem to forget that the P in PR stand for public - not just your customers, or the media, but the man or woman in the street who may one day become a customer or an employee or an investor.

Being selective about who you treat well is bad practice and comes from bad training and bad attitude. You don't know where your next customer, or employee, is going to come from so treat everyone who makes contact with you with the utmost respect.

And as an old aunt of mine used to say "If you meet someone without a smile, give them one of yours!"