Leadership: What do you want to learn about this year?

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:32 pm

I want to wish you and your family a memorable and prosperous New Year. I’m very proud to be a part of the Wisconsin business community, because the more I am a part of it through The Executive Committee (TEC), the more I realize how vibrant we are.

As for 2005, what is the world of TEC saying? Short of a total disaster in Iraq, I can tell you that the information we’re getting is really good. To be exact:

  • TEC companies worldwide predict increased business this year, especially in the first and second quarters.
  • Raw material prices are expected to continue to increase.
  • Price pass-throughs are not seen as a problem.
  • There is general worry about inflation.
  • The Fed is seen as being on track.
  • Average TEC company business growth is seen as greater than inflationary growth.

The other day, a TEC speaker from Australia who specializes in supply-side meanderings was asked how he viewed the world today vs. 10 years ago. Do you know what he said?

He said that now we have a situation in which vendors and customers are not trying to outguess one another. There is a true collaborative partnership. He added that from a competitive viewpoint, the link between the supplier and the customer has never been closer, and it’s not just geographical. Remember this is a "down-under" viewpoint.

Here’s a new term for all of us. He said, "It’s geopsychological."

Translation? Regardless of geographical boundaries, there is a new cultural alliance that is working at a different level, competitively and cooperatively, around the globe. From a psychological viewpoint, it’s a healthy and functional alliance.

Whatever this may be, Wisconsin business definitely will be there to compete at that level. And I’m very happy to be a very small part of this professed enthusiasm and business confidence. As we begin the new year, I hope it will meet your highest expectations. I can tell you that we are counting on it in TEC, thanks to a great membership and their support going into 2005.

I’m not sure how long I’ve been writing this column for Small Business Times, but it seems like a long time. The question I have this month is: Am I reaching you in the areas you would like to be reached?

This is a crapshoot in some respects. I write the column and kind of assume it’s around a topic that SBT readers really want to hear and learn about (my M.O. is to focus on learning stuff, because that’s what TEC is all about). But, quite frankly, I really never know.

I would be gratified and encouraged to know what subjects you would like me to address this year. TEC is an organization of 11,000 members in 14 countries, 700 in Wisconsin and Michigan alone (my neck of the woods). So I have access to local and global issues among business owners, CEOs and senior managers that you won’t necessarily find in the Wall Street Journal, much less other local publications.

What are your concerns and interests? What would you like to know about? What would you like me to share with you that’s new and useful, which you can use in your business?

I try to target my columns to two different groups. I want to reach business owners and CEOs with their issues. I also want to reach senior managers and other professionals who are dedicated to promoting the health and welfare of small and medium-sized Wisconsin businesses. Sometimes it works, and other times I know it’s a near miss.

Sometimes, my reporting and advice is great for one group and doesn’t quite hit the mark for the other. Sorry. With your input I can make it better.

Back to 2005. If you read this column on a regular basis, I would hope that you would help me and the editors with input on the following 14 topics as we go forward:

  1. Global business – focusing on small company issues.
  2. Marketing strategies for the small company.
  3. Legal – patents, agreements, estate.
  4. Management succession (especially family).
  5. Management/Employee development programs.
  6. Strategic planning processes.
  7. Buy/Sell strategies.
  8. Financial relations (all sources).
  9. Unions and their agenda.
  10. Internal management operations.
  11. Use of outside professional resources (consultants, etc.).
  12. New product development.
  13. Anticipating economic events (inflation trends, oil production levels, raw material shortages, etc.).
  14. Any other topics you’d like to mention.

Anyone who writes for a publication always wants to do a better job than they think they have already done. Know what? Most of us yearn for reader feedback. That’s a fact. I would welcome your feedback, both positive and constructive.

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