Frank J. Mendelson

Recent Posts

Rinse that response right out of your head: Try I don’t know

Are we afraid to say “I don’t know”? I’d argue that it frees us up to pursue an answer, with the freedom that comes from full transparency. We are on a mission. It may be counterintuitive, but you build trust when you say “I don’t know.” It’s way better than “I think so.”

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TechnoService with a smile

Judging from the outside looking in, the potential of an innovation may be evaluated through one's lived experience. So one might suspect. When I first began to use Dropbox I experienced some relief from the compulsive backing up onto a growing accumulation of disks, and celebrated the ease of use. The model worked well. I readily shared it with my friends. Getting it right can lead to big things.

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Superlatives live dangerous lives

In writing for marketing and sales, advice from Spanish writer and philosopher Baltasar Gracián holds up after 400 years: “Never exaggerate.” On the subject of superlatives, Gracián said they “offend the truth and cast doubt on your judgment. By exaggerating, you squander your praise and reveal a lack of knowledge and taste.”

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Webinar excellence: Slide forward with style

A webinar audience is a special challenge. They are at work. Therefore, your presentation must answer the question: How does this benefit me? Otherwise, they will go right back to work. Ideally the slide should illustrate your idea in a word or an image. A slide should be easy to comprehend and command immediate interest; it’s a dramatic way to use content and keep your audience engaged. Otherwise, when each new slide comes into view, the human reaction is to start reading them. The more complex the slide, the greater effort your audience must make, fracturing their attention even more. Your slides will be understood visually, with the bulk of your audience's attention on you, the speaker.

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Decisions with a decided edge

“Decision is a sharp knife that cuts clean and straight; indecision, a dull one that hacks and tears and leaves ragged edges behind it.”
Gordon Graham


Successful business depends on trust. It begins with decision-makers. Trust extends to your clients, vendors, colleagues, and anyone you serve or have served. The integrity we bring to the decision-making process is not merely your moral compass, but the strength of your commitment to be the best, and make good choices.

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Sign it, seal it, stamp it, send it

During that fastest time of year—the sprint between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day—we need to be prepared for a lot of thank yous. We receive visits, eat wonderful food, get gifts, attend parties, do good deeds, and thank yous are in hearty supply. There is a saying that seeing is believing...but saying? Instead of saying or texting or emailing, respond with something more lasting. Write a thank you note. Spill some ink. Write it by hand. Sign it, seal it, stamp it, send it.

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Agree to disagreement

Economist Noriel Roubini correctly anticipated the collapse of the U.S. housing market and the 2008-2009 recession. Since then he has become more well-known, and has more followers. And more critics. Often he is assumed to hold a bearish view on the market and economy. Some call him a perma-bear, and along the way he picked up the nickname Dr. Doom, but he argues that it’s not necessarily so. In making prognostications for 2014, Roubini said, “You don’t want to listen only to people who agree with you, you want to listen to people who disagree with you, and understand why . . . it pushes you to think harder about why they might be correct.”

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Have you any coupons today? Check your phone.

Coupon clipping? Most of us have, at least once. Receive a discount price for something you were going to purchase, regardless. That's a good thing. You’re ahead of the game by a few cents or more –and the sponsor gets customer loyalty and feet through the door. Business Week reports on a version of the grocery market circular on e-roids—how McDonalds is testing the concept of pushing coupons into your smartphone with an app called “McD”, and pulling customers through its golden arches. Kevin Newell, chief brand and strategy officer for McDonald’s U.S. calls it product engagement. Technically, the roll-out is easier for company operations to implement than mobile payment apps like the one introduced by Starbucks, or one requiring even more sophisticated operational changes like an app that allows one to order for takeout via smartphone.

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Effective communication is added value

Did you ever use a phrase, then realize that you are no longer sure what it means? Like “added value.” We learned in Management 101 that added value was what happened during manufacturing. For example, take a piece of copper and roll it into sheets. Then cut it to length, put it through a sheet metal bending brake, and you have customized copper flashing. That’s added value in manufacturing. Time, materials, machinery, and expertise. Looks good, works as it is intended. Lasts forever.

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