January 2009 – Personal Interview with Michael Marshall, ‘The Business Doctor’
We noticed that you have added several new articles on your website.
The information in these is quite outstanding.
What do the readers of your website say about the information and how busy is your website?
The comments from the readers are quite favorable with all commenting on the value.
As a website enhancement these comments are now being published directly on the website.
As far as how busy is the website and what is the website traffic, multiple website pages are being actually read 1000 – 1500 times per month depending on the month.
As far as how many click on the website to look at the front page at least, the site gets
1500-6000 per month depending on the month.
There appears to be a lot of readers and growing.
A lot of us and I am sure a lot of your readers, appreciate you sharing all of the valuable information.
Does anyone ever ask why you are so generous and willing to share such valuable information?
I have not been asked this but most express appreciation for the information.
I used to protect this information and my knowledge.
The information on the website was once a pay-for service.
About a year ago, I changed my mind about this, I think as part of being more mature in business and in life.
I now view sharing my extensive skills, experience and knowledge like the old saying of;
‘When using a candle to light another candle, the original candle does not get dimmer or lose light. The second candle gets bright to help brighten up the whole room.”
I have never heard this saying before but it sure is noble and sounds good.
Personally, I just view it as being more mature and viewing so many who need some help.
Maybe my willingness to share such information can help others in need.
Is there any specific comments from your readers that seem to be the most common?
Yes there is.
Many comment favorably on articles and interviews that contain information on ‘Creativity’, “Out of The Box Thinking’ and “Bold Innovations’.
Don’t most people think they are “Creative’ and ‘Out of The Box Thinking’?
Yes, most seem to believe this but it is far from reality.
‘Creativity’ and ‘Out of The Box Thinking’ is something that needs to be trained since we are raised from children not to be creative.
As children we often heard;
Do not color outside the lines
Only use certain colors for certain things
Only start reading from the beginning of the book, never the back or in between
There is only one correct answer and you dont’ have it
Most people have been trained not to be creative so formal training is needed to help everyone get creative and possibly bring out the creativity that they may have some abilities in.
How do you handle situations where people say they are very creative and out of the box thinking and do not need formal training even though they may not be too creative?
There is a simple way I handle this.
I list 6 or 7 simple items such as paper clip, pen, pencil, pin, safety pin, rubber band, belt buckle, etc.
I then professionally and politely ask them to select one of these items to write down 100 uses for.
I tell them to take 1 hour to write down 100 or more uses and bring the list back.
The rule is that there are no wrong answers for uses of the object or item.
I explain that if they are ‘creative’, ‘outside the box thinking’ and ‘innovative’ they will have their list complete within 30 to 60 minutes; if they can use some formal training in ‘creativity’ they will have the list complete by fthe following day after they have the entire evening to think and probably ask others to help with ideas.
Have many been able to complete a list of 100 uses in an hour or less?
Many come back the next day without a list of 100 uses completed even.
‘Creativity’, ‘Out of The Box Thinking’ and Bold Innovations’ are things that can be formally trained to help people gain some of these skills and open up their creative side of their brain/mind.
These skills rarely come just naturally.
They require some effort.
Formal training, reading some books on the subject to expose one to ideas and thoughts and a variety of Creative Thinking exercises such as the one I just explained, will help people become more ‘Creative’, ‘Outside The Box Thinking’ and Innovative’.
This is critical for business growth in numerous ways.
I always suggest that business executives send all of their supervisors and management staff to formal training in ‘Creativity’ and ‘Out of The Box Thinking’ and to come back with ideas to help grow the business.
Do businesses normally welcome this idea and do it?
This is a good example of “Business Psychosis” which I wrote about in the recent articles.
I and several others here, have read your recent articles of ‘Business Chaos’ and the recently revised ‘Psychology of Business’.
Both are on your website.
In the Business Chaos article you listed ten things that are the most common in declining businesses.
If you had to identify the top 3 to 4 of this list what would they be?
This is an easy question.
The top 3 – 4 would be;
1. Lack of ‘Creativity’, ‘Out of The Box Thinking’ and ‘Bold Innovation’
2.’The Rule of 10′
3. ‘Business Psychosis’
4. Fair trade versus Equal Trade
With retail business, the top one would be the excessive competition to the extent of diluting the marketing place.
Of the top 10, they all inter-relate, though.
This ‘Rule of 10’ seems to be a major issue especially in the current times of layoffs and finding another job position.
Just ask executive recruiters and executive placement agencies.
Ask those people who are unemployed.
Ask those people who have taken a lower level position at significantly lower level wages while continuing to seek out more appropriate job positions that can utilize their skills.
Obtaining lower level positions with lower wages and not being able to utilize all of their skills is not a good solution because many of these people only find themselves layed off again within a short time.
The original ‘Golden Rule’ was ‘Those with the gold makes the rules’.
Now it’s more on the power side and ‘The Rule of 10’
Those in positions of power and authority will be guided by ‘The Rule of 10,’ to establish the new social order even if it hurts a business organization.
I read some recent statistics that are interesting.
Well, please share this information with us.
The average 38-year-old person has had 10 – 14 jobs already
1 in 4 (25%) of people in their current job position have been in the position for less than 1 year
1 in 2 (50%) of people in their current job position have been in the position less than 5 years
This information is very interesting.
From observations and talking with others, ‘The Rule of 10′ is a major contributor to these statistics.
What can be done to improve this situation?
This “Rule of 10’ syndrome that is so unhealthy will be very tough to change but I do think business will be forced to change in regards to this.
Financial pressures, making everyone more aware of ‘The Rule of 10’ and financial bailouts insisting on improvements and changes, may drive this improvement in this area.
I mentioned this in my articles.
How about ‘Business Psychosis’ and the lack of ‘Creativity’, ‘Out of The Box Thinking’ and “Bold Innovations’?
These issues are getting major publicity now with the collapse of many companies and major organizations and the controversy surrounding financial bailouts.
I think changes and improvement in this area will be coming.
How about the issue of fair trade versus equal trade?
This too; with the recent publicity on this issue and the government now willing to acknowledge the issue and the need to make improvements and changes in this area, I think improvements and changes will come.
How fast or in what time frame, I do not know.
How about the retail market with extensive competition and so many retail stores of the same types diluting the marketplace and struggling to survive?
Well, have you, like others, ever come across a street intersection or a street where you see 3 and 5 of the same type of stores, wonder how this can be and how can they stay in business?
Have you visited some of these stores and see how they are rarely busy?
Of course and I hear others comment about this routinely.
Maybe this is where the free market here will force natural adjustments that to most of us are common sense.
Do you see any other things or changes in the near future that we have not talked about, yet?
Yes I do.
The same issues may happen with services and healthcare services.
Driving down the street and though intersections, count the number of healthcare providers such as dental, eye care and other services.
It is interesting that you mention this because I have had many discussions with others about this.
Isn’t it amazing how so much is right in front of us if we only open our eyes and be willing to speak up and discuss.
So many things can be fairly common sense.
Just ask others where the nearest fire hydrant is on their street that they live on or where the nearest US post box is?
You would be surprised that most could not answer these questions.
If so much of these things are common sense, how do all of these ridiculous things that we are seeing and suffering from ever happen in the first place.
I will answer this by listing the top reasons that you have heard before but add one more new one.
1. ‘Business Psychosis’
2. ‘The Rule of Ten’
3. Lack of ‘Creativity’, ‘Out of The Box Thinking’ and ‘Bold Innovation’
4. Greed that does not pay off and becomes counter productive
I think all of us will agree with this.
We do have just one more question
What is it?
We hear how many business organizations do not always get employee and staff support and cooperation for new initiatives, new programs and possibly new policies.
Do you have any insights and suggestions for this?
Yes, I do.
This is actually a common situation to most organizations.
The most common causes for this are;
1. The senior management often fail to get employee and staff involvement early on in the process of change, new programs, new initiatives or new policies being developed
2. Management and superviosry level may not agree with the new programs, changes, initiatives and policies. Just passing on information without believing in them, employees and staff pick on this so employee/staff cooperation and agreement can be lacking.
Simply speaking, let employees and staff get involved early on in the processes that guide or develop changes, intitiatives, programs and policies.
This gets employee support for such and also gets appropriate enhancements incorporated in early on.
Make sure that all management and supervisory staff have a very clear and indepth understanding of all.
Such progressive efforts are affective.
Very interesting and it seems so common sense the way that you explain it.
Our time to meet has run out.
We greatly appreciate your willingness to spend time with us again.