Solomon Bruce Consulting Blog

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

She Came and Really Wanted the Job!

        A mid level government official today called and told us about a new employee he was hiring.  He interviewed several candidates, one from his Alma Mater, however, in the end, decided to hire a lady who "Came and Really Wanted the Job!"

         The key question we asked was what was so distinctive about this candidate that she was superior to the other candidates.  Here is what the government official said:
  • She was well dressed, poised and polished
  • She brought a portfolio and pen and took good notes
  • Her answers were well reasoned and crisp
  • She had done her homework and knew about the position
  • She was "eager and hungry" to make a valuable contribution to the team
  • She had outstanding grades, 3.96 GPA  (However, this was not a deciding factor in hiring her)
  • Her background was compatible with the mission of the government agency
         We continue to talk to clients who are frustrated about the whole employee hiring process.  Another candidate that interviewed for this same position came without being formally dressed, oh, he had a sloppy tie on, no coat and his shirt looked like it had never seen the business end of the iron.  He did not have a pen or paper, nor did he ask for same while in the interview.  We pointed out that he may possess a photographic memory.  The government official stated that could be the case, however, note taking is highly encouraged.
           The question that often arises in these discussions is what has happened to the current generation?  Are they not taught how to interview?  Do they not know what we expect?  In many cases, the answer is NO, they have not been taught and NO, they don't know what to do.  OK, whose fault is that?  Well, we can opine several premises, however, the truth of the matter is that for whatever reason, the expectation bar is not set as high as it should be.

            OK, how do we fix this?  Our counsel to clients is to have some tolerance in the hiring process, but be VERY CLEAR on what your expectations are in the firm or organization to which this new employee may be joining.  We always suggest that everything be put in writing, clear and concise, and ensure that the employee, if hired, has read and signed the expectation list before beginning his/her new position.

            In most cases today, this is the first job for many of these folks.  Sad, but true.  OK, no reason to dwell on that, identify clearly what the expectations are that you expect and hold the employee accountable to those expectations.  Most folks will follow/fulfill expectations if they are clearly identified.  Today is a different era, no reason to believe differently.  If the expectations are clearly identified, there is no question on what is supposed to be done.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Should I go "All IN?"

     A business owner asked our consultant the other day if he should go "All In" on a new business.  He had a food truck business which made him money.  He sold the food truck and now wants to get a brick and mortar facility.  He makes a common southwest condiment popular all over the USA.  The profits from the food truck would provide the initial starting capital for the brick and mortar facility.
      As he talked with our consultant, the more "excited" he got about this whole business of opening a brick and mortar facility.
       Our consultant suggested that he use a "community kitchen" which he could rent and make his condiment.  He could then sell the condiment from the kitchen and then see if he could develop a business.  In this way, he had some degree of capital preservation as well as seeing if there was a market for this product.  As you may guess, the market research component was weak, as was the idea of cost of labor, cost of goods as well as cost of rent for a facility, let alone any new equipment.
        Another factor our consultant pointed out to this business owner was that 97% of new food businesses go out of business within the first 12 months.  Under capitalization, more work than ever envisioned as well as labor/staff issues causes most food service establishments to close down.
        In this particular case, the business owner wanted to use the funds received from the sale of the food truck to open the new food service establishment.  Our consultant identified that a good robust financial plan is needed if this business owner has any chance of success.
        Would you go "all in" on a deal like this?  Why or Why not?

The 7th Grade Math Problem

     A business owner gave us this problem to solve, as brought home by his 7th grade son.  Now, this is a 7th grade math problem, there are no tricks here, nothing spooky requiring differential calculus, the Pythagorean theorem, Polynomials or the Quadratic formula-- all of which were considered in solving this.

      Don't make this any harder than it is-- it is NOT hard and there is no trick here-- just plain old arithmetic and basic algebra.  Our crack staff spent more time than 7th grader would ever think about working the problem.  In the end, the EASY solution is the answer.  This is not differential calculus, however we explored that also.  Remember, this is a 7th grade math problem.

     OK, here is the problem.  A + B equals 13/24 (A+B=13/24).  The product of AB is 1/16  (A*B=1/16).  What are the values of A and B?

     Put your answers here-- we have more to discuss about this in the next post.