17 May: Marvel in Achievement

Graduating from College was big deal for me when I first did it 38 years ago. Now that I’m seeing my children mark this important milestone in their own lives, my appreciation for the power of the ceremony of graduation and what it represents has become more meaningful and more powerful. This year I’m getting a double dose. Our eldest daughter Lilly graduates from Law School and Kate just received…

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10 May: Recognize Your Market and its Benefits

We all put a lot of stock in something called “The Economy,” but what do we actually mean by “The Economy?” We usually mean the macro-economic situation of a country or a state. We talk about overall employment, wage levels, and aggregates of supply and demand. In reality there is no “The Economy” with a capital E; there are a number of industry or market level economies, with a lower-case e. The…

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03 May: Tracking Low-Wage Return

There’s a paradox in any recession: in the beginning, overall wages go up, not down. The fall comes later. Why? The answer lies in how people lose jobs during a recession. Those at the lowest end of the wage scale lose their jobs first, which has the effect of temporarily raising wages elsewhere until layoffs hit those in the middle and upper distributions of the wage scale. The same held true in…

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26 April: Rational People make Rational Choices

The name of the game last year was uncertainty. What we witnessed in late March and early April was massive leaps in unemployment as people lost their jobs to a Covid-forced economic shutdown. Almost immediately, economists and others began predicting the shape and nature of the eventual economic recovery. At the time, this seemed like a mix of arrogance and either optimism or pessimism, sometimes…

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19 April: Still at McDonald's Table

McDonalds used the pandemic to change up its menu. Rolling out all-day breakfast was a short-term win for the company in the twenty-teens, but by 2020 they had found two problems. First, the added complexity of a full menu all day neutralized the natural cost advantages of the chain’s simpler breakfast items. Costs went up. Second, sales during the “breakfast daypart” declined. The pandemic…

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12 April: The Importance of Culture in Crisis

I wrote a year ago that a Cathedral Culture is “one built for the long haul.” It took over six centuries for the world famous Cologne Cathedral to be completed, and most Christian cathedrals took just as long. A Cathedral Culture rests on four pillars: currents or long term trends, not short term waves; mission values for success; relationships first, last, and always; and measuring what matters…

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