Author Archives: David Shedd

About David Shedd

David has been a President - CEO - COO of an up to $350M group of manufacturing, distribution, specialty retail and services companies, having led 22 different businesses from turnarounds to start-ups to fast growth companies.

Four Ways to Overcome Confirmation Bias

The biggest decision-making bias for all of us is the confirmation bias. Wikipedia explains it well: Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or … Continue reading

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Avoid Fair Fights (But Fight Fair)

Whether we are competing in our core business, starting a new business venture, or looking to win a new, large job or project, we need to focus our energies on areas where we have a competitive advantage. We need to … Continue reading

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The Necessity of a Good Cadence

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, cadence is defined as “the beat, time, or measure of rhythmical motion or action.” In the business context, cadence is used to describe regularly scheduled activities, specifically regularly scheduled meetings, follow-ups, visits or other actions. … Continue reading

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Use the ‘Base Rate’ for Better Decisions

The IT project took twice as long as planned.  The construction project to expand the plant went over budget. Why does this always happen? Too many decisions are made with too much self-confidence and too much optimism.  As a result, … Continue reading

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Flexibility

“Predictions are difficult – especially about the future.” This quote from Yogi Berra sums up the challenges we all face in today’s dynamic and fast-changing world. None of us has a crystal ball that allows us to predict the future … Continue reading

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10 Fundamentals of Continuous Improvement

When continuous improvement is a fundamental part of our company culture, our business gets better every day and will soon out-run and out-perform the competition.  Over 100 years ago, Henry Ford wrote: The competitor to be feared is the one … Continue reading

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Crisis Leadership

As I write this blog, we are in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic.  Each day brings changes to how and where we can conduct business; we have little visibility into what the next month, three months, or six months … Continue reading

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To Improve Our Meetings, We Need to Do Our Homework

The consultant, Stan Sipes, once commented: “The most common weakness I see in organizations is the lack of work that is done in a meeting.”  Today, more than ever, so little work is done in meetings because no one has … Continue reading

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Be Opportunistic

“There are smart decisions and wise decisions. And one form of wisdom is the ability to judge when to let luck disrupt our plans. Not all time in life is equal. The question is, when the unequal moment comes, do … Continue reading

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11 Keys to Better Decision-Making

Successful leaders make good decisions… consistently. Good decision-making is dependent on a number of factors: understanding, experience, intelligence, foresight, and just plain luck.  There is no guide that will tell you how to make the perfect decision.  But, there are … Continue reading

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For Effective Communication, Listen… Really Listen

“It’s not always what we say; often it’s what we allow the other person to say. By listening, we gain trust and make other people feel more comfortable with us.”  Rick Pitino   The ability to listen well, to really … Continue reading

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Three Ways to Develop Strategic Thinking Skills

Strategic thinking skills differentiate middle-level managers from effective upper level leaders.  With excellent strategic thinking skills, the leader is able to make effective decisions that benefit their companies in both the short and long term. Developing strategic thinking skills requires … Continue reading

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Survival of the Fittest and Leadership Flexibility

Hawaiians and other Polynesians are the descendants of peoples who traveled by boat from East Asia to settle their islands.  Those most likely to survive the long and arduous journey were those with “thrifty genes”.  They were those ancestors who … Continue reading

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A Good Leader is a Good Follower

Even as leaders, we all have bosses.  Perhaps, it is a Vice-President.  Perhaps, it is the CEO.  Perhaps, it is the Board of Directors. To move our companies forward, we need to be good (but not mindless) followers to our … Continue reading

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Four Ways To Do Training Right

In corporate America, approximately $100 billion is spent each year on training.  Yet, many studies show that training is only 10% – 15% effective.  As Harvard Business School Professor Michael Beer writes, this is… the great training robbery Yet, training … Continue reading

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Communicate in One Page

Idea Summary To run our businesses more effectively, most documents and reports in our businesses (including summaries, plans, reviews, and analysis) should be kept to one page.   Perspective Businesses are awash in information, specifically reports, analysis, weekly updates or … Continue reading

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5 Key Interpersonal Skills for Leaders

“Abraham Lincoln said that people think that the real test of a person’s character is how they deal with adversity. A much better measure of a person’s character is to give them power. I’ve been more often disappointed with how … Continue reading

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Don’t Believe the Hype

“The world is changing faster than ever before.” “We need to adapt to the change or we will get run over by it.” “The paradigm has shifted and the world will never be the same.” “Robotics and AI (Artificial Intelligence) will … Continue reading

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Experiment… A Little

To move our companies forward, we need to experiment.  We need to try out new products, new sales/ marketing strategies, new processes, and new leadership styles.  We cannot be certain if all of these will work.  But, to not experiment … Continue reading

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Decisiveness

“In a minute, there is time for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.” This line from the 1915 T.S. Elliot poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, is a lovely bit of poetry.  It is also a … Continue reading

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