Friday, November 30, 2012

Easy isn’t always better

As businesses fight through this economy, I believe we will find that easy is no longer a worthy word in our vocabulary. That easy-to-do-business-with customer may no longer exist. If they are still around, they may be far tougher to work with and far less profitable. That easy project that we’ve done for years may be downsized and turned into a process that no longer has the appeal—and may no longer need you.

I think that the concept of easy applies today in our businesses, but in a different way. I believe that today we must be totally engaged in our work. We must be fearless and face the tough issues early on and we must be focused not on making the customer happy and like us, but rather focus on what it will take to achieve the results that the client came to us to achieve. As we set out to achieve those results, the relationship and project may not be easy, but it will be far easier than dealing with the aftermath of an unhappy client who will replace you with someone else at the drop of a hat.

Barry LaBov

LaBov & Beyond

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Great energy = great performances

I used to be in the music business, kind of. I wrote jingles—those irritating little 30-second ditties that you couldn’t get out of your mind. I would record singers who would try out for the honor of singing a particular jingle. I knew something was magical when I felt energy from their performance. I actually felt uplifted. I was transformed. Technically, that singer may have missed a few notes or had some imperfections, but there was something about the performance. It wasn’t always easy explaining to the singers who didn’t make the cut that while they were technically superb, they didn’t quite fit what we were looking for. Listen to the song “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty. I feel great energy from that performance and message, but technically, Petty’s singing could be far better (unless you like ‘I woont be-ack de-own’). That’s energy. 

Barry LaBov

LaBov & Beyond

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Easy Button of life

Staples created a great campaign around their “Easy Button.” You can look to Staples for all your office needs and it’s easy. Everything will be taken care of. What a great campaign and great mantra for your life: Just push the easy button.

Most of us are in search of the easy button in our life. In school, we searched for the easy teacher, the easy class where you could be guaranteed a good grade. Maybe we looked for a spouse who would make it easy for us and allow us to do what we want when we want to. Later on, we may have chosen a career where it appeared to be easiest to get what we want, even if we didn’t have passion for it. And finally, we choose employers who we thought would be the least stressful to work for.

I’m not opposed to the concept of easy, because sometimes easy is best. But it isn’t meant to be the compass of our lives. Instead of easy, I’m looking for meaningful. The client who we can have a meaningful relationship with, which in the long run will be easier than the alternatives.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Monday, November 19, 2012

Go beyond

Nike's slogan is Just Do It. It's not only their mantra, but it's a mantra to live your life by. My company has a mantra, Go Beyond. It describes how we feel it should be at our company.

We should go beyond:

the expected
the traditional
the order
the boring
the safe
the easiest solution
the first idea
our comfort zone
our selfish interests
the surface

My company is going beyond this holiday season by giving beyond. We're donating $1,000 to a worthy cause and allowing the public to vote on which organization will receive the money. Those who would like to vote should go to and vote for one of the five organizations listed. All these organizations are near and dear to our hearts, as our employees have donated their own time and money to each of them.

If our team more often than not lives our Go Beyond mantra, we should do alright. If I live it in my personal life, I should do just fine.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Follow the energy

The great Watergate saga “All the President’s Men” had the infamous line “follow the money.” Basically the message is if you followed the money trail, it would lead you to the answer. I look at energy the same way. If you follow where the energy is coming from, you will find the answer.

A person with no energy, no matter how brilliant, is going to be challenged as a leader. A new product, regardless of its quality standard, will not inspire unless you feel an energy from it. Ask people about their new iPhone and look at their energy, their excitement. Watch a great movie and how do you feel when you leave the movie theater? Energized (unless of course, it’s a tearjerker).

Energy isn’t just excitement. In business, it’s a combination of many things that lead you to feel that way. If it’s an idea, it must make sense, it must be inspired, it should have character and it should be unique, perhaps bold. It may not statistically be provable, but if it leaves people feeling upbeat and motivated, then, you have something going. Want to know who’s the most valuable person in the company? Want to know which idea will change the world? Follow the energy.

Barry LaBov

LaBov & Beyond

Monday, November 12, 2012

More than metrics

I like metrics. What’s not to like? Metrics will guide you to a logical conclusion, which is usually correct and very, very defensible. After all, if you made a decision based on metrics and it didn’t pan out, at least you can say you followed the metrics.

But, I think there’s more to life than metrics. That’s why there are things out there that you can’t explain. Think of the movies that become cult hits. Think of the politicians who came from nowhere to prominence. Some things aren’t numbers-based and simply can’t be explained.

Barry LaBov

LaBov & Beyond

Friday, November 9, 2012


I woke up in the middle of the night with this sentence racing through my mind. I had to get up and out of bed to scribble it on a piece of paper so I wouldn' forget it:

Order is having the right people in your life happy.

I don't know where it came from, but it makes sense. Things are crazy and stressful if the people who mean the most are unhappy. And life is useless if the wrong people are the ones you're trying to please.
Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Friday, November 2, 2012

Business aviation reality

I've been a proponent of business jets for years, having owned a turboprop, and later, a CJ1 jet. I was interviewed numerous times in the wake of the public sentiment that business jets are for fat cat, lousy, super-rich business people. I recently sold our company jet, so I feel I can speak critically on the subject more than ever.

Business jets can be wasteful, they can be instruments of lousy fat cats who see themselves as above (no pun intended) everyone else. They can also become an entitlement within a company as employees expect to be taxied about to various locales on a moment's notice. When that happens, a lot of other bad things happen--companies don't plan and leverage the flights, the employees often will leave as soon as the meeting is done and miss out on socializing with the clients, and in general, the jet becomes an excuse for not communicating often enough (i.e. "I'm waiting to fly out and see the client before I discuss such and such issue).

On the other hand, if used properly, you can actually do the math and see how a business jet can transport a team of employees from or to a location not served well by commercial flights. If the trip is planned and thought through, you can move mountains, socialize and return your employees home at a decent hour--preserving your business, clients and employees.

Now that I don't own a jet, I look at business jets as an option that any smart company must consider from time to time. Business aviation should not be vilified or glorified.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond