Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Budget problems? Look why multinationals are investing in Israel

April 12, 2013

See posting at


New posts on management, coaching and Israeli economy

February 15, 2013

Pls see

Business mentoring and the book of Exodus

February 4, 2013

The site has moved to


commercial adversity – commercial benefit

January 30, 2013

This can be viewed at:

Leadership in Israeli industry

January 22, 2013

This post can be found at:

The site has moved. A subscription service is available at the new site of

Business mentor, religious leader or shrink? You choose

December 7, 2012

Nearly every time I describe to people what I do as a business mentor, I am asked if I feel that I am acting as a psychologist for financial or commercial issues.

It can seem that way. In fact, it is not just that you have to allow for a person’s personality in how they do or do not make decisions. You also have to be aware of “background noise”. A classic example of this can unfortunately be a divorce of a key player in the organisation.

That said, I am always clear about two things. I have never even studied psychology 101. And, I am not a professional marriage guidance counsellor or similar. If those are your issues, they need to be dealt with by a professional.

I am prompted to raise the discussion by two articles I read in a Hebrew publication last month. Tzohar is a group of rabbis, who try to relate orthodox opinions with modern life, without being afraid of modernity. Rabbis Aviner and Ariel argued that people with deep personal issues can receive full help by turning to a religious leader rather than visiting a shrink. (For the record, I have clients, who confirm what they have learnt with me by afterwards visiting their favoured rabbi.)

Nomi Wolfson, a specialist in marital problems, wrote a detailed response ,which I feel deserves a wider audience. As she writes (and I translate): “The main point is the lack of understanding (by non-experts) that handling emotional issues demands a wider appreciation of life.” This is an appreciation that goes beyond showing  a basic love of mankind and exuding empathy.

Wolfson goes on to analyse what she sees as the central point of dispute with her rabbinical associates. Her field of expertise is often seen as one of “words”. Speak wisely and you can do it also, no? No, cries Wolfson. And the reason is simple. In psychology, every word and every sentence can have a sub meaning. These implications need to be identified immediately. Just as it takes a rabbi – and also presumably preachers from other religions – years to learn the texts, so it takes analysts years to be certified by their professions.

In Wolfson’s last penultimate paragraph, she delivers her sternest warning. Rabbis are perceived as being most active in household disputes. They are seen as a place to seek neutrality, which is understandable. However, the professional spends many a session in training, role-playing the multiple different scenarios. That is extremely valuable background knowledge, actually working with individuals.

So who is correct? As Wolfson observes, if you need a toothache dealt with you go to a dentist. The final decision will depend on the issues involved  and where a person feels confident that they will find a solution.

Five laws of success in business and the success fee business model

December 2, 2012

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Penina Taylor at the Jerusalem Business Networking Forum (JBNF). A gifted speaker, Penina’s catch phrase is: ” A person can do the impossible if she has enough reason to make it happen”.

Penina revealed her “5 laws of success in business”, which apply to much of life in general. To briefly summarise:

  1. Your potential worth is determined by the difference by how much more you give than you receive.
  2. To determine your level of compensation, you must surround yourself with more and more people, who you want to serve.
  3. Place people first and watch out for their good.
  4. When you are yourself, you are at your most valuable.
  5. The key to effective giving is to be open to receiving.

In many ways, this is a circular set of reasoning. Nevertheless, each attribute deserves much consideration by the individual. They can open each and every one of us up to much inner commercial introspection.

I felt compelled to ask a question about the laboured business model, “success fee only”. This is when the provider of a service is remunerated only when they have fully completed all the tasks required. Thus, if somebody is trying to secure an investment for a company, they may spend months creating the contacts, massaging the negotiations and talking for hours on the telephone. However, if the money is not transferred between the sides, then all their effort will convert to a round zero in the bank account.

However, according to Penina’s laws, this is a healthy process because it represents a large element of giving. You are creating value, at least in theory. So. how could this apparent ‘misfit’ be explained? Interestingly, I found two responses from the audience to be insightful.

One person argued that such a process can be treated as a learning experience. A second comment, perhaps more helpful, argued that the service provider is obliged to know from the outset what are the parameters, and these should be clearly identifiable by the client.

Therefore, I propose adding on new golden rule to Penina’s list. Know your boundaries. Define them well and they will be an equal benefit to all sides of the business table.