WALLY AMOS: BE POSITIVE
Wally Amos is the
founder of Wamos
Cookies. You can
reach him at www.
Help for vets
You never know
LIFE CONTINUES TO demonstrate that things are
never as they appear to be—they are always
more. The following story is confirmation.
Once upon a time, two friends set out early for
a much-anticipated fishing trip. Their plan was to
drive to the seashore, meet with buddies who
owned a boat and sail off for the day.
Before long a tire blew. Fixing the flat put
them a half hour behind schedule, but they figured
their friends would wait, and off they went again.
Eager to make up time, they sped on, past a cop
with a radar gun. The ticket cost them 50 bucks
plus 45 minutes.
They had just convinced themselves that,
because they were bringing the food and drinks,
their friends would wait for them, when the fan
Two hours, one tow and an expensive repair
later, one said despondently, “I know they wouldn’t
have waited this long. Let’s just cut our losses and
His friend said, “Nah, I always finish what I
start. Let’s just go on and see for sure.”
He convinced his disappointed pal, and they
continued to the meeting place. Sure enough, the
pier was deserted, the boat slip empty, their
buddies gone. The first guy said, “See? I told you. It
was just a waste of time coming here. The perfect
ending for a failed morning.”
His friend was on the point of agreeing when
they heard faint voices calling out in the distance.
It didn’t take them long to discover a couple of
little boys who’d been playing in the surf nearby
and gotten sucked out by a strong current. Our
friends were both lifeguards, and were able to
reach the boys just in time to save their lives. The
perfect ending for a loused-up morning.
More in archives
On Costco.com, enter
“Connection.”At Online Edition,
search “Wally Amos.”
Excellent companies, stupid moves
EVEN THE BEST companies and organizations
can get in their own way. Costco member Neil
Smith, the chief executive officer of Promontory
Growth and Innovation (
focuses on this in his book, How Excellent
Organizational silos. Close coordination
and cooperation across silos (units or departments
within an enterprise) is required to make decisions
and implement them. When information does not
flow freely, or when there are misaligned priorities,
Companies Avoid Dumb Things:
things do not get done.
Breaking the 8 Hidden Barriers
That Plague Even the Best
Macmillan, 2012), written
with Patricia O’Connell.
“Companies need to
understand ... what barriers
they have, why they exist, and
how they can be removed,”
Management blockers. Some
people deliberately avoid decisions or prevent them from being made because they
won’t like the outcome, they are competing with the person proposing the change
or the decision might reflect badly on
Smith writes. Are any of the
following barriers hindering
Incorrect information or bad
assumptions. When decisions are based
on assumptions rather than facts, or when
information is hard to get, wrong decisions
are often made.
Avoiding controversy. Humans naturally
avoid controversy, so when there is disagreement,
decisions are not made.
Poor use of time. People prioritize their
time badly or naturally procrastinate, both of
which leave important things not done.
Reluctance to change. Fear of the
unknown typically drives this barrier and, as a
result, things stay the same.
Size matters. Companies do not
typically amend processes to account for
small customers or small transaction sizes, making
Existing processes. It is difficult, if not
impossible, to change existing processes even if
they become outdated or broken. This is usually
because there is not a process to change the pro-
cess, and any change involves gaining the attention
of too many people. C
or the decision might reflect badly on
IF YOU ARE a veteran and own
a small business or are contem-
plating starting one, there are
resources available to assist
you. Here’s a sample, compiled
by America’s Small Business
Development Centers (SBDCs).
; Arizona SBDC Network,
Veterans Assistance Portal,
; Arkansas Small Business and
; California–San Diego and
Imperial Regional Network
SBDC, San Diego Center
for International Trade
Development, Services for
; Kentucky SBDC,
; Maine SBDC, Veterans
; New York State SBDC,
Veterans Business Services,
; Virginia SBDC Network,
VETBIZ Resource Center,
; SBA Office of Veterans
Business Development, www.
sba.gov/vets. OVBD serves
the veteran entrepreneur by
formulating, executing and
promoting policies and pro-
grams of the agency that
provide assistance to veterans
seeking to start and develop
; Patriot Express Loans, www.
up to $500,000, from the SBA’s
network of participating lend-
ers, can be used for most
business purposes, including
start-up, expansion, equipment
purchases, working capital,
inventory and business-occu-
pied real estate purchases.
For more resources for vet-
erans, as well as all entrepre-