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Archive for the “California” Category

I saw a news item that caught my eye last week. California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsome led a delegation of California lawmakers to Austin, Texas to research why so many businesses are leaving California to set up shop in Texas.

Hell, it’s not brain surgery. They didn’t need to go to all that trouble. They could have just called me. The answer to why companies are leaving California is that California is a cesspool of bureaucratic red tape, union mandates and punitive taxation. For example, my outsourced sales company, Corporate Rain International, has but one employee in California. But I am required to pay almost $900 to CA each year just to allow this part-time employee to work for me. This rankles me no end. I have employees in ten other states and no other state requires this.

John Fund wrote about this in the Wall Street Journal on Friday. He cites Andy Puzder, the CEO of Hardee’s Restaurants, who reports it takes six months to two years to get a permit to build a new Carl’s Jr. Restaurant in California versus six weeks in Texas. Likewise, California is one of only three states that demand overtime pay after an eight hour day rather than after a 40 hour week.

Fund quotes Assemblyman Dan Logue, a member of the visiting California delegation,  “We came [to Texas] to learn why [our companies] would pick up their roots and move in order to grow their businesses.” Fund notes the ironic fact that hours after the California legislators met with Texas Governor Perry, Fujitsu Frontech, announced it was abandoning California. Fund further quotes business relocation expert Joe Vranich on the growing business exodus from California. “[Fujitsu Fuontech] is the 70th business to leave this year. That’s an average of 4.7 per week, up from 3.9 a week last year.” CEO Magazine reports California is the worst state for job and business growth and Texas is the best state.

I am flummoxed as to why not only states like California, but also New Jersey, Illinois, my beloved New York, and a couple of others, persist in what can only be described as an institutional, political and cultural hostility to business and entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are the goose that can and must continue to lay golden eggs for the states we are based in if employment and the national economy are to recover.

If you want to read more on this topic, I wrote another post about it back on April 13, 2010 after a visit to my Texas office. Just scroll back. It is an unalloyed paean of love to the pro-entrepreneurial culture of Texas. States that want to fiscally survive our present economic downturn should look at the Texas model closely.

Fred Allen said, “California is a nice place to live–if you happen to be an orange.” It’s certainly less and less nice if you happen to be an entrepreneur. Thanks, Fred.

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Good Business: Leadership. Flow, and the Making of MeaningHere’s a name for you: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Try pronouncing that one! (It’s a Hungarian moniker. Sounds like cheek-sent-me-high-ee.) Dr. Csikzentmihalyi is professor of Psychology at one of my alma maters, Claremont Graduate University in California, where he is professor of Psychology and Management and heads the Quality of Life Research Center. He doesn’t write directly about sales, per se. But he does speak to the issue of meaning in business eloquently and scientifically. And there are certainly corollary implications for sales in his work.

His work centers around the study of happiness, personal efficaciousness, and creativity. To wildly oversimplify Dr. Csikzentmihalyi’s work, he writes about what makes for value and meaning and happiness in business and work. Among other things, he tackles the question of what makes a business life worth living and what makes life worth living.

I have just begun to scratch the surface of his work and I won’t insult Dr. Csikzentmihalyi with further shallow oversimplification from my limited understanding and exposure, but he writes well, accessibly, and with the humility and humor of a true seeker. For example, to give just a hint of his tonality and concerns, in his book “Good Business“, he quotes Norman Augustino, the former CEO of Lockheed Martin:

“I’ve always wanted to be successful. My definition of being successful is contributing something to the world…and being happy while doing it….You have to enjoy what you’re doing. You won’t be very good if you don’t. And secondly, you have to feel you are contributing something worthwhile…If either of these ingredients are absent, there’s probably some lack of meaning in your work.”

I‘m not an intellectual or an academic, like Dr. Csikszentmihalyi. This blog is meant to be practical, intuitive, annectdotal, and non-whitepaperish. It’s not the Harvard Business Review. But one of my recurring themes and passionate beliefs is that there is a great underestimation of the importance of meaning in the salesman’s life. Good salesmen and women are not testosterone driven, Darwinian manipulators, as they so often are portrayed. I believe deeply that lucre and achievement of material well-being are over emphasized in discussions of incentivizing sales folk.

My niche outsourced sales company, Corporate Rain, has mostly succeeded for sixteen years by projecting an institutional concern for ethics and meaning equally with profit. Maybe it’s a lucky accident, but it surely has made for a trope of centered happiness in myself and, I believe, in my sales associates and employees.

If you’re interested in reading more on this subject, I recommend a new book called “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel H. Pink.

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