Lemons or Lemonade

It was Saturday afternoon when I hopped in my car to run errands.  The thermostat in the car told me the temperature was a cool 93 degrees, but the sensation of walking into a sauna told me that the humidity in Atlanta was much higher.  As I put my basket of dry cleaning in the car I heard a little girl’s voice call out, “Lemonade!  Lemonade for sale!”  I looked over my shoulder and at the entrance of the next block were two sisters with a table, a pitcher, and a few plastic cups.  The younger of the two girls was clearly in charge of advertising, as she hopped up and down, yelling at passing cars to let them know the sale was on.

I grabbed my wallet and walked over to get a cup of lemonade for the road.  “Good afternoon ladies, I would like a glass.  How much is it?”  I remember how much my lemonade stand used to be, but with inflation, I had already located a $1.00 bill to hand to the little girls.

The oldest sister went directly into her sales pitch, “Our lemonade is fresh squeezed and is 25 cents.  We are also donating 25% to the local Humane Society.”

I have to say at that point I was actually shocked.  Here were two girls, who the oldest could not have been more than 7 years old, offering me a product of value.  The cost of the lemons and sugar that their parents purchased could not have been covered by the meager 25 cents per glass and yet on top of this, these little girls were donating 25% to a charity.

I smiled at the little girl and said, “Oh that’s wonderful.  I don’t have any change so I’m going to give you a whole dollar and you can keep the extra money.”

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Review: The Unforced Error

The concept of the “unforced error” is a pivotal one in tennis…”a mistake by the player who hits a shot…when the player has time to prepare and position himself to get the ball back in play and (still) makes an error.”

In professional tennis, the player with the fewest unforced errors usually wins.  The same is true in business.  (Pg. 1)


The Unforced Error is a book by Jeffrey A. Krames that I picked up in the Orlando International Airport for my return flight home from my honeymoon.  At 155 pages long, with big type, small overall page dimensions, and using tennis examples as metaphors, it’s not a particularly taxing read; in fact, I read the entire book about halfway through my flight from Orlando to Philly.

What drew me to this book was not that it was short, but rather the secondary headline:  Why Some Managers Get Promoted, While Others Get Eliminated. This is definitely a topic that I’ve always wondered about!  When I was starting out in my career, I would just chalk up confusing promotions to favoritism or something else unobservable to the general workforce.  Now that I’m a bit older, completing an MBA and developing a ‘bigger picture’ view for my career, it’s becoming quite clear to me that there are behaviors that improve your career, and we’ve all observed career limiting moves (or, “CLM’s”).  According to this book, I’ve got quite a few CLM’s…but here is the main one:

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