The Coach's Corner

Archive for January, 2017

It’s All About the Expenses, Not the Income

January 23rd, 2017 // Tom Doescher //

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

Not long ago, I thought I should read The Millionaire Next Door, by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. To my surprise, it wasn’t what I expected. It offered very practical, common-sense financial advice. Then I read Rich Habits, written by Thomas C. Corley — a CPA who watched a lot of clients squander millions of dollars, and worked with a few who became financially independent. Finally, I read The Behavior Gap, by Carl Richards.

It seems to me that many people are looking for the shortcut to everything. For example, they spend millions of dollars on diet products and elaborate exercise equipment that produce limited or no results, rather than making a concerted effort to change bad habits and make actual lifestyle changes.

It wasn’t until I arrived in my “seasoned” years that I realized the financial habits my dad taught me were quite profound. One day I was meeting with a very successful senior executive who was about my age. In the course of our conversation, he said, “Well, I’m not financially independent like you.” I was shocked by his comment. He was a very accomplished executive and still going strong. Later, as I thought about his comment, I realized that although his income was — and is — very high, his standard of living was — and is — probably higher.

So, what’s the point? No matter how much you make, if you spend more than what you bring in, you’ll never get there. I remember hearing my mentor, Frank Moran, suggesting to us recent college graduates: “Spend less than you make and invest the difference wisely.”

It sounds easy, but few achieve it. The Millionaire Next Door, Rich Habits, and The Behavior Gap provide some very simple, useful guidance.

(By the way, I think the same principles apply to businesses, too.)

Where Was Erin Back Then?

January 9th, 2017 // Tom Doescher //

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

Barbara and I have had the privilege of traveling to more than 30 countries on six continents for business and humanitarian trips. Speaking for myself, I have made many mistakes attempting to build relationships in other places, ranging from the Rift Valley of Kenya to the Highlands in Papua New Guinea to the fast pace of Pudong, Shanghai. Hopefully I’ve learned from my faux pas, but they were usually painful experiences, nonetheless.

This past year, I had the pleasure of hearing Erin Meyer, professor at INSEAD, speak and then read from her book, The Culture Map — Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business. Erin could have saved me a lot of wasted time, energy, and blunders. She provides a field-tested model for decoding how cultural differences impact international business, and she combines a smart analytical framework with practical, actionable advice for succeeding in a global world.

If you have team members from different countries (Barbara and I worked with a team in Brazil that included people from more than 10 different countries including the Netherlands, Korea, Malaysia and, of course, Brazil), offices/plants located in other countries, or if you’re pursuing business cross-culturally for the first time, I would highly recommend Erin’s book. In addition, if you go to the Tools section of her website,, she provides a Self Assessment Cultural Profile and a tool you can use to compare how two (or more) cultures build trust, give negative feedback, and make decisions.

If your company has cross-cultural dealings, how are you doing with your associates, customers, and vendors from other cultures? My guess is Erin has a few practical tips that you’ll find valuable.

Footnote: I could share hundreds of stories, but this one comes to mind. One of my Japanese partners asked me to attend a seminar where he was the presenter. He wanted to introduce me to several Japanese business executives, and was excited that I would be sitting through his presentation (even though was all in Japanese). Although I knew no Japanese words, my partner had a clock built into his presentation and I could tell, as time went on, that he was significantly over the allotted time — probably by 25 percent. After the presentation, he asked for feedback, so I courageously offered my observation of his running over the scheduled time (a fatal mistake in U.S. business). He thanked me for my feedback and then went on to say, “In the Japanese culture, the participants’ reaction to the speaker who exceeds the allotted time is to be happy that they received more than they paid for.” All I could say was, “Really?”

The Advisor’s Corner

Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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