Bad Girl, Good Business

Circle Round

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Today is pi day.

What better time to talk about the circle? We all have circles in our lives — communities of people who we rely on to get things done. Some of us have an inner circle of trusted consultants and mentors and friends who will always tell us the truth and help us get back on course (when we lose our geometric shape).

I just came back from the Tri-State Camp Conference. I’m fascinated by the summer camp world because it’s a business that thrives on community. Competitors all come together to solve problems. They think, learn, hug, play, dance, and drink. (Remember, it’s off-season, so they don’t have to role model!) It’s like one giant campfire and everyone is included. Few industries follow that model.

Circles have other meanings in business too. For example…

  • The pie chart never goes out of style. Especially now that we’re all so focused on digital media, knowing where your precious marketing dollars are going is more important than ever before. You can even produce groovy ones right from Quickbooks.
  • I’m kind of obsessed (but not in a crazy way) with Venn diagrams. Perhaps I spent a year too long at MasterCard International and got the logo stuck in my head. But I love the concept of looking for “overlap” in all things in life, especially when forming new relationships.
  • When I co-led a problem-solving workshop last week at Tri-State, we rearranged the chairs into a circle. My co-host Sam Gennawey said that people are more engaged that way because they have to actually make eye contact with the rest of the group. Pretty smart, Sam! Guess you learn a lot of stuff hanging around amusement parks!
  • The quality circle was a big management fad in the 1980’s. We don’t hear much about them any more. In fact, we don’t hear much about quality any more either.
  • I still write with a gel pen, and I love to circle important things. I draw arrows to them too. I just discovered that’s called bubble mapping.
  • Last, but not least, we have pizza. It creates unity and decision-making at company celebrations. Everyone can select favorite toppings and eat as much or as little as he likes. In fact, a website is devoted to throwing office pizza parties, just in case you can’t figure out how to order a pie.

So, today is a great day to think about pi (and pies) and circles in general. Who’s in YOUR circle today? (I hope I am!)



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