Newsletter – March, 2019

On My Mind: My thoughts about risk shifted dramatically after watching the documentary Free Solo on the mountain climber Alex Honnold. Honnold became the first person to free solo climb the famous 3,000+ foot high rock face El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Free solo means he had no safety equipment or ropes. How can someone take such a risk? Some of the keys to his success were (1) his extensive planning and preparation, (2) he was in incredible shape –physically and mentally, and (3) he knew his route on the rock face like the back off his hand because of his numerous “roped” practice runs. His El Capitan story is told in his book Alone on the Wall and the new book by Mark Synnott titled The Impossible Climb. I hope you make it safely to the top of the mountains you choose to climb. Interesting Stories: The superstar automobile executive who is suspected of financial improprieties left the Tokyo detention center disguised as a construction worker . . . Such is the latest development in the evolving saga involving Carlos Gohsn who at one time was the simultaneous CEO of Renault (France) and the Chairman of the Board of Nissan (Japan). The Tokyo courts finally relented to his request to be let out on bail after nearly four months in the detention center. His family plead his case to the United Nations. His legal outlook improved dramatically when he retained a leading Japanese lawyer nicknamed “The Razor.” It doesn’t take long for the mighty to fall . . . his fate is now in the hands of the Tokyo judicial system. Company News: The next public Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC courses for the Spring/Summer time frame are the following: Implementing Process Management will be held March 20-21, 2019; Leading Rapid Action Projects will be held April 11-12, 2019; Strategy Tools for Strategic Improvement will be held April 30, 2019; Strategic Improvement Green Belt starts May 6, 2019; Basic Statistics & Analytics will be held May 16-17, 2019; Strategic Improvement Black Belt starts May 20, 2019; and Advances in Strategic Planning will be held June 20, 2019. The brochures for these courses are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website. Intriguing Reads: It is the time of year to study the Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. 2018 Annual Report which contains the most widely-read Letter to Shareholders by CEO Warren Buffet. One of the highlights of this year’s letter was Buffet’s advice to “Focus on the Forest – Forget the Trees.” Berkshire Hathaway consists of numberous companies (trees), but the business can best be understood by analyzing the “groves.” The analogy is helpful and draws attention away from poor performing individual entities. The underlying tone of the letter seemed more focused this year on succession planning – which is important because the historic brain trust of Berkshire Hathaway is CEO Warren Buffet (88 years old) and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger (95 years old). Two outstanding executives are waiting in the wings: Ajit Jain (67 years old) leads Insurance Operations and Greg Abel (56 years old) leads Non-Insurance Operations. The world famous Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting will be webcast by Yahoo on May 4, 2019 starting at 8:45 a.m. Central Standard Time.