Category Archives: Administration

LUCK IS A STRATEGY… especially if you are seeking your own pot of gold.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “the harder I work, the luckier I get?” Often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, the quotation has become a credo for ambitious folks everywhere. Having grown up in an Irish family that takes our Irish heritage very seriously, I have been surrounded by lucky proverbs and shamrocks all of my life. And while St. Patrick’s Day makes us all feel the need to pretend to be Irish for a day, most of the celebrating is steeped in debaucherous behavior, pictures of tiny green men, Guinness, and food coloring. So, what about the luck of the Irish? Is there such a thing?

This got me thinking about luck and how wealth, good fortune and financial strength often go hand in hand with what one thinks of being lucky. In my years in business, I have come to realize that luck is a strategy, and not necessarily a divine happening.

Many people have delved into the topic of skill vs luck, and Michael J. Mauboussin boils it down in his book The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing, by saying that if you can lose on purpose, strategy matters. If you can’t, you are dealing with luck, pure and simple. At Shaw and Associates we love the idea of luck, but we know you can make your own if you think strategically about your future and your finances.

When it comes to great financial performance, we have witnessed the proof that success factors are tied to planning and careful thought rather than wishful thinking. So, here are a few ways we think you can work on reaching the pot of gold you are seeking without having to rely solely on hope and prayer.

Make a Budget and Stick with It: Budgeting may not be your favorite word, but if you use a budget, it does give you the opportunity to see very clearly where your money goes each month, and how you can plan for expenses on the horizon. Some clients have said that simply having a budget has changed their life and allowed them to sleep at night.

Reduce your Debt: This may seem obvious, but if it was the norm, everyone would be doing it. When you eliminate debt, you have more control and you will regain the freedom that comes with letting go of the binding chains that debt creates. It may not be easy, and it may be an arduous process, but the peace that you will regain will be completely worth it.

Have a Plan for the Future: When you have a clear plan, you are better equipped to make financial decisions. Short-term thinking leads to short term results, but big-picture thinking gives you the impetus to reach those stretch goals you set and be prepared for what comes your way.

We hope your St. Patrick’s Day is filled with the green-laden party that we have all come to know and love, and keep in mind that when you think strategically about your finances, you will keep the green in your pocket.

If you have questions about budgeting, debt management or general financial planning, contact us at We offer a judgment-free consultation that can help you see a clearer financial picture.

Why Embracing Diversity is Good for Business

diversity-e1425048481664February is African American History Month, and when you think of how far we have progressed when it comes to celebrating our differences, it gives us a reason to stop and reflect on the theme of diversity.

Diversity is a pretty hot topic of workplace conversation these days, and while we all view it differently, it is an aspect of living and working that serves to enrich our values, experiences and opportunities.

The word “diversity” has many different meanings, but for us at Shaw & Associates the concept goes far beyond the boundaries of race, color, creed or cultural dispensation; it inspires creativity, new perspectives and new opportunities.

As an example, we have always taken gender and age diversity very seriously, and we are consistently seeking to build a balanced workplace. Beyond working to instill diversity inside of our office walls, there are many ways to encourage diversity beyond the team level, and one of the ways we have done this at Shaw & Associates is to place a great emphasis on community involvement. By working with local community groups that rely on the support of businesses and individuals, we are able to see through a different vantage point. And, the lessons that community involvement can teach us are critical to our internal values as a company: to remain respectful, show a genuine interest in those we interact with, and stay open-minded as to what can be learned from the situations or others. Of course, community involvement also has the added benefit of networking, strengthening relationship among employees, and helping teams see new perspectives.

What does diversity mean to you and why do you think it is important? Respond with your thoughts about diversity and you will win a pair of tickets to any 2016 OpenStage Theatre performance.