Archive for August, 2010

The 3 Questions that Lead to Insight

Monday, August 30th, 2010

The best leaders don’t hesitate to confront the brutal facts that define current reality, and it reinforces their confidence. They know that problems can be solved and that at their core they are problem solvers…and love the challenge of solving problems.

Successful business journeys start with understanding the current reality by asking three simple questions Read the rest of this entry »

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Organizations with Heart

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Last winter spent a football Sunday with the father of a friend. He had spent his career at IBM, while I had spent 9 years at Procter & Gamble, and we fell into reminiscing. Both of us told tales of the two-way loyalty that defined life in those companies. Everything was expected of managers, but everything was given. They took care of their own. We were members of a tribe.

Oh my, how things have changed.

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Numbers or Impact? What Old Spice Teaches Us

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Last week, Dan Zarrella of HubSpot presented a webinar called The Science of Presentations with slides drawn from an ebook that was subtitled How to Give Contagious Talks. Therein lies the problem. Is “contagious” a useful measure of a presentation’s success? Is a successful presentation one that generates many live tweets with the appropriate hash tag?

Whatever happened to meaningful content? What if the primary purpose of the presentation is to influence a single decision maker, or a small group? When did the science of presentations become limited to viral?

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Is Your Reality Filled with Obstacles or Opportunities?

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Right here, right now, it’s a treacherous world. Customers either don’t know what they want or are showing symptoms of impending change. Competitors huddle in secret cabals, scheming to transform the battlefield to their advantage. Suppliers miss deadlines or quality standards or pressure to accelerate your payables. Employees have morphed into free agents ready to jump for the first better offer.

How wonderful! Do you smell the opportunity?

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A Paradox

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

During my corporate decades, I always hated performance reviews. Even the best ones never felt good enough, and sometimes they held unpleasant and unfair surprises. Like the time I was told that the average of a 5 for business results and a 3 for people management was a 3. Ouch!

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Successful Journeys Begin at the End

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Way back in the 80s, when dinosaurs and your author roamed the earth, Stephen Covey advised us to Begin with the end in mind. Good advice then, good advice now.

Every successful journey starts with a decision about where you want to go. But destinations are not one-size-fits-all. Read the rest of this entry »

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Learning to Drive, or Anything Else

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

My 3 year old dog is incapable of learning new tricks. Fortunately, it seems we older dogs can, even without knowing it!

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Incentives and Consequences

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Peter Drucker famously wrote, “What gets measured, gets managed.” A less noticed corollary is that, as Dr. Deming pointed out, what gets measured can drive unintended consequences.

This came to mind recently when several small business clients within a few weeks asked me how to reorganize as woman-owned businesses. It seems that the government, as part of a policy to encourage women entrepreneurship, incents them to form businesses by setting aside a percentage of some contracts for small companies that are 51% or more owned by women.

The policy has been apparently successful. From 1997 to 2006, the number of women-owned service businesses increased by 69% and retail businesses by 130%.

Only one problem. The numbers are suspect.

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Response-Ability, or How to Raise the World’s IQ in One Easy Step

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

SUMMER VACATION! Following is a reprint of a popular post from earlier this year:

Doesn’t it seem sometimes like the world is filled with irresponsible idiots? Wouldn’t your job be easier if they just got a clue and did what they obviously need to do?

Let me give you an example of corporate idiocy. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Power of Positive Customer Service

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

On a recent trip I experienced the best and worst of customer service. The impact of each was huge, yet the gap between the two was small and easily closed. So why doesn’t every company  choose to provide the best?

I’ll name names. Read the rest of this entry »

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