Posts Tagged ‘leadership & management’

What Seth Godin Got Right – and What It Means for Management

Monday, May 9th, 2011

“The easier it is to quantify, the less it’s worth.”

- Seth Godin, Linchpin

Seth Godin has built a terrific career by giving us new lenses through which to view ourselves and our culture. He shown us all how to be marketers, leaders, and artists. I disagree with many of his generalizations and simplifications, but sometimes I read something from him that takes my breath away. The quote above certainly did.

Early in my career, I ran across Peter Drucker’s famous dictum “What gets measured gets managed.” Over the past many years, this has proven true more times than I can count. And yet, it begs some crucial questions: Read the rest of this entry »

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What Great Leaders Have in Common

Monday, March 28th, 2011

There is a pretty clear consensus among writers and researchers on Leadership that great leaders do not come in one flavor. Still, there do seem to be important qualities that most have. Importantly, these qualities can be learned and developed. That means that anyone can learn leadership. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lessons from Libya: When to Do Nothing

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Sometimes, your best choice of action is to do nothing, and sometimes that is not an easy decision. I was reminded of this during the world’s recent challenge to decide how to deal with Gadhafi in Libya.

Julie Straw in The 4-Dimensional Manager discusses when doing nothing is your best choice. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why You Need a Strategy for Innovation

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Companies that believe they must choose between organic growth and innovation will inevitably fail – it is a false choice. In a recent post, we defined organic growth and discussed what it can and cannot accomplish. Here, we continue with innovation. Sustainable success is all about balancing the two.

Innovation was last decade’s business buzzword, and for good reason. Real innovation is hard, but the potential payoff is huge. High risk, high reward.

We define innovation as the commercialization of a marketplace discontinuity. By definition, then, innovation has unpredictability built in – no one is good enough to truly disrupt with planned regularity. And that makes many managers uncomfortable Read the rest of this entry »

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Create Innovation Opportunities by Changing Your Glasses

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Often the best way to understand something is to forget what you understand about it. Look at things from another angle. Borrow someone’s glasses and view distortion. Or as Peter Murane of BrandJuice writes in Lessons From the Vinyl Sofa, “Getting stuck in information samesness forces people to only look at the world as it currently is, not think ahead to how it could be different.”

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The Negotiating Wisdom of Vito Corleone

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

One of my favorite leadership philosophers was the late, great Vito Corleone, immortalized in Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. Don Vito rose to power because of his talent for engaging almost anybody in productive negotiation.

The Don was committed to reasoning with others to find win-win solutions. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Makes P&G Great

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Last summer I was invited to visit Procter & Gamble’s headquarters in Cincinnati. I was filled with nostalgia, for that is where I began my career in marketing and general management long ago, and I had not been back in over two decades. At first I was struck with the strangeness of the place. There was a coffee bar in the lobby, turnstiles blocked the elevators, and I recognized few faces. But by the time I left, I realized that the truth was more complex, and therein lies the secret of P&G’s continuing success.

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From Bud to Boss: Kevin Eikenberry’s Book for New Leaders

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Recently, we published part one of an interview with Kevin Eikenberry of the Kevin Eikenberry Group, whose new book, From Bud to Boss (co-authored with Guy Harris) is launching this week. Following is Part 2 of the interview. Read the rest of this entry »

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Numbers & Business: Whose Reality Is Reliable?

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Organizations mix “facts” into a tasty Kool-Aid that everyone drinks. How reliable is fact-based decision making? What is really real, and which reality should we believe?

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The Power of Doing Nothing

Monday, January 17th, 2011

I spent the holidays doing nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. I read the kind of mindless novels I never make time for. I skied for the first time in 16 years. I went to parties and watched football and planned outrageous surprises for the kids and conspired with them on outrageous surprises for their mom. Made playlists. Exercised.

But I didn’t read business books or blogs. I unplugged from Twitter. I didn’t write. Cancelled client meetings. Closed for business.

I felt borderline depressed for the first week. I didn’t know who I was. Then one day I woke exhilarated. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Art of Being Inconsistently Consistent

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Effective entrepreneurs keep their organizations focused on unchanging goals. At the same time, they cannot become married to specific plans because conditions change. While striving to balance consistent vision with adaptable plans, leaders must also ensure all stakeholders opt in. Whoever said it was easy?

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Vision: Finding Your Sweet Spot

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

If you could create your perfect career or company, where would you begin? If you had to choose, would you pick something that makes a lot of money over something you care about? How about something that you excel at?

Why choose? In fact, Jim Collins argued in Good to Great that the great companies don’t choose. They insist on having it all.

Regular readers know I am a big fan of Jim Collins. However, I have never been completely comfortable with the language he uses when discussing his Hedgehog Concept and the “sweet spot” where excellent companies take germinate and grow.

Here is how I explain it to clients. Read the rest of this entry »

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Entrepreneurs, Where Can You Find Help?

Monday, December 20th, 2010

It’s a big bad world out there. Anyone who says they never need help is either lying or in denial. But when it’s your company, it is often difficult to know where to turn. Here is a brief list of thought-starters. Read the rest of this entry »

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Measuring the Right Things – the Right Way

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

[This post is excerpted from our new ebook, ROADMAPP]

Peter Drucker, the grand old man of management theory, famously wrote, “What gets measured gets managed.” In other words, Metrics determine what you focus on. After all, who wants a bad report card? If you are tracking your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) regularly, you’re likely to find ways to improve them.

Which can be good or bad.

Because if Drucker is right (and he is, he is, trust me on this if nothing else), consider the implication: if you choose the wrong KPI’s, you or your organization will end up getting better at the wrong things. Read the rest of this entry »

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Unique Employees Need Unique Development Plans

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Unique Employees Need Unique Development Plans

So here’s a radical idea: people are different and therefore need different professional development plans.

To which you say, “Duh!”

But have you considered the implications? If the cookie-cutter approach is wrong, what is right? Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Keep Employees Accountable for Results

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

[This post is excerpted from our new ebook, ROADMAPP]

Have you ever gone to bed smiling because you knew that in the morning someone would hand you an urgent report or confirm a critical meeting or handle a crucial situation? Then not been able to sleep the next night because the big event didn’t happen?

Happens all the time. Schedules slip and no one tells you. People promise to do something and forget. Or maybe hope that you’ll forget.

That’s where Accountability comes in. Read the rest of this entry »

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Manage Your Priorities to Be More Effective

Monday, November 29th, 2010

[This post is excerpted from our new ebook, ROADMAPP]

The highest priority when discussing Priorities is recognizing that there’s not much to say about prioritizing. But what there is to say is important.

Inevitably, as you execute your business plan, you will find yourself overcommitted. Unexpected crises will demand attention. What looked simple will turn complicated. You will unexpectedly discover that your perfect money machine has too many moving parts, and you can’t keep them all oiled. You, the master juggler, will suddenly find there are too many balls in the air.

How to get back in control? If you can’t grow more hands, which balls should be dropped? Read the rest of this entry »

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How Can Leaders Manage the Unforeseeable?

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

[The following is excerpted from our new ebook, ROADMAPP]

Great leaders have a bias towards Action. They plot their course, set their sails, and point their helm at their destination. They strike a noble pose, appearing to all as masters of their fate.

Except that even the best sailors get blown off course with great regularity.

The Bad News: No matter how good your preparation and decision making, plans never, ever, ever go according to plan. Build your plan knowing that something else will happen.

The Good News: You can correct your course. Read the rest of this entry »

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Micro-Managing? 5 Steps to Stopping

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Many managers got to their positions by being very good at a particular function. Not surprisingly, they want to be deeply involved in their subordinates’ projects – after all, the manager has been doing it longer and more successfully. Almost always, he has a better idea and doesn’t hesitate to share it. Unfortunately, this is often counterproductive. Subordinates feel stripped of ownership, become demotivated, and perform poorly.

Fortunately, you can reprogram yourself to stop micro-managing. Here’s a straightforward 5 step process that will wean you from your bad habit and help liberate your team’s potential…without abdicating your responsibility to get great results. Read the rest of this entry »

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Making Useful Business Models

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Economists, consultants, theoretical physicists, and many others in the thought leadership business couldn’t function without models. Models facilitate communication by simplifying the complex. But is there a model of making models?

Here is a simple 4-part model for modeling. Read the rest of this entry »

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