Leadership Untainted

When most people talk of leadership what they are really speaking to is the highest levels in the management hierarchy. They are talking about the legitimate authority positions in an organization. They speak of leadership as if it was a noun, a name we attribute to a person or position. Continue reading

In The Larger Scheme of Things

What happens when the larger-scheme-of-things is ignored and denied out of existence? Continue reading

When Smart is Beyond Stupid

When do managers talk about improvement and development with those they manage?  In most cases it is when managers are required to do so, during the organization’s annual performance appraisal time period.  In three previous posts (Replace performance reviews with leadership for quality; Facilitate performance, don’t appraise it; Performance appraisal: A pathway to mistrust) performance appraisal was discussed but since the practice is still very popular another appraisal of it is in order. Continue reading

Imagine

Many of America’s business-minded, especially corporate CEOs, are unabashedly advocates for the market being the solution to everything.  Privatize it, is the answer to it all!  Yet at the very same time they also spend vast sums of money on lobbyist to rig things in their favor, which often minimizes (and even eliminates) the dynamics of the market.  Seemingly for maximizing their profit relying on the market alone is not their preference, yet it is thought best for everyone else. Some even sing the praises of a free market and yet oppose full disclosure in labeling of products.  It appears they think free means free to maximize profit in any way one can. Go figure! Continue reading

A Caveman Can Do It

Revenue, cost and profit are seen as foundational components in business and those viewing cost as a cause likely focus on a simple linear equation—(Profit = Revenue – Cost)—as the basis of their view.  After all it is quite straightforward since for a given amount of revenue cost determines greater or lesser profit.  Accordingly if one can get cost to zero (or to approach zero) then profit will be at its maximum—the very business of business is assured.  But is not so simple.  There is a missing piece to this.  Continue reading

Act On Cue Or Take The Lead

A recent essay about eliminating targets by John Wenger caused me to think again about the all too common misguided practice of setting and managing numerical goals. What I am coming to understand more deeply is that most if not all in management aren’t doing the wrong things—such as managing by the numbers and by results—on purpose they are doing them on cue.  What do I mean by this?  Continue reading

Business Management Education—Think Again

In an HBR Blog Network article Gianpiero Petriglieri, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Director of the Management Acceleration Programme at INSEAD, spoke to the question are business schools clueless or evil?  Professor Petriglieri’s answer is “business schools are neither clueless nor evil. They are—like most students that flock to their classrooms—in transition.  Overtly working to improve their competence and image and covertly wrestling with questions about identity and purpose.” Continue reading

From Whence Creativity Emerges

Alessandro Di Fiore, CEO of ECSI, reports that a recent ECSI survey found “68% of business leaders firmly believe that great innovators are born and cannot be made.” Alessandro also notes in a HBR blog post “scientific evidence of the last 30 years has proven just the opposite.” So is this just a little factoid that almost 7 in 10 business leaders get wrong and that matters little—like who cares, it’s no big deal?  So what would a leader who holds this misunderstanding do or not do?  Continue reading

People’s Ideas Mean Business

A business enterprise begins with someone’s idea to provide a product or service.  As demand for its products and/or services increases, the business grows.  With growth in demand often comes an increase in the number of people performing the work of the business and with this there is the added responsibility of managing the people doing the work.  Consequently, as business activity intensifies and the number of people employed increases, managing the business becomes increasingly more complex. Continue reading

Afraid to Innovate

The fear associated with creative development can often be devastating to an enterprise.  As a case in point “G.M.’s biggest failing, reflected in a clear pattern over recent decades, has been its inability to strike a balance between those inside the company who pushed for innovation ahead of the curve, and the finance executives who worried more about returns on investment” (New York Times, December 5, 2008). Clearly the fear of loss of near term profit was the primary obstacle to developing a creative idea into an innovative product.  As further evidence of GM’s addiction to short-term gain, once GM got into the SUV market—which by the way lagged the competition by five years—it was “reluctant to shift from big profitable vehicles to building small, less profitable cars, even when gas prices spiked” (New York Times, December 5, 2008).  GM had the ability—their engineers were involved in hybrid technology in the 1970’s—but it lacked the will to invest in the development of innovative products. Continue reading