Hidden Lessons in Leadership #29

In a New York Times interview Andrew M. Thompson, co-founder and C.E.O of Proteus, spoke about how he advances the capability of his company by creating and maintaining what he calls “ a leadership culture as opposed to a management culture.”  As Andrew noted, “culture in our company is a really big deal, and we have a values system built around quality, teamwork and leadership.” Continue reading

Mistaken Solution

A story told by Jay Goltz to illustrate his strategy for learning from mistakes highlights common errors that many business managers and owners commit.  Though Jay’s story takes place in one of his small businesses these errors are indeed common and committed regularly by managers in both  small and large companies. Continue reading

Hidden Lessons in Leadership #28

In a New York Times interview, Kenny Chesney, the country music singer, offers a glimpse of his approach to managing.  Although Kenny Chesney Inc. employs about 150 people, 120 of which are on the road with him everyday, the insights we can gain from his way of thinking about managing/leading apply to any size organization. Continue reading

Reductionism Can Reduce Everything

What is reductionism?  It is the theory and practice of solving problems by placing attention on its simpler constituent parts or components.  In other words, solving problems of the whole—which can be quite complex—can be realized by attention to the most important constituent—the one cause or the one outcome—of the whole. Moreover this approach to decision-making and problem resolution is likely not only quite widespread it is also a way of thinking that most are not consciously aware they practice.  So why should we care?  Continue reading

Essence of Leadership

What is the nature of the leadership theories that have been developed by business-minded academics that have advanced the body of knowledge and informed leader preparation and practice?  It appears that to a great extent the theories have been attempts to not just offer descriptive but also prescriptive knowledge of leading and leadership. Continue reading

Hidden Lessons in Leadership #27

In a New York Times interview Jack Dangermond, founder and president of Esri, explained his role as CEO is one of support.  More specifically, to “support getting work…support doing work…ensuring the work is financially sound (i.e. support getting paid) and he approaches these guided by four priorities.  The first two of these priorities rests with people—in the form of customers and employees.  Jack’s third priority is to ensure “a very strong business that supports the first two priorities”, and the forth priority is to work seriously with business partners, of which there are about 20,000 worldwide.  Continue reading

Privatize Society

Just how valid is the idea that privatization of society’s services to its citizens ensures the highest quality of service to people in society?  Let’s critically analyze by understanding the precepts of the private economic enterprise.  Continue reading

Hidden Lessons in Leadership #26

Bing Gordon, partner in the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, claimed in a New York Times interview “that people want leaders who give them confidence.  In a start-up company or in a creative process, there’s turmoil.  Every day feels like you’re looking into the maw of a black hole, and you want somebody around who’s confident, who you think is competent, who can kind of create a floor and say: Don’t worry.  It’s not going to get worse than this.” Continue reading

Hidden Lessons in Leadership #25

A New York Times interview with Dominic Orr, president and CEO of Aruba Networks, highlights the importance for a leader to understand the organization as a system and to relate to its’ employees as people.  Together these two principles are essential for creating a workplace culture that affords high levels of performance. Continue reading

Lean Understanding

It is estimated that about 70% of organizations initiating lean programs don’t realize the promised or anticipated success.  So it would seem that either lean is a bad idea or lean is not properly understood.  Given Toyota’s notable success, I think we’ll go with the latter!   Continue reading