Never Expect Change, You Won’t Be Disappointed
It’s an ancient theme of comedians, as old as comedy itself. It goes something like: A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn’t. A man marries a woman expecting that she won’t change, and she does. It’s told many different ways, but the essence is that […]
Greed by Any Other Name
There is a great article in the Wall Street Journal today [Note: I believe this link is subscription-only]. The title of the article says it all: “When $70 Million is Not Enough”. It is about how a star at Goldman Sachs, aptly named Mark McGoldrick (nicknamed “Goldfinger”), quit because he […]
Visions of a License
I talk a great deal about visions. About how they should drive organizations, about what they should contain, and about the importance they have on the effectiveness of teams. I see many cases of strong, clear, focussed visions leading to great success. And I see the opposite. I see organizations […]
Lose the Bad Apples
Like many police departments these days, Seattle’s is under fire for the handling of a number of incidents, and the possibility that the officers overreacted. I’m not going to dive into the depths of the argument over individual cases. It is so hard to be sure of the facts, and […]
How NOT to Quit
Mike Hargrove, the manager of the Seattle Mariners walked into work this morning as said “today is my last day as manager of the Seattle Mariners”. To say this was a shock would be a vast understatement. The thing that was most curios about the announcement was his reasoning. He […]
Too Many Dealers, Not Enough Customers
Here’s a quiz for you: who has more retail outlets — Starbucks or General Motors (GM)? If you listen to all the late night comics with their shtick on Starbucks and how there’s one on every corner, you think you know the answer. Well, you’d be wrong. Starbucks has about […]
Forgive the Hiatus
If you’ve followed along with this blog, you know a couple of things: It’s past time for some sort of recognition for the one year anniversary, and I’ve been quite remiss in posting over the last month or so. As to the former, I say: “bah humbug!” I have grown […]
Are superstars worth the pain?
Once in a while, as a manager, you will be fortunate enough to have a team member who is a superstar. These people are not just above average, they are vastly better. They are smarter, more driven, highly focused, and they get far more work done than the rest. It […]
Help Me, Help My Boss
Recently, a good friend of mine told me the story of a sick performance review and reward system. I mean “sick” as ill, broken, maybe even sickening — not “sick” as the youth today refer to something really cool. The system bases rewards on the performance feedback from those around […]
Leadership Lessons from the “No” Meeting
A good friend of mine is part of the senior management team for the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” project. As a student of project management, I love to catch up with him every now and then to discuss this unbelievably complex endeavor. While I’ve been up-close-and-personal to tremendously large and complex […]
Quick, Cut the Good People
The current issue of the New Yorker has an interesting article this week entitled “It’s the Workforce, Stupid!”. The article highlights the short-sidedness of companies that layoff huge portions of their workforce in an effort to appease Wall Street and other critics. Using the current examples of Citibank and Circuit […]
Proud Member of the Cult of Buffet
As I noted in this post, it’s annual report season again. I just opened my Berkshire Hathaway annual report and once again was not the least bit disappointed. The Berkshire report confirms, as it does every year, why I am a card-carrying, stock-owning, unabashed member of the Cult of Warren […]
The Art of the Annual Report
It’s annual report season again, and with it comes the flood of plastic wrapped envelopes to our mailbox that carry the once-a-year bounty of glossy, over-polished, and saccharin manifestos from publicly traded firms. This is “the art of the annual report”. I look forward to this flood, it offers insights […]
The A-Rod’ing of Executive Pay
Today’s Wall Street Journal observes “Limits on Executive Pay: Easy to Set, Hard to Keep”. It is just one more sign that as long as executives are rewarded for the wrong things, their pay will continue to spiral out of control. It’s the “A-Rod’ing” of executive compensation. In case you […]
How do I get in the door?
In the world of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to me, one of the most frequent is “how do I get a job at Microsoft?”. If I had a dime for every time I’ve been asked it, at parties, on the street, and especially when I post comments on the internet, […]
Testing By Any Other Name
likebetter.com I’ve written about testing of employees before (see here and here), and it seems like a topic that just won’t go away. The other day, I made a comment on Matt Mullenweg’s blog about hiring and age discrimination and such. This prompted an email from someone on the cutting […]
How Not To Fire People
Once again, I’m going to risk taking this blog into the political realm by discussing a current political controversy. But, I promise, the emphasis here is not on the who, or the why, but rather the how. Alberto Gonzales, the United States Attorney General, is in a lot of hot […]
How do I fire someone?
If you’ve been following along with me, you know that I’m a huge fan of clearing dead or diseased wood from your organization. Nothing rots an organization more effectively than people who don’t carry their share of the load, or who complain all the time, or are jerks. These people […]
How Good Is Your “Saydar”?
A key component of being a good leader is being able to speak to the team in a way that is engaging, informative, and motivating. Certainly, understanding the objectives, marshaling the resources, making good, timely decisions, and getting the job done are important aspects of leadership. But I was reminded […]
Driven to Work
I had to buy a new car yesterday. Interesting that I said “had to”, isn’t it? Pretty much sums up the state of the car buying experience these days. Despite all the potential for fun — lots of new shiny toys, all the options in the world to choose from, […]
What Hath God Wrought?
At the risk of venturing into a philosophical quagmire about various religions or value of faith in general, there is a trend afoot that makes me question the role of religion in the workplace. I am struck by the ascendancy of new Christian movements into various secular portions of society […]
The Secret Is Out
If you caught it on Oprah, or saw the spot on NBC’s Today Show, or have been blown over by any of the other noise, you’ve heard about “The Secret”. The most hyped book / movie / phenomenon since “The DaVinci Code”, The Secret is (as the many web sites […]
Persistence, Patience, and Profits
The New York Times Magazine had a wonderful cover story yesterday about Toyota and their path to world dominance. This is a great read for most of corporate America, a modern day tale of the tortoise and the hare. There are many interesting parts of this wonderful article, from the […]
How’s It Going Out There?
I was involved in a small business for a time. It wasn’t tiny, with $4+m in revenues and about 30 employees, but it was small in that it was started by a young entrepreneur and still had plenty of headroom for growth. The young leader was full of passion for […]