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

New Yorker – April 30, 2007 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 […]

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 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 […]