How important is a résumé?
I get asked this question frequently. Why is my résumé so important? Why can’t I just impress the hiring person in the interview? Why can’t people see past my rough résumé, and see me for who I really am? In this internet day and age, does a silly old, outdated […]
Mulally Has At Least One Better Idea
I asked the question back in September: Does Alan Mulally (the new Ford CEO) have a better idea? Recently, he has answered the question definitively, and the answer is a resounding yes. I complained a while back that Ford had just given up, lost creativity, and was basically flailing. In […]
Testing Really Doesn’t Work
I have all kinds of anecdotal evidence that personality testing doesn’t work, but I’ve never had a case that I could talk about publicly, or that was so widely known that it would prove the point for me. Today NASA came to my rescue. If you haven’t read my thoughts […]
How important is a Vision?
Let me say this right from the top: there is no single more important factor to the success of a project than a clear, crisp, shared vision. Period. Now let me tell you why. There is no single more important factor to the success of a project than a clear, […]
Screaming Is For Losers
With the upcoming Super Bowl, a lot has been said about the two coaches: Indianapolis’s Tony Dungy and Chicago’s Lovie Smith. Yes, the big story is that they are both the first African American coaches to take a team to the Super Bowl. But I’m more fascinated with the fact […]
Why Toyota is Winning
I’ve had a busy week for interactions with the service industry. Three different cars spent time in the shop, and a beloved family pet spent his final days in a pair of vet clinics. I’ve had far too many chances to see what makes these businesses tick. Last things first, […]
Metrics, Metrics, Everywhere
If you are in any kind of management position, there seem to be a million metrics to track. You get huge pressure to track a number of financial metrics such as EBITDA, gross sales, net profit, and others, there are sales metrics divided up every which way (by territory, by […]
Tough Calls, Timing, and Trouble
It’s been a very rough winter for us here in the Puget Sound area. As I have noted previously, we’ve suffered wind, snow, rain, sleet, all resulting in power outages, school closings, and on and on. At times it feels like we’re only missing pestilence to round out the collection. […]
Apple, Jobs, and Stock Options
There has been more than a little noise about executive compensation in general, and stock option backdating in particular. I have been quite vocal about the ridiculous level of CEO pay, it is just silly that people should be getting 9-digit pay — for anything including professional sports. I have […]
Wal-Mart’s Flexible Employee Scheduling
Some smart accountant at Wal-Mart woke up one day recently and realized that, with 1.6 million “associates”, they spend a lot of money on people. So, like any major employer, they decided to figure out ways to cut their costs on this huge expense. However, unlike most other large employers, […]
Home Depot Gives Nardelli the Boot
I have written more than a little about Home Depot and its CEO Bob Nardelli. From their top-heavy “Culture Change Offensive” (which I found offensive here), and the silly army mentality Nardelli tried to force down everyone’s throat (and got stuck in my craw here), to Bob’s stunning pay package […]
Blinded by the Light
The Wall Street Journal had a marvelous article [ed: unfortunately subscription-only] about the turnaround Alan Mulally is trying to make at Ford. I have written about this before (see this post here), but put simply, I am a huge fan of Mr. Mulally. He did great things at Boeing, and […]
What is Obscene About Goldman’s Compensation?
There has been quite a bit of hubbub lately over the end-of-year bonuses paid by Goldman Sachs. It even provoked an op-ed piece in the venerable New York Times. Totaling some $16.5 billion, and averaging $623,000 per employee, the payouts have set off a firestorm of shock, awe, envy, and […]
Back in 1991 I did a stint as the marketing director of Fox Software (the makers of FoxPro, the famous database system). I had been involved in the technical area for several years, designing and coding the user interface for FoxPro, for example, but I wanted to try my hand […]
Leading a Prepared Organization
We live in the Pacific Northwest that, like most regions of the world, has natural disasters to worry about. Every region of the world has some calamity on its potential horizon. Be it hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, droughts, even plagues of locusts, it seems clear that no place is without […]
Blue Light Special on Buzz Words
The Kresge Foundation is a great organization. They seek to strengthen other non-profit organizations by helping them to grow and improve their operations. It’s the philanthropic world’s version of the old Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish […]
Who’s It All About?
There are a number of ways to detect the “soul” of an organization. I like to look at the obvious external signs. There are a number of ways to detect the “soul” of an organization. Although it can be a lot of fun to get inside a company or group […]
Jerk Is To The Bone
In a recent article in BusinessWeek magazine, Jack and Suzy Welch advocated active pruning of the jerks from your organization. They said “nothing hurts a company more than when the bosses ignore, indulge, or otherwise tolerate a jerk.” They go on to compare employees on two scales, performance and values. […]
Beware the Casual Thought
One of the things I hear so often from leaders I’ve worked with is how quickly a casual comment of theirs got blown out of proportion. It’s almost as if the simple, off-hand remark they made a couple of months ago grew legs and got a life of its own. […]
A Light Goes Out
Jill and Family The world is not the same today. My long time personal assistant, Jill, passed away last night. She battled bravely against the cancer that started in her breast and eventually claimed her entirely. At the completely unfair age of only 37. I am a better person for […]
Are You the Elephant in the Room?
One of the toughest parts of being a leader is walking the line between democracy and fascism. When it comes to the essential elements of your mission, where does consensus become chaos, where does direction become dictatorship? This is one of the most important questions of style managers face. And […]
Pick a Variable, Any Variable
Time, quality, price — pick any two. When it comes to project management, truer words were never spoken. I know it sounds like a tired old cliché that people trot out at the first sign of project difficulty. And, sure, it sounds trite and even seems to violate my rant […]
List Makers and Fakers
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who break the world into two kinds of people and those who don’t. Yes, that’s a funny line. It’s funny because it’s ironic to be sure, but like many things, it’s also funny because it is so true. It seems […]
Teams of Individuals?
Reading an interesting article in Fortune Magazine entitled “How to Build Great Teams” made me think about the classic debate: do I want a team of superstars or a team of simply good people who work together superbly? The world is filled with examples of both, and this article seems […]