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 […]
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 […]