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 […]
Gambling on Compensation
Want to make the minimum wage yet still gross almost $100,000 a year? Be a dealer in casino in Las Vegas. Want to make a little more than half that amount? Be their supervisor. Wynn Las Vegas Resort That’s right, even though the minimum wage in Nevada is just $6.15 […]
Business Card Backup
I was reading a very interesting note from Robert Scoble’s blog about business cards (Business card best practices) and it made me think. Many of the things he talks about are great advice, and some of them are very cool. A great example of “cool” is the famous card of […]
Great Service Cures All Ills
I had the privilege joy chore of taking the flight from Seoul to Seattle a couple of days ago. If you haven’t had this fortune, it’s a 10 hour flight through 16 time zones where you arrive 6 hours before you left. I’m not a good sleeper on planes so […]
Be Not Distracted
I had some errands in town this morning, so I stopped in the local diner for breakfast. Nice, pleasant place with a good veggie omelet. Unfortunately today, it was not quiet. Twice, neighboring people took calls on their cell phone and loudly discussed the most personal of business, for the […]
Spying, Who Me?
With all the noise about the Hewlett-Packard board room scandal, resulting in the removal of their Chairman, Patricia Dunn, I wonder if it is making managers thinking about the spying they do on their own employees. Patricia Dunn Let’s be clear, I think what Dunn did was wrong. She got […]
Are employee awards a good idea?
When the discussion of how to compensate and reward employees comes up, almost invariably someone comes up with the idea of the “employee of the month” award. Sometimes the name of the award is less tired, maybe it’s outstanding associate of the year. Or the top achiever of the quarter. […]
How do I get a raise?
This is by far the most common question I get asked by employees. In my experience, there are only three ways to get a raise (in decreasing order of success): Excel at what you do, and don’t look like you want/need/care about a raise. Have a very carefully orchestrated conversation […]
Empty Glass Thinking Drains Everyone
I just returned from a board meeting that was challenging. It was challenging both in the issues that were being debated, but also in the behavior of one participant. I’ve been in hundreds of meetings like it, and it makes me want to scream. I love challenging subject matter. Nothing […]
Does Mulally Have a Better Idea?
My mother called it back in June. Billy Ford wasn’t long for this world. I grew up in the shadow of Detroit, and my family always had connections into the auto industry. She knew the Ford family was restless, and that Billy was in trouble. The board [family] forced him […]