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 […]
Motivation Lessons from Dirty Jobs
Mike Rowe Recently I discovered a fun television show, Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe on the A&E cable network. In this show, Mike travels the world to spend a day with people doing “dirty jobs”. As the seasons have progressed (it’s in the third season now, celebrating its 100th episode […]
New Leader Sets Boeing’s Focus
James McNerney took over as CEO of Boeing a little more than a year ago. But you haven’t heard much about him for the last year. That might lead you to think he’s not been busy. But he’s been doing what any good disciple of Jack Welch would do when […]
Exceeding Your Expectations
While on a plane for hours a few days ago, I found myself drawn into the inflight “entertainment”. Among some interesting fare (a classic Everybody Loves Raymond among other things) was the usual self-serving drivel from the airline, and a strange infomercial about a Marriott hotel in Florida. It was […]
Pressure as a Management Tool
One of my favorite TV shows is AMC’s Sunday Morning Shootout. It is a show about the movie business that delves deep inside in a way that is not gossipy, but explores what makes the business tick. Hosted by two veterans, there is no gloss, just meat. I love it. […]
Snake Oil Futures
I got a little bit of spam today from an acquaintance, someone who had been the moderator at a meeting I attended. I thought to myself, what a remarkable amount of chutzpah it takes to harvest email addresses from the minutes of a meeting you ran. As it turns out […]
How long should I keep a short-timer around?
They have decided to leave, now you have to decide how long to keep them around. In general, there are two schools of thought: Get them out the door as fast as you can. Get as much work out of them as you can. There are a lot of variations […]
Lack of Creativity Saps Corporate Energy
Ford Five Hundred SEL It’s a topic I cover at length in my upcoming book. Sometimes you can tell a great deal about a company from distance, without even crossing the threshold. I find it often in advertisements, press releases, and especially in products. Today I found it in the […]
It’s Really “All About the Money”
Wells Fargo Newsletter I’m a happy Wells Fargo customer. And they send me an interesting email every now and then called their “Small Business Roundup®”. It’s not a bad email newsletter, as these things go, so I generally give it a scan when it shows up. This week was no […]
Actions Speak Louder than Signs
I found that I had to buy a mattress today. What fun. After a wonderful shopping experience at a number of discount places that didn’t have what I wanted, but whose employees sure had plenty of attitude, I ended up back where I started: Macy*s — part of the Federated […]
Leadership by Example, Buffett Style
Warren Buffett with the Gates It is no secret that I find Warren Buffett a remarkable man. I have been fortunate enough to have dinner one seat away from him; he captivated the table with nothing more than large doses of common sense. His ability to take complicated problems and […]
Should I try to convince someone to stay?
It’s a common management situation: someone walks into your office, and says “I think I’m leaving.” The next move is yours, and it stumps a lot of managers. Should you: Try to talk them out of leaving Beg and plead for them to stay Wish them the best of luck […]
Drug Policy as Marketing Tool?
The Ubiquitous Stanley Steemer Truck Stanley Steemer is running ads (at least in the Seattle area) that are the first I’ve ever seen where a company is using their employee drug policy as a marketing tool. In the ads, a pretty woman (housewife?) is shown with concern over letting strangers […]
Crime of the Perfect Review
I just got forwarded an amazing thing: a perfect performance review. Actually, if you’re a manager or, especially a manager of managers, you’ve probably seen more than one of these in your career. The performance review with nothing but the highest possible scores, and not a word of anything that […]
Union Symbolism Gone Wild
Right to the head of my observations on the importance of symbols to an organization marches the International Association of Machinists, District 751. I’m not sure I could ever find a more perfect symbol of union’s gone wild than this one. IAM Website The IAM is the union that represents […]
Leadership Lessons from Dad
What better time to ponder what we learn from dad than Father’s Day? It certainly made me think about what I’ve learned from my father. And, shock of shocks, it’s way more than I’ve always wanted to believe. My Dad Not that I didn’t want to be like him. No, […]
Working with Bill Gates
Bill Gates With the announcement today that he’s going to step aside, a load of my Bill Gates memories have flooded back for me. Forgive me while I share those with you. I’m a fortunate man; I’m among a very small group of people who’ve had the priviledge of working […]