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 […]
Can titles be compensation?
Dilbert It’s a classic Dilbert cartoon: in lieu of a raise, I’m going to promote you to “senior whatever”. Not only does it happen (or it wouldn’t be so funny), but it’s commonplace. But the question is: is it wrong? Well, if you listen to the CFO, no it’s not […]
Bush on Leadership
Today, George W. Bush, ended his press conference (after the surprise drop-in on Baghdad yesterday) by waxing on leadership: I understand leadership. Leadership requires determination, you gotta be determined to do something in order to be able to lead particularly in difficult circumstances. You gotta have will, you gotta have […]
Recruiting’s “Big Billers”
Who is your recruiter working for? As I often say, symbols are everything. And is there a bigger symbol than money? If you want a symbol for the big business of recruiting, look no further than XtremeRectruiting‘s web site. Xtreme Recruiting You are looking to hire an executive for your […]
Exec Options Backdated? I’m Shocked!
Numerous news reports and blog postings have been aghast at the fact that some execs were setting the price of their option grants at the lowest price in the period. They are simply stunned that these execs would take advantage of the system. “How could they?” Oh, grow up. Nothing […]
Should we use online job sites?
When people ask about recruiting, one of the first questions they ask is “where do I find good people?” One of the first straws they grasp at is an online job site such as Monster, CareerBuilder and other more local sites. I think this is a mistake. Online job sites […]
Meaningless Vision Does More Harm Than Good
I had the wonderful fortune to drive from Seattle to L.A. and back a couple of weeks ago. You see a lot of nothing and do a lot of thinking in those 40 hours. Spotted on a truck was this statement: Providing customer solutions through trust and innovation. OK, so […]
Should I test potential hires?
One of the hot button questions these days is what kind of testing should you do on potential hires. There are a number of aspects to this question, and there are moral, legal, and psychological implications that need to be considered. First, it’s important to consider what type of testing […]
Reality TVs Teambuilding How-NOT-To
Boyd Coddington It’s my guilty pleasure that some reality TV shows draw me like a moth to a flame. One of my favorites is Discovery Channel’s “American Hot Rod”. The show ostensibly chronicles Boyd Coddington and his team while they build world-class custom cars. For anyone who knows much about […]