May 20, 2013
By Jeffrey Pfeffer via businessweek.com Article
Why Does Apple Care About Its Share Price?
“Beset by critics and bedeviled by a declining stock price, Tim Cook, the company’s beleaguered chief executive,announced a big stock buyback and a substantial dividend increase. … these actions do raise the question why Apple (APPL), which has too much cash on its books and … unlikely ever again to need to raise money in the public markets, should worry so much about its share price anyway? …
Although many people believe that total shareholder return (TSR), which consists of changes in stock price and dividend payouts, actually reflects something about the quality of the company’s management, I am far from convinced. …
As research (pdf) by Stanford accounting professors Ron Kasznik and Maureen McNichols has shown, stock price returns are related to whether companies either beat or fall short of expectations, and earnings surprises can be a more important determinant of a stock’s price than actual operating performance. …
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for underpromising and overdelivering in jobs at all levels—it’s a nice way to build your managerial reputation. But we ought not to confuse image management with substantive performance. Some of the best-managed companies have share prices that don’t move much because their superior management and results are already reflected in their stock price. (Southwest Airlines (LUV) is one example.) That fact does not negate their outstanding results in the least.
Put simply, executives should spend more time on product development and customers and less time worrying about something (their stock price) that is more outside their control.”
May 20, 2013
By Mike Shipulski via innovationexcellence.com Article
What They Didn’t Teach Me in Engineering School
“The technical stuff is the easy part. Technical systems respond predictably, but people don’t. …
Engineering analysis can win minds, but not hearts. And hearts govern minds. …
What people believe is far more powerful than what they think. …
All technical systems are really human systems masquerading as technical systems.
If you let it, fear dominates. Be afraid and do it anyway.”
May 6, 2013
By Art Petty via Management Excellence Blog Article
Art of Managing: The Power of a Well-Placed “No”
“Here are ten situations where ‘No’ might be the absolute right call. …
2. When saying ‘yes’ to a project creates a too many projects chasing too few resources situation. … Either find more resources or, follow Drucker’s advice and quit doing something else!
3. When you find yourself fighting your gut instinct on hiring someone. … The credentials, smiles and interviewing skills might be saying ‘yes,’ but if the gut says ‘no,’ listen to it! …
6. When the mantra coming from the team is, ‘…but, with just a little bit more time and money … Quit throwing good cash after bad. The old cash is gone. It’s sunk. Call it.
7. When a pending decision puts you on the uncomfortable side of an ethical dilemma. If it’s gray, say ‘No’ and seek counsel. In that order. It’s called moral courage.
8. When everyone in the group is nodding their head ‘yes’ too quickly and too easily. Saying ‘No’ is the last line of defense against group-think.
9. Whenever someone suggests outsourcing a customer facing function. Outsourcing customer service should be a crime punishable by prison time. Just say ‘No!’ …
Too often, ‘yes’ is the weak response. It’s time to practice putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth and emphasize the N in this powerful and value saving and creating word, ‘No!’”
April 22, 2013
By Dan Rockwell via Leadership Freak Blog Article
How to Solve the #1 Problem with Meetings
“Bosses need to run meetings because they need to exercise authority and control. That attitude hinders free, honest involvement by participants. Worse yet, controlling-bosses obstruct ownership. Others won’t own what you own.
The problem with meetings is bosses run them. …
Martin Murphy, author of, “No More Pointless Meetings said, ‘The boss or highest ranking person in the room should not run workflow management sessions.’ Martin prefers calling meetings ‘workflow management sessions.’ Assign junior team members to run – facilitate – meetings. They don’t give input they manage the meeting, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. …
Murphy’s suggestion freaks out leaders who need to sit at the head of the table exercising control. The whole dynamic stinks of inappropriate command and control leadership.
Sit at the foot of the table not the head.
… Stop pretending you’re collaborating when you’re manipulating. If you know the outcome of the meeting before the meeting, DON’T call a meeting. Meetings with pre-determined outcomes are manipulations. Have the integrity and courage to say, ‘This is what I want.’ Say it and save everyone time.”
April 15, 2013
By Roberta Matuson via fastcompany.com Article
Why Your Company’s Worst Performers are Happy as Clam
“Your slacker employees … actually love their jobs. A new study by Leadership IQ found that in 42% of companies, low performers report high levels of engagement. These employees are more motivated and more likely to enjoy working at their organizations than middle and high performers do.
When I first heard this news, I couldn’t believe my ears. And then, the light bulb went on. In most organizations, low performers are pretty much left alone. They are happy as clams because no one notices or bothers them. …
If that weren’t scary enough, low performers were also more likely to recommend their company as a great place to work than were others in the organization. Just what a company needs. More low performers. …
Once you rid yourself of these low performers you can then seed your organization with a new crop of people who will welcome the opportunity to work alongside other great performers. This will signal to your top performers that you really do care if they sink or swim.”
April 8, 2013
Posted by Mitch Ditkoff via ideachamptions. com Source
March 18, 2013
By Todd Ordal via cobizmag.com Article
“I prefer a confident president to a certain president.”
“When I first heard the Madeleine Albright quote, I thought about leaders I’d known or worked with over the years and which of these two buckets they fell into. Those who were confident but not always certain were more successful, more fun to be around and more respected by their teams. Those who were always certain (think Donald Rumsfeld) were constantly one step away from a catastrophic error. And if it came, they had little support from those around them. Know-it-alls who fall rarely get help up from anyone. …
A recent Harvard Business Review piece (‘Long CEO Tenure Can Hurt Performance,’ March 2013) points out that financial performance dictates that a CEO stay in office 4.8 years. That’s the point when the company’s financial performance peaks. The authors hypothesize that as CEOs get entrenched, they start to breathe their own exhaust (my words, not theirs), and they reduce the amount of outside input they receive. There are numerous behavioral reasons that correlate with reduced financial performance, but from my experience, they often become too ‘certain.’”
March 4, 2013
By Maray Jo Asmus via Aspire-CS Article
Ten magical thoughts to let go of
“You can control others: …
Others are motivated by what motivates you: …
Leading your team would be easier if you had the right people on the bus: …
People who report to you feel absolutely comfortable being honest with you: …
Throwing money at good employees is enough: …
People aren’t watching you: …
There is nothing more for you to learn: …
“They know what to do” but aren’t doing it: …
“If only I had employees that were more like me”: …
There isn’t a connection between results and the “soft stuff”: …
Since our thoughts become action, it’s important to be aware of your wishful thoughts.”
February 11, 2013
By Minda Zetlin via Inc. Article
” … presented with a problem, leaders immediately swing into solving mode. But before you do, it’s important to check that first impulse and stop to ask yourself a simple question: Should I be the one to solve this? Sometimes the answer is no. Here’s why:
1. Your employee may merely want a sounding board.
It’s a classic complaint from many women: They’ll have just started to describe a problem they want to vent about or try to talk through, when the man they’re talking to begins proposing practical solutions. Not that the solutions themselves are bad, but the woman wanted only a sympathetic ear.
Managers can make the same mistake. Sometimes employees will take the time to describe a challenge in detail simply to let you know how hard they’re working. Or perhaps they want you to listen and lend encouragement while they work through the problem themselves. Or, they may genuinely want you to come up with a solution. Until you know which of these three is motivating an employee to tell you his or her troubles, don’t short-circuit the process by offering solutions.
2. You’ll get better buy-in.
Whatever the solution is to a problem, chances are you won’t be the one who has to actually execute it, your employees will. They’ll bring more commitment to that work if they’re using a strategy they came up with rather than one you handed down to them. …
3. You’ll wind up with happier and better employees.
… Like anything else, solving problems improves with practice, so giving employees the chance for that practice lets them widen their experience and get better at their jobs.”
February 11, 2013
By Heidi Grant Halvorson via HBR Blog Network Article
“If I see one more article or blog post about how you should never be “critical” or “negative” when giving feedback to an employee or colleague …, I think my head will explode. … avoiding negative feedback is both wrong-headed and dangerous.
Wrong-headed because, when delivered the right way, at the right time, criticism is in fact highly motivating. Dangerous because without awareness of the mistakes he or she is making, no one can possibly improve. Staying “positive” when doling out feedback will only get you so far.
Hang on, you say. Can’t negative feedback be discouraging? Demotivating?
That’s perfectly true.
And don’t people need encouragement to feel confident? Doesn’t that help them stay motivated?
In many cases, yes.
Confusing, isn’t it? Thankfully, brilliant new research … sheds light on the seemingly paradoxical nature of feedback, by making it clear why, when, and for whom negative feedback is appropriate. ….”
January 21, 2013
By Bill Waddell via Evolving Excellence Article
“The horrible shootings in Connecticut have set off another round of debates over the fundamental goals of a business – pitting financial gain against social responsibility. The core principles of lean … are very much built around the idea that the two are not mutually exclusive: The idea that the best way to make money for the stockholders is to take very good care of all of the stakeholders. …
The alternative is the traditional economic view – that labor (the employees) and capital (the stockholders) are engaged in a zero sum battle with each other – that one’s gain is the other’s loss; that relationships with both suppliers and customers should be adversarial – again a sort of zero sum approach that a nickel negotiated away from a supplier or a customer is a nickel gained for the stockholder …
The difference in views is very much a function of the time frame. The holistic, lean approach is a proven winner, but is a long term winner. Optimizing long term shareholder value often means sub-optimizing short term shareholder value. In publicly traded companies the long term view just isn’t in the cards. The costs of dumping an investment in one company and putting the money into another are just too low and the whole thing is structured to enable the trillions of dollars in the markets to lurch from one company to another in a continual quest for the best short term returns.”
January 7, 2013
By Ken Segall via Co.DESIGN Article
Meetings Are A Skill You Can Master, And Steve Jobs Taught Me How
“If big companies really feel compelled to put something on their [meeting room] walls, a better sign might read:
HOW TO HAVE A GREAT MEETING
1. Throw out the least necessary person at the table.
2. Walk out of the meeting if it lasts more than 30 minutes.
3. Do something productive today to make up for the time you spent here.
… we all know that too many unnecessary or overpopulated meetings can rob even the most brilliant people of their creative energy. More than being a guideline for meetings, however, the small-group principle is mandatory for project groups. … the more people involved in the effort, the more complicated briefings become, the more hand-holding is required to get people up to speed, and the more time must be spent reviewing participants’ work and offering useful feedback. …
To say that putting more people on a project will improve the results is basically saying that you don’t have a ton of confidence in the group you started with. … When populated by the smartest people, small groups will give management more confidence, not less. When you push for small groups of smart people, everybody wins. The company gets better thinking. The group feels better appreciated and is eager to take on more work. This type of organization actually fuels productivity, project to project.”
December 31, 2012
By Michael McKinney via Leading Blog Article
The Success Equation: Separating Luck and Skill
“In the mid-1970s, a man hunted for a lottery ticket with the last two digits ending in 48 for a chance to win the Spanish National Lottery. He found a ticket, bought it, and won the lottery. When asked why he was so intent on finding that number, he replied, “I dreamed of the number 7 for seven straight nights. And 7 times 7 is 48.”
You can be wrong and still win—in the short term. …
In the left hemisphere of our brain is what Steven Pinker calls the “baloney-generator.” “One of the left hemisphere’s main jobs,” writes Mauboussin, “is to make sense of the world by finding a cause for every effect, even if the cause is nonsensical.” Consequently, we attribute too much to skill especially in hindsight. “‘Once something has occurred and we can put together a story to explain it, it starts to seem like the outcome was predestined.” …
Building Skill and Improving Your Luck
Whether or not you can improve your skill depends a great deal on where your activity lies on the luck-skill continuum, says Mauboussin. “In cases where there is a clear relationship between cause and effect, and in activities that are stable and linear, deliberate practice is the only path to improvement. … For activities near the luck side of the continuum, a good process is the surest path to success in the long run.”
December 17, 2012
By Walter Lim via YoungUpstarts Blog Article
“These protagonists were able to build enterprises that beat their industry averages in the stock market by at least 10 times … The three core behaviors of 10Xers that differentiate them from comparison companies are highlighted below …
1. Fanatic Discipline.
10Xers are extremely consistent in action, adhering to strict values, goals, performance standards and methods. They are relentless, monomaniacal and unyielding in focusing on their quests. Such organizational attributes leads to what is called the 20 Mile March. A good 20 Mile March has the following characteristics: …
2. Empirical Creativity.
Evidence shows that 10X companies aren’t necessarily more innovative than their less successful competitors. However, they calibrate their creativity to a level of “threshold innovation”, leveraging on empirical evidence (as opposed to hearsay or advice) to determine their courses of action. …
3. Productive Paranoia.
Always hyper-vigilant, staying highly attuned to threats and changes in their environment (even when things are hunky dory), 10Xers always assume that things may turn against them. As such, they prepare sufficiently through contingency plans, buffers and large margins of safety. ….”
December 17, 2012
By Adam Bryant via NYT Business Day Article
A Good Mentor Never Tramples on Big Dreams
“Tony Tjan, chief executive and a founder of Cue Ball, a venture capital firm in Boston, suggests waiting 24 seconds, 24 minutes, then 24 hours before criticizing a new idea.
Q. What are some things that you’ve learned from mentors?
A. One was Jay Chiat, one of the founders of the Chiat/Day ad agency. He had this incredible capacity for optimism, particularly optimism during mentorship. He had this amazing ability to think of every reason why an idea might work before criticizing it and thinking why it might not work. When you’re a mentor, you’ve got to realize that people are often sharing their dreams, and I think it’s human nature to be a critic. We’re skeptics. As you get older and more experienced, wisdom is great, but you also have to be careful not to automatically impose your mental framework and your lessons.
I’ve translated it into a rule that I try to get people to follow, and I’m still working on this. When someone gives you an idea, try to wait just 24 seconds before criticizing it. If you can do that, wait 24 minutes. Then if you become a Zen master of optimism, you could wait a day, and spend that time thinking about why something actually might work. In venture capital, you’re at the intersection of human capital and their big ideas, their dreams. My favorite quote is from Eleanor Roosevelt: ‘The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.’”
December 17, 2012
By Jackie Huba via Chuch of the Customer Blog Article
“Tim Cook has been in the Apple CEO job for 16 months and Businessweek sat down with him for a extensive interview. The article is quite long but worth the read. Here’s my Cliff Notes version of the wisdom he imparted:
- “In creating these great products we focus onenriching people’s lives—a higher cause for the product.”
- “You know, we want to really enrich people’s lives at the end of the day, not just make money. Making money might be a byproduct, but it’s not our North Star.“
- “That’s a part of our base principle, that we will only do a few things. And we’ll only do things where we can make a significant contribution. I don’t mean financially. I mean some significant contribution to the society at large.”
- “Creativity is not a process...It’s people who care enough to keep thinking about something until they find the simplest way to do it.”
- “Creativity and innovation are something you can’t flowchart out…A lot of companies have innovation departments, and this is always a sign that something is wrong when you have a VP of innovation or something. You know, put a for-sale sign on the door.”
- “Everybody in our company is responsible to be innovative, whether they’re doing operational work or product work or customer service work.”
- “The most important things in life, whether they’re personal or professional, are decided on intuition.”
- “I despise politics. There is no room for it in a company. …No bureaucracy. We want this fast-moving, agile company where there are no politics, no agendas.”
- “We want ideas coming from all of our 80,000 people, not five or three. A much smaller number of people have to decide and edit and move forward, but you want ideas coming from everywhere.You want people to explore.”
- “So I’ll walk around our stores. You can learn a tremendous amount in a store. I get a lot of e-mails and so forth, but it’s a different dimension when you’re in a store and talking to customers face to face.”
- “Not allowing yourself to become insular is very important—maybe the most important thing, I think, as a CEO.”"
December 3, 2012
By Boaz via Drudge Retort Article
“More than a dozen striking Hostess Brands bakers told Reuters they’d rather lose their jobs than accept more pay cuts and reductions to their benefits. “They’re just taking from us,” said Kenneth Johnson, 46, a 23-year employee in Missouri whose pay dropped to roughly $35,000 with overtime last year from $45,000 five years earlier. “I really can’t afford to not be working, but this is not worth it. I’d rather go work somewhere else or draw unemployment.” Hostess management blames the terms of its 300 labor contracts for reducing its competitiveness against non-union rivals.”
November 26, 2012
By Margaret Heffernan in Inc. Article
Petraeus & the Value of Failure
“If you have never failed at anything, then you haven’t been trying hard enough, aren’t very imaginative, or have had such extraordinarily good luck that you have come to believe you are invincible. And that, of course, is the problem. ”Success confers its own blindness” ….”
November 19, 2012
By Dan Rockwell in Leadership Blog Article
“Overwork prevents teamwork.
Imagine the feeling of being close to missing a deadline. At 3:00 p.m. a team mate needs your expertise on their marketing project. Are you eager to serve? Or, are they an irritating pain in the a**?
You’re frustrated because you want to help but feel you can’t.
People who can’t get their own work done can’t help others.
When schedules are maxed out teamwork is out.
Overworked leaders don’t have time to help. They are too busy helping themselves. A corporate leader recently said, “My boss is buried. She doesn’t have time or energy to give me.”
Turf wars not teamwork:
“Overworked staff results in turf wars and office politics,” Andy Stanley at Catalyst. Can you see people jockeying for position? Jockeys aren’t team players.
Helping others help others:
- Get real with workload or teamwork-talk becomes platitudinous drivel.
- Reward and recognize helpers. Ask, “Who helped you?” at the end of projects.
- Honor serving. Ask, “Who are you helping?”
- Ask, “How are you helping others?” What get’s asked about gets done.”
November 12, 2012
By Christian Jarrett from 99U Blog Article
“Guidance from psychology literature offers up a tangle of contradictions. On the one hand, there are many examples of our flawed intuitions. Consider this simple puzzle from Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman’s best-seller Thinking Fast Thinking Slow:
“Together, a bat and a ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?”
Don’t think too hard, just go with your gut. If you think the ball costs 10 cents, you’re wrong, but you’re not alone. Most people make this error if they follow their intuition. But if you analyze the problem more deeply and deliberately, you’ll see the ball can’t cost 10 cents, because we know the bat costs a dollar more, and that would mean the total price was $1.20 (10 cents for the ball + $1.10 for the bat). The correct answer is the ball costs 5 cents.
This simple problem illustrates the pitfalls of not thinking hard enough. Our gut can jump to erroneous conclusions. There are also countless real-life examples showing how slow, systematic number-crunching can sometimes lead to better decisions than even expert intuition. … But while these arguments highlight the hazards of intuitive thinking, there’s also plenty of counter evidence showing the ability of our non-conscious mind to arrive quickly at the best answer in a process that psychologists call “thin slicing.” …
What we need to help us navigate through these mixed messages about the merits of intuition versus slow, deliberate analysis, is evidence about who should deploy one approach rather than another, and when. Surprisingly few, if any, studies have taken on this challenge. Until now. ….”
November 12, 2012
By Margaret Heffernan from Inc. Article
“Here’s five ways to get the best out of workers–even those who have more experience than you do. … as leaders, you will increasingly manage people older than you are. Doing so successfully requires recognizing several things:
1. Generations differ.
We are all shaped by key events, social trends, and attitudes. … Every generation has strengths and weaknesses and excellent bosses appreciate the differences.
2. Experience counts.
… most business issues, from cash flow to strategic positioning to alliances, are perennial and highly-experienced employees have a lot of insight into what does, and doesn’t, work. Don’t discount experience just because it isn’t yours.
3. Older people aren’t tired.
I’ve talked to lots of employees in their 60s who love their work. They aren’t staying on because they have to; they’re committed, enthusiastic, and energetic. What they don’t like is the assumption that they’re not.
4. Age diversity can be as tricky as gender diversity.
But it can be just as valuable too. … The concatenation of old and new insights can be productive and innovative if everyone counts.
5. Social cohesion is a strength.
Employees aren’t really loyal to companies but to each other. To the degree that the relationships between younger and older employees are strengthened, the whole company becomes more secure.”
October 29, 2012
By Roger Martin in HBR Blog Network Article
Why I Decided to Rethink Hiring Smart People
“Chris Argyris’ “Teaching Smart People How To Learn” utterly changed the way I thought about management. It didn’t just give me a somewhat different view; it convinced me of the exact opposite of what I had believed before I’d read it. That’s a heck of a lot of influence for 10 and a half pages! …
Then I read “Teaching Smart People How To Learn,” which argued trenchantly and compellingly that really smart people have the hardest time learning. They are so very smart that they are also very “brittle,” to use Argyris’s descriptor. When something goes wrong, rather than reflect on what they might have done to contribute to the error, they look entirely outside themselves for the causes and blame outside forces — irrational clients, impossible time pressure, lack of adequate resources, shifts beyond their control. Rather than learn from error, they doom themselves to repeat them.”
October 22, 2012
By Cynthia Kocialski in Under30CEO Article
Lessons on Firing Employees
“One of the hardest lessons for an entrepreneur to grasp is to hire slow and fire fast. Every new entrepreneur thinks it won’t be a problem. It sounds easy until they are faced with the situation.
I have no idea how many people I’ve hired over my career, but I know how many people I’ve fired – twenty-three. It’s stressful on everyone. It never gets easier, but with more experience, the faster you fire people.
Here are a few lessons.
Situations rarely resolve themselves; they don’t just go away on their own. …
Be direct, not indirect
Don’t hint around. I once had a project manager and he wanted to fire an employee. He … always wanted to be the nice guy. … He was so bad at delivering such news that the employee came out of the meeting happy and laughing. … I talked with the employee in the break room and he thought he had gotten an awesome, glowing review. …
When the Employees Knows Beforehand
When employees know you aren’t happy with their performance, they may drop hints to you and the other employees about what they will do if anyone ever wrongs them in the workplace. I had one employee, who mentioned every day how he had sued some company over something. … Fire fast!
Even if an employee was expecting to be let go, some employees will cry and others will be shocked. Keep calm. … Stick to the facts. Don’t draw it out. Ask the employee to leave as soon as possible and don’t allow access back to the office or onto your computer systems. …
After the person is fired, expect the organization to be turned upside down for 2 to 4 weeks. … So expect the employees to either give you the evil eye or avoid you for a while. Eventually, it will settle back down.”
October 15, 2012
By Michael Schrage in HBR Blog Network Article
“Successful leaders and managers alike constantly stress the importance of developing their employees. But do they appropriately recognize the importance of how their employees might develop them? One of the world’s top coaches thinks not.
While chatting about “coachability” with Sir Clive Woodward — who had coached England’s world champion rugby team and served as Director of Elite Performance for the wildly overachieving British Olympic team — he casually observed that, in reality, the best athletes he had invariably improved his abilities as a coach.
“My top performers ended up pushing me harder than I pushed them,” Woodward said, adding that you can’t help but learn from watching top athletes perfecting their craft. This mutuality of professional development was a theme of his. …
That truly great players make everyone around them play better is one of sports’ better championship clichés. But arguments that great players actually educate their coaches are considerably rarer. They’re just as rare in the managerial literature. Woodward and I were on a panel for Tech Mahindra’s European customer event in the U.K. In the panel’s aftermath, I messaged a few friends and colleagues. I asked them to name employees — not colleagues or bosses! — who had dramatically improved them as leaders and/or managers. The most common response was that they’d never been asked before.”
October 8, 2012
By Mary Jo Asmus in Leadership Solutions blog Article
“… keeping quiet is the best response you can make to someone:
When someone else is talking: It goes without saying that many of us can get better at allowing another person to have their say. Don’t interrupt. Wait for a pause in the conversation before you speak.
When it’s important to hear other’s viewpoints: … When there is conflict, there is a better chance of resolution of differences when you don’t talk or judge and switch into deep listening mode. It’s hard, but it’s the right time to stay silent.
When someone is emotionally distraught: … Staying quiet is always acceptable in this case. In such times, people most often want to be heard and to have someone close by. It’s that simple.
When you don’t want to dominate a conversation: … when people are brainstorming, offering suggestions or being creative. Dominating the conversation with your ideas can shut off the flow of fresh ideas.
When you are thinking together: … a group is having a great conversation with everyone engaged and offering their thoughts, … silence often occurs … Silence, in this case, is the best thing that you can allow to happen for those great conversations to continue. It means people are thinking (exactly what you want them to do!).
The art of knowing when to be quiet (and then doing it) should be a part of every leader’s tool set.”