My budget is too big

September 26, 2016

By Markovitz Consulting via   Article

When Less is More

“Shortly after joining Target as the company’s new CIO, Mike McNamara told his boss that his budget was too big:

‘We were just doing too many things. I mean we had over 800 projects. Even a company as big as Target doesn’t have 800 priorities.’

I’ve often written about the problems with individual attempts to multitask. In her book, The Outstanding Organization, Karen Martin wrote extensively about the corporate analog—how the lack of organizational focus leads to lousy outcomes, including frustration, inefficient allocation of resources, and poor customer service. (See Tony Rizzo’s bead game for an elegant simulation of this problem.) The fact is that both humans and organizations have a limited ability to do multiple things at once.

But it’s not just ongoing operations that fall victim to the lack of focus. Continuous improvement efforts often make the same mistake. In the rush to improve, and under pressure from leadership, internal kaizen promotion offices and external consultants often cram multiple initiatives and kaizen events into the project pipe in the hopes of realizing rapid benefits in SQCDM (safety/quality/cost/delivery/morale). But the result of too many projects is that very few ever get done well, and none get finished in a timely fashion. Little’s Law applies to corporate initiatives, not just customers in a Starbucks queue.

Hoshin kanri/strategy deployment is a well-established way to ensure that you don’t get 800 projects on the board in the first place. But if your organization doesn’t do strategy deployment, you can at least begin by seeing how well your projects align with the larger strategic priorities. That’s what McNamara did at Target: he convened a meeting of the company’s top executives, weighed each project against their strategic priorities for growth, and cut the list from 800 projects to 80.

The result is faster execution and better concentration of resources on the important few, rather than the trivial many.

Sometimes less is more.”

Playing god

September 26, 2016

By Rado Kotorov via   Article

How to Approach Ethical Transparency

“Let’s briefly examine two common ethical practices.

  1. Playing God

This type of choice is well known in ethics and involves someone making decisions about the life and death of other people, most frequently in exchange for some larger social benefit. These are typically known as utilitarian decisions. For example, imagine a programmer being tasked to develop the rules system for an autonomous car. Naturally, he or she will try to save as many lives as possible in the event of an accident. But, where this is not possible, how would the rule be constructed to choose between two individuals? What if the choice was between a man and a woman, or between a child and an adult? Another example: when decisions are made to eradicate species in nature. Imagine a bio engineer tasked to create a gene that eradicates all malaria-carrying mosquitos. How are such choices made? Both of these dilemmas are created by the advances in technology and thus have never been or, at least rarely, taught and examined by the institutions that have traditionally instilled ethics.

  1. Moral Blinding

Moral blinding poses a different issue. Technologies can be developed in a way that completely obfuscates their purpose and final use from employees. Companies may do so to protect trade secrets or because they know that the moral issues can be a deterrent to find employees or a distraction in the work process. Sooner or later, employees will discover the real issues and some of them may not be able to cope with moral burden.

The question then is should moral blinding be allowed? My position is that it should not. If an employee is developing an accident choice algorithm for autonomous cars, they should know so. They should not be told that they are building an algorithm for a video game. Or if they are, they should be told that the company may license the algorithm to autonomous car manufacturers. This will certainly affect how the algorithm is built.

Within the framework of ethical transparency, companies and employees have three key obligations:

  1. Disclose the potential ethical issues
  2. Investigate the research on the ethical issues
  3. Document their individual and mutual stand on ethical issues”

These may change your world

September 26, 2016

By Jeff Shore via   Article

These 10 Peter Drucker Quotes May Change Your World

They’ve never been managed

September 26, 2016

By J.T. O’Donnell via   Article

3 Reasons Millennials Think They’re More Qualified Than Their Bosses

“Put yourself in a Millennial’s shoes and you just might learn a thing or two about the right way to motivate them:

1. They’ve never been managed.

Millennials have been working in teams their entire lives. They’ve had “coaches” – and that’s very different than having a manager. Coaches support you, train you, guide you, compliment you, and most importantly, take a big interest in your success. If you haven’t been doing that for your Millennial employees, they struggle to see the point of your role. They understand you have a job to do, but in their minds, the biggest part of your job is helping them do theirs’ better.

2. They’re used to having their minds read.

Good coaches are like mind-readers. They get inside the heads of the people they’re coaching and tap into their potential. Your Millennial workforce is expecting the same from you. They think they shouldn’t have to tell you they’re bored, worried, confused, or struggling. Moreover, they’re ill-equipped to have those awkward, stressful conversations with you. Besides, you’re older and wiser, you’re supposed to step in and help them. That’s what their coaches did. If you haven’t been anticipating their thoughts and feelings, they see you as failing in your job to get the most out of them.

3. They’re not used to not having a say.

Millennials have always been encouraged to participate. That includes speaking their mind. They’re used to being solicited for their thoughts and opinions. Instead of being told what to do, they’ve often had open discussions so they could come to their own conclusions as to what is the right thing to do. It’s how they come to trust the process. When you don’t give them that opportunity, they feel slighted of their rights. If you’ve been the type of manager who when asked, ‘Why?’ says,’Because I said so!’ – you’ve likely lost the trust (and, respect), of your Millennial workers.

To sum it up, if you want to build a better relationship with your Millennial workers, you need to put on your coaching cap.”

Vision into reality

September 19, 2016

By George Ambler via   Article

The Three Domains of Effective Leadership

“As a start, let’s the explore one definition of leadership.

‘Leadership is a process of influence that generates the commitment and capabilities required to translate vision into reality.’

Expanding on this definition helps to explain the purpose of leadership:

  • Leadership is a process that creates change. It’s the purpose of leadership to bring about change, to drive innovation, encouraging people to take risky action. If there is no need for change, there is no need for leadership.
  • Leadership is about influence. Leadership is a social process resulting in the voluntary commitment by others to the achievement of a shared vision and the process of change.
  • As leadership is about change it requires the development of the capabilities necessary to translate vision into reality.

Now we have a definition let’s move on to discuss what makes for effective leader.

The Three Domains of Effective Leadership

Effective leadership is exercised through three domains – strategic, team and personal leadership. Exploring leadership through these three perspectives helps provide insight into the skills and practices that make for an effective leader.

The effective leader develops by evaluating their leadership skills through these three interrelated lenses. Then seeks to strengthen the gaps identified in each of the three domains.

‘Control is not leadership; management is not leadership; leadership is leadership. If you seek to lead, invest at least 50% of your time in leading yourself—your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, conduct. Invest at least 20% leading those with authority over you and 15% leading your peers.’ – Dee Hock, Founder and CEO Emeritus, Visa

Before exploring each leadership domain in more detail, we must acknowledge that no model – however good – will comprehensively capture all the elements that makes for effective leadership. As George Box noted ‘all models are wrong, but some are useful.’ This model is useful as it provides a representation of the key domains of effective leadership. And effective leadership is one that leads to the achievement of shared vision and outcomes. It’s intended to be used to help guide the development and growth of effective leaders.”

How to complain like a leader

September 19, 2016

by Dan Rockwell via   Article

“Great leaders have burning complaints.

I wonder how many great endeavors began as great complaints? The United States of America, for example, began with great complaints. We know the name Martin Luther King Jr. because he voiced his complaint like a leader

3 ways to complain like a leader:

The difference between complaining like a leader and complaining like a loser is duration, focus, and orientation.

  1. Discuss problems long enough to understand them.
  2. Focus on solutions. You never build the life you want by getting lost in things you don’t want.
  3. Orient language and behavior toward positives. Say what you want, even if you began with complaints.

Find positive expression to negative complaints. The bigger your complaint, the great the positive outcome you seek.


When you rule out complaining, you lose sight of your purpose. Great complaints point to purpose. Have you noticed how some are deeply troubled by a problem and others don’t care? Your great complaint explains who you are. You lose yourself when you silence your great complaint.


Great achievements are answers to great complaints.  When you rule out complaining, you accept the status quo.

The leaderly way to hear complaints:

If you’re fortunate, you hear complaints. If you don’t hear complaints, you’re out of the loop.

  1. Encourage team members to explain their complaints.
  2. Listen don’t solve. When you solve a complainers complaint, they complain about the solution.
  3. Ask four questions when teammates complain.

– What’s the good you want for others? …

–  What makes this important to you? …

– What would you like to do about this today? …

– How can I help?”

10/10/10 Rule

September 19, 2016

By  via   Article

7 mental models you should know for smarter decision making

“10/10/10 Rule

Short term vs Long term

After reaching the top pinnacle of the publishing industry, one of the mental models that Suzy Welch adopted to help her navigate through tough personal and professional times is called the 10/10/10 Rule.

Most of us have been guilty of making decisions without thinking about the long term consequences, and the 10/10/10/ rule can used to reflect on the long-term by asking yourself:

  • How will we feel about it 10 minutes from now?
  • How about 10 months from now?
  • How about 10 years from now?

It’s easy to make short-term decisions that may be beneficial 10 minutes or 10 months from now, but these types of decisions usually don’t benefit us in the long-term. What’s harder is to make decisions that may not appear attractive or impactful in the short-term, but over time can have a positive impact in your life.

Whenever you’re struggling to go to the gym, resist temptations to eat junk food, or overcoming the difficulties of learning a new skill, use the 10/10/10/ Rule to think not only about how you’ll feel about it later today, but also years from today.”