Posts tagged ‘leadership’

March 14th, 2011

Recommended: Google’s Rules

For those who might’ve missed it in the business section of the New York Times this weekend, Google has formalized what it believes to be the perceived attributes of a successful manager, and there’s much to admire here:

December 22nd, 2010

Of Studios and Sweatshops

For some reason, many companies treat their production team as a fixed quantity, something to be accommodated or disbanded but rarely improved. It’s the rare C-level executive who understands that a production team exists on a spectrum between good and bad, and that thoughtful management can influence the quality of their team. Perhaps this says something about the quality spectrum of C-level executives: the fewer people at the top of the pyramid, the narrower and more polarized the output.

November 16th, 2010

Re-engineering a Better Performance Review

There’s a dirty little secret about performance reviews, which is this: most of them are useless. Managers dread them because they’re tedious and time-consuming and potentially volatile. Employees hate them because all too often a performance review is the only objective data point informing compensation and bonus. Rarely in my experience does a performance review actually accomplish its primary goal of encouraging superior performance or correcting unproductive behavior.

October 17th, 2010

Five Strategies for Negotiating Bad News

Several years ago, as a relatively inexperienced project manager in Toronto, I was sent to a seminar on the art of strategic negotiation held in a hotel conference room out by the airport. The session was led by a real estate guru turned motivational speaker, and while I don’t remember his name, I do remember that he paced the room in a lavalier mic and black swim cap, and that because he’d shaved his eyebrows he resembled a particularly intense mannequin or sunfish.

July 10th, 2010

Process Refactored

I recently held a project management summit at Vortex Mobile where I asked my project managers to question each of our existing processes and come up with new approaches to any of our endemic challenges. Although refactoring code is commonplace among progressive software development companies, few companies talk about refactoring methodology. For many, it’s easier to either cling to outdated processes (remarkably, Staples still offers next day delivery on carbon paper) or invest in the development of cumbersome enterprise-scale methodologies intended to predict and accommodate any conceivable circumstance.

June 24th, 2010

Bad Managers

Over the past ten years, I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some excellent managers and business strategists. I’ve also worked with a fair number of wasters. In fact, I’ve come to a sort of counter-Tolstoy realization about managers: the good ones seem each to be unique in their particular approach to handling people and process, while the bad ones are dispiritingly alike.

May 20th, 2010

Recommended: Yertle the Turtle

“I’m ruler,” said Yertle, “of all that I see.
But I don’t see enough. That’s the trouble with me.”

Dr. Seuss

Yertle the Turtle

Yertle the Turtle

To scan the business management shelves of one’s local bookstore is to rediscover the fun of counting: “Six Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance”, “The 48 Laws of Power”, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”, “The Five Essential Elements”, “The One Minute Manager”, “10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy” — and that’s just the first page of leadership results on Barnes & Noble’s website.

Although curiously snubbed by the world’s top business schools (et tu, Tuck School of Business?), Dr. Seuss’ Yertle the Turtle remains the seminal volume in math-enabled hubris.