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In praise of checklists

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According to the book The Checklist Manifesto - How to Get Things Right, the humblest of quality control devices, "the checklist" - is the key to taming our busy, overwhelmed, fast-changing, high-tech world.

Hierarchy - a good or bad thing?

middle management to drive business execution

Management guru Gary Hamel has stated that “bureaucracy must die” and that “top down control is toxic.”

Company Culture: If you're not leading leaders, you're not leading
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Lately the question of, “What is great leadership? has been coming into my world.  It's a question that has never been more important in the business world. We are now replacing low-paid manual labor and processing, with a smarter, more skilled, younger workforce. This is great in some ways, but also the new generation is far more likely to move from company to company than older generations. They are not used to being yelled at, they didn’t get caned at school, and will tell you to jump off a cliff if you deserve it (if not to your face then to their Facebook network which is worse).

Business Strategy: 5 observations about leadership


I recently read a great interview in the New York Times with David Cote, chairman and CEO of Honeywell. He made some insightful observations about leadership which I have summarized and commented on here. 

Employee engagement: how to help a struggling employee
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One of the keys to effectively manage and coach your people is to make everyone’s performance visible. The Harvard Business School calls this management approach “radical transparency” and it has been found to deliver superior results.

Business Strategy: advice to my younger self?
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Imagine you could go back in time to when you were starting out as a manager, leader or entrepreneur. What 1 piece of advice would you give to your younger self? 

Productivity: take time to reflect (to get faster)
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If you are anything like me, life seems to be getting busier and busier, and the rate of change means you feel like you are running faster and faster just to keep up. The ability to drive business execution at a rapid pace is a vital ingredient on the path to success, but if you are not careful, you can become so stuck in “busy-mode”, that you spend all of your time “doing” and not enough time “thinking, reflecting and learning”.  

Brainstorming 2.0: for improved productivity and effectiveness

Brainstorming to drive business execution

I learned many years ago from my friend Doug Hall that the way most companies conduct brainstorming is ineffective. He documented these findings in his excellent marketing book, Jump Start Your Business Brain. Here’s a quote:

Employee engagement requires "difficult" conversations (sometimes)
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One of our clients emailed me recently wanting to know, “How do you hold people accountable or punish bad results and unmet deadlines in a professional manner, especially in a small family business where employees I’m responsible for have more experience than me?”

How to be a better business leader
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Much has been written about leadership. Most of it is useless. But there are things you can do, and some books you can read, that are helpful to learn to be a better business leader. 

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