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10 keys to successful change management

The author draws attention to the massive changes taking place in the way we conduct business and social affairs. He asserts that our inability to manage change itself is arguably the most important barrier to progress.
The leading businesses in the 80s were winners in the productivity and quality wars. “Now those who are most fluid, capable of anticipating change, adapting and developing quicker than the rest” will be the winners. The stated objectives of the book are:

  1. ‘To describe the dynamics of change, its causes, its pitfalls, and criteria for success in a way which will help senior managers to drive their businesses forwards and achieve change more quickly.’
  2. ‘To present a practical way of managing change in the form of 10 specific keys which unlock tools and techniques drawn on the author’s experience.’

The aim of the book is to establish a practical method for change management and business transformation with appropriate tools and techniques. The book guides the reader on how to draw up a process for change; direct and guide such a process; win the support and participation of the whole workforce; combine change with normal activities; ensure the durability of the change introduced; speed up the process of change; minimise its financial and human costs; and maintain continuous improvement afterwards. The 10 keys are:

  1. Defining the vision: Establish the overall objective of change and outline the way in which it will be implemented.
  2. Mobilising: Create a dynamic for change among employees, evaluate the issues raised by the vision and specify the main directions for improvement as a consequence.
  3. Capitalising: Define the project structure and how it will work in supporting, facilitating and accelerating change.
  4. Steering: Define and carry out the set of actions which will guide the process of change and keep it on course
  5. Delivering: Implement the changes by realising the vision in terms of the day-to-day operation of the business, in other words, alters structures, methods, attitudes and culture in order to produce the anticipated quantitative and qualitative results.
  6. Obtaining participation: Ensure that all employees affected by change participate, in order both to enhance the vision and to ease its implementation.
  7. Handling the emotional dimension: Overcome resistance and mental blockages so that change can be delivered.
  8. Handling the power issues: Redirect power relations to bring them into line with the vision so that they contribute positively to the processes of change.
  9. Training and coaching: Provide training in both technical and personal skills, to help employees maximise the contribution to the processes of change and subsequently incorporate the vision into their everyday working life.
  10. Communicating actively: Initiate and co-ordinate a communication explosion, to encourage universal participation and involvement and hence promote change.

For each of the Keys, the author describes sub-stages and the essential actions. There are four principles underlying the 10 keys:

  1. Globality: that encompassesthe physical and the psychological, both body and soul.
  2. Dislocation: which is the importance of de-stabilising the status quo and maintaining instability throughout the process.
  3. Universality: requiring the participation of everyone.
  4. Inter-determinacy: in the sense that change can be guided but not controlled, it is only partially controllable.

Source: Pendlebury, J. (1998) The Ten Keys to Successful Change Management. London: Kogan Page.

10 best ways to recognise employees

  1. Support and involvement
  2.  Personal praise
  3. Autonomy and authority
  4. Flexible working hours
  5. Learning and development
  6. Written praise
  7. Electronic praise
  8. Public praise
  9. Cash or cash substitutes
Source: Nelson, R. & Economy, P. (2003) Managing for Dummies. New York: Wiley

10 characteristics of Directors who think

Bob Garratt describes ten necessary characteristics of effective directors who:
  1. Focus not on specialist functions, but on links with other functions.
  2.  Adopt an integrated view of the performance of the total business.
  3. Delegate and coach.
  4. Provide staff with support when they need it.
  5. Are less political inside the organisation, but more politically aware externally.
  6.  Learn to be competent in the true director's role.
  7.  Achieve balance and nurturing.
  8.  Consider the community as a stakeholder in the organisation.
  9. Learn to design the future rather than react to it.
  10.  Are seen to have time to think.
The ten characteristics form a director's manifesto for a learning organisation.

Source: Garratt, R. (1987) The Learning Organisation and the Need for Directors who Think. London: Fontana/Collins.

10 characteristics of skilled learners

Developing skilled learners is vital for changing organisations: 'If people can be helped to increase their capacity to understand, they have a mechanism within themselves by which they can learn to cope with change'. Two assumptions underpin the focus on learning rather than training: (1) people do not have to be trained in order to learn; and (2) people often learn in spite of the training they receive. Skilled learners:
  1. Take responsibility for their learning.
  2. Distinguish between different types of learning.
  3. Use several ways of learning, and apply them appropriately.
  4. Do not try to memorise when they need to understand.
  5. Consciously choose how and when to learn.
  6. Ensure they learn despite poor teaching.
  7. Ask questions to ensure they learn effectively.
  8. Seek feedback.
  9. Realise that difficulties in learning are frequently due to poor delivery.
  10. Are confident to take on new learning opportunities.
Source: Pearn, M.A. & Downs, S. (1991) ‘Developing skilled learners: The experience of UK companies.’ in Nyhan, B. (Ed.) Developing People's Ability to Learn. Brussels: Inter-University Press

10 classic business books

Lists are fun. Here is the list created by Bob Nelson and Peter Economy in their excellent introduction to the skills of management.
  1. Peter Drucker (1964) Managing for Results. Harper & Row
  2. Douglas McGregor (1960) The Human Side of Enterprise. McGraw-Hill
  3. Peter & Hull (1969) The Peter Principle. Morrow.
  4. Robert Townsend (1970) Up the Organisation. Knopf.
  5. Blanchard & Johnson (1982) The One Minute Manager. Morrow.
  6. Goldratt & Cox (1992) The Goal. North River Press.
  7. Max Du Pree (1989) Leadership Is an Art. Doubleday
  8. Peter Senge (1990) The Fifth Discipline. Doubleday
  9. Katzenbach & Smith (1993) The Wisdom of Teams. Harvard Business School Press
  10. Collins and Porras (1994) Built to Last: Successful habits of Visionary Companies, Harper Business
  11. Buckingham & Coffman (1999) First Break All the Rules: What the World’s greatest managers Do Differently. Simon & Schuster.
In fact they list eleven books, not ten. See their 10 best ways to recognise employees.

Source: Nelson, R. & Economy, P. (2003) Managing for Dummies. New York: Wiley

10 classic reasons why people resist change

In her fascinating book about doing business in the new e-culture (See Kanter’s 3 Ms) she offers ten reasons why people resist change in the early stages of any new endeavour, and draws attention to what leaders must do to workaround them. The ten reasons are:
  1. Loss of face. Threats to dignity, status, exposure, and vulnerability.
  2. Loss of control. Anger at power shifts.
  3.  Excess uncertainty. Not being or feeling fully informed.
  4. Surprise, surprise! An automatic defence when there was insufficient warning.
  5. The ‘difference’ effect. The change just does not make sense within existing frameworks.
  6.  ‘Can I do it?’ Fears about competence to cope.
  7.  Ripple effects. Annoyance about disruption of things familiar.
  8. More work. A reluctance to take it on, especially when there is insufficient time.
  9.  Past resentments. Resentment of unresolved problems from the past.
  10.  Real threats. Anger that there will be real pain and clear losers.

Search the theme: Change and change management

Source: Kanter, R. M. (2001) e-Volve!: Succeeding in the Digital Culture of Tomorrow. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

10 common management mistakes

Another good list from this excellent book.
  1. Not making the transition from worker to manager
  2. Not setting clear goals and expectations
  3. Failing to delegate
  4. Failing to communicate
  5. Not making time for employees
  6. Not recognising employee achievements
  7. Resisting change
  8. Going for the quick fix over the lasting solution
  9. Failing to learn
  10. Taking it all too seriously
Source: Nelson, R. & Economy, P. (2003) Managing for Dummies. New York: Wiley

10 Components of a thinking environment

Kline has created the concept of a Thinking Environment to raise the quality of thinking of each person in the room, and in her book gives much practical advice. According to Kline, the ten components of a thinking environment are:
  1. Attention: listening with respect, interest and fascination to the others
  2.  Incisive questions: helping others think and articulate clearly without making assumptions
  3. Equality: knowing each person has time and space to express their ideas
  4. Appreciation: Spending more time appreciating the ideas of others than critiquing them
  5. Ease: Ensuring space for debate and not rushing into closure and action
  6. Encouragement: moving beyond competition within the group to collaboration
  7. Feelings: allowing sufficient emotional expression to enable quality thinking
  8. Information: sufficient to give a fuller picture or a wider perspective
  9. Place: that values the people and the thinking process
  10.  Diversity: adding quality because of differences within the group
These ten components contribute to teams’ communication and collaboration.

Source: Kline, N. (1999) Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind. London: Ward Lock

10 deadly mistakes of wanna-dots

Kanter distinguishes between dot.coms and “wanna-dots”. The former are pure internet companies operating on-line. Most are under five years old, and some have been spectacularly successful. The wanna-dots are established companies, some already very successful, seeking to establish themselves on the Internet. Based on the same research that led to her book, “e-Volve!” Kanter identifies 10 mistakes being made by wanna-dots.

The ten mistakes have little to do with the Internet per se. Kanter presents them as ten proven ways to avoid deep change:
  1. Sprinkle Internet activities through out the company. If any of the initiatives look as though they might become successful, undermine their credibility.
  2. Form a committee. Allow it to create a new Internet offering but under-resource the committee. Give leadership to someone who likes running committees.
  3. Find the simplest, least-demanding thing you do on the Web. Copy what everyone else is doing.
  4. Build the site with specialists who do not really understand your business. Equally, work with specialist that you cannot evaluate realistically.
  5. Do on the web exactly what you do off the web. Replicate your business on-line.
  6. Treat your Internet business as you would any other business proposition. Be cautious about investment; hold back until the evidence is over-whelming.
  7. Treat the web business lie any other separate business unit. Discourage cooperation, and encourage competition between divisions.
  8. Compare your performance with your traditional industry competitors off-line. Under-estimate on-line competitors, and don’t consider possible competition coming from outside the industry.
  9. Overload the web businesses with traditional and cumbersome organisational tools and processes. After all they reflect tried and tested experience over many years.
  10. Remember that the company, not the customer is in the driving seat. The Internet business is an opportunity for the company to communicate with the customers, not the other way round.
The key lessons captured by Kanter are:
  1. When in doubt, create small experiments, with a good chance of success, but don’t put the company at risk.
  2. New ventures need dedicated teams, with space and autonomy to operate in new ways, but with a grasp of business realities. They also need corporate backing for when things inevitably do not go right.
  3. Recognise that e-businesses requires systemic changes in many ways of working. Ensure that the e-businesses are connected to the company and strive for synergies not separation from the mainstream, and aim to overcome organisational obstacles.
Finally, Kanter distinguishes between the wanna-dot pacesetters and the laggards. The pace-setters embrace the internet as a way of questioning their existing models and experimenting with ways new technology can improve their businesses. They see the opportunities to learn. As in so many aspects of business, there is not just one right way. The laggards plunge in, in a half-heated manner, and hope for the best.

Source: Kanter, R. M. (2001) The ten deadly mistakes of “wanna-dots”. Harvard Business Review, January 91-100.

10 decision traps

This book is subtitled: The 10 Barriers To Brilliant Decision-Making and How To Overcome Them. The authors argue that most people recognise that decision-making is one of the most important things that they do and yet very few people have any training in this important activity. The 10 most dangerous decision traps are:
  1. Plunging in. Beginning to gather information and reach conclusions without first taking a few minutes to think about the crux of the issue you’re facing or to think through how you believe decisions like this one should be made.
  2. Frame blindness. Setting out to solve the wrong problem because you have created a mental framework for your decision, with little thought, that causes you to overlook the best options or lose sight of important objectives.
  3. Lack of frame control. Failing to consciously define the problem in more ways than one or being unduly influenced by the frames of others
  4. Over confidence in your judgment. Failing to collect key factual information because you are too sure of your assumptions and opinions.
  5. Shortsighted shortcuts. Relying inappropriately on “rules of thumb” such as implicitly trusting the most readily available information on anchoring too much or convenient facts.
  6. Shooting from the hip. Believing you can keep straight in your head all the information you have discovered, and therefore “winging it” rather than following a systematic procedure when making the final choice.
  7. Group failure. Assuming that with many smart people involved, good choices will follow automatically, and therefore failing to manage the group decision-making process.
  8. Fooling yourself about feedback. Failing to interpret the evidence from past outcomes for what it really says, either because you are protecting your ego or because you are tricked by hindsight.
  9. Not keeping track. Assuming that experience will make its lessons available automatically, and therefore failing to keep systematic records to track the result of your decisions and failing to analyse these results in ways that reveal their key lessons.
  10. Failure to audit your decision process. Failing to create an organised approach to understanding your own decision-making, so you remained constantly exposed to all the above mistakes.
The book is designed not only to list the traps to avoid but also to help the reader develop the processes of effective decision-making, much as a coach teaches the process of swimming.

Source: Russo, J.E. and Schoemaker, P.J.H. (1990) Decision Traps: The Ten Barriers to Brilliant Decision-Making and How to Overcome Them. New York: Fireside

10 excuses for not practising what he preaches

  1. I don’t have the time.
  2. The job can wait.
  3. They are not up to it.
  4. They would not understand.
  5. I cannot trust them.
  6. It’s my job so I must do it.
  7. Sticks make people jump, carrots don’t.
  8. They preferred being told what to do.
  9. Let’s face it I can do it better myself.
  10. They’ve got too much on their plate.
Source: Handy, C. (1990) Inside Organisations. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

10 golden rules to help your business win in the toughest markets

The author is former chairman of Lever Brothers, during the Seventies and Eighties, (who at that time thrashed Proctor and Gamble). The book offers guidance on how to win in business, drawn from experience in the (highly competitive) soap and detergent markets. The ten golden rules are:
  1. Stick to the knitting, but be sure you know just what you're missing.
  2. Ignore the best value concept at your peril. You must provide your customers with what they believe has "the best value".
  3. Be first and the right and have surprise on your side.
  4. Real business success demands competitive advantage. Define it, develop it, exploit it, and be sure to protect it.
  5. Never attack the brand leader head-on. Attack from the flank, it's safer and cheaper.
  6. If you are not going to weigh-in, don't play. Only winners can expect to survive and prosper.
  7. The pursuit is as important as the attack. Without a positive pursuit the most successful attack can be dissipated.
  8. Never start a price war unless you are sure you are going to win. Price war winners are rare, and losers are plentiful, and losing can be both painful and costly.
  9. Build your brand share during the growth stage of the market. Take your profit during the mature and decline stages.
  10. The time to stop a competitor is before he gets started. It is cheaper in every way.
Source: Hardy, L. (1995) Ten Golden Rules. Knightsbridge: Windrush

10 hottest consulting practices

This book is about the radically changing world of the consulting business. According to the author, in the 1980s, consultants were found in plush, high-rise office buildings, they had lengthy lunches, long dinners, and played golf with clients on weekday afternoons. Expense was not an object. All this has changed. Basing his conclusions on the analysis of ten new highly successful consulting practices, the author lists the ten hottest consulting sectors. They are:
  1. Strategic alliance and strategic development.
  2. Communications and public relations.
  3. Executive search.
  4. Site services and meeting planning.
  5. Sales training.
  6. Sales and marketing.
  7. Management consultancy.
  8. Out-placement.
  9. Compensation.
  10. Corporate re-organisation.
He also identified the 10 major changes in operating that have impacted on the consultancy business. They are:
  1. A shift from a retainer-based to a project-based relationship with clients.
  2. Relationship marketing as one of the most important growth areas in consultancy.
  3. The use of a home office rather than an expensive suite in a high-rise building.
  4. The involvement of consultants in full implementation rather than only with diagnosis and recommendation.
  5. The ability of consultants to operate without hiring employees.
  6. The increasing professionalism and commercialism of many independent consultants who initially worked for large consulting practices.
  7. The preference of clients to work with full-time professionals who are specialists rather than part timers.
  8. The dramatic increase in female consultants resulting from the hiring policies of large corporations who enabled more women to get excellent management experience.
  9. Downsizing in corporations resulting in a dramatic increase in out-sourcing and associated demand for external consultants.
  10. The increasing sophistication of corporations in assessing the value of external consultants.

Source: Tepper, R. (1995) The 10 Hottest Consulting Practices: What they are and how to get into them. New York: Wiley

11 leadership principles from the Marine Corps

More leadership principles from US military academies. These are from the Marine Corps.

  1. Be technically and tactically proficient.
  2. Know yourself and seek self-improvement.
  3. Know your Marines and look after their welfare.
  4. Keep your personnel well-informed.
  5. Set the example.
  6. Ensure that the task is understood, supervised and accomplished.
  7. Train your people as a team.
  8. Make sound and timely decisions.
  9. Develop a sense of responsibility among subordinates.
  10. Employ your command in accordance with their capabilities.
  11. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions and the actions of your unit.

Source: Townsend, P. & Gebhardt, J. (1997) Five Star Leadership: The Art and Strategy Of Creating Leaders At Every Level. New York: Wiley.

10 levers for putting knowledge and learning to work.

In this book, the author aims to integrate two important themes of contemporary management, viz. knowledge management and organisational learning. Drawing on research from both schools of thought, he offers an integrated model of learning. There are four core principles:

  1. Individual: The success of organisations in the future will be the knowledge they hold within them and the recognition that the knowledge is contained within their most important asset, the people.
  2. Interaction: Those people must interact for their knowledge to be shared and useful to the organisation.
  3. Infrastructure: The processes by which knowledge can be shared around an organisation must be supported by the structure.
  4. Intent: The organisation’s intention to prioritise learning and knowledge creation must be a key strategic value.

The four principles have a series of supporting components that cumulatively form the 10 levers of model, which is hierarchically organised into a pyramid. At the bottom level, the individual factors are:
  1. Soloist: The residual potential in every individual must be released.
  2. Super-leader: Long-term effective leaders must acknowledge the value of knowledge management.
  3. Schema: Individuals need the ability to view things laterally, not from their own narrow perspective.
  4. Surprises: Innovation and creativity must be encouraged and developed.
  5. At the next level up the interactive factors are:
  6. Shadows: It is important to understand the hidden agendas in organisations.
  7. Self-organisation: Autonomy must support collaboration.
  8. Socialisation: The social network is critical in getting and idea accepted.
  9. The third level is the infrastructure and the issues relevant here are
  10. Structure: Knowledge must be discovered, diffused, delivered and dispersed within a time frame within the organisational structure.
  11. Sharing: Personal experiences must be spread into mainstream processes and products.
  12. Finally the top level of the hierarchy is intent and here the important issue is:
  13. Strategy: An action-based framework to deliver the outcomes that the organisation desires.
Although this book offers a `cognitive structure and diagnostic framework` that theoreticians may find elegant and attractive, a busy manager may find the heavy use of jargon rather off-putting.

Source: Cope M. (1998) Leading the Organisation to Learn: The Ten Levers for Putting Knowledge And Learning to Work. London: Financial Times Management

10 managerial roles

10 managerial roles (Mintzberg 1990)

Based on his extensive research and observation of managerial activities, Mintzberg rejects the traditional acceptance of four key roles of managers (planning, organising, co-ordinating, and controlling) based on Fayol’s long-established formulation (See 4). Instead, he describes 10 managerial roles under three broad headings which together combine into the work of manage See also Davidson’s (2002) 3 legs and the seven best practices of the committed organisation.

Three inter-personal roles
  1. The figurehead
  2. The leader
  3. The liaison
Three informational roles
  1.  The monitor
  2.  The disseminator
  3. The spokesperson
Four decisional roles
  1.  The entrepreneur
  2. The disturbance a handler
  3. The source allocator
  4.  The negotiator
See Mintzberg’s structure in 5s.

Source: Mintzberg, H. (1990) The manager’s job: folklore and fact. Harvard Business Review, March-April, 163-76.

10 mega trends

Based on a systematic monitoring of trends in different sectors of society, the author suggests 10 new directions transforming our lives. The ten mega-trends are:
  1. From an industrial society to an information society. Co-inciding with the decline in numbers of people in the manufacturing sector there is rapid growth in numbers working with information (such as programmers, teachers, clerks, secretaries, accountants, stock brokers, insurance people, bureaucrats, and managers to name but a few).
  2. From forced technology to ‘hi-tech high touch’. The growth of information-processing jobs is paralleled by the growth of personal service jobs such as fulfilment, health and beauty care, tutorial education, food and drinks services, to tourism and tailored holidays.
  3. From national economy to a world economy. No country can any longer feel that they remain pre-eminent in any field or even look after their own needs in that area. We have to be internationally aware and internationally adaptive.
  4. From short-term to long-term. The questions are: ‘What business do we want to be in?’ and ‘How do we get there?’ rather than how to make this year better than last year.
  5.  From centalisation to decentralization. The availability of information means we no longer have to be at the centre of a country or centralized to know what is going on.
  6. From institutional helper to self-helper. The availability of information and a number of conventional and sophisticated tools makes the possibility of self-help increasingly possible. We are moving from a managerial/institutional society to a more entrepreneurial self-help society
  7.  From representative democracy to a participative democracy. People increasingly want to participate more directly in affairs that affect or concern them.
  8. From hierarchies to networking. The availability of information facilitates the growth of networks because you do not have to meet in order to belong.
  9. From north to south. Modern technologies are not tied to sources of energy because they only use electricity or are suppliers of raw materials because brain power is a key resource. As a result they can locate themselves wherever they like and they tend to move towards sunshine, education and space. They can find all these conveniently
  10. From either-or to multiple options. Life used to be a straight-line progression. Careers were predictable once chosen and lifestyles followed from them. Increasingly individuals and organisations face a vast range of choices.

See also

4 trajectories of industry change (Mcgahan)
5 certainties for the 21st century (Drucker)
10 golden rules for the new economy (Kelly)
10 things Google have found to be true
12 principles of the network economy (Kelly)

Source: Naisbitt, J. & Aburdene, P. (1990) Mega-trends 2000: The Next Ten Years . . . Major changes in Your Life and The World. London: Sidgewick & Jackson

10 most powerful two-letter words

If it is to be, it is up to me

Source: Unknown (happy to acknowledge).

10 natural laws of successful time and life management

This book is subtitled: Proven Strategies for Increased Productivity and Inner Peace. According to the author, the book’s focus is not exclusively on time management but on achieving inner peace. Time management is only a set of skills and tools to help us more efficiently control the events of our lives.

Natural laws are defined as ‘fundamental patterns of nature and life that human experience and testing have shown to be valid. “They describe things as they really are, as opposed to how we think they are or how we wished they were.” The first five natural laws concern managing one’s time, and the second five concern managing one’s life. The 10 the natural laws are:
  1. You control your life by controlling your time.
  2. Your governing values are the foundation of personal success and fulfilment.
  3. When your daily activities reflect your governing values, you experience inner peace.
  4. To reach any significant goal, you must leave your comfort zone.
  5. Managing one’s time. Daily planning leverages time through increased focus.
  6. Managing one’s life. Your behaviour is a reflection of what you truly believe
  7. You satisfy needs when your beliefs are in line with reality
  8. Negative behaviours are overcome by changing incorrect beliefs
  9. Your self-esteem must ultimately come from within.
  10. Give more and you will have more
These natural laws are based on the author’s personal experience and experience of others who have put them to the test. The author argues that if you apply the natural laws you will find inner peace, ‘perhaps the most desirable gift you can obtain in this life’.

Source: Smith, H.W. (1994) The Ten Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management. New York: Warner Books

10 new rules for the new economy

Kelly argues that we now live in a new economy created by shrinking computers and expanding communications and that the new economic order has its own opportunities and pitfalls. We are at the beginning of a tectonic upheaval. The new economy has three distinguishing characteristics. It is Global. It favours intangible things (ideas, information, and relationships), and it is intensely linked. Kelly’s rules for the new economy lay out ‘10 essential dynamics’ of the emerging financial order. The 10 rules are:

1. Embrace the swarm. As power flows away from the centre, the competitive advantage belongs to those who learn how to embrace de-centralised points of control.

2. Increasing returns. As the number of connections between people and things add up, the consequences of those connections multiply out even faster, so that initial successes are not self-limiting, but self-feeding.

3. Plenitude, not scarcity. As manufacturing techniques make the art of making copies plentiful, value is carried by abundance, rather than scarcity, inverting traditional business propositions.

4. Follow the free. As resource scarcity gives way to abundance, generosity begets wealth. Following the free rehearses the inevitable fall of price, and takes advantage of the only scarcity: human attention.

5. Feed the web first.  As networks tangle all commerce, a firm’s primary focus shifts from maximising the firm’s to maximising the network’s value. Unless the net survives, the firm perishes.

6. Let go at the top. As innovation accelerates, abandoning the highly successful in order to escape from its eventual obsolescence becomes the difficult yet the most essential task.

7. From places to spaces. As physical proximity (place) is replaced by multiple interactions with anything, anytime, anywhere (space), the opportunities for intermediaries, middlemen, and mid-size niches expand greatly.

8. No harmony, all flux. As turbulence and instability become the norm in business, the most effective survival stance is a constant but highly selective disruption that we call innovation.

9. Relationship Tech.  As the soft trumps the hard, the most powerful technologies are those that enhance, amplify, extend, augment, distill, recall, expand, and develop soft relationships of all types.

10. Opportunities before efficiencies. As fortunes are made by training machines to be ever more efficient, there is far greater wealth yet to be had by unleashing the inefficient discovery and creation of new opportunities.

A startling book.  See also

4 trajectories for industry change (McGahan)
5 certainties for the 21st century (Drucker)
12 principles for the network economy (Kelly)

10 things Google have found to be true
10 mega-trends (Naisbitt)

Source: Kelly, K. (1998) New Rules for the New Economy: 10 Radical strategies for a Connected World. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

10 rules for getting to the top and staying there

Benton argues that successful people vary enormously in their personalities, temperaments and goals, but that they are alike in the way they behave. Quoting extensively from CEOs of large and small organisations, she compares successful executives with the ‘also-rans’.  She quotes two over-arching laws:
  1. There is no substitute for hard work.
  2. To be the best you have to learn from the best, especially from mentors.
Benton suggests that the reader should have “these 10 rules tattooed on your forearm, to adhere to and work on improving every day of your life.”  The 10 rules are:
  1. Be yourself.   This is really about personal integrity which the author sees as crucial for leadership. It involves being ethical, setting standards, creating and leaving a legacy.  She argues that it pays off financially, and also has a benefit in  keeping you out of jail. Other benefits of integrity are that good people want to work for you and that power can emanate from your integrity. However good you are you must get better. Her advice is that you should live your code, and if you falter you should  alter. The real test is in a crisis or when something goes wrong.
  2.  See around corners.  This is about vision. The author stresses the importance of assessing where you are, fantasising about where you could be, and assessing what the future wants and needs. Research, talking, reading and looking around, and then coming up with a clear direction and which is then shared with the organisation can do this.
  3. Make dust or eat dust.  This is strategic thinking, decision-making and planning. Where are we now, where do we want to be, how can we get there?
  4. Make the big play.  This is about delegating, communicating and planning for the unavoidable mistakes.
  5. Keep good company.  The advice here is what makes for good company how to attract good people, and how to keep them.
  6. Be the No. 1 fund-raiser and protector.  This section offers advice on CEO’s financial responsibilities.
  7. Act like a good CEO even when you don't feel like it.  Here the focus is on the obligations of leadership to be a role model and to play the part of a leader.
  8. Evangelise the world.  By this rule CEOs should be the best salesperson of the organisation; it involves being ethical, knowing the customer, being passionate, focused, and available but one’s effectiveness needs to be monitored.
  9. Go big or go home.   This rule focuses on the CEO as a community leader. One of the benefits of a strong commitment to the community is that it helps to attract the best people. Benton stresses the importance of being charitable inside as well as outside the organisation.
  10. Cut through the junk..  Under this rule the CEO strives for balance in life of complete success, including family and health. The advice here is: “ to get more balance, decide to do something about it everyday.” This section of the book offers 40 practical examples of doing something about it.
Source:  Benton, D. A. (2000) How to Act Like a CEO: Ten Rules for Getting to the Top and Staying There.  London: McGraw-Hill

10 secrets of Richard Branson (brand builder)

Richard is famous for creating and globally exploiting the Virgin brand from airlines to financial services to condoms. He is also renowned for his individualistic informal personal style and his unswerving instinct for publicity-stunts. He appears to be a great motivational leader and an opportunistic businessman who succeeds by breaking the rules others so ponderously create.

His secrets, as summarised by Dearlove, are refreshingly direct:
  1. Pick on someone bigger than you
  2. Do the hippy, hippy shake
  3. Haggle: everything’s negotiable
  4. Make work fun
  5. Do right by your brand, maintain its integrity
  6. Smile for the cameras
  7. Don’t lead sheep, herd cats
  8. Move faster than a speeding bullet
  9. Think big but keep it simple
  10. Never lose the common touch, it leads to enduring success and popularity
See Jack Welch’s 29 leadership secrets and Toyota’s 14 Principles

Source: Slater, R. (2003) 29 Leadership secrets from Jack Welch. New York: McGraw-Hill

10 steps for a learning organisation

The authors advocate integrated learning methods, as a way of developing organisations whose design takes full account of the people who make them up. The effort to build a learning organisation increases profits and cuts losses to an astonishing degree, as well as helping everyone who participates in them to lead a better life. The book is based on 16 principles that promote learning, which act as a guide to the changes in attitude and behaviour that characterise a learning organisation. The ten steps to a learning organisation are:
  1. Assess your learning culture;
  2. Promote the positive;
  3. Make the workplace safe for thinking;
  4. Reward risk-taking;
  5. Help people become resources for each other;
  6. Put learning power to work;
  7. Map out the vision;
  8. Bring the vision to life;
  9. Connect the systems;
  10. Get the show on the road
They conclude that the organisation of the future, if we have done our job well, will attract people to it as the most satisfying workplace imaginable. Throughout the book, the links between the learning organisation and the management of diversity are highlighted.

Source: Kline, P. & Saunders, B. (1993) Ten Steps to a Learning Organisation Arlington: Great Ocean Publishers

10 steps to the top

According to the author, this book is intended as a practical guide, setting out in simple and concise terms how the reader can plan his or her personal development. The author hopes says that this will lead to a happy and rewarding life. Jennings sees three different types of top:

  1. The business mountain.
  2. The pinnacles of the arts, science, and academia.
  3. The community and charitable mountain.

The Ten steps are:
  1. Know yourself helps you to understand the kind of person you are and what you have to offer.
  2. Setting the goals assists you to recognise and set your own agenda and goals.
  3. Getting in (and out) provides an insight into what organisations are looking for.
  4. Getting on advises you how to understand management priorities, and where and how to get help from peer groups and mentors.
  5. Selling yourself identifies the factors for success and the importance of commitment, confidence and having ideas.
  6. Earning your keep discusses current practice in management, identifies the alienation factor and advises on how you can assure you are earning your keep.
  7. Achieving status looks at status from many viewpoints and discusses how you can achieve it.
  8. Increasing your value covers the importance of taking the wider view, and provides guidance on self-development.
  9. Making your voice heard addresses the key areas of achieving influence and ensuring you are an effective communicator.
  10. The assessment points the way ahead and shows how to benefit from the experience and advice of your peers and mentors. Include tips from influential business people. It also examines a very important question ‘is it worth it?’
Source: Jennings, M. (1992) Ten Steps to the Top. London: Piatkus

10 tips for a successful career

Through interviews and discussion with women who lead their industries the author distils the following tips for success:

  1. Don’t wait for permission   Be sure of what you want to do and then make sure you do it, even against the odds.
  2. Don’t burn bridges   Leave situations with a positive experience; it is amazing how often you come up against people again.
  3. Respect others   Value their time and only take what you need.
  4. Think two steps ahead    Before you take a step or a decision in business, think of the one after that!
  5. Be a team player    The people you work with and who work for you are as important as those you work for; make sure nobody wants to block you.
  6. Be flexible    Stay open and understand alternative paths to your goals.
  7. Have confidence in your decisions   Explain them carefully and clearly to yourself and others, if you’re still convinced, stick with them.
  8. Learn the technology    Make sure you can make the link between systems and people, both are critical for success.
  9. Find a champion   Someone who sees your potential and opens opportunities for you, at the same time supporting and helping you develop.
  10. Be both patient and tenacious    Wait for opportunities, but don’t wait passively – be proactive and determined in both in project and `park` mode!
 Source: Steen, M. (1999) Skill Set: Ten tips for a successful career. InfoWorld, 21, 14.

10 top strategies for building the learning organisation

This book is sub-titled: A Systems Approach to Quantum Improvement and Global Success. It is a comprehensive and highly practical guide to the transformation processes that are necessary to becoming a learning organisation. A feature of the book are the lists of the top 10 strategies for achieving various aspects of a learning organisation, each with detailed practical guidance.

10 strategies to build learning subsystems are:
  1. Develop action learning programmes throughout the organisation
  2. Increase individuals’ ability to learn how to learn
  3. Develop the discipline of dialogue in the organisation
  4. Create career development plans for employability
  5. Establish self-development cash programmes
  6. Build team learning skills
  7. Encourage and practice systems thinking
  8. Use scanning and scenario planning for anticipatory learning
  9. Encourage/expand diversity, multi-cultural, and global mindsets on and learnings
  10. Change the mental model relative to learning
10 top strategies for organisational transformation to learning are:
  1. Hold a Future Search Conference to develop a vision of learning organisation
  2. Gain top-level management support for becoming a learning organisation and for championing learning projects
  3. Create a corporate climate for continuous learning
  4. Re-engineer policies and structures around learning
  5. Recognise and reward individual and team learning
  6. Make learning a part of all policies and procedures
  7. Establish centres of excellence and demonstration projects
  8. Use measurement of financial and non-financial areas as a learning activity
  9. Create time, space, and physical environment for learning
  10. Make learning intentional at all times and in all locations
 10 top strategies for people empowerment and enablement in learning organisations are:
  1. Institute personnel policies that reward learners
  2. Create self-managed work teams
  3. Empower employees to learn and produce
  4. Encourage leaders to model and demonstrate learning
  5. Invite leaders to champion learning processes and projects
  6. Balance learning and development needs of the individual and organisation
  7. Encourage and enhance customer participation in organisation learning
  8. Provide education opportunities for community
  9. Build long-term learning partnerships with vendors and suppliers
  10. Maximise learning from alliances and joint ventures
10 top strategies for knowledge management are:
  1. Create expectation that everyone is responsible for collecting and transferring knowledge
  2. Systematically capture relevant knowledge external to the organisation
  3. Organise learning events within the organisation to capture and share knowledge
  4. Develop creative and generative ways of thinking and learning
  5. Encourage and reward innovations and inventions
  6. Train staff in storage and retrieval of knowledge
  7. Encourage team mixing and job rotation to maximise knowledge transfer across boundaries
  8. Develop a knowledge-base around the values and learning needs of the organisation
  9. Create mechanisms for collecting and storing learning
  10. Transfer classroom learning to the job
 Top 10 strategies for technology application are:
  1. Encourage and enable all staff to connect into the Information Highway
  2. Develop multimedia, technology-based learning centres
  3. Create and expand interactive video instruction
  4. Use technology to capture knowledge and ideas from people within and outside the organisation
  5. Acquire and develop competencies in groupware and self-learning technology
  6. Install electronic performance support systems
  7. Plan and develop a just-in-time learning system
  8. Build internal courseware technology and capability
  9. Develop awareness and appreciation of technology as a powerful tool for corporate-wide learning planning
  10. Increase technological responsibilities of management and human resources staff

10 facilitating factors that support and sustain the learning organisation are:

  1. Scanning imperative
  2. Performance gap
  3. Concern for measurement
  4. The experimental mind set
  5. Climate of openness
  6. Continuous education
  7. Operational variety
  8. Multiple advocates and champions
  9. Involved leadership
  10. Systems perspective

The book contains The Learning Organisation Profile ™, which is a diagnostic device to help identify needs and priorities for becoming a learning organisation. The book also contains a very useful glossary of terms.

Source: Marquardt, M. J. (1996) Building the Learning Organisation. New York: McGraw-Hill/ASTD

10 top tips for strategists

This book is about the development of strategic thinking for managers, ranging from effective marketing and innovation to handling organisational politics. In addition to providing conceptual clarity about a frequently misused and abused concept, the book offers an array of tools and techniques. In a section on developing yourself as a strategist, the author offers the following top ten tips:

  1. Be focused in your aims. Use searching questions to analyse the situation and illuminate direction. Vigorous use of a strategic process model will ensure discipline of approach and control of outcomes.
  2. Be creative. Foster breakout thinking in other people. Think objectively about the power of the mind and the different forms creativity can take.
  3. Value the power of the team. Teams usually outperform the individual when it comes to creating new ideas and deciding how to implement them.
  4. Be a change agent. Develop a love of change without losing your perspective.
  5. Be a leader. Appreciate that strategies must be led.
  6. Value models of strategic analysis. Recognise the help they can give and the commercial perspective they add.
  7. Embrace innovation. This is the key to progress; seek to develop organisational structures that encourage it.
  8. Be persuasive. This includes being politically adept and streetwise in your dealings with others.
  9. Be confident in yourself. Trust the value of the strategies you are seeking to implement and demonstrate that confidence in what you say and do.
  10. Find a successful strategist as a role model. Look to see what makes that person so good. See if you can distil and bottle those talents for future use.

Source: Van Maurik, J. (2000) The Effective Strategist. Aldershot: Gower.

10 traits of dynamic leaders

In an appealingly titled book, Bennis identifies the common personality characteristics that effectively give leaders the power and passion to succeed. They are:

  1. Self-knowledge
  2. Openness to feedback
  3. The eagerness to learn and improve
  4. Curiosity and risk-taking
  5. Concentration at work
  6. Learning from adversity
  7. Balancing tradition and change
  8. Openness of style
  9. Working well with systems
  10. Serving as models and mentors

Source: Bennis, W. (1998) Managing People is Like Herding Cats. London: Kogan Page

10 ways to discredit a specialist's report

  1. Straight rejection. The specialist and the report is dismissed without further discussion. This needs a lot of position power and a big dollop of self-assurance.
  2. Bottom drawer it. The report is praised but nothing is done about it.
  3. Mobilising political support. Corall support from people who have similar interests to you.
  4. The nitty-gritty attack. Minor objections are raised to discredit and delay the full report.
  5. It will not work in tomorrow’s conditions therefore it is not worth implementing.
  6. The emotional attack. How can you do this to me?
  7.  The Invisible man tactic. You’re never available for discussion.
  8. Further investigation is required.
  9. Someone else won’t like it.
  10. Deflect attention to the points that can be rejected.

Se also Cunningham's 20 ways to prevent change happening and O'Toole's 33 hypotheses why people resist change.

Source: Quoted in Handy, C. (1990) Inside Organisations. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

1001 ways to energise employees

This book is an immensely practical and down-to-earth book, offering practical advice and techniques for energising and motivating:
  1. Individuals
  2. Teams
  3. Organisations

The headings used are:

Part One: Energising individuals
  1. Building morale
  2. Empowerment, independence and autonomy
  3. One to one communication
  4. Soliciting suggestions
  5. Encouraging creativity
  6. Training and development
  7. Interesting, challenging work

Part Two: Energising teams
  1. A clear purpose and well-defined goals
  2. Team spirit
  3. Productive meetings
  4. Team initiative
  5. Team suggestions,
  6. Creative teams
  7. Self managed work teams

Part Three: Energising organizations.
  1. Policies and procedures
  2. Fostering independence and autonomy
  3. Organisational flexibility
  4. Organisational communication
  5. Suggestion programs
  6. Employee development programs
  7. Work environment and benefits
  8. Employee ownership and stock options
  9. Community involvement

Source: Nelson, R. (1997) 1001 Ways to Energize Employees. New York: Workman Publishing

1001 ways to reward employees

The author argues that few management concepts are so profound as the idea that positive reinforcement; rewarding of behaviour you want repeated actually works. The book offers many formal and informal ways of practically and effectively motivating people. It is divided into three main parts:

Part One: Informal rewards
  1. No cost recognition
  2. Low cost rewards
  3. Recognition activities
  4. Public recognition/ social rewards
  5. Communication
  6. Time off
  7. Cash, cash substitutes, gift certificates
  8. Merchandise/apparel/food
  9. Recognition items, trophies, plaques
  10. Fun and celebrations

Part Two: Awards for specific achievements and activities
  1. Outstanding employee towards
  2. Productivity, production, quality awards
  3. Customer service awards
  4. Sales goal awards
  5. Group, team awards
  6. Attendance and safety awards

Part Three: Formal rewards
  1. Multi-level reward programs, points systems
  2. Contests
  3. Field trips, special events, travel
  4. Education, personal growth, self development
  5. Advancement, responsibility, visibility
  6. Stock ownership
  7. Employee, company anniversaries,
  8. The benefits, health, fitness
  9. Charity, social responsibility

Source: Nelson, R. (1994) 1001 Ways to Reward Employees. New York: Workman Publishing

1001 ways to take initiative at work

Nelson argues that the one quality above all else that employers want in all their employees is initiative. Not only is initiative desirable, it is highly motivating especially when recognised and rewarded.

Bob Nelson's theme is "you are masters of your own destiny". In life ultimately you only work for yourself. This is a well-researched and highly practical book with larger numbers (hundreds, rather than thousands) of company and individual examples of initiative-taking. Bob Nelson argues that regardless of your circumstances you can make a difference. It all comes down to initiative which he defines as taking action to get something done at work without waiting for your boss to tell you what to do, when and how to do it.

The book contains many practical tools and advice from other consultants, managers and many private individuals on the Internet. The book is divided into three main sections, job, relationships with others, and career and life. The main headings in the book are:

Part One: You and Your Job
  1. Thinking outside the box
  2. Doing your homework
  3. Taking action and capitalising on opportunities
  4. Making improvements
  5. Perseverance and persistence

Part Two: You and Others
  1. Leadership and influence
  2. Communication and networking
  3. Managing up
  4. Working in teams
  5. Above and beyond

Part Three: Your Career and Your Life
  1. Taking charge of your career
  2. Learning and education
  3. Developing skills on the job
  4. Overcoming obstacles
  5. Career options

Much of the advice in the book is not specific to initiative-taking and might well be found in other practical books of advice on learning, personal development, career planning etc. However it is a stimulating and practical book for those who would like to take or encourage others to take more initiative.

Source: Nelson, R. (1999) 1001 Ways to Take Initiative at Work. New York: Workman Publishing

101 great mission statements

This is a fascinating book containing descriptions and examples of the mission statements of highly successful companies. In addition to detailed mission statements many of the companies had short, flexible and distinctive “slogos” or strap lines. Some of our favourites are:

Ford ‘Everything we do is driven by you’

DHL ‘We keep your promises’

The Automobile Association (AA) ‘We are all you need to know’

Amex ‘Don’t leave home without it’

Hertz ‘You don’t just rent a car, you rent a company ‘

IBM ‘I think, therefore IBM ‘

Microsoft ‘Making it all make sense’

Rockwell International ‘Where science gets down to business’

Royal bank of Scotland ‘Where people matter’

Toshiba ‘In touch with tomorrow ‘

Toyota ‘The car in front is a Toyota’

Source: Foster, T.R.V. (1993) 101 Great Mission Statements. London: Kogan Page.

101 of the greatest ideas in management

This book aims to offer the reader ‘the management wisdom of scores of great minds’. The criteria for inclusion in the book were relevance, practicality and suitability for flexible and contemporary use. The relevance criterion was considered crucial and Uris makes the point that in the management arena many fashionable ideas come and go, and he wanted to ensure that entries in his book were more than mere fads. The main headings are: Dealing with people, Procedures, Lore and insights, and Self-help.

In order to give a representative view of the 101 methods, we have used the Ancient Roman technique of Decimation. We have selected every tenth question for illustration, including the first and last. (Decimation was a punishment meted out when an army or division had acquitted itself in a cowardly manner in the eyes of the generals. Every tenth man was selected and then punished by being killed by his comrades!). This is inverse decimation, i.e. reduced to a tenth.
The representative Ways are:

Dealing with People
  1. Buddy system
  2. Herzberg`s Motivator/Hygiene concept
  3. Morale
  4. Selective leadership

  1. Bypassing
  2. Management meetings
  3. Wastebasketry

Lore and insights
  1. The halo effect
  2. Responsibility, authority and accountability

  1. Enjoying your job
  2. Time scheduling
  3. Time sense

Under each entry are headings covering the concept involved, the action opportunities that are relevant, some examples of use, and a `how to use` section gives positive ways the ideas may improve management practice. The entries vary widely, from respected and researched theoretical models such as those of Herzberg and Maslow, to simple `eureka` experiences that management thinkers have found to work, such as the `why not` question when considering an individuals motivation.

As a reference text, this is a useful book, it is easy to read, but, as the author admits, his selection of `great` ideas is, at the end of the day, only subjective. He does acknowledge the inclusion of several of his own!

Source: Uris A. (1986) 101 Of The Greatest Ideas In Management – And How To Use Them. Chichester: Wiley

101 ways to clean up your act

A practical book, which is designed to help people organise themselves better and be more effective. The focus is on understanding your strengths, presenting a better image, and reaching your peak performance. The book combines advice, rules, guidelines and practical tips and techniques. Its prime focus is on the efficient use of time and the avoidance of clutter and tasks that get in the way of important activity. It has little to say on values, vision and goals and the importance of follow-up. It is more focused on Drucker’s formulation of doing things right rather than doing the right things. There is a strong element of paper and e-mail phobia, but nonetheless there is a much practical advice for life both in the office and at home.

Applying the method of inverse decimation (See 101 Uris, 1986) we have sampled 12 of the 101ways to give an impression of the book:

  1. Don't respond too quickly-the instructions and opportunities may change
  2. Be informal in your responses
  3. Crush the urge to confirm everything in writing
  4. Use idea wheels for meeting agendas and assignments
  5. Consider the cost and time of double checking
  6. Determine a hierarchy of values for editing and rewriting
  7. Use informal memos for internal audiences
  8. Talk rather than write when how you say it is as important as what you say
  9. Do your work by phone when you're out of the office
  10. Put paperwork aside only if you've made a complete note about what needs to be done
  11. Cancel free subscriptions that you wouldn't apply for
  12. Discard unread magazines, channels, and newspapers

Source: Booher, D. (1994) 101 Ways To Clean Up Your Act. London: Kogan Page

101 ways to better communication

This book provides straightforward practical advice on communication in general, under 11 headings:
  1. Benefits of better communication.
  2. Basic principles.
  3. Communicating-the theory.
  4. Blocking communication.
  5. Unblocking communication.
  6. Organising your thoughts.
  7.  Valuing people.
  8. Choosing appropriate words.
  9. Using your non-verbal behaviour.
  10. Improving your image.
  11. Getting feedback.

It also provides advice on eight specific types of communication
  1. Conducting meetings
  2. Giving presentations
  3. Writing for business
  4. Writing letters, memos and minutes
  5. Writing reports
  6. Using visuals
  7. Interviewing
  8. Putting it altogether

Applying the method of inverse decimation (See 101 Uris, 1986) we have sampled 12 of the 101 ways to give an impression of the book.
  1. Save resources
  2. Send your message
  3. Know your purpose
  4. Order your information
  5. Examine your office
  6. Encourage involvement
  7. Keep a record
  8. Be a team player
  9. Have a structure
  10. More practice
  11. Network
  12. Seek opportunities

Source: Tierney, E. (1998) 101 Ways To Better Communication. London: Kogan Page. Other 101 Ways books in the same series include 101 Ways to Generate Great Ideas; 101 Ways to Get More Business and 101 Ways to Run Your Business Profitably.

101 ways to develop people

Unlike many of the books with the title “101 ways to”, this book at least offers its advice in alphabetical order. It is a useful browser, and highly practical. Applying the method of inverse decimation (See 101 Uris, 1986) we have sampled 12 of the 101 ways to give an impression of the book.
  1. Acting as a sounding board
  2. Audio tapes
  3. Clarifying values
  4. Criticizing
  5. Flip-charting
  6. Inducting new-starters
  7. Meetings
  8. Praising
  9. Rotating jobs
  10. Stress management
  11. Weighing up pros and cons
  12. Writing

The author gives the impression that he did not struggle to reach the target, but could have gone on and on, reinforcing the point that opportunities for learning and development are all around us.

Source: Honey, P. (1994) 101 Ways to Develop Your People - Without Really Trying! Maidenhead: Peter Honey Publications.

101 ways to generate great ideas

Although business and management oriented, this book is of relevance to everybody who acknowledges the need for innovation and creativity. Foster argues that, to succeed, we cannot wait for ideas to just `happen`, we need to be able to generate them on demand. He argues that this is a process that can be managed by individuals to develop their own idea producing mechanisms. The book is easy to read, and uses real life anecdotes to illustrate the points included under each of the six main sections.

101 ways to improve business performance

Waters opens the introduction to this book by stating that, despite the title, he is not offering specific ways of measuring business performance. As there are so many different ways of measuring performance, such as sales, output, profit, customer loyalty etc., he prefers to concentrate on underlying operations. The central premise is that the way to increase market share is by making a better product that customers want; the way to reduce operating costs is to use a better process. So, with focus on both product and process, Waters offers general management principles that are applicable to nearly all businesses. The 101 Ways are presented under nine headings:
  1. Managers and Decisions
  2. Think strategically
  3. Look after your most valuable asset
  4. Focus on your operations
  5. Focus on your products
  6. Aim for perfect quality
  7. Design the best process
  8. Make plans for everything
  9. Manage the supply chain

Applying the method of inverse decimation (See 101 Uris, 1986) we have sampled 12 of the 101 ways to give an impression of the book:
  1. Make decisions
  2. Focus on customers
  3. Design a marketing strategy
  4. Use teams
  5. Use partial productivities
  6. Introduce new products
  7. Introduce TQM properly
  8. Lay out the process properly
  9. Try to smooth operation
  10. Look at your logistics
  11. Improve procurement
  12. Improve distribution

The book gives an outline of each way, with definitions and conceptual background where necessary, and then provides an “in brief” statement that summarises how a manager should apply the tip. This is a very comprehensive publication that could serve as a useful blueprint for anybody wishing to start a new business, or to overhaul an existing one. The section headings indicate the breadth, and high level of the approach. Easy to read, and to follow, it concisely presents much contemporary thinking about management. It may oversimplify in places, as many of the concepts are complex, and does not really provide guidance for when things do not go perfectly, but generally a useful and sophisticated source of ideas.

Source: Waters, D. (1999) 101 Ways to Improve Business performance. London: Kogan Page

101 ways to make more profits

Pipe stresses his view that making profits is not easy, and makes the point that the only place that profit comes before work is in a dictionary! The book is directed at managers and owners of small to medium sized businesses who want to make sure that their hard work actually does turn into profits. Organised into thirteen sections, the 101 tips read as a common sense guide to doing business. The 101 Was are presented under 12 main headings:

  1. Supercharge your sales and marketing
  2. Pricing for Profit
  3. Minimise your costs
  4. Minimise your Tax Bill
  5. Manage your Time
  6. Manage your Staff
  7. Manage your Stock
  8. Manage your Debtors
  9. Business threats
  10. Getting the most from Professional Advisers
  11. Getting the most out of the Bank
  12. Something for nothing
  13. And finally ….

Applying the method of inverse decimation (See 101 Uris, 1986) we have sampled 12 of the 101 ways to give an impression of the book.

  1. Sorting out the flowers from the weeds
  2. There’s no such word as can’t
  3. Try before you buy
  4. Beware the bar room accountant
  5. Make your time count
  6. Empower your team
  7. Bulk discounts - friends or foe?
  8. Invoice time
  9. Don’t over-complicate
  10. Who needs an accountant?
  11. How to get your bank to say yes
  12. Grants – don’t take them for granted

And finally….

Don’t put this book down……….This is perhaps the most important tip – it’s not enough to identify ways to improve profit – managers have actually got to make it happen!

The author suggests that his readers complete an immediate action plan, listing at least 5 steps they are going to take today to improve profits, and 10 more things they are going to do tomorrow. A useful book, with practical guidelines which are sometimes blindingly obvious, but which, if used a checklist for business operations, might well make a difference.

Source: Pipe, S. (1995) 101 Ways To Make More Profit. London: Kogan Page Ltd.

10 day MBA

This book provides a summary of the knowledge-base of the MBA programmes as taught by the 10 most popular business schools in the United States. As the author argues, the book is written for the impatient student and allows the reader to grasp the fundamentals of an MBA programme without losing two years’ wages and incurring an $80,000 debt. The basic knowledge falls into nine disciplines, the unpretentious names for which are:

  1. Marketing
  2. Assets
  3. Accounting
  4. Organisational behaviour
  5. Quantitative analysis
  6. Finance
  7. Operations
  8. Economics
  9. Strategy 

The book even offers a copy of a certificate into which readers can insert their own name to show that they have completed the 10-day course.

Source: Silbiger, S. (1994) The Ten Day MBA. London: Piatkus

11 characteristics of the learning organization

Mike Pedler and his co-authors set out to apply their knowledge and experience of individual learning to understand and master the art of corporate learning. The learning company is the term preferred to `learning organisation` and facilitates the learning of all its members, and consciously transforms itself and its context. The book sets out a blueprint for the learning company, a tool to diagnose how a company measures up as a learning company, an action planning recommendation, and a review process. According to the authors, successful, and therefore sustainable learning companies will display eleven characteristics:

  1. A learning approach to strategy. Deciding what to do in terms of the strategic direction of the company has to be, in itself, a learning process. This process involves taking controlled risks, piloting small scale experiments and changes across different parts of the company and measuring and monitoring performance against the strategy.
  2. Participative policy making. This means that more, not less, people are involved in the strategy-making process. All members of the company should have an input to the decision making and implementation of those decisions. This will increase commitment and `ownership` of strategy.
  3. Informating. A learning organisation uses IT to facilitate the use of free-flowing and transparent information, empowering them in decision-making processes. It is not the same as automating that takes human intelligence out of the process and disempowers people.
  4. Formative accounting and control. The basic control functions of budgeting and reporting are used to assist learning by allowing analysis and review of the consequences of managerial decisions.
  5. Internal exchange. This entails using an internal customer/supplier model, companies self regulate to negotiate their relationships to mutually satisfaction. The keys are shared expectations, feedback and constant dialogue.
  6. Reward flexibility. Learning companies aim `at a fair sharing of the rewards and explore alternative approaches to pay, attempting to create flexible packages for individuals`.
  7. Enabling structures. Learning companies are able to keep loose enough to provide opportunities for individual and business development. Structures need to be able to change quickly and cheaply.
  8. Boundary workers as environmental scanners. Employees who interface with the `outside` world are seen as valuable collectors and interpreters of information.
  9. Inter-company learning. Companies can learn with and from each other. Learning companies watch for, and create opportunities to do this. Joint ventures, benchmarking and responding to market initiatives are examples of inter-company learning.
  10. A learning climate. Managers actively facilitate the learning of their people and make constructive use of mistakes.
  11. Self-development opportunities for all. Facilities and resources are available for all members to take responsibility for their development. Several avenues to this are suggested. These include self-development budgets, multi-skilling pportunities, collaborative career planning, sabbatical and others.

Organisations can only become learning companies as a result of self-awareness; the process does not happen by chance. The authors of this book believe that if the above characteristics are developed and expressed then the companies will be able to sustain their position in the market place, will be able to adapt to environmental changes, and finally will survive successfully in the long term.

Source: Pedler, M. & Burgoyne, J. & Boydell, T. (2nd Ed, 1997) The Learning Company. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.

11 keys to leadership

As the author puts it, this book is for busy leaders, not about them. The basic theme of the book is that leadership skills can be described and learned, “The key to leadership lies not in having the right stuff from birth, but in getting it”.

The book rejects three “tired myths” about leadership. These are:

  1. The birthright myth: leaders are born not made.
  2. There for all seasons myth: once a leader always a leader.
  3. The intensity myth: leaders are more emotionally intense than the rest of us.

The eleven keys to leadership are divided into five different types of role. The leader has three distinct vision roles, encompassed by:

  1. Statements and actions
  2. Goal setting and motivation
  3. Conceptual architecture and prophecy

The leader has two distinct relationship roles, reflected by:
  1. Teamwork and personnel structures
  2. Networks and representation
The leader has two control roles, displayed by:
  1. Problem definition/ solution and decision-making
  2. Delegation, work descriptions, and conflict management
The leader has two distinct encouragement roles, through:
  1. Recognition and reward incentives
  2. Support

The leader has two information roles, in:
  1. Communication design and monitoring
  2. Informing, consulting and mentoring

The book has practical leadership tips for each of the roles and also contains diagnostic questionnaires.

Source: Smith, D.A. (1997) The Eleven Keys To Leadership. London: Contemporary Books

11 mechanisms for culture change

Schein’s mechanisms for culture change are built around his concept of organizational culture that he defined as the set of assumptions about relationships, human activity, human nature etc that are unconscious and taken for granted.  Schein argues that gaining insight into the underpinnings of organisational culture and the implications for culture change depends on the circumstances in which the organisation finds itself.
In particular, he argues that culture change has different stages of development and that the kind of change that is possible depends on the flexibility of the organisation and the degree to which it is ready for change, either because of some externally induced crisis or some internal forces pushing towards change.

He describes three major developmental periods each with associated change mechanisms that are likely to be operating.

Birth and early growth. At this stage the culture serves the critical purpose of holding the organisation together.
  1. Natural evolution. The culture simply evolves according to what works best over the years, either in the organisation as a whole or more specifically in different parts.
  2. The self guided evolution through organisational therapy. This requires outsiders to help unfreeze the organisation, provide psychological safety, reflect back to key people in the organisation how the culture seems to be operating and further the process of cognitive redefinition.
  3. Managed evolution through hybrids. If the organisation’s leaders recognise the need for change but do not quite know how to create it, they begin to systematically select for key jobs those members of the old culture who best represent the new assumptions that the leaders want to implement.
  4. Manage revolution to outsiders. The organisation turns to outsiders to fill key positions on the grounds that the organisation needs to be managed differently.
Organisational midlife. The organisation is established and must now maintain itself through a continuous process of growth and renewal. This is the period when most managers have most choice as to whether and how to mange cultural issues.

  1. Planned change and organisational development. Invariably this involves knitting together diverse and warring sub-cultures with he aim of integrating constructively the multiple agendas of different groups.
  2. Technological seduction. New technologies cause cultures to change in two ways, viz disruption of the social and interpersonal relationships that have been built up around the old technology forcing re-examination and re-evaluation, and new assumptions about the nature of the organisation, its purpose and how it operates. This can result from the deliberate use of technology-change to bring about culture change.
  3. Change through scandal, explosion of myths. This is most likely to occur where there are incongruities between ‘espoused theories’ and ‘theories in use’.
  4. Incrementalism. This results when all of a manager’s decisions are consistently biased towards a new set of assumptions, even though individually each decision is a small change.

Organisational maturity. Many organisations discover that pieces of their culture or even the entire culture has become dysfunctional in a dynamic and competitive environment.

  1. Coercive persuasion. Discouraging or preventing exit can enable escalated rates of change and more tolerance of discomfort.
  2. Turnaround. The use of many of the other mechanisms of change to alter a culture.
  3. Reorganisation, destruction, and rebirth. If the agents or source of core culture is destroyed, that culture is also destroyed, providing opportunity for a new culture to replace it.
See also Schein's
3 levels of culture
5 mistakes in thinking about organisational change
8 practical steps to help organisations learn faster

Source: Schein, E. (1985) How culture forms, develops and changes. Chapter Two in Kilmann, R.H., Saxton, M.J., Serpa, R. et al (1985) Eds. Gaining Control of the Corporate Culture. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

11 principles of leadership (General Patton)

General Patton (1885-1945) was a famous US Army officer. During World War II (1939-1945), he played a key role in the Allied armoured thrust to Germany. After the war, Patton was named head of the Fifteenth Army, shortly before he was killed in a traffic accident.
His principles are widely taught in Military academies, and clearly demonstrate a deep concern for the welfare of the men under his command, direct communications, and the overriding role of the mission. He could never have been accused of being a bureaucrat.

  1. A commander will command.
  2. Summer soldiers will be transferred before the sun goes down.
  3. Keep a quick line of communications.
  4. Punishment for mistakes must be immediate, as a dead man does not have any ego.
  5. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
  6. A man who thinks he is indispensable, ain’t.
  7. The mission is all-important, think about standard rules later.
  8. Always be alert to the source of trouble.
  9. Select leaders for accomplishment and not for affection.
  10. Every commander must have authority equal to his responsibility.
  11. Protect the troops first. The wishes of superior officers are secondary.
Source: Williamson, P. B. General Patton’s Principles for Life and Leadership. Tucson: Management and Systems Consultants. Quoted in Townsend & Gebhardt (1997).

11 qualities of successful managers

11 qualities of successful managers (Pedler, Burgoyne & Boydell 1994)

This is a workbook designed to help managers develop the 11 qualities the authors believe are the foundation to management success. The qualities are:-

  1. Command of basic facts It is critical that managers know “what`s what” in their organisation. They understand goals, plans, products, people, roles and expectations. If they do not have it all at their fingertips. They must at least know where to find it.
  2. Relevant professional knowledge This includes technical knowledge about production, marketing, engineering, relevant legislation, finance and knowledge of basic management principles and theories.
  3. Continuing sensitivity to events. Successful managers can tune in to what’s happening and can interpret and respond appropriately to people and situations as they arise.
  4. Analytical, problem-solving, decision/judgement-making skills. These are critical for successful management, particularly in ambiguous or uncertain situations. Managers must be able to strike a balance between logic, fact and subjective feelings in arriving at correct decisions.
  5. Social skills and abilities. Management requires interpersonal skills, as it all about getting things done through other people. Managers must be skilled communicators, negotiators, conflict-resolvers, persuaders, sellers and delegators.
  6. Emotional resilience. Managers need to be able to absorb pressure and work under varying degrees of emotional stress and strain without suffering undue personal consequences to the detriment of work and home.
  7. Proactivity. This is the inclination to respond purposefully to events. This means that managers must always have the long term picture in mind, even when dealing with unexpected short term crises.
  8. Creativity. This is the ability to generate unique new responses to situations, and also to encourage and recognise that capacity in others.
  9. Mental agility. This is the ability to grasp problems quickly, to deal with several issues at once, to switch rapidly from one issue to another and of course, to `think on one`s feet`. The authors believe these to be particularly necessary qualities for managerial success, given the hectic nature of managerial work.
  10. Balanced learning habits and skills. Successful manager are independent learners, who are capable of abstract as well as practical thinking. They have a broad view of `management and understand how complex it is to deal equally well with people and tasks.
  11. Self-knowledge. Whatever we do is affected by our own view of our selves, our jobs, our roles. To keep on top of the job, managers must have a realistic view of his or her own strengths and weaknesses. Successful managers therefore have the skill of introspection.

The authors explain that the 11 qualities fall into 3 groups:

Numbers 1 and 2 form the minimum necessary level for management.
Numbers 3 to 7 are specific skills hat affect performance
Numbers 8 to 11 are the qualities that allow the manager to develop the skills outlined in numbers 3 to 7.

This is a useful self-diagnostic tool, which will help a determined learner to understand his strengths and developmental needs within a managerial role.

Source: Pedler M., Burgoyne J. & Boydell T. (3rd Ed., 1994) A Manager’s Guide To Self Development Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.

11 types you might meet on your way to the top

This is an interesting and amusing Appendix in Jennings’s book, Ten Steps to the Top (See 10). The eleven types are:

  1. The Whiz Kid. He or she is on the way to the top, and preferably in the fast lane. Almost always capable and competent, but often arrogant. Often with charisma, but sometimes deadly dull.
  2. The Butterfly. Here she is almost always imaginative and creative. A starter but rarely a runner. They tend to move through areas of work looking for the next challenge or opportunity.
  3. The ‘Gold Bricks’ Merchant. He or she is solid, cautious, and ‘sells’ the organisation line all the time. Rarely creative, but dependable.
  4. The Piranha. He or she picks up other people's ideas and concepts and makes them their own. Often aggressive, obvious, rarely with charm. Sometimes unpopular, but can be considered valuable by their bosses.
  5. The chameleon. He or she does not have a mind of his or her own. Can be popular, can be tricky, two-faced and dangerous.
  6. The ‘Favourite’. He or she is always trying to curry favour, with bosses usually but frequently at all levels. Obsequious and lacking imagination, they frequently can't see the damage they do their own chances by the their attitudes and actions.
  7. The Status Seeker. He or she is very obvious. They will do almost anything to achieve status and promotion. Sometimes they have the ability. They are often aggressive.
  8. The Mentor. He or she can come in many guises. They can be very useful in spotting talent and trying to help others to develop their abilities. They are generally very valuable members of any team.
  9. The Worthy ‘Old Faithful’. He or she is a most useful and often undervalued member of the organisation that can be relied on to deliver no matter how difficult the task of tricky the situation.
  10. The Corporate Bore. He or she is always predictable. They are ‘know it alls’. They frequently lack a sense of humour and a distinctive personality.
  11. The Odd One Out. He or she has a reputation for being an awkward person. In discussion they present the opposite view, and the difficult questions. Frequently the have imagination, creative ability and vision.

Source: Jennings, M. (1993) Ten Steps to the Top. London: Piatkus

12 bad business habits

This book is written for people who are not performing up to their potential or who have reached a plateau, or who are no longer functioning at a level commensurate with their true potential (or at least what they believe is their true potential). The authors are directors of career development at the Harvard Business School. The book offers a framework for diagnosing sources of under-performance, and then provides practical guidance on what to do to overcome the bad habits that are resulting in the under-performance. The underlying philosophy is that you must first realise your weaknesses before you can build them into strengths. The bad habits are defined as 12 behaviours that can hold you back. They are:

  1. Never feeling good enough.
  2. Seeing the world in black and white.
  3. Doing too much, pushing too hard.
  4. Avoiding conflict at any cost.
  5. Running roughshod over the competition.
  6. Rebel looking for a cause.
  7. Always swinging for the fence (a term from American baseball, the English equivalent from cricket would be, always trying to hit a six).
  8. Fear is in the driver’s seat.
  9. Emotionally tone-deaf.
  10. When no job is good enough.
  11. Lacking a sense of boundaries.
  12. Losing the path.

Source: Waldroop, J, & Butler, T. (2000) Maximum Success: Breaking the Twelve Bad Business Habits Before They Break You. London: HarperCollins Business.

12 habits of ineffective mentors

We are so often told what good mentors do, or should do, it is refreshing to see the mirror image, which is often closer to the experience of many people supposedly being mentored. The twelve bad habits are:
  1. Start from the point of view that you, from your vast experience and broader perspective, know better than the mentee what’s in his or her interest.
  2. Be determined to share your wisdom with them, whether they want it or not; remind them frequently how much they still have to learn.
  3. Decide what you and the mentee will talk about and when; change dates and themes frequently to prevent complacency sneaking in.
  4. Do most of the talking; check frequently that they are paying attention.
  5. Make sure they understand how trivial their concerns are compared to the weighty issues you have to deal with.
  6. Remind the mentee how fortunate s/he is to have your undivided attention.
  7. Neither show nor admit any personal weaknesses; expect to be their role model in all aspects of career development and personal values.
  8. Never ask them what they should expect of you; how would they know anyway?
  9. Demonstrate how important and well connected you are by sharing confidential information they don’t need (or want) to know.
  10. Discourage any signs of levity or humour; this is a serious business and should be treated as such.
  11. Take them to task when they don’t follow your advice.
  12. Never, never admit that this could be a learning experience for you too.
Source: Clutterbuck, D. (2000) Presented at the AMED/EMC Conference. AMED News, December 2000.

12 hallmarks for success in the 21st Century

The authors identify 12 “hallmarks” of success, based on interviews with more than 1000 senior executives at the Wharton Business School. The hallmarks are:
  1. Vision-directed
  2. Cross functional
  3. Flatter and empowered
  4. Global
  5. Network
  6. Information technology based
  7. Stakeholder friendly
  8. Flexible adaptive
  9. Customer driven
  10. Total quality focused
  11. Time based
  12. Innovative
Source: Brill, P. and Worth, R. (1996) The Four Levers of Corporate Change. London: McGraw-Hill.

12 ladders to world-class performance

This book is subtitled: How your company can compete with the best in the world. This is a practical book designed for managers and companies who wish to know what it means to be "world-class" in practical terms. World-class is primarily defined through the eyes of the customer. For example in terms of the quality of the product will serve us, value for money, service, reliability and innovation. The 12 ladders are:

  1. Aligning management objectives.
  2. Customer focus.
  3. Organising the workplace.
  4. Definition of visible measurement systems.
  5. Managing for quality.
  6. Eliminating waste.
  7. Best operating practices and continuous improvement.
  8. Teamwork.
  9. Staff empowerment and involvement.
  10. Rewards and recognition.
  11. Purposeful communication.
  12. Continuous learning.

For each ladder there are five levels:

Level 1 is defined as managing managers giving orders.
Level 2 where each person's responsibilities are clearly defined.
Level 3 where top management decides on new objectives and translates it lower down the organization.
Level 4 companies goals are clear and actionable by all.
Level 5 measurable objectives are agreed annually in every department.

The measures associated with each are defined in more detail in the book and each ladder is supported by ideas and techniques for use by the reader.

Source: Drennan, D. & Pennington, S. (1999) Twelve Ladders to World-Class Performance. London: Kogan Page

12 organisational capabilities

Garratt defines an organisational capability as the ‘ability to make things happen in the way intended by directors and senior managers, and with the active co-operation of employees’. He argues that by failing to balance effectiveness with efficiency many organisations lose their ability to control and develop their organisational capabilities.


Garratt positions the model of the twelve capabilities as an interpretive tool and a search for meaning rather that one which is based on experimental laws. He sees the organisational capabilities as the number of elements needed for effective description of an organisation.

The 12 capabilities are divided into three internal task-focused elements, three internal emotional-process elements, two external task-focused elements, two external emotional-process elements, and finally two meta-elements, that link together the other ten.

Internal task-focused elements

1.    Clarity of personal responsibility. Garratt argues that most people do not know exactly what their jobs are. Induction processes do not really exist at management and director level, and there is a general lack of ‘inclusion’ processes at this level.

2.    Organisational clarity. Organisation charts bear little relationship to the everyday reality of working life.   Analyses resulting from the application of the balanced score-card or the European Foundation for Quality Management model of business excellence can create a more realistic and sometimes surprising picture. 

3.    Financial rewards. Garratt argues that financial rewards must be linked to individual and total corporate performance at all levels.

Internal emotional-process elements

4.    Person rewards. This include personal recognition which must be both positive and negative.

5.    Personal performance indicators. There is a need for clarity about what targets will be met, and how the process of achieving them will be carried out. Values are important in this context, and should be routinely discussed.

6.    Group performance indicators. There should be strong emphasis on the “how” and not just on “what”.
External task-focused elements
7.    The work quality perspective. It is essential to measure customer and consumer feedback constantly to ensure product and service quality. An emotional climate of continuous improvement needs to be created.

8.    Competitor orientation. The question is raised: how much attention is paid to, and how much information is obtained on, competitors?

External emotional-process elements

9.    Organisational dynamics. This is defined as the speed at which the organisation can learn to change, and the rate at which the organisation’s learning capacity responds to the rate of change in its external environment. The two together determines its level of organisational capability.

10.Customer orientation. A customer orientation needs to be the central focus of all the elements of organisational capability.

Meta elements. Garratt argues that all organisations are held together by the quality and the quality of their leadership and their learning climate.
11.Leadership orientation.   For Garratt, being a leader is about having the competencies to blend the ‘hard’ task elements of work with the ‘soft’ social-process elements to achieve goals and purpose.

12.Learning climate. The emotional climate for learning starts with the Directors’ purpose, vision, and values, and is manifested in their behaviour. They should create systems for learning about the changing outside world (to improve organisational effectiveness) and cycles of change in the internal operational world (to improve organisational efficiency). Garratt argues that it takes both understanding and emotional energy from directors and managers to build systems and a climate of constructive review and learning. 

The book contains a survey instrument, The Organisational Capabilities Survey, which enables the user to carry around a systematic gap analysis between the current reality based on the 12 organisational capabilities as a basis for diagnosis and prioritising remedial action.

Source: Garratt, R. (2000) The Twelve Organisational Capabilities. London: HarperCollins.

12 pillars of business success

This book is subtitled: “How to achieve extraordinary results from ordinary people”, which presumably includes the people who need to read it. There is also a foreword by Sir John Harvey-Jones who asserts that the book is a “helpful extension of views I have been trying to proselytise for so long”. That in itself should indicate the appeal, or otherwise, of this book. The book was written in response to demand from people who were exposed to the author’s thinking in his work with clients, his workshops, and also many conferences and seminars at which he was an invited speaker.

The first two pages have the following banner headlines: “the most important book you will ever read” and “there has to be an easier way”. The second assertion is beyond doubt: the second is, of course, debatable, and must be left to the judgement of the reader. The Pillars are, in Sewell’s own words, the “crucial ingredients requiring a totally new mindset if performance is to be transformed”. The twelve Pillars are
  1. Leadership
  2. Effective followers and missionaries
  3. Vision
  4. Superior philosophies
  5. Superior strategies cascaded throughout organisation
  6. Collective knowledge
  7. Designing superior organizations (winning structures and systems)
  8. Building superior (winning) organisations
  9. Developing superior organization (winning teams)
  10. Goal-related motivation (for a winning performance)
  11. Communication of vision (to achieve extraordinary performance)
  12. Culture of change (a charter for extraordinary achievement)

Source: Sewell, R. (1996) Twelve Pillars of Business Success. London: Kogan Page

12 shattered myths about visionary companies

In a six-year research project the authors set out to identify and systematically investigate the historical development of a set of visionary companies and to examine differences from a carefully selected control set of comparison companies. In this manner successful companies over a long period of time were being compared with their closest, but less successful competitors. The authors hoped to discover the underlying factors that account for the long term effectiveness of successful companies. In the words of the author's: “These companies were the best of the best in the industry and have been that way for decades”. The book provides an interesting comparison with Fitz-Enz’s investigation of companies who achieve best-practice in the management of their human resources who concluded that it is more a question of context and a frame of mind than specific practices.

The authors summarised their findings in the form of 12 shattered myths.

  1. It takes a great idea to start a great company. Few of the successful companies started with a great idea. Many of them got off to a slow start but ended up winning in the long race.
  2. Visionary companies require great and charismatic visionary leaders. Many of the most successful CEOs were not high profile charismatic leaders. Instead they concentrated on creating an enduring institution rather than on being a great individual leader. They were clock-builders, not time tellers.
  3. The most successful companies exist first and foremost to maximise profits. To the contrary, the visionary companies pursued a cluster of objectives, of which making money is only one. They are guided by a core ideology with values and a sense of purpose beyond just making money, and paradoxically end up making more of it in the long-term.
  4. Visionary companies share a common set of core values. According to the authors, there is no right set of organizational values. The critical factor is not what the values are but how deeply they are felt and consistently expressed in everything the organization does.
  5. The only constant is change. A visionary company almost religiously preserves its core set of values, seldom if ever changing them. The values provide a rock-solid foundation for the powerful drive for progress displayed by the visionary companies. They change and adapt without compromising their ideals.
  6. Blue-chip companies play it safe. To the contrary visionary companies are not afraid to adopt what the authors call BHAGS – big, hairy, audacious goals – but they do not do so recklessly.
  7. Visionary companies are a great place to work for everyone. This is only true for those who fit the company’s strong culture and the associated demanding standards. There is an almost cult-like quality to life in these organizations. You fit or you don’t.
  8. Highly successful companies make the best moves by brilliant and complex strategic planning. The reality is that some of the best moves made by these companies were experiment, trial and error, opportunistic and accidental. The attitude is to try a lot of stuff and stay with what works.
  9. Companies should hire outside CEOs to stimulate fundamental change. In the visionary companies home-grown management tends to dominate. Significant change and fresh ideas do not only come from outsiders.
  10. The most successful companies focus primarily on beating the competition. Visionary companies tend to compete against themselves. Beating the competition is a result of a relentless quest to continuously improve.
  11. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Visionary companies tend not to struggle with either/or issues. It is not simply a question of making money or living according to values and purpose. They tend to focus on A and B rather than A or B.
  12. Companies become visionary primarily through vision statements that are novel. Creating a statement can be helpful, and indeed many of the successful companies do, but it is only one step in a constantly evolving process that leads to a successful visionary company.

Source: Collins, J.C. & Porras, J.I. (1996) Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. London: Century Press

12 themes of management

In his introduction to Stuart Crainer’s fascinating selection of the 50 most influential books in management theory, Gary Hamel identifies 12 themes:

  1. Management (what does it mean to be a manager, what makes the manager’s role different from other possible roles in the organisation, different ways of being managerial).
  2. Leadership (the difference between leadership and management, the nature of leadership and the qualities required, focus on the how rather than the what).
  3. Complexity (the nature of organisations, issues of size, structure and flexibility).
  4. People (the role of people in organisations and their relationship with organisations, teams, motivation and personality).
  5. Customer (the relationships between customers or the market and the organisation, quality and innovation).
  6. Global (the necessity or otherwise of being global, what does it mean to be global, the necessity or otherwise of recognising local differences).
  7. The future (the knowability or otherwise of the future).
  8. Renewal (change, vitality, surviving and thriving).
  9. Competition (competitive edge, winning)
  10. Efficiency (achieving more with less, re-engineering)
  11. Strategy (towards a theory of strategy)
  12. Fun (where would we be without it?)
See Crainer’s 50 books that made management
Source: Crainer, S. (1996) The Ultimate Business Library: 50 Books that Made Management. London: Capstone Publishing. Forward and commentary by Gary Hamel.

13 characteristics of the learning organization

In their highly practical guide to becoming a learning organization, Mayo and Lank identify thirteen defining characteristics:
  1. The word learning is frequently heard as part of the everyday language.
  2. People development is a priority. Managers see the development of the people they are responsible for as a key element in the job.
  3. Performance management encourages learning. Documents used in appraisal and development planning make provision for learning plans to be mutually devised by the individual and his or her manager.
  4. Feedback is normal. Giving and receiving feedback is normal practice and people are trained in the process.
  5. People understand their learning style preferences. Managers and others can diagnose their preferred learning styles and go on to select from a variety of learning methods.
  6. Proactive support for learning. Individuals are proactive in developing their own learning and supportive of colleagues in theirs.
  7. Continual learning. People are interested in analysing incidents and events so as to learn from them and are constantly questioning the way things are done in the search for improvement.
  8. Gain rather than a blame culture. Looking for someone or something to blame when things go wrong is unacceptable behaviour. The emphasis is upon what can we learn from this?
  9. Learning rather than status. People focus on the learning opportunities offered by jobs rather than on the status that goes with them.
  10. Shared learning. The ‘not invented here’ attitude is rejected ideas and experience are shared across team.
  11. User-friendly data-base. The organisation has an accessible user-friendly up-to-date database.
  12. Benchmarking. The organisation continually benchmarks itself against best practice.
  13. Learning networks. Spontaneous and informal networks exist and are seen as legitimate.

See their 7 conditions for a learning organisation and their 8 powerpoints for a learning organisation.

Source: Mayo, A. and Lank, E. (1994) The Power of Learning: A Guide to Gaining Competitive Advantage. London: IPD

13 thinking tools of the world's most creative people

This book is a systematic description (or rather an evocation) of the thinking processes of very creative people. The authors researched the literature of descriptions by creative people themselves of their own thinking processes. The thinking tools that they identified as being at the heart of creative understanding include (but are not necessarily limited to) observing, imaging, abstracting, recognising patterns, performing patterns, analogising, body thinking, empathising, dimensional thinking, modelling, playing, transforming, and synthesizing.

The authors make six key points about the 13 tools described in the book:
  1. The 13 tools are extracted from the thinking of creative individuals and the descriptions of their own thinking.
  2. Many of the thinking skills have been identified by others.
  3. The tools for thinking will help bridge the gap between illusions and reality to create synthetic understanding.
  4. The authors do not make any claim for the cognitive significance of the tools. They are tools, equipment available to anyone.
  5. The thinking tools are necessarily creative but like all tools they must be used with individual vision to yield innovative results.

The most important role for the tools may be in education. Tools one to nine are considered primary tools. None is independent of any of the others. The remaining tools are considered higher-order tools that integrate and rely upon the primary tools. These are the integrative tools.

Primary Tools
  1. Observing is defined as paying attention to what is seen, heard, touched, smelled, tasted or felt within the body.
  2. Imaging is the ability to recall or imagine feeling sensations.
  3. Abstracting is the process of paring down complicated things to simple principles or concepts.
  4. Recognising patterns is the ability to discover underlying laws and structure, but also rhymes and rhythms, and intentions.
  5. Pattern making involves the ability to combine simple elements in unexpected ways, and can involve the creation of patterns to create further patterns.
  6. Analogising is the ability to combine two or more apparently different things that share important qualities.
  7. Body thinking is defined as thinking that occurs through the sensations and awareness of muscle, sinew and skin.
  8. Empathising is the ability to lose oneself in the things under study.

Higher-Order Tools
  1. Dimensional thinking is the imaginative ability to take a thing mentally from a flat plain into three dimensions or more.
  2. Modelling requires some combination of dimensional thinking, abstracted, and analogising, and manipulative or body skills.
  3. Playing builds upon body thinking, empathizing and play-acting as well as modelling.
  4. Transforming is defined as the process of translating between one tool for thinking and another and between imaginative and formal language of communication.
  5. Synthesing combines many ways of experiencing. It can involve synesthesia or experiencing sensations in multiple ways at once, or synosia, a form of unified understanding linking mind and body, sense and sensibility and is the author's ultimate goal of a “tools-for-thinking” education.

Source: Root-Bernstein, R. & Root-Bernstein, M. (1999) Sparks of Genius. The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company

130 ways to become a super boss

The author believes that every manager can take action today to become a superboss. He describes more than 130 effective ways of managing people. A sequel to `Superboss` published in 1985, Freemantle pursues his mission to bring common sense to the jargon-ridden world of management theory and gurus. His aim is to stimulate and challenge managers into examining and changing their behaviours so that everyone will describe them as a `superboss`.

Not designed to be read from cover to cover the book is laid out simply in alphabetical order. The A to Z of practical management presents essential practices, rooted in common sense, for managing people successfully. Intended to be dipped into, perhaps on a daily basis the books focus is on perfecting the relationship between the boss and his people, that is the main determinant of success. Consistency is key, and a superboss does not wait to be sent on the next management training programme, he starts today, by putting into practice the suggestions in the book.

A few illustrative examples, drawn from the 130 entries, are sufficient to present the flavour and style.

All entries follow an identical format – the first presents the principle of `Accountability`, which is defined as being whoever makes the decision, carries the buck. The principle is outlined on the left-hand page, whilst the right hand page carries the heading `Action today`. For accountability, the suggestion is that the manager should sit down today and clarify his own levels of accountability, what decisions can he make, what is the company holding him accountable for. Good management starts with you!

The entry finishes with a `Remember` box, for accountability, the mantra is: `Remember you are a SUPERBOSS if you can make decisions and account for them. `

The book is not frightened of dealing with negatives. For example, the `Dismissal` entry talks of dismissal being an admission of company failure. It is a grave issue; it can destroy people. Yet, dismissal issues need to be confronted, they must be handled sensitively fairly and surely. The `Action today` section recommends not trying a dismissal today, but making a mental note. Next time you are faced with a potential dismissal situation, don’t avoid the issue, but try to avoid the dismissal. Give it time, give it interest and thought, and handle it with dignity and compassion.

The `Remember` box says `For the SUPERBOSS, dismissal is a last and sorrowful resort.

The entry for rules asserts that rules should be common sense. As a rule, a manager should not be a ruler, although rules exist for the general welfare of every person in the company. But when the superboss is not occasionally breaking the rules, he needs to ensure that most of the time people are keeping them. Action today is to examine the company rules, and remind yourself of them, keep them at the back of your mind, and only take action if abuse is damaging. Remember, for the SUPERBOSS, the fewer rules the better.

The book covers all aspects of management from participation and team building, to identifying talent and managing pain. The final entry is `Zero In`, and is to do with selecting targets and zeroing in on it. The key message is to learn not to be distracted by activities not connected with the target. It’s to do with focus and achievement, which are the keys to managerial success. The `Action today` is to identifying the biggest problem of the day, give it time, cut out the `flak`, and solve the problem! `Remember` the Superboss zeroes in on managing people successfully for that’s the only way to achieve results.

Source: Freemantle D. (1997) Superboss 2. Aldershot: Gower

14 management principles (Toyota)

Toyota is revered as the company that invented lean production and is often billed as the world’s greatest manufacturer that consistently raises the bar for manufacturing, product development, and process excellence. This book is a compelling read.

The 14 principles are divided into 4 sections

1. Long term philosophy
  1. Base your management decisions on a long-term philosophy, even at the expense of short-term financial goals
2. Right process produces the right results
  1. Create continuous process flow to bring problems to the surface
  2. Use “pull” systems to avoid over-production
  3. Level out workload
  4. Build a culture of stopping to fix problems, to get quality right the first time
  5. Standardised tasks are the foundation for continuous improvement and employee empowerment
  6. Use visual control so problems are hidden
  7. Use only reliable, thoroughly tested technology that serves your people and your processes
3. Developing People and partners adds value to the organisation
  1. Grow leaders who thoroughly understand the work, live the philosophy and teach it to others
  2. Develop exceptional people and teams who follow the company philosophy
  3. Respect you extended network of partners and suppliers by challenging them and helping them improve
4. Continuously solving root problems drives organisational learning
  1. Go and see for yourself to thoroughly understand the situation
  2. Make decisions slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering all options
  3. Become a learning organisation through relentless reflection and continuous improvement
The book also gives practical advice on how other companies can benefit from the Toyota’s philosophy.

See also
Deming's 14 points for management
5 foundations of Kaizen
6 Sigma quality
Source: Liker, J. K. (2004) The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles From the World's Greatest Manufacturer. McGraw-Hill.

14 points for management

The aim of his book, “Out of the Crisis”, according to the author, is nothing less than the "transformation of the style of American management". According to Deming, the basic cause of sickness in American industry and resulting unemployment is failure by top management to manage. The book deals with the central issues facing industry in the United States. In particular, it focuses on how to increase productivity without sacrificing quality, and secondly how to capture markets from competitors.

It was Deming's thinking which led Japanese industry in the Fifties and Sixties to adopt the new principles of management that revolutionised their quality and productivity. Deming has a very direct style: His argument is that the problem lies solely with American management. The 14 points are:

  1. Create constancy of purpose towards improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and provide jobs
  2. Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on the leadership challenge.
  3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.
  4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimise total cost. Moved toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust
  5. Improve constantly, and forever, the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.
  6. Institute training on the job.
  7. Institute leadership. The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.
  8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company.
  9. Bring down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to see problems that may be encountered with the product or service.
  10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations and targets for the workforce asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the workforce.
  11. (i) Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute leadership; and (ii) Eliminate management by objectives. Eliminate management by numbers, and numerical goals. Substitute leadership.
  12. (i) Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be change from sheer numbers to quality: and (ii) Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objectives.
  13. Institute a vigorous programme of education and self-improvement.
  14. Put everyone in the company to work to complete the transformation. The transformation is everybody's job.

Deming was amazingly far-sighted and comprehensive in his thinking. Only a few companies can be said to follow this thinking through to practical implementation in all parts of the company. Perhaps more should, instead of following whatever fad is appearing to dominate the airwaves.

Source: Deming, W.E. (1982) Out of the Crisis. Cambridge; Cambridge University Press.

14 principles of management

Fayol’s principles of management were published in French in 1916 but did not influence the English-speaking world until the English edition was published in 1949. His principles represented the first attempt at a complete theory of management and covered:
  1. Division of work and specialization
  2. Authority matching responsibility
  3. Discipline
  4. Unity of command (one man, one boss)
  5. Unity of direction
  6. Subordination of individual interest to the general interest
  7. Fairness of remuneration in relation to effort
  8. Centralization
  9. Hierarchical line authority
  10. The principle of order
  11. Equity
  12. Stability of tenure of personnel
  13. Importance of initiative
  14. Importance of esprit de corps

See Fayol’s 4 roles of management

Source: Sadler, P. (1998) Principles of Management. In Lock, D. (Ed) The Handbook of Management. Aldershot: Gower

14 principles of motivation for personal behaviour

More advice from the US military:
  1. Make the needs of the individuals in your unit coincide with the unit tasks and mission.
  2. Reward individual and team behaviour that support Unit tasks and missions.
  3. Counsel or punish soldiers who behave in ways that are counter to unit tasks, missions and standards.
  4. Set the example in all things.
  5. Develop morale and esprit in your unit.
  6. Give your subordinates tough problems, and challenge them to wrestle with them.
  7. Have your subordinates participate in the planning of upcoming events.
  8. Alleviate the cause of the personal concerns of your soldiers so that they can concentrate on their jobs.
  9. Ensure that your soldiers are properly cared for and have the tools they need to succeed.
  10. Keep your soldiers informed about missions and standards.
  11. Use positive peer pressure to work for you and the unit.
  12. Avoid using statistics as a major method of evaluating units and motivating subordinates.
  13. Make the job of your subordinates as challenging, exciting, and as meaningful possible.
  14. Do not tolerate prejudicial talk or behaviour in your unit.

Source: Quoted in Townsend, P. & Gebhardt, J. (1997) Five Star Leadership: The Art of Creating Leaders at Every Level. New York: Wiley

14 traits of leadership (US Marine Corps)

This is what the Marine Corps believes underlies leadership. A key underlying theme is “taking stock before taking steps”. Sounds like good advice. Covey and others would agree.
  1. Integrity
  2. Knowledge
  3. Courage
  4. Decisiveness
  5. Dependability
  6. Initiative
  7. Tact
  8. Justice
  9. Enthusiasm
  10. Bearing
  11. Endurance
  12. Unselfishness
  13. Loyalty
  14. Judgment

Source: Quoted in Townsend, P. & Gebhardt, J. (1997) Five Star Leadership: The Art of Creating Leaders at Every Level. New York: Wiley

14 ways to groom executives

This article is designed to help organisations to create executive learning systems which will develop the competencies needed at the same time as meeting the demands of senior, and ongoing, jobs. After outlining three basic steps (identifying the executives to be trained, determining the competencies needed by the business, and deciding how to measure training effectiveness), Thach offers 14 available training options. These are arranged along a continuum of individual to group-based learning activities. The options are:
  1. Executive coaching. One to one coaching with a professional is recommended, following a competency assessment such as a 360 degree feedback instrument.
  2. Current job adjustments. Whilst continuing his normal job, the executive adds some `stretch` assignments designed to improve specific skills, e.g. more public speaking, different ways of dealing with conflict, etc. This can be combined with individual coaching.
  3. Self-study. Individual learning, using any resources such as videos, the Internet, books, and articles.
  4. Job rotation. The executive is `seconded` to another department or location. This can be a powerful tool, particularly if the experiences of a number of roving executives are captured in a database for organisational learning.
  5. Mentoring others While coaching or mentoring others in the company, the executives own skills are developed in a constructive and participative way.
  6. Executive MBA After being `sponsored` through an MBA programme, the executive transfers his newly learned skills back into the organisation, for mutual benefit.
  7. Customer visits. Either in one to one situations, or small groups, the executive takes feedback and suggestions from customers. This enhances customer-orientated skills and awareness, and improves customer perceptions of the company.
  8. Supplier assignments. For periods of time from days, to weeks, to perhaps months an executive can visit suppliers to learn about their perspective on the business partnership. Again key lessons can be captured in a database.
  9. Community involvement. To develop a broad skill base, and to foster corporate commitment to the community executives can participate in a variety of community activities and task forces.
  10. Action learning. After learning a new model, concept, theory or practice from either a training programme or self-managed learning, the executive applies it on the job. This needs to be as a special project in order that an evaluative system can be applied to identify the learning.
  11. External classroom. Attendance on a tailored or open management development programme of any length, designed to address specific management skills.
  12. Guest speakers. Experts or `gurus` may address executives to share their knowledge and learning. Video conferencing can be used to include executives in remote locations.
  13. Team building programmes They are often used in conjunction with classroom sessions to promote networking, team building skills and understanding group dynamics.
  14. Internal classroom. The most traditional method, involving taught sessions, simulations and group exercises. Courses may be modular, and run over a period of months or days. Shorter, more frequent formats are popular with managers at present.

This catalogue of development options is intended to be used as a ‘pick n mix’ selection rather than any one being seen as the ultimate and only solution to training needs.

Source: Thach, E. (1998) ‘14 ways to groom executives.’ Training, August, 35, 52-55.

15 take-home lessons of great groups

Bennis analysed seven of history’s great groups that have achieved very high, and enduring, impact. They are:
  1. The Walt Disney studio.
  2. The research and development groups at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) which among other things pioneered the personal computer.
  3. The similar team at Apple.
  4. The 1992 Clinton campaign which put the first Democrat in the White House since 1981.
  5. The people who designed and put together radically new aircraft at Lockheed’s secret Skunkworks.
  6. he influential art school and experimental community, Black Mountain College.
  7. The Manhattan Project which created the atomic bomb.

Bennis concludes that there are fifteen principles underlying all great groups. They are:
  1. Greatness starts with superb people.
  2. Great Groups and great leaders create each other.
  3. Every Great Group has a strong leader.
  4. The leaders of Great Groups love talent and know where to find it.
  5. Great Groups are full of talented people who can work together.
  6. Great Groups think they are on a mission from God.
  7. Every Great Groups is an island – but an island with a bridge to the mainland.
  8. Great Groups see themselves as winning underdogs.
  9. Great Groups always have an enemy.
  10. People in Great Groups have blinders on.
  11. Great Groups are optimistic, not realistic.
  12. In Great Groups the right person has the right job.
  13. The leaders of Great Groups give them what they need.
  14. Great Groups ship (i.e. deliver)
  15. Great work is its own reward.

According to Bennis, despite their differences in style, the leaders of great groups share four behavioural traits. Without exception the leaders of great groups:
  1. Provide direction and meaning.
  2. Generate and sustain trust.
  3. Display bias towards action, risk taking and curiosity.
  4. Are purveyors of hope.

This book is about collaborative advantage and the dramatic results that can be achieved. It should remind us that competitive advantage is not necessarily the best thing to strive for.

Source: Bennis, W. (1997) Organising Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration. New York: Addison Wesley.

16 personality types (MBTI)

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality questionnaire based originally on Jungian theory. The questionnaire positions the individual in one of 16 broad personality types. The 16 personality types result from scores on four fundamental personality dimensions:

  1. Extraversion or Introversion (E or I) Most of our psychological energy is focused either inside ourselves (our thoughts and feelings) or as a response to what we experience outside ourselves.
  2. Sensing or Intuition (S or I) We tend to focus primarily on concrete the real (outside)world as experienced and on facts and figures, or on possible and alternative worlds of ideas and possibilities.
  3. Thinking or Feeling (T or F) We tend to decide on issues from a logical and rational point of view or from a more emotional point of view.
  4. Judgment or Perception (J or P) We tend to prefer our world organised and predictable or spontaneous and flexible.

Scores on the four dimensions combine to form 16 types (expressed in their “prayers”):

  1. ISTJ (doing what should be done) “Lord help me to relax about insignificant detail beginning tomorrow at 11.42.23 am GMT”
  2. ISFJ (a high sense of duty) “Lord help me to be more laid back and help me to do it EXACTLY right”
  3. INFJ (an inspiration to others) “Lord help me not to be a perfectionist, did I spell that correctly?”
  4. INTJ (everything has room for improvement) “Lord help me to be open to other’s ideas, wrong though they may be!”
  5. ISTP (ready to try anything once) “God help me to consider people’s feelings, even if most of them are hypersensitive”
  6. ISFP (sees much but shares little) “Lord help me to stand up for my rights, if you don’t mind me asking”
  7. INFP (performing noble service to aid Society) “God help me to finish everything I sta….. “
  8. INTP (a love of problem-solving) “Lord help me to be less dependent, but let me do it my way”
  9. ESTP (the ultimate realists) “God help me to take responsibility for my own actions, even though they are not usually my fault”
  10. ESFP (you only go around once in life) “God help me to take things more seriously, especially parties and dancing”
  11. ENFP (giving life an extra squeeze) “God help me to keep my mind on – look a bird!- one thing at a time”
  12. ENTP (one exciting challenge after another) “Lord help me follow established procedures today. On second thoughts I’ll settle for a few minutes”
  13. ESTJ (life’s administrators) “God, help me not to RUN everything, but if you need some help, just ask”
  14. ESFJ (hosts and hostesses of the world) “God give me patience, and I mean right NOW”
  15. ENFJ (smooth-talking persuaders) “God help me to only what I can do and trust me for the rest. Do you mind putting that in writing?”
  16. ENTJ (life's natural leaders) “Lord, help me slow downandnotrushthroughwhatIdo.”

Source: (i) Kroeger, O. & Thuesen, J.M. (1988) Type Talk. New York: Dell.  The prayers are from an unknown source (happy to acknowledge).

16 personality factors (16PF)

The Cattell 16PF personality questionnaire provides a profile on 16 different personality dimensions and shows the extent to which the individual is near the average, or above and below the average, for each of the dimensions, by comparing their responses with the database of responses of representative groups of the population.

The 16 dimensions are:
  1. Warmth
  2. Reasoning
  3. Emotional stability
  4. Dominance
  5. Liveliness
  6. Rule consciousness
  7. Social boldness
  8. Sensitivity
  9. Vigilance
  10. Abstractedness
  11. Privacy
  12. Apprehension
  13. Openness to change
  14. Self-reliance
  15. Perfectionism
  16. Tension

Source: Cattell. R. B. (1965) The Scientific Analysis of Personality. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

17-day programme for the learning organization

Learning organisations are about learning at three levels.
The enterprise needs to learn how to:
  1. Interface with its environment and provide stakeholder satisfaction.
  2. Be efficient and effective in its internal affairs.
  3. Create an internal environment in which people can be effective.

Groups need to learn how to:
  1. Manage interfaces with other groups.
  2. Satisfy customers and stakeholders. 
  3. Make tacit knowledge explicit.
  4. Work together more effectively and efficiently.

Individuals need to learn how to:
  1. Master the local environment.
  2. Contribute to the team.
  3. Pursue personal development and growth.

This book provides a structured approach, and tools, to help the reader to address a number of key issues:

  1. The learning organisation - myth or reality?
  2. Clarifying the purpose.
  3. Reviewing the organisation.
  4. Creating the vision of the learning organisation.
  5. Identifying the culture and opportunities for change.
  6. Assessing the benefits.
  7. Implementation.

Source: Thurbin, P.J. (1994) Implementing The Learning Organization: The Seventeen Day Programme. London: FT/Pitman

1-minute manager

‘The short book that has big results’ is the claim on the front of this little paperback. It is indeed very short, and readable in a couple of hours. The book tells the story of a young man in search of the answer to: “ What is an effective manager?”. He eventually meets a man who describes himself as a `One Minute Manager` and whose managerial philosophy is: `People who feel Good about Themselves Produce Good Results`.

In order to achieve his objective of making people feel good about themselves the One Minute Managers puts the following `secrets` into practice:

  1. One Minute Goal Setting – bosses and employees should set goals, which can be read in one minute, and they should regularly take one minute out to check for achievement.
  2. One minute Praising – praise should be expected (people should know the boss will be doing this), immediate, specific and one minute should be allowed to let people enjoy the feelings.
  3. One Minute Reprimands – needs to be expected (as for Praising), immediate, specific, and time should be allowed to let them experience how you both feel. Reprimands should have a “second half” though, which aims to reaffirm value, and `close` the reprimand.
One Minute Managers are not people who think like the man in the story, or who are the man in the story, but are people who behave like the man in the story, and encourage others to do the same! Sharing the `secrets` saves everybody’s time, empowers all involved and benefits organisations and people. In a companion volume, Blanchard provides practical guidance on using the secrets to improve skills and performance. The books are full of worldly wisdom that we all too readily forget or have obscured beneath grand theorizing and model building. There is a refreshing directness about these books that are simple in their message but not simplistic.

Source: (i) Blanchard, K. & Johnson, S. (1983) The One-Minute Manager. London: Collins; (ii) Blanchard, K. & Lorber, R. (1984) Putting the One Minute Manager to Work. London: Collins.

1-minute manager and the monkey

Kenneth Blanchard’s aim is to make a difference to managers’ lives, and those with whom managers live, love and work. The core idea is to remind us to invest our time in the most vital aspects of management, rather than dilute our effort with things that shouldn’t be done, at least not by us.

The notion of a `monkey` is of somebody else’s problem being allowed to jump onto the back of somebody who is not directly responsible for it. Not only has this second person (usually the manager) accepted responsibility where he may not have needed to, but also he has acquired the second problem of delivering a solution and therefore made extra work for himself. As if this is not bad enough, a further downside to acquiring other peoples monkeys is that those people are then disempowered and frustrated, with no way of solving their own problems.

The book outlines `Oncken`s rules of monkey management` - just passing them on will not help unless they are managed successfully! The rules are:

  1. All monkeys must have descriptions; the next moves must be specified. A boss and a staff member should not part company until those next moves have been described. Careful planning is the secret of monkey management. One advantage of remembering this is that it introduces a bias to action into the situation.
  2. All monkeys must have owners, they must be assigned to a person and dialogue between a boss and his staff must not end until this has been done. It is important to remember that all monkeys should be handled at the lowest organisational level possible.
  3. All monkeys must have insurance policies. The risks must be covered, but people must have freedom. Monkey insurance is designed to make sure that people only make affordable mistakes
  4. All monkeys must be checked. The health of all monkeys must be monitored, with feeding and check up appointments being specified. This must be fixed before and boss and staff member part company.

The purpose of these rules is to help ensure that the right things get done the right way, by the right people at the right time. From the management of individual monkeys, the book goes on to describe how managers may develop delegation skills by assigning families of monkeys! As most managers will testify there are always more monkeys clamouring for attention than they have time to manage. This book provides an easy metaphor for working with others and understanding priorities and is also fun to read.

Source: Blanchard, K., Oncken Jr., W. & Burrows, H. (1989) The One-Minute Manager Meets the Monkey. William Morrow & Company.

20 management techniques

How does one keep up with all the reading needed to run a business or to master a business subject? What in this tidal wave of words and ideas will stay on the beach, gleaming like quashed pebbles on the sand, as practical markers for people working in real management functions? According to the author, the purpose of the book is to provide torch beams, to select passages that were inspired and aid people struggling with the discipline of management, whether at the top of the organisation or any one of the many functions.

Each chapter deals with a different issue of management and consists of an introduction to the development of key ideas on the subject, followed by extracts from the most influential writers past and present.

The 20 management techniques are presented under the following headings:
  1. The changing organization
  2. The craft of management
  3. Managing change
  4. Managing people
  5. Managing knowledge
  6. Motivation
  7. Leadership
  8. Strategy and strategic thinking
  9. Decision-making
  10. Managing time
  11. Corporate mission and culture
  12. Corporate performance
  13. Marketing
  14. Competitive advantage
  15. Managing quality
  16. Customer care
  17. Managing information
  18. Global management
  19. Re-engineering
  20. Reading the future

Source: Kennedy, C. (1996) Managing With The Gurus: Top Level Guidance on Twenty Management Techniques. London: Century

20 ways to make effective change happen

This is a practical book, which combines summaries of theory with guidance and practical tips on implementation. The 20 ways to bring about effective change are:
  1. Models
  2. Leadership
  3. Vision and values
  4. Commitment
  5. Communication
  6. Power and influence
  7. Resistance to change
  8. Planning strategic change
  9. Action-sequencing
  10. Project management techniques
  11. Experimenting
  12. Participative decision-making
  13. Outside agents
  14. Tracking
  15. Force-field analysis
  16. Other facilitation tools
  17. Sensing and surveys
  18. Management by walking about
  19. Team building
  20. Verbal skills

Source: Leigh, A. & Walters, M. (1998) Effective Change. Twenty Ways To Make It Happen. London: Institute of Personnel Management

20 ways to manage better

Leigh’s twenty ways to manage better are presented under these headings:
  1. Setting objectives
  2. Recruitment and selection
  3. Appraisal and reviews
  4. Coaching
  5. Problem people
  6. Negotiating
  7. Report 1984
  8. Controlling your time
  9. Meetings
  10. Delegation
  11. Facts from figures
  12. Communications
  13. Verbal representations
  14. Listening
  15. Better reading
  16. Small information systems
  17. Coping with failure
  18. Project management
  19. The problem list
  20. New technology

Source: Leigh, A. (1984) Twenty Ways to Manage Better. London: IPD

20 ways to motivate employees

The article states the simple fact that the best way to ensure a motivated workforce is to hire self motivated people! However, in the absence of that luxury for most existing businesses, advice is given to steer away from dated motivational techniques such as gimmicky T shirts, or ‘employee of the month’ programmes, and to concentrate on addressing the ‘what’s in it for me factor’. The underlying assumption is that what managers really need to is to find ways of accelerating their people’s internal drive to succeed, and to achieve whatever it is they personally want to achieve. Motivation is about what real people want from their work, what happens to them at work and how they judge that experience every day.

Once an individual’s objectives are known, managers can, and should:
  1. Give employees the information they need to do a good job.
  2. Provide regular feedback.
  3. Ask employees for their input. Involve them in the decisions that affect their jobs.
  4. Establish easy to use channels of communication.
  5. Learn from the employees themselves what it is that motivates them.
  6. Learn what on-the-job activities employees choose to do when they have free time.
  7. Personally congratulate employees for a job well done.
  8. Recognise the power of their physical presence; give employees time.
  9. Write personal notes to employees about their performance.
  10. Publicly recognise employees for good work
  11. Include morale-building meetings into work time to celebrate group success.
  12. Give people solid, good jobs to do.
  13. Make sure employees have the tools available to do their best work.
  14. Recognise employees’ personal needs.
  15. Use performance as the basis for promotion.
  16. Establish a comprehensive promote from within policy.
  17. Emphasise the company’s commitment to long term employment.
  18. Foster a sense of community.
  19. Pay people competitively based on what they are worth.
  20. Give people a financial reason to excel by offering a share of profits.

Although not revolutionary, each of these tips is powerful in its own right. However, the author makes the point that the ideas must be used continuously to be successful. She argues that, at the end of each day, people either leave work more motivated to come back tomorrow, or less motivated. Whichever way it is will be a direct result of what has happened to them that day. The article goes on to identify the top 5 de-motivators:
  1. Offering `jelly bean` rewards; giving everybody the same regardless of individual objectives or needs.
  2. Not being specific or timely about praise.
  3. Using threats or coercion to get work done.
  4. Breaking a promise.
  5. Treating employees in a bureaucratic way instead of as individuals.

The key message is that motivation is really about treating people with dignity. If managers prioritise that as a principle of integrity, motivation “is really very simple”.

Source: Caudron, S. (1995) Industry Week, April 3rd, 12-18.

20 ways to stop change happening

These are, according to Cunningham, twenty principles for inaction. Leaders of organisations often need to become more streetwise in recognising ways in which change is prevented. Below are twenty 'principles' that may need to be addressed. They are, in reality, usually dishonest ploys used by people who want to stop much needed change because, for example, they perceive that they will lose power in the change.

  1. The Principle of the Wedge. 'This would be the thin edge of a wedge' is often used to knock down a new idea early on. The metaphor assumes that the organization can be tipped off balance by a wedge that is gradually hammered under its foundations. One issue may be to try to change the metaphor.
  2. The Principle of the Dangerous Precedent. This means nothing can be done for the first time. It can be addressed through judicial reframing, e.g. by showing the change isn't a precedent.
  3. The Principle of Fair Trial. 'Give the current system a fair trial' is the cry here. This principle is often used to oppose a much needed reorganization: 'We only just re-organised last year, we need to give the current structure a chance to bed down'. Careful reframing may be needed here.
  4. The Principle of Unripe Time. 'The time is not ripe' is the plea. The time may, of course, over-ripen and go rotten. The 'time as fruit' metaphor needs to be challenged.
  5. The Principle of Imminent Better Change. This neat ploy can suggest that a better change is round the corner. The proponent of this may need to be questioned thoroughly on the imminent and better change.
  6. The Principle of Alternative Proposals. Here the blocker throws in numerous other ideas, often under the guise of brainstorming, to muddy the water. It needs a steady eye not to be taken away from one's focus. Sometimes the assertive technique of 'Broken Record' works well.
  7. The Principle of Not Washing Linen. If a change would expose problems then 'not washing our dirty linen in public' is a favoured blockers tactic. Managers need to be prepared with evidence to support their actions, e.g. evidence where recalls of faulty products enhanced a company's reputation.
  8. The Principle of Unreadiness. 'The market isn't ready for this' or ‘Staff aren’t ready for this' are clever ploys which masquerade as sound business sense or concern for staff. Good evidence of the contrary view is needed or this tactic can succeed very easily.
  9. The Principle of Further Investigation. This tactic may be accompanied by proposals to do more research, set up a committee or have a report written. It can, again, sound like wise counsel. The main way to avoid it is to have covered all angles first.
  10. The Principle of Unprovenness. 'It hasn't been proven to work' (means nothing can ever be done for the first time). This is a dangerous one, as it can sound very wise to cautious members of a committee or Board. Counter examples may work, especially if they are ones which are relevant to the company's business.
  11. The Principle of Others Objections - 'I'm in favour but others would be opposed' is an old trick. It can be important to check out these 'others'.
  12. The 'Previously Tried' Principle. This is used a lot with incoming new CEOs: ‘We tried that idea ten years ago and it didn't work'. Questioning precisely what was tried, and how, can often undermine this tactic.
  13. The 'One Bad Reason' Principle. Here one bad reason is allowed to over-rule all good reasons. 'Broken Record' may again work here.
  14. The Principle of Wider Ramifications. This has a sub-principle called The Principle of Inter-connectedness and can be accompanied by the comment 'this means we'll have to change too many other things'. A new product can be alleged to imply new people, changes in rewards systems, new distribution networks, changes in purchasing and so on. (Once you get going you can get really creative about how wide the ramifications are.) A clever academic argument is to invoke systems theory to show how everything is connected to everything else. Examples of past changes that worked can be part of the counter argument.
  15. The Principle of Comma Hunting Example: 'There's a comma missing on page thirty seven of this report' and hence one can imply that the report is flawed and has to be re-worked. Usually users of this method have quite a range of picky points that they can raise, so careful pre-work is needed to avoid it.
  16. The Principle of Non-transferability. 'Just because it's worked everywhere else doesn't mean it will work here' can be used by those who invoke the 'we are a unique culture' tactic. One answer is that if the organization never learned from others it would die - but this will be too rational for some circumstances.
  17. The Principle of Listening to Advice 'Listen to this advice from an older, wiser head' is very useful used on younger managers. There are various ways to side step this (rather than tackle it head on).
  18. The Principle of Not Fixing the Unbroken. This is less used these days, given the pace of change. But the approach can surface in other guises, e.g. 'this system has served us well and it will cost us to change'. The simple 'if it ain't broke let's break it' can be too crude in most circumstances. Careful reframing of the nature of the change may work better.
  19. The Principle of Experiment. This is another of those tactics that can look very shrewd. 'Let's not put all our eggs in one basket - let's run a small scale experiment to test out this new process' seems eminently reasonable (even if the underlying reason is to kill off the new process). Either one has to ensure that the experiment is carried out quickly or find ways of blocking this proposal.
  20. The final stratagem is to invoke some organizational sacred cow as a basis for undermining a proposed change as in 'This is out of keeping with our fundamental philosophy' or 'this does not fit our values statement'. More prosaically the person can suggest that something is 'against accepted policy'. These ploys can work well with newcomers. One answer can be to get well informed on the realities of what matters in the organization.
See also Pettigrew's 10 ways to discredit a specilaist's report and O'Toole's 33 hypotheses why people resist change.

Source: Cunningham (2000).

20/20 vision: How to transform your business

The core concept for this book is change and the need for all businesses to adapt, to be fundamentally different, and to regenerate themselves.

To illustrate the type of transformations they have in mind, Davis and Davidson use the example of the `Smart Toilet`. From relatively simple waste disposal units, the unit can now be a fully automatic toilet/bottom washer/bidet/warm air dryer/scent spray/bottom warmer/self sanitizer/medical analyst. The secret of this transformation is the smart use of information, which is generated, processed, stored and transmitted. Information technologies are the core for today’s economy and to survive, all businesses must “informationalise”. The key message is that the economic value added by traditional production and service industries is eclipsed by the value added by generating, using and selling information. Like all emerging businesses, knowledge generation and management is cyclical, with gestation, growth, maturity and ageing phases, but one thing is sure, there is according to the authors, no Jack Benny Law of Business; nobody can stay 39 forever.

The key to successful business transformation is the concept of “informationalisation”. Smart use of information leads, in sequence, to:
  1. Customised products
  2. Rapid response
  3. Manufacture at the point of deliver
  4. Shrinking overheads, inventory and working capital
  5. Direct access to customers
  6. Higher service standards
  7. Interorganisational bonding

All of which encourage refocusing and readjustment of an organisations perspective. Clearly, such change requires champions in any industry – they called `infomediaries` and facilitate the transfer of information between customers and producers, providers and users and they will inherit the earth!

The book recommends focussing on the business, rather than the organisation and this means management of organisational life cycles. The trick to organisational life is to spot the need for change before it is apparent, i.e. to begin the change process actually `just before growth, and still short of maturity`. As industries change, effective organisations must change themselves as quickly as the businesses they serve.

Doing this clearly is not easy and involves the use of information in key areas such as making a shift from hierarchies to networks, leveraging the knowledge in the organisation to support economic competitiveness. To illustrate, the authors cite that The Official Airlines Guide, a listing of monthly international flight schedules that is worth more than most airlines.

Source: Davis S. & Davidson W. (1988) 20/20 Vision: Transform Your Business Today to Succeed in Tomorrow’s Economy. New York: Random Century Business Books

21 ideas for managers

This is Charles Handy’s personal anthology of 21 ideas, which he claims helped him understand his world and his ability to organise it better. The book is intended for anybody who has to work with other people and particularly for those with responsibility for others in any kind of organisation. In a nutshell, the book is intended for all those who want to make it possible for others to make things happen. The book was designed to accompany 10 television programmes about managing change in organisations. The underlying theme, in Handy’s words, is “getting organized”.

  1. A world of differences. Handy reminds us of the many ways in which people differ, including seven different types of intelligence (see 7), Friedman and Rosenbaum’s Type A and Type B Behaviour, and de Charme’s distinction between origins and pawns, and the four humours (or temperaments) of ancient Greece (see 4).
  2. The E-factors are the things, which trigger energy, excitement, enthusiasm, effort, effervescence, and even expenditure. Everyone has a different list and Handy gives as an example personal freedom, the respect of colleagues, learning something new, challenge, completing a project, and helping other people. Each of us has some sort of private list of things we want from life.
  3. The secret contract. Each person has their own unspoken contract in relationships, the psychological contract. These contracts are usually secret and we make assumptions based on them. Handy believes getting organised is made much easier if all secret contracts are as open as possible.
  4. The territorial itch. People are as territorial as many animals. This is based on Robert Ardrey’s influential book, “The Territorial Imperative”. Handy argues that getting organised requires one to think territorially, both physically and psychologically and he sees it as a useful way of describing problems which can otherwise become unduly personalised.
  5. The inside-out doughnut introduces the idea that in addition to the agreed and frequently written down things that determine effectiveness there is an area of open space around the core where there is scope for initiative to improve on core activities. It is usually the empty space rather than the core activities that are critical to eventual success.
  6. The JOHARI window is a useful concept that helps us identify four different areas of personal knowledge and understanding. Only one of the four rooms can be seen both by ourselves and by outsiders. Getting organised means being clear about what is in each room of your Johari house and in the houses of your colleagues.
  7. Actors’ roles. The role we accept for ourselves or are given affects the way we behave. Handy introduces the technique of role negotiations. According to Handy, getting organised is easier if everyone understands roles and the ways in which they affect people.
  8. Marathons or horse races. In horse races, there is usually a winner, in marathons everyone who finishes is a winner. Getting organised is made much easier if you can arrange for work to be a series of marathons, or races against oneself rather than horse races. Handy draws on the work of Rosabeth Moss Kanter and Tom Peters.
  9. The self-fulfilling prophecy. Our image of ourselves affects what we expect to achieve and what others expect of us. Getting organised requires that one does one's best to create self-fulfilling prophecies for oneself and everyone around you by boosting the in-self concept and protecting them from too much negativity.
  10. The stroking formula. We are all insecure at heart. We will respond positively to being stroked, i.e. psychologically stroked. Stroking lasts longer than striking. Getting organised efficiently requires that you work out your own stroking formula for those for whom you are responsible.
  11. Parents, adults and children. Berne’s Transactional Analysis is an approach to understanding relationships based on the interaction of parent, child, and adult roles in all interactions. An understanding what is going on when people meet and interact helps getting organised.
  12. Power politics can broadly be divided into resource power, position power, expert and personal power (see 4). Getting organised means being aware of what your power bases are and how in particular your expert power can be increased.
  13. Teams and captains. Handy introduces Belbin’s eight team roles (see 8), the distinction between teams and committees and how teams evolve (see 5). According to Handy, getting organised requires that we take teams seriously.
  14. Outward and visible signs. You can learn a lot about the inward goings-on from the outward and visible signs. Getting organised requires that you and your organisation are seen to be what you really are.
  15. Tribes and their ways. It will help to understand organisations if you understand the 4 tribes which make it up. (See 4) Getting organized requires that you have the right people in the right place (or mix of tribes).
  16. Find your Gods. Getting organised requires that you know the sort of characters you and the people around you are. Handy uses the main Greek gods to identify four broad types of cultures in organisations (See 4).
  17. Counting and costing. Handy introduces the concept of cost accounting and argues that a cost is what you make it, but what you decide to make it can make all the difference. Getting organised requires that one is clear about the different options that are open to one in matters concerning money, its earning, and its spending. Pricing is as much psychology as it is accounting.
  18. The customer is always there. Getting organised requires that you are clear about who the customers are, both for you and for the organisation. Handy’s key points are that customers are for ever, customers are everywhere, and that customers come first.
  19. Curiosity made the cat. Handy emphasises the importance of learning and a habit of curiosity. He describes the Kolb’s wheel of learning, which starts with questions, leads to theories that need to be tested, and the results reflected upon (see 4 learning styles). Getting organised requires that one makes the most of oneself and of everyone else, and that learning is truly encouraged and promoted.
  20. Shamrocks galore. Getting organised requires that one thinks along Shamrock lines, whether one is a giant corporation or a solitary individual. The Shamrock has three leaves, the core workforce, the contractual fringe, and flexible workforce.
  21. Portfolios and flexi-lives. Getting organised can mean rethinking the way you also organise your work and that of other people. Handy introduces the concept of portfolio careers and flexi-lives.

Source: Handy, C. (1990) Inside Organizations: Twenty-One Ideas For Managers. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

21 leaders for the 21st century

This is an extraordinary and fascinating book taking the cross-cultural work of Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner to another level. The book is subtitled: How Innovative Leaders Manage in the Digital Age. Based on interviews with 21 accomplished leaders in today’s world. Each chapter focuses on one leader who shares his or her visions and their strategies for successful leadership in the New Economy. Interviews include the leaders of Dell Computers, Virgin, Club Med, Royal Dutch Shell, LEGO, Bang & Olufsen and the former prime minister of Russia.

The themes examined through the 21 leaders are:
  1. Learning to lead by through-through thinking and acting
  2. A new vision of capitalism
  3. Creating a hyper-culture
  4. Remedy for a turnaround
  5. Recapturing the true mission
  6. The balance between market and products
  7. Private enterprise, public service
  8. Leading one life
  9. Pioneering the New Organisation
  10. The Internet as an environment for Business Eco-Systems
  11. Global brand, Local touch
  12. Weathering the storm (Russia)
  13. Toward a New Spirit
  14. Change within continuity
  15. The challenge of renewal
  16. Keeping close to the customer
  17. Managing the internalisation process
  18. Innovating the corporate dynasty
  19. Leading through transformation
  20. Keeping the Family in Business or Keeping the business in the family

Each theme is captured in a number of graphically displayed Dilemmas using the dimensions of culture.

See the authors’ 4 basic types of corporate culture and the 7 fundamental dimensions of culture

Source: Trompenaars, F., and Hampden-Turner, C. (2002) 21 Leaders for the 21st Century. New York: McGraw Hill

22 ways to develop leadership in staff managers

The authors argue that “a person who works exclusively in staff jobs throughout a career is less likely to develop important leadership competencies than a person who works exclusively in line jobs”. So life as a staff professional is `developmentally impoverished`. This has serious consequences, not only for the individuals involved, but also for organisations that often rely for their senior management on their staff management pool, where potential management talent is not able to develop.

At the outset, Eichinger and Lombardo outline their philosophy of executive development which is rooted in experiences in five areas of work:
  1. Challenging jobs
  2. Bosses and other people
  3. Hardships
  4. Coursework
  5. Off the job experiences

The authors believe that difficult or challenging experiences offer the most rewarding learning, and take as their premise here that staff professionals receive far fewer challenging jobs (start ups etc) than line managers and do not have the same opportunities to develop as line managers. To redress the balance, and offer equal opportunities to staff managers, the following recommendations are made:
  1. Evaluate staff professionals for management potential and intent early in their careers.
  2. Ration development jobs carefully.
  3. Enrich the leadership experiences of staff managers.
  4. Think small, take advantage of mini-development opportunities.
  5. Use the principle of progression.
  6. Provide lots of career information and feedback to all staff managers and professionals.
  7. Aggressively help staffers learn from each experience and help them become active learners.
  8. Find ways for staffers to work on line issues.
  9. Urge individual staffers to build their own leadership skills.
  10. Expose staffers to customers.
  11. Look for line-like jobs in staff units.
  12. Look for opportunities for temporary staff-to-line switches.
  13. Look to make early permanent staff-to-line transitions.
  14. Look to experiences in addition to jobs.
  15. Look to outside of work experiences.
  16. Make staff services more customer focused by using a charge back system.
  17. Implement total management quality in staff units.
  18. Mix line and staff in training and development programmes.
  19. Use line executives on temporary staff assignments as special mentors/coaches for staffers.
  20. Arrange for staff professionals to attend line meetings and off-sites.
  21. Move key staffers at HQ to field staff jobs.
  22. Manage the careers of key staff talent more aggressively.

The authors encourage organisations to make the most of all of its managerial talent, in a helpful and focused manner.

Source: Eichinger R.W. & Lombardo M.M. (1990) 22 ways to develop leadership in staff managers. Greensboro, N. Carolina: Centre for Creative Leadership.

25 steps to improving business performance through people

This unusual book uses an algorithm (a decision making flow chart) to analyse management decision-making processes, particularly with reference to employee performance problems. The author goes on to provide what he regards as positive and practical suggestions for improving work relations and performance.

The problem diagnosis algorithm asks a series of 25 questions, each of which may be answered either `yes` or `no`. Which ever answer is given takes the reader on a different route through the algorithm, with different suggested solutions.

The 25 questions are:
  1. Is the employee aware of the job duties? Does he/she know what to do?
  2. Is the employee aware of his/her performance?
  3. Is the employee aware of the performance standards?
  4. Does the employee recognise the importance of the job/task/behaviour/action?
  5. Does the employee see a need to act?
  6. Is the job too simple for the employee?
  7. Are there job distractions?
  8. Is the job properly designed for the capacity of the average worker?
  9. Does the job appear to be too big or complex for the employee?
  10. Does the employee lack the appropriate skills?
  11. Does the employee lack skill practice?
  12. Does the employee perceive a lack of time?
  13. Does the employee perceive a lack of tools, equipment, materials, funds, support staff or other resources/
  14. Is the employee’s poor work being rewarded?
  15. Is the employee’s good work being punished? Is there peer pressure against good work?
  16. Is the employee’s good work being extinguished?
  17. Did the employee misunderstand directions?
  18. Did the employee forget to do the job?
  19. Was the poor work simply a matter of human error?
  20. Was the poor work as a result of the employee’s personal problems (health, finance, family)?
  21. Is the employee insecure, lacking self-esteem or confidence?
  22. Is there a personality conflict?
  23. Does the employee distrust the company, co-workers or you – especially regarding receiving rewards for his/her good performance?
  24. Is the employee apathetic, unconcerned?
  25. If you’ve been through steps 1 to 24 then you’re probably being led down the garden path! Forget diagnosing the reasons and just enforce the performance standards. Consider discipline.

The key tenet of the book is that management decisions should be kept as simple as possible. Kent uses the analogy of an onion. All problems have layers of causes, the outer layers are the easy ones to see and deal with, the inner layers, or the heart of the onion are much more difficult. So the algorithm works by starting at the outer layers of possible problems and peeling away a layer at a time, until the solution is arrived at economically and efficiently.

The algorithm is presented as a guide not a dogma, and allows itself to be modified by an individual manager’s experience. The questions may seem simplistic, and the approach over-structured, but as a process, that simplicity and structure may well be more of a strength than a weakness for many common managerial problems.

Source: Kent R. (1986) Managing People - 25 Steps To Improving Business Performance. London: Sidgewick and Jackson

29 leadership secrets from Jack Welch

Billed as leadership secrets on the front cover and essential leadership tenements on the back, this book helps meet the voracious appetite of readers to discover just how Jack achieved what he did. You wont become the fables corporate leader by reading this ( or any other book) but the insights offered are powerful and practical. The book is a distillation from Slater’s earlier “Get Better or Get Beaten”.

The Secrets/Tenets are divided into four broad Categories

I The visionary leader: Management tactics for gaining the competitive edge
  1. Harness the power of change
  2. Face Reality!
  3. Managing less is managing better
  4. Create a vision and then get out of the way
  5. Don’t pursue a central idea: Instead, set only a few clear general goals as business strategies
  6. Nurture employees who share the company’s values

II Igniting a revolution: Strategies for dealing with change
  1. Keep watch fro ways to create opportunities to become more competitive
  2. Be number one or number two and keep redefining your market
  3. Downsize before it is too late!
  4. Use acquisitions to make the quantum leap
  5. Learning culture I: Use boundarylessness and empowerment to nurture a learning culture
  6. Leaning culture II: Inculcate the best ideas into the business, no matter where they come from
  7. The big winners in the 21st century will be Global

III Removing the boss element: Productivity secrets for creating the boundaryless organisation
  1. De-layer, get rid of the fat
  2. Spark productivity through the S secrets (Speed, simplicity, Self-confidence)
  3. Act like a small company
  4. Remove the boundaries
  5. Unleash the energies of your workers
  6. Listen to the people who actually do the work
  7. Go before your workers and answer all their questions

IV Next generation leadership: Initiatives fro driving and sustaining double-digit growth
  1. Stretch: Exceed your goals as often as you can
  2. Make quality a top priority
  3. Make quality the job of every employee
  4. Make sure everyone understand how 6 Sigma works
  5. Make sure the customer feels quality
  6. Grow your service business: It’s the wave of the future
  7. Take advantage of e-business opportunities
  8. Make existing businesses internet-ready – don’t assume that new business models are the answer
  9. Use e-business to put the final nail in bureaucracy

It is instructive to compare the 29 secrets with Toyota’s 14 Principles. See also 6 Sigma.

Source: Slater, R. (2003) 29 Leadership secrets from Jack Welch. New York: McGraw-Hill

2 factor theory of motivation

In this classic article which addresses the perennial managerial question of “how do I get an employee to do what I want?”. Hertzberg argues that the traditional KITA (kick in the ass) approach to motivation can never be a real answer to the question. If a manager (metaphorically) kicks his employees in the rear, either physically or psychologically, the manager is motivated, and the employee moves – not a long-term solution to any problem!

Hertzberg model proposes that the factors involved in producing job satisfaction and motivation are quite distinct from the factors that lead to people being dissatisfied and demotivated about their jobs.

These two distinct sets of factors are addressing two distinct sets of human needs. One set of needs is to do with a built in drive to avoid discomfort or pain, either psychological or physical. These are called `hygiene` factors, and are the KITA factors that contribute to the avoidance of dissatisfaction. These are the factors, which meet basic economic and survival needs, and they are extrinsic to, or independent of the job itself. Herzberg gives the example of the need to earn money to buy food, and that need drives our behaviour. The second set of factors relates to the unique human need to develop, achieve and grow psychologically. These are motivating factors that are intrinsic to the job itself. So examples of these `motivators` are things like responsibility, advancement, growth all of which are bound up in the actual job and the work itself.

Herzberg argued that managers must understand the difference between motivators and hygienes. Simply addressing the hygiene factors might remove active dissatisfaction from the workplace, but would not add motivational value, or enhance performance. However, if managers could work to increase the number and quality of motivators involved in a job Herzberg`s argued that `job enrichment` would ensue. If managers treat job enrichment as continuous management function then continuous improvements in motivation, and job performance, should follow.

Although originally written in 1968, Herzberg`s model is considered a landmark article having sold over 300,000 copies. His ideas still provide useful managerial guidelines for enhancing performance and still generate relevant research in the field of Organisational Behaviour.

Source: Herzberg, F. (1968) One more time: How do you motivate employees? Reprinted: Harvard Business Review, 1997, 5, 109-120.

2 factor theory of motivation

A classic distinction is between Theory X and Theory Y of human nature. Theory X is based on the belief that people are lazy, dislike work and need a mixture of carrot and stick to perform; they are basically amateur, need direction and are incapable of taking responsibility.

Theory Y assumes the opposite: People have a psychological need to work and want achievement and responsibility and, in the right conditions, behave like mature adults. McGregor’s book is one of the most widely read books on motivation. Theory Y has six basic assumptions:
  1. The expenditure of physical and mental effort on work is as natural as rest or play.
  2. External control and the threat of punishment are not the only means of bringing about effort towards an organisation's objectives.
  3. Commitment to objectives is a function of the rewards associated with their achievement.
  4. The average human under proper conditions not only accepts but also seeks responsibility.
  5. The capacity to exercise a relatively high degree of imagination, ingenuity and creativity in the solution of organisational problems is widely, not narrowly, distributed in the population.
  6. Under the conditions of modern industrial life, the intellectual potential of the average human being are only partially utilised.
Source: (i) McGregor, D. (1960) The Human Side of Enterprise. New York: McGraw-Hill and (ii) McGregor, D. (1968) Work and the Nature of Man. London: Staple Press.

3 brains

“Triune brain theory” classifies the evolution and development of the brain into three phases. The brain evolved from the bottom up. Our brain developed by keeping those areas of our predecessors’ brains that had proved useful and building new structures that enabled humans to dominate in the evolutionary struggle. According to the theory, those brains are still with us and all three parts of the brain are interconnected.

  1. The Reptilian brain automatically handles the basic physical needs and basic automatic movements such as heart-rate, breathing, hunger, sleeping and sex. It also contains the reticulated activating system (RAS), which is the only part of the brain that connects all our sensory inputs to our high-level thinking functions. The reticulated activating system functions rather like a computer program and stores automatic response programmes.
  2. The old-mammalian brain or limbic system promotes survival and refines and co-ordinates movements. It also contains the seat of our emotions and feelings. The hippocampus is essential to long-term memory.
  3. The neo-mammalian brain or neo-cortex contains our high-level thinking skills and refines the activities of lower functions. It is responsible for associational, abstract thinking and planning abilities. It is critical in enabling us to respond to new challenges. Although the youngest part of the brain, it constitutes 75 per cent of our brain mass. The neo-cortex performs its functions effectively only when the other brains are satisfied. Long-term memory depends on all three parts of the triune brain.

A growing understanding of how the brain, and indirectly the mind, works is resulting in integrationist theories of how we learn and develop that bring together biology, neurology, psychology, sociology and other disciplines. See Ratey’s 5 Theatres of the brain.

Source: MacLean, P. (1973) A Triune Concept of The Brain and Behaviour. Toronto: Toronto University Press.

3 Cs for education

Handy argues for the importance of the three Cs as the true objective of education, rather than the continuing focus on facts and information: ‘We need to be able to recognize problems and opportunities. We need to be able to organise ourselves and other people to be able to do something about them, and we need to be able to sit back and reflect on what has happened in order that we can do it all better next time round.’ Handy calls this the cycle of discovery at work. The skills involved are:
  1. Conceptualising
  2. Co-ordinating
  3. Consolidating
Many people learn these skills outside the framework of conventional education. He argues that these skills should be developed in childhood as the platform for later learning.

Source: Handy, C. (1994) The Empty Raincoat – Making Sense Of The Future. London: Hutchinson Publishers

3 Cs of vulnerability

Hartley used the three Cs in his description of the collapse of IBM in 1993, after reporting the largest annual loss in American business history. He concluded that IBM had fallen foul of the three Cs of vulnerability:
  1. Complacency. This is the feeling of comfort and security that comes with focusing too much on your own world and interpreting everything else to be consistent with that world. There is a pleasant feeling from the thought that having been successful for so long there is no need to worry too much about what might be going on in the outside world. Sheer size and longevity are often associated with complacency.
  2. Conservatism. This attitude is characteristic of many bureaucratic and hierarchical organizations where more energy is expended in protecting and safeguarding the status quo than in seeking out and evaluating new ideas. In a period of stability and predictability conservatism can a good strategy for protecting a successful formula, but it can be disastrous when the world starts to change faster than the organisation’s capacity to respond.
  3. Conceit. This is reflected in the view that we cannot get it wrong or no-one can do it better than us. When you believe it as strongly as IBM appeared to then you don’t need to scan the horizons for threats and potential challenges.
These three qualities are the enemy of a true learning organization.

Source: Hartley, R.F. (1994) Management Mistakes and Successes. New York: Wiley

3 Cs of global success in key markets

The author argued that companies which failed to establish themselves in all three major trading blocs (Europe, United States, the Pacific Rim) become fatally vulnerable to competition from those that do.

He argued that there are three C's for success:

  1. Commitment: The companies must be there for the long haul. They must learn about the new environment and invest in long-term relationships.
  2. Competitiveness: Companies clearly must offer sustainable competitive advantage if they are to survive.
  3. Creativity: Continuous innovation in products and services as well as in business methods is critical.

Source: Ohmae, K. (1985) Triad Power: The Coming Shape of Global Competition. NY: Free Press.

3 elements of successful business partnerships

Kanter argues that managing partnerships in human terms is just as important as the financial aspects of the partnership. Three varieties of relationship are identified:
  1. Mutual service consortia;
  2. Joint ventures; and
  3. Value chain alliances.
There are three elements to a successful business partnership:
  1. The benefits go beyond the immediate reasons for entering the relationship;
  2. The relationship involves creating new value together; and
  3. The relationship depends on a dense web of interpersonal connections that enhance learning.
See also Kanter’s 5-phase model of successful business alliances.

Source: Kanter, R.M. (1994) Collaborative advantage: the art of alliances. Harvard Business Review, July-August, 96-108

3 faces of corporate renewal

The authors examine corporate renewal by taking a structural approach and focusing on routines and rules that are part of large, established, bureaucratic organizations. They characterize approaches to the management of innovation in terms of three different themes:
  1. Institutional
  2. Revolutional
  3. Evolutional strategies.
The first two approaches involve intentional efforts to encourage innovation, either within the current organizational paradigm (institutional innovation) or moving away from it (revolutionary innovation), while the evolutional approach involves less conscious efforts to manage what is viewed as a random, probabilistic process.

Source: Mezias, S.J. & Glynn, M.A. (1993) The three faces of corporate renewal: Institution, revolution and evolution. Strategic Management Journal, 14, 77-101.

3 Is for adding value and three types of organization

Handy argues that the key to successful organizational change in today’s business environment is based on knowledge and the ability to use that knowledge. He prescribes a formula for success:

I x 3 = AV

Where the three I’s are Intelligence, Information, and Ideas, and AV is added value.

The treble I organization described by handy is one of three emergent types of organization. The others are the Shamrock and the Federal. The Shamrock organisation’s three leaves represent core workers, the contractual fringe, and a flexible labour force. The Federal organization combines autonomy, co-operation, and a high degree of subsidiarity. By contrast, the Treble I organisation is where intelligent people prefer to agree rather than to obey.

According to Handy, the Treble I organization achieves high added value by combining the three Is. Organisations today need to make added value out of knowledge and whilst in the past people have always been paid to do, they also now need to be paid to think. This makes a huge difference to the way organisations are run. Everyone at the heart of an organization will have to be a manager, at least in his or her knowledge and development. However, no-one will be able to afford to be just a manager. Smaller numbers of employees need more flexibility, more multi-skilling, and more responsibility. Management will no longer be a word reflecting status, but only one reflecting one of many tasks performed by individuals.

Although the three Is refer to intellectual capital, the added value results in good old-fashioned, cash and profitability.

Source: Handy, C. (1995) The Age of Unreason. London: Arrow Business Books.

3 keys to empowerment

Empowerment is seen by the authors to be critical for success in today’s, and tomorrow’s competitive business environment. This book provides a 3 x 3 matrix model, considering the 3 key features of empowerment at each of 3 stages towards achieving it.

The authors think of ‘empowerment’ as the degree to which individuals feel they own their jobs and have key roles. The real essence of empowerment comes from ‘releasing the knowledge, experience and motivational power that is already in people, but is being severely under-utilised’.

In a previous book by the same authors – ‘Empowerment takes more than a minute’ published in 1996, 3 key ideas for empowerment were presented. These were:

  1. Share information with everyone. This means sharing whatever information is available about the business with everybody. Team members need information to understand the business and its needs in order to share in good business decisions. This is the critical `kick start for empowerment.
  2. Create autonomy through boundaries. This involves creating structures that inform team members about the ranges within which they can act with autonomy. Rather than being seen as bureaucratic and restrictive, the structures suggested here allow people clarity around the amount of control and responsibility they personally have .
  3. Teams must become the hierarchy. This emphasises the fact that teams are more effective than individuals in complex situations. Empowered teams make and implement decisions and are held accountable for results. The nature of empowered self directed teams mean that they must be developed over time and managed and led by skilled and aware team leaders.

The authors go on to describe three stages in the process of achieving an empowered and empowering organisation. Each stage must address each of the key features outlined above. They incorporate a model of leadership – situational leadership – to provide a framework for leading and managing the process.

The three stages in the process of empowerment are each clearly distinguishable and involve different issues, feelings and needs:

Stage 1 involves beginning to act and commit to change. This stage is characterised by interest and enthusiasm, tempered by suspicion and fear of the unknown.

Stage 2 features change and discouragement and is characterised by disillusionment about the possibility of reaching an empowered state. A leadership `vacuum` may be experienced before individuals feel empowered themselves, and when leaders are discouraged.

Stage 3 moves into adopting and refining empowerment when most members of the organisation can understand the vision of the new culture and are working positively towards achieving it

Reaching empowerment clearly requires committed, effective leadership to influence and implement the necessary action plan. The framework of Situational Leadership is presented to highlight how effective leadership can address each of the three keys, at each of the three stages. The book is thus divided into 9 chapters, exploring the issues raised by this 3 x 3 matrix model. Each key, at each stage is explored through a number of questions, encouraging the reader to consider the leadership style necessary to develop the empowerment process at that point. Answers to the questions provide an action guide towards achieving an empowered and empowering organisation.

Source: Blanchard K., Carlos J.P. & Randolph A. (1999) The Three Keys To Empowerment. San Francisco: Berrett–Koehler Publishers, Inc.

3 legs of a committed enterprise

Davidson uses the image of the national three-legged symbol of the Isle of Man in the British Isles to stress the interconnected and balance driven by vision and values which move the legs in the same direction.

The three Legs are:
  1. Committed customers
  2. Motivated employees
  3. Satisfied finance providers
See also Davidson’s 7 Key Benefits of vision and values and also his 7 Best Practices for creating the committed enterprise.

Source: Davidson, H. (2002) The Committed Enterprise: How to Make Vision and Values Work. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann

3 Ms of commitment

This book is the result of a global e-culture survey involving almost eighty companies and 300 interviews. Moss Kanter argues that in many ways e-culture allows for more opportunity, and also greater desire, to express the complex and variable talents that make us human, in ways that old-fashioned bureaucracies and machine-age corporations could not or did not want to. Kanter argues that the key to attracting and retaining the best talent lies in offering them commitment, the three dimensions of which are captured by the three Ms (in addition to the fourth M, viz. money).

Mastery: Caring about today, thinking about tomorrow. The first dimension of commitment involves an assessment, by the individual, of whether it is worth it to stay or to leave, to work hard or to take it easy. Underlying this calculation is a generic desire for mastery, which Kanter defines as satisfaction and success, coupled with increasing opportunity to achieve success in the future. Elements of the calculation are challenging work, training and the chance to learn, career paths and a stake in the future. They need not all be perceived as high as there will always be trade-offs. In e-culture the best will be looking for constant stretch and empowerment, and the opportunity to influence and make a difference.

Membership: Cementing the We, caring about Me. This dimension involves cohesion among members of the group. There is an acceptable balance between individual and collective needs that allows a sense of belonging to develop. There is a sense of community, based on strong relationships and strong individual identities and the needs of individuals.

Meaning: Believing in larger purpose. This is the belief that the work itself has meaning, that there is some degree of social value to the work, and that there is a chance of making a difference to the world in some way. Kanter refers to this as missionary idealism, a quality present in may companies.

Kanter’s 3 Ms are a powerful reminder that in order to gain and benefit from the commitment of their employees, especially those that are highly marketable, it will be increasingly important for companies to offer more than a concern for profits, survival or security, as a basis for motivation, something closer to potential for self-actualisation. See Maslow’s 5 levels of motivation.

Source: Kanter, R. M. (2001) e-Volve! Succeeding in the Digital Culture of Tomorrow. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

3 phases of change

Kurt Lewin, an eminent psychologist, recommends that any change programme be viewed as a dynamic process with 3 distinct phases all of which must be addressed for a change to be successful. The phases are:
  1. Unfreezing is the period of time in which managers must prepare the situation for change. It involves understanding existing attitudes and values and creating a felt need for change. The triggers for change that facilitate this process are often external, such as environmental pressures, new executives or declining performance.
  2. Changing is the period during which action must be taken to modify the situation in the desired way. Many factors may be involved here, such as the people, the tasks, the structure or the technology of an organisation. This phase will only succeed if the previous one has been properly conducted.
  3. Refreezing is the final stage in the process and involves putting structures and processes into place which will positively reinforce the changes and ensure that the benefits of the changes will be long lasting. During this phase progress and results must be monitored and support offered for any difficulties people are experiencing as a result of the changes. Modifications must be allowed for and adaptations found if necessary; an enemy of the whole process is rigidity.
Lewin argues that if all three stages are given equal effort and attention, the results of planned change can be maintained positively. If the process is not adhered to, changes may be abandoned after a short time, or incompletely implemented. A `founding father` of change theory, Lewin`s work is still relevant and useful in today’s rapidly changing business environment.

Source: Lewin K. (1952) ‘Group decision and social change’ in G. E. Swanson, T. M. Newcome and E.L. Hartley (Eds.) Readings in Social Psychology. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston

3 Ps of Leadership

  1. Purpose
  2. Politics
  3. Process

Source: Van Maurik, J. (1997) The Portable Leader. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill

3 Rs for sustained team performance

The three Rs to sustain high levels of team performance are:

Repeated reward and recognition. This means celebrating success, focusing on the positive, and reinforcing the behaviours that are conducive to team performance. By contrast, it means avoiding blame, negativity, and reinforcing unhelpful behaviours. See Blanchard’s 4 keys to successful teams.

Source: Blanchard, K. and Bowles, S. (2001) High Five! The Magic of Working Together. London: HarperCollins Business

3 senses for living

In order to make sense of our turbulent world and to make sense of future worlds, Handy argues that we need to develop three senses to help us cope with the many paradoxes that characterise modern life. ‘Without these three senses we feel disorientated, adrift, and rudderless. The world is going to be a confusing place for the next few decades. We shall need all the help we can find to recognize our place and role in it.’ The three senses are:
  1. A sense of Continuity (we are contributing to something that preceded us and will continue long after us). Handy calls this a cathedral philosophy. We are part of something bigger than ourselves.
  2. A sense of Connection (we do not stand alone, we are connected to and belong to others, to communities of one kind or another). Humans are social beings and all our greatest achievements and fulfilments are to a greater or lesser extent social. Paradoxically we are losing the connectivity of nuclear families and life-long communities at a time when technology is creating unparalleled possibilities for global connections.
  3. A sense of Direction (the need to have something to believe in, aim for, a cause). Continuity and connection are not enough on their own to give us meaning. There must also be a sense of purpose. As Handy puts it: ‘We must fashion our own directions in our own places.’
The three senses should be compared with Kanter’s 3 Ms for commitment.

Source: Handy, C. (1994) The Empty Raincoat: Making Sense of The Future. London: Hutchinson Publishers.

3 strategies for successful business partners

This article is directed towards HR managers, with the aim of helping them to become successful business partners with their organisations. In a move away from being seen as the `soft` side of business operations, HR professionals are encouraged to see themselves as strategists, with a focus on the numbers, which really add value to the bottom line.

Companies are always searching for better ways to measure performance, but in today’s world, this must involve economic and social issues affect their businesses. So, in order to add value, the HR function should consider how to maximise people performance and apply the latest business trends. Three strategies are offered:
  1. Delivering the numbers The recommended strategy is to use a balanced scorecard approach to address both hard and soft measure to measure business success. The key of course is to identify what to measure and to capture the most useful data. Success in this field will provide solid indicators that the investment in the people, the service or the product is worthwhile.
  2. Maximising people performance HR leaders must adopt four roles if they are to be seen as strategic business partners within their organisations. They must be:
    1. Strategists – aligning human resources with business strategy
    2. Administrative experts – building efficient infrastructure
    3. Employee partners – increasing employee commitment and capability
    4. Change agents – being the people who make things happen.
  3. Understanding and applying the trends All business leaders need to look to the future. HR partners in business need an eye to the `hot` issues of the day. These include:
    1. Outsourcing as a way of adding value
    2. Globalisation, driven by technology
    3. Understanding demographic change, this will determine the workforce of the future.
Only by understanding the combination of both organisational objectives and employee requirements can HR professions begin to be seen as business partners. The transition must be made if they wish to be seen as more than personnel ‘techies’.

Source: M.N. Martinez (1997) Three strategies for successful business partnerships. HRM Magazine, 41, 10, 51-55.

3 Ts for effective communication

This a useful aid-memoire if you want to get a message through, especially in a formal context such as a speech or presentation:
  1. Tell them what you are going to tell them.
  2. Tell them.
  3. Tell them what you have just told them.
Cf. “What I tell you three times is true.” From Hunting the Snark by Lewis Carroll, 1876. (Quoted in Hartston 1997)

Source: Unknown (Happy to acknowledge)

3 ways of acting wisely

Confucius wrote: “Man has three ways of acting wisely. First on meditation; that is the noblest. Secondly on imitation; that is the easiest. Thirdly, on experience; that is the bitterest.”

Source: The Analects (c479 BCE)

33 gurus

The book presents selections and extract from influential writers on management and management theory. It is interesting to compare this with the more recent selections of Crainer (1996) in 50 Books That Made Management. In Kennedy’s book, Peter Senge had yet to appear, process re-engineering was on the horizon, and the balanced score-card had not caught the imagination of business leaders. The 33 gurus and their topics are:
  1. John Adair on action-centred leadership.
  2. H. Igor Ansof on the theory and practice of strategic planning.
  3. Chris Argyris on developing individual potential within the organization. (See 1 and 2).
  4. Chester Barnard on managing the values of the organization.
  5. Warren Bennis on managers doing things right and leaders doing the right thing. (See 4, 6 and 10)
  6. Edward de Bono on lateral thinking. (See 6)
  7. Alfred C. Chandler structure following strategy in organizations.
  8. W. Edwards Deming reducing variation as the key to quality. (See 14)
  9. Peter Drucker on the primary tasks of effective managers. (See 6)
  10. Henri Fayol on the five foundation stones of modern management. (See 14)
  11. Charles Handy on the future of work and organizations. (See 2,4, 10 and 21)
  12. Frederick Herzberg on motivation and maintenance factors in job satisfaction. (See 2)
  13. John Humble on management by objectives.
  14. Elliott Jacques on the psychological and social factors in group behaviour.
  15. Joseph. M. Duran on company-wide quality.
  16. Rosabeth Moss Kanter on the post entrepreneurial corporation, empowering individuals as a force for change. (See 3,5,6, 7 and 10)
  17. Theodore Levitt on marketing as a key to successful business management. (See 5)
  18. Rensis Lickert on how leadership styles link to business performance. (See 4)
  19. Douglas McGregor on authoritarian and participative management. (See 2)
  20. Abraham Maslow on the hierarchy of needs in motivation. (See 5)
  21. Elton W. Mayo on human relations in industry and respect for the individual.
  22. Henry Mintzbeg on how strategy is made and how managers use their time. (See 4,5 and10)
  23. Kenichi Ohmae on lessons from Japan’s global business strategy. (See 3)
  24. Richard Pascale on the creative use of conflict in organizations. (See 7)
  25. Tom Peters and Robert Waterman on the excellence cult and prescriptions for managing chaotic change. (See 8)
  26. Michael Porter on strategies for competitive advantage both national and international. (See 5)
  27. Reg Revans on action learning.
  28. Edgar Schein on the psychological contract between employer and employed. (See 5, 8, and 11)
  29. Richard J Schonberger on the customer chain.
  30. E.F. Schumacher on ‘small is beautiful’.
  31. Alfred P. Sloan on decentralisation in big corporations.
  32. F. W. Taylor on the science of work and ‘functional management’. (See 4)
  33. Max Weber on responses to authority in organisations.

Source: Kennedy, C. (1991) Guide to The Management Gurus: Shortcuts to the Ideas of Leading Management Thinkers. London: Century
Townsend, P. & Gebhardt, J. (1997)

3rd Wave

Published 20 years ago, this book provides an astonishingly accurate portrayal of the development of our civilization.

The fundamental observation is that we are now into a third phase of human evolution. The first was characterised by an agrarian economy, land-based and individually productive, with little interactive trading. The second phase was the industrial revolution, characterized by mass production, standardisation and centralisation. Society became urban and factory-centred with trading commodities being the key economic driver for survival. The third, and current phase is transforming our world by its emphasis on mind and knowledge based economies dominated by technology. The key features of the third wave are customised production, micro-markets and a wide array of communication channels.

Toffler does not, however, limit himself to considerations of industry and commerce, although those are key to the development of society. He believes that the changes riding on the third wave will bring fundamental shifts in our ways of `working, loving and living`. He predicts that society will find these shifts difficult to manage, with conflict between the existing second wave culture and the inevitable third wave culture being tumultuous and painful. He describes the process as a `super struggle` caused by growing awareness that the most urgent problems of the world, of food, energy, arms, poverty, population control, conservation and ecology cannot be resolved within the framework of the (then) current industrial order.

Although the crystal ball is a little clouded in some places, this is still a remarkable portrayal of late 20th and early 21st century civilisation. As Toffler predicted, we see de-centralisation everywhere, the customer is now a different kind of consumer, requiring customised, personalised products. This is reflected in many different heterogeneous family styles, single-issue politics and an overall de simplification of society.

The importance of the documentation of this profound shift, from both from a historical and futuristic perspective has been summarised by one reviewer: “I can only recommend reading (it) if you plan to have a job or purchase anything in the next hundred years”.

See Naisbitt’s 10 mega-trends.

Source: Toffler A. (1981) The Third Wave London: Pan Books

3rd Way

The Third Way is the name given to the new ideology supposedly common to President Clinton and Prime Minister Tony Blair, that went ‘beyond left and right’, and representing an alleged historic meeting of minds. The third way is the philosophy of New Labour, supposedly transcending neo-liberalism and socialism.

Should not be confused with Tofler’s Third Wave.

Source: Pollard, S., Willetts, D. Collins, P. and Lakes, S. (1999) The Third Way. London: Social Market Foundation

4 basic human needs

According to Covey, it is critical that we meet four basic needs in order to find fulfilment as a human being. These are:
1.  Spiritual
2.  Mental
3.  Physical
4.  Social

Fulfilling these needs is like combining chemical elements; energy is generated that gives vision, passion and meaning to life. We must seek to fulfill these needs according to the reality of his `true north` principles, which provide a real context to our lives and are essential to cultivating a quality life.

See Covey’ 1st Things First and his 4 Ls for Life

Source: Covey, S.R. (1994) First Things First. New York: Simon & Schuster

4 basic types of corporate culture

Based on their extensive research into culture (see 5), the authors conclude that there are three aspects of organisational structure that are especially important in determining corporate culture. They are:

  1. The relationship between employees and the organisation.
  2. The vertical or hierarchical system of authority defining superiors and subordinates.
  3. The general views of employees about the organisation's destiny, purpose and goals and their place in this.

By combining two of the dimensions that distinguish between cultures, viz. the equality- hierarchy dimension, and the orientation to the person-orientation to the task dimension, the authors distinguished four different corporate cultures, which ”differ in how they think and learn, how they change, and how they motivate, reward and resolve conflicts”.

Warning against the dangers of characterisation, they see 4 types of organisational culture as:

  1. The Family culture is a person-orientated with close family-like relationships. It is also a hierarchical with clear layers of authority. It is a power- orientated culture with a powerful leader, rather like the benign autocrat.
  2. The Eiffel Tower culture is the classic bureaucratic hierarchy. Roles and divisions of labour are predetermined and co-ordinated by the top of the hierarchy. Its structure is more important than its function. The culture is task-orientated and hierarchical. Power comes from occupancy of the role. Relationships are specific and prescribed.
  3. The Guided Missile culture is egalitarian and task-orientated. The culture is focused on strategic intent and a clear target to be achieved. It is frequently structured around teams and project groups. Roles are not rigidly defined but emerge. Everyone is an equal when it comes to getting the job done. There is often a high concentration of professionals and technical specialists in guided missile cultures.
  4. The Incubator culture is fulfilment-orientated and egalitarian. These cultures tend to exist when there is a need for self-expression and self-fulfilment at a high level. There is often intense personal and emotional commitment, as one would find in a start-up or a professional practice. There is often a high level of creativity and innovation.

The authors also assert that there are national preferences for the four corporate cultures, but they conclude by arguing that “really successful businesses borrow from all types and ceaselessly struggle to reconcile them.” They see national differences in value-orientation as a major source of cultural diversity, but that other factors account for a large portion of the diversity we find within a national culture.

Source: Trompenaars, F. & Hampden-Turner, C. (1997, 2nd edition) Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Cultural Diversity in Business. London: Nicholas Brealey

4 big things in e-culture

Moss Kanter’s 4 big things in e-culture are:

  1. Foster an attitude to experimentation. Kanter urges companies to use the metaphor of improvisational theatre to give their ‘actors’ the freedom to create new things through intense interaction with their ‘audience’.
  2. Become network-orientated. Kanter reinforces the need to work with partners, suppliers and competitors in an increasingly inter-dependent business world.
  3. Reconstruct the organisation as an integrated community. She defines community as a ‘real feeling of membership which transcends the internal boundaries’. This means people do not identify with a division, or a particular technology, solution, industry sector or skill set, but with the whole enterprise.
  4. Even in the New Economy, it is people, not technology that make the difference. She uses the example of how IBM was asked to help Kosovan refugees to find family members after the war. They formed a virtual global team, and in three weeks had set up a database, supporting architecture, had flown laptops into Kosovo and trained people in how to use the system. They never met as a team. When this was publicised on the web, IBM received many emails from staff saying how proud they were that IBM could respond so quickly and make such a difference.

Moss Kanter’s asserts that managing change in the new economy is not really that different to how it was before – just a bit faster, and a bit more complex due to the number of partners. In the end, it still comes down to aligning people, relationships, and fostering and openness to change. See also Kanter’s 3 Ms for commitment.

Source: Kanter, R. M. (2000) E-volution: Succeeding in the Digital Culture of Tomorrow. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

4 competencies of great leaders

According to the author, this book is about the crisis in leadership, almost everywhere in the world. He has identified what he calls the four competencies of great leaders, based on his study of 90 effective leaders, 60 in large corporations and 30 in public sector organisations.

The main conclusion of his research is that the critical factor that empowers the workforce, and ultimately determines which organisations succeed or fail is the leadership of those organisations. As he puts it, when strategy, processes, and cultures change, the key to improvement remains leadership. The four competencies of great leaders are:
  1. The management of attention. This is the ability to draw others to them through what Bennis calls an extraordinary focus of personal commitment to, rather than through, a particular vision goal or direction. It is this focus of commitment that attracts people.
  2. The management of meaning. Bennis argues great leaders turn information (facts, concepts etc) into meaning. An effective leader makes dreams apparent and ideas tangible thus making the vision or dream clear to others.
  3. The management of trust. This is essential to effective leadership and is determined by a creation of constancy and reliability which followers find attractive.
  4. The management of self. This is defined as knowing one's own skills and strengths and applying them effectively.
Source: Bennis, W. (1998) Managing People is Like Herding Cats. London: Kogan Page

4 competencies of the learning organisation

The authors argue that successful knowledge management requires four core learning competencies. They are
  1. Absorption of knowledge from outside
  2. Diffusion of knowledge within
  3. Generation of knowledge within
  4. Exploitation of knowledge in products an service
Source: Have, S. ten, Have, W. ten & Stevens, F. (Eds. 2003) Key Management Models. Harlow: Pearson Education

4 dimensions of culture

This highly influential book was based on analysis of responses to a questionnaire about work-related values that was completed by over 116,000 people in 40 different countries. Four dimensions emerged allowing each of the countries to be given a score on the four dimensions. As Hofstede put it: “The differences demonstrated have profound consequences for the validity of the transfer of theories and working methods from one country to another.” The four dimensions are:

  1. Power distance is the extent to which behaviour between people at different positions in a hierarchy is predefined and accepted by people at different positions in the hierarchy. Mexico and India are high on Power Distance. Denmark and Israel are very low.
  2. Uncertainty Avoidance is the extent to which there are social and behavioural norms that are specifically aimed at the avoidance of ambiguity and uncertainty in relations between people and on issues such as time and the future. Greece and Japan are high in Uncertainty Avoidance. Great Britain and Sweden are low.
  3. Individualism is the extent to which the needs of the individual are allowed or indeed expected to have priority over the collective needs of others. The USA and Australia are high on Individualism, whereas Peru and Pakistan are low.
  4. Masculinity is the extent to which the culture reflects the traditional socialization of men into assertive and women into nurturing roles Japan and Austria are high on masculinity whereas Norway and Sweden are low.

The real interest, of course, lies in the integration of the four dimensions. For example, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland and Great Britain are alike in having small Power Distance and weak Uncertainty Avoidance. By comparison, Greece, Portugal and Belgium have larger Power Distance and strong Uncertainty Avoidance.

This is a really fascinating book, based on exemplary research and objective analysis. It helps provide insights into the perceptions of one culture by another; the basis of tensions when they try to work together; and to some extent their histories.

Source: Hofstede, G. (1984) Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related values. London: Sage.

4 gods of management (or the theory of cultural propriety)

Handy used four Greek gods to symbolise the different ways of managing that can be discerned in organisations, and the differing cultures existing in those organisations. His argument is that the management of organisations is not a precise science but more of a creative and political process reflecting the prevailing culture and traditions in that place at that time. He argues that it is critically important to get the right culture in the right place for the right purpose.
Each culture works on quite different assumptions about the basis of power and influence, about what motivates people, how they think and learn, and how things can be changed. These assumptions result in quite different styles of management, structures, procedures and the broad systems. Each will work well in certain situations but will fail and cause problems in the wrong place. Different cultures are needed for different tasks. It was always a mistaken belief that there is one best way to manage. It has been a pervasive myth and the damaging one to both individuals and organizations.
The four principal gods are:

  1. Zeus, the king of the gods. This leads to the Club culture. Zeus was feared, respected and occasionally loved. Commonly found in small entrepreneurial organizations. Speed of decision-making, and relatively low costs are characteristic of club cultures where there is also reliance on like-minded convergent thinking.
  2. Apollo, the god of harmony and of order and reason dominates the Role culture. Here there is less scope for individual personalities. There is clear division of responsibility, and specialized functions.
  3. Athena, the warrior goddess and patron of Ulysses leads to the Task culture. The focus is on solution of problems and achievement of results.
  4. Dionysus, who represents individual liberty and sometimes license dominates the existential culture where the organization appears to exist to provide a platform for the talents and ambitions of the talented people it employs. There is little respect for hierarchy, or custom and practice. The individual comes first, at least in the eyes of the individuals themselves.

The choice of gods is influenced by the society around them and its national culture, and by the occupational setting of the organisation. Handy argues that the commonly chosen route to efficiency of higher concentration and specialisation which resulted in a multi-layered and multi-structured organisation and an Appollonian, or bureaucratic culture, has reached a dead end. He calls this Apollonian Dominance and predicts a resurgence of Zeus and Dionysus, of individualism and personal power, as the basis of corporate culture.

See Kanter’s 3 Ms of commitment in e-culture.

Source: Handy, C. (1991) Gods of Management. London: Business Books

4 Influencing styles

In addition to position power, a manager has six other sources of power
  1. Coercive or physical power
  2. Resource power
  3. Expert power
  4. Information power
  5. Association power
  6. Personal power
When it comes to influencing, Cox argues that there are 4 styles and energies:

  1. Bargaining style: Low responsive, high directive, involving demanding and exchanging to achieve a deal (Moving against)
  2. Process style: Low responsive, low directive, involving proposing and reasoning to achieve a solution (Moving at)
  3. Ideas style: Hi responsive, High directive, involving connecting and envisioning to achieve cooperation (Moving together)
  4. People style: High responsive, low directive, involving sharing and listening to achieve understanding (Moving with)

Source: Lock, D. (Ed. 1998) The Gower Handbook of Management. Aldershot: Gower

4 Is of the learning toolkit

Based on his premise that real-life learners have a resilient approach to learning and employ a range of strategies and skills in doing so, Claxton four main strategies in the ‘learning toolkit’.

The four Is are:

  1. Immersion is the means by which infants attune themselves to the regularities in their early life, and which generate practical expertise which are just too complex to figure in any other way. Just looking about and just messing about stays with us for life and is a highly intelligent form of learning, especially if we harness it consciously.
  2. Imagination is a dress rehearsal for possible scenarios and an exploration of new ways of acting and is key to the work of artists, scientist, and managers but also to everyday life.
  3. Intuition is the ability to let the mind go quiet as a pre-requisite to creativity.
  4. Intellect requires the application of logical reasoning and critical analysis

Most tasks require a combination of different strategies, and a fixation on one over the rest can result in blinkered thinking and sub-optimal outcomes for the learners. Skilled learners in an uncertain world require a mixture of confidence, curiosity and capability.

Source: Claxton. G. (1999) Wise up: The Challenge of Lifelong Learning. London: Bloomsbury.

4 keys challenges of management

In a classic article, which was very influential in its time, Mintzberg identified the difference between folklore (what is thought to happen) and fact (what actually happens). The four myths of management are based on extensive research of actual management activity.
  1. The manager is a reflective systematic planner. Fact: Study after study has shown that managers worked at an unrelenting pace, that their activities are characterized by brevity, variety, and discontinuity, and that they are strongly orientated to action and a dislike of reflective activities.
  2. The effective manager has no regular duties to perform. Fact: Managerial work involves performing a number of regular duties, including ritual and ceremony, negotiations, and processing of soft information that links the organization with its environment.
  3. The senior manager needs aggregated information that the formal management information system best provides. Fact: Managers strongly favour oral media, such as telephone calls and meetings, over documents.
  4. Management is, or at least is quickly becoming, a science and a profession. Fact: Managers’ programmes to schedule time, process information, make decisions, and so on, remained locked deep inside their brains.
The key challenges for management are:
  1. Managers’ effectiveness is significantly influenced by insight into their own work.
  2. The manager is challenged to find systematic ways to share privileged information
  3. The manager is challenged to deal consciously with the pressures of superficiality by giving serious attention to the issues that require it, by stepping back in order to see a broader picture, and by making use of analytical inputs.
  4. The manager is challenged to gain control of his or her own time by turning obligations into advantages and by turning those things he or she wishes to do into obligations
Source: Mintzberg, H. (1990) ‘The manager’s job: folklore and fact.’ Harvard Business Review, March-April, 163-76.

4 key emotional skills of leadership

Recognising that emotions are not separate and inferior to intelligent thinking, but rather integral to intelligence and should be harnessed instead of being repressed, the authors identify four key skills that are leveraged by the emotionally intelligent manager:

  1. Identifying how all of the key participants feel
  2. Using the feelings to guide thinking and reasoning
  3. Understanding how feelings might change and develop as events unfold
  4. Managing to stay open to feelings and integrating them into decisions and actions

Source: Caruso, D. R. & Salovey, P. (2004) The Emotionally Intelligent Manager. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

4 keys to successful teams

This book is in the form of a story (a parable?) of an unsuccessful ice-hockey team full of individualists and how they learn to be a team and win. They are aided in this process by one of the coaches who loses his own job precisely because he is not a team player, who then discovers the secret, turns the ram-shackle group of players into a championship winning team and ends up making a successful career as a team performance consultant. And the secret behind this fairy-tale? Not really a secret because the formula is well known, but as with much of Blanchard’s work it is very effectively communicated.

The four keys are:

1. A sense of purpose that gives a compelling reason for the team to exist and for the accepted trade-off between selfishness for selflessness. The team also needs to have a team charter that governs how it and its members wish to behave.

2. The development of high skills (both learned and unleashed). This involves the development and constant improvement of basic skills of both individual members and the collective skills of the team.

3. Synergistic harmony. This is the classic formula that the total is more than the sum of the parts that results from turning individual into team performance. Blanchard calls this team power.

4. Keeping the accent on the positive. Focus on reinforcing and encouraging effective performance rather than recrimination and blame. See Blanchard’s 3 Rs for sustaining team performance.

Applying what is being preached, the extensive list of credits in the book show that it was genuinely a team performance. 

Source: Blanchard, K. and Bowles, S. (2001) High Five!: The Magic of Working Together. London: HarperCollins Business

4 learning styles

The four learning preferences have implications both for the individual learner in terms of building on strengths and reducing the effects of weaknesses, and for trainers and designers of learning processes in terms of covering the complete learning cycle and selecting different activities to suit different preferences.

  1. Activists. Activists like to take direct action. They are enthusiastic and welcome new challenges and experiences. They are less interested in what has happened in the past or putting things into a broader context. They are primarily interested the here and now. They like to have a go, try things out and participate. They like to be the centre of attention. Activists like to think on their feet, to have short sessions, plenty of variety, the opportunity to initiate, to participate and have fun.
  2. Reflectors. Reflectors like to think about things in detail before taking action. They take a thoughtful approach. They are good listeners and prefer to adopt a low profile. They are prepared to read and re-read and will welcome the opportunity to repeat a piece of learning. Reflectors like to think before acting, thorough preparation, researching and evaluating, to make decisions in their own time, to listen and observe.
  3. Theorists. Theorists like to see how things fit into an overall pattern. They are logical, objective, systems people who prefer a sequential approach to problems. They are analytical, pay great attention to detail and tend to be perfectionists. Theorists like concepts and models, to see the overall picture, to feel intellectually stretched, structure and clear objectives, logical presentation of ideas.
  4. Pragmatists. Pragmatists like to see how things work in practice. They enjoy experimenting with new ideas. They are practical, down to earth and like to solve problems. They appreciate the opportunity to try out what they have learned/are learning. So, in summary, Pragmatists like to see the relevance of their work, to gain practical advantage from learning, credible role models, proven techniques, activities to be real.

Source: Honey, P. and Mumford, A. (1982, revised edition 1992) The Manual of Learning Styles. Maidenhead: Peter Honey Publications

4 levers of corporate change

According to the authors, the book is focused on effective change. It aims to provide a framework and guidelines for solving the problem of bringing about and sustaining change. Brill and Worth explain how to deal with those aspects of human nature that motivate employees to resist change. The book provides a fresh insight into the uses of power to initiate change effort and keep it moving forward. The four levers or of corporate change are:

  1. Understanding of human nature. The authors argue that an understanding of human nature lies at the centre of any successful change process. Leaders must be able to look inside the minds of their employees and recognise what motivates them. This includes understanding that human beings are motivated by irrational as well as rational considerations. They are social animals and group dynamics play a key part in influencing attitudes and behaviour. Information about all these factors is critical if leaders are to produce the change that they desire
  2. Skilful use of power. There are different types of power but the authors argue that the ultimate goal of power in bringing about organisational change is alignment. Brill and Worth offer practical guidelines governing the use of power to produce change in an organisation.
  3. Well designed social process. A social process is a series of events or experiences since that utilise our knowledge of individual and group behaviour to facilitate change.
  4. Persuasive leadership. The authors describe the step-by-step process of effective leadership and organisational change:
i. Begin with information
ii. Understand yourself,
iii. Identify informal leaders,
iv. Develop a mission and a set of ideals,
v. Find the leverage points,
vi. Check your intervention strategy against human nature,
vii. Use power effectively,
viii. Create a social process,
ix. Create a alignment and identification with the change process, and
x. Provide follow-up and reinforcement.

Source: Brill, P. & Worth, R. (1996) The Four Levers of Corporate Change. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.

4 life positions

Berne’s classic typology of relationships of one person to another based on various combinations of what Berne defined as Parent, Adult, and Child modes of behaviour.

  1. “I’m OK, You’re OK” (the win-win position)
  2. “I’m OK, You’re not OK” (the win-lose position)
  3. “I’m not OK, You’re OK” (the lose-win position)
  4. “I’m not OK, You’re not OK” (the lose-lose position)

See also Kilman’s 5 ways of handling conflict

Source: Berne, E. (1988) What Do You Say After You’ve Said Hello? London: Corgi.

4 Ls of life

Covey’s four Ls of life are:
  1. To live
  2. To love
  3. To learn
  4. To leave a legacy
Again, one can’t help agreeing. Nonetheless, the 4 Ls are a simple but powerful reminder of the need for balance in life. See also Covey’s 1st things first and Handy’s 3 senses for life.
Source: Covey, S.R. (1994) First things First. New York: Simon & Schuster

4 myths of management

In a classic article, which was very influential in its time, Mintzberg identified the difference between folklore (what is thought to happen) and fact (what actually happens). The four myths of management are based on extensive research of actual management activity.

  1. The manager is a reflective systematic planner. Fact: Study after study has shown that managers worked at an unrelenting pace, that their activities are characterized by brevity, variety, and discontinuity, and that they are strongly orientated to action and a dislike of reflective activities.
  2. The effective manager has no regular duties to perform. Fact: Managerial work involves performing a number of regular duties, including ritual and ceremony, negotiations, and processing of soft information that links the organization with its environment.
  3. The senior manager needs aggregated information that the formal management information system best provides. Fact: Managers strongly favour oral media, such as telephone calls and meetings, over documents.
  4. Management is, or at least is quickly becoming, a science and a profession. Fact: Managers’ programmes to schedule time, process information, make decisions, and so on, remained locked deep inside their brains.
The key challenges for management are:

  1. Managers’ effectiveness is significantly influenced by insight into their own work.
  2. The manager is challenged to find systematic ways to share privileged information
  3. The manager is challenged to deal consciously with the pressures of superficiality by giving serious attention to the issues that require it, by stepping back in order to see a broader picture, and by making use of analytical inputs.
  4. The manager is challenged to gain control of his or her own time by turning obligations into advantages and by turning those things he or she wishes to do into obligations

Source: Mintzberg, H. (1990) ‘The manager’s job: folklore and fact.’ Harvard Business Review, March-April, 163-76.

4 obsessions of an extraordinary executive

Using the successful formula of a fiction-like story (parable, fable) Lencioni powerfully and convincingly communicates his ideas in a manner that is insightful and practical. The formal model is only presented after the story has been told. In the book the obsessions turn into disciplines for a healthy organisation.

The four disciplines are:

  1. Build and maintain a cohesive leadership team
  2. Create organisational clarity
  3. Over-communicate organisational clarity
  4. Reinforce organisational clarity through human systems

See 5 dysfunctions of a team (Lencioni 2002) and 5 temptations of a CEO (Lencioni 2000)

Source: Lencioni, P. (2000) The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary CEO. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

4 principles

Nicolo Machiavelli, the Italian statesman, writer and political philosopher wrote:

“One can make this generalisation about men: They are ungrateful, fickle liars and deceivers. They shun danger and are greedy for profit; while you treat them well they are yours. They would shed their blood for you, risk their property, their lives, their children, as long as danger is remote, but when you are in danger they turn against you.”

His, much quoted, principles are:
  1. Reliance on mass consent
  2. Cohesiveness
  3. Leadership and
  4. The will to survive
Source: Jay, A. (1967) Management and Machiavelli. London: Hodder and Stoughton.

4 principles of management

Originally published in 1911, the work of Frederick Taylor had enormous influence until the third quarter of the twentieth century when it began to be fashionable to talk of the de-Taylorisation of work. Instead of command-and-control within a well-structured hierarchy of authority, as postulated by Taylor, there was a growing recognition of the need for empowered team-working, constant renewal and the learning organization as a response to the ever-faster rate of change and increasing unpredictability in the external environment. Taylor advocated:

  1. The development of a science of work to replace the old rule of thumb methods by which work operated. Meeting more targets would earn higher wages; failing to do so would result in loss of earnings.
  2. Scientific selection and progressive development of the worker: training each to be first class at some task.
  3. Bringing together the design of work and the scientifically selected and trained workers for best results.
  4. Equal division of work and responsibility between workers and management, co-operating together in close interdependence.

Taylor has gone out of fashion, but just as Einstein superseded Newton’s physics, it did not replace it, and much of what Taylor advocated is still relevant in certain contexts.

Source: Taylor, F, M. (1911) Principles of Scientific Management. New York: Harper

4 Ps for effectiveness

They are:
  1. Performance - we have to work hard at it to be top-notch
  2. Perseverance - you must keep going despite difficulties and setbacks
  3. Practice - makes you better
  4. Patience - when you can't control the outcome but can set the pace
See Brooks and Brooks’ 7 secrets of effective women and Covey’s 7 habits of effective people

Source: Brooks, D. & Brooks, L. (1997) The Seven Secrets of Successful Women. London: McGraw-Hill

4 Ps of marketing mix

The Marketing Mix Model (also referred to as the 4 Ps) is used to assist in the development of marketing strategy.  The key lies in blending variables to achieve an optimum response in a target market:

  1. Product: Does the organisation offer what its intended customers actually want?  How can the product or service be designed to meet customers' needs.
  2. Price: How much are the intended customers willing to pay? This is a strategic decision.
  3. Position: Is the product available at the right place, at the right time, in the right quanities?
  4. Promotion: How will the chosen target groups be informed about the organisation and its products?

Sometime a 5th P is added to this model, viz.  People or Personnel.

See the 7 Ps of extened marketing mix for service-oreienatated comapnies.

Source:  Unknown (happy to acknowledge)

4 Ps that make you richer

Under the communist regime in Germany, Handy argues that, despite many limitations, there was plenty of time for 4 Fs, which make you human:
  1. Family
  2. Friends
  3. Festivals
  4. Fun
By contrast today, it all about the 4 Ps, which make you richer but not necessarily happier:
  1. Productivity
  2. Pay
  3. Performance
  4. Profit
He argues that a bit of balance would be a nice thing.

Source: Handy, C. (1996) The Search for Meaning. London: Lemos and Crane.

4 qualities of leadership

According to Bennis, leaders have:

  1. Vision. It should be clear, attractive and attainable, a vision in which followers can put their trust. The vision is usually inspiring. The vision becomes a context for shared beliefs, and common organisational purpose. The leader involves others in the vision, empowering them to create it, and communicate it, so that it is integrated into their lives.
  2. Empathy. The leader earns trust by understanding the world and experience of others. It is unconditional for those who are members of the organization.
  3. Consistency. The leaders position is consistent and the followers know where they stand in relation to the organisation and its position relative to the environment.
  4. Integrity. The leaders in whom followers can have trust have unquestionable integrity. There is greater trust for leaders who stand for a higher moral order, who demonstrate their ethical commitment, and who hold themselves and others accountable.

See Bennis’s 4 competencies of great leaders.

Source: Bennis, W. and Goldsmith, J. (1997) Learning to Lead: A Workbook on Becoming a Leader. London: Nicholas Brealey

4 roles of leadership

Covey has linked his 7 habits of effective people into the 4 roles that he sees as critical to leadership:

  1. Path finding: (Habit 2) The creation of inspiring vision and a sense of purpose.
  2. Aligning: (Habit 3) Motivating people to want the vision for themselves.
  3. Empowering: (Habits 4-6) Equipping and supporting others to take responsibility for the achievement of shared goal.
  4. Modelling: (Habits 1-7) Being a role model and practising what you preach.
See Covey’s 7 habits of effective people

Source: Covey, S.R. (1994) First Things First. New York: Simon & Schuster

4 Rs affecting behaviour in a situation

The authors describe the situational R factors as a framework into which a large amount of social science research and theory on behaviour in organisations can be fitted. The four situational Rs interact with each other to shape behaviour. The four Rs are:

  1. Roles. These are positions in an organisation defined by a set of expectations about behaviour of any incumbent.
  2. Relationships. Tasks assigned to roles influence behaviour because they determine whom the occupant will have contact and the nature of the contact. Most organisational tasks are carried out in relationship to others.
  3. Rewards. People tend to do what they are rewarded for, whether formally or informally.
  4. Rites. They reflect the unspoken assumptions about appropriate behaviour. Rites are an organisations routines, rituals, and general ‘way we do things’ that influence individual behaviour.

The author altogether identifies a total of 13 Rs. The others are:

Recall (of past experience)
Reach (of one’s goals and values)
Reasoning (developed beliefs)
Repetition (unconscious habits)
Reconciliation (self-concept)
Re-inforcement (overlapping individual factors)
Results (what it is all about)
Revision and
Reform (if the results are unsatisfactory)

Source: Cohen, A. R. (1994) Chapter 3 in Collins, E.G. & Devanna, M.A. (Eds.) The New Portable MBA. New York: Wiley

4 Rs of organisational transformation

The authors are experienced consultants who argue that many business books are long on conceptual models but short on real-life cases. They set out to reverse this pattern presenting a large number of descriptions of change within organisations, based on their consultancy assignments.

According to the authors, business transformation is now the central management challenge and the primary, if not the sole, task of business leaders. The model presented in the book is not a theoretical one based on a few new insights and hypotheses about how firms change. They claim it is a tried and tested system, a proven and powerful agent of corporate evolution across a wide range of organisations.

Using a biological metaphor, business transformation is defined as the orchestrated redesign of the genetic architecture of the corporation, achieved by working simultaneously, although at different the speeds, along four basic dimensions: Reframing, Restructuring, Revitalisation and Renewal. The four dimensions are seen as broad categories of therapy, within each of which are there “chromosomes” each one generating what the authors call a bio-corporate system.

Reframing is defined as shifting the company’s conception of what it does and what it can achieve. It addresses the corporate mind. The three reframing chromosomes are needed to:
1. Achieve mobilisation (the mental energy needed to feed the transformation process)
2. Create the vision (to create a better future)
3. Build a measurement system (as the vision translated into a set of measures and targets, and the actions needed to reach targets)

Re-structuring focuses on getting the organisation to achieve a competitive level of performance. It deals with the body of the corporation and with the needs to be competitive. Three restructuring chromosomes are needed to:
1.Construct an economic model (to give the company detailed view of where and how value is created, or destroyed.
2. Align the physical infrastructure (the corporate equivalent of the skeletal system)
3. Redesign of the work architecture (the complex network of processes by which a work gets done)

The authors see the first two chromosomes as being classical re-engineering, but the third as transforming re-engineering into what they call bio-engineering.

Re-vitalisation is about igniting growth by linking the corporate body to the environment. In this way the organisation identifies the sources of growth. The authors argue that of all the four Rs, revitalisation is the single greatest factor that clearly distinguishes transformation from mere downsizing. The three revitalisation systems are:
1. Achieve market focus (market focus is to the corporation what the senses are to the human body connecting the corporate mind and body to its environment)
2. Invent new business (requires a cross-fertilisation of capabilities across the organisation and the creative assembling of them to develop new offerings). The authors see this as the corporate equivalent of the human reproductive system.
3. Change the rules through information technology (providing a basis for new ways to compete). The authors see technology as the equivalent of the nervous system in the human body.

Renewal deals with people side of the transformation and is the spirit of the company. The three renewal systems are
1. Create a reward structure (to create a sense of gratification among the members of the Corporation).
2. Build individual learning (to bring about a transformation of a large number of people) especially in the way that promotes self-actualisation in the individuals.
3. Develop the organisation so that the company is organised for learning so that they can adapt constantly to the changing environment, creating a sense of community among individuals.

Source: Gouillart, F.J. & Kelly, J.N. (1995) Transforming The Organisation. New York: McGraw-Hill.

4 styles of influencing

Harrison argues that there are different ways to influence, or change, the behaviours or attitudes of other people. We all have personal preferences as to how we do that, but those preferences may not always be the best ones given the situation, or indeed the preferences of the other people involved.

His `Influencing Styles Questionnaire` identifies 4 key ways of influencing, and shows individuals their preferred style, and which styles they may like to try to develop further.

The styles are:

  1. Rewards and Punishments is a style characterised by the use of pressures and incentives to control the behaviour of others. It has the advantage of often being a very clear way of managing expectations and performance, but may be judgmental and/or moralistic.
  2. Participation and trust is a style that depends for its success on involving others in decision making or problem solving processes. An atmosphere of mutual trust and co-operation is conducive to participation whereas rigid bureaucracy works against
  3. Common vision is a strategy of identifying and articulating a common or shared vision of what the future of the organisation, group or activity could be, and of strengthening member’s beliefs that the desired outcomes can be achieved through their individual and collective efforts. The key to success is the ability to present and communicate idea
  4. Assertive persuasion is characterised by the use of the power o f logic, facts and opinions to persuade others. The emphasis is on logic as opposed to emotions or power, and this style thus requires high levels of verbal fluency, articulation of ideas and active discussion.

This is a valuable and well-tested tool for personal development.

Source: Harrison, R.(1972) ‘Personal power and influence in organisations’ in The Collected Papers of Roger Harrison, 1995. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill

4 systems of management

Focusing on patterns of leader behaviours, and their interaction with organisational structures and controls, Lickert looked at the effects of these factors on employee attitudes, motivations and perceptions. He identified four organisational profiles that he called the four systems:

Exploitative/Authoritative: In this system, supervisors do not trust their subordinates and the top down chain of command is used to transmit organisational goals and decisions. This creates suspicion and resistance on the part of the employees and often results in the emergence of a strong informal system that resists the formal one.

Benevolent/Authoritative: Although still top down in terms of decisions making and communication, this system relies on carrots rather than sticks and results in a system of paternalism. The creation of employee dependency results in a passive, but loyal workforce.

Consultative: Employees are apparently involved in decision-making and are consulted about and involved in many aspects of organisational functioning. However, the consultation exercises need not translate into policy, and if not, cynicism and distrust may be the long-term result.

Participative: Lickert is quite clear in his preference for this organisational pattern. In this system, supervisors trust their subordinates and goal-setting and decision-making are collaborative activities. As a result, employees tend to be more receptive to communication, both upwards and downwards and there are little or no resistance to organisational goals and decisions. The output is therefore higher satisfaction, morale and productivity.

Lickert argues that leadership behaviour is a critical determinant in achieving System 4 functioning. This view is increasingly being reflected in recent movements to `empower` employees and re-energize mature organisations which need to evolve and change in globally competitive marketplaces.

Source: Lickert, R. (1967) The Human Organisation. New York: McGraw-Hill

4 theatres of the brain

The late Nineties saw the beginning of a dramatic change in our understanding of the brain and how it functions. According to the author, new observation and monitoring techniques allows researchers to watch the brain in action with a precision that has never been possible until now. The resulting revolution in our understanding of then brain is likely to have a bigger impact on our lives than the so-called IT revolution that we are currently experiencing.

The big insight is that the brain is not like a vast computer after all. It is more like an eco-system constantly changing and evolving with its component neurons strengthening or weakening according to principles of “neural Darwinism”. The brain is made up of 100,000,000,000 cells or neurons. Each neuron has one axon and as many as 100,000 dendrites. Dendrites are the main way that brain cells get information, i.e. learn. The axons are the main way that cells pass on information, i.e. teach. The gaps between contact points (synapses) can have multiple electro-chemical transmitters. The axons and dendrites are sent out in all directions within the brain, within the complex structure of the brain with which we are all born. The interconnectivity within the brain is thus almost unimaginable.

According to Ratey, there are more possible ways to make connections inside the brain than atoms in the universe. The significance of all this is that the brain is not hard-wired at birth, but is re-wiring itself throughout life, mostly in adaptive ways but sometimes dysfunctionally. The re-wiring is the result of genes, diet, chemicals, and experience all of which are interdependent and intertwined. The brain has tremendous ability to adapt and re-wire itself with practice.

The latest brain research is bringing about the integration of philosophical, psychological, biological, sociological and other separatist disciplines. It is likely to bring about a radical re-appraisal of the way we learn and adapt and how we encourage learning and development. Many things we have already understood, albeit indirectly and intuitively, but our changing understanding of brain functioning will change our expectations and our perceptions of problems and limitations. This is the beginning of an exciting era.

In an attempt to provide a more ordered approach to understanding and diagnosing problems, Ratey offers the metaphor of the 4 theatres in an attempt to understand a problem or issue. They should be entered in sequence though it should always be remembered that they are highly interdependent.

The four theatres are:

  1. The first TheatrePerception. Perception is the beginning of all experience. The brain does not simply store information received internally or externally but becomes it. Perception is the starting point for any diagnosis because mental life develops primarily in response to information received.
  2. The second theatreAttention, Consciousness and cognition. This theatre encompasses a person’s conscious experience of the world, how a person represents the world to him or herself, and how events in it are interpreted.
  3. The third theatre - Brain function. The theatre embraces the primary functions of the brain, movement, memory, emotion, language and the social brain all relatively localized in the brain but immensely inter-linked. They tend to influence moment-to-moment experience and adapt somewhat slowly. They contribute to brain consciousness and are moulded by it. The brain’s networks modify their connectivity as external and internal environments feed back to them thus altering long-term memory, arousal, feelings, reactivity, rhythm, timing, motivation, emotions, and others throughout life.
  4. The fourth theatreIdentity and behaviour. This theatre constitutes the output of the brain, one’s decisions, behaviour,, and sense of personal identity. “It is the sum total of neurological and psychological traits, that at any given moment, constitute who a person has become. This where most observable behaviour occurs and problems manifest themselves, and where most attention is focused by scientists attempting to understand human nature and therapists trying to address problems.

The four theatres influence each other back and forth constantly but we need to enter them in sequence in order to really understand the true complexity of brain functioning. Ratey’s thesis is that pre-occupation with one theatre leads to limited understanding and that an integrationist approach is needed. An integrated theory of learning, motivation, and personality is likely to have a profound effect on the way we organize ourselves for work, paid or unpaid.

Source: Ratey, J. (2001) A user’s Guide to the Brain. New York: Little, Brown.

4 tribes

According to Handy, getting properly organised requires that you have the right people in the right place based on the right mix of tribes. The four tribes are reflect the characteristics and personalities of the four gods of ancient Greece

  1. The Club tribe is likened to a spider's web. The key to the whole organisation sits in the centre surrounded by the ever-widening circles of people with influence. The idea is that the organization is there as an extension of the person at the head, often the founder.
  2. The Role tribe is hierarchical in structure, where everyone has a clearly defined role. Power comes from the role and not the personal skills of the person in the role. This is the classic bureaucracy.
  3. The Task tribe is illustrated by a net or matrix and consists of teams and resources that are applied to project problems of tasks.
  4. The Person tribe is illustrated by a cluster of stars at the center and makes the organisation the resource for the individual's talents.

See the 4 types of organizational culture (Trompenaars and Hampden- Turner, 1997), and Handy’s 4 gods of management.

Source: Handy, C. (1990) Inside Organisations. London: BBC Books

4 types of knowledge

The four types of knowledge are 
  1. Subject or expert knowledge on a particular industry or discipline, e.g. as offered by lawyers and many consultants
  2. Methodological knowledge on how to approach types of problems or projects (see Toyota’s 14 principles)
  3. Social knowledge to understand human interaction and to facilitate communication processes, e.g. emotional intelligence
  4. Know-how to put knowledge into action, based on practice and experience, rarely written down and captured in formal process design (see the 5 Ss)

Source: In Have, S. ten, Have, W. ten & Stevens, F. (Eds. 2003) Key Management Models. Harlow: Pearson Education

4 leadership types

Writing from the perspective of evolutionary psychology Nicholson argues that there are four main types of Leader:

  1. The Dominant Boss who combines high dominance drive with high status drive
  2. The Ambitious Professional who combines low dominance drive with high status drive
  3. The Informal Influencer who combines low dominance drive with low status drive
  4. The Reluctant Leader who combines low dominance drive with low status drive

Nicholson argues against the drift of most books on leadership. He says leaders are not made: they are born though other factors do come into play.

See also Nicholson’s 7 Syndromes of managing against the grain of human nature.

Source: Nicholson, N. (2000) Managing the Human Animal. London: Texere

4 types of organisational culture

Harrison’s classic description of types of organisational culture is still widely used today.

  1. Power (autocracy) Usually concentrated in one person. There is little respect for bureaucracy and procedures. These cultures are highly political.
  2. Role (bureaucracy) Roles rather than people are important. Loyalty and steadiness is appreciated, individualism and dynamism is threatening. Slow to change and adapt, change is trauma, people learn to play the system
  3. Task (adhocracy) Especially temporary project teams. Easily breaks down.   Consulting, engineering, advertising agencies.
  4. Person (democracy) Academic departments, architecture practices, law firms. Each individual follows own interest, organization is subordinate to the individual’s wishes.

See the not dissimilar Handy’s 4 tribes and 4 types of organisational culture (Trompenaars & Hamppden-Turner).

Source: Harrison, R. (1972) ‘How to describe your organisation.’ Harvard Business Review, May-June, 119-128.

4 ways to store knowledge

According to Quinn, knowledge is stored in four ways:

  1. In people’s heads from education, training and education
  2. In technical systems as accumulated data, analysis, processes and structures
  3. In management systems, both formal and informal (rules, styles, quality control, etc
  4. In norms and values, shared understanding, habits and culture

Source: In Have, S. ten, Have, W. ten & Stevens, F. (Eds. 2003) Key Management Models. Harlow: Pearson Education

40 checklists for managers and team leaders

Almost all the checklists in this book are in the form of questions for the reader to consider when addressing a wide range of practical management issues. The 40 checklists fall broadly under nine headings though they are presented in alphabetical order in the book.

Performance management
  1. Assessing staff performance
  2. Performance appraisal: the system
  3. Performance appraisal: preparing for the interview
  4. Performance appraisal: conducting the interview

Learning and development
  1. Asking questions
  2. Coaching
  3. External training courses
  4. Interviewing
  5. Listening
  6. Self development
  7. Staff development
  8. Setting up a learning event
  9. You and your job

Interpersonal effectiveness
  1. Assertiveness: first steps
  2. Assertiveness: strengthening the skills
  3. Preparing for negotiation

Managing others
  1. Delegation
  2. Disciplinary interviewing
  3. Handling a grievance
  4. Introducing new employees
  5. Managing your boss
  6. Motivating staff

Personal productivity
  1. Creative problem solving
  2. Managing your time
  3. Personal planning
  4. Problem solving
  5. Procrastination

  1. Letter writing
  2. Preparing a presentation
  3. Report writing

Managing the system
  1. Personnel profiles
  2. Salary policy and administration
  3. Succession planning

  1. Recruitment
  2. Selection: the interview
  3. Selection: the process
  4. Selection: the post-interview assessment

  1. Corporate culture
  2. Making changes at work
  3. Managing stress

Source: Mackey, I. (1993) Forty Checklist for Managers and Team Leaders. Aldershot: Gower

45 precepts for thriving on chaos

Peters starts this book from the premise that successful managers must not only be able to thrive amidst chaos (the turbulence of today’s business world is well acknowledged) but must actually learn to take the chaos as given and learn to thrive on it. He holds that to survive in the future, organisations must be able to turn chaos and change to their competitive advantage. He suggests a rather paradoxical solution to the problem of coping with change. In a world of uncertainty, Peters proposes a `set of new basics`, a rigid and prescriptive focus on what can be termed the `minutiae` of business. Only by addressing the small issues can big ones be turned to advantage. The book outlines principles of survival, in an easy to read handbook form with specific steps to be taken to put each prescription into practice accompanied by cautionary tales for non-compliance!

According to Peters, the 45 prescriptions laid down in his book are not ‘nice to dos` but absolute `must dos` ranging across five key business functions. Peters holds that, together, they constitute his theory of management:

1. Creating total customer responsiveness
  1. Specialise/create niches/differentiate.
  2. Provide top quality, as perceived by the customer.
  3. Provide superior service/emphasise the intangibles.
  4. Achieve extraordinary responsiveness.
  5. Be an internationalist.
  6. Create uniqueness.
  7. Become obsessed with listening.
  8. Turn manufacturing into a marketing weapon.
  9. Make sales and service forces into heroes.
  10. Launch a customer revolution.

2. Pursuing fast paced innovation
  1. Invest in applications-oriented small starts.
  2. Pursue team product/service development.
  3. Encourage pilots of everything.
  4. Practice creative swiping.
  5. Make word of mouth marketing systematic.
  6. Support committed champions.
  7. Model innovation, practice purposeful impatience.
  8. Support fast failures.
  9. Set quantitative innovation goals.
  10. Create a corporate capacity for information.

3. Achieving flexibility by empowering people
  1. Involve everyone in everything.
  2. Use self-managing teams.
  3. Listen/celebrate/recognize.
  4. Spend time lavishly on recruiting.
  5. Train and retrain.
  6. Provide incentive pay for everyone.
  7. Provide an employment guarantee.
  8. Simplify/reduce structure.
  9. Preconceive the middle managers role.
  10. Eliminate bureaucratic rules and humiliating conditions.

4. Learning to love change; a new view of leadership at all levels
  1. Master paradox.
  2. Develop an inspiring vision.
  3. Manage by example.
  4. Practice visible management.
  5. Pay attention! (more listening).
  6. Defer to the front line.
  7. Delegate.
  8. Pursue horizontal management by bashing bureaucracy.
  9. Evaluate everyone on his or her love of change.
  10. Create a sense of urgency.

5. Building systems for a world turned upside down
  1. Measure what’s important.
  2. Revamp the chief control tools.
  3. Decentralise information, authority and strategic planning.
  4. Set conservative goals.
  5. Demand total integrity.

Peters view is unequivocal that these 5 key areas, and the 45 prescriptions subsumed under them, are not a matter of some idealised `good practice`. He is convinced, and argues persuasively that these 45 ideas, and `nothing less` constitute the elements of tomorrows surviving organisation.

Source: Peters, T. (1988) Thriving on Chaos. London: Macmillan.

48 laws of power

This book is an exposition and definitive guide to modern manipulation. According to the author, the laws have been derived from over 3000 years of the history of power, ranging across all parts of the world, incorporating the legacy of statesmen, warriors, seducers and conmen throughout the ages.

This book makes an interesting contrast with 101 ways to get your act together (see 101) that is about efficiency, whereas this book is about power without morality.

The 48 laws are:
  1. Never outshine the master.
  2. Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies.
  3. Conceal your intentions.
  4. Always say less than necessary.
  5. So much depends on reputation, guard it with your life.
  6. Court attention.
  7. Get others to do the work for you but always take the credit.
  8. Make other people come to you, use bait if necessary.
  9. Win through your actions, never through argument.
  10. Infection: avoid the unhappy and unlucky.
  11. Learn to keep people dependent on you.
  12. Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim.
  13. When asking for help, appeal to people's self interest, never to their mercy or gratitude.
  14. Pose as a friend, work as a spy.
  15. Crush your enemy totally.
  16. Use absence to increase respect and honour.
  17. Keep others in suspended terror: cultivate an air of unpredictability.
  18. Do not build fortresses to protect yourself - isolation is dangerous.
  19. Know who you're dealing with - do not send the wrong person.
  20. Do not commit to anyone.
  21. Play a sucker to catch a sucker - seem dummer than your mark.
  22. Use the surrender tactic: transform weakness into power.
  23. Concentrate your forces.
  24. Play the perfect courtier.
  25. Re-create yourself.
  26. Keep your hands clean.
  27. Play on people's need to believe, create a cult-like following.
  28. Enter action with boldness.
  29. Plan all the way to the end.
  30. Make your accomplishments seem effortless.
  31. Control the options: get others to play with the cards you deal.
  32. Play to people's fantasies.
  33. Discover each man's thumbscrew.
  34. Be loyal in your own fashion: act like a king to be treated like one.
  35. Master the art of timing.
  36. Disdain the things you cannot have: ignoring them is the best revenge.
  37. Create compelling spectacles.
  38. Think as you like but behave like others.
  39. Stir up waters to catch fish.
  40. Despise the free lunch.
  41. Avoid stepping into the great man's shoes.
  42. Strike a shepherd and the sheep will scatter.
  43. Work on the hearts and minds of others.
  44. Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect.
  45. Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once.
  46. Never appear too perfect.
  47. Do not go past the mark you aimed for; in victory, learn when to stop.
  48. Assume formlessness.

The book is full of quotations from diverse writers to illustrate the laws, ranging from Dr. Johnson to Migameto Musashi (see 5), Sun-Tzu, and of course, Machiavelli (see 4).

Source: Greene, R. & Elffers, J. (1999) Power. The Forty-Eight Laws. London: Profile Books

4 stage career model

The authors argue that there are four stages in the career of the professional employee. Each stage differs from the others in the tasks that individuals perform, the types of relationships formed, and the psychological adjustments that they need. The individual’s requirements vary from stage to stage. As professionals get older they tend to maintain higher performance ratings if they can move to at least stage three. Time and again, organisations focus their career development on stage one employees, paying less attention to appropriate rewards, training, and job assignments for those in other stages. The four stages are:

Stage 1. The employee works under the supervision and direction of the more senior professional and the work is never entirely his or her own.

Stage 2. The employee works in depth on one problem or technical area and assumes responsibility for a definable portion of the project, process or a group of clients.

Stage 3. The employee has developed enough in his or her own work to make significant technical contributions but begins working in more than one area, requiring greater breadth of technical skills.

Stage 4. The fourth stage involves giving direction for the organisation in a variety of ways. The employees are being prepared for key roles in the organisation and are being tested.

The 4-stage model provides a common language for managers in which to discuss reforms and career issues with employees. The model provides a basis for the planning and development of professional resources, and to more fully utilise existing capabilities. It is also a framework for reassessing policies and practices that impact on professional performance.

Source: Thompson, P. & Baker, R.Z. & Smallwood, N. (1986) ‘Improving professional development by applying the four stage career model.’ Organizational Dynamics, Autumn, 49-62.

5 Why?s

A questioning technique designed to probe for underlying assumptions.  Simply, in response to the answer to your first question ask “Why?” or “Why is that the case?”. 

Repeat this at least five times.  Young children do this quite naturally, and as parents we often find it very hard to give reasonable answers at their relentless “Whys”.

Source: Unknown (happy to acknowledge)

5 As of performance management

  1. Acceptance
  2. Appreciation
  3. Approval
  4. Attention
  5. Admiration
Source: unknown (happy to acknowledge)

5 building blocks for a learning organisation

Garvin defines a learning organisation as one, which 'is skilled at creating, acquiring and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behaviour to reflect new knowledge and insights'. He describes five guidelines for practice, which he describes as the building-blocks of the learning organisation. They are:

  1. Systematic problem- solving;
  2. Experimentation with new approaches;
  3. Learning from past experience;
  4. Learning from others; and
  5. Transferring knowledge.

He also emphasises the importance of measurement, and suggests a complete learning audit must include three elements:
  1. Cognitive and attitudinal;
  2. Behavioural; and
  3. Performance improvement.

Source: Garvin, D.A. (1993) Five building blocks for a company. Harvard Business Review, July-Aug, 78-91

5 certainties for the 21st century

The author has identified five phenomena about the modern world that he regards as certainties. They are primarily social and political rather than economic that tend to be the focus of many organisation’s strategies.

The five certainties are

1.  The collapsing birth rate in the developed world:
In Western and central Europe and in Japan the birth rate has fallen well below the rate needed to reproduce the population. There is no precedent for a population structure in which old people who passed any traditional retirement age out number young people. The implications are that for the first couple of decades in the 21st century demographics will dominate the politics of all developed countries resulting in great turbulence in politics. This could result in a weak and unstable government.

2. Shifts in the distribution of disposable income: 

Shifts in the shares of disposable income are likely to be as dramatic as the demographic changes during the first decades of the 21st century. The four growth areas during the 20th century work were government, health care, education, and leisure. The current growth areas of financial services and information technology institutions will have to learn to base their strategy on their knowledge of, and adaptation to, the trends in the distribution of disposable income, and above all to a shift in the distribution.

3.  Redefining performance: 

We will have to learn to establish new definitions of what performance means in a given enterprise. There will be a real challenge in learning to balance short-term results (shareholder value) with long-range prosperity and survival of the enterprise. Non-financial measures will become increasingly important alongside financial measures. Organisations will need to survive thirty to forty years to survive until their investors are reaching pensionable age. The average life span of a business enterprise, at least successful organizations, has never in the past been more than 30 years.

4.  Global competitiveness: 

All institutions need to make global competitiveness a strategic goal. The world economy is increasingly becoming global. Businesses can no longer define their scope in terms of national economies and national boundaries. There is already a true global economy of money and information.

5.  The growing incongruence between economic global isolation and political splintering: 

There are regional economies and free markets. And then increasingly there are national and local realities, which opposed economic but above all political. Strategy has to be based on the assumption that currencies will continue to be volatile and unstable. One implication of this is that every management will have to learn what so far few managements can do, manage the foreign exchange exposure.

See also

4 trajectories for industry change (McGahan)

10 golden rules for the new economy (Kelly)
10 things Google have found to be true

10 mega-trends (Naisbitt)
12 principles of the network economy (Kelly)

Source: Drucker, P.F. (1999) Management Challenges For The 21st Century. Oxford: Butterworth-Heineman.

5 characteristics of intelligent failure

Sitkin argues that failure is an essential prerequisite for effective learning and adaptation. Although the benefits of success can promote stability and lead to enhanced short-term performance, it does also have certain drawbacks. Success can lead to complacency, a lack of attention to problems, and reliance on the one best way of doing things. Failure brings clear benefits too. Ultimately, failure can enhance an organisation's ability to learn and adapt effectively to its environment. This leads to organisational resilience and high performance in the long term. However, failure should not be pursued for its own sake - the real goal is to learn.

The five characteristics of the type of failure that is most effective at fostering learning, which he calls intelligent failure, are:

  1. Results from well planned actions;
  2. Outcomes are uncertain;
  3. Neither too large nor too small;
  4. Rapid feedback and adjustment of the actions is possible;
  5. Occurs in a relevant domain.

Intelligent failure can be facilitated in organisations which:

  1. Maintain a process focus;
  2. Legitimise intelligent failure;
  3. Develop a culture which discourages failure avoidance;
  4. Have a system for managing strategic failure.

Source: Sitkin, S.B. (1992) ‘Learning through failure: The strategy of small losses.’ in Staw, B.M. and Cummings, L.L. (Eds.). Research in Organisational Behaviour, 14, 231-266.

5 conflict resolution styles

Handling conflict is a constant challenge for all managers. Kilman and Thomas identified five ways of understanding and dealing with this key issue. They called the conflict-handling styles ‘modes`. The five modes are positioned on the matrix defined by the two dimensions of Assertiveness and Co-operativeness. Assertiveness is the extent to which the individual attempts to satisfy his or her own concerns and Cooperativeness is the extent to which the individual attempts to satisfy the other persons concerns.

The five modes are:

Competing – you win, they lose
Collaborating – you win, they win
Avoiding – you lose, they lose
Accommodating – you lose, they win
Compromising – you win (a bit) they win (a bit)

Each mode is useful in certain situations and represents a useful set of social skills when applied appropriately. The key to successful conflict management is recognising which mode is applicable to the situation. Thomas and Kilman developed a measurement tool designed to assess an individual’s instinctive behaviour in conflict situations. Everybody is capable of using all 5 conflict-handling modes, but any given individual uses some modes better than others, and therefore tends to rely on them even when another approach may be better.

Source: Kilman R.H. & Thomas K.W. (1975) ‘Interpersonal conflict handling behaviour as reflections of Jungian personality dimensions.’ Psychological reports, 37, 971-980.

5 dysfunctions of teams

Using a vividly told and detailed fable, Lencioni illustrates the model before formally describing it.

The five dysfunctions are:

  1. Absence of trust: This stems from a feeling of personal vulnerability, and a lack of openness about mistakes, feelings makes it impossible to build a foundation of trust
  2. Fear of conflict: A fear of conflict which stems from the first dysfunction makes it very difficult to have open and impassioned debate about ideas, issues, etc.
  3. Lack of commitment: A fear of conflict makes it harder to generate a true commitment. Not having openly aired their views team members may never achieve genuine buy-in and may comply for the sake of appearances.
  4. Avoidance of accountability: Because of the lack of real commitment and buy-in, team members will tend to show a lack of personal accountability and find difficulty in expecting it in others.
  5. Inattention to results: The failure to hold other team members accountable results in putting personal and territorial needs above the goals of the larger team.

One dysfunction compounds another in a sequence from absence of trust to inattention to results and underperformance of the team.

See 4 obsessions of an extraordinary executive (Lencioni 2000) and 4 temptations of a CEO (Lencioni 2000)

Source: Lencioni, P. (2003) The Five Dysfunctions of A Team. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

5 forces driving profitability

Michael Porter’s classic strategic model starts from the premise that it is possible to classify the forces acting against an organisation into 5 major categories. These drive profitability by acting continuously against the firm, unless they can be defended against or made to act in the firm’s favour. The forces are:

  1. Potential entrants: New players in the market who will affect the profitability of those already there.
  2. Buyers: Customers of the firm’s services or products
  3. Substitutes: Alternative or competitor products which may take market share
  4. Suppliers: Of resources or materials who are essential to the firms products or services
  5. Industry competitors: Other firms already in the market place and competing for market share

Five forces analysis can be used to gain insights into the forces at work in an industry environment and is particularly helpful in the development of strategy. The effect of the forces upon organisations clearly varies on the strength of the company, the nature of the sector and the product and is often supported by a PEST (Political, Economic, Social, and Technical) analysis of the industry. It is important to note that to be of most value, a 5 forces analysis needs to be carried out by examining the influences on the immediate, competitive environment of individual SBU`s (Strategic Business Unit). If the analysis is conducted at too high or general a level, the variety of influences in the environment will be so great as to reduce it to a meaningless descriptive `averaging` of influences.

Source: Porter, M. (1985) Competitive Advantage. New York: Free Press.

5 functions of management

Henry Fayol was one of the best-known writers on principles of management. A French industrialist, he identified 5 basic functions of management:

  1. Planning
  2. Organising
  3. Commanding
  4. Co-ordinating
  5. Controlling

Based on these functions, Fayol described how management should be carried out according to 14 management principles. (See 14.) A great deal of our current knowledge about organisational structure and traditional management skills came from this school of thought. Its focus was formal and authoritarian and sits uneasily with today’s emphasis on ideas such as transformational leadership and employee empowerment.

Source: Fayol, H. (1949) General and Industrial Management, (Trans. C. Storrs.) London: Pitman

6 phases of business growth

Greiner has described a model of business growth that passes through five distinct phases each evolving from the preceding one, so long as the company survives. Greiner’s model helps companies understand the pros and cons of where they stand in the size/age evolution and what must be done to progress to the next phase. 

The five phases are:

Phase 1 Creativity: This is the start-up phase with technically and/or entrepreneurial founders in charge characterised by closeness to the market, hard work and a degree of disorganisation. This often culminates in a “leadership crisis”.

Phase 2 Direction: A new period of sustained growth with more functional structure, accounting and capital management, budgets, standards, and more formal communication and hierarchy all reflecting a more directive style from top management. This generates the “autonomy crisis ” lower down the organisation, leading to

Phase 3 Delegation: There is now more devolvement to a more de-centralised structure reflected in operation and market level responsibility, profit centres, decision-making based on periodic reviews, a more remote top management, formalised corporate communication supported by local visits leading eventually to a “control crisis”.

Phase 4 Co-ordination: Local units get merged into product groups, formal planning reviews, supervision of co-ordination by corporate staff, centralisation of support functions, corporate scrutiny of capital; expenditure, accountability for return on investment at product group level, and motivation through lower-level profit-sharing. This often leads to a “red-tape crisis”, the solution to which is the next phase.

Phase 5 Collaboration: In order to achieve greater market agility and allow its people more flexibility there is a new emphasis on team action for problem-solving, cross-functional team working, de-centralisation of support staff, matrix organisation, simplification of control mechanisms, encouragement of team behaviour, real-time information systems, and team incentives.

Greiner initially postulated five phases but more recently added a sixth:

                    Phase 6 Extra-organisational Solutions: Mergers,  Holdings, and networks of organisations. 

: Greiner, L. E. (1998) ‘Evolution and Revolution as Organisations Grow.’ Harvard Business Review, 76, 3, 55-68

5 keys to understanding

The Keys to Understanding is a technique for asking questions of a particular form, and in varying sequences, to achieve understanding of a complex issue or problem. The five keys are:

  1. Purpose Questions about purpose. What possible purposes could be served, what possible reasons, why?
  2. Viewpoints Questions from different viewpoints. How would A be seen by B?
  3. Comparison Questions that encourage comparing and contrasting. In what ways is this similar to or different from that? What are the differences between A and B?
  4. Problem Questions that focus on potential problems. What could go wrong? What would happen if we were not successful? What could prevent us from being successful?
  5. Check Questions which focus on evaluation. How would we know if we were succeeding? How could we tell if we were making progress?

In addition to the five core Keys to Understanding, there are two additional types of hypothetical questions that aid understanding. These are:

What if? Questions. What would we do if our competitors doubled capacity and halved their prices overnight?

Consequence questions. What could be the consequences if we did not ensure quality in everything we did?

Source: Pearn, M.A. & Roderick, C. & Mulrooney, C. (1995) Learning Organisations in Practice. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.

5 leadership practices common to successful leaders

This book is one of the best books about leadership in a rapidly changing, ever more competitive world. The authors aim to de-bunk the myths of Leadership, especially the view that it depends on inborn-characteristics such as charisma. Their main conclusion is that leadership is an observable, learnable set of practices. For the authors, the leadership challenge is about how leaders get extraordinary things done in organizations. The five practices common to successful leaders are that they:

  1. Challenge the process by searching for new opportunities as well as experimenting and taking risks in order to get new products, processes, and services adopted.
  2. Inspire a shared vision by envisioning the future and enlisting the support of others in the pursuit of something they believe in.
  3. Enable others to act by enlisting the support and assistance of everyone involved by fostering collaboration, teamwork, empowerment and building on strengths of others.
  4. Model the way by setting the example, and showing in your behaviour what the leader believes to be important, in other words practicing what the leader preaches.
  5. Encourage the heart on the long and sometimes difficult path to success by recognising individual contribution and celebrating milestones and accomplishments.

The five common practices sub-divide into the 10 commitments of leadership. 

Source: Kouzes, J.M. & Posner, B. Z. (1988) The Leadership Challenge: How to Get Extraordinary things Done in Organisations. London: Jossey-Bass.  4th Edition 2007.

5 levels of leadership

Jim Collins prefaces his research article by pointing out that he didn’t intend to study leadership; his interest was in establishing what made a good company great and how that transformation was achieved. However, the research found that “the executives at companies that went from good to great and sustained that performance for 15 years or more were all cut from the same cloth”. Furthermore, they were different from executives at comparison companies. The difference was that the successful companies all had, what Collins calls a Level 5 leader in place at a time of transition.

The level 5 leader sits on top of a hierarchy of capabilities, with 4 other layers of capability beneath him. 

The 5 levels are:

Level 1The highly capable individual. People at this level have talent, knowledge, skills and good work habits.

Level 2The contributing team member. People at this level work effectively with others in groups to achieve group goals.

Level 3The competent manager. At this level, people organise others, and resources towards efficient and effective achievement of organisational goals.

Level 4The effective leader. At this level, individuals are capable of energising others towards clear and visionary goals. They create group commitment and enhance personal achievement.

Level 5The level five leader builds enduring success through a mixture of personal humility and professional will. They possess a triumphant combination of humility and fierce resolve.

According to Collins, individuals do not need to proceed sequentially through each level of the hierarchy to reach the top, but to be a full fledged Level 5 leader requires capability at all the lower level, as well as the uniqueness of level 5.

The paradox of level 5 is that strong and successful leadership does not come from egocentric strength, or from traditional larger than life or charismatic traits. Instead its heart is the power of the team, delivered through the power of the humility of the leader. The ability to credit success to others, combined with the highest personal integrity, standards and vision allows this to be almost `spiritual` leadership.

This combination of humility and will cannot necessarily be trained or learned if the `seed` of level 5 leadership is not intuitively present in a manager. However practice at levels 1 – 4 may facilitate its exploration, and ultimately its development. Collins is sure that once individuals have glimpsed level 5, they know that they and, those with whom they work with, will benefit from striving to achieve it.

Source: Collins J. (2001) Harvard business review Jan-Feb, 67-76

5 main schools of management theory

Glass describes five broad approaches to management theory. They are:

  1. Scientific Management (Taylorism with a focus on efficiency and the correct way of doing things).
  2. Trait studies (investigation and stipulation of what makes a good leader and the skills of management, cf. Drucker’s The Practice of Management).
  3. Human Relations or behavioural approach (the still influential theories of Maslow, Herzberg and McGregor with a strong focus on human and social behaviour at work).
  4. Contingency Theory. From the Sixties onwards, the belief that circumstances and context alters and determines what will work and not work, leading to multi-factor models.
  5. The learning organisation. Sees the organisation not as a machine or solely as a social system but as a learning brain. (Garratt 1988, Senge 1990)

Source: Glass, N.M. (1998) Management Masterclass. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

5 marketing factors for competitive success

Levitt was one of the early pioneers of marketing. His highly influential article in the Harvard Business Review sold over half a million copies. He emphasised the difference between selling and marketing and made marketing one of the key concerns of management. The five factors are:

  1. The purpose of the business is to create and keep customers.
  2. Goods and services must be produced and delivered that people want and value, at prices and conditions that are more attractive than those of competitors.
  3. To continue, enough profits must be made to keep investors.
  4. To achieve this, all companies must clarify their purposes, strategies and plans, and clearly communicate them to the workforce. The larger the enterprise, the greater the need for clearly written and reviewed set of goals.
  5. All enterprises must have a system of rewards, audits and controls to ensure proper pursuit of those goals.

Source: Levitt.T. (1960) Marketing Myopia. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard Business Review

5 mistakes in thinking about organisational culture

Schein argues that there are five mistakes that need to be avoided when thinking about organisational culture.  They are:

Do not over-simplify culture. Culture is more fundamental than behaviour patterns and values; it is the basic assumptions that define the reality of the given group.

Do not forget how culture is learned. Deep personal learning underlies the culture, and people will tend to resist change.

Do not limit your thinking about areas of culture content. Culture goes beyond human relations and fundamental concepts of reality, truth, social structure and organisational design, and how decisions are made, and so on.

Do not assume that culture change is simple. It involves at least 11 mechanisms, and probably many more.

Do not assume that more culture or stronger culture is better. What is better depends on the stage of evolution of the company and its current state of adaptiveness. Instead of seeking that elusive, possibly non-existent, and possibly dangerous thing, a strong culture, try to understand and use the strengths of the existing culture.

See also Schein’s 
3 levels of culture
8 practical steps to help organisations learn faster

11 mechanisms for culture change

Source (i): Schein, E. (1985) Organisational Culture and Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Also see How culture forms, develops and changes; (ii) Chapter Two in Kilman, R.H., Saxton, M.J., Serpa, R. et al (1985) Eds. Gaining Control of the Corporate Culture. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

5 phase model of successful alliances

Kanter argues that alliances are an essential and ongoing part of business life for many companies today. However, often the investment of time and energy goes into searching for a `best fit` partner, and often ceases when the find has been made. It is equally important, the author argues, to continue investment in nurturing the partnership once the deal has been signed and sealed. Another investment imbalance is in the focus on financial and opportunistic aspects of alliances, whilst ignoring the human or people side of things. The effective management of partnerships depends on sensitivity to human as well as organisational issues. Kanter develops a model in this article, using the metaphor of a marriage, and tracks the development of the relationship through its various stages: -

Selection and courtship: the emphasis is on attraction and compatibility;
Engagement: specific plans are made and committed to;
Housekeeping: the stage at which different ideas about the relationship begin to emerge;
Bridging mechanisms: for overcoming these differences are put in place; and
Internalisation: the partners in the alliance change themselves as a result of learning from the alliance.

Kanter argues that inter company relationships are a key business asset and knowing how to nurture them is an essential business skill. Again using the relationship metaphor, the author points out that sometimes companies must face the challenge of terminating an alliance. Relationships can end for a number of reasons and, as with all divorces, difficult situations are made easier if partners are treated with honesty, integrity and respect at all stages of the process.

Source: Kanter, M. (1994) Collaborative advantage - the art of alliances. Harvard Business Review, 72,4, 96-108.

5 phases of the product or industry life cycle

This is the often-quoted cycle:

Development (often associated with high price and poor performance)
Growth (competitors enter, fight for market-share)
Stakeout (price wars, some players leaving
Maturity (market declining, share only increased at expense of other players)
Decline (investment reduced, some withdraw altogether)

Source: Johnson, C. & Scholes, K. (1988) Exploring Corporate Strategy. N.J.: Prentice Hall.

5 pillars of the visual workplace (The 5 S Framework))

Also referred to as the 5Ss for operators, the 5S framework was developed as part of the 5 Pillars of the Visual Workplace developed by Hirano and others as a support system for lean manufacturing, continuous improvement and total quality.

The five Ss are
  1. Sort (organise into key priorities, e.g. needed, not needed
  2. Set in order (orderliness, right place in the right sequence)
  3. Shine (Cleanliness and tidiness)
  4. Standardise (agreed procedures)
  5. Sustain (Discipline, the habit of maintaining established procedures)
The aim of the 5S framework is to achieve
  • Zero changeover time leads to product diversification
  • Zero defects and higher quality
  • Zero waste lowers costs
  • Zero delays results in reliable deliveries
  • Zero injuries promotes safety
  • Zero breakdowns and better equipment availability
  • Zero complaints and greater confidence and trust
  • Zero red ink brings customer trust and Corporate growth

Source: 5S For Operators: The 5 Pillars of the Visual Workplace. (1996) New York: Productivity Press

5 plateaus of progress

This book is subtitled practical lessons for self-development, personal leadership and positive living. The 5 plateaus are:

  1. Awareness
  2. Vision
  3. Discipline
  4. Change
  5. Progress

The book is similar in focus to Covey’s seven habits of effective people and is aimed at business people, parents, students, athletes, and anyone striving for self-improvement, and contains tools and inspiration guidance.

Source: Madigan, G. (1999) The Five Plateaus of Progress. Dublin: Oak Tree Press.

5 pre-conditions for unblocking organisations

Garratt describes five pre-conditions for unblocking organisations:

  1. A clear strategic role for the top team;
  2. Time and space for the top team to reflect on their role;
  3. The creation of a true team at the top;
  4. Delegation of problem-solving activity to operational levels; and
  5. A willingness to accept that learning occurs continuously.

The director's role is to create a climate where people can learn to learn through work, and to move learning to where it is needed in the organisation. Five conditions for such a climate are outlined:

  1. A perception that learning is a cyclical process;
  2. An acceptance of the different roles of policy, strategy and operations;
  3. A free flow of authentic information;
  4. People are valued as the key asset for organisational learning; and
  5. The ability to reframe information at the strategic level.

Source: Garratt, E. (1990). Creating a Learning Organisation. London: Institute of Directors.

5 Ps for strategy

Mintzberg argues that a good deal of the confusion in the field of strategic management comes from contradictory and ill-defined uses of the term strategy. He presents five definitions:

Strategy as Plan: Most people see strategy as some sort of consciously intended course of action or guidelines to deal with the situation. As Plan, strategy deals with how leaders try to establish direction for organizations, to set them on predetermined course of action.

Strategy as Ploy: A specific manoeuvre intended to outwit an opponent or a competitor and gain competitive advantage. As Ploy, strategy takes us into the realm of direct competition, were threats and feints and various other manoeuvres are employed to gain advantage.

Strategy as Pattern: Strategy is a Pattern in a stream of actions. By this definition strategy is consistency in behaviour, whether or not intended. By this definition a strategy can be inferred from a pattern in the behaviour of the corporation and labeled as strategy. Mintzberg distinguishes between deliberate strategy where intentions that existed previously were realized as emergent strategies were patterns developed in the absence of intentions or despite them. As pattern, a strategy focuses on action, and reminds us that the concept is an empty one if it does not take behaviour into account.

Strategy as Position: Specifically a means of locating an organization in its environment. As Position, strategy encourages us to look at organizations in context, specifically in their competitive environments.

Strategy as Perspective: Here a strategy is a Perspective, its content consisting not just of a chosen position, but often ingrained way of perceiving the world, e.g. McDonalds or Hewlett-Packard. As perspective, the strategy raises intriguing questions about intention and behaviour in a collective context.

Various relationships exist among the different definitions, no one relationship, nor any single definition for that matter takes precedence over others. In some ways these definitions compete but in more important ways they complement each other.

Source: Mintzberg, H. (1987) Five Ps For Strategy. California Management Review, Fall 11-24.

5 rings of Musashi

This book is based on the Book of Five Rings written by the great Samurai swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi and published in 1643. The book was written as a five-part letter to his followers and students as a summary of his methods for winning sword fights. The original text is still studied around the world for its insights into improving competitive performance.

The book is seen by many as a practical tool for creating and enhancing competitive success. Musashi’s book is about winning sword fight between samurai warriors. The author alleges that modern Japanese businessmen use the approach every day to analyse and resolve competitive situations and that Musashi’s ideas have contributed significantly to the Japanese economic success. There are, in fact, seven principles.

  1. Ordered flexibility: This is the fundamental philosophical basis of the entire approach to winning in conflicts. It embodies preparation, observation, poise, timing, and readiness to act.
  2. Execution: Effective execution consists of taking appropriate action at an appropriate time, for which training is fundamental. The main themes associated with taking action are summarised in the next five principles.
  3. Resources: The resources are those assets and skills that each side brings to the conflict. You can never know too much about your enemy, yourself or the situation.
  4. Environment: No approach is better than another except in the light of specific resorts and environmental conditions.
  5. Attitude: During competitive situations your mind will be as you have conditioned it at every moment to train yourself to be calm, expectant, and observant. Fear is the greatest enemy you face.
  6. Concentration. Effective tactics are based on the principle of concentrating strength against weakness or resources into opportunity.
  7. Timing. You should neither move too quickly nor too slowly. It is not speed in itself but rhythm and timing, which are critical. Concentration and timing work together.

The true value of these principles is found in using them to win against the competition. The author presents an analysis of Japan's tactics that have led to market domination in 3 phases:

        Phase One: copy technology and train people
        Phase Two: combine elements and widen market acceptance
        Phase Three: increase quality/price ratio and dominate market.

The author provides examples of the application of these principles from Starbucks Coffee, Warren Buffet, Intel, Microsoft, Donald Trump and others.

Source: Krause, D.G (1999) The Book of Five Rings For Executives. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing

5 Rs for learning in the modern world

Victorian (and much of 20th century education) was focussed on the Three Rs (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic). To survive in the rapidly changing modern world both education and life-long learning should focus on developing the 5 Rs in people, communities and companies.

Basing his ideas on psychology, neuroscience and learning theory as well as practice, Lucas’s 5 Rs are

  1. Resourcefulness: Getting the bigger picture, actively engaging your mind, managing your learning into smaller chunks, imitating intelligently, continually seeking to extend your range)
  2. Remembering: Understanding the difference between memorising and recalling, using different methods to memorise different things, skilful note-taking, using all your senses, using memorisation and recall techniques)
  3. Resilience: The importance of keeping going when things get difficult, techniques for becoming adventurous, overcoming difficulties, and dealing with confusion
  4. Reflectiveness: The brain learns powerfully through regular and planned reflection and there are many techniques to help the learner do this. There are two aspects, learning from experience and learning about how you go about your learning.
  5. Responsiveness: There are many ways in which we can open ourselves up to change, and equally overcome barriers to change.

In addition, Lucas stresses harnessing your creativity, making learning a part of everyday life, making time for learning and balancing your life.  The first 3 Rs come from Claxton (2000).

Source: Lucas, B. (2001) Power up your mind. London: Nicholas Brealey

5 self-discoveries of emotional intelligence

According to the authors, emotional intelligence is key to effective leadership, and the crux of leadership development that really works is self-directed learning which they define as intentionally developing or strengthening an aspect of who you are or who you want to be, or both.

There are five self-discoveries:
  1. My ideal self – Who do I want to be?
  2. My real self – Who am I? What are my strengths and gaps?
  3. My learning agenda – How can I build on my strengths while reducing my gaps?
  4. Experimenting with and practising new behaviours, thoughts and feelings to the point of mastery
  5. Developing supportive and trusting relationships that make change possible

See 4 key emotional skills of leaders (Caruso & Salovey 2004)

Source: Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R., and McKee. A. (2002) Boston, Mass: HBS Press

5 Ss of lean management

Also referred to as the 5Ss for operators, the 5S framework was developed as part of the 5 Pillars of the Visual Workplace developed by Hirano and others as a support system for lean manufacturing, continuous improvement and total quality.

The five Ss are

  1. Sort (organise into key priorities, e.g. needed, not needed
  2. Set in order (orderliness, right place in the right sequence)
  3. Shine (Cleanliness and tidiness)
  4. Standardise (agreed procedures)
  5. Sustain (Discipline, the habit of maintaining established procedures)

The aim of the 5S framework is to achieve

  • Zero changeover time leads to product diversification
  • Zero defects and higher quality
  • Zero waste lowers costs
  • Zero delays results in reliable deliveries
  • Zero injuries promotes safety
  • Zero breakdowns and better equipment availability
  • Zero complaints and greater confidence and trust
  • Zero red ink brings customer trust and Corporate growth

Source: 5S For Operators: The 5 Pillars of the Visual Workplace. (1996) New York: Productivity Press

5 stages of group formation

This is a highly popular model. The five stages are:

  1. Forming: The initial stage when people come together for the first time, usually with politeness and caution while they test the water, with little progress towards team goals.
  2. Storming: Comfort levels rise and opinions are expressed with more force. Disagreements and challenges occur while leadership and working methods are being put in place. Often the goals and working methods are revised at this stage.
  3. Norming: The members begin to learn new ways of working together. Differences are resolved, unofficial hierarchies and unwritten codes emerge until more formally agreed norms for action and conflict resolution are agreed and implemented.
  4. Performing: here is greater cohesion. Team members know and accept their roles, and identify with the goals of the team rather than working to their personal agendas. There is greater bonding within the team and there is clear progress towards the team goals.
  5. Adjourning: The work of the team is done, and recognition and celebration is due.

Source: Tuckman, B.W. (1977) ‘Developmental sequence in small groups.’ GOS, 2,4, 419-427.

5 star leaders

This book is based on leadership development within the US military. It is based on two fundamental principles which are that leadership is behaviour and not a position, and secondly that the ‘clearest most concise most humanitarian expressions of leadership theory were put forward by the United States military’.

The book summarises practical steps used by the Air Force, the Army, the Coastguard and the Marine Corps for developing leaders who are ready to deal with any challenge. It is based on the training techniques and principles for discovering leadership in the individual and how to develop it and others.

The book covers:
  1. Planning,
  2. Taking control
  3. Knowing who you are
  4. Understanding what you do, and
  5. Creating new leaders.

See 14 traits of leadership and 11 leadership principals.

Source: Townsend, P. & Gebhardt, J. (1997) Five Star Leadership: The Art and Strategy of Creating Leaders at Every Level. New York: Wiley

5 temptations of a CEO

This book is one of Lencioni’s series of short books on leadership themes. The bulk of the book is an easily read fictional account, subtitled A leadership Fable, of a CEO’s struggle to be an effective organisational leader. Only at the end is the underlying model briefly presented and practical advice given including a self-analysis tool.

And the five temptations?

  1. Choosing status over results
  2. Choosing popularity over accountability
  3. Choosing certainty over clarity
  4. Choosing harmony over productive conflict
  5. Choosing invulnerability over trust

See Lencion’s 5 Dysfunctions of a Team and 5 Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive.

Source: Lencioni, P. (1998) The Five Temptations of a CEO. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

5 types of human need

Maslow`s theory of human motivation is, like all such theories, designed to answer the question of why people behave as they do. Maslow explains motivation as an internal state, which is a response to internal and external conditions. He suggests that individuals possess a bundle of needs which await gratification and which will energise behaviour. This profile of needs highlights the link between motivation and personality. The fact that the theory was derived from Maslow`s clinical experiences with `problem` personalities explains the rather analytical and prescriptive form.

Maslow’s original theory suggested that individuals have basic needs, which are arranged hierarchically, like a pyramid, with the wide base of the triangle representing the most basic needs. The apex of the triangle represents `higher order` needs.
The five `basic needs are;

Physiological needs such as eating, drinking, temperature regulation etc. These needs have to be satisfied regularly and are the starting point for motivation – an individual who is hungry and thirsty will seek to fulfil these needs before considering anything else.

Safety needs are physical security, emotional security, job security, stability etc. These needs have been described overall as the need to feel `free from threat` and can emerge when the physiological needs are relatively well gratified.

Belongingness and love needs, sometimes called affiliation or affection needs, include social contacts, friendship, shared interests and interdependencies. Wearing his therapist hat, Maslow believed that lack of fulfilment of these particular needs is the most common cause of maladjusted behaviours or personality difficulties.

Esteem needs, the next level in the hierarchy, are divided into self-esteem and esteem from others. Self-esteem includes the needs for self-respect and self-confidence and is fulfilled through achievement and competence. This is important because Maslow believes everybody has a need for a relatively high opinion of himself or herself. Esteem from others includes the need for recognition, status, appreciation and prestige.

Self-actualisation refers to man’s (or woman’s!) desire for self-fulfilment, to become everything that one is capable of being. This is the most idiosyncratic of the basic needs, as it will obviously mean very different things to a ballet dancer, or to a butcher.

Maslow suggested that individuals worked sequentially up the hierarchy, from the lower to the higher levels, and that as each need is gratified, it becomes less important and therefore no longer a key determinant of behaviour. The exception to this rule is self-actualisation, as this need remains important even if it is relatively satisfied and only loses importance if lower needs are deprived.

Critics of Maslow’s theory pointed out that some very basic human behaviours remained unexplained by his approach. These are principally the desires to know and understand (reflected in the behaviours underlying curiosity, learning, experimenting etc) and aesthetic needs (a desire for beautiful things or a dislike of the ugly). Both of these needs underpin much of human behaviour, and are certainly tied up with what we would call personality and Maslow’s treatment of them as `afterthoughts` certainly weakens his approach.

The somewhat mystical nature of self-actualisation has proved one of the barriers to full acceptance of the theory, but it reflects Maslow’s position as the rather paternalistic expert – a la the old `medical model` from whence it stems.

Source: Maslow, A. (1970) Motivation and Personality (2nd ed.) London: Harper Collins.

5 types of power

French and Raven address the question: Where does power come from?   They strived to understand what is it that gives an individual or a group some sort of influence over others. They conclude that there are five common bases of power:

  1. Coercive power is dependent on fear. Failure to comply with a request from someone using this form of power could result in punishment.
  2. Reward power is the opposite of coercive. People comply with the wishes or requests of someone using this power because doing so produces positive benefits.
  3. Legitimate power is the power a person has as a result of his or her position in the formal hierarchy of the organisation.
  4. Expert power is influence based on special skills or knowledge that others do not have.
  5. Referent power is the influence someone has because of his or her desirable or enviable personal traits. Others will comply with their wishes because they are admired, or they want to please.

Clearly this is an important area for effective management – people respond differently to different power bases. Coercion, reward and legitimate power have their roots in organisational structures, whereas expert and referent power stem from individuals personal qualities. Managers are advised by French and Raven to develop their expert and referent power bases as the influence derived from them will involve commitment, acceptance, enthusiasm and hence effectiveness!

Source: French J.R.P. & Raven B. (1959) ‘The bases of social power’ in D. Cartwright (ed.) Studies in Social Power.  Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research.

5 ways to grow your company

Starting from the premise that many companies have gone as far as they can on cost cutting, boosting revenues and growth is the new focus for development. Yet, Henkoff argues, real growth is rare, and difficult to achieve.

The traditional routes to growth, such as overseas expansion, innovation, acquisitions, new distribution channels and buying market share are fraught with peril and fail more often than they work. This article examines some large companies who have achieved significant growth over time. The companies cited were not sexy, new companies, but traditional businesses operating in fairly mundane markets. The key learning from the research is that such successfully grown companies plan, nurture, measure and reward for growth. Each of the five ways is illustrated by reference to a real example, a company that has used the technique successfully.

  1. Build Pyramids. Emerson Electric realised in 1994 that innovation and cost cutting was producing only slow growth, missed opportunities and stagnant foreign expansion. CEO Knight decided to pursue growth with a missionary zeal. Annual two-day growth conferences were instituted in the businesses 60 divisions, and the pay of each manager attending was tied to the achievement of goals for growth. Growth plans are expressed on a single sheet of paper with two pyramid shaped graphs – the Twin Peaks! The left-hand pyramid represents last years growth and the right hand one is the proposal for the forthcoming year. Risk is elaborately assessed, and priority funding assigned to proposals most likely to succeed. A key factor is the active support of the CEO – top down promotion.
  2. Don’t bribe your customers. The San Antonio financial Services Company USAA sells insurance to services personnel and their dependants. Finding its niche shrinking, the company decided to focus on their identified customers, their particular needs, and on delivering their services better than anyone else. Rather than expand their product base, the company refined and improved their service standards and made it easy for their employees to work hard. Focus on customer and employee care has earned them 95% of the insurance market for active duty military officers.
  3. Go Global, gently. Expansion overseas is often seen as an exciting opportunity to overcome sluggish home growth markets, but lack of planning and realism often lead to failure. A survey by Anderson Consulting indicates that only 44% of companies operating in China are making money. The only sure way to succeed is to know the local markets intimately. Understanding, for example, the local transportation systems and managing multiple layers of government bureaucracy are key for success in Asia. The biggest problem is finding the right local managers, who with their local knowledge can be hugely influential. For Emerson Electric again, the trick has been to identify promising bright young managers locally, and train them intensively in the US – not a quick fix solution.
  4. Acquire only added value. Although buying another company is the easiest way to get bigger faster, only 23% of acquisitions earn their cost of capital, according to consultants McKinsey. Acquisitions as a tool for growth only work when corporations know exactly what they want, be it technology, market access or distribution, they must also know exactly what value they can add to the deal. Cisco Systems looks for the right technology plus the right culture. The importance of shared objectives for both the acquired and the acquirer cannot be overlooked
  5. Change the channel. Distribution has become the road to success for Starbucks, one of Americas fastest growing companies. The company constantly searches for new avenues through which to distribute product, from airlines, to partnerships with PepsiCo. Yet growth is limited by values, CEO Schultz won’t lose control over quality, or tarnish his company’s upmarket image. He also looks constantly for efficiencies in manufacturing and distribution, re-engineering in fact!

Source: Henkoff, R. (1996) Fortune, Nov 25, 134, 78-84.

5 ways to lead

The article argues that leadership styles can be broken down to five distinct approaches, and successful leaders will choose from them, varying his or her style to suit the situation. The article is the result of research with 161 top executives on six continents and the authors thought that there would be as many styles as there were executives. They were surprised to discover just five styles, none of which guarantees success! The five styles or approaches were:

  1. Strategic. The leader acts as chief strategist, mapping out the future and planning how to get there. Almost all leaders believe this to be key to their role, but only a few (20%) actually define their roles in strategic terms. To use this style, day to day operations must be delegated, freeing up CEO time for big-picture questions and answers.
  2. Human assets. The leader believes in achieving success through others. This approach emphasises teamwork, building leaders and empowerment. About 30% of the leaders used this style to develop strong training systems and to monitor people relationships.
  3. Expertise. The leader has specific knowledge and expertise, which he uses to direct the organisation. This is a very powerful style if the expertise that gives a company competitive advantage can be identified and dispersed throughout the organisation.
  4. Box. The leader controls the organisation through well-defined structures and processes. Every company has a `box` that controls what employees do day-to-day, but not all companies need to make that box the primary focus of the organization. Only where control issues are key is the box approach the best one.
  5. Change. The leader is the principal change agent in the organisation, embracing the new and difficult. Only about 18% of CEOs use this as their favoured style. Seeing the need for continuous and significant change, before market forces make it necessary is the hallmark of this approach.

Most of the CEOs in the research used a mixture of these styles or approaches, selecting from the `menu` when and where appropriate. However, it was clear that most of the leaders favoured one or two of the styles more than others, and that change was the least favoured `first preferred` style.

The article highlights the fact that there is something inherent about the success of an organisation that begets failure. Success breeds contentment, which may overlook market and environment changes. So whilst all the above styles have their place in all organisations, the real trick is to keep changing, adapting and reinventing the organisation.

Source: Farkas, C. M. and DeBacker, P. (1996) There are only 5 ways to lead. Fortune Magazine, 133, 109-112

50 action plans for better results

The authors claim to have written this book for people who do not read management texts! It presents fifty aspects of management in a common format of 4 pages:
  1. Background explanation and comment on the method to be described, and the situations in which it/they would be relevant
  2. Brief explanatory material featuring the key questions and ways of thinking about them
  3. Techniques, models and examples which will be useful when dealing with the issue
  4. Practical exercises to further understanding and develop skills

The management topics dealt with are arranged under five headings, which is not unusual, but what is slightly unusual is that the authors do not subscribe to the view that `managing people` is the most difficult part of a managers job. They argue that if managers are well organised, and understand their organisations values and structures, then managing people will not be too difficult. The main headings are:

  1. Personal organisation and effectiveness
  2. Working in the organisation
  3. Managing people
  4. Administrative action
  5. Monitoring

Much more oriented to `management` rather than the more fashionable focus on leadership, the book nevertheless has value as a confidence builder when a manager finds him or herself in an unusual, difficult or novel situation.

Source: Torrington D., Weightman J.& Johns K. (1985) Management Methods – 50 Action Plans For Better Results. Aldershot: Gower

50 books that made management

This is a treasure trove for two reasons. First it helpfully identifies 50 of the most significant contenders for inclusion in a list of the all-time most influential books on management. Secondly, it provides authoritative summaries for those people who do not have time (nor the inclination) to read the full text. On the other hand, the summary might inspire the reader to take a closer look at the original text. Gary Hamel’s introduction helpfully organises the summarises into twelve broad categories (See 12).

The summaries are presented alphabetically by author but are also listed chronologically as shown below.

Earlier Times
  1. Sun Tzu, The Art of War (500 BC)
  2. Nicolo Machiavelli, The Prince (1513) (See 4)
  3. Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776)

1900 1929
  1. Frederick W. Taylor, The Principles of Scientific Management (1911) (See 4)
  2. Henri Fayol, General and Industrial Management (1916) (See 14)
  3. Henry Ford, My Life and Work (1923)

The Thirties
  1. Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People (1937)
  2. Chester Barnard, The Functions of the Executive (1938)

The Forties
  1. Mary Parker Follett, Dynamic Administration (1941)
  2. Max Weber, Theory of Social and Economic Organization (1947)

The Fifties
  1. Abraham Maslow, Motivation and Personality (1954) (See 5)
  2. Peter F. Drucker, The Practice of Management (1954)
  3. C.N. Parkinson, Parkinson’s Law (1958)
  4. Frederick Herzberg, The Motivation to Work (1959) (See 2)

The Sixties
  1. Douglas McGregor, The Human Side of Enterprise (1960) (See 2)
  2. Ted Levitt, Innovation in Marketing (1962) (See 4)
  3. Alfred Chandler, Strategy and Structure (1962)
  4. Thomas Watson Jr., A Company and its Beliefs (1963)
  5. Alfred P. Sloan, My Years with General Motors (1963)
  6. lgor Ansoff, Corporate Strategy (1965)
  7. Philip Kotler, Marketing Management (1967)
  8. Peter F. Drucker, The Age of Discontinuity (1969) (See 6)

The Seventies
  1. Robert Townsend, Up the Organization (1970)
  2. Henry Mintzberg, The Nature of Managerial Work (1973) (See 4, 5, 10)
  3. Chris Argyris & Donald Schon, Organizational Learning (1978) (See 1 and 2)
  4. James MacGregor, Leadership (1978)

The Eighties
  1. Michael Burns Porter, Competitive Strategy (1980)
  2. Alvin Toffler, The Third Wave (1980) (See 3)
  3. Richard Pascale & Anthony Athos, The Art of Japanese Management (1981)
  4. Tom Peters & Robert Waterman, In Search of Excellence (1982) (See 8)
  5. Kenichi Ohmae, The Mind of the Strategist (1982) (See 3)
  6. W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis (1982 (See 14)
  7. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Change Masters (1983) (See 3, 4,5, and 6)
  8. Meredith Belbin, Management Teams (1984) (See 8)
  9. Warren Bennis & Burt Nanus, Leaders (1985) (See 7)
  10. Edgar Schein Organizational Culture and Leadership (1985) (See 5, 8, and 11)
  11. Joseph M. Juran, Juran on Planning for Quality (1985)
  12. Christopher Bartlett & Sumantra Ghoshal, Managing Across Borders (1989)
  13. Charles Handy, The Age of Unreason (1989) (See 3, 4, 10, and 21)

The Nineties
  1. Kenichi Ohmae, The Borderless World (1990) (See 3)
  2. Michael Porter, The Competitive Advantage of Nations (1990) (See 5)
  3. Richard Pascale, Managing on the Edge (1990) (See 7)
  4. Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline (1990) (See 5, 6, and 7)
  5. Tom Peters, Liberation Management (1992) (See 45)
  6. Ricardo Semler, Maverick! (1993)
  7. James Champy & Michael Hammer, Re engineering the Corporation (1993)
  8. Fons Trompenaars, Riding the Waves of Culture (1993) (See 4 and 7)
  9. Henry Mintzberg, The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning (1994) (See 4, 5, and 10)
  10. Michael Goold, Andrew Campbell & Marcus Alexander, Corporate Level Strategy (1994)
  11. Gary Hamel & C.K. Prahalad, Competing for the Future (1994)

Source: Crainer, S. (1996) The Ultimate Business Library: 50 Books that Made Management. Forward and commentary by Gary Hamel. Oxford: Capstone Publishing.

50 essential management techniques

This book is designed to provide a comprehensive coverage of basic management techniques for managers who are too busy and stressed to read! The techniques are presented under eleven headings

  1. Managing strategy. This section covers how to understand your business environment, analyse your organisation by means of a SWOT analysis, and how to manage strategic relationships (stakeholder/role set analysis).
  2. Managing marketing. This section cover how to assess the market ability of your product, chart your products profitability cycle (profit impact of market share), an how should develop your marketing strategy by means of the market/product grid. It also covers the 4 Ps of marketing, and the analysis of features and benefits.
  3. Managing pricing. Managing demand by means of the supply and demand curve, the pricing policies are covered in this section.
  4. Managing finance. This section covers basic financial management (the balance sheet, profit and loss, cash flow forecast, investment appraisal, budgeting.
  5. Managing operations. The techniques covered are the closed system, the management control cycle, controlling your operations, solving problems and making improvements using action teams, basic project manage using Gantt charts, and increasing profitability using break-even analysis.
  6. Managing decisions. This section covers three techniques to help with decision-making. Solving problems and making decisions using the decision tree: making the best decision (balance sheet method) and picking opportunities (opportunity cost/benefit).
  7. Managing numbers. Three techniques are to help manage probabilities using Pareto analysis (See 80), understanding statistics (the normal distribution), and relating frequency to rank (Ziph’s Law).
  8. Managing people. The distinction of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is offered as a tool to help select experts and managers; the managerial grid is suggested as an aid to managing people and tasks. Other techniques in this section are meeting skills, team formation (See 5) and team roles (see 8). Role negotiation, assertiveness, and Johari window are also discussed as ways of increasing interpersonal effectiveness.
  9. Managing learning. Techniques to increase learning are doing your own brainstorming, using spider diagrams, and speed reading, together with insights from the learning cycle, and using the knowledge grid.
  10. Managing yourself. Techniques to help manage time, determine priorities (the priority grid): be more productive (the effectiveness/ efficiency grid); optimise performance (the performance curve), manage crisis (the recovery cycle) are covered in this section.
  11. Managing change. In this section the reader will find techniques and conceptual models to help manage organisational transition (organisational size); manage systems change (the principle of recursion); and manage culture change (the development of culture). In addition there is guidance on overcoming organisational resistance to change (force field analysis); individual resistance change (personal culture) and how to achieve successful change (the commitment curve).

A small but practical and useful book.

Source: Ward, M. (1995) Fifty Essential Management Techniques. Aldershot: Gower

50 time saving techniques for everyday business problems.

This book purports to be a reference book, but also a practical volume of `how to` tools and instructions, which will help the reader, achieve essential business tasks in the least possible time. The book is divided into chapters, which represent the key areas of business. Each chapter presents tools, pitfalls and definitions of excellence in the area. The business areas dealt with are:

  1. Strategic and operational planning. The models offered here are SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) objectives, RAISE (responsibility, authority, informed, support, execution).
  2. Business is about people. Starting from the premise that `people are your most important asset` this section presents Maslow`s model of motivation and a performance management model using the notions of empowerment and job purpose.
  3. Business project teams and team building. Although team working is acknowledged as the route to excellence, achieving high performance teams is not simple. The model presented as a route to such teams is exchange theory, with the concepts of empowerment, consensus and conflict being dealt with.
  4. Leadership in a rapidly changing world. Situational leadership, the need for successful leaders to adapt to the needs of the task and the team is the key model used here. Also considered is McLellands motivational model, which discusses an individuals motivation to lead.
  5. Problem solving and decision-making. Consensus as a route to decision making is explored, but the main model recommended is Synectics – an algorithm based structured team approach to developing creative solutions to complex problems. Based on the work of Kepner and Tregoe.
  6. Finance Management. Very basic, but critical financial management tools are presented such as balance sheets, profit and loss accounts, budget control and key management ratios. Not a detailed financial expose, but, as with other chapters, sufficient to point the lay reader in the right direction.
  7. Marketing and management. The chapter defines marketing and introduces the idea of the marketing plan as a key model. Competitor analysis and product life cycles along with `COST` analysis (concerns, opportunities, strengths and threats) are also presented.
  8. Sales and sales management. The importance of a sales plan, and of understanding customer motivation is discussed here. The only real `model` is one to use when a sale is going wrong, then the acronym `SARAH` is suggested. (Stop talking, Active listening, Reflect content or feeling, Act with empathy, Handle objections.) The Kaiser and Koffey model of understanding buyer behaviour in terms of dominance/submission and hostility/warmth is presented.
  9. Culture change in the post industrial world. This chapter deals with the interaction of culture and organisational change. The models presented are TQM (total quality management), beginning with a cultural audit.
  10. Training and development. To ensure that training is effectively transferred from the classroom or development programme to the workplace, the author offers the `DOUBLE SMART` model. (Specific, Significant, Measurable, Meaningful, Achievable, Attainable, Realistic, Reward Driven, Timely and Team orientated).

As an attempt to give busy managers a range of tools to use, this book is successful and comprehensive. It may confuse though, as no clear distinction is drawn between `tools` and `models`. Tools need to be simple to be effective, whilst the models are often rooted in complex concepts. However, the book provides a framework within which sophisticated management thinking can be made functional, while answering the fundamental question at every stage `what am I doing this for`?

Source: Lambert (1993) 50 Time Saving Techniques To Solve Everyday Business Problems. London: Pitman

50 ways to a learning organization

The 50 topics are presented under 7 broad categories:

Board level
  1. Directors as role models
  2. Non-executive directors
  3. Directors accessibility
  4. Knowledge management
  5. Measuring human capital

Public stance
  1. Annual report
  2. Handling the media
  3. Award schemes and public recognition
  4. Corporate acknowledgement of the stakes

Policies and guidelines
  1. Performance management and awards system
  2. Competences
  3. Intellectual property
  4. Innovation
  5. IKEA (information, knowledge, expertise, application)
  6. How to manage knowledge workers
  7. Job design
  8. Self managed learning
  9. Career structure
  10. Consult employees
  11. Mentors

Barrier to learning: Mistakes
  1. Barriers to learning
  2. Blame cultures and handling of mistakes
  3. Rules and guidelines
  4. Defining authority limits
  5. Reluctance to share knowledge

Learning methods
  1. 50 ways to personal development
  2. Learning resource centres
  3. Devaluation of training
  4. Creativity and problem solving
  5. Source of learning
  6. On the job learning
  7. The brain and intelligence
  8. Action learning
  9. Assessment and development centres

Use of IT
  1. Exploiting IT
  2. And the Internet
  3. Intranet
  4. Computer based training

Exchange of Knowledge
  1. Increased communication
  2. Skills audits
  3. Spreading learning internally
  4. The virtual organisation
  5. The suggestion schemes
  6. Benchmarking
  7. Learning from others
  8. Learning that works
  9. The project teams
  10. Employee surveys
  11. Customer feedback
  12. Secondments, working parties on committees

Source: Forrest, A. (1999) Fifty Ways to a Learning Organisation. London: Industrial Society

50 ways to be a leader in freaked out times

Peters begins his article by telling his readers that in terms of change and turbulence in the business world “….you ain`t seen nothin` yet!” He argues vehemently that although the last five years have been `nuts` in that pace was fast and challenge was high, the next five years will be `freaked out`. He envisages the age of No Bull Performance, where leadership will emerge as the most important element of business. He suggests 50 ways of being a leader in freaked out times:
  1. Leaders on snorting steeds (the visionary greats!) are important. But great managers are the bedrock of great organisations – the idolatry of the cult of leadership ignores the necessity for good, traditional, but maybe non charismatic management
  2. But then again. There are times when this cult of personality stuff does work and is needed.
  3. Leadership is as confusing as hell. There is no one size fits all leadership, the situation rules!
  4. When it comes to talent, leadership doesn’t income average. Teams are important, and each member needs to be a winner.
  5. Leaders love the mess. Great leaders love creativity and ambiguity, not control and structure.
  6. The leader is rarely, possibly never, the best performer. Leaders are good at orchestrating the performance of others, not necessarily doing it themselves.
  7. Leaders deliver. What counts now are performance and results.
  8. Leaders create their own destinies. No room now for paper pushers, leaders operate at all levels in organisations and only people who make personal determination to be leaders will survive.
  9. Leaders win through logistics. To win wars, you need both toilet paper and bullets in the right place at the right time!
  10. Leaders understand the ultimate power of relationships. What really matters are the relationships that leaders have created with their people, that’s why the premier untapped leadership talent in the world today rests with women!
  11. Leaders multitask. Time is of the essence, so successful leaders can juggle a dozen jobs at once.
  12. Leaders groove on ambiguity. Leaders have to make sense of ambiguous and conflicting signals.
  13. Leaders wire the joint. Leaders need to build, nurture, and mobilise a vast network of key people.
  14. Leadership is an improvisational art. Continual responsiveness, re-adaptation and flexibility are the key to success.
  15. Leaders trust their guts. Intuition must be developed and allowed to influence decisions.
  16. Leaders trust trust. We all need someone to rely on.
  17. Leaders are natural empowerment freaks. Talent development, creation of leaders at every level of an organisation are things leaders must excel at.
  18. Leaders are good at forgetting. World-beating organisations are not wedded to what they did yesterday. Keep trying new things for success, and learn to learn from mistakes.
  19. Leaders bring in different dudes. Acquire a new line of thinking by bringing in new group of thinkers.
  20. Leaders make mistakes and make no bones about it. It’s important to allow yourself to make mistakes, learn from them and move on quickly.
  21. Leaders love to work with other leaders. Make sure your customers and suppliers are as leading edge in their markets as you want to be in yours.
  22. Leaders can laugh. Humour is the best teamworking tool you have.
  23. Leaders set design specs. Design sets the brand, the culture and the tone of your company; it gives it its` soul`.
  24. Leaders also know when to challenge design specs. Constant revaluation is the key.
  25. Leaders have taste. Words like grace, and beauty and taste have meaning for great leaders.
  26. Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders. Great leaders empower their people to find and create their own destinies.
  27. Leaders love rainbows, for totally pragmatic reasons. Diversity is essential for survival.
  28. Leaders don’t fall prey to their own success. Overconfidence breeds a sense of infallibility, which is inevitably fatal.
  29. Leaders never get caught fighting the last war. Moving on from past successes to totally new ones is a constant characteristic of successful leaders.
  30. But leaders have to deliver, so they worry about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. These are paradoxical times! Go figure!
  31. Leaders honour the assassins in their own organization. Mavericks more than welcome!
  32. Leaders love technology. You don’t need to understand it, but love it, use it or disappear.
  33. Leaders wear their passion on their sleeve. Visible energy, commitment and enthusiasm defines great leaders absolutely.
  34. Leaders know, energy begets energy. Even if you don’t feel it – fake it!
  35. Leaders are community organizers. It’s all about grass-roots organisation, getting people on board at their level.
  36. Leaders give respect. Be genuinely interested in your people, who they are and what they say.
  37. Leaders show up. Visible commitment to people by being there, and respecting them by being there is priceless in this internet age.
  38. Leadership is a performance. It’s visible, it’s watched and it’s judged; act the part!
  39. Leaders have great stories. These are the scripts for rule 38; the stories are personal passionate and persuasive.
  40. Leaders give everyone a cause. A reason for doing things and for doing them well.
  41. Leaders focus on the soft stuff. It’s not just about numbers, it’s about people and energy. It’s an art, not a science.
  42. Leaders know they can make a difference. They know they matter.
  43. Leaders always make time to work the phones. Leaders are great talkers, tireless communicators, and rarely strong silent types.
  44. Leaders listen intently. Really listening demonstrates respect and investment and develops respect and cohesiveness.
  45. Leaders revel in surrounding themselves with people who are smarter than they are. Hire people who are more talented than you, make your company win, then you have left a legacy.
  46. Great leaders are great politicians. Leadership is about politics, get real, and get used to it, leadership is not for the lily livered.
  47. Leaders make meaning. In times of ambiguity, change, conflicting messages and chaos, leaders must make some sense of it all for their people, that is a responsibility leaders must assume.
  48. Leaders learn. Don’t be too busy doing to carry on learning. Learn fast or get left behind faster.
  49. Leaders………..? Left open for readers to add their own key leadership item. Peters invites readers to email him with what they think leaders need to do to win in the next 5 years.
  50. Leaders know when to leave. When you stop working through this list and finding it exciting to lead, then it’s time to stop!

Source: Peters T. (2001) Rule #3 – Leadership is as confusing as hell! Fast Company, March 2001, pp124-140.

50 ways to personal development

This another very practical book, which is designed primarily to move people away from a preoccupation with courses as the main bases for achieving learning. The 50 ways to achieve personal development are divided into eight main sections. The book contains an excellent appendix describing practical resources and reading lists. The 50 ways to achieve personal development are:

Individual learning
  1. Develop your learning skills
  2. Guided readings
  3. Write a report summary or book review
  4. Keep a learning log
  5. Listen to cassette tapes on the move
  6. Computer based learning
  7. Study for a professional qualification
  8. Undertake an open learning programme
  9. Gain a NVQ
  10. Visit other organisations

Group work
  1. Action learning
  2. Adopt a company
  3. Serve on a task force or working party
  4. Participate in a business game or simulation
  5. Self managed learning
  6. Outdoor training
  7. Attend a training course

Changes duties
  1. Undertake a secondment to another organisation
  2. Take up office in the community
  3. Undertake a secondment or job swap with in your organisation
  4. Undertake a sabbatical
  5. Undertake short project attachment to another organisation
  6. Work shadowing
  7. Act as a non-executive director
  8. Deputise for the manager
  9. Take on new responsibilities

Representing your organisation or colleagues
  1. Represent your organisation or profession
  2. Serve as a staff representative or shop steward
  3. Serve on an education or industry link organisation
  4. Work on a community project

Respond to guidance
  1. Respond to guidance from your immediate manager
  2. Accept newly delegated responsibility
  3. Respond to all round feedback
  4. Use guidance from a mentor

Creative skills
  1. Identify a manager who was excellent at developing people
  2. Use diagnostic instruments
  3. Carry out a constructive post-mortem on your success or failure
  4. Use the carousel of development
  5. Change the way you tackle your work
  6. Use each inspection as a learning opportunity
  7. Write a major report
  8. Analyse the actions of effective people
  9. Take part in a debate
  10. Benchmarking

Build up contacts
  1. Join a user group
  2. Actively participate in a professional body
  3. Develop a network
  4. Join a support group

Develop others
  1. Coach your own staff
  2. Delegate part of your job

Source: Forrest, A. (1995) Fifty Ways to Personal Development. London: The Industrial Society

525 ways to be a better manager

The basic premise of this book is that successful management is not a secret. It is not a science, even less is it a magic art, although the authors do believe management to be an art. Effective managers do effective things, and the book provides a comprehensive `to do` list, within a framework that helps managers to identify what they already do well, and what they need to work on.

The book begins by asking managers to be very clear about their own roles and responsibilities before trying to manage those of others. So managers are encouraged to answer the following questions:

  1. What are you paid to learn to learn do
  2. How are you responsible for your organisations money?
  3. How are your responsible for your organisations people?
  4. How are your responsible for your organisations material resources?
  5. What do your staff expect from you?

This exercise is designed to help managers define the extent of their managerial responsibilities, and is probably a useful checking exercise for most managers.

The authors then go on to examine the 12 key aspects of management, providing clear and specific guidance on the skills required. The 12 areas, with examples of the sort of advice given are:

  1. The art of managing people. Create the right environment for your people to enjoy their work by talking directly to them, don’t be bossy, and provide the best working conditions you can afford. Managing your relationship with your team is key. Encourage them to respect you and relax with your, by treating people as individuals, be consistent, don’t have favourites, encourage teamwork.
  2. Recruiting and selecting. Surround yourself with talented people, worry about high turnover by conducting sympathetic termination interviews when people decide to leave, create a person profile when recruiting, give jobs helpful and realistic titles, develop your interviewing skills.
  3. Planning. Whether short, medium or long term, all managers must set and achieve objectives, by having planning meetings, keeping up to date with company and industry news, set clear objectives, don`t change the rules.
  4. Organising. Consider how you will deploy your people, resources and money to achieve your objectives by developing a relationship for `following up`, produce easy to understand charts of responsibilities and deliverables, manage your time, keep records.
  5. Maintain control. Make sure your standards are clear and understood, monitor performance by acting quickly and decisively to praise good performance and check unacceptable performance, reduce waste, don`t manage from behind a closed door, prevent abuses, be punctual, be sensitive to `atmosphere.
  6. Train and develop. Accelerate experience and develop your people to fulfill their potential by identifying training needs, understanding how people learn, planning training, using different techniques, developing coaching skills.
  7. Solve people problems. The real test of a manager is not how he does when things are fine, but how he handles problems by watching for early signals. Accordingly don’t dwell on problems, seek solutions, don`t prejudge, give time and show interest.
  8. Make decisions. Be creative and decisive, encourage your people to search for and express fresh ideas by knowing your authority, gather enough information, consult, get the timing right, be realistic, admit mistakes.
  9. Delegate. Help other managers on their way to the top, and free up your own time. Be pleased if your staff are more capable than you would be, don`t allow your staff to delegate upwards, don`t delegate only to high flyers, give the team plenty of challenge..
  10. Lead and Motivate. Adapt your style to get the best out of all your people, take them with you to where you want them to be by setting a good example, paying attention to people, understanding their needs, talking about `us` and `we` rather than `you` and `I`.
  11. Communicate. Upwards, sidewards and downwards communications are all important, and not just when there’s a problem. Help others to understand by – being sincere and direct, practising conversation skills, being honest, developing listening skills.
  12. Manage your career. Prepare for your next step by learning what you’ve done well`, where you could improve, keep in touch with those you may leave behind, communicate, communicate, communicate, and work hard.

The book claims to draw on the experience of 6,000 managers in order to reach the above conclusions. It offers a helpful framework of guidance for managers.

Source: Coleman R. & Barrie G. (1998) 525 Ways to be a Better Manager. Aldershot: Gower Publishing.

5 minute university

Five minutes is all it takes to teach what the average university student remembers five years after graduating. Cost: 20 dollars!

Source: Unknown (happy to acknowledge)

Structure in 5s

The central theme of this book is that a limited number of organisational configurations explain most of the tendencies that determine the way organizations structure themselves as they do. According to Mintzberg, the design of an effective organisational structure seems to involve the consideration of only a few basic considerations. There are five co-ordinating mechanisms that explain the fundamental ways in which organisations conduct their work. He regards them as the most basic elements of structure, the glue that holds organisations together. They are:

  1. Mutual adjustment achieves the co-ordination of work by the simple process of informal communication.
  2. Direct supervision achieves co-ordination by having one person take responsibility for the work of others, issuing instructions to them and monitoring their actions.
  3. Work processes are standardised when the contents of the work are specified or programmed.
  4. Outputs are standardised when the results of the work are specified.
  5. Skills and knowledge are standardised when the kind of training required to perform the work is specified.

“As organization work becomes more complicated, the favoured means of coordination shifts from mutual adjustment to direct supervision, to standardization, preferably of work process, otherwise of outputs, or else of skills, finally reverting back to mutual adjustment.”

Mintzberg also sees the organization as having 5 parts:

  1. Operating core of the organisation encompasses those members, the operators, who perform the basic work related directly to the production of products and services.
  2. Strategic apex is charged with ensuring that the organisation serves its mission in an effective way, and also that it serves the needs of those who control or otherwise have power over the organisation.
  3. Middle line managers with formal authority link the strategic apex to the operating core.
  4. The techno-structure of control analysts serves to affect certain forms of standardisation in the organisation.
  5. Support units, all specialized, exist to provide support to the organisation outside its operating workflow.

Mintzberg also defines five basic organisational ways (or theories) of functioning. They are:

  1. Simple Structure based on direct supervision, in which the strategic apex is the key part.
  2. Machine Bureaucracy based on standardisation of work processes in which the techno-structure is the key part.
  3. Professional Bureaucracy based on standardisation of skills, in which the operating core is the key part.
  4. Divisionalised Form based on standardisation of work in which the middle line is the key part.
  5. Adhocracy based on mutual adjustment, in which the support staff (sometimes with the operating core) is the key part.

And finally, Mintzberg asks if five is the magic number in the design of effective organisations? The answer is yes and no. Five is magic if it enables the organisation designer to build more effective organizations, but to believe that the world ends at five is clearly mythical. Effective structuring sometimes requires the creation of new configurations. Not every organisation can create a whole new structural form, but some to be truly effective, must. That is why, according to Mintzberg, those who possess real magic think beyond five.

See Miller’s magical number 7.

Source: Mintzberg, H. (1983) Structure in Fives: Designing Effective Organizations.  NJ: Prentice Hall

5 learning disciplines

This is the book that is generally accepted as having sparked the widespread, even global, interest in the concept of the learning organisation, although it is pre-dated by Bob Garratt’s book, The Learning Organisation (1987), and the even earlier writings of Revans, Argyris & Schon, and Pedler.

Senge quotes the CEO of a large insurance company: 'If the learning organisation is so widely preferred, why don't people create such organisations?' The answer, he says, is leadership. People have no real comprehension of the type of commitment it requires to build such an organisation. Senge goes on to discuss the qualities leaders need. Leaders, he says, are designers/teachers/ stewards. They need new skills, the ability to build shared vision, to bring to the surface and challenge prevailing mental models. In short, leaders in learning organisations are responsible for building organisations where people are continually expanding their capabilities to shape their future. He argues that there are five learning disciplines, which are critical to the survival and well being of all organisations. They are:

  1. Systems thinking
  2. Personal mastery
  3. Mental models
  4. Shared vision
  5. Team learning

Of the five, Personal Mastery is the building block, which permits the other disciplines to succeed. Senge describes personal Mastery as "approaching one's life as a creative work, living life from a creative as opposed to reactive viewpoint." To achieve this, each person must first clarify what is important to them, and secondly, have the ability to see current reality clearly. The difference between vision and reality results in "creative tension". Creative tension acts as the catalyst for change awakening the individual's intuitive and creative abilities in an effort to reduce the gap between reality and vision. Since we are continually updating our vision the cycle never stops.

Senge places considerable emphasis on the value and benefits of systems thinking, which he describes as 'the cornerstone of learning'. Systems thinking makes explicit the interconnectedness of the world around us. In the past, systems thinking has been a highly specialised skill, used primarily by engineers and corporate planners. See

Senge’s original 1990 book has been supplemented by a collaborative Fieldbook for the Fifth Discipline (1994) and the Companion to the Fifth Discipline (1999) in which the focus is on practical implementation of the ideas, on theory-building, to support the process of implementing and sustaining the learning organisation.

See Senge’s 7 learning disabilities, which he contends, are the result of a lack of systems thinking and 6 skills of systems thinkers.

Source (i): Senge, P. (1990) The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation. NY: Doubleday; (ii) Senge, P. et al (1994) The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organisation. London: Brealey; and (iii): Senge, P. et al (1999) The Dance of Change. New York: Doubleday

6 certainties for CEOs

Kanter argues that business must find new sources of certainty in a volatile world. These new certainties involve new skills and competencies that comprise the capacity to lead change. The six certainties are:

Leading through learning. Leaders create the future by emphasising what the company’s people must learn, and not by reinforcing the past. Leaders are important role models as learners.

Process capabilities. Processes are as important as products. Processes create efficiencies and they create the future (including new products). Especially important is rapid-process-innovation.

Absolute excellence not relative quality. The aim should be for the highest standards and not lowest common denominator solutions, because of the pressures of global competition. Leaders should aim for absolute standards and not just beating the competition.

Politics and scrutiny. One result of learning is opening up to new constituencies, with increased emphasis on transparency, scrutiny, public information and access.

Interdependence and inter-company relationships. External constituencies are vital allies in mastering change, suppliers in particular. Managing such relationships will occupy more and more of CEOs time. The relationships will be based on mutual respect, win-win outcomes, and be the result of long-term investment.

Rising discomfort levels. As a result of certainties 1 to 5, CEOs will increasingly have to deal with differences, which will be cultural, political, cross-national, and also within the workforce. There will be a continuing trend from homogeneity to diversity. Kanter argues that it should be the role of leaders to promote discomfort.

Kanter argues that there may be another certainty underlying the other six, viz. The desirability of change.

Source: Kanter, R.M. (1997) Frontiers of Management. Boston: Harvard Business Review Books.

6 dimensions of leadership

According to the author: "Great leaders are multi-dimensional leaders. Leadership has grown more difficult to sustain in our personality-centred, performance-orientated, information-rich age”. He also argues that most books on leadership are, as he puts it, tired and jaded.

According to Brown, to be truly great, leaders must be:

  1. Convincing heroes. "Great leaders are liberating heroes and role models who devote themselves to the collective good". There are 4 kinds of hero: Epic, Symbolic, Playful, and Warrior.
  2. Consummate actors. "The best leaders are skilled actors, able to deliver authentic and convincing performances". There are 4 types of actor, viz. Poet, Rhetorician, Storytellers, and Showmen/women.
  3. Self-confident immortalists. “Immortalists are admirable leaders, the visionaries with high self-esteem, whose organisations take on their personalities.” There are two types of immortalist, viz. Constructive Modernist (rebel or virtuoso) and the Destructive Immortalist, (dramatic or conceited).
  4. Shrewd power brokers. Power brokers "are shrewd dealers in power, they accomplish goals by mobilising the others to act on their behalf". There are 4 types of power broker, viz. Despot, Manipulator, Conductor, Empowerer.
  5. Effective ambassadors. "High performing leaders are diplomats, who use their interpersonal skills to develop valuable networks of external supporters". There are 4 types of ambassador, viz. Relationship-builder, Salesperson, Melder and Information inquisitor.
  6. Willing victims (when necessary) "Effective leaders are, when necessary, content to make a personal sacrifice the sake of the cause in which they believe". There are 4 types of victim, viz. Unwilling Victim Learner, Willing Victim Humaniser, Unwilling Victim of a Conspiracy, and Unwilling Victim of Oneself.

To be fully effective leaders need to be adept in all these dimension of leadership. The danger is "role capture", i.e. getting stuck in a mode and becoming dominated by it. The leader needs to practise different dimensions of leadership. Leaders need the benefit of insight and intuitive skills to modify their behaviour to fit changing circumstances. The key to avoiding role-capture is broad-minded self-examination. Therefore, self-awareness and self-critique are crucial to effective leadership. Other dimensions of the effective leaders discussed in the book are Sorcerer, Anthropologist, Moralist, and Servant.

Brown argues that the true multi-dimensional leader does not merely understand the different leadership roles but accommodates them with maturity, wisdom, integrity and courage.

Source: Brown, A. (1999) The Six Dimensions of Leadership. London: Random House

6 faces of global change

The overriding need for individuals to face the future, to grasp it and shape it in order to survive is the core premise of this book which holds that the “next millennium will witness the greatest challenges to human survival ever”. Dixon suggests that there are 6 aspects of the future that will affect us all in the third millennium and he visualises these as the 6 sides of suspended cube, constantly undulating, turning and presenting different faces to the viewer. The initial letters of each aspect global change form the word FUTURE.

Following “extensive research with senior executives” Dixon believes that different managers give different priorities to the different faces of the cube. The consequently diverse views of change and managerial priorities will cause tensions, which must be understood for organisational success in the third millennium.

The six faces of change are:

  1. Fast. Speed will be of the essence in age when the future will rapidly become the past.
  2. Urban. Beyond 2000 more than half the world will live in cities or even mega cities – areas with more than 10 million people.
  3. Tribal. A powerful force arising from the need of people to belong together, and their agreement to do so.
  4. Universal. The opposite of tribalism; we live in a global capitalist system driven by economic growth and prosperity.
  5. Radical. Reacting against twentieth century values. If global economies rule markets, governments will lose power.
  6. Ethical. What sort of world do people want to live in? Our values and beliefs determine the ways in which we run our businesses and our lives. This dimension provides the context and meaning for the preceding five.

The book presents a huge range of implications for each `face` of the future. For example for `Fast` Dixon considers the issues from the instability of basic commodity prices to changes in size and price of the ideal mobile phone to reactions against `human replacement technology` or robot contact. For `Universal` he considers Knowledge management as the key to virtual working, dis-intermediation, or the cutting out of middlemen along with freight theft. For `Ethical` he considers human rights and responsibilities along with the implications of single-issue politics such as arms sales. These are outlined, and then considered in terms of the challenges that each of these issues present for management and for individuals on a personal basis.

The comprehensive list of questions that the process generates is not accompanied by detailed answers! However, a rather sketchy `afterword` does provide 10 general and non-specific, but potentially thought provoking conclusions for management. One example is `decentralise and empower`; another is `help your team find ways to feel that they are building a better world`. 10 similarly general and non-specific conclusions for individuals, like `keep well informed`, `plan to react faster` and `give yourself enough personal space` are also provided.

Source: Dixon P. (1998) Futurewise: Six Faces of Global Change. London: HarperCollins.

6 honest serving men

    I keep six honest serving-men
    (They taught me all I knew);
    Their names are What and Why and When
    And How and Where and Who
    I send them over land and sea,
    I send them east and west:
    But after they have worked for me
    I give them a rest.

    I let them rest from nine to five,
    For I am busy then,
    As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
    For they are hungry men:
    But different folk have different views;
    I know a person small –
    She keeps ten million serving-men,
    Who get no rest at all!
    She sends ‘em abroad on her own affairs,
    From the second she opens her eyes –
    One million Hows, two million Wheres,
    And seven million Whys!

See the 5 keys to understanding and the 5 ‘Why’s.

Source: Kipling, R., The Elephant’s Child (1902) in Peter Levi (1987), Editor. The Just So Stories. London: Penguin

6 management competencies

The book aims to direct managers’ thinking towards holistic, integrated, open systems management. For each of the six management competencies, the author provides a definition, appropriate actions, mind-sets, personal characteristics, and key practices and tasks.

The six management competences are: 

  1. Managing competitiveness: He argues that it is not just a matter of global strategies and structures. It is critical to gather information on a global basis and use it. The mind-set includes striving for the bigger and broader picture with a quest for knowledge on a global basis.
  2. Managing complexity: This is seen as understanding and managing complex relationships on a global basis with a focus on issues such as centralisation versus decentralisation, global addition efficiency versus local responsiveness. The action and mind set focuses on the balance of contradictions.
  3. Managing organisational adaptability: This is seen as critical to the development of global corporate culture on the basis of adaptability rather than continuous reorganisations. As a focus on constant changing, enabling organisations to be resilient to global changes while operating in a reasonably fixed structure. The action mind-set is towards trust of process and the key personal characteristic is flexibility.
  4. Managing multi-cultural teams: Multi-cultural teams use their diversity for creative answers, to manage organisational complexity and adaptability, and to manage conflicts constructively. The action mind-set is valuing diversity and the personal characteristic sensitivity.
  5. Managing uncertainty: This is seen as redefining chaos as an infinite game to play of continual change and renewal. Focusing on the rules of the current game leads to increasing chaos. If chaos is seen as an opportunity to redefine the boundaries of the systems and the rules of the game it can lead to competitive advantage. The issue is flow with and not just control over the organisation's response to an uncertain environment. The action mind-set is flow with the change. The personal characteristic is judgment.
  6. Managing learning: This is seen as managing personal and organisational learning and improving on a continuous basis. The focus is on how to develop the mindsets, qualities competences and behaviour as successful management in a global organisation. The action mindset is seeking openness and the personal characteristic is reflection.
The author also believes that successful global management is, first and foremost, a state of mind. There needs to be a shift from ‘rational, procedural, structural answers to an infinite, open-ended, flexible, playful game.’ There needs to be a change of mind-set, but also philosophy, personal style and even personality. He argues for a radical shift in the definition of effective management, then order out of chaos into chaos out of order.

Source: Rhinestone, S. H. (1993) A Manager’s Guide to Globalism: Six keys to Success in a Changing World. New York: Irwin/ASTD.

6 mistakes of man

  1. The delusion that personal gain is made by crushing others.
  2. The tendency to worry about things that cannot be changed or corrected.
  3. Insisting that a thing is impossible because we are unable to achieve it.
  4. Refusing to set aside trivial preferences.
  5. Neglecting development and refinement of the mind and not acquiring the habit of reading and studying.
  6. Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.

Source: unknown

6 Ms of capacity

The six Ms, as featured on many MBA programmes, are:

1. Methods. Having chosen the best method for accomplishing the operational task? Are the machines placed in the most efficient factory floor configuration?

2. Materials. Are the materials you need available and of good quality? Do you have the capability to purchase sufficiently, store, and ship the materials needed by the production process?

3. Manpower. Do you have well-trained and productive workers and managers to accomplish your production goals?

4. Machinery. Do you have the right tools for the job?

5. Money. Is the cash to fund production available as needed?

6. Messages. Do you have a system for sharing accurate and timely information among all members of the production team, people and machines?

Source: Unknown (happy to acknowledge)

6 organisational rites of culture change

The authors, drawing on social anthropology, define a rite as an organised activity within a cultural entity than can have both practical and expressive consequences. They argue that by regarding organised activities in the corporation as rites, managers can uncover many of the beliefs and values underlying the current corporate culture.

The six rites are:

  1. Rites of passage. The transition of people into an organisation or status that is new for them.
  2. Rites of degradation. Firing and replacing people. Dissolving social identities and the associated power.
  3. Rites of enhancement. Enhancing social identities and attendant power e.g. spreading good news.
  4. Rites of renewal. For example, organisational development activities that refurbish social structures and improve the way they function.
  5. Rites of conflict. For example, collective bargaining where the aim is to reduce conflict and aggression.
  6. Rites of integration. For example, the office party that encourages shared feelings that bind people together and keep them committed to a social system.

Source: Trice, H.M. and Beyer, (1985) ‘Using six organisational rites to change culture’ in Kilman, R.H., Saxton, M.J., Serpa, R. et al. (Eds.) Gaining Control of the Corporate Culture. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

6 phases of a project

  1. Enthusiasm
  2. Disillusionment
  3. Panic
  4. Search for the guilty
  5. Punishment of the innocent
  6. Praise and honours for the nom-participants

Source: Unknown (happy to acknowledge)

6 pillars of self-esteem

This book aims to answer four questions:

  1. What is self-esteem?
  2. Why is self-esteem important?
  3. What can we do to raise the level of our self-esteem?
  4. What role do others play in influencing our self-esteem

Nathaniel Branden asserts that he has spent a lifetime of clinical practice and research focusing on self-esteem. The book offers six action-based practices for daily living to increase personal awareness and effectiveness.

Self-esteem is defined as confidence in our ability to think, confidence in our ability to cope with the basic challenges of life; and confidence in our right to be successful and happy, the feeling of being worthy, and thus deserving, entitled to assess our needs and wants, achieve our values, and enjoy the fruits of our efforts. The book provides powerful insights. For example, the author argues that it would be hard to name a more certain sign of poor self-esteem than the need to perceive some other groups as inferior.

The author argues that self-esteem is a consequence, a product of internally generated practices. We cannot therefore work directly on self-esteem, either our own or someone else's. Healthy self-esteem depends on six life-practices which he calls Pillars. The six pillars of self-esteem are:

  1. The practice of living consciously. According to Branden: ‘The practice of living consciously means to seek to be aware of everything that bears on our actions, purposes, values, and goals - to the best of our ability, whatever that ability may be - and to behave in accordance with that which we see and know’.
  2. The practice of self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is seen as something we do. It represents my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship to myself.
  3. The practice of self-responsibility. Self-responsibility involves a willingness to take responsibility for actions and attainment of personal goals. This means that the person takes responsibility for their lives and well-being.
  4. The practice of self-assertiveness. Self-assertiveness means the willingness to stand up for myself, be who I am openly, to treat myself with respect in all human encounters. Self-assertiveness means honouring my wants, meets and values and seeking appropriate forms of the expression in reality.
  5. The practice of living purposefully. To live purposefully is to use our powers for the attainment of goals we have selected. These goals include studying, raising a family, earning a living, starting a new business, and bring in new product at the market place etc. It is our goals that enable us to exercise our faculties that energise our existence.
  6. The practice of personal integrity. Integrity is the integration of ideals, convictions, standards, beliefs and behaviour. When our behaviour is congruent with our professed values, when ideals and practice match, we have integrity.

The book concludes with practical sections for nurturing self-esteem in children and the creation of self-esteem in schools, the workplace, in psychotherapy and the relationship between self-esteem and culture, and concludes by arguing that there is a seventh pillar of self-esteem, viz. love.

Source: Branden, N. (1994) The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem. New York: Bantam Book.

6 pre-conditions for creating a learning organization

This is the second edition of the first book on the subject of the learning organisation (published in 1987). Garratt identifies three critical organisational learning cycles:

  1. Operational learning
  2. Policy learning
  3. Strategic learning.

He also identifies 6 pre-conditions for becoming a learning organisation. They are:

  1. Accepting that organisations are complex adaptive human systems, and not mindless machines.
  2. Understanding that organisations are driven more by process than structure.
  3. Understanding the difference between first and second order change processes.
  4. Accepting the need to integrate operational policy/foresight learning cycles into a forum of strategic organisational debate.
  5. Accepting and using the inevitability of ‘events’.
  6. Accepting the professionalisation of direction-givers, i.e. company directors.

Source: Garratt, B. (2000) The Learning Organisation: Developing Democracy at Work. London: HarperCollins

6 principles of leadership

Updating his earlier investigations into the nature of leadership, Bennis expands his two primary principles:

  1. Leaders give vision to their organization.
  2. Leaders have the ability to translate their vision into reality

into six:

  1. Leadership is about character.
  2. Leaders must create a social architecture capable of generating intellectual capital in order to remain competitive.
  3. Realising a vision requires conviction and passion.
  4. A leader must generate and sustain trust.
  5. True leaders enrol others in their vision through optimism.
  6. Leaders have a bias towards action that results in success.

See Bennis’s 4 qualities and 4 competencies of leaders.

Source: Bennis, W. (1994) On Becoming a Leader. New York: Addison-Wesley

6 Ps of effectiveness

Planning and Preparation Prevent Piss Poor Performance
(attributed to US Military)

Source: Unknown (Happy to acknowledge)

6 roles of leaders in non-profit organizations

Nanus and Dobbs argue that although leadership in non-profit organisations shares some common ground with leadership in business or government, it is in many ways quite different and presents distinctive leadership challenges. The differences involve the people in the organisations, often volunteers, the different criteria for success and also the high proportion of already successful leaders serving on the boards of such bodies. He sees success in these organisations as being divided up into two main areas..

Building the organisation which has 3 leadership roles:

  1. The leader as visionary – dreaming the dream
  2. The leader as strategist – finding the way
  3. The leader as a change agent – transforming the organisation

Strengthening relationships which also has 3 leadership roles

  1. The leader as coach – building the team
  2. The leader as politician – advocating, troubleshooting and being a spokesperson
  3. The leader as campaigner – maintaining the financial lifeline.

The authors go on to outline the importance for leaders in non-profit organisations of maintaining high profile accountability, and to fulfill their social responsibility by making a difference and `leaving a legacy`.

Source: Nanus B & Dobbs S.M. (1999) Leaders who make a difference: Essential strategies for meeting the non profit challenge. London: Jossey-Bass.

6 Sigma quality

The quality standard used pioneeringly by General Electric to beat the Japanese at their own game, viz. World-beating quality and reliability. 

Six Sigma refers to 3.4 errors per 1,000,000 opportunities for error.

See also Human Sigma

Source: Pande, P. S., Neuman, R. P. and Cavanagh, P. R. (2000) The Six Sigma Way: How General Electric, Motorola and Other Top Companies Are Honing Their Performance.  New York: McGraw Hill

6 skills of systems thinkers

In his first book, the Fifth Discipline, Senge argues that systems thinkers have six distinct skills. They are the ability to:

  1. Focus on inter-relationships, not discrete entities
  2. Focus on processes, not static snapshots
  3. Move beyond blame
  4. Distinguish detail complexity from dynamic complexity
  5. Focus on areas of high leverage
  6. Avoid symptomatic solutions

See Senge’s 5th discipline and 7 learning disciplines.

Source: Senge, P. (1990) The Fifth Discipline. New York: Doubleday.

6 Ss of personal success

This book is presented as “a new way of communicating and understanding people”. It is about improving communication between individuals, teams, departments, and companies and is based on fundamental principles of marketing which are:

  1. Utilising how you and other people react to what is around you
  2. Researching how you and others communicate with each other
  3. Using the information to influence others to get buy in

The underlying concept of this book “is relationship marketing”. Thomson’s 6 Ss are:

  1. Shapes, using shapes to define your personality by means of a simple diagnostic tool outlined in the book
  2. Shades, using colour preferences to define your personality and preferences, as above.
  3. Sex and how it should be used to your advantage
  4. Senses, seeing, hearing and feeling
  5. Status, your position in life
  6. Social, your money and your life

The book contains a questionnaire that, the author claims, helps readers to redefine personal style and type, enabling them to target their message to capture the hearts and minds of other people.

Source: Thomson, K. (1998) Passion at Work: Six Secrets For Personal Success. Oxford: Capstone.

6 strategic principles for managers

This book is based on Sun Tszu’s “The Art of War”, written about 400 BCE. The author aimed to crystallise the concept into six strategic principles that can easily be applied in the world of business. The Art of War is described as a masterpiece on strategy.

It is a complete philosophy on how to decisively defeat one’s opponent. It has provided guidance to military theorists and generals throughout the ages and has been influential in China, Japan, Napoleon and Mao Zedong, in particular. The author claims to have extracted the most important and pertinent strategic principles and applied them to business examples.

The six strategic principles are:

  1. Win all without a fight by capturing your market without destroying.
  2. Avoid the use of strength and attack weakness by striking where the enemy least expects it.
  3. Create deception and foreknowledge that are interpreted as maximising the power of market information.
  4. Use speed and preparation by moving quickly to overcome your competitors.
  5. Shape your opponents by employing strategy to master the competition.
  6. Develop character-based leadership that is interpreted as providing effective leadership in turbulent times.

The book provides practical guidance on how to put the principles into practice in modern business. The author has developed his own trade marked variations on the six Secrets, viz

  1. Prioritise markets and determine competitor focus
  2. Develop attacks against competitors weaknesses
  3. Use war games and planned surprise
  4. Integrate attacks to unbalance your competition
  5. Speed and preparation
  6. Reinforce success and starve failure

Source: McNeilly, M. (1996) Sun Tzu and the Art of Business: Six Strategic Principles for Managers. New York: OUP

6 thinking hats

The six thinking hats techniques, created by Edward de Bono, is designed to improve the effectiveness of group decision-making and problem-solving. The thinking hats are based on the fundamental principles that regard the brain as a self-organising sense-making system. The six thinking hats are practical, simple but highly effective aids to thinking in a constructive, rather than the traditional, adversarial and dysfunctional manner. In short, the six thinking hats allow the user consciously to adopt different modes of thinking.

The skills of using the method can be improved through role-playing and also the attention-directing effects of the hats, the convenience of consciously switching gears, and the benefits of applying a set of rules. The six thinking hats are:

  1. The white hat imitates a computer in that it strives to be neutral and objective in the presentation of information. It does not involve verification or evaluation but simply presents the facts and information as they are known.
  2. The red hat focuses on the emotions involved, and also includes more intuitive thinking such as hunches and consideration of aesthetic characteristics.
  3. The black hat is specifically concerned with negative assessment rather than evaluation as such. Black hat thinking points out what is wrong and won't work, and also errors in thinking and logic. It tries to anticipate what could go wrong but does not deal with the emotions involved.
  4. The yellow hat specifically focuses on being positive and constructive. It looks for the benefits, and generally adopts an optimistic point of view. It tries to allow people’s dreams to become reality, and focuses on what needs to be done to make things happen.
  5. The green hat is specifically creative and involves lateral and imaginative thinking. It seeks alternatives, it builds and moves forward on an idea, and sometimes can be provocative. One of the aims of green hat thinking is to generate new concepts and perceptions.
  6. The blue hat is about control and organisation of the thinking process itself. It includes observation and review, process intervention, summaries, conclusions and even the generation of reports.

Source: De Bono, E. (1999) Six Thinking Hats. Harmondworth: Penguin.

60 countries, how to do business in

Given that international awareness is no longer an option for most companies in this age of globalisation; this book offers an aide memoir for how to behave appropriately around the world. It is a useful guide aimed at novice international travellers who need to operate quickly at an intermediate level of intercultural competence, or more seasoned travellers venturing for the first time into a completely strange environment. It is detailed and well researched, with each chapter covering one of sixty different countries. Four key areas are addressed for each country:

  1. Country background – where the country is, a brief history, the language, religion, population etc.
  2. Business practices – issues of time, punctuality, negotiation etc.
  3. Protocol – basic information such as greetings, forms of address, gift giving etc.
  4. Cultural orientation – a key section in each chapter dealing with fundamental intercultural communications.

There is quite a depth of information, which ranges from what cognitive styles of thinking and processing information are used by different nationalities. For example, Brazilians are open to discussion on most subjects, but regard their private lives as taboo in business discussions. The Dutch process information very analytically and are reflective in their thinking styles.

Negotiation strategies are also considered. Turks depend on feelings and faith, rather than objective facts when negotiating, whereas Hong Kong citizens believe in the ideology of the group. The value systems employed by different cultures are also explored. This section considers how decisions are made, how anxiety is reduced in a situation, and how issues of inequality and equality are addressed. For example, New Zealanders value individualism in decision-making, do not show anxiety or emotion in public, reduce it by emphasising achievements and believe equal rights should be guaranteed for all.

There are also interesting `cultural notes`, which are almost asides, but which offer useful and practical insights into doing business interculturally. For example, the book gives an example of the Israelis who exhibit a strong sense of fatalism. When one assumes that life may be taken as well as given, with little warning, long-term plans are not given a priority. Therefore successful business plans may be those that promise an immediate return!

Although much more than a travel guide, this informative volume does give practical information about things like electrical adaptors, weights and measures equivalents and the like. It certainly gives readable and informative tips for the businessman abroad in a huge range of countries. Most importantly it acknowledges that while global business is difficult, lack of cultural knowledge need not turn misunderstandings into deal breakers.

Source: Morrison T., Conaway, W.A. & Borden G.A. (1994) Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands: How to do business in Sixty Countries. Holbrook, Mass.: Adams Media Corporation.

675 ways to develop yourself and your people

Not to be outdone, Alexander offers even more ways and means to achieve personal development. According to the sub-title, the manual contains “Strategies, Ideas, and activities for self-development and learning in the workplace”. Each section in the loose-leaf folder offers:
  1. A subject overview
  2. Individual tasks and reflections
  3. Working with a mentor
  4. Developing others and
  5. Useful web sites.

The focus is on:
  1. Action learning
  2. Assessments
  3. Assignments
  4. Biography work
  5. Case studies
  6. Fieldwork
  7. Job rotation
  8. Job shadowing
  9. Learning log development
  10. Portfolio development
  11. Project work
  12. Research
  13. Secondments
  14. Task forces
  15. Using reference books
  16. Workbooks

Using our inverse decimation sampling method, a selection of the 50 topics into which the 675 ways to develop are structured, is given below:
  1. Achieving ambitions and goal-setting
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Introduction to NLP (neuro-linguistic programming)
  4. Planning skills
  5. Speaking skills
  6. Working with gender differences

The manual is a comprehensive and flexible resource.

Source: Alexander, L. (2001) 675 Ways to Develop Yourself and Your People. Aldershot: Gower.

6th Sense (scenario thinking)

The sixth sense is scenario thinking which is seen as indispensable to organisational survival in a world of increasing uncertainty, change and speedy adaptation to shifting needs and market conditions. Scenario-based thinking is designed to overcome organisations’ difficulties in letting go of accustomed ways of thinking and behaving, which were once the source of success have risk becoming the seeds of failure in a changing world and rapidly changing market conditions.

Scenario thinking can be used to develop new strategies and organisations; to encourage creative thinking and innovation; and expose organisational “flaws”. The authors stress the importance of building scenario thinking into a wider strategic and organisational learning framework. The book also contains case studies of how successful companies have shaped their future. A really powerful book, likely to become a classic.

Source: Heijden, K. van der (2002) The Sixth Sense: Accelerating Organisational Learning with Scenarios.

7 ages of man

   JAQUES   All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Source: William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7. Published in 1632.

7 benefits of vision and values

Davidson lists the seven key benefits of vision and values in creating the committed organisation as follows:

1-3 are about vision and 4-7 are vision and values

  1. Perspective
  2. Future direction
  3. Strategic debate
  4. Customer focus
  5. Motivation
  6. Decentralization
  7. Steering challenge

See also Davidson’s (2002) 3 legs and the seven best practices of the committed organisation.

Source: Davidson, H. (2002) The Committed Enterprise: How to Make Vision and Values Work. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann

7 best practices for creating committed enterprises

They are

  1. Building foundations and linking stakeholders
  2. Strong vision
  3. Strong values
  4. Communication of the vision and values
  5. Embedding
  6. Branding the organization
  7. Measurement

See also Davidson’s (2002) 3 legs and the 7 key benefits of organisational vision and values.

Source: Davidson, H. (2002) The Committed Enterprise: How to Make Vision and Values Work. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann

7 breakthrough business strategies for e-commerce

The overall size of the Internet is growing exponentially and advances in technologies (of all sorts) result in step-changes in the both capacity and capability. Doing business on the Internet, or by any electronic means, requires a paradigm shift in thinking about business strategy and the factors determining business success. The author sums up the evolution of the Web economy in a very vivid way:

  1. Would it be uncertain? Absolutely
  2. Unpredictable? Most assuredly
  3. Unusual? Rather so
  4. Unruly? Quite often
  5. Unsustainable? It has been thus far
  6. Uncluttered? Far from it
  7. Undramatic? No chance
  8. Unsafe? Bloody awful
  9. Unrewarding? Not if you listen closely

His guiding principles are:

  1. Build a brand that stands for solving problems. You must identify a specific set of issues that customers will face, and then develop a set of interactive services that address these problems. Use the interactive attributes of the web to develop a comprehensive solution to that problem domain. Be aware that the Web itself cannot provide the total solution.
  2. Allow your prices to fluctuate freely with supply and demand.
  3. Let affiliate partners do your marketing for you. Recruit affiliate partners to sell your product, spread your marketing message to the far corners of cyber-space. Offer your partners generous commissions. Make sure that there is something more in it than merely listing and linking.
  4. Create valuable bundles of information and services. Develop an easy to use ordering system that lets customers build their own unique product on-line.
  5. Have custom-made products on-line, and then manufacture them. Don't let expensive products sit around and depreciate in value. Replace your inventory of mass produced parts with extensive information.
  6. Add new value transactions between buyers and sellers. If you are middle man, a go-between for buyers and sellers, you must actively accelerate changes in the markets before they engulf you.
  7. Integrate digital commerce with absolutely everything. Tie together all forms of distribution with the web. Set up effective feedback loops between your different business channels. Issue smart cards, encourage access to and from all sorts of devices and locations. In the end, you must evolve into the ultimate hybrid enterprise, finding new ways to integrate everything.
The book contains a list of companies with web addresses who exemplify the guiding principles given above.

Source: Schwartz, E.J. (1999) Digital Darwinism: Seven Breakthrough Strategies for Surviving in the Cutthroat Web Economy. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

7 conditions for a learning organization

In their highly practical book, Mayo and Lank describe seven conditions that need to be present in a learning organization. They are:

  1. Role modelling by top management, seen both to be learning themselves and as involved with learning of others.
  2. Effective horizontal and diagonal, as well as, vertical communication channels.
  3. Rewards that reinforce the motivation to learn.
  4. Effective systems for scanning the environment.
  5. Active involvement in joint ventures, strategic alliances, etc.
  6. A culture fostering openness and sharing information and egalitarianism.
  7. Employees applying their learning to the way they do their jobs.

See Mayo and Lank’s 8 powerpoints towards a learning organization and their 13 characteristics of a learning organization.

Source: Mayo, A. and Lank, E. (1994) The Power of Learning: A Guide to Gaining Competitive Advantage Through Learning. London: IPD

7 Cs of consulting

Mick Cope offers a framework for budding and experienced consultants to help them survive and thrive in a competitive market. The seven Cs are intended to guide the reader through the stages of a complete consultancy assignment. Each of the seven Cs is backed by a checklist of seven questions the consultant needs him or herself. The book comes with a pullout aide-memoire and fully lives up to it claim to be a Toolkit.

The seven Cs are:
  1. Client:  Getting it right from the start
  2. Clarity: Understanding the real issues
  3. Cerate: developing a deliverable solution
  4. Change: working to make things happen
  5. Confirm: measuring change
  6. Continue: Making sure the solution sticks
  7. Close: Signing off with style
Source: Cope, M. (2000) The Seven Cs of Consulting Harlow: Financial Times/Prentice Hall

7 deadly sins of management

This highly satirical and amusing book is presented as seven letters from a Senior Tempter to a Trainee Tempter whose role is to corrupt and bring down successful managers and executives. The book is a witty analysis of the evils and temptations of modern corporate life. The seven sins are:

  1. The Sin of Trendiness. This is based on the principle that managers are neurotically anxious to be in fashion. They do not talk about the latest fashion as such but instead use phrases such as ‘the cutting edge, the leading edge, or state of the art’
  2. The Sin of Conceit. ‘It is impossible to be a successful manager without believing you are better than others, and that you deserve a higher place a greater rewards.’
  3. The Sin of Politicking. ‘It is not what you know but who we know.’
  4. The Sin of Clubability. The predilection to belong to organisations that are neither family nor of a business nature.
  5. The Sin of Greed. This is defined as the lust for more money, more food, more fame, more possessions, and more power.
  6. The Sin of Incompetence. The Peter Principle is referred to by the Tempter as the inspired idea of their most celebrated of double agents. The principle was deliberately leaked in order to undermine subordinates respect for their bosses.
  7. The Sin of Corruption. A major element in corruption is the skilful use of bribes.

For each of the seven sins described in the book there is a self-diagnostic questionnaire.

Source: Peel, M. & Norton, B. (1994) The Seven Deadly Sins of Management. London: Arrow Books.

7 deadly sins of re-organisation

Glass describes the seven deadly sins of re-organisation:

Power and politics. Some of the people most affected or threatened are in key positions to resist and undermine change.

  1. Complexity. Often the solution evolves into something as complex and unwieldy as the initial problem.
  2. Big Bang. The pressure to change quickly can result in a lack of preparation, planning and testing, and hasty responses that are not fully understood.
  3. Bottom-up. However desirable to involve the key stakeholders, it cannot be left solely to people who may lack appreciation of the bigger picture and the long-term.
  4. Perfectionism. Waiting until everything is in place and all details attended to. The change will be too slow, and may even be overtaken by events.
  5. Frequency. Bringing about significant change every 2-3 years is not necessarily good for your health. It can lead to cynicism and compliance rather than commitment.
  6. Musical chairs. Key people change roles but in effect everything stays the same.

Source: Glass, N.M. (1998) Management Masterclass. London: Nicholas Brealey.

7 deadly skills of communication

This book is about the seven core skills of good communications throughout the organisation, which the author asserts, between them, will ensure productive and motivated staff at every level.
The seven deadly skills are:

  1. Developing a corporate personality. The book provides guidance on carrying out a systematic survey of the corporate personality and then deciding whether and how to improve it.
  2. Written communication. Written communication gives a different impression from verbal communication. It is more formal, more permanent, is best if you want to be sure to choose the right words, and is less confidential.
  3. Verbal communication. By contrast, verbal communication is more informal and impersonal. It is better if the news that has to be imparted may be upsetting to the recipient, and better if there is a need to allow the other person a chance to question or comment.
  4. Communicating with senior management. The author sees a clear, succinct and well thought-out communications with senior management as vital to the running of the success of a department and boosting individual personal career prospects. He identifies the routes to winning the ear of senior management faster. They are identifying the best lines of communication upwards, making a point at meetings, giving presentations, and writing reports.
  5. Communicating with the team. The argument here is that regardless of whether you run a single team or a group of teams the collective communications with people who work for you affect the morale and productivity.
  6. Communicating with the individuals. The way you communicate with individuals and your organisation has a huge impact on motivation, morale and productivity. The key communications lessons for most people everyday are contact, say what you mean, focus on ends not means, be positive, be likeable, be generous.
  7. Communicating under pressure that is the real test of true communication skills.

Source: Jay, R. (1999) The Seven Deadly Skills of Communicating. London: Thompson Business Press.

7 deadly skills of competing

The aim of this book is to help the reader ‘ensure that the organisation displays competitive excellence in every aspect of its operation’. The argument is that:

  1. No business can be generous and caring without first being successful.
  2. No business can be successful unless it places a top priority on outdoing its competitors.
  3. The company should operate on a zero-sum basis.
  4. Even greedy and aggressive companies contribute to tax and employment.
  5. On balance, people are motivated by incentives relating to personal status and wealth rather than "feel good" and role in society.
  6. Evolution has made us greedy and selfish.

As a result, the seven deadly skills of competing are:
  1. Know yourself. (A tool for a personal audit is provided.)
  2. Know your customer.
  3. Out-smart the competition.
  4. Make your staff your evangelists.
  5. Learn to enjoy solving customers’ problems.
  6. When it comes to marketing, think first spend later.
  7. Learn the tactics of competitive warfare.

This is a view of business leadership that runs counter to the prevailing focus in the literature on leadership on integrity, inclusiveness, and the pursuit of longevity. Maybe this is a formula for short-term business success, which for many people is all that they want.

Source: Essinger, J. & Wylie, H. (1999) The Seven Deadly Skills of Competing. London: International Thompson Press.

7 deadly syndromes

Nigel Nicholson writes from the perspective of evolutionary psychology a d offers a refreshingly different slant on organisational behaviour. A key theme of this work is his chapter: Managing Against the Grain of Human Nature in which he presents the seven deadly syndromes. This is the dark side of organisational life, and according to Nicholson, reflect what people in organisations most often complain about.
  1. Suppressed emotion and stress: The tyranny of rationality in the high-pressure organisation
  2. Disempowerment: Qualities of life in the belly of the machine
  3. Low-trust politics: contract violation in the political organisation
  4. Discrimination: Tribalism and warfare in the segmented organisation
  5. Ineffective teams: weakness and failure in group working
  6. Bad decisions: hard-wired for crooked thinking
  7. Management by fear: pathologies of punishment and paranoia

The rest of the book offers solutions from the perspective of evolutionary psychology.

Source: Nicholson, J. (2000) Managing the Human Animal. London: Texere

7 elements of leadership style

This book is not about starting a business but how to turn an existing one into a great company. The authors define a great company as a company with performance sufficient to be self-sustaining, by having high impact in terms of shaping its industry through size or innovation, and having a reputation that enables it be a role model, and longevity (lasting and self-renewing for decades if not generations).

The basic argument of this book is that for organizations to endure they don’t have to be perfect, because none are. What they need is leadership function (which catalyses a clear and compelling vision that is shared by the groups and is acted upon) combined with leadership style which itself is manifested through the personality characteristics of the individual leader. According to Collins and Lazier, there are seven elements of effective leadership style that make all the difference:

Authenticity. This is seen as the most important element and is defined as living the vision of the company, its values, and ambitions. It is the old adage of practicing what you preach with honesty and commitment, and being the best role model.

Decisiveness. This is the ability to come to a decision even in the face of incomplete or unclear information. The leader does not get caught by analysis paralysis, and can from time go with a gut feeling or hunch, but not in a way that puts the whole organization at risk. They are also prepared to get it wrong rather than make no decision. The effective leader will listen, and will consult, but will also carry responsibility for the decision itself with a readiness to share the credit.

Focus. Effective leaders focus their efforts with clear priorities. In this sense effective leaders know how to use their time well, and can make tough choices as to what is really important.

Personal Touch. Effective leaders have a capacity to keep close to the business while at the same focusing on the long-range and the bigger picture. They are not detached, removed, distant, or uninvolved. They have a capacity to build relationships, communicate informally, and make themselves accessible and approachable. In this way they keep their fingers on the pulse and learn what is really going on around them. They also reinforce core values in their own behaviour.

Hard/soft personal skills. While demanding very high standards of performance, effective leaders also have the ability to motivate and reward people through feeling good about themselves. The effective leader uses feedback skills to let people know exactly where they stand, exactly what is expected of them, and what they need to do improve. In this sense an effective leader uses the skills of a good teacher.

Communication. According to the authors, effective leaders stimulate constant communication in all directions and by all means throughout the organization. Not only do they communicate the vision and strategy, they also communicate about themselves as human beings. They communicate honestly, and encourage others to communicate with them, in their actions as well as their words.

Forever forward. Effective leaders are forever moving forwards and progressing both in themselves as individuals and in the company. They are never complacent and usually bring a high level of energy to bear as well as optimism, tenacity, and personal belief and conviction.

This highly practical and helpful book was overshadowed by the much more influential “Built To Last” by Collins and Porras (1996). See 11 shattered myths.

Source: Collins, J. C. & Lazier, W. C. (1992) Beyond Entrepreneurship: Turning Your Business into an Enduring Great Company. Paramus, NJ: Prentice Hall

7 forces for change

This is a useful model for understanding and categorizing the forces for change that can serve different purposes at different times. The seven forces for change are:

  1. Necessity: The shock that creates a sense of urgency
  2. Vision: the image that enables people to see where they are headed
  3. Success: Early success builds confidence
  4. Spirit: The power and strength to create a high level of commitment
  5. Structure: Support at organisational level to challenge people as well as to endorse the changes
  6. Capabilities: The knowledge, skills and empowerment needed for new tasks and responsibilities
  7. Systems: Information, reviews and rewards to confirm and support desired performance

Source: In Have, S. ten, Have, W. ten & Stevens, F. (Eds. 2003) Key Management Models. Harlow: Pearson Education

7 functions of a strategic leader

An interesting book in which John Adair explores in depth how leadership can be taught, or more exactly how we can create the conditions under which leadership can be learned. Although billed as key principles, the main part of this book is really structured around seven key themes and practical insights and guidance for leadership development.

The themes are:

1. How to train leaders
2. How to choose or select leaders
3. The role of mentoring
4. The critical role of experience and opportunity to lead
5. The role of formal education for leadership
6. What an organisation needs to do (strategy) to secure effective leadership development
7. The chief executive: learning to be a top strategic leader

See also Adair’s 7 functions of a strategic leader

1. Providing direction for the organisation as a whole
2. Getting strategy and policy right
3. Making it happen
4. Organising or re-organising
5. Releasing the corporate spirit
6. Relating the organisation to other organisations
7. Choosing today’s leaders and developing tomorrow’s leaders

Source: Adair, J. (2005) How to Grow Leaders. London: Kogan Page.

7 fundamental dimensions of culture

This book is subtitled: Value systems for creating wealth in the United States, Britain, Japan, Germany, France, Sweden and the Netherlands. It explores seven models of capitalism and provides insights into the seven cultures and attitudes of the seven nations. The book is based on a questionnaire that was administered to over 15,000 managers from around the world at the Centre for International Business Studies in the Netherlands.

The book is about cultural differences and how they affect the process of doing business and managing. The authors define culture as the way in which a group of people solve problems and reconcile dilemmas. There are three types of problem:

  1. Those that arise from our relationships with other people
  2. Those that come with the passage of time.
  3. Those that relate to the environment.

Their findings reveal seven fundamental dimension of culture. The first five of them are concerned with relationships with people:

  1. Universalalism v. Particularism. In a Universalist culture what is good and right can be defined and applies universally. Particularism places more emphasis on circumstances and the obligations of relationships that may override general rules and codes.
  2. Individualism v. Communitarianism. Are you primarily an individual or are you first and foremost a member of the group or community? Which comes first, individual needs or community needs?
  3. Neutral v. Emotional. Should relationships be objective and detached or is emotional and personal expression acceptable?
  4. Specific v. Diffuse. Should a business relationship involve the whole person or just behaviour required by the specific context?
  5. Achievement v. Ascription. Achievement is based on recognition of achievement and of your track record. Ascription is based on recognition of birth, kinship, gender or age and can also include connections and education. In an ascription-orientated relationship it is more important know where someone studied rather than what they studied.
  6. Attitude to time. Is it focused on planning and a future-orientation or primarily on past achievements? Is the passage of time a straight line sequence or a great circle where past and present and future merge?
  7. Attitudes to the environment. Is the prime source of influence on good and evil in the person or is it determined by the external world? Is the environment something to be respected and protected or something to be exploited and/or ignored?

One of the goals of the book is the achievement of the “truly international organisation”, or as the authors prefer to put it, “transnational organisations in which each national culture contributes its own particular insights and strengths to the solution of worldwide issues and the company is able to draw on whatever it is nations do best”.

The authors identified seven fundamental valuing processes without which wealth creating organisations could not exist:

  1. Making rules and discovering exceptions: This is the classic process by which order and control are established and refined in the light of experience.
  2. Constructing and reconstructing: This is a never-ending process to find faults and ways to improve, including analysing and integrating with a view to achieving refinement and renewal.
  3. Managing communities of individuals: This involves reconciling the individualism of people with Communitarianism of the whole system.
  4. Analysing the outside world: This includes the issue of where direction, decisions and purpose originate, whether they are inner-directed at or outer-directed.
  5. 5. Synchronising faster processes: This is valuing time and how the enterprise makes use of it.
  6. Choosing among achievers: How status, position and respect is given to those who have succeeded on behalf of the enterprise. This involves achieved versus ascribed status.
  7. Sponsoring equal opportunities to excel: The integrity of the organisation depends on a balance between individual input and the need for hierarchy for judging merit.

Each of the valuing processes is crucial to wealth creation and has within it a source of tension.

Source: Trompenaars, F. and Hampden-Turner, C. (2nd edition, 1997) Riding the Waves of Culture. London: Nicholas Brealey.

7 guiding principles for the 110% solution

This book is about how to achieve the 110% solution to life. The author illustrates the difference between 50%, 75% to and 110% effort with the following example:

‘Let's say it is important for you to meet the chairman of your company. The 50% solution is to think that it would be nice to run into the chairman in the lift. The 75% solution is to figure out what you want a say to the chairman should you meet him in the left. The 110% solution is to plan your remarks and find out when the chairman uses the lift of the day.’
He offers seven guiding principles to the 110% approach to life. They are:

  1. Find your genius. (Everyone has a talent, something that comes easily to him or her.)
  2. Don't deny your genius. (The only thing worse than not finding your genius is finding it and wasting it.)
  3. Focus on today.
  4. Trust candour.
  5. Make your enthusiasm contagious.
  6. Know your minimum requirements.
  7. Do what you love.

Source: McCormack, M. H. (1990) The 110% Solution. London: Chapmans

7 habits of highly effective people

This is the book that led not only to an industry but almost a new religion on personal effectiveness created by Stephen Covey. The subtitle, “restoring the character ethic”, gives a clue to the strong moralistic orientation throughout this book.

Much of the recommendations in this book are based on Covey’s study of what he calls the “success literature” published in the United States going all the way back to1776; on his personal experiences of life; through deep thought and the exercise of faith and prayer. He sees the seven habits as embodying many of the fundamental principles of human effectiveness. They represent the “internalisation of correct principles upon which enduring happiness and success are based”.

Covey defines the habits as the intersection of knowledge, skill and desire. Knowledge is a theoretical paradigm, to know what to do and the skill is how to do it, and desire is the motivation, the will to do. To make something a habit in our lives we have to have all three. The seven habits are:

  1. Be pro-active. In everything you do, you are in charge. This includes taking the initiative in creating visions for yourself, using positive language, understanding our circles of concern and influence and seeking to enlarge the latter, and above all distinguishing between having and being.
  2. Begin with the end in mind. Including having a clearer idea of your life destination, the creation of a personal mission statement and the way things on which we want to focus our lives (as spouse, the family money, work, the procession, pleasure, friends and enemies, the Church, oneself).
  3. Put first things first. Essentially time and life management, organize around priorities. The distinction between important and urgent activity is analysed at length and the implications of the four Quadrants and, saying no, and the idea of the Quadrant to self manager (doing many important but not urgent things).
  4. Think win/win. Covey introduces the idea of the emotional bank account through understanding the individual, and attending to the little things such as clarifying expectations, showing personal integrity, and apologising sincerely.
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Covey sees this as well as key to effective and personal communication.. It includes improved listening, diagnosing before prescribing, and understanding differences in perception.
  6. Synergise. This is the principle of creative co-operation. By opening your mind and heart to new possibilities, you see new options, and value differences.
  7. Sharpen the saw. Covey sees this as the principle of balance and self-renewal. It surrounds the other habits because it is the habit that makes all the others possible. Renewal can be physical, social, emotional, spiritual and mental. Covey describes an upward spiral based on learning, committing, and going on to increasingly higher planes.

See Covey’s 1st Things First and the 8th Habit

Source: Covey, S. (1989) The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. New York: Simon & Schuster.

7 intelligences

Howard Gardner at Harvard University developed the theory of multiple intelligences. The theory challenges older beliefs about what it means to be intelligent. Traditionally, too much focus has been paid to verbal and logical thinking; the abilities usually assessed on an intelligence test, and have neglected other ways of knowing. The theory celebrates the diversity of ways in which different cultures showed intelligent behaviours. Each intelligence has its own separate cognitive processes in the areas of memory, attention, perception, problem solving, and their own evolutionary histories.

Howard Gardner established specific requirements that each distinct intelligence had to meet in order to be included in his theory. Each intelligence:

  1. Is capable of being symbolized. This is the ability to depict ideas or experiences through representations such as pictures, numbers, sounds, movements, etc.
  2. Has its own developmental history and has its own pattern of growth and decline during the human life cycle.
  3. Is vulnerable to impairment through insult or injury to specific areas of the brain. Each intelligence is rooted in the physiology of the brain. The theory of multiple intelligences argues for the existence of seven relatively autonomous brain systems.
  4. Has its own culturally valued end-states. Intelligent behaviour is best viewed through culture’s and civilisation’s highest achievements, rather than through scores on IQ tests.

The seven intelligences are:

  1. Linguistic intelligence is the intelligence of words. People who are smart in this area can argue, persuade, entertain or instruct effectively through the spoken word.
  2. Logical-mathematical is the intelligence of numbers and logic. This is the intelligence of the scientist, accountant, and computer programmer. Typically, it involves the ability to reason, sequence, think in terms of cause and effect, create hypotheses, look for conceptual irregularities or numerical patterns and enjoy a generally rational outlook on life.
  3. Spatial intelligence involves thinking in pictures and images and the ability to perceive transform, and re-create, different aspects of the visual spatial world. This involves an acute sensitivity to visual details and can visualise ideas graphically and orientate themselves into the dimensional space with ease.
  4. Musical intelligence involves the capacity to see, appreciate, and produce rhythms and melodies.
  5. Bodily kinaesthetic intelligence is the intelligence of the physical self. It involves the ability to control one's body movements and also handling objects skilfully. Athletes, craft people, mechanics and surgeons possess a great measure of this kind of thinking, as do comedians, crafts people and model-builders.
  6. Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand and work with other people. In particular it requires a capacity to perceive and be responsive to the moods, temperaments, intentions, and desires of others. Networkers, negotiators, teachers and managers need good interpersonal intelligence.
  7. Intrapersonal intelligence is the intelligence of the inner self. A person strong on this kind of intelligence can easily assess their own feelings, discriminate between many different kinds of the inner emotional states, and use their self-understanding to guide their lives.

Everyone possesses all seven intelligences but they are developed to different degrees. It is extremely rare for a person to achieve high levels of competence in six or seven of the intelligences. On the other hand there are a few people who seem to have developed one intelligence to a high level with the other intelligences relatively undeveloped.

The theory of multiple intelligences has enormous implications for the way we raise and educate children, and design learning processes for adults. Gardner has written extensively on them. In his more recent books, he makes the case for additional distinct intelligences.

Source: Gardner, H. (2nd Edition, 1993) Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. . London: HarperCollins.

7 key principles of effective leadership development

An interesting book in which John Adair explores in depth how leadership can be taught, or more exactly how we can create the conditions under which leadership can be learned. Although billed as key principles, the main part of this book is really structured around seven key themes and practical insights and guidance for leadership development.

The themes are:

  1. How to train leaders
  2. How to choose or select leaders
  3. The role of mentoring
  4. The critical role of experience and opportunity to lead
  5. The role of formal education for leadership
  6. What an organisation needs to do (strategy) to secure effective leadership development
  7. The chief executive: learning to be a top strategic leader

See also Adair’s 7 functions of a strategic leader

  1. Providing direction for the organisation as a whole
  2. Getting strategy and policy right
  3. Making it happen
  4. Organising or re-organising
  5. Releasing the corporate spirit
  6. Relating the organisation to other organisations
  7. Choosing today’s leaders and developing tomorrow’s leaders

Source: Adair, J. (2005) How to Grow Leaders. London: Kogan Page.

7 lamps of architecture

In this highly influential book, John Ruskin attempted to draw the distinction between architecture and mere building. He focused specifically on Gothic architecture.  The seven lamps are the qualities in architecture that dignify and ennoble public life rather than meet functional needs.

The seven lamps are:

  1. Sacrifice
  2. Truth
  3. Power
  4. Beauty
  5. Life
  6. Memory
  7. Obedience.

Source: Ruskin, J. (1848) The Seven Lamps of Architecture. New York: Dover Reprint, 1989.

7 learning disabilities

Peter Senge identifies seven learning disabilities, which he attributes to a lack of systems thinking.

  1. I am my position: When people solely "do their job", put in their time and do their best to cope with outside pressures, which they cannot control, they will see their responsibilities as limited to the boundaries of their position.
  2. The enemy is out there: When we focus only on our position, it is impossible to understand the wider effects of our actions. When those actions have negative consequences, we tend to see these new problems as externally caused, when we should be looking at what we could do next time to prevent the problems from arising.
  3. The illusion of taking charge: To be truly proactive, we need to understand how we contribute to our own problems, rather than mistakenly focusing purely on external causes.
  4. The fixation on events: While direct cause-effect explanations may have some truth to them, they can be dangerously simplistic. Simple explanations can prevent us from seeing longer-term patterns of change that underpin the events, and from understanding the causes of those patterns.
  5. Insensitivity to gradual change: Slow, gradual changes in the business environment can have just as much impact on organisations as sudden changes. However, organisations tend to be less sensitive to these gradual changes, but learning to be aware of the subtle as well as the dramatic can help organisations avoid this trap.
  6. The delusion of learning from experience: There are limits to what individuals can experience, and hence learn from. Key decisions will affect the whole organisation over a long time period; and so these consequences cannot be directly experienced. So if cross-functional discussions of complex issues do not take place, organisations will not learn from their most important decisions.
  7. The myth of the management team: The top management team should address complex cross-functional issues. When it becomes more important to maintain the appearance of a cohesive team, the airing of different views will not be encouraged, and decision-making may suffer as a consequence.
See Senge’s 5th discipline.

Source: Senge, P. (1994) The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation. New York: Doubleday. 

7 mega-skills of future-orientated leaders

There are seven inter-related skills:

Far-sightedness: Looking ahead and anticipating change.
Mastery of inter-dependence: Harnessing the growing inter-connectedness of the world.
Anticipatory learning: Changing before external pressures force you, or it becomes a crisis.
High standards of integrity: Beliefs and behaviour are in alignment.
Mastery of change: Thriving on rather than resisting change.
Initiative: Innovation and early action are critical.
Organisation design: Creating organizations that can deliver and are sustainable.

Source: Nanus, B. (1989) The Leader’s Edge. London: Contemporary Books.

7 metaphors of mind

Sternberg has identified seven metaphors of intelligence, together with the central questions posed and the typical theorists taking each position. He argued that each model generates specific questions about intelligence and this in its turn influences the theories and the issues researched. He argues that scientists may be unaware of these underlying metaphors that can blinker as well as expand our understanding of the nature of intelligence. The seven metaphors are:

Geographic that seeks to map the mind and understand the structure of intelligence.

Computational that seeks to understand the information-processing programs and processes underlying intelligence.

Biological that asks how the anatomy, physiology and chemistry of the brain accounts for intelligent thought through localisation and neural transmission.

Epistemological that asks what are the structures of the mind through which all knowledge and mental processes are organized.

Anthropological that asks what form intelligence takes in different cultural contexts.

Sociological that asks how social pressures in development are internalised.

Systems that ask how we understand the mind as a system and which cuts across the other metaphors.

Source: Sternberg, J. (1990) Metaphors of Mind: Conceptions of the Nature of Intelligence. New York: Cambridge University Press.

7 organisational learning styles

Lessem describes seven learning styles that make up the spectrum of organisational learning. In this way, managers can develop both themselves by:

  1. Identifying their learning style.
  2. Develop himself or herself as a manager.
  3. Charting seven life paths.
  4. Moving from apprenticeship to mastery.
  5. nowing themselves as a whole
and they can develop the business by:
  1. Transforming the business functions and
  2. Re-discovering the core business.
Source: Lessem, R. (1991). Total Quality Learning: Building a Learning Organisation. Oxford: Blackwell.

7 rules for successful post merger integration

It has been argued that not only will most employees experience at least one merger during their working life, but also that a high percentage of these mergers will fail to create value, in some cases they will even destroy it.

This book tries to identify the conditions that will ensure `win-win` mergers. It also tries to answer the questions which, of the multitude of mergers, which typify today’s economy, will succeed and which will fail. The authors recommend a disciplined strategy, which will overcome the stress of a merger, add value, and lay down a blue print for future growth.

The vital elements for successful merger and integration are speed, a sense of objective and communication. Individuals within organisations will meet the changes confronting them with a cycle of responses, from denial through fear and anger to sadness, through to acceptance, relief, liking and ultimately enjoyment. In order to arrive at the latter, it is critical that organisations ensure buy-in from all levels of management, inform people well and orient them towards to vision and merger rationale. The expectations of the all stakeholders must also be managed inside and outside the companies in a proactive and direct way.

The seven rules of merger success that emerge from these considerations are not `rocket science` and none of them are sufficient alone for effective post-merger integration. However, the seven rules are all necessary ingredients in the recipe that aims to cook long-term shareholder value. The seven rules, which are spread across three stages of designing the strategy, developing the integration plan, and kick starting the implementation are: -

  1. Creating the clear vision and strategy that has to be delivered.
  2. leadership quickly.
  3. Focus on growth and added value, not cost cutting.
  4. Seek early wins, act and get results to communicate.
  5. Acknowledge cultural differences, but don’t use them as an excuse. Compound cultures, or keep them separate if cultural imposition is not an option.
  6. Make sure communication is adequate and appropriate. Lack of commitment is the biggest barrier to a successful merger.
  7. Manage risk proactively, not retroactively.

Each rule chapter in the book is followed by a `what you have to do` section with tips for effectively implementing each of them, and plentiful illustration with real companies. The real implications of mergers for globalisation and the future of business are brought home to the reader in a very matter-of-fact way.

Source: Habeck M., Kroger F. & Tram M. (2000) After the Mergers: Seven Rules for Successful Post Merger Integration. London: Pearson Education

7 secrets for service delivery

Rather than reveal secrets this book is a practical guide to developing a service strategy to gain competitive edge under seven main headings. The seven secrets are:

  1. Getting to know your customer and the importance of segmentation
  2. Creating customer value by creating service standards for cost effective benefit
  3. Measurement for improved service and how to do it
  4. Managing customer complaints for profit
  5. Loyalty building and customer relationship management
  6. People make great service and four ways to lead people
  7. The service management wheel of fortune:
  1. Know your customers
  2. Know the stakes
  3. Extended and focused objectives
  4. Create the right mindset
  5. Involve
  6. Communicate
  7. Quick wins
  8. Create customer-centred structures
  9. Measure
  10. Link rewards to service excellence
  11. Plan so that action goes where the money flows
  12. Follow up

Each section closes with very useful lists of Don’ts, and ten key questions.

Source: Horowitz, J. (2000) The Seven Secrets of Service Strategy. Harlow: Financial Times/Prentice Hall

7 secrets of successful women

The book is subtitled: “Success strategies of the women who have made it-and how you can follow their lead.” The authors, who are twins, claim that the book is for “average people” who can achieve success on many different levels. Success can mean many different things but the authors take it to mean challenging oneself, achieving professional and personal accomplishments, and gaining the feeling that you can do things that you wouldn't have thought possible five or 10 years ago.

The book is based partly on a PhD study investigating senior-level women in female-friendly organisations to find out whether it was the organisation or characteristics of the women themselves that enabled them to succeed. The conclusion was that it was both in the individual and in the organisation. As a result of the research seven major themes emerged. The book provides advice on what the average woman could do who does not have the background congruent with success and who does not work for a female-friendly organisation

So, in addition to energy, tenacity, toughness, humour and flexibility what are the secrets that can be learnt and integrated into your life that will make you succeed? The seven secrets of successful women are that they:

  1. Realise the importance of a mentor or advocate. The book provides insight into the nature of the mentoring process and how to obtain a mentor, and also how to benefit from an advocate.
  2. Know how to increase their visibility. The importance of visibility in formal as well as informal networks is stressed. Advice is also given on the many ways and situations in which the individual can gain greater visibility and recognition, e.g. through teams, committees, and projects, as well as by developing a professional portfolio, managing to bump into senior managers, and observing the ones on the rise.
  3. Know to develop an effective network. The book provides advice on building effective networks and how to benefit from them.
  4. Have learned to communicate effectively. This includes one to one communication skills, offering suggestions, practising self-promotion, negotiation and controlling one's verbal and non-verbal behaviour.
  5. Balance home and work. This is achieved by means of delegation, thinking before you volunteer or commit, making sure you have some fun, taking advantage of family-friendly benefits offered by the organisation, building support and help networks, and working on a flexible basis.
  6. Take smart risks. This involves learning to take risks and living with the unavoidable discomfort, recognising what makes us uncomfortable and then creating action plans to address it. Again, the need for support, especially from a network, is stressed.
  7. Understand the politics of the organisation. The value of achieving visibility, benefiting from networks is again stressed. Part of the skill here is to emulate successful people and know how to do consciously change gears and modes of behaviour.

See the authors’ 4 Ps to help achieve effectiveness.

Source: Brooks, D. & Brooks, L. (1997) The Seven Secrets of Successful Women. London: McGraw-Hill

7 simple lessons in human resources

  1. The six most important words: I admit I made a mistake
  2. The five most important words: You did a good job
  3. The four most important words: What is your opinion?
  4. The three most important words: If you please
  5. The two most important words: Thank you
  6. The most important word: We
  7. The least important word: I
Source: Unknown (Happy to acknowledge)

7 skills and sensibilities for business athletes?

Kanter uses the metaphor of the ‘business athlete’ to capture the needed style and characteristics of business leaders in times of turbulent change in contrast to the more hierarchical power and status-based styles that made organisations ponderous and slow to respond to a rapidly changing environment. She argues for dramatic change of style for business leaders away from complacency and conservatism towards:

  1. Learning to operate without the might of the hierarchy behind them.
  2. Knowing how to compete in a way that enhances rather than undercuts the corporation.
  3. Operating with the highest ethical standards.
  4. Having a dose of humility.
  5. Developing a process focus.
  6. Being multi-faceted and ambidextrous.
  7. Gaining satisfaction from results.

Source: Kanter, R. M. (1989) When Giants Learn to Dance. London: Simon and Schuster.

7 Ss of organizational change

This is a popular model designed to show that the effectiveness of an organisation, particularly its ability to change, is influenced by seven central and interdependent factors. Its popularity stems from its realism (all organisations acknowledge all seven factors), and its relative simplicity.

The seven factors have no order of priority. At any particular point in time, in any particular organisation, any of the seven or combination of them may be critical. They are:

  1. Structure that achieves functional co-ordination.
  2. Strategy that determines the response to, or anticipation of, change.
  3. Systems that govern both formal and informal procedures.
  4. Skills or the capabilities inherent in the organization as a whole.
  5. Style which is the dominant behaviour patterns which reflect company culture
  6. Staff or the human resources of the company.
  7. Super-ordinate goals, the stable and guiding concepts, values and aspirations, which give meaning to the organization.

Underpinning the model is the assumption that a change in one of these key factors will significantly affect the others, and that it is this inter-relationship that determines effective change. The author argues that most change programmes are unsuccessful because organisations do not pay attention to all the issues, focusing only on the one or two which are the main drivers for change at any particular time. The pace of real change is geared to all the elements working together. Organisational change will be effective when the interactions and `fit` between all the variables are aligned together because “ then you are looking at an organised company”.

Source: Watson, C.M. (1983) ‘Leadership, management and the seven keys.’ Business Horizons, March-April, 8-13.

7 Ss of self-managed learning

Self-Managed Learning is about people managing and taking responsibility for their own learning, particularly what they learn, how they learn, when they learn, where they learn, and most importantly of all, why they learn.

The author summarises the distinctive features and elements of self-managed learning by reference to 7 Ss. Self-managed learning is:

  1. Strategic Self managed learning demands that people take a strategic stance in relation to their own learning. Strategy here means thinking long term and with the big picture in mind. Too often learning is driven by short-term tactical demands, e.g. exams to pass, a new computer system to learn about. There is nothing wrong with such tactical learning. It is just that on its own it is too limited for the complexities and challenges we face in modern organisational life. The strategic planning contract is the key mechanism for encouraging and enabling the strategic approach.
  2. Syllabus-free. There is no required curriculum or syllabus for self-managed learning. The learning is driven by the real needs of individuals and their organisations. Mapping and diagnostic activities and membership of the learning group provide individuals with assistance to help them to make their choice of what to learn, but such help avoids authoritarian control and hidden curriculum dependence.
  3. Self-managed. People have to take responsibility for their learning. Self-managing includes necessarily invaluable interactions with others, within the learning group, in the community of the programme and in the wider organisation. This provides a process in which both independence and interdependence can be encouraged.
  4. Shared. The learning is located in a context. Self-managed learning requires learners to connect with others and especially to integrate their learning with organisational needs. This, in part, comes via the Strategic Learning Contract as a means for each person to specify what they want to learn.
  5. Supported. Learners are supported in meeting the goals they set themselves. One important support structure is the learning group.
  6. Structured. Self-managed learning provides a rigorous structure in order to help learning, but the structure is content-free. The learners decide for themselves how to use the structure. Self-managed learning operates within the real constraints of organisational life and requires learners to work within resource and policy limits.
  7. Stretching. The requirement to set goals and meet them is a tough-minded approach to learning, and having to meet regularly with colleagues to discuss progress means that planners have to keep to their agreed plans or consciously change them.

Source: Bennet, B, (2000) in Cunningham, I., Bennet, B., and Dawes, G. (Eds.) (2000) Self-Managed Learning in Action: Putting SML into Practice. Aldershot: Gower

12 stages to skilful management

The philosophy of this book is self-development. According to the author the book is intended to act as a travel guide, giving the reader the advice and information that he or she might require, and acting as a personal coach along the way. Each chapter contains:

  1. Self-tests, questionnaires and exercises
  2. Theories and techniques
  3. Bullet points and checklists
  4. Case studies and scenarios
  5. Links (reading, cross references, learning points)
  6. Reading lists
  7. A planning section
The 12 stages are:
  1. Preparing yourself for your journey to the world of work, including profiling of personality, identifying strengths and weaknesses and what drives you.
  2. Identifying your career goals, creating a long-term vision for your life, creating an integrated career life plan and creating projects to produce satisfaction.
  3. Communication, including the core conditions for effective communication and the skills of the assertive behaviour, negotiating, and listening skills, and feedback .
  4. Taking advantage of work conditions, including understanding the organisation's culture, influencing skills, and mentoring.
  5. Putting creativity to work, including creativity, brainstorming, and visualization.
  6. Understanding the art of presentation, including the skills of oral and written presentations.
  7. Making meetings work, including the effective management of meetings.
  8. Implementation: putting one's ideas into action including dealing with difficulties, decision-making and problem solving.
  9. Understanding finance including cash flow, gearing, the balance sheet, profit and loss and the balance sheet .
  10. Understanding and managing the pressures including understanding stress, and time management.
  11. Developing emotional maturity, including development of optimism and managing your emotions, and living with change.
  12. Developing your skills for work with others, including leadership and empowerment, motivation, managing conflict and training and development.
Source: Crane, S. (1996) The Handbook of Skilful Management: A Personal Programme to Develop Your Portfolio of Skills and Boost Your Employability. London: IMI and Pitman.

7 steps of marketing strategy development

  1. Consumer analysis
  2. Market analysis
  3. Review of the competition and self
  4. Review of the distribution channels
  5. Development of a preliminary marketing mix
  6. Evaluation of Economics
  7. Revision and extension of steps 1-6 and until a consistent plan emerges
Source: Unknown Source (Happy to acknowledge)

7 tasks of the manager who manages for the long-term

The author argues that there are seven key organisational tasks which cut across the themes and subjects that are taught in MBA programmes. The key tasks are those that help to create a lasting, high performance company.

The seven tasks are:
  1. Building a positive work environment.
  2. Establishing a strategic direction.
  3. Allocating and marshalling resources.
  4. Upgrading the quality of management.
  5. Organising effort.
  6. Creating excellence in operation and execution.
  7. Maintaining excellence.
Source: Schlesinger, L. (1994) ‘Seven tasks of the manager who manages for the long-term.’ in Collins, E.G. & Devanna, M.A. (Eds.) (1994) The New Portable MBA. New York: Wiley

7 types of ambiguity

This book was published originally in 1930 and has since become a classic of literary criticism. According to the novelist, Jonathan Raban there are few books that can change the inside of your head, and this is one of them. In the book, Empson explores the ways in which, consciously or unconsciously, writers across the centuries have used different forms of ambiguity to create impact on the reader.

The seven types of ambiguity arise when:

  1. A detail is effective in several ways at once.
  2. Two or more meanings are fully resolved into one.
  3. Two or more apparently unconnected meanings are given simultaneously.
  4. Alternative meanings combine to make clear a complicated state of mind in the author.
  5. Confusion results from the author discovering his idea in the act of writing or not holding it all in mind at once.
  6. What is said is contradictory or irrelevant and the reader is forced to invent interpretation.
  7. There is complete contradiction, marking a division in the author’s mind.

It would appear that many books on management and on leadership suffer from diverse forms of ambiguity.

Source: Empson, W. (1930) Seven Types of Ambiguity. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1995

7 ways teams make decisions

  1. Decision made by authority without team discussion
  2. Decision made by expert
  3. Decision made by averaging individuals’ opinions
  4. Decision made by authority after team discussion
  5. Decision by minority
  6. Decision made by majority vote
  7. Decision by consensus

The authors present the strengths and weaknesses of each method and the circumstances when it would be appropriate.

Source: Johnson, D. W. and Johnson, F. P. (2000) Joining Together: Group Theory and Group Skills. Boston: Allyn and Bacon

75 cage-rattling questions

The theme of this book is: Uninspired questions lead to uninspired answers. The book contains 75 allegedly ‘cage-rattling’ questions, which according to the authors, have been tested in the field and ‘get people’s minds going in new and productive directions’. The questions can be used in a variety of ways ranging from generating discussion, problem solving, and encouraging people to think in new ways about critical issues.

A selection from the 75 cage-rattling questions follows:
  1. What would your organisation be like if your mother ran it?
  2. What department do you find to be irrational, deranged, and in need of intensive group therapy?
  3. Is your organisation a Ferrari, a Ford Taurus, or a VW bug?
  4. What would motivate you to work seven days a week, twelve hours per day, for a month on an important project?
  5. Which of these concepts - teamwork, learning organisation, continuous improvement, leadership and quality - is the biggest joke in your company?
  6. You just heard that all salaries, bonuses and other compensation will now be based only on team performance; how do you feel about this new policy?
  7. What unwritten rules at work make it difficult to get things done quickly, efficiently, or profitably?
  8. What would it be like to work for a company that is the exact opposite of the one you work for?
  9. If a major crisis along the lines of product tampering or a headline-making lawsuit were to strike your organisation, what mistakes might management making dealing with the crisis?
  10. What particular accomplishment or failure might cause your organisation to make headlines in Business Week magazine?

Each question in the book is supported with a list of ways to use the question, and a ‘user’s manual’ giving practical guidance and help to get the most out of the question.

Source: Whitney, D. & Giovagnoli, M. (1997) 75 Cage-Rattling Questions to Change The Way You Work. New York: McGraw-Hill

75 greatest management decisions ever-made

A fascinating book drawn from across the world and throughout history. Stuart Crainer’s distinctive touch produces a book that is scholarly and entertaining and full of insight with practical implications for today’s business leaders.

The greatest decisions include
  1. Placing the first advertisement (in ancient Greece)
  2. Walt Disney’s decision to name his cartoon character Mickey
  3. William Hoover’s decision to distribute his sweepers through a retail network
  4. American Express decision to continue cashing cheques throughout the Great Depression in the Thirties
  5. Proctor & Gamble’s decision to introduce brand management in the 1920s
  6. Wal-Mart’s decision to go into the grocery business in 1987
  7. Edwin Land coming up with the idea for the Polaroid camera in 1943
  8. Hewlett-Packard’s decision to hire some of the excess technical talent after World War II
  9. GE’s decision to establish a centre for executive development in 1956 that subsequently played a crucial role in the company’s continuing success and inspired others to follow suit.
  10. 3M‘s decision to allow its researchers to spend 15% of their time working on their own projects

Crainer also spells out the lessons to be learned. See also his 21 of the worst management decisions ever made in the same book.

Source: Crainer, S. (1999) The 75 Greatest Management Decisions Ever Made. New York: AMACOM

7 point plan

The seven-point plan was one of the enduring and widely used outputs of the now defunct National Institute for Industrial Psychology. The seven-point plan was used as a common framework for analysing job requirements, writing a person specification, structuring selection interview, and providing a foundation for career guidance..

The seven points of the plan were:

  1. Physical make-up (health, appearance, speech etc)
  2. Attainments (educational and occupational achievements)
  3. General intelligence (ability to reason quickly and accurately)
  4. Special aptitudes (e.g. mechanical dexterity, verbal and numerical skills etc)
  5. Interests (hobbies, past times, etc)
  6. Disposition or those features of the person that impacted on relationships with others and the work itself (e.g. self-reliance, acceptability, persuasiveness, etc)
  7. Circumstances (financial and family background)
The advent of equal opportunities legislation and the competency movement have made it virtually obsolete as a framework.

Source: Rodger, A. (3rd Edition, 1970) The Seven-Point Plan. Windsor: NFER

8 attributes of excellent companies

The eight attributes emerged from a survey of 62 US companies with long-term records of profitability and innovation, backed up with a 25-year literature review. Peters and Waterman presented the eight attributes that characterize excellent, innovative companies.

The eight attributes are:
  1. A bias for action. The company is not held back by analysis-paralysis.
  2. Keeping close to the customer. The company learns from the customers it serves.
  3. Autonomy and entrepreneurship. The company fosters many leaders and many innovators.
  4. Productivity through people. Productivity and quality gains come from the rank and file.
  5. Hands-on, values driven. Success is more to do with achievements than with technology, resources, etc. and walking the shop-floor is critical.
  6. Sticking to the knitting. The successful companies stayed reasonably close to the business they knew best
  7. Simple form, lean staff. The more successful companies had simple structures and smaller numbers of corporate staff.
  8. Simultaneous loose-tight properties. Both centralised and de-centralised autonomy is pushed down to the shop floor or production development team, but backed by almost fanatical adherence to the core values of the company.

The book was very influential in its time but was somewhat undermined by the subsequent failure of some of the ‘excellent’ companies described
in the book, though the reputations of the two authors survived undiminished.

Source: Peters T.J. & Waterman R.H. (1982) In Search of Excellence. New York: Harper & Row.

8 chakras of yoga and human talents

This book is sub-titled: The yoga way to restore balance and serenity within. The eight chakras of yoga, which correspond to the body’s energy centres, are:

  1. First chakra corresponds to the rectum (the instinctive drive to fulfil one’s primitive needs for safety and survival).
  2. The second chakra corresponds to the genital area (procreation and creativity).
  3. The third chakra corresponds to the area around the navel and solar plexus (energy, power, health and vitality).
  4. The fourth chakra corresponds to the heart and sternum (love and compassion).
  5. The fifth chakra corresponds to the throat (direct communication).
  6. The sixth chakra lies between the eyebrows (knowledge, wisdom, and the development of intuition).
  7. The seventh chakra is located at the top of the head (self-realisation and experience of union with the rest of the universe).
  8. The eighth chakra is not located in a part of the body but is the energy field surrounding the entire person, and is held to reflect the general mental and physical health of the person
The book offers tools that are needed in order to achieve happiness. According to the author the tools to happiness can be discovered in the eight greatest human qualities:
  1. Faith
  2. Intuition
  3. Truth
  4. Gratitude
  5. Commitment
  6. Creativity
  7. Forgiveness and
  8. Radiance
The book contains meditations and exercises to develop each human talent that the reader can use on a daily basis. The book is about spiritual development from a yoga perspective.

Source: Gurmukh, K.K. (2000) The Eight Human Talents. London: HarperCollins

8 characteristics of principle-centred leaders

According to Covey, effective leaders do not concentrate solely on getting results. Instead, they tend to be guided by a small number of guiding principles that govern how they seek to get results, and it is these principles that make them effective. Principle-centred leaders:

  1. Are continually learning.
  2. Are service-oriented.
  3. Radiate positive energy.
  4. Believe in other people.
  5. Lead balanced lives.
  6. See life as a venture.
  7. Are synergistic.
  8. Exercise for self-renewal (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual).

See entries for Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people and 4 roles of leadership.
Source: Covey, S. R. (1990) Principle-Centred Leadership. New York: Simon and Schuster

8 critical mistakes in transforming the organisation

Critical mistakes in any of the phases of organisational transformation can have a devastating impact, slowing momentum and negating hard-won gains. The 8 critical mistakes in transforming the organisation are:

  1. Not establishing a great enough sense of urgency.
  2. Not creating a powerful enough guiding coalition.
  3. Lacking a vision.
  4. Undercommunicating the vision.
  5. Not removing obstacles to a new vision.
  6. Not systematically planning for and creating short term ‘wins’.
  7. Declaring victory too soon.
  8. Not anchoring changes into the corporate culture.

Source: Kotter, J.P. (1995) Leading change: Why transformation efforts fail. Harvard Business Review, 73,2, 59-63.

8 keys to a learning organisation

This book is sub-titled: A Systems Approach to Quantum Improvement and Global Success. It is a comprehensive and highly practical guide to the transformation processes that are necessary to becoming a learning organisation. A feature of the book is the lists of the Top Ten strategies for achieving various aspects of a learning organisation, each with detailed support. Marquardt’s eight keys are:

  1. Establish a strong sense of urgency about becoming a learning organization.
  2. Form a powerful coalition pushing for the learning organization.
  3. Create a vision of the learning organization.
  4. Communicate and practise the vision.
  5. Remove obstacles that prevent others from acting on the new vision of a learning organization.
  6. Create short-term wins.
  7. Consolidate progress achieved and push the continued movement.
  8. Anchor changes in the corporation's culture.

See Marquardt’s 10 strategies for a learning organisation.

Source: Marquardt, M. J. (1996) Building the Learning Organisation. New York: McGraw-Hill/ASTD

8 meanings of the word "yes"

  1. I’ll dedicate myself to seeing this through
  2. I’m committed to follow this up
  3. I’m willing to following this up
  4. There’s something in this
  5. This is exciting and engaging
  6. It’s quite interesting
  7. I’ll go along with it
  8. Over my dead body

Source: Quoted in Clutterbuck, D. (1998) Learning Alliances. London: IPD, p61. (Happy to acknowledge original source.)

8 PowerPoints towards a learning organization

The key concept of this book is the Learning Organisation that ‘harnesses the full brainpower, knowledge and experience available to it, in order to evolve continually for the benefit of all its stakeholders’. The authors argue that, for organisations to survive and compete, they must operationalise these core concepts. Assuming that creating business value is the end goal of learning, the idea of `powerpoints` is introduced, the argument being that power is needed to change organisations, and those change points can be located in different aspects of the organisation. The powerpoints for change are:

  1. The power of leadership. Organisations must develop visionary risk-taking leaders who can empower others to deliver the vision of the organisation. This leadership must be widely spread throughout the organization.
  2. The power of language and culture. In order to communicate the vision, the language of the organisation must be right to promote a culture for learning. Knowledge must be shared, boundaries must be dissolved, and the communication channels must be efficient for learning to be disseminated.
  3. The power of supportive processes for people management. The systems for induction, performance management, career development and reward must be aligned with a learning organisation by being flexible, responsive and adaptive. The work processes are stressed rather than procedures.
  4. The power of information technology. It should be used to develop or create an `organisational brain` that can harness all organisational knowledge, make it accessible, but keep it safe.
  5. The power of personal learning. All organisational members develop their skills to an optimal level. Different people will do this in different ways and the organisation’s responsibility is to provide multiple opportunities for personal development for all its members.
  6. The power of teams, networks and communities. They are needed to generate synergy and excellence in performance at all levels of the organisation. The ability to work collaboratively is seen as a necessary minimum for the creation of a learning culture, teamwork is the foundation for learning and must be actively encouraged.
  7. The power of organisational learning. Organisational structures must be arranged to facilitate knowledge sharing and communication so that individual and organisational learning can dovetail into effective business strategy.
  8. The power of valuing learning. There should be a statement of belief that the financial effects of organisational learning are significant, although difficult to measure.

The book provides a neat framework for organisations trying to develop a learning culture. It is a straightforward and helpful book, offering a `benchmarking kit` as a tool to implement the principles

Source: Mayo, A. & Lank E. (1994) The Power of Learning: A Guide to Gaining Competitive Advantage. London: Institute of Personnel and Development.

8 practical steps to help organisations learn faster

“If you put a dog in a green room and give it electric shocks, it learns to steer clear of that room. But what if the green room is organisational change?” Schein begins by arguing that the `management of change` is no longer a problem for management; it is now a way of life. However, the `management of surprise` is the issue that now needs to be addressed as organisations need to respond faster and faster to continuous change on all fronts. The key to the issue is the learning process; learning is no longer a choice but a necessity, and knowing this creates anxieties.

The first anxiety associated with learning is the feeling associated with an inability or unwillingness to learn something new because it appears too difficult or disruptive. To learn may involve making mistakes, and anxiety ` may be enough to keep us from finding out if the dreaded behaviour or place is dangerous or not. If employees remember that certain past strategies have not worked well, they will treat those strategies as green rooms, and will avoid them, or cower anxiously instead of working productively.

Paradoxically, in order to learn we must create a second anxiety – the fear, shame or guilt associated with not learning anything new. 

Anxiety 1
is associated with doing something new, but Anxiety 2 is to do with continuing to do something we know will lead to failure. For new learning to occur, Anxiety 2 must be greater than Anxiety 1, but it must not be so great as to paralyse the individual with defensiveness.

Managers and leaders must speed up learning by creating Anxiety 2 within a psychologically safe environment for their people. To do this, and to help individuals to won the total organisational learning process, Schein suggests the following 8 steps:

  1. Leaders must themselves learn something new.
  2. Leaders must create a change management group.
  3. The steering committee or group must go through its own learning process.
  4. The steering committee or group must design the organisational learning process and create task forces.
  5. The tasks forces charged with implementation must learn how to learn.
  6. The task forces must create specific change programmes.
  7. Throughout the process, communication must be maintained.
  8. Mechanisms for continuous learning must be put in place.
Many, incremental steps are involved in the process of enabling the members of the organisation to dare to enter the green room, and to do it faster.

See also Schein's

3 levels of culture
5 mistakes in thinking about culture change
11 mechanisms for culture change

Source: Schein, E. H. (1993). How can organisations learn faster? The challenge of entering the green room. Sloan Management Review, Winter, 85–92.

8 practices of exceptional companies

The subtitle of this book is: How great organisations make the most of their human assets. According to the author, the book is designed to serve two purposes. The first is to present the best human asset management practices that his organization, the Saratoga Institute, uncovered during a four-year study of over one thousand companies. The key conclusion was that “best practice is an interactive set of eight organisational characteristics”. These are the antecedents, traits and beliefs of management that drive the formulation of the human processes that underlie the effectiveness of organisations. In other words, best practice, as far as human resource management is concerned, is not a specific process, project or program that can be taken off the shelf and copied.

The second purpose of the book is to offer, “a proven business research method for the effective management of people in place of the aimless wandering that sometimes passes for best practice benchmarking”.
In his own words, “the best human asset management practice is the enduring commitment to a set of drivers: basic beliefs, traits, and operational stratagems.” These make up the constant context of the organisation. They are what identify best human asset management organisations.

The eight driving forces are:

  1. Value. The best companies put value into every agenda and balance the human and financial sides. There is a constant focus on adding value to everything rather than on simply doing something. In addition, there is a conscious, ongoing attempt to balance the human and financial values. This is not just a good intention; it is common practice
  2. Commitment. The best companies generate and sustain a long-term commitment to a basic strategy that built an institution. Management is dedicated to a long-term core strategy. It seeks to build an enduring institution. It is open to change; in fact, it seeks it. There is a noticeable avoidance of the temptation to chase after every management fad that comes along.
  3. Culture. The best companies use corporate culture in policy, system and process design to reinforce values and stimulate high-performance. One of the more distinguishing features of the companies is their practice of publication of the corporate culture. Management is aware of how culture and systems can be linked together, forces for consistency and efficiency. That interface is consciously and actively managed.
  4. Communication. The best companies have an obsession with 360-degree communication and information sharing to build trust. There is an extraordinary concern for communicating with all stakeholders. Within these organisations, constant and extensive and two-way communication is the rule. They use all available media and share all types of vital information with employees and other stakeholders.
  5. Partnering with stakeholders. The best companies build inside and outside relationships that leverage resources for competitive advantage. New market conditions and customer requirements demand new forms of operation. Partnering is the most prominent new form. The companies involve partners both within and outside the company in many decisions. This includes design and implementation of new programmes.
  6. Collaboration. The best companies support each other internally, share resources and competencies, and outperform the competition. They achieve a higher level of collaboration among, and involvement of, all sections within functions. The companies design, and launch, and follow up new programmes in an effective manner. These include collective support across sections, enhancing cohesiveness, and providing a solid front against attacks from outside.
  7. Innovation and risk. The best companies manage risk and innovation to speed learning and time-to-market. Radical change is not frightening. There is a willingness to shake up the organisation to the extent of shutting down the old structure and rebuilding it in a totally different form. Risk and innovation are recognised as necessities in a volatile marketplace.
  8. Competitive passion. The best companies are never satisfied and a continuous improvement attitude keeps them moving faster than the rest. They constantly search for improvements. They set up systems and processes to actively seek out and incorporate ideas from all sources. In every case their motto is: “Wait to see what we do next”.

The author’s single most important conclusion appears to be that best practice is context, a combination of organisational beliefs, traits and operating stratagems, rather than specific priorities and initiatives. The final chapter focuses on how best practice companies operate across borders and cultures. One of the book’s powerful conclusions comes right at the end: ‘The guide to best practice of the organisation are to be found within your organization’. The book has a refreshing and direct style, which is jargon-free.

Source: Fitz-Enz, J. (1997) The 8 Practices of Exceptional Companies. New York: AMACOM

8 prescriptions for renewing vitality and performance

Some companies grow, stabilize and then decline, especially in the face of change that was unexpected in its nature or its speed. Some companies organize themselves to detect and anticipate change. Waterman calls them renewing companies because they realize that excellence isn’t enough. Waterman’s analysis of companies that adapt well to change reveals, what he calls, eight prescriptions. They are:

  1. Informed opportunism. Renewing companies set direction for themselves, not detailed strategy. They treat information as the main advantage, and flexibility as their main strategic weapon.
  2. Direction and empowerment. Renewing companies treat everyone as a source of creative input. The managers define boundaries and the people figure out the best way of doing the job within the boundaries.
  3. Friendly facts, congenial controls. Renewing companies treat facts as friends and financial controls as liberating. Renewing companies have a voracious hunger for facts that they see not as data but as information.
  4. A different mirror. This is the ability to step outside the company. Renewing companies look at things from different perspectives. As a result they anticipate rather than react to crises.
  5. Teamwork, trust, politics, and power. The first two are common to all renewing companies, the last two never found.
  6. Stability in motion. Renewing companies know how to keep things moving. Renewing companies are hostile to bureaucratic cultures. Commitment results from management's ability to turn grand causes into small actions so everyone can contribute.
  7. Attitudes and attention. Renewing companies use visible management attention, rather than management exhortation, to get things done.
  8. Causes and commitment. Renewing companies seem to run on causes that create excitement and commitment.

Source: Waterman, R.H. (1987) The Renewal Factor. New York: Bantam

8 ancient strategy secrets

Anderson draws on the tactics and strategies of successful players of the 4000-year old board game known as Go, to derive principles for success in business and in life. Anderson, an entrepreneur and management consultant, attended the Japanese Professional Go Academy.

The strategies are described by Anderson are:

  1. How to make use of limited resources
  2. Which initiatives to continue and which to abandon
  3. When to lead and when to follow your opponent
  4. How to weigh competing interests among different units
  5. How to enter the market where the competition is already established
  6. How to proceed to ensure success if the competition enters your market
  7. How to create a strategic plan when the market changes quickly
  8. How to go global but think locally

The book includes examples from games of Go as well as the guidance on how to play.

Source: Anderson, T. (2004) The Way of Go: 8 Ancient Strategy Secrets

8 team roles

Effective groups are ones in which the needs of the people are addressed as effectively as are the needs of the task. If these two dimensions are being effectively managed the group probably has individual members fulfilling highly compatible roles. Belbin`s model was constructed after an extensive programme of research on the basis of which Belbin and his colleagues identified what they believed to be the eight key, complementary roles in an effective team. Arguing that effective teams seldom consist of very similar people, they sought to identify complementary patterns of skills and expertise, which would ensure high performing teams.

The eight team roles are:

  1. Implementers who gets things done, and transforms plans into actions.
  2. Co-ordinators who organises team operations and resources.
  3. Shapers who establishes objectives and priorities.
  4. Plants who is the source of ideas and innovation.
  5. Resource investigators who are good at creating and using external contacts.
  6. Monitor evaluators who evaluate, review and critique performance.
  7. Team workers who provide support and maintain morale and relationships.
  8. Completer-finishers who ensure goals and deadlines are met.
Belbin`s acknowledgement that effective and creative teams require a balanced mix of individual characteristics has important organisational implications. For the last decade firms have been `delayering` and `downsizing` and generally reducing staffing levels to a minimum. This often results in a situation where permanent groups of specialists no longer exist within organisations, and must rely on temporary project teams to solve problems. Thus it can be vital to consider these necessary roles to ensure that teams function effectively from the start.   Belbin’s  model includes a `self-perception inventory`, so that readers’ preferred team roles can be quickly and easily identified. 

 See Margerison & McCann's 8 team role preferences

Source:  Belbin, M. (1981) Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail. London: Heinemann.

10 virtues

Bennet’s ten virtues are:

  1. Self-discipline
  2. Compassion
  3. Responsibility
  4. Friendship
  5. Work
  6. Courage
  7. Perseverance
  8. Honestly
  9. Loyalty
  10. Faith

See Gurmukh’s 8 human talents and Ruskin’s 7 Lamps 

Source: Bennet, W.J. (1993) The Book of Virtues. New York: Simon & Schuster.

80/20 principle

This book is subtitled: The secret of achieving more with less. The author argues that the 80/20 principle can and should be used by everyone in his or her daily life, by every organization, and by every social grouping and society. He argues that it can help individuals and groups achieve much more, with much less effort. It can raise personal effectiveness and happiness; it can multiply the profitability of corporations and the effectiveness of any organization.

The 80/20 principle, which is also known as the Pareto Law, relates to a fundamental imbalance in our world. The Italian economist Wilfredo Pareto discovered the pattern underlying the 80/20 principle in1897. In effect, about 80% of results come from just 20% of our efforts! In real terms this means that 80% of what we achieve in our jobs comes from just 20% of the time and effort we put in. Sadly, the obvious conclusion is that four fifths of our effort is wasted or irrelevant! This is obviously not what we expect, as we tend to assume that, for example, 50% effort will result in 50% results, and 100% effort will give us 100% results. Koch argues that if we accept that this is not the case, our daily lives can be greatly improved by using the 80/20 principle, as it will give us real insight into what is truly happening

So, we need to accept two things:
  1. The majority of our efforts will have little impact.
  2. A small minority of our efforts will have a major, dominant impact.

The book outlines the techniques of `80/20 analysis`, which is designed to help us understand relationships that concern us, and to change them to make them more effective. For example, if a firm finds, after analysis, that 80% of its profits comes from 20% of its customers, it should use this information to focus on them and the business it conducts with them. Non-business applications are also relevant. If you find you get 80% of your enjoyment from 20% of your leisure activities, then it is clear how you should spend more of your leisure time!

Whilst 80/20 analysis is useful and precise, it is not natural, so the concept of `80/20 thinking` is introduced as the application of the principle to daily life. We need to practise assuming an imbalance between our inputs and outputs, and then estimate the ratios. We can become adept at spotting the really important things, and relegating the mass of unimportant things. We must constantly ask ourselves what are the 20% that are leading to the 80%, and this may take creative and lateral thought. An important point to remember here is that these decisions are personal; only the individual concerned can decide what is good, and what is irrelevant in our particular lives.

After outlining the techniques and principles, the bulk of the book addresses the use of these, firstly in business contexts. One example quoted is the Interface Corporation, an $800million carpet supplier. Originally, its business was selling carpets, but they realised that 20% of any carpet received 80% of the wear. The business changed itself to one, which leased carpet tiles, repairing worn section when necessary under the conditions of the lease; a trivial observation that guaranteed the success of the company.

Secondly the book considers uses of the 80/20 principle in our personal lives. Koch outlines how we can use 80/20 thinking to reappraise our relationships, our careers and our leisure time. It is a `self help` book, designed to help individuals become `a better, more useful and happier human being`. Without doubt it can help us to question our assumptions and prioritise efforts. The key issue of course is in our perceptions. For the technique to work we must be brutally honest with ourselves in admitting that 80% of our efforts are unnecessary.

Source: Koch, R. (1997) The 80/20 Principle. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing

85 ways to tie a tie

We could not resist this one. The book is subtitled: the Science and Aesthetics of Tying Knots. It was written by two nuclear physicists at Cambridge University and covers the fascinating history of tie knots, a mathematical analysis of tie knots, knot theory, and a systematic analysis of the 85 differentiated tie knots based on size, centring, sequence, symmetry, balance, knotted status and name, if any. The book also has illustrations of the 85 knots together with instructions on how to tie them. Fascinating, if you like that sort of thing.

Source: Fink, T. & Mao, Y. (1999) The 85 Ways To Knot A Tie. London: Fourth Estate

88 assignments for developmental challenge in existing jobs

This short but highly practical pamphlet is designed to be a tool for the analysis of on-the-job developmental activities for managers at all levels. It uses matrix logic to offer 88 developmental activities, categorised into 5 types of assignments. It starts by encouraging managers to examine their own jobs, to see which aspects are no longer viewed as developmental, and then considering whether those aspects might indeed be developmental for another member of the managers team, and then passing it on.

The five types of assignment that can be considered developmental are:
  1. Small projects and start-ups. These emphasise persuasion, learning new content quickly and working under time pressure. For example, planning a new site, or new furnishings, or handling a new negotiation with a customer.
  2. Small scope jumps and fix-its. These emphasise teambuilding, and interpersonal relationships, for example managing ad hoc groups of low skilled employees, making peace with an enemy, supervising cost cutting.
  3. Small strategic assignments. These emphasise intellectual pressure, and influencing skills. For example evaluating the impact of training, or constructing a success/derailment profile.
  4. Coursework and coaching assignments. These emphasise filling gaps in knowledge and understanding, such as how to design training courses, or study a new technical area.
  5. Activities away from work. These emphasise individual leadership and broadening of interpersonal skills, for example becoming active in a professional organisation, or joining a community board.

With these 5 types of assignments along one axis of the matrix, the other axis comprises the eleven ‘likely developmental areas’ or ‘developmental challenges’:
  1. Whether success or failure is likely; the authors imply that likely failure leads to a higher success rate for learning.
  2. Whether the activity requires aggressive individual leadership.
  3. Whether working with new people, or large numbers of people; both are assumed to be favourable for development.
  4. Whether the activity creates additional personal pressure. Again, this is regarded as conducive to learning and development.
  5. Whether influencing without authority is involved.
  6. Whether high task/skill variety is involved.
  7. Whether the activity will be watched by others.
  8. Whether team building is involved.
  9. Whether there is strategic importance and/or intellectual challenge associated with the activity.
  10. Whether interaction with a particularly good or bad boss is involved.
  11. Whether there is a large `gap` in required knowledge or skill.

The basic premise is that experience is the best teacher, but more than that, that painful, or at least challenging, experience provides the best learning on the principle of “no pain, no gain”.

Source: Lombardo M. & Eichinger R. (1989) Eighty-Eight Assignments for Development in Place: Enhancing the Developmental Challenge of Existing Jobs. Greensboro, NC: Centre for Creative Leadership.

8th habit

Covey’s seven habits enable us to achieve effectiveness in our lives. The 8th habit, according to Covey, enables us to move from effectiveness to greatness “in any position and any setting”. 

By learning to balance our individual talent, need, conscience and passion, Covey argues that we can all find the greatness that is inside us. The key lies in “engaging our strengths and locating our powerful individual voices”. This book tells you how to find the greatness that lies inside.

See Covey's 7 habits of effective people

Source: Covey, S. R. (2004) The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness. London: Simon & Schuster

9 breakthrough strategies

The first sentence of the Preface reads: ‘ I want this book to change your life and work - to help you gain more control over your career trajectory and to help you perform in your field as an eye-popping top performer - if that is what you want’.

Based on research and practice at Bell Labs, the Star Performer Model revealed no appreciable differences between stars and other performers in cognitive, personal-psychological, social or environmental factors. The stars and their admirers could not see any differences

The secret appears to lie in patterns of behaviour. It was not what the stars had in their heads, it was how they used what they had that made them stand out. According to Kelly, stars are made not born. The nine key strategies enable ordinary performers to become extraordinary performers. The nine strategies (ranked in order of importance) are:

  1. Initiative: Blazing trails in the organisation's white spaces. The key to the strategy is going above and beyond accepted job descriptions and busting out of everyday work routines to offer new, often bold, value-adding ideas.
  2. Networking: Knowing who knows by plugging into the knowledge network. The key to the strategy is proactively developing dependable pathways to knowledge experts who can help you complete critical-path tasks
  3. Self-management: Managing your whole life at work. The key to this strategy is proactively creating opportunities, directing work choices, ensuring high job performance, and carving out a career path.
  4. Perspective: Getting the big picture. This is the multi-dimensional skill that allows the performer to see the project or problem in the larger context and through the eyes of critical others, viz. customers, competitors, co-workers and bosses.
  5. Followership: Checking your ego at the door to lead in assists. [An assist is an ice-hockey reference to the half-points credited to the team members who set up a goal-scoring opportunity.] The strategy involves being actively engaged in helping the organisations succeed while exercising independent, critical judgment of goals, tasks and methods.
  6. Teamwork: Getting real about teams. This is a complex set of skills that involve taking joint ‘ownership’ of goal setting, group commitments, work activities, schedules, and group accomplishments.
  7. Leadership: Doing small-L leadership in a big-L world. This strategy involves using personal expertise and influencing to convince a group of people to come together to accomplish a substantial task.
  8. Organisational savvy: Using street smarts in the corporate power zone. This strategy involves navigating competing interests in an organisation to promote co-operation, address conflicts, and get things done.
  9. Show and tell: Persuading your audience with the right message. A series of skills which involve selecting information to pass on to others, and developing the most effective, user-friendly format for reaching and persuading a specific audience.
Source: Kelly, R.E. (1998) Star-Performer: Nine Breakthrough Strategies to Help Ordinary People to Become Extraordinary Performers at Work. London: Orion.

9 characteristics of a learning environment

According to Marsick, they are

  1. Reflection on practice;
  2. Conscious evaluation of goals, norms and values;
  3. Concern for setting the problem as well as solving it;
  4. Experimentation and inquiry leading to new approaches to action;
  5. Use of team and group learning;
  6. Enhancement of self-esteem, self-discovery and self-directedness;
  7. Value given to the whole person, including feelings and emotion, in learning;
  8. Emphasis on internal motivation through empowerment;
  9. Fostering of continuous, informal, on-the-job learning.

Source: Marsick, V. J. (1987) Learning in the Workplace. London: Croom Helm

9 dilemmas leaders face

In this relatively short article, Stewart outlines his basic premise that management by definition involves doing several potentially contradictory things at once. He uses the analogy of driving, when you are in a car, you want to get to your destination quickly, but also safely. Using research from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Stewart identifies the core leadership dilemmas facing any business or manager – these are common themes where senior managers feel they `must do a, but also b`, or `in going after x, we must not lose sight of y`. The nine dilemmas are:

  1. Broad based leadership versus high-visibility leaders. The importance of strong senior management, balanced against a broad cadre of leadership amongst middle management is stressed
  2. Independence versus interdependence. The need for entrepreneurialism needs to be balanced against co-operation and shared resourcing.
  3. Long-term versus short-term. Strategic vision needs to be balanced against quarterly figures.
  4. Creativity versus discipline. Freethinking and innovation needs to be balanced against adherence to company policy and structures.
  5. Trust versus change. Implementing organisational change can damage trust and commitment.
  6. Bureaucracy-busting versus economies of scale. Centralisation to leverage economies of scale needs to be balanced against speed and accuracy of local decision-making.
  7. People versus productivity. “All work and no play make Jack a sitting duck.”
  8. Leadership versus capability. The best strategy in the world will not work if it is poorly implemented, nor will fantastic implementation make “a silk purse out of a strategic sow’s ear”.
  9. Revenue growth versus cost containment. The example given to illustrate this is the marketing concept that “budgets are for wimps”.

Although all these dimensions clearly represent different aspects of management, the common thread is the single, central dilemma, that of empowerment v alignment. Both sides of each dilemma are good and therefore the goal is to manage better in both directions. The trick of leadership is therefore to give people autonomy and independence whilst ensuring that they use it in the way management want

Stewart reaches concludes that, leadership is about ambiguities not certainties. He suggests that a common failing of today’s leaders is to take a `polarity management` role. In this situation a leader becomes mesmerised by one side of a dilemma, and ignores the alternative. Successful leaders use the polarities to diagnose the situation, and make sense of the ambiguities. Embracing those ambiguities allows learning, change and success.

Source: Stewart T.A. (1996) Fortune, March 18, 58-59.

9 guidelines for creating high performance work systems

Nine guidelines for managers are set out based on Digital Corporation’s implementation and evaluation of high-performance work groups. The guidelines fall into three categories.

First, get the purpose right:
  1. The change demands a strategic trigger.
  2. The work organisation must be supported by the overall employment and rewards package.
  3. Technology must be selected for its flexibility, not because it is the 'latest thing'.
Second, get the people right:
  1. Encourage flexibility, quality, creativity and skills development.
  2. Develop a management style consistent with the approach.
  3. Design support systems that are consistent with the strategic goals.
Third, get the process right:
  1. Establish clear responsibility for project management of implementation.
  2. Plan the nature and timing of wider employee involvement.
  3. Develop systematic training and development to equip everyone for the high-performance organisation.
Source: Buchanan, D. & McCalman, J. (1989) High Performance Work Systems: The Digital Experience. London: Routledge

9 essential team activities

The important thing to remember about teams is that they have different needs, yet all teams need to achieve their goals, and be sensitive to the needs of the members. 

People should be selected for a team to ensure that there is diversity and that all various roles are filled. The notion of key team roles is not a new idea; Belbin put forward his `8 key roles` as early as 1981.  The newer model of Margerison and McCann adds the role of `promoter` to ensure ideas maintain momentum after they are created.

The authors identify nine potential team roles.  Successful work teams have people to fill all these roles and have selected people to play in these roles based on their skills and preferences.  Bearing in mind that in many teams individuals will play multiple roles, and these may change over time.

The authors identified nine essential team activities 

  1. Linker who co-ordinates and integrates the work of others.
  2. Creator who initiates creative ideas and experiments.
  3. Promoter who champions ideas after they’re initiated.
  4. Assessor who offers insightful analysis of options.
  5. Organiser who establishes and implements ways of making things work.
  6. Producer who provides direction and follow through.
  7. Inspector who controls and audits thw working of systems.
  8. Maintainer who upholds and safeguards standards and processes. 
  9. Advisor who encourages the search for more information.
Managers need to invest time and effort into understanding the individual strengths (and weaknesses) of their team members.  They must select members with their strengths in mind and allocate work assignments that fit with members preferred styles.  By matching individual preferences with team role demands, managers increase the likelihood that the team members will work well together.

See Margerison and McCann's 8 team role preferences that form part of the Team management Wheel.   See also Belbin 's 8 Team roles.

Source: Margerison, C. & McCann, R. (1990) The Margerison-McCann Team Management Resource: Theory and Application. International Journal of Manpower, 7,2, 1-32.

5 big personality dimensions

Over many years large numbers of researchers have investigated the validity of personality measures as the basis of personnel selection decisions. The overall conclusion from the studies is that the validity of personality as a predictor of job performance is quite low. Part of the problem was the absence of a widely accepted taxonomy for classifying personality traits. However, in the past 15 or more years the views of many psychologists researching the issue have converged regarding the structure of core personality dimensions. In general, researchers have come to agree that there are five robust factors of personality.

The big five, as they are commonly known, are usually labelled as extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and culture (or similar names).

  1. Extraversion is associated with being sociable, gregarious, assertive, talkative, and active.
  2. Neuroticism (the converse of emotional stability) is associated with being anxious, depressed, angry, embarrassed, emotional, worried, and insecure.
  3. Agreeableness is associated with being courteous, flexible, trusting, good-natured, co-operative, forgiving, softhearted, and tolerant.
  4. Conscientiousness is associated with dependability, being careful, thorough, responsible, organized, and planful.
  5. Openness to experience is associated with being imaginative, cultured, curious, original, broad-minded, intelligent, and artistically sensitive.

Many personality questionnaires have more dimensions on which people are assessed but many of these are subdivisions of the Big Five  though other personality questionnaires do not measure position on dimensions but instead try to locate the individual’s type (Search 16).  See also Eysenck's 3 Gigantic Personality Dimensions.

Source: Barrick M.R. & Mount M.K. (1991) ‘The big five personality dimensions and job performance: A meta-analysis.’ Personnel Psychology, 44, 1-26.

Double-loop learning

As part of the rapid and turbulent changes taking place in the business world, organisations are under pressure to refine their learning processes in order to be able to respond and adapt more quickly to their environment.

Traditional learning has been described as `single loop learning`, and is the process by which past experience is reviewed and used to achieve current objectives. No significant analysis is required, nor is there a change in underlying assumptions. In contrast, `double loop learning` uses past experience to not only re-evaluate current objectives and ways to accomplish those objectives, but to question the underlying values and culture as well. Double loop learning asks questions about facts, but also explores the reasons and motives underlying those facts.

Thus double loop learning seeks to understand the complex and often indirect causes of a problem rather than just its manifestation. This is a challenging process requiring `unlearning` and discarding of obsolete knowledge – often dearly held in organisations.

Ideally double loop learning will draw on the functioning of learning teams. Learning teams are able to encourage individuals to learn from each other, and to experiment within the team in order to develop their members full potential. This learning can be extended to include key stakeholders such as customers and suppliers and in order to be effective requires significant managerial support. Such support is essential if the team is to demonstrate the continuous process of development, the creation of new knowledge and transformation which is the hallmark of double loop learning.

Source: Argyris, C. (1982) Reasoning, Learning and Action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Zero-sum game

"A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, and an infinite game is played for the purpose of continuing the play." A zero-sum game is a finite game, whereas going for the win-win is potentially infinite.

Source: Carse, J. (1986) Finite and Infinite Games. New York: Ballantine Books.

1st things first

Steven Covey’s ambition with this book is to offer a principle-centred approach to time management. Aimed at helping people to cope with increasing demands of work and home life, Covey argues that the answer lies not in a focus on time and things, as in traditional time management, but in a reappraisal of the importance of relationships and results. The mantra ` To live, to love, to learn and leave a legacy` is used to underpin the core idea that doing things faster is no substitute for doing the `right` things.

The book begins by drawing attention to the two primary factors that determine the choices we make about how we use our time. These are urgency and importance. Covey claims that urgency can become addictive as it makes us feel busy, useful and is exhilarating. Traditional time management techniques address the matter of urgency by emphasising the need to plan, prioritise and create `to do` lists, but this dimension does not necessarily deal with the important things in life. Important things give richness and meaning to our lives, but don’t press upon us and are not `urgent`, so we neglect them.

The ideas are laid out in a time management matrix:

  Urgent Not Urgent
Important Crises, pressing problems, deadline driven projects, meetings, and preparations.
Preparation, prevention, clarification, planning, relationship building, empowerment
Not Important Interruptions, mail, some phone calls, reports, meetings, popular activities
Trivia, junk mail, some phone calls, time wasters, escape activities

Covey poses his readers two questions: “What is the one activity you know if you did superbly well and consistently would have significant positive results in your personal life?” and “What is the one activity that you know if you did superbly well and consistently would have significant positive results in your professional or work life?”

He guesses that the answers would lie in quadrant II and that they will fall under seven key activities:

  1. Improving communication with people
  2. Better preparation
  3. Better planning and organising
  4. Taking better care of self
  5. Seizing new opportunities
  6. Personal development
  7. Empowerment.

They are important, but probably not urgent, so they are not pressing. They don’t act on you, so you have to act on them! Covey`s book tries to present an understanding of the matrix, and of the continuum within and between each quadrant.
In the second part of the book, techniques and tips for the organisation of life, to maximise importance rather than urgency are put forward. These include understanding:

  1. The passion of vision
  2. The balance of roles
  3. The power of goals
  4. Weekly perspectives
  5. Integrity in decision making
  6. How to learn from living

This book has almost become a bible for millions of people in terms of providing guidance on managing their lives. For many people Covey and his works are almost a religion.

Source: Covey, S.R (1994) First Things First. New York: Simon & Schuster

Infinity walk

This book is described by the author as a handbook for the mind and as a Handbook for the Infinity Walk Programme. Sunbeck claims the Programme is a powerful method for unleashing the capacity of the brain to learn effectively: “When you learn naturally, your senses create curiousity and excitement, which act as an electrical catalyst to your brain. This causes your brain to respond by creating whatever mental capacity you need to be successful at your new interest.” She argues that your brain’s survival instinct cannot distinguish between true danger that is registered by your senses in a three-dimensional world and imagined danger from two-dimensional language input. Your brain’s attention to real or imagined danger always overrides your interest in personal learning and social processes.

She goes on to assert that, once your brain is convinced of the language-generated belief or habit is necessary for successful survival, that belief will always be prioritised by your brain above all new incoming information. This will be true even if the new information conflicts with the original survival belief and is intended to replace the original input.

The Infinity Walk Programme is designed to empower the three necessary steps of the natural learning process:
  1. Self-belief that change is possible and personally attainable
  2. Self understanding of the neurorological foundations that underlie one’s abilities and thought processes
  3. A progressive sensory-motor training programme that challenges the mind, senses, and muscles to work together in a sequence increasing neurological complexity

The author’s claim is that extraordinary abilities develop when we have spontaneous and simultaneous access to all brain functions. Optimal learning occurs when they are most in charge of our brain. The Infinity Walk Programme progressively enhances the seven intelligences (See 7), using body /kinaesthetic intelligences as its core and progressively building the remaining six intelligences into the Programme and a natural sequence of practice sessions.

There are basically three types of brain-wave activity, viz beta the fastest, of the two dimensional world; alpha the slower brainwave frequency of the three-dimensional world, and theta the even slower brain wave frequencies of the state of the oneness. The author describes six learning restrictions each one associated with a common brain wave pattern.
  1. Anxiety (high beta, a lower alpha and theta)
  2. Trance (high alpha and the theta, low beta)
  3. Last-minute panic (alternates between anxiety and trance)
  4. The weak links (lower brain activity generally)
  5. Chaos (all brain wave a frequencies active, but unproductive)
  6. Blocked theta (all brain wave frequencies active except theta)

Infinity walk is a method for developing increasingly more sophisticated neural networking in the brain that in turn, would increase or free our natural ability to learn anything. It can also be used to balance the emotions, by calming via the anxious and stimulating the under energised, bored and depressed.

And what is the infinity walk? It is a figure of eight, which is walked with the increasingly complex associated physical activity. The author explains the link between the physical co-ordination and the stimulation of appropriate brain activity. The book also gives advice on stimulating and developing the other six intelligences (See 7) but argues that the sensory-kinaesthetic intelligence is the core foundation to preparing, and repairing, the brain for effective learning.

One can but try. See also MacLean’s 3 brains and Ratey’s 5 theatres of the brain.

Source: Sunbeck, D. (1996) Infinity Walk: Preparing Your Mind to Learn. Torrance, Calif.: Jalmar Press

7 The magical number, plus or minus 2

“My problem is that I have been persecuted by an integer. For seven years this number has followed me around, has intruded in my most private data, and has assaulted me from the pages of our most public journals.” In this way, George Miller starts his famous article, entitled, “The magic number seven, plus or minus two: Some limits on our capacity for processing-information.” In this celebrated paper, Miller argues for the integration of the newly evolving theory of information with cognitive psychology. He speculates whether the number seven presents an indication of a limit to the capacity of human information-processing.

He cites examples from history and present day. He also refers to the frequently used seven-point rating-scale in psychological research, the seven categories for absolute judgement, the seven objects in the span of human attention, and the seven digits in the span of immediate memory, but he does not come to a conclusion as such.

Source: Miller, G.A. (1956) ‘The Magical Number 7, plus or minus 2.’ Psychological Review, 63, 81-97.

Single-loop learning

Single-loop learning is the most common kind of learning in which a problem is seen in terms of its manifestations (e.g. lengthening delivery times) and is resolved in the same terms (increasing delivery capacity, i.e. more trucks). Single-loop learning is usually contrasted with double-loop learning (see 2).

Source: Argyris, C. (1982) Reasoning, Learning and Action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Triple bottom-line

Traditionally there has been only one bottom line, viz. profits and return on capital employed. Increasingly, organisations need to balance three different bottom lines:

Financial. Traditionally the only measure of company performance. Company Directors are legally obligated to protect and enhance the financial stakes of the shareholders as a prime duty. Sometimes the legal obligation to shareholders has induced short-termism, discouraging long-term investments and relation-ship building.

Environmental. There is growing pressure, in some countries reflected in legal obligations, to show how the company has protected and enhanced, rather than despoliated or damaged the physical environment in which it operates.

Societal. Equally, there is growing pressure for companies to show in their annual reports how they have contributed or developed people who are affected by their operations, or more positively how the company has contributed to the quality of life of various stakeholders. In an inclusive company this includes employees, communities, schools, society as a whole, partners, and alliances.

Source: Unknown source, quoted in Garratt (2000)

3 Ps of quality

  1. People
  2. Process
  3. Products

Source: Unknown (Happy to acknowledge)

7 Cs of planning for renewal

Waterman offers the 7 Cs framework as an extension of the 7 Ss framework with the emphasis on planning for continuous renewal. The seven Cs are:

  1. Capability is at the heart of the framework. It is the equivalent of skills in the 7 S framework. Capability can be distinctive competence or sustainable competitive advantage. It is dependent on the combined effects of the other 6 Cs that represent different aspects of planning or strategy.
  2. Communication. Planning as communication is a powerful force for integration.
  3. Chance and Information. This reminds the manger that some of the biggest strategic decisions made will be unpredictable. There should be a healthy skepticism about forecasts, and overconfidence in plans should be avoided.
  4. Causes, Commitments, and the Issues. Planning can be become barren and boring unless there is a system to force attention to big issues and priorities of the kind that excite and motivate people.
  5. Crisis Points. Planning not only can help avoid problems, it can also help anticipate crises and unusual opportunities through the generation of what-if scenarios.
  6. Control. A congenial control process enables mangers to commit and review in a constructive and supportive rather than a threatening atmosphere.
  7. Culture. Many companies use planning as a way of reinforcing the aspects of their culture that actively want to manage, long-range planning.

The 7 Cs do not appear to have caught on quite as strongly as the 7S framework. See Watson’s 7 Ss of organizational change and Waterman’s 8 prescriptions for renewing companies.

Source: Waterman, R.H. (1987) The Renewal Factor. New York: Bantam

9 steps to turbo-charging the HR function

An effective HR function is critical to an effective organisation, and some would argue that a significant part of the value and potential of an organization is in part a direct result of the effectiveness of the HR function. This book is about transforming and renewing the HR function from being a cost to a strategic asset.

Mooney presents a clear and concise model for bringing about the necessary transformation in nine steps. The steps are:

  1. Creating a mission for the HR function.
  2. Achieving alignment with the business.
  3. Developing functional expertise.
  4. Clarifying roles in relation to the customers.
  5. Creating clever structure and smart processes.
  6. Obtaining adequate resources.
  7. Marketing internally.
  8. Measuring and measuring, but the right things.
  9. Creating personal impact.

The book offers a coherent and powerful programme for change in the HR function in just the way that a company would take steps towards change.

Source: Mooney, P. (2001) Turbo-charging the HR Function. London: CIPD

21 worst management decisions ever made

This is Stuart Crainer’s Hall of Infamy and includes the originator of Coca-Cola selling out the bottling rights, Xerox turning down the first ever PC allowing Steve Jobs into the market, Sony’s failure to licence the then superior Betamax thus allowing VHS video standard to dominate globally, and IBM’s failure to respond to the worldwide demand for low-price PCs.

Source: Crainer, S. (1999) The 75 Greatest Management Decisions Ever Made. New York: AMACOM

3 Rs for life


  1. Respect for yourself
  2. Respect for others
  3. Responsibility for all your actions
Search the Theme:  Human nature
Source: Dalai Lama (year?) Instructions for Life (Publisher?)

4 Fs that make you human

Under the communist regime in Germany, Handy argues that, despite many limitations, there was plenty of time for 4 Fs, which make you human:

  1. Family
  2. Friends
  3. Festivals
  4. Fun

By contrast today, it all about the 4 Ps, which make you richer but not necessarily happier:

  1. Productivity
  2. Pay
  3. Performance
  4. Profit

He argues that a bit of balance would be a nice thing.

Source: Handy, C. (1996) The Search for Meaning. London: Lemos and Crane.

6 questions for new organisational leaders

1. What are we here for?
2. Who are we here for?
3. Where have we come from?
4. Where are we now?
5. Who are we now?
6. What are the key factors for future success?

This is a critical part of the process for creating committed organisations. See also Davison’s (2002) 7 Best Practices for creating a committed organisation.

Source: Davidson, H. (2002) The Committed Enterprise: How to Make Vision and Values Work. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann

10 commitments of leadership

The five common practices of successful leaders (See 5) are sub-divided into 10 commitments each with a set of practical advice.

A. Challenge the process
  1. Search out challenging opportunities to grow, change, innovate, and improve.
    1. Treat every job as an adventure
    2. Treat every new assignment as a turnaround event
    3. Question the status quo
    4. Go out and find something that is broken
    5. Add adventure to every job
    6. Break free of routine
    7. Make the adventure fun
  1. Experiment, take risks, and learn from the accompanying mistakes.
    1. Institutionalise processes collecting innovative ideas.
    2. Put ides-gathering on your own agenda
    3. Set up little experiments
    4. Honour your risk-takers
    5. Analyse every failure as well as every success
    6. Model risk-taking
    7. Foster hardiness

B. Inspire a shared vision

  1. Envision an uplifting and ennobling future
    i. Think first about your past
    ii. Determine what you want
    iii. Write an article about how you have made a difference
    iv. Write a short vision statement
    v. Act on your intuition
    vi. Test your assumptions
    vii. Become a futurist
    viii. Use mental rehearsal
  2. Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to their values, interests, hopes and dreams
    a. Identify your constituents
    b. Find the common ground
    c. Take an effective presentations course
    d. Write a five-minute speech
    e. Be positive and optimistic
    f. Remain genuine

C. Enable others to act
  1. Foster collaboration by promoting co-operative goals and building trust
    a. Always say we
    b. Create interactions
    c. Create a climate of trust
    d. Focus on gains, not losses
    e. Involve people in planning and problem-solving
    f. Be a risk-taker when it comes to trusting others
  2. Strengthen people by sharing information and power and increasing their discretion and visibility
    a. Get to know people
    b. Develop your interpersonal competence
    c. Us e your power in service of others
    d. Enlarge people’s sphere of influence
    e. Keep people informed
    f. Make heroes of other people

D. Modelling the way
  1. Set the example for others by by behaving in ways that are consistent with your stated values
    a. Write attribute to yourself
    b. Write your leadership credo
    c. Write attribute to your organisation
    d. Publish your credo
    e. Audit your actions
    f. Establish routines and systems
    g. Be dramatic
    h. Be story-teller
    i. Find teachable moments
    j. Be emotional
  2. Plan small wins that promote consistent progress and build commitment a. Make a plan
    b. Make a model
    c. Take one step at a time
    d. Reduce the cost of saying yes
    e. Use the natural diffusion process
    f. Give people choices and make choices highly visible
E. Encourage the heart
  1. Recognise individual contributions to the success of every project
    a. Develop tough measurable performance measures
    b. Install a formal systematic process for rewarding performance
    c. Be creative about rewards
    d. Let others decide the non-monetary reward system
    e. Make recognition public
    f. Go out and find people who are doing things right
    g. Coach
  2. Celebrate team accomplishments regularly
    a. Schedule celebrations
    b. Be a cheerleader, your way
    c. Secure your social network
    d. Stay in love

A chapter title says it all: Become a leader who cares and makes a difference. The book also contains the Personal Best Questionnaire to enable readers to assess their own leadership skills.

See their 5 common practices of successful leaders each of which sub-divide to form the ten commitments.

Source: Kouzes, J.M. & Posner, B. Z. (1988) The Leadership Challenge: How to Get Extraordinary Things Done in Organisations. London: Jossey-Bass.

3 Rs of learning power

In a world that is changing faster and faster, Claxton argues that the ultimate life skill of the 21st century is the ability to face difficult and unprecedented challenges calmly and resourcefully. This book is about how we can become better learners and help others to do so.

Based on research into the functioning of the brain and what we call our minds, Claxton shows that children can be developed as curious and confident explorers and that workplaces can be designed to encourage rather than discourage the unavoidable complex uncertainties in an emotionally supportive rather than destructive way. He argues that the challenge of lifelong learning is much more than traditional concepts of intelligence (IQ) and the ability to pass exams. It requires a break with traditional models of education and training that can so easily stifle the development of the three Rs of effective learning for the modern world.

They are:

  1. Resilience: The ability to tolerate a degree of strangeness without which the individual tends to adopt modes of defensiveness that maintain a sense of security but which inhibit and undermine opportunities to learn.
  2. Resourcefulness: The range of learning tools and strategies that people develop and employ. They are largely culturally determined but the ever-changing demands of the 21st century mean that we will all need to develop the widest possible range of effective learning strategies.
  3. Reflectiveness: The inclination to stand back from learning and take a strategic view, combined with the awareness and self- awareness to do so accurately and successfully. Reflectiveness enables the learner to se new possibilities and to develop flexibility. The opposite of Reflectiveness is mindlessness.

Source: Claxton, G. (1999) Wise Up: The Challenge of Lifelong Learning. London: Bloomsbury.

80 things every manager should know

A checklist of customer focused guidelines which presents as a lengthy and dutiful `to do` list for managers. The key message is that success is all about communication. Communication with customers is the critical skill for all managers and in order to succeed against the competition, the advice is to know when to talk and when to listen.

Here is a selection:

1. Create a formal method to share information among divisions in order to support cross selling efforts.

2. Talk to your customers yourself – they hold the clues to a more efficient sales process`

3. Set a clear strategy, know which customers to target and how to reach them.

4. Don’t make promises that your brand can`t deliver.

5. Don’t confuse having a career with having a life. They are not the same.

6. When frustrated, silently count to two, this will allow you to control yourself!

7. Keep meetings lively

A useful and relevant aide-memoire for sales and marketing management. 

Source: Bell Communications Inc., Sales & Marketing Management, Oct. 1998, 154.

4 competencies of the learning organisation

According to Bennis, leaders have:

  1. Vision. It should be clear, attractive and attainable, a vision in which followers can put their trust. The vision is usually inspiring. The vision becomes a context for shared beliefs, and common organisational purpose. The leader involves others in the vision, empowering them to create it, and communicate it, so that it is integrated into their lives.
  2. Empathy. The leader earns trust by understanding the world and experience of others. It is unconditional for those who are members of the organization.
  3. Consistency. The leaders position is consistent and the followers know where they stand in relation to the organisation and its position relative to the environment.
  4. Integrity. The leaders in whom followers can have trust have unquestionable integrity. There is greater trust for leaders who stand for a higher moral order, who demonstrate their ethical commitment, and who hold themselves and others accountable.

See Bennis’s 4 competencies of great leaders.

Source: Bennis, W. and Goldsmith, J. (1997) Learning to Lead: A Workbook on Becoming a Leader. London: Nicholas Brealey

The one requirement of a leader

The one requirement of a leader is to be there!

Source: Attributed to Chester Barnard (Date unknown)

The amazing number seven

Seven is the weight in grams of the human eyeball (Hartston 1997)

The number seven is considered a magical, or at least symbolically important, number to

· Sri Lankans, e.g. Kandyan bridal jewellery consists of seven pendants
· Hebrew tradition,  The Old Testament (along with numbers 12 and 40)
· Masonry, (e.g. Solomon took seven years to build the Temple, there are two full pages devoted to the number seven in the Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry (Mackey, A. G.).
· Chinese culture (e.g. 7th day of the first lunar year is human’s day, the birthday of all human beings)
· Japan (the seven Gods of Luck, c15th Century)
· The Romans who had seven main gods, whose names are enshrined in the seven days of the week
· The Arabians and the seven Holy Temples, and
· To the Pythagoreans, seven was a “perfect number”

In addition, we have

· 7 wise men of Greece (7th and 6th centuries BCE) active in science, philosophy, and politics (Bias of Priene, Chilon of Sparta, Cleobulus of Lindus, Periander of Corinth, Pittacus of Mytelene, Solon of Athens, and Thales of Miletus).
· 7 Wonders of the Ancient World listed by a 2nd century BCE traveler. They were the pyramids of Egypt, hanging gardens of Babylon, Phidias’s Statue of Zeus at Olympia, The temple of Artemis at Ephesus, The tomb of King Mausolus at Halicarnassus, The Colossus of Rhodes, The Pharos (Lighthouse) at Alexandria (or maybe the walls of Babylon).
· 7 visible planets (The Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn)
· 7 liberal arts (according to Plato and Aristotle), and which became the basis for ancient and mediaeval curriculum and which are supposed to develop intellectual, and moral excellence rather than merely useful or practical skills: They were Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric, Geometry, Arithmetic, Astronomy, and Music.
· 7th wave (according to seafarers, traditionally bigger)
· 7 Hills of Rome upon which the ancient city was built (Palatine, Aventine, Caelian, Esquiline, Quirinal, Virinial, and Capitoline)
· 7 sacraments, the actions through which Christians achieved a state of grace (baptism, confirmation, penance, Eucharist, holy orders, extreme unction, and marriage). This is the Roman Catholic list.
· 7 deadly sins (pride, anger, envy, vice, gluttony, covetousness, and lust)
· 7 Seas, the phrase used to refer to all the seas of the world. The seven largest seas in order of surface area are the Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, Arctic, Caribbean, Mediterranean, South China Sea 

Other significant 7s

Also, there are the 7 sabbatical years, the 7 years of famine, 7 years of plenty, 7 lucky brothers in folklore, 7th heaven, 7th son of a 7th son, 7 levels of hell (Dante), 7 notes of the musical scale, the 7 primary colours, 7 days of the week. The list could go on and on. Interestingly, number seven does not appear to be particularly significant from a mathematical point of view, by comparison with other numbers in the Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers (Wells 1997). 

And we also have 

The Mother Goose rhyme

‘As I was going to St Ives I met a man with seven wives. Every wife had seven sacks, and every sack had seven cats, every cat had seven kittens. Kittens, cats, sacks and wives, how many were going to St Ives?’

Answer: 2,402 (including the husband)

Curious numbers: zero to six


Zero is the number of times that the word ‘Bible’ occurs in the works of Shakespeare (Hartston 1997).

According to Wells (1997), zero is ‘a mysterious number which started life as a space on a counting board, turned into a written notice that a space was present, that is to say that something was absent, then confused mediaeval mathematicians who could not decide whether it was a real number or not, and achieved its highest status in modern abstract mathematics in which numbers are defined anyway only by their properties, and the properties of zero are at least as clear, and rather more substantial, than those of many numbers.’

The earliest known use of a symbol to represent the absence of a number was by the Babylonians in the second century BCE. For a fascinating read on the concept of zero, see Kaplan (2000). 

A zero-sum game is where one side can only win at the expense of another. In other words, to gain territory someone else must lose it. Zero-sum games are won when one side gains sufficient control over another. See 10 Megatrends where Naisbitt & Aburdene (1990) predict the shift in thinking from either-or (the zero-sum game) towards seeing multiple alternatives and options. 

One is the number of paintings sold by Van Gogh in his lifetime (Hartston 1997).

Two is the number of places on earth named Hell, one in Norway and the other in the Cayman Islands (Hartston 1997)

Two is the only prime number that is even. A prime number is any number that cannot be divided by a number other than one.

The number system based on 2 is called binary. It has only two symbols, 1 and 0, which can be used to express all numbers. The larger the base number the more the symbols required to express all possible numbers, but fewer digits are used to express a particular number. The binary number for 2001 is 11111010001.


Three is the number of baths taken by Louis XIV in his entire life (Hartston 1997)
3 Fates of Greek mythology. The three Fates were the three goddesses who apportioned good and evil in the lives of humans and sealed their destinies. The apportionment occurred at birth but the element of evil was worsened by one’s own folly:

1. Clotho who spun the threads of life
2. Lachosis who decided its span and assigned destinies
3. Atropos who cut the thread of life

3 Graces. They are the ancient Greek muses of comedy and pastoral poetry. Their names are:

1. Aglaia
2. Euphrosyne
3. Thahia


Four is the number of fingers on each of Mickey Mouse’s hands (Hartston 1997)

The 4 temperaments are the four distinguishing and mental characteristics of a human being, which according to mediaeval physiology, resulted from the dominance of one of the four humours or bodily fluids:

1. Phlegm (cold and moist) causing sluggishness, apathy, and evenness of temper, hence the word phlegmatic
2. Choler, (from the Greek word for bile) causing anger and bad temper, hence the word choleric
3. Black bile which cause melancholy, hence the word bilious
4. Blood, causing courage, optimism and passion, hence the word sanguine

5 is the number of baseball gloves that can be made from one cow (Hartston 1997).

5 Pillars of Isl Five is the number of baseball gloves that can be made from one cow (Hartston 1997).

5 Pillars of Islam

The five ritual duties of Muslims as expressions of their faith are:

1. Pronouncing the profession of faith
2. Performing daily prayers
3. Fasting during the month of Ramadan
4. Paying the alms tax
5. Making the pilgrimage to Mecca (at least once).

The five ritual duties of Muslims as expressions of their faith are:

1. Pronouncing the profession of faith
2. Performing daily prayers
3. Fasting during the month of Ramadan
4. Paying the alms tax
5. Making the pilgrimage to Mecca (at least once)

Six is the number of pints held by the average ten-gallon hat (Hartston 1997).

Curious numbers: eight to nineteen

8 is the number of bits in a byte in computer-speak (Hartston 1997).

9 is the number of hours it takes for an army ant to walk a mile (Hartston 1997)

10 is the number of years’ marriage for a tin anniversary (Hartston 1997)

10 is also the base of the decimal number system. The Babylonians used a sexagesimal system based on 60 that come down to us today in the measurement of time and navigation co-ordinates (longitude and latitude) despite many international attempts to rationalise (i.e. decimalise) the system.

 11  is the number of syllables in a Hendecasyllabic verse. 

is the number of “filthy words” words that the US Federal Communications Commission laid down in 1973. For a list of the words, see Hartston (1997).

12 is also the number-base of the duodecimal number system as used by the Romans. Even in a decimalised world, we still use the system for buying eggs, presumably because 12, when halved, is also an even number. Eggs are bought by the dozen in Brussels! The English word dozen is a corruption of the Latin ‘duodecim’. 

13 is the number that Triskaidekaphobics have an abnormal fear of.

13 is also the number of States that formed the United States in 1787/88.

1. New Hampshire
2. Rhode Island
3. Massachusetts
4. North Carolina
5. South Carolina
6. New York
7. Virginia
8. Delaware
9. Georgia
10. Maryland
11. Connecticut
12. New jersey
13. Pennsylvania

14 is the number of days that an ant can survive under water (Hartston 1997)

15 is the number of red balls in snooker (Hartston 1997)

16 is the base number for the Hexadecimal number system based on 16, such as pounds and ounces.

16-bit processor. The computer operating system that can work with two Bytes (or 16 bits) of information at the same time that was the basis of the operating system, DOS and MS-DOS, that led to the rise of Microsoft and the PC revolution. 

17 is the number of inches of human bottom allowed for in the British Rail specification of seat width (Hartston 1997).

20 is the base for the vigesimal number system use by the ancient Mayan civilization. 

20 is also the number of bottles in a nebuchadnezzar (Hartston 1997). That equates to 15 litres, or 3.3 gallons.

10 good soldiers wisely led

10 good soldiers wisely led
Will beat a hundred without a head

Curious numbers: twenty-one and upwards

All these numbers correspond to entries in the useful Numbers database.

is the number of pips on a die (Hartston 1997)

22 is the number of balls in snooker (Hartston 1997)

25 is the number of beats per minute of an elephant’s heart (Hartston 1997)

33 is the number of species of parrot in the world (Hartston 1997)

40 is the number of atoms in a molecule of penicillin (Hartston 1997)

45 is the number of centimeters (20 inches) of sleeping space allowed to convicts on board ships taking them from England to Australia after 1802 (Hartston 1997)

48 is the weight in pounds of an elephant’s heart (Hartston 1997)

50 is the number of oysters Casanova recommended eating for breakfast (Hartston 1997)

60 is the number of years’ marriage for a diamond anniversary (Hartston 1997)

75 is the number of towns in the world called Waterloo, many of them founded by men who had fought in the battle in 1815 (Hartston 1997)

80 is the number of soldiers under the command of a Roman Centurion. The other twenty were in administrative role (Hartston 1997)

85 is the number of films made by Bette Davis (Hartston 1997)

88 is the number of keys on a piano (Hartston 1997)

101 is the number of metres of each side of the square base of the Eiffel Tower (Hartston 1997)

130 is the number of words in Chambers Dictionary ending in ‘lessness’ (Hartston 1977)

525 is five more than the number of cells in Pentonville Prison when it was built in the 1840s (adapted from Hartston 1997)

675 is the number of pieces of music written by Mozart (Hartston 1997)

1001 is the number of Arabian nights (Hartston 1997)

Infinity The symbol for infinity was proposed in 1655 by John Wallis (1616-1703) and mathematicians have used it ever since.

6 sources of power

Cox identifies six differnt types of power that a manger can exercise.

1.  Coercive or physical power deriving from superior force
2.  Resource power based on the use of valued resources, including status, as a basis for influencing others
3.  Expert power deriving from respect for someone's skill, knlwledge or expertise.
4.  Information power where it is possible to restrict or allow access to information needed by others.
5.  Association power based on access to influential people inside and outside the organisation
6.  Position power that results from the role or position held rather than from you as an individual.

Cox argues that ll the forms of pwer are enhanced by personal power or charisma based on your poularity and personality charatcteristics.

Source:  Cox, G. (1992) Influencing.   Chapter 71 in Dennis Lock (ed.) The Gower Handbook of Management.  Aldershot: Gower

3 Cs for mobile phone operators

  1. Coverage
  2. Care
  3. Choice

Source: Unknown (thanks to Stephen Brewer)

3 Ss for Customer Service

  1. Strategies
  2. Systems
  3. Staff

Source: Unknown (Happy to acknowledge)

3 Ps for information management

  1. Product
  2. Profile
  3. Profitability

Source: Unknown (Happy to acknowledge)

3 Ds for prioritisation

  1. Do it
  2. Dump it
  3. Delegate

Source: Unknown (Happy to acknowledge)

7 failings of really useless leaders

A book with a new angle on leadership.  Instead of telling managers what they should be doing, this book tells them what they should not do.  A refreshing approach that comes closer to the everyday reality of orgnanisational life.

  1. Kill enthusiasm - by mico-mangement, co-ercion and disrespect
  2. Kill emotion - through aggression, lack of emortional intelligence, empathy and no life-work balance
  3. Kill explanation - through parttial an inconsistent communication
  4. Kill engagement - by limited team goals and individual objectives dictated by managers
  5. Kill reward - by rewarding the wrong things and offering the wrong kinds of rewards
  6. Kill culture - by ignoring critical diffrences during mergers, and by punishing risk-taking while encouraging innovation
  7. Kill trust - through unfair recruitment and reward decisions

Solino offers parctical advice on how to avoid falling into the seven traps of really useless leaders.

Source: Sonsino, S and Moore J. (2007) The Seven Failings of Really Useless Leaders. MSL Publishing.

7 philosphies of cutomer care

A radical and revolutionary approach that has transformed our understanding of and approach to customer service.  The seven philosophies that underly great customer experiences are:

1. A source of long-term competitive advantage.
2. Created by consistently exceeding customer physical and emotional expectations.
3. Differentiated by focusing on stimulating planned emotions.
4. Enabled through inspirational leadership, an empowering culture and empathetic people who are happy and fulfilled.
5. Designed outside in rather than inside out.
6. Revenue generating and can significantly reduce costs.
7. The embodiemnt of the brand.

Source: Shaw, C. and Ivens, J.  (2002) Building Great Customer Experiences. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

7 common surprises for new CEOs

7 surprises for new CEOs (Porter, Lorsch, & Nohria, 2004) 
The seven most common surprises for new CEOs are: 

1. You can’t run the company, it’s too complex and too big
2. Giving orders is very costly, timing is key
3. It is hard to know what is really going on, too much information and often filtered
4. You are always sending a message whether you know it or not
5. You are not the boss, remember the Board
6. Pleasing shareholders is not the goal, long-term value creation is the real goal
7. You are still only human, ensure your life is balanced 

Implications? There are three: 

1. It is critical to manage the organisational context.
2. CEOs do not have a right to lead and must earn, and not assume, loyalty.
3. CEO must remember their limitations, however powerful they feel. 

Source: Porter, M., Lorsch, J. & Nohria, N. (2004) Seven surprises of new CEOs. Harvard Business review, October

10 principles of organisational reinvention

10 principles for organsational reinvention (Osborne & gaebler 1992)
Osborne and Gaebler's influential principles for shaking slow bureaucratic governments into life are:

1.  Catalytic
2.  Community-owned
3.  Competitive
4.  Mission-driven
5.  Results-orientated
6.  Customer-driven
7.  Enterprising
8.  Anticipatory
9.  Decentralised
10. Market-orientated

Looks like a good formula for any kind of organisation seeking to improve its effectiveness.

Source:  Osborne. D. & Gaebler, T. (1992) Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector.

the first 90 days

According to Michael Watkins the strategies adopted by a new leader, at whatever level, are critical.  The book enables the reader to develop a "transition acceleration plan" according to the needs and circumstances of the new leader.  

Possibly the most useful and practical book for anyone in a new leadership role.  Instead of waiting to see how things develop, this book enables the reader to follow ten guiding principles to help ensure success.

The ten priniples are:

1.  Promote yourself.
2.  Accelerate your learning.
3.  Match Stregy to situation.
4.  Secure early wins.
5.  Negotiate succes.
6.  Achieve alignment.
7.  Build your team.
8.  Create coalitions.
9.  Keep you balance.
10. Expedite everyone.

Source: Watkins, M. (2003) The First Ninety Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All levels. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

8 great competencies underlying management performance

Based on extensive research the authors conclude that there are eight broad factors underlying managerial performance.  The call them the "Great Eight".   They are:

1.  Agreeableness
2.  Extraversion
3.  Openness
4.  Conscientiousness
5.  Emotional stability
6.  Analysing and interpreting
7.  Need for power and control
8.  Need for achievement

The first five competencies correspond to the Big Five Personality Factors (see 5), number six is the general intelligence factor often referred to as 'g', and numbers 7 and 8 are two additional factors.

Source:  Kurz, R. & Bartram, D. (2002)  Chapter 10 in Robertson, I., Callinan, M. & Bartram, D. (Eds.) Organisational Effectiveness: The Role of psycholgy. Chichester: Wiley

4 stages of acceptance for new theories

Theories have four stages of acceptance

1.  This is worthless nonsense
2.  This is an interesting but perverse point of view
3.  This is true but quite unimportant
4.  I always said so

Source: J. B. S. Haldane (Attributed)

10 commandments for turbo charging your staff

1. Let people in on the BIG picture
2. Set crystal-clear goals, then get off the pitch
3. Fill your organisation with turbo-charged project teams
4. Let everyone wear a white coat
5. Unchain the right-hand side of the brain
6. People embrace change if they construct it
7. Become an ambiguity-sponge – provide short-term certainty
8. Expect A? then reward A
9. Count the score at the end of the game (and don’t forget to tell the players)
10. Celebrate success – pump up the volume 

Mooney, Paul (1999) Keeping Your best Staff. Dublin: Oak Tree Press

5, 3, 1 Voting

A simple but effective way to assess the degree of buy-in in a group to a decision being made based on a show of hands:

Five fingers indicate complete support
Three fingers indicate not fully in support but can live with it
One finger indicates against the decision

The group can then decide how to progress the discussion.

Source: Not known (happy to acknowledge)

Catch 22

Catch 22 is the dilemma made famous by Yossarian, a key character in the 1961 satirical World War II novel of the same name by Joseph Heller. Catch 22 (the number was an arbitrary invention) refers to a Military Law, of profound simplicity which was designed by means of circular logic to prevent anyone avoiding combat duty on grounds of insanity. Yossarian wanted to get out of the war and go home on the grounds that he was insane. But war is mad, so he must be normal to realise that it is mad, so he cannot be allowed to leave. 

This is the Catch 22 that now stands for any no-win or double-bind situation. A great book and a compelling read to this day.

Source: Joseph Heller (1961) Catch 22. New York: Simon & Schuster.

30 reasons employees hate their managers

This book is sub-titled: What your people may be thinking and what you can do about it. Based on surveys of more than 50,000 employees, this book represents a refreshing change from how-to books that give endless advice to managers on what to do with problem employees. Much of the time it is the manager who is causing the problems and a small dose of humility and a readiness to listen is the key to change.

Employees’ complaints against their managers are divided into five broad and not altogether unfamiliar categories:

Part I We are treated like children (reasons 1-5)
Part II We aren’t respected (reasons 6-10)
Part III We are not receiving what we really need (reasons 11-19)
Part IV We are not appreciated (reasons 20-25)
Part V We are not enjoying ourselves (reasons 26-30)

And the 30 reasons?

1. We feel like slaves
2. I know how to do my job, why can’t they just let me do it?
3. I am afraid to speak up
4. Nobody appreciates my hard work
5. There are different rules for different people
6. Management does not listen to us
7. Management does not respect us
8. So who is in charge anyway?
9. I don’t trust the information I receive from management
10. My boss is a terrible manager
11. I’ve lost confidence in management
12. We are understaffed
13. They don’t tell me what I need to do my job
14. We need more training
15. The quality of our products and services is terrible
16. I receive poor service from other departments
17. There is too much red tape here
18. Why don’t they get rid of all the dead wood around here
19. There are too many damn meetings
20. I am not paid fairly
21. It’s just not right that we are all paid the same
22. My performance reviews are useless
23. There is no link between my pay and job performance
24. The cost of my benefits is eating up my pay check
25. It’s impossible to get promoted around here
26. I hate coming in to work. It’s become just a job for me now.
27. There is no job security here
28. I have no time for myself or my family
29. I feel trapped. I wish I could go out on my own.
30. My company is not committed to me, so why should I be committed to it?

Given the promising title of the book, the list of 30 reasons is a little disappointing. Besides, there is considerable overlap in causes, symptoms and remedial action. Nonetheless, for each of the reasons why employees hate their managers the book offers a brief Psychology Lesson and plenty of “solutions”. Possibly, more psychology and fewer solutions would have been more powerful.

Source: Katcher, B. L. And Snyder, A. (2007) 30 Reasons Why Employees Hate Their Managers. New York: AMACOM

5 paths to persuasion

Good ideas do not automatically sell themselves. It has long been recognised that in order to be effective when selling or persuading the message needs to be tailored to the audience. This book proposes, on the basis of research conducted by the authors, that there are essentially only five kinds of decision-maker and that the key to getting your across is to understand and appeal to their different thinking styles.
According to the authors, the five types of decision-maker are:

1. Charismatics
2. Thinkers
3. Sceptics
5. Controllers

Charismatics include Jack Welch, Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey. They are defined as enthusiastic imaginers, innovative risk seekers, proactive and decisive, responsible and accountable, bottom-liners, and interactive thinkers.

Thinkers include Bill gates, Michael Dell, and Warren Buffet. They are defined as methodical and process-orientated, information-driven, quantitative and precise, relentlessly thorough, guarded and cautious, balanced, and intellectually fluid.

Sceptics include Ted Turner, Larry Ellison, and Tom Siebel. They are defined as iconoclastic, brazenly outspoken, fearlessly confident, assertive and demanding, determined and driven, and visionary.

Followers include Peter Coors, Carly Fiorina and Jim Parker. They are defined as being devoted to the tried and tested, are averse to the new, are conscientious corporate citizens, deft people handlers, are empathetic, and have the added complexity of being able to masquerade as the other types!

Controllers include Martha Stewart, Ross Perot, and Jacques Nasser. They are defined as driven by fear, proactive, fiercely self-reliant, absolute and resolute, meticulous, and unyielding perfectionists.

For each of the types the book offers detailed and precise advice on how to persuade each of the decision-making types. In addition, there is a very useful section called The Pragmatics of Persuasion which includes sections on how to read people and avoiding common mistakes, and some very useful general advice.

Easily one of the best books around on practical persuasion techniques.

See also Harrison’s 4 Styles of Influencing and Cox’s 4 Influencing Styles. 

Source: Miller, R. B. And Williams, G. A. (2004) The Five Paths to Persuasion: The Art of Selling Your Message.  New York: Warner Business Books.

10 schools of strategy formation

Strategy is a revered word in the world of business and management theory and yet it is frequently misunderstood, misused, and sometimes misleading. It is a bit like the word consciousness in modern neuroscience.

This book, by no less an authority than Henry Minzberg, is subtitled: The complete guide through the wilds of strategic management. It claims to draw together diverse strands of strategic thought into 10 distinct schools.

The 10 Schools are:

1. The Design School – Strategy formation as process of conception
2. The Planning School – Strategy formation as a formal process
3. The Positioning School – Strategy formation as an analytical process
4. The Entrepreneurial School – Strategy formation as visionary process
5. The Cognitive School – Strategy formation as a mental process
6. The Learning School – Strategy formation as emergent process
7. The Power School – Strategy formation as process of negotiation
8. The Collective School – Strategy formation as collective process
9. The Environmental School – Strategy formation as reactive process
10. The Configuration School – Strategy formation as a process formation

The final chapter attempts to integrate the diversity of approaches, and concludes that a unified theory may be neither possible nor desirable. This is not surprising, as management theory is not really a science but a form of literature. The book is likely to be a good teaching aid for aspiring MBAs and is entertaining and stimulating but does not contain, for those who are looking for it, the Holy Grail of management strategy.

See also Minzberg’s 5 Ps for Strategy; Structure in 5s; 5 Myths of Management; and 10 Managerial Roles

Source: Minzberg, H., Ahlstrand, B. and Lampel, J. (1998) Strategy Safari: The Complete Guide Through the Wilds of Strategic Management. London: FT Prentice Hall.

5 minds for the future

It is a cliché, perhaps too easily accepted, that the only constant in the modern world is the ever increasing rate of change. Nonetheless, it is true that the world appears to be changing ever faster especially for those of us that live in the so-called advanced societies. Some things are more constant, however, such as the continuing appeal of fundamentalist thinking.

Howard Gardner is renowned throughout the world as the proponent of the concept of multiple intelligences. In this self-help book he argues for the development of five frames of mind (or cognitive abilities) which, he argues, are necessary to help us cope with the challenges posed by accelerating change now and in the future. Gardner spells out the implications for education and child rearing.

Gardner’s five minds for the future are:

1. The disciplined mind covers mastery of at least one way of thinking, developed over a number of years that characterises a specific scholarly discipline, craft or profession. The true benefit derives from the discipline rather than subject matter.

2. The synthesing mind is the ability to integrate ideas from disparate disciplines or spheres into a coherent whole and to communicate that integration to others. Synthesis becomes more important as the amount and diversity of information increases in the world.

3. The creating mind builds on discipline and synthesis and is the capacity to uncover and clarify new problems, questions and phenomena. The creating mind seeks to get ahead of the game.

4. The respectful mind welcomes differences between people and seeks to understand and appreciate differences among human beings. The respectful mind is characterised by tolerance and acceptance rather than judgement and rejection.

5. The ethical mind is the fulfilment of one’s responsibilities as a worker and citizen and has a focus beyond self-interest to the greater welfare and improvement of the lot of all human beings.

If as Socrates said, the purpose of education is to equip citizens to be effective within the circumstances of their society, then this book represents an agenda for education, formal and informal, that is capability rather than subject-driven. Perhaps the key value of this book is the underlying balance to be achieved by developing competence across all five of Gardner’s minds for the future. The reason why there are only five is, according to Gardner, because it is these qualities that are at a premium in today’s fast-changing and troubled world. He does not see the five minds as replacing the multiple intelligences but rather as supplementing them.

See also Gardner’s 7 Intelligences and Sternberg’s 7 Metaphors of Mind.

Source: Gardner, H. (2006) Five Minds for the Future.  Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press.

3 tensions of business success

At first glance, yet another book about the secrets of organisational success. On closer inspection, it is more intriguing. 

Based on their own research and may years of consultancy experience, the authors maintain that the secret to success lies in recognising and managing three core sets of competing objectives simultaneously. For organisational leaders, this can be easy to understand but formidably difficult to achieve in practice. 

The three Tensions are: 

1. Growth with profitability
2. Earnings today that endure tomorrow
3. High-performing parts within a valuable whole 

It is relatively straightforward to achieve one side of a tension but usually at the expense of the competing demand. It is much harder to achieve a balance in one of the tensions, let alone all three.
An interesting concept introduced by the authors is the batting average, a term borrowed from baseball. Batting Average is a measure of how a company is able to meet both of the competing objectives of a Tension within any one year. 

Over a ten year period this is expressed as a ratio or percentage. The authors present their evidence, based on an analysis of about a thousand companies for the period 1983 to 2003. They conclude that the higher the Batting Average for a company over that period, the higher its TSR (total shareholder returns). Reliability and consistency, say the authors, in resolving the tensions is more successful than companies that fluctuate between boom and bust. 

The authors also argue that there are three common bonds, one for each tension, that is a necessary ingredient for the two objectives in a tension to act as complements rather than as competing substitutes. 
The Three common elements are 

1. Customer benefit for Profitability v. Growth
2. Sustainable earnings for Today v. Tomorrow’s performance
3. Diagonal asset for Parts v. Whole (diagonal assets refer to culture and other intangible assets. 

Overcoming the three Tensions requires keeping the organisation’s attention focused simultaneously on the three common bonds. The mistake of many organisations is focus in one area at the expense of the others, often as a result of fads and fashions in what the authors call “the management ideas industry”. The authors are quite pragmatic. Even a batting average of above 50% (i.e. meeting both objectives at the same time more often than not) should make a key difference to TSR. 

Whether this book becomes yet another fad, only time will tell. Nonetheless, it promises well with a stylish yet robust approach. 

Source: Dodd, D. & Favaro, K. (2007) The Three Tensions: Winning the Struggle to Perform Without Compromise. Jossey-Bass.

101 Ways to Success

If you want to succeed in business, who better to have as coach and mentor than Donald Trump? This short and practical book succinctly distils the lessons and qualities that Donald Trump believes underlie success in business. It is not clear whether there are in fact 101 separate ways to succeed offered in the book, but the chapter titles give a good impression. 

1. Don’t waste your life on work you do not love: Passion will help you do better.
2. Set the bar high: Make people ooh and aah.
3. Think Trump scale: Bigger is better.
4. Tough it out: Be persistent.
5. Without knowledge you don’t stand a chance: Gain and use information to your advantage.
6. You’re fired! Words no-one wants to hear or say.
7. The proof is in the doing: Learn by doing and taking risks.
8. Your gut is your best advisor: Listen to your instincts.
9. Personalise your pitch: Know who you are addressing.
10. Surround yourself with beauty: Enhance evry aspect of your life.
11. Negotiate to win: Use diplomacy.
12. Think on your feet: It’s the fast track to success.
13. Work with people you like: It sure beats working with enemies.
14. Where there’s a will, there’s a win: Think positively.
15. Swim against the tide: The comfort zone can pull you under.
16. Money is not always the bottom line: It can be a scorecard, not the final score.
17. Learning is exciting: Each new project is an adventure.
18. See the whole picture: But be prepared for the picture to change.
19. Wait for the right pitch: Business success is all about patience and timing.
20. Avoid fixed patterns: Be open and flexible.
21. Speed kills the competition: Get right to the point.
22. Do more – always do more: Constantly try to top yourself.
23. Leaders set the pace: Find your working tempo.
24. Results matter more than routes: Let people follow their own paths.
25. Approach your work as an art form: Work brilliantly.
26. Keep your mind in the game: Pay attention and stay focused.
27. It takes courage to persist: Business pressures never stop.
28. Join the Explorers’ Club: Learn about the mysteries of life.
29. Confidence is a magnet: It will draw people to you.
30. Keep your momentum rolling: But never lose control.
31. Is the problem a blip or a catastrophe? Expect problems and keep moving forward.
32. Reach within to rise above: But temper your reach with reality.
33. Concentrate on the target, not on the weapon: Focus on what matters most. 

The book comes complete with a Foreword from the President of Trump University.

Source: Trump, D. with McIver, M. (2007) Trump 101: The Ways to Succeed. John Wiley & Sons.

3 fundamental techniques for handling people

From one of the most popular self-help books of all time. 

1. Don't criticize, condemn or complain.
2. Give people a feeling of importance; praise the good parts of them.
3. Get the other person to want to do what you want them to by arousing their desires. 

Source: Carnegie, D. (1936) How to Win Friends and Influence People. Simon & Schuster.

6 ways to make people like you

From one of the most popular self-help books of all time. 

1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
2. Smile.
3. Remember that a man's name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
5. Talk in the terms of the other man's interest.
6. Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.

Source: Carnegie, D. (1936) How to Win Friends and Influence People. Simon & Schuster.

12 ways to win people to your way of thinking

From one of the most popular self-help books of all time. 

1. Avoid arguments.
2. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never tell someone they are wrong.
3. If you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
4. Begin in a friendly way.
5. Start with questions the other person will answer yes to.
6. Let the other person do the talking.
7. Let the other person feel the idea is his/hers.
8. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
9. Sympathize with the other person.
10. Appeal to noble motives.
11. Dramatize your ideas.
12. Throw down a challenge. 

Source: Carnegie, D. (1936) How to Win Friends and Influence People. Simon & Schuster.

9 ways to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment

From one of the most popular self-help books of all time. 

1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
2. Call attention to other people's mistakes indirectly.
3. Talk about your own mistakes first.
4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
5. Let the other person save face.
6. Praise every improvement.
7. Give them a fine reputation to live up to.
8. Encourage them by making their faults seem easy to correct.
9. Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.

Source: Carnegie, D. (1936) How to Win Friends and Influence People. Simon & Schuster.

3 dimensions for strategic change

Pettigrew and Whipp stress the interplay between three dimensions of strategic change. 

They are: 

1. Content defined as objectives, purpose and goals
2. Process defined as implementation
3. Context which is the internal and external environment. 

Unsurprisingly successful change is the result of continual interaction between the What of change (content), the How of change (process) and the Where of change (context).  Successful change is seen as a cumulative, iterative and reformulation-in-use process. 

See also 5 Change Factors (Pettigrew & Whipp 1991)

Source: Pettigrew, A. & Whipp, R. (1991) Managing Change For Competitive Success

5 factors for managing strategic change

Based on their extensive research, the authors argue that there are five interacting factors that are critical to the successful management of strategic change. 

They are: 

1. Environmental assessment. The continuous monitoring of both the internal and external environment through open learning systems. 

2. Human resources as assets and liabilities. Employees should feel trusted and valued. 

3. Linking strategic and operational change. Bundling of operational activities can lead to new strategic changes. 

4. Leading the change. Direction, vision, values, coordination and creation of a climate for change. 

5. Overall coherence. Consistent with clear goals, consonant with the environment, and creation of competitive edge that is feasible.

See also 3 dimensions of strategic change (Pettigrew & Whipp 1991) 

Source: Pettigrew, A. & Whipp, R. (1991) Managing Change For Competitive Success

5 Cs of marketing success

Helpful in creating a marketing strategy. 

1. Customer needs (which customers, which needs?)
2. Company skills (what competencies do we need?)
3. Competitors (who are they?)
4. Collaborators (Who do we need, and how do we motivate them?)
5. Context (What could stop or limit us?) 

See also 7 Ps of extended marketing mix.

Source: Unknown (Happy to acknowledge)

7 signs of ethical collapse

Jennings has identified seven factors that predict ethical crashes (of the Enron type) and also antidotes for each of the signs. 

1. Pressure to maintain the numbers almost to a perverse degree, doing anything to maintain the numbers.
2. Fear and silence. Those who overcome their fears get punished quickly.
3. Young’uns surrounding larger than-life-CEOs who love the adulation.
4. Weak boards consisting of cronies, and low competence, and or desire for appropriate regulation.
5. Conflicts of interest and a pervasive pattern of mutual back-scratching, nepotism and favouritism.
6. Innovation like no other. Immense self-belief that what they improvise is superior to conventional thinking and constraints.
7. Goodness in some areas atones for evil in others. A consistent self-delusion. The gap between public piety and private greed. 

The seven signs are a useful diagnostic and the antidotes comprehensive and practical but in large corporations it will be like trying to stop the decline of the Roman Republic. Maybe we should also look at the moral decline of the society in which corporations exist. It all comes from leadership at the very top. 

Source: Jennings, M. (2006) The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse: How to Spot Moral Meltdowns in Companies....Before It’s Too Late.

6 passages of leadership

Different kinds of leadership are required in different contexts and at different levels of the organisation. According to the authors there are six discernable passages each with different requirements for the level and also for the transition from one level to the next. 

The six leadership passages are: 

1. From managing self to managing others
2. From managing others to managing managers
3. From managing managers to functional manager
4. From functional manager to business unit or country manager
5. From business unit or country manager to Group manager
6. From group manager to enterprise manager 

The six passages constitute the leadership pipeline.  In many organisations managers are working at the wrong leadership level and are not getting appropriate development. This can lead to the pipeline becoming clogged. 

The authors describe processes for routine diagnosis of appropriate leadership behaviours, 4 core strategies for improving the leadership pipeline. 

Source: Charan, R., Drotter, S. and Noel, J. (2001) The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership Powered Company.

8 disciplines of problem-solving

The 8D approach to problem-solving was developed by the Ford Motor Company to address recurrent quality problems through teamwork and team synergy on the premise that the team as a whole is smarter than the sum of the individuals. The main applications of the method were major conformance problems, customer complaints, and recurring problems or issues. The 8D method plays a key role in continuous improvement cultures. 

The 8 steps (disciplines) in the process are: 

1. Establish the team that is cross-functional, well led, with the competence and authority to not only solve the problem but also to implement solutions.
2. Describe the problem in measurable terms, using 5W2H
3. Implement and verify interim containment actions
4. Identify and verify root causes including the system that led to the problem as well as the system that prevented detection
5. Choose and verify corrective actions
6. Implement and validate permanent corrective actions
7. Prevent occurrence
8. Congratulate the team 

The method can be time-consuming and requires formal training in a range of techniques. 

Source: Rambaud, L. (2001) 8D Structured Problem-Solving.

5W2H analysis

A technique for describing a problem in specific, quantifiable terms.

1. Who?
2. What?
3. When?
4. Where?
5. Why?
6. How?
7. How many? 

Source: Unknown (Happy to acknowledge)

5 Ps of strategic quality mangement

The model requires the alignment of 5 variables to ensure effectiveness in strategic management, quality, organisational assessment, and change management. Failure to align any one of the variables undermines the enterprise and also causes feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction among employees. 

The 5 Ps are: 

1. Purpose
2. Principles
3. Processes
4. People
5. Performance 

Source: Pryor, M.G., White, J. C. & Toombs, L.A. (1998) Strategic Quality Management: A Strategic Systems Approach to Continuous Improvement.

4 trajectories of industry change

McGahan’s research suggests that industries evolve as a result of two types of threats of obsolescence:

1. A threat to the core activities of an industry
2. A Threat to the core assets of the industry 

As a result of the combination of these two types of threat industries move along one of four trajectories of change: 

1. Radically when core activities and core assets are both threatened
2. Progressive when neither core activities or core assets are threatened
3. Creative when core assets are under threat but core activities are stable
4. Intermediating when core activities are threatened while core assets retain their capacity to create value. 

For each of these trajectories, which can unfold over decades, the author offers practical advice. She argues that it is pointless to fight against these trajectories. It is wiser to reconfigure the organisation in the light of the changes to the business environment rather than to try to be strategic within an unchanging framework. 

See also
5 certainties for the 21st century (Drucker) 

10 things Google have found to be true 
10 golden rules for the new economy (Kelly) 

10 mega-trends (Naisbitt) 

12 principles of the network economy (Kelly)

Source: McGahan, A.M. (2004) Trajectories of industry change. Harvard Business review, October.

7 classes of strategic risk

SRM is a systematic technique for managing strategic risk defined as the external events and trends that can threaten a company’s growth and its shareholder value. 

There are seven classes of strategic risk: 

1. Industry, including margin squeeze, overcapacity, deregulation, and volatility.
2. Technology, including patent expiry and technology shifts
3. Brand, including erosion and brand collapse
4. Competitor including emerging rivals, and market share losses
5. Customer including customer power and customer dependence
6. Project failure, e.g. R&D, IT, M&A
7. Stagnation, e.g. weak pipeline, declining volume

Source: Harvard Business Review, April 2005

6 drivers of the corporate reputation quotient (CRQ)

The CRQ is based on the perceptions of various stakeholders. The six main drivers of the CRQ are: 

1.  Emotional appeal, e.g. admire and respect the company
2.  Products and services, e.g. offers high quality goods and services
3.  Vision and leadership, e.g. excellent leadership
4.  Workplace environment, e.g. appears a good company to work for
5.  Financial Performance, e.g. history of profitability
6.  Social responsibility, e.g. environmentally responsible 

There are 20 sub-headings in all. 

Source: Harris and Fombrun

4 disciplines of sustainable growth

As part of their philosophy of the strengths-based organisation, the Gallup organisation offers these 4 disciplines to help those who wish to go down this path to organise their efforts. The achievement of a strengths-based organisation requires leadership from the top, the right metrics, the right tools, systematic education for all managers and employees, and constant vigilance. The metrics, tools and education are all on offer from Gallup. 

The four disciplines are: 

1. Hold all employees accountable for their local performance outcomes.

2. Teach all employees to identify, deploy, and develop their strengths.

3. Align all performance appraisal and review systems around identifying, deploying, and developing employee strengths.

4. Design and build each role to create world-class performers in the role.
See also Gallup’s 3 dials of the individual performance dashboard

3 dials of the individual performance dashboard

As part of their philosophy of the strengths-based organisation, the Gallup organisation offers 3 dials for perfect performance management. 

1. Measure the person’s business performance.
2. Measure how engaged the employees in each workgroup are.
3. Measure customer engagement. 

The argument is that these three dials will ensure your organisation holds each employee accountable for engaging employees and engaging customers, whilst not falling into the trap of specifying exactly how this should be done. 

See also Gallup’s 4 disciplines of sustainable growth


6 categories of career

Psychologist John Holland proposed that all careers can be classified into 6 broad categories. He also argued that people will be most successful in occupations that suit their personality characteristics, partly because they will be most satisfied with a choice of career that suits their personalities, in addition to economic, material and status considerations. 

The six broad career categories are: 

1. Realistic careers (airline pilots, mechanical engineers, carpenters) appeal to people who like to see the concrete outcome of their efforts. They are hands-on, practical and applied. 

2. Investigative careers (surgeon, veterinarian, economist, psychiatrist) appeal to people who enjoy analysing information and coming up with solutions to problems. They are interested in science and deduction. 

3. Artistic careers (architect, composer, dancer) appeal to people who need a creative outlet for their abilities. They prefer flexible schedules and variety. 

4. Social occupations (athletes, occupational psychologists, political scientists0 attract people who are interested in teaching or helping others. They prefer jobs where they interact with others. 

5. Enterprising occupations (real estate agent, manager, teacher, lawyer) appeal to people who like a changing work environment that offers opportunities for growth and reward.
6. Conventional careers (programmer, accountant) appeal to people who enjoy analysing and managing data. 

Holland had a major impact on modern vocational interest inventories.

Source: Holland, J. (1985) Making Vocational Choices: A theory of Personality and Work Environments. Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ

50 top business intellectuals

In 2002, consulting firm Accenture compiled a list of the top 50 business intellectuals.  

They started with a list of 300 names brainstormed by their staff, and from this they found the top 50 by summing each name’s rankings from their Google hits, their rankings on LexisNexis media databases to 1997, and citations found in the Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index to 1997. 

Many of them, but not all, can be searched on Useful Numbers for Managers. 

The Accenture 2002 list is: 

1. Michael E. Porter
2. Tom Peters
3. Robert Reich
4. Peter Drucker 
5. Peter Senge 
6. Gary S. Becker
7. Gary Hamel
8. Alvin Toffler 
9. Hal Varian
10.Daniel Goleman
11. Rosabeth Moss Kanter
12. Ronald Coase
13. Lester Thurow
14. Charles Handy 
15. Henry Mintzberg 
16. Michael Hammer
17. Stephen Covey
18. Warren Bennis
19. Bill Gates
20. Andrew Koski
21. Philip Kotler
22. Robert C. Merton
23. C. K. Prahalad
24. Thomas H. Davenport
25. Don Tapscott
26. John Seely Brown
27. George Gilder
28. Kevin Kelly
29.Chris Argyris
30. Robert Kaplan
31. Esther Dyson
32. Edward de Bono
33.Jack Welch
34. John Kotter
35. Ken Blanchard 
36. Michael Bilderback
37. Kenichi Ohmae
38. Alfred D. Chandler
39. James MacGregor Burns
40. Sumantra Ghoshal
41. Edgar Schein
42. Myron S. Scholes
43. James March
44.Richard Branson
45. Anthony Robbins
46. Clayton Christensen
47. Michael Dell
48. John Naisbitt
49. David Teece
50. Don Peppers

Source: Accenture (2002) 

Search the Theme: Management theory

7 Ps of extended marketing mix

The traditional 4 Ps of marketing mix have been extended to embrace the needs of service industries and the knowledge economy. 

The additional 3 Ps are: 

1. People, i.e. everyone directly or indirectly involved in the consumption of a service 

2. Processes, by which the service is consumed 

3. Physical evidence of the environment in which the service is delivered and consumed 

See also 4 Ps of marketing mix and 5 Cs of marketing success

Source: Attributed to Booms and Bitner.

5 foundations of Kaizen

Kaizen is a core concept in the Japanese philosophy of total quality management (TQM).  It refers to continuous incremental improvement. 

The 5 foundations are: 

1. Teamwork
2. Personal discipline
3. Morale
4. Quality circles
5. Suggestions for improvement 

The 5 foundations give rise to the three key factors in Kaizen: 

1. Elimination of waste
2. The 5 S framework for good housekeeping
3. Standardisation 

See also
Deming’s 14 points, 14 Principles of Toyota6 Sigma

3 types of authority

According to German sociologist max Weber there are essentially 3 kinds of authority. 

They are: 

1. Charismatic domination (familial and religious)
2. Feudal/traditional (patriarchal, patrimonial)
3. Legal domination (modern law and state bureaucracy)

The three types are hierarchical in the development of modern states one leading on to the next. Weber saw charismatic power as resting on devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual person, and of the normative patterns or order revealed or ordained by him. 

At a personal level charismatic authority can stem from what Weber saw as personal charm or the strength of individual personality. Instead of influencing others by means of authority or tradition, the charismatic leader persuades others to believe in them, almost as a matter of faith. 

Much has since been written on the subject of charismatic leadership. 

Source: Weber, M.  Chapter: "The Nature of Charismatic Authority and its Routinization" in Theory of Social and Economic Organization, 1947.

5 enablers of business excellence

Based on the US Baldridge Quality awards model, the European Foundation For Quality Management model has 5 categories of Enabler (what an organisation does) and 4 categories of Results (what an organisation achieves) all of which must score above a certain level to achieve the EFQM Award for Excellence. 

The 5 enablers of business excellence are

1. Leadership – visionary and inspirational leadership, coupled with constancy of purpose 

2. People – maximising the contribution of employees through involvement and development 

3. Policy and Strategy – to ensure success 

4. Partnership and Suppliers – through the development and maintaining of value-adding partnerships 

5. Processes – management through a set of inter-related and inter-dependent systems, processes and facts. 

The 4 results categories are all measured by defined indices: 

1. People results

2. Customer results

3. Society results

4. Key Performance Results 

The EFQM Model is one of the most widely used organisational frameworks in Europe. 

See also 5 foundations of Kaizen, and Toyota's 14 management principles.


Rule of 3

The Rule of Three holds that three big companies will evolve/adapt to dominate any industry or market. Other companies become niche players or eventually fail through trying to be both generalist and specialist in the market. 

Based on their extensive research and case studies of hundreds of companies, the authors argue that most markets resemble a shopping mall with speciality shops anchored by large companies. This has implications corporate strategy development. 

See also Porter's 5 factors for competitive advantage 

Source: Sheth, J, N. & Sisodia, R. S. (2002) The Rule of Three: Why Only Three Major Competitors Will Survive in Any Market. Free Press.

12 elements of great managing

Based on Gallup’s ten million workplace interviews in 114 countries in 41 languages, reputedly the largest worldwide study of employee engagement, the authors present 12 ways to inspire, excite, motivate, and drive teams to endlessly superior performance. 

The 12 elements are integrated within a framework of recent developments in neuroscience, game theory, psychology, sociology and economics. 

The book purports to explain what every company needs to know about creating and sustaining employees engagement. 

The 12 elements of great managing are: 

1. Knowing what is expected of you at work
2. Having the right materials and equipment to do the job correctly
3. Having the opportunity to play to one’s strengths on an daily basis
4. Receiving regular and frequent recognition or praise for doing good work
5. Being cared about as a person ay work
6. Encouraging personal development
7. Being listened to
8. The company makes me feel my job is important
9. Feeling committed to doing quality work
10. Having friendship patterns at work
11. Regularly receiving feedback and support for good job performance
12. Regularly having opportunities for personal growth and development. 

These twelve elements parallel the Gallup Q12 surveys that have been running since1993 that form the basis of Gallup’s consultancy work on employee engagement. 

How could it be possible that so much data and so much systematic analysis could result in anything other than universal truths?
The risk lies in averaging across too many cultural traditions and too many varied contexts. The outcome might be the highest common factor which is too general to be helpful in a given context, or the lowest common denominator which does not tell us anything we did not know before. 

Nonetheless, the sheer size of the database is awesome but awe is not the same as validity or truth. The proof of the pudding lies in the tested applicability and systematic evaluation of the value of the 12 elements in use. 

Source: Wagner, R. & Harter, J. K. (2006) 12 Elements of Great managing. New York: Gallup

34 themes of personal strength

Gallup Consulting’s online StrengthsFinder test has 34 themes. The themes were derived from an analysis of two million interviews. A theme is a natural way of thinking, feeling or behaving. 

According to the authors this is the same thing as a talent. A talent becomes a strength when time has been invested practicing, developing skills and building a knowledge-base. The StrengthsFinder questionnaire is part of Gallup’s work on employee engagement, and is integral to their philosophy of playing to individual strengths rather than focusing too much on weaknesses within a one-size-fits-all competency framework for any given role. 

The book and the associated questionnaire has become astonishingly popular within a very short period of time, perhaps in part because it is a good-news-only approach to assessment. StrengthsFinder 2.0 was launched in 2007. It is not really clear whether StrengthsFinder is measuring personality of profiling human abilities and aspirations, though there is clearly an overlap in reality. 

The 34 themes are: 

1. Achiever
2. Activator
3. Adaptability
4. Analytical
5. Arranger
6. Belief
7. Command
8. Communication
9. Competition
10. Connectedness
11. Consistency
12. Context
13. Deliberative
14. Developer
15. Discipline
16. Empathy
17. Focus
18. Futuristic
19. Harmony
20. Ideation
21. Include
22. Individualisation
23. Input
24. Intellection
25. Learner
26. Maximiser
27. Positivity
28. Relator
29. Responsibility
30. Restorative
31. Self-assurance
32. Significance
33. Strategic
34. Woo 

Some of these labels are self-explanatory and others definitely are not. Both the book and the website provide as many as ten practical suggestions for turning each talent into strengths. 

One can only wonder at the possible permutations of the top 5 strengths for any one individual. The book does not provide any insight to the possible implications of the interactions between any top 5 talents, nor to the possibility that the strengths in a given individual could be at an extreme level or are lopsided resulting in an unbalanced, and possibly dysfunctional individual. 

Strengths management is a major part of Gallup Consulting’s organisational work but StrengthsFinder is also very appealing to the general public as it is available online with each copy of the book which has been in the bestseller lists since it was first published. The desire to find the key to success is very strong. 

Source: Buckingham, M. & Clifton, D. O. (2001) Now Discover Your Strengths: How to Develop Your Talents and Those of the People You Manage.  Gallup Organisation.

12 principles for innovation for Bottom of Pyramid markets

The Bottom of the Pyramid refers to the two-thirds of the world’s population living at or near the poverty line. Prahalad argued for a mindset change from seeing these people as in need of help and hand-outs to seeing them as resourceful potential consumers with tremendous opportunities available to them. He sees the four billion people as the engine for the next round of global trade and prosperity. 

A new way of collaborative working between big corporations and civil authorities is needed to overcome poverty through the creation of millions of entrepreneurs and their consumers at the grass roots level.
His 12 principles for innovation in this market are: 

1. Focus on quantum leaps in price performance
2. Hybrid solutions blending old and new technologies
3. Scalable and transportable operations across countries, cultures, and languages
4. Reduced resource intensity through eco-friendly products
5. Radical product redesign from the beginning as marginal changes to existing western products will not work
6. Creation of logistical and manufacturing infrastructure
7. Deskilling services work
8. Educate semi-literate customers in product usage
9. Products must be able to work in difficult environments including, noise, dust, abuse, electricity blackouts, water pollution
10. Adaptable user interface to heterogeneous consumer base
11. Distribution methods designed to reach both highly dispersed rural markets and highly dense urban markets
12. Focus on broad architecture to enable quick and easy incorporation of new ideas 

Source: Prahalad, C. K. (2004) The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits. Wharton School Publishing.

4 perspectives of the Balanced Scorecard

The Balanced Scorecard method and philosophy helps breaks free from too much exclusive focus on the contribution of financial performance to organisational success. Financial measures have traditionally been backward looking reflecting past performance and thus provide little indication for the future, and may not even reflect current performance. In addition, financial measures tend to reflect tangible assets and therefore may underestimate true market value.
Kaplan and Norton’s powerful innovation was to develop a simple but effective method for re-dressing the imbalance in measures of organisational performance
They argued that three additional sets of measure were needed, which with Financial perspective, make the four perspectives of the balanced scorecard:

1. Financial perspective. In addition to the traditional measures and indices, the authors argue for additional finance related data including risk-analysis and cost-benefit analysis. 

2. Customer perspective. This includes customer satisfaction as an indicator of both loyalty and also possible future decline. Customers also need to be analysed in term of categories, processes and services.
3. Business Process perspective. This refers to internal business processes as indicators of how well the business is running and the match to customer requirements. 

4. Learning and Growth perspective. This perspective captures the human capital in terms of both training and also learning, and the readiness to keep pace with constant and rapid change. 

For each perspective in the Scorecard four things are scored: 

1. Objectives to be achieved 

2. Measures (or parameters) to be to be observed and recorded 

3. Targets to be achieved 

4. Initiatives to be taken to meet the objectives. 

The integration of the four perspectives into a graphical summary made the balanced scorecard very successful as a management method. 

See also the 5 enablers of the European Foundation for Quality Management 
Source: Kaplan, R. S. & Norton, D. P. (1996) The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action. Harvard Business School Press.

18 challenges of leadership

This highly practical book enables the reader to self-manage personal growth in relation to key leadership challenges that are currently of concern. There is a strong focus on assessment against each challenged, coupled with practical guidance on the actions that can be taken. 

In effect, this book enables the reader to self-coach in a structured and orderly manner the hard as well as the so-called soft skills of being an effective leader. 

The 18 challenges make interesting reading as a list: 

1. The Proactive Challenge – learning to write the story
2. The Influence Challenge – making a clear impact
3. The reality Challenge – understanding where you are
4. The Vision Challenge –Creating and engaging picture of the future
5. The Strategy Challenge – defining a path to the future
6. The Wisdom Challenge –applying your learning from experience
7. The Insight Challenge – seeing beyond the obvious
8. The Confidence Challenge - developing self-belief
9. The Internal Compass Challenge – lead yourself so that you can lead others
10. The ’ Bigger and Bigger Challenge’ Challenge – Continuously growing your skills base
11. The Vertigo Challenge – moving on from being stuck.
12. The ‘Managing the Tension Between Holding on and Letting go’ Challenge – the art of delegation
13. The Life and Career Transition Challenge – change across the whole lifespan
14. The Loneliness Challenge –creating networks to maintain integrity
15. The Personality Challenge – understanding your impact on others
16. The Pathology Challenge – managing the effects of your blind spots
17. The Confusion- Complexity-Chaos Challenge - performing through complexity
18. The Work-Life Balance Challenge –getting results whilst living a satisfying life 

See also Kanter's 6 certainties; Lencioni's 5 temptations; Stewart's 9 dillemmasKouzes & Posner's 10 commitments of leadership 

Source: Waldock, T & Kelly-Rawat, S. (2004) The 18 Challenges of Leadership: A Practical, Structured Way to Develop Your leadership Talent. Pearson Business.

6 criteria for personal maturity

Gordon Allport was one of the pioneers of American personality theory with a seminal work on the subject published in the late Thirties. He is often referred to as the founder of the trait theory of personality. One of his concerns was the definition of maturity as the basis of psychological adjustment. He made extensive studies of maturity.

On the basis of his review of the published literature, he identified 6 criteria for as the basis of maturity. They are: 

1. Extension of the sense of self. Mature people care about other people as much as they care about themselves. Immature people are self-absorbed and ego-centric. 

2. Warm relating of self to others. Mature people can be intimately involved with others without being possessive or jealous or controlling. They accept people for who they are. 

3. Emotional security. Mature people can control their appetites. They have a sense of proportion. Immature people seem at the mercy of their drives, desires and appetites. They over-react to threats and disappointments. 

4. Realistic perception of skills. Immature people pursue goals that are unrealistic relative to their talents and see the world in self-seeking ways. Mature people are more accurate in their appraisal of others and also their own strengths and limitations. 

5. Self-insight.  Mature people see themselves more or less as others see them whereas immature people and also have a sense of humour. 

6. A unifying philosophy of life. This is a clear sense of what life is all about. It could be religious but need not be as a commitment to a cause, a quest, a search or a goal will serve the same need. Having something to live for beyond themselves is a key to possessing maturity according to Allport. 

See also: 

Covey’s 7 habits; Covey’s 8th habit; and Charan’s 8 know-how skills for personal effectiveness 

Source: Allport, G. W. (1961) Pattern and Growth in Personality. Holt, Rhinehart & Winston.

6 root ideas of personality theory

In their systematic review of personality theory from it beginning in the 19th century to the present day, the authors argues that any theory of needs to provide description and/or explanation under six brad headings. 

They are: 

1. Motivation. This covers explanations of why people act as they do. The heading covers both biological/physiological drives, needs, urges as well as more mental or psychological aspects such as values, expectations, preferences and goals. 

2. Personality development. This heading covers how personality evolves or develops over time and the effects of earlier factors on later manifestations. 

3. Self-knowledge. This heading refers to how we have a sense of self and identity, and the relationship between real and ideal self-images. 

4. Unconscious processes. Only a small part of the brain’s activity is conscious at any one time and much of it never comes into consciousness. The effect of unconscious and/or unknowable processes on our personality is a critical component of any personality theory. 

5. Psychological adjustment. A theory of personality needs to cover both mature behaviour and functioning but also to explain breakdown and neurosis. 

6. The individual and society. A theory needs to address the fact that as individuals we develop and function in a social context. Culture and socialisation are key components in a theory of personality. 

Source: Hogan, R. & Smither, R. (2001) Personality: Theories and Applications. Westview

4 modes of knowledge conversion

The SECI model is part of the author’s description of the knowledge creating process, as it applies to Japanese companies where there is a tradition of lifelong employees. Knowledge creation and transformation into knowledge assets becomes part of the culture of the organisation through a managed process of dynamic interaction between tacit and explicit knowledge. 

The 4 modes of knowledge conversion are: 

1. Socialisation: Tacit knowledge is shared through face-to-face communication or shared experience.

2. Externalisation: Concepts are developed which capture the combined tacit knowledge which can then be communicated.

3. Combination: Various elements are combined into explicit knowledge of the organisation.

4. Internalisation: The explicit knowledge becomes part of the individual’s explicit knowledge base and becomes an asset for the organisation.

The author’s see knowledge creation and the transformation into organisational assets as a continuously expanding spiral which create further spirals. 

Source: Nonaka, I. & Takeuchi, H. (1995) The Knowledge-Creating Company; How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation. Oxford University Press.

6 leadership styles

As part of his ongoing discourses on emotional intelligence, Goleman and his co-authors argue that the most effective leaders can operate comfortably across a range of six leadership styles depending on the needs of the situation. 

Less effective leaders do possess the range of styles and as a result will apply inappropriate styles that will result in negative outcomes because resonance has not been established with those they are leading. 

The six leadership styles are:

1. Visionary leadership: People are moved towards shared dreams that inspire them. The style is empathetic and is most appropriate when a new vision or a clear change of direction is needed. 

2. Coaching style: people’s competence and confidence is built by a supporting and listening style. Congruency between individual and organisational goals is established. Helps to build longer-term capabilities within an existing framework. 

3. Affiliative leadership: The focus is on harmony, morale and conflict resolution. This approach is useful to heal rifts, motivate during difficult times or to strengthen connections. 

4. Democratic leadership: Good listening skills are combined with effective team working to produce a strong collaborative mode of working. A participative style helps achieve consensus and encourages individual input. 

5. Pacesetting leadership: A strong urge to achieve and high aspirations is often coupled with a lack of empathy and collaboration. The style is often numbers-driven and micro-managing. Works well when the team is already highly-motivated and competent to achieve the goals. 

6. Commanding leadership: This traditional command and control leadership with an emphasis on threatening, conflict-driven, and intimidating behaviour. Can work in a crisis or as first steps in an organisational turnaround. 

Source: Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R., & McKee, A. (2002) Primal Leadership. Harvard Business School Press.

8 ages of life

Eric Erikson further developed orthodox psycho-analytical theory by showing the link between psychological and biological development and the demands of socialisation.

He identified “Eight Ages of Man”.
They are:

1. Basic Trust v. Basic Mistrust (from birth to one year).
2. Autonomy v. Shame and Doubt (from one to three years).
3. Initiative v. Guilt (from three to five years).
4. Industry v. Inferiority (from six to sixteen years).
5. Identity v. Identity Confusion (sixteen to twenty years.
6. Intimacy v. Isolation (twenty to thirty years)
7. Generativity v. Stagnation (thirty to sixty years).
8. Integrity v. Despair and Disgust (sixty-five years and beyond)

See also Shakespeare’s 7 ages of man

Source: Erikson, E. H. (1968) Identity, Youth, and Crisis. New York: Norton

8 know-how skills for effective leadership

Charan focuses on eight specific practical skills, which if mastered, he claims will bring organisational success. The eights skills are based on Charan’s extensive experience as an organisational consultant.

If only it were so simple but nonetheless this is an interesting variation on a well-worn theme in management, as well as personal effectiveness, literature. There is a strong theme of emotional intelligence and business organisation skills.

The eight know-how skills are:

1. Positioning and Re-Positioning: Formulating a clear central idea that chimes with your customers’ desires and allows the business to be profitable.

2. Pinpointing External Change: Anticipating and reacting to constantly changing patterns in the external environment.

3. Leading the Social System: Shaping the workplace environment so that people can pull together and make better, faster decisions and achieve business results.

4. Judging People: Calibrating people based on their actions, decisions, and behaviours and matching them to the non-negotiables of the job.

5. Moulding a Team: Getting highly competent, high-ego leaders to co-ordinate seamlessly.

6. Setting Goals: Determining the set of goals that balances what the business can become with what is can realistically achieve.

7. Setting Laser-Sharp Priorities: Defining the path and aligning resources, actions, and energy to accomplish the goals.

8. Dealing With Forces Beyond the Market: Anticipating and responding to societal pressures that cannot be controlled but can affect the business.

In addition to these essential skills, Charan also recognises the critical role of six personal attributes:

1. Ambition
2. Drive and Tenacity
3. Self-Confidence
4. Psychological Openness
5. Realism
6. Appetite for Learning

and three cognitive abilities:

1. A wide range of altitudes (from conceptual to the specific)
2. Broad cognitive bandwidth, and
3. Ability to re-frame.

See also:

3 Ps of leadership (Maurik) id 96
4 competencies of great leaders (Bennis) id 108
4 emotional skills of leadership (Caruso & Salovey) id115
4 obsessions of an extraordinary CEO (Lencioni) id 122
5 successful leadership practices 
5 temptations of a CEO (Lencioni)
6 certainties for a CEO (Kanter)
6 dimensions of leadership (Brown)
6 principles of leadership (Bennis)
6 passages of leadership Charan
7 elements of leadership style
7 functions of a strategic leader (Adair)
7 mega-skills of future-orientated leaders (Nanus)
7 failings of really useless leaders (Sonsino)
8 characteristics of principle-centered leaders (Covey)
9 dilemmas leaders face (Stewart)
10 traits of dynamic leaders (Bennis)
10 commitments of leaders (Kouzes)
10 good soldiers wisely led (Euripides)
11 leadership principles (Marine Corps)
11 principles of leadership (General Patton)
18 challenges of leadership (Waldock)
29 secrets from Jack Welch (Slater)

Source: Charan, R. (2007) Know-How: The Eight Skills That Separate People Who Perform from those who Don’t. Random House Business Books.

4 domains of emotional intelligence

Goleman developed his thinking on the back of Salovey & Mayer’s earlier work on emotional intelligence, which was also influenced by Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. (See Gardner’s 7 intelligences.)

The four domains are:

1. Self-awareness: Emotional self-awareness, accurate self-awareness and self-confidence. 

2. Self-management: this includes emotional self-control, transparency or trustworthiness, adaptability, achievement orientation, initiative and optimism. 

3. Social awareness: This includes empathy, organisational awareness, and service orientation. 

4. Relationship management: This includes inspiration, influence, development of others, change and conflict management, bonding, and teamwork.)

The four domains sub-divide into 19 categories. According to Goleman, these are learnable competencies rather than innate talents.

See also Goleman’s 6 leadership styles.

Source: Goleman, D. (2002) Primal Scream.

4 behaviours of transformational leaders

True transformational (as opposed to transactional) leaders display 4 typical behaviours, according to Bass.

They are:

1. Idealised influence: These are  leaders who have high standards of moral and ethical conduct, who are held in high personal regard, and who engender loyalty.  They choose to do what is right rather than what is simple or expedient.  Their consistencey and predictability engenders mutual trusta nd respect.

2. Inspirational motivation: These leaders have a strong vision for the future based on values and ideals. They stimulate enthusiasm, build confidence, and inspire others through their actions and their language.  They challenge employees to be their very best and that they can can perfrom beyond expectations.  feelings of self-confidence, and self-efficacy are engendered.

Idealised influence and inspirational motivation together can be experienced as charisma.

3. Intellectual stimulation: These leaders challenge organisational norms, encourage divergent thinking, and push for innovation.   Employees are encoraged to think for themselves, to challenge cherished assumptions, and toi think about old problems in new ways. This promotes employee growth and personal development.

4. Individual consideration: These leadership behaviours are aimed at recognising the unique and developmental needs of followers, combined with coaching and consultation.   They listen and demonstrate empathy and provide personalsied social support.

Not only is superior performance achieved but also positive morale.

Search the Theme: Leadership
Source: Bass, B. M. (1993) Transformational Leadership.  Lawrence Earlbaum.

8 leadership roles

Based on a literature review and their model of the Competing Values Framework, the authors identify 8 leadership roles:

They are:

1. Mentor role (high flexibility, internal focus)
2. Facilitator role (lower flexibility, stronger internal focus)
3. Innovator role (high flexibility, high external focus)
4. Broker role (high flexibility, stronger external focus)
5. Producer role (moderate control, external focus)
6. Director role (high control, external focus)
7. Coordinator role (high control, moderate internal focus)
8. Monitor role (high internal focus, moderate control)

The Competing Values Framework is based on two dimensions:

1. Organisational focus from internal pre-occupation to external
2. Organisational preference for structure versus flexibility and change.

Source: Quinn, R. (1998)

3 signs of a miserable job

The latest in the line of short, parable-based and practical books from Patrick Lencioni, that started with The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, is entitled The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, and is subtitled as a fable for managers (and their employees). 

Lencioni argues that the three underlying factors that will make a job miserable apply to virtually all jobs regardless of the nature of the work being done. He argues that they are easy to detect but rarely addressed in organisations. 

The three signs are: 

1. Anonymity. People feel that they are not recognised, understood or appreciated as the unique human beings they feel themselves to be. Hence they cannot feel fulfilled at work and cannot give of their best.

2. Irrelevance. People want to believe that their work matters. Without seeing this connection people, Lencioni argues, will not find lasting fulfilment, even those who are cynically minded and seek only to please the boss.

3. Immeasurement. People need to be able to gauge how they are doing and whether they are making progress. This needs to be based on some form of measurement or evidence and not just subjective opinions. Without some means of assessing success or failure, lencioni argues that motivation declines in part because people have little or no control over their fate. 
The three factors combine and interact to make a job miserable.

As with his other books, this one is full of stories, case studies, tools, and much practical guidance. 

See also Kanter’s 3 Ms which approaches the issue from a positive viewpoint, viz. commitment.

Source: Lencioni, P. (2007) The Three Signs of a Miserable Job. San Francisco: Wiley.

6 steps to achieve outstanding performance

Another salvo from the strengths-not-weaknesses movement, this time in the form of a practical manual to guide readers to harness their strengths rather than fretting about their weaknesses. Claiming to be in a tradition that can trace its roots to Drucker (The Effective Executive), Cooperider (appreciative inquiry), and Seligman’s provocative claim that psychology was “half-baked”, and drawing on his lengthy involvement with Gallup and employee engagement, Buckingham has produced the how-to manual for finding and harnessing your strengths. 

This book defines what strengths really are, and helps you identify them. The book then guides the reader through a six-step, six-week programme that is designed to push the reader towards their true strengths at work. This is a self-help book that purports to help the reader “seize control over your assets”. The book, according to the author, offers a fifteen minute weekly ritual “that will keep you on the strengths path your entire career”. 

The six steps are: 

1. Bust the myths: So what’s stopping you?
2. Get clear: Do you know what your strengths are?
3. Free your strengths: How do you make the most of what strengthens you?
4. Stop your weaknesses: How can you cut out what weakens you?
5. Speak up: How do you create strong teams
6. Build strong habits: How can you make this last for ever? 

See Buckingham and Clifton's 34 themes of personal strength
Are we seeing the passing of the crown from Covey to Buckingham? 

Source: Buckingham, M. (2007) Go Put Your Strengths to Work. New York: Free Press.

3 modes of representation

Jerome Bruner is an eminent and influential pioneer of cognitive and educational psychology. In his research on child development he postulated three modes of representation which did follow the delineated cognitive stages made famous Piaget. Instead he argufied that the three modes were only loosely sequential and were interrelated and became integrated. 

The three modes are: 

1. Enactive representation which is action-based 

2. Iconic representation which is image-based. 

3. Symbolic representation which is language-based. 

Although there is a child development sequence culminating in the symbolic mode, Bruner argues that when faced with new material it is helpful for adult learners to progress through the modes from enactive, through iconic, to symbolic representation. Bruner also argues that almost anything can be learned so long as the instruction is organised appropriately. 

Source:  Bruner, J. S. (1966) Toward a Theory of Instruction.

3 gigantic personality dimensions

This term is used in contrast to the Big Five personality dimensions

The Gigantic Three are the temperaments systematically investigated by H.J. Eysenck from the late Forties right up to the Eighties. He argued that all three were biologically determined though environmental factors do play a part. They are: 

1. Extraversion
2. Neuroticism
3. Psychotism 

Initially, Eysenck's results suggested two main personality factors. The first factor was the tendency to experience negative emotions, and Eysenck referred to it as Neuroticism. The second factor, Extraversion, was the tendency to enjoy positive events, especially social events. Psychosis is a generic psychiatric term for a mental state often described as involving a "loss of contact with reality". High levels of this trait were believed by Eysenck to be linked to increased vulnerability to psychoses such as schizophrenia. 

Source: Eysenck, H. J. & Eysenck, M. W. (1985) Personality and Individual Differences: A natural Science Approach. New York: Plenum

3 stages of helping

The 1984 edition captured the three inter-related stages as:
1. Building the helping relationship and exploration
2. New understanding and offering different perspectives
3. Action: helping the client to develop and use helping strategies 

By the 1994 edition the language had changed: 

1. Helping clients identify and clarify problem situations
2. Helping clients create a better future
3. Getting there – helping clients implement their goals 

Source: The Skilled Helper (1982, 1994)

10 things Google have found to be true

Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Google is a play on the mathematical term for a 1 followed by 100 zeros. Through technology development and a continuing focus on innovation, Google’s core mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. 

As part of its overall philosophy, the Google argues that there are 10 things it has found to be true from the inception of the business. Below is a distillation.  The full version can be found on the Google home site

1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.
Google has steadfastly refused to make any change that does not offer a benefit to the users who come to the site: 

- The interface is clear and simple. 
- Pages load instantly. 
- Placement in search results is never sold to anyone. 
- Advertising on the site must offer relevant content and not be a distraction. 

By always placing the interests of the user first, Google claims it has built the most loyal audience on the web. And that growth has come not through TV ad campaigns, but through word of mouth from one satisfied user to another. 

2. It's best to do one thing really, really well. 

Google does search. As Google continue to build new products while making search better, the hope is to bring the power of search to previously unexplored areas, and to help users access and use even more of the ever-expanding information in their lives. 

3. Fast is better than slow. 

Google believes in instant gratification. By fanatically obsessing on shaving every excess bit and byte from our pages and increasing the efficiency of our serving environment, Google has broken its own speed records time and again. And Google continues to work on making it all go even faster. 

4. Democracy on the web works. 

Google works because it relies on the millions of individuals posting links on websites to help determine which other sites offer content of value. Google assesses the importance of every web page using a variety of techniques. The technique actually improves as the web gets bigger, as each new site is another point of information and another vote to be counted. 

5. You don't need to be at your desk to need an answer. 

The world is increasingly mobile and unwilling to be constrained to a fixed location. Wherever search is likely to help users obtain the information they seek, Google is pioneering new technologies and offering new solutions. 

6. You can make money without doing evil.

Google is a business. The revenue the company generates is derived from offering its search technology to companies and from the sale of advertising displayed on Google and on other sites across the web. Google firmly believes that ads can provide useful information if, and only if, they are relevant to what you wish to find. 

7. There's always more information out there. 

Once Google had indexed more of the HTML pages on the Internet than any other search service, their engineers turned their attention to information that was not as readily accessible. Sometimes it was just a matter of integrating new databases, such as adding a phone number and address lookup and a business directory. Other efforts required a bit more creativity, like adding the ability to search billions of images and a way to view pages that were originally created as PDF files. Google's researchers continue looking into ways to bring all the world's information to users seeking answers.  

8. The need for information crosses all borders

Though Google is headquartered in California, the mission is to facilitate access to information for the entire world, so Google has offices around the globe. To that end Google maintains dozens of Internet domains and serve more than half of their results to users living outside the United States. 

9. You can be serious without a suit. 

Google's founders have often stated that the company is not serious about anything but search. They built a company around the idea that work should be challenging and the challenge should be fun. To that end, Google's culture is unlike any in corporate America, and it's not because of the ubiquitous lava lamps and large rubber balls, or the fact that the company's chef used to cook for the Grateful Dead. A highly communicative environment fosters a productivity and camaraderie fuelled by the realization that millions of people rely on Google results. Give the proper tools to a group of people who like to make a difference, and they will. 

10. Great just isn't good enough. 

Always deliver more than expected. Google does not accept being the best as an endpoint, but a starting point. Through innovation and iteration, Google takes something that works well and improves upon it in unexpected ways. Google's point of distinction however, is anticipating needs not yet articulated by our global audience, then meeting them with products and services that set new standards. This constant dissatisfaction with the way things are is ultimately the driving force behind the world's best search engine. 

See also 

4 trajectories of industry change (Mcgahan)

5 certainties for the 21st century (Drucker)
10 golden rules for the new economy (Kelly)
10 mega-trends (Naisbitt)

12 principles of the network economy (kelly)


9 natural laws of leadership

Warren Blank shifted the emphasis of attempts to understand leadership by focusing more on the relationship rather than on personal attributes, behaviours or personality characteristics. Leaders and leadership can only be understood in terms of context and relationships. He developed the concept of followership as critical to leadership. 

His nine natural laws of leadership are: 

1.  A leader has willing follower-allies.
2.  Leadership is a field of interaction.
3.  Leadership occurs as an event.
4.  Leaders use influence beyond formal authority.
5.  Leaders operate outside the boundaries of organisationally defined procedures.
6.  Leadership involves risk and uncertainty.
7.  No everyone will follow a leader’s initiative.
8.  Consciousness – information processing capacity – creates leadership.
9.  Leadership is a self-referral process. Leaders and followers process information from their own subjective, internal frame of reference. 

Source: Blank, W. (1995) The Nine Natural Laws of Leadership. New York: AMACOM

33 hypotheses why people resist change

Much has been written on why people resist change. Often these explanations are offered by the very gurus who told (and sold to) others how to manage change. Change is a complex process. There cannot be simple formulae, but that is often what is on offer. Cynicism and change weariness sets in very quickly as fads and fashions change as gurus compete to differentiate themselves and gain competitive and reputational advantage. 

O’Toole has developed perhaps the most comprehensive list of 33 reasons why people resist change.

1.  Homeostasis – change is not a natural condition
2.  Stare decisis – presumption given to the status quo with the burden of proof on change
3.  Inertia - takes considerable power to change course
4.  Satisfaction – most people like things the way they are
5.  Lack of ripeness – the preconditions for change have not been met, the time is not right
6.  Fear – people fear the unknown
7.  Self-interest – the change may be good for us but not for others
8.  Lack of self confidence – we don’t think we are up to the new challenges
9.  Future shock – overwhelmed by change, we hunker down and resist it
10.  Futility – we view all change as superficial, cosmetic, and illusory, so why bother
11.  Lack of knowledge – we don’t know what to change or how to change
12.  Human nature – human are competitive, aggressive, greedy, and selfish and lack the altruism necessary to change
13.  Cynicism – we suspect the motives of the change agent
14.  Perversity – change sounds good but we fear that the unintended consequences will be bad
15.  Individual genius v. groups mediocrity – those of us with mediocre minds cannot see the wisdom of the change
16.  Ego – the powerful refuse to admit they have been wrong
17.  Short term thinking – people cannot defer gratification
18.  Myopia – we cannot see that the change is in the broader self-interest
19.  Sleep-walking – most of us lead unexamined lives
20.  Snow-blindness – groupthink or social conformity
21.  Collective fantasy – we don’t learn from experience and view everything from pre-conceived notions
22.  Chauvinistic conditioning – we are right and they who want to change us are wrong
23.  Fallacy of the exception – the change might work elsewhere but we are different
24.  Ideology – we have different world view and inherently different values
25.  Institutionalism – individuals may change but groups do not
26.  “Natura no facit saltum” – nature does not proceed by leaps
27.  The rectitude of the powerful – who are we to question the leaders who set us on the current course
28.  “Change has no constituency” – the minority has the greater stake in maintaining the status quo than the majority has in changing
29.  Determinism – there is nothing anyone can do to bring about purposeful change
30.  Scientism – the lessons of history are scientific and therefore there is nothing to learn from them
31.  Habit
32.  The despotism of custom – the ideas of change agents are seen as reproachful to society
33.  Human mindlessness 

This list is perhaps too long and there is considerable overlap between the hypotheses. Nonetheless, it reinforces the point that people are complex, and groups of people are even more complex and more complex still when third parties are attempting to bring about change. 

See Cunningham's 20 ways to stop change happening and Pettigrew's 10 ways to discredit a specialist's report.

Source: O’Toole, J. (1996) Leading Change: The Argument for Values-Based Leadership. New York: Ballantine.

7 principles for succesfully communicating a vision

In the context of leading and managing change, Kotter enunciates seven principles for successfully communicating a vision. They are: 

1. Keep it simple
2. Use metaphors, analogies and examples
3. Use many different forms
4. Repeat, repeat, repeat
5. Walk the talk or lead by example
6. Explicitly address seeming inconsistencies
7. Listen and be listened to 

See also Kotter’s 8 critical mistakes in transforming the organisation.

Source: Kotter, J. P. (1995) Leading Change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press

10 cultural components to consider when implementing change

These need not all be addressed at the same time, but the argument is that all components are inter-related and will reinforce, or alternatively, undermine the effectiveness of the change effort.  It is a  useful, albeit rather basic framework.  By today’s standards, not enough emphasis on vision and values.

The ten cultural components are: 

1. Rules and policies
2. Goals and measurement
3. Customs and norms
4. Training
5. Ceremonies and events
6. Management behaviours
7. Reward and recognition
8. Communication
9. Physical environment
10. Organisational structure 

Source: Galpin, T. (1996) Connecting culture to organisational change. HRMagazine, March, 84-90.

7 steps of the ladder of inference

The ladder of inference is one of Chris Argyris’s simple but powerful tools for making learning processes explicit.  At each stage there is the possibility of error resulting in people jumping to conclusions.  At each stage taking time for reflection could reduce the risk of error. 

Portrayed as a ladder, the seven steps are, from the bottom: 

1. I observe data and have experiences
2. I select data from what I observe
3. I add meaning to the data
4. I make assumptions
5. I draw conclusions
6. I adopt beliefs
7. I take action based on my beliefs. 

Source: Argyris, C (1990) Overcoming Organisational Defences. Allyn & bacon

8 archetypes of systems thinking

Peter Senge’s influential book, the Fifth Discipline, made systems thinking popular, and in some cases all the rage. 

An archetype is a pattern or model from which other things derive of the same type or model. He used the eight archetypes to capture eight patterns of behaviour commonly underlying persistent problems in organisations.

 The eight archetypes were the basis of a diagnostic and problem-solving process:

1. Fixes that fail. Applying fixes to the symptoms of a problem may alleviate the problem but not address the underlying causes, and may end up exacerbating the problem. 

2. The Tragedy of the Commons. A refined expression for greed. It occurs when each individual seeks to maximise his or her benefit from a common source, everyone suffers. 

3. Escalation. This occurs where one group perceives another as a threat and raises the threat level to that groups which turn raises the level, and it spirals out of control. 

4. Shifting the burden.  This occurs when seemingly positive results follow from a short term fix, it gets used time and time again, but the long term issues are ignored, and so eventually the solutions become less effective. 

5. Limits to success. A process that leads to accelerating growth eventually yield diminishing returns and may contribute to accelerating collapse unless the approach is changed. 

6. Success to be successful. Groups or individuals that compete successfully for resources and get them and as a result succeed, undermining the chances of the non-successful groups succeeding, sometime because of a lack of resources. 

7. Drifting goals. This occurs where focus drifts from what is truly important to what is most pressing. 

8. Growth and underinvestment. This occurs where growth is reaching a natural limit without further investment in capacity. Instead of facing the reality the organisations begins to let standards slip, which results in justification of further underinvestment.  

Source: Senge, P. (1990) The Fifth Discipline.

3 leaves of the shamrock organisation

Handy used the three leaves of the shamrock to represent the three different types of people who would make up his concept of the organisation of the future. 

1. The Professional core. These are the professionals, technicians, knowledge workers and managers that are critical to the future of the organisation because they are the carriers of the knowledge that distinguishes the organisation from all others. They are more like partners than employees. 

2. Outsourced contractors. These are the consultants and specialist hired from the outside to work on specific projects or carry out work that is not critical to the organisation such as routine and operational functions. 

3. Temps and Part-timers.  These are the members of the flexible labour-market that the organisation can dip into as necessary providing rapid adaptability without longer-term commitment.
Film-production in Hollywood is held to be shamrock organisations in practice. Many organisations have outsourced but most still seem to see the value of a stable workforce. 

Source: Handy, C. (1989) The Age of Unreason.

9 intelligences

Handy asserts that there are nine different types of intelligence, all of which need to be valued. 

1. Factual. This is possessed by people who have ready access to vast array of facts. 

2. Analytical. People who thrive on solving problems, crosswords, and puzzles posses analytical intelligence to a high degree. They thrive on reducing complexity to simpler formulations. 

3. Linguistic. This is possessed that can learn several languages with relative ease. 

4. Spatial. The capacity to see patterns in things visually, numerically, etc. 

5. Musical. Some have it, many don’t. 

6. Practical. The intelligence that allows some people to take things apart and put them together again, usually unaided. 

7. Physical. Co-ordination of parts of the body to secure amazing outcomes and skill is possessed by sports people, dancers, acrobats, mime artists to a level well beyond the average person. 

8. Intuitive. The gift that some have of being able to see things that others can’t, and often cannot easily explain. 

9. Interpersonal. The skill to skilfully get things done with and through people. 

Handy’s 9 intelligences bear a remarkable similarity to Gardner’s pioneering 7 intelligences

Source: Handy, C. (1994) The Age of Paradox. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

8 point plan for new leadership roles

Adding ten days to the First 90 days, made famous by Michael Watkins, the authors argue that the first 100 days in a new job is a “temporary state of incompetence” where the stakes are high and there is everything to play for.  The 8-point plan is designed to help you succeed in a new position by drafting a 100-day for yourself in a new leadership role.

The research underlying the effectiveness of the 8 steps is described in only very general terms making it difficult to assess. There appears to be nothing new in this book but it is accessibly presented without jargon, theory or complicated ideas.

If nothing else the 8 steps have a common-sense appeal and could make a difference if pursued with conviction. Maybe other steps pursued with intelligence and conviction could also be effective, but that is not the point at issue. If it makes sense to you and it seems to work, then it works. What you wont know is whether another approached would work better or it would still work under different conditions.

The 8 points are:

1. Prepare yourself during the countdown period
2. Set and align expectations
3. Shape your management team
4. Create a strategic agenda
5. Start transforming the corporate culture
6. Establish a productive working relationship with your boss (es)
7. Communicate well
8. Avoid common pitfalls such as posing as a saviour, moving too fast. (See the 10 top traps for new Leaders.)

Source: Neff, T. J. & Citrin J. M. (2005) You’re in Charge – NOW What? The 8 Point Plan. New York: Three Rivers Press

10 top traps for new leaders

As part of their 8 point plan for new for the first 100 days in a new role, the authors identify 10 common traps for new leaders.

They are:

1.  Setting unrealistic expectations
2.  Making rash decisions or succumbing to analysis paralysis
3.  Being a know-it-all
4.  Failing to let go of your past identity
5.  Sporting the Emperor’s New Clothes
6.  Stifling dissent
7.  Succumbing to the Saviour syndrome
8.  Misreading the rue sources of power
9.  Picking the wrong battles
10. “Dissing” your predecessor

There is definitely a home-spun, common sense flavour to this list, even though it is based on loosely described research by the authors. Still, a useful list.

Source: Neff, T. J. & Citrin J. M. (2005) You’re in Charge – NOW What? The 8 Point Plan. New York: Three Rivers Press

5 patterns of extraordinary careers

This book is less to do with leadership per se than with the managing your career to help you get to the top in today’s less predictable world. The research is based on a sample of 1000 members extracted from Spencer Stuart’s executive database, QuestNT containing over 1.2 million members. The survey results are at

Focussing on a selection of high profile success stories and a great deal of anecdotal information, the authors structure the book around the five pattern they identified from the survey results.

They are:

1.  Understand your value and how value is created in the workplace, translating that knowledge into action that progressively contributes to your personal value.

2.  Practice benevolent leadership that carries you to the top so you don’t have to claw your way there.

3.  Overcome the permission paradox that the authors see as the one of the great catch-22s of business, viz. you cannot get the job without experience and cannot get the experience without the job.

4.  Use the 80/20 principle of performance to achieve superior performance, break-through ideas and deliver unexpected impact.

5.  Find the right fit for your strengths, passions, and people with the long term in mind on the principle that bird of a feather flock together.

Interesting, but not exactly surprising, conclusions. It would be fascinating to see in years to come, how many people by following the advice in this book achieve extraordinary careers, compared to people with similar qualities who did not. Somehow, I don’t think this conclusive research which be done, The book sells on the plausibility of the advice given.

Source: Citrin, J. M & Smith, R. A. (2003) The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers.  New York: Crown Business

10 steps to thinking on your feet

This book is part of a series of basic-level self-help at work books called Career Makers.  There is no research base or any accreditation or citation of sources of ideas presented in the book.  All the advice is presented as self-evident and valid. T

The title of the book, Thinking on Your Feet, is misleading as the book is really about how to improve decision-making and problem-solving which is quite different from thinking quickly and effectively on your feet.

The “Steps” do not appear to be steps as they do not need to be performed in a predetermined sequence in order to be effective, though some of them form a logical sequence in increasing your competence to make decisions as opposed to making better decisions.
The ten steps, or rather chapter headings, are

1.  Understanding decision-making and problem-solving
2.  Assessing your decision-making style
3.  Problem-solving techniques
4.  Handling risks
5.  Using the right information and knowledge
6.  Handling different types of decision
7.  Increasing confidence and boldness
8.  Being creative and innovating
9.  Implementing decisions
10. Avoiding the pitfalls and developing an action plan

Source: Kourdi, J. (2006) Thinking on Your Feet. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish

8 steps to managing your boss

Another book in the Career Master Series that offers practical advice but little in the way of supporting evidence or citation of sources and references.  See 10 steps to thinking on your feet.

The content of the book is rather likes the notes for a short course or workshop, which is perhaps how they originated.

The ten steps, or more accurately, chapter headings are:
1. Introduction: Bosses and your boss
2. The right relationship
3. Establishing a positive profile
4. Working to create impact
5. Communicating with senior people
6. Getting agreement with your boss
7. Dealing with difficulties
8. Getting the most from job appraisals

This book is unsurprising and obvious, but for the right level of readership could be helpful as an alternative to attending a short course.

Source: Forsyth, P. (2006) Manage Your Boss: 8 steps to creating the ideal working relationship. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish

3 human needs

David McClelland argued that the motivation of an individual can result from three dominant needs.  individual's specific needs are acquired over time and are shaped by one's early life experiences. Most of these needs can be classed as either achievement, affiliation, or power.  McClelland's theory sometimes is referred to as the three need theory or as the learned needs theory. 

1.  Need for Achievement:  People with a high need for achievement (nAch) seek to excel and thus tend to avoid both low-risk and high-risk situations.  Achievement-motivated individuals avoid low-risk situations because the easily attained success is not a genuine achievement for them.  In high-risk projects, the Achievement-motivated see the outcome as one of chance rather than one's own effort.  High nAch individuals prefer work that has a realistic probability of success.  They need regular feedback in order to monitor the progress of their achievements.  They prefer either to work alone or with others like themselves. 

2. Need for Affiliation: Those with a high need for affiliation (nAffil) need harmonious relationships with other people and need to feel accepted by other people. They tend to conform to the norms of their work group. High nAff individuals prefer work that provides significant personal interaction. They enjoy being part of groups and when not anxious make excellent team members, though sometimes are distractible into social interaction. 

3. Need for Power:   A person's need for power (nPow) can be one of two types - personal and institutional. Those who need personal power want to direct others, and this need often is perceived as undesirable.  Persons who need institutional power (also known as social power) want to organize the efforts of others to further the goals of the organization.  Managers with a high need for institutional power tend to be more effective than those with a high need for personal power. 

All three needs are present in each indiviual to varying degrees. Invariably one need dominates over the others.  They are shaped over time by experience and cultural factors.  McClelland was rooted in the humanistic school of psychology and was strongly opposed to the determinism of psycho-analytic approaches to the understanding human behaviour.

For more on David McClelland.
Source: McClelland, D.  (1961)  The Achieving Society. Princeton: Van Nostrand

8 symptoms of Groupthink

The term Groupthink was coined  in 1952 by William H. Whyte in Fortune Magazine.  Irving Janis did extensive research on the subject.  He defined groupthink as: 

“ A mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action."

In order to make groupthink testable, Irving Janis devised eight symptoms that are indicative of groupthink:

1.  Illusions of invulnerability creating excessive optimism and encouraging risk taking. 

2.  Rationalising warnings that might challenge the group's assumptions. 

3.  Unquestioned belief in the morality of the group, causing members to ignore the consequences of their actions. 

4.  Stereotyping those who are opposed to the group as weak, evil, disfigured, impotent, or stupid.
5.  Direct pressure to conform placed on any member who questions the group, couched in terms of "disloyalty". 

6.  Self censorship of ideas that deviate from the apparent group consensus. 

7.  llusions of unanimity among group members, silence is viewed as agreement. 

8.  Mindguards — self-appointed members who shield the group from dissenting information. 

Janis also devised 7 ways to prevent groupthink. They are:

1.  Leaders should assign each member the role of “critical evaluator”.  This allows each member to freely air objections and doubts. 
2.  Higher-ups should not express an opinion when assigning a task to a group. 
3.  The organization should set up several independent groups, working on the same problem. 
4.  All effective alternatives should be examined. 
5.  Each member should discuss the group's ideas with trusted people outside of the group. 
6.  The group should invite outside experts into meetings. Group members should be allowed to discuss with and question the outside experts. 
7.  At least one group member should be assigned the role of Devil's advocate. This should be a different person for each meeting. 

Janis's theory is very difficult to test in practice though it is fairly easy to cite examples of what looks like groupthink.  Nonethless the word has passd into common parlance.

Source:  Janis, Irving L. (19720  Victims of Groupthink. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

8 team role preferences

As part of the assessment tool, the Team Management Wheel, Margerison and McCann present 8 team role preferences that people can perform in a team, which overlap with their 9 essential team activities.

Preferences are assessed in 4 ways:

1.  Preference for introverted or extraverted work.
2.  Balance between practical and creative work.
3.  Influence of analysis and beliefs in decisions.
4.  Preference for structured or flexible working.

The relative preferences influence job choice, job satisfaction, motivation, teamwork, learning and development, and careers. 

The 8 team role preferences are:

1.  Reporter/Advisor:  This is the supporter, the helper, a tolerant person who collects information, dislikes being rushed and is knowledgable and flexible.

2.  Creator/Innovator:  This person is imaginative and future-orientated, enjoys complexity and likes research.

3.  Explorer/Promoter:  This is the persuader, the seller, who likes varied, exciting, stimulating work, and is easily bored; influential and outgoing.

4.  Assessor/Developer:  This person brings analysis and objectivity, they develop ideas, and like experimenting.

5.  Thruster/ Organiser:  This person organises and implements, decides quickly, is results-orientated, likes systems.

6.  Concluder/Producer:  Practical, production-orientated, likes schedules and plans, values effectiveness and efficiency.

7.  Controller/Inspector:  Strong on control, detail-orientated, low need for people contact, inspector of standards and procedures.

8.  Upholder/Maintainer:  Conservative, loyal and supportive, strong sense of right and wrong, purposeful work motivation.

Linking (the 9th essential team activity) is regarded as a  common role shared by all team members on the Team Management Profile.

See Belbin's 8 team roles

Source:  Margersison McCann Team Management Wheel/Profile

7 logical steps to understanding your emotional illusions

This is a self-help book that draws on evolutionary and psychological theory without being specific about its sources. Much of the book draws on the personal life and experiences of the author and the contributions of others to his website. 

The book’s subtitle introduces the notion of emotional illusions which, once understood, enable you the reader to deal with them appropriately. At least that is the author’s claim. The book draws heavily on the emotional power of the unconscious and how we need to manage it consciously which has currency with recent developments in neuroscience and evolutionary theory, but again no citations or reference to published research of any kind. 

The author argues that we become locked into a cycle of unhappiness because: 

1. We prioritise survival over happiness 

2. Consciousness is the tool of survival 

3. Trauma is the enemy of happiness 

The unconscious mind struggling with the conscious mind uses three broad approaches that we are not aware of and which trap us into cycles of unhappiness: 

4. Projection and fate 

5. Mutual projections 

6. Tribal projections 

Ultimately, unconscious or transcendental forces, call them God if you wish, help to give us the wisdom, faith, and strength to: 

7. Constructively manage our feelings in relation your our life
All very plausible sounding but systematic evidence and in-depth theory are totally absent from this book. It is offered and can therefore only be accepted on face value. For some people that is enough. 

Source: Fry, B. (2004) What’s Wrong With You: Seven Logical Steps to Understanding Emotional Illusions. Meraki Books.

7 stages of commiment to change

Over time, commitment for change from the status quo towards a vision (which eventually becomes a new status quo), passes through seven identifiable stages: 

1. Contact:  People have heard that the vision or initiative exists.

2. Awareness:  People are aware of the basic scope and concepts involved.
3. Adoption:  There is understanding of the impact on the business and their functional areas. 

4. Positive perception:  There is understanding and appreciation of the benefits to them.

5. Adoption:  People are willing to support and work with, and implement, the vision.

6. Institutionalisation: The vision has become the new status quo, reflecting the way things are done round here.

7. Internalisation: People make the vision their own and even innovate ways to sustain it.

Source: Unknown (Happy to acknowledge).

5 golden rules for managing employee-customer relationships

Clearly attempting to make a link to total quality management concept of 6 Sigma, the authors, who are members of the Gallup Organisation) argue that the employee-customer relationship can be improved with real business benefit in the same manner as TQM. 

The book is presented as a research-based practical guide to engaging customers and delivering success through people. They believe that the human element has been lost and is missing in remote call centres and internet trading. 

Their five golden rules are: 

1. Employee and customer experiences must be managed together and not as separate entities.  A consistent approach is required. 

2. Feelings are facts.  Emotions drive and shape the employee-customer interaction. 

3. Think globally but measure and act locally.  The employee-customer must be measured and managed at the local level.  One size does not fit all. 

4. There is one number you need to know.  Employee and customer engagement interact to drive enhanced financial performance.  This interaction can be quantified and summarised using a single perfromance metric.  The metric propounded by the authors is all you really need to know to understand the impact of the employee-customer relationship on customer service and your business performance.  They call this the HumanSigma metric.

5. If you pay for potatoes, you better grab a hoe. Good intentions alone do not constitute a paln of action.  Sustainable improvement in the employee-customer encounter requires disciplined local action coupled with a company-wide commitment to changing recruitment, development and reward practices and management of employees. 

Anything new here?  Not really, but the focus on measurement of the employee-customer relationship is useful, and there are helpful practical tools and recommended techniques for anyone starting out in this area, though be warned it is heavily tied into and dependent on Gallup data.  The advice may not be as impartial as it looks. 

Source: Fleming, J. H. & Asplund. J. (2007) Human Sigma: Managing the Employee-Customer Encounter. The Gallup Organisation.

360 degree feedback

360-degree feedback is a form of performance or employee appraisal that includes range of different perspectives. Traditionally, a boss would appraise a sub-ordinate in a one-way process, and only rarely would the subordinate have the chance to give views about the boss.
360 reviews can include 

1. Sub-ordinates
2. Peers
3. Colleagues from other departments
4. Clients
5. Business partners
6. Other business contacts
7. Self-assessments 

In addition to providing a wider range of opinions, it can permit more balanced and open discussions of strengths and personal development needs. It may not work so well if employees are de-motivated and there is not a prevailing atmosphere of openness and trust. 

It is a sensitive process that must be managed carefully, and this book shows how to design and implement it step by step - as well as what not to do. It should help organizations achieve a positive impact on employee performance; more accurate and fair assessments; and better alignment of individual and organization goals. 

Source: Edwards, M. R. & Ewen, A. J. (1996) Washington, DC: AMACOM

10 questions to evaluate your mission statement

These questions are derived from the Ashridge Management Centre Mission Model that was created after research with 53 large companies.  A mission statement is a broadly defined but enduring statement of purpose that distinguishes the organisation from others, and identifies the scope of its operations in product (service) and market terms.

There are four key dimensions to an effective mission statement: 

1. Purpose: Why the company exists (for Shareholders, for Stakeholders, or for higher ideals)

2. Strategy: The competitive position and distinctive competence, ie the commercial logic of the company. 

3. Values: The beliefs and values that lie behind the organisation’s culture. This represents what the company believes in and the expected values of employees. 

4. Standards and Behaviours: Guidelines that help people decide and act on a day-to-day basis. 

The 10 questions to assess your mission statement are: 

1. Does the statement describe an inspiring purpose that avoids playing to the selfish interests of the stakeholders? (Shareholders, customers, employees, suppliers) 

2. Does the statement describe the company’s responsibilities to its stakeholders? 

3. Does the statement define a business domain and explain why it is attractive? 

4. Does the statement describe the strategic positioning that the company prefers in a way that helps to identify the sort of competitive advantage it will look for? 

5. Does the statement identify values that will link with the organisations purpose and act as beliefs that employees can be proud of? 

6. Do the values resonate with and reinforce the organisation’s strategy? 

7. Does the statement describe important behavioural standards that serve as beacons of the strategy and the values? 

8. Are the behavioural standards described in such as a way that individual employees can judge whether they have behaved correctly or not? 

9. Does the statement give a portrait of the organisation and does it capture the culture of the organisation? 

10. Is the statement easy to read?

Source: Campbell, A. & Nash, L. (1992) A Sense of Mission: Defining Direction for the Large Corporation. Random House.

3 levels of culture

Organisational culture can be a major source of resistance to organisational learning and change. We all need to understand this but organisational leaders in particular need to take it into account when seeking to change from the status quo to a new vision.
Edgar Schein made a breakthrough in our understanding of organisational culture when he distinguished three levels of cultural description: 

1. Artifacts: These are at the surface that can easily be discerned (e.g. dress codes) but not always easily understood. They are the visible organisational structure and processes. 

2. Espoused values: These are the conscious expressions of goals, strategies and philosophies. They are often used as justifications. 

3. Basic assumptions and Values: These are the core or essence of culture represented by the basic underlying assumptions and values, which are difficult to discern because they operate largely at an unconscious level. Nonetheless, they can provide the key to why things happen as they do. These basic assumptions derive from deeper dimensions of human nature. Human relationships, behaviour, reality and truth. They can be seen as the taken for granted beliefs, perceptions, thoughts and feelings. 

See also Schein’s 

5 mistakes in thinking about culture change
8 practical steps to help organisations learn faster
11 mechanisms for culture change 

Source: Schein, E. (1992) Organisational Culture and Leadership. Jossey Bass.

10 unwritten rules of management

Several years ago Bill Swanson, the CEO of US aerospace contractor Raytheon, wrote a small book that he titled Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management.  Swanson has a talent for reducing the complex ideas to simple but effective guideline.   The following are his ten rules of management.

1. You can't polish a sneaker. 

2. Learn to say "I don't know."  If used when appropriate, it will be used often. 

3. You remember 1/3 of what you read, 1/2 of what people tell you, but 100 percent of what you feel.  Emotions are a powerful motivator. 

4. Look for what is missing.  Many know how to improve what's there; few can see what isn't. 

5. Never direct a complaint to the top; a serious offense is to "cc" a person's boss on a copy of a complaint before the person has a chance to respond. 

6. Treat the name of your company as if it were your own. 

7. Have fun at what you do.  It will be reflected in your work.  No one likes a grump except another grump! 

8. When faced with decisions, try to look at them as if you were one level up in the organization.  Your perspective will change quickly.  

9. If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.  

10. When something appears in a slide presentation, assume that the world knows about it and deal with it accordingly. 

Source:  Swanson, B. (Date Unknown)  Swanson Unwritten Rules of Management.  (Publisher Unknown) Happy to acknowledege.  Thanks to Cathy Buffini, Dublin for suppying the information.

12 principles of the network economy

According to the author, the emerging new economy represents a tectonic upheaval, a social shift that rearranges our lives.  It has its own distinct opportunities and its own new rules.  People playing by the new rules will thrive; people ignoring them will not. 

Kelly argues that there are 4 axes of the new rules which govern global re-structuring. They are: 

1. Wealth will flow directly from innovation, not optimisation. In other words, wealth is not created by perfecting what is known, but by imperfectly seizing what is unknown. 

2. The ideal environment for cultivating the unknown is to nurture the supreme agility and nimbleness of networks. 

3. The domestication of the unknown inevitably means abandoning the highly successful known which involves undoing what was perfected. 

4. As the network economy thickens the cycle of “find, nurture, destroy” happens faster and more intensely than ever before. 

Kelly’s 12 principles of this network economy are:

1. The law of connection.  

Embrace the dumb power: From the collapsing microcosm of chips to the exploding telescom of connections. 

2. The law of plenitude.  

More gives more: The number of connections in a network increases as the square of the number of members.  As the number of members in a network increases arithmetically the number of connections (hence the value) of the network increases exponentially. 

3. The law of exponential. 

Success is non-linear: In its first 10 years Microsoft’s profits were negligible, and then they exploded from about 1985. 

4. The law of tipping points. 

Significance precedes momentum: The tipping point is when the slow build up against any resistance reaches a critical size and then floods over and increase exponentially. The tipping point in biology ( as in spread of disease) is typically high, whereas as in technology the tipping point is triggered much sooner.  

5. The law of increasing returns. 

Make virtuous circles: Value explodes with membership and value explosion sucks in more members, compounding the result. 

6. The law of inverse pricing.
 Anticipate the cheap: Through most of the industrial; age consumers experienced slight improvements for slight increase in cost. In the information age consumers expect drastically superior quality for less price over time. The price and quality curves diverge so dramatically that it sometimes seems as if the better something is the cheaper it will cost. 

7. The law of generosity. 

Follow the free: Because compounding network knowledge compounds prices the cost of an additional copy (tangible or intangible) is near zero. Because value increases in proportion to abundance, a flood of copies increases the value of all the copies. As they become more desirable, the spread of the product becomes self-fulfilling. Once indispensability is established the company can then sell auxiliary services and upgrades and the virtuous circle of generosity is maintained. 

8. The law of allegiance. 

Feed the web first: Networks have no clear centre and no clear outer boundaries. The vital distinction of the industrial-era organisation man of them and us becomes less meaningful in a network economy. Insiders are in the network; others are outside. 

9. The law of devolution. 

Let go at the top: The biological nature of this period means that the sudden disintegration of the established domains will be as sudden as the appearance of the new. In the network economy the ability to distinguish a product or occupation or industry will be at its peak will be priceless. 

10. The law of displacement. 

The net wins: All commerce is jumping onto the net. 

11. The law of churn. 

Seek sustainable disequilibrium: Change can mean rapid difference and can be corrosive. By contrast churn is a creative force of destruction and genesis. Churn means toppling the incumbent and creating a platform that is ideal for more innovation and birth. It is “compounded rebirth” that is always hovering at the edge of chaos. 

12. The law of inefficiencies. 

Don’t solve problems: In the network economy productivity is not our bottleneck. Our ability to solve our social and economic problems will be limited primarily by our lack of imagination in seeking opportunities, rather than trying to optimise solutions. 

See also 

4 trajectories of change (McGahan) 
5 certainties for the 21st century (Drucker) 
10 things Google have found to be true 
10 golden rules for the new economy (Kelly) 
10 mega-trends (Naisbitt) 

Source: Kelly, K. (1997) Twelve principles of the network economy. Wired Magazine, 5th September.


7 elementary catastrophes

Rene Thom formulated catastrophe theory (a subset of Chaos Theory) as the mathematical formulation of continuous action that produces a discontinuous result. 

The theory is an attempt to understand change and discontinuity in systems. When a system is at rest it will tend to occupy a preferred stable state, or at least a defined range of stable states. If a system is subjected to change forces it will initially try to react in such a way that it absorbs the stresses, and if possible regain its preferred stable state. 

If the change forces are so strong that they cannot be absorbed then a catastrophic change may occur and a new preferred stable state or range of states is established. Systems, therefore change as a result of both continuous and discontinuous change patterns. 

According to Thom, there are seven elementary catastrophes, all mathematically defined. Mathematicians often say their subject is one of great beauty. They are included here because the names are appealing. 

The seven  elemenatry catastrophes are: 

1. Fold
2. Cusp
3. Swallowtail
4. Butterfly
5. Hyperbolic umbilic
6. Elliptic umbilic
7. Parabolic umbilic 

Over the years the theory has been applied to the stock market, locusts, biological change, and bridges but not successfully the behaviour of organisations. 

See also 

12 principles for the network economy (Kelly) 

Source: Thom, R. (1972) Structural Stability and Morphogenesis.

4 quadrants of time management

In his book First Things First, Stephen Covey offers a helpful classification as an aid to prioritising based on the interaction of importance and urgency.

1.  Urgent - Important (e.g. crises)

2.  Important - Not Urgent (e.g. capability improvement; relationship building)
3.  Not Important - Urgent (e.g. interruptions, some mail/callers) 

4.  Not Important - Not Urgent (e.g. time wasters, trivia and busy work). 

While quadrant 1 must be attended to, he suggests that it is quadrant 2 that requires foremost attention. It is there where we build capability, create dreams and regain control.

See First things First and 7 habits of highly effective people, and also the 8th habit

Source: Covey, S.R (1994) First Things First. New York: Simon & Schuster

2 laws of leadership ineffectiveness

Warren Bennis, in his book, Why Leaders Can't Lead, writes of his experience as President of the University of Cincinnati.  He came there committed to bring about change and shape the future of the institution. 

During the early months he found himself muttering: "Either I can't manage this place or it is unmanageable."   After ten months in the position he made a great discovery: "I had become the victim of a vast, amorphous, unwitting, unconscious conspiracy to prevent me from doing anything whatever to the university's status quo." - a reality faced by many leaders. 

From that discovery he articulated Bennis's Laws of Academic Pseudodynamics: 

First Law:  Routine works drives out non-routine work and smothers to death all creative planning, all fundamental change in the university or any other

Second Law:  Make whatever grand plans you will, you may be sure the unexpected or the trivial will disturb and disrupt them.  In business or their personal lives there is an unrelenting barrage of activities, decisions, interruptions that make demands on leaders' time.
This constant onslaught challenges them to question their own abilities to be in control of their situation.  Nevertheless, it is the highly effective leaders who have wrestled with this and learned to remove the clutter by a clear focus on their priorities and what is important to their business. 

Source:  Bennis, W.  (Year Unknown) Why Leaders Cannot Lead. Publisher Unknown.  With thanks to Cathy Buffini, Dublin who supplied the entry.  Complete citation needed.

6 principles of blue ocean strategy

 This book is sub-titled: How to Create Uncontested Market space and and Make the Competition Irrelevant.   Blue Ocean Strategy is a wonderfully simple concept.  Instead of struggling to beat the competition through product improvement, pricing, cost cutting, brand management, customer relationship management etc, etc in an ever more difficult and competitive market (the bloody Red Ocean), the authors argue and demonstrate that the true gains are to be achieved by creating brand new markets where there are no competitors but immense customer demand.  

Easier said than done, but this very appealing book offers both examples as well as analytical tools.  Their analysis demonstrates that staying with red ocean strategy is increasingly unlikely to create profitable growth in the future.  So much more exciting than the rather dry notion of business process re-engineering.

Based on a study of 150 strategic moves spanning more than 100 years and thirty industries, the authors argue that tomorrow's leading companies will succeed not by battling the competition but by creating blue oceans of uncontested market space which are ripe for growth.  They call these strategic moves, value innovations.

The book offers six principles that any company can use to formulate and implement blue ocean strategies. The authors call this the six paths framework that allows a change of mindset or change of paradigm in the thinking about market boundaries.  They are:

1.  Looking across alternative industries instead of focussing on rivals within your own industry, e.g. NetJet's offering of fractional jet plane ownership.

2. Looking across stratregic groups within industry rather than focussing on competitive position within strategic group, e.g. Curves, the Texas-based women's fitness company which since 1995 has acquired over two million members in over six thousand locations worldwide, primarily through word of mouth and buddy referrals.

3.  Redefining the industry buyer group rather than focussing on better serving the buyer group, e.g. Novo Nordisk's intoduction of the world-dominating insulin pen delivery system by focussing on the end users rather than intermediaries such as medics.

4.  Looking across to complementary product and service offerings rather than focussing on maximising the value of products and service offerings within the bounds of your own industry, e.g. HABI, the highly successful Hungarian bus company that focussed more on the ownership and running costs of buses than on cost of purchase.

5.  Re-thinking the functional-emotional orientation of the industry rather than focussing on improving price performance within the functional-emotional orientation of the industry, e.g the Body Shop which transformed the emotionally driven industry of cosmetics into a functional, no-nonsense, highly-successful environmentally-committed cosmetic brand.

6.  Participating in shaping external trends rather than focussing on adapting to external trends as they occur, e.g. Apple and the creation of iTunes turning an illegal practice into a global hit.

A really stimulating book, reminding us that paradigms and habits of thought and practice may offer convenience but also blind us to new opportunities.

Source:  Kim, W. C. and Mauborgne, R. (2005) Blue Ocean Strategy. Boston:  Harvard Business School Press

6 questions for senior management teams

This book is about what it takes to make senior leadership teams great. The authors argue that in today’s world of ever-accelerating change (is this becoming a cliché?) that the demands on top leaders are rapidly out-distancing the capabilities of any one person, however talented. (This is something, in my view, something that great corporate, military and institutional leaders have understood for a long time.)

Yet, the authors argue, many CEOs experience difficulties when it comes to putting a good team together focussing as they do more on the individual roles of their direct reports than on the benefits of superior team performance. (This is almost certainly true.)

Based on a study of 120 top teams around the world, the authors identify six key questions for creating and/or improving the performance of senior executive teams. They are:

1. Does your company really need a leadership team?

2. If so, how do you articulate a compelling team purpose?

3. How can you tell whether the right people are on the team?

4. How should the team be structured in terms of size, mix of members, and norms of interaction?

5. What organisational reports does a top team need?

6. How will you make sure that the team has skilled hands-on coaching?

Maybe the end of the era of the heroic, charismatic leader has come at last.

Source: Wageman, R. et al. (2008) Senior Leadership Teams: What it Takes to make Them Great. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

21 indispensable qualities of a leader

Maxwell has a whole series of books with numbered prescriptions in the title.  This is one of the earlier ones.  Practical and down to earth. A winning formula for the author and, it is to be hoped, for the reader as well. There is no reference to research and no citations.  

It is forcefully argued and to be taken at face value and supported my many quotes from people in leadership roles.

The indispensable qualities, which coincide with chapter titles, are:

1. Character: Be a piece of the rock.

2. Charisma: The first impression can seal the deal.

3. Commitment: It separate does from dreamers.

4. Communication: Without it you travel alone.

5. Competence: If you build it, they will come.

6. Courage: One person with courage is a majority.

7. Discernment: Put an end to unsolved mysteries.

8. Focus: The sharper it is the sharper you are?

9. Generosity: Your candle loses nothing when it lights another.

10. Initiative: You won’t leave home without it.

11. Listening: To connect with their hearts, use your ears.

12. Passion: Take this life and love it.

13. Positive attitude: If you believe you can, you can.

14. Problem-solving: You can’t let your problems be a problem.

15. Relationships: If you get along, they’ll get along.

16. Responsibility: If you won’t carry the ball, you can’t lead the team.

17. Security: Competence never compensates for Insecurity.

18. Self-discipline: The first person you lead is you.

19. Servanthood: To get ahead, put others first.

20. Teachability: To keep leading, keep learning.

21. Vision: You can seize only what you can see.

A plausible list but is it anything more?

See also Maxwell’s 21 irrefutable laws of leadership and his 17 indisputable laws of teamwork.

Source: Maxwell, J. C. (1999) 21 Indisputable Qualities of a Leader. Nashville: Nelson Books

Search the Theme: Leadership

21 irrefutable laws of leadership

This book is sub-titled: Follow them and people will follow you. As with his other books, Maxwell’s laws and the advice given in support are based on assertion and anecdote. There is little if any reference to empirical research. The book is essentially a belief-system and a set of homilies.

The author is also actively involved in developing Christian leaders worldwide. The assertion that the laws are irrefutable is a big claim, but this appears to enhance rather than undermine the popularity of the book.

The 21 “irrefutable” laws of leadership coincide with chapter titles and are:

1. The law of the lid: Leadership ability determines a person’s level of effectiveness.

2. The law of influence: The true measure of leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.

3. The law of process: Leadership develops daily, not in a day.

4. The law of navigation: Anyone can steer the ship but it takes a leader to chart the course

5. The law of addition: Leaders add value by serving others.

6. The law of solid ground: Trust is the foundation of leadership.

7. The law of respect: People naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves.

8. The law of intuition: Leaders evaluate everything with a leadership bias.

9. The law of magnetism: Who you are is who you attract.

10. The law of connection: Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand.

11. The law of the inner circle: A leader’s Potential is determined by those closest to him.

12. The law of empowerment: Only secure leaders give power to others.

13. The law of the picture: People do what people see.

14. The law of buy-in: The people buy in to then leader, then the vision.

15. The law of victory: Leaders find a way for the team to win.

16. The law of the big MO: Momentum is a leader’s best friend.

17. The law of priorities: Leaders understand that activity is not necessarily accomplishment.

18. The law of sacrifice: A leader must give up to go up.

19. The law of timing: When to lead is as important as what to do and where to go.

20. The law of explosive growth: To add growth, lead followers; to multiply lead leaders.

21. The law of legacy: A leader’s lasting value is measured by succession.

This is the 10th anniversary edition of the book first published in 1997.
Another plausible list.  See also Maxwell’s 21 indisputable qualities of a leader and his 17 indisputable laws of teamwork

Source: Maxwell, J. C. (2007) The 21 Irrefutable Laws of leadership. Nashville: Nelson Publishing.

Search the Theme: Leadership

17 indisputable laws of teamwork

Another of the author’s very popular books based on assertion and anecdote rather than research or systematic evidence.

The 17 laws, which coincide with chapter headings, are:

1. The law of significance: One is too small a number to achieve greatness.

2. The law of the big picture: The goal is more important than the role.

3. The law of the niche: All players have a place where they add the most value.

4. The law of Mount Everest: As the challenge escalates the need for teamwork elevates.

5. The law of the chain: The strength of the team is impacted by it weakest link

6. The law of the catalyst: Winning teams have players that make things happen.

7. The law of the compass: Vision gives team embers direction and confidence.

8. The law of the bad apple: Rotten attitudes ruin a team.

9. The law of countability: Team members must be able to count on each other when it counts.

10. The law of the price tag: The team fails to reach its potential when it fails to pay the price.

11. The law of the scoreboard: The team can make adjustments when it knows where it stands.

12. The law of the bench: Great teams have great depth.

13. The law of identity: Shared values define the team.

14. The law of communication: Interaction fuels action.

15. The law of the edge: The difference between two equally talented teams is leadership.

16. The law of high morale: When you’re winning nothing hurts.

17. The law of dividends: Investing in the team compounds over time.

See also Maxwell’s 21 indispensable qualities of a leader and his 21 irrefutable laws of leadership.

Source: Maxwell, J. C. (2001) The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork.  Nashville: Nelson publishing.

Search the Theme:  Teams and Teamworking

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3 tenets of the new business agenda

Gratton argues that if people really are our greatest assets then it is time to build strategies that create organisations that people can live in.  Her aim is to put the human in human capital.  This is achieved by putting the human resources at the centre of organisational strategic decision-making.  

Strategies need to have meaning and purpose for people without whose commitment platitudes and lip-service hold sway and nothing really changes.  Gratton calls Living Strategy the new agenda for business where financial and technological assets are less critical as a source of sustainable competitive advantage, and the emphasis begins to fall on the value of real human capital.

Gratton argues that there are three characteristics that make human capital different from other forms of capital. They are:

1. We operate in time with the past, the present and the future and there are phases, sequences of time and rhythms which are essentially human experienced both as the stages of the human life cycle, and also the dynamic interplay of memories, the felt present, and our dreams and hopes.

2. We search for meaning. We strive to create meaning and to understand the world about us. According to Gratton, one of the greatest challenges in organisational life is to create cues and processes that are mutually aligned and coherent with the goals of the business.

3. We have a soul. We are not machines that are programmed to deliver but are emotional beings that can decide to commit or to withdraw, support or undermine, excel or coast. Hopes and fears, laughter and sadness, dreams and expectations all influence how we function in an organisation as in every other aspect of life.

All too often, organisational leaders behave and seek to introduce change in complete disregard, or failure to understand, the significance of the three tenets.

For each of the three tenets there are three capabilities:

9 organisational and managerial capabilities of the new agenda 

Tenet 1 We operate in time

1. Visioning capability: This requires rich and inclusive dialogues about the future that is meaningful and exhilarating for people across the organisation

2. Scanning capability: A broad, shared understanding of what the future may bring, in terms of key trends

3. Strategic capability: The development of clearly articulated steps which bridge the present to the future

Tenet 2 We search for meaning

4. Diagnostic capability: How meaning is created in organisations and the role of alignment and re-adjustment processes and practices

5. Systemic capability: use of systemic thinking to view the organisation as complex and dynamic system in which shared meaning is created

6. Adaptive capability: Building on the history of meaning in the organisation with creativity and adaptation

Tenet 3 We have soul 

7. Emotional capability: Creation of measures which accurately and systematically reflect the emotional health of the organisation

8. Trust-building capability: Understanding and building fair practices

9. Building the psychological contract: Clarity in the relationship between the organisation and individual members as an integral part of creating trust

Having established the philosophy, Gratton describes
6 steps that bridge philosophy to action:

1. Building a guiding coalition
2. Imagining the future
3. Understanding current capability, and the gap
4. Mapping the system
5. Modelling the dynamics
6. Bridging into action

For each of these steps Gratton offers guiding principles, powerful tools and techniques, and above all her passionate belief, based in part on her extensive research with the Leading Edge Consortium of progressive companies at the London Business School, but also her strongly held personal values.

This book is inspiring, practical and powerful. She tells us not only that the journey is worth taking but also how to undertake it. In my view, a remarkable book. 

Source: Gratton, L. (2000) Living Strategy: Putting people at the Heart of Corporate purpose. Financial Times- Prentice Hall

Search the Theme: Nature of successful organisations

9 organisational and managerial capabilities of the new agenda

The 9 capabilities are integral to Gratton's inspiring and practical guide to putting humans at the core of successful enterprises, a process she calls Living Strategy.

They are structured around the three tenets of the new agenda: 

1. Visioning capability: This requires rich and inclusive dialogues about the future that is meaningful and exhilarating for people across the organisation

2. Scanning capability: A broad, shared understanding of what the future may bring, in terms of key trends

3. Strategic capability: The development of clearly articulated steps which bridge the present to the future

4. Diagnostic capability: How meaning is created in organisations and the role of alignment and re-adjustment processes and practices

5. Systemic capability: use of systemic thinking to view the organisation as complex and dynamic system in which shared meaning is created

6. Adaptive capability: Building on the history of meaning in the organisation with creativity and adaptation

7. Emotional capability: Creation of measures which accurately and systematically reflect the emotional health of the organisation

8. Trust-building capability: Understanding and building fair practices
9. Building the psychological contract: Clarity in the relationship between the organisation and individual members as an integral part of creating trust 

See Gratton's 3 tenets and 6 steps to creating a living strategy that puts people at the heart of the organisation

Source: Gratton, L. (2000) Living Strategy: Putting people at the Heart of Corporate purpose. Financial Times- Prentice Hall

Search the Theme: Nature of successful organisations

6 steps of Living Strategy

Having established the philosophy of Living Strategy, Gratton describes the six steps that bridge philosophy to action. They are:

1. Building a guiding coalition
2. Imagining the future
3. Understanding current capability, and the gap
4. Mapping the system
5. Modelling the dynamics
6. Bridging into action 

For each of these Gratton offers guiding principles, powerful tools and techniques, and above all her passionate belief, based in part on her extensive research with the Leading Edge Consortium of progressive companies at the London Business School, but also her strongly held personal values.

See Gratton's 3 tenets of her philosophy for putting people at the heart of successful organisations.

Source: Gratton, L. (2000) Living Strategy: Putting people at the Heart of Corporate purpose. Financial Times- Prentice Hall

Search the Theme:  Nature of successful organisations  and Competitiveness and profitability

4 elements for the emrgence of Hot Spots

Based on a large-scale research project, known as Cooperative Advantage Research, on the nature of positive energy and cooperation in groups and their impact on performance, Lynda Gratton came up with the idea of Hot Spots to explain why some companies, or parts of them, buzz with energy and innovation, and others don’t.

Hot Spots exist where people are working together in exceptionally creative and collaborative ways.

She offers explanations of why and when Hot Spots emerge, and why some flourish while others fail. This requires examination of the 4 elements of Hot Spots:

1. A cooperative mindset: People are excited, willing and able to cooperate with each other. The power lies in the relationships between people, what Gratton calls social capital, drawing on both intellectual and emotional capital.

2. Boundary spanning: Crossing boundaries stimulates innovation through novel combinations of ideas, knowledge and insights of people through a combined process of exploiting shared expertise within the group and exploring ideas, knowledge and insights with people outside the group.

3. Igniting purpose: Something that people find exciting and interesting and worthwhile, whether questions, visions or tasks and releases the energy of the Hot Spot.

4. Productive capacity: Remaining productive over a period of time is a function of the complexity of the Hot Spot and skill and competence in the 5 productive practices:

a. Appreciating talents
b. Making commitments
c. Resolving conflicts
d. Synchronising time
e. Establishing a rhythm

Hot Spots can arise “through spontaneous combustion” of the first three elements.  The first three have a multiplicative affect on each other. T he lack of any one of them significantly reduces the potential energy of a Hot Spot. The capacity of the potential energy to be translated into productive energy (innovation and value creation) is dependent on the productive capacity of the people in the Hot Spot.  

The fourth element determines whether a Hot Spot thrives or fails
Organisations can also design for the emergence of Hot Spots, through importing best-practice ideas and process, but more importantly through what Gratton calls signature practices, which can be combined in a way that is unique to the organisation and reflect its history, development and core values. 

Gratton describes how each of the elements emerge and can be encouraged to emerge. In addition to offering insightful and practical guidance on the contribution of the four elements to the emergence of Hot Spots, Gratton places considerable emphasis on the Leader’s role.  She describes:

1. The Leader as Socrates (who listens and asks hard questions)
2. The Leader as Creator of Friendships (stimulating the relational value inside and outside the organisation)
3. The Leader as Architect of Signature Processes (championing practices that harmonise personal and organisational values)

In particular, the role of the leader is to help the organisation move away from old ways of working towards the 9 rules of a Hot Spot:

Gratton describes the 5 phases of, as well as practical tools for, designing for the emergence of Hot Spots:

1. Locating the Hot Spots
2. Mapping the system
3. Linking to business goals
4. Identifying potential leverage points
5. Taking action

This is a truly inspirational book, even for an inbred sceptic such as myself. 

See also Gratton's 9 rules of a Hot Spot and 6 key practices for a cooperative mindset in teams.

Source: Gratton, L. (2007) Hot Spots: Why some Companies Buzz With Energy and Innovation – and Others Don’t. Financial Times Prentice Hall

Search the Theme:  Nature of succesful organisations

9 rules for the emegence of Hots spots

The role of the leader is to help the organisation move away from old ways of working towards the 9 rules of a Hot Spot:

1. Value creation: From productivity value to innovation value 

2. Ignition and leadership: From leader as controller to leader as igniter 

3. Emergence: From commanded and controlled to emergent and voluntary 

4. Rhythm and timelessness: From schedules to rhythms 

5. Signature processes: Away from solely best practices 

6. Relationships: From individuals to relationships and networks 

7. Boundary spanners: From turf wars to boundary spanning 

8. Commitments: From rules and procedures to commitments

9. Purposeful conversations: Away from directives 

From Gratton's inspiring and practical book.

See Gratton's 4 elements for the emeregence of Hot Spots and also 6 key factors for cooperative mind set in teams

Source: Gratton, L. (2007) Hot Spots: Why some Companies Buzz With Energy and Innovation – and Others Don’t. Financial Times Prentice Hall

Search the Theme: Leadership

6 practices for a cooperative mindset in teams

Gratton's research revealed that the emergence of a cooperative mindset in teams is dependent on 6 key practices:

1. Relational selection practices that favour the employment of cooperative people and discourage excessively competitive individuals.

2. Relational induction that supports the value placed on cooperation and collaboration

3. Mentoring and coaching in support of the espoused values and desired behaviours

4. Collective rewards that encourage team rather than individual performance

5. Peer-to-peer working such as group projects and communities of practice

6. Social responsibility for employees’ involvement in activities to benefit the wider community

The six practices combine to enable norms of trust and reciprocity to emerge.  See also Gratton's 4 elements for the emergence of Hot Spots and 9 practices for Hot Spots.

Source: Gratton, L. (2007) Hot Spots: Why some Companies Buzz With Energy and Innovation – and Others Don’t. Financial Times Prentice Hall

Search the Theme: Teams and team-working

50 top business intellectuals

In 2002, the Accenture consulting company compiled a list of the top 50 business intellectuals. From a list of 300 brainstormed by their staff, they found the top 50 by summing of the ranks of these rankings: Google hits , LexisNexis media databases to 1997,  Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index to 1997 

The resulting list is: 

1. Michael E. Porter
2. Tom Peters
3. Robert Reich
4. Peter Drucker
5. Peter Senge
6. Gary S. Becker
7. Gary Hamel
8. Alvin Toffler
9. Hal Varian
10. Daniel Goleman
11. Rosabeth Moss Kanter
12. Ronald Coase
13. Lester Thurow
14. Charles Handy
15. Henry Mintzberg
16. Michael Hammer
17. Stephen Covey
18. Warren Bennis
19. Bill Gates
20. Andrew Koski
21. Philip Kotler
22. Robert C. Merton
23. C. K. Prahalad
24. Thomas H. Davenport
25. Don Tapscott
26. John Seely Brown
27. George Gilder
28. Kevin Kelly
29. Chris Argyris
30. Robert Kaplan
31. Esther Dyson
32. Edward de Bono
33. Jack Welch
34. John Kotter
35. Ken Blanchard
36. Michael Bilderback
37. Kenichi Ohmae
38. Alfred D. Chandler
39. James MacGregor Burns
40. Sumantra Ghoshal
41. Edgar Schein
42. Myron S. Scholes
43. James March
44. Richard Branson
45. Anthony Robbins
46. Clayton Christensen
47. Michael Dell
48. John Naisbitt
49. David Teece
50. Don Peppers 


21 most powerful minutes in a leader's day

This book presents a daily plan to help the reader grow as a leader in his or her personal, professional or spiritual life, based on maxwell's "irrefutable " laws of leadership.  The laws are:

1.  The law of the lid: Leadership ability determines a person’s level of effectiveness.

2. The law of influence: The true measure of leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.

3. The law of process: Leadership develops daily, not in a day.

4. The law of navigation: Anyone can steer the ship but it takes a leader to chart the course

5. The law of addition: Leaders add value by serving others.

6. The law of solid ground: Trust is the foundation of leadership.

7. The law of respect: People naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves.

8. The law of intuition: Leaders evaluate everything with a leadership bias.

9. The law of magnetism: Who you are is who you attract.

10. The law of connection: Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand.

11. The law of the inner circle: A leader’s Potential is determined by those closest to him.

12. The law of empowerment: Only secure leaders give power to others.

13. The law of the picture: People do what people see.

14. The law of buy-in: The people buy in to then leader, then the vision.

15. The law of victory: Leaders find a way for the team to win.

16. The law of the big MO: Momentum is a leader’s best friend.

17. The law of priorities: Leaders understand that activity is not necessarily accomplishment.

18. The law of sacrifice: A leader must give up to go up.

19. The law of timing: When to lead is as important as what to do and where to go.

20. The law of explosive growth: To add growth, lead followers; to multiply lead leaders.

21. The law of legacy: A leader’s lasting value is measured by succession. 

Source: Maxwell, J. C. (2000) The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leader’s Day.  Nelson Business

Search the Theme: Leadership

17 essential qualities of a team player

This is the companion volume to Maxwell’s 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork.  It is subtitled: Becoming the kind of person every team wants.

According to the author, the qualities derive from the successes of team players who possess these qualities.

The 17 essential qualities are:

1. Adaptable: If you won’t change for the team, the team may change you 

2. Collaborative: Working together precedes winning together 

3. Committed: There are no half-hearted champions 

4. Communicative: A team is many voices with a single heart 

5. Competent: If you can’t, your team won’t 

6. Dependable: Teams go to go-to players 

7. Disciplined: Where there’s a will, there’s a win 

8. Enlarging: Adding value to teammates is invaluable 

9. Enthusiastic: Your heart is the source of energy for the team
10. Intentional: make every action count 

11. Mission conscious: The big picture is coming loud and clear 

12. Prepared: Preparation can mean the difference between winning and losing 

13. Relational: If you get along, others will go along 

14. Self-improving: To improve the team, improve yourself 

15. Selfless: There is no I in the team 

16. Solution-orientated: Make a resolution to find a solution 

17. Tenacious: Never, never, never quit 

Source: Maxwell, J. C. (2002) The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player. Nelson Books.

Search the Theme:
 Teams and teamworking

25 ways to win with people

This book is subtitled: How to make others feel like a million dollars. The authors claim they can help the reader learn the skills and capabilities of charisma within a “matter of mere days” by revealing the 25 secrets.

They are

1. Start with yourself
2. Practice the 30-second rule
3. Let people know you need them
4. Create a memory and visit it often
5. Compliment people in front of other people
6. Give others a reputation to uphold
7. Say the right words at the right time
8. Encourage the dreams of others
9. Pass the credit on to others
10. Offer your very best
11. Share a secret with someone
12. Mine the gold of good intentions
13. Keep your eyes off the mirror
14. Do for others what they cant do for themselves
15. Listen with your heart
16. Find the keys to their hearts
17. Be the first to help
18. Add value to people
19. Remember a person’s story
20. Tell a good story
21. Give with no strings attached
22. Learn your mailman’s name
23. Point out people’s strengths
24. Write notes of encouragement
25. Help people win.

Source: Maxwell, J. C. & Parrott, L. (2005) 25 Ways to Win with People. Nelson Business

Search the Theme: Personal effectiveness

51 fatal business flaws

This book does exactly what it says on the cover.  It packs a lot of advice into a small number of pages.

Here is the list of business flaws, sometimes self-evident sometimes obscure, divided into 4 sections:

What’s good for GE isn’t always good for GE 
1. Hiring your competitors ‘rejects
2. Revolving door policies
3. Failure to act like a benevolent dictator
4. Too few meetings
5. Treating exceptions as the rule
6. Adhering to unwritten rules
7. Peacock management
8. Teetering on greatness
9. Smalketing
10. “We suck” selling
11. Herding cats
12. It ain’t worth what you think
13. Saving your way to success
14. Paying yourself below market value

Is it time to fire yourself as CEO?

15. Managing subjectivity
16. Wearing the dog collar
17. You’re right: It isn’t that hard
18. Refusing to delegate
19. The cake is flat
20. Are you Bobby Fischer or Bobby Riggs
21. Field of Dreams thinking
22. Chopping your own wood
23. Leave me alone

Best and worst practices

24. Hiring bargain-basement help
25. Fire slowly, hire quickly
26. Turning race horse into plow horses
27. Do they graduate or quit
28. Ignoring you best performers
29. Ignoring your worst performers
30. 19254 management techniques are still valid
31. Two out of three ain’t bad
32. Wiff-em has nothing to do with baseball
33. Not invented here syndrome
34. Being too busy doing the work
35. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
36. You snooze, your cheeks bounce
37. Take you Dramamine
38. Falling in love with your inventory
39. We don’t need no stinking budget
40. Flying upside down
41. Big fish, small pond


42. Yabut
43. Re-inventing the wheel daily
44. A pinch of this, a pinch of that
45. Hogging the information
46. Abdicating
47. No handbook
48. Reacting to the sales pipeline
49. Under-managing the sales force
50. Playing the blame game
51. Know what to do, just don’t do it

Source: Muehlhausen, J. (2008) 51 Fatal Business Flaws and Hot Avoid them. Maxum Communications.

Search the Theme: Nature of successful organisations

33 strategies of war

This is the companion volume to the author’s 48 Laws of Power (1998). He draws on lessons and mistakes drawn from a wide variety of civilisations and historical periods, synthesising political, philosophical and religious texts. The book is presented as a comprehensive guide to the “subtle social game of everyday life” based on “profound, timeless lessons”. Whether or not this claim is valid is up to the reader to decide. However, the book is rich in extensive quotations and stories which provide a a stimulating vein for mining.

The Strategies, which are divided into 5 sections, are:

Self-directed warfare
1. The polarity strategy: Declare war on your enemies
2. The Guerrilla-war-of-the-mind strategy: Do not fight the last war
3. The counterbalance Strategy: Amidst the turmoil of events do not lose your presence of mind
4. The death-ground Strategy: Create a sense of urgency and despair

Organisational (team) warfare
5. The command-and-control Strategy: Avoid the snares of Groupthink
6. The Controlled-chaos Strategy: Segment your forces
7. Morale strategies: Transform your war into a crusade

Defensive warfare
8. The Perfect-economy Strategy: Pick your battles carefully
9. The Counter-attack Strategy: Turn the tables
10. Deterrence Strategies: Create a threatening presence
11. The Non-engagement Strategy: Trade space for time

Offensive warfare
12. Grand Strategy: Lose battle but win the war
13. The intelligence Strategy: Know your enemy
14. The Blitzkrieg Strategy: Overwhelm resistance with speed and suddenness
15. Forcing Strategies: Control the dynamics
16. The Centre-of-gravity strategy: Hit the where it hurts
17. The divide and conquer strategy: Defeat them in detail
18. The turning strategy: Expose and attack your opponents soft flank 19. The annihilation strategy: Envelop the enemy
20. The ripening-for-the-sickle strategy: Manoeuvre them into weakness
21. The diplomatic-war strategy: Negotiate while advancing
22. The exit strategy: Know how to end things

Unconventional (dirty) warfare
23. Misperception strategies: Weave a seamless blend of fact and fiction
24. The ordinary-extraordinary strategy: Take the line of least expectations
25. The righteous strategy: Occupy the moral high ground
26. The Strategy of the void: Deny them targets
27. The alliance strategy: Seem to work for the interests of others while furthering your own
28. The one-upmanship strategy: Give your rivals enough rope to hang themselves
29. The fait accompli strategy: Take small bites
30. Communication strategies: Penetrate their minds
31. The inner-front strategy: Destroy from within
32. The passive-aggression strategy: Dominate while seeming to submit
33. The chain-reaction strategy: Sow uncertainty and panic through acts of terror

Essentially, this book is about the use of power and deception to help you get what you want. Sometimes it is necessary to use such ploys. Unfortunately, too many CEOs and business leaders rely exclusively on power and deception when vision, cooperation and trust would produce longer-lasting results. Winning a war is usually a short-tem outcome. Winning the peace is a different ball-game altogether. Nonetheless, this is a stimulating and entertaining book.

Source: Greene, R. (2006) The 33 Strategies of War. Profile Books.

Search the Themes: Personal effectiveness; Leadership; and Successful organisations

Check this: Goodbuy!

6 tenets of the Democratic Enterprise

The central theme is how we build organisations that meet the needs of people and customers in today’s world.  The answer is through personal involvement and participation in organisations where choice flourishes and where shared purpose is the unifying force.  The book is based on detailed case study research of seven major organisations that made up the Democracy Study at The London Business School.

The book is structured around 6 tenets of democracy. They are

1. The relationship between the organisation and the individual is adult-to-adult.

2. Individuals are seen primarily as investors actively building and deploying their human capital.

3. Individuals are able to develop their natures and express their diverse qualities.

4. Individuals are able to participate in determining the conditions of their association.
5. The liberty of some individuals is not at the expense of other.

6. Individuals have accountabilities and obligations both to themselves and to the organisation.

Gratton also identifies what she calls two forces of democracy:

1. The shift in individuals born in the second half of the last century from a job-for-life mentality towards enjoyment of life with maximum autonomy and choice. 

2. The shift in information and other technology supporting individual autonomy, flexibility and variety in a way that grows exponentially 

She identifies 3 elements of personal human capital that is actively built by people behaving as an investor rather than as an asset to the organisation:

1. Intellectual capital embracing continuous learning, cognitive complexity, tacit as well as explicit knowledge.

2. Emotional capital embracing self-awareness and emotional resilience to develop autonomy and the best members can be

3. Social capital involving relationship-building skills and the ability to engage in deep and meaningful relationships at the individual level, as well as the depth and social ties that connect people within the organisation and with the world outside. 

According to Gratton, living the six tenets of the Democratic Enterprise requires a blueprint with three related building blocks. They are

1. The role and responsibility of the citizen embracing individual autonomy: The capacity of every member of the organisation to understand themselves, to view themselves as investors and to actively and relentlessly build their human capital.

2. The obligation of the enterprise to create organisational variety to enable responsive, committed people to become the best they can be and create innovation and flexibility.

3. The container that frames the lives of its citizens.viz. Shared purpose, the common goals of the organisation that bind people together and creates trust.

The six tenets were collapsed into two dimensions, viz. Autonomy and variety, and Shared Purpose which yielded 4 potential types of organisation at the extremes. They are:

1. Democracy (Hi shared Purpose, Hi Autonomy and variety)
2. Bureaucracy (Hi Shared Purpose, Lo Autonomy and variety)
3. Adhocracy (Lo Shared Purpose, Hi Autonomy and variety)
4. Autocracy (Lo Shared Purpose, Lo Autonomy and variety) 

Gratton concludes her book with 5 good reasons to become a democratic enterprise

They are:

1. People who experience democracy are more engaged.

2. Democratic enterprises create win-win solutions.

3. Democratic enterprises are more fair and just.

4. Democratic enterprises are more agile.

5. Democratic enterprises are more able to integrate innovation, and other organisations.

Another powerful and influential book from Lynda Gratton.

Search: Gratton 
Search: Change and change management; organisational culture; and nature of suceful organisations
Source: Gratton, L. (2007) The Democratic Enterprise: Liberating Your Business with Freedom, Flexibility, and Commitment. Financial Times Prentice Hall.

4 types of organisation

Gratton's 6 tenets for a democratic enterprise were collapsed into two dimensions, viz. Autonomy and variety, and Shared Purpose which yielded 4 potential types of organisation at the extremes.
They are:

1. Democracy (Hi shared Purpose, Hi Autonomy and variety)

2. Bureaucracy (Hi Shared Purpose, Lo Autonomy and variety)

3. Adhocracy (Lo Shared Purpose, Hi Autonomy and variety)

4. Autocracy (Lo Shared Purpose, Lo Autonomy and variety) 

Search: Gratton
Search: Organisational culture and change 

Source: Gratton, L. (2007) The Democratic Enterprise: Liberating Your Business with Freedom, Flexibility, and Commitment. Financial Times Prentice Hall.

3 forms of human personal capital

Gratton identifies 3 elements of personal human capital that is actively built by people behaving as an investor rather than as an asset to the organisation:

1. Intellectual capital embracing continuous learning, cognitive complexity, tacit as well as explicit knowledge.

2. Emotional capital embracing self-awareness and emotional resilience to develop autonomy and the best members can be

3. Social capital involving relationship-building skills and the ability to engage in deep and meaningful relationships at the individual level, as well as the depth and social ties that connect people within the organisation and with the world outside. 

See Gratton's 6  tenets for the deomocratic enterprise

Search: Gratton Search: Organisational culture and change
Source: Gratton, L. (2007) The Democratic Enterprise: Liberating Your Business with Freedom, Flexibility, and Commitment. Financial Times Prentice Hall.

3 Cs of talent

Talent =  Competence + Commitment + Contribution

See also Ulrich's 6 Bs for investing in talent

Search Theme:
Source: Ulrich, D. O. (2008) "Not-So-Standard Deviation" in Personnel Management, 5th August.

6 Bs for investing in talent management

1. Buy: recruiting, sourcing, and securing new talent

2. Build: Helping people grow through training, on the job, or life experiences

3. Borrow: Bringing knowledge into the organisation through advisers or partners

4. Bound: Promoting the right people into key jobs

5. Bounce: Removing poor performers from their jobs or the organisation

6. Bind: Retaining top talent

See also Ulrich’s 3 Cs of talent

Search the theme: Learning
Source: Ulrich, D. O. (2008) “Not-So-Standard Deviation” in Personnel Management, 5th August

6 core human virtues

This handbook is a major step in the growth and impact of Positive Psychology , the launch of which as a formal approach to psychology is usually associated with the APA Presidential Address by Martin Seligman in 1999.

Instead of focussing primarily on correcting things that are wrong with human beings (stress, personality disorders, mental illness), Positive psychology focuses primarily on discovering and building positive qualities underlying happiness and well-being, some of which reduce the likelihood of the negative emotions underlying mental illness. The Handbook represents the first systematic mapping of the positive psychological traits of human beings to provide framework for the development of practical applications, e.g. identifying personal and organisation’s strengths, training people in learned optimism, learning to achieve greater well-being. 

The universailty of these strengths across cultures suggest biological origins.

1. Wisdom and Knowledge: 
1. creativity,
2. curiosity,
3. open-mindedness,
4. love of learning,
5. perspective

2. Courage:
1. bravery,
2. persistence,
3. integrity,
4. vitality 

3. Humanity: 
1. love,
2. kindness,
3. social intelligence 

4. Justice:
1. citizenship,
2. fairness,
3. leadership 

5. Temperance: 
1. forgiveness and mercy,
2. humility,
3. prudence,
4. self control 

6. Transcendence:
1. appreciation of beauty and excellence,
2. gratitude,
3. hope,
4. humor,
5. spirituality

Search the Theme: Human Nature

Source: Patterson, C. & Seligman, M. (2004) Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification. Oxford: Oxford University press

24 human strengths

The 24 strengths are sub-divisions of Patterson & Seligman's 6 core human virtues

Search the Theme: Human Nature

Source: Patterson, C. & Seligman, M. (2004) Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification. Oxford: Oxford University Press

5 postulates of humanistic psychology

Humanistic psychology developed as a reaction to the dominance of behaviorism and psycho-analysis.  Bugental's 5 postulates are:

  1. Human beings cannot be reduced to components.
  2. Human beings have in them a uniquely human context. 
  3. Human consciousness includes an awareness of oneself in the context of other people.
  4. Human beings have choices and non desired responsibilities.
  5. Human beings are intentional, they seek meaning, value and creativity.

Search the Theme: Human Nature

Source: Bugental, J. (1964) The Search For Authenticity.

5 characteristics of job quality

According to the Job Characteristics Model (JCM) the general content and structure of jobs can be defined in terms of 5 characteristics:

1.  Skill variety
2.  Skill identity
3.  Task significance
4.  Task autonomy
5.  Task feedback

Combinations of these charateristics influence perceived meangfulness of work, felt responsibility for outcomes, and knowledge of results. which can result in greater work motivation, perfromance, satisfaction with work, and lower absenteeism and turnover.

According to the JCM, high task control and feedback are crucial for maximising the motivational and learning potential of a job which can result in feelings of meangfulness and significance fore employees while also encouraging acquisition of greater knowledge, a sense of mastery, and overall well-being.

Other factors contributig to healthy work include role clarity, role agreement, and role load.

Search the Theme: Motivation
Source: Oldham, G. R. (1996) Job design.  In C. L. Cooper  & I. T.  Robertson (eds.) International review of Industrial and orgnaisational psychologu, Vol. 11, pp. 33-60.

5 characteristics of emotional intelligence

The concept of Emotional Intelligence was subsequently popularised by Daniel Goleman.  According to the original authors it consists of:

1.  Self-awareness
2.  The ability to control one's own emotions

3.  Empathy for others

4.  The ability to influence others' emotions

5.  The willingness and ability to delay gratification

There is growing evidence that emotional intelligence may play a significant role in determining successful performance and personal effectiveness, alongside a wide range of other factors.

Search the Theme: Human Nature
Source: Salovey, P. & Mayer, J. D. (1990) Emotional intelligence.  Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 9, 185-211.

4 Ds of Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry is a narrative-based process of positive organisational change that employs the 4Ds cycle.

1.   Discovery: Identifying the best of what is

2.   Dream: Creating a results-based vision and higher purpose

3.   Design: Articulating an organisational design capable of drawing on the organisation at its best

4.   Destiny: Strenghtning the positive, affirmative capability of the organisation to build hope and sustain momentum for change.

See also: 5 basic principles of appreciative Inquiry (Cooperrider)

Search the Theme: Organisational Learning
Source:  Cooperrider, D. L. (1986)  Constructive Discourse and Human Organisation.

10 Rules for stifling innovation

Another powerful list from Moss Kanter's influential book, still very relevant today.

1.  Regard any new idea with suspicion - because it's new, and because it's from below. 

2.  Insist that people who need your approval to act first go through several other layers of management to get their signatures. 

3.  Ask departments or individuals to challenge or criticise each other's proposals. (That saves you the trouble of deciding - you just pick the survivor.) 

4.  Express your criticisms freely, and withhold your praise. (That keeps people on their toes.) Let them know they can be fired at any time. 

5.  Treat identification of problems as signs of failure, to discourage people from letting you know when something in their area isn't working. 

6.  Control everything, carefully. Make sure that people count everything that can be counted, frequently. 

7.  Make decisions to reorganize or change policies in secret, and spring them on people unexpectedly. (That also keeps people on their toes.) 

8.  Make sure that requests for information are fully justified, and make sure that it is not given out to managers freely. (You don't want data to fall into the wrong hands.) 

9.  Assign to lower-level managers, in the name of delegation and participation, responsibility for figuring out how to cut back, layoff, move people around, or otherwise implement threatening decisions that you have made. And get them to do it quickly. 

10.  Above all, never forget that you, the higher-ups, already know everything important about this business. 

Search the Theme: Change and change management

See also:
Kanter's 10 reasons why people resist change and 10 deadly mistakes of wanna-dots

  Kanter, R. M. (1985)  The Change Masters: Corporate Entrepreneurs at Work.  Jossey-Bass.

Thanks to Frank Byrne in Dublin for this entry.

9 obstacles to personaity

In geometry, an enneagram is a nine-pointed geometric figure. The term derives from two Greek words: ennea (nine) and grammon (writ or draft). 

The Enneagram of Personality, usually known as the Enneagram is a particular application of the Fourth Way enneagram figure. The Enneagram system describes nine distinct personality types and their interrelationships, mapped around an ancient symbol of perpetual motion. 

The Enneagram symbol was used by G. I. Gurdjieff, the originator of a school of spiritual work near Paris in the 1930s. Although Gurdjieff used the Enneagram diagram to describe possibilities of human development, his concept of the diagram was related to the symbolic communication of ancient knowledge and the "self-work" process through which individuals can acquire insight rather than to the categorizing of personality styles. 

According to Enneagram of Personality theory, the points of the enneagram figure indicate a number of ways in which nine principal ego-archetypal forms or types of human personality ("Enneatypes") are psychologically connected. 

People of each Enneatype are usually referred to after the number of the point on the enneagram figure (Eights, Fours, Sixes etc.) that indicates their particular psychological space and 'place' of connection to the other types. They are also often given names that suggest some of their more distinctive archetypal characteristics. 

One such classification is 

1. Reformer
2. Helper
3. Achiever
4. Individualist
5. Investigator
6. Loyalist
7. Enthusiast
8. Challenger 

There does not appear to be a great deal of independent empirical evidence to support the classification though it is argued that the debate and self-insight that ensues is the critical source of validity. 

Search the theme: Human nature and behaviour 


4 thinking styles

Ned Herrmann argues that there are four thinking styles that reflect four distinct and specialised structures in the brain. Based on his own research he has identified the characteristics that are associated with each thinking style preference, together with a validated self-assessment tool that enables individuals to understand their own preferences. 

The four thinking styles are 

1. Logician - focussing on the facts: analytical, mathematical, technical and problem-solving, factual and quantitative 

2. Organiser - focussing on Form: controlled, conservative, planned, organised and administrative in nature 

3. Communicator -  focussing on feelings: interpersonal, emotional, musical, spiritual  

4. Visionary -  focussing on the future: imaginative, synthesizing, artistic, holistic, and conceptual 

This makes us Analysers, Organisers, Strategisers or Personalisers. 

This classification goes one step beyond the right brain/left brain by adding left and right brain limbic systems to form his quadrant of thinking mode dominance which affects our interests, competencies, career choice and ultimately our effectiveness. 

According to Herrmann in The Whole Brain Business Book, we can learn to break free of the brain rut that occurs when work is dominated by one thinking style; tap the talents of Visionaries and Communicators to blossom in times of chaos; build mentally diverse Whole Brain teams that dramatically increase results in marketing, advertising sales and in all forms of problem-solving; develop breakthrough insights that will improve the way the reader supervises, manages, leads and resolves conflicts; and establish a climate of creativity and receptivity to change. 

Big claims and possibly a bit simplistic as it is based on only two dimensions. 

Search the Theme: Personal effectiveness or Learning

See also: 6 thinking hats (De Bono)7 intelligences (Gardner), 16 personality types (MBTI), 24 human strengths (Patterson & Seligman) 

Source: Herrmann, N. (1996) The Whole Brain Business Book. McGraw-Hill Training Series.

5 trends that will shape the future

Based on his own analysis, Watson makes very specific predictions on timelines for five broad trends. 

They are 

1. The ageing society
2. Power shift to the East
3. Greater global connectivity
4. Technology, in particular genetics, robotics, internet, and nano-technology
5. The environment. 

Search the Theme: Competitiveness and Profitability and  Change and change management

See also: Kelly’s 10 rules for the new economy; Brill & Worth’s 12 hallmarks for success in the 21st century 

Source: Watson, R. (2008) Future Files: The Five Trends That Will Shape the Next 50 Years. Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

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Sites: Good bye!

7 sins of evolutionary psychology

The explanations of human behaviour offered by evolutionary psychology are often very plausible, indeed sometimes almost too plausible.

Here is the case for restraint and caution when it comes to mistaking plausibility for scientific truth. The Abstract below sums up the argument powerfully:

Modern evolutionary psychology is demonstrating, once again, that an uncritical enthusiasm for the gene’s-eye point of view can easily lead to conceptual excesses that go far beyond the available evidence. Seven major flaws in the evolutionary psychology agenda are outlined. With its enthusiasm for human inclusive-fitness issues, this variant of socio-biology has expressed little interest in what we already know about the brains and behaviors of non-human animals-- facts that should be of foundational importance for thinking about many human abilities. 

To create a lasting understanding of ‘human nature’, we must incorporate the lessons from the past half-century of research on sub cortical emotional and motivational systems that all mammals share. Seven examples of how a study of these systems can highlight  some of the core problems of evolutionary psychology are outlined. From this perspective, the developmental interactions among ancient special purpose circuits and more recent general-purpose brain mechanisms can generate many of the ‘modularized’ human abilities that evolutionary psychology has entertained. By simply accepting the remarkable degree of neocortical plasticity within the human
brain, especially during development, genetically-dictated, socio-biological ‘modules’ begin to resemble products of dubious human ambition rather than of sound scientific reasoning.

The seven sins are:

1. Are there really Pleistocene sources of current human social adaptations?
2. Excessive species-centrism in evolutionary psychology.
3. The sin of adaptationism
4. The sin of massive modularity
5. On the conflation of emotions and cognitions
6. The absence of credible neural perspectives
7. Anti-organic bias or the computationalist/representationalist myth 

See also: 7 perspectives of psychology
Source: Panksepp, J. & Panksepp, J. B. (2000) The seven sins of evolutionary psychology. Evolution and Cognition, 6, 2, 108-131.

7 perspectives in psychology

Since its origins as an empirical science in the 19th century, psychology was and remains a broad church, both a strength and a source of frustration, according to your point of view. The concept of the seven perspectives probably originated with Wayne Weiten introductory text first published in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall came down. It is now in its 8th Edition. 

The seven perspectives are 

1. Neuroscience: This perspectives looks inside the body, at substances such as hormones, drugs, and neurotransmitters, and at internal organs, especially the brain and its structures. It is also concerned with issues such as emotions, physical health, brain damage and other injuries. It is through neuroscience that psychologists seek to understand how the body influences behaviour and how behaviour influences the body. Recent advances in the technology of brain-imaging have given a tremendous boost to this branch of psychology since the late Nineties. 

2. Evolutionary: This perspective looks at the impact of evolution on our behaviours. Psychologists study how the process of natural selection (i.e., survival of the fittest, which actually mean survival long enough to reproduce) and how it might affect the way in which we behave. The interaction of our physical abilities and attributes with the environment is taken into consideration. 

3. Behavioural Genetics: This perspective looks at our personal genetic heritage and how that influences who we are and how we behave. The nature-nurture issue is emphasized. It is concerned with the interaction of our environment (our personal life experiences) and the talents and physical attributes we were born with because of our genetic heritage. As with neuroscience recent advances in genetics (e.g. the Human Genome Project) have given a huge boost to this branch of Psychology. 

4. Behavioural: This perspective looks how we learn from the consequences of our actions at behaviours that are learned from watching others, and at behaviours that are learned unconsciously and automatically. Originating in the mid 20th century, it started as an over-compensation to the lack of precise science in psycho-dynamic and other approaches to psychology. It too has received renewal of energy and attention through the advent of behavioural economics. 

5. Cognitive: This perspective looks at how we think and reason, how we remember things, why we remember some things better than others, how we go about solving a math or a logic problem, why we are likely to pay attention to some things and not to others, and so on. Now has a stronger link up with neuroscience. 

6. Social-Cultural: This perspective looks at how people in different cultures and social situations behave. Psychologists study how difference in cultural values and practices can lead to different ways of seeing the world and different ways of behaving. Has links with socio-biological approaches. 

7. Psychodynamic: This perspective, initially developed by Sigmund Freud, is concerned with how our unconscious motives affect our behaviour. Freud developed a comprehensive theory about why we do things without understanding our own motives. He also developed strategies to try to find out what is in the unconscious, such as dream

Another often used classification is: 

1. biological perspective
2. behavioural perspective
3. cognitive perspective
4. psychoanalytical perspective
5. phenomenological perspective
6. humanistic perspective 

See also: 7 sins of evolutionary psychology

Source: Weiten, W. Psychology: Themes and Variations, 8th ed, 2008 (First Published 1989). Wadsworth.

7 steps to being happy

The latest offering of the phenomenally popular Marci Shimoff. The underlying theme here is that happiness comes from inside you and not from externals such as achievement, money, and material possessions. The book is partly based on the findings and techniques of Positive Psychology but also on her own interviews with 100 “truly happy people.” Anyone associated with The Secret and the Chicken Soup for The Soul Series, which allegedly reached 150 million people, seems to be guaranteed an instant hit. 

If the authors, and the associated industry (courses, DVDs, Workbooks, etc) didn’t make quite so much money, one might be a little less sceptical. Do the authors really believe that money does not bring you happiness? 

The seven steps require the reader to build a home for happiness with Foundations, four pillars, a roof, and a garden. 

1. The Foundation is taking ownership of your happiness. This includes    
     a. Focussing on Solution
     b. Looking for the lesson and the Gift
     c. Making peace with yourself 

2. The Pillar of the Mind embraces not believing everything you think. This includes
    a. Questioning your thoughts
    b. Going beyond the mind and letting go
    c. Inclining your mind to joy 

3. The Pillar is of the Heart involves letting love lead. This includes
    a. Focussing on gratitude
    b. Practising forgiveness
    c. Spreading “lovingkindness” 

4. The Pillar of the Body is about making your cells happy. This includes
    a. Nourishing your body
    b. Energising your body
    c. Tuning in to your body’s wisdom 

5. The Pillar of the Soul enables you to plug yourself into spirit. This includes
    a. Inviting connection to your higher power
    b. Listening to your inner voice
    c. Trusting Life’s unfolding 

6. The Roof enables you to live a life inspired by purpose. This embraces
    a. Finding your passion
    b. Following the inspiration of the moment
    c. Contributing to something greater than yourself 

7. Finally, the Garden is about cultivating nurturing relationships. This involves
    a. Tending to your relationships
    b. Surrounding yourself with support, and
    c. Seeing the world as your family. 

This book is a predictable, though helpful, combination of traditional self-help advice, worldly wisdom, and some aspects of positive psychology. 

If the Positive Psychology Movement is not careful, the self-help industry, from which it seeks to differentiate itself on the basis of its scientific approach, will steel its thunder though Frederickson, Tal Ben-Shahar, Lyubomirsky, Seligman Search the Names and others are doing their best to hold onto their unique selling point and also gain widespread popular influence. 

Search the Theme:  Personal Effectiveness

Source: Shimoff, M. (2008) Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy From the Inside Out. Simon & Schuster.

7 keys to resilience

This book is about resilience rather than happiness, though there appears to be a lot of overlap in the advice given here and books on happiness, especially those based on Positive Psychology (aka the science of happiness). Not surprising really, as both authors are psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania. This is an evidence-based book so gets my seal of approval. 

The underlying theme of this book is that resilience is based on accurate thinking, not positive thinking. 

There are four fundamental uses for resilience. It helps us: 

1. Overcome obstacles we experience or encounter
2. Steer through adversities that befall us
3. Bounce back
4. Reach out 

There are seven skills to be mastered. They are 

1. Learning your ABCs  ABC stands for Adversity, Beliefs, Consequences. The skill lies in understanding how your thoughts affect your feelings and your behaviour. 

2. Avoiding thinking traps Typically people make eight different kinds of mistakes that undermine resilience. You need to identify the ones you habitually make and learn how to correct them. 

3. Detecting icebergs We have deeply held beliefs about how people and the world should operate and who they are and want to be. These beliefs are largely unconscious and guide us in ways that can be both positive and negative. Identifying these underlying beliefs is critical to increasing your resilience. 

4. Challenging beliefs Your thinking style can lead you to misinterpret the causes of a problem which can then lead you you to pursue the wrong solutions. It is important to test the accuracy of your beliefs. 

5. Putting it in perspective Too much what-if thinking can waste energy, time, and lead to paralysing anxiety. 

6. Calming and focusing. Staying calm and focused when you are overwhelmed with emotion and stress enables you to concentrate on the task in hand. 

7. Real-time resilience. This is a skill which enables you to quickly change your counterproductive thoughts into more resilient ones with immediate results.

Brilliant book. Highly recommended. 

See also 8 common thinking traps

Search the theme Personal effectiveness

Source: Reivich, K. & Shatte, A.. (2002) The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles. Broadway Books.

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Based on a survey of 26,000 people in 31 companies, the authors identified the traits that make organisations successful at implementing strategy. They present them in order of importance based on a “strength index” scored out of 100. They are: 1. Everyone has a good idea of the decisions and actions for which he or she is responsible (81) 2. Important information about the competitive environment gets to head office quickly (68) 3. Once made, decisions are rarely second-guessed (58) 4. Information flows freely across organisational boundaries (58) 5. Field and line employees usually have the information they need to understand the bottom-line impact of their day to day decisions (58) 6. Line managers have access to the metrics they need to measure the key drivers of their business (48) 7. Managers up the line get involved in operational decisions (32) 8. Conflicting messages are rarely sent to the market (32) 9. The individual performance appraisal process differentiates among High, Low and Medium performers (32) 10. The ability to deliver on performance commitments strongly influences career advancement and compensation (29) 11. The culture of the organisation is more persuade and cajole than command and control (29) 12. The primary role of corporate staff is to support the business units rather than audit them (29) 13. Promotions can be lateral moves (29) 14. Fast track employees expect promotion more frequently than 3 years (23) 15. On average, middle managers have more than 5 direct reports (19) 16. In an bad year a division that still did well got a bonus (13) 17. Besides pay many other things motivate people to do a good job (13) The authors conclude that in general clarifying decision rights and ensuring information flows where it needs to go scored higher than specific attention to motivators and structure. Getting the first two rights tends to result in making the other two easier to achieve. Source: Neilson, G.L., Martin, K. L. Ad Powers, E (2008) The Secrets of Successful Strategy Implementation. Harvard Business Review, June, 61-70.



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