Posts made in 2012

Realizing the promise of employee engagement

Posted by on Aug 14, 2012

Ensuring your Great Expectations don’t turn into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly As the old joke goes, in a ham-and-eggs breakfast the chicken is involved but the pig is committed. That isn’t far off the mark for the difference between employee involvement and true employee engagement. Someone can be involved in something as a bystander, but they have to take action to be engaged. Today’s article is the first of a 3-part series for leaders who are considering making employee engagement an important part of their strategy. In today’s article – part 1 – we’ll talk about what...

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Problem solving isn’t highly overrated . . .

Posted by on May 8, 2012

. . . when you’re solving the right problems. Last week I read an article by Lorne Armstrong titled “Problem Solving is Highly Over-rated”. It tweaked my interest since much of my work involves helping leaders to clearly define, and to avoid or overcome, important strategic problems. When a blog article makes a few good, practical points that readers can use immediately, the writer has hit the mark. Armstrong succeeds. He points to common deficiencies that undermine the value of problem-solving, beginning with weak problem definition. For example, he notes that many people cite the absence...

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When and how managers should be more entrepreneurial

Posted by on Apr 23, 2012

In our last article we outlined some of the observed differences in the ways entrepreneurs and professional managers operate, and noted that managers are frequently urged to “be more entrepreneurial“. This week we’ll provide practical guidelines about when to be more entrepreneurial, and how. Entrepreneurial management – personality or situational choice? As we noted in our last article, personality differences between these two groups probably account for some of the differences observed in studies.  To recap, research shows that as entrepreneurs transition from start-up...

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What can entrepreneurs and professional managers learn from each other?

Posted by on Mar 19, 2012

More importantly, when and where should these lessons be applied?  A lot has been written about the differences between entrepreneurs and managers, often with the underlying message that professional managers should try to be more like entrepreneurs. The praise showered on entrepreneurs includes that they: see opportunities where others don’t have the knack of making something out of nothing are “fearless”, “independent minded” and “adaptable” are constantly scanning for new opportunities are avid information-gatherers and opportunistic learners see and pursue opportunities without the need...

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Two practical ways to implement your strategic priorities FAST

Posted by on Feb 29, 2012

In all my years as a management consultant, one of the funniest expressions I’ve heard is “it may work in practice, but it will never fly in theory”. Our last two articles on strategic prioritization were more theoretical and conceptual, but this week, let’s get practical. Senior managers may put a lot of effort into selecting the right strategic priorities, but it goes for naught unless they’re converted to action.  This week we’ll describe two simple, practical ways to convert your priorities to understanding throughout the organization, and most importantly, ACTION at the front lines....

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How to prioritize for faster strategy implementation

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012

The hard choices of strategic prioritization So you know you have to finally decide  Say yes to some and let the other ones ride  There’s so many choices, not all can be tried  Yes you know you have to finally decide (With apologies to the “Lovin’ Spoonful”) In last week’s article we discussed the importance of setting a few critical strategic priorities to accelerate implementation, and the reasons why teams often neglect this important step. This week we’ll set out guidelines for prioritization to help your team become very clearly focused on the most critical...

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A little-known secret to successful strategy implementation

Posted by on Feb 13, 2012

Set strategic priorities for fast implementation We all know that success requires a sound strategy that fits your know-how and resources. However, there’s an often overlooked but critical factor required for successful implementation – strategic prioritization. Strategy has always been about getting the biggest bang for the buck.  But this is different.  This is about focusing on a few of your initiatives for immediate implementation, while others await their turn. The concept is very simple, yet few senior teams do it.  Most find it difficult to narrow their priorities further than dozen...

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Why plan in a retreat setting?

Posted by on Feb 6, 2012

Retreats can be highly productive During my career I’ve worked with more than 100 client organizations, public, private, for-profit and not for profit. The most productive planning meetings I’ve facilitated have been multi-day meetings held offsite, usually in locations requiring an overnight stay. The reason for selecting a retreat location is well known to those who have participated. These meetings are nobody’s idea of a vacation. It’s common to work 10 to 12 hours per day, interrupted only by breaks, and without the distraction of people rushing off to deal with “emergencies” or...

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Are CEOs really overpaid and mostly not worth it? Part 3

Posted by on Jan 23, 2012

Recap In Parts 1 and 2 of this topic, we reviewed studies and opinions on executive pay. We found that the research shows: CEO pay has grown faster than the capitalization or profits of the companies they head, and this is most likely the result of measurement difficulties and remuneration policies that may be skewed by self-interest. This week we’ll conclude by answering the key strategic question “what should companies do about it”.  Our answer may surprise you. What the data does – and doesn’t – tell us As with nearly all population statistics, the pay received by...

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Are CEOs really overpaid and mostly not worth it? Part 2

Posted by on Jan 16, 2012

Last week, in Part 1 of this topic, we introduced the following questions: Are the highest paid CEOs really worth what they’re being paid? And does paying top dollar for a CEO add to the bottom line, where it really matters? The answers, supported by studies cited last week, are that the Fortune and FT 500 firms with the highest paid CEOs experienced negative abnormal returns over the subsequent 5 year period. (See details in Part 1 of this report.) This week we’ll explore more data and review opinions from some of the top researchers in the field of executive pay. We’ll answer 2 key...

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Are CEOs really overpaid and mostly not worth it? Part 1

Posted by on Jan 10, 2012

Are the highest paid CEOs really worth what they’re being paid? And does paying top dollar for a CEO add to the bottom line, where it really matters? CEO compensation has come under the spotlight in recent years like never before. Smoldering public outrage burst into a brush fire after the US government bailed out major financial institutions with more than 1 trillion dollars in taxpayer money only to see some of it doled out as bonuses to bank executives whose actions either caused the debacle or whose inaction allowed it to happen. The discontent this has sparked now threatens to spread....

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