Best Best Practices

It helps to look for best practices to raise a client’s performance, but we often look in the wrong place first—outside the organization, toward the industry or profession. The best place is within the organization itself.That’s because we then know what realistic to achieve in the client’s own world. When I worked with Mercedes Benz North America years ago, the executives thought I should study Lexus and BMW dealerships to find what their best service practices were, since the preponderance of …


Idiosyncratic Structures

The recent New York Times piece on Amazon’s grinding culture is just another example of idiosyncratic leadership and structure. Jobs at Apple did the same, using his personal (and often damaging) vision of what the company should look life. The new, zany “holacracy” by Tony Hsieh at Zappos is another. No one kept the people at Amazon present at gunpoint. One would think it prudent to leave before collapsing on the desk in tears (and that was the men). Whether it’s …


Faceoff

Facebook has become one of the largest organizations in the world largely because it doesn’t have an intelligence test to qualify members. This morning some moron posted that we have to become like Canada in the US: triple our union membership percentage, raise the minimum wage by 50%, and escalate taxes “on the rich.” By all means, let’s become a country one-tenth our present size and find a much larger country with which to share a long border that will …


Johnson & Murphy is a shoe brand I long associated with wing-tips, 1950s bank executives wearing vests, and something you keep shining and wearing for 30 years, regardless of style. For dress shoes I prefer more contemporary, designer options. I buy casual shoes whenever the mood strikes me, and some catalogs have terrific offerings, which I associate with the catalog, not a shoe brand. I recently bought a pair of loafers so comfortable and perfect for the summer that I …


Try A Sample

When you buy online from Kiehl’s, the high-end skin care company, they “demand” that you choose three free samples to be shipped along with your order. I haven’t figured out how to avoid this (I assume there’s a box to check somewhere) so I simply choose three. Inevitably, my wife or I find at least one worth ordering in the future. At Kiehl’s counters, they lavish you with free samples, and the same offer is made over the phone. It’s …


Performance Based Priorities

A lot of you tell me you’re “overwhelmed.” There is no such thing. You’re simply treating everything as a priority, hence, you have no priorities. If you want to drive somewhere, the priority is to have gas in the tank and properly inflated tires. It would be nice to have the car washed, and a minor ding removed, and the floors vacuumed. But those issues pale in terms of the car getting you where you want to go, as compared …


Call for the Ball

Stephen Curry made 7 of 13 three-point attempts as his Warriors beat the Cavaliers last night in the NBA playoffs. In the last 3 minutes, he made two insanely hard three-pointers. It wasn’t simply that he was shooting well, he wanted to ball. To perform well under pressure, you have to be good, but you also have to be bold. No matter how good you are, you can’t score if you don’t call for the ball. No one becomes an all-star …


Into the Light

We had to have some major landscaping work done, and the new sod that was put down was a different color from the surrounding yard. “That’s because your existing grass had been in the shade,” said our tree guy, “but now with all the shade gone, the grass will look healthier and more attractive.” Many of us work in someone else’s shade or shadow—a parent, a stronger brand, a thought leader, a loud voice. We need to step out from …


My New Passive Income

Since I pioneered value based fees for the consulting profession, I’ve decided to enable people to use technology to accomplish this even more quickly.   You can have one of these for just $125,000, it will pay the investment back ten-thousand fold in mere weeks. (photo courtesy of Andy Bass in the UK)


Let’s All Jump To Cause

Problem solving is a key skill in a consultant’s tool kit, especially because so many people “jump to cause.” This means they assume a cause, given their biases or ignorance, instead of analytically determining cause and validating it. You can’t remove or prevent a problem without knowing its cause. This “jump to cause” could be a bias made evident: “Well, what do you expect from a woman?” It could be a political agenda: “That’s a typical screwup from R&D.” It …