Strategic Planning Must Change With The Times

If you’re frustrated by your organization’s current strategic planning and execution processes or the outcomes from that work, you’re not alone. Whether they’re developed in-house or brought in by outside strategy firms, many strategy methodologies are of little value if they don’t keep up with the times. So if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got.…

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10 Leadership Lessons From My Favorite Clint Eastwood Movie Quotes

Regular readers of my weekly column have come to expect me to do my best in presenting them with fresh perspectives on how to manage the challenges that most of them face as leaders in their respective organizations. But, this week I decided to lighten it up a bit and look to what can be learned from some of my favorite Clint Eastwood movie quotes. So, let's have some fun! What we can take away…

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Leadership Matters: CEO Interview with Sam Walsh

This edition of the CEO interview features Sam Walsh, the recently retired CEO, of Rio Tinto. Rio Tinto, founded in 1873, is a British-Australian multinational and one of the world’s largest metals and mining corporations. The company has grown through a long series of mergers and acquisitions to place itself among the world leaders in the production of many commodities, including aluminum, iron…

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Work Performance and the Perils of Comparison

Let me take you back in time.  You're in 8th grade.  You've signed up for your first guitar lesson and the teacher plays Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven."   She offers it up as an example of a great song that you can learn to play.  You're motivated to learn, right?  Wrong!  She no sooner finishes her sentence about "you can learn how to play," when you hear Jimmy Page rips into his classic…

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Welcome to Business 2.0 as Powered by New IT

Business 2.0 represents a new way of thinking and doing for early 21st Century companies. Unlike e-commerce where consumer transactions are done via the Web, Business 2.0 is about using the Internet-based services to drive entire business processes. Indeed, the work of transforming an enterprise to Business 2.0 is quite an undertaking. But, this transformation has an ally in "New IT"--a…

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8 Tips for ‘Keeping It Real’ During Your Cultural Transformation Effort

Whenever I consider the pain and toil that goes into every deep, cultural transformation effort I recall the words of Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, "pain is inevitable, suffering is optional." Indeed, transformation work is always challenging. You're asking people to change and to move out of their comfort zones. Resistance, misunderstanding and confusion abound! But, managing through change…

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5 Management Practices Needed for Flawless Service Delivery

In the past, I've written other articles on the subject of strategy and competition. To summarize the messages from earlier articles, it is my belief that every business competes across only three main dimensions--product, price and service. Certainly, strategies to cover all three elements are essential for the ongoing growth and success of a business. That said, this piece focuses on service…

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These Common (and Unnecessary) Challenges Are Keeping Your Business From Success

The other day, I was watching Inc.'s very own Issie Lapowsky's Malcolm Gladwell interview. They were discussing Gladwell's most recent book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, when the topic of "Desirable Difficulties" was brought up in their conversation. As the theory goes, introducing certain difficulties into the learning process can greatly improve…

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7 Management Hacks Worthy of Tacking on Your Wall

It's easy to become overwhelmed when time is tight and the pressure is on. Use these 7 management hacks the next time you sense that you're about to lose control. They will help you to get things back in perspective and manage your way through those stressful times, which we all struggle with from time to time: Place Laser-Like Focus on What's Important and ignore the rest! Know that you can't…

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How to Build Teamwork Through Heraldry

As a person of Scottish heritage, I grew up in a household that emphasized our rich family history. Our family's coat of arms served as the centerpiece of most discussions on the subject. Garnished in star and sun symbols colored in red, yellow and blue, I learned that our coat of arms represented different parts of our family's heritage and that its symbols and colors held important and specific…

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Why We Must Leverage What People Do Have (and Not Penalize Them for What They Don’t)

Once upon a time, people with disabilities had no place in business. Now, thanks to innovative programs being introduced at several large companies, those times may be coming to an end. Business leaders are beginning to recognize that people diagnosed with autism, for example, can bring some great things to the table. Companies, including SAP, Microsoft and HP have all begun programs intended to…

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5 Tips to Building a Business to Scale in Today’s Competitive Market

Francis Bacon, father of the scientific method, famously said: "He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator." I couldn't agree more! Certainly, the time has come for business leaders to "apply new remedies" in their pursuit of building organizations that can rapidly react and respond to changes in the marketplace. Indeed, re-imagining business…

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The Art of the Management Huddle

When used in a football context, a huddle is used to call a play. Similarly, a "management huddle" can be used by business leaders to call a play, too. By definition, management huddles are a technique used by leaders to gather colleagues together for a short meeting to share status or brainstorm options that can help the organization arrive at quality decisions in short order. The technique can…

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5 Powerful Ways to Harness the Potential of Millennials

As many of my readers already know, I regularly cover the topic of the Gen Y worker and all of the opportunities and challenges that they represent in this column. In the past, I've offered some tips from mentoring to organizational restructuring. This piece takes a slightly different tack. It provides 5 solid ideas aimed at building the type of long-term relationships that work for businesses…

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The Importance of Recognition: A Perfect Story for the Holiday Season

This story involves a mentally challenged individual that works at a local supermarket. There was a time when the store presented an "Employee of the Month" award to its staff. This middle-aged man was a recipient of this award from time-to-time. He was so elated whenever he received the honor that he would brag about it and show off the plaque (that came as part of the recognition) to the…

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Raising the Bar: How to Leverage the Organization, Function, and Process Connection for Peak Performance

A business is the composite of its organizational structure, functional design, and process workflow. You can think of the three as the legs of a stool. If the legs of a stool are not in perfect alignment the stool will wobble. If one leg is too long or too short, the stool will collapse underweight. The same holds true for your business. A lack of synchronization among the organizational,…

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