Leadership

What Airport Noise Complaints Teach Us About Time Management

As a consultant, I spend so much time on planes that the noise of a jet engine is a soothing lullaby. But for the people who live near the airport, those same noises can keep them awake at night. Most airports have noise abatement programs in place to balance the needs of community members with the economic benefits a community gets from traveling business people and leisure travelers. Recently, two economists at George Mason University, [...]

By | October 25th, 2016|Leadership, Strategy|

My Three Favorite Books For Professionals (Or Anyone)

If I were to create a book group for professionals at any level, whether you're just starting out or you're leading a firm, I wouldn't use books written about management or leadership, or books written for their respective industries.  Instead, I'd pick the three general non-fiction books here, on which I've built a large part of my practice. The Upside of Down by Megan McArdle At some point in our careers, we all have to [...]

By | September 13th, 2016|Leadership, Strategy|

We Tried That Once

One of the most dangerous and common barriers to new initiatives, especially in a professional services context, is "we tried that once." It's a common refrain - somebody new enters with great ideas for how to improve marketing or sales. For instance, they might suggest a new research project, or inviting clients and prospects to a breakfast. And when it's proposed, you hear the same refrain: "we tried that once, but it never really went [...]

By | April 23rd, 2015|Leadership|

Five Leadership Lessons from Herding Goats

Last month, as part of the Shapiro Family fellowship, I spent a day learning about goat herding. Goats were first domesticated over 10,000 years ago in either Turkey or Iran, making them one of the oldest domesticated animals in the world. They've been found in the foothills outside Jerusalem, where our group learned about herding, for thousands of years. Many early biblical figures herded sheep and goats, and they were common sacrifices in the ancient [...]

By | August 15th, 2013|Leadership|

Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

My graphic designer just told me he wouldn't make a change I requested, and it's why I think he does such a great job.  The change was a bad idea, but I didn't know enough about printing and design to have caught it.  Of course, he didn't just refuse the request, he explained his reasoning, understood the root cause of my request, and explained an alternative way to solve my problem without creating a new [...]

By | May 9th, 2013|Leadership|

Moving the Ball Down the Field: A Case Study in Turnarounds

I once worked with a hotel that was ranked at the bottom of their management company on nearly ever metric – profitability, customer satisfaction, employee engagement.  When a new general manager, a former college football star, took over the property, he probably felt like he was in a classic Bad News Bears situation.  His rag-tag team had sub-par equipment, including an elevator that constantly broke.  No matter how hard they tried, they felt like they [...]

By | February 25th, 2013|Leadership|

Management Without Measurement Is Stupid, Measurement Without Management Is Worse

Last week, Bill Gates published his annual letter, along with an editorial in the Wall Street Journal (link). In it, he discussed the way his philanthropic efforts have applied measurement to improve their effectiveness. In doing so, he brought one of the most important management innovations of the twentieth century to bear on the problem of solving human suffering. But measurement alone isn’t going to solve the world’s problems, and it won’t solve your organization’s either. [...]

By | February 4th, 2013|Leadership|