Two Traps That Hurt Teams

Two traps that hurt real team performance have to do with work assignments. Those who have mastered the team discipline know that mutual accountability for shared work and shared performance is a hallmark of real teams. Put differently, if a small group can achieve the overall performance objectives through a series of individual work assignments, then the […]

The Santorum Brand

In our world of markets, networks, organizations, friends and families, political candidates for high profile offices such as Senator, Governor and President must pay a lot of attention to branding. Retail politics — where the candidate him/herself kissed babies, spoke to town halls, knocked on doors — went out with Elvis. Yes, candidates still do […]

Recommendation to Harris Poll: Use Grades Not Numbers

For several years, Harrisinteractive of the Harris polling company has done an annual survey of the ‘reputation quotient’ of what it calls the 60 ‘most visible’ companies. The survey asks respondents to evaluate companies against 20 attributes ranging from social responsibility to financial performance to product quality. Each of the twenty can earn a top score of […]

Malicious Music From Sony

The Attorney General of Texas has sued Sony BMG for the aggressive use of ‘rootkits’ as an anti-piracy tool. The Electronic Frontier Foundation also has sued Sony in a separate matter.  Wikipediadescribes rootkits as software that “helps an intruder maintain access to a system without the user’s knowledge”. If that strikes a bad note, it’s because […]

Thinking Inside The Box At GM

Today, General Motors announced it would eliminate 30,000 manufacturing jobs through a series of plant closings. That’s 9% of the people who work at GM (325,000) and a much higher percentage of manufacturing jobs. This is a tragic development for thousands of families and communities. And, yes, we know that it is also a move aimed at […]

Edelman’s Opportunity At Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart has hired Richard Edelman’s firm to lead the giant retailer’s public relations response to the intensifying debate over Wal-Mart’s values and practices. This is a wonderful opportunity for Edelman and those who work in his firm to put into practice Edelman’s own values about the responsibilities of public relations professionals in our complex 21st […]

Teacher As Boss

Teaching — at any level and in any context — is a human gift of profound importance. If that teaching is done in an ongoing organizational setting (e.g. a classroom), the teacher inevitably must accomodate him or herself to a shared assumption regarding authority. Yes, this shared assumption can be gossamer thin in some contexts; […]

The Incompleteness of Hierarchy

Peter Drucker, the preeminent management thinker of the 20th century, died this week. Let’s honor him, ourselves and our posterity by picking up on one of his central teachings; namely, that, while powerful and useful, hierarchy is incomplete. It is but one thread in the fabric of management and leadership — albeit the thread most […]

Soul Searching At NY Times

If I’m understanding this correctly, the publisher of the NY Times has said the Judith Miller affair is minor when contrasted with the Jayson Blair affair. Among other things, Blair plagiarized his way through the ranks and, at some point along the way, did so without sufficient oversight from management. These failings put in question all that […]

Law Quiz

If you visit Dave Wilton’s wordorigins, you can explore the evolution of meaning for various words from A to Z. “Quiz”, for example, has gone from a noun describing an odd person to a verb about mocking or making fun to our contemporary verb of testing. This phenomenon — that the meaning of words do not […]

Focusing Energy At Chevron

Chevron has invited a handful of experts as well as the general public to join a discussion about the planet’s energy future. We should applaud this effort. Wherever the effort sits on the spectrum of ‘toe in the water/public relations’ to ‘serious inquiry”, it does allow for discussion — perhaps most importantly among the employees and executives […]

Thick We’s

In his book The Ethics of Memory, the contemporary philosopher Avishai Margalit differentiates between what he calls ‘thick we’s’ and ‘thin we’s’. Thin we’s have abstract, thin bonds — all Americans, all human beings, all “20-somethings”. Margalit is more interested in exploring ethical issues among people whose relationships are ‘thicker’; who have shared experiences and shared […]

Horses, Barns and Buy-In

You’re actively involved in some significant change — for example, a new strategy, a major reengineering project, a shift in brand approach and so forth. There are a variety of folks — from many perspectives — whose buy-in will matter to the success of whatever choice is made. Buy-in itself is a subtle concept. Those […]