Beggar Is Better

The path to a growing, robust economy is through impoverishing workers, according to Eduardo Porter of the New York Times. You see, here’s the skinny: Unions have been too successful. Private-sector union members, on average, make 23% more than non-union employees. This, in turn, means that unionized companies — such as Ford and GM — operate at […]

Prescription For Failure

Here’s a math question about a household budget. Say you want to understand the effect of trend lines comparing household income to a single item of household expense. That expense might be food or clothing or heat…. or, in this case, interest payments on debt. Here’s the question: What happens if household income is rising […]

Superficiality Is Spectacular

Not. But this kind of headline would surely please the chuckle-headed editors at the Los Angeles Times who use their musing on corporate participation at the Sundance film festival to proclaim, “Greed is good”. Right away, let’s not lose our balance over the participation itself — the partying, free goodies, and financial support given to independent […]

Exploding Mortgages, II

Exploding mortgages are back in the news. Ameriquest, the huge finance company whose website comforts potential borrowers with promises of ‘personal attention’ needed to help with the ‘lonely process’ of getting a mortgage was evidently providing ‘stalker-like’ personal attention and has now agreed to roll back its aggressive practices — practices that left many of its customers with exploding […]

Meaningless Politics, II

In his comments on the Alito hearings in The New Yorker, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin appropriately criticizes the highly choreographed dance that makes it difficult to really learn anything substantive about folks being nominated for life time tenure on the one body in our Constitutional government that truly and fully have the power to shape law and […]

The Twin Engines of Performance

When my good friend Saad Allawi of Performance Logic called me several weeks ago, he asked my view of software that helps leaders ‘see and manage’ a portfolio of projects in their organization. Like most software, these applications are only as effective as the purposes and performance focus for which they are used. If the projects have activities […]

ExxonMobil Explains Windfall Profits

Yesterday, a Vice President of ExxonMobil conducted a web-based news conference to preview both the company’s windfall profits of over $30 billion in 2005 (from extraordinarily high energy prices) as well as ExxonMobil’s proposed ‘framing’ for why the profits are no big deal. “Many people say that the energy industry is reaping unfair profits and […]

Exploding Mortgages

A survey just out from the National Association of Realtors tells us that 43% of first time-home buyers put no money down. None. Nada. Zilch. 43%. Not 23%. Not 10%. Not 5%. 43%. More than 4 out of ten. How? Well, as housing prices have escalated during the real estate bubble, the real estate and financing industries […]

The Shadow Of The Leader

In one of Aesop’s fables, a political leader accuses his shadow of bad values only to be confronted by the shadow about the leader’s own failings. In short, the shadow wants nothing to do with the leader. The shadow is ashamed of the leader. Leaders — whether political leaders or organizational leaders — cast shadows. “The […]

Cross Cultural Teams

Teaming is one of the two disciplines for achieving performance in small groups. In addition to keeping groups small, the team discipline revolves around needed skills, shared sense of purpose, goals and how to get along and work together, and mutual accountability — all of which make the findings from Grovewell must reading for folks in cross cultural teams. […]

Blocking and Tackling Gone Sour

FedEx is currently running a series of TV commercials that take humorous aim at the overuse of football metaphors in business. So, let’s quickly laugh at ourselves in commenting about blocking and tackling — a descriptive phrase for what often separates entrepreneurial and/or innovative breakthroughs from disciplined organizations that can and do sustain success. Any […]