Flunking Quality Education

The New York Times reports that, for the first time, the No Child Left Behind law has been used by a state board of education (in Maryland) to take over failing schools (in Baltimore). Journalism being what it is today, the story focuses first and foremost on Republican vs. Democratic political squabbles in the state and city […]

Secretary Snow’s Star System

As noted last week, Secretary of the Treasury John Snow is out on the circuit hawking his boss’s wares. Just ask him and he’ll pull open one side of his tailored overcoat and show just how great the economy is doing as a direct result of tax cuts, unprecedented spending and deficits, and federal subsidies-and-rule-making for […]

Brand Is As Brand Does

Throughout history, human beings have deployed pattern recognition skills to ‘read’ situations and make choices. Our most distant ancestors read the signs in things ranging from scat to stars. We use brands. Unlike them, we live in markets, not wildernesses. We do not hunt. We shop. Like them, though, we must rely on the evidence […]

Snow Job

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Treasury Secretary John Snow maintains the widening gap between high-paid and low-paid Americans reflects a labor market efficiently rewarding more-productive people. For example, Snow said, “In an aggregate sense, it reflects the marginal productivity of CEOs. Do I trust the market for CEOs to work efficiently? […]

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Today’s Slate asks, “Is Whole Foods Wholesome?” and follows up with this subtitle: “The Dark Secrets Of The Organic-Food Movement.” Here’s what the article tells us about Whole Foods: Pluses: “There’s plenty that’s praiseworthy.” The chairman of the company is dedicated to proving business can be ethical, socially responsible and profitable. One way the company achieves this […]

The Politics of Incompetence

We are well versed now in a Republican Party ruled by folks whose sole objective is power and winning and who have the support of marketing experts armed with block by block, 9 digit zip code level information on which to base branding campaigns that appeal to fear, greed, bigotry and the twin fundamentalism of […]

Knight-Ridder And Sustainable Strategy

Knight-Ridder and it’s chain of newspaper and media businesses is up for sale. Here are three stories about the finalists in the bidding — one story from Editor & Publisher, one from the NY Times, and one from the Minneapolis Star Tribune. I recommend reading all three. Before you do, however, let’s review some basics of business strategy […]

Ameriquest’s Return On Illegality

In January, Ameriquest agreed to a settlement with attorneys general across the country regarding a range of intimidating practices that the states considered illegal and that left thousands of customers with exploding mortgages threatening their security and well being. In the settlement, Ameriquest agreed to pay $325 million to consumers – an amount that often translates into […]

Did You Say Non-Profit Capitalists?

Yes. And you can meet Pacific Community Ventures by visiting not only their website, but also the websites of dozens of businesses benefiting from PCV’s investment, advice and other resources. PCV focuses on businesses that offer good wages and benefits plus skill and asset building to folks who live in low and moderate income parts of California. […]

What Gets Measured

What gets measured, gets done. It’s one of the core precepts of good management and good leadership. It is not always the easiest thing to do — especially if the challenge at hand is best measured — or evaluated – in qualitative ways. Reducing stress in your life, for example, is a more difficult measurement […]

Leadership 101

Among the principles of Leadership 101 are two critical aspects of effective communication. First, effective communicators tell the truth and listen. Second, in their communications, effective leaders are grounded (listeners have a sense the leader is on solid footing; that his or her messages are deeply rooted in strong beliefs) and clear (listeners can easily […]