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Home Archive for category "Best Practices"

Be the gatekeeper of your company’s culture.

During the Great Recession, hiring was not much of a problem because most companies weren’t doing any of it.  Some imposed a hiring freeze, others laid people off.  Now we have the opposite problem: companies want to hire but can’t find the people they want.  Best-selling business author Jim Collins uses the analogy of a

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“No person can get very far in this life on a 40-hour week.”

Working more hours does not make us more productive.  That seems counter-intuitive, but it’s true.  This was demonstrated by many studies conducted from the early 1900s to the 1950s.  In fact, Henry Ford, who was an early adopter of working fewer hours, reduced the work day in his plants from 10 hours to eight, and

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Compensation is an equity issue.

In American business, an individual’s compensation package, particularly among managers and sales people, frequently includes an incentive component.  An example might be a manager who is paid a base salary of $75,000, but is able to earn an additional $25,000 if he or she is able to achieve certain goals or outcomes.  The proposition is,

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“We really view each (telephone call) as an opportunity to build the Zappos brand.”

Whatever happened to customer service?  Everybody pays lip service to it, but very few actually deliver it.  More and more often, when you go to a company’s website looking for a phone number, you will be disappointed to find there isn’t one.  Apparently, they don’t want to talk to their customers.  Instead, they provide a

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Work on your business, not in it.

According to the IRS, there are 18.1 million businesses in this country, but only 100,000 that employ 100 or more people.  So of the 18.1 million businesses in this country, 18 million of them are small businesses.  In addition, more than a million businesses are started here each year, but 800,000 of them will be

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“Without execution, ‘vision’ is just another word for hallucination.”

“Which is easier, strategy (planning) or execution?”  Ask any chief executive that question, and he or she will always answer, “Execution!”  Putting together a good strategic plan has its own challenges, but the real trick is making that plan happen.  And the reason for that is simple:  executing a strategic plan is important but not

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“Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have when trying to change others.”

While researching their best-selling book, “First, Break All the Rules,” co-authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman interviewed over 80,000 managers in more than 400 companies. They wanted to learn what separates managers who are truly great from those who are just adequate.  Surprisingly, among the great managers, Buckingham and Coffman found more differences than similarities. 

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That’s your competitive advantage? Really? You sure about that?

We have talked about ”competitive advantage” here before, but it’s been awhile and it’s an important concept that bears repeating. Jaynie Smith is a consultant, best-selling author, and keynote speaker. She is also CEO of her company, Smart Advantage, Inc.  I heard her speak about competitive advantage before a group of a dozen or so

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“Don’t do interviews. Interviews are boring. Make it a conversation.”

Brendan Reid, a business writer, author, and coach, points out that strong interviewing skills are critical to the success of any hiring manager. Obviously, bringing people on board who have the right skills, knowledge, experience, and temperament will have enormous benefit to the hiring manager and to the company. Yet few companies, except the very

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“The best of all leaders is the one who helps people so that eventually they don’t need him.”

Ken Blanchard has been a prolific writer on topics of management and leadership.  He has written over 60 books, though usually co-authored with someone else.  If you’re old enough, you may remember his classic work, “The One Minute Manager.”   I recently stumbled across one of his books, “The Secret: What Great Leaders Know – and

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