One Hundred Bad Ideas

Notable failures Even the most successful people have failures: James Dyson built 5,127 prototypes before he perfected one vacuum cleaner. Mozart wrote over 64 symphonies.  How many have you heard? Richard Branson has launched over 400 business ventures, remember Virgin Vodka?  Nope, nor do I. Over 30 years Albert Einstein published ~ 345 scientific papers but his major work […]

Thou Shalt Not Delay, Distort or Withhold Information

Systems need information They use that information to control the way they act. In a system of cells (like your body) that information flows along nerves and via hormones. In a system of animals (like a colony of ants) that information flows via pheromones and signals. In a system of people (like your business) it […]

Three Types of Culture

1. Blame culture I am not a big fan of blaming people when things go wrong. There are two reasons why: It is hard to apportion blame correctly. Business is a team sport. With so many players involved failures are rarely the fault of one person. If a goal keeper lets in a goal, was […]

Pseudoscientific Management

Pseudoscience Pseudoscience answers everything Pseudoscience hates being challenged Pseudoscience rejects new ideas Pseudoscience cannot fail Pseudoscience is static Science Science questions everything Science thrives on being challenged Science opens up to new ideas Science is designed to fail Science changes Pseudoscience or Science? Opinions or observations? Dogma or debate? Convinced or sceptical? Performance Management or Test […]


A problem with motivation My youngest daughter (8) is learning to play the saxophone. I’m very jealous, I’d love to be able to play the saxophone. It sounds like so much more fun than management meetings and PowerPoint. Yet no matter what I do, she doesn’t practice. And because she doesn’t practice she will never […]

The Project That Couldn’t Fail

Trite management sayings Managers love clichés. They pick them up as they gain experience and seniority. The most popular are those that prove their superiority and make others feel small. A couple of my personal favourite statements of the obvious are: “Fail to plan and plan to fail” and “Poor Planning leads to P### Poor Performance”. […]

Thought Walks

Brainstorming doesn’t always cut it Sometimes you have a problem that requires an imaginative solution. The standard management method for adding a spark of creativity is to brainstorm the problem. But brainstorming doesn’t always work. The ideas can be a little tired, you may not get something really new. Random thoughts There is an argument […]

Not Invented Here

Nothing comes from nothing I sat in a meeting the other day, it was a nightmare… Two guys were trying to extol the benefits of automation to a team of sales managers.  The tension was palpable.  In one corner stood a bunch of consultants trying to explain the latest and greatest thinking in operational improvement.  […]

Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

What does that mean? It sounds like management claptrap. Let me repeat it, and attribute it. Culture eats strategy for breakfast ~ Peter Drucker Anybody who has worked in a large organisation will know that we prize strategy above all else. It is an intellectual pursuit, highly valued in the boardroom. We hire consultants to […]

Why Were You Late for Work?

Logic Trees There is a simple way of diagnosing a problem, and then finding a solution.  It is called “the five whys?” No doubt you have heard of it, it is a way of refining a problem until you get to its cause. When faced with a problem ask why it happened. Then ask again. […]