Good Boss, Bad Boss

What makes a good boss? Julian Birkinshaw wanted to know. After pondering the question for a while, he came to the conclusion that the best way to find out was to ask some employees.  They are the people most capable of defining what a good or bad boss looks like — we have all worked for a nightmare or […]

Should You Dress Like Your Boss?

Conformity Have you ever noticed that people conform? If your boss comes into work wearing a pin strip suit it will spread.  Before you know it, there will be wall to wall pin stripes. If your boss is more of a creative type — skinny jeans and a hipster beard — then you can rest […]

Do Targets Work or Not?

In summary: I hope the last two posts have demonstrated admirably that: Targets work Targets don’t work I also trust that is nice and clear. So which is it? The problem isn’t the target, it’s the culture. Do you have a culture that accepts that failure is inevitable when you are pushing the boundaries? Does your culture treat failure […]

Targets Don’t Work!

A management education 21 years ago I was a bright young thing.  I was single, had a good job and I was determined to make my way in the world.  I am a strong believer in education so I decided to study for an MBA.  I learnt about: Operations Marketing Information Technology Human Resources Finance I […]

Targets Work!

In praise of the goal On the 25th of May 1961, in a speech before the joint session of Congress, the President of the United States set his country a goal: This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him […]

Clear Desks and Other Management Claptrap

Busting management myths I love social psychology, it fascinates me.  I particularly like experiments.  It is one thing to put forward a theory about why people behave the way that they do; it is another thing altogether to prove it with some data. Let me give you an example, how should you set up an office? […]

A World Without Objectives

Objectives: could we manage without them? How would we cope?  The guys in H.R. would throw up their hands in horror. We couldn’t rate our staff. Pay for performance would flounder. Annual appraisals would become a farce. We wouldn’t know what we were doing. How could we manage our businesses? But how do we manage with objectives? They just get […]

The Management Dilemma

Scientific management Some people think management is a science.  It has clear rights and wrongs, with best practices to follow and benchmarks to beat.  Success lies in targets, goals and objectives; building the right processes and having the right infrastructure.  Organisations are just machines.  By applying cold hard logic you will get results. Clarity is a good […]

Why Do You Have a Boss?

Pre History In the primordial swamp, single cell organisms developed.  They formed symbiotic relationships.  These relationships needed controlling.  So the organisms developed hormones, nervous systems and brains to help them function. The bacteria came before the lion. Ancient History On the fertile plains, people grouped together.  They built villages and towns.  As the towns grew they […]

Blame and Ignorance

I made a fool of myself yesterday I had a road rage incident.  Well it wasn’t so much road rage as pedestrian rage. I was crossing the street on my way to the railway station and some clown in 4 by 4 damn near ran me over.  It ended up in a slagging match between me and […]