Archives for April 2012

The Question That Will Tame a Dragon

I sat on the train for a long time yesterday, bored out of my tiny mind, nothing to do.  Idly I watched the steward push a refreshments trolley past.  He stopped behind me and sold a lady a cup of coffee and a flapjack She asked for a receipt (I guess she could expense the […]

Processes are Built to be Broken

If you work as a housekeeper for a hotel, one of the jobs is “turn down”, or preparing guest’s bedrooms for bed time. Some hotels are content to close the curtains, turn down the bed covers and put a chocolate on the pillow.  Not the Four Seasons hotel chain.  They have a 150 point “turn […]

6 Ways to Avoid Endless Meetings

I spent 7 straight hours in meetings yesterday Have you ever thought to yourself that: you might just be able to do some of the things that you said you would do in one meeting if you didn’t spend all your time in the next meeting explaining why it is you haven’t done what you […]

How to Kill Your Personal Credibility

For a while I worked for a company that had a stupid process Every year we would undertake a “forced distribution” exercise. We would hold a beauty parade for our employees, line them up from most capable to least capable and then give the bottom 10% the sack Each November we went through hours and […]

How to Benchmark

Benchmarking is a beguiling idea.  You look at how your competitors do things, work out what is the best practice and then implement it.  Benchmarking should create real competitive advantage. A fabulous concept, what’s not to like? So how do you benchmark?  As with all things in life, there is an easy way and a […]

Are Your Project Managers Killing all the Canaries?

Managing projects is a little like keeping canaries: One canary will flutter about quite happily in a cage Add a second canary and they will sing to each other If you have a nice big cage you may well be able to keep 5, 6, 7 or 8 canaries There is a limit though.  Try […]

Customers Despise Centres of Excellence

Imagine you make pizzas for a living You are the master baker You have an army of under bakers at your disposal.  They run the best fleet of pizza ovens in the country, no sooner are they given an uncooked pizza than it is baked to perfection.  You run a pizza baking “centre of excellence” […]

The Easiest Way to Lose all Momentum

We all juggle time We make an art of getting every second’s worth of value out of every quarter of an hour.  We employ secretaries and personal assistants to schedule our work (and they are busy people) If you have a diary that looks like a deranged zebra you will know exactly what I mean […]