Poor Behaviour

Dysfunctional situations It is easy to blame other people’s behaviour for poor performance: He is uncooperative She is selfish He is incompetent She is a bully He is power crazed She is rude Poor behaviour causes all sorts of dysfunctional situations.  Doesn’t it? The experiment In 1971 Phillipe Zimbardo set up the Stanford prison experiment. […]

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 […]

Empowerment

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”. […]

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 […]

Teenagers, Bedrooms and Cash Payments

I nearly broke my neck At the entrance to my eldest daughter’s bedroom there is a short flight of steps.  As I went to wake her this morning I slipped on what I could most graciously describe as a pile of underwear.  I took 5 of those steps in one fell swoop.  I think “fell” is […]

The Irresistible Force and the Immovable Object

A middle manager’s view of change As managers get older their chances of promotion shrink.  There are fewer senior jobs than junior jobs.  The sad truth is that if you haven’t “made it” by the time you are 40, you probably never will. There is little upside to being a middle-aged middle manager. But most middle-aged managers have plenty […]

Performance Management Best Practice

What is the best way to improve staff performance? There is an awful lot of performance management “best practice” out there.  Lots of books, seminars, HR gurus and management consultants who tell you what to do and sell you a model. But which practice is the best practice? In 2002 the corporate leadership council decided […]

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 […]