The Ultimate Management Skill

Communication is easy There are only three things to worry about: The sender — the person transmitting the message The environment — the medium the message passes through The listener — the person who receives the message Assuming a dialogue is called for (dialogues being a good thing), the sender and listener can swap places. […]

Information Overload

The world has changed When I was 15 it was hard to share information: There were three TV channels to watch, and my parents wouldn’t let me look at one of them. When I did my homework I had to go to the library to find the single book on [insert subject of choice]. I […]

A Simple Mistake That Has Probably Made You Poorer

The case for austerity The inaugural meeting of the American Economic Association was held on the 4th January 2010. Two giants in the world of economics; Professor Carmen Reinhart and former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, Ken Rogoff were present. They presented their research paper, “Growth in a Time of Debt”. The headline […]

The Dark Side of Data

Data-centricity Organisations are tripping over themselves to become data-centric.  They are busy investing in business intelligence and analytical infrastructures.  There is a thriving market for analysts and data scientists, accountants and actuaries, people who can pore over the numbers and provide insight. Data is the new gold, businesses are spending money like drunk sailors. Data […]

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 […]

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. […]

How to Make a Point

Death and taxes In the U.K. we pay car tax — we pay lots of other taxes as well. Every private car owner pays the DVLA (driver vehicle licensing authority) about £200 per year — the exact price depends on the car.  (This complicated approach to taxation confuses the public and allows the government to […]

Outputs and Outcomes

Similar but not the same It may be semantics, but I think we confuse outcomes and outputs: A call that has been answered is an output A query that has been resolved is and outcome A “finished consultant episode” is an output A patient that has been treated is an outcome An order that has been shipped […]

Did You Know That…

Knowledge is interesting You can classify it into 4 categories.  It all depends on what you know and what you think you know. A diagram might make that a little clearer: There is stuff you know you know I know I know the way to my front door.  This is a safe place to be. There is […]

Should You Benchmark?

Benchmarking and best practice I spent 8 hours today learning all about benchmarking. It was fascinating… Here are some of the highlights: You should benchmark against procedures that are accepted as being the most effective. Benchmarking provides a means to compare your firm against other businesses, and identify areas where you can improve your performance The […]