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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Half Full or Half Empty

Which are you? I was talking to a rugby player yesterday. I don’t like sporting analogies much; just because you can run 100 meters faster than anybody else doesn’t make you a great manager.  But he told me a fascinating story about coaching… An odd approach His best coach had a strange post match strategy. When […]

Paying People to Lie

The best way to fill your organisation with liars… Is to set up an incentive scheme.  I guarantee at least two deceptions: The first deceit The lying starts with the debate about the target: What service level can you meet? What can you shave off your budget? How much extra can you sell? 10%? 20%? 30%? If someone has a bonus […]

Glory Lasts Forever

I watched a truly dreadful film last night I watched “The Replacements”.  I can’t urge you strongly enough to avoid it.  The plot went something like this (and I am not spoiling it, the director did that). Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves) flunks it as an Ohio State University quarterback. A national team “The Washington Sentinels” go on […]

The Motivation Sink

Can you motivate someone? The gurus tell me that you can’t. You can’t give your staff motivation. It is not within your gift. Motivation is intrinsic, it comes from within. It isn’t something you can hand out with a carrot or a stick. You can make somebody do something, but you can’t motivate them, not […]

Ever Been Motivated by a Poster?

Imagine you make fish fingers for a living… Don’t laugh, it is a tough job I used to do it, I smelled awful after an 8 hour night shift cutting up blocks of frozen cod.  The icy, sleety, wind from the North Sea was a positive boon when I walked out of the plant 6 in […]