Corporate Conflict

The battle On any given day in any corporation you will see: barbed e-mails, poisonous meetings, water fountain back-stabbings and all out turf wars. This is common or garden violence and nothing to write home about, though it may cause some gossip in the pub. Organisations are chock-full of conflict: Conflict between departments Conflict between […]

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. […]

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 […]


A great management word We love to talk about synergies, it is a super word, hard and scientific. It gives the impression that we know what we are doing. That we are in control. Synergy: the creation of a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts What drives synergy? If synergy is […]

Layering Your Problems In

How to cook a leg of lamb When my wife cooks a leg of lamb she asks me to cut off the last 7 inches – the shank. Cutting the last few inches off a leg of lamb is not easy.  It requires a hack saw and good deal of gusto.  By the time the […]

5 Ways to Cultivate Evidence Based Management

In my last post I argued for E.B.M. (evidence based management) as an approach that will help you: Make the best possible decisions As fast as possible At the lowest possible cost Here are some suggestion on how to promote E.B.M. in your own organisation. 1. Change your own mind Management deals with social problems, not mechanical […]

The Potato King

They were dying of hunger In 18th Century Prussia bread was expensive, people were malnourished and famine wasn’t uncommon. The King at the time was Frederick the Great. He was wise enough to realise that unfed subjects were not a good thing — it is hard to run a kingdom effectively if people keep dying of starvation — […]

Strengths and Weaknesses

Harry was not a well man He was in a terrible state of health.  Cancer had eaten away at his digestive tract, it was so bad that surgeons had removed three-quarters of his stomach. He was constantly in and out of hospital, surviving on a diet of caffeine, nicotine and blood transfusions. A friend’s daughter […]

Is Your Platform Really Burning?

You know this already… We respond to change differently.  There are lots of different categorisations, but we are usually described in groups a bit like this… Dangerous to know — The gung-ho mob, they will try anything.  A bit like my idiot brother. Have a go — Once they see that the coast is clear, they are […]

What Could a Lab Rat Teach you About Leadership?

In the 1960’s a couple of scientists (Rosenthal and Frode) were busy trying to breed clever rodents.  To see if they had succeeded they ran some experiments with two strains of rats and a series of mazes: The first strain was “maze bright”, with parents and grand parents who were good at navigating mazes The […]