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 […]

Variation or Standardisation?

Standard work The process guys will tell you that you should standardise and reduce variation. Variation is a bad thing. The customer experience guys will tell you every interaction is different.  No customer is the same. Variation is a good thing. Which camp is right? The case for allowing variation Some situations call for a […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

Thought Walks

Brainstorming doesn’t always cut it Sometimes you have a problem that requires an imaginative solution. The standard management method for adding a spark of creativity is to brainstorm the problem. But brainstorming doesn’t always work. The ideas can be a little tired, you may not get something really new. Random thoughts There is an argument […]

The Management Dilemma

Scientific management Some people think management is a science.  It has clear rights and wrongs, with best practices to follow and benchmarks to beat.  Success lies in targets, goals and objectives; building the right processes and having the right infrastructure.  Organisations are just machines.  By applying cold hard logic you will get results. Clarity is a good […]

Poor Performance

We are responsible for our own behaviour This belief underpins our approach to management. We are all capable of deciding how we should behave.  So if an individuals performance isn’t up to scratch then that is a problem of our their own making. To improve performance manage the people. Is it that simple? Professor Philip […]

Busy Doing Nothing

I am a busy man An executive with a burgeoning inbox — or so I tell my wife. This week I… Wrote presentations Prepared for audits Attend stakeholder briefings Drafted investment proposals Wrote appraisals Reviewed budgets Socialised information Reorganised departments Hired new staff Brainstormed solutions Talked about customers Discussed automation strategies Visited suppliers Defined new […]

Marshmallows and the Cure for Everything

Test and learn Now I’m married with daughters I don’t go out that often. Nightclubs and cinemas are a thing of the past (unless it is to watch Frozen… 4 times and counting). An evening in front of the TV is a treat. I sat down last night to watch a re-run of House.  It […]