Blog Archives

Out of Crisis – Stop Fighting Fires

E-Book PDF: Open in New Window | Download (342.3KB) What if being in chaos was optional? What if crisis, or chaos, or “firefighting,” or feeling behind schedule, behind the press of constantly emerging problems, could be stopped? It can.  It’s

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More on Acing your Personal Improvement Plan

Dear Matt – Thanks for writing and asking for help with succeeding in your Personal Improvement Plan (PIP), also called a Personal Development Plan or a Performance Improvement Plan.  You’ve already read the Basic Guidance.  Here are some advanced tips. Clarify

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How to Get More from a Staff Member

Whether you’re a CEO or a front line manager, you should always be trying to get more out of the people who report to you. (As a worker, you should always be looking for ways to contribute more and increase

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How to Ace your Personal Improvement Plan

Uh oh. You just got put on probation at work — your boss and HR gave you a “Performance Improvement Plan” or “Personal Development Plan”. The bad news is, you’re now half-way to being fired. The good news is, you

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Start Benchmarking in Five Minutes

The hardest part of starting to track your performance is to just start. So, just start quick and dirty. It’s worth it — you’ll dramatically boost your odds of achieving your goals by spending 5 minutes setting up benchmarks. My

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Four Steps to Faster, Better Strategic Planning

For ten years, Jill struggled to make a profit. At over $8 million in sales, her specialty call center should have been providing her with annual profits of 8-12% or between $640,000 and a million dollars. Instead she paid herself

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Three Strategy Insights for Small Business

Good strategy lets you outmaneuver your bigger competitors. Bad strategy can sink your business. Here are three insights you can use to harness strategic thinking and planning for your small business: Have a Strategy Kernel Build a complete strategy from

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Evaluating Staff Performance, Redux

It’s the end of Q4 and leaders are once more pondering staff performance evaluations. Most people evaluate too little too late. Here’s how you can get way, way ahead of the curve for 2013. As I’ve mentioned before, you’ll make

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How to Rise Above Circumstances

Dave was in a bind. His top architects were all idle because his drafters were behind on their work.  Clients were going to get their plans late. Dave explained that his drafting department was a little short handed, and he

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How to Pick Good Metrics

For every leader who loves numbers, there is a skeptic. They both have points — without measures, we cannot tell how we are doing, yet many metrics seem arbitrary or measure the wrong thing.  Meanwhile, often the right goals seem

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How to Get In and Out of the Weeds

Should you be a ‘big picture’ leader or should you ‘sweat the small stuff’?  The best leaders do both — the real trick is to swap between the two regularly, without allowing yourself to become fooled. Take two business owners.

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Connecting Strategy to Workforce Management – Feb 17,2012

I interview Carl Hoffmann and Tim Ringo, authors of the new book “Calculating Success: How the New Workplace Analytics Will Revitalize Your Organization.” Carl Hoffmann is a former Partner and Vice President of IBMs Global Business Services group. Cur…

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Motivate with The Progress Principle – Amabile and Kramer – Dec 12,2011

Managers are far more powerful than they realize, at affecting the performance of the people who work for and with them. New research by Toms guests, Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, lay out three specific types of things we can do to boost performan…

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Turnarounds and Revitalizing – with Bob Papes

Seasoned executive and turnaround expert Bob Papes discusses the timely lessons of his two books, “Turnaround” and “Management During an Economic Crisis.” (These are both out of print, unfortunately.) Bob has engineered five consecutive turnarounds of businesses in the $15

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Pay for Performance – from the C-suite to the Front Line

It’s vital that CEOs and business owners pay people what they are worth. Pay should be fair, and should combine (A) what the job market says a role is worth, and (B) each person’s actual results.



Pay for Performance systems are easy to get wrong — encouraging the wrong behaviors while creating uncertainty and resentment. Here, developed with the input of expert and turnaround CEO Bob Papes, are four steps to get them right.

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