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Latest Posts

 
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New High Performance Survey Says …

In June, my organization teamed up with ADL Associates to conduct research on a new High Performance model.  The new model leverages concepts discovered during Six Sigma’s evolution and 30+ years of corporate experience.  The model has four major components – strategy; organizational culture processes; individual accountability; and employee engagement.

A diverse group of more than 30 organizations, based in the U.S. and Northern Ireland, participated.  In total these companies represented more than 310,000 employees.  Participants included: Amazon; AutoZone; Bombardier Aerospace – Northern Ireland; Caterpillar; Conway Freight; Menlo Logistics; PetSmart; and Public Storage.

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The Angry, Arrogant Leader

Shortly after Captain Ahab makes his first appearance in Moby-Dick, we get an insight into on aspect of his leadership style. It’s night time, most of the crew is trying to sleep, and restless Ahab is above pacing the decks with his ivory leg. Ahab is in a mood:

He usually abstained from patrolling the quarter-deck; because to his wearied mates, seeking repose within six inches of his ivory heel, such would have been the reverberating crack and din of that bony step, that their dreams would have been on the crunching teeth of sharks. But once, the mood was on him too deep for common regardings; and as with heavy, lumber-like pace he was measuring the ship from taffrail to mainmast.

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Practice Does Not Make Perfect. Perfect Practice Makes Perfect!

I have repetitively been writing on the importance of repetition.

Repetition leads to excellence.

This week I received a significant amount of comments around people’s belief, faith and experience with repetition.

I also received an almost equal amount of comments from people indicating that repetition only works if you are learning from the experiences.

If you read yesterday’s blog, the quote from Don Shula is an important one.

If you do something repetitively wrong, you pretty much ingrain that poor behavior in your daily routine.

However, if you leverage repetition and follow a proven process then that repetition universally produces  positive results!

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This is where my outrageous headline goes

I know that online learning is not the same as reading a newspaper article or watching news online (or at least I hope not) but I have always been interested in the similarities of two of their associated professions  - instructional designer and journalist – especially how they are evolving; presenting meaningful content that elicits less passive and less controlled behaviors.

When it comes right down to it, both instructional designers and journalists are responsible for putting content on screens – just with different objectives (or at least I hope so).

Three similarities (or challenges if you like) caught my eye this week while consuming “news.” They strike me as key to the evolution of L&D.

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The Wasted Attention to Human Foibles

Some time ago I heard David Brooks comment that the American public pays way too much attention to human foibles.  And in an astute Journal article, Joe Queenan argued the same case. The Obama impeachment fantasy is another case in point. 

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I learned years ago that paying much attention to a person's foibles, especially when, for example, the person was near genius policy-wise, and the country needed his or her expertise, was often a horrible waste.  Richard Nixon, a documented dissembler, eventually had to go because of the Watergate Scandal, yet his contributions to international relations are among the greatest of the 20th century:  successfully negotiated a cease-fire with Vietnam, opened the People's Republic of China and initiated detente with the Soviet Union.  

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How To Make Small Teams Actually Work With Terrible Communication

Amazon is a mess. In the words of one former Amazon.com engineer: “their hiring bar is incredibly inconsistent across teams,” “their operations are a mess,” “their facilities are dirt-smeared cube farms without a dime spent on decor or common meeting areas,” “their pay and benefits suck,” and “their code base is a disaster, with no engineering standards whatsoever except what individual teams choose to put in place.”

It’s madness! No, it’s Amazon.com. They do a lot of things totally wrong. But they make up for it (and then some) by doing one thing really, really right.

 

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Engage Employees for Success – The trendy desire of Organizations

Of late, we have been seeing employee engagement as a trend for business excellence. A lot of initiatives are taken by the HR and Management, across various organizations from car dealerships to hotels and even hospitals to increase their employee engagement score. An engaging environment where employees have the ability and willingness to put discretionary effort can greatly impact the business output.

Organizations have started addressing this trend by exploring the open avenues and approaches. A very welcome change. And HR is driving this across the corporate sectors. In these organizations, HR works very closely with the business as true partners.

Why Employee Engagement matters?

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Showing That You Are Qualified for a New Project

Dear Deb:

What is the best way to show that I am qualified to handle a large, complex project if I have never led a project of considerable scope before?   I am in the running to lead a $5.3 million implementation of a new data storage system for 43 sites across North America.  The largest project that I have managed to date is $502K, involving 20 sites.  I delivered it on-time and just shy of the budgeted amount. 

Each of us is to meet with the portfolio manager and give our ideas.  I’ll have 5 minutes to sell myself.  Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Carlos

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How Not to Communicate Mass Layoffs

There is never a great way to communicate about mass layoffs, but there are better ways and worse ways to do it. Microsoft’s EVP, Stephen Elop chose one of the worst. After Microsoft’s initial announcement of up to 18,000 layoffs, Elop followed up with a rambling memo, reminiscent of a Dilbert strip, which eventually came to the point of announcing 12,500 of those laid off would be his people as part of the “right-sizing” of Nokia Devices and Services. Here’s how Elop’s memo rates on the essential elements you’d expect to see when an executive shares really bad news. And it isn’t pretty.

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If the Shoe Fits: Does the Description Fit Your Startup?

I’ve been working with entrepreneurs since the 1980s.

Sadly, the mindset has changed significantly—and not for the better.

I’m not the only one who feels that way.

German designer Hartmut Esslinger, who met Steve Jobs in 1982 and told him “Apple’s products were incredibly ugly and wasteful in production,” puts it this way.

“There is a bubble where greed meets hype and fake: Too many want to get rich instead of doing something meaningful for mankind, something for progress, to improve life.”