Thursday, July 28

Tom Peters digs into Jim Collins - Ouch! 

In a recent phone call with my friend, mentor, and colleague, Michael Ray, he told me that Tom Peters (a Stanford Business School alum and only 2 years younger than Michael, who was a very young professor at that time) really doesn't care for Jim Collins (another Stanford MBA and also an early teacher of our Creativity in Business MBA course). I got to thinking: What could be the cause of this "battle of the super-gurus?"

I'm now rereading through Tom's fabulous book, REIMAGINE, and it's digs like this (in Chapter 2) that might be causing the problem:
In Jim Collins’ latest, Good to Great, the author celebrates “self-effacing, quiet, reserved, even shy” leaders who bring about the big transformations. Examples included.

Fine, Jim.

Psychologist-management expert Michael Maccoby and I have frequently clashed. Not this time. Michael recently wrote of “larger than life leaders” ... e.g.: “egoists, charmers, risktakers with big visions.” Exemplars he cites: Carnegie. Rockefeller. Edison. Ford. Welch. Jobs. Gates.

He, of course, could have added Messier and Middelhoff and Ebbers and Lay. Nonetheless, I’ll still take Michael’s list over Jim’s.

While flying across the U.S. a while back, I got so agitated about “quiet” and “even shy” that I started scribbling madly on the inside back cover of the spy novel I was reading. Here’s what I was able to subsequently decipher from my hen scratches:

T. Paine/ P. Henry/ A. Hamilton/ B. Franklin/ A. Lincoln/ U.S. Grant/ W. T. Sherman/ M.L. King, Jr./ M. Gandhi/ G. Steinem/ W.S. Churchill/ M. Thatcher/ Picasso/ Mozart/ Copernicus/ Newton/ J. Welch/ L. Gerstner/ L. Ellison/ B. Gates/ S. Ballmer/ S. Jobs/ S. McNealy.
By the way, I'm right in there with Peters. Also, he forgot Richard Branson of Virgin, and - I'm bracing myself here - Donald Trump, among others. But hey, the point is that Tom's list is the RIGHT list, even if it's not all-inclusive. To lead people well, it helps to dream big, think big, act big. (It also helps if you're not a jerk and not a crook.) So take Ellison off my list - and not because he's a crook.

As to these two boys duking it out in print - "Jimmy and Tommy: don't make me separate the two of you!!"

Monday, July 25

Innovation Nation 

Here's a quick survey on innovative culture in your organization:

Are you regularly asked for ideas?
Do you have time to explore many possibilities?
Do you think we're always seeking better ways to do things and seeing new trends?

Developing People
Do you have ample resources for your personal and professional development?
Do you feel trusted and respected by your co-workers and the organization?
Do you receive ample feedback on your performance?

Do you have opportunities to champion ideas you care about?
Who is your innovation hero in the organization?
Do you feel passionate about your work?

Do we embrace lessons learned from our failures?
Does your receive ample support for your personal and professional growth?

Do you feel free to make many decisions about your work?
Do you feel you can freely speak your mind?

Do you feel our organization makes a positive contribution to the world?
Do you feel you are challenged to do your best work?

Profit & Success
Do we celebrate success often enough?
Do we strive to create value for our customers?
Does everyone here understand our vision and goals?

Posted on http://www.thinksmart.com - a link from my friend Steven Rowell at ReconnectLLC!

Monday, July 18

You can't afford to be stupid 

From a FAST COMPANY piece that came across my desk:

But before he and his team could equip Cisco with the most up-to-date learning technologies, Tom Kelly, vice president of worldwide training, had to deal with obsolete mind-sets -- assumptions, attitudes, and prejudices that afflict the leaders of most big companies. One such mind-set: that the training operation is not a real part of the business. Sure, almost every company talks about knowledge workers, the information economy, even the learning organization. But few companies act as if they believe what they're saying. There's too much work to do, too many deadlines to meet, too many quarterly results to deliver.

'Learning time is not a respected part of the work environment,' Kelly says. 'But you can't be so busy that you allow yourself to get stupid. People find the time to do whatever it is that they have to do. Staying current is an increasingly important part of everyone's job. We make choices every day: Do I go to lunch with my boss or do I go to my customer's site? Well, in this industry, you can't afford to be stupid. You've got to spend time learning.'

Read the full article here:
Cisco's Quick Study

Tuesday, July 12

Selecting the Best Time to Send Your Email Message 

The short answer:

The best days (in no particular order):
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays

What Are the Best Times to Send Email?
10:00 - 10:30 a.m.
1:00 - 1:30 p.m.

For complete details in a well-written piece, check out:
Timing is Everything: Selecting the Best Time to Send Your Email Message By Jason Lexell

Thursday, July 7

Five Reasons e-Newsletters Get Trashed 

This just came across my email today.

Good stuff - and right on target for you e-newsletter publishers!

Five Reasons e-Newsletters Get Trashed
By Dianna Huff

What are some of the reasons people delete e-newsletters without reading them?

1. Irregular Publishing Schedule.
2. Too Much Content.
3. Content Focused On Company's Products Or Services Only.
4. Sidebar Clutter.
5. Not Formatted For Printing And Saving.

Read the complete article + tips here.

Don't let your newsletter get trashed. Give readers valuable content, keep the design clean, make it easy to read (and print!) and stick to a regular publishing schedule. You'll see a noticeable increase in click-through rates—and, over time, an increase in leads and sales.

Wednesday, July 6

The Blair Pitch Project 

Blair factor lifts London to dramatic victory
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Tireless lobbying, a superb bid and a massive charm offensive from British Prime Minister Tony Blair lifted London to a remarkable Olympic victory over Paris in the race to win the 2012 Games on Wednesday.

Having flown into Singapore on Sunday, Blair spent hours, day and night, charming International Olympic Committee members one-on-one before jetting out in the early hours of Wednesday to host this week's G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland.

His efforts proved decisive as London overhauled the long-term favorites 54-50 in the final round of voting to become the first city to be awarded the richest prize in sport for a third time.

Read the rest of the story here.

I wrote about the business power of charm in my book UNCONSULTING. And here it is again, proving that charm is a business skill very much worth developing!

Friday, July 1

On Being Good 

From Dr. John T. Galloway, Jr., Senior Pastor of Wayne Presbyterian Church (http://www.waynepres.org)

You may be 'good.' But, often, you cannot ensure success.
Sometimes, the best you can do is to DESERVE success.

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