Best-Practices Leadership

Yahoo recharges in up and down cycles

June 14, 2010

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz knows that everything runs in cycles. So, she advocates accepting that your current up cycle will lapse into a down cycle. Deal with it. Use it to prepare for the next up cycle in these two ways:

Playing the game of competition

June 14, 2010

In the late 1950s, as U.S. families turned more and more to television for their entertainment, analysts predicted the end of board games. Milton Bradley Co. President James Shea had other ideas. Deciding to capitalize instead, Shea had the company develop a memory game called Concentration …

Google makes change look simple

June 14, 2010

Google has one of the most successful products on the Internet. Why would its leaders want to alter it? Because even Google has to evolve. That’s the reason for the site’s recent redesign, its eighth. Here’s how Google does it:

Leadership follies: 13 ways to let them know you’re boss

June 14, 2010

Are your employees too happy? Too satisfied? Are you tired of being pestered with ideas for saving time and money, improving morale or making work more rewarding? Here’s how to deal with those happy little people:

Managing your former peers

May 28, 2010
In case you missed it, The New York Times recently profiled the new CEO of Xerox, Ursula Burns. The article, and her quotes within it, focused on one of my favorite topics: leadership transitions. There’s a lot of valuable perspective and advice in the article, but I want to pick up on one particular aspect: How do you handle it when you move from being a member of the team (no matter how big) to the leader of that same team?

Focus on what needs doing, not where

May 27, 2010
This past winter during a snowstorm in Indianapolis, Michael Reynolds sat by his fireplace and listened to the mayor urging workers to “leave early” or “stay late” and avoid a crazy rush hour. The whole thing struck him as quaint. That’s because Reynolds’ company, SpinWeb, is a ROWE, meaning Results-Only Work Environment, which focuses exclusively on what needs to get done, not when or where, as long as it’s done right and on time.

Backing off layoffs

May 25, 2010

A growing body of academic research suggests that firms incur big costs when they cut workers. Beyond the obvious costs of severance and outplacement, there’s also a morale and productivity toll on remaining employees. Consider following the lead of companies that have avoided layoffs:

Failure? Maybe it’s a good thing

May 14, 2010

Evidence is mounting that seeing things as an outsider has advantages. When you’re on the outside looking in, you’re more likely to notice failures and anomalies. Sociologists long have wondered whether Albert Einstein, if he’d become a physics professor on the tenure track instead of a lowly patent clerk, would ever have noticed the anomalies that led him to develop the theory of relativity.

Microsoft takes competition too far

May 14, 2010

A little healthy competition can be, well, healthy. Internal competition allowed to go too far, though, can be destructive. Dick Brass, a Microsoft vice president from 1997 to 2004, says that at Microsoft, internal competition has created a dysfunctional corporate culture in which big, established groups prey upon emerging teams.

Becoming leaders, not Lone Rangers

May 14, 2010

As health care attracts more attention, so has the importance of teamwork. One stunning development is the proliferation of checklists asking simple questions before surgery. These checklists, although clearly useful, often meet with hostility because they challenge doctors’ self-image as grand soloists. Here’s how Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon and author of The Checklist Manifesto, suggests that doctors can speed up innovation.