Best-Practices Leadership

Are your incentives irrational?

August 13, 2010

Dan Ariely knows a thing or two about being irrational. The Duke University professor has already written two books on our often-irrational process of making decisions. When asked, “What kinds of things do companies do that are irrational?” he says, “It puzzles me how little companies understand about how [employee] incentives really work.”

Putting the job review out of its misery

August 13, 2010

Ever since his article in The Wall Street Journal two years ago drew an outsize response, Samuel Culbert has been calling job performance reviews “baloney.” The UCLA business professor doesn’t stop there. “First,” he says, “they’re dishonest and fraudulent. And second, they’re just plain bad management.”

Leadership Tips: Vol. 810

July 9, 2010
Build a name for your company by delivering Zappos-style customer service … Keep agreements with partner companies going strong—and avert contract breaches—by keeping lines of communication open … Make your e-mail messages easy to read and respond to by limiting them to one topic per message … Fill your innovation pipeline by eavesdropping on your customers.

Enough with the big, hairy goals

July 9, 2010
There’s no denying that “big, hairy goals” are essential. But Bob Sutton, author of Good Boss, Bad Boss, believes the best bosses don’t spend much time thinking or talking about them. Here’s why:

The risks of going it alone

July 9, 2010
Say the name Burt Bacharach and people think “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” “The Look of Love” or any number of pop hits he wrote with lyricist Hal David into the 1970s.  But, although Bacharach was the more famous of the two, he learned how valuable teamwork is.

Building on a simple idea

July 9, 2010
In the mid-1950s, accountant Eli Broad and a partner hit upon a simple idea for designing homes: no basements. Based on that single positioning tactic, Broad and his partner founded Kaufman & Broad Home Corp. in 1957. After selling out its entire inventory of homes, at $13,740 apiece, in the first weekend, KB Home was in business.

Larry Ellison finds an oracle of success

July 9, 2010

Flush with success, Larry Ellison took Oracle Corp. public in 1986. But his management team was young and inexperienced. By 1990, the database management software developer posted its first loss. Soon after, it teetered on bankruptcy. Ellison saw the need for drastic change.

Leadership Tips: Vol. 710

June 14, 2010
Think meditation is “too soft” for hard-core leaders? Think again. The U.S. Navy teaches “holistic leadership” … Make wise use of limited new-hire funds by screening interviewees with this question: “What’s the toughest feedback you’ve ever received and how did you learn from it?” … Brainstorming sessions may not be the best way to generate the best ideas …

4-stage approach to sustainability

June 14, 2010

How you respond to the sustainability trend will affect the fate of your organization. Trouble is, many leaders are flailing. Take a multistage approach: Stage 1: Do old things in new ways. Stage 2: Do new things in new ways. Stage 3: Transform core business. Stage 4: Create a new business model.

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: