Five Strategy Pitfalls in Strategic Planning

Do you feel as if you are slogging along instead of buzzing? It is business as usual but things are just not clicking? Sales are okay but not great.  If this scenario resonates with you, then it is time to tap your strategic reserves. You need to drill deep, though, if you seek to isolate the real problems behind your sluggish performance. More often than not strategy is formulated from a knee jerk reaction to changes in the environment – low cost manufacturing in China is eroding your competitiveness, or your competition has introduced a new product with the market [...]

The Winning Traits of Female Entrepreneurs

The great divide among the sexes is one of the biggest enigmas in business. No, I am not referring to the disproportionately high number of males in the executive ranks. I am speaking of the higher number of successful female entrepreneurs versus male entrepreneurs. Successful companies have 7.1 percent female executives versus 3.1 percent at unsuccessful companies, according to a Dow Jones survey that asks, ‘Do female executives drive startup success?’ One cannot help but also ask, where are all the women in leadership positions? The more important question is, what attributes make women more successful at business startups and [...]

Developing Strategic HR Leaders

As human resource manager for a medium-sized manufacturer, Beth has increased motivation, engagement and productivity across the organization over the past six years. The leadership succession bench, empty when she arrived, is now quite full of leadership candidates who excelled in the leadership development programs she created. Despite her contributions to the company’s top and bottom lines, Beth feels ignored by the executive ranks. She knows that she has been a key contributor and believes the company needs her input on a strategic level to ensure the growth engine she has fired up keeps running smoothly. In her bid to [...]

Rediscovering Happiness at Work – Lessons From Dickensian Times

Do you know who made the china you are drinking your tea from as you read this column? Your great grandfather would not only have known the artisan who made his cup but also would have gone into his shop, admired his work and thanked him for his fine craftsmanship. The mass production society has taken the meaning out of work, according to workplace analysts. When was the last time you went to the assembly line at Royal Doulton and personally thanked the workers for the fine china you eat off of? Our ancestors had more confidence in their ability [...]

Be Known for Something, but Not for Being a Maverick

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your minds and fear less the label of ‘crackpot’ than the stigma of conformity. Thomas J. Watson Even in his death Steve Jobs, the uber nonconformist, is one of the most sought after people in the business world – just ask Walter Isaacson his biographer who is still packing lecture halls. After all, Jobs wrote the equation: nonconformance = singular success! While the innovators like Jobs get a lot of attention, there are many ways to stand out in the business world.  Without [...]

Gamification – Can it Motivate and Engage Your Employees?

The growing yet controversial trend of gamifying the workplace to immediately acknowledge and reward employee behavior is, quite frankly, disturbing. The idea is that the use of gaming strategies in employee engagement can influence behavior and motivation. Let’s say you have just won a new sales account. You have now racked up enough points to be in the 1,000-point sales club.  On your computer screen, gold coins are flowing from a slot machine (ka-ching-ka-ching) and your avatar is jumping up and down (whoo-hee)! More and more economists have been coming out of the research closet to say, money is not the [...]