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I intend to keep this blog short; I hope that is a pleasing first sentence. I want to toss you a tough piece of meat to chew on or, rather, give you a piece of astroturf to lay…
Last Week Tonight
Are you fans of UK satirist, John Oliver, and his HBO show “Last Week Tonight”? It is broadcast in the UK on Sky Atlantic.
For me, it is required viewing on a Monday night.
This week, after his usual verbal fusillade at President Trump, Oliver does a lengthy piece about something called “Astroturfing”. You can watch it here, https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6rxztf. There is an ad for a web-site building business fronting the piece.
As ever with Oliver, his soliloquies contain some strong profanity. His frustration at the legal advice constraining him from saying what he wants to remark is palpable and a joy to watch.
Continue reading “Astroturfing”
Let’s be clear from the outset, I love technology – it’s exciting, cool (two things I’m not), saves time, keeps us informed and offers us unbridled access to the accumulated knowledge of humanity at the touch of a button.
My worry is that we’re developing such a thirst for the speed of interaction, like a hit of adrenaline that we’re missing out on the richness of the experience and the value it can bring.
Don’t worry, I’m not about to launch into a diatribe about the evils of Facebook – although I do think there’s a case to answer – what I worry about is this trend for “liking”, “tweeting” and “sharing”, rather than reading and understanding!
Continue reading “They’re not Millennial’s they’re people!”
On July 12th, the FT published an article headlined “The UK’s productivity problem: the curse of the ‘accidental manager”, you can find it here – https://www.ft.com/content/b96ce8f2-5dd9-11e8-ad91-e01af256df68.
Are pork pies good for you?
It is somewhat disquieting to read that the “Peter principle”, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_principle, continues to thrive in UK business. Our poor productivity performance arises because too many people gain promotion into managerial roles beyond their level of natural competence. However, in the firm featured in the FT article performance is improving.
It strikes me, however, that simply hanging up figures of Superman (is this unconscious bias by the firm’s leaders?), and doling out pork pies are rather superficial practices. The only likely outcome of this epicurean approach is hardened arteries.
The firm’s performance growth is due to its managers doing something much more profound, i.e. the way they “serve” their employees, see Robert Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Power-Servant-Leadership-Robert-K-Greenleaf/dp/1576750353/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1531821205&sr=8-3&keywords=robert+greenleaf.
At the simplest level, they should be talking to their employees as equal partners striving for success. When this is achieved, I hope they’re rewarded with more than cholesterol laden pies!
Continue reading “The curse of the accidental manager”
“In order to prove to yourself what you are capable of doing, you need to step out your comfort zone, otherwise you are limiting yourself and you will never grow”, sounds familiar?.
Continue reading “Totito’s space (The comfort zone)”
Strategic decision making – is it history?
In 1977, the historian Alfred Chandler of Harvard Business School published a seminal book on the history of strategic decision making at the highest levels of American firms, including General Motors, DuPont, Standard Oil and Sears Roebuck. Of these, GM and DuPont remain strong businesses. Standard was broken up as in illegal monopoly in early 20th century although its progeny, Exxon-Mobil and Chevron, continue to thrive. Sears struggles as do so many retailers in the face of the storm called Amazon. The book is called “The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business”. From the book comes a maxim that I believe still rings true. It is attributed to Alfred Sloane, one of GM’s founders. The maxim is, “Structure follows strategy”.
Continue reading “Strategy and structure: squaring a necessary circle”