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Managing in an Environment of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD)

It’s the spring of 2009 and the economy is in the dumper. The average American family’s wealth has dropped by 18% and California’s unemployment rate has topped 10%. Just about everyone in Silicon Valley knows someone who has been laid off from, what were once, promising economic high flying companies and employees are feeling insecure . . . → Read More: Managing in an Environment of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD)

Paternal Leadership

I’ve known many leaders that are extremely protective of their staff. You know, those managers who people go to when they’re struggling with problems or have gotten themselves in trouble. These “paternal” leaders often provide answers and approaches to problems that are clear an easy to follow. The loyal follower just goes off and executes . . . → Read More: Paternal Leadership

The Misunderstood Role of Product Manager

Product Management is often an under appreciated skill in large companies. Organizational structures are built around product delivery and support. Early in a company’s life the definition of products allow for economic survival. As a company grows more cross-functional organizations try to have greater impact on product definition so that they can perform their functions . . . → Read More: The Misunderstood Role of Product Manager

When Times Are Tough, People Try to Show Their Value

It’s November of 2008 and we are facing the most concerning economic downturn in recent memory. Sure, the mid ’90’s had some challenges but nothing like the economic slowdown that we’re seeing today. People react in funny ways to market challenges. They either take the ostrich approach and try to perform “business as usual” or . . . → Read More: When Times Are Tough, People Try to Show Their Value

What Causes Passive Aggressive Behaviors at Work?

Leadership is a double edged sword. On the one hand, leaders who are too controlling make their people feel uncomfortable making decisions. On the other hand, leaders who don’t provide enough guidance create a culture that fosters inconsistency and lacks goals. Both extremes cause passive aggressive behaviors that break down corporate culture and damage trust. . . . → Read More: What Causes Passive Aggressive Behaviors at Work?

Corporate Speak

Yesterday I sat down and started to write out the different job functions I hear about in my company and in others. We give complicated and impressive sounding titles to people but descriptions often create more confusion than value. Sure, the titles sound impressive, until someone has to figure out what they actually do. The . . . → Read More: Corporate Speak

Going from Start-Up to Corporate

My company has changed a great deal over the years. We have gone from an energetic start up with a fantastic idea to a large organizationally stratified high tech corporation. When I first started with the company in 1996, people didn’t care about titles and if someone had a great idea they were given the . . . → Read More: Going from Start-Up to Corporate

What Can the Restaurant Business Teach Me?!?

I’m attending a conference in a couple of weeks where Danny Meyer, author of the best selling book “Setting the Table”, will be speaking about his business philosophy. The conference organizers strongly recommend that we read his book. My initial reaction was an internal groan when I thought about how much trouble I have struggling . . . → Read More: What Can the Restaurant Business Teach Me?!?

Working on the business, not in it

I just finished working with other leaders on the coming fiscal year initiatives. As I worked through the identification of our future efforts it occurred to me that some of my peers were caught by surprise by this planning exercise. Some were prepared with specific needs of their organizations because of well defined goals and . . . → Read More: Working on the business, not in it

Data and Processes Don’t Make Your Decisions For You

Business decisions are, by their nature, subjective. Oh, we analyze data to understand exceptions and develop processes to ensure consistency; but, these are only aids to understand and limit risk. It’s interesting to observe so much effort around data analysis and process development, in an attempt to cover all bases. In the end, we have . . . → Read More: Data and Processes Don’t Make Your Decisions For You