Robert Heller, management writer, editor, best-selling author and Leadership & Management Review’s founder, died at the age of 80 in August 2012 after a long illness.
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Thinkers commonly make the gross error of confusing what they see with what they want to see; the great and good thinker only forecasts futures after deep analysis of the most profound source of true knowledge - the present.
Managers often need reminding that the bottom line may be the end-all of business activity, but that the top line literally comes first.
The underlying thought of the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) is that, because managers are none too bright, the greater the complexity, the more likely they are to make a mess of their management.
Do you feel that your work as a manager is getting more and more complicated? You are almost certainly right.
Few managers today can have escaped exposure to the management industry. They have very likely been taught some aspect of management, been exposed to some new (or once new) management idea, worked alongside expensive management consultants, come across an interesting article in a management journal, even read a whole management book (even if it’s only The One-Minute Manager).
Interesting evidence about predictions is covered in a book by Philip Tetlock entitled Expert Political Judgment: How good is it? The answer is directly relevant to business management, because fortunes are directly affected by political decisions (and indecisions).
‘Mavericks’ are by definition rare beasts in business management or any other organised activity.
What’s the most valuable attribute that a manager can possess and develop?
Why do business idols, both individuals and firms, develop feet of clay? For anybody who believes this cannot happen to their leader, or their organisation, or even to themselves, the best advice is ‘don’t be so sure’.
A millionaire reader once told me that he had built up his eminently successful business by following these dozen points from my 1980 book, The Business of Winning...
How would you like to achieve the financial benefits of a major company shake-up…
What does Mercedes-Benz have in common with H.J. Heinz and Coca-Cola?
All companies are management academies, good or bad. Very few concerns see themselves in this light. But companies of all sizes inculcate methods, judge managerial performance, seek to improve it, provide specific training, develop concepts - and, above all, provide an endless stream of real-life case studies.
You don't change for its own sake - you change to realise the strategic vision.
Quality is a word from which few managers can hope to escape for long these days. That's not quality meaning 'goodness, beauty, luxury, brightness or excellence' (to quote guru Philip Crosby), nor even meaning a product free from fault.
Great coaches no doubt differ in their styles as much as great athletes. But the coaches must all have eone thing in common: they are great communicators. It isn't just a question of seeing what the athlete must do, but of persuading the athlete to do it.
Top managers have never lost their fondness for declaring that people are the 'greatest asset' that their corporations possess. Like other popular maxims, this one doesn't survive close analysis.
Entrepreneurs don't on the whole read management books, and most such books don't seem to be written for them - especially those who run smaller businesses. After all, there's a vast gulf between the scale of business that employs at most 100 people and a payroll in the tens of thousands. The large company can turn over £1 million, not in a good year, but an everyday hour.
People are the key to organisational success, and also the cause of corporate failure.
For every business and every manager, there's nearly always a distance between 'where we are' and 'where we want to be'. It's the crucial divide in management, and you won't cross that divide without closing the management gap: that between what needs to be done and actually doing it.
The concept of the all-powerful customer is nothing new; Peter Drucker wrote long ago that 'there is only one valid definition of business purpose - to create a customer'.
Every senior manager makes a critical decision every day of his or her working life. Mostly, the decision is unconscious, but is no less vital for that. The issue is simply stated with three questions...
How far is my company away from failure? The question itself sounds like an admission of inadequacy. The confident manager surely doesn't walk around waiting for nemesis to strike. Rather, confident people strut the stage like a colossus, with all the certainty, say, of Bill Gates.