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…
The romantic image of the founder-millionaire wearing overalls. tinkering visibly with some mechanical marvel in workshop or lab, is often reality.
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.
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.
To achieve anything, you must have a direction, a purpose, an aim.
Managers are constantly asked to behave like entrepreneurs.
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.
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.
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.
Managers have become increasingly concerned with 'change management', and like it or not, that's moved from desirable skill to indispensable process.
All companies today want to stay or become entrepreneurial.
But what are the attributes of the entrepreneur? The most convincing list by far was assembled by Geoffrey A.Timmons in an article published by the Harvard Business Review in 1979. He found that entrepreneurs required the following nine qualities:
People are the key to organisational success, and also the cause of corporate failure.