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Why do some companies consistently outperform their peers?

The debate on CEO pay may seem to be only simmering for the moment, while other events dominate the news cycle, but it has not gone away. Working where I do, one of the things we study is the value of, and how to recognize, effective leadership – now, the Best Companies for Leadership; later, the Most Admired Companies. Read the rest of this entry »

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Anyone who travelled in the Northeast US in the first two weeks of February has a story to tell – I heard a few in crowded trains and lounges. For example, in the midst of the blizzard, many of the eateries in Philadelphia shut down (imagine that!), and hotels did their best to serve their clients even with limited staff, many of whom had to overnight on the properties. By and large, no one complained, and there was a sense that we were all in this together.  

My intercity travel was by train and I found the Amtrak on-board and station personnel both helpful and cheerfully positive as they dealt with passengers trying to get somewhere in the face of cancelled and delayed trains. Read the rest of this entry »

Once again, I find myself flabbergasted at service levels in the midst of the worst recession most of us have ever seen.  In my post How not to make a sale, I describe how a retailer drove us from a physical establishment after we had committed to buy. But it appears that direct retail operations are also not immune mistakes in organization, job design and incentives that result in lousy service.  Read the rest of this entry »

Hay Group‘s research on the Fortune Most Admired Companies shows that those who make the matrix work get results: better and faster decisions. The seemingly simple trick is getting managers to act in the best interests of the company as a whole, not just maximizing their own results.

But this has implications for jobs, rewards, behaviors, culture and structure. Most critical: command-and-control management styles must give way to collaboration and cooperation. To crack the matrix code, organizations must: Read the rest of this entry »

The reference post was really fun to write, and it generated a HUGE response.  It was a treat to read all the comments from various forums – a very sincere thanks to everyone who contributed! Here are some extracts that I found really compelling – I want to share these verbatim while I structure my thinking on what I think they mean – apologies for the length, but this is worth reading to the end:

More than one challenged my sanity, e.g.: Read the rest of this entry »

Listening to more doom and gloom from the financial pundits this morning risks becoming depressing; I’m going to try to focus on what’s next. Not only more cheerful, but if we’re lucky and can pool some good thinking, we might collectively prosper. This entry centers on organization structure; while technologies and offerings clearly will drive an economic renaissance, their creation requires organizing individuals and teams. Read the rest of this entry »

In my related posts, Five great technological revolutions and The coming infrastructure boom, I described – and perhaps oversimplified – Carlota Perez’s insights into the dynamics of bubbles and their ensuing golden ages (her book, Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital requires some work, but is worth the effort). In this post, Read the rest of this entry »

Lots of recent chatter about strategy. Which is the best (low price / high value)? Which tool should I use? How do we get our people to buy in? How do we execute? Read the rest of this entry »

“… more routine work like legal research, due diligence and document review is being done in India at roughly half the cost as in the U.S., outsourcers say. Starting associates at big U.S. firms often bill more than $200 an hour. But an experienced lawyer in India bills at $75 to $100 an hour, roughly the bottom rate for some U.S. paralegals.

“Legal outsourcing in India currently draws around $250 million in annual revenue, analysts estimate. That’s a tiny portion of the $40 billion in revenue for India’s technology-outsourcing firms. But legal outsourcing is growing quickly, while tech-outsourcing firms are struggling to grow.”

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The resignation of India’s security chief raises a question that appears in almost every crisis: could we have avoided surprise? For companies, the answer has implications for a host of issues: Read the rest of this entry »

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