General management

This category contains 107 posts

Follow the business strategy

Many years ago an experienced consultant was telling me about a company who was asking for his help. “They told me they wanted to develop a digital strategy. But they don’t need a digital strategy,” he said, “They need a business strategy.” I’ve always remembered this distinction between a business strategy and a more localised, … Continue reading

Three steps to measuring the intangible

Last week I talked about organisational culture being necessarily based on tangible things, even though it is superficially intangible. The thinking behind this was heavily influenced by Douglas Hubbard’s “How to measure anything”, because that is centred on measuring seemingly intangible things. So I thought it was about time I explained my interpretation of Hubbard’s … Continue reading

Culture is based on tangible things

Organisational culture is seemingly nebulous, hard to pin down. But in fact it’s based on very concrete, tangible things. It follows that by changing those tangible things we can change the culture of an organisation. Over many years I’ve read about the new breed of digital companies, and how they often value nurturing and developing … Continue reading

Who defines your process?

When someone introduces a process it’s usually to help them. If top-level management introduces a process for people on the ground then there’s a danger it will help the top team at the expense of the people on the ground delivering effectively. In our organisations we all want comprehensible processes. We want to be able … Continue reading

Trust from delivery

Trust might seem like a nebulous thing, but it’s based on very concrete things. Some time ago I was lucky enough to be part of a workshop run by Laurence Wood, discussing this issue of trust with some senior executives. I’ve always been struck by Laurence’s thoughtfulness and his deep concern for people’s needs, and … Continue reading

Making a vision meaningful

Many of us have a vision or an idea about how an organisation might improve. Perhaps we’ve read something which connects with us and triggers an idea, or perhaps we’ve learned from experiences elsewhere and we want to bring that to our current organisation. And sometimes some of us are fortunate enough to be able … Continue reading

Balancing ownership and quality

Having worked as both a team manager and a consultant, I find there is a common balancing act when introducing people to a new approach or idea, such as setting up a particular process. On the one hand I tend to have a good idea about what I want to achieve and what it should … Continue reading

Accepting failure enables rational exits

You’ve probably heard the idea that we should allow people to fail. You’ve probably also heard the phrase “fail fast”, meaning that we should both allow failure and be set up sufficiently to recognise it and recover from it quickly. In both cases I’ve always seen the benefits of accepting failure as allowing us to … Continue reading

Are we seeking to evaluate or improve?

In a discussion the other day about measuring the effectiveness of developers I looked for a document I’d written a while back for exactly that purpose. But when I opened it up I found that it wasn’t the document I thought it was. I expected something that would help the reader, as a manager, assess … Continue reading

Even successful subversion is a sliding scale

A few weeks ago Theresa May talked directly about Russia’s attempts to undermine democracy in the UK. It does this by planting “fake news” in social media, as well as direct cyber attacks and influencing individuals. Yet I also heard a claim on BBC News that one government source said there was no evidence that … Continue reading

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