Colin D. Baird
When executives don’t perform well, sadly, sometimes they're fired. But when the company’s merit rating system doesn’t improve employees, do you fire it too?
Learning requires we detect and correct errors in our thinking. But learning often requires we go beyond just one iteration of questions and answers to do so. Here's how to maximize learning and communications, even during difficult conversations.
Change is inevitable and it's hard, but how you lead it sets the tone for your entire organization. While achieving short-term deliverables is possible using fear as your dominant motivator, the probability of making long-term improvements stick from short-term thinking, or from too big of an improvement project, is nil. That kind of change is bad. Make change good however, and the corresponding improvements become sustainable, and appreciated by those whose lives are influenced by it.
Max Schireson resigned recently as CEO of MongoDB to spend more time with his family. It turns out that while the 300,000 miles he logged in travel each year between New York and Palo Alto were brief, the results were enduring.
One president’s vision, and one chief executive’s leadership and execution, brought together an entire nation and an organization to accomplish one of the greatest achievements in modern history.
In May, the Veteran's Health Administration’s former CEO, retired American Four Star General Eric Shinseki, began hitting a bit of a rough patch in his once highly decorated career. With an employee culture in free-fall, patients dying because the production system couldn't meet customer demand and employees lying and hiding results about key performance indicators, you'd think Shinseki, a 1965 West Point graduate with 50 years of leadership experience, would have learned something about failure and the need for continuous improvement.
It seems that Target can’t catch a break. The big box retailer's culture was the subject of public scrutiny recently when a mid-level employee from Minneapolis sent an anonymous email to e-zine Gawker lambasting it. In response, Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Jones wrote the following on his LinkedIn blog.
When artists create a beautiful painting, they begin with a blank slate. Their vision and clarity for what the painting will ultimately look like begins to improve with each successive paint stroke. CEOs can use the same learning techniques to improve their organization's culture with the “Plan, Do, Check, Act” (PDCA) model, which increases the likelihood of success through layered improvements.
Don’t wait for a crisis to unhinge your strategic plans. CEOs can use the principles of continuous improvement to engage employees in ways that can improve productivity while creating a culture of direct involvement. Here’s how.
Sixty years ago, Japan lay in a burned out heap of debris. America sent statistician and management consultant Dr. W. Edwards Deming to help - and indeed he did. What can American leaders, particularly those in manufacturing, learn from this historical improvement in culture to improve themselves?