"Organization doesn't really accomplish anything. Plans don't accomplish anything, either. Theories of management don't much matter. Endeavours succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds." - Colin PowellAs one of the great leaders of our time, Colin Powell has provided a provocative insight into what it really takes to get things done. You need to surround yourself the best and the brightest. Everything else is just smoke and mirrors.
In a brain-based economy, your best assets are people. We've heard this expression so often that it's become trite. But how many leaders really "walk the talk" with this stuff? Too often, people are assumed to be empty chess pieces to be moved around by grand viziers, which may explain why so many top managers immerse their calendar time in deal-making, restructuring and the latest management fad. How many immerse themselves in the goal of creating an environment where the best, the brightest, the most creative are attracted, retained and-most importantly-unleashed?
To me the most demoralizing aspect of the traditional office is that you're supposed to be there at certain times. There are usually a few people in a company who really have to, but the reason most employees work fixed hours is that the company can't measure their productivity.Never has there been a more resounding truth than this. It's tough to measure productivity and it doesn't require the same amount of time for every individual. Some individuals require 40 hours of work for what takes other just an hour of work, but management cannot truly differentiate. Face time dictates the office life.
The basic idea behind office hours is that if you can't make people work, you can at least prevent them from having fun. If employees have to be in the building a certain number of hours a day, and are forbidden to do non-work things while there, then they must be working. In theory. In practice they spend a lot of their time in a no-man's land, where they're neither working nor having fun.[link=http://www.paulgraham.com/opensource.html][/link]
The problem with the facetime model is not just that it's demoralizing, but that the people pretending to work interrupt the ones actually working. I'm convinced the facetime model is the main reason large organizations have so many meetings. Per capita, large organizations accomplish very little. And yet all those people have to be on site at least eight hours a day. When so much time goes in one end and so little achievement comes out the other, something has to give. And meetings are the main mechanism for taking up the slack.
With all the focus on programming, developers often lose focus of presentation and design. The two most important factors when considering the marketability of your applicaiton is graphic design and usability. Ultimately your applications need to have a nice look to them and this often starts with a simple design and elegant graphics to enhance your design. Too many graphics or large graphics can easily distract from the presentation goals of your application. It's best to start simple and build from there. This also helps greatly with usablity as well. The simpler the better.
There's nothing worse than having to go to work for a boss that you don't get along with, but it can't be worse than this. Bosses can be a real pain in the ass and sometimes you wonder how you can continue to work with a boss you can't get along with. Here are some extreme examples:
For a country whose GDP is climbing faster than the United States and a cash horde that seems to be growing out of control, Chinese companies are on the prowl for American businesses. They will soon beat out Canada as the largest trading partner for the United States. Chinese companies are looking at several American businesses to acquire and it may only be a matter of time before they are buying up several major American companies such as MayTag, Home Depot and even Sun Microsystems. The article from Business 2.0 illuminates the situation that the Chinese are currently in and it's looking good for them. They get to cut out the middle man and gain American brands and sales know-how. The name recognition would provide a major strategic advantage.
Often, it's name recognition that Chinese companies crave, since a history of communism has left them relatively clueless about building brands. Shandong-based appliance maker Haier may be eyeing Maytag or GE's (GE) white-goods division.
It can't be ignored any longer as blogging is takes off. Almost every business is embracing some form of blogging to reach oout to customers and build brand loyalty. It's even on the cover story for Business Week with the title, Blogs Will Change Your Business, and right they are. Blogs will change your business as they open up new channels of communication to your customers.
Blogs are the online tool powerful enough to bring down U.S. politicians and TV anchors and make 20-year-olds international superstars. While they are just beginning their rise as a method for internal or community communications. RSS – essentially a syndication technology – will become as important to a Web site as metatags. A primary branding driver is the recognition of the power that blogs and wikis have in fueling word word-of-mouth, which accounts for 30-50% of all brand switching.
Fast-forward to the future: Keep an eye on podcasting, mososo and immersive communications. These won’t have much of an impact in 2005, but could drive branding in 2006 and beyond. Podcasting involves using the iPod as a personal or group “radio station;” Mososo stands for mobile social software that connects people through mobile phones using location-based services; and immersive communications will leverage 64-bit processing, high-definition displays and such emerging technologies as Blu-ray that will make virtual reality less virtual and more real.
Here is an interesting article that illustrates why some of us never get promotions.
In contrast to other large firms, Wal-Mart hires for attitude and then teaches the necessary skills. To overcome the natural human tendency not to hire someone who might outshine us, Wal-Mart requires managers two levels above the open position to interview and approve all new hires. Finally, managers spend more time in the field than they do at headquarters to both communicate corporate messages and obtain firsthand market intelligence.
Most of us are hired and promoted by a direct supervisor and this often conflicts with the personal agendas of those supervisors. Walmart has enacted a policy to make sure this doesn't happen. Perhaps this is a good example to follow for other companies including smaller companies as well.
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