Business, Management and Leadership Ideas
Call them ideas, tips, or best practices. I read a lot about business and occasionally I come across a practice that seems to me should be in wider use. I created this site to bring those management ideas to your attention. — Jeff Blum

Most Recent Ideas

  1. Hiring Tips

    Because you may have a long list of candidates, you should batch calls as often as possible. For example, set aside 15 minute segments in a 3 hour block daily. In a first-pass, I always ask:

    1. “Walk me through your resume”, to understand if the candidate is actually interested in a startup via a clear story, or just shotgunning their resume;
    2. “If you left a
    [ Read more ]

  2. Stay Interviews

    There are many ways to invest in employees you fear may be looking to leave: pay increases, promotions, special projects, etc.  One technique is to use what are called “stay interviews.”  Instead of conducting only exit interviews to learn what caused good employees to quit, hold regular one-on-one interviews with current high-performing employees to learn what keeps them working in your organization and what could … [ Read more ]

  3. Salary Bands

    As you think about building out a team, you’ll want market data to ensure you’re making hires within the right salary bands. It’s much easier to have a conversation with a candidate when you have market data vs. what you’ve just heard from your peers. Creating salary bands with multiple seniority or experience levels early on will help navigate tricky internal equity discussions down the … [ Read more ]

  4. A Compensation Philosophy

    Why is it so important to have a philosophy around compensation early on? As a company is growing and establishing its culture and values, it needs to make sure that its compensation philosophy is aligned with the company’s overall mission and values. For example, a company that identifies with “transparency” as a value, needs to make sure that its compensations practices are transparent. Anyone involved … [ Read more ]

  5. External Talent Needs Management, Too

    The corporate use of external talent across sectors and geographies is more common than ever. Talent can provide companies with access to new capabilities and technologies; it can enable faster and more agile response to markets; it can be used to test new opportunities before making major investments; it can be used to respond to demand peaks and to attain scale quickly; and, perhaps most … [ Read more ]

Most Popular Ideas

  1. The Premortem Technique
    The premortem technique is a sneaky way to get people to do contrarian, devil’s advocate thinking without encountering resistance. If a project goes poorly, there will be a lessons-learned session that looks at what went wrong and why the project failed—like a medical postmortem. Why don’t we do that up front? Before a project starts, we should say, “We’re looking in a crystal ball, and … [ Read more ]

  2. Profit Mapping
    A profit map, the core analytical tool of profitability management, displays the profitability and cost structure of every product in every customer in the company. Profit maps show exactly where profit is flowing and where it is lost.

    A profit map is not especially difficult to develop, but it is completely different from the information developed for financial reporting. Many finance managers make the … [ Read more ]

  3. Review Profitability Before Expanding Capacity
    When faced with the need to expand manufacturing capacity and the inherent investment required, first perform a thorough profitability analysis (a profit map) of each product produced from the capacity-constrained factories (this includes profitable products being sold unprofitably to selected customers). Since many companies have a significant amount of unprofitable business, it is quite possible that stopping the unprofitable sales can free up enough capacity … [ Read more ]

  4. Deploy a Redeployment Pool
    Intel monitors changing skill requirements and institutes a redeployment program when it becomes necessary to downsize a business. Under this program, managers effectively lay off people, and the head count of the business unit is moved off the payroll. These excised people enter a redeployment pool under the auspices of human resources. Once in the pool, employees generally have four to six months, and can … [ Read more ]

  5. Fiercest Competitor Workshop
    One good way to get at these disruptive designs (innovations) is to do what we at my firm call a "Fiercest Competitor Workshop," which starts with the premise that you have been fired from your old organization but you have access to ample capital and talent. Your task is to design the fiercest competitor that could take the market from your old firm. In my … [ Read more ]