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. Quickly Build Trust and Understanding on a Team

    One hurdle to people doing and saying any of these [relationship enhancing] things is that they don’t feel comfortable enough with their colleagues to even start. Scott Crabtree ran into this at Intel when his division reorganized and he suddenly had to work with people he didn’t know very well. Things got competitive and confrontational fast, and he felt his happiness and productivity drop in … [ Read more ]

  2. Expressing Gratitude

    When you say thank you, you increase your own happiness. I know of one executive who puts 10 pennies in his left pocket every morning. Every time he thanks someone or expresses gratitude, he moves a penny to his right pocket. He won’t go home until his left pocket is empty. Whatever you need to do to remind yourself to say positive things at work, … [ Read more ]

  3. Hire to Train

    Here’s the good news: The new, bigger role of learning allows you to save money in hiring. When I launched my first company in 2008, one of my first hires was a CTO. I chose an experienced developer who was in huge demand and was an expensive hire.

    I also hired an entry-level employee who demonstrated enormous potential and ambition, although he had only rudimentary development … [ Read more ]

  4. Identifying the Ideal Employee

    Claire Hughes Johnson, COO of Stripe, occasionally finds it helpful to plot members of the team on a Venn Diagram with three circles: People who are good at their work, people who are making great impact, and people who love what they do. The ideal employee fits into all three circles. Make a list of all the people who fall into this bucket. What other … [ Read more ]

  5. Getting Delegation Right

    To get delegation right, begin by scheduling one-on-one conversations with each of your direct reports. Ask each direct report to list his or her key areas of responsibility. Then ask them, “Within this area of responsibility…

    • Are there areas where I need to ‘let go’ or delegate more to you?
    • Are there areas where I need to get more involved or provide more help to you?”

    If you … [ 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 ]