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. Improve Your Hiring Process

    In hiring, what most leaders do is they have a set of criteria, they evaluate a bunch of candidates through interviews and resumes and other information available, and then they make decisions based on their gut. You could actually turn that process into a much more scientific approach, where you lose none of your experience but you add a lot of data.

    The way I would … [ Read more ]

  2. Entry Interviews

    Too often, managers don’t know enough about what work people enjoy. It spills out in exit interviews — a standard practice in every HR department to find out why talented people are leaving and what would have convinced them to stick around. But why wait until they’re on their way out the door? Instead, use entry interviews. In the first week on the job, managers … [ Read more ]

  3. Audit Your Calendar

    Every three months, either by yourself or with your admin if you have one, audit your calendar, showing the percent of time you spent on each project, the percent of time you spent with individual leaders versus in large meetings, and the percent of time you spent recruiting versus managing versus building products (change these if not appropriate to your level and responsibilities). Then adjust … [ Read more ]

  4. Open Salaries

    Buffer has taken transparency to an extreme. The social-media management tool firm has adopted what it calls an “open salaries” system, publishing all of its salaries, as well as the standardized formulas with which those salaries were calculated: Salary = job type x seniority x experience + location. In other words, a salary is determined by a base pay based upon job type; plus, a … [ Read more ]

  5. Listen to the New Hire’s “Outsider” Ideas

    One important milestone during the first six months is to get your new hire’s perspective on your operation. It seems like an obvious thing to do, but getting information from someone less experienced can be annoying. They have all these ideas and they question everything: why you do what you do and why you do it the way you do it. So we fight it … [ 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 ]