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. Upward Feedback and Culture Feedback Surveys
    Managers must be evaluated both on what they get done and how they get it done. The “how” is often overlooked and undervalued. In terms of the “how,” determine whether the person works well cross-functionally, represents the company‘s values in both word and deed, receives strong upward feedback, and whether their team of reports has a high level of satisfaction working at the company. To measure … [ Read more ]

  2. Skip-Level Meetings
    If you manage managers, it’s very powerful to set up a recurring catch up with their direct reports. These are commonly referred to as “skip-level” meetings, and they're the only way to get an accurate sense of how your direct reports are leading — and how people on their teams are feeling about the business and the strategy you've set. It's also an efficient way … [ Read more ]

  3. Assess Your Organization’s Bureaucracy Mass Index (BMI)
    An excess of bureaucracy costs the U.S. economy more than $3 trillion in lost economic output per year. When you look at all 32 countries in the OECD, the cost of excess bureaucracy rises to nearly $9 trillion. To dismantle bureaucracy, the first step is to be honest about how much it’s costing your organization. These costs fall into seven categories:

    1. Bloat: too many managers,
    [ Read more ]

  4. Identify the Current Constraints on Your Company’s Progress
    Imagine you are a new CEO, looking at your company with fresh eyes. Ask yourself: What function or resource most constrains our progress? Where would the smallest improvement yield the biggest impact on our business? In other words, you need to identify your “Herbie-group.” Are you limited by how well field staff in sales, operations, or customer support translate new offerings, new markets, or improved … [ Read more ]

  5. Create a Sales War Room for Better Post-Merger Integration
    After a merger, it is a mistake to expect sales reps on their own to address all of the inevitable questions from customers and tactics of competitors. Unfortunately, sales managers are often too preoccupied with integration issues, so the front line is left to its own devices. To resolve this problem, successful acquirers create a temporary sales war room, or interim leadership group. Led by two … [ 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. Downsizing Effectively: Eliminate Hierarchy
    The way a company approaches downsizing can make or break its performance. Using 355 undergraduates as their sample, the authors randomly assigned five-person teams to work on military-based command-and-control simulations. The teams’ performance was gauged first at full strength in control groups and then after one of three separate downsizing approaches was applied to the same groups. The first approach was to maintain the hierarchy, eliminating … [ Read more ]