Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 28NOV11

November 28, 2011

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: leadership

Forbes.com had a interesting piece written by Steve Denning called “Peggy Noonan on Steve Jobs and Why Big Companies Die.”  Here is an excerpt:

There is an arresting moment in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs in which Jobs speaks at length about his philosophy of business. He’s at the end of his life and is summing things up. His mission, he says, was plain: to “build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products.”

Then he turned to the rise and fall of various businesses. He has a theory about “why decline happens” at great companies: “The company does a great job, innovates and becomes a monopoly or close to it in some field, and then the quality of the product becomes less important. The company starts valuing the great salesman, because they’re the ones who can move the needle on revenues.” So salesmen are put in charge, and product engineers and designers feel demoted: Their efforts are no longer at the white-hot center of the company’s daily life. They “turn off.”

IBM [IBM] and Xerox [XRX], Jobs said, faltered in precisely this way. The salesmen who led the companies were smart and eloquent, but “they didn’t know anything about the product.” In the end this can doom a great company, because what consumers want is good products.

Is Steve on to something? Is he describing the cause of “big company syndrome?”  Is this what keeps big companies from thriving?

Thought for the week:

“High expectations are the key to everything.” – Sam Walton, founder of WalMart

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

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Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 21NOV11

November 21, 2011

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: business execution

I was invited to attend the Dell KACE Konference in San Francisco this past week, an event my spell-checker doesn’t like very much. Here’s my take-away:

Dell KACE is “the Apple” in its industry–addressing system administration problems with straight-forward, elegant, pragmatic technology solutions that customers crave.

The audience wasn’t concerned about the veracity of new solutions being created–that seemed to be a given. Their concern was “how soon will this be available?”  If I had to assign a tag line to the development team, it would be something like, “We do the heavy lifting so you won’t have to.”

We live in a technologically complex world. Organizations that simplify complexity will thrive.

Thought for the week:

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 14NOV11

November 14, 2011

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: leadership

Tandem Computers used to have a 4 p.m. beer bust every Friday afternoon. It was a ritual we all looked forward to. Employees and executives alike tipped back a few beers each week.

One Friday, we all headed to the cafeteria only to find a sign on a locked door offering that things had gotten out of the control the prior Friday and there would be no beer bust that week so we could all “think about it.” It was stunning. This was the correct response under the circumstances. The beer bust was a privilege, not a right. Jim Treybig, president, taught us an important lesson that Friday, a lesson I’m sharing some 30 years later.

Penn State has, as a result of crimes committed and a horrific moral and ethical lapse of leadership, a teachable moment. The institution believes it is enough to fire those in the chain of command–those who knew about the crimes and did nothing about it. It’s not enough.

Genuine leadership would have been for Penn State to cancel the rest of the football season and forfeit any remaining games. Penn State football needs a time out to pause, reflect and remind itself of what is really important. Instead, Penn State is teaching the world what not to do–move forward as though it is business as usual, that Penn State football is too important to cancel no matter how disgraced the program is.

What does it say about leadership when leadership did nothing about stopping crimes and ensuring that crimes against children were prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law?  What does it say about leadership when Penn State cobbles together a coaching staff so “the game can go on?”  What is the lesson from this teachable moment?  “We play football no matter what!”

Penn State football is not a victim; Penn State football enabled criminal behavior.

The focus needs to shift to the victims and away from football. There will be a time for football. The focus must be on helping the victims thrive.

Thought for the week:

“When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” – The Dalai Lama


What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 07NOV11

November 7, 2011

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: business execution

A colleague offered that a client wanted to stop all consulting efforts as the business was growing rapidly and everyone was moving at 120 miles per hour.

Respectfully, this isn’t the time to disengage–this is the time to engage but engage in a way that is respectful of each person’s time.

There are 3 key components to success:  people, process and technology.  A breakdown in any of these can be quite injurious, particularly at 120 mph. None of these components were designed to work at 120 mph indefinitely.

A consultant can add value by watching for stress, making observations about root cause and by helping the team rapidly design and implement fixes to keep them moving at 120 mph.

When Diana Nyad tried to swim from Cuba to the U.S. recently, she had a support team.  She didn’t leave the beach in Cuba and have everyone fly to the mainland to await her arrival. There were experts to help her every step of the way.

The most successful people and companies seek outside assistance to help them continue to thrive

Thought for the week:

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.