Marissa Mayer Orders Telecommuters To The Office

February 27, 2013

There’s been a huge outcry–mostly negative–about Marisa Mayer, Yahoo’s CEO, ordering telecommuters to the office by the first of June.

Most of what I read is missing the critical point that Yahoo must do this due to a failure of leadership, a failure of management to hold telecommuters accountable for adding value to the business.

I’m certain most would agree that morale at Yahoo the past 10 years has been pretty abysmal. There’s not been a lot for employees or investors to get excited about. The trend line has been down. There’s been substantial turnover in key executive leadership.

When morale is low, low productivity follows.

Many reports suggest that employees who work from home are highly productive and even more productive than employees who are in the office everyday. I can’t argue with that point. But, telecommuters have to be managed. Anecdotes I’ve read in the media about Yahoo suggest that leadership and oversight has largely been absent.

Does Yahoo’s decision portend the death of telecommuting? Absolutely not. It is simply a step necessary to get Yahoo operating together. Surely, this will be disruptive to some employees and their families. Some will leave the company because of this. And, that might be a good thing. I’m sure some accommodation will be made for some employees. And, once the company is banging on all cylinders again, telecommuting may again be granted as a privilege to some.

As Ronald Reagan taught us, “Trust but verify.” If you don’t hold people accountable, you run the potential of ending up in a very dark place.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2013 Dave Gardner

Share

Advertisements

Boeing 787 Business Execution Failure

February 25, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: business execution

The grounding of the Boeing 787s due to the fire danger associated with the lithium-ion batteries continues to be a costly, brand-damaging problem. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, announced at the time of the grounding that these aircraft would not fly again until they are “1,000 percent safe.” [A bit of hyperbole in that statement, Mr. Secretary?]

Boeing wants to get the fleet back in the air as quickly as possible and keep production and deliveries moving. The solution they have offered the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): a better fire containment box and improved venting for the lithium-ion batteries so if and when a fire occurs, it can be contained to the battery unit itself.

Is Boeing nuts? The answer is better fire suppression? Wrong answer, Boeing!

The right answer is a design that eliminates the risk of fire that has been thoroughly tested, qualified and implemented in each 787 before each plane is allowed to return to the skies. You know it, the FAA knows it, the airlines with 787s know it, and so does the flying public.

At an Association for Corporate Growth Silicon Valley chapter dinner meeting this past week, I moderated a panel called “Transportation of the Future.” I was honored to have Dr. Sujeet Kumar, CTO and co-founder of Envia Systems on the panel to discuss lithium-ion battery technology. He told the audience that the 787 lithium-ion battery is built using the wrong chemistry and is an inappropriate design prone to the very problems Boeing and its customers have experienced. The good news: Technology is available today to eliminate the risk. The bad news: It’s not apparent Boeing is looking for solutions outside its current design.

Boeing: Fix the problem the right way and restore our confidence in your brand and your wonderful 787 aircraft that the airline industry needs.

Thought for the week:

“To me, business isn’t about wearing suits or pleasing stockholders. It’s about being true to yourself, your ideas and focusing on the essentials.” – Sir Richard Branson

__

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Fast Company Blog Posts That May Interest You

 

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2013 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.

Share


What makes your product best?

February 18, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: innovation

I attended a media/analyst event and heard a company claiming to be “the best” in their product category. That sounds like the hoopla you’d expect at this type of event. But, such a claim without substantiation is weak.

It’s not enough to merely proclaim you are the best. It’s far more important to back that up with how you’ve been able to achieve best-in-class capability. What makes your solution unique? Is there a “secret sauce?”

In this specific instance, it would have been easy to believe that “best in class” was derived from a hardware product simply being combined with Microsoft Windows 8. Yet, when I probed further, the uniqueness was derived from 3 or 4 other companies providing deep intellectual property and capability that would be very challenging for a less capable competitor to duplicate. That’s what I was looking for.

If you are the best, don’t just tell me. Explain to me what it is about your solution that makes it best. Doing this will help your company thrive.

Thought for the week:

“A ‘stuck’ business, whether entrepreneurial in nature or a Fortune 500 company, is one that fails to grow predictably every year, every quarter, every day. If you’re being carried along by the marketplace, then the moment the marketplace dries up, your business is going to dry up, too, because you’re not in control of your destiny. In good times, stuck businesses don’t even realize they’re stuck!” – Jay Abraham, Sticking Point Solution

__

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2012 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.

Share


Slow speed and poor execution are killers

February 11, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: business execution

It is said “speed kills.” In business, lack of speed combined with poor execution is a killer.

When a company is terribly late getting to the marketplace, it better be much more than a “me, too” product.

Example: Has any tablet manufacturer even come close to approaching the demand or appeal of Apple’s iPad? No. Yet, it’s out in plain sight for all to behold and reimagine. Yet, nearly 3 years after its launch, it is by far, the preferred tablet in the marketplace.

When HP came out with its WebOS tablet, not only was it late to market, it was a brick with poor performance and lacked the ecosystem iPad owners enjoy. HP killed the product 30 days after launch further tarnishing its brand. Lack of speed combined with poor business execution makes this a case study for years to come in business schools.

I’ve often said no product is better than a bad product. If a product isn’t ready for the marketplace or won’t captivate your customers, why bother? It won’t help you or your company thrive.

Thought for the week:

“We’re drowning in information and starving for knowledge.” -Rutherford D. Rogers

__

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2012 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.

Share


Clipped–a new app available from 15-year old entrepreneur Tanay Tandon

February 8, 2013

Last month, I learned about a 15-year old entrepreneur who has not only developed an application but gotten it approved by Apple for inclusion in the AppStore and is available in the Android PlayStore as well.  The company is Clipped and it is run by Tanay Tandon, a high school sophomore who resides here in Silicon Valley.

To learn more about the application, please see his press release:

ClippedPressRelease

In the world of entrepreneurship, it is fantastic to see anyone demonstrate the ability to get a complex project like this to the finish line. He has a patent pending for the algorithm he developed that summarizes articles into bullet point summaries. He wrote a first rate press release announcing what he is doing.

I am very, very impressed.

Congratulations, Tanay!  I look forward to hearing more about what you do in the coming years.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com


Super Bowl 47 Winners and Losers

February 4, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: Super Bowl 47 Winners and Losers

Congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens for a terrific season and Super Bowl victory. Well played.

Winners: Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson & The Sandy Hook Choir, the Jeep ad with Oprah Winfrey honoring those who serve in the military, the Dodge Ram ad with the late Paul Harvey honoring farmers, the Best Buy ad with Amy Poehler, the Budweiser Clydesdale ad, and, finally, the Taco Bell ad about senior citizens partying. Bravo!

Losers: San Francisco 49ers, the New Orleans power grid.

The Big Loser: Go Daddy for an uncomfortable, pointless, brand-damaging ad. I’m no prude, but personal displays of affection such as that depicted in this commercial are despicable and made me and my wife cringe. I turned away from the TV. In working with a client last year, I found Go Daddy to be professional and competent. This ad undermines Go Daddy and its brand. While Go Daddy’s goal may have been to get people talking about their brand, I’m not sure they will get a positive outcome they were looking for. They certainly face an uphill battle attracting female entrepreneurs to use their services. And, I wouldn’t use them for any reason.

So, some advertisers thrived and others crashed and burned. And, so it is every Super Bowl.

Thought for the week:

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Althsuler

__

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2013 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.

Share


Coaching Someone About Changing Jobs

February 2, 2013

A good friend called me last night to seek my advice about his desire to change jobs. I’m going to refer to his current position as “Job A” and a position he’s interviewing for “Opportunity B.”

He really needs Opportunity B to set the stage for “Opportunity C.” Opportunity B is a critically important interim step for him–if Opportunity B doesn’t provide the background and insights he is looking for, he will have set himself back and lost valuable time.

Given his objectives, I coached him to be careful about Opportunity B, to try to confirm that his “must haves” in the new job are really there and if not, to turn down Opportunity B if it is offered to him.

Last night, the biggest “must have” I heard is that he wants to leave Job A because it is not giving him the background and experience that he craves.  That doesn’t speak to what he needs in his next position. Impatience is driving his decision, not carefully understood “must haves” that need to be derived from the his next job opportunity.

Because he’s not happy in Job A, he believes that, no matter what, Opportunity B has to be better. This is in spite of the fact he doesn’t yet know how well Opportunity B aligns with his “must haves.” He’s really not given the idea of his “must haves” appropriate energy and attention at this point.

I’m concerned he might find more unhappiness in Opportunity B if he finds out it wasn’t what he wanted or needed. It sounds to me like the people he’s interviewing with are telling him what they think he wants to hear, not necessarily what he can realistically expect. Has that ever happened to anyone you know? Has that ever happened to you?

I advised him that, while the company is trying to assess him for Opportunity B, he needs to just as carefully assess whether or not Opportunity B puts him on a path to Opportunity C.  Somehow during the interview process, he needs to look for evidence–not just hear sweet words–that Opportunity B is going to be a win for him. He’s got to ask great questions of the people he interviews with to try to determine if Opportunity B is an appropriate next-step in his career.

At the end of the day, he’s got to look for alignment between his “must haves” and Opportunity B. If there’s poor alignment, he’s got to turn down Opportunity B.

What do you think?

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2013 Dave Gardner

Share