January 2014

A presentation on innovation

01.31.2014

Today I am giving a presentation on behalf of the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center and hosted by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. I believe innovation is not just something a few insightful people do in a special innovation department. It happens at every level. And you don’t know where the next innovation, big or small, might […]

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Ambiguity of expected outcomes generates unneeded waste

01.22.2014

“Clean your room” “I did” “It doesn’t look like it” Did they or did they not accomplish the task? It depends on who you ask because there are differences in the expected outcome. One person’s version of “clean” and another’s version are different. Ambiguity in outcome expectations, whether for a small task or an entire […]

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The waste of the “reverse” flat organization

01.17.2014

I recently wrote about whether “flat” organizational designs are flat or not, along with Zappos decision to eliminate managers. There are many reasons that they are not. But I’ve also encountered a different organizational design that I call the “reverse flat” organization. In a flat organization, each manager has many direct reports. In a “reverse […]

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How “flat” should an organization really be? Zappos eliminates managers

01.09.2014

Lean means getting rid of managers, developing a flat organizational structure, and abdicating all responsibilities to the front line employees. Right? Too many people just read that without twitching. But it’s wrong. That’s not lean at all. Before going too far, lean also doesn’t mean adding organizational layers. There is no “right” organizational design, but […]

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Situational leadership: change your style based on the need

01.05.2014

Leadership is not universal. Someone being a good leader in one situation will be the wrong leader for the next situation. My own history with Chrysler is an example of this. There is little question that Lee Iacocca saved Chrysler in the 1980s. He was a visionary, a heroic leader, a phenomenal salesman, and he […]

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