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Welcome To The Blog

My goal with this blog is to explore ways to make organizations more successful while at the same time being excellent places to work. Through my work around the world, with organizations ranging from small start-ups to major government agencies, I have found that these two objectives are often mutually reinforcing. How can an organization, which is a collection of people pulled together for a common purpose, grow and prosper if its people are not growing and prospering?  »  Read More

The Ethical Imperative of Competence-Vulcan’s Crucible thumbnail

Note: This blog entry is two times longer and more complex than my usual blog entries. Rather than offering advice or a useful concept, it is intended to get the reader thinking about a potentially uncomfortable, but incredibly important topic – competence. I hope you enjoy Vulcan’s Crucible. The molten liquid gushed from the cupola’s taphole and ran down the spout. As the white hot liquid iron flowed into the transfer ladle, a group of spectators – mostly wives and  »  Read More

Can an Organization Really Learn? thumbnail

The company’s president walked into the conference room for his Monday morning leadership team meeting. Everyone sitting around the table was a bit apprehensive. The previous week the president had attended a conference, and whenever this happens he always came back with some new concept or scheme to make the company better that he wanted implemented. This time, the program-of-the-month was creating the “learning organization.” After the usual Monday morning niceties  »  Read More

There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Idea …. Yah…Right! thumbnail

How do you respond to a bad employee idea? Let’s face it; despite the tired cliché ‘there is no such thing as a bad idea,’ some are just plain terrible. They may not work, be too expensive, are unsafe or perhaps even illegal. This is not to say that these bad ideas are not worthwhile. What seems like a terrible idea may in fact have great value. Among other things, such ideas are good indicators of where employees need coaching, training, or just more  »  Read More


From time to time, when I have developed a good rapport with an executive, I will ask questions that go beyond the workplace. A while back this happened when I, along with my research partner Alan Robinson, visited Martin Edelston, founder and CEO of Boardroom Inc. Marty, who was well into his seventies at the time, was a legend in the direct marketing world, as well as a thoughtful leader. (We tell a bit of Marty’s story in Ideas Are Free.) We had just finished spending  »  Read More

The Power of Trust thumbnail

Trust is a critical factor in the success of a high performance idea system. Employees need to trust that their ideas will be properly considered and implemented, and organizations need to trust that employees’ ideas are carefully thought-through and in the best interest of the company. But when an improvement idea has the potential to eliminate an employee’s job, a totally different kind of trust is involved. Last week Alan and I encountered such an idea while in Brazil  »  Read More

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