Tag: leadership

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


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