Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Big job--big decision

Joann S. Lublin, WSJ, Apr 16, 2014, says installing a new CEO or top dog also takes a period of adjusment.

Sometimes even CEOs have been bounced.

The biggest reason the top person may not in the end suit the company is cultural, as a rule. Think the IBM blue suit in a sea of sandals.

Of course, these top people have golden parachutes and often walk or are pushed with a care package of millions under their arm.

At the moment, 56% of execs are considering a move.

Candidates for top jobs should arrive early for interviews--check out the chatter level, the art on the walls.

Try to get face time outside the office--people are more candid.

From there, both sides are doing a chemistry check. Chemistry can blow up, create a new compound, or even be a time bomb waiting to go off.

Handle with care.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

If you are a "Mudgie," clap your hands

What is so great about positive thinking? Half or more of the time, you are deluded--things aren't that smokin.'

You might like Charles Murray's The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead.

Curmudgeons are not just mean, negative people--they also can be clear thinkers. Of course, this clear thinking often results ironclad opinions. For instance, "No Problem" is not the same as "You're Welcome."

This might be called being an intellectual provocateur.

But basically, crotchetyness is involved. Inward grumpiness. Insistence on precision.

I used to have a client--you would know who he is if I went into detail--who had me ghost essays that all bore the title of.."A Contrarian's View of..."

I am not sure where contrarians fit on this spectrum. But they are on there, I assure you.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Two-pizza teams

According to Rick Karlgaard, publishert of Forbes, in Government Executive, Apr 18, 2014, when orgs form teams or focus groups, they loop in as many people as they can.


You may get a consensus, but more often, you will get an endless debate and get off track. The conflicting agendas will be flying.

That Jeff Bezos guy at Amazon forms teams that can be fed by two pizzas.

Small teams are more entrepreneurial. Recently the software giant SAP blew up its 20,000 person development dept and formed teams of 10 people each. Each team had power over the whole development cycle. It cut time nearly in half.

Also, fewer people, the easier to even get together. and the shorter each meeting.

People on small teams know each other and trust each other. Sometimes they will even sacrifice for the project or team. Small teams are also more specialized.

Small teams promote mentoring and weaken the glass ceiling.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Lack of experience hinders diversity

Joann S. Lublin, WSJ, Apr 16, 2104, says the biggest companies are not making much progress bringing women and minorities into the boardroom.

This is because they get a few experienced board members in diverse categories and recycle them, instead of grooming new ones.

Therefore black women (34%) and Hispanic women (19.1%)and 19.8% of black men tend to have had more than one directorship.

I believe in some circles this would be called being in a rut.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The govt has plans for Robbie

Hilton Collins,, says the government (ours) is mad for robots. And not just those little tin cans that trundle into burning buildings or war zones.

Under the DARPA Robotics Challenge, two-legged humanoids are under development to perform disaster relief.

NASA also has Robonaut--a surgery-performing robot to patch up space travelers.

The Navy has also teamed with NASA to create a shipboard firefighting robot that can climb stairs, open, hatches, and rescue victims. First it must recognize what a hose is.

But--they admit--"there is an awful lot of stuff to do and it won't be easy or cheap."

This is in its infancy. Still, I remember Rosie from The Jetsons. She was cool. I think it was the apron.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ta-da! I am the one!

You need to toot your own horn. But how to do it so that HR depts don't barf on your shoes.

Anita Bruzzese, Gannett, writes about this.

The key is to project confidence in your own abilities.

This means being excited. This can go back to Dale Carnegie--How to Win Friends and Influence People. The idea is to listen to others--they will sense your interest.

Translate what you have done into what the boss or company needs.

Be brave, positive, and pleasant. That is an interesting threesome. Think about it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New grads--Maybe whiff of hope

Brittany Ducksworth, Arizona Republic, Mar 12, 2014, says employers may be hiring more of the Class of 2014 this year.

A little more than 7% more than the year before.

Many grads are underemployed--meaning a degree is not required for the job they hold.

As ever, employers are looking for business, engineering and computer, as well as communications, backgrounds.

About 84% of grads have a job or an offer 90 days after graduation.

So take heart.