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Walmart Employees Couldn’t Tell Me Where It Was

New York-to-Paris automobile race: [Automobile stuck in snow]

I know that Walmart isn’t trying to be a customer service king. They compete entirely on price. I don’t enjoy being around that many people – Walmart is successful at always being crowded – so I haven’t been in one in awhile. I’m not one of those Walmart haters, either: in the past I’ve always considered Walmart the epitome of retail management expertise.

Now I’m not so…

Harris Teeter schools Walmart in Customer Service

Harris Teeter store in Apex, NC. Public Domain.

I used to think Walmart was the king of retail operations. Smaller operations like Harris Teeter could learn a lot about how to do things from them.

But after experiencing customer service in both recently, I know that Harris Teeter could take Walmart to school on basic customer service and loyalty.

Harris Teeter, for those not in North Carolina, is an upscale-ish grocery store that has a…

Your Work Life, Visually

Forrest's consulting bio, run through Tagxedo.com

Recently, we had all the Manasclerk Company folks’ CVs/resumes redone by a professional writer. Yes, I am well aware of the irony that a group of people who have all been paid to write had to hire someone else to write consulting bios. But that’s the way it is: a good writer seems to be flummoxed at his own tooting.

One of the team had the bright idea to run mine through Tagxedo, a wordle-ty…

Strategy vs. Execution: Managing Strategic Uncertainty

Box of chocolates. Licensed through 123rf.com

“Bill Gates has no strategy for Microsoft!”

This was the cry of the business and computing press in the late 1980s. It seemed absolutely accurate.

Except that it wasn’t.

Bill Gates knew something us idiots in the computing world didn’t. Here’s the story.

Does Executive Work Prevent Executives From Experiencing FLOW?

Flow, the psychological state of high-performance where one loses one’s self in the work one is doing, is something that we think people crave. Bioss International posits that when we have a job that challenges us just enough but not overwhelms — a job that “fits” — we experience flow.

But do we? Or more specifically, do the activities required of Executive Management prevent t…

Sometimes You Really Can’t Describe What You Do

Höckerschwan, White swan, Cygnus olor, Wild duck, Stockente, Anas platyrhynchos ginsheim-gustavsburg. (c) 2010 Vera Buhl, CC-BY-SA-3

I was really frustrated. I was trying to explain what a particular Work Swan — one of these people who are “hidden” high potentials, like Andersen’s “ugly duckling” — brought to the table and I just kept hitting a wall. I knew that this person brought a solid set of skills, but they were transformative. When you added him to a project, he changed the game. He didn’t deliver what you asked…

#1 Book That New Executives Must Read

KODIAK, Alaska (Sept. 27, 2011) The Naval Research Laboratory tactical satellite IV (TacSat-4) lifts-off from the Alaskan Aerospace Corporation's Kodiak Launch Complex aboard a Minotaur IV+ launch vehicle. TacSat-4 will have a unique highly elliptical orbit which augments current geosynchronous satellite communications and will support to tactical handhelds. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)

You just got promoted into the Executive suites. You’ve been a manager for awhile now, with ever-increasing managerial responsibilities. You know how to manage that smaller group. But now you’re going to be running a full line of business, your own PL. You know how to manage 100. How do you manage 2,000?

Most business books have little to give the new executive other than platitudes that sound…

Top Two Features of Real Genius (it’s not giant popcorn bombs…)

Sand bucket on the beach of Punta del Este, Uruguay. David http://www.flickr.com/people/99255685@N00 (CC BY 2.0)

What makes up a Genius? Most of us in North America imagine the “geniuses” who come up with great new ideas as people who seem to have everything lined up, who don’t need anyone else because it’s their singular genius that makes the day. True brilliance shows in people who get everything done the right way, quickly and efficiently. They are born that way, ready to go.

The science writer B…

Read an extended exchange on Requisite Organization

Man refusing an offer of money. (Portrait of Edwin A. Finckel and Boyd Raeburn, Edwin A. Finckel's home, Greenwich Village, New York, N.Y., ca. July 1946, by William P. Gottlieb. From the William P. Gottlieb Collection [Library of Congress])

Almost a decade ago now, readers got into a discussion within the comments about Elliott Jaques’s Requisite Organization and management. Since the commenters included the illustrious Glenn Mehltretter of PeopleFit USA; my one-time writing partner, “APFG”, now an executive himself; and my long-time friends, “J” and “JmmJ” (then a plant manager and IT specialist, respectively; it’s not the usua…

A Decade of Requisite Organization: Celebrating 10 years of writing about the work of Elliott Jaques

Off shore oil rig by sunset (California). Via photoeverywhere.co.uk

In November 2013, I celebrated a decade of writing about Elliott Jaques. Let’s look back on the last ten years of articles, shifting ideas, and learning, and maybe see where things are going for the next decade.

In 2003, I lost what will likely be the most promising job I’ll ever have. It happened quickly, falling apart so that I couldn’t put it back together. I went looking for some answers…

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