Consultancy Rates Going Up?

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Top Consultant reports that management consultancy salaries have increased and fee rates are firmer now than they have been for 3 years, and there is a bit more money to spend on salaries. All firms reported a shortage of good candidates, and those that gave October salary reviews awarded increases of around 5%, reflecting the need to attract new staff …

Bix sits in confusion (Detail), from "Heaven's to Betsy!", Club "16" comics

More Evidence of the High Failure Rate of Performance Improvement Efforts

E. Forrest Christian Change, Computers/IT, Organizations, Reviews - Articles, Strategy 1 Comment

Top Consultant, a UK-based operation dealing with consultancies, has an interesting article describing a recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Celerant Consulting, an affiliate of Novell. Top-Consultant reports that More than 4 in 10 senior executives surveyed in a major new cross-industry study said that performance improvement initiatives undertaken at their companies over the past three …

Marcel on Communities of Practice in 1952

E. Forrest Christian Organizations 1 Comment

I’ve been reading Thomas Fleming’s extended essay on the requirements of morality and why provincialism should trump any call to universalism (“Save my family” trumps “Save the world”), The Morality of Everyday Life: Rediscovering an Ancient Alternative to the Liberal Tradition. It’s an interesting read. I’ll review it when I’m done. He quotes Gabriel Marcel, from Man Against Mass Society …

Communities of Practice as the Basis of Silos

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I am simply trying to get this down. Communities of practice, left unmolested in a small organization, formalized and evolved (i.e., changed into the new form of) the functional silo. That’s why getting rid of the functional silo is so difficult: they keep on coming back. Walk with me on this one. When a company is small, below the magical …

ADLER typewriter Model n°7 (Frankfurt / Germany). Unknown model date (probably ~1930/40). By Dake

Tata Sons’ Complexity Diagram

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I went ahead and read some more of the Tata Sons material on their implementation of Billis’s (Rowbottom’s & Billis’s?) Work Levels. They use a two dimensional model to measure the level of work done within a company (see page two of the interview with Exec. Dir. R. Gopalakrishnan; the diagram is down the page). “Management Scope” goes up the …

Small cup of coffee. (c) Julius Schorzman (CC BY-SA 2.0). Via Wikimedia.

Why Starbucks Will Run Our Local Coffee House Out of Business

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[I’ve updated this post with 2013 December information at the bottom] Starbucks has arrived in my town and even though it is inconveniently located, it will thrive and in the end drive the old downtown coffee house out of business. Starbucks, while not necessarily making decent coffee, does do several other things right. When I lived in Chicago and worked …

The Great Ravenna Boulevard Sinkhole, 1957. Seattle Municipal Archives (CC BY 2.0)

Increasing Rank-and-Yank Makes People More Mediocre

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Does rank and yank really work? One of the fundamental needs of rank-and-yank management is identifying weak performers. When top management presses managers to identify more, what group do you think they take from? University of Chicago researcher and social network analysis expert, Ronald S. Burt, discovered who in his network analysis at one firm: In the annual cycle preceding …

Looking down at Château-d'Oex from our chateau on after a snowfall. © E. Forrest Christian.

Make Your Workplace the Village!

E. Forrest Christian Networks, Organizations 4 Comments

In my quest for more data about Karen Stephenson’s work, I came across an old New Yorker article by Malcolm Gladwell, the happy camper behind The Tipping Point. The article, “Designs for Working: Why your bosses want to turn your new office into Greenwich Village“, originally appeared 2000 Dec 11. He starts off with a scene from the great Jane …

Open vs. Closed Sector Careers and What That Means for Consulting

E. Forrest Christian Organizations 2 Comments

Beneviste, Guy. “Survival inside bureaucracy”. In Markets, Hierarchies & Networks, ed. by G. Thompson, J. Frances, R. Levačić & J. Mitchell. London: SAGE Publications, 1991 [1977], pp. 141- Closed sector careers take place either in a single organization or in other organizations that are similar. Knowledge and experience with the organization or the sector are of first importance. Transfers from …