attrition

What to Do When Your People Are Leaving

There are few things more unsettling for people-driven businesses like tech companies, professional service firms and asset managers than a spike in attrition.  High attrition can easily become a downward spiral, as the exit of key people causes others to question the firm’s health and the opportunities they’ll have. Often management teams haven’t experienced this… Read more » Read more

Volunteer Economy

Self-Management and the Volunteer Economy at Incandescent

Since the publication of Beyond the Holacracy Hype in HBR this summer, a number of people have asked me whether Incandescent has a form of self-managing organization.  For the most part, the firm operates in a clear but loose hierarchy, in which objectives are delegated from clear sponsors to owners who then have great latitude to… Read more » Read more

Retention Tree image

How to Retain Talent – and How to Lose People the Right Way

Of all the systems relating to talent that I’ve ever had a hand in developing, the most powerful was a system we developed at Katzenbach Partners called “the retention tree.”  The system is extremely simple, and this short post includes everything you would need to implement it yourself. The context: Katzenbach Partners hired many people… Read more » Read more

On Hiring Well

On Hiring Well

Choices about whom to hire are among the most important choices any company makes. Hiring constitutes “choosing the choosers” of what a company will do and how they will do it, whether at the micro scale of delivering service at a car rental counter or the macro scale of building a new business. Unlike domains… Read more » Read more

IMG_2921

Cultures That Yield the Right Divergence

Two posts ago, I shared my thoughts on Adam Grant’s book Originals. As part of Adam’s listening tour to develop his thinking, he visited our office in New York for a conversation about cultures that are both cohesive and that foster divergent thinking and constructive dissent. In preparing for the dialogue with Adam, I wrote… Read more » Read more

Culture: a CEO's manifesto

Culture: A CEO’s Manifesto

This piece is adapted from a letter to a Fortune 500 CEO, building on a dialogue we had about evolving the culture of a company in its second century. The path described here isn’t meant to be a universal recommendation – we’d do very different things in different contexts. Rather, I share this as a… Read more » Read more

Adam Grant

How to Be an Original

All significant achievement demands a journey beyond precedent. Adam Grant’s Originals is not so much a map for this journey as a curriculum for explorers, preparing the “reader as explorer” to handle the kinds of terrain they can expect to encounter. The book is like a mosaic, largely made up of tiles constructed in a… Read more » Read more

Post-Mortems

The Power of Stepping Back: Conducting Post-Mortems

Nothing is more valuable than maximizing the amount we learn from our experiences, individually and collectively. This learning matters too much to leave to chance. A post-mortem discipline is tremendously valuable to institutionalize in a company, with impact that goes beyond the direct learning from the sessions. This impact is felt particularly as part of… Read more » Read more

Self Managment is One Part Architecture, Two Parts Culture

Self Management is One Part Architecture, Two Parts Culture

In the first of four posts on self management, I tried to name the distinct building blocks that constitute the foundation of a self-managing organization. After a second post characterizing the strengths and weaknesses of Holacracy, the third and most recent post laid out an architecture for self management that I believe would in many cases be… Read more » Read more

Performance Management - Beyond the Ritual of the Annual Review

Beyond the Ritual of the Annual Review

An awful lot of ink in the past couple of years has been spilled about whether performance management is a fundamentally flawed idea, and whether formal reviews generally – and performance ratings in particular – should be scrapped. For people who would like to understand the arguments on both sides, two articles by friends capture… Read more » Read more

The Building Blocks of Self Management

The Building Blocks of Self Management

Self management is increasingly in the spotlight, touted as a new form of management for the 21st century. Companies such as Zappos, Medium and Buffer have made big, high profile bets on self management—at times grappling publicly with the challenges inherent in the transition. Frederic Laloux, Brian Robertson, Dennis Bakke and other authors have attracted… Read more » Read more

do button

Sasha Dichter’s “Do Button”

I’m a great fan of Sasha Dichter’s: of his work at Acumen, where he’s Chief Innovation Officer and I’m a longtime advisor, and of his blog reflecting on fundraising, non-profit organizations and the practice of leading a life of impact. It’s Sasha’s birthday today, and I can’t imagine a more fitting “present” given Sasha’s value… Read more » Read more

Setting Strategy

Setting strategy: 6 Cs

The work of setting strategy aims at a clear “where by when and how” that I’d articulated in the prior post as: Commitment to a destination and to core concepts that shape the choices for how to get there At the same time, this work involves deep consideration of dimensions that can be influenced but… Read more » Read more