Beware of bright shiny objects!

That could be a lesson contained in J.R.R. Tolkein’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy when we see characters who find themselves in difficulty because they have strayed from their moral center.

Today, the term “bright shiny objects” is used in reference to organizations that cannot formulate a strategy, or if they do develop one, they fail to adhere to it. As a result such companies end up chasing after things that on the surface look appealing but upon investigation prove to be untenable.

Bright shiny objects are distractors. As such they belong in the realm of fables not in the corridors of management. (read more…)

RadioShack is on the ropes. What can be done to save it? (read more…)

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Since its formation in 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has set standards to ensure optimal workplace safety and health. Such regulations can be found in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which outlines labor in the U.S.

In recent years, the agency has been releasing annual lists called “Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards.” It’s a list dedicated to the most common OSHA safety violations in the country, based on the agency’s worksite inspections. The consistently leading violations: Fall protection, hazard communication, and scaffolding. We’ll discuss each below, along with what companies should be aware of.

Fall protection

The most violated standard — at least within the past decade — has been 29 CFR 1926.501, which addresses fall protection. In 2013, there were 8,241 violations, a 13% increase from 2010. Falls continue to be one of the most common causes, if not the most common, of serious work-related injuries and deaths, accounting for over 200 fatalities each year. (read more…)

One of the most important hiring decisions companies make is who to put into leadership roles. How well does your company do on this critical task?

The Gallup organization reports that organizations make bad leadership hiring decisions 82% of the time (!).

Gallup’s research indicates that managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement. That huge impact on employee engagement translates into good or not so good performance, customer service, quality, profitability, and discretionary energy being applied to daily tasks.

The problem is that most companies have not defined what a “great boss” looks, acts, or sounds like. Without a set of “great boss” standards, companies put people into leadership roles who do not have demonstrated leadership or “people” skills.

Past individual accomplishment and technical expertise does not mean that the candidate will effectively manage and inspire others.

Gallup has found that great bosses have the following talents (demonstrated skills):

  • They motivate every single employee to take action and engage them with a compelling mission and vision.
  • (read more…)

Most managers are rationale, logical, practical problem solvers when they first get promoted. Then, through organizational conditioning, they learn to play silly games. They are like the frog in a pan of boiling water. The change is so gradual, these silly games eventually begin to feel like “real world management.”

How many of these silly management games do you play? More importantly, do you have the courage to speak up and stop the insanity?

We’ll start with some silly budgeting games:

1. “Use it or lose it budgeting.” This is when you are getting close to the end of the year and your budget is running under your forecast. In previous years, when you underspent, your next year’s budget was set based on that year’s actual. So, in order not to have your budget cut again, you go on a shopping spree — buying stuff you really don’t need or stocking up just in case you might need it. (read more…)