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…)

Oscar E. Torres, President and Chief Operating Officer of Kellstrom Materials, is responsible for all aspects of the company’s worldwide operations. Prior to this, he was Chief Financial Officer of Kellstrom Aerospace, the parent company of Kellstrom Materials. Before joining Kellstrom Aerospace, Torres held various positions with KPMG LLP.

In this post, sponsored by Kellstrom, Torres talks about the current and future state of the airline industry.

Question: What is the biggest challenge your company is facing this year? The next 10 years?

Answer: Kellstrom Materials provides aftermarket parts and repair services to commercial aviation operators, and maintenance, repair and overhaul companies. Our business is primarily driven by the demand for engine and airframe heavy maintenance, phase checks and line maintenance. Companies are speeding up the retirement of older, higher maintenance aircraft, creating a younger global fleet due to significant improvements in the reliability and fuel efficiency of new aircraft and engines, a global low interest rate environment, which has reduced the cost of new aircraft and engines, as well as an increase in the production rates of new aircraft. (read more…)

a world gone social book coverIndustrial Age leadership was good, or at least efficient. It enabled us to get the most out of every worker; expectations were set; consequences for not meeting minimums were clear. People did what they were told, and went home.

But the Industrial Age is over. And it’s not coming back.

Welcome to the Social Age.

We humans are social down to our very core; social is not just what we do, it’s what we are. Connecting and communicating; sharing ideas, news, tips and sometimes warnings; making introductions; growing our influence. That’s all we’ve ever done.

At first, of course, connections were limited to the confines of our village. Posted letters then tied us together over distances. Phone lines and then e-mail and mobile allowed us to connect globally. Yet, even with all these advances in technology, communication was limited in scope: one person connecting with one other and sometimes for the most powerful, numerous others. (read more…)

Getting caught up on my never-ending stack of periodicals on a cloudy Sunday morning, I read with delight and admiration about Salesforce.com’s creative approach to allowing pets at work — hardly surprising, it’s called Puppyforce.

But the cute name is not what differentiates it, and permitting pets at the office is not necessarily a new perk. What stands out to me is the strategically innovative way in which Salesforce went about designing their version of this employee benefit and the bona fide emphasis placed, in general, on building a highly engaged workforce.

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Puppies for Success

Fortune magazine’s Christopher Thaczyk describes how Puppyforce took shape via discussions on Chatter, the company’s enterprise social networking platform (think Yammer but tied to the Salesforce CRM). Incorporating feedback from employees concerned about allergies, hygiene and noise, Puppyforce ultimately took shape as a separate soundproof workspace with rubber floors and a reservation system. (read more…)

You have worked hard to get to where you are and can rattle off significant times in your career that gave you great satisfaction. Perhaps you experienced a big promotion, dinner with the CEO or heading up a large successful initiative. Spend a moment thinking about one of those, and you will likely feel a wash of warm pleasure.

Congratulations. You know what makes you happy. Or do you?

Recent studies have shown that we significantly undervalue the more ordinary or mundane events in our lives. These events can also produce happiness even if they seem insignificant when they occur. We may not notice them since they are a part of our everyday experience.

Why do happiness and joy matter to your leadership? Happy leaders tend to be more productive at work, make better decisions, express more creativity and have better social interactions (among many other benefits). I think you can see how all of these things would impact your ability to be the best you can be at your craft. (read more…)