By on October 28th, 2014 | Comment on this post

Many budget processes look like this:

  • They happen once a year and go out a year ahead.
  • Managers and departments have every incentive to ask for everything, whether they need it or not, because their demands will be negotiated down. If they don’t ask for everything, someone else will.
    • Managers and departments often also have the incentive to spend everything from the year before. If you save money, you obviously didn’t need it and won’t get it next year.
  • Trust is minimal, as is input from people outside the room — the rank and file, particularly.
  • A budget is cobbled out of this somehow and sets the tone — and maybe the strategy — for the next year. See you in 12 months.

Sound familiar? For Aubrey Daniels, a noted expert and author on performance management and other management, leadership and workplace issues, budget planning is one of the more frustrating things about companies today, and he has some ideas on how to improve the process.…

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By on October 28th, 2014 | Comment on this post

There were 25 managers in a recent leadership program I facilitated. Part of the program included a pre-work assessment where each manager and their direct reports assessed the manager’s leadership behaviors and overall effectiveness.

For many leaders around the globe today, such feedback is unusual — and a bit threatening. Most organizations don’t provide leaders with this kind of feedback very often.

These managers had never received such feedback in their company. I walked them through the data, helping them understand where their team members see them doing well and not as well as needed.

One manager blurted out, “I’m a great engineer. I’m clearly a lousy manager!” (His terminology for “lousy” was, um, colorful.) The whole room laughed and a number of heads nodded.

I hope — and believe — I helped these managers learn from their assessment and “get past” the critical feedback they received.

What is obvious is that this company has been somewhat casual about defining leader effectiveness.…

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By on October 28th, 2014 | Comment on this post

STEM-Roundtable-300x228Join us this week on SmartBlog on Education as we highlight Q&As with the panelists from our recent STEM Pathways Roundtable event. We kick off the series with LeAnn Wilson, executive director of the Association for Career and Technical Education.

Why is the issue of connecting industry and education to enhance STEM education important to you?

One of the phrases I hear often from our members and at ACTE headquarters is that STEM is CTE, which is to say that these two ideas are fundamentally connected to one another. Our economy is still recovering from the worst economic recession in recent history, and it can be a struggle for people to find work, particularly in a field that they feel passionately about and that they can earn a living in.

But what a lot of people don’t know is that there are plenty of jobs available out there right now in growing fields, many of which require strong STEM skills.…

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By on October 28th, 2014 | Comment on this post

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How effective are you at driving innovation?

  • Very — I generate a ton of innovative ideas: 37.68%
  • Kind of — I’ll be inspired from time to time: 51.84%
  • Infrequently — Inspiration is hard to find: 7.65%
  • Rarely — I can’t remember my last great idea: 2.83%

Innovation takes Time. The day to day can consume us leaving us precious little time for innovation. And there’s a big difference between incrementalism and true innovation. To generate those truly big ideas, try carving out at least two focused hours per month for you and your team to ask some challenging innovation questions that will help you find those big ideas. Dedicated time and a rigorous approach to innovation will make all the difference between ideas and big ideas.…

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By Kerri Adams on October 28th, 2014 | Comment on this post

With fast casual restaurants rapidly on the rise, the restaurant industry has forever changed. Even though fast casuals are emerging as the consumer favorite, this evolving segment has yet to be defined. Foodable WebTV Network has ventured to inform the industry and consumers with the first and only WebTV series about the segment, Fast Casual Nation. The episodes feature exclusive interviews from top chefs, restaurateurs and other industry insiders, while giving the viewer a close-up look at the menus that are changing the way America eats.

Foodable WebTV Network is taking it one step further by revealing a more in-depth look into the segment by producing Fast Casual Nation– The Documentary. It will be available for the mainstream audience of Netflix subscribers in early 2015. Watch the trailer below to get a preview of what is to come!

A first of its kind, the documentary explores the birth of the Fast Casual restaurant segment through exclusive interviews with the industry insiders, who started it all.…

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