WEBLOG Archive August 2008


The headline appeared over a Minding Your Business column by Ann Meyer in the Aug. 25 Chicago Tribune:

 Keeping workers in the know:

 Chicago manufacturing firm uses open-book management to foster growth, guard against downturn


We've been seeing a lot of James Carville lately. We watched him doing his TV commentary during the Democratic National Convention coverage last night, and last week we saw him with his wife, Mary Matalin, at a Phoenix Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Their mastery of democrat/republican political spin is unparalleled, and watching them together is something to behold. (In my estimation, Matalin is a little better at it than her husband. I didn’t buy her several reassurances that she could be “objective” as she extolled John McCain and bashed…


It has become a Sunday morning ritual at the Showkeir home: lounging in bed, reading The New York Times and quaffing at least two steaming cups of coffee. This morning, a headline in the Business section caught Jamie’s attention, "After a Downsizing, how to Motivate?" After reading the article, and he told me: “You should read this.”

I did, and so should you.

I couldn’t help but contrast the advice in this article with the real-life experiences of many of my former newspaper colleagues who have either been laid off, taken buy outs, or are


“Build a Culture of Accountability: Five Ways to Enhance the Level of Accountability in Your Organizations” (Market Watch, August 18, 2008).

The headline might grab your attention, but the first paragraph is old, tired, hostage-oriented rhetoric: “Holding people accountable for results is the foundation of an organization's performance; it's management 101. Yet it appears there is a gap between knowing (this) and doing (this).”

This may be management 101, but it is an articulation of the problem, not a way to increase accountability.

The idea…


After six hours of “brutally honest” conversations between quarterback Brett Favre and Green Bay Packers management, they parted ways.

* Jim Collins, who authored From Good to Great, says one of the key differences between good companies and great ones is their ability to “confront the brutally honest facts.”

* One company even uses the term “brutal” in its statement of values:
Candor We believe in "brutal conversations"; the ability to be honest, direct and challenging with each other while always being professional. We will never tell…


The headline in the Aug. 8 Business Week got my attention: “Winning the tough conversations at work.” The column lists four steps to follow in an uncomfortable conversation with someone at work (the example used is a manager talking to a subordinate.)

It is typical of advice offered as “good management techniques” that in reality are subtle manipulative techniques to get others to do something you want without revealing your intentions. Our bias is that this undermines trust, accountability and true collaboration.

The first red flag in the…


We were recently working with clients, and we told them that the book would be out on 08.08.08, an auspicious date. One of the clients smiled at me and said, “You know, authentic is very trendy right now.”  It made me laugh.

When we returned home, I did a search Google search on “trend authentic” and got results on all kinds of things: travel, food, car parts, blogs, and bisexuality(!)

Our hope is to get so many people engaging in authentic conversations that what happens is transformational, not trendy. Rather than seeing authentic…