Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mission Blue: A collaboration experiment to learn from

TED Blog: Ocean hope at Mission Blue: A collaboration experiment comes good.

Read about this fascinating organizing for the global ocean-Mission Blue. The long post is worth the time for the subject but also for an inner view of how to structure people for actions--applicable in many realms, not just the ocean. TED continues to evolve and grow in its impact--any leader and manager will benefit from using their wide variety of downloadable presentations. See the spreadsheet of over 600 talks here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Today's Wall Street Journal has insightful article comparing two airlines experience with installing the same new software--read and learn.

How Two Airlines Switched to New Software -
Few things in the airline business are more daunting than upgrading to a new reservations system. Do it well and customers are none the wiser; mess it up and a carrier risks losing customers and tarnishing its brand.

Discount carriers JetBlue Airways Corp. and WestJet Airlines Ltd. both switched reservations systems in the past few months. The differing outcomes are a reminder of how the implementation of new technology can be just as crucial as the technology itself.

Despite months of planning, when WestJet flipped the switch on its new system its Web site crashed repeatedly and its call center was overwhelmed. It took months to resolve all the issues. JetBlue, which later upgraded to the same software, smoothed its transition by building a backup Web site and hiring 500 temporary call-center workers....

Monday, April 5, 2010

Meetings Done Right–Great guide here!

McKinsey Quarterly provides an excellent set of tips to ensure decision-making meetings are done well with minimal bias. Read the full story here. Examples of tips include:
Make sure the right people are involved
  • Ensure diversity.
  • Invite contributions based on expertise, not rank..
Assign homework
  • Make sure predecision due diligence is based on accurate, sufficient, and independent facts and on appropriate analytical techniques.
  • Request alternatives and “out of the box” plans—for instance, by soliciting input from outsiders to the decision-making process.
Create the right atmosphere
  • As the final decision maker, ask others to speak up (starting with the most junior person); show you can change your mind based on their input; strive to create a “peerlike” atmosphere.
  • Encourage admissions of individual experiences and interests that create possible biases.
Manage the debate
  • Before you get going, make sure everyone knows the meeting’s purpose (making a decision) and the criteria you will be using to make that decision.
  • Take the pulse of the room: ask participants to write down their initial positions, use voting devices, or ask participants for their “balance sheets” of pros and cons.
Follow up
  • Commit yourself to the decision. Debate should stop when the decision is made. Connect individually with initial dissenters and make sure implementation plans address their concerns to the extent possible.
  • Monitor pre–agreed upon criteria and milestones to correct your course or move on to backup plans.

  • Thursday, April 1, 2010

    Lead teams in India – read this book!

    Today's Financial Times has useful review of this.

    ... innovative management practice from India's leading companies and what companies everywhere can learn from it. For much of the last century, the practice of management was dominated by Western, particularly U.S., models. Even economies emerging in the latter part of the century evolved toward the Western paradigm. But today, we see a distinct model of management developing in India and, so far, it has been remarkably successful. India's top companies are growing at staggering rates and doing so with an innovative and vibrant set of management practices - especially in strategy, leadership, governance, talent and organizational culture. Not bound to Western thinking or practice, Indian leaders are creating a new model for leading and running companies.
    The India Way How India’s Top Business Leaders are Revolutionizing Management By Peter Cappelli, Harbir Singh, Jitendra Singh and Michael Useem
    Harvard Business Press, $29.95