Policies, procedures and job descriptions: Maintaining a good fit

Even though January is a few months off, many of us think of September as the start of the new year. Along with back-to-school shopping, this is a good time to make sure your organization has everything it needs for a fresh start after summer vacations. Children and organizations both grow over time; just as children outgrow clothes, organizations outgrow policies, procedures and job descriptions. The traditional pencil case of my youth needed new technology each school year—pencils, erasers (especially erasers), paper and, eventually, a protractor and compass. For organizations, technology that once worked well may no longer be up to the job.


Continue Reading September 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

What strawberries teach us about organizational excellence

In French markets, strawberries have different varietal names and different flavours—some sweeter, some tarter, some richer. In North America, they are just strawberries. I recently set out to discover just what those strawberries are that I eat in the spring and summer months. Along the way, I realized that the principles followed by the strawberry industry apply to all organizations.

Continue Reading June 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm Leave a comment

Communicating change to fellow humans

Change scares most people. This is true even if the change is supposed to make their lives better, largely because humans approach change from a risk perspective more often than a benefits perspective. They are more concerned with what can go wrong, rather than what can go right. So when it comes to organizational change, internal communication has to be done right to avert disaster.

Continue Reading March 8, 2012 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

Management is neither leadership nor supervision

Last year I was asked to develop online training with separate units on supervision, management and leadership skills. My first (silent) reaction was, “There’s tons already out there.” As I checked out the available training, I discovered that most either combined supervision with management, or management with leadership. But they’re not the same, even though the same person may carry out all three roles.

Continue Reading December 13, 2011 at 4:11 pm Leave a comment

But did it work? Measuring outcomes of communication and other initiatives

We all want to make a difference; but most of us hope no one will ask us to prove it. Measuring outcomes—or return on investment (ROI)—is key to managing projects or organizations well. No one can afford to throw away money on initiatives that don’t work. But measurement is often an afterthought or inadequate, taking an in-my-heart-I-know-it-worked approach. Good outcome measurement need not be complicated. It’s easiest if it’s part of the plan from the start.

Continue Reading August 5, 2011 at 1:37 pm Leave a comment

Packing 101: How to go anywhere with only what you can carry

In these days of checked bag fees and smaller car trunks, traveling light makes sense for so many reasons. Here are my secrets for packing for any trip with carry-on only.

Continue Reading May 11, 2011 at 11:50 am 1 comment

Making the most of social media

In the two years since I first wrote about social media, the question has gone from “How do I use social media in my business?” to “How do I get the best bang for my buck with social media?” To some extent, the answer must depend on your goal; some social media tools are better suited to certain uses than others. There are also some general principles—such as not ticking off others. But how?

Continue Reading February 7, 2011 at 2:30 pm 1 comment

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