Leadership Columns

When Performance Reviews Underperform
If you let subordinates select their own performance criteria, most of the time they will make the wrong choice. Get the best out of your employees by creating effective, high-quality performance criteria documents -- here's how.
by Mark Goulston
Creating the Inspiration -- Part 2
If you are willing to go to the trouble of creating a vision statement, shouldn’t it motivate your employees? Avoid three common pitfalls that can negate the impact of your vision.
by Gordon Quick
Separating the Cream from the Crap
Want to gain cooperation, get the best out of your employees, and be a good leader? Just say "Yes" to Early Adopters, "No" and then "Bye" to Naysayers.
by Mark Goulston
Creating the Inspiration -- Part 1
Are vision statements really necessary? Does anyone really take them seriously? If the majority of vision statements are any indication, the answer to both questions is no. But are these companies missing something?
by Gordon Quick
Pulling the Trigger
Often the greatest regret after you fire someone is that you didn't do it earlier -- sometimes it's just better to fire sooner than later.
by Mark Goulston
Fired Up and Ready to Go -- Now What?
To avoid the danger of having employees prioritize personal career goals over company goals or of just having them lose motivation, it is imperative to create a clear sense of purpose.
by Gordon Quick
Silomastery and Mergermastery
Until you rise above the fray of WIIFM ("what’s in it for me")-minded participants, everyone will put their needs above that of their company.
by Mark Goulston
Openness, Candor and Respect
The environment people work in can make a huge difference to their productivity. Employ a three-pronged approach of openness, candor and respect to get the best out of your employees.
by Gordon Quick
The Role of Inspiration in Cultivating High Performance
How can you inspire your employees to maximize their talent and dedicate themselves to the team rather than to personal goals?
by Gordon Quick
Lessons in Transparency: Part 2
Seeing is believing. And unless the changes you commit to are observable to you and the stakeholders who have a stake in your improving as a leader, they are no more than good intentions.
by Mark Goulston
Cultivating High Performance
In larger organizations, how do you sustain the high performance magic that seems to come naturally in a well-managed entrepreneurial environment?
by Gordon Quick
Lessons in Transparency: Part I
Get an inside peek into how a 45 minute intervention effectively injected a much-needed dose of transparency into the performance and functioning of one CEO
by Mark Goulston
When Not to Lead
Lessons from George W: On succession planning, ego and being presidential.
by Mark Goulston and Kevin Gregson
Openness, Generosity, and Accountability
Where do those attributes fit in today's bustling business world? Leaders at a recent conference learned firsthand.
by Mark Goulston
Don't Mess Up
There are 10 things that smart leaders do to help them cope -- but those very actions could mess up their companies, careers, and lives.
by Mark Goulston
Viral Innovation
Can companies still be innovative once all the low-hanging fruit has been plucked? The answer lies in the right incentives for management -- rewarding actions one level up.
by Chris Trimble
Take the Hit
When champions and great leaders hit a wall and reach inside they come up with "heart." When occasional winners and "not-so-great" leaders reach inside they come up empty.
by Mark Goulston
Trust Your Gut? Don't.
Finely honed instincts are the mark of the expert -- and the enemy of innovation.
by Chris Trimble
Hooked on Consultants?
Get your habit under control with this 12-step program for dealing with consultants and avoiding extraneous fees.
by Mark Goulston
What's On Your Customer's Mind?
It's easier to persuade people to buy what they want than what you want them to want. So ask yourself these seven questions.
by Mark Goulston
Same Old Challenges in New Telecom Era
No competitor, whether born in the Internet boom or several decades earlier, will succeed without recognizing that revolutions in strategy call for bold steps in organizational design.
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
Create Connections
Communication is key to getting the results you want. Do you connect with people or do you push them away?
by Mark Goulston
Grow Your Company Without Short-Changing Your Kids
Teach your children the three P's: perspective, perseverance, and patience.
by Mark Goulston
To Build Up Innovation, Break Down Your Networks
Creating new networks is the only way for an organization to push innovation past the idea stage.
by Chris Trimble
From Idea to Execution
So you've found a great idea and a great leader to champion it. The biggest challenges are still to come.
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
Why I Wouldn't Want My Sister to Marry You, Part 2
Don't let a focus on your business prevent you from giving your undivided attention to your family.
by Mark Goulston
Ideas Are Not Enough
Yes, groundbreaking ideas are important. But in any great innovation story, the brainstorm is only the beginning.
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
The Enspirational Leader
Motivating or inspiring employees isn't enough. Great leaders must lift people up and give them direction as well.
by Mark Goulston
Is Innovation in your Organizational DNA?
An organization built for success in one business is unlikely to succeed in a much different one. Unless, that is, it creates a separate group with an entirely different DNA.
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
Ten Self-Defeating Behaviors to Avoid
Want to Succeed at Work? First Step: Get Out of Your Own Way.
by Mark Goulston
Lean and Clean
Take a look at your staff. It's time to separate the wheat from the chaff.
by Mark Goulston
When Cultures Collide
You've just bought another company. Now leave it alone.
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
When the Curve has Passed You By
A revolutionary competitor threatens to make your business obsolete. What to do?
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
Betrothed to Telling the Truth
Why I wouldn't want my sister to marry you.
by Mark Goulston
Borrow -- in Moderation
Startup teams within larger organizations shouldn't learn all the lessons of their parent companies.
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
Needed: Team Leader
Find the best people, then become the person they want to lead them.
by Mark Goulston
A Source of Pride
We are in the midst of a transition in our work, from writing to advising.
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
Why Tiger Woods Doesn't Cheat
How to be ethical and profitable.
by Mark Goulston
Innovation and the Inevitable Break-the-Rules Backlash
Nurture new ways of doing business within your organization -- but not at the expense of the "old guard."
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
Mickey Mouse Management
Disney's challenges highlight the importance of the leaders a company has lost -- and the leaders left behind.
by Mark Goulston
Our Wish for 2005
There are dozens of ways to make a profit. But only one that connects with the soul.
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
Do You Have Achiever's Disease?
A reader writes in, sharing a story of truly extreme leadership -- and its down side.
by Mark Goulston
Experimentation Is Easy, Learning Is Not
The notion of experimenting and learning makes everyone feel good. But not everyone really understands what it means.
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
Take the POP Quiz
What does POP mean to you? Find out and make your organization pop.
by Mark Goulston
Amnesia by Design
If it's true that organizational history repeats itself, perhaps the best thing to do is to forget everything you've learned.
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
The PEP CEO Challenge
How strong is your pride, enthusiasm, and passion?
by Mark Goulston
Forget, Borrow, Learn
The needs of new business efforts and existing organizational initiatives aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. Leaders need to find a middle way that draws on innovation as well as efficiency.
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
You're Fired!
The Donald is back. It's time to settle back into our easy chairs and watch the amusing, stimulating -- and even educational -- second season of the Apprentice.
by Mark Goulston
A Challenge of Olympic Proportions
As companies such as Kodak show, innovation isn't the only requirement for success. Leaders need to execute on their ideas, as well.
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
My Dinner with a Bully
Coming face to face with an overbearing, win-at-all-costs blowhard can take courage. Recognizing those characteristics in yourself can take even more. (Fifth in a series.
by Mark Goulston
Strategy, Execution, and Innovation
Innovators know that the importance of strategy decreases as uncertainty increases. The solution? Strategize. Then, strategize again.
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
Standing up to Those Who Don't Do the Right Thing
Character is one of the four characteristics of successful leaders. Sometimes, expressing it can take the courage of your convictions. (Fourth in a series.
by Mark Goulston
What's So Good About Business?
Instead of being defensive when people challenge business activities, benefits, and ethics, leaders should be more vocal about what they do right -- and how they help society.
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
The Integrity-Based Business
Integrity is one of the four characteristics of successful leaders. And it's important in every aspect of your business. (Third in a series.
by Mark Goulston
Shooting for the Moon
Aspirations -- like leadership skills -- aren't always enough. Leaders must do more than motivate; they must manage.
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
What Would My Mentor Do?
Good judgment is one of the four characteristics of successful leaders. But how do you know what the right thing to do is -- and when to do it? (Second in a series).
by Mark Goulston
Planning Not to Learn
Time spent planning is not always time spent not doing. Those who plan -- learn.
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
The CEO of the 21st Century
What are the qualities and characteristics that help create successful leaders? Consider this four-point plan.
by Mark Goulston
By the Numbers: You Can't Quantify Learning
Paying close attention to the bottom line and objective measures of performance doesn't always work. So how do you evaluate innovators and experimental businesses?
by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
Overcoming a Bad Case of the "Yips"
Instead of dealing with failure and frustration in self-defeating, self-destructive ways, take a tip from golf to become not just a winner, but a champion.
by Mark Goulston
The Monster in the Closet: Reliable Unpredictability
Vijay Govindarajan considers the balance of efficiency and entrepreneurship within larger organizations -- and the need to embrace reliable unpredictability.
by Vijay Govindarajan