Managing for Long-Term Success and Profitability

Business Success and Profitability Long-TermGood management has nothing to do with short-term successes and the management elixirs that allegedly led to them. This seemingly banal insight results from a long-term, historical perspective like [Peter] Drucker’s. It cannot be achieved by judgments based on quarterly results, but rather emerges from a deeply rooted understanding of the durable, unclouded by short-term spectacular success stories. Not the momentary “how” is important, but rather the seminal “why.” (Herman Simon, Management Beyond the Day)

Despite well-established management principles that require a long-term perspective be used when evaluating all business decisions and the countless organizational failures and disasters that demonstrate the consequences of ignoring such strategic thinking, many corporations continue to repeat those same mistakes and seemingly fail to learn their lessons. This may be due to the pressures placed on companies to be “profitable” for the next quarter that motivate senior executives to quickly maximize share prices while ignoring the potential negative effects to the long-term profitability, value, and survivability of an organization. Another explanation for this dysfunctional approach may be the flawed compensation systems and executive contracts that reward management for short-sighted profitability decisions without demanding accountability for the long-term organizational profitability and taking into consideration the impact on the long-term value and competitive position of a company. [Read more…]

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Beyond Flextime

Inc.com | by Scott Westcott | August 2008

For Linda Skoglund, getting a pedicure on a busy Tuesday afternoon was a career turning point. It ran against her Midwestern work ethic. And certainly, there was plenty of work piled up at J.A. Counter & Associates, the $2.5 million insurance and investment advisory firm she owns in New Richmond, Wisconsin. On the other hand, canceling her visit to the salon that day could have sent a bad message. It risked signaling to her 15 employees that they weren’t allowed to do whatever they wanted at any given time during work hours. And that would tank her plans to overhaul the work environment at J.A. Counter. [Read more…]

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Key Characteristics of Great Leaders – Part II

Great Leaders Integrity, Honesty, Humility, CourageIn this article I’m continuing with my review of the key characteristics of great leaders. Here are some additional qualities that embody superior leadership.

Great leaders surround themselves with greatness. They actively seek out the best possible people and hire them to fill all key positions within their organizations. Great leaders know that surrounding themselves with excellence is a direct reflection on their own character, abilities, and effectiveness as leaders. They understand that their own success and the success of their organizations depend mostly on hiring and promoting the best qualified, ethical, skilled, responsible, mature, and productive people and giving them the proper resources, authority, and freedom to do what’s needed for the long-term benefit of their companies. Great leaders do not feel threatened by anyone lower in the chain of command who’s smarter, better educated, more productive, or more popular than they are. They respect the greatness and unique abilities of the individuals they lead and encourage them to continually flourish and grow. [Read more…]

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Breaking Through

Inc.com | by Mike Hofman | January 2008
How companies just like yours mushroomed into powerhouses in their industries. A conversation with Keith R. McFarland.

How do you create a breakthrough company? Where do you start?
First, I’d say that it’s not about being in a hot, sexy market. It’s not about having the coolest, hippest product. We came up with an index of companies that grew to a certain level both in terms of their annual revenue and in terms of their financial performance, compared with the rest of their industry. [Read more…]

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Key Characteristics of Great Leaders – Part I

Great Leaders charactersticsWhat are some key characteristics of a great leader? While many books and countless articles have been written about this subject, we continue to witness a significant shortage of great leaders in many companies and institutions. Here are some essential traits and skills that great leaders must possess.

Great leaders are people persons. They must like being around people, be comfortable talking to and listening to people, and know how to relate to them. Great leaders must know how to communicate with their employees, speak their language, and not talk down to them. This is essential. Anyone who is not comfortable being around people, or exhibits anti-social or narcissistic behavior, should not lead or be in charge of anyone. Bullies, sycophants, and loners never make great leaders, regardless of their level of intelligence, education, and capability.
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Truth in Organizations is Not a Matter of Opinion

Truth in Organizations, Truth in BusinessTelling the truth is too often overlooked in business. Truth is the catalyst that should inform all management decisions and actions. It’s the foundation on which trust and integrity rest. Truth is the critical prerequisite that enables management and employees to make ethical decisions in the day-to-day activities of an organization.

Now when I speak of “truth” I mean the objective reality of our lives that we can all categorically agree with. This includes facts and information that cannot be disputed and are universally true whether or not someone chooses to acknowledge them. Some examples include: two plus two always equals four, water is necessary to sustain life, man has landed on the moon, companies must be profitable to remain in business, in a vacuum light travels at precisely 186,282.397 miles per second, and only 0.037% of our atmosphere is made up of carbon dioxide.
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Mistreating Employees A Clear Sign of Management Troubles

During the glory days of the Dot Com Bubble I worked as Director of Web Development at Homestore.com (now Move.com). Homestore ran Realtor.com, the largest real estate site on the web. Homestore’s management team was unable to capitalize on the unique position and strategic advantages the company had in the marketplace and squandered the resources and talent they were entrusted with.

Homestore com Logo old

The way executives reacted to the looming financial crisis of their own making is an illustrative case study in how not to conduct layoffs and how not to manage a company’s most important assets – its employees.
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Some Employees Are More Equal Than Others

Dig Your Tunnel Employee MistreatmentWhen I was younger I used to believe that getting a good education and working hard would offer me a stable life. I learned real quick that many companies don’t reward hard work anymore – at least not like I thought they did.

I believe in hard work. I think people should be rewarded on what they produce. But all too often the wrong people get promoted. Employees get preferential treatment and enjoy more benefits and opportunities as long as they don’t make any waves, toe the organizational line, and always support their boss.

When we first come across such a dysfunctional work environment (especially early in our career), we are not sure what to make of it. We recognize that such preferential treatment of less qualified employees is neither ethical nor fair, but we don’t know how to handle it. [Read more…]

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