Archive for January, 2012

Today’s Globe & Mail – Bestselling Business Books

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012


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Boards – 2012 To Do List

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Of all the topics that boards are currently considering as part of their 2012 to do list (i.e. better risk management, taming executive compensation, more constructive engagement on strategy) I think that there’s one major topic missing….that is, the board’s separate-from-management ”accountability for the performance of the organization”. Shareholders need to start seeing an Annual Board Performance Report…..just as they do with with Management’s Annual Financial Report to the Shareholders. That way, shareholders can get some sense as to whether or not the board was doing its job as “governors” – which is an activity separate and distinct from management’s.

Moreover, when a company’s performance goes well, the board get’s to take credit along with management – and often does. But when a company fails, it’s almost always only management who pays. They get fired – and typically with millions in severance. Directors, however, need to know and demonstrate to shareholders that there are “job related consequences” for them – along with management – when company performance fails. They too should be replaced….and even volunteer to do so. Now that’s accountability!

Globe and Mail Bestseller List 2012

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
On January 10th 2012 my book A TALE OF TWO EMPLOYEES was ranked as the #4 Best Selling Business Book in Canada for 2011…this is the 9th consecutive year that the book has appeared on the list (#1 in 2010).

Mission to make money?

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

The purpose of a corporation is to make money…well, sort of…

For the record, I have spent most of my academic career unraveling the mystery of mission statements – the most popular management tool in the world and yet equally among the most despised. What I have found is that a well crafted, communicated and coordinated mission can make the difference between mind boggling and mediocre performance.

The starting point is in their creation which must answer the question: why do we exist. Easy to ask. Hard to answer. The secret lies in understanding that every organization exists because it is able to attract and retain the loyalty of multiple stakeholders (external and internal)who support the organization through different means: capital, purchases, labour and social licence.

Massively mistreat any one stakeholder upon whom you are significantly dependent as an organization, and you are toast….you will not exist. Plain and simple.

Mission statements however are just words found on a piece of paper or at a lobby entrance. To make them real, they need to be translated (word for word) and communicated (over and over again), though measurable objectives, programs and tactics. And all this needs ultimately to be coordinated in some kind of symphonic-like set of organizational systems and processes because, if not, the mission music will just be a lot of conflicting noise.

Creating a mission driven organization is a lot of hard work for sure….but, the payoff from creating one is definitely there…and not just for the shareholders who get to enjoy excellent returns but also for the customers with outstanding products,for the employees with secure and rewarding careers and for communities who benefit from having the “corporation” as a responsible “resident citizen”.

Corporations must make a profit to exist…but those profits, if they are to be both superior and sustainable, will only happen when all stakeholders, not just the shareholders, benefit/profit from the existence of the corporation. So, corporations must make money/profits to exist but how they make those profits is the key to the corporation’s long term success.

Great mission statements espouse this thinking and brilliant leaders turn the words of their mission into action. My research over the years bears this out.