James Lawther

The “Can’t Fail” Way to Success

Under-promise and over-deliver Adrian Swinscoe writes an interesting post… His bank found fraud on his card and sent him a new one.  They told him it would take a working week to get it to him, but then delivered it in 2 days.  Banks are…

Is Your Platform Really Burning?

You know this already… We respond to change differently.  There are lots of different categorisations, but we are usually described in groups a bit like this… Dangerous to know — The gung-ho mob, they will try anything.  A bit like my idiot brother. Have a go –…

The Elephant Problem

Manage the numbers We love to manage by targets and numbers.  We divide our organisations up and target managers with very specific goals: And off we go, convinced that our number is the most important number, striving to make it go the right way. But…

Chelsea Tractors, Rapport and Process Improvement

Process improvement should be easy You just stop doing the things a customer wouldn’t be happy to pay for. Spend a day with some brown paper and post it notes and you will find a whole host of ways to improve your processes. So why is it…

How to be More Innovative

What have they got in common?  What was the source of their creativity?  What sparked their innovative streak? 1. Charles Darwin Before he wrote the origin of species and created his theory of evolution, Charles Darwin travelled widely and looked at the world.  Most notably he…

There are 2 Types of Manager in the World, Which are You?

Here is a great quote… Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right  ~ Henry Ford I’m going to adapt it… Whether you think they’re X, or you think they’re Y – you’re right ~ James Lawther Feel free to tweet…

How you Condemn your Staff to Failure

Rats and children are not so different They are similar in the way they behave: Those might be scientifically proven facts, but proof and explanation are not the same thing.  How does the way a teacher thinks about a child (or an experimenter thinks about a…

What Could a Lab Rat Teach you About Leadership?

In the 1960’s a couple of scientists (Rosenthal and Frode) were busy trying to breed clever rodents.  To see if they had succeeded they ran some experiments with two strains of rats and a series of mazes: The first strain was “maze bright”, with parents...

Snakes, Rats and Your H.R. Policies

Have you heard of the Cobra effect? In Victorian times, at the height of the British Empire, the governors of Colonial India were very worried about the number of cobras in Delhi — no self-respecting bureaucrat has a liking of venomous snakes. The governors came…

The Wrong Answer

Are your staff stupid? Have you ever asked them to do something so obvious that it simply wasn’t possible to misunderstand?  A nice, easy job.  Something they couldn’t fluff — if they only thought about it for two minutes — yet they still messed it...

The Problem with Protectionism

When I was a teenager… The gadget to be seen with was a Walkman. Modelled by tall blondes on roller-skates cruising along sun-kissed Californian beaches Desired — in my case — by a spotty youth sitting in a bush shelter in rain-swept North Yorkshire The Walkman…

Target Setting, Cause and Effect

During the 1990’s and early 2000’s the UK government relied heavily on target setting as a way to manage the public sector.  We had: No doubt we had targets for the target setters as well.  UK PLC was run by setting targets and expecting the...

Details Matter

POSH Bags There is a rumour about Steve Jobs.  It is alleged that he sacked an employee at one of the first Apple stores. Why?  Because she bought cheap and nasty plastic bags for customers to take their expensive purchases home in.  The story may be…

Less is More

All children are artists They can pick up a pen or a crayon and create.  Before you know it they have drawn something beautiful, a flower or a house or a friend.  Simple, clear and elegant. Unfortunately they just don’t know when to stop. The…

W.A.I.T.

In his book To Sell is Human Dan Pink puts forward a simple idea.  Whatever your walk of life you sell things: My wife sells doing the dishes to me I am selling ideas to you You sell projects to sponsors Every day we try…

Estimates and Anchors

Sometimes you will be asked a question and you won’t know the answer… How many customers will call? How many products will you sell? How much will the project cost? Sometimes you have to start with an estimate. How do we estimate? Let me explain…

Do You Really Need Big Data?

You think you need big data You need to understanding all those interactions and connections You need databases and decisioning tools and analysts and consultants You need to know what all those patterns are telling you You need the competitive advantage After all, knowledge is…

Six Musts if You Use Voice Response…

It is a bit of a touchy subject Should you use a: Voice Response Unit VRU, Interactive Voice Response IVR, one of those damn electronic things (call it what you will) to answer your customer's calls? The naysayers will have you believe they damage "moments…

Are You Above Average?

We love averages They let us know how we are doing, we run our businesses on averages, we judge ourselves against averages, average headlines even sell newspapers: (Which link did you click?) Averages guide us every day. But they hide as much as they show…

If Somebody Made a Mistake that Nearly Killed You

In 1989 an air show was held at Brown Field in San Diego. The test pilot Bob Hoover was taking thrill seekers for flights in his Shrike Commander, a small, piston powered, passenger plane. The passengers were known as "Hoover's Heavers" – more often...

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