James Lawther

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...

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....

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

4 Ways to Change Behaviour

There are 4 ways to change people's behaviour: The first is the stick: Beat people until they do what you want. The stick works, but people...

The SMART Goal Myth

I have been on a leadership course. I've learnt that if I want to improve my team's performance I must set them all SMART goals....

The I-Bomb

Bang… There's been an explosion. Not a Car Bomb or a Molotov Cocktail, nothing that crude, it was much more sophisticated, it was an...

Do Dragons Nurture Ideas or Slaughter Them?

Imagine you are an entrepreneur You have a great idea that needs funding, what do you do? Find a venture capitalist or business angel and...

The Big Problem With Systems Thinking

There is lots of talk about systems thinking. The talk sounds a little like this: Organisations are a system of connected parts It is the...

Scientific Proof – Politicians are Stupid

Have you ever wondered why people hold onto their beliefs despite statistical proof that they are wrong? Is it that we don't understand what the...

God-Awful Art and Operational Measurement

I am not bestowed with an artistic talent. I can't draw. That is not a defeatist attitude, just (another) realisation that I am less than perfect. At...

A Team Needs a Purpose

A team needs a purpose, a raison d'être, an objective. Without a purpose it isn't really a team, just a bunch of people. If you agree,...

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