James Lawther

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...

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 hate being controlled, they will rebel — sooner or later. Repression is not a great strategy. The second is…

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. A goal that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound – I bet you've been on the same...

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 Infrastructure Bomb, it… Shredded your systems Destroyed your data Pulverised your processes Macerated your MI Splattered your specifications Brutalised your business…

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 ask them to invest. The chances are the first one will say no, but if it is a good...

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 connections in the system that dictate performance If we improve the system we can improve performance It is a fascinating…

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 numbers are telling us? Or is it that we just chose to ignore them? Dan Kahan is the professor of…

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 school I took art lessons. They were possibly the most painful hours in my life; my school friends…

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, then it seems reasonable that the clearer that purpose, the stronger the teamwork. Is it clear what the purpose…

Team, Purpose, Method

There is a line of thought that there are three key factors at work in your organisation: These 3 things inter link Without a purpose you don't need teamwork (watching the TV is not a team sport) If you have a purpose but no method,…

Bonsai Management

I have started growing bonsai trees. It is immensely satisfying and the results are beautiful. It is not too difficult, this is how you do it… Pick a plant species that responds well Carefully trim back its roots and branches Choose a small container to...

How to be a Creative Genius

Have you ever sat in a brainstorming session where the facilitator pins up a blank sheet of paper and asks people to shout out their "new" ideas? Everybody freezes as they start to worry: Do they have a new idea? Who has thought of it…

Are You Being Too Clever for Your Own Good?

I travel a lot with work. It is not glamorous. I'd love tell you that when I said I was in K.L. I meant Kuala Lumpur, but unfortunately it is far more likely to be Kings Lynn (for those of you who are not...

Change Management, Goldilocks and the Three Bears

The idea for this post came from The Customer and Leadership Blog by Maz Iqbal. You have heard the story of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. Goldilocks climbed upstairs and saw that there were 3 pretty beds in front of her It had been an…

Clarity of Purpose is Greatly Overrated

Many will tell you that clarity of purpose is all important. Your purpose is what you are here to do If you are clear about your purpose then you can structure your: to help you achieve that purpose. If you are clear about your purpose…

Standardisation and Climbing Ladders

How do you climb a ladder? Climbing a ladder is straightforward… Put one foot on a rung Reach up the side rails one hand at a time (health and safety) Push yourself up with your leg Put your other foot on the next rung Repeat…

McPizza

Imagine you worked for McDonald's and you had a super new idea for a product, the McPizza. How would you test it? Option 1: Launch it nationwide Create the recipe Build a supply chain for the ingredients Buy the ovens Train all your staff Develop…

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