A couple of years ago a management research firm did a massive survey of almost 100,000 people employed worldwide and surprisingly almost a third cited “burnout” as a problem they were experiencing.
Gutsy Leadership Blog
A few years ago a couple of behavioral science researchers published some work focused on the damaging effects of envy. An example they used in explaining their learnings involved a west coast salad buffet chain called Fresh Choice. While fairly successful, the management of Fresh Choice took serious notice of a restaurant chain called Zoppa, which had very creative menu items and stores with lively and energetic décor and atmosphere. After studying the organization they went ahead and acquired it.
Mission statements are often dismissed as just a simple set of words that gets filed and seldom revisited. This is a missed opportunity. A well written mission statement motivates by tapping into what organizational psychologists call task significance – a satisfying feeling that small tasks link to a bigger goal. U.S. President Lyndon Johnson loved to tell a story about asking a truck driver who worked at NASA in the 1960’s what his job was. The driver’s response: “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”
Organizations don’t survive without the ability to regularly implement change to adapt to new situations and capabilities and seize opportunities. A few years ago researchers at Harvard Business School pulled together their finding on why change initiatives tend to get bogged down and don’t succeed. Their conclusions were based on extensive interviews with corporate leaders over many years. Here are the three biggest barriers and how to deal with them:
The retailer Tommy Hilfiger was launched in the early 1990’s and by the mid 1990’s is was a huge success. The press often called its oversized jeans and uniquely styled jackets the “teen uniform of the era.” Hilfiger claimed “All the preppies, all the cool kids, the surfers, the skateboarders – everyone was wearing it.”
For years, Target had its eye on expanding into Canada. In fact, it may have been too anxious. The CEO at the time saw an opportunity to make a big entry into the country. Specifically, in 2011 Target bought the store leases, 124 of them, of the now defunct discount chain, Zellers, for $1.8 billion. On the surface, the deal looked brilliant, giving Target an immediate cross-country presence and it avoided the expense of building its own stores.
The CEO of Tesla Motors recently reported that in the fourth quarter of 2014 the company lost -$0.13 per share versus analyst’s consensus of a profit of +$0.31 per share. In the quarter Tesla delivered 9, 834 vehicles, well below what analysts had estimated. Most disappointing, Tesla sold only 120 cars in China in the last month of the fiscal year which was a shock given that Tesla had predicted sales in China would equal those in the U.S. by 2015.
Amazon has been a phenomenal success. The string of innovation started with enabling consumers to buy books online and to not only get good prices but to be able to see reviews of the books by people who have already read them. Amazon expanded that initial experience of online book selling into becoming the premier online retailer, offering an incredibly wide variety of goods. Then, again surprising consumers, Amazon launched the Kindle and created the category of electronic books. The key characteristic of these innovations was that there was nothing like them in the marketplace, and they had genuine consumer appeal.
It is not much fun to be part of an organization that is at best treading water with no clear roadmap to break out and get on an exciting path of progress. That certainly had to be the case for employees of Delta Airlines when it filed bankruptcy in 2005.
Brian Williams, the long-time anchor of NBC News, is now faced with the demise of his reputation and his career. The reason is simple. It appears that he ignored the truth when reporting to the public on various occasions, and made statements that appear to have had only one purpose; to enhance his reputation. The first incident involved claiming his helicopter was hit by a rocket propelled grenade, when it seems various military personnel indicate it wasn’t. Also, in covering hurricane Katrina, he claimed he was seeing bodies floating by his hotel, when apparently there were no flood waters near his hotel.