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Lean Thinking… in all its forms

Lean ThinkingLean is an addictive drug.

But I’m not talking about the nasty mixture of cough syrup and soda that is hooking young Americans on codeine and promethazine.

I’m talking about the current favourite method for reducing corporate corpulence, which has been popular for nearly twenty years.

But don’t for one moment think Lean is a passing fad. Its day will come, for sure. But its pedigree is a rich one. And whatever will replace it must share many of its aspirations and principles, just as Lean shares much with TQM*, BPR* and much that has gone before.

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Networking

Networking
Networking
Networking

For some people, the idea of networking seems less appealing than dental extraction. You’re in a room full of people you don’t know, and you have to ‘make contacts’. Business networking gets a bad rap.

But let’s look at it objectively. Talking to people, making alliances, helping others, and finding people you can trust… They are hardwired into whatever it is that makes us human. We are social beings.

The ‘Social Network’ that is Facebook did not become a global colossus because it invented something new. It did so, because it gave us an easier way to do what we do naturally: connect with other people.

Strip it of its management-speak baggage, and networking is not just a big idea. It is The Big Idea that gave humans our route to world domination. It is the source of our common humanity.

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Team Building

Team Building

Team BuildingTeams are a good thing. No one doubts that. So, how can we doubt the benefit of team building?

Team building has become a multi-million Pound/Dollar/Euro… industry. Search for it online, and you’ll find dozens of service providers offering everything from cake decoration to high risk expeditions. But:

  • what is it?
  • why should you use it? and
  • what should you know about doing it well?

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Mindfulness: How to Pay Attention to What Matters

Mindfulness

MindfulnessMindfulness is your capacity to focus on what matters to you, and use your brain’s capabilities to their fullest potential.

Put like that, who wouldn’t want to enhance their mindfulness?

So, it’s little wonder that this Big Idea is constantly resurfacing through human history. The label ‘Mindfulness’ may suggest a Twenty First Century fad, but the ideas behind it and the techniques that underpin it have millennia of credibility.

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Stickiness | Why some ideas get attention and stick

Stickiness

StickinessStickiness is an idea that has, well… stuck.

We aren’t talking glue here. Instead, stickiness is a metaphor for emotions, rather like hot and cool. Ideas can be sticky, messages, can, brands and even websites can be sticky.

Stickiness is the quality of holding our attentions, and that has to be a big idea that any manager or professional needs to engage with.

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Agile Project Management

Agile Project Management

Agile Project ManagementHow do you adapt traditional project management into a rapidly changing environment? One that is characterised by shifting priorities and high uncertainty. Arguably, you don’t need to – project management has always had the tools for this. But, with the Agile Manifesto of 2001, software projects have a new paradigm. A modification of traditional approaches, called Agile Project Management.

And make no mistake… Agile has become a ‘Big Thing’. In fact, it bears some of the hallmarks of a fad, while also having a lot to offer an informed organisation with wise and pragmatic project leaders to call upon. But, as with all good ideas, it also attracts its converts and zealots.

Of course, here at Management Pocketbooks, we tend to eschew extreme and simplistic ‘right versus wrong’ arguments in management. We’re here to suck out the good stuff and brief you on what it is and how to benefit from it.

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PR – Public Relations

Public Relations - PR

Public Relations - PRHow can your organisation build the reputation it chooses? Certainly through its deeds and through paid advertising. But one way trumps all others: good PR.

PR, or Public Relations is exactly what its name suggests. It’s about building relationships with your public. And it works whether you are a business, a not-for-profit, a political or governmental body, a product or service, or a celebrity; minor or major. Good PR gets the right part of the public interested in you and pre-disposes them to think in the way you choose.

So is it manipulative? Is it just an appealing term for what we now call spin and used to call propaganda? It can be. But in this article, we are going to stick to PR done with integrity. So the answer to those questions is: ‘it depends’. And what it depends on is the integrity of how your PR is carried out. And therefore on the integrity of the people who do it for you: your PRs.

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Adhocracy: Organisational Structure without Structure

Adhocracy

AdhocracyWhen did bureaucracy become a dirty word? Almost certainly when the idea of adhocracy emerged.

The two are polar opposites: radically different ways to co-ordinate an organisation.

But, while the concept of bureaucracy goes back to the nineteenth century; adhocracy is new. But maybe not as new as you think.

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CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility - CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility - CSRIt’s often more honoured in the breach than in the observance. But, CSR (or Corporate Social Responsibility) has moved from a ‘nice to have’ add-on to being an obligation many of the world’s largest corporations are embracing.

Yet, while some do it with relish, others display more reticence. And it sometimes seems that no two of them have the same interpretation of what it means. After all, the centuries old profit motive is easy to define and straightforward to measure. But social responsibility… Is that about development, fairness, environmentalism, or what?

It turns out that it’s a bit of everything.

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Retail – Selling Goods to You and Me

Retail

RetailWe know what the oldest profession is… And the second oldest. But up with them, dating back to the earliest times in human history is the business of retail.

When Ug sold an arrowhead to Og, he became a retailer. And when Ig bought goods from Ug to sell, rather than make them himself, he moved sales from the factory gate to the retail market.

We may not all work in retail, but I’m prepared to bet that every reader of this article has experienced it as a customer. It is so pervasive, that one has to wonder: do we really need an article about it?

My answer is a question:

‘What bigger management idea could there be?’

Continue reading Retail – Selling Goods to You and Me

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