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Backwards and Forwards

Pocketblog comes out on Tuesdays, which means that this year, it coincides with both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  Which means that there will be a short hiatus before the next edition.

But never fear – I shall be busy.  I will be preparing for next year’s exciting new project.  More about that later.  But first…

The Best of 2012

As before, here is a selection of my own favourite Pocketblogs from 2012.

Early in the year, we did two blogs about Emotional Intelligence: ‘There’s more to Emotional Intelligence than Daniel Goleman’ and then offered practical tips to ‘Boost your EQ’.

Emotional Intelligence

In this Jubilee year, we let you into The Management Secrets of Queen Elizabeth II.  Sadly, advance orders for the Modern Monarch’s Pocketbook have been disappointing (we just received our third, with the same address as the last) and we are holding back on publication until orders pick up.

The Modern Monarch's Pocketbook

Another big event for us was the launch of our Management Pocketblog 100 Day Challenge.  We know (from orders) that some of you took it up.  Please do tell us (on the blog page comments) about your experiences.  If you have not yet, it is not too late to take up the challenge.

The Management Pocketblog 100 Day Challenge

We were able to offer readers insightful business and management tips from to impeccable sources this year.  In ‘What matters today, in Business and Management?’ we extracted tips from Time Magazine’s 2012 100 Most Influential People in the World.  In ‘The Oracle of Omaha’, we took guidance from some of Warren Buffet’s top CEOs.

Our three-part series: ‘The New Manager’s Guide to Interviewing’ will be a helpful resource if you are new to this role.  It covered:

  1. Preparing the Ground
    Increase your chances of success well before the interview
  2. Getting it Right
    Hints and advice for conducting and effective interviews
  3. Polishing your Process
    Tips and tricks of the trade

And, for people on the receiving end, we wrote ‘Seven Ways to Interview Well’ just for you.  If you want to stick with your current job, but spice it up a little bit and renew your motivation, try ‘Same Job: New Job’.

Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats

Closest to my own heart were:

Our three-part series about dealing with poor performance in staff, ‘Let’s sort out poor performance’, parts:

          1. Infrastructure
          2. Turnaround
          3. The Alternative

These followed on from two blogs, ‘What is Performance Management?’, and ‘The Root of the Issue: Dealing with Poor Performance’.

Bruce Tuckman: Group Development model...  forming - storming - norming - performing - adjourningOur blogs about Bruce Tuckman’s model of Group Development (Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing) continue to be the most heavily read.  In February, we provided a link to all four of them.

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And finally…  Pocketblog honoured two sad losses this year: Neil Armstrong, the astonishingly humble all-American/all-global hero; and Stephen Covey, who wrote one of the very best of the best personal effectiveness book: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Neil ArmstrongStephen Covey


Coming Next Year

Pocketblog is nearly 3 years old (we started on 23 February 2010) and has chalked up over 150 posts to date.  It’s time for a little refresh.  So 2013 will see a new style of Pocketblog.  Not a radical departure: more of a shift in emphasis.

Next year, we’ll be presenting our Management Pocket-Correspondence Course.  Over the course of the year, we’ll be blogging about the full range of management skills in a structured way.  Why not Subscribe to the Blog by email (towards the top of the column to the right of this) to receive them all in your inbox.

Until then…

From everyone at Management Pocketbooks…

Have a very merry Christmas,
and a happy and healthy New Year.

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The Oracle of Omaha

I have been reading a remarkable and unusual book about a remarkable and unusual business, and learning some remarkable – and sometimes unusual – things.

Warren Buffett speaking to a group of students from the Kansas University School of Business - Work of Mark Hirschey

The business is one of the most impressive in the world – often described as the best business to work for – and it is run by Warren Buffett, a man for whom ego plays no part at all in his business life or management style.  Yet this is also a man who sits atop a company with over 250,000 employees, assets of nearly $400 billion, and an annual net income of over $10 billion.  That company is Berkshire Hathaway.

 

The Remarkable Book

The remarkable and unusual book I have been reading is called “The Warren Buffett CEO” by Robert P Miles and it is remarkable as a tribute to a great manager, because it is primarily not about Buffett.  It is about the great CEOs he hires.

The extent to which it is about Buffett is that it demonstrates how his careful selection of CEO – based almost entirely on character, rather than credentials, resumes or recommendations – and then his ability to leave them alone to run their businesses makes him “”the best boss in the world”.  Of course, he doesn’t abandon them: he is available any time for a phone conversation and many of them take the opportunity, because they learn from him whenever they do.

Many, Many Remarkable Managers

The book is actually about the stories, personalities and management styles of a selection of Buffett’s CEOs: his “All Stars”.  There is much to learn from these men and women (mostly middle aged men, it must be observed).  Each chapter focuses on one or two of them and each ends with a short selection of their business tenets.

I’d like to share some of my favourites.

Warren Buffett CEO Management Tenets

‘Go out of your way to help your managers.
Stan Lipsey

‘Success in any field can be achieved by staying disciplined.’
Al Ueltschi

‘Mandatory retirement is not a policy I endorse.  As long as someone is healthy and interested in working, he or she should stay on the job.  The intelligence and experience of older people can be a tremendous asset.’
Chuck Higgins – in 2001

‘Try to get along with everyone.  Having a positive attitude affects the people around you.’
Susan Jacques

‘Honesty and integrity should govern all your business decisions.’
Harold Melton

‘View your staff as if they were family.’
Irvin Blumkin

‘If you’re on the fence about a particular deal, then you probably should decline and move on to the next opportunity.’
Ajit Jain

And finally, I think more big businesses should think like this: it’s a paragraph in a letter Buffett wrote to the CEOs of the Berkshire Hathaway businesses.

‘We can afford to lose money – even a lot of money.  We cannot afford to lose reputation – even a shred of reputation.’

or, as Othello says:

‘Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.’

These are only a tiny sampling from a magnificent book.
Do find yourself a copy.

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