Archive | performance management

The 90-Minute Rule

“Human beings aren’t designed to expend energy continuously. Rather, we’re meant to pulse between spending and recovering energy.” – Tony Schwartz (source) In the late 1950’s, researchers William Dement and Nathaniel Kleitman documented that humans sleep in 90-minute cycles – from light to deep sleep and back to light sleep again. Professor Kleitman later discovered…

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In Business, Informal Tribes Matter More Than Formal Teams

Not long after I joined my last employer, a colleague provided me with an incredibly important insight on how to get things done. Informal networks, she explained, were much stronger than the official hierarchy. Top-down decisions were usually met with questions which delayed their implementation. On the other hand, powerfully-connected people could implement decisions virally…

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The Red Queen Effect Explains Why You Aren’t Getting Ahead

For much of my career, I’ve argued that people design key performance indicators (KPIs) incorrectly. One of my own favorite blogs made the case that, unless you compare yourself against some external benchmark, you might be making progress towards achieving your KPIs but actually losing ground. Simplistically, if you’re growing by 20% and the market…

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How Much of Leadership Is About Theater?

For reasons not worth getting into, this past week I was reminded of a decade-old HBS discussion entitled “How Much of Leadership Is About Control, Delegation, or Theater?” The original discussion was prompted by a claim from Stanford Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer that leaders only explain 10% of a company’s performance. Instead, a company’s current performance…

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Dilbert Claims Systems Trump Goals

No, this isn’t some new comic from Scott Adams about Dilbert interacting with Donald Trump – although I’m laughing about the possibilities. Instead it’s a central tenet of Adams’ most recent book titled How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. Adams relies on his trademark humor to describe “the strategies he has…

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