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Difficult Conversations

Business Week summarized a book entitled Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen. It’s a practical guide to challenging conversations in which you’re required to deliver bad news, major screw-ups and other sensitive matters.

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V39: Government Intrusion can be fatal!

For almost two years, I have been writing a regular column for the North Bay Business Journal, a publication of the New York Times, a weekly business newspaper which covers the North Bay area of San Francisco – from the Golden Gate bridge north, including the Wine Country of Sonoma and Napa counties.   **********************************************************************************…

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Inside Wall Street’s Armageddon

I overlooked posting this article earlier, entitled After the Fall. It was written by Michael Lewis of Liar’s Poker fame and published in the Dec/Jan 09 issue of Portfolio magazine. It is an fascinating exposé of the sub-prime loan market, the Credit Default Obligation (CDO) securities that embraced it and those who saw the ugly…

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What gives life meaning?

John Donahoe, the CEO of eBay, was interviewed in the NY Times and mentioned the laminated card he keeps in his wallet. It comes from a speech John W. Gardner delivered to the Hawaii Executive Conference in Kona, Hawaii, in April 1993 and published in Stanford, an independent publication of the Stanford Alumni Association, March…

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No substitute for unbiased feedback!

I have posted many items and reflections about the critical importance of regular, unbiased feedback as the linchpin to achieving accountability throughout your organization. The most recent example is the interview with Anne Mulcahy, CEO of Xerox. John Donahoe, the CEO of eBay since 2008, offered his unequivocal enthusiasm for vigorous, honest and independent feedback…

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The Peter Principle … redux

Business Week carries a fresh look at The Peter Principle, the seminal work that coined the phrase about people being promoted to their “level of incompetence”. Still a worthy concept for evaluating talent and making sure that your greatest salesman doesn’t become a big failure as a sales manager.

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Failure the crucible of learning? Maybe not …

The NY Times reported on a recent study by a team at the Harvard Business School who found that failure in a first venture is an unreliable signpost of future success. The study looked at several thousand venture-backed companies over a 17 year period. They found that first time entrepreneurs receiving venture funding (more…)

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