Friday, January 21, 2005

Can anyone know what they don't know?

We say that someone does not know what they don't know. There are lots of people who act as though they know everything and do not have anything more to learn. Well, none of us know what we don't know. The critical characteristic is to recognize that there is more that we do not know than we do, and that there is no shame in it. In fact, the shame is in not recognizing this. An eagerness to question what we know and to learn more is part of being a mature adult of any age. As I grow older, I am humbled by the immensity of what I still have to learn.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Are business people handicapping themselves?

The more senior the manager, the higher the proportion of his or her time spent in meetings. Meetings rarely drive the business forwards. In fact they magnify the inefficiency by using up the time of many people.

Similarly, many managers have to deal with hundreds of emails a day. Most of these are informational, courtesy copies or purely political. Yet they have to read before being deleted.

Turnover of senior managers is much higher than it used to be. Spencer Stuart recently published a study which stated that the average length of stay for a Chief Marketing Officer in Fortune 500 companies is 23 months.

None of the above improves effectiveness ot efficiency. Yet it may be getting worse.