CEO Q&A: Lincoln Crawely

What has been your greatest regret in Business?

That I didn’t really get to know and accept my strengths and weaknesses earlier.

What is your number one tip for managing people?

Fairness and balance, which must not be confused with compromise.

From BRW, April 15-21, 2010, p. 10.

Warren Buffet’s Symbolic Leadership

Watch this great advertisement staffed by employees of Geico. Warren Buffet, whose companey fully owns Geico, participates in the ad to demonstrate that he is one the many co-workers. It is funny to see the 80-year-old billionaire impersonate Axl Rose.

The New AGSM MBA (Executive) Strategic Management Year

As the director of the Strategic Management Year, I led of team of faculty to redesign the year-long program. We added many new features (live case studies, book reviews, learning diaries, self-refelection papers, peer coaching, peer evaluations, rewriting of strategy paper) and organized the year around the fundamental problems that a general manager and entrepreneur faces:

1. How do I detect and select business opportunities?
2. How do I develop business opportunities?
3. How do I grow a business?
4. How do I transform a business?

In this short video, I describe the changes that we have made.  Click on “More” to see a more detailed picture overview of all program.


Apple did not forsee the success of the application store

It is hard to forsee the future as the recent episode with Apple’s application store demonstrates.  The NY Times reports:

The App Store’s success — as much a surprise to Apple as it has been to competitors — has given rise to a new digital ecosystem. Today, hundreds of software aspirants, from individuals tinkering in their bedrooms late at night to established companies looking for lucrative new revenue streams, are jumping into the App Store fray.

When making a decision, managers often make the mistakes of only considering the potential upsides, but not the cost of downsides. Positive surprises don’t kill firms. It is the negative surprises that bring you down. 

The Economist on Annoying Bussiness Guru and the Problems with MBA Curricula

The Economist has a wonderful new column called Schumpeter. The October 22 issue revists the shortcomings of management gurus that I highlight in my classes. The Sepember 24 column encourages business schools to teach people to be more sceptical. 

The three habits…of highly irritating management gurus

Business schools have done too little to reform themselves in the light of the credit crunch


Debate: Do Women Make Better Managers

The jury is still out. But read this interesting exchange on Rember that just because on average women may be different than men, this does not mean that it is true for the person in front of you.

Susan Pinker: Whether we’re talking about mentoring, managing or office politics, the research is clear: “Men and women together are the best.”

Sharon Meers: Women often take an alternative approach to leading teams — encouraging more open discussion, cultivating talent and sharing credit. Feedback is the place where women bosses may add the most value.

CEO Q&A: Bernie Brooks

Chief executive, Meyer (Australia)

What is your number-one tip for managing people?

You never get in trouble for over-communicating with them.

What is your number-one tip for managing a business?

Give the team more responsibility than they expect and measure everything in the business that can be measured.

A lesson you have never forgotten?

How the mighty have fallen. Some six of the top 10 retailers in 1987 don’t exist today and that is a sign that you can never be complacent in retailing.

Excerpted from BRW, Vol. 31, No. 12, FYI.

GE’ s Jeff Immelt refuses bonus for 2008

Very few executives have taken the step to cut their own bonuses when stockholder make big losses. Reading the national mood and the outcry over Wall Street bonus payments when the bank are bailed out by taxpayers, Jeffrey Immelt demonstrated leadership by refusing a bonus for 2008.

General Electric Co. Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt passed up a $12 million bonus in 2008, a year that saw company’s stock price slide 56% amid a global economic crisis and declining profits at GE. “Earnings came in below where we expected,” Mr. Immelt wrote in a note Wednesday, citing declining equity markets and a sliding GE stock price in 2008. “In these circumstances, I recommend to GE’s Board of Directors that I would not receive a bonus in 2008.” He also said he declined a special three-year cash payout that goes to senior executives and which the board’s compensation committee said he earned.

Radical Rethinking of Cash Management

The Economist summarizes the profound implications of the financial crisis for the management of cash in firms.

SELDOM has corporate strategy been turned on its head so quickly. Barely a year ago, cash was a dangerous thing to accumulate: activist investors stalked companies, urging boards to return it to investors, to pay special dividends or to buy back shares. Ever since the 1980s the fashion had been to make companies as lean as possible, outsourcing all but your core competencies, expanding your just-in-time supplier system around the globe, loading up with debt to “leverage” your balance-sheet. Old-style defensive conglomerates, such as Arnold Weinstock’s General Electric Company, were dismantled. Companies that hoarded cash—even ones as good as Toyota and Microsoft—were viewed with suspicion.


Management Wisdom Courtesy of Jeff Pfefer

Jeff Pfeffer has spent the past twenty years figuring out what management ideas have some systematic data behind them and what ideas are make for a good story but are simply wrong. Guy Kawasaki (who wrote a fantastic little book on entreprepreurship, The Art of the Start, which I am using in one of my classes) has sat down with Pfeffer and asked him questions on his book What were they thinking?. Read the interview.

Introducing the Meeting Meter?

Are you participating in too many meetings? Are these meetings too long? Time is money and group time costs much more money than the time of a single person. With the Meeting Meter™ you can develop an agenda and calculate the true cost of meetings while they take place. The Meeting Meter™ is a simple tool for creating more effective meetings.

More Information

You can download the Meeting Meter™ for free.

The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker’s Essential Writings on Management

One of the things that made Peter Drucker such a superb writer on management was his intense and wide ranging curiosity about everything in the world and his keen eye for the essential aspects of reality. Unlike many other people who paid with their life for not wanting to see reality, Drucker, for example, extrapolated from what Hitler had said in the years before becoming Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and left for England the moment Hitler rose to power. Drucker died a few days ago at age 95, but many of his insights are as valid as ever. Drucker’s writings have been edited into one book a few years ago, which is available electronically on Kindle. The value of the book lies not so much in giving concrete instructions about what you should do as a manger but in making you think about your own situation. Here are some of the key insights, the foremost being that management is about human beings.


Five Tips for Strategies for Organizational Change courtesy of Motorola’s New CEO

Tip 1: Don’t go too fast. Recognize it can take several years to build a high-performance company.

Tip 2: Get back to putting the customer first. As simple as that sounds, companies take it for granted.

Tip 3: Don’t let your sales force take no for an answer. They should tell clients: ‘Talk to my boss because I am not authorized to lose this deal.’

Tip 4: Whack yourself before somebody wacks you.

Tip 5: Beware of ‘clogged arteries’ in corporations—like too many vice presidents.
The full articles can be read at

What Companies do to Make Life Easier for Their Employees

The WSJ in today’s report on leadership published an interesting article on what kind of perks companies provide to boost the morale of people and to make work life easier. “Fun perks didn’t end with the dot-com bust. They just changed,” reports Jennifer Saranow.

Read the full article on


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