Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Augustus septem horas dormiebat.

A former minister of the Belgium government told me this morning he lives by the adagium: "Augustus septem horas dormiebat". A sentence he remembers from his high school years. "The emperor Augustus always slept 7 hours."

In high school they used the sentence to teach the Latin case of the accusative. However it's a wise thought on its own. How many managers sleep 7 hours a night these days?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Thinking Out of the Box

"Right now we are raising a generation of kids in the US who cannot think inside, on top of, under, or outside the box. And unless we smarten them up soon, this generation D (Dumbest Americans) is going to compromise our country's (US) ability to compete economically somewehere down the road."
(Robert A Lutz in 'Guts')

Evolution of a Student Homework Assignment in the US
1960: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four-fifths of this price. What is his profit ?
1970: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four-fifhts of this price, or $80. What is his profit ?
1975 (new math): A logger exchanges a set L of lumber for a set M of money. The cardinality of set M is $100, and each element is worth $1. Make 100 dots representing the elements of the set M. The set C of the costs of production contains 20 fewer points than set M. Represent the set C as a subset of M, and answer the following question: What is the cardinality of the set P of points ?
1980: A logger sells a truckload of wood for $100. His cost of production is $80, and his profit is $20. Your assigment: Underline the number 20.
1990 (outcome-based education): By cutting down beautiful forest trees, a logger makes $20. What do you think of this way of making a living ? (Topic for class participation: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel?)

(Source: Echoes -winter 1994-, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technololgy, Terre Haute, Indiana)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Leadership is physical. Tips to stay ahead in the office.

1. Stand up
Sitting down all day will restrict blood flow causing lower energy levels. Force yourself to stand up more during the day. Walk or stand while you are on the phone. Shift weight from foot to foot from time to time, bend through the knees, tiptoe while you smile at your colleagues.

2. Rub your ear
An old Chinese technique, massage the ear, the ear represents our entire body. Rub the complete ear for 1 minute untill it gets warm. That is a sign that the blood is circulating through your complete body.

3. Think Popeye - Take in iron
Iron transports oxygen in the bloodstream. About one fifth of the Western European managers have an iron deficit. Eat more red meat, vegetables, cereals, spinach and beans for an iron boost.

4. Water
Drink at least 1,5 litres of water a day. Managers who don't drink enough tend to loose concentration, have a lowered immunity system, and get more irritated. Airco, stress and central heating tend to cause water loss in the human body.

5. Think Bull
Psychologists advise to wear more red on the job. It tends to stimulate you. Wearing basic colours also will add to your image in a positive way. It will show you feel strong, confident and positive.

6. Blink Blink Blink
Energy levels go down when your eyes are tired. Your eyes get tired from staring at a computer screen. Reading a screen will cause your eyes to blink less, making them dry and tired. So blink, blink!

7. Work on your posture
15 minutes reading or typing in the wrong position will lower your energy levels significantly. It compresses the internal organs leading to weak or uneasy digestion. Take a break every 20 minutes. Pull your shoulders back, pull your stomach in, stick your chin in the air.

8. Attend breathing class
Most managers actually do not breath the correct way. Good breathing doesn't come from inhaling air via chest movement. It comes from moving the diaphragm under the chestcavity. It is your belly that moves instead of your chest.Good exercise to learn good breathing: inhale through the nose (mouth closed) for four slow counts, hold your breath for 1 count, exhale through the nose for six counts. Do this a couple of minutes every hour.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Salaries top 10 CEO's listed companies

The 5 best paid CEO’s from the Forbes listing 2005 earned the bulk of their income by exercising their stock options. The average raise increase for top CEO’s compared to 2004 was 6%. 2004 was a better year because the average increase compared to 2003 was 54 %!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Management Jobs - Jobs for Managers

Impactroom will start publishing management job openings. For the moment the jobs are listed in the sidebar. In the beginning the jobs will be quite local (Benelux-Europe), gradually they will become more international. The jobs are also posted at: Success!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Management by sports

An advertising campaign for WSJE targeted to retail stores in the Middle East during the 2006 Football World Championship.

I do not entirely agree with the slogan from the first poster.
It is a fact that in the US a lot of topsport coaches and managers of sports clubs have the same status as some managementguru's.
Think of well renowned baseball coaches or managers as Connie Mack, Joe Torre, Dusty Baker, Earl Weaver or Doug Melvin. Whatever they did on the field with their respective teams was transferred to herds of lesson seeking managers and leaders in the corporate business world. They all became part of the management industry, selling books, giving speeches, exploring the transfer of ideas and principles from the world of sports to the world of business. In Europe, that is also a fact, we are no way near implementing sportsbased management knowledge into the business world. Although football is the number one sport in Europe, football trainers haven't found their way yet to the management forums. Or vice versa, corporate managers haven't understood yet what valuable lessons are to be learned from the psycho-dynamics one can find in a typical sports environment. So in fact the WSJE add is partly right.

10 management tips from Paul Van Himst

1. Keep it simple.
2. Work hard. Always.
3. Focus.
4. Use family to build relationships you can trust in your company.
5. Enjoy! Enjoy whatever you do.
6. Stay present in your market to continuously build expertise.
7. Build a network based on personal contacts.
8. Never abandon a client, even when he is in trouble.
9. Learn from your mistakes, learn from topsportmanagers.
10. Be disciplined, listen to others.

Paul Van Himst was a successful soccerplayer and national footballcoach for Belgium from 1991 till 1996. While playing and working at the highest level in football he was involved in a coffee company called Bresor. He took over the company in 1990. In 2006 the company will celebrate his 46st year in business. Turnover for Bresor is ca 2 million Euro, it has 15 employees (amongst them his son and daughter).
Paul Van Himst thinks Brazil will win the WorldChampionship Football in Germany.

Top: Van Himst starts playing at Anderlecht at the age of 16
Middle: Van Himst as National football coach training the 'Red Devils' (De Rode Duivels)
Bottom: Van Himst at his coffee company Bresor
(10 tips copyright KMO Business)

Monday, June 12, 2006

"Turn your employees into partners of gold."

A remarkable advertising campaign of a Belgian Health Insurance Fund also providing Payroll Management and HR support to Belgian companies. "Turn your employees into partners of gold."

It is an interesting message knowing that in 2000 1,34 % of the total amount companies spent on wages was going to training and education of employees. In 2004 this number decreased to 1,03 %. In 2006 the number is not known yet but is expected to drop below the 1 % margin. This means Belgian companies are spending less money to educate their employees.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Order a castle. And you'll receive photobook. Management of ideas.

A neighbour organised a party for the birthday of his daughter of 5. He ordered a jumpcastle online. At the correct day a van pulled up his driveway, a castle was unloaded and installed in his garden. He realised afterwards he didn't even know where the van came from or where the castle company was located.

Much to his surprise he received a digital camera to go with the castle. The driver told him that he could use the camera during the party. After the party they would take the camera to the office again and put all the pictures on a secluded photobook on the companies website. The driver handed out a bundle of leaflets, mentioning a code to enter the photobook.

The neighbour gave all the parents picking up their child such a leaflet. When visiting the photobook it turns out you can not only see your child having fun at the jumpcastle, you even can order a printed version of the pictures to be send to you. How smart is all this ? The marketing of hiring jumpcastles is clearly technology driven these days.

I am planning a birthday party myself, the jumpcastle business was completley strange to me...untill I looked for the photobook of the children at the party. Guess where I probably will order a jumpcastle ? And even I still do not know where the jumpcastle company is located.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Lutz's Laws. The 7 laws of business that made Chrysler the world's hottest car company. (Once)

1. The customer isn't always right.
2. The primary purpose of business is not to make money.
3. When everybody else is doing it, don't!
4. Too much quality can ruin you.
5. Financial controls are bad.
6. Disruptive people are an asset.
7. Teamwork isn't always good.

Robert A. Lutz, former President and Vice Chairman of Chrysler Corporation.

(...My family finally settled down for good in Zurich following World War 2, and I managed to get myself booted out of high school. Official reason:"Academic and disciplinary problems." Luckily for me, six months of manual labor in a leather warehouse taught me that maybe buckling down in school wasn't such a bad idea after all. But my father, in his infinite wisdom, wasn't going to let me off with just that. In exchange for his promise to fund one more chance for me at education (at a public school in French-speaking Lausanne, Switzerland), he made me promise to return to the United States immediately upon graduation and enlist in the U.S.Marine Corps. At the time, I thought my father's deal might be a Faustian pact- especially since the Korean War was in full swing...
.... I loved the Corps, and I loved what it did for me in turning around my life.)

(from "Guts" Robert A. Lutz, 1998)

Friday, June 02, 2006

For managers who work with printproducts, there is now

For managers who become involved with printproducts in their career there is now the Print Platform blog. It is a blog for non-print-specialists explaining techniques and print strategies. It also gives an idea of what happens in the major printplants in Europe. The blog was especially created to give first line managers more insight in printtechniques. It is at the same time an educational tool for assistants and supervisors whose responsibilities would extend to follow up on everything what an average company is obliged to print these days.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The MBA-Menace (Mintzberg)

"Coventional MBA-programs train the wrong people in the wrong way with the wrong consequences. They ignore the extent to which management is a craft, requiring zest and intuition rather than merely an ability to analyse data and invent strategies."

Maybe that is why, as Mintzberg gleefully points out, a list of America's most admired business leaders (Warren Buffet, Herb Kelleher, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Jack Welch and Oprah Winfrey) contains not a single MBA. (The Economist, 2004)

(Picture: Henry Mintzberg)