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HPMD Bullets



Brainstorming is a good way to generate new ideas. I've long believed that the Socratic method of truth-through-dialog of opposites is an valuable tool. However, in business it is important to:

a. make a Decision once ideas have been exchanged
b. take Action and implement the decision
c. then Measure results to determine if it was a good decision

All the locker room scheming in the world means nothing if the game is never played.


I've noticed that (a) expectations are often self-fulfilling prophecies, and (b) what people can't achieve today does not mean they can't achieve it tomorrow. There does come a point though when you must decide whether a person is right for the job or not. Sometimes this means concluding that there's an irreconcilable mismatch between someone and the job (or the company).


Training ought to be a shared responsibility among department members. However, I believe training requires a level of confidence and leadership that newer employees haven't yet developed. On the other hand, I've found that not all experienced people are good teachers.


The key to success is what gets used. I oversaw a project in a customer support department a few years back to develop an on-line help system that consumed tremendous resources to build and ultimately failed because no one used it. In addition, we created in effect two support guides (one written and one on-line), both of which needed to be maintained and kept current!

Incentive Programs

I like incentive programs and have long been their champion. I believe that what gets rewarded gets done


We should not be "consumed" by problems. We should always ask how many customers have been an exception before implementing yet-another-policy to handle the few. The size of issues should be measured by how many people they affect. The small problems can always be handled by a one time exception; don't change the rules to suit the day. The other side to your point is that if you can act immediately to solve a problem, don't put it on a todo list, call a meeting, or escalate it up the line; do it, then, if useful, tell us what you did so we can learn from it.


"Owning" a project is one of the most important requirements for getting it done. And it does build a sense of accomplishment and achievement. I believe an important factor is being clear who has the responsibility for getting something done. I don't believe that "shared ownership" of projects works. Another important ingredient is the target completion date. I've found that no date means nothing happens; and no follow-up means it will usually be late (this sounds pessimistic, but I often wonder whether procrastination is a built-in human trait which requires prodding to overcome). I prefer that target dates be negotiated; you tell me first by when you can have it done, then I'll tell you whether I can live with that.

Problem Reporting

When you report on problems, it is more important to review the action steps being taken to correct the problems. This supports the principle of "no problem identification without recommendation."

Service Orientation

Finally, good service means getting the customer what she wants, when she wants it, even if it means you handling it via other departments. I would suggest that the senior management team is one of your primary internal customers.

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