Monthly Archives: February 2013

Did YAHOO get it right?

Did Yahoo communicate their No Telecommuting policy correctly? Regardless of your personal stance on telecommuting I think the answer is NO!

WHY?

Exactly!

They missed communicating the WHY. In my opinion they let the media fill in the missing compelling reasons for the change. There does not appear to be any direct link with an overarching vision or direction for the corporation. Absent that link the decision does not pass the WHY THIS, WHY NOW test. Here is what the press (CNBC.com and others) are citing as the WHY:

…. starting in June, Yahoo employees will lose the benefit of working from home. According to an internal memo leaked on Friday to The Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsD.com by numerous disgruntled Yahoo employees, the new policy calls for workers “physically being together.”

“We need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices… Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home,” reads the memo from Jacqueline Reses, a private equity veteran brought on board by Mayer in September to be the company’s HR boss.

“Hiring, managing and incentivizing talent will be of key importance,” Reses said in the press release announcing her hire.

Obviously Yahoo is trying to change their culture and often that can require dramatic action on the part of leadership. In this case this should have come from the top, Marisa Mayer, and addressed the real WHY. The working side- by- side logic escapes me as it is physically impossible for an entire company to work that way. Why not take it head on and cite the real reason, the compelling WHY. Why not just say we have created a bi-furcated culture of those who are productive and accountable and those who are perceived by their peers as slacking off and not being accountable. We think the telecommuting policy is part of the problem. We need to deal with it.

The Jacqueline Reses quote “Hiring, managing and incentivizing talent will be of key importance,” gives me cause for concern. Had she said attracting, leading and retaining top talent I would be on board, but I’m not. The differences may be subtle to many but my years of making mistakes as a CEO tell me otherwise. Yahoo needs to be a place where people want to work, where you attract vs. hire talent, where you lead vs. manage people( you manage processes). You need programs and a performance management system (aligned with your priorities) in place to retain top talent and not just incentives alone.

Yahoo leadership now faces the challenge of leading their organization through the emotions of change (http://rjeffreykimball.com/blog/leading-change/) . The first emotion requires answering the question WHY THIS, WHY NOW?

You have to give them credit, and I do, for being willing to make tough and unpopular decisions. What do you think?

Jeff

Mentoring Future Great Leaders

So how do you become a great leader?

Allow me to borrow some lyrics from Simon and Garfunkel’s “ Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover”

“The answer is easy if you take it logically

I’d like to help you in your struggle to lead

There must be fifteen ways to become a great leader……….”

1. Be genuinely interested in your team, but be yourself

2. Be fair, honest and friendly…… “you don’t need to be coy Roy”

3 .Impress people with your charm, not your power

4. Allow others to be important and feel important, give away power…… “throw away the key Lee”

5. Put the organization first, your team second and yourself last

6. Keep trying, keeping moving and know when to change direction…….. “make a new plan Stan”

7. Maintain a positive attitude, be optimistic, smile

8. Not all good ideas are your ideas and not all your ideas are good……..don’t “ just listen to me”

9. Give your enthusiasm to everyone around you

10. Allow yourself and others to fail………….”and set yourself free”

11. Never stop learning

12. Keep your promises and hold yourself accountable

13. Be predictable………..”you don’t need to discuss much”

14. Discover, communicate and live your core values

15. Align your organization around a vision that has meaning for your team, clients and stakeholders. Set priorities to achieve that vision………..get everyone to” hop on the bus Gus”

“It’s not my habit to intrude but there are fifteen ways to become a great leader”

Good luck and never let your ego get in your way of being a truly great leader

Jeff

Plan to leverage lower cost natural gas and natural gas liquids, part 2

Come on baby light my fire ………

The time to hesitate is through. It’s time to use natural gas to light that fire. Gas prices were at a 10 year low this year .Switching, or switching electric power generation from coal to natural gas, has been on the rise since the abundance of reliable low cost natural gas has occurred these past two years. Since 2006 natural gas has grown as the fuel used to provide nearly 25% of electricity in the US. It use for power generation is forecast to grow to up to 50 % in the future. I realize there is resistance to fracking and the development of unconventional gas, but the time to hesitate is through. Let’s examine some of the consumer and environmental benefits at a high level.

For the consumer there will be considerable utility cost savings and new job creation. Lower energy and feedstock prices ( see part 1;plan-to-leverage-lower-cost-natural-gas-and-natural-gas-liquids-part-1 ) will create a manufacturing resurgence .As LNG and CNG infrastructure is built out and truck and auto fleets switch we could see gas powered vehicles accounting for as much as 25% of the fuel used for transportation at some point in the future. This will result in lower operating cost and significantly lower emissions. With the switching to gas for power generation the US has recorded the globes largest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, by about some 450 million tons.

The fire we need to light is one of energy policy leadership. We need to set a clear direction for our country of energy security and significantly increase our reliance on domestic energy. We need to get behind shale oil and gas production. Lastly we need streamlined, predictable and consistent regulation.

You know that it would be untrue .If I were to say to you: Gas prices won’t get much higher. We have the potential to be an energy exporter if we have the political and corporate will. As a country we need to decide if we will let global market forces dictate gas prices for the long term.

As a business growth consultant I see potential to reverse our economic decline, create jobs, and allow many privately and closely held businesses prosper. We need a good national strategy aligned with our domestic and foreign policies and the commitment to execute the plan to achieve that strategy.

Time to set the economy on fire, yeah

Jeff