Steven's Blog

Automate HR, Proliferate Mediocrity

Automate HR, Proliferate Mediocrity

Machine learning algorithms are no smarter than the humans they learn from, and in most cases not nearly as smart.

I am no luddite. I am aware of the power of big data when used with good analytics and artificial intelligence in automating functions like logistics, supply chain management, manufacturing and market intelligence. However, business leaders ought to treat automating human resources with particular skepticism and caution.

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Empathy Trumps Projection

Empathy Trumps Projection

Projection and empathy are not the same thing, but they are often confused. Empathy is the ability to understand how someone is thinking, whereas projection is presuming a person thinks like you. Be careful not to project when it is empathy that you intend. Continue reading


Business man walking inside building.

Change First, Culture Later

If you are a leader seeking rapid change in your company, forget about culture. Culture will take care of itself. Focus on new ways of doing things. The genesis of a new culture results from a change in behavior, not the other way around. Change the way people do things. Culture change follows as a result.

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Businessmen negotiating

Be Unreasonable

Strategy is about creating the future, not predicting it. You develop strategy by starting with a bold vision of the business in the future and working backwards, not by an understanding of the present business and working forward. The latter merely entices you to compromise your vision. It is only the former that can take you where you want to go.

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Business people talking about feedback

Feedback is Not Always a Gift

Unsolicited feedback is meant only for the benefit of the person who gives it and never for the person to whom it is given. I pay it no heed. Neither should you. 

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Business person reading book

The Best Educate Themselves

“I am reading every book by Peter Drucker I can get my hands on.” That’s what Tsukuba International School Principal, Shaney Crawford, said to me nearly nine years ago. Never before, nor since, has any salaried manager or company CEO ever told me anything even remotely similar even though this is precisely the type of self-education that most ought to be doing. When Shaney Crawford asked me to serve on the school’s board, I immediately agreed.

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Business person thinking

Conservatism isn’t the Problem

I define conservatism as clinging to traditional practices with opposition to change and innovation out of principle. You fight conservatism in an organization through initiating bold action independently and dealing with the consequences, not by insisting others change first. It is the way a person acts that makes him or her conservative, and not necessarily the way he or she thinks.

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Business people in a meeting discussing development

Blindsided by Business Development

It is not uncommon for a CEO not to know exactly how his or her sales and business development people routinely behave in front of real customers and prospects without observing them in action. I recently learned of how one CEO was blindsided when he did just that.

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