Do your business

Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.

Blaming organizational problems on corporate culture is like saying something’s a communications problem: it doesn’t get you anywhere.

The purpose of business is business. These days the goal is often to become a responsive, real-time business.

The organization is what supports doing business better. In the words of Alfred Chandler, structure follows strategy. Notions like corporate culture, the learning organization, and knowledge Continue reading Do your business


You want to set people’s minds on fire? You better be able to tell a good story. Stories have magic to them. They draw you in. As you listen to a story, you tell another story to yourself. This wires the tale into your neural circuits.

Terrence Gargiulo helps organizations learn through stories. He lives in Carmel Valley. During my research month in Carmel, we had several conversations about what makes story-telling so valuable a tool for 21C leaders (that’s all of us).

The breeze on Continue reading Story

It’s not about the content

This morning the designers of a very pricey executive development program asked my opinion of their approach to developing, aggregating, and distributing content. Things had to be tip-top quality, for the program’s tuition will be $60,000 a year.

For any given subject, they planned to write the initial content themselves to insure it was the very best. Then they would select the greatest videos and articles on the web and link to them. Their in-house editor would mercilessly cull out any junk Continue reading It’s not about the content

Organization Design

One person’s constant is another person’s variable.

Those of us who work in the field of learning are accustomed to dealing with managers who think that learning’s solely a matter of herding people into a room to listen to an authority spout content. They don’t appreciate that learning’s a process that can be planned, tweaked, and reframed. They don’t realized that learning involves a lot more than delivery.

Funnily enough, many learning professionals make the same bad call about organizations. Continue reading Organization Design

Car Week 2011

In 1950, a car show was started to accompany the Pebble Beach Road Race. It has since morphed into the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, a gathering of a couple of hundred beautiful automobiles on the final green of the Pebble Beach Golf Course. Here’s the history.

In recent years, additional car events have popped up. Some cars rally down the coast from Washington State. Major automobile auctions take place at Monterey hotels. Manufacturers and owners clubs host events. Charities sponsor Continue reading Car Week 2011


I spent the day at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the ultimate vintage car show. I had paid to take the shuttle from Carmel but the wait was more than an hour. I decided to walk. This was faster than driving by car.

Today’s photos are here.

On the way in, I came upon eight Bugatti Veyrons in a parking lot. I couldn’t find the owner of this one; I wanted to find out if he was a Princeton alum:

This is one of the $3 million carbon-fiber Bugattis, unlike those old fuddy-duddy Continue reading Pebble

Free day at Car Week

Yesterday evening I heard the throaty exhaust note of a V12 and looked up from my Mac to see a bright yellow Lamborghini pass beneath my window. And then another. And a two-seater open-top Rolls, a couple of Jag XK140s, and a Maserati. I took my gin & tonic out to the front steps and watched exotic cars make their way down to the Carmel gate to the 17-Mile Drive. That kicked off another 24 hours of free can thrills.

This morning I drove to Seaside for the Concours d’Lemons, “Celebrating Continue reading Free day at Car Week

Concorso Italiano

Concorso Italiano

This afternoon Uta and I motored over to the Concorso Italiano in Laguna Seca, “a celebration of Italian style” on the Laguna Seca Golf Course. Photos.

The sponsors describe the Consorso thus:

Concorso Italiano® has evolved into a must-attend convergence of sophistication, taste and affluence and embraces all the cultural elements of Italian style, including music, cuisine, fashion, and travel. The event is centered around as many as 1,200 collectible Italian automobiles, motorcycles, and Continue reading Concorso Italiano

United Breaks Relationships

Here’s a broken business model: Entice your best customers into an affinity club with discounts and goodies. Then, when you have them corralled, mistreat them so badly they will hate dealing with you. Such is United Airlines. And their Star Alliance partners, too.

Trying to book vacation flights has landed me in a nightmare worthy of Franz Kafka. After a mere four hours juggling schedules, fares that shifted by the minute, oddball airlines, and mismatched timing, I purchased three economy-class Continue reading United Breaks Relationships