Microeconomics, Behavioural Economics & Human Resources

Five Questions Smart Managers Regularly Ask Their Employees

  • Appreciation - What does the company appreciate about you?
  • Self-Improvement - What have you done to learn more about your capabilities and grow as a business leader over the past year?
  • Opportunity - What could you have done better in the past year?
  • Visualization - Where do you see yourself in 12 months and in 5 years?
  • Assistance - What can I as your manager do to help you develop to your fullest business potential?

Putting talent at the top of the CEO agenda

“If there are three things that you could teach your younger self, what would they be?”

What I’ve found consistently across countries and sectors is that CEOs say:

I would have spent more time on people.
I would have removed people faster.
I would have pulled people up faster.
And I would have spent more time with people.

It was consistent. The most scarce resource is talent. We are awash in capital. It’s talent that you need to drive it.

The Coaching Mindset

  1. Developing people is the single most important part of your job
  2. You get the best results from empowering your people, not micro-managing them
  3. Your own insecurities can stifle your team’s development
  4. You need to actively cultivate diverse points of view
  5. Constantly seek out teaching moments as ways to guide your people to reach their potential
  6. You must continually earn the trust of your team
  7. You must have the courage to act when someone is not working out

What’s wrong with solutions selling—and how to put it right

Solutions selling is fast becoming the norm for many B2B players, driven by commoditizing product markets, shrinking margins, and increasingly complex customer demands. Yet, most solution-selling companies have less developed commercial capabilities than their more transactional peers.

  • Solutions Providers lag transactional sellers in commercial capabilities
  • Consultative reps at solutions providers excel at understanding customer needs, but lag transaction-focused reps in other skills
  • Consultative reps spend too little time selling, especially in face-to-face interactions with customers

Top 10 Sales Methodologies and How They Work

  1. SPIN Selling
  2. N.E.A.T. Selling
  3. Conceptual Selling
  4. SNAP Selling
  5. The Challenger Sale
  6. The Sandler System
  7. CustomerCentric Selling
  9. Solution Selling
  10. Inbound Selling

Motivating people: Getting beyond money

  1. Praise and commendation from immediate manager (67%)
  2. Attention from leaders (63%)
  3. Opportunities to lead project or task forces (62%)
  4. Performance-based cash bonuses (60%)
  5. Increase in base pay (52%)
  6. Stock or stock options (35%)

Nordstrom's Employee Handbook Has Only One Rule

"Our One Rule - Use good judgment in all situations"

The Hard Things about Hard Things - HR Principles

Recruiting and Hiring

  • Do you sharply understand the skills and talents required to succeed in every open position?
  • Are your interviewers well prepared?
  • Do your managers and employees do and effective job of selling your company to prospective employees?
  • Do interviewers arrive on time?
  • Do managers and recruiters follow up with candidates in a timely fashion?
  • Do you complete effectively for talent against the best companies?


  • Do your benefits make sense for your company demographics?
  • How do your salary and stock option packages compare with the companies that you compete with?
  • How well do your performance rankings correspond to your compensation practices?

Training and Integration

  • When you hire an employee, how long does it take them to become productive from the perspective of the employee, her peers, and her managers?
  • Shortly after joining, how well does an employee understand what's expected of her?

Performance Management

  • Are you using a 360 review process?
  • Do your managers give consistent, clear feedback to their employees?
  • What is the quality of your company's written performance reviews?
  • Did all your employees receive their reviews on time?
  • Do you effectively manage out poor performers?


  • Are your employees excited to come to work?
  • Do your employees believe in the mission of the company?
  • Do you have any employees who are actively disengaged?
  • Do your employees clearly understand what's expected of them?
  • Do employees stay a long time or do they quit faster than normal?
  • Why do employees quit?