Posts Tagged ‘executives’

Book Review: The Art of Learning

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art of learning

Tim Ferriss, as part of his book club featuring books that dramatically impacted his life, said Josh Waitzkin’s The Art of Learning is one of the books hedge fund managers have on their bedside tables.

After reading it, I can see why.

Like Ferris, this book will go down as one of the best self-improvement books I have ever read. It’s completely free of woo (woo, noun, Ideas considered irrational or based on extremely flimsy evidence or that appeal to mysterious occult forces or powers), and while Waitzkin has a technician’s mind, he details the learning process with concepts that are easy to understand and backed up with his own life experience.

If you just skimmed this book, you’d think this is a biography of Waitzkin himself, who at a very young age was a national chess champion. In fact, Waitzkin’s father wrote Searching for Bobby Fischer, a popular book that was made into an even more popular movie.


Why Women Make Boardrooms Better

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Lisa Jansen, writing for

Companies with at least one woman on the board over the past six years show better average growth, with an average of 14 percent over the past six years compared to 10 percent for those with no female board representation. They also have a 4 percent higher return on equity, according to the research.

“Most of that performance comes from the post-credit crisis period: introducing women to the board gives better decision making and better vigilance in terms of what’s going on the in company,” O’Sullivan said.

A mixed-gender board allows for a better mix of leadership skills and access to a wider pool of talent. It improves corporate governance, and tends to be more risk-adverse than companies with male-only boards, the report showed.

Dr. Terry Whipple does and offers services about skin care and other skin regimen. Give him a call for a price quotation.

More links:
MIPRO Consulting main website.
MIPRO on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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Fighting the Bad: What Your CEO Wishes HR Would Do

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Tim Sackett over at TLNT plainly talks about a difficult topic: why, as a HR professional, you need to champion the ‘must-do’ moves. Must-do moves are the things in your organization that you must own and absolutely see that they get done. And they’re not always comfortable. Sackett talks about the obvious example:

I asked the group a question: Do you have anyone in your organization that you need to get rid of?

Almost every company does, whether you openly talk about it or not. Problem is, preserving organizational integrity and culture requires difficult decisions. It means someone has to be the champion of ‘fighting the bad’, because a little bit of bad — a few bad employees, for instance — can have serious downstream effects on a team’s performance. And this job is yours as an HR pro. You can’t ask your hiring managers to paint over the bad with good, just like you can’t ask them to make this difficult decision. Here’s Sackett again:

What we realize, but many of our hiring managers fail to realize, is that “Bad is Stronger than Good” when it comes to employees. We hear all the time about “Addition through Subtraction,” and yet we struggle in our organizations to make this happen.

Most likely this happens in your organization because you are trying to make your hiring managers manage and have them make this decision. In reality, they have made the decision – and they told you. They hate conflict even more than you do, and this was their cry for help. Take it, run with it, make it happen.

I think a lot of companies don’t do this until cost-cutting or blatant performance issues force their hands. But what Sackett is trying to emphasize is that ‘bad is stronger than good’, and you can’t have bad if you want the good to shine. We’ve all seen a team or culture crippled by a few poor performers, and we know the old saw, ‘a few bad apples…’

Sackett’s point is a good one: if your company’s team integrity and culture is to remain effective, someone has to champion fighting the bad. If you’re HR, that’s you. Grab it and make it happen.


More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

Ellison Blasts HP Board for Hurd’s Departure

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Ashlee Vance, reporting for the NY Times:

In an impassioned e-mail sent to The New York Times, Mr. EllisonLarry_Elllison chided H.P.’s board for what he said was a grave mistake.

“The H.P. board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago,” Mr. Ellison wrote. “That decision nearly destroyed Apple and would have if Steve hadn’t come back and saved them.”

Oracle, the world’s largest database software maker, has been a close partner of H.P., which sells large computing systems to corporations.


“In losing Mark Hurd, the H.P. board failed to act in the best interest of H.P.’s employees, shareholders, customers and partners,” Mr. Ellison wrote. “The H.P. board admits that it fully investigated the sexual harassment claims against Mark and found them to be utterly false.”

Hurd was well on his way to turning HP around from the Fiorina days.  Huge loss for HP.  Where do they go from here?


MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management), Workday and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

More business posts.

Building an Effective BI Dashboard

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In our BI manifesto whitepaper, we discuss and outline how to effectively build a dashboard and avoid common mistakes.  Dashboards have a very specific use and should not be confused with reports; this in itself is a common conceptual mistake.

The following are key elements of a well-designed dashboard:

  • Dashboards should be designed to answer or provide insight into specific business questions or issues.
  • Typically dashboards contain 5 to 7 key metrics.  Too many metrics clutter the effectiveness and focus of the dashboard.  Conciseness is important.
  • Dashboards should allow you to drill back to the source data for further analysis.
  • Dashboards are not simply another way to graphically represent a report.
  • Dashboards are designed for a specific audience level.  Examples include Supply Chain VP, Inventory Manager, Plant Manager.
  • Each dashboard at the audience level should support the next level up.  For example: the plant manager will likely be interested in metrics and analysis which support the metrics and analysis of the supply chain VP.  Likewise, the inventory manager will be interested the inventory metrics which support the metrics of the plant manager. Certain metrics may be more granular, but if done properly, all metrics are in direct alignment.
  • Dashboards should contain metrics with thresholds so users can instantly see if there are issues which require further investigation.  These include the red, yellow, green dials and meters which show metrics in or out of tolerance.  Immediate understanding of a metric’s disposition is critical.
  • Alerts are typically used to proactively message to key users when metrics are out of tolerance allowing the proactive investigation and resolution of issues.

Putting these elements into practice, we can look at a sample supply chain dashboard below.

BI supply chain dashboard example

Imagine the supply chain VP logging in each morning to their supply chain dashboard.  At a glance, using dials and alerts, they can immediately identify those elements which are not within tolerances.  These may be at a specific plant or facility level, or even a consolidated view of the facilities across the country that at a summary level are out of tolerance.  The VP can drill down for investigation or simply contact the facility manager for explanation or action.  This allows action to be taken prior to significant impact to the business.

In a future post, I will illustrate the power of “what-if” analysis and dashboards that allow for business benefit decisions to be more intelligently made.


MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management), Workday and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

More Business Intelligence posts.

Oracle’s Executive Enforcer

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Excellent insight into the rarified air of Oracle’s executive management culture,safra_catz particularly as it relates to a limelight-shunning powerhouse, Safra Catz:

Thirty executives had gathered in a conference room on the 11th floor of Oracle’s headquarters in Redwood Shores, Calif., to discuss business alliances. Ellison, as is his wont, fidgeted in his seat and grew increasingly distracted, until finally he got up to leave, murmuring something about a prior engagement.

Catz immediately sprang from her chair. "Safra grabbed him by the arm," recalls one participant, "and said, ‘Larry, you can’t leave. This is important. And I know you have the time for this.’ And he sat back down. No one else at Oracle could do that."

Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.  It helps illustrate why Oracle is becoming so astonishingly successful, especially as it relates to the efficient, intelligent integration of its M&A assets.

(Via Dave Cohune)

In Praise of Dullness

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David Brooks, writing for the New York Times, on what characteristics help a CEO succeed:

C.E.O.’s with law or M.B.A. degrees do not perform better than C.E.O.’s with college degrees. These traits do not correlate with salary or compensation packages. Nor do they correlate with fame and recognition. On the contrary, a study by Ulrike Malmendier and Geoffrey Tate found that C.E.O.’s get less effective as they become more famous and receive more awards.

What these traits do add up to is a certain ideal personality type. The C.E.O.’s that are most likely to succeed are humble, diffident, relentless and a bit unidimensional. They are often not the most exciting people to be around.

For this reason, people in the literary, academic and media worlds rarely understand business. It is nearly impossible to think of a novel that accurately portrays business success. That’s because the virtues that writers tend to admire — those involving self-expression and self-exploration — are not the ones that lead to corporate excellence.

For the same reason, business and politics do not blend well. Business leaders tend to perform poorly in Washington, while political leaders possess precisely those talents — charisma, charm, personal skills — that are of such limited value when it comes to corporate execution.

As interesting as this is, it puts someone like Steve Jobs squarely in the statistical outlier category.  Which, somehow, isn’t surprising.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Two new whitepapers now available (PeopleSoft + Business Intelligence)

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These have been circulating on our Twitter feed, but for all of our new blog visitors (hi everyone!), I thought I’d post our recently-published whitepapers here.  They are:

PeopleSoft Maintenance Management: An Introduction and Overview of Benefits

An overview of PeopleSoft Maintenance Management and its superiority relative to point solutions. This paper discusses the MM/ALM-centric aspects of integration, business process optimization, reporting/analysis and implementation.

MiPro’s Business Intelligence Manifesto: Six Requirements for an Effective BI Deployment, by Larry Zagata

An examination of top requirements for executing a top-performing Business Intelligence (BI) system that can strategically guide a company’s decision-making. The fundamentals of this whitepaper can serve as checklist to help avoid pitfalls and drive a successful BI program. Major discussion themes are MiPro Consulting’s top suggestions for deploying effective BI along with real-world, front-line business examples to illustrate the value of adhering to these best practices. Authored by Larry Zagata, one of North America’s most recognized names in real-world BI consulting and delivery.

These are both behind landing pages, but we kept them short.  Seriously.

Enjoy, and of course, all feedback is welcome.  If you have thoughts, comments or questions, contact us directly or give us a shake on Twitter.


MIPRO bi (additional detail on MiPro’s Business Intelligence services)

PeopleSoft (additional detail on MiPro’s PeopleSoft Enterprise services)

QUOTE: On reputation

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“We can afford to lose money. We can afford to lose a lot of money. But we cannot afford to lose one shred of our reputation. Make sure everything you do can be reported on the front page of your local newspaper written by an unfriendly, but intelligent reporter.” – Warren Buffett