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Why You Must Solve Problems in Pieces

My firm sent me on a consulting assignment with a chemical manufacturer some years ago. I was working with a team trying to solve a business problem. Their customers, farmers, were complaining about a fertilizer product they produced. Farmers would find caked chemicals inside many of the fertilizer bags. These farmers need fertilizer to be in the form of prill (tiny little balls) so it would roll of the leaves when thrown into the crops. The problem with this company's fertilizer was bad enough for many farmers to switch to a competitor. Now, the team was trying to solve the problem quickly. With the end of the year approaching they were racing against time. They first tried to ask shop keep

3 Must-haves for Success in a Corporate Career

Perhaps you are a brilliant engineer, a highly skilled marketer, or a genius at Finance- but if you are not paying attention to these 3 factors, your career is likely to bomb. 1. Become indispensable The popular myth is that “people” are the lifeblood of an organization. Unfortunately, only SOME people are important to the company. Everyone else is expendable because the company can replace them easily. Successful career professionals work hard to be in the first category. The most valuable people to an organization are those whose skills are irreplaceable. Since all skills can eventually be replaced, this means learning new skills all the time. The most successful career professionals ha

4 Ways Critical Thinking Drives Professional Success

Regardless of the industry you work in and how much experience you have, your critical thinking skills can make or break your career plans. Your ability to process and analyze information effectively is the Achilles’ heel of your professional career. Here are 4 ways you can sharpen your critical thinking skills to give your career the boost it needs: 1. Re-describe the problem We take other people’s description of a problem at face value before trying to solve it. A better way is to get a clear picture of the problem, and the factors that are influencing it. Ask yourself: Who is doing what? What is the likely reason for this? What is the end result? How can this impact be changed? The abi

We like John better… What about you?

Many years ago I worked for a large American conglomerate as a project manager. Among other things I had to look after employee motivation in our Asian operations. One of the major factors in motivation was a staff member’s relationship with their manager. Some people were very happy with their managers and others were clearly not. This was a problem that I didn’t know how to solve. So I thought up a fun experiment. I asked to spend some time working closely with the highest and lowest-rated managers. This would give me an opportunity to work closely with them. Before we proceed, let me tell you a little about them. Vivek (not his real name) graduated from IIT (a reputable university in Indi

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