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James M. Kerr

James M. Kerr

James M. Kerr is the Global Chair of the Culture Transformation Practice at N2Growth and the author of The Executive Checklist. A specialist in organizational design and cultural transformation, he has been helping clients re-imagine the way work is organized and performed for more than 25 years. Kerr’s next book is due out later in 2016 and focuses on leadership and strategy-setting.

@James_M_Kerr website

Is communication the problem, or teamwork?

05 Dec 2017

Sometimes we can get fooled into thinking that poor communication is a problem when it’s really a symptom of something much more profound: poor organizational design that undermines the ability of people to work in teams.

Four principles for high integrity

20 May 2016

No one wants to work with people that they can’t trust and respect. Here are four principles that anyone who wants to lead their life with real integrity absolutely must embrace.

Strategic planning in five easy steps

19 Jan 2016

Strategic planning doesn’t need to be complicated. Here’s a simple process you can follow to demystify it and put in place an effective strategic planning structure for your organization.

Can a coin help to rebuild employee engagement?

22 Jun 2015

Now that the business climate seems to be improving, do we need to design and implement sophisticated strategies to regenerate a sense of team in our firms? No, a much simpler approach can be even more effective.

Opening the Johari Window

27 Apr 2015

Devised in the 1950s, the Johari Window is a technique that can be used to expose an individual’s blind spots and increase their self-discovery. As a management tool, it’s a useful way to improve team performance and enhance breakthrough thinking.

Win big with integrated performance measurement

04 Feb 2015

Why do so many businesses measure staff performance after the fact? Metrics ought to be produced as a direct by-product of doing the work, giving you time to make mid-course adjustments. Get it right and your business results will sky-rocket.

12 differences between winning and losing leadership

07 Jan 2015

Leaders can make or break an organization. Great leaders drive great organizations and great organizations produce great results. Less-than- stellar leaders usually deliver the opposite. So what characterizes winning and losing leadership styles?

Principles before personalities

05 Nov 2014

During large-scale reorganizations, discussions can often become heated and turn personal. That's why it's important to keep in mind some techniques to ensure that your teams stay focused on the "why" and the "what" rather than getting bogged down with the "who".

How appealing to women has helped The Home Depot

03 Oct 2014

To see what an organization can do when it is deliberate and determined in its commitment to make changes, look no further than the example of The Home Depot, whose women-friendly makeover is already paying dividends.

The prisoner's dilemma

26 Sep 2014

Why do people working within the same organization - even the same unit - often seem to be operating in conflict with one another? Understanding the prisoner's dilemma can give us some clues.

Business blind spots

02 Sep 2014

Many breakthrough ideas get ignored because business leaders are unable to grasp concepts that don't fit their expectations of what will work within their firm or industry. So how can we avoid these business blind spots?

The keys to strategic differentiation

18 Aug 2014

The only way that a business can deliver sustainable achievement over the long haul is through the pursuit of three simple goals that together represent the universal truth of all strategic differentiation. They are to be a company of choice, an employer of choice and an investment of choice.

Culture starts at the top

07 Jul 2014

It’s more than just dodgy ignition switches, GM’s leadership has produced a real lemon. When we start to examine the culture that has led to this sorry state of affairs, it’s clear that the rot starts at the top. But all is not lost - at least, not yet.

Leadership lessons from Hector Berlioz

20 May 2014

19th century French composer Hector Berlioz had a profound influence on the development of the modern orchestra. But apart from music, his life provides us with some valuable lessons on leadership, too.

Cultivating a creative workforce

07 May 2014

We all want to work in a gratifying and stimulating environment – one that brings out the best in us and our colleagues. But how do you cultivate such a work environment? The place to start is by building a creative workforce.

Going flat: the re-imagined organization

09 Apr 2014

Zappos announcement that it transforming itself into a self-governing "holacracy " where there are no job titles and no managers is only the latest example of a company rejecting a traditional structure. And as organizations evolve, it won't be the last.

Flipping the organization

02 Apr 2014

It is time to adopt an upside-down view of how organizations work. That means focusing resources on the front-line staff who deliver to customers, not on executives who primarily manage the spin among the investment community.

Leadership: we're in it together

18 Feb 2014

Outstanding leaders lead by example. They naturally express a sense that 'we're all in it together' because they make deliberate efforts to communicate the sense that everyone shares the same goals and aspirations and that these ambitions can be achieved as one.

The power of project reviews

09 Jul 2012

There are few better ways to engage staff in business transformation than to institute a project review panel process. Done right the benefits will be seen not just at the project level, but on the overall employee engagement front, too.

Are you a dreadful leader?

28 Oct 2011

The chances are you have witnessed the damage a dreadful leader can wreak on an organization. While bad leaders can take many forms, there are five primary types from which all are derived. So can you recognize a dreadful leader in your midst?

Building a championship business

25 Jul 2011

Championship-winning sports teams and championship-caliber businesses have certain fundamental traits in common. So recognizing and understanding these factors can go a long way towards helping an organization to reach perfection.

Fixing the broken education system

29 Mar 2011

The US education system is broken, says James Kerr, and it doesn't look like it will fix itself. In fact, if fundamental reform isn't undertaken soon, it is very likely that American businesses will find themselves grossly short-handed in the coming years.

More from James

Staying in the moment

03 Mar 2011

How do the best companies differentiate themselves in the marketplace? One way is by staying focused and not getting distracted. To put it another way, it comes down to exceptional strategic planning and execution by staying in the moment.

Gen Y and the 2020 organization

17 Jan 2011

In less than a decade from now, Gen Y will be firmly entrenched within the management layers of most large corporations. But what this will mean for organizations and what changes will Gen Y bring with them as they begin to steer the ship?

Leadership in troubled times

23 Sep 2010

Most management teams can identify what is needed to help their company evolve. But most are much less accomplished at the sort of active, directive leadership that is required to galvanize teams and make change happen.

A blueprint for business architecture

29 Mar 2010

Only a fool would commission an architect to design a building without first discussing its intended use, esthetics and costs to build and maintain. Similarly, an enterprise should never set out to redefine its business architecture without first gaining similar understanding.

Strategic vision and the balanced scorecard

01 Mar 2010

We all know the importance of context when making choices and determining priorities. But organizations seldom consider setting a context when instituting business measurement and monitoring apparatus.

Strategic visioning

27 Jul 2009

If an organization really wants to attract and retain the best and brightest, a good place to start is by painting a vision. I don't mean some tired mission statement, I mean something with depth, something so compelling that the average working professional wants to be part of it.

Finding and cultivating finishers

08 May 2009

Finisher is a term used in American football circles to describe a player who never lets up until that last whistle blows. Sports teams need finishers to successfully compete. Businesses need finishers, too. But how do you find and cultivate them?