back to opinion

Robert Heller

Robert Heller

Robert Heller is Britain's most renowned and best-selling author on business management. Author of more than 50 books, he was the founding editor of Management Today and the Global Future Forum. About his latest title, The Fusion Manager, Sir John Harvey-Jones wrote: "The future lies with the thinking manager, and the thinking manager must read this book".

Transforming management theories

14 Apr 2011

Management theories are all very well, but how many managers have been directly influenced by some 'big idea' in their day-to-day work? In reality, business is not driven by smart ideas, but by deeds – clever, foolish and neutral.

Management styles in the new economy

04 Mar 2011

New kinds of company require new kinds of management. Yet most old-economy managers make mediocre managers in the new economy because they have forgotten (if they ever knew) the entrepreneurial basics.

Going for growth

13 Jan 2011

It's taken for granted in organisations that growth is good and non-growth is bad. But why? Surely being growthless but not seriously declining, secure and seriously profitable, is highly agreeable?

Planning for the future

09 Dec 2010

Most managers live in the past. They are so concerned with what they already have, by their 'legacy' business and 'legacy' systems, that they resist even unavoidable change and obvious trends.

Customer strategy and the art of listening

19 Oct 2010

The mantra that 'the customer is King' is mouthed by senior managers in every industry. True in theory, it is an ignoble lie in most companies, because executives prefer their ivory towers to the store floor.

Leadership and accountability: the CEO's burden

09 Sep 2010

CEOs are hardly ever given, or asked to provide, a list of criteria by which they can expect to be judged. But common objectives and criteria, while generally unspoken, do exist for all CEOs in all businesses.

Why managers must embrace entrepreneurship

02 Aug 2010

Focus, flatness and decisiveness are the keys to entrepreneurial success. These same entrepreneurial basics are also the keys to survival in this era of spectacular uncertainty.

Recurring management failure

09 Jul 2010

In the 1960s, my first book looked at managers who did the wrong thing for the right, the wrong, or no reason at all - yet still managed to keep their overpaid jobs. In the intervening decades, nothing has changed.

Strategy must not depend on denial

04 Jun 2010

Avoiding painful facts is effective as far as it goes. It saves face, hides shame and sweeps crazy errors under the carpet. But that protection doesn't go very far. As Wall Street is finding out, reality is the cure for self-delusion.

How the web revolutionised business models

30 Apr 2010

The Internet has radically altered the business models of the past. There was a time when critics viewed Amazon with scepticism, pointing to the firm's failure to make money. However, what they completely missed was the financial significance of Amazon's business model.

What can we learn from the Toyota debacle?

06 Apr 2010

Toyota's problems are not just a Japanese incident, but rather a blow to good management, and a sign that management in general is failing to deliver.

How capitalism was tested beyond its limits

09 Mar 2010

Capitalism has been tested beyond its limits by completely false and inherently risky assumptions. Globalisation transpired to be a trap and a delusion. What looked like a dead cert for the world economy became a sure nightmare.

Why was the wisdom of Peter Drucker ignored?

01 Feb 2010

The late Peter Drucker was the greatest management thinker of our times. Yet as the recent and current chaos shows, his wisdom went either unheeded as the wrong goals were attacked by the wrong managers. And what a tragedy that has proved to be.

Management skills the Buffett way

04 Jan 2010

Warren Buffett's once-obscure business, Berkshire Hathaway, is a strong candidate for the prize of World's Best Company. That means Buffett is a front-runner for World's Best Manager. So what is his secret - and why does Buffett have so few imitators?

Management consultants and the scientific approach

01 Dec 2009

The Great Crunch has revealed the limitations of scientific management and the dangers of focussing too much on abstract strategy at the expense of what is going on now.

The Five Drivers model shows the way forward

02 Nov 2009

The Great Crunch has shown that the cult of the CEO, hierarchical management structures and an obsession with short-term results are all inimical to efforts to achieve superior results. What we need are entirely new management drivers.

Government management and the one-way road to failure

29 Sep 2009

Failures in government are usually precipitated by politicians themselves. They tend to be ignorant of management, which is excusable; but they act as if they are informed, which can't be excused.

Corporate culture and the new economics

21 Aug 2009

Reward for decision-makers has always been determined by vested interest. It obviously suits the men and women themselves to be paid enormous sums, irrespective of any rationale. But what can we do about it?

Business management myths, truths and consequences

24 Jul 2009

Many people in senior business positions are great believers. They hold to a whole raft of ideas about success, markets, what motivates people, the nature of innovation, and so on. And what almost all these have in common is that they are completely wrong.

Business strategy: the lessons of the 'big ideas'

30 Jun 2009

The current decade's big idea in business strategy is 'open innovation'. Enlightened companies are actively seeking innovatory ideas wherever they can be found.

Management innovation: the next big breakthrough?

27 May 2009

Almost every car on the planet will eventually be electrified. But new types of car will require new styles of manager, too. So are there any Americans out there who can rise to the challenge?

Surviving the downturn and forging ahead

24 Apr 2009

The great economic disaster rumbles on, but the 21st century economy will continue to thrive and grow in the astonishing environment of the Digital Revolution.

Rewards and incentives - when self-interest isn't enough

20 Mar 2009

Self-interest is a powerful engine of economic performance, but it is far from being the only one. Many other parts are necessary for the economic motor to run smoothly – like teamwork and delegation.

Bad management decisions and the recession

19 Feb 2009

During this, the second-worst of all modern economic disasters, if a company announces lay-offs and closures, much of the blame is automatically attached to the downturn. However, a measure of blame has to be attached to management itself.