About Erika Andersen

Over the past 30 years, Erika has developed a reputation for creating approaches to learning and business-building that are custom tailored to her clients’ challenges, goals, and culture.

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Be Bad First

Get Good at Things FAST to Stay Ready for the Future
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Leading So People Will Follow

Proven leadership framework that creates loyalty, commitment and results.
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Being Strategic

Plan for Success; Out-think Your Competitors; Stay Ahead of Change
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Growing Great Employees

Turning Ordinary People into Extraordinary Performers
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Archive for January, 2008


Let’s Swap Employees, Too

Link: factoids). So when I got back to my room and started surfing the net for articles to blog about, this caught my eye.

Basically, the Amsterdam Ikea store is having a day where customers can bring in furniture and swap it for furniture that other people bring in. I’m sure it will be fun; it’s great publicity for Ikea; and – no doubt – also good business. As people are walking out of the store (freshly swapped), they’ll also spot an Ikea lamp or rug that will be just the thing to make their new/old furniture look perfect.

But then I started to think about this relative to jobs. In the session I was leading today, with a group of European managers from Rockwell Automation, we ended up talking quite a bit about people who don’t perform well simply because they’re in the wrong job. It happens all too often, from my point of view, that when someone’s not doing well, the manager just assumes the person’s not capable or not motivated, overall…vs. just that they’re not capable or motivated in that job.

As a result, I believe a great many people get fired who might have been extremely successful doing different jobs in the same organization.

So, I say we emulate Ikea: let’s swap employees. For instance, let’s say you’re a manager in Sales, and you have Employee A who you think is smart and has good skills, but is a bad fit for the job she’s currently doing; you think she might do well in Marketing. Your friend, the head of Marketing, has Employee B who is very unhappy in his current job, and who might be very well suited to doing Employee A’s job. The two of you talk to your employees; both are enthusiastic; the jobs are at basically the same level; the company supports the move — voila! employee swap.

I notice this happens fairly often in small companies, where things are informal, and where the leaders tend to want to keep people they think are good, and so find jobs that suit them. In larger companies, the processes and rules necessary to keep the enterprise moving forward often get in the way of this kind of common-sense changing out of employees.

HR people and line managers might want to work together to look for ways to make this “swapping” easier in their company. When you look at the costs – both psychic and financial – involved in turn-over, it makes perfect sense to try your best to find a better job fit for an under-performing employee, vs. letting him or her go. Especially if that person seems enthusiastic and positive, and like a good fit culturally…don’t throw him/her away — look for a swap.

Posted in Organizations


Bragging Rights

Link: Soundview Executive Book Summaries: Business Book
Summaries in print, audio, online & PDA

If I can’t brag on my very own blog…

So, here goes. I just discovered that Soundview now has a very positive summary/review of Growing Great Employees at the link above.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Soundview, this is how it’s described on the Center for Creative Leadership website: “Soundview is the world’s leading source for summaries of the best business books on leadership, marketing and sales, career advancement, emerging trends, and other relevant business topics.”

My favorite line: “Andersen provides a smart and easy-to-read management book that offers logical advice and step-by-step instructions for most situations.”

Very nice little ego boost on a Friday night. Have a good weekend, and I’ll be back talking about real management stuff next week….

Posted in Books


Blogging Hall of Mirrors

Link: Phil Gerbyshak and David Zinger: the link is above is to that post. In their introduction to it, they reference my blog.

So, if you go there from here, and then click back to here from there, and then click back to there from here, and then…

Just wondering.

Posted in communicating


We Might Want to Listen to Warren Buffett

Link: The Associated Press: For Buffett, Marmon Is ‘Bet on America’.

Sometimes I get tired of talking about the deep connection between good management, a strong and positive culture, and good business results. So, I guess I’ll let Warren Buffett speak for me instead. Here’s an excerpt from an article about Buffett’s recent purchase of a 60% stake in Marmon Holdings:

“It is very typical of his investment strategy,” the University of Chicago’s Kaplan said. “He buys businesses that he can understand, that are profitable and generating cash, and that is true of Marmon. He also looks for good management teams that he doesn’t have to tinker with. He buys businesses that have staying power, puts in good management and lets them do their jobs.”

Russo said a company’s culture is key to Berkshire, and that Buffett may allow the Pritzker family to retain a stake in the company to provide a further incentive for future performance.

“The culture gives (Marmon) an advantage over all other sellers,” Russo said. “Because if you buy a company with a bad culture, or bad management, it’s not going to work.”


Posted in Organizations


Friendship Is Golden

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately. As I noted here last week, I’ve been going through some very difficult circumstances in my own life, and I’ve been overwhelmed by the love and support I’ve received: from my children, my siblings, my business partner, my colleagues, my friends.
For someone like me, who tends to err on the side of over-self-sufficiency, it’s been humbling and healing. And it reinforces my faith in humanity: my faith that most people are essentially well-intentioned, and will help you if they can, especially if you are kind to them.

There are times when I wish I was more of a cynic — I had to smile when one book reviewer called me “relentlessly optimistic” — but this isn’t one of them.

I give thanks.

Posted in people


Stay Tuned

Dear readers, I’ve been going through a very difficult time in my personal life over the past few weeks, and haven’t had the energy or bandwidth to post.

I’ll be back as soon as I can…till then, Happy New Year, and may 2008 be your most enjoyable, interesting and satisfying year yet.

Posted in News