Resources

What you'll find here is a nearly complete list of the resources we offer. Some are paid and some are free. It's easier if you limit your search by topic or format (see the menu at the left or right). Or you can use the search bar at the top right. If you want to receive a notification of all the new materials and events on the site, be sure to sign up at one of the many forms scattered around the site. It's free, regular, and content-laden. Here are a few sample issues.

Position Paper: Essential Leadership Qualities

What are the characteristics of a leader that others want to follow?As you’ll soon see, this list is a very personal one. In other words, we’d all come up with different elements when building the list. What I’ve tried to do, though, is to think of a complete leader. So I’ve asked myself this question: can I imagine a leader who isn’t fair, for instance. The answer is obviously no. Each one of these, then, describes a leader’s characteristics, any one of which might hinder their effectiveness if missing in any significant proportion. What I’d encourage you to do--maybe even before you read this list--is to first make up your own list and compare it with mine. (These are not presented in any particular order.)

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Position Paper: Five Important Personal Transitions to Make

As you grow, what transitions are useful and even expected? Let’s look at a few that you’ll almost certainly encounter and help you see what might be on the other side of the transition.

One: Hiring for Expertise vs. Money

The first good transition to make is to begin hiring people for their expertise rather than for what they cost you. In the early days, you have a budget and you hire accordingly. You aim for whatever you can get for that price, and that’s the best you can do. There simply isn’t any more money, and expertise takes a back seat to available funds.

Eventually, though, you determine that expertise is more important than money. So you outline what you’re looking for in great detail and you don’t settle for less. You have a budget in mind, but the budget takes a back seat to the requirements for expertise. That means you may bust the budget. But in this scenario, one very qualified person may actually be equally as effective as two less qualified individuals.

Two: From Judging to Shaping

The second good transition to make is to move from judging to shaping the work underneath....

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Blog Post: You Have One Primary Job as a Leader

As a leader, your job is to make decisions. There are other things, too, but that is your main job.

Warring against that, possibly, is your fear of making the wrong decision. Rest assured in knowing that there is greater long-term potential harm in not making decisions than there is in making wrong decisions.

So to be an effective leader, try to master the timing of your decisions rather than the criteria for your decisions.

Key Times to Make Decisions

So, when should you make a decision? Here are the four most important times to make a decision:

  • When you see an opportunity you're small enough to pounce on. This is usually an opportunity that the big firm has to study, meet about, appoint a committee, assess the risks, get funding approval, and then build consensus around three times per week for five months. There are significant advantages around scale, but being nimble is not one of them.
  • When your people are...
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Blog Post: How Not To Act Like An Expert

I've been offering business insight to help experts achieve higher financial performance, manage people better, staff appropriately, and provide services that their clients value. In the last 20+ years of doing this, I've observed a few practices that contradict expertise. Here are some things that I notice experts doing that seem to contradict how they want us to see them.

  • Be Too Busy to Articulate Thought Leadership There are all sorts of reasons why experts don't write and speak, but none of them are legitimate. If you don't have the time, you aren't making enough money. If you don't know what to say, you aren't an expert. If you don't know how to say it, you haven't practiced enough. If you find too many audiences when directing your writing, you haven't focused enough. Aside from the content itself, having the time to write it sends just as powerful a message.
  • Be Immediately Accessible to the Client Whether misguided or not, developed cultures prefer that their experts be largely...
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Blog Post: Why I Write

It's been a busy month, including a sold-out conference with agencies from seven countries and consulting engagements in Toronto, Chicago, Denver, New York City, Guatemala, Washington DC, and Austin. I'm always grateful for new opportunities, but my biggest regret in busyness is that it crowds out writing, and I'm drawn to writing like a moth to a flame. Why do I miss it? What is it about writing that feeds my soul?

I write because I breathe. I am a deep introvert and this is how I address my world. Tomorrow I speak to a huge crowd at Inbound and I enjoy that immensely, but after I am done I'd rather go write or walk or take pictures. Talking with fifty people after I'm done speaking is more work than speaking. If socializing is acting (to me), then writing is breathing.

I write because it's how I get smart. If you wait for clarity before you write, you'll wait far too long. Clarity comes in the articulation and not after it....

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Book: Managing (Right) for the First Time

This book is intended as a field guide for first time managers, or for managers who want to begin doing a better job. The author worked closely with 650+ companies and interviewed more than 10,000 employees, then summarized the findings in an interesting and imminently readable form. Read this book and you're likely to understand management and leadership like you never have before, but also learn very practical steps toward becoming a better manager.

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Press Item: The Head and Heart of Customer Service

This monograph, penned at the request of the Counselor’s Academy (a subgroup of the Public Relations Society of America), was written in 2002. From the summary:

“Baker's thesis is that before you can serve clients well, you have to find the right clients, then formalize a relationship with them to set expectations and clarify roles. He stresses the importance of ongoing marketing, describes how to achieve the ideal client mix, lists the elements of a typical client agreement, and presents detailed advice on how to communicate effectively to and on behalf of clients in order to keep them satisfied.”

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