Author: Jay Cone

Welcome to the Post-Executive Age

I was chatting with colleagues over lunch during a workshop a few weeks ago when a consultant from a leadership development firm polled us about career development trends we’re noticing in our client organizations. We all agreed that our training programs targeting high-potential leaders have been selling well. We noted that due to a cruel… Read more »

“It’s Not a Show”: How to Become a Better Meeting Participant

Organizational systems consultants, like myself, usually have loads of advice for bosses about how to lead meetings. Meetings fascinate us consultants because that’s where all the action takes place—they are a microcosm of an organization’s culture. You can learn a lot about an organization by paying attention to how the functional groups and work teams… Read more »


I’m working on becoming more compassionate. His Holiness the Dalia Lama believes that compassion forms the basis for ethical behavior. My interest in compassion is less noble. I find that when I remember to shift my attention from analysis to compassion, I always learn something. Two articles published last week have tested my capacity for… Read more »

“Everybody’s Talking at Me”: A Meditation on Influence

Harry Nilsson’s Grammy award winning song, “Everybody’s Talking at Me,” has been stuck in my head all day, specifically the lyric: Everybody’s talking at me, I don’t hear a word they’re saying, only the echoes of my mind. I actually met Harry Nilsson years ago when I managed a restaurant in Southern California called Severino’s…. Read more »

So how was your vacation?

This time of year, a lot of my conversations with friends, colleagues, and clients began with the question: How was your vacation? Typically, you hear a wistful recounting of highlights followed by comments about the shock of re-entry into the daily routine. It seems that memories and feelings from even the most inspiring vacations fade… Read more »

Compromise: The New “C” Word

Americans can rest a little easier today reassured that people with genuine differences of opinion can find it in their hearts to compromise rather than allow their constituents to suffer from a dangerous game of brinksmanship. I’m referring, of course, to the resolution of the NFL lock-out. Our government may default on our financial obligations,… Read more »

The testing scandal of the day isn’t about who cheated: it’s about who didn’t

 Who do we punish?  Who do we blame?  Or do we have a better option? A state investigation of the Atlanta public schools released last week identified 44 schools and at least 178 teachers and principals that systematically corrected student test answers in order to artificially inflate scores on the state’s mandated competency test. Governor… Read more »

Threats, Norms, and Culture: What a New Study of National Cultures Might Teach Us About the Cultures Our Organizational Systems Produce

Is it appropriate to kiss in a restaurant? How about in an elevator? Would it be socially acceptable to curse in a public park? Eat during a job interview? Turns out—and it’s not particularly surprising—that the answer to these questions has a lot to do with the country you live in.  It also turns out… Read more »

Kids Aren’t Widgits and Education Isn’t an Assembly Line

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” — William Butler Yeats Two weeks ago, my fourteen-year-old daughter summed up her day at school: “I finished the science TAKS [The Texas assessment of knowledge and skill] in about an hour and then slept for five hours.” On this particular… Read more »