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Check out the new Sterling Integrators video!

We're very proud to release our new video that lays out our leadership philosophy. Our hats are off to Axoneme Studios, who created all of the video's animations. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXlZktUh7UY Read more

Legal, Profitable, and Evil

In 2004 business was good for Goldman Sachs, and it was getting even better. The financial giant had recently devised a new way to make money: they bundled sub-prime mortgages into securities (Abacus bonds), peddled the shoddy securities off to pension funds, and then helped other clients to bet against the same shoddy securities they had just sold. Goldman employees seemed to be fully aware that their behavior was unethical. They were even quite pleased with themselves, congratulating themselves in internal ... Read more

Don’t Go the Way of Kodak

How can an organization made up of very smart people still make stupid decisions? How can the whole be less than the sum of its parts? These questions come to mind when I hear the word “Kodak.” Several decades ago Kodak prided itself on its cutting-edge technology and its innovative products. Kodak was able to capture nearly 90% of the American photographic film market by the mid 70’s. Its logo was as recognizable as McDonald’s’ and the phrase “Kodak moment” worked its ... Read more

Why Organizations Tear Themselves Apart

The recently released spy film A Most Wanted Man tells the story of a small German intelligence group. The group is headed up by Gunther Bachmann (played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman). Bachmann is tasked with tracking and disrupting Islamic terrorist groups operating in Germany. Set in the gloomy city of Hamburg, the film’s opening explains that it was here that the 9/11 attacks were planned for years with virtually no interference from German or American intelligence agencies. Although there were many ... Read more

The Secret to Google’s Success

In interviews, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin come across as extremely intelligent, creative, open-minded, and unpretentious people. It is clear that both of them are passionate about using technology to make a positive difference in the world. Is it a coincidence that Page's and Brin's characteristics are also the characteristics of Google's corporate culture? Of course not. The single most significant determinant of a company’s culture is its leadership team. That’s why, if you are engaged in leadership development, you’re also engaged ... Read more

Getting the Order Right

Biochemists and civil engineers know that the order in which they do something matters. For the biochemist, combining substances in the correct order can can mean saving a life. Combining them in the wrong order can produce a deadly poison. Civil engineers understand the importance of order as well. If a civil engineer ignores the proper order of operations when solving an equation, it may result in a bridge collapsing. (more…) Read more

The Tragedy of the GM Nod

Leadership and culture can be a matter of life or death. For 11 years the failure of a substandard ignition switch vexed engineers at GM. Now the same switch is being implicated in the deaths of numerous drivers. Although an investigation revealed that a GM engineer was responsible for sourcing a component, which he knew to be substandard, the investigators also said the failure to identify and remedy the switch was caused by GM’s own cultural flaws. (more…) Read more

Wise Growth

37signals is a very unusual company. It started out as a web design company and transformed itself into a software company, almost by accident, when the project management software product it developed for internal use (called Basecamp) became extremely popular outside of the company. Without a single salesperson, 37signals had soon signed up thousands of customers. Unlike most software companies, 37signals is based in Chicago, not Silicon Valley, and it frequently turns down extravagant buy-out offers from venture capital firms and ... Read more

The Last Competitive Advantage

Your best people can be poached. Your technology can be stolen. Your processes can be mimicked. Your supply chain can be replicated. Possessing a unique method, asset, or idea used to be enough to ensure your organization’s long-term success, but not anymore. A massively interconnected and globalized world has transformed what used to be competitive advantages into short-term advantages. There remains only one true competitive advantage: a culture that propels its company towards its goals.  (more…) Read more

Learning from Lincoln’s Life, Part II

In the course of their lives, most people change slowly, and often, hardly at all. Intentionally changing oneself is particularly difficult. Read a biography about one of your favorite leaders and you will notice personality traits and tendencies that manifest themselves at an early age and continue on throughout the individual’s entire life. This stubborn persistence of personality can be frightening to someone who wants to develop leadership skills but feels that their various personality traits prevents them from doing so. What ... Read more
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