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Illusive meanings to key management concepts – leadership, culture, competencies and clients

From an article in the McKinsey Quarterly, 2007 No. 1 at 77: “The fact is that many everyday concepts in business – including leadership, corporate culture, core competencies, and customer orientation – are ambiguous and difficult to define.”

No wonder this blog has had much to say, but has not hazarded any ultimate definitions for these four often-used concepts.

I have launched sallies at aspects of leadership (See my posts of Dec. 5, 2005 and July 18, 2006 on women and leadership; Dec. 19, 2005 about leadership as a key goal; Dec. 21, 2005 on emotional intelligence; April 4, 2006 on Accenture’s Leadership Council; Feb 4, 2006 and Oct. 6, 2006 on leadership generally; May 30, 2006 on neuroscience and leadership; Feb. 4, 2006 on leadership as one of three keys for knowledge workers; March 15, 2006 on Boeing’s leadership attributes; Sept. 27, 2005 on upward evaluations of leaders; Jan. 14, 2007 which questions a general counsel’s leadership role; May 2, 2007 about stress after promotion to a leader’s position; and May 11, 2007 on five leadership practices.).

Fewer posts have touched on law department culture (See my posts of May 30, 2006 on decoding culture; Jan. 25, 2007 on a semiotic view of it; Dec. 21, 2006 regarding client alignment and culture; and May 4, 2005 and April 17, 2007 on cultural integration across international offices.).

The concept of core competencies has resulted in some posts (See my posts of May 14, 2005 on Bain’s survey of management tools; Sept. 21, 2005 on a brand company’s legal focus; Feb. 8, 2006 on British real property; March 13, 2006 on Philip Morris tools; March 15, 2006 on descriptions of core competencies; July 31, 2006 on them being non-rival goods; Aug. 9, 2006 on some peripheral thoughts; as well as Aug. 13 and Oct. 10, 2006 on the whether the concept is sensible.).

“Customer orientation” might fall under client satisfaction or alignment (See my posts under the category of client satisfaction; as well as those on alignment with clients: Aug. 3, 2005 on alignment as a chimera; several on specific companies: Dec. 21, 2005 – Philips; March; 28, 2006 – PPG; Aug. 2, 2006 –Qualcomm; March 17, 2007 – HSBC; May 10, 2006 for alignment as an important Canadian-department goal; March 31, 2007 regarding roadblocks to alignment; April 16, 2007 for extreme alignment; and May 23, 2007 that links bonuses to alignment.).

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