Can Your Boss Be Watching You Work From Home?

I never had this problem because we were expected to to own our own laptops.  But, undoubtedly a clear majority of you use company or organization owned devices.   This issue comes up from time to time.  In this pandemic period, many of us are working from home.  

Give some thought to what this article speaks to.  This goes to whether it is in the office or off-site.  If it is being done by your boss, is it legal? Is it ethical? Is it moral?  Are you doing something on company time you should not be doing?  Are you being ethical?  Are you being moral?  Are you being honesty?

This matter raises a number of questions.  Whatever side you sit on, you will have views.  Strong-held views in many cases,  I would presume.  This article appeared on February 14, 2021 in the New York Times.  Thorin Klosowski simplifies the issue.  Read on:

Happy Reading,  Bob

Another Article On The MBA!

 My last post was on December 16, 2020 before all of the various holidays.  So welcome to 2021.

If you read the concerns some people have and do not have relative to the MBA degree in my last post, you may be wondering whether you need to be getting an MBA after all.  It all depends.  I am posting today an article from the Wall Street Journal dated January 4, 2021, authored by Patrick Thomas on "Do You Need To Get an MBA?"

As an apparently educated human being, you need to think about and analyze this situation.  Will the cost of the MBA give you a good ROI against future salary and promotion increases?  Do you have the time, etc. to spend on getting an MBA?   What is it your want to do with your MBA?  

The lists of questions could go on and on, but if you want to be successful, then analyze what is best for you and take the appropriate action.

As I said in the last blog post, I have my Master's.  Mine was completed 45 years ago.  Undoubtedly the curriculum has changed in huge ways since then.  In viewing my degree, I do not think it was that terribly helpful in my career as a consultant.  It was composed of a great deal of "ivory tower" stuff, so not that much was truly helpful in my real world.  But what it did give me is a stronger ability to reason and think, as well as in making presentations.  

Decide for yourself.  




I recently came across an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled

"Elon Musk Decries 'M.B.A.-ization of America'

It was written by Patrick Thomas and appeared on December 10, 2020.  Basically the simplified premise of Musk is that there are far too many M.B.A.s running companies who are not as holistic as he thinks they should be.  He feels there are so many that are too involved in financial spreadsheets, board meetings, etc., and not enough 'executives willing to step away from their spreadsheets and get out of the boardroom and onto the factory or business floor.'   Musk goes on to say "there should be more focus on the product or service itself, less time on board meetings, less time on financials."

Not surprisingly, the M.B.A. schools disagree.  In this article the schools say nothing could be further from the truth.  They feel the education they provide does these things.  Robert Siegel, a lecturer in management at Stanford Graduate School of Business believes "he's (Musk opinion) got a strong element of truth of what leaders should be focused on, but he is completely off base talking about M.B.A.'s."  Isn't that a conundrum since a large number of CEO's and Executives  are in fact M.B.A.'s?  

Now to be transparent, I have a Master's in Business from a well regarded regional University.  But having spent the last 40 years in management consulting all over the globe, I have developed some opinions about my education.  

1) My Master's is over 45 years old and in fact I have no doubt there have been many changes to the core                       curriculum of any M.B.A program.

2)  In traveling to over 63 countries around the world and working with CEO's, C-Suite Executives, Senior Managers,  Middle Managers and Supervision, I can clearly say that a large majority of the C-Suite level people I have met do not go out on the factory or facility work area.  Many times they have no clue how the product is made or how the service is administered.  They rely on strategy managers and Operations managers to tell them what is happening.  Here we have a problem because if something is going wrong, most times, these people may shade the truth.  A long time ago, the acronym MBWA was very popular.  MBWA stands for Management By Wandering Around. Maybe this is not the cleverest of expressions but it meant CEO's and C-Suite level people who had a serious grasp of what was happening in the work areas of their companies or organizations.  They would go out and meet the people doing the work and listen to them.  Now of course that is not always possible, but it can and should be done a few times a year at the very least.  

3) New to me is the data revolution compared to when I received my Master's.  But I have developed enough skill and knowledge to understand what the hell is going on.  Many CEO's I have seen ask their assistants to do it for them.  You don't learn by NOT doing.  You must have some basic intuitive knowledge or you will lose.

4)  In my view and compared to my education, I do not think there is enough time spent on ethics, value propositions, cultural aspects of management, creativity, leadership, crisis management, etc.  I cite Boeing's mismanagement of their 737 Max situation and Equifax's massive data breach, only disclosed in 2017.  These are just two, but we all know there are many many more.  And yet there are other companies who ride through some of these same type of hurdles.  


Raj Echambadi, the dean of Northeastern University's D'Amore-McKim School of Business in this article "questioned Mr. Musk's assertion that CEO's shouldn't be attuned to their company profitability, adding that an M.B.A. can give corporate leaders a holistic understanding of business, from the supply chain, operations and manufacturing to marketing, customer service and human resources."   Some of this is true, but give me a break Mr. Musk and Dean Echambadi, a CEO who is not attuned to his or her company's profitability, should not be in that role. It is just one piece in the massive jigsaw puzzle known as management.

In any event, I do not fully support Musk, nor can I support these education leaders.  They both have valid points.  You cannot create an M.B.A. program which covers every foreseeable situation, but you can create executives with more expertise and skill in things other than spreadsheets and board meetings.   

Take a look at the article by Patrick Thomas and develop your own opinion.





The Covid-19 Pandemic has been driving us all crazy for the last 11 months.  Whether you have lost your job, your company/organization, perhaps you have come down with this terrible disease, or you are one of the healthcare providers who are trying to help, it has been one hell of a year.  

In any event, those who are trying to keep their businesses afloat during this tragic time are facing monumental situations they never could have possibly imagined, planned for or learned how to deal with.  So in doing my normal daily reading, I came across the following article from the Wall Street Journal.

The article is entitled "You Have to Take Jumps."  It was written by Thomas Gryta and appeared December 5, 2020 in The WSJ.  This article details in great depth how an iconic company,  Emerson Electric, Co., and its CEO David Farr dealt with all of the problems and issues their global company had to deal with.  Emerson has 90,000 employees world-wide.  It started in the 19th century when it made the first electric fans that were sold in the USA.  Built up over the years, it now has over 200 manufacturing sites, with two-thirds of them outside the USA and to its shareholders, it is a business worth $45 billion USD.    

This is all about how they dealt with the pandemic and it's effect on this business.  Two quotes from the article remain in my mind:

-----"We have customers to serve and we can't frickin' do it if nobody is here."

-----"As soon as you hear someone say 'the new normal,' plug your ears and say bulls---."

While none of us could ever be in Farr's shoes, it is an illuminating article to read about how they did their best to overcome the effects of the pandemic on their company.  I may not be able to condone all of the actions and methods Farr used but he did what he felt was best to keep the company afloat and his people working, while keeping them as safe and healthy as he could.  We all have different leadership styles and in times of crisis you may have to act precipitously.  I hope you will take a few moments to read this important article.  Thanks to Thomas Gryta and the WSJ for this thought-provoking article. 

Bob Jacobson




We all need to do a better job of listening.  Whether it is a political matter, a business matter, a personal matter or something in the news, we all need to do a better job with this important topic.

The recent issue of listening certainly came into being with the CEO of the Crossfit brand.  He spoke with numerous people in this business and apparently did not hear, did not listen or did not want to hear what they were saying.  I wasn't there so I don't implicitly know.  But since then he has resigned as the CEO.  Why?  Basically all because he was not listening.

My sister and I are basically polar opposites when it comes to politics, but over the last few years we have both tried much harder to listen to the other's thought and ideas on many topics.  Some we will never agree upon, but some, interestingly enough we found that we could agree on with each other.  All it took was some listening.

I was recently going through my archive of articles that I thought were important.  One caught my eye in the context of this subject.  It is an Opinions piece by Kate Murphy from the New York Times newspaper.  In the actual paper version, i is called "Lessons in the Lost Art of Listening."  It has a slightly different name in the digital version but they are both the same article.  I have included the link for you to review.  Please do it as it may help all of us.


Bob Jacobson, MPS, CSBC

To Mask Or Not To Mask, That Is The Question!

I wrote the following piece for my great friend and colleague, Jimmy Quinn's company, Meridian Productivity, Ltd.  They have since posted it on the web site and blog.  With their agreement, I have now posted it on my blog.

I hope you find it informative and I further hope you stay healthy, stay safe and sat sane!

Starting Back Up On The Road Again!!

Whether or not you agree with the reopening of the economies in your state or country, it seems to be a coming reality.  Ultimately that means that at some point now or in the future, you will probably begin to be back on the road again.  Zoom'ing may exist but those who have worked in most businesses, know that being able to look your client in the eye is still the best way to do business.

So, in preparation of being back on the road, the following article appeared in the Wall Street Journal on cleaning your hotel room.  Now most of us would think that the hotel would do that; some will do a great job, some will do an average job and some will do a sub-par job.  We all at one time or another have been in a 4 or 5 star hotel and still found a situation of less than the cleanliness we expected.

So to provide you with some thoughts on this subject, I thought this article was timely.

You must be the judge of what to do or not.  It seems from some of the stories of the suffering people have been going through during the Covid crisis, I personally would prefer to be on the safe side and follow this advice as well as may safety on an airplane, train or bus.  Be Safe, be healthy and be sane.