Sunday, November 30, 2008

Make It Positive

Metrics and key performance indicators are important performance management tools, but they're only as good as the behaviors they elicit. Unforeseen and undesirable behavior can and of­ten does result.

Finance and IT managers typically drive performance management, but they tend to focus on reporting and decision support, says Frank Buytendijk, VP and fellow of enterprise performance management at Oracle and author of Performance Leadership. They often forget the need to drive people's behaviors, "yet they're always surprised when people don't respond as expected when they're confronted with a budget, scorecard, or key performance indicator."

Classic examples of undesirable behavior include pushing deals into the next quarter because targets have been met or "use-it-or-lose-it" spending against budget at year's end. How do you promote positive performance behavior? Buytendijk suggests these steps:

Balance performance measurements:
"If you only have long-term indicators, nobody has a sense of urgency, and if you only have quarterly targets, people run from little fire to little fire," he says. Develop a mix of long- and short-term indicators, as well as operational and financial ones, so you can see the consequences of day-to-day decisions. Balance quantitative and qualitative measures so high throughput, for example, doesn't come at the cost of quality. Manage with leading metrics and use lagging metrics for externa! reports such as financial statements.

Align corporate and personal objectives:
Companies are typically measured based on profit margins, yet sales compensation programs often reward revenue. To drive desired behavior, align personal goals with the real objectives, but be prepared for hard work. Avoid "we've always measured this way" cop-outs or, worse, "it's too hard to come up with a margin-based compensation scheme."

Consider the "network effect":
Performance management really pays off when it aligns networks, be it departments within a company or partners in a supply chain. Tie together metrics that measure handoff efficiencies from, say, production to distribution or marketing to sales and support, but you have to assign shared responsibility among managers with executive oversight.

In supply chain scenarios, for example, deep integration of logistical systems can to lead to just-in-time efficiencies, but they can also result in one-sided measures that punish one partner and encourage dysfunctional behavior, such as demanding service-level agreements that might tempt a supplier to slack off on quality control. Ensure that the measures drive mutual benefit. Accurate manufacturer forecasts, for example, will improve supplier efficiencies and lower costs for both partners.

by Doug Henschen, Information Week Nov 24, 2008 p37

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Musings about Miles Davis

"The Musings Of Miles" [Rudy Van Gelder Remaster] This was a forerunner of the
Miles Davis Quintet as it was his first session with Red Garland and Philly Joe Jones. Up to then his Prestige dates had been of the "all star" variety. (Oscar Pettiford fills that bill here.) By the fall, John Coltrane and Paul Chambers would come aboard to help form the first of a continuum of great Davis working groups. On "A Night in Tunisia" Philly Joe used special sticks with little cymbals riveted to the shaft. with Red Garland, Oscar Pettiford, Philly Joe Jones.

"Live At The 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival" This previously unreleased live album features Miles Davis on trumpet, George Coleman playing the tenor saxophone, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter playing bass and Tony Williams on drums. Produced by Jimmy Lyons, this album was recorded live at the Monterey Jazz Festival on September 22, 1963. All proceeds from this recording go to Monterey Jazz Festival-supported jazz education programs.

"Muted Miles" This hand-picked collection puts a softly-focused blue spotlight on the intimate and unmistakable sound of the one and only Miles Davis playing his horn with a Harmon mute. In fact, this is the first-ever compilation to showcase his seminal harmon mute performances on Prestige! Miles's artfully nuanced playing, presented with the sonic signature of his warmly-buzzing, muted trumpet tone is, to this day, often imitated but never duplicated. Featuring many of the all-time greatest names in jazz including John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, and Red Garland, this incredible specially-priced collection is not to be missed.

"Miles Davis Plays For Lovers" One of the most haunting sounds to emerge from the 20th century emanated from Miles Davis’s trumpet. Whether the bell of that horn was open or filled by his trademark Harmon mute, Davis (1926-1991) soloed with surpassing beauty. From 1953 to 1956 he established himself as one of the preeminent balladeers; it was also during this period that he formed his first great quintet, featuring a rapidly-developing tenor saxophonist named John Coltrane. On “’Round Midnight,” “It Never Entered My Mind,” and “My Funny Valentine” (which Coltrane sat out), Davis’s band brought new depth and intimacy to love songs, with the trumpeter’s restrained lyricism offset by Coltrane’s voluble approach. Elsewhere, Davis is joined by such giants as Horace Silver, Charles Mingus (co-composer, with Miles, of the moody blues “Smooch”), and Elvin Jones. Here is a great artist playing for lovers—and offering nary a sentimental note.

"Prestige Profiles Vol. 1" Miles Davis' period with Prestige spanned 1951-1956, which included time spent with John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer, Philly Joe Jones. Miles' use of the trumpet mute was highlighted during this period. Original versions of Walkin', Airegin, and Doxy are featured on this Prestige Profile #1. The bonus disc with the Miles Davis issue highlights other Prestige trumpeters such as Kenny Dorham, Art Farmer/Donald Byrd, and Chet Baker. Gil Evans' composition, Jambangle. from Gil Evans Plus 10 is a nice treat as well.

Although Miles Davis' 1955-1957 quintet had a relatively short life, it went down in history as one of the finest and most interesting bebop combos of the 1950s. It was a group in which different musical personalities did more than coexist -- they complimented and inspired each other. The quintet's front line had two unlikely allies in Davis and the distinctive John Coltrane, whose aggressive, passionate tenor saxophone was quite a contrast to Davis' subtle, understated, cool-toned trumpet. Davis, who was Chet Baker's primary influence and defined cool jazz with his seminal Birth of the Cool sessions of 1949-1950, was a very economical player -- he didn't believe in notes for the sake of notes, whereas Coltrane's solos tended to be a lot longer. But as different as Davis' and Coltrane's musical personalities were, Miles Davis Quintet never failed to sound cohesive. Davis formed the famous group in 1955, hiring Coltrane as well as a rock-solid rhythm section that consisted of bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Philly Joe Jones (not to be confused with swing drummer Jo Jones), and the lyrical pianist Red Garland. The group's sessions of 1955-1956 resulted in four albums on Prestige (Cookin', Relaxin', Workin', and Steamin') and one on Columbia (Round About Midnight). Although the Miles Davis Quintet officially broke up in early 1957, its members were briefly reunited when, in 1958, they formed a sextet with alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley and recorded Milestones for Columbia. Davis and Coltrane continued to work together in 1959 (when Davis recorded the influential modal classic Kind of Blue), but in 1960, Coltrane formed his own group and left the trumpeter's employ for good. ~ Alex Henderson, All Music Guide

"Steamin' With the Miles Davis Qunitet" Of Miles Davis's many bands, none was more influential and popular than the quintet with John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones. Davis's muted ballads and medium-tempo standards endeared him to the public. The horns' searing exposition of classics like "Salt Peanuts" and "Well, You Needn't" captivated musicians. The searching, restless improvisations of Coltrane intrigued listeners who had a taste for adventure. The flawless rhythm section became a model for bands everywhere. Steamin' is a significant portion of the music of this remarkable group.

Steamin' is more than a great set of performances, even more than a great album by a great improvisatory ensemble, led by one of the century's greatest musicians, although history does seem to prove that it is all of these things. The album comes from the first of Miles Daves' two witheringly great quintets, with Red Garland, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones in the rhythm section and John Coltrane up front. And somehow, producer Bob Weinstock and engineer Rudy Van Gelder genuinely captured in Van Gelder's Hackensack studio a miniature universe illustrating why Davis stood at the top of his game in 1956. Steamin' is simply one of the most complete sets of music ever and you can experience it again as part of the Rudy Van Gelder Remasters series. He exercises a popular melody from a musical ("Surrey with the Fringe on Top") as a framework for a round of solos that sparkle with genius; during 'Trane's workout, all connection to the original sounds lost until Davis calls the melody back home. "Salt Peanuts" and "Well, You Needn't" remind that in the previous decade, Davis stood on the front lines in the harmonic, melodic and rhythmic revolution in jazz known as bebop. Coltrane sits two of the balladas out to leave Davis in an acoustic quartet, something Davis almost completely stopped soon hereafter. The soft, reticent melody to "When I Fall in Love" profoundly complements Davis' ballad style. liner notes by Chris Slawecki

"The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions" Baseball insiders, as well as those who just love the game, speak reverently of the “five-tool player”: that is, the rare athlete who can hit for average, hit for power, field, throw, and run. In the world of jazz during the mid-1950s, the first great quintet of the trumpeter-bandleader Miles Davis (1926-1991) was a five-tool band, and then some. More than any other ensemble, the Davis five could play burning bebop, churning hard bop, and blithely bouncing show tunes. They breathed new life into long-forgotten standards, and their deep-night ballads, featuring the leader’s insinuating, Harmon-muted melodic statements, could inspire love sonnets for the ages.

Moreover, each supremely gifted member of the group was very much his own man. There was the clipped lyricism of the nattily-attired Davis; the vertiginous flights of the rapidly-developing tenor saxophonist John Coltrane; pianist Red Garland’s bell-like chords and sunny solos; the buoyant lines and eloquent bowing of young bassist Paul Chambers; and drummer Philly Joe Jones’s nonstop drive and slick brush work. Davis and company set the bar almost impossibly high, as these 32 selections, the quintet’s valedictory for Prestige before moving to Columbia, make abundantly clear.

Recorded in three sessions by the legendary engineer Rudy Van Gelder at his Hackensack, New Jersey studio to simulate “typical” nightclub sets, virtually every tune has become a classic. The mercurial trumpeter’s band is cookin’ on “Tune Up,” “Oleo,” and “Salt Peanuts” (with Philly Joe’s solo a model of percussive excitement and musicality); workin’ on “Four,” “Blues by Five,” and “Trane’s Blues”; relaxin’ on “When Lights Are Low,” “Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” and “In Your Own Sweet Way”; and steamin’ on signature ballads such as “It Never Entered My Mind,” “’Round Midnight,” and “My Funny Valentine.”

Newly remastered, and with insightful liner notes by Bob Blumenthal, The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions is like a game-winning grand slam home run in the bottom of the ninth—in four consecutive World Series games.

Managing the Social Networking Data Sieve

Four steps to containing the legal risks of social sites

Twitter, Facebook, Linkedln and other social networking sites practically beg you to reveal even more information about yourself. Log on and you're asked: What are you doing? What are you doing right now? What are you working on? Whether they mean to or not, any of your employees active on these sites can give away company secrets as easily as they do personal ones, 150-odd characters at a time. For ClOs trying to get a grip on social networking by employees, Tom Mighell, a lawyer and senior manager at Fios, an electronic-discovery consulting firm, offers some starting points:


Many employees will use social networking tools regardless of what you want them to do. Instead of trying to stop them, teach them what to say, or what not to say, about work. For example, employees might be tempted to promote the features of a new product. But should that product become the subject of a product liability claim, those statements could be used as damning evidence, Mighell says. Also, they should be clear about which statements are opinion, which are fact. Talk frankly about the legal risks.


Show how to use social networking tools productively and creatively for work without giving away too much information. For example, solicit expertise but don't get too specific. Wrong: "About to blow major deadline for Project Anaconda. Any SAP Netweaver experts out there? Help!" Right: "Looking for an SAP Netweaver expert."


If information posted on social net­working sites becomes relevant in a lawsuit, you will have to collect it, review it and search it so you can comply with discovery requests. That may mean your social-networking employees may have to give up some privacy—their site passwords, for example. This particular situation hasn't yet come up in court, but it could get messy if the employee refuses to cooperate, Mighell notes.


Designate a couple of people from the tech or legal groups to do sweeps of Facebook, Linkedln and other known hang-outs of your employees, to see who's saying and doing what. Talk to those who aren't following policy, and keep records to prove regular monitoring and enforcement of your rules, he says. You can't defend yourself if you set policy but never enforce it.

by Kim S. Nash, CIO Magazine, November 15, 2008, p.34

Friday, November 14, 2008


Some musicians are sufficiently inspired and influential to be labeled epoch-making. Miles Davis (1926-91) made new jazz epochs every few years. For nearly five decades he was at the center of the music, charting directions and introducing other legendary figures at a rate that is unmatched by his contemporaries in any art form.

The family poverty that makes for jazz melodrama was absent in Davis's background. He grew up in relative affluence in East St. Louis, Illinois and, after filling in with Billy Eckstine's big band while still in high school, journeyed to New York to enroll at Juilliard. He quickly renewed acquaintances with the bebop pioneers he had met in Eckstine's ranks, and by the end of 1945 had assumed the trumpet chair in Charlie Parker's quintet that he continued to hold for much of the next three years.

Davis's first venture as a bandleader was the innovative nonet he created in collaboration with arranger Gil Evans. This band, building on the writing Evans had done for Claude Thornhill and employing such unusual timbres for jazz as those of the French horn and tuba, provided the more subtle yet still harmonically provocative palette that soon became recognized as the "birth of the cool"; Yet in smaller bands of quartet to sextet size that Davis tended to lead in most of his live and studio work for the next several years, the emphasis was on a more assertive rhythmic edge and extended improvisations that revitalized the blues vernacular. A list of key collaborators in this 1951-54 period would have to include J.J. Johnson, Sonny Rollins, John Lewis, Horace Silver, Thelonious Monk, Milt Jackson, Percy Heath, Kenny Clarke, and Art Blakey, who together were laying the foundation for another stylistic variation, known as hard bop.

After a triumphant performance of "'Round Midnight" in a jam session at the 1955 Newport Jazz Festival, Davis was finally able to sustain a permanent band. The personnel (John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, Philly Joe Jones) are indicative of the diversely matched yet ultimately reinforcing ensembles the trumpeter would assemble again and again, bands that could create distinct group sounds behind each soloist and introduce fresh concepts regarding jazz form. While this unit, with the added participation of Cannonball Adderley and Bill Evans, became the dominant small jazz band of the late Fifties and helped popularize material based upon scales and modes, Davis also reunited with Gil Evans for a series of orchestral recordings that redefined the potential of the jazz soloist in a large band context.

The Sixties found Davis putting together another seminal quintet with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams. This band took modern combo concepts to the edge of freedom, then incorporated electric instruments and layers of chordal and rhythmic support that launched the jazz-rock or fusion phenomenon. Working with larger, highly amplified bands from 1968 forward, and employing such future stars as Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Zawinul, Keith Jarrett, and John McLaughlin, Davis now concentrated on sound and rhythm more than ever, becoming simultaneously more basic and more abstract in his approach. After a period of retirement in the late Seventies, he returned to studio and live performance with another generation of leaders-to-be (John Scofield, Mike Stern, Kenny Garrett, Bob Berg) and remained jazz's most charismatic figure until his death.

Monday, November 03, 2008

New Tactics for Old Deals

Tips to Help You Get What You Want at the Negotiating Table

Sitting down with a vendor to renegotiate an existing outsourcing contract can be a challenging task. David Patzwald, CIO of Schneider Electric North America, offers the following suggestions for how to make your negotiation sessions a fruitful—not frustrating—experience.

Don't have only IT at the table
Include people from other parts of the business, as close to the top as possible. No matter how much ClOs might wish otherwise, vendors will behave differently when the senior person in the room Is from the business side.

Get blended measures of health

It is important to establish health-of-contract metrics for both financial and emotional satisfaction, and to balance them in the vendor's mind. When one goal becomes more important than the other—racing to meet product delivery milestones leads to cutting the head of production out of the loop—a contract begins to fail.

Include vendor input
The CIO should have the final decision when you're considering whether standing applications or new initiatives should end, but don't make those decisions without first talking to the vendor who services those projects.

- by Diane Frank, CIO, October 15, 2008, p68.