Note from Art: every week, I share three thought-provoking management posts for the week. Fair warning: I take a broad view of management, so my selections will range from leadership to innovation to finance and personal development and beyond.

This week’s selections feature content on dealing with a firm’s culture during periods of change, building great businesses the right way, and deliberately crushing your competitors through effective management and leadership. Enjoy!

From Strategy & Business, “Stop Blaming Your Culture.” When the recipe calls for organizational change and one of the ingredients is a new leader, culture will invariably impact the outcome. Frankly, culture trumps just about everything when seeking to lead change. Smart leaders learn to build credibility and support without blaming the culture…even if it’s worthy of a bit of blame.

From the article: Organizational cultures don’t change very quickly. Therefore, if you are seeking change in your company or institution, you are most likely to succeed using your existing culture to help you change the behaviors that matter most. Bit by bit, as these new behaviors prove their value through business results, the culture you have can evolve into the culture you need.

From Wally Bock at Three Star Leadership: Peet’s and Starbuck’s. In addition to being a great leadership blogger, Wally tells good stories about interesting people and their business and leadership pursuits. This article offers a nice, concise overview of how good coffee arrived in America. Thank goodness! I still remember the brown water that passed for coffee circa the mid ’70’s.

From the post:Let’s begin our story like so many business success stories, with three friends sitting around and trying to figure out what kind of business they could start together.  In this case, the three friends were Zev Siegl, Gordon Bowker, and Jerry Baldwin.  The business they decided to start was gourmet coffee.  The company they started was Starbucks.” And: “Way back in 1971, coffee didn’t look like it was a great business.  It didn’t show signs of getting better, either”

From Bret L. Simmons at Positive Organizational Behavior, “If I was Your Competitor.” I love forces us to sharpen our skills, refine our approaches, and it provides go-juice for teams and organizations. I’ve had the great fortune to hang with some excellent sales teams throughout my career, and I love Bret’s attitude here on deliberately crushing your competitors through great leadership and management!

From the post: “If I was your competitor, I would make putting you out of business a game. My employees and I would keep score, and we would celebrate our successes with each other and our growing community of loyal customers.”

OK, that’s it for the week. Thanks to the authors above for sharing their wisdom. I’ll be back next week with another cup of Leadership Caffeine. Don’t forget to check out my new Management Excellence Toolkit Series. We’re currently focused on sharing ideas for improving individual and group decision-making skills.

And of course, I’m always interested in working with you to support your development and the development of great leadership and management practices in your organization. Contact me to discuss your needs for coaching, speaking or training.