AUTHOR ARCHIVES

Jackson Nickerson

Associate Dean, Brookings Executive Education Jackson Nickerson is the Frahm Family Professor of Organization and Strategy at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, the Associate Dean and Director of the Brookings Executive Education, and a Senior Scholar in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. An award winning researcher and teacher, Jackson specializes in leadership, strategic and critical thinking, leading change, and innovation. While in a prior life he worked for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he now advises government agencies, not-for profits, and for-profit businesses on ways to improve performance. He is the author of Leading Change in a Web 2.1 World.
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How to Think Strategically as a Leader

October 17, 2014 What is strategic thinking and how can I get better at it?—Anonymous In our rapidly changing world, strategic thinking is a tent pole of leadership. Good strategic thinking can help resolve challenges. But bad strategic thinking almost always makes the situation worse. Outside of dictionary definitions, strategic thinking has resisted ...

Will the New Manager Be a Bully Too?

September 22, 2014 I am a fairly new second-level supervisor at a small office (20-30 people). The supervisor of the largest branch I oversee just left. The sigh of relief was palpable. She hid it well from me, but I'm now discovering (and employees are finally telling me) about bullying tactics, moodiness and ...

Navigating the Tricky Transition From Peer to Manager

September 5, 2014 What would you discuss in your first meeting as new manager and your first one-on-one with employees if promoted within group of co-workers?—Anonymous One of the more difficult transitions in professional life is being promoted to manage a group in which only yesterday you were a fellow team member. The ...

Why Government Needs More Enterprise Leaders

July 11, 2014 At a recent conference an old friend asked me a question: “What is the key difference between leading in government and private enterprise?” The question is difficult to answer. Government and private enterprise differ in so many dimensions: purpose, human capital, finance and funding, operations, incentives, procurement and purchasing, organizational ...

How to Win Over The Idea Killers

July 9, 2014 Q: How can I get other people to implement my ideas? —Anonymous Good ideas aren’t a rare commodity. They come up all the time, often in response to a problem, challenge or opportunity. If implementing your idea falls entirely within your realm of authority, then it may require some sweat ...

To Bonus, or Not to Bonus

June 23, 2014 Bonuses in government are in the news, again. The House recently voted to eliminate performance bonuses at the Veterans Affairs Department in response to the scandal regarding patient wait lists that ultimately led to the resignation of Secretary Eric Shinseki. Two reports—one by the VA's inspector general and another by ...

4 Ways to Improve Accountability in Your Office

June 6, 2014 Q: I am trying to figure out how to address accountability in my office. In the Culture Climate Survey, staff identified accountability of leadership as an issue. In the past, leaders either avoided problems or tried to address them after they became far too serious. This is a very sensitive ...

How to Lead Change From the Lower Ranks

May 27, 2014 Q: Recently, you answered a question about how to spur innovation as a manager. I have the same question, but I am just a secretary. I have used available forums to try and introduce basic best practices but have not had success. I would like to increase efficiency and improve ...

How to Lead Change When You’re a Middle Manager

May 9, 2014 Q: How can I lead change across my agency or across agencies when I don’t have the authority to do so? --Anonymous Whether it is developing new information technology systems, designing new risk-based systems of regulation, or building new electronic Freedom of Information Act systems, leading change to build new ...

Are Your Workers Just Checking the Box?

May 9, 2014 How to lead them off the path of least resistance and inspire innovative thinking. Q: I find that many on my team take the path of least resistance. I want them to think a little harder and more critically about the tasks in front of them. How can I, as ...