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The Servant Manager

"A manager helps people work together."  This simple definition describes one of the hardest and most helpful jobs in the world. A Servant Manager always puts others first and, by doing so, helps everyone and the organization succeed. Servant Managers are conversant in every management discipline, and have exceptional emotional intelligence. They are pledged to the Code of Managerial Power.

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CEO Roundtable Intensive

The eight CEOs working on this agreed that not having a succession plan is insane. The top three lessons are...

Derrick Van Mell

There are three reasons we undervalue good managers.

A 1% improvement in management ability increases Net Margin 100 basis points. So why don't we respect good managers? Perhaps we've been looking at the role all wrong: perhaps managing is really a helping profession.

Derrick Van Mell

CEO Roundtable Report: Protection, Direction and Order

Having the power to tell people what to do can be dangerous. Ten leaders took up this topic to share their experiences and ideas on using their power to do good.

Derrick Van Mell

Use Strengths to Attack, Not Just Offset Risks

On September 29, 2020, CFOs from several industries participated in a Roundtable Intensive on risk: “What Else Could Go Wrong?” Michael Best was our sponsor. One key idea: Use your strengths to resolve, not just counterbalance your risks.

Derrick Van Mell


In this episode, Derrick Van Mell from the Center for Management Terms and Practices discusses managerial power. We cover what happens when power is used incorrectly and offer a framework and examples of how power can be used for maximum benefit.

Derrick Van Mell

Act honorably, and you will be safe, proud and admired.

We are safer when we’re led and managed by honorable people because we trust them to do what they say they’ll do, even when things get tough. They reduce the uncertainties and risks in our difficult work lives.

Derrick Van Mell

Introducing the Code of Managerial Power

The moral use of managerial power is the primary determinant of success, but handling it requires self-awareness and discipline. Learn the four elements of the moral use of managerial power: awareness, intention, appropriateness and introspection.

Derrick Van Mell


Top line: Changes we’re forced to make for many months will habits that won’t revert. On May 14th, the Center’s Workgroup #2 discussed how our world will be changed forever. Has your organization given this systematic thought?

Derrick Van Mell

Building sales collaboration in the entire organization

What’s the best way to align sales staff with the other departments? Reward a “sales first” culture and lose the checks and balances of collaboration—or fail to motivate the ales team and see revenue drop? A team of experienced generalists show a path o

Derrick Van Mell

How often does the tour help win a new customers or hire a job candidate?

Many leaders show off their buildings to big customers, job and board candidates. Our topic wasn't the project process or aesthetics: it’s about the truth about your organization revealed by your buildings.

Derrick Van Mell

Joe Koss, CEO of Culver's, shares two stories of crisis

How Culver's responded to the 2008-09 recession holds powerful lessons about strong patience. And how one of their Sun Prairie restaurants responded to the fatal gas explosion taught everyone something about themselves.

Derrick Van Mell

Three ways you can quietly, yet effectively improve culture

A boss's power is substantial, but it's much harder to create a caring and encouraging workplace when you have no formal power in the organization. But does that mean you can't do something?

Derrick Van Mell

Having “integrity” in your value statement tells me some people in your organization need a reminder to be honest.

The only value statement any organization needs is "kindness." That's not just a philosophical or spiritual ideal. It's a powerful practical way to be an incredible organization.

Derrick Van Mell

Did anyone ever talk to you about your power as a manager?

I was a bad manager. I don't know if I'm a better one, but I did learn a lesson about how power is a dangerous drug.

Derrick Van Mell

Leadership and management are different things

Leaders inspire people to take a risk. They might also be managers, but leadership and management are different things. It's all about the 3Cs of character.

Derrick Van Mell

Making the step from specialist to generalist

Making the transition—leap, really—from specialist to generalist is fraught with peril. Many people make the General Manager Face Plant: they and their bosses forgot to ask the three Yes/No questions

Derrick Van Mell

Follow these and succeed. Or don't.

75% of U.S businesses are family businesses (90% in Europe and Asia). May are dysfunctional as businesses and families. It's painful and expensive. Why don't they follow best practices?

Derrick Van Mell

It's awkward to have someone else spot your unknown unknowns

Nothing’s worse than giving your CEO a management report to take to the board, only to have a board member find a hole in it. How can you avoid missing one of those famous “unknown unknowns?"

Derrick Van Mell

Don't allow language to be a barrier among types of people

Language can easily become an unintentional barrier to people of different backgrounds or beliefs. The Center is dedicated to making language an opportunity, instead.

Derrick Van Mell

Use the 1-Page Table of Priorities to focus on the real priorities

The Center's workshop on its Table of Priorities attracted 30 senior business development experts. Learn what they learned!

Derrick Van Mell

Best practice of the week: 2.2 Channels of distribution

To compete, it’s important to focus on channels where you’re confident you can take significant market share. Have you asked your customers recently about their online experience?

Derrick Van Mell
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