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About Us

One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple. ― Jack Kerouac


We help general managers connect people and decisions across all disciplines and departments.  This saves time, reduces errors and creates rewarding work.  The Center provides the standard tools, terminology and body of knowledge that gets everyone on the same page.

Why now?  New communications technology pressures us to communicate instantly, while globalization forces constant adaptation. Customer demands and competitor innovations keep everyone running: there is now little room for error.

Why you? 
We need members who will share, develop and recognize ideas that help people work together.


The Center for Management Terms & Practices is a US business and, after 10 years of development, was formally launched in 2017 after a pilot with the Small Business Administration.  Its tools, training and standards of terminology have been tested with hundreds of senior managers in every sector.  For over 20 years, the founders had watched organizations make $1M mistakes because of misunderstandings about management terms and practices.  They also saw the high human cost of this problem--and dedicated themselves to the serious work of providing a global solution.



CEO and Founder:  Derrick Van Mell. Derrick had been a management advisor for 20 years and worked with hundreds of leaders in all types and sizes of organizations. He has a BA in Economics, an MBA and an MA in English. He’s the author of dozens of published articles and two books, Buildings Matter and Question-Based Planning. He’s spoken throughout the US and in Europe and Asia.  Derrick’s passion is to bring simplicity and clarity to the world of work.

Knowledge Manager:  Robert Van Mell.  Robert graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in Economics from Tufts University and has Masters degrees in both Business and Computer Science from The University of Chicago. In his career he has been involved in risk management as a partner in an options trading house and investment firm, plus has developed methodology for capturing and valuing expertise. He has a strong interest in knowledge sharing as well as structuring and simplifying information for better decision-making.

Events Coordinator (part-time):  We're looking for an Events Coordinator, an extroverted and meticulous friend of technology who can help us build our community of learners.  Read the job description and contact us if interested.


The GM's Toolkit has been used to meet many common challenges:

•  Check if budgets or plans are complete
•  Plan a project
•  Prepare for staff, sales or board meetings
•  Assess operational performance and gaps—and risks
•  Assess gaps and overlaps in a merger or alliance
•  Orient new employees and board members quickly
•  Establish a franchisee, dealer or vendor training program
•  Create management training programs
•  Manage succession

Our trainers can assist members get the most from our tools and terms.  The Decisions page helps members get started on more complex issues.

Code of Ethics

No one wants someone to use these ideas to improve how they manage a hurtful or hateful activity. This is why the first term in The CMTP Index is 1.1 Ethics & the lawplease study and discuss its Definition, 3 Good Questions and Recommended Resources.  Please also read the Center’s Code of Ethics;  our joining agreement commits members to this code.  Violation of this code can result in losing one's membership.

Review Board for The GM's Index of Terms

A standard can be managed better by experienced people working with thoughtful guidelines rather than by any automated process. The Review Board sets policy for carefully communicated changes to the terminology and resources in The GM's Index of Terms.  The Board uses today's communication tools to listen to its members. Click here for the Board’s editorial and submittal guidelines.

  • Derrick Van Mell, CEO of the Center and Review Board Chair
  • Tom Oakley, CEO and serial entrepreneur
  • Ruth Schmidt, Executive Director of Wisconsin Early Childhood Association
  • Phil Kim, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, Babson College

Ideas for the Future
The Center has so many things it can do.  Ideas being considered are:
  • Establish chapters in Madison and Milwaukee
  • Hire interns to continue researching Recommended Resources
  • Create teams to develop Briefings and Best Practices
  • Host international events to foster cross-border collaborations
  • Become a B-certified Corporation
If you have ideas for the Center's future, please join and engage in our forums.  The Center is for you!

We help people achieve great things together.

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