Kaihan Krippendorff provides three signposts that can direct your organization towards a successful pivot.
If people try to tell you that pivoting is the new thing, that it’s the fresh Silicon Valley approach to business designed for today’s fast-paced digital world, don’t believe them. Consider Fairfield University, a private school founded just outside of New York in Fairfield, Connecticut, by the Catholic Church – a 2,000-year-old organization.
In 1941, the society that runs the Jesuit school system had acquired two properties and were finishing renovations on them. One would become a university for college students and the other a preparatory school for younger boys, both on the site of what would become Fairfield University. The plan was to open the university first while renovations on the prep school were still underway.
But then, on Dec. 7, just before the university was scheduled to open, Pearl Harbor was bombed, pulling the United States and nearly all of its college-age men into war. Concerned that they would have a school with no students to fill it, the priests engineered a classic, Silicon Valley-style pivot. They moved the prep school (for younger boys) into the finished building and opened it first.
The signposts are:
-Have a purpose
If you want to know more about the potential benefits, scope, pros and cons of business process outsourcing (BPO) and robotic process automation integration (RPA), check out this article from the knowledge hub on David Burnie’s company website.
Both BPO and RPA aim to achieve the goal of streamlining processes, achieving efficiency and increased productivity, and yielding cost benefits.
BPO and RPA implementations allow organizations to perform back office, internal, and call centre tasks efficiently quickly. This provides enterprises the benefits of overhead cost reduction, improved productivity, better quality, and more.
Both RPA and BPO are most applicable for business processes that are:
- Frequent – consistent daily/weekly volumes
- Repetitive – e.g. data entry tasks
- Rules-based – the process is defined by precise decision rules
- Streamlined – stable, without redundant steps.
Read the full article, Business Process Outsourcing and RPA Integration, on the BPO & RPA knowledge hub at The Burnie Group website.
Dan Markovitz provides a reality check on the concept of management by walking around (MBWA); how the leaders at organizations embracing lean take a different approach, and why the latter is better than the former.
Theodore Kinni argues in Strategy + Business that leaders must practice management by walking around (MBWA), a concept popularized by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman in their seminal book, In Search of Excellence. That’s the best way for them to stay connected to their businesses and understand what’s really happening with their customers. As Peters puts it, “The real meaning [of MBWA] was that you can’t lead from your office/cubicle.”
I’ve got no problem with the concept—after all, it’s similar to the lean precept of genchi gembutsu, or going to the gemba.
But here’s the problem with MBWA: it’s essentially unstructured.
Read the full article, Please, Not Another Argument for MBWA, on Dan’s website.
Christy Johnson shares highlights from the 2019 Project Ascendance Summit and reflects on commonalities among the Gen Zers workforce, including what they expect from companies.
Giving back has been at our core from the beginning. The Artemis Connection 4.5% Promise supports our vision of creating a positive impact so everyone can reach their full potential. It is our commitment to helping change lives, communities, and organizations. Each year, we dedicate 4.5% of our time through pro bono work, volunteering, and board involvement in communities across the country.
Points included in this article:
-Commonalities among Gen Zers
-Strategies used to respond to the changing workforce
Read the full article, We Believe in Giving Back – 4.5% Annual Report 2018-2019, on the Artemis Connection website.
Jonathan Paisner identifies the cause of tension between corporate marketing and brand marketing, and how you can bridge the divide with a brand messaging format that communicates company vision and value for the end consumer.
B2B companies experience an ongoing tension between corporate marketing and product marketing – because their goals aren’t completely alignedFor corporate marketing, the brand is built upon a big idea that aims to capture the promise of the organization at a macro level. In technology and tech-enabled markets, this big idea can be pretty grand (think IBM’s Smarter Planet). For the organization as a whole, this big idea helps to bring different pieces of the company together behind a common purpose and perspective.
Read the full article, Bridging the Gap between Corporate Marketing and Product Marketing, on the Brand Experienced Group website.
From Luca Ottinetti’s company, a blog post that explains why business managers should rely on the industry cost curve to guide their actions and find out how supply and demand is impacting profits.
Market forces affect the equilibrium between supply and demand all the time. For instance, a typical situation of rising production costs drives excess capacity in the market and a shift in the supply curve. Another scenario of a drop in market demand causes a reduction in the equilibrium price and quantity of that good. In both cases, supply will exceed demand, a condition that can exert considerable pressure on profit margins and, in some case, drive companies out of the market. What can managers do?
Points covered include:
-What does the industry cost curve look like?
-Addressing the problem
Read the full article, How Are Supply and Demand Impacting Your Profits?, on the Great Prairie Group website.
Robbie Kellman Baxter explains how to navigate the legal labyrinth when establishing a Saas business, and save a bundle on legal advice.
On my first day of high school, not one teacher talked about math, or history, or German, or literature, or biology. Instead, each teacher handed out and then discussed lists of rules which explained, in excruciating detail, what would happen if we were late to class, or skipped class, or didn’t turn in assignments.
I had two immediate reactions.
The first was surprise. It had never occurred to me that you could just not show up for a class, or refuse to turn in the homework. Yes, I was pretty nerdy, but still, at my good-sized, public middle school, kids attended class and mostly did as we were told.
The second reaction was fear. So many rules! How would I remember them all? And each teacher had slightly different punishments–in some cases, you just had to make up the time, which didn’t seem like such a big deal. But in other cases, your grade might drop a full letter.
Read the full article, How to Save a Bundle on Legal Advice, on LinkedIn.
Susan Drumm identifies how conflict can achieve greater results when it grows from cognitive diversity and provides a few factors that can help you build a cognitively diverse team.
When you imagine an incredibly effective, successful team meeting, what does it look like?
For some people, it looks like this: One person talking while everyone nods. Someone is taking notes while muttering, ‘Yes, I think so too!’ The leader wraps the meeting by asking, ‘So we’re all in agreement?’ And everyone cheers, ‘Yes!’
Now, I love a smoothly run meeting as much as the next person, but I also know you do not want a completely conflict-free team. It’s not good for your company (or your clients or margins) to be staffed exclusively by people who share the same worldview, the same personality type, or the same approach to business.
In fact, every company would benefit from hiring for cognitive diversity — even if it creates conflict.
Why? Because the conflict that arises from cognitive diversity is good conflict.
It’s conflict that results in better products, happier customers, more effective systems, and fewer missteps.
Points covered in this article include:
-What cognitive diversity is
-Types of conflict that arise from cognitive diversity
-How to make sure you have a cognitively diverse team
Read the full article, Why You Need Cognitive Diversity on Your Team – Even if it Leads to Conflict, on the Meritage website.
Luiz Zorzella moves beyond the buzzwords to explain how a razor-sharp vision, strategy, and plan inspires buy-in and achieves results.
If your organization is not delivering the results you expected, maybe one factor holding it back is a lack of razor-sharp precision.
Most business leaders would benefit from sharpening their strategies: employing more clear language (calling a sword a sword), more accurately defining strategic priorities and objectives. But few actually do it. For example, most financial services companies profess to be “client-centric”, but very few actually explain what that looks like. And if you survey the organization and ask how this principle of “being client-centric” applies to practical matters, you will obtain very different answers.
Read the full article, Your Business Needs Razor-Sharp Precision, on the Amquant website.
Life rarely follows the trajectory of a straight line; the ups, downs, obstacles and curve balls tend to throw us off the pre-planned course. Fallon Ukpe shows you how to shift your focus, handle transitions successfully, and create a life of meaningful achievements. Her book, Squiggly Line, was released on Tuesday, November 12th and is now available on Amazon and online from Barnes & Noble.
We have been programmed to believe that the line of life is a perfect, straight trajectory up and to the right, but that’s simply not how life works. And now, we have a problem, because perfect is impossible and life isn’t a straight line—it’s a squiggly line.
Yet we continue to strive for something that is unattainable, unfulfilling, and unnecessary. The pursuit of perfection is leaving us overworked and underwhelmed with the trajectory of our lives. If that’s where you find yourself, there is good news: you have a choice.
The book, “Life Is a Squiggly Line: Start Embracing Imperfection and Stop Settling for Safe,” is available for sale on Amazon.
Paul Millerd shares a comprehensive guide on how to communicate complex information in simple ways, and how to create memorable presentations with 20 secrets from strategy consulting and persuasion science.
How do you build a memorable and persuasive presentation?
I spent over ten years working in the consulting industry at places like McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group and now as a freelance consultant. Communication is central to everything the consulting industry does and in some ways explains why the industry has been so successful for so long. Yet, across the business world and increasingly in the entrepreneurial community, few understand how to present information in a compelling way. Most default to the behaviors of their colleagues or the templates that their company provides. While these methods may result in a beautiful slide, the content tends to fall short.
I am motivated to help people tell remarkable stories, communicate complex information in simple ways, and to teach people how to be memorable. Over the past several years, both through my work and through my research, I have identified many “secrets” of what it takes to create compelling and impactful presentations.
The article covers the following points in detail:
-Make your message memorable
-Structure your message
Read the full article, 20 Secrets From Strategy Consulting & Persuasion Science To Create Memorable Presentations, on the StrategyU website.
David A. Fields offers actionable advice on how to respond to a client when consulting work veers off the rails.
When you, your consulting team and your client all stay on task and positive, consulting is a fun, challenging and rewarding profession. When consulting work veers off the rails, though, how should you respond?
Lines are confusing
Let’s say you want to engage in outreach to your prospects. Rupert, SVP of Everything is next in line. So, you drop him a line. He answers and asks you to hold the line. (Didn’t you just drop it?)
Ugh, you’re on hold, but business is on the line. Two minutes of elevator music. That’s where you draw the line. Is it the end of the line for Rupert? Hard to know—it’s a fine line.
Read the full article, How Your Consulting Firm Should Deal with Clients that Cross the Line, on David’s website.
While most companies have been focusing on lean, Dan Markovitz explains why they should stop talking about lean and move towards a more practical approach.
Lean advocates—and I consider myself one—might do better if they stop talking about lean.
Let’s face it: When executives and workers hear “lean,” not a lot of good happens. They think it’s yet another short-term management fad. Or a cost-cutting program that will lead to layoffs. Or some Japanese thing that only works for car manufacturers.
But when you look at many of the tools and concepts from the lean playbook, they’re really just good management that any leader would want to embrace.
Read the full article, We Really Need to Stop Talking about Lean, on Dan’s website.
This post from Jeremy Greenberg’s company blog identifies five lessons that CEOs can learn from Howard Stern.
Howard Stern has been one of the most controversial entertainers since he hosted his first radio show over 40 years ago. Love him or hate him, he has enjoyed a successful career thus far – building his brand into an empire worth over $600 million as well as transforming the landscape of terrestrial and satellite radio. Stern’s success can teach us a lot about business. The following are five lessons that CEOs can learn from Howard Stern.
The five lessons covered in the post are:
2.Build a strong, diverse team
3. Balance work and life
4. Pivot naturally
5. Always be curious
Here is the lesson on building a strong, diverse team:
Howard Stern is not a one-man show. “I’m at my best when I have a bunch of people around me, when I can call on them and collaborate,” he explains. Stern’s core nucleus of co-host Robin Quivers, sound effects wizard Fred Norris, and producer Gary Dell’Abate has been working with him since 1984. Quivers plays the straight woman, Norris rarely speaks, and Dell’Abate runs things behind the scenes. They all differ from Stern in every way, but work together to make a great team. Three different people with different strengths and weaknesses, doing different jobs.As you build your team, focus on hiring people who are not like you, but make sure they are people that you like. Diverse work and personal experience, philosophies, and talents are essential to building your company.In fact, studies have found that a work environment that is more diverse causes a decrease in turnover and an increase in productivity. Just remember, you will have to work with these folks, so make sure you can get along with them so that they remain on the team for the long haul.
Read the full article, Beyond Baba Booey: 5 Business Lessons CEOs Can Learn From Howard Stern, on the website of Avenue Group.
Karthik Rajagopalan’s company blog explains how machine learning models can facilitate a deeper understanding of the drivers of churn, leading to better solutions that can help customer retention for subscription businesses.
Subscriptions have been around for a very long time. Having come a long way from the hire-for-purchase model introduced by the Singer sewing machine company, the past few decades saw the emergence of memberships in retail, health clubs, and monthly subscriptions to services like telephone and cable television. More recently, the recurring revenue model has been pushed forward by e-commerce and software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses with the introduction of services for streaming media, connected home, connected car, gaming, etc. According to the Subscription economy index (SEI), the subscription economy has grown by nearly 300% over the last 7 years and is also increasingly correlated with traditional economy, a significant yet not so surprising development.
Topics covered in this article include:
-Customer longterm value
Read the full article, AI augmented retention program is a must for subscription businesses, on the Paramis Digital website.
Geoff Wilson explains what Andrew Luck’s recent retirement from football should teach executives about protecting top talent.
If you are an organizational leader who is leaning on a few star talents surrounded by a supporting cast of also-rans to ‘gut it out’ on a daily basis, you are playing a very dangerous game. Because when your top talent has had enough–when you have extracted enough of their soul by asking them to jump on yet another grenade dropped by a poor performing organization–it will be fully justified to go elsewhere.
And, if you aren’t doing this explicitly, it might be good to take a moment and reflect on whether you are doing this implicitly. Take a look at the team you lead and ask whether you are leaning a bit too heavily on a talented few. Take a look at the organization you lead and ask whether you are counting too much on a few talented teams to carry the rest of the organization.
Do this not because you have the time to do it. Nobody does. Do it because you can’t afford to grind your top talent down to a joyless nub.
Read the full article, What Andrew Luck just taught us about protecting top talent, on Wilson Growth Partners’ website.
David A. Fields provides an eight-week plan for an effective strategic planning process that will engage and enthuse your team of consultants for the year ahead.
If you develop an annual plan for your consulting firm, there’s a decent chance you sit down with your senior team and/or advisors for a day or two to hammer out your objectives, strategies and tactics. (If you don’t engage in any strategic planning for your consulting firm then, as the old saying goes, ‘When you don’t know where you’re going, any road could end up in Newark.’) The annual rigmarole requires substantial effort, time, M&Ms and endurance. It’s a chore.
The six steps covered in this article are:
-Report the facts
-Lessons learned and implications
-Revisit vision, values, and mission
-Goals, gaps and objectives
-Strategic Initiatives and Success Metrics
Read the full article, 8 Weeks to Get Juiced – A Better Strategic Planning Process for Consulting Firms, on David’s website.
Jesse Jacoby identifies a few of the core issues that can arise when bringing a new manager into the workplace.
Good things are possible when new managerial blood is brought into an organization. For one thing, there are often fresh ideas. You know yourself how easy it is to get so close to something that you can’t see the forest for the trees. You can’t see a solution that’s obvious to someone from the outside. And, of course, if you don’t grow, then the status quo will feel normal. It will be the thing that you sub-consciously pursue. If you were asked point blank if this was your goal, then you’d deny it outright; nevertheless, it wouldn’t change the fact that you were in a rut and loving it.
This article covers:
-Changes to an organization’s culture, or that of a department or unit
-The dangers of bringing in new blood
-Recognising and dealing with repercussions
Read the full article, A Managerial Transfusion: The Danger of New Blood, on the Emergent Consultant’s website.
Edward Kees provides the commentary from consultation on the Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model for new nuclear power plant investment in Great Britain.
The challenges of delivering new nuclear power plant (NPP) investment in the reformed electricity industry in Great Britain are significant and there is no simple or easy approach to resolve those challenges.
The RAB model may be a useful tool if properly developed and implemented, but:
-Is complex and may be difficult to implement;
-May not clearly reflect the objectives for the British nuclear power industry;
-May not be relevant without a broader review and/or re-opening of the overall approach to the electricity industry structure and electricity market approach in Great Britain; and
-May not deliver desired new NPP investment, or may only deliver new NPP investment with EdF and/or other State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), such as CGN from China.
We provide a response to the Consultation questions, as context for later sections of this Commentary that describe some issues that must be addressed to attract new NPP investment.
Read the full article, #30 – UK RAB Model, on the Nuclear Economics website.
Jason George tackles the intricacies of tariffs and taxes and discusses the potential of a fair system that takes into account concentrated benefits and diffuse costs while dealing with the interests of the few vs. the masses.
Observers who dig even a little into government policy in areas like tariffs or taxes might note some peculiar features. Regulations are often crafted to provide benefits to a favored constituency, while the corresponding costs are borne by the broader population in some opaque way that individuals can’t discern. As a result everyone ends up paying slightly more for healthcare, or cars, or chocolate bars, while the folks who sell those things get some economic protection.
Topics covered include:
-The handshake problem
-Hidden group costs
-The cumulative effect of multiple narrow interests
Read the full article, The Collective Action Problem and True costs, on Jason’s website.
Paul Millerd shares greetings from Taipei and his thoughts about shorter workweeks, including recent news from Microsoft Japan where they implemented a four-day week and saw productivity jump 40 percent.
Three years ago I was an office worker in New York City, working in a prestigious job making more money than I ever imagined (some of my peers in New York had much different standards!) yet a storm was brewing inside and one that had been totally invisible to many who knew me my entire life
As I got better at my job and better in navigating the corporate world, I struggled to find a deeper reason for why I was there. Early in my career I was learning a lot, but over time it seemed that no one really cared about learning at all. Working on your career narrative, pleasing executives and making money seemed to be the only thing people worked on. Not the kind of learning I was excited by.
This led to a creeping nihilism which I only clearly see now. I’m really just going to make PowerPoint slides and work 48 weeks of every year?
Points covered in the article include:
-My weird life and living the dream
-Shorter work week: A real trend in 2020
-The happiness ruse
-A poem by Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī
Read the full article, My Weird Life & Shorter Workweek Zeitgeist, on Paul’s website.
Robyn Bolton shares five techniques that can help you understand your toughest customers in this post recently published on Forbes.
Let’s be honest, we love talking to people who just ‘get’ us. I believe this is because we often must hold a number of conversations with people who don’t ‘get’ us.
In business, the people who don’t understand us are the ones we desperately need: Our customers. Many might not understand why your products or services cost so much, why your offerings are so complicated or why they should choose your service over a competitor’s.
Points covered in this article include:
-How to open the conversation
-How to learn from customers
-How to ask the right questions
-How to share your opinions
-Knowing your limits
Read the full article, Five Techniques To Help You Understand Even Your Toughest Customers, on Forbes.
Jim Klass shares a short but poignant excerpt from a Yeats poem that is appropriate for today’s environment.
A poem on the confusion of our era.
Read the full article, Although almost 100 years old Yeats poem is appropriate for today, on LinkedIn.
Discover how Amazon’s battle with Netflix is teaching us to rethink competition and question how business should be defined in this article from Stephen Wunker’s company blog.
For many years now we’ve seen the dangers of defining your business too narrowly. Think about Borders, which pioneered the book megastore model. Rather than using the Internet’s rise to consider how new technologies or business models could allow it to better satisfy customers’ jobs to be done, it defined itself as a bookseller. When times got tough, it doubled down on trying to sell more of the items its customers happened to be buying — books, CDs, and DVDs. It last turned a profit in 2006 before ultimately declaring bankruptcy and closing its doors in 2011. Online retailer Amazon now reigns supreme in the space.
Read the full article, How Amazon’s Battle with Netflix is Teaching us to Rethink Competition, on Medium.
There are four good reasons for holding on to a cash-based economy. Tobias Baer reveals the hidden economic benefits and explains why cash is still king.
Do we still need cash? More and more stores are going cashless. A whole country—Sweden—is intent on becoming the world’s first cashless nation in 2023. The attraction is the savings from avoiding the substantial handling costs of cash. In many places, increasing numbers of consumers have stopped carrying wallets because their phones have become viable substitutes. And government agencies fighting tax evasion love the trail electronic payments leave.
Four reasons to keep cash explored are:
-Hidden economic benefit
Read the full article, Why We Need Cash, on LinkedIn.
Robbie Baxter explains why companies need to prioritize their mission over their products to take advantage of new technologies and services and build a new kind of relationship with today’s–and tomorrow’s–members.
As association leaders, many of you are Membership Pioneers. Membership is something you probably have been thinking about for years. But in the last 10 years, membership has reinvented nearly every industry. Companies like LinkedIn, Amazon and Salesforce have created forever transactions of their own with their customers by using many of the tactics that are core to the deep relationships trade groups, professional societies and other not-for-profit associations have been building for decades.
But they’re using new tactics–streaming content, frictionless checkout, recommendation engines, artificial intelligence–to create dramatically improved experiences. As a result, consumer expectations about what membership means have changed. And the drivers of this new perception are not coming from other associations, they’re coming from Silicon Valley tech.
Maybe this is a good thing though. In times of great change, there are big winners, and big losers.
So what can your organization do to be one of the winners?
Points covered include:
-Product market fit
-Taking advantage of new technologies and services
-Prioritizing your mission over your products
Read the full article, Memberships Are Changing and What it Means for Your Association, on LinkedIn.
Shane Heywood provides an article that reveals how beer manufacturers are collaborating with smallholder farms to get a more secure supply chain, lower the cost of raw materials, and empower more households with income, and all in addition to improving yields from farming that could change lives for the 2 Bn+ smallholder farmers in the world.
While interacting with 20+ smallholder farmers in Kenya, I, in addition to charities like One Acre Fund, had the chance to see first hand how improved yields from farming could change lives for the 2 Bn+ smallholder farmers in the world.
Yet, it’s not only NGOs / charities that recognize the value of farmers; beer manufacturers also work to collaborate with smallholder farmers. By incorporating the outputs from farmers as raw material, firms can get a more secure supply chain, lower the cost of raw materials, while empowering households with income.
Read the full article, Beer and Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa: What’s next?, on Shane’s website.
Robbie Kellman Baxter reviews the progression of the subscription business model, from the early days of SaaS to a future of manufacturing based on the subscription model.
My first job after business school was as a product manager at an enterprise software company. I picked it because it was one of the first companies experimenting with what today we call Software-as-a-Service, and I could see that was going to be the futureIt just made so much sense. The old business model had been a licensing one. You paid a one-time (huge) fee to own the software and be able to run it on your site, using your own hardware. If you wanted to customize the software, you hired a professional services person to code it. Most people also paid for a maintenance contract for basic upgrades and bug-fixes. But if you had customized the software at implementation, then anytime you wanted to upgrade the software, you had to bring the professional services person back.
Points covered include:
-The benefits of Saas
-Transformation in manufacturing
-New business models
Read the full article, Why manufacturing is about to be disrupted by the Membership Economy, on Robbie’s website.
To inspire successful innovation, Kaihan Krippendorff explains why the composition of the founding team is crucial and why the first step should be to find a sherpa. He provides six questions to help you assess and secure a powerful advocate to lead the team.
That historic moment when the perfect team unifies beyond an opportunity, pregnant with possibility, is the essential scene of any great innovation legend: think Jobs and Wozniak when they created Apple, Gates and Allen with Microsoft, or Page and Brin with Google.
This is why so many books and professors and venture capitalists focus on the composition of the founding team – you want more than one person but fewer than seven, the right mix of personality types (Roger Hamilton offers a useful framework), and a balance of skills (the hacker, hustler, and hipster). But here is the problem. More than 70% of society’s most transformative innovations have come from employees, not entrepreneurs, and forming a team around an innovation idea as an employee is a fundamentally different challenge.
Read the full article, Your Innovation Needs a Sponsor… Here are 6 Signs You Have the Right One, on the Outthinker website.
Jason George takes a look at the mind maps of the London Cabbie to illustrate the difference between storing knowledge in the brain and accessing knowledge stored elsewhere.
Having been built up over hundreds of years into its current dense and meandering tangle, London’s road network shows few signs of the regularity that characterizes its counterparts in younger countries. Prior to the advent of cheap map technology, anyone wanting to explore unfamiliar neighborhoods would need a detailed atlas to find addresses or landmarks. Finding the desired spot was akin to playing Where’s Waldo, given the thicket of alleys and courts and lanes laid out with no obvious organizing principle.
One group was notably unfazed by this challenge. London’s black cab drivers developed a well-deserved reputation for their ability to navigate to any points in the metro area with ease, with no reference to guide them. This was not accidental, as to earn their license each had to pass a legendarily grueling test that came to be known simply as the “Knowledge,” a requirement first instituted in the era of horse-drawn carriages.
Topics covered include:
-The knowledge economy
Read the full article, How learning changes your thinking — Mind what you know, on Jason’s website.
David A. Fields explains why correct assumptions can quickly become wrong, and how to test the assumptions of your consulting practice to create new opportunities.
You throw your best efforts into delivering value for your consulting clients, improving your consulting firm’s marketing, and creating a rewarding consulting environment. Then you find your work was off by a bit. Or more than a bit. Or completely wrong. Pickles-in-peanut-butter wrong. That’s no fun.
Alas, I have bad news for you and me: we’re mistaken. About everything.
I also have good news: our mistaken assumptions represent a huge opportunity for our consulting firms.
The article identifies nine signals that could transform your consulting practice, including:
-Unexpected success signals
-Unexpected failure signals
-Closely held belief signals
-Two transformative questions
Read the full article, Signs Your Consulting Firm Is Operating on Faulty Assumptions, on David’s company website.
Many financial service leaders are not convinced that total market growth is important. Luiz Zorzella explains why even small companies can benefit from paying attention to and capitalizing on what is happening to the market.
You may have heard – or asked – questions such as:
“If our company does not hold a large market share in our markets, should we worry about market growth?”
“How would we even estimate market growth?”
“If most of our existing clients are in not in growth markets, should we abandon them and go after new ones?”
Those are very valid questions:
In most markets, companies with single-digit market shares feel no significant impact of market saturation (that feeling that you have exhausted all good leads). That means that as a general rule, regardless of whether the market is expanding or contracting, there is always an abundant supply of fresh, good prospects to be chased.
Areas explored include:
-Growing markets have growing needs. For example, your commercial clients will be investing to expand capacity and may need CRE and equipment loans to open new locations.
-Growing markets have more sophisticated needs. For example, companies in growing markets often need more attractive Group Benefits to attract talent and ward off poachers.
-Growing markets tend to supply better clients. For example, credit quality tends to be good and to improve over time in growing markets – thus not only improving the quality and value of your portfolio but also freeing up capital to invest in growth.
-Growing markets will carry you. This is because your existing clients, who have a lower acquisition cost than new clients, will continue to grow.
Read the full article, The Eternal Hunt for Growth in Financial Services, on the Amquant website.
An evergreen post from Gaelle Lamotte to kickoff 2020 and help you prepare for what lies ahead.
In a world of disruptive businesses, overwhelming information and relentless change, companies have to master the art of strategy execution to be agile enough to capitalize on growth opportunities. Excellence in execution is what makes the difference between good strategies and success in the marketplace for your customers, partners and employees, and ultimately investors and shareholders.
Points covered include:
-Understanding the organization’s capabilities
-Discipline in managing strategy
Read the full article, How do you prepare for what’s ahead?, on LinkedIn.
Michael Wise recently co-authored this article for McKinsey that explores how best-practice purchasing is now an even more potent source of value creation for private-equity leaders.
A careful review of purchasing is typically part of any private-equity (PE) playbook, with procurement savings factoring prominently into 100-day and longer-term business plans. As part of the process, procurement professionals are typically charged with finding and acting on low-hanging opportunities like requesting price reductions and volume discounts from suppliers. Leading PE firms are adopting a more comprehensive and transformative approach, powered by new digital and analytical tools, that can lift earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) by 20 percent within six months. These tools, combined with the right approach and methodologies, enable rapid sizing and capturing of the opportunity, permanently changing the way investment and management teams look at procurement—and other aspects of operations
In this article, we will describe the new approach, focusing specifically on the impact that digital tools, advanced analytics, and new methodologies have had on midsize-portfolio companies in a variety of industrial sectors.
The article explores the following:
-Identifying value potential
-Supporting value capture with e-sourcing tools
-Four elements of success
Read the full article, Digital procurement in private equity: Unlocking sustainable impact, on the McKinsey and Company website.
Stephen Redwood explains how organization design projects can fail to meet their objectives.
It’s a funny thing, but when it comes to the subject of organization design the first question clients usually ask me is: “How can we not screw this up?”Not unreasonably, clients recognize how unsettling these projects can be. They know that, too often, the results can fall short of expectations, so they want to minimize disruption and increase the odds of success.
In this article, points covered include:
-“Men are Moved by Two Levers Only: Fear and Self Interest”
-What The Eye Doesn’t See The Heart Doesn’t Grieve Over
-Broken Rearview Mirrors
-Everyone has a best friend
Read the full article, How Do Organization Design Projects Get Messed Up, on LinkedIn.
From David Burnie’s company blog, an overview on how 5G will change everything, and a brief review on mobile technology to date.
5G is forecast to enable USD 12 trillion in new economic activity by 2035 and impact industries ranging from agriculture and forestry to finance and insurance. 5G has the potential to disrupt the way consumers, businesses and industries operate.Before we jump into the disruptive potential of 5G, let’s look at what 5G is and how it is different from previous generations of mobile technology.
This article includes:
-What is 5G technology?
-A brief history of mobile technology
-What is low latency?
-Why does low latency matter?
-Examples of how 5G will create new offerings and impact business models
-The final word
Read the full article, How 5G Changes Everything, on David Burnie’s company website.
In the digital age, Amanda Setili explains why every company — big or small – needs a platform strategy to connect with customers.
Today’s businesses now live or die based on how well they cultivate and connect those who they do business with. Just look at the seven most valuable companies in 2019—Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet (parent company of Google), Amazon, Facebook, Alibaba and Tencent. Each created their success by deliberately and aggressively building powerful platforms to connect customers, content providers, suppliers, and others to each other.
Amanda provides five detailed steps toto build a vibrant, self-reinforcing community that can propel your company’s success.
The five steps shared include:
Step 1: Take inventory.
Step 2: Attract and connect your ideal.
Step 3: Assure participants get value.
Step 4: Create physical or virtual engagement platforms.
Step 5: Listen, observe, enhance.
Read the full article, Why Every Company — Big or Small — Needs a Platform Strategy on Amanda Setili’s company website.
A concise and informative post on the regulation of crowdfunding in Columbia from Alvaro Triana’s company blog.
In Colombia, Crowdfunding activity was regulated through Decree 1357 of 2018. This Decree established the administration, operation and use of electronic platforms for the financing of investment projects through the issuance of securities representing debt or social capital.
Read the full article, Do You Know How Crowdfunding Works in Colombia, on the Triana, Uribe, and Michelsen website.
Susan Drumm provides four steps to ensure you will get honest feedback from your team.
Do you think you can get your team to give you honest feedback? Like no-holds-barred honest?
Many of my clients tell me they struggle to get real feedback from their direct reports and I’m not surprised.
Does this story sound familiar? One of my senior clients recently received the results of his 360 report and was surprised to learn that his team felt they weren’t being mentored effectively by him.
None too pleased with this, he walked out into the office and proceeded to go desk to desk. “Was this comment from you? Do YOU think I’m a good mentor? Do you have a problem with the way I mentor?”
Points covered in the four steps include:
-Create a culture of feedback and honesty from the outset.
-Dig in when asking for feedback.
-Be honest and genuine when asking for feedback
-Once you get the feedback, do something with it.
Read the full article, How to Get Honest Feedback from Your Team, on the Meritage Leadership website.
Jason George explores the relationship between the human need for ritual, community, and purpose, and the organizations or entrepreneurs who see that need as their next opportunity.
Come all ye faithful
Some of the devoted choose to meet in the early morning, braving the cold and arriving at their nondescript buildings in the predawn darkness. The name on the sign outside might reference “soul” or “cross,” but there is nothing outwardly grand about these places. The real draw is the service about to start inside.
The congregants’ earlier interactions have acclimated them to social norms like dress codes, so they choose their attire with the fastidiousness of early Puritans. This leads to a generic sameness among the group—deviation would make one stick out, and this experience is not about the individual.
Key points include:
-The pursuit of salvation through testing the body
-How brands like SoulCycle and CrossFit fulfill the need
Read the full article, The Business of Religion, and the Religion of Business, on Jason’s website.
Thinking about kicking off the New Year with the goal of transitioning from senior to executive leadership? Stephen Redwood provides advice on how to achieve the goal.
When coaching clients I am often asked the question: what do I need to know to make the transition from being an already experienced leader to being effective as an executive leader
It’s an interesting, and sometimes surprising, question given that they will already have years of experience as leaders. I believe the reason they are asking is because of the realization that the most senior executive roles are often differentiated from other leadership roles by the:
- Weight of ultimate accountability
- Complexity and breadth of oversight responsibilities
- Challenge of motivating others to accept accountability for problem solving
- Difficulty of learning to ask questions rather than give answers
- Degree to which messaging has to be effective at a distance
This is not to say these factors don’t play a role to some degree at all levels of leadership, but at the most senior levels each of these generally carries greater consequences for the organization. So, let’s dig in and look at what I’ve often found helps leaders I work with successfully make this transition.
Read the full article How Do I Make the Transition from Senior to Executive Leadership? on LinkedIn.
In this two-part series, Eric Arno Hiller interviews Spend Matters founder, Jason Busch, about the growth of the market of Product Cost Management software and the state of the art today.
A lot has happened in the world of procurement software in the last 20 years. Purchasing has added a lot of new tools to what was mostly a relationship-focused discipline. These developments include:
- Data-rich environments of spreadsheets, MRP and ERP systems
- Supply chain management and supplier relationship management systems
- Online auctions
- Spend analytics tools/product cost management (PCM) software
Although the relationship side of the business is just as important as ever (some might say more important), purchasing analytics are here to stay, and they continue to become more prevalent in the discipline. The same is true for product cost management tools and their offshoots of service cost management tools. In this series, I am going to discuss the evolution of these tools and the state of the art.
Read the first full article, The evolution of product cost management tools and the state of the art, on Hiller Associates’ company blog.
Subscription businesses were a big deal in 2019, so what’s the forecast for 2020? Robbie Kellman Baxter shares her expertise on what lies ahead.
I’m no fortune teller, but something about the beginning of a new year and a new decade makes me want to start spouting predictions. Actually, this isn’t the first time I have taken a crack at predictions. The final chapter of my new book THE FOREVER TRANSACTION is all about the future of subscription and membership models too.
Here’s what I think will happen.
In this post, topics covered include:
- There will be a right-sizing of the “Subscription Box” industry.
- Subscription “Managers” Will be Everywhere.
- Subscription CMOs will swing back toward strategy and away from “growth hacking”.
- Consumers will start subscribing to the thing itself, not just services and boxes.
- Big Companies will try to buy their way into the Membership Economy through Acquisition.
- Healthcare will become increasingly consumer-centric, which will lead to more forever transactions.
Read the full article, Crystal Ball: The World of Subscriptions in 2020, on LinkedIn.
David A. Fields’ first blog of the year provides a pathway forward for consulting firms in 2020.
It’s the first week of the year and one thing you’re probably wondering is what you and your consulting firm should do first. Right now.
Your consulting prospects are asking the same question. What should they do now? What should their priority be? Unfortunately, their list could be topped with challenges that your consulting firm doesn’t solve—penetrating the blacklight market, designing an office layout that houses 200 employees in a 50-employee space, or inventing new uses for leftover holiday yams.
Where does that leave you?
Without a consulting engagement.
In this article, points covered include:
-What’s Important Now?
-What’s the VIP for your consulting project? For your consulting offering?
-Three Questions to Identify Your VIP
Read the full article, What Your Consulting Firm Should Do Right Now, on David’s company blog.
Data scientist and psychologist Tobias Baer (who recently published a book on algorithmic bias) is giving a talk on how to prevent algorithmic bias in the U.K. on Tuesday, 11 February 2020.
Algorithmic bias can affect us everywhere, from minor trivia such as our social media feeds to critical decisions where bias can wreak havoc with a person’s life dream or a company’s survival. Sources of algrorithmic bias are manifold – some, such as biased data and overfitting, sit squarely in the domain of data scientists themselves, while others only can be tackled by the business users and government agencies who use algorithms, be it through carefully crafted experiments that generate truly unbiased data or through deliberate tweaks of the decision-making process.
The discussion will include:
- The psychological and statistical sources of bias
- What business users and data scientists can do respectively to manage and prevent algorithmic bias.
- How regulators should think about algorithmic bias
To learn more about the event, visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-to-prevent-algorithmic-bias-tickets-86670021367
Dan Markovitz reveals a common problem that lean programs often face.
Boeing’s Starliner failed an important test flight two weeks ago. It was supposed to rendezvous with the International Space Station, but was unable to reach the correct orbit.
The problem with this engineering marvel? Not the complex aerodynamics, not the critical separation from the Atlas V rocket, not the all-important re-entry heat shield.
No, the problem was with the internal clock. The spacecraft’s internal clock became unsynced with the overall “mission elapsed timing” system, so the Starliner failed to fire its engines at the correct time to reach orbit.
So—a $5 billion project was undone by something that your $10 Casio watch could handle.
Does your lean program face the same problem?
Read the full article, Boeing Starliner Failure: lessons for your lean program, on Dan’s company blog.
The subscription business is based on long-term relationships with customers. Robbie Kellman Baxter shares ideas on how to build strong relationships that work for both your personal life and in business.
Over the holidays, I started thinking about what my work on The Forever Transaction and The Membership Economy has taught me about building long-term personal relationships, which ultimately are way more important than any subscription.
As dig in on our 2020 to do lists, and focus on our goals and hopes for the year ahead, I wanted to share some ideas on how we can take these principles and apply them in our personal relationships. It’s a little hokey, and a little jargon-y business-school-ish but I decided to try using my 7-step framework as a guide.
Points covered in this article include:
1: Different tiers of subscriptions
2: Identifying key metrics
3: Onboarding process
4: Using technology
Read the full article, Seven Steps to Better Personal Relationships, on LinkedIn.
Stephen Redwood provides a post that addresses a common problem most companies face when shifting to a new system: how to organize all the moving parts to prepare for the transformation.
Not since the world went from moving around by horse and cart to the use of steam engines, has the pace of change accelerated as much as it is now. So, when back in February 2018 Forrester published a paper entitled Digital Rewrites the Rules of Business it quite rightly focused on the need for companies to think transformational, rather than incremental when figuring out how to adapt to the digital world.
Many of my clients are on this journey and have asked me the question: “How should we organize for digital?”
Points covered in this article include:
1: The right reporting line for digital
2: Capabilities within the digital function
3: How to resource digital
4: The readiness of company culture
Read the full article, How Should We Organize for Digital?, on LinkedIn.
Amanda Setili shines a light on an initiative that sparked employee engagement, inspired innovation, and motivated collaboration.
What does a 110-year-old company do to increase the rate of innovation from less than one new business per year to 50?
The answer, says David Lee, Vice President of Innovation and New Ventures at UPS, is to launch a program that taps into the brilliant growth ideas lurking in the heads of many of its 480,000 employees.
The program is called Upstarts, and it invited employees to “in five pages or less, tell us your idea for growth.”
To spur interest, Lee’s team held mixers in cities around the world, from Shanghai, to Neuss, Germany, to Toronto and Miami. Employees heard what UPS was hoping to achieve through the program, and how they could contribute.
“It’s not just about ideas,” Lee explains. “It’s about finding teams of passionate, talented people.
Read the full article, Upstarts Kick-Start the Pace of Innovation at UPS, on Amanda’s website.
Dan Markovitz explains why time management and a shorter work week is good news for lean.
In the space of two weeks, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both ran articles on the productivity benefits of reduced work hours. The WSJ introduced us to the workers at Rheingans Digital Enabler in Germany, who only put in five-hour days, for a workweek of 25 hours. The same is true of employees at Tower Paddle Boards (at least during the summer months) and Collins SBA, a financial advisory firm in Australia.
Not to be outdone, NPR reported that Microsoft Japan moved to a four-day workweek this summer while increasing productivity by 40%. Of course, software firm 37 Signals has been operating four-day work weeks over the summer since 2008. And New Zealand-based Perpetual Guardian believes in the four-day week so strongly that the founder created a non-profit to promote it. Indeed, a recent survey by the Society of Human Resource Management indicates that fifteen percent of companies offer a 32-hour workweek.
Read the full article, It’s Not Time Management, It’s Lean, on his website.
Pitching all the reasons why your company, service, or product is better is often received with a lack of response. David A. Fields explains where the miscommunication lies and provides a solution to the problem.
You know a rain barrel full of reasons why your consulting firm is better than other firms that do what you do. Among the reasons, of course, is you. Your experience and ideas and unique perspective.
Hence, when Bethany Buttonwerk asked you why her company should work with your consulting firm instead of others she’s talking to, you quickly trotted out all your advantages.
Alas, that lessened your likelihood to win the project!
Oh no. Why’d that happen?
Let’s revisit Bethany’s query. Unfortunately, she unwittingly asked the wrong question. You then proudly tootled your answers to her mistaken question, which left her dissatisfied, disgruntled, and disinterested. (And you disappointed or dyspeptic.)
Read the full article, A Superior Response to “What Makes Your Consulting Firm Better” on David’s website.
David Burnie’s company blog provides a plan for post-merger integration to help ensure a smoother process.
A post-merger integration or PMI is what happens following a merger or acquisition. PMIs are the complex process of combining and rearranging the merged businesses to find efficiencies and create synergies.
Points included in the article:
1: What makes a good PMI plan?
2: An example PMI plan
3: Common mistakes in a Post Merger Integration plan
Read the full copy of the Post Merger Integration Plan from the Post Merger Integration Knowledge Hub on The Burnie Group’s website.
Diane Mulcahy interviews Krystal Hicks to find out why some companies don’t hire remote employees, and how the Gig Economy has shifted the power balance between employers and employees.
Krystal Hicks is the founder of JOBTALK, a company that grew out of her side gig providing talent, recruiting, and job-hunting advice to companies and individuals. Before going out on her own, she managed U.S. Talent Acquisition for the Swiss chocolate maker Lindt, and was the former Director of Career Services at the University of New Hampshire.
Points they discuss include:
- Leaders lacking trust
- Managerial Darwinism
- The power balance between employers and employees
- Understanding what employees want
Read the full article, Women In The Gig Economy: Krystal Hicks On Why Companies Don’t Trust Their Employees, on the Forbes Inc. website.
Tobias Baer provides clear and concise examples of how Google uses the acquisition of select data to create bias, which leads to the dissemination of inaccurate information.
I’m an avid user of the navigation function of Google Maps. Every time I reach my destination, Google asks me for feedback on the navigation instructions. What could possibly be wrong with that? Well, I bet that the data and any analytics derived from that feedback often – and, vastly! – overestimates users’ satisfaction. Why is that?
The app is a perfect illustration of availability bias. I only am given this opportunity to provide feedback when I reach my destination. Which means that if I reach a river only to find that the ferry supposed to take me and my car to the other riverside has stopped operations an hour ago, or if after a few hours of cycling I find that the path indicated by the app leads straight into a gigantic military infrastructure that is fenced by barbed wires with large red signs threatening any trespasser to be shot (both has actually happened to me), and hence my only option is to abolish my route, exit the navigation, and go back to where I come from, no feedback is collected.
Points covered in this article include:
- The problem with creating algorithms quickly
- The lack of sufficient communication
- The challenge of creating objective, systematic assessment procedures
Read the full article, A Little Example How Google Creates Biases, on LinkedIn.
With New Year in the rear view mirror, are you driving forward with your resolutions?
Robyn Bolton provides five ways to improve your resolve.
According to research by Strava, the social network for athletes, most people will have given up on their New Year’s Resolutions by Sunday, January 19.
While that’s probably good news for all the dedicated workout enthusiasts who will be glad to get their gyms back, given that the most common New Year’s resolution is to exercise more, it’s a bit discouraging for the rest of us.
But just because you’re about to stop hitting the gym to drop weight and build muscle (or whatever your resolutions are), it doesn’t mean that you can’t focus on improving other muscles. May I suggest, your innovation muscles?
Innovation mindsets, skills and behaviors can be learned, but if you don’t continuously use them, like muscles, they can weaken and atrophy. That’s why it’s important to create opportunities to flex them.
In this post, Robyn shares what you can do to build and sustain innovation:
Read the full article, 5 Resolutions to Make 2020 the Year that Innovation Actually Happens, on Medium.
Kaihan Krippendorff takes a left turn off a straight road to discover the benefits of not planning as a fundamental benefit to innovation.
Twenty years ago, long before we had children, my wife and I decided to spend Valentine’s Day weekend in Tuscany. We were living just a two-hour flight away in London at the time, so leaving on a Friday and returning on a Monday would still mean two days and three nights of rolling hills, wineries, and amazing cuisine.
We booked our flights and rented a car, but our search for a hotel revealed nothing really inspiring within our budget. We narrowed our choices down to a property a little larger than a bed-and-breakfast on the outskirts of Lucca. But we still felt it was a “plan B,” our fallback plan.
We had dreamed of a hotel that would be truly memorable, not necessarily luxurious, but that would give us an authentic and memorable experience of the Italian countryside. So we set out, without confirmed accommodations, in the hopes of stumbling upon our ‘plan A.’
In this article, Kaihan explains:
- The limitations of data to predict outcomes
- The benefits of flipping your mindset
- Engineering luck
- Discovering Plan A
Read the full article, For 2020, Consider the Wisdom of not Planning, on Kaihan’s blog.
Glenton Jelbert tackles the theories behind evolution to dispel the beliefs of the creationists.
Despite what creationists and Intelligent Design people tell you, the theory of evolution makes a remarkable number of predictions that have turned out to be correct. This is true for discoveries that postdate the discovery of evolution, such as plate tectonics, specific fossil finds and DNA. I want to discuss one in particular that is completely amazing, discussed by Richard Dawkins in The Greatest Show on Earth.
You sometimes hear it said that a creator could and would reuse elements of his creation if he or she wanted to do so. You might even expect it. So it should not come as a surprise to us that DNA is so similar across different species. This is just God parsimoniously re-using some of his best bits. Evolution says that the DNA is similar across different species because of their common descent. Don’t both theories explain the data just as well? It turns out not.
Read the full article, Evolution’s Most Remarkable Prediction, on Glenton’s website.
Luiz Zorzella explains why non-strategic projects can be a distraction that get in the way of real strategic work and what you can do about it.
When companies define their strategic priorities, it is common to include in this list items that are not building blocks of the company’s strategic goals. At least directly.
Some of these items are extraneous, pet projects and/or impositions from third-party actors or the result of internal politics and accommodations and at best do not add any value and at worst hinder the strategic agenda.
However, there is another type of priority which, if properly managed, can help you break into a vault full of riches that are unreachable to you right now.
Points covered in this article include:
- Three categories of items
- How to prioritize and implement items
Read the full article, Break into the Strategic Treasure Vault, on the Amquant website.
Luca Ottinetti’s company blog shares case studies that reveal how Intel and SpaceX successfully launched new products, and what went wrong with Nokia and Swissair’s business model innovations.
Entering a new market with new products that target new customers requires a new business model. It is a powerful strategic initiative that changes the rules of competition. It also represents a challenge with odds of success at roughly 30%, but ultimately – when done right – it rewards winners with huge returns.
Managers need to know what they’re in for if they decide to pursue this path of business growth. The challenge in entering a new market through a successful business model innovation (BMI) consists of getting two elements right:
(1) the pursuit of attractive market opportunities, and
(2) ownership of the strategic control points in the industry to protect profit streams.
We look at cases of success and failure by companies that have entered new markets with new business model designs to illustrate the determinants of success.
Included in this article:
- Two case studies on successful business model innovation
- Two case studies on failed business model innovation
Read the full article, Market Entry through New Business Model Design, on the Great Prairie Group website.
Mike Cox answers a question that is close to the heart of every business owner and entrepreneur who may be considering bringing new people into the business, “How much equity should I give a new hire.”
This question greys the hair of every business owner and entrepreneur. After all owners bear the burden of risk regardless of how they answer that question and the more that they choose to let go of equity, the less they feel like an owner and the more they feel like any other executive -except that they incurred a risk others didn’t.
While holding equity is fundamental to being a business owner, the distribution of equity from owners to employees is not fundamental and happens for a wide variety of reasons – some justified and others misguided. And while few employees would ever shun being given equity, their rationale for and level of interest in equity varies for many reasons.
Points covered in this article include:
- Equity distribution, the tool of last resort
- The appeal of equity to employees
- Alignment of agendas
Read the full article, Don’t Give Equity away too Freely, on the Cox Innovations website.
Odin Muhlenbein and his colleagues co-authored an article that explains how social enterprises are solving the problem of youth unemployment in Africa.
The issues that are the most pressing today will shape the legacies of the most powerful African political and business leaders of our time.
For the continent, the youth population boom and issues of employment are at the top of the list of priorities. Leaders at national, continental and global levels discuss these topics in the halls of the United Nations, the African Union and within talent-strapped businesses operating in the region. When it comes to the political and economic agendas of a continent dubbed “the most youthful” and projected to become the home of half of the world’s youth population by 2040, the “youth bulge” and the unemployment statistics inform the entire dialogue. Clearly, there is need for urgency, action and collaboration to create sustainable impact on a large scale.
This article includes approaches applied by leading social entrepreneurs in Africa to address the issue.
Read the full article, Learning from social enterprises: How to solve youth unemployment in Africa, on the Devex website.
Sean McCoy idenfities three common denominators behind unsuccessful commercialization efforts.
After your Go-to-Market (GtM) strategy is designed and the planning is complete, it is time to move into execution. Implementation is when a strategy finally impacts the bottom line, which is why it is so vital to get the implementation right. Because Go-to-Market strategies are among the more transformational and comprehensive changes at a company, their execution is more complex, nuanced, and impactful, further increasing the stakes in implementation.
There are three major questions to answer when implementing a commercialization strategy: What is the governance? What is the rhythm? When do you scale? When companies answer these questions well, their GtM implementations are more successful. When they pass over these questions or answer them inadequately, their GtM implementations are more likely to fail.
Points covered in this article include:
- Governance & accountability
- The scaling model
- The cadence of activities
Read the full article, 3 Success Factors to Operationalize Your Go-to-Market Strategy, on the McCoy Consulting Group website.
Shane Heywood takes a look at how the Direct to Consumer business model could have meaningful implications for social enterprises.
My earliest shaving experience was around the age of 13. After 10 minutes, reeling from irritation everywhere, and minimal hair in the sink, I also felt slightly cheated by how much I had spent on the razor.
Apparently, that feeling has helped to lead to a $1 Bn USD deal.
Across some consumer-facing industries, from shaving cream to mattresses to prescription glasses, a direct to consumer – plus (DTC+) model is leaving an indelible imprint in the Consumer Goods industry, delighting consumers and disappointing long-standing players with equal effect.
The Dollar Shaving Club, which provides members with razors and other personal care products, is one of the more prominent firms showing the DTC model; however Casper and Eve mattresses are other examples, and Warby Parker, providing glasses.
Points covered in this article include:
- The Direct to Consumer (DTC) business model
- DTC and Social impact
Read the full article, Dollar Shaving Club and Social Enterprises: Can one learn from the other?, on Shane’s website.
It takes more than talent to become a valued employee in today’s workplace. Sherif El Henaoui identifies the benefits of finding the right fit.
Top people are desired. Every company wants them: the intelligent, creative, endurable, high-performance worker. Since this desired workforce is rare, there is a “war” as suggested by the HR literature. I once heard a quote of a McKinsey partner commenting on the Internet bubble crisis saying, “We won the war for talent, but we ended up with too many prisoners.”
We want to suggest a more peaceful view on the matter. High-performance is also a result of the cultural fit. This applies to societies and corporations. An aggressive, forward-looking sales professional works well in one type of company but is perceived as too pushy and less collegial in another. Is that the fault of the employee?
Read the full article, Fight Your Own War for Talent, on LinkedIn.
C.V. Ramachandran discusses what it takes to institute digital transformation successfully by engaging a holistic approach that provides support for every part of a company’s value chain.
Big data, machine learning, connected vehicles, industry 4.0, robotic process automation, blockchain … No matter what industry you are in, you have surely come across these popular buzzwords in recent years. These are the phrases that define digital transformation, a modern industrial revolution that has the potential to dramatically transform companies and economies all over the world.
A variety of companies are leading the way, with Amazon, Netflix, and Walmart being some of the first to spring to mind. But these are major corporations in information intensive industries, who have been leading the charge in digital disruption. More broadly, according to a recent McKinsey survey, only about 30% of digital transformations actually succeed.
Read the full article, Digital Transformation: It Takes a Village, on LinkedIn.
This in-depth article from Boris Galonske explains how digitization helps improve resilience in commodity trading.
Commodity trading suffers from shrinking margins and in some commodity classes also from low price volatility. At the same time operating environments struggle with manual routines, legacy processes and systems resulting in high cost income ratios (CIR).
How can this challenge be addressed and how can the profitability and the resilience of trading businesses be increased?
Commodity trading exhibits still several manual routines in its workflows, given the physical nature of the business and established processes in the industry. At the same time margin pressure increases as the inherent profitability of several trading businesses decreases. How can this be addressed?
Commodity trading business characteristics
Commodity trading businesses are typically lean by nature. Several years back, high performing businesses exhibited cost-income ratios (CIR) in the range of high 30% – medium 40%. These days these ratios are significantly higher. Large European commercial banks – as a comparison – even exhibit cost income rations in the range of 70 % – 90% +.
In order to tackle the profitability gap, analytics and middle office activities have been scaled down.
However parts of the trading process have remained untouched.
Points covered in this article include:
- How digitization can help
- Reservations about digitization
- How to approach trading digitization
Read the full article or download the PDF, Monetizing Digitization Levers, on the Silverberg Partners website.
Robbie Kellman Baxter makes the case for subscription-based businesses and provides a few expert tips on how to take your business in that direction.
If you’ve been tasked with launching a subscription-based business at your organization, or are thinking about starting your own XXX-as-a-service or XXX-of-the-month-club, before diving in, take a step back.
To ensure a solid foundation, I encourage companies to devote a few weeks (usually at least 2 and no more than 12 weeks) to fleshing out the business case before proceeding. After all, the objective of testing is to assess the viability of the model, make necessary adjustments, and get the green light to move forward at a broader level. Without understanding the business case, how will you, and your organization, know whether you’re on the right track.
Details covered in this article include:
- The business rationale
- The forever promise
- Executing the vision
- The risks of the strategy
- The early steps, research, and tests needed
- Criteria for board support
Read the full article, Making the Case for a Subscription-Based Business, on LinkedIn.
Natalie Ceeney provides a grim view, but a much needed voice, calling on business to take on the challenge of climate change.
Whether prompted by the flurry of recent announcements from government and Bank of England or by the rise in protests, it’s hard to avoid the climate change debate. Whatever our personal beliefs, its impact on the business agenda is becoming increasingly clear.
This is no longer a ‘tomorrow’ issue. Last year, California experienced its worst wildfires in a century, not just burning over 750,000 hectares, but pushing the State’s largest investor-owned utility into bankruptcy and two others “just one fire away from insolvency”. Munich Re, the world’s largest re-insurer, estimated that global losses in 2018 as a result of natural disasters totalled $160bn, making it the most expensive year to-date for insurers. But the real cost was far higher, as under half of losses were insured. The rise in premiums likely from climate change may price many households out of insurance completely. In the UK, the 2018 ‘Beast from the East’, an extreme cold weather front, caused losses of around £1bn per day to the economy.
Read the full article, As the World Gets Hotter, the Heat Is on Business to Deliver Real Change, on LinkedIn.
James Black provides a comprehensive list of questions designed to help you build a marketing strategy that can help your business move forward in 2020.
Entering the New Year provides a great opportunity to take a quick audit of your brand or business to identify opportunity areas in your 1) customer understanding, 2) go to market strategy and 3) marketing capabilities. These 20 questions are designed as thought-starters to help you get a sense of the state of your business.
Areas covered by the questions include:
- Brand/Business proposition
- The path to purchase
- Marketing plans
- Marketing capabilities
Read the full article, 20 Questions to Help Your Brand or Business See 20/20 in 2020, on LinkedIn.
Dan Markovitz identifies the difference between facts and data and why you need both to make a fully informed assessment.
Taiichi Ohno said, “Data is of course important in manufacturing, but I place the greatest emphasis on facts.” You can leave out the word “manufacturing,” and apply the concept to anything in your company or your life. Facts are more important than data.
When he talked about his preference for facts over data, he was urging people to go and see for themselves. Gathering facts comes from close observation of people, of objects, of spaces.
By contrast, spreadsheets, reports, and anecdotal accounts are not facts. They’re data. They’re two-dimensional representations of reality, which makes it easy to jump to conclusions.
Data tells you how often a machine breaks down on an assembly line. Facts—direct observation—show you that the machine is dirty, covered in oil, and hasn’t been cleaned and maintained in a long time.
Read the full article, Just the Facts, Ma’am, on the Markovitz website.
Christy Johnson shares valuable insights from a survey of Seattle start-ups.
Most Seattle startups are very focused on the data—they rely heavily on data to drive product decisions. Seattle is home to Amazon and Microsoft, which have leveraged data to succeed in everything from retail, to cloud computing, software development and artificial intelligence. But it’s also home to non-technology companies like Starbucks, that are operating like technology companies and utilizing data to make their core business decisions.
Visionary technology companies like Apple, Facebook, Uber and Google are establishing outposts in the Pacific Northwest (PNW)
Talent from Silicon Valley is migrating to the PNW because we have these innovative tech companies and a quality of life/cost of living that’s better than Silicon Valley
The PNW has consistently been criticized for not talking about social issues like race—and Silicon Valley companies have begun sharing diversity statistics with their communities, but few Seattle companies have followed suit
To understand what these facts meant for our startups culture, we surveyed more than 315+ employees at start-ups (defined as companies with fewer than 250 employees) in the Seattle area about their experience.
Read the results, including:
- The issue diversity
- Gender equality
- What you can do
Read the full article, The Seattle Startup Survey Results are in…, on the Artemis Connection website.
Carlos Castelan shares how to improve the customer experience and team collaboration.
In today’s world where change is one of the only constants, we often hear of companies undergoing a transformation to reinvent themselves and revitalize their customer offerings. This is a natural function of the organizational life cycle where companies grow and organize in a variety of ways along the way, including around services or products. However, in focusing on efficiency and processes to enable scale, organizations lose some measure of tight collaboration and team agility that comes from regular innovation. So, how can companies avoid having to regularly undergo transformations? One way successful businesses do this is through the identification of gaps in team collaboration through a Customer Correction tool that allows teams to find opportunities and cooperate to improve where disconnects may be occurring and resolve issues before they impact customers.
Points covered include:
- How to facilitate team conversation
- How to get ahead of functional issues
Read the full article, Leveraging Your Company’s Greatest Asset to Improve the Customer Experience, on the Navio Group website.
Azim Nagree provides three factors that can help determine whether you need a single, mixed-function team or two separate teams when it comes to account management and customer success.
‘What’s the difference between Account Management and Customer Success? And more importantly, when do I need separate AM and CS teams?’
I’ve been asked this question multiple times in the last few months so it’s clear that many people are grappling with this problem. The short answer – it depends. Specifically, it depends upon your product, your P&L and your customers.
What’s the difference?
Most people know that Accounts Managers are different to Customer Success Managers. But what precisely is the difference? It lies in the relationship they have with the customer.
The three factors discussed are:
- Product complexity
- Profit and loss
- Customer feedback
Read the full article, Account Management? Or Customer Success? Or Both? on the Nagree Consulting website.
Stephen Redwood provides answers to commonly asked questions that help his clients increase the strategic value of Human Resources (HR).
If there is one thing that has been a constant over my years in HR and decades as a consultant, it has been the sense that the HR function is too often a supplicant to other functions and lacks the confidence to see itself as an equal. So, when clients ask me how they should be thinking about the evolution of their own HR function, in my mind is the question of how to overcome this mindset and establish a better understanding of how it can provide greater strategic value.
With that said,Winston Churchill’s words “It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see” resonate with a challenge that faces HR: people and cultures take time to change so, what exactly should one be changing to and with what timeframe in mind?
Questions covered in this article include:
- Given no constraints, what is the most positively impactful contribution HR could make to the organization?
- How can HR gain the “permission” and latitude to achieve its potential?
- What should HR be working harder at?
- How can HR gain sufficient agility to build and sustain a high impact contribution?
Read the full article, How Can We Increase the Strategic Value of HR?, on LinkedIn.