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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jason George uses the examples of the stent and Ernst Haeckel’s biogenetic law to tackle the issue of “why bad practice persists even after it’s been proven incorrect” and how we can overcome common misbeliefs.
Forget the lessons
For high schoolers studying biology the stakes for bad ideas may not be as high as they would be for a patient who unnecessarily undergoes a heart procedure, risking a complication that outweighs any potential benefit. But in both cases bad ideas continue to color one’s view of the world, and the consequences of seeing things wrongly leads down paths that constrain you.
Like skeuomorphs that stubbornly persist as reminders of a feature of the tangible environment that has long since ceased to be relevant, conventional wisdom guides and constrains decision making in a range of disciplines. Sometimes it channels it in directions that are flat wrong. Try three things to help break through this fog…
1. Blow up your mental model
2. Get as close to the source as you can
3. Incentivize a broader focus
Read the full article, When what you’ve learned holds you back, on Jason’s website.
In this TEDX talk at Columbia University, Kaihan Krippendorff discusses employee innovation within the model of disruption, and how it helps activate lean, agile innovation and growth in your organization.
“Employees are the number one source of innovative growth options and the only remaining source of true competitive advantage. Arming them with the skills and tools necessary to innovate on a continual basis is of paramount importance to organizational survival.”
Points covered in the talk include:
-The path of the entrepreneur
-The innovation myth
Watch the Ted Talk, Change the World without Quitting Your Job, on Youtube.
Read the full article in the Change The World Without Quitting Your Job
In a world that has an abundance of aphorisms and rules for every occasion, Robbie Kellman Baxter suggests that the community of professionals think twice before following advice.
Other than maybe the golden rule, I am hard pressed to think of any saying that is always true. And that shouldn’t be surprising, as the answer to so many questions is “it depends.”
- “Should I let my daughter go to the late night party?” It depends…on your child’s age, maturity, and where the party is being held.
- “Should I quit this job right away or stick it out for a while?” It depends…on your other options.
- “Is a liberal arts education the best thing ever or a waste of money?” It depends… on what you want from your education.
And yet, people still spew out these aphorisms like they are universally true and unassailable.
Read the full article, Nobody Ever Said “I Wish I’d Spent More Time at Work” on Their Deathbed …and Other Lies, on LinkedIn.
Jennifer Hartz shares a story of a wise investment, socially and economically, and shows how banks and other funds can support projects like these and earn a meaningful financial return.
Shamrock Gardens is the brainchild of Brent Sobol. It’s the manifestation of his career in multi-family properties and his Jesuit faith, an order of the Roman Catholic Church, established in the 1500’s. The affordable supportive apartment complex is in one of the most challenging areas on the south side of Atlanta and is home to 900 residents – with a waiting list to get in. Further, this is a wise investment! Banks and other funds can support projects like these and earn a meaningful financial return.
Read the full article, Magic on Plaza Lane: A Lesson in Multi-Family Real Estate, on the Corporate Hartz 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.
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.
Three key points in ninety seconds from Amanda Setili on how to avoid strategy execution melt down.Strategy execution is where everything goes haywire.
We can always come up with a good strategy, a good plan for what we want to do, but when the rubber meets the road and you’re actually implementing, that’s where you find out all the things that you maybe didn’t plan for. Frankly, it’s impossible to anticipate everything. One of the keys to effective strategy execution is having clear goals in mind, but also having people empowered to make decisions along the way because you got to enable yourself to adjust course. It used to be that you could plan strategy cycles, every five years, or at least every year. Now you need to be continuously adjusting your strategy. At least every quarter you should be having strategic discussions about what have we done so far, what have we learned, what do we want to change? That process of constantly adjusting course is essential and it’s also essential to make sure that everyone understands where you’re headed so that they can all contribute because frankly, with the speed of change today, you can’t possibly tell everyone what to do. You need to have them clear about what the goal is so that they can anticipate on their own for their own part of the business, how they need to adjust.
Watch the video, How to Prevent Strategy Execution Meltdowns, on Youtube.
Robyn M. Bolton provides a few inside tips on how to work with resource constraints and the people who control them when you need to access the resources that will fund your innovation.
The process of setting annual goals and budgets can be frustrating and even demoralizing for employees and managers alike as their visions and budgets get slashed in each round of management reviews.
This process can be especially painful for Innovators who feel like they are expected to do more with less and, as a result, can’t even try to do anything new or game-changing because they barely have the resources to operate the current business.
Resource constraints are a reality in every organization. The trick is not to give up when you run into them, but to figure out how to work with them and, more importantly, the people who control them.
The steps are:
-Know where there’s flexibility
-Channel your inner Mick Jagger
-Make your case
Read the full article, 4 Steps to Get the Resources You Need to Innovate, on LinkedIn.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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