Archive | strategy

Orchestrator or Autocrat?

This weekend’s Wall Street Journal contained an article by former Chrysler and General Motors executive Bob Lutz called “Life Lessons from a Car Guy.”  Lutz believes that different kinds of organizations require different kinds of leaders.  A loosely-connected conglomerate like General Electric requires a leader with vision and portfolio management skills; investing/divesting lines of business,…

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Culture eats strategy for breakfast

A little more than six months ago, I took a new role with a group that was described as in need of a “turn-around” and an “updated strategy and direction”. I was urged to introduce a new mission/vision, strategic objectives, and revised key performance indicators. Given my performance management background, this seemed like a reasonable…

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First Mover Advantage

During the holidays, I had the chance to re-read one of my favorite marketing books: The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Ries and Trout. While many people seem to think that the book is no longer relevant, I was more than a little surprised by how of much of the book I remembered and…

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The Upside of the Downturn

In the Upside of the Downturn, Geoff Colvin suggests death rates go down in a recession. Regardless of the accuracy of the claim, it’s worth remembering the recession provides new opportunities for companies willing to take risks. To emphasize this point, Colvin subtitled his book “Ten Management Strategies to Prevail in the Recession and Thrive in the Aftermath.”…

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Scrum By Walking Around

If you’re not in software development, you may not be familiar with an agile software development framework called scrum. Scrum is an alternative to the traditional waterfall approach and attempts to simplify complex projects by structuring them in short cycles of work called sprints. Each sprint is based on prioritized customer requirements such that the highest value features…

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Smooth-sailing Fallacy

In a McKinsey Quarterly article entitled “Management lessons from the financial crisis,” UCLA business professor Richard Rumelt coins the term smooth-sailing fallacy: This smooth-sailing fallacy arises when we mistake a measure for reality. Competent management always looks deeper than the numbers, deeper than the current measures. Incompetent management just focuses on the metrics, on the body…

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