Posts Tagged ‘Business Strategy’

Budget Season! Time to Start Thinking about 2012

by Matthew Carmen on May 23, 2011

Well here we are in May. 2011 seems to be flying by – the year is almost half over, and in the corporate world you know what that means:

Time to start planning for 2012.

This is that time of the year everyone dislikes. For operations and the overall business, it is essentially time away from what they want to focus on, and for the finance teams, it is that time when they find themselves refereeing battles between operations and business for the finite amount of dollars.  All in all, this time of the year is where the challenges of the year ahead are discussed, strategized around, and hopefully addressed.

The three distinct groups – business, operations, and finance teams, each play a role in ensuring a successful budgeting and planning season.  In the case of the business, each area – whether a business unit, product line or service; needs to have its strategy fully developed by the executive team and communicated to all levels of the business.  By doing this, each person – from the lowest level all the way up – will know:

  • What the corporate strategy is, going forward,
  • How their work will help move the company towards the goal, and
  • It will provide management teams the direction in which to plan programs and projects.

By establishing a clear direction across the board, the business will be able to have conversations with the operational areas (such as IT) to make sure that the needs of the business are top priority for everyone.

No Personal Agendas

In my experiences, which have taken place in each of the three distinct areas, one thing has always been paramount to success, “Don’t come to the negotiations with a personal agenda”.  The more emotion that is brought to the table, the longer and more drawn out the negotiations become, and feelings are hurt at the end of the process.  Many times these feelings carry forward and the working relationships between people, groups and departments can be irreparably harmed.  This definitely does not help the long-term growth of a company.

The IT Operations View

In the case of the IT operations groups, this time of year is typically focused on two major things;

  1. The planning of programs and projects that benefit the business, and
  2. The planning of the IT organization.

In the case of the second point, IT has to weigh the benefits to the business versus the needs of the IT organization.  This means that with a finite amount of budget dollars available, the IT department needs to find the right mix of dollars for the benefit of the business while having enough budget to make sure the IT department is able to do the things it needs to do to ensure the business survives long term.  This internal IT spend will likely include: disaster recovery, continued infrastructure modernization, replacement systems for facilities, server and storage growth and refresh, etc.  These areas of spend need to be voiced to the business and discussions need to take place at this time of year, at times, the business seems to forget that ongoing operations need to be sustained and this costs money. May and June are critical communication months in the budgeting and planning season.  Communicating now means that once the finance team is ready to open the budgeting tool, usually right after the July 4th holiday, the whole budgeting project goes more smoothly.

The Finance Team View

The finance team always hopes for a smooth budget season.  Depending on the work they do in these early stages of the process, this smooth season is possible.  At this time of the year, the finance team needs to make sure that its message is communicated as well.  The finance team needs to make sure that all of the business and operational groups know and understand the process by which the budget will happen, what the key dates are, what the budgeting system will include and what business and operations will need to add to it.  These are all very important, the more the business and operational groups understand about what they are responsible to do at this point and throughout the whole budgeting process, the easier it becomes for everyone.

Another area that the finance team needs to be working on at this point is the final testing for its budgeting system.  Changes to the system from previous years may have been done due to upgraded equipment and upgrades in software functionality.  If a completely new system has been implemented (Hyperion and Cognos-TM1 are the two largest systems currently in use by midsized and large companies), the work becomes even more challenging.  Lastly, on the finance side of the budgeting triangle, training the usage of the system must be planned for.  All planning sessions need to be calendared, and anyone who will use the system including: cost center managers, department managers, executives and financial representation should be included in the training. (Either a complete training on a new system, or in the case of the use of the same system, a refresher course will be needed as well as complete training for new users.)

Plan Ahead for Success

Just like most endeavors, the more work that is put into the early phases of the annual planning exercise, the easier it become to achieve success.  The easier the complete budgeting process is, the less evasive to all areas involved it is.  Remember, for most people involved, the budget process is an addition to their “regular” job.  Remember, throughout the whole process, nothing is personal, it is all about moving the business forward…the right way.  Lastly, there are professionals, like myself, that can help with anything from questions to process and system integration.  We are here to help and make your business grow.

The power of acknowledgement in creating wealth cannot be over-emphasized. A simple story from a mentoring client will help illuminate. Bob (not his real name) is a commercial banker. He wants to both grow business and advance his career. One on-going thread running through our discussions is differentiating the creation of wealth vs. accumulating money, more on that later. Bob has a new associate, Carl (again, not his real name) who essentially is in training and comes from a sales background. Carl is very aggressive about closing the deal and has a strong focus on winning.

Buried Treasure

Bob decided to do some prospecting and ended up calling on someone with whom Carl had already spoken. In fact, Carl had met or called this person 5 times and felt there was no chance of getting a sale from this prospect. Bob met with the prospect, a CPA with 5 employees, and simply asked if she would be willing to share how day-to-day life is going in her firm. They ended up talking for 1.5 hours! As Bob listened she went from day-to-day issues to talking about where she’d like to see her firm be in the long run. Bob now has a meeting planned where she will discuss the SWOT (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats) analysis of her situation and he will help her refine it. He has yet to mention one product the bank offers! There is little need. She’s engaged in commerce. The reality of her financial needs will surface as the conversation progresses and Bob’s bank simply becomes a tool for helping this client grow her business and add to community.

Carl has been humbled and is walking around quietly confused with his tail between his legs. Bob’s strategy is to keep Carl apprised of the conversation with the CPA but hold him at bay by insisting he just observe and write lessons-learned in terms of how acknowledgement supports growth and how its absence can be damaging.

Lessons Learned

There are many lessons to be learned from this situation. Here are a few:

  • A sales transaction is simply an exchange of a good or service for money. The relationship ends once the exchange is over.  The relationship has to be re-established for the next sale. Also, commercial banking products are a lot like project management tools and bottles of cooking oil. Everyone has them. In a sales-driven environment people will switch for a penny-a-bottle difference.  Acknowledgement creates value which differentiates you from the competition.
  • Acknowledgement creates interdependence which leads to:
    • A feed forward relationship (trust-based) that is free of skepticism and runs much faster than a feedback relationship.
    • Success feeding on itself, leading to growth.
    • Health. A great deal of stress is removed since a safety net of relationships can be built. This, in turn, lowers suspicion and skepticism. The fight-or-flight reflex is calmed. When only sales-driven the stress returns immediately.
    • A dynamic relationship where spontaneity increases leading to more options for the future.
    • An increased probability of reading the all-important weak signals so essential to adapting and making necessary changes along the way.

One CAN be sales driven and accumulate money. There is a catch, and it is a big one. To succeed it is essential to be the 800-pound gorilla, e.g., Wal-Mart, since loyalty is absent. For the rest of us to sustain it is better to focus on helping others to get what they want, embed our rewards in the transaction, and nurture the relationship. Acknowledgement is a key tool in that process.

This blog closes with the challenge from the previous blog. How much time are you willing to spend acknowledging others? Who would you pick? Why?  And I’d like to add one more question, “Why would they want to work with you?”

Many people assume that most any business can become a big business.  But if that’s true, why is it that 95% of all businesses in the United States never reach a million bucks in annual sales?

Surprising as it may be, most businesses simply don’t have what it takes to grow significantly.  In fact, only two or three businesses out of a hundred will ever grow past the Mom & Pop stage – past the owner’s immediate span of control.

If you’re a small business owner with visions of growth, these facts can be a little unnerving, and more than a little disheartening.  What these facts tell us is that if you want your business to grow into a substantial enterprise, you need to do something that roughly 25,000,000 other business owners have been unable to do!

So where do you start?  You start by confronting the brutal facts.  You start with perhaps the most important question a business owner can ask:

Is the market sufficient?

Two factors comprise the market, demand and attachment.

  • Demand is about quantity – how many people want what you’re trying to sell.
  • Attachment is about quality – how much do people want what you’re trying to sell.

For a business to grow significantly, there must be high demand or strong attachment, preferably both.  Although it’s a little unwieldy, here’s a question that gets to the core of market evaluation:

Do enough people care enough?

Sometimes, the answer is no.  Last year about this time our company released an online service called ReallyEasyHR.  The service provided a complete small company HR program for $30 a month.  It was a great service and a remarkable value.  But guess what?  Nobody cared.  It turns out that small business owners have virtually no interest in spending even a few dollars a month on HR.

I believed ReallyEasyHR was going to be successful.  And I suppose I could berate myself about how wrong I was.  But here’s the thing:  You don’t know how the market will respond until you start trying to make sales.  The hard truth is, until you ask a prospect to fork over some cash, it’s all just guesswork and speculation.

That’s true in small companies like ours and it’s also true in huge, wildly successful organizations.  Not so long ago the brain trust at McDonald’s looked at emerging demographic trends and saw what they thought was an opportunity.  People were living longer and the older adult population was burgeoning.  In response, McDonald’s spent $300 million to develop and launch the Arch Deluxe, a sandwich positioned as “a more sophisticated burger for the adult palate”.  The Arch Deluxe was a complete flop. As it turned out, people didn’t want a sophisticated burger from McDonald’s.  Which just goes to show you that some of the smartest people on the planet can be flat-out wrong when projecting demand.

Demand is one thing your company can’t grow without.  Unless enough people care about the product or service you’re trying to sell – and care enough to go out of their way to buy it – survival is unlikely and growth is impossible.  So here are two important reminders for owners who want to grow their businesses:

  1. You won’t know if there’s enough market for your product until you offer that product for sale.
  2. There’s a chance you’ve overestimated demand, so don’t go all in.  Make sure you live to fight another day.

In my next article, I’ll offer some thoughts on the other factor of market potential, attachment.

Week In Review : Mar 27 – Apr 2, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on April 3, 2011

Business Intelligence in a Wiki World!

by Linda Williams, Mar 28, 2011

Often the development of Business Intelligence insights is closely guarded within the company to ensure at least a temporary advantage in the marketplace. Secrecy in all areas of analytical review is no longer possible or even preferable in a world that is increasingly transparent with the pervasive use of social media. But the decision to tap into the networked intelligence to speed up problem solving or make breakthroughs cannot be rote, but must rest with the complexity of the use and the expertise of internal resources to meet that need.  more…

Project Reality Check #15: The Requirements Game

by Gary Monti, Mar 29, 2011

Nailing down requirements is the number one complaint of project managers. Addressing this requires two skills: political adroitness and finding a balance point between exploring solutions and exploiting what is known and available. A mantra regarding project requirements goes something like this: “Requirements are stated needs, expectations are unstated needs. Clients tend to judge based on expectations.” So, in order to be a successful PM, it isn’t enough to simply say the client should be realistic. The PM and team need to push as far as they can working with the client in developing a realistic solution – one that will save reputations, relationships, and pocket books as well as produce the desired deliverable. more…

How to create your own good moods?

by Vijay Peduru, Mar 30, 2011

Whenever we meet certain people, they trigger a mood within us… Anxiety, flow, joy, fear, exhaustion, etc. Is there a way where we can choose our emotions? Yes, just like we choose to enter any room in our house, we  can choose our moods ourselves instead of getting triggered. This is a key skill for all, especially entrepreneurs when dealing with situations that might trigger default moods. more…

Flexible Focus #47: Clearing your Clutter

by William Reed, Mar 31, 2011

One of the things that prevents us from seeing life in this way, that shields our eyes from the wisdom in natural simplicity, is that we are surrounded by too much clutter. The recent events in Japan has triggered going back to basics and clearing the clutter. It has brought out the goodness in people. Mandala Chart can help us shift our focus. You can start by answering the following questions:

  1. What are 8 ways in which I can serve the most important people in my life?
  2. If I had to keep or choose 8 things, what would they be?
  3. What are 8 things I can do to clear the clutter in my life?
  4. What are 8 goals or values by which I choose to navigate my life?  more….

Leader driven Harmony #18: Gen-Ys need Special Handling when entering the Workforce – Part 2

by Mack McKinney, Apr 1, 2011

Upon arrival at a new job, every new employee is judged.  They will be scrutinized by established members of the organization in three areas: Talent, Reliability and People-skills. Give them the strongest possible start in each area. Basically, sharing of values and standards, repeated and demonstrated over time, is how individuals are brought into a team with shared goals, interdependencies and mutual rewards. more…

Week In Review : Mar 20 – Mar 26, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on March 27, 2011

Social Media and Tribes #32: Online Gamers become Contributors

by Deepika Bajaj, Mar 21, 2011

One of the fastest growing segment is interactive gaming where the user gets to play the game and also create content like videos, virtual goods and even produce story lines. For this behavior to continue it is critical to nurture the communities of gamers. So, the marketing departments in different gaming companies have to become competent in listening to these communities and engage with them by tweeting, blog posts and updates so that they retain the users who are HARD CORE gamers. more…

Project Reality Check #14: Death of a Project

by Gary Monti, Mar 22, 2011

When a project dies, the typical next step is a post-mortem or root cause analysis. This is the traditional approach to find where a fix is needed. No matter how hard everyone tries, workarounds have no impact or the workarounds make matters worse. A better approach is to perform learned BEFORE the next high profile project begins in an attempt to avoid the catastrophe. This the method of resilience and asks the questions “What is the nature of success? How can we sustain it? How close to the edge are we? Can we adapt? If we do, how must we change our structure and the way we do work?” more…

Custom Fit: 4 Proven Leadership styles that hold the Key to Success

by Art Gould, Mar 23, 2011

There is no foolproof formula for leadership success. The “right” way to lead depends on the product or service provided by the organization, skill levels and experience of the work teams, organizational environment, and the personal attributes of the firm’s leaders. As these things change over time, good leaders are usually able to adapt by instinctively modifying their styles as required. If there is such a thing as a common denominator for success, it is trust between the workforce and its leadership. But there are many leadership styles that can achieve this result.. more…

Flexible Focus #46: Lens on Consciousness

by William Reed, Mar 24, 2011

In the last eight articles William Reed delved deeper into the realm of the mind, looking through the lens of consciousness to see our life from higher, bigger, and deeper perspectives. And yet even from vastly different perspectives, it is all in the context of our daily familiar existence. Revisiting these articles will help you re-explore the territories where we have been, and see also how they fit together. These selections also correspond to the primary eight categories covered in the series, so this review provides an overview of one trip around the wheel, and also reflects the amazing range of topics possible to address with the Mandala Chart. more…

Leader driven Harmony #17: Gen-Ys need Special Handling when entering the Workforce – Part I

by Mack McKinney, Mar 25, 2011

If your company is hiring Gen-Ys (aka Millennials) fresh out of college, you will be eager to get them folded into your operation and feeling part of the team.  But you will need to handle this cohort of youngsters differently than any other generations entering the Western workforce. There are some simple things we can do to fix this disconnect between realities of the workplace and the expectations of our Gen Y colleagues. more…

Week In Review : Feb 27 – Mar 5, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on March 6, 2011

5 Reasons why IT Outsourcing may not be living up to the hype!

by Matthew Carmen, Feb 28, 2011

Large and small companies alike find out very often that their own cost savings due to outsourcing do not match the case studies they were sold on. Several reasons can result in your company essentially leaving dollars and services on the table with respect to outsourcing.  There’s no such thing as too much thought when evaluating an outsourcing initiative.  If you need help, there are many experts available to you who can provide guidance. more…

Project Reality Check #11: Frame of Mind

by Gary Monti, Mar 1, 2011

“Everything is simple” if you have the right frame of mind. “What happens when you follow the rules?” is the question that will determine the frame-of-mind appropriate for a project. Gary describes 6 of them in this post. The reality and challenge are the fact that all 6 frames-of-mind or some subset can be present on a given project. The goal, then, is to make sure the project terrain is gauged accordingly and the style(s) adapted are appropriate. more…

Ready to be Enchanted?

by Himanshu Jhamb, Mar 2, 2011

Enchantment is Guy Kawasaki‘s 10th book and according to him, “Enchantment is about transforming situations and relationships to invent new possibilities; ones that you probably did not think were possible.” There is something in this book for everyone and is full of practical advice. An actual review of the book will be coming out on Active Garage, on March 08, 2011 – the official release date of Enchantment. Go ahead and pre-order your copy right away! more…

Flexible Focus #43: 8 Levels of Consciousness

by William Reed, Mar 3, 2011

There are 8 levels of consciousness. The first five are the five senses: VisualAuditoryOlfactoryTaste, and Touch. The sixth is Ideation, our conscious thought. These six levels of consciousness then make up the conscious mind, the part that we are mostly aware of. The next two layers are part of the sub-conscious mind, which are the Ego, and the Seed (Storehouse) consciousness at the core. Our subconscious mind is a garden, which bears fruit according to the seeds which are planted and cultivated. The practical application with the Mandala Chart, is to cultivate a flexible focus and select positive and harmonious seeds to plant in our unconscious. more…

Leader driven Harmony #14: If you are Civil, you will get (more) beer – Part I

by Mack McKinney, Mar 4, 2011

People listen more attentively to civil persons than to rude or boisterous people. Humans seem to be drawn to calm, collected people.  They have a calming effect on persons around them. Cultivate the ability to always be civil even (maybe especially) to people with whom you totally disagree.  This is a powerful skill. In our next post Mack will talk about the remarkable benefits of following the Desiderata. It is a powerful document that will show you how adding just four simple rules at the dinner table will get you labeled diplomatic and get you invited to dinner parties a lot more often! more…

Week In Review: Feb 20 – Feb 26, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on February 27, 2011

Author’s Journey Update: Easy ways to organize blog posts, books and ebooks

by Roger Parker, Feb 21, 2011

You need organize what you are going to write before you start writing. It helps you provide structure, sequence and relevance for your ideas. Roger provides 10 options you could use to get organized. Make it a habit to use them and it will help you keep up your writing commitments. more…

Project Reality Check #10: Personal Resilience

by Gary Monti, Feb 22, 2011

Being centered though all situations and avoiding distractions is key for a project manager’s success. You can achieve this by being resilient. Resilience is the ability to continue functioning while adapting to a changing situation. In this article Gary lists the questions that you can ask yourself and take appropriate action. Sometimes you get the elevator, other times you get the shaft. The idea is to build resilience, think, and keep moving to get more of the former and less of the latter. more…

Social Media and Tribes #30: Virtual Valentine

by Deepika Bajaj, Feb 23, 2011

Thanks to Social Media, there’ve been very interesting shifts in Velentine’s day behaviors. This year people not only sent personal messages but wished their friends, shared their gifts, surprises, roses and even their  dinners on FB. People are broadcasting their love for friends and special ones. Moreover, there are Valentine Apps on the iPhone store, Groupon Deals, Valentine Events marketed on FB. Better watch out Hallmark! more…

Flexible Focus #42: Time Lapse as a Mandala Movie

by William Reed, Feb 24, 2011

Manda Charts show relationship between the frames in a 3D perspective. What about the 4th dimension, time? This is not so difficult to imagine if you look at the effect you get in time-lapse photography. So as you create and use Mandala Charts, try to see them from the perspective of the 4th dimension, time and transformation. It will add a new dimension to your enjoyment of flexible focus. more…

Leader driven Harmony #13: 4 P’s to get your !deas MOVING – Part II

by Mack McKinney, Feb 25, 2011

Last week Mack showed you how to be a pro and likeable when pushing for change and I showed you key actions that would get you taken seriously. In addition to that, you need to be somewhat patient and promote your !deas. When you promote your ideas to others, let them become their ideas, because people will advocate their “own” ideas more passionately than other’s ideas. more…

Week In Review : Feb 13 – Feb 19, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on February 20, 2011

Social Media and Tribes #29: The new BLINK!

by Deepika Bajaj, Feb 14, 2011

Contrary to popular belief, FaceBook is not a distraction. This is true at least for people who can use it in moderation like everything else in life. Glancing at the news feed once in a while helps you be connected. It happens in a split second and you see something that doesn’t register at the conscious-level but provides a gut-feel about the thing. Just like what Malcolm Gladwell states in his popular book BLINK: The power of thinking without thinking. more…

Project Reality Check #9: Tyranny of the “Truth”

by Gary Monti, Feb 15, 2011

Everyone sees their version of the “truth” and this can cause tyrannical behavior. This happens if the person’s “truth” limits the available options for action. Or it could be because of the rigidity in the system or bureaucracy. A great example is the comparison between the Brits and the Germans in WWII. Even though both of them has the technology for a similar artillery piece, the Germans were adept at improvising whereas the Brits were more concerned about maintaining status.  more…

7 Key Strategies for designing an Analysis based Company

by Linda Williams, Feb 16, 2011

In today’s fast changing environment being an analysis based company is critical to survival and profitability. Different industries will have different needs for analysis but there are some key components of an analytical strategy that are foundational to the majority of businesses. In this article, Linda lists the top 7 strategies for designing an Analytical Strategy. more…

Flexible Focus #41: Your 100 year life span

by William Reed, Feb 17, 2011

Irrespective of what ages determine the boundaries of each stage, the truth is that there are stages to life. And you cannot see some things clearly until you take the 100 year perspective. The 100 Year Life Span Mandala Chart can help you gain clarity. It takes a while to thoughtfully fill it out, but that is a small investment of time compared to the perspective it gives you. Think of it as climbing a mountain to the summit of your life, and getting the view of everything below. You owe it to yourself to go there at least once, and if possible at least once a year. more…

Leader driven Harmony #12: 4 P’s to get your !deas moving – Part 1

by Mack McKinney, Feb 18, 2011

The four Ps to move your ideas are be Pleasant, be Professional, be Patient and Promote like crazy. But very often you may not be able to find the traction in your organization. If that’s the case, Mack suggests some ways to rectify that. more…

7 Key Strategies for designing an Analysis based Company

by Linda Williams on February 16, 2011

In today’s fast changing environment being an analysis based company is critical to survival and profitability. Different industries will have different needs for analysis but there are some key components of an analytical strategy that are foundational to the majority of businesses. Here are the top 7 strategies for designing an Analytical Strategy:

  1. Taking an existing business model and innovating against it: Some of the most successful companies over the last decade have been innovators in their space: Netflix, Google, Amazon, Apple, and Priceline. Each took an existing model and made compelling technological and structural changes. This model can be used by other sectors to take advantage of emerging trends and technologies.
  2. Keeping aware of changes in the technical environment and quickly growing your offerings to take advantage of newly emerging trends: The pace of technological change has been steadily increasing and businesses that miss these trends miss opportunities to thrive. For example, Netflix moved from postal delivery of movies to downloads on laptops and WII based systems and now is moving into offering content on iPhones and iPads. Its competitors are scrambling to catch up as evidenced by Blockbuster’s recent filing for bankruptcy.
  3. Developing an easy interface for customers, customizable to their interests: Customers have come to expect near instant response to changing orders, tracking, and complaints. Using technology is part of this equation but it should also include value- added services such as presenting relevant suggestions on what else they may find valuable either in products or shipping options. This is seen in the use by Amazon and Netflix of making recommendations or suggestions for new orders given past orders.
  4. Focusing on listening to the customer to develop and improve your service; capitalize on complaints customers have with your competitors: One of the key differentiators for companies is their real (or perceived) focus on the customer. People have come to expect superior service and are quick to go to a competitor when they don’t get it. It is critical to develop robust customer service capabilities for handling questions, complaints, and surveying customers on speed of delivery. Social media blogs are now an expected forum for customers to use to exchange ideas and suggestions.
  5. Offering a variety of service plans/products at several price points: This feature was a key to Netflix’s initial strategy which was to get customers to try their new delivery service – who can’t afford $4.99 per month. Then there is a simple upgrade plan with many levels that is flexible to meet anyone’s needs. Again, the pricing plans are very customer focused. This same approach could be used for pricing services for a support service giving various price points each with a higher level of services.
  6. Designing logistics so as to ensure cost effective, fast delivery: Logistics are pivotal to any business providing a product especially as the business expands internationally. Any product business must be able to deliver their goods/services in a timeframe that not only meets their customer’s needs but exceeds them.
  7. Having a data-driven culture that supports your strategy, direction, and profitability: Successful companies rely on using data-driven information to strengthen their product offerings and emerge ahead of the competition. This includes being able to identify top purchasers based on profitability, sales by market segment, or potential. Having a robust marketing analytics program has now become indispensible to providing valuable insight to drive the company’s strategy, direction, and profitability.

In summary, the increasingly competitive environment makes it critical to gain the advantages that an analytically focused strategy can give to your company’s success

Week In Review : Feb 6 – Feb 12, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on February 13, 2011

Developing Organizational Bench Strength

by Sean Conrad, Feb 7, 2011

Identifying your core, differentiating competencies, and then developing them in your entire workforce, but especially in your high potential employees helps to ensure your organization has the bench strength it needs to compete and succeed. Developing bench strength is about developing pools or groups of employees, not just individuals. It’s vital that you identify these high potential employees. If they’re valuable to you, they’re likely also valuable to your competitors and to companies in other industries. more…

Project Reality Check #8: Project Execution – Fantasy vs. Reality

by Gary Monti, Feb 8, 2011

No good deed goes unpunished” is a common project reality. It happens in spite of the best of intentions because of the disconnect between the various truth systems. One of the project manager’s jobs is working the interfaces between all those truth systems and doing so in a way their integrity remains intact. more…

Brilliant advertisements = Phenomenal Sales. True or False?

by Vijay Peduru, Feb 9, 2011

Don’t expect your product to sell more with brilliant ads and average product. 1984 Superbowl commercial for Macintosh computers is a great example. This strategy does not work in the Industrial age anymore. A product has to be first really useful to the customers before advertising helps. Now we need remarkable products or remarkable ideas, which can spread virally. more…

Flexible Focus #40: The 8 frames of life: Society

by William Reed, Feb 10, 2011

In today’s world, your place in society is not longer controlled by birth, circumstance or fortune. The amazing impact of technology to connect people and facilitate communication is firmly put you in control of your personal identity. There is plenty of good and generous advice searchable on the Internet about personal branding through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin, and many other popular social networks. The challenge is not so much how to get online but rather why, knowing your role, mission, and purpose in engaging in Social Media. Download a Social Media Mandalato help you think about which aspect of social media you might want to include or improve. more…

Leader driven Harmony #11: Know your Boss’s job and Your Replacement’s Name

by Mack McKinney, Feb 11, 2011

Succession planning in some organizations happen more methodically and maybe only for key positions. But in most cases, it may not be thought out or planned for. And when circumstances arise, you may be in your boss’s shoes… soon. You never know. Learn about how to get ready to take your boss’s job. more…