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jerryking : george_stalk_jr.   11

Surprise business result? Explore whether it is a hidden opportunity
June 18, 2007 | G&M pg. B8 | George Stalk Jr.

What does it take to capitalize on anomalies systematically?

For starters, you need to have metrics and information systems that are sufficiently refined to identify anomalies in the first place. Knowing the average margins and market share isn’t enough; look at the entire range of outcomes—across customers, geographies, products, and the like. This allows you to surface out-of-the-ordinary results for closer inspection.

The next step is to separate wheat from chaff: those anomalies that signal a potential business opportunity from those that are merely one-time events. The key is to examine the pattern of unusual performance over time. The customer who consistently buys high volumes or the market that outperforms the average year after year are, by definition, not random. Is there an underlying cause that can be identified and then replicated elsewhere?

Finally, you need to understand the precise mechanisms that animate the anomalies you identify. Why is the unusual pattern of performance happening? What specific features of the product or the local environment or the customer experience are bringing it about? Don’t accept the usual first-order explanations. It’s not enough to know that a particular customer has been loyal for years; find out precisely why.

It’s up to senior management to create the forum for asking why and to persist until the question is answered with genuine insight.
metrics  George_Stalk_Jr.  BCG  anomalies  growth  opportunities  customer_insights  surprises  systematic_approaches  quizzes  ratios  pattern_recognition  insights  questions  first-order  second-order  OPMA  Waudware  curiosity  new_businesses  one-time_events  signals  noise  overlooked_opportunities  latent  hidden  averages  information_systems  assessments_&_evaluations  randomness  5_W’s 
january 2013 by jerryking
globeandmail.com: All's fair in love and war, but hard to measure in business
April 26, 2010 | Globe & Mail | GEORGE STALK JR. "These
laws also mean that the informational "glue" that defined the boundaries
of industries and companies is dissolving, enabling industries to be
redrawn again and again. Companies can no longer rest comfortably in a
market position but must continually cannibalize their own and their
competitors' positions; incumbents must go on the attack to remain
viable....These competitors will not target product-market niches, but
instead define their business as the layers of events and processes that
produce a product or service, as Microsoft and Intel have. This will
happen not only in high-tech and communications but also in industries
such as biotech, media and retail. We already see successful strategies
of "layer mastery" in payments processing, contract electronics
manufacturing, and aircraft leasing. Industries and markets will be
redefined in ways that will make the traditional assessment of "fair"
increasingly difficult.
George_Stalk_Jr.  competitive_landscape  competitive_strategy  Intel  Microsoft  Google  Moore's_Law  Gilder's_Law  Metcalfe's_Law  Coase's_Law  complacency  layer_mastery  industry_boundaries  offensive_tactics  BCG  kaleidoscopic  informational_advantages  product-market_fit  market_position 
may 2010 by jerryking
A dizzying world of insight lurks beyond the averages
Aug 27, 2007 | The Globe & Mail pg. B.6 | by George
Stalk Jr. "A gloriously rich world is hidden from us by "averages." We
manage our lives and our businesses with averages....But as soon as we
choose an average on which to make a decision, we cut ourselves off from
more nuanced information that might lead to a better
decision....drill[ing] down behind the averages can yield rich insights.
What businesses are we in? Where are the opportunities to raise
prices? How fast can we grow this business? How much time does it
really take us to do things? Other intriguing, insightful questions
include: How much money does it take to run this business? Just what do
our customers want? Where do we make our money in this business? Who
are our real competitors? Do our averages conceal sources of
competitive advantage? Looking behind the averages often yields new
strategic and operational paradigms that can help make better decisions
and ensure they are acted upon daily.
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identify anomalies in the first place. Knowing the average margins and market share isn’t enough; look at the entire range of outcomes—across customers, geographies, products, and the like. This allows you to surface out-of-the-ordinary results for closer inspection. (June 18, 2007 | G&M pg. B8 | George Stalk Jr).
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base_rates  George_Stalk_Jr.  strategic_thinking  insights  BCG  management_consulting  competitive_advantage  questions  extremes  laggards  decision_making  anomalies  leading-edge  quizzes  ratios  second-order  averages  5_W’s 
october 2009 by jerryking
No time like bankruptcy for squeezing competitors
July 13, 2009 |The Globe & Mail | George Stalk Jr.

In bankruptcy, your competitor's major issue is a shortage of cash - which is what led it into bankruptcy in the first place. Take advantage of it.

You can put pressure on that shortage by further straining your rival's ability to generate cash, or boost the cash it needs to run its business, forcing your competitor to yield market share, customers, product and service offerings. It is fight versus flight for the bankrupt competitor.

How to raise the cash ante? Consider some of the following tactics:

Introduce extended terms. Offer your competitors' customers longer payment terms. Your rival will either lose the business of customers that bite, or be forced to do the same, thus reducing its ability to generate much-needed cash.

Consignment pricing, where the customer pays only after the product is sold, is the ultimate extended term and will be difficult for a competitor in bankruptcy to match.

Boost marketing expenditures. Raising your advertising and point-of-sale spending will have a similar effect: Either your competitor will also have to spend more, or risk losing customers that you attract.

Lengthen the "tail" of the revenue stream. Add more after-sale services and spiffs - if your competitor has to do the same, it will raise the cash costs of getting and keeping customers.

Launch more products. New product development and introduction eats up a lot of cash - and a cash-short competitor is unlikely to be able to do the same. If you go all out, introducing many more new products than a bankrupt competitor possibly can, you could make your rival's offering obsolete in the minds of customers, forcing it into fire sales in a panic to raise cash.[JCK: panicked selling off of assets]

Pursue your competitor's most profitable customers (perhaps identified via geofencing). Good management teams know where their company makes and doesn't make money. Great management teams know this about their competitors.

This insight can be used to target customers, geography, products and services of the bankrupt competitor to gain market share.

The competitor will be hesitant to counter your move against its most profitable customers because it needs the cash these customers generate. It will be more likely to maintain the status quo with these customers in the hopes the cash will keep coming.

Lawsuits. Now is the time to file the lawsuit you've always wanted to. Your bankrupt competitor will not have the discretionary resources to fight and will likely come to terms quickly.

There are also broader strategies to consider. Among them:

Sell against the competitor. When companies are in trouble, customers may worry that they won't be around to service products or provide future upgrades.

This fear can be a powerful weapon: These customers may be persuaded to take their business to companies on a sounder footing.

Go after the best talent (poaching). Anxiety about the plight of the competitor will be just as rampant among your rival's employees and suppliers as it is among customers. You can leverage that angst by going after top talent and strong suppliers - and offer terms and conditions that your competitor will have a tough time matching.

Force the sale of attractive assets held by your bankrupt competitor. A competitor in protection is not its own boss. The creditor committee is likely to care more for the cash it can get from an asset sale than who buys the assets.
bankruptcies  BCG  competition  competitive_advantage  consignment_pricing  geofencing  George_Stalk_Jr.  hardball  lawsuits  marketing  new_products  offensive_tactics  poaching  product_development  selling_off  supply_chain_squeeze  tough-mindedness 
july 2009 by jerryking
Finding opportunities with deep customer 'discovery'
February 23, 2009 G&M column by GEORGE STALK JR.

One approach that works for customer-supplier partnerships is something we call "discovery," which goes beyond cost reduction tactics to find opportunities for increasing revenues and improving entire processes....The discovery process goes behind traditional contact points to explore issues that affect the hand-offs, such as consumer usage, retail merchandising, promotional effectiveness and pricing.

By using fact-based analysis, information technology and strong project management, discovery has transformed purchasing department contacts into broader, deeper relationships, helped suppliers and customers create new value in their businesses, and led to dramatically more innovative products and services.
opportunities  business_development  George_Stalk_Jr.  discoveries  partnerships  process_improvements  IT  LBMA  OPMA  customer_insights  cost-cutting  BCG  merchandising  pricing  handoffs  purchasing  relationships  new_products 
february 2009 by jerryking
Got a competitor on your radar? Make decisions like a fighter pilot
11-19-2007 Globe & Mail article by George Stalk,

Col. John Boyd concluded that difference between fighter pilots with the
most kills and all the others was that the leading scorers exercised
faster OODA loops (the pattern of Observation, Orientation, Decision and
Acting). The OODA loop, Col. Boyd postulated, is faster for a winner
than for a laggard (or loser). Col. Boyd's supporting data and
conclusion convinced the USAF to redesign not only its training of
pilots but the very nature of the equipment they used to insure that,
over all, its pilots had faster OODA loops than their opponents.
George_Stalk_Jr.  competitive_advantage  strategy  pilots  OODA  time-based  competition  USAF  decision_making 
february 2009 by jerryking
Build your brand - but don't forget to deliver an experience
FEBRUARY 11, 2008 | THE GLOBE AND MAIL | GEORGE STALK.

Brand relationships are not confined to consumer products. They exist with hospitals, taxi companies, cleaners, garages, airlines, restaurants, and more. The strength of a brand experience is inextricably linked to every aspect of buying and using a product, not just to the inherent performance of the product itself.

Before launching that next advertising campaign or promotion, ask yourself how your investment decisions affect the customer experience, and if everyone - from senior executives to counter clerks - is aware of how much the brand's value hinges on the quality of experience you deliver.

Here are some questions to consider.

Can you describe the end-to-end experience, through "learn-buy-get-use-pay-service," that different customer segments experience?

Could you present it in a video for employees?

Do you have specific measures that track your ability to overcome the dissatisfactions (such as long waits for delivery and repairs, inaccuracies in orders and billings) customers encounter as they progress through your brand's experience?

Can you map the ripple effects of problems from misleading marketing claims to consumer distemper to service calls and product returns? Can you measure the economic implication of fixing these problems?

What is the dollar value of delivering an experience that consistently produces brand boosters and eliminates brand blasters?

Brand management is at a turning point. As the cacophony of the marketplace escalates, only those brands that deliver will succeed. Increased advertising investment alone won't move the sales needle: refocus your brand management on the outcomes that matter most - those that affect the lives of your customers.
branding  George_Stalk_Jr.  customer_experience  turning_points  moments_of_truth  product_launches  product_returns  BCG  ripple_effects 
january 2009 by jerryking
Networks: The right move for your company or just a fad?;
Sept. 24, 2007 G&M article by George Stalk Jr. on the
importance of company's having solid networks of suppliers. Two
diagrams, Figure 1: Hierarchy network with a supplier.; Figure 2:
Network with a 'super node'
networks  George_Stalk_Jr.  BCG  supply_chains 
january 2009 by jerryking
The Turnaround Man's Last Speech
Undated retirement speech by Jack Welch, that appears in G&M column by George Stalk Jr. of BCG.
Jack_Welch  leadership  GE  turnarounds  managing_people  George_Stalk_Jr.  filetype:pdf  media:document 
january 2009 by jerryking
reportonbusiness.com: Asking 'why' again and again is harder than you think, but it works
May 5, 2008 | Report on Business pg. B10 | by George Stalk.
George's column in the G&M on the benefit of asking "why" five times
to increase one's chances of being able to work backwards to
identifying a problem's root cause.
5_W’s  BCG  George_Stalk_Jr.  questions  root_cause  thinking_backwards  work-back_schedules 
january 2009 by jerryking

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