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jerryking : introspection   20

The path to enlightenment and profit starts inside the office
(Feb. 2, 2016): The Financial Times | John Thornhill.

Competition used to be easy. That is in theory, if not always in practice. Until recently, most competent companies had a clear idea of who their rivals were, how to compete and on what field to fight.

One of the starkest - and scariest - declarations of competitive intent came from Komatsu, the Japanese construction equipment manufacturer, in the 1970s. As employees trooped into work they would walk over doormats exhorting: "Kill Caterpillar!". Companies benchmarked their operations and market share against their competitors to see where they stood.

But that strategic clarity has blurred in so many industries today to the point of near-invisibility thanks to the digital revolution and globalisation. Flying blind, companies seem happier to cut costs and buy back their shares than to invest purposefully for the future. Take the European telecommunications sector. Not long ago most telecoms companies were national monopolies with little, or no, competition. Today, it is hard to predict where the next threat is going to erupt.

WhatsApp, the California-based messaging service, was founded in 2009 and only registered in most companies' consciousness when it was acquired by Facebook for more than $19bn in 2014. Yet in its short life WhatsApp has taken huge bites out of the lucrative text messaging markets. Today, WhatsApp has close to 1bn users sending 30bn messages a day. The global SMS text messaging market is just 20bn a day.

Car manufacturers are rapidly wising up to the threat posed by new generation tech firms, such as Tesla, Google and Uber, all intent on developing "apps on wheels". Chinese and Indian companies, little heard of a few years ago, are bouncing out of their own markets to emerge as bold global competitors.

As the driving force of capitalism , competition gives companies a purpose, a mission and a sense of direction. But how can companies compete in such a shape-shifting environment? There are perhaps two (partial) answers.

The first is to do everything to understand the technological changes that are transforming the world, to identify the threats and opportunities early.

Gavin Patterson , chief executive of BT, the British telecoms group, says one of the functions of corporate leaders is to scan the horizon as never before. "As a CEO you have to be on the bridge looking outwards, looking for signs that something is happening, trying to anticipate it before it becomes a danger."

To that end, BT has opened innovation "scouting teams" in Silicon Valley and Israel, and tech partnerships with universities in China, the US, Abu Dhabi, India and the UK.

But even if you foresee the danger, it does not mean you can deal with it. After all, Kodak invented the first digital camera but failed to exploit the technology. The incentive structures of many companies are to minimise risk rather than maximise opportunity. Innovation is often a young company's game.

The second answer is that companies must look as intensively inwards as they do outwards (e.g. opposing actions). Well-managed companies enjoy many advantages: strong brands, masses of consumer data, valuable historic data sets, networks of smart people and easy access to capital. But what is often lacking is the ambition that marks out the new tech companies, their ability to innovate rapidly and their extraordinary connection with consumers. In that sense, the main competition of so many established companies lies within their own organisations.

Larry Page, co-founder of Google, constantly urges his employees to keep being radical. In his Founders' Letter of 2013, he warned that companies tend to grow comfortable doing what they have always done and only ever make incremental change. "This . . . leads to irrelevance over time," he wrote.

Google operates a 70/20/10 rule where employees are encouraged to spend 70 per cent of their time on their core business, 20 per cent on working with another team and 10 per cent on moonshots. How many traditional companies focus so much on radical ventures?

Vishal Sikka, chief executive of the Indian IT group Infosys, says that internal constraints can often be far more damaging than external threats. "The traditional definition of competition is irrelevant. We are increasingly competing against ourselves," he says.

Quoting Siddhartha by the German writer Hermann Hesse, Mr Sikka argues that companies remain the masters of their own salvation whatever the market pressures: "Knowledge can be communicated. Wisdom cannot." He adds: "Every company has to find its own unique wisdom." [This wisdom reference is reminiscent of Paul Graham's advice to do things that don't scale].

john.thornhill@ft.com
ambitions  brands  breakthroughs  BT  bureaucracies  competition  complacency  constraints  Fortune_500  incentives  incrementalism  Infosys  innovation  introspection  irrelevance  large_companies  LBMA  messaging  mission-driven  Mondelez  moonshots  opposing_actions  organizational_culture  outward_looking  Paul_Graham  peripheral_vision  radical  risk-avoidance  scouting  smart_people  start_ups  staying_hungry  tacit_knowledge  technological_change  threats  uniqueness  unscalability  weaknesses  WhatsApp  wisdom  digital_cameras  digital_revolution  historical_data 
april 2016 by jerryking
Jeffrey Simpson: For Tories, a long list of difficult questions - The Globe and Mail
JEFFREY SIMPSON

The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015

Having recently been centre stage, the Conservatives might be tempted to figure out quickly how best to return there. Nothing could be more counterproductive.

They should use their prolonged period of being marginal players to figure out what they should say when centre stage truly beckons again, because for now, and for the foreseeable future, the vast majority of Canadians don’t want to hear from or about Conservatives, so bitter is their memory of the Harper years....Leadership puts the proverbial cart before the horse. What the Conservatives need – this is the cart – is to ask themselves at length and in depth: Where did we go wrong? Was it just that we overstayed our welcome and “time for a change” defeated us?

Or was there something deeper about who we were, what we stood for, how we made decisions, how we communicated them to Canadians, how we related to other Canadian institutions such as provinces, the business community, aboriginals, the news media, officers of Parliament, the civil service, non-governmental groups?

Why were we at daggers drawn with scientists, civil servants, “experts,” journalists, the cultural community, even part of the business community (telecommunications, railroads)? Is that where we want to be as Conservatives?

How did we manage to fritter away about a fifth of the support we had secured in the 2011 election by voting day 2015? Why are we by far the least-favoured second-choice party, with the fewest number of people who would consider voting for us? Is it the correct strategy to try for a maximum of 40 per cent of the electors?
Stephen_Harper  Federal_Election_2015  Conservative_Party  introspection  Jeffrey_Simpson  politics  leadership  soul-searching 
october 2015 by jerryking
Susan Taylor Reflects on the Black Lives Matter Movement
January 06, 2015 | | Essence.com |Essay by Susan Taylor.

ask ourselves the hard questions: Are we doing what's needed to demonstrate that Black life matters? Are we caring well for the gift of our own children? Are we holding accountable our own national, community, fraternal, sororal and faith leaders, requiring that they set aside egos and work in operational unity to develop and deliver a Marshall Plan for our recovery from centuries of brutality and legislated disregard? What is our plan for creating Black-owned businesses in our neighborhoods, top-tier education, and quality housing and health care?
protests  protest_movements  self-help  self-improvement  African-Americans  introspection  self-reliance  self-determination  black-owned  digital_advocacy  hard_questions  Black_Lives_Matter  top-tier 
may 2015 by jerryking
Journaling Techniques For Self-Reflective Leaders
1992 | Ivey | Peter Chiaramonte

+++++++++++++++++++++
PRODUCTIVITY
Five ways to make 2016 the most productive year ever
MIKE VARDY
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Jan. 04, 2016
From Globe & Mail
5. Keep a journal. Why should you keep a journal? Well, other than giving you a place to look back and reflect and chronicle the events in your life, there’s one essential benefit to your productivity: Journalling is like a brain dump at the end of the day.

The beginning of a new year is a time to recharge, reflect and refocus. Journalling can really help you with that and, in turn, help you plot out a more productive year in the process.
journaling  writing  leadership  Managing_Your_Career  self-analysis  introspection  reflections  self-awareness  self-reflective 
may 2012 by jerryking
The Genius and Beauty of Strengths
“From my experience, each of the themes of talent identified by the Clifton StrengthsFinder Inventory has a stroke of genius within it. The genius of our talents reflects what those talents enable and empower us to do to potential levels of excellence. The concept of genius refers to an extraordinary ability to do certain things, and as such there is great beauty in seeing what is done by the genius within individuals.”
introspection  personality_types/traits  self-analysis  strengths 
march 2012 by jerryking
Managing Oneself
January 2005 | HBR | Peter Drucker.

We live in an age of unprecedented opportunity: If you’ve got ambition and smarts, you can rise to the top of your chosen profession, regardless of where you started out.

But with opportunity comes responsibility. Companies today aren’t managing their employees’ careers; knowledge workers must, effectively, be their own chief executive officers. It’s up to you to carve out your place, to know when to change course, and to keep yourself engaged and productive during a work life that may span some 50 years. To do those things well, you’ll need to cultivate a deep understanding of yourself—not only what your strengths and weaknesses are but also how you learn, how you work with others, what your values are, and where you can make the greatest contribution. Because only when you operate from strengths can you achieve true excellence.
howto  Peter_Drucker  knowledge_workers  Managing_Your_Career  self-analysis  introspection  strengths  weaknesses  self-awareness  It's_up_to_me 
march 2012 by jerryking
How to Play to Your Strengths.
January 2005 | HBR |by Laura Morgan Roberts, Gretchen Spreitzer,. Jane Dutton, Robert Quinn, Emily Heaphy, and Brianna Barker.
Managing_Your_Career  introspection  pattern_recognition  HBR  feedback  self-analysis  strengths 
march 2012 by jerryking
Op-Ed Columnist - Leading With Two Minds - NYTimes.com
May 6, 2010 | New York Times | By DAVID BROOKS. Five years
ago, the United States Army was one sort of organization, with a certain
mentality. Today, it is a different organization, with a different
mentality. It has been transformed in the virtual flash of an eye, and
the story of that transformation is fascinating for anybody interested
in the flow of ideas.

The process was led by these dual-consciousness people — those who could
be practitioners one month and then academic observers of themselves
the next.

It’s a wonder that more institutions aren’t set up to encourage this
sort of alternating life. Business schools do it, but most institutions
are hindered by guild customs, by tenure rules and by the tyranny of
people who can only think in one way.
David_Brooks  U.S._military  organizational_change  institutional_change  dual-consciousness  institutions  critical_thinking  strategic_thinking  U.S._Army  introspection  self-analysis  self-awareness  transformational  mindsets  idea_flows 
may 2010 by jerryking
Managing China's Rise
June 2005 | ATLANTIC MAGAZINE | By Benjamin Schwarz.
Contending effectively with China's ambitions requires a better
understanding of our own. (1) Acknowledge that the pace of China's
military modernization and the nature of its geopolitical alignments are
very much tied to the post—Cold War imbalance of power in Washington's
favor. (2) The U.S. should conduct whatever foreign policies it deems
appropriate—but it must recognize that actions it perceives as selfless,
others will most likely see in an entirely different light.
..Intervention by a dominant power accelerates the rise of other great
powers and ensures their wariness, if not their hostility, toward it.(3)
Rethink how Washington defines a "China threat."(4) examine the
strategic implications raised when regional and great powers emerge.
Far from discouraging the rise of China and other independent powers,
such as the European Union and Japan, Washington should recognize the
significant benefits that can result.
China  geopolitics  China_rising  U.S._Navy  U.S.-China_relations  PACOM  introspection  grand_strategy  strategic_thinking  U.S.foreign_policy  post-Cold_War  misinterpretations  Thucydides_Trap  selflessness  rising_powers  rivalries  confrontations  imbalances 
march 2010 by jerryking
Must I Bank? - WSJ.com
APRIL 23, 2008 | Wall Street Journal | By JONATHAN A. KNEE.
counselling introspection on the part of business school students considering finance careers...."Most jobs fall into one of these three categories: sales, analytical or
operational. The odds that the same person would prosper equally in
more than one of these environments are low. The personal qualities that
each position draws upon are simply too different. Some Rilkesque
introspection in order to identify which category would likely yield the
greatest personal satisfaction is an excellent investment."
investment_banking  introspection  private_equity  finance  MBAs  career  career_paths  Jonathan_Knee 
february 2010 by jerryking
Luck Isn't Lucky At All - Brian Babcock
February 20, 2004| First published in the Globe and Mail| By BRIAN BABCOCK

start to anticipate.
Brian_Babcock  introspection  self-analysis  Managing_Your_Career  anticipating  luck  chance  contingency  self-awareness  self-assessment 
april 2009 by jerryking
Learning the path to extraordinary wisdom
Jan. 3, 2003 | First published in the Globe and Mail |By
Brian Babcock

People will gladly associate with a leader whose personal character
shows balance in at least three areas: ethics, ambition and competence.
presentations  leadership  introspection  Brian_Babcock  feedback  public_speaking  Communicating_&_Connecting  wisdom  think_threes  ethics  ambitions  competence 
april 2009 by jerryking
Niagara's Business Leader - an Interview with Brian Babcock from The Business Link
August 2006| First published in The Business Link, | By Adam Shields

1) be determined and focused 2) be determined and focused and finally 3) be determined and focused.
Brian_Babcock  interviews  introspection  serial_entrepreneur  ksfs  focus  overachievers  high-achieving 
march 2009 by jerryking
The Disadvantages of an Elite Education
Summer 2008| The American Scholar|by William Deresiewicz

Our best universities have forgotten that the reason they exist is to make minds, not careers
Colleges_&_Universities  education  culture  introspection  Ivy_League  elitism  disadvantages 
march 2009 by jerryking

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