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How a private equity boom fuelled the world’s biggest law firm
June 6, 2019 | Financial Times | James Fontanella-Khan and Sujeet Indap in New York and Barney Thompson in London.

Jeff Hammes took the helm at a Chicago-based law firm called Kirkland & Ellis in 2010, with the aim of turning it into a world-beater, few in the industry thought he stood a chance.......known as a good litigation firm in Chicago with a decent mid-market private equity practice, in the blockbuster dealmaking world, however, the firm was largely irrelevant. Nobody took them seriously on Wall Street.....Fuelled by explosive growth in private equity, aggressive poaching of talent and most of all, a business model that resembles a freewheeling investment bank, Kirkland has become the highest-grossing law firm in the world.....This rise reflects the shift in the financial world’s balance of power since the financial crisis. Investment banks, the dominant force before 2008, have been eclipsed by private equity firms, which now sit on hundreds of billions of dollars of investment funds.

Kirkland thrived by hitching itself to this dealmaking activity. The firm presents with a relentless — many say ruthless — focus on growth, a phenomenal work ethic and a desire to up-end what it sees as a lazy hierarchy. Key questions: can its winning streak can continue? Will its private equity clients continue to prosper? how will Kirkland cope if and when the private equity boom ends? And can a firm with such a hard-charging culture survive in the long run?....Robert Smith’s Vista Equity has grown to manage assets from $1bn to $46 in a decade while working with Kirkland.....To establish Kirkland as a major player, Mr Hammes turned his attention to recruitment. ....poaching proven M&A experts and targeting all areas of dealmaking.....To entice the best lawyers to join its ranks, Kirkland managed to exploit a structural rigidity in its more traditional white-shoe and magic circle rivals. A dwindling but still significant number of elite firms remunerate equity partners using a “lockstep” model......
Kirkland sought rising stars in their late thirties who were at the bottom of this ladder, stuck in the queue for the highest share of profits. Part of its pitch was money — “With compensation, we can go as high as we want,” says one partner — but the other part was an almost unprecedented level of autonomy.
Big_Law  booming  business_development  Chicago  compensation  concentration_risk  dealmakers  deal-making  eat_what_you_kill  financial_crises  growth  hard-charging  high-end  hiring  howto  hustle  Kirkland_Ellis  law  law_firms  litigation  mid-market  organizational_culture  poaching  private_equity  recruiting  Robert_Smith  superstars  talent  turnover  Vista  Wall_Street  winner-take-all  work_ethic  world-class 
june 2019 by jerryking
Strategy or Culture: Which Is More Important?
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” These words, often attributed to Peter Drucker, are frequently quoted by people who see culture at the heart of all great companies. Those same folks like to cite the likes of Southwest Airlines, Nordstrom, and Zappos, whose leaders point to their companies’ cultures as the secret of their success.

The argument goes something like this: “Strategy is on paper whereas culture determines how things get done. Anyone can come up with a fancy strategy, but it’s much harder to build a winning culture. Moreover, a brilliant strategy without a great culture is ‘all hat and no cattle,’ while a company with a winning culture can succeed even if its strategy is mediocre. Plus, it’s much easier to change strategy than culture.” The argument’s inevitable conclusion is that strategy is mere ham and eggs for culture.

But this misses a big opportunity to enhance the power of both culture and strategy. As I see it, the two most fundamental strategy questions are:

1. For the company, what businesses should you be in?

2. And for each of those businesses, what value proposition should you go to market with?

A company’s specific cultural strengths must be central to answering that first question. For example, high-margin, premium-product companies that serve wealthy customers do not belong in businesses where penny-pinching is a source of great pride and celebrated behavior. Southwest has chosen not to enter a NetJets-like business, and that’s a sound decision.

Likewise, companies whose identity and worth are based on discovery and innovation do not belong in low-margin, price-competitive businesses. For example, pharmaceutical companies that traditionally compete by discovering novel, patentable drugs and therapies will struggle to add value to businesses competing in generics. The cultural requirements are just too different. This is why universal banks struggle to win in both commercial and investment banking. Whatever synergies they might enjoy (for instance, from common customers and complementary capital needs) are more than offset by the cultural chasm between these two businesses: the value commercial bankers put on containing risk and knowing the customer, versus the value investment bankers have for taking risk and selling innovative financial products.

Maintaining cultural coherence across a company’s portfolio should be an essential factor when determining a corporate strategy. No culture, however strong, can overcome poor choices when it comes to corporate strategy. For example, GE has one of the most productive cultures in the world, and its former leader, Jack Welch, concedes that his acquisition of Kidder Peabody was a failure because its cultural needs did not fit GE’s cultural strengths. The impact of culture on a company’s success is only as good as its strategy is sound.

No culture, however strong, can overcome poor choices when it comes to corporate strategy.

Culture also looms large in answering the second question above. In most businesses, customers consider more than concrete features and benefits when choosing between alternative providers; they also consider “the intangibles.” In fact, these often become the tiebreaker when tangible differences are difficult to discern. For example, most wealthy individuals choose financial advisors more for their personal chemistry or connections than their particular range of mutual funds. Virgin Airlines tries to attract passengers who like its offbeat, non-establishment attitude in how it operates. Culture experts are right to point out Southwest, Nordstrom, and Zappos because these companies have instilled norms of behavior that are essential features of their winning value propositions: from offering consistently low-price, high-quality service in Southwest’s case, to consistently delivering surprising staff service at Nordstrom and leading customer satisfaction at Zappos. What these companies really demonstrate is how culture is an essential variable—much like your product offering, pricing policy, and distribution channels—that should be considered when choosing strategies for your individual businesses. This is especially so when the behavior of your people, and particularly your frontline staff, can give you an edge with your customers.

Strategy must be rooted in the cultural strengths you have and the cultural needs of your businesses. If culture is hard to change, which it is, then strategy is too. Both take years to build; both take years to change. This is one of the many reasons that established companies struggle with big disruptions in their markets. For example, all the major credit card companies are seeking to transition from traditional payments to digital commerce. This shift in strategy will be difficult to pull off. It not only requires a cultural change, but also a change in companies’ target customer, value propositions, and essential capabilities—the three most fundamental choices a business strategy comprises!

Consigning strategy to just a morning meal for culture does injustice to both. Confining culture to the narrow role of “enabling” strategy prevents it from strengthening strategy by being part of it. It also weakens the power of strategy to turn your company’s cultural strengths into a source of enduring advantage.

Don’t let culture eat strategy for breakfast. Have them feed each other.
cultural_clash  cultural_change  intangibles  management  organizational_culture  Peter_Drucker  questions  quotes  strategy  synergies  value_propositions  via:enochko  unscalability 
march 2019 by jerryking
How To Scale the Unscalable ·
OCTOBER 13, 2018 | The Sales Blog | by ANTHONY IANNARINO
[Do things the DON'T scale] Caring is difficult to scale. Every interaction—both internally and externally—requires greater intention, attention, and energy. Because so much of this depends on the individuals, many believe it doesn’t scale. Organizational caring isn’t a thing.

Initiative is equally difficult to scale. The idea that a person would decide for themselves what needs done and take action before being asked isn’t something that is easily accomplished. Because it is difficult, few try to be proactive as an organization.

Resourcefulness, harnessing the creative powers and imagination, if put to work in an organization would likely allow that group of people to outperform their competitors by the widest of margins. Most would never even consider this a goal.

If you want to scale your business, the first thing you should scale is the things that most people don’t believe lend themselves to being scaled. When you scale the attributes and virtues and values that build a culture that is positive, optimistic, future-oriented, and empowered, your business will scale on its own power.
caring  hard_work  howto  initiatives  organizational_culture  resourcefulness  scaling  unscalability 
november 2018 by jerryking
The dawn of the superstar lawyer
April 9, 2018 | Financial TImes | James Fontanella-Khan, Sujeet Indap in New York and Barney Thompson in London YESTERDAY Print this page140
law_firms  Big_Law  law  lawyers  compensation  winner-take-all  superstars  eat_what_you_kill  organizational_culture 
april 2018 by jerryking
Silicon Valley would be wise to follow China’s lead
January 17, 2018 | FT | Michael Moritz.

*The work ethic in Chinese tech companies far outpaces their US rivals
*it is quite usual for managers to have working dinners followed by two or three meetings
*Fewer complaints about the scheduling of tasks for the weekend, missing a child's game or skipping a basketball outing with friends.
*There is a deep-rooted sense of frugality.
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In a recent Financial Times op-ed, Mr. Moritz argued that Silicon Valley had become slow and spoiled by its success, and that “soul-sapping discussions” about politics and social injustice had distracted tech companies from the work of innovation.
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As an investor and now the CRO in a recently failed startup, I think this article has many merits so long as these tireless first employees are rewarded with equity and a great compensation plan once the enterprise is profitable.  I, along with my other investors are working tirelessly to put this project back on track. Unfortunately for many small businesses to survive this type of effort is essential at least until the enterprise is profitable.
workplaces  work_life_balance  vc  Michael_Moritz  China  soul-sapping  Chinese  start_ups  hard_work  Silicon_Valley  frugality  organizational_culture  work_ethic 
january 2018 by jerryking
How to Build a Successful Team - Business Guides - The New York Times
By Adam Bryant

Make a Plan
You need a clear and measurable goal for what you want to accomplish.

HIRING WELL ISN'T ENOUGH - Hiring the right people is the most important part of building a strong team, of course, and delegating to give people more autonomy is a powerful motivator.

But managing a team is not that simple. Leaders have to play a far more hands-on role to make sure the group works well together and remains focused on the right priorities.

CREATE A CLEAR MAP - Leaders owe their teams an answer to .....“Where are we going and how are we going to get there?” In other words, what is the goal and how are we going to measure progress along the way? ..... What does success look like? If you were to set up a scoreboard to track success over time, what would it measure?

The trouble often starts when leaders start listing five or seven or 11 priorities. As Jim Collins, the author of the best-selling management books “Good to Great” and “Built to Last,” is fond of saying: “If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any.”

HAVE A SHARED SCOREBOARD - Another benefit of having a simple plan is that it creates a shared goal that will offset the tendency of people to identify themselves as part of smaller groups. Think of a football team, for example. There are many “tribes” within a team – offense and defense, linemen and receivers, running backs and defensive backs. But because the goal of the team is clear, and there’s an external scoreboard to track progress, there is a greater sense of “us” on the team than the “us and them” dynamic that can often divide colleagues in companies.

“Metrics are actually the way that you can harmonize a large number of people, whether it’s dozens or even thousands,

YOU MAY FEEL LIKE A BROKEN RECORD--Once you have a simple plan... keep reminding your team of the priorities, even if it can feel repetitive. ....“You say something seven times and they haven’t heard you,” he said. “Until they start making jokes about how often you repeat it, they haven’t internalized it.”

Rules of the Road
You’ll need a set of values, behaviors and cultural guardrails so that everybody knows how to work together.

CREATE YOUR TEAM'S CULTURE

All families have values, even if they aren’t discussed explicitly. There are certain behaviors that are encouraged and discouraged — like rules of the road — for how everyone is going to (try to) get along and spend their time. ...As a leader, you can take a laissez-faire approach and hope the team meshes well over time. Or you can look for opportunities to set some shared guidelines for how people will work together.

There are no hard and fast rules for developing the cultural values of a team. In some cases, the founder of a company will issue them to employees. In others, top executives will turn the exercise over to employees to make it a bottom-up effort.

...AND STICK TO IT
teams  howto  lists  specificity  sticktoitiveness  shared_goals  cynicism  Jim_Collins  organizational_culture  values  repetition  priorities  metrics  subordinates  guardrails  the_right_people  cultural_values  tribes 
december 2017 by jerryking
How to Be a C.E.O., From a Decade’s Worth of Them
T OCT. 27, 2017 | The New York Times | Corner Office By ADAM BRYAN.

It started with a simple idea: What if I sat down with chief executives, and never asked them about their companies?.....not about pivoting, scaling or moving to the cloud, but how they lead their employees, how they hire, and the life advice they give or wish they had received....C.E.O.s offer a rare vantage point for spotting patterns about management, leadership and human behavior....What's the best path to becoming a chief executive? No one path... too many variables, many of them beyond your control, including luck, timing and personal chemistry. Bryan cites three recurring themes.

First, they share a habit of mind that is best described as “applied curiosity.”...They make the most of whatever path they’re on, wringing lessons from all their experiences.
Second, C.E.O.s seem to love a challenge. Discomfort is their comfort zone.
The third theme is how they managed their own careers on their way to the top. They focus on doing their current job well, and that earns them promotions... focus on building a track record of success, and people will keep betting on you.
The Most Important Thing About Leadership, Part I - understand that leadership as a series of paradoxes.
The Most Important Thing About Leadership, Part II - the most important qualities of effective leadership? trustworthiness, “If you want to lead others, you’ve got to have their trust, and you can’t have their trust without integrity,” A close cousin of trustworthiness is how much you respect the people who work for you....“By definition if there’s leadership, it means there are followers, and you’re only as good as the followers,” he said. “I believe the quality of the followers is in direct correlation to the respect you hold them in. It’s not how much they respect you that is most important. It’s actually how much you respect them. It’s everything.”
‘Culture Is Almost Like a Religion’ - “No matter what people say about culture, it’s all tied to who gets promoted, who gets raises and who gets fired,” he said. “You can have your stated culture, but the real culture is defined by compensation, promotions and terminations. Basically, people seeing who succeeds and fails in the company defines culture. The people who succeed become role models for what’s valued in the organization, and that defines culture.”
Men vs. Women (Sigh) - distinctions in leadership style are less about gender and more about factors like whether they are introverts or extroverts, more analytical or creative, and even whether they grew up in a large or small family....the actual work of leadership? It’s the same, regardless of whether a man or a woman is in charge. You have to set a vision, build cultural guardrails, foster a sense of teamwork, and make tough calls. All of that requires balancing the endless paradoxes of leadership, and doing it in a way that inspires trust.
I Have Just One Question for You - If you could ask somebody only one question, and you had to decide on the spot whether to hire them based on their answer, what would it be?.....“So if I ask you, ‘What are the qualities you like least and most in your parents?’ you might bristle at that, or you might be very curious about it, or you’ll just literally open up to me. And obviously if you bristle at that, it’s too vulnerable an environment for you.”
My Favorite Story -..... It’s work ethic,” he said. “You could see the guy had charted a path for himself to make it work with the situation he had. He didn’t ask for any help. He wasn’t victimized by the thing. He just said, ‘That’s my dad’s business, and I work there.’ Confident. Proud.”

Mr. Green added: “You sacrifice and you’re a victim, or you sacrifice because it’s the right thing to do and you have pride in it. Huge difference. Simple thing. Huge difference.”

Best Career and Life Advice - biggest career inflection points, he told me, came from chance meetings, giving rise to his advice: “Play in traffic.”

“It means that if you go push yourself out there and you see people and do things and participate and get involved, something happens,” he said. “Both of my great occasions in life happened by accident simply because I showed up.”“I tell people, just show up, get in the game, go play in traffic,” Mr. Plumeri said. “Something good will come of it, but you’ve got to show up.”....from Ruth Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University. Her suggestion to students:

“They should never assume that they can predict what experiences will teach them the most about what they value, or about what their life should be,” she said. “You have to be open and alert at every turn to the possibility that you’re about to learn the most important lesson of your life.”
howto  human_behavior  CEOs  career_paths  Managing_Your_Career  curiosity  discomforts  values  hard_work  trustworthiness  paradoxes  pairs  organizational_culture  gender_gap  work_ethic  playing_in_traffic  compensation  rewards  beyond_one's_control  guardrails  inflection_points 
october 2017 by jerryking
In House of Murdoch, Sons Set About an Elaborate Overhaul
APRIL 22, 2017 | The New York Times | By BROOKS BARNES and SYDNEY EMBER.

With James and his elder brother, Lachlan, 45, who is the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, firmly entrenched as their father’s successors, they are now forcibly exerting themselves. Their father remains very involved, but his sons seem determined to rid the company of its roguish, old-guard internal culture and tilt operations toward the digital future. They are working to make the family empire their own, not the one the elder Murdoch created to suit his sensibilities.....The conglomerate, like its competitors, is facing an extremely uncertain future. Consumers are canceling or forgoing cable hookups and instead subscribing to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, which 21st Century Fox co-owns. The movie business continues to grapple with piracy, rising costs and flat domestic attendance. Fox also has special problems: With competitors getting bigger — AT&T’s $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner being Exhibit A — where does that leave the Murdochs?

“That’s a question I think they asked themselves and moved them to try to buy the rest of Sky,” said Michael Nathanson, an analyst at MoffettNathanson, referring to a pending $14.3 billion deal for 21st Century Fox to take full control of the British satellite TV giant.

At the moment, 21st Century Fox’s portfolio is relatively healthy. Fox News has continued to dominate in the ratings. The FX cable channel has found a steady stream of hits, including “Atlanta” and “The People v. O. J. Simpson.” The Fox broadcast network has struggled to find new must-see shows, but the company’s overseas channels and sports networks are thriving. In its most recent quarter, 21st Century Fox reported income of $856 million, a 27 percent increase from the same period a year earlier.
succession  Rupert_Murdoch  CATV  conglomerates  uncertainty  Netflix  Hulu  James_Murdoch  Lachlan_Murdoch  family-owned_businesses  Bill_O'Reilly  organizational_culture  sexual_harassment  Roger_Ailes  generational_change  digital_media  National_Geographic  CEOs  21st_Century_Fox  mass_media 
april 2017 by jerryking
Canada's big banks are no angels, but have any laws been broken? - The Globe and Mail
BARRIE MCKENNA
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Mar. 17, 2017

Media reports high-pressure sales tactics at Toronto-Dominion Bank and other Canadian financial institutions. Stories of tellers signing up customers to high-fee accounts and credit cards without their knowledge. Loan officers pushing clients to take on lines of credit they don’t want or need. And financial advisers selling unsuitable mutual funds to vulnerable investors. Sleazy behaviour, if true. Perhaps even illegal. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada this week warned banks to behave and launched a review of their consent and disclosure practices. .......The big banks are no angels. But what’s happening here looks a lot more like a labour-relations feud than a financial scandal. Employees are rebelling against a cutthroat sales culture that has permeated the once-staid retail operations of the big banks.

The workplace environment at TD and other major banks may well be toxic for many employees, who feel unduly stressed about meeting aggressive sales goals.
Canada  banks  Bay_Street  financial_services  toxic_behaviors  predatory_practices  regulators  organizational_culture  workplaces  disclosure  complaints  consent  consumer_protection  sleaze  Barrie_McKenna 
march 2017 by jerryking
Inside the brutal transformation of Tim Hortons - The Globe and Mail
MARINA STRAUSS
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
LAST UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, FEB. 22, 2017

Since taking over the iconic chain in 2014, its new Brazilian owner, 3G Capital, has purged head office, slashed costs and squeezed suppliers. Shareholders are happy, but is 3G tearing the heart out of Timmy’s?.....3G is regarded as ultra-disciplined owners who are sticking to the same playbook they have followed at companies including Burger King, Anheuser-Busch, Kraft Foods and Heinz: massive layoffs, replacing legacy managers with hungry youngsters and, above all, a fanatical devotion to financial benchmarks and cost-cutting. (It remains to be seen whether this will also be the approach for RBI’s latest acquisition, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.)....Will 3G's analytics-driven overhaul of Tim Hortons—using the same template the private equity firm’s founders have deployed at railroads, brewers and food makers—succeed in the long run, or is it in danger of cutting the heart out of a Canadian icon? ......Suppliers are also feeling the squeeze. From the get-go, RBI made it clear it would be reviewing vendor relationships. And the company pushed for better terms, including extensions on bill payments to as much as 120 days from 30 days or less. Maple Leaf Foods, a major partner that supplied meat to Tim Hortons, declined to accept the new terms, and walked away....
Former employees also say RBI has cut back on product research and development spending at Tim Hortons, offloading some of that work to suppliers. That’s not uncommon in the fast-food world, but it can be risky. “Suppliers can do a great job with innovating and R&D, but you’re limited to what the supplier is trying to develop,” ......3G has never encountered a brand quite like Tim Hortons. It isn’t just another coffee company. It is a Canadian destination, an integral part of many Canadians’ day and a brand that defines us, to some degree, around the world.......“The risk, in looking at Tim Hortons through the lens of efficiency alone, is to miss the greatest value of the asset, and that is the Tim’s brand and its deep connection to the fabric of the country,” says Joe Jackman, founder of strategic retail consultant Jackman Reinvents, whose clients have included Old Navy, Hertz, Rexall and FreshCo. “You can’t cost-cut your way to retail nirvana.”
3G_Capital  Tim_Hortons  Marina_Strauss  cost-cutting  head_offices  iconic  brands  organizational_culture  private_equity  layoffs  data_driven  franchising  transformational  fast-food  supply_chains  R&D  Canadiana  goodwill  JWT  community_support  downsizing  efficiencies  coffee  staying_hungry  cultural_touchpoints  restructurings  supply_chain_squeeze  RBI  playbooks 
february 2017 by jerryking
Growing a Different Apple - The New York Times
January 2, 2017 | NYT | By Vindu Goel

Founded in 2014 by three former senior managers from Apple’s iPod and iPhone groups, Pearl has tried to replicate what its leaders view as the best parts of Apple’s culture, like its fanatical dedication to quality and beautiful design. But the founders also consciously rejected some of the less appealing aspects of life at Apple, like its legendary secrecy and top-down management style.

The start-up, which makes high-tech accessories for cars, holds weekly meetings with its entire staff. Managers brief them on coming products, company finances, technical problems, even the presentations made to the board....Pearl’s siren song was appealing: Make the roads safer by giving tens of millions of older autos the same high-tech safety features that the newest models have.....Like Apple, though, Pearl is playing the long game. Engineers are already testing self-parking technology and other driver-assistance features for future products. So far, the company has raised $50 million from prominent venture capital firms, including Accel, Shasta Ventures and Venrock, but Mr. Gardner said it would need to raise more money in 2017.
Apple  alumni  design  detail_oriented  organizational_culture  accessories  automotive_industry  automobile  safety  Pearl  new_products  long-term 
january 2017 by jerryking
Daniel S. Glaser: The Challenge of Keeping It Simple
JULY 15, 2016 | The New York Times | By ADAM BRYANT.

When I joined Marsh more than 30 years ago, he said to me, “Danny, all I can tell you is that there’s going to be a lot of people who don’t think like an owner, and you should always be thinking like you are the owner of the business, and make your decisions like that.”..Empathy is more important as he matured: "Now I have a basic belief that almost everyone wants to contribute and do well. Some people, for a whole variety of reasons, have difficulty doing that, and at least an attempt or two should be made to try to help them."...I’ve always felt that the world is filled with smart people who love complicating stuff. Working to simplify, to try to get down to that first principle, is really important.....My feeling is that companies that do well for long stretches of time have a tendency to become either complacent or arrogant, and both of those are bad paths. So how do you prevent that? To me, you do that by trying to create this striving, challenging, questioning culture, where there’s always a smarter way of doing something, and you feel a permanent dissatisfaction with obtained results.
bonuses  empathy  CEOs  leadership  leaders  complacency  arrogance  hubris  hiring  organizational_culture  forward_looking  simplicity  Marsh_&_McLennan  owners  dissatisfaction  first_principle  restlessness 
july 2016 by jerryking
Drew Houston of Dropbox: Figure Out the Things You Don’t Know - The New York Times
By ADAM BRYANT JUNE 3, 2016

What were some early leadership lessons after starting Dropbox?

The first thing is having a healthy paranoia for trying to find out what you don’t know that you don’t know. The question I would ask myself — even in the beginning, and I still do today — is, six months from now, 12 months from now, five years from now, what will I wish I had been doing today or learning today?

Reading has been essential. I have always wondered why people put so much energy into trying to have coffee with some famous entrepreneur when reading a book is like getting many hours of their most crystallized thoughts.
Dropbox  CEOs  organizational_culture  unknowns  paranoia  reading  lessons_learned  information_gaps  humility  pretense_of_knowledge 
june 2016 by jerryking
Decisions, decisions ... the five most critical for a leader - The Globe and Mail
Nov. 26, 2015 | Special to The Globe and Mail | ROY OSING

How do you spend your decision-making time? There are numerous possibilities when it comes to which decisions to make yourself and those that you leave for others.

How do you determine the “my decision” areas?

The criteria I used was payback. Where could I add the greatest value to the organization?

It’s not about what you enjoy doing or where your strengths are; it’s about where others will realize the maximum benefit if you focus your decision-making time there.

....Decide on these five strategic issues. These must be owned by the leader and no one else.

(1) The strategic game plan for the organization
(2) The values that shape culture
(3) The talent that gets recruited
(4) The “customer moment” architecture
(5) Aligning activities to the game plan

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On a basic level, a “customer moment” is any interaction between an employee and a customer. Needless to say, customer moments can occur at any time, and with this in mind, businesses are employing strategies to make sure every customer moment is a positive one. With the world becoming more and more connected, via the internet and social media, the potential for customer moments increases exponentially. When you factor in other recent innovations, such as the rise of smart phones and tablets, the sheer amount of potential customer moments becomes astronomical. This has led to the rise of self-service portals, where customers can receive help on many common customer service issues, such as troubleshooting. Businesses have opened up other channels for customer service as well, such as email and chat support.
leaders  decision_making  priorities  focus  serving_others  payback  talent  strategies  values  customer_experience  CEOs  value_creation  moments  organizational_culture  value_added  ROI  criteria  Roy_Osing 
may 2016 by jerryking
A rigorous Canadian innovation policy needs to be able to evolve and pivot - The Globe and Mail
BILAL KHAN
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Apr. 15, 2016

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But a big part of the problem is our knee-jerk reaction to expect governments to provide the solutions. Need corporate R&D? Ask Ottawa for more tax credits. Lacking venture capital? Insist tax dollars are put into a fund. Want more high tech? Demand provincial governments to spend more on university research.

Good public policies can certainly nudge us in the right direction, but it’s lazy to sit back and wait for government to solve the problem. The truth is that tax credits and research subsidies do not drive innovation. Curiosity drives innovation.

Maybe we’re asking the wrong question. Instead of “what policy can drive innovation?”, we need to ask “how can we become a society of inquisitive individuals?” That’s a more difficult question. It is too simplistic to call for more creativity in the classrooms, but surely strong literacy skills at an early age form the bedrock of curiosity and innovative thinking in adulthood. Children who are encouraged to read, to question, to wonder and to imagine will carry those abilities with them into adulthood.

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innovation  innovation_policies  public_policy  agility  risk-taking  Todd_Hirsch  curiosity  organizational_culture  inquisitiveness  questions  bottom-up  hard_questions  asking_the_right_questions  tax_codes 
april 2016 by jerryking
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 
april 2016 by jerryking
The One Question You Should Ask About Every New Job - The New York Times
Adam Grant DEC. 19, 2015

The culture of a workplace — an organization’s values, norms and practices — has a huge impact on our happiness and success.....
But how do you figure out the culture of a company you’ve never worked for? As Nicole tried to evaluate company cultures, she kept asking the Passover question: “How is this organization different from all other organizations?” And, as with Passover, I told Nicole, the answer should come in the form of a story. Ask people to tell you a story about something that happened at their organization but wouldn’t elsewhere....If you’re still unsure where to work, start asking for stories about one practice that says a lot about a culture — a practice that consumes more than half of the time in big organizations. When people find it productive and enjoyable, that’s a good sign.
new_graduates  job_search  storytelling  organizational_culture  Managing_Your_Career  questions  Adam_Grant 
january 2016 by jerryking
An Old-Media Empire, Axel Springer Reboots for the Digital Age - The New York Times
DEC. 20, 2015 | NYT | By NICOLA CLARK.

When Axel Springer CEO, Mathias Döpfner, and a handful of his top managers first set their sights on the US three years ago, it was with notebooks in hand, rather than checkbooks.

A decade after taking the helm in 2002, Mr. Döpfner had already made significant strides in revamping Germany’s largest print publishing group for the digital age. ...Still, Mr. Döpfner, 52, worried that the company’s management culture was too hierarchical and risk-averse, leaving it vulnerable to challenges from nimbler American technology companies like Google and Facebook, as well as rising digital media brands like BuzzFeed and Vice....“It was very clear to me that we needed to accelerate our cultural transformation"...instead of enlisting an army of high-priced consultants, Mr. Döpfner opted for the corporate equivalent of electroshock therapy. In the summer of 2012, he sent three of Axel Springer’s most senior managers to California (Silicon Valley) for nine months. ...Digital activities now generate more than 60% of Axel Springer’s revenues and just over 70% of its operating profit. Mr. Döpfner’s boldest pursuit in the last year was one that ultimately failed. Over the summer, Axel Springer lost out in a bid to acquire The Financial Times, beaten in the final stages by a $1.3 billion offer from the Japanese publisher Nikkei.... the recent scramble among the world’s big media groups for new — and in many cases, unproven — digital companies has driven up valuations, and some analysts warn that Axel Springer’s investment-led strategy represents a potentially high-cost gamble....“Digital companies today are selling for huge multiples, but they also have a high failure rate. Many are literally fireflies.”...
digital_media  Axel_Springer  Silicon_Valley  publishing  newspapers  failure  sclerotic  Airbnb  experimentation  organizational_culture  Germany  German  digital_disruption 
december 2015 by jerryking
C.I.A. Officers and F.B.I. Agents, Meet Your New Partner: The Analyst - NYTimes.com
MARCH 26, 2015 | NYT |By SCOTT SHANE.

As the FBI & CIA confront an evolving terrorist threat, cyberattacks and other challenges, both are reorganizing in ways intended to empower analysts. That involves the delicate job of meshing the very different cultures of the streetwise agent and the brainy analyst, who reads secret dispatches, pores over intercepted communications, absorbs news media accounts and digests it all.
CIA  FBI  organizational_culture  security_&_intelligence  information_overload  intelligence_analysts  data  analysts  cyberattacks 
april 2015 by jerryking
Andy Kessler: Potholes on the Uber Ride to Riches - WSJ
By ANDY KESSLER
Dec. 8, 2014

What should Uber do? Hiring expensive crisis managers is one option. Or do these four things that everyone else eventually figured out. Admit the mistake. Fire someone. Be transparent on the solution. Put guidelines in place to assure customers that this can’t happen again. Uber hasn’t done much of this but it should.... Those who run or work at startups are a different breed. Often computer science majors or engineers, they didn’t get invited to the cool parties. And then when they came up with ideas for products or companies, just about everyone, from parents to friends, told them they were crazy. That’ll never work, they said. Get a job at IBM like your uncle. But instead these entrepreneurs persist, usually failing a time or two. Mr. Kalanick started a peer-to-peer file-sharing company called Scour that went belly up in 2000.

Entrepreneurs pitch their ideas, sometimes to angel investors like dentists and accountants with extra cash, but more often to venture capitalists looking to fund the next big thing. As a venture capitalist, I’ve been pitched thousands of times, and entrepreneurs often peddle market-size projections and future sales predictions that are creative, if not fictional.

Those who win funding wake up every day and ask what they can do to make this thing work. Hubris becomes an asset. Startup CEOs are always saying the goal is to “suck the oxygen out of the room” of their competitors. Success requires a certain bravado. That should be encouraged, but most entrepreneurs have no idea when to turn it off.
hubris  Uber  sharing_economy  ride_sharing  Andy_Kessler  guardrails  start_ups  organizational_culture  entrepreneur  torchbearers  founders 
february 2015 by jerryking
If you want to be big in 2015, think big - The Globe and Mail
DAVID CICCARELLI
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jan. 01 2015

Thought leadership builds your brand and raises your profile in arenas you may not be able to enter otherwise. Write about what you know and make yourself available to speak about your topic.

Add value by sharing your knowledge and empowering others to succeed. Contributing to the greater discussion will gain more impressions for your brand. To paraphrase the late motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, helping others get what they want will help you to get what you want.
preparation  growth  small_business  thought_leadership  serving_others  organizational_culture  chutzpah  large_companies  individual_initiative  thinking_big 
january 2015 by jerryking
Bill McFarland: Why it’s crucial to embed innovation in business plans - The Globe and Mail
GUY DIXON
TORONTO — The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Apr. 29 2014,

When it comes to innovation, wouldn’t it be better to be second--to let another company assume the headaches and expense of innovating first?

A lack of drive to innovate or even taking solace in being second best has been a trait of Canada’s business DNA. ... innovation as a means to try out new things, even if they mean going out on a limb, with a greater possibility of failure. But he notes the importance of building innovation into a business plan. Some companies, he said, also reward employees for trying and even failing, setting up a company culture in which not trying is seen as a bigger problem than continual success.
PwC  fast_followers  innovation  business_planning  CEOs  Sobeys  grocery  supermarkets  customer_experience  failure  organizational_culture  mediocrity  Michael_McDerment  messiness 
september 2014 by jerryking
What TD Bank’s Ed Clark learned on the job - The Globe and Mail
Sep. 19 2014 | G&M | LEAH EICHLER.

1. Listen.

2. Learn on the job.

3. Hire people smarter than you.

4. People and culture are everything.

5. Give employees opportunities to stretch themselves.
TD_Bank  banking  banks  CEOs  leaders  lessons_learned  listening  hiring  organizational_culture  Leah_Eichler  Ed_Clark  smart_people 
september 2014 by jerryking
Innovation: If you can’t make yourself obsolete, someone else will - The Globe and Mail
GUY DIXON
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jun. 26 2014

I think at the root of the problem is a deficit of ambition [i.e. a lack of chutzpah or audacity] The larger the corporation, the safer they become. What I’ve witnessed, certainly between 2008, 2009, is this deficit of ambition.....All of our research points to the fact that companies that do manage and measure innovation outperform those that don’t. You can put resources into place, and that’s where managing it comes in: deploying resources that will support innovative, new ideas; ensuring that you have a strong knowledge architecture – and that it is a formal, systemic thing, so that people access knowledge that is already developed; ensuring access to markets – that’s a structural element. Do your people have access to customers and markets?; and actively managing talent and selecting people and promoting them and ensuring that they have an orientation toward innovation and the development of new ideas....What percentage of turnover or revenue is presented by products that have been introduced in the past number of years? And for different companies, in different industries, that’s going to vary. Companies that are very successful treat that number as sacrosanct for the sales projection for next year and the bottom line for next year....Way too many companies are focused on market share versus the modern metric of, ‘Are we gaining a disproportionate share of opportunity?’ [Is this distinction something to be explored with the help of sensors, location-based services and the LBMA??] And then we’re back to this abandonment thing.
Managing_Your_Career  organizational_culture  innovation  metrics  ambitions  opportunities  market_share  complacency  measurements  talent_management  ideas  obsolescence  disproportionality  latent  hidden  self-obsolescence  large_companies  new_products  Fortune_500  brands  Guy_Dixon  outperformance 
june 2014 by jerryking
How Jurgen Klinsmann Plans to Make U.S. Soccer Better (and Less American) - NYTimes.com
By SAM BORDENJUNE 4, 2014

Most coaches would have understood the players’ sluggishness; most people would have excused it.

Klinsmann did not. He wants to win every practice. He wants to win every game. He wants accountability at every moment. He wants the sort of committed, hungry, unentitled attitude that is the very opposite of what so many American pro athletes regard as their birthright.

Klinsmann believes firmly in two things: first, that a national soccer team is always racing the clock. Casual fans may not realize it, but the men responsible for coaching players in the biggest soccer games of their lives every four years actually see their players about as often as they see their barbers. (In the 500 or so days from the beginning of last year until training camp began last month, Klinsmann got to work with his top players for two days before a game here, three days before a qualifier there, for a total of no more than 40 or 50 days — roughly the length of spring training in baseball, if spring training were played in different countries and stretched out over 16 months.)

The second thing Klinsmann believes is that if the United States is ever going to really succeed at a World Cup, a specific and significant change must occur within the team. That change does not necessarily have to do with how the Americans play; rather, it has to do with the American players being too American. Put simply, Klinsmann would like to see his players carry themselves like their European counterparts — the way he used to.
soccer  German  coaching  organizational_culture  team  hustle  attitudes  grit 
june 2014 by jerryking
Unlocking Secrets, if Not Its Own Value
MAY 31, 2014 | NYTimes.com |By QUENTIN HARDY.

Founded in 2004, in part with $2 million from the CIA’s venture capital arm, Palantir makes software that has illuminated terror networks and figured out safe driving routes through a war-torn Baghdad. It has also tracked car thieves, helped in disaster recovery and traced salmonella outbreaks. United States attorneys deployed its technology against the hedge fund SAC Capital, which was also an early investor in the company....Palantir’s software has been used at JPMorgan Chase to spot cyberfraud and to sell foreclosed homes; at Bridgewater Associates to help figure out investments for its $157 billion under management, and at Hershey to increase chocolate profits. The technology is complex, but the premise is simple: The software consumes huge amounts of data — from local rainfall totals to bank transactions — mashes it together and makes conclusions based on those unlikely combinations. Where is a terrorist attack likely to occur? What is a bad financial bet?...As Palantir expands into offering services to the private sector — now perhaps 70 percent of its business — Mr. Karp’s worry is losing control of what happens with its software....“The thing Alex worries about the most is they have a culture that’s hard to sustain as it grows,” said Mr. Carville, the Democratic consultant. “I take walks around Stanford with him, and he talks about it: ‘If we become something besides Palantir, what are we?’ ”...Palantir’s founders started with an idea from PayPal. At one point, PayPal was losing the equivalent of 150 percent of its revenue to stolen credit card numbers. It figured out how computers could spot activity — like a flurry of payments to a brand new account — at a global scale. ...“The idea was to pick one bank, and the rest would follow,” Mr. Ovitz said. JPMorgan was the first. Much as Palantir figured out navigating Baghdad by analyzing recent roadside attacks, satellite images and moon phases, it derived home-sale prices by looking at school enrollments, employment trends and retail sales. Data that JPMorgan thought would take two years to integrate was put into action in eight days.

JPMorgan still uses Palantir for cybersecurity, fraud detection and other work, loading half a terabyte of data onto a Palantir system each day, according to a Palantir video. ...Government clients also struggle with a data explosion. “Everything becomes more difficult, the more crime becomes global, the more state actors are involved, the more trades there are around the globe,” said Preet Bharara, United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. “It’s malpractice to have records and not search them.” He has used Palantir for several cases, including the SAC investigation....Palantir is now Palo Alto’s biggest tenant after Stanford, occupying about 250,000 square feet in downtown buildings, which hold many of Palantir’s 1,500 employees. Contracts around the world have surged as everyone’s data increases in size and diversity.
Palantir  Silicon_Valley  CIA  security_&_intelligence  software  Michael_Ovitz  organizational_culture  massive_data_sets  Peter_Thiel  data  information_overload  cyber_security  fraud_detection  platforms  actionable_information  JPMorgan_Chase 
june 2014 by jerryking
Why Imagination and Curiosity Matter More Than Ever - The CIO Report - WSJ
January 31, 2014 | WSJ | By Irving Wladawsky-Berger.

How can you foster imagination and curiosity? This was the subject of the 2011 book co-authored by JSB: A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. One of its key points is that learning has to evolve from something that only happens in the classroom to what that he calls connected learning, taking advantage of all the available resources, including tinkering with the system, playing games and perhaps most important, absorbing new ideas from your peers, from adjacent spaces and from other disciplines....How do you decide what problems to work on and try to solve? This second kind of innovation–which they call interpretation–is very different in nature from analysis. You are not solving a problem, but looking for a new insight about customers and the marketplace, a new idea for a product or a service, a new approach to producing and delivering them, a new business model. It requires the curiosity and imagination.
ideas  idea_generation  STEM  imagination  tacit_data  Roger_Martin  Rotman  critical_thinking  innovation  customer_insights  books  interpretation  curiosity  OPMA  organizational_culture  cross-pollination  second-order  new_businesses  learning  connected_learning  constant_change  Irving_Wladawsky-Berger  worthwhile_problems  new_products  mental_dexterity  tinkerers  adjacencies 
february 2014 by jerryking
How to leave your company better off than you found it - The Globe and Mail
VINCE MOLINARO

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Jan. 02 2014

How can you ensure that you are leaving your organization in better shape than when you took the reins? True leaders typically take the following steps:

1. Commit to making things better every single day – in ways that position your organization for both short- and long-term success. Don’t be a bystander and watch problems fester; have the courage to tackle them head on.

2. Guard the interests of the whole organization. Don’t just focus on your own department or self-interests.

3. Try to anticipate threats that can put your organization at risk. Stay plugged into what you hear from customers or employees close to customers. This is often where the early warning signs exist.
4. Build strong relationships both inside and outside your organization.
5. Develop an unyielding commitment to building a strong culture that drives high employee engagement.
6. Develop leaders for the future.
legacies  leadership  RBC  Gord_Nixon  stewardship  companywide  leaders  CEOs  employee_engagement  organizational_culture  leadership_development  relationships  anticipating  threats  thinking_holistically  long-term  short-term  incrementalism  nobystanders  warning_signs 
january 2014 by jerryking
WHAT READERS THINK Nov. 26: Deeply skeptical, and other letters to the editor
I don’t want to condone Nigel Wright’s actions, but I do believe he felt what he was doing was right (it didn’t cost the taxpayers anything) and expedient.

His business background was likely ...
Nigel_Wright  letters_to_the_editor  organizational_culture  scandals  political_expediency 
november 2013 by jerryking
New Book Erects Photographic Shrine to Apple - WSJ.com
October 3, 2013 | WSJ | By BETSY MCKAY.

New Book Erects Photographic Shrine to Apple
"Iconic: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation," documents every Apple product ever created, from the Apple I computer to the iPad mini
photography  books  Apple  gift_ideas  storytelling  organizational_culture  heritage  history 
october 2013 by jerryking
Meet Bloomberg's data-driven Daniel Doctoroff
Aug. 09 2013 | The Globe and Mail |JOANNA SLATER.

Mr. Doctoroff’s job, as deputy mayor for economic development, would include rebuilding the site and pushing ahead with projects envisaged in the Olympic bid....Founded by Mr. Bloomberg in 1982, the firm grew into a global juggernaut that disrupted every field it touched, from market data to financial journalism....Mr. Doctoroff had a yen for precision and a belief in the power of data. To eliminate clutter on his desk, he never touches a piece of paper twice. “I either delegate something, I dump it, or I deal with it,”...Mr. Doctoroff’s mission at Bloomberg is twofold. The first is to sell more terminals – a subscription service that costs more than $20,000 (U.S.) a year per person and offers access to an expanding universe of data, analytical tools and news. Last year was a tough one for terminal sales; Wall Street firms continued to shed staff in what Mr. Doctoroff describes as “the fourth year of post-financial crisis adjustment.”

The second task is to lead the company into other areas and make those investments pay off. Bloomberg has launched what it hopes will become indispensable data products for fields like law and government and also for back-office personnel within finance. Then there’s the media business, which includes a news service, television, radio and magazines, among them Bloomberg Businessweek, which was purchased in 2009. Businessweek still isn’t profitable, but it’s losing much less money than it used to. The magazine, like the rest of the news operation, serves another objective in the Bloomberg ecosystem, Mr. Doctoroff said: heightening the firm’s profile so it can attract more market-moving scoops, which in turn helps to sell more terminals....On his career path: I believe we’re all endowed with a very small set of narrow skills that make us unique. You’ve got to find what that is. Most often what you truly understand makes you unique is something that you’re also going to build passion around. For me – and I didn’t really discover this until I was in my 40s, the line that connected the dots … [is] seeing patterns in numbers that enable me to tell a compelling story which helps to solve a problem. So whether it is helping a candidate get elected or doing a road show for a company, getting a project done in New York or hopefully setting a vision for a company, it’s that narrow skill.
New_York_City  Bloomberg  data_driven  precision  CEOs  organizational_culture  Wall_Street  private_equity  digital_media  disruption  privately_held_companies  Michael_Bloomberg  fin-tech  journalism  pattern_recognition  career_paths  gtd  mayoral  Daniel_Doctoroff  storytelling  product_launches  sense-making  leadership  insights  leaders  statistics  persuasion  ratios  analogies  back-office  connecting_the_dots  scoops  financial_journalism  financial_data  special_sauce  non-routine  skills 
august 2013 by jerryking
Lessons I learned from SNC-Lavalin’s woes
Jul. 26 2013 | - The Globe and Mail | by GWYN MORGAN.

Information is key

Because directors get most of their information from people within the company, they need to do everything they can to build and diversify their sources. There should be a robust whistle-blower system, independent of management, so employees can pass on information to directors without fear of reprisal.

Financial reporting structures matter. Internal auditors should report directly – and only – to the chair of the audit committee, not to management. The chief financial officer should have a direct reporting relationship to the audit committee chair. Operating division comptrollers should report to the CFO, not to the division leader or the business-unit head.

Focus on leadership

It’s important to have strong financial controls and ethical codes, but they will fail unless all people in leadership roles, from the CEO on down, follow them diligently and consistently.

Culture, culture, culture

It is said that corporate culture is defined by how people act when no one is looking. But it is also defined by how employees react when they see behaviour that is inconsistent with the values of the organization. When their reaction is, “We’re not going to let this happen in our company,” the organization is built upon a solid ethical foundation.
Gwyn_Morgan  boards_&_directors_&_governance  lessons_learned  SNC-Lavalin  scandals  engineering  information  information_flows  financial_reporting  financial_controls  auditors  CFOs  leadership  organizational_culture  whistleblowing  ethics  information_sources  reprisals 
july 2013 by jerryking
A Different Approach at Google Ventures - NYTimes.com
June 25, 2013, 6:31 pmComment
A Different Approach at Google Ventures
By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER
Google  Google_Ventures  venture_capital  vc  organizational_culture  corporate_investors  Claire_Cain_Miller 
june 2013 by jerryking
Jurgen Klinsmann Has U.S. Soccer Team Speaking German - WSJ.com
June 19, 2013 | WSJ | By MATTHEW FUTTERMAN.

When head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the former German star, took over this band of oddly self-satisfied athletes two years ago, he promised to change the culture of U.S. soccer at the highest level. He aimed to build a side that played with both discipline and fury—one that could compete consistently with the best soccer nations. In other words, to turn them into... perhaps not Germany exactly, but something like it....Players talk constantly now about wearing out opponents rather than surviving them, of wanting to enforce their will on games and not simply being satisfied with that staple of American soccer from toddlerhood on—the trophy for participation. "Jurgen has instilled that mentality to fight for every ball, to play your role, to not take plays off," midfielder Graham Zusi said after Tuesday's win. "If we do that we can eventually grind a team down." In other words, what Germans do......"It is what is required to play well internationally. You got to play fast. You got to play at a high tempo, you got to play both ways, get behind the ball and be going forward. If you're going to be with the best in the world, this is what you got to do."

He has conveyed his message with the subtlety of a Wagnerian symphony. He belittled the accomplishments of his top players, booted team captain Carlos Bocanegra, even temporarily dropped Jozy Altidore, the team's top striker, all in an effort to teach these big fish in the smallish pond of U.S. soccer they need to burn to get better. His message, that international soccer is no joke, seems to be sinking in.
soccer  German  coaching  organizational_culture  team  hustle  operational_tempo  attitudes  grit  mindsets  fingerspitzengefühl  tempo  momentum 
june 2013 by jerryking
Professional firms: Simply the best
Apr 13th 2013 | The Economist |

What It Takes: Seven Secrets of Success from the World’s Greatest Professional Firms. By Charles Ellis. Wiley; 290 pages; $40 and £26.99.

During a long career advising senior professionals, Mr Ellis found that a handful of firms were almost universally regarded by their peers as the best in their particular business. As well as McKinsey (management consulting) and Goldman (investment banking), they included Capital Group (investment management), the Mayo Clinic (health care) and Cravath, Swaine & Moore (law). He was surprised to discover that each of the firms had several things in common. These include leaders who devote their lives to serving their firm rather than enriching themselves (though that tended to follow naturally), a good sense of what motivates staff to get up early and work late and the ability to get individualistic professionals to function unusually well in teams.

Above all, these firms are fanatical about recruiting new employees who are not just the most talented but also the best suited to a particular corporate culture. These firms’ bosses spend a disproportionate amount of time on the recruitment process, often putting it before other more immediately lucrative demands on their time. McKinsey interviews 200,000 people each year, but selects just over 1%.

Each McKinsey applicant can be interviewed eight times before being offered a job; at Goldman, twice that is not unheard of. At Capital a serious candidate is likely to be seen by 20 people, some more than once. Recruitment, these firms believe, is the start of a lifelong relationship. At the same time, Goldman and McKinsey also have a policy of helping their staff to find suitable work elsewhere, all in the expectation that they will eventually become loyal customers.
professional_service_firms  book_reviews  lifelong  relationships  recruiting  talent_management  outplacement  McKinsey  Goldman_Sachs  overachievers  disproportionality  organizational_culture  serving_others  high-achieving 
april 2013 by jerryking
Bob Schmonsees Has a Tool for Better Sales, And It Ignores Excuses
Wall Street Journal | Tom Petzinger.

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast"

But WisdomWare depends on those same users to provide intelligence from the field: what the competition is up to, for instance, and which pitches are gelling the best and worst results. Sharing information? “We've never had to do that before!" came the cry. Platinum Technology, for one, equipped its sales force of 1,000 with WisdomWare in January. And although efficiencies are aiready evident. too few salespeople are giving back information. Platinum‘s Glenn Shimkus is now searching for ways to reward contributors. "We have to change the culture so that power and rewards come from sharing iniormalion. not from hoarding it.“
Thomas_Petzinger  sales  tools  sales_teams  organizational_culture 
march 2013 by jerryking
Quick-Change Artists May Find Fast Route to Executive Positions
May. 9, 1995 | WSJ | HAL LANCASTER

HERE'S A HOT career tip for the truly ambitious: Be a change agent.

Change agents, i.e. corporate alchemists who can reinvent a company's culture and operations, are the Holy Grail of executive searches these days....with so many companies looking for new brooms to sweep away their cobwebs, every manager or consultant on the prowl for bigger responsibilities wants to be one. But job seekers beware, because these positions _ which can range from unit heads to CEOs _ can be booby traps. CEOs love the idea of change, but the actual practice can be a blow to their egos.

Recruiter Dennis Krieger tells of the executive brought in to revamp the financial department of an industrial distributor. Four months later, the CEO wanted to fire him for being ``too aggressive and upsetting too many people,'' Mr. Krieger says. The CEO reconsidered after conceding the executive had met his goals.

``They say they want you to question everything, but they don't really want that,'' says Terry Gallagher, executive vice president of Battalia Winston in New York...a wise change agent often is more of a prod than a broom. ``A real change agent isn't someone who's going to make a lot of changes,'' Mr. Herz says. They're diplomats and motivators who will ``change the mood'' so those around them can make changes....investigate before accepting a job. A conservative approach, says executive recruiter Rex T. Olsen of Enterchange Executive Horizons, is to look for a company where change has already begun. ``Management may say it wants change, but if nothing is going on, how can you tell?''
executive_management  movingonup  change  Hal_Lancaster  Managing_Your_Career  organizational_change  organizational_culture  organizational_design  change_agents  managing_change  executive_search 
december 2012 by jerryking
How to Stay Hired
March 1995 | Report on Business Magazine | Trevor Cole. Article explores the roles of communication and office culture in determining how long a new executive lasts in his job.
Rogers  organizational_culture  Managing_Your_Career  managing_up  Communicating_&_Connecting  listening  first90days  executive_management 
december 2012 by jerryking
To Avoid a Job Failure Learn the Culture of a Company First
July 14, 1998| WSJ |By Hal Lancaster.

The team suggested questions to ask during interviews. How does the company communicate with employees? Does the company encourage employees to learn more about the business? How do people get feed back? How do executives expect to be addressed? What's the company's dress code? What are typical work schedules? How are decisions made? How are raises and promotions decided? Who are the stars, and how did they reach that exalted state?

The consultants also advised employees to take their research beyond the interview. Michael McGinn, President of Executive Transition Group, an executive coaching and outplacement firm, suggested talking to current and former employees and members of professional trade associations to which the company's employees belong.

There are also clues in the stories told in annual reports and other company literature. Look for tales about company heroes to determine what is valued in an employee. Also, read open letters from the leadership and other self-descriptions.
Hal_Lancaster  organizational_culture  failure  first90days  sleuthing  primary_field_research 
december 2012 by jerryking
Hit the Ground Running--Or Else the perils of a new job
March 6, 2000 | Fortune Magazine | By Dan Ciampa.

What's the main reason people from the outside fail?

They don't read the culture of the place that they're joining.

Is that why you say a new person needs to be a cultural anthropologist?

Yes. In general, I think the most effective way to read the culture is to look at the artifacts--that's what an anthropologist does. What does it say that people greet you the way they do? What does it say that meetings are run the way they are? There are some organizations that eschew meetings. Well, that says something about what works and what doesn't in that culture, and it says something about the skills of the people who survive there.

What if you've been brought in to make change?

It's important to understand what you're going to change before you change it. I'd say that even if the board or the chairman has brought you in because of what you've done in the past, there's a lot that you don't know. And the degree to which you find those things out is a function of people's trusting you. The only way you can do that is by not coming in as though you're Attila the Hun--not coming in as though you have the answer--but rather coming in and asking more questions than making declarative statements, especially in the first several weeks. ....on day one you have a plan to make sure that the first 30 days are really successful.
first90days  outsiders  Michael_Watkins  failure  questions  pilot_programs  alliances  hiring  anthropologists  anthropology  unknowns  organizational_culture  change  change_agents  artifacts  cultural_anthropology 
december 2012 by jerryking
Growing at a Smart Pace
Growing at a Smart Pace

What Every CEO Should Know About Creating New Businesses
1 Ultimately, growth means starting new businesses.
Most firms have no alternative. Sectors decline, as they did for Pullman’s railroad cars and Singer’s sewing machines. Technology renders products and services obsolete—the fate Polaroid suffered, as digital cameras decimated its instant photography franchise. Markets saturate, as Home Depot is now finding, after establishing more than a thousand stores nationwide.
2 Most new businesses fail.
3 Corporate culture is the biggest deterrent to business creation.
New ventures flourish best in open, exploratory environments, but most large corporations are geared toward mature businesses and efficient, predictable operations.
4 Separate organizations don’t work—or at least not for long.
5 Starting a new business is essentially an experiment.
6. New businesses proceed through distinct stages, each requiring a different
7. New business creation takes time--a lot of time.
8. New businesses need help fitting in--"bridging"--with established systems and structures.
9. The best predictors of success are market knowledge and demand-driven products and services.
10. An open mind is hard to find.
growth  Thomas_Stewart  HBR  CEOs  Junior_Achievement  hard_to_find  start_ups  failure  organizational_culture  experimentation  trial_&_error  life_cycle  tacit_data  entrepreneurship  dedication  obsolescence  demand-driven  infrastructure  new_businesses  bridging  large_companies  customer-driven  market_saturation  Home_Depot  Fortune_500  mindsets  open_mind  decline  Michael_McDerment  Polaroid  digital_cameras 
december 2012 by jerryking
Jacqueline Novogratz of Acumen Fund, on Pairs of Values - NYTimes.com
By ADAM BRYANT
Published: September 29, 2012

Q. Tell me about your approach to leadership.

A. I think we so often equate leadership with being experts — the leader is supposed to come in and fix things. But in this interconnected world we live in now, it’s almost impossible for just one person to do that.

So if we could only have more leaders who would start by just listening, just trying to understand what’s going wrong from the perspective of the people you’re supposed to serve — whether it’s your customers or people for whom you want the world to change.

Leaders can get stuck in groupthink because they’re really not listening, or they’re listening only to what they want to listen to, or they actually think they’re so right that they’re not interested in listening. And that leads to a lot of suboptimal solutions in the world.

The kind of leaders we need — and certainly that I aspire to be — reject ideology, reject trite assumptions, reject the status quo, and are really open to listening to solutions from people who are most impacted by the problems. ...We think about our values in pairs, and there is a tension or a balance between them. We talk about listening and leadership; accountability and generosity; humility and audacity. You’ve got to have the humility to see the world as it is — and in our world, working with poor communities, that’s not easy to do — but have the audacity to know why you are trying to make it be different, to imagine the way it could be. And then the immutable values are respect and integrity.
leadership  Acumen  opposing_actions  organizational_culture  values  social_capital  venture_capital  vc  accountability  generosity  humility  audacity  groupthink  listening  respect  integrity  pairs  tradeoffs  tension  dual-consciousness 
october 2012 by jerryking
A conversation that translates
June 7, 2012 | The Financial Times pg. 14 | Philip Delves Broughton.
(Pass on to Abdoulaye DIOP)
For global companies, creating an approach to risk that resonates across cultures can be a challenge, writes Philip Delves Broughton

Risk is a risky word. Already prone to misinterpretation among people who share a language and a culture, the difficulties multiply dangerously when it moves across borders.

What a Wall Street trader might define as moderately risky may seem downright insane to a Japanese retail broker; what an oil pipeline engineer in Brazil might characterise as gung-ho may appear overcautious to his revenue-chasing chief executive in London....The greatest pitfalls in managing risk across borders, he says, emerge from assuming too much. When dealing with fellow English speakers, it is easy to imagine that a shared language means shared assumptions - that the English, Americans and Australians think the same thing because they are using the same words.... Tips for managing risk across borders

Context is more important than language. Understand what matters most in the markets where you are doing business. Is it the law, logic or maintaining relationships?

Every word comes with its own "metadata" in different cultures. Be as specific as you can and never assume you have been properly understood without checking for potential misunderstandings.
cultural_assumptions  risks  risk-management  Communicating_&_Connecting  globalization  organizational_culture  transactions  national_identity  Philip_Delves_Broughton  translations  assumptions  misinterpretations  contextual  metadata  specificity  crossborder  cross-cultural  misunderstandings  interpretation  conversations  risk-assessment  words  compounded  risk-perception  multiplicative 
september 2012 by jerryking
The Science of Interviewing
July-August 1990 | HBR | T.J. Rodgers is founder, president, CEO, and a director of Cypress

You can't hire quality people without a systematic approach to in interviewing. Four basic rules guide our interview and evaluation process.
1. Use the big guns.
2. Make interviews tough and demanding-even for people you know you want.
3. Interviews should lead to a detailed assessments of strengths and weaknesses, not vague impressions.
4. Check for cultural fit.
HBR  interviews  organizational_culture  assessments_&_evaluations  hiring  strengths  weaknesses  cultural_fit  howto  questions  stressful 
august 2012 by jerryking
In History Lies All the Secrets of Statecraft - WSJ.com
October 9, 2009 | WSJ | By CON COUGHLIN.

In History Lies All the Secrets of Statecraft
First Official Account of MI5 Released to Celebrate U.K. Security Service's Centenary
security_&_intelligence  book_reviews  United_Kingdom  statecraft  spycraft  espionage  MI5  organizational_culture  commemoration  archives  history 
may 2012 by jerryking
Dewey’s Collapse Underscores a New Reality for Law Firms - Common Sense - NYTimes.com
May 4, 2012 | NYT | By JAMES B. STEWART. “This absolutely falls into the category: What were they thinking?” Bruce MacEwen, a lawyer and president of Adam Smith Esq. and an expert on law firm economics, told me this week, as Dewey suffered a new wave of partner defections and the firm’s accelerating collapse appeared unstoppable. “This was
Mismanagement 101 across the board. They had a ringside seat for the collapse of Lehman and Bear Stearns. But they had the same mismatch of assets and liabilities. They took on a massive amount of long-term debt, but their assets are short term: they walk out of the firm every day and may not come back, which is what more and more of them did.”....Mr. MacEwen was inclined to agree. “I’ve been struggling with the degree to which Dewey is a lesson for other firms,” he said. “Everything they did was so extreme and so ill advised. But part of me has to admit that the dynamics of the practice, the eat-what-you-kill remuneration model, makes a law firm inherently fragile. And part of the lesson of Dewey is that if you put practices in place, like the guarantees, that corrode culture, then you’re playing with fire.”
Bruce_MacEwen  cultural_corrosion  dissolutions  eat_what_you_kill  fragility  law_firms  lessons_learned  mismanagement  organizational_culture  professional_service_firms 
may 2012 by jerryking
A failure in generalship
May 2007 | Armed Forces Journal | By Lt. Col. Paul Yingling.

Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz noted that passion, probability and policy each play their role in war....generals must provide policymakers and the public with a correct estimation of strategic probabilities. The general is responsible for estimating the likelihood of success in applying force to achieve the aims of policy...“Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife,” by John Nagl
leadership  politics  war  warfare  strategy  strategic_thinking  organizational_culture  civilian-military_relations  Prussian  books  Carl_von_Clausewitz  generalship  probabilities  contextual  militaries  policymakers  policymaking 
may 2012 by jerryking
Behind a Food Giant's Success: An Unlikely Soy-Milk Alliance - WSJ.com
February 1, 2005 | WSJ | By JANET ADAMY (Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL).

Nature's Way:Behind a Food Giant's Success: An Unlikely Soy-Milk Alliance; At Dean Foods, CEO, Buddhist Team Up to Sell Silk Brand; And Gain Clout in Organics; Mr. Engles's Lesson on 'Sukha'
soybeans  dairy  entrepreneur  organic  organizational_culture  Dean_Foods  Steve_Demos 
may 2012 by jerryking
Charlie Rose's Interview with Ray Dalio
October 20, 2011 | Charlie Rose Show | with Ray Dalio.

CHARLIE ROSE: And you always make a point that you know what you don`t know and that`s equally valuable.

RAY DALIO: More valuable. I want to say that -- so this is the whole philosophy. I -- I so, know that I can be wrong; and look, we all should recognize that we can be wrong. And if we recognize that we`re wrong and we worry about being wrong than what we should do is have a thoughtful dialogue....RAY DALIO: So the way I get to success. The way -- it`s not what I know. I`ve acquired some things that I know along the way and they`re helpful.

(CROSSTALK)

CHARLIE ROSE: It is -- it is -- it`s not what you know but it is --

(CROSSTALK)

RAY DALIO: It`s knowing what I don`t know or worrying that I won`t -- that I`ll be wrong that makes me find --

CHARLIE ROSE: Yes.

RAY DALIO: Well, I want people to criticize my point of view -- I want to hold down.

CHARLIE ROSE: Right.

RAY DALIO: Say I have a -- I think this but I may be wrong. And if you can attack what I`m saying -- in other words stress test what I`m saying -- I`ll learn....CHARLIE ROSE: And you have not been precise, and your assumptions are flawed.

RAY DALIO: Oh it`s so essential, right. There`s -- the -- the number one principle at our place is that if something doesn`t make sense to you, you have the right to explore it, to see if it makes sense.

I don`t want people around who do things that they don`t -- they don`t think makes sense because I`m going to have not-thinking people.

(CROSSTALK)

CHARLIE ROSE: Right.

RAY DALIO: So that they have not only the right, they have obligation. Don`t walk away thinking something`s wrong.

CHARLIE ROSE: Failure teaches you more than success?

RAY DALIO: Of course. One of my favorite books is "Einstein`s Mistakes."

CHARLIE ROSE: Right. And because it showed you that even Einstein, the most brilliant person of the century in common judgment made mistakes?

RAY DALIO: The great fallacy of all -- I think of all of mankind practically -- I mean that`s a big statement -- but the great fallacy is that people know more than what they do and there`s a discovery process and so when you look at -- that`s the process for learning.

The process for learning is to say "I don`t know." Like, I`m -- I`m totally comfortable being incompetent. If I -- if I -- I like being incompetent. I don`t mind being an incompetent. If I don`t -- how -- how much can you be competent about?

And so that whole notion of do you like learning? Do you like finding out what`s true and building on it without an ego? And that becomes the problem. How many statements do you listen to people that begin "I think this, I think that," where they should be asking "I wonder."
Ray_Dalio  interviews  truth-clarity  philanthropy  stress-tests  Charlie_Rose  truth-telling  Bridgewater  hedge_funds  deleveraging  organizational_culture  economics  unknowns  pretense_of_knowledge  Albert_Einstein  mistakes 
january 2012 by jerryking
Zynga's Tough Culture Risks a Talent Drain - NYTimes.com
November 27, 2011, 9:26 pmI.P.O./Offerings
Zynga’s Tough Culture Risks a Talent Drain
By EVELYN M. RUSLI
IPOs  Zynga  games  Silicon_Valley  organizational_culture 
november 2011 by jerryking
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