Ben Bidlack’s approach to investing in brand strategy is robustly simple. Effective brands engage their internal and external audiences, transforming them into ardent fans. If brand religion is the goal, Bidlack’s approach to brand building is anything but mystical. He starts with a hard, nakedly honest assessment of a company’s actual position in the world. He extends the assessment outward to the full set of competitive brands and offerings, and inward into the mindset and needs of prospects. The challenge is to develop the one, possibly two, emotionally compelling and overarching brand strategies that account for insights in all three areas: company capabilities/culture, competition and customers. And finally, he helps the company express that single brand idea, and deliver on that promise, through every pore of the organization.
Turnaround artists are both respected and feared in the management field. You often learn a company is in trouble when the turnaround artist arrives. Everybody in the company expects a shakeup. Send out the resumes, the sheriff just rode into town. Neil Minihane chuckles at the image of the turnaround artist as somebody with a short temper and a bad attitude. A West Point graduate who still gets up early and wears a high-and-tight haircut, Minihane insists, “I’m a turnaround guy. Not a turnaround artist. Not a turnaround expert. Just a turnaround guy.” In other words, he’s a normal human being with a job to do.
What does “Lean Manufacturing” mean? What does it take to implement Lean Manufacturing? And is “Lean Manufacturing” necessarily “mean manufacturing” as critics of this zero waste approach to making things have suggested? In this article, InSights talks with Joachim Fischer, a life-long practitioner of the art of Lean Manufacturing, to explore the answers to these questions.
The CEO develops strategy,
the Board approves it.
Well, not quite.
Not any more anyway.
Why? Corporate directors have long had the responsibility of seeking to assure the long-term viability of the companies they serve, specifically to maximize long-term value. While this standard has been in existence for decades, its application is shifting rapidly. Boards are increasingly seeking to understand not only what their companies are doing, but also why those things are being done. And they want to contribute their own ideas.
Consumer-focused companies, such as retailers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, experience good times and bad times. Yet some companies seem to consistently outperform their peers regardless of economic conditions. Recognizing this anomaly, HighPoint InSights posed the following question to HighPoint’s retailing expert Karen Schwichtenberg:
What do high-performing retailers do well, regardless of economic conditions?
Schwichtenberg responds by outlining three simple, yet profound principles.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems have gotten a bad reputation, as have CRM, HR and data warehouse projects. Most CFOs will tell you that large-scale IT projects always cost more than budgeted, seldom deliver on their promises, and often falter or fail before they go live. Further, the big companies that make enterprise software, such as SAP and Oracle, extract enormous profits for themselves and their consulting partners.
Bob Kaplan, Senior Advisor for HighPoint Associates comments, “When you look at academic studies, what you see is that for the past twenty years people have been writing papers on how the vast majority of big-scale IT projects either come in way over budget, under deliver, or just completely fall apart.” Does Big IT really deserve its bad rap?
Strategic sourcing is not just another term for “beat up your suppliers.” In fact, when fully and properly deployed, the goal of strategic sourcing is competitive advantage first, cost considerations second. Yet in many corporations, strategic sourcing simply equates to getting the best price at any cost. An unrelenting focus on numbers sidelines the pursuit of strategic advantage. This kind of misguided strategic sourcing preempts taking advantage of a true strategic approach.
When corporate executives hear the term “strategy-making,” many of them reach for the aspirin. Strategy-making conjures images of massive data analysis efforts, indecipherable PowerPoint decks, and money spent on people who at the end of the day don’t typically get it right. And by the way, where are the results?
In this article, James E. Bennett shares his life-tested, client confirmed views on how to make better strategic decisions by organizing all strategic thinking under the umbrella of institutional strategy. Institutional strategy is not a specific set of tools or techniques. Rather, it’s a way of approaching strategy-making from the executive level. It is not so much a tool kit as it is a matter of perspective.
Disasters, both man-made and natural, have generated a lot of public attention in the past few years. According to data collected by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), natural disasters cost the world’s economy $35 billion in 2009 and $110 billion in 2010. Disaster losses more than tripled to $380 billion in 2011. You can’t predict them, but you can mitigate their effects.
Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) represent substantial opportunities for companies to consolidate, grow or diversify their strategic positions. M&A also represents a significant level of economic activity across the global economy. Market watchers estimate that 2011 global M&A activity increased to $2.75 trillion, up from 2010′s activity of $2.25 trillion. U.S. based transactions typically constitute about one third of global M&A value. Global M&A activity is expected to exceed $3 trillion in 2012. The U.S. will account for $1 trillion of that figure. That’s a lot of opportunity.