How Sick is Your Company?

Is your company Passive-Aggressive, Fits-and-Starts, Outgrown, Overmanaged, Just-in-Time, Military Precision, or Resilient? These are the fun categories that make up your organization’s DNA, according to the folks at BAH.
Read the HBR article: The Passive-Aggressive Organization by Gary L. Neilson, Bruce A. Pasternack, and Karen E. Van Nuys.
“Healthy companies are hard to mistake. Their managers have access to good, timely information, the authority to make informed decisions, and the incentives to make them on behalf of the organization, which promptly and capably carries them out. A good term for the healthiest of such organizations is “resilient,” since they can react nimbly to challenges and recover quickly from those they cannot dodge. Unfortunately, most companies are not resilient. In fact, fewer than one in five of the approximately 30,000 individuals who responded to a global online survey Booz Allen Hamilton conducted describe their organizations that way. The largest number—over one-quarter—say they suffer from the cluster of pathologies we place under the label “passive-aggressive.’’ The category takes its name from the organization’s quiet but tenacious resistance, in every way but openly, to corporate directives.
“In passive-aggressive organizations, people pay those directives lip service, putting in only enough effort to appear compliant.”
I used to work for someone like that once. Her strategy was to say yes and do nothing. The result? Nothing happened. Everything I accomplished happened despite of my boss, not because of her. I also knew an entire IT department at a Fortune 500 company that behaved the same way. The modus operandi was: “What can we NOT do today?”

Wait. There’s more.
Here’s a full report on the research – “A Global Check-Up: Diagnosing the Health of Today’s Organizations”

Tom Davenport on Personal Knowledge Management

Says TD: “Most interventions to improve performance in business are at the organizational or process level, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We can also improve individual capabilities. Ultimately, knowledge worker performance comes down to the behaviors of individual knowledge workers. If we improve their individual abilities to create, acquire, process and use knowledge, we are likely to improve the performance of the processes they work on, and the organizations they work for.”
Right on! Read this insightful post on Tom Davenport’s blog- BabsonKnowledge.org.

Reputation Management: Doug Smith’s Recommendations to Harrisinteractive

For several years, Harrisinteractive of the Harris polling company has done an annual survey of the ‘reputation quotient’ of what it calls the 60 ‘most visible’ companies. The survey asks respondents to evaluate companies against 20 attributes ranging from social responsibility to financial performance to product quality. Each of the twenty can earn a top score of 7 and a low of 1.
Here’s what Doug Smith thinks…

The Economist: Fat Turkey Takes All the Gravy


Says the Economist:
“Executive compensation in America—already far ahead of the rest of the world, despite the best efforts of overseas managers to catch up—is now rising inexorably again. In fiscal year 2004 the total compensation of the median American company boss rose in every industry, by between 9.7% in commercial banking and 46.1% in energy, according to a new report by the Conference Board, a research organisation. In the big companies that comprise the S&P 500 index, median total chief-executive compensation increased by 30.2% last year, to $6m, compared with a 15% rise in 2003, according to a study published last month by the Corporate Library, a firm that tracks corporate-governance data.”
One of the interviewees – Bob Pozen, chairman of MFS Investment Management, is pissed off at executive pay packages that reward bosses generously even if they fail. He is extremely critical of the role of compensation consultants. They, he says, tend to be chosen by the chief executive, and to drive up pay by recommending that the top man should be paid more than his peers, having chosen a group of peers whose pay errs on the high side.
Hmmm. Can we outsource the CEO to a low-cost country? Is there no cure for Enron-ititis? Read the full article.
Maybe that’s why Peter Drucker wasn’t so popular at the end. He called this “looting.”
The last word – again from the Economist: “…hell is more likely to freeze than bosses’ pay.”

Country Branding: The Futurebrand Version

Why do so many PR and branding companies have the worst websites? Because they don’t understand how branding works online.
In spite of their website, they’ve done some interesting work at Futurebrand. I’m talking about their Country Brand Index.
Apparently Italy ranks as the top overall destination, according to a global survey that identifies countries as brands… Australia and the U.S. take the second and third positions.
China is the “most improved” country brand, the U.S. is “best country brand for business travel” and Italy is the “best country brand for art and culture.”
“If a ‘brand’ is defined as an experience, then some of the world’s most powerful and recognizable brands should be countries. The challenge the industry faces is that it must move away from the traditional reactive and tactical marketing approaches and instead, create and deliver an overall brand experience that drives sales and turns visitors into country-brand evangelists,” says Rene A. Mack of Weber Shandwick, the agency involved in the creation of the index.
He’s right and wrong. Your travel experience in a country is not the same as the country’s brand. These days its important how you act in public. Like children, some countries behave better than others. Some are unruly, some loud, some mild-mannered…
A better survey is the Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index. I talked about it in a previous post – The Rise and Fall of Brand America.
Also: see what Peter Drucker thinks. You have to listen to the whole thing!

Shooting Birds or Catching Fish: Dunk on Branding

William Dunk gets it.
Here’s a letter he posted on his Global Province site back in 2004.
“Basically there are a couple of ways of making sales. Either you shoot them down or they come to you. For most of the mass market era, we took a shotgun, cost be damned, and pumped lead into the skies, hoping to knock as many pigeons—i.e., customers—down as possible. Right now, as we transition out of the mass era, we are using rifles, and assuming that with careful targeting, we can hit a choice quail, duck, or wild turkey on the wing, and then send a bird dog out to retrieve. The idea is to hit many less prospects, but to hit the choice ones that count. You should understand that any form of marketing that has targeting in its name is expensive and probably a poor return on investment. Nonetheless, targeting is the craze of this moment.
“But then there’s catching fish. We put a worm or fly down in the water and wait for the fish to come to us. Stream fishing. It’s more subtle. Less energetic. We use the inquisitive hunger of fish to lure them into our clutches. Sight and sound and touch are compounded. This is allure. It’s very, very related to “word of mouth,” which, at the end of the day, is the most effective form of marketing.
“We think longer term that it’s time to lay down lures in the water. That will drive companies to provide horribly accurate product information that tells the user how to get good results at low cost from a product, even suggesting alternatives to their own that may work better for some applications. Straight poop becomes the strongest form of advertising.”
He’s describing double-loop marketing… read the article.

Using Cheerleaders to Sell Drugs

“Exaggerated motions, exaggerated smiles, exaggerated enthusiasm – they learn those things and they can get people to do what they want.” – LYNN WILLIAMSON, an adviser at the University of Kentucky, on why so many former cheerleaders are hired as sales representatives for pharmaceutical companies.
This article in the NYTimes says that drug companies hire “sexy drug representatives as a variation on the seductive inducements like dinners, golf outings and speaking fees that pharmaceutical companies have dangled to sway doctors to their brands.”
“In a crowded field of 90,000 drug representatives, where individual clients wield vast prescription-writing influence over patients’ medication, who better than cheerleaders to sway the hearts of the nation’s doctors, still mostly men.”
“But pharmaceutical companies deny that sex appeal has any bearing on hiring. “Obviously, people hired for the work have to be extroverts, a good conversationalist, a pleasant person to talk to; but that has nothing to do with looks, it’s the personality,” said Lamberto Andreotti, the president of worldwide pharmaceuticals for Bristol-Myers Squibb.”
Right.
I’m comforted to know that our doctors, with all their years of “education,” are swayed so easily… Sex still sells. Maybe we should use cheerleaders as environmental lobbyists…

“Competing on Analytics” – Tom Davenport and friends

Competing on Analytics is a Babson Executive Education report by Tom Davenport, Don Cohen and Al Jacobson.
The report describes the emergence of a new form of competition based on the extensive use of analytics, data, and fact-based decision making. The analytics— quantitative or statistical models to analyze business problems—may be applied to a variety of business problems, including customer management, supply chains, and financial performance. The research assessed 32 firms with regard to their orientation to analytics; about one-third were classified as fully engaged in analytically oriented strategies. Both demand and supply factors for analytical competition are described. Of the two, demand factors are the more difficult to create. The presence of one or more committed senior executives is a primary driver of analytical competition.
Registration is required for download, but it’s worth it.

John Byrne on Drucker: “The Man Who Invented Management”


A human look at Drucker’s contributions from John Byrne and Lindsey Gerdes at BW:
— It was Drucker who introduced the idea of decentralization — in the 1940s — which became a bedrock principle for virtually every large organization in the world.
— He was the first to assert — in the 1950s — that workers should be treated as assets, not as liabilities to be eliminated.
— He originated the view of the corporation as a human community — again, in the 1950s — built on trust and respect for the worker and not just a profit-making machine, a perspective that won Drucker an almost godlike reverence among the Japanese.
— He first made clear — still the ’50s — that there is “no business without a customer,” a simple notion that ushered in a new marketing mind-set.
— He argued in the 1960s — long before others — for the importance of substance over style, for institutionalized practices over charismatic, cult leaders.
— And it was Drucker again who wrote about the contribution of knowledge workers — in the 1970s — long before anyone knew or understood how knowledge would trump raw material as the essential capital of the New Economy.
read it here

Check out this very, very interesting podcast… John Byrne talks about his first meeting with Peter Drucker and his wife Doris at the YMCA in Estes Park, on how Drucker saw “business as an opportunity to build community” – executive pay – and much, much more.
Warren Bennis: “Peter Drucker, how do you learn?”
Answer: ” By listening, only to myself!”

Great podcast!

Koppel Steps Down: The End for Nightline?

During his 42 years at ABC News and 26-year run on “Nightline,” Ted Koppel has seen — and reported — it all.
As he prepared to anchor his last edition of “Nightline” Tuesday night, Koppel spoke about his experiences as an anchor and reporter for the show long regarded as the smartest news program on TV.
Read the ABC Interview here.
Note that it is filed under “entertainment.” Prediction: Nightline is finished.
The new format stinks. Since when is “less news, more crap” a formula for success? Oh I forgot, this is US TV- i.e. “entertainment.”
Note to the BBC: you can now safely take over the news marketspace in the US.

Neil French: The Strategy Interview

November 2005 – Strategy Magazine
One is enough
Q’s and cocktails with…Neil French, outgoing worldwide CD, WPP Group
by Lisa D’Innocenzo
By now, you surely must have heard about the Neil French kerfuffle. The short version: Last month, he resigned his post at WPP because of reaction to controversial comments he made about female CDs during a Toronto event, organized by ad site ihaveanidea.org.
Strategy interviewed French a day before that fateful night and felt he made some salient points about the state of the industry, as well as what it takes to be brilliant. So, despite the fact that he called said reporter “Sweetpea,” we thought this was still worth a read.
LD: What do you think of the state of the ad industry?
NF: What in Canada? Please don’t ask me, because I don’t know. I could have got somebody to brief me about Canadian advertising. That would have been wrong, because it’s like a politician being told what to say. I don’t do that shit. I’ve never been to Canada before – what the hell would I know about Canada? I like the place – I love the weather. [Spoken on a 28 degree day in late September.]
LD: How about overall?
NF: There’s this hysteria on at the moment about how television is dead and it’s all going to interactive. That’s such bollocks. Yes, in the Western World there are a lot of computers out there and interactive thingy-bobs. But actually 90% of the population of the earth is not sitting in front of an Apple tonight. You go to some huge shack city in Brazil, or Thailand, and that light from the shack is a television. Why is everybody panicking? I remember when radio was dead. I remember when newspapers were dead. They’re fine. Now television is dead. No it’s bloody not. It’s just a lot of inept people who think that with the next thing, there might be some good ads. There won’t be of course, because they are genetically inept.
LD: What do you think of the fact that more money is going into interactive then?
NF: If you put everything into mobile, it’s going to piss people off much more than the television ads. Mostly mobile’s used by kids. They are going to make the phone calls, they are going to text their mates, they do not want to be interrupted by some jerk who wants to sell them a soft drink. So this is more likely to burn out very quickly. They will watch the stuff they want to see, and that’s when you get them. Yes, TiVo can make sure you don’t watch the ads, but if it’s a really good ad that appears during the moto racing or the soccer, you’ll leave it on to hope the ad comes on. I’ve heard people say this: “I love this one. I’m not going out for a pee.” It’s human nature. If the media buyer’s clever enough, it’s going to always be in the same program. Having your ad liked by the consumer, that’s the Holy Grail. No more conversation needed on that subject; move on.
LD: So what does it take to make a good ad?
NF: Talk to people. That’s all it is. When Winston Churchill said: “We shall fight them on the beaches,” he was talking to one bloke. Every single person in his little house in the middle of England saw himself standing shoulder to shoulder with Winston, with a pitchfork in his hand on the seashore. And when Hitler said: “We’re going to take over the world; we’ve had a rough deal,” every soldier at Nuremberg, said: “He’s talking to me, and I must not let him down.” So good or evil, the great communicators talk to one person. That’s what advertising does – I’m talking to you, this is the right car for you, or beer, or insurance company, or whatever the hell it is. Only for you. Luckily, there are millions of people like you and they will all buy it, but you don’t say that in the ad. There’s no you plural in advertising, it’s you singular.
LD: How come more advertisers don’t get that?
NF: Because 95% of the people in this business are buffoons. They’re clowns. The creatives blame the clients and the suits, and that’s only because the suits frequently come into advertising because they couldn’t get into banking or retail, so you get an awful lot of those. But the client has every right to make his own decision on his own product. It is our responsibility to explain to him why this will work better than that, and if we fail to do that, we don’t deserve to do good advertising.
LD: What work have you seen recently that gets it right?
NF: I have to bring this one up, because it’s a great example of talking to the audience. It was an ad [I did] for [Panadol] in China. They researched aspirins and the Chinese got a bit upset that it said: “Take two,” because they thought: “It seems like such a waste, using all these aspirins up.” So they brought out the single pill.
If you want to talk to people, tell them something that’s relevant to them, and then twist it in the direction of your product. So I wrote the line of “One is enough,” and the picture was a picture of George Bush and George Bush. It was huge.
Next year’s big winner is going to be the Big Ad from Australia [for Carlton Draught]. It is the heaviest irony possibly ever used in advertising and utterly hilarious. If you look at it and deconstruct it, it’s the perfect ad for beer, without having to show a lot of people in the public going “yo-ho-ho.”
LD: Why do so many ads in categories like beer look the same?
NF: Why? I’ll tell you why, and this is where the client is to blame. He sees an ad, and says: “Oh, that’s good, can we have one like that?” And it’s the very thing he shouldn’t say. He should say: “Can we have one not like that.” Otherwise, how can a consumer, who doesn’t really care, ever differentiate? The client’s problem is only that his widget means to him his house, his wife, their kids, their education, their retirement and his funeral. Whereas to anyone in the street, it doesn’t come in the top million of things to worry about. Our job is to say: “This might be irrelevant, this widget,” but of course the client’s saying “No, no it’s really important; this is the best widget in the world.” But actually, they don’t care, mate. All we can say is: “When you need a widget, we do good ones.” So our job is to bridge the gap between the client’s enthusiasm and the audience’s apathy.
LD: How hard is that to do?
NF: It can be extremely difficult. The whole trick is to explain gently to the client why this is so. There are stupid people, but generally speaking the guy that runs the client is highly intelligent and highly motivated and a bit of a pirate. You don’t get to run a big brewery or big car company without being a little ballsy. Unfortunately for the hewers of wood and fetchers of water, further down the hierarchy, their interest is keeping their job.
I can’t remember a single occasion I’ve sold a decent campaign to anyone but the top guy. I did a campaign for Martel brandy, which was long copy and nobody had ever done long copy for brandy before. People down the line weren’t sure about it, but I made them let me present it to Edgar Bronfman, who in those days was the head of Seagram’s. The suits put me up front with great trepidation and I explained the ad. Edgar got it before I explained it to him. He understood the whole concept. He said: “Yeah, that’s great. We’ll go there. Looks like nothing we’ve ever seen before.” All the racks of suits sighed with relief because they didn’t have to make any decisions. At the end, he walked all the way down to the far end of the table, and said: “Neil, when these guys screw this up, you call me.” And I said: “You mean if?” And he said: “No, I mean when.”
LD: Are presidents getting more involved in marketing?
NF: No. I wish they bloody did. The only benefit of being old and wizened, like myself, is I can generally see the top man. Because I’ve been around forever, longer than God. The guy they want to see is the superstar, somebody like Bogusky, or an old bozo like me.
LD: How do you convince marketers to take a risk?
NF: Something I say to clients a lot is: “Are you actually just spending this money to mark time, or do you really want to make a difference? And how much of a difference do you want to make specifically? How much do you want sales to go up? How much can you supply if this was successful?” Ask all those questions and then you can say: “Now I know how brave you’re going to be. Not at all or very.” And of course, all bravery is risky, and so is safety.
LD: When do you know you can’t work with a marketer?
NF: There are three things important when running an ad agency. Someone called it the three F’s: fun, funds and fame. If a client gives you money and fame, that’s great. If he gives you fun and fame, but not much money, that’s still great. If he gives you lots of money and lots of fun, that’s ok. But if there’s no money in it, and no fun, but it will make you famous, you have to think about it. If it’s just fun, then you should have left years ago. One is bad. Two is ok, three is unbearably wonderful. After all, it is your life. The client doesn’t own you; you’re not a slave; you can say uncle.
LD: Why are boutique agencies becoming increasingly popular?
NF: The boutiques are attractive to big clients because they have a personal stake in the success of this relationship. The client joins and asks a smaller agency to help them in the knowledge that there might be a few moments of stress in this relationship, but in the end they will succeed. These are the mistresses, not the wives. The mistresses get the jewelry, the wives get the washing machine. It’s sad but true.
I was once talking to a boss of another very, very big agency. And I said: “You’ve had these clients so long. How do you do it?” He said: “Because they can’t be bothered to fire us.” It’s too much hassle.
LD: Like a divorce?
NF: Absolutely. “God, this is a problem. Oh, well, stick with it. It could be worse, not much, but it could be worse.” How sad is that? There comes a time, where you’re going to say: “Actually, screw this.” Or go get yourself a mistress, for just part of the time. And that’s what these big clients do. “We’re tied up to the teeth with these people, but I hate the bloody work, so I’m going to get a babe, and go out to dinner with a babe a lot, which will be great. It’s much more fun, makes us feel good, and hey, then we’ve got to get back to the sodding wife again.”
There will be more and more boutiques. There was a point where it was just about the big, big blocks taking over, but then the big, big blocks [started] buying the boutiques. Why do they buy the boutiques? Not for the money they’re making. They buy them to give themselves a certain sexiness – a nice set of legs, or high heels.
LD: A boob job?
NF: A boob job! Very good. Absolutely. That’s exactly it. Let’s stick them on to the front and it looks like we have big boobs. It doesn’t work.
LD: Does it help to have an ego in the ad business?
NF: I taught myself self confidence in my early teens. I was very shy. Pain and agony, and beating down embarrassment, teaching myself not to blush and all those awful things. Ego is really: “Do you really believe in yourself?”
[In Canada], there’s a cringe factor. There’s the permanent apology. I mean, I love the fact that people on the street are all saying “sorry” all the time. But, come on guys. Politeness is great, but sometimes it’s not said in a politeness way, as much as a “Please don’t hit me” way. That’s sad. I remember a young guy, saying: “You’re an egomaniac. You’re all ego and no talent.” That may be true. I said: “Do you have an ego?” “No,” he says. “Do you bathe? Then you have an ego. You care about what people think about you. You take a shower, you care.”

On Drucker: John Hagel, Tom Peters, William Dunk

Here are more views on Drucker from some very smart people:
>> John Hagel on his Edgeperspectives Blog:
Drucker’s Gone
“I am laid up with the flu so I am still having trouble processing the reality that Drucker’s gone. Drucker was an iconoclast who lived on the edge throughout his life. Prolific until the very end of a long life (he was 95 when he passed away last Friday), he always sought to move beyond established boundaries, believing that they limit the potential for insight and understanding…” Read the post >>
>> Tom Peters, in his “Dispatches from the New World of Work” blog:
Peter F. Drucker: Right Man for His/Our Times
“…Peter Drucker did arguably (1) “invent” modern management as we now think of it; (2) give the study and craft of management-as-profession credibility and visibility, even though biz schools like Harvard had been around for a long time; and (3) provide a (the first?) comprehensive toolkit-framework for addressing and even mastering the problems of emergent enterprise complexity…” More >>
>> William Dunk at Global Province:
Death at Claremont.
“The ultimate prophet of profit, Peter Drucker died last Friday, his mind churning to the end. He had spent his last years in residence at Claremont, having made his early imprint at New York University with Juran, Deming, and Feigenbaum, and as one of these four horsemen helped remake Japan’s economy after the war. Standard reading in business schools and corporate suites, his books turned heads from here to Tokyo. Compared to him, all the gurus out of McKinsey and the business schools have always seemed to be pretty tame stuff…” Read more >>
BTW, I’m amazed at the response my Drucker cartoons are getting. It seems like the “community of Drucker fans” is alive and well.

Do you Speak Soccer?

Emerson Ferreira da Rosa in the Economist:
I am increasingly aware of how football has become an effective and universally known “language” that can project images of pure sport, beautiful play and enjoyment: a “language” that is used and appreciated all over the world. I am amazed at the number of dads who play football with their kids in Central Park on Sunday morning. In the United States soccer is starting to compete with baseball, American football and basketball. There is also a “desire for football” in China, in Japan—where Juventus recently played in a tournament—and in the Middle East. This shows us unequivocally that football can “speak” with the greatest simplicity—through different media, but above all through television—to millions of fans.
Read the article here >>

Wage Inflation as a Result of Offshoring


Another article from McKinsey…
On the supply side
What, for instance, would be the effect on the wages of engineers in emerging markets if labor costs were the most important factor for US companies choosing offshore locations? Our analysis shows that salary levels for engineers in the lowest-cost countries would likely double (exhibit). But salaries in emerging markets wouldn’t reach the prevailing level in the United States or Western Europe, since they will be capped at about 30 percent of average US wages, or the current level in Brazil and Mexico.
Local wage inflation will probably continue in some offshoring locations as long as the multinationals concentrate their demand in a few cities. Because of the sunk costs of setting up an offshore facility, if demand in that location begins to outstrip local supply, the wages paid by individual companies may rise above the levels prevailing in neighboring countries. Dispersing demand will slow down overheating in the hot spots.
Overall, although wages in the supply-side countries will probably rise, they won’t reach the level of wages in the demand-side countries.
On the demand side
Companies are moving their operations offshore at a slow pace, which means that over the next five years offshoring will have a negligible effect on overall employment in the demand-side countries for the occupations we analyzed.
Consider the impact in the United States. Over the past 30 years, the share of manufacturing jobs in total US employment has declined by 11 percentage points, to 21 percent, from 32 percent. By comparison, we estimate that only 9 percent of all US service jobs could, even in theory, be performed remotely, and it is unlikely that all of them will move offshore during the next 30 years. Wage levels too are unlikely to drop, for the same reason. Indeed, in the United States, growth rates for wages and the number of jobs in computer and data-processing services—a sector where offshoring is prevalent—are higher than those in the economy as a whole.1
This moderate impact and generally slow pace won’t soften the blow for people who do lose their employment to offshoring. A sustained effort to retrain them is likely to yield results, since most of them are college graduates.

I think this is much too narrow a view. There will be another effect as well: wage deflation in the West.
Management consulting firms to always paint a narrow picture without looking at social costs. Let’s talk about this again in three years. Predication: India will eat our lunch, China our dinner, and we’re going to eat one meal a day – breakfast – like the poor in so many third world countries.

Ratan Tata: The $2,200 “People’s Car”


Tata speaks about the Indian group’s international strategy, his plan to create a $2,200 “people’s car,” his vision of India as a knowledge center for the world, and his dedication to the social responsibilities required from companies operating in developing markets.
On the car:
“Today we’re producing a $7,000 car, the Indica. Here we’re talking about a $2,200 car, which will be smaller and will be produced in larger volumes, with all the high-volume parts manufactured in one plant. We’re also looking at more use of plastics on the body and at a very low-cost assembly operation, with some use of modern-day adhesives instead of welding. But the car is in every way a car, with an engine, a suspension, and a steering system designed for its size. We will meet all the emissions requirements. We now have some issues concerning safety, mainly because of the car’s modest size, but we will resolve them before the car reaches the market, in about three years’ time.
“In addition—and this again touches on the social dimension—we’re looking at small satellite units, with very low breakeven points, where some of the cars could be assembled, sold, and serviced. We would encourage local entrepreneurs to invest in these units, and we would train these entrepreneurs to assemble the fully knocked-down or semi-knocked-down components that we would send to them, and they would also sell the assembled vehicles and arrange for their servicing. This approach would replace the dealer, and therefore the dealer’s margin, with an assembly-cum-retail operation that would be combined with very low-cost service facilities.
On India:
“If we play our cards right as a country, we could be a supplier of IT services and IT solutions to the world. We could also be a product-development center for pharmaceuticals. We could be a very good global R&D center in biotechnology and in some of the emerging technologies, such as nanotechnology, provided we really give them the focus they would need.
On bringing talent back to India:
“Indians coming back to India really go through a cultural shock. They give up a lot in terms of the quality of life, the education of their children, the availability of medical facilities. This will also have an impact when we want to hire people who are not Indians, as we will have to do in a world without boundaries. Even if we start only with pockets of the country and make those pockets less of a cultural shock, the benefits will spread. In some ways, this is what China did with the economic zones.
On values:
“What I feel most proud of is that we have been able to grow without compromising any of the values or ethical standards that we consider important. And I am not harping on this hypocritically. It was a major decision to uphold these values and ethics in an environment that is deteriorating around you. If we had compromised them, we could have done much better, grown much faster, and perhaps been regarded as much more successful in the pure business sense. But we would have lost the one differentiation that this group has against others in the country. We would have been just another venal business house.
“I think it is wrong for a company in India to operate in exactly the same way, without any additional responsibilities, as if it were operating in the United States, let’s say. And even in the United States, I think if you had an enlightened corporation that went into the Deep South, you would see more of a sense of social responsibility, of doing more for the community, than the company might accept in New York City or Boston. Because it is inevitable that you need to be a good corporate citizen in that kind of environment. And companies that are not good corporate citizens—those that don’t hold to standards and that allow the environment and the community to suffer—are really criminals in today’s world.”
Read the McKinsey Quarterly article >>

Laurence Haughton on Peter Drucker

I received an email from Laurence
Haughton
, the author, on Peter Drucker.

With his permission, here it is:

It is now five days since Peter Drucker passed away and the tributes have
filled the air like so many streamers and confetti at a ticker tape parade.

According to columnists in journals and blogs Drucker was, “an American
sage,” “the uber-guru,” “profound,” and “a visionary.”

America’s two most popular business pundits agree. “[Drucker was]
the right man for our times,” wrote one. And the other was just as reverential,
“The most influential management thinker in the second half of the twentieth
century.”

But I don’t see it that way.

If Drucker was “the most influential” shouldn’t he have changed
a lot of executive behavior? If he truly was “profound” or the “right
man for our times” wouldn’t he have a lot of followers who practice
what he prescribed?

Peter Drucker is, as he himself once wrote about management sciences pioneer
Mary Parker Follett, the “most quoted and least heeded” teacher
of management.

Why he is so quoted is easy to understand. Pick up anything he wrote. I just
went back and skimmed through 1964’s “Managing for Results.”
You’ll find Drucker is incredibly insightful yet totally clear and practical.
He’s no ivory tower theorist. Drucker explains exactly what to do and
what not to do, giving systematic, logical, and consistent answers to all
the fundamental challenges of management. If you are opining about management,
he’s a perfect source to quote.

But as far as being heeded… I don’t think so. What company is managed
according to his prescriptions? What leader follows his clear, specific advice?
Frankly, is there anyone who gives him anything more than lip service?
Take just one of Drucker’s lessons. He criticized organizations who issued
directives to “cut 5 or 10 percent from budgets across the board.”
He said, “This is ineffectual at best and at worst, apt to cripple the
important, result-producing efforts that usually get less money that they
need to begin with.” Yet, when have you seen a company cut costs using
Drucker’s clear distinctions between efficiency and effectiveness instead
of the across-the-board cop out?

And I’ll bet others can find 100 additional quoted and ignored lessons
from Peter Drucker just like that one.
Years ago I was told “performance is the proof that the learning took
place.” If that’s true I’m sorry to say that despite all the
tributes, up to now, we’ve learned very little from Peter Drucker.

 

Rebranding Intel

“This might be the company’s most important makeover campaign ever.”
What’s the big deal? Apparently the Intel logo no longer has the “e” letter dropped, and the blue label is now wrapped around the corporate name.
The chip names are rebranded: single core Yonah processors will be named “Core Solo” and dual core versions will be called “Core Duo”.
Yawn.

Google Base: Googlespace & Open Knowledge Management

Another giant step in Googlespace?
“Help the world find your content. Google Base is a place where you can add all types of information that we’ll host and make searchable online.”
And so Google takes another step with another micro-service. Try it here.
And it’s not just about classifieds. It’s about Open Knowledge Management.
Wonder what Tom Davenport and Larry Prusak have to say about this… I’ll let you know when I find out.

The 7th Face of the Web: Googlespace

Back in 2000, Bill Joy, Sun’s Chief Scientist and co-founder, told people that the economic future of technology is rooted in the notion of what he called “the six Webs.”
– the “near” Web, the traditional desktop computing environment.
– the “far” Web, which includes simple interaction through, for example, a remote control while flipping through an interactive television screen.
– the “here” Web, or the industry of mobile Internet devices, which, Joy stresses are going to continue to grow in importance and popularity.
– the “weird” Web, or those systems of access that actually immerse the senses, like virtual reality or voice-activated surfing.
– the eCommerce (Business-to-Business) Web and, quite simply, the “pervasive computing” Web, or “the networks that connect people to other people and the information they need, enabling them to act on it anytime, anyplace.”
Today, there’s a 7th web- the “Search-driven” Web, i.e. the Googlespace. The “search-driven” web will bridge all 6 faces of Bill Joy’s web. And that’s why Microsoft is is trouble.
A simple way of looking at this: Joy’s 6 faces are technology or platform-based. This is the old geek view of technology- shared by Microsoft et al.
In reality, the user doesn’t care about platforms – just finding what they need- the “user-based” view. And that is fast becoming Googlespace.

The Hidden Drivers of Demand


Customer Value Engineering™ reveals what matters most, says MercerMC:
“Customers often start a negotiation by emphasizing price and product features. These things always matter, of course. But buying decisions encompass many other considerations, such as reliability, service arrangements, certainty of delivery date, and the opinions of users inside the organization or expert analysts.
“Cumulatively, these influences may account for 70% to 80% of the purchase decision. That’s why there is gold to be mined by truly understanding the customer’s world.
“The Customer Value Engineering approach goes beyond market research to uncover what customers will value and actually pay for, link these insights with the economics of the business, and create a process for building consensus and driving rapid implementation. It combines four capabilities:
– Uncovering the drivers of demand
– Segmenting customers in a smarter way than traditional categories of size or demographics
– Modeling the drivers of business economics to determine whether a given move will make or lose money
– Creating dynamic, robust modeling of the strategy that can evaluate “what if” scenarios and rapidly turn strategy into action with a minimum of risk
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