As a strategist, I look for performance gaps. They are often concealed within operating statistics, and can require sleuthing to flush out. For me, an adrenaline rush comes from finding a subtle gem and elevating it to the conference room white board. “Strategic priorities for this quarter . . .” By now, you can tell […]
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I’ve often wondered why companies hammer sharp social stakes into the ground. Ben and Jerry’s. Hobby Lobby. Chick-fil-a. Lately, Levi’s – my jeans brand – has advocated for gun restrictions. Gasp! Strongly advocating a social agenda is antithetical to what I’ve learned about marketing. Don’t alienate anyone with disposable income or investment capital. Don’t alienate […]
The characters in the HBO series Silicon Valley make us laugh because we’ve met them in real life. The sardonic, whip-smart software developer Gilfoyle. The dweebie, hoodie-wearing tech entrepreneur Richard Hendricks. The Type A-on-steroids venture capitalist Russ Hanneman. The over-the-top greedy, predacious CEO Gavin Belson. Most of us have bumped into similar people, though maybe […]
The temperature in Washington, DC is steamy hot, and my dogs don’t bother lifting their heads when the UPS truck rolls up. Not even a tepid growl leaves their throats. That would take energy. Every August, DC’s torrid pace abates, providing me an opportunity to reset. I dive into books and other reading I’ve arranged […]
“Every ethics question a business person could face comes down to a question you face on your very first sale: what are you willing to do for a buck?”, Philip Broughton wrote in his book, Mastering the Art of the Sale. The question needs to be asked at every company. From the mom-and-pop Custom Cupcakes […]
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Suppose your company pioneered a product able to improve the health of millions of people. Suppose that over the past five years, you reported at least 50% year-to-year revenue growth. To cap it off, suppose Fortune recognized your company as the fifth-fastest growing public company in the US. How might your company’s revenue prospects appear […]
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Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, and John Zimmer, CEO of Lyft, have much in common. They are the same age – born less than two months apart in 1984. Both were accepted into prestigious universities. Holmes attended Stanford, and Zimmer went to Cornell. As undergraduate students, they were recognized with high academic honors. Holmes was […]
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“The sales team forecasts $100 million in revenue for the quarter.” Many companies motivate employees with incentives for matching sales results to predictions. Some punish them for being wrong. Some do both. A constant lament: “Why, oh why, can’t I get an accurate sales forecast?” . “Businesses often use forecasts to project what they are […]
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“Things are not always what they seem.” We can thank Phaedrus, an Athenian who lived around 400 BC, for that insight. He’s also credited with coining a curious metaphor, “opportunity has hair in front, but is bald behind.” Phaedrus isn’t the gung-ho, up-tempo spirit I’d want on my innovation team. But he’s my kind […]
“Our sales results never match what’s forecast!” As the saying goes, “if I received a dollar every time I heard this complaint, I’d be contentedly fly fishing in a remote river right now, untethered from the grid.” Inflated expectations? First, we need to understand what match means in the context of forecasting. If match means […]
A business scam begins with collision of circumstances. A scheming opportunist crosses paths with a person prone to deception. The extension of trust sparks ignition. As Philip Broughton wrote in his book, Mastering the Art of the Sale, “the moment of maximum trust and cooperation is when the virus of dishonesty takes hold.” A chain […]
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I don’t usually blog about my bad buying experiences, but occasionally there’s a debacle that oozes horrible from every pore. When that happens, I take it as a civic duty to write about it. It’s a way to help others avoid the folly I’m about to describe. This incident started last Saturday when I asked […]