Management

Stay Agile and Win

Many leaders of small firms focus on making their business work efficiently and on delivering high-quality customer service. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these objectives. They are both essential aims. However, if they lead to rigidity and the exclusion of variation then they can undermine the key advantage that small businesses have over large businesses – agility. If you ...

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Innovation and the Peter Principle

By this point in your career, regardless of your length of time in your career, you’ve met someone who demonstrates the description of the Peter Principle. According to the authors of the book, the Peter Principle espouses that “In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence”. Of course any sweeping statement like this one must ...

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Resource Allocation in Open Innovation

The “standard” scenario is that companies start small with open innovation. It is often just one guy charged to create some quick, small wins. If this works, more resources are added and a team with several people will be formed. Projects like this are common to companies so there is no reason to worry in the short-term. It is actually ...

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No Vision = No Innovation

My son shocked my wife last night by announcing that he didn’t think the space program had anything to offer mankind. He had been assigned a paper in his middle school English class in which he needed to make a provocative point and sustain his argument with facts. He decided to examine space flight and whether or not NASA would ...

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Treating Innovation as an Experiment

Most businesses recognize that they “need” to do innovation, just like I recognize that I “need” more exercise. Unfortunately, while for me more exercise simply means setting aside the time to do it and having the discipline to actually go out and jog, or swim, or bike, innovation takes more than time and discipline. It takes resources, and few firms ...

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8 Ways to Measure Innovation Potential

I’m always a bit skeptical when I read about any definitive list, whether it’s six things to improve my complexion or seven myths of innovation. So I enter with some trepidation a list for your perusal, a checklist of sorts to help you ascertain whether or not your idea can become a a successful innovation. Note that the list below ...

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20 Ways to Get Feedback on Your New Idea

You’ve got a great idea. I know you do. But I also know it’s just sitting there. In your head. Like a lump. Why? Because you haven’t pitched it to anyone. Everyone — even your best friends — all seem so busy, right? And even if they’re not busy, you… um….er… uh… don’t really know how to kick-start the conversation ...

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Don't Confuse Execution with Tactics

Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan are the authors of one of the best books on execution written over the past twenty-five years – Execution, The discipline of getting things done. One of the major takeaways of the book is that while tactics are central to execution, execution is not tactics – it much more strategic. The authors describe execution as ...

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Stop Disrupting and Solve the Disruptions

It struck me recently that a lot of firms treat their customers as nameless, faceless objects all of whom share the same needs and have the same reactions to products. Of course marketing has taught us over the years to segment our markets and attack the needs of the customers within specific segments. If the segmentation is done well, segments ...

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Mergers & Acquisitions or Mayhem & Animosity

In previous posts I’ve highlighted key reasons why mergers are often ill-advised. Now comes news that last year’s much talked-about marriage of Kraft and Cadbury is turning out to be less fulfilling than expected. When the merger was announced 14 months ago, I wrote a post entitled Will Cadbury give Kraft indigestion? Among other things, I said, “Most mergers do ...

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