Requirements For Business Reinvention: Guts, Capital and Support

By | January 15th, 2018|

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted the different yet intertwined paths of Xerox and Fujifilm. Xerox, once one of the world’s most admired companies, now has a market value that is less than 20% of what it used to be. As a former executive at Kinko’s, I used to rub elbows with [...]

What Exactly Is a Strategic Thinker?

By | December 4th, 2017|

Being tagged as “strategic” or “not very strategic” can be a boon or a bust for your career in the business world. Unfortunately, you must dig deeper to understand what the compliment or curse means. Have you ever met a strategic payroll clerk? Probably not, though I bet there are some. Some positions are thought [...]

Half Assed Strategy, Complete Failure!

By | October 2nd, 2017|

“We tried, but it didn’t work,” said the CEO about his new strategy. What he didn’t say was that the general idea for how he’d win in his marketplace wasn’t wrong. He just didn’t understand that all the pieces had to be in place at once for it to work. Imagine you have a product [...]

Monetizing Community

By | August 15th, 2017|

One of the fascinating ways to generate loyalty, relationships and even income is by building communities. A great strategic question that you might ask about your business model is, “How could we develop a community (or multiple communities) that would allow people to connect and learn while allowing us to deepen the relationships, educate and [...]

How To Take On The Big Guy

By | July 31st, 2017|

I am fortunate to live in an area that has lots of raptors—hawks and eagles.  As I drove home recently, I witnessed some skillful aerial combat—a small bird, sparrow-sized, giving a large hawk the fight of his life. The smaller bird was tenacious, attacking the hawk from above and behind, probably pushing it away from [...]

Fish Where the Fish Are

By | June 26th, 2017|

Runoff season is about over in the Front Range of Colorado as I write this, so fly-fishing season is ramping up. My recent feeble attempts at fishing the big water (when the snowmelt comes screaming down the canyons) were mostly frustrating. Trying to maintain my balance in the raging water when casting to a relatively [...]

Will Toilet Paper Become Obsolete?

By | May 22nd, 2017|

If you’re an executive and aren’t a bit anxious (or excited, if you’re an optimist!) about the rate of change in the business world, my guess is you’re just not paying attention. Either that or you sell toilet paper and aren’t worried about a new disruptive technology. Even a toilet paper company, however, could find [...]

Groping For The Future

By | April 24th, 2017|

“In all the time I spent with him, I never once heard him refer to his ability to see the future. He couldn’t see it — that’s why he had to grope for it.” —Michael Lewis, “The New New Thing” (talking about entrepreneur Jim Clark) Jim Clark famously founded Netscape, Silicon Graphics, myCFO and Healtheon [...]

Are You Smarter Than a Squirrel?

By | March 20th, 2017|

I came down to breakfast the other morning and my wife had an exasperated look on her face. When I asked what was wrong, she said, “I just want to be as smart as a squirrel!” We have multiple bird feeders in our yard, and she has purchased many devices to foil the squirrels’ ability [...]

How to Predict the Future

By | March 6th, 2017|

A common and vexing issue that I’ve seen boards and management teams struggle with is balancing the company’s short-term results achievement with its future environment. Too often this devolves into a polarized debate about the efficacy of looking out five, 10 or 15 years. The current P&L-focused group members thumb their nose at the long-term [...]