Pick a Fight You Can Win

By | February 6th, 2017|

For many years, Avis’ advertising slogan was “We’re No. 2. We try harder.” Similarly, Pepsi had a mission statement that simply said “Beat Coke,” and Nike vowed to “Crush Reebok.” One of my favorites was the giant industrial company Komatsu, which focused on beating Caterpillar with the battle cry “Eat the Cat.” Alternatively, there are [...]

Beware the Boogie Monster — False Assumptions

By | December 19th, 2016|

A friend asked me if I knew a guy the other day, and I said something like, “Yeah, but what a cold, indifferent cat he is!” My friend responded, “Are you kidding? He’s a great guy!” Shame on me. He is a great guy once you get to know him. The fact that he’s introverted [...]

Damn Woodpeckers!

By | December 12th, 2016|

I’m on my third cup of coffee sitting in my warm home office looking out the window — where it’s 10 degrees — at a woodpecker banging away at one of our trees. My wife says it’s an ash. I wouldn’t know an ash from my own … forehead. She also thinks the tree has [...]

Being Different

By | December 5th, 2016|

If you’re fascinated by business strategy, by how you can address a market differently than everyone else, you might enjoy this story. If you’re just trying to be like everyone else, skip this one and crawl back into your hole. I recently had coffee with the founder of a successful company in the outdoor product [...]

Inconvenient Truth

By | November 28th, 2016|

It is important to be “all in” when you decide on a strategy. Alignment of your team and your investments is the quickest path towards success, as long as you choose a viable direction! However, you need to make sure that you are not ignoring the truth just because you are emotionally attached to a [...]

People or Strategy — Which Comes First?

By | November 14th, 2016|

I had the business equivalent of the the chicken vs. the egg discussion with a colleague the other day. Which first, people or strategy? He voted egg, but I'm a chicken guy. Getting the right people on the bus, as author Jim Collins suggested in his book “Good to Great,” is imperative. But like all [...]

Two Italian Restaurants–The Value of Consistency

By | August 15th, 2016|

I have a weakness for pasta and red sauce (Sunday Gravy, for you Italians), so on two recent business trips in the same week, I went out in search of a meal that would put a smile on Tony Soprano's mug. The first restaurant was in an uptown environment, had a nice façade, an expansive wine list, [...]

Crafting Strategy—Intuition or Algorithm?

By | June 27th, 2016|

In an article from “Knowledge@ Wharton” a piece of research is cited from Daniel Kahneman—noted behavioral economist and author of “Thinking Slow and Thinking Fast”— where he articulates the challenge of “intuition” with a number of examples of how it fails us, from medical diagnosis, to ratings of performance in work settings. He points out [...]

Will Lightning Strike You Twice?

By | June 13th, 2016|

I’m reading “The Vitality Imperative: How connected leaders and their teams achieve more with less time, money, and stress” by Mickey Connolly, Jim Motroni and Richard McDonald. I love an analogy they put forth. “Eons ago, humans valued fire and yet could not create it. When lightning struck (literally), people captured the fire and tended [...]

Looking for Love (and Strategy) in All the Wrong Places!

By | June 6th, 2016|

I’m a fan of looking for examples of great strategy and leadership in unusual places. Although I focus on for-profit business leaders, I’ve seen some great examples from other venues such as the Girl Scouts and the United States Marine Corps. A recent story on NPR caught my attention. Ogden, Utah, has the highest percentage [...]