Category: Business Strategy

Groping For The Future

“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?

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

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 […]

Pick a Fight You Can Win

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

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!

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

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

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?

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

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, […]