“If you have good numbers, show them up front!” begins Reuben Mark. The numbers for Colgate-Palmolive are indeed impressive. Speaking as a guest at the Harvard Business School, the former CEO of Colgate-Palmolive can show a total return of some 4200% during his 23-year tenure. This is more than 40% higher than peer companies. But Mr. Mark claims that this success is due to the company’s ability deal with the small, everyday issues. This may not make for dramatic headlines, but they are universal things that have kept the company in business since its creation in 1806. Continue reading
Category Archives: AMP Harvard
“Big successes come from dealing with the little things.” claims Reuben Mark, former CEO of Colgate-Palmolive.
“They called me ‘The Master of ‘I don’t know!’” confesses Anne Mulcahy with a warm smile. For someone who didn’t know much, she certainly knew how to save one of the world’s largest companies. Ms Mulcahy was appointed CEO of Xerox in August 2001 when the company was in dire straights. Xerox had so dominated the world of photocopying that its name had even become a verb. By the time Ms. Mulchay took over however, this corporate giant was two weeks from bankruptcy. Despite the weight of expectation on her shoulders from the various stakeholders, Ms. Mulcahy claims that leaders should not give the impression that they know all the answers. Continue reading
Speaking as a guest of Professor Rajiv Lal at the Harvard Business School, Monsieur Jean Jacques Lebel, outlined the logic behind the universalization strategy that L’Oréal has been implementing throughout the French cosmetics firm. This policy aims to leverage the advantages of having a global brand and adapt them to emerging markets in order to give new consumers a product that they feel in relevant and adapted to their needs. Continue reading
Paul O’ Neill, former Secretary of the US Treasury and CEO of Alcoa, gives his views on effective leadership
At a conference at Harvard Business School, Paul O’ Neill led an open and very candid discussion about his time as Secretary of the Treasury under the Bush administration and CEO of Alcoa. Before joining the government, Mr O’ Neill had made his reputation by being tough on safety during his time at the world’s third largest aluminum producer.
During the hour long session chaired by Professor Ananth Raman, Mr. O’ Neill began by asking the group of senior managers and executives present “How many of you know the daily loss rate in your company?” A few hands went up. Continue reading
BOOK REVIEW: “Value Merchants: Demonstrating and Documenting Superior Value in Business Markets” by James Anderson, Nirmalya Kumar & James Narus (2007)
Salesmen require more gravitas than the power of persuasion and price cuts to make consistent sales to their customers. In order to sell a product or a service, a company has to take a multidimensional role as a value merchant, rather than a salesman. In fact, it is this very shift of the role of sellers that outlines what customers are looking for in terms of product or service offerings of the highest value (their perception).