Back in the carefree days before 2007, companies looked at growth as their major challenge. In those days, obtaining a 15% increase on yearly growth seemed to be the most important thing for them to achieve, to keep their stockholders happy. Since then, with the collapse of firms such as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, survival has become the key element to business. In Reorganize for Resilience, Ranjay Gulati shows some of the things that resilient companies do, both in good times and in bad, to ensure that they don’t end up being a case study on what companies shouldn’t have done.
Blue Ocean Strategy has been described as a must read for all business students. A lot has been written about it and I would have said practically everything had been said about it until I looked up the book on Amazon to see the current price.
According to the book seller, the people who bought this book also bought “How to Become an Alpha Male – Attract Women and become successful at seduction.” I am still trying to work out the link!
The Olympics is the fabulous event because each nation can find its own heros. Last night in the 400m women’s final Camille Muffat became one of France’s new heroines by taking gold. She narrowly defeated Allison Schmitt of the USA.
Britain’s Rebecca Adlington took the bronze medal in the same race adding to her two golds in the Beijing Olympics. Last November, I posted an article about the inspiration that I had found from sources such as my own students, Howard Schultz the CEO of Starbucks and the young British swimmer.
Time to reflect once more on those thoughts.
Authors: Howard Schultz & Joanne Gordon
Change management, leadership, rebuilding a brand, supply chain management
Howard Schultz’ very personal and open account of the difficulties that Starbucks ran into and why, in 2008, he decided to come back to the company as CEO. He had stepped down 8 years before. Schultz’s is very passionate about his company (this comes out even more in interviews) and the people that work for it. The book is even divided into five parts entitled Love, Confidence, Pain, Hope and Courage.
The book gives an excellent account of how an “iconic brand” reinvented itself, why Schultz was determined to ban hot breakfasts from the store, the importance of creating an ‘experience’ or an ‘atmosphere’ for the customer and how the company became profitable again. He is also quite honest about why certain products and strategies failed. Continue reading
I am very grateful to one of my international students for sharing this wonderful quote from a New Zealand business woman. It was during a class a fortnight ago and we were discussing entrepreneurship and why only 1% of European business school graduates create their own company immediately upon graduating. One of the reasons, said some of the class members, was the obsession with competitive exams and rankings and thus the overall fear of failing. The quote makes you reassess what exactly “success” and “failure” really are. Continue reading