What an energizing whirlwind two weeks: keynoted for the Federal Reserve (the future of banking), spoke to CFOs in San Diego (the future of finance), facilitated our Outthinker Chief Strategy Officer roundtable in New York (the future of strategy), met with ABC TV in LA (the future of television), ran a workshop for a Fortune 500 real estate firm (the future of real estate), ran an Outthinker workshop for an apparel retail leader (the future of retail), then addressed a room of board members of public tech companies in Silicon Valley (the future of everything!).
Last June, John Chambers, former Cisco CEO, proposed that “soon you’ll see huge companies with just two employees – the CEO and CIO.” The concept seems crazy now, but tangible evidence suggests we are moving toward such a future, faster than you might think. As with every major transition, this one will create losers and winners, thinkers (who hold on to outdated concepts) and outthinkers (who embrace the new).
I’ve been thinking lately that it all comes down to one question: What’s it worth?
Were the nights away from my kids, years invested in school, midnight sessions hammering away on my next book as I built my consulting business worth it? Was the time you invested selling, stressing, persisting as you built your business worth it?
I am playing a game. My goal is to interview 10 innovators every week as part of my new book project. Each time I learn something, but every now and then I hear a story that opens up an entirely new perspective.
The FIFA World Cup is a great example of best-in-class brands who are trying to make an impression. This event is far more than a game that occurs every four years; it is a multi-layered event that attracts key advertisers vying for real estate on packaged items that range from Coca-Cola to Gillettte razors. The best of the best, sparing no efforts to gain the public’s attention.
Summary: Sometimes starting at the end can be the best way to turn around a company that’s no longer thriving. Skullcandy’s CEO explains how it worked for them.
The experts agree. Step three in a corporate turnaround involves the painful but necessary “emergency action plan.” Skullcandy (www.skullcandy.com) is ignoring this advice … and it’s working.
When W. Berry Fowler decided to give up his formal teaching career to open a tutoring business in 1979, he had no idea he was at the forefront of a revolution.
His single location center at the Sylvan Hill Medical Center in Portland, Ore., eventually grew into Sylvan Learning: the largest for-profit tutoring company in the country, spurred on by a transformation in the U.S. educational system.
Geoff Colvin at Fortune argues that Apple’s and Lego’s success both point to a critical new success factor. As companies grow large, they seek efficiencies by breaking themselves into silos. Great companies break down those silos and are able to “integrate”, as he calls it (we would call it “coordinate”) in ways that others cannot. The result is consistent brand experience in which the packaging, phone support, move, toy, book, and every point of customer interaction is consistent and builds upon itself.
Call me crazy for asking, but is business model innovation really anything new? Hasn’t it always been that those willing to explore creative ways to create and collect value amassed more wealth than those who stuck to the obvious?
Love it or hate it, your success this year and beyond depends on your ability to shape a brand: your career’s, product’s, department’s, or company’s.