Media outlets such as CNN look and sound very professional, but they have a political agenda and therefore they always try to manipulate our minds. One of the many manipulation techniques they use is the “argument from authority” principle. Here’s an article that illustrates this principle with 3 recent examples.
During the US election cycle, so-called "liberal" media outlets have been misleading the people of America and the world. They focused our attention on Trump's bad WORDS instead of on Clinton's bad ACTIONS. Even their polls and predictions were totally wrong.
Post-election, they continue to fuel division, violence, and racism.
US election reporting in India too has been hate-filled (Chidanand, for example).
In the midst of all this is a fresh, objective voice. Chetan Bhagat is not only an intellectual, but a rare truth-speaker. Here are 5 things he tells the elitist media:
You are not as smart as you thinkPeople are the keyUnfair criticism always backfiresDo not impose your views on othersGet out of the bubble.
Here's his original article.
The anti-corruption move of suddenly demonetizing 500 and 1000 bills is YUGE!
Not sure if India has seen such strong leadership since Mahatma Gandhi's salt satyagraha (which was a "war" strategy that eventually led to India's independence).
India has a history of corruption across the board: not just in government (as most Indians would like to say), but in business, education, even religious institutions. A culture of corruption is one of the basic reasons why India has remained mostly a backward country (a substantial percentage of Indians do not even have electricity and toilets).
If Modi could close any loopholes and keep the threat of repeating this move once new currency is introduced, India could change for the better. I look forward to this change!
In business, "more of the same" is almost always required. We need to sell more of our products and services. Then there comes a time when change is needed. We need to change our products and services and even our business model. Interestingly, the rate at which we need to change seems to be always increasing. So today we devise transient strategies that anticipate and execute change.
Like businesses, governments too need to occasionally change. According to a recent CBS News poll, 55 percent of American voters want “big changes,” while 43 percent want “some changes.” That is, 98% percent of voters want change. Reason? According to Rasmussen Reports, 70% of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction. If so, it appears that in the November elections, only a change strategy will work.
Helen Marriage works with artists to create extraordinary events that bring huge audiences together. For one of her projects, she needed the help of the planning manager of the London buses. She faced resistance.
The planning manager eventually agreed and actually became the project’s biggest champion.
Helen’s secret to make change happen: engage people in a task rather than seek permission.
1. The constant misrepresentation of Trump by the media ever since he announced his candidacy is probably unprecedented. Here’s an example of misrepresentation pointed out by one of the greatest thinkers of our time Nassim Nicholas Taleb: “he (Trump) said `let us stop Muslims from coming until we figure out' and the words `until we figure out' were not picked up in the media … the press prices itself out of the market in a way by not presenting Trump's ideas in full.”
2. Add to it the 75+ million dollars spent on media ads attacking him — again, probably unprecedented.
While the former was done mostly by anti-Republican folks, the latter was done — amazingly — by the Republican elite.
End of the day: It was the voice of the people that won. Trump won the nomination (almost).
How: Trump appears to have listened to what people wanted and simply became their voice. In the business world (or in the Trump world), it’s called “voice of the customer.”
In the US 2016 primaries, GOP’s “splitter” strategy was crafted to make Jeb Bush win the Republican nomination without winning the base. The reality is, not every strategy works — especially when it meets a better one.
You could blame Jeb Bush or his back-up Marco Rubio for poor performance. But look at the front-runner Donald Trump’s three policies: (1) End of political correctness (I strongly support this policy) (2) Large changes to immigration (3) Redoing trade deals so they’re not lopsidedly in favor of the other country. “The more vocally on the wrong side of these three issues a candidate was, the faster they dropped,” observes Sean Malstrom.
The media, the so-called experts, the politicians/establishment, the anti-Trump colluders, the politically-correct, and those who want to appear civil: All have been proved wrong — again and again and again. All conventional forms of analysis was wrong. The reason is, according to Malstrom: “you cannot analyze non-voters. But non-voters ar…
Strategy translation in software practice is about ensuring strategic potential before investing in technical and business change implementation. Is your organization's IT strategy an authentic input to this critical activity? Find out here.
Italian billionaire Stefano Pessina has been working a broad strategy: Convinced that the drug-distribution business was destined to consolidate, Pessina keeps swallowing increasingly bigger companies. The result — at least one of the most recent — the merger of US-based Walgreens and Switzerland-based Alliance Boots into WBA. These two are significantly different companies, but here's Pessina's strategy for US retail: Infuse the Sephora-like stylishness of Boots into the efficiency and convenience of Walgreens stores.
Pessina is not done yet. He's eyeing CVS Health, but faces a giant challenge. While Walgreens pushes consumer products, CVS Health has positioned itself powerfully around health. Two opposing strategies! If Pessina can combine the two companies, it would be very interesting to see what his strategy would be.
Former CEO of multibillion-dollar companies Willie Pietersen recalls the time when he became an American citizen and attended the event where his two US-educated children were awarded degrees. He says,
"Where I was raised in South Africa and also where I studied in the UK, these events are simply called “graduation.” The attendant idea is that this is the end of something. However, I was struck by the fact that in the US, this ceremony is called “commencement,” meaning the beginning (or at least the continuation) of something. I love this concept. It exactly captures the essence of learning as a lifelong journey."
Learning indeed should be a life-long journey. Make it cross-disciplinary learning and the advantages can be big. A personal illustration ... I enjoyed learning Physics between 1981 and 84. However, without the skills I learned from Intel's Stan Uffner in 1987, I could not have set up TCS' tech writing practice. Without the insights I learned at UC Berkeley…
Social welfare policies of Scandinavian nations such as Swedenhave been admired.
However, here's what an article in the Feb 1, 2016 issue of Fortune points out:
Scandinavia built wealth that its citizens enjoy today long before leftist ideas took holdIn fact, when Sweden's welfare state began to expand, economy noticeably slowedNot only do the larger welfare states of Italy and France have less robust economies, Scandinavia is slowly returning to its free-market roots. Will the US presidential candidates strike the right balance between welfare and economic growth?
To execute business strategy through technology, start with a focus on strategy translation. Make the Business phase of software practice a strategy translation phase, rather than just a requirements analysis phase. Ensure that what you would eventually implement, deploy, and use has strategic potential.
"Research indicates that relatively few firms execute their strategies effectively, and, on average, companies deliver just 50% to 60% of the financial performance that their strategies promise." - Frank Cespedes, HBR October 2014. When we complain about poor outcomes due to poor execution, we're obviously assuming that the strategy is good. Let's momentarily stick to that assumption. The problem then is, we're thinking that execution is largely about project (or program) management. What we're clearly missing is the crucial activity of strategy translation.
When it comes to investing in business software, strategy translation is about "embedding" targeted organizational strategic outcomes into an architecture that can then be implemented. If this activity is not done right, neither a great strategy nor effective execution can generate targeted outcomes.
Compassion is a beautiful rare thing. European countries allowed hundreds of thousands of migrants. The US leadership too is bringing migrants. In European media you may have watched how the host people are trying to architect innovative housing for the migrants and constantly debating how to make the migrants feel welcome, how to integrate them, how to get them jobs, etc.
Then this thing happened -- the attack in Paris by people (among others) who were allegedly smuggled into Europe along with the migrants.
Is this the price for showing compassion? Or is this the price of inadequate leadership? How do today's and tomorrow's Western leaders balance compassion with practicality? What is practicality, by the way? Is it about having a strategy and proactive execution or is it about being reactive?
For thoughts on America's current and future leadership, read: Superpower: Three Choices for America's Role in the World
To see how Jesus combined compassion with practicality, …
Imagine you are interviewing a potential candidate to lead a department in your company and he says, "I consider some of the folks in that department my enemies." This is a most unlikely comment in a business interview, but we heard it at an interview for the world's most important leadership position. At the recent CNN democratic presidential debate, Hillary Clinton was asked to name her enemy – and she responded, “probably the Republicans.” Thankfully, Joe Biden later corrected her saying it's critical to “end this notion that the enemy is the other party.”
At a time when Volkswagen is battling dozens of lawsuits, I'm talking about what made the company great. Bad timing perhaps, but why stop learning from the company's strength?
Volkswagen owes its success to: its STRATEGY.
And the strategy? Cars share components.
Karan Girotra and Serguei Netessine writing in HBR say, "Although the strategy does not protect the company from general demand swings, it reduces demand variability for individual components, because shared components make it easy for VW to switch production at its plants from one model to another whenever the demand for car model shifts."
CEO of the mighty Cleveland Clinic, Dr Toby Cosgrove is a pioneering surgeon who had operated on over 22,000 patients. He just finished delivering a speech to Harvard students.
The students admired the speech, but Kara Barnett stood up and said, "Dr Cosgrove, my father needed surgery, but we decided NOT to go to your hospital in spite of your great results because we heard you had no empathy."
Kara was politically incorrect. She not only said something offensive about someone and his institution that the world considered the best, but embarrassed Harvard that brought an outstanding speaker.
Dr Cosgrove responded, "Not really" and moved on. However, Kara's statement kept his mind busy. He imagined redefining medicineas patients experienced it rather than as what hospitals provided. He questioned the very foundations of doctors' specialist silos. What he eventually did changed the lives of many. His change initiative was hugely risky, challenging, and inspiri…
Today we may know what strategy means, but "we know a lot less about translating a strategy into results (HBR, March 2015)." Here, strategy translation means strategy execution. The latter comprises many activities including project management, which many managers have mastered. But "execution" includes the critical activity of "embedding" targeted strategic outcomes. Without this, you could be brilliantly managing the wrong project. There is even less information available about this critical activity.
Talking about Marriott's much-admired employee-first culture, CEO Arne Sorenson says that this culture "drives loyalty of our folks, which drives better service, which drives customer preference. which drives higher retention, which reduces costs."
The flow is obvious: from Assets to Process Performance to Customer Value to Financial Performance. A nice example of how to use Strategy Maps (Kaplan & Norton)!
1. Carlos Ghosn wants to move Nissan from good to great. His STRATEGY: “mobility for all.” By that he means, being present in every market in the world and in every segment in every market. So, the Nissan alliance produces 110 different models in 170 different markets.
2. Jonathan Goldberg wants BBL Commodities Value Fund to keep an eye on short-term opportunities as well as on the horizon. His STRATEGY: Trade oil “across the barrel” — refined products as well as crude itself.
We have to wait for their financial results to see how well their strategy is working. In the meantime, I love their compelling mottos expressed in just 3 words and yet covering both focus and range! Take another look.
In many cultures (mostly non-Western), top management denies basic employee rights or even basic human rights because they believe this is how they can grow and make profits. WRONG.
Companies on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For are "shining examples of a different way of doing business that puts to rest the old notion that treating employees well might hurt the bottom line." One example: the Marriott philosophy: "Take care of associates, and they will take care of the customers."
Consider the 12 companies that have made the Fortune list every year since they published the first in 1998 ... They're the top job creators ... They outperformed the S&P 500 index by a ratio of nearly 20 to 1 ... They're winners in the marketplace as well as in the workplace!
For a while, “design thinking” was business world’s most fashionable concept. Companies tried it, sent their employees for training, and so on. Then things changed. Now Google’s frequently used search phrases include “design thinking is bullshit” and “design thinking is dead.” If you read the naysayers' articles, the common rant is “there’s nothing new.” I do not agree with the Google phrases, but I do agree with the claim that there's nothing new in design thinking. Here's why.
Design of experiential marketing
Beginning in the late 90s, I created and upgraded experiential marketing for a young software firm where I was employed. This is not about brochures, white papers, and such standard things of questionable value. This comprised the following set of items designed and laid out in a purposeful and human-centric way: Gallery: A casual, standup conversation facility. Here, we had
conversation-starting posters. The posters had quotes by customers and others. Some showcased…
Forrester Research has slightly redefined BT (business technology), but they continue to champion the move from IT to BT for one basic purpose: business success. A research they conducted shows that companies that moved to BT have positioned themselves well for success. Read more: http://www.zdnet.com/article/business-technology-focused-companies-win-in-the-age-of-the-customer/
The oil-drilling model for discovery-and-design that I created helps actualize the purpose of BT as regards software/digital technology. More about the method: http://www.prescouter.com/2013/08/software-practice-for-the-business-technology-age-lessons-from-oil-drilling/
Making money is not hard (you've seen a lot of ugly companies in the world make big money). Here's what's hard: making money by offering great products/services via a great workplace culture.
Google is rated the best company to work for (six times). As a Fortune study points out, the best places to work are only getting better, and Google is an example. Google is also the second most valuable brand in the world. That's a lot of great stuff to achieve. Thanks to Larry Page and Sergei Brin. *
Along with the new corporate structure comes a challenge – a question about the future culture of Google. Google should not compromise on the hard-to-copy culture it has ingeniously and painstakingly built over the past years. Google should keep the culture, and keep using it to meet financial performance goals.
* To know about the culture that Page and Brin set up at Google, read Fortune, March 15, 2015. To know about the brilliance and boldness of the two founders, read Walter Isaacs…
Business and IT executives continue to worry. Based on McKinsey's 2015 survey, their article "Why CIOs should be business-strategy partners" reports that executives’ current perceptions of IT performance are decidedly negative. A few reasons:
“widespread concerns over IT effectiveness" beyond providing basic services and managing infrastructure“fading confidence in IT’s ability to support key business activities, such as driving growth.”“little awareness of or agreement on how IT can meaningfully shape a business’s future.”
Note that these are the same "findings" that organizations have complained about for years and years and years.
The McKinsey suggestions
Here are two (of three) suggestions provided in the article:
1. Reimagine CIO role so they help shape business strategy. Some ways to enable the change include "getting the CIO to report to the CEO, establishing clear partnerships between IT and corporate-strategy functions, and holding both busine…
In 1938, a London stockbroker canceled his skiing vacation to Switzerland. Instead, he organized a daring rescue of 669 kids — from Hitler. He then took care of them. A lot of Brits volunteered to help, but costs were so high he made up the difference himself. He is Sir Nicholas Winton. An enormous human being.
Winton died a few days ago at age 106. His compassion can inspire transformation among those of us who are selfish. His risk-taking can inspire the leaders among us.
I caught up with James Dodkins and he was happy to answer a few questions. James is a consultant and thought-leader in customer experience and process improvement. His clients are well-known international brands. James co-created the customer-centric process improvement framework called CEMMethod and is the author of Foundations for Customer Centricity. He recently founded a private online community called Compass Business Club.
We've seen several process design methods like BPR, BPI, QuickHits, and Lean. What's new or different in your book, "Foundations for Customer Centricity”?
Great question Pradeep, every method that has ever been invented has been built on top of our current org chart. This causes chaos, especially in a service organisation because this org chart originally came out of the work done By Adam Smith in the Scottish Pin Factory. We treat it as if there is no other way to organise ourselves. In the book I outline a radical new method of org structure tha…
Human capital is growing more valuable every day, in every business. An increasing number of people are becoming thinkers and creators. Even a manufacturer like Stryker gets 70% of its value from intangible assets (derived from human capital). As we know, intangible assets largely reflect human creativity and include like innovations, patents, copyrights, brands, and goodwill. "They are by far the biggest source of business value," says Geoff Colvin in Fortune, March 15, 2015.
Some of the "books" that taught me design lessons in the 80s were IKEA catalogs! Today IKEA catalogs come in 32 languages and 67 versions. At 217 million copies, the IKEA catalog is probably the biggest publication of its kind in the world. IKEA of course is the world's largest furniture retailer.
I liked IKEA's minimalist design so much that I designed the interior of my home around Gautier furniture – the closest to IKEA that I could buy in the city where I lived in the 90s (sadly, the Swedish company is, it seems, still struggling with red-tape in trying to set up stores in India despite promises to invest $2B over 10 years).
Jan Koum toiled at Yahoo for nearly ten years. His attempt to get a job at Facebook was turned down. Jan developed WhatsApp. The number of users quickly surged to hundreds of millions. This time Facebook bought his firm for $19 billion – the most expensive acquisition ever for a venture-backed startup. Jan signed the deal papers at the site of the social-services office where he once stood in line to collect food stamps. This only happens in the US!
Floyd appeared mostly defensive – often simply thrusting his left arm in the air as if he was merely practicing. Manny, on the other hand, appeared to show frequent aggression. I looked for the scoreboard. I thought 3/12 (the only numbers I could see on my TV screen) meant Floyd had scored only a third and I thought it was justified. At the end of 36 minutes though, what the referees unanimously thought confused me: it was Floyd who won, not Manny! Well, my thinking was not too unfair as I later heard of a call for a rematch.
Entertainment? Fight of the century? Floyd won? Also, why does boxer George Foreman, talking about his defeat in 1974, say, "If I watch (that match) 100 times, each time I still think I'm going to win"? Wow! Manny said nearly the same thing: "I thought I won the fight." In contrast, in football for example, players don't say they thought they won.
There's a parallel in business. Managers were rewarding/punishing employees based on …
Some countries boast math skill (almost to the point of sounding like they're the sole owners of this unarguably important skill). These folks would be very disappointed with the findings of a study by Rotman School of Management. Click to read about that study.
The nation of Singapore is admired the world over. Founding father Lee Kuan Yew (who died recently) envisioned the big picture as well as sweated the details to take Singapore FROM a country of unruly politics, high unemployment, high inflation, and evaporating economy TO a country with the world's busiest port, top airline, and tenfold increase in GDP (between 1965 and 80). Lee had a US connection. He remained – until the end – a fan of American entrepreneurship and ingenuity. To help keep peace in Asia, he provided safe harbor for US warships. Besides, much of the foreign investment that poured into Singapore was from US tech companies.
"For decades Western companies have invested capital and endured red tape," but now China is using bullying tactics to make life hard for Western multinationals (Fortune Oct 27, 2014). Of course, the intellectual property issue has always been there. For example, Microsoft sells only about one out of 10 of its products being used in China because of piracy. The new assaults are in terms of multi-million dollar fines and being forced to confess guilt without due process. "Foreign business is being targeted, and so the multinationals are the most negative on China that I've seen in 25 years," says Jim McGregor, who has worked for WSJ and Dow Jones in China.
Talking at TED about the possibility of a US-China conflict, Australia's former prime minister Kevin Rudd offers a framework of constructive realism for a common purpose. He explains, "Be realistic about the things that we disagree on, and a management approach that doesn't enable any one of those …
Facebook had a humble IPO and yet earned about $3 billion in profits last year. Twitter had a great start with shares rising 282% from its offering price and yet shares are back where they started. Here's another example. Apple's stock price fell roughly 25% the year it introduced iPod, and yet it was iPod that started "the greatest corporate turnaround in the history of capitalism" with 9 Apple iDevices sold every second today.
Why is it that stock prices of innovative firms do not always reflect company value? Wall Street analysts typically help set stock prices based on a firm's one-year cash-flow projections, whereas making money from innovations takes time (perhaps 3 or more years). Generally, there is such short-term focus that a study by National Bureau of Economic Research found that "80% of executives would forgo innovation-generating spending if it meant missing their quarterly earnings figures."
I have heard of stock price tumbling in reaction to an expert's comments. But it was almost surreal actually watching Bloomberg TV show two live events side by side. On the left, it was hedge fund billionaire David Einhorn speaking at the Sohn Investment Conference in NYC, while on the right it was fracker Pioneer's stock chart tumbling – in realtime!