Elite Business Tycoons, Titans, Magnates– Shape, Innovate, Dominate Global Industries, Markets, Companies…

Tycoons are extraordinary business people who have reached prominence, power and derived a notable amount of wealth and dominance from a particular industry, such as; banking, oil, high-tech…

The word tycoon is derived from the Japanese word taikun (大君), which means ‘great lord’, and it was used as a title for the ‘shogun’… The word was first used in English in 1857 and interestingly, according to Adam Goodheart; Abraham Lincoln’s secretaries, John Hay and John Nicolay used a nickname for their boss (Lincoln) behind his back: The Tycoon… Since then, the term spread to the business community where it has been in use ever since…

The great business tycoons were fierce competitors, single-minded in their pursuit of financial success and power. Among the early giants were Jay Gould, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford… Some of these men were honest, according to business standards of their day; others used force, bribery and guile to achieve wealth and power… The word magnate derives from the Latin word magnates, meaning ‘great person’ or ‘great nobleman’…

Titan in Greek mythology is a person of exceptional importance and reputation; a person whose actions and opinions strongly influence the course of events…  A business tycoon, titan, magnate… is a business person who controls through personal ownership or via a majority-dominant shareholder position in a particular industry business venture, business firm, company, corporation, enterprise, for-profit organization… and has achieved significant success, wealth, and prominence…

Who are the modern-day global tycoons who run the world? Well, there are hundreds of them; many are listed in Forbes’ Billionaire List… If you want to become a tycoon, you must think like one. There three fundamental thought patterns or principles that tycoons stick to tighter than glue and it’s what distinguishes them from ordinary entrepreneurs: Principle #1: To be great at what you do, you must believe what you do is fun… Principle #2: Find a need and fill it… Principle #3: Learn from the best people’s mistakes…

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In the article What Titans Can Teach Us by Richard S. Tedlow writes: What do I mean by the word– titan? For me, the term encompasses several elite executives– there have been perhaps 30 or 40 in the history of business– who created or transformed industries, and in the process changed the world. All of them grew rich as they did so and most of them became household names. Is someone like Jack Welch a member of this elite club? The answer: We just don’t know yet. You can only identify a titan with historical perspective– which is what makes the subject so fascinating for me, a business historian.

For past three decades, I have studied the giants of U.S. enterprise. Using my database of detailed biographical and company information on 250 outstanding business executives, I have identified individuals whom I call titans and then looked for common traits among the select few. In this discussion I draw on the experiences of seven of the titans: Andrew Carnegie, steel magnate; George Eastman, father of mass-market photography; Henry Ford, automaker; IBM’s Thomas J. Watson; Charles Revson, founder of cosmetics maker Revlon; Wal-Mart’s Sam Walton; and Robert Noyce, cofounder of Intel…

These seven were very different people. Eastman and Noyce led primarily through inspiration; Carnegie and Watson led mainly by intimidation. Walton, the optimist, could light up a room; Revson, the pessimist, could light up a room by leaving it. Noyce helped ensure a successful future for Intel by working close partnership with two successors– Gordon Moore and Andy Grove– whose talents complemented his and suited the company in its next stages of growth.

Ford, by contrast, became vindictive as he aged; nearly destroyed his company. (Different though they were, we must note that they were all male, but there are women and minorities in business today whom future generations will regard as titans, but their impact on the business scene is too recent to permit the historical perspective we need to make that judgment.)

Though titans are a varied lot, we can still identify several common traits from their disparate personalities-lives. Some of these reflect the particular genius, for example; one important defining characteristic of these men was their ability to tell the difference between the seemingly impossible and the genuinely impossible…

In the article Do You Have The Traits Of A Business Tycoon? by Dyan Ramos writes: First, what really is a tycoon? By definition, a tycoon is an extremely powerful business person. So, do you have what it takes to become powerful in your arena of business? After reading and listening to success stories of several local & international entrepreneurs, I came up with a summary of common traits that most business tycoons seem to possess and they are represented in this formulation: Tycoon = IQ + EQ + FQ + AQ + NQ

  • Intelligence Quotient (IQ): Great News! You don’t necessarily have to be an Einstein to be successful in business, so do not be disappointed if your IQ test score falls short of Einstein’s 150. A lot of billionaires like Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Mark Zuckerberg, Walt Disney, Henry Sy… are school dropouts and non-graduates anyway. Although Math-savvy individuals have an advantage (as mentioned in a study of Forbes 400), these Math skills are NOT born, but developed. Parents who are into numbers can give a child an environment of influence for Math: A study of Forbes 400 yielded that a significant percentage of them had parents with a high aptitude for math. Some of the most common professions among the parents of Forbes 400 members were engineer, accountant and small-business owners.
  • Emotional Quotient (EQ): Emotional Quotient is ‘the capacity to recognize your own feelings and those of others, and the self motivation to accurately control your emotions in your interaction with others’. Emotional Quotient is responsible for most of our successes in life, whether one is in business or not.  A study of Fortune 500 companies showed 90% of effective leadership comes from emotional intelligence. Sales personnel with a high level of emotional intelligence double their sales revenue compared to others. And programmers with an emotional intelligence aptitude of 10% develop software 3x faster than those who have a lower emotional intelligence rating.
  • Financial Quotient (FQ): Financial Quotient is one’s ability to read financial reports, identify good investments from bad investments quickly, knowing the difference between assets and liabilities, practicing money management habits of the rich, knowing the businesses that will give them exponential growth. In short, these are business-related skills that can be developed. And with guidance from credible mentors, one can definitely zoom up his or her financial quotient, through education and experience. Based on observation, I conclude that Financial Quotient is only developed once you surround yourself with people who are financially savvy and have tangible financial results in business. My mentor once told me that to predict your financial future, get the average income of the five people closest to you, and your      own income shouldn’t be that far. What my mentor meant was that environment is crucial if you want to develop financial skills and mindset of a wealthy individual.
  • Adversity Quotient (AQ): Adversity Quotient is the science of human resilience. It is one’s ability to turn obstacles into opportunities. A tycoon’s ability to thrive in the midst of criticisms, economic downturn, market failures. The tycoons themselves can not over-emphasize the importance of ‘Emotional Quotient & Adversity Quotient’ over IQ. It’s obvious that John Gokongwei’s strength of turning problems into opportunities made him one of Philippine’s most influential billionaire industrialists, from a once 15-year old market vendor in his rusty bicycle. According to Gokongwei; I choose to live my life unafraid even when I was afraid. I discovered that opportunities don’t find you; you find your opportunities. I found those opportunities when my father passed away, when the war came, through changes in presidents and policies, during martial law, despite coup d’etats, past economic booms & busts, and in the midst of market shifts and movements.
  • Network Quotient (NQ): Business is unquestionably about relationship building. And the more human lives you touch, the more income you’re going to get. You build relationships when you sell your vision to your investors. You build relationship when you look for business partners. You build relationship when you add value to your customers through your products and services. Among the 3 resources of the rich (i.e. network, cash-flow and net-worth), Network is something that you can build for free. You just invest time in improving your communication skills and connecting with people. According to Robert Kiyosaki; Rich people build networks, everyone else look for jobs.

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In the article Traits of a Business Tycoon by Sandeep Jador writes: Business tycoons are influential-powerful business personality. A lot of entrepreneurs dream of becoming business tycoons one day but only a few fortunate one’s reach that level of success. Usually when an ordinary entrepreneur turns billionaire by establishing highly successful business enterprises from small ideas and smart practices; they earn fame, fortune, and recognition along with the title ‘business tycoon’. There are certain essential traits possessed by these business tycoon’s that makes them standout, such as:

  • Intelligence and Smart Mind: The fusion of intelligence and smart mind invents new ideas, new practices while ensures that all the ideas have the potential of going viral…
  • Learning Power: Eager to learn new things and learning rate tends to be higher than ordinary entrepreneurs, which allows quick and successful accomplishment of the desired tasks…
  • Constructive Emotions: Ingrained quality of taking things with a positive approach and having the power to keep motivated. Even in the case of failure they have the impetus to work harder rather than getting discouraged…
  • Risk Taker: Accepting failure in equal to success. Instead of backing out or blaming others for the unsuccessful idea-attempt they continue trying with more efforts until they are successful.
  • Focused and Determined: Focused and determined towards their ambitions… They have a natural business sense for analyzing trends and issues, and then formulating solutions needed to address them. A famous idiom can be quoted here– failure is the ladder to success.
  • Gives Fresh Blood a Chance: Hire the very best people, delegate responsibilities, and manage strict accountability…

New Face of Strategic Corporate Philanthropy–Social Impact, Business Benefits, Investor Returns: Integral Business Model…

Strategic corporate philanthropy: The word philanthropy gets thrown around a lot these days. Philanthropy etymologically means ‘love of humanity’ in the sense of– caring for, nourishing, developing, and enhancing ‘what it is to be human’… Philanthropy is an interesting word because it encompasses so much passion and emotion.

Philanthropy is very different from charity; however, many people use the words interchangeably. Charity involves the act of– giving away time, money, or other resources to those in need… Also, corporate philanthropy is mistaken by many for ‘corporate social responsibility’, which is the responsibility of an organization for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society, environment and its own prosperity…

Companies that embrace philanthropy as a core business practice have found that they reap rewards far beyond what they thought was possible. This has turned philanthropy– corporate volunteering and employee giving– into corporate imperatives that can’t be ignored and an essential part of doing business… However, for corporate philanthropy to succeed it must be more than just an afterthought or something to do because it’s ‘nice’. It must be an integral part of the core mission to– grow the business, engage employees, connect with customers, and serve the community.

Philanthropy gives a greater meaning to the company. However, according to Milton Friedman others argue that a corporation’s purpose is to maximize shareholder’s return and it’s not responsible to society as a whole… According to Stanley Litow, corporate philanthropy programs not only enhance employee morale but also pave way to opening new markets… philanthropic activities should be deeply connected to core values… companies should think of corporate philanthropy as extension of their business strategy and corporate policies, rather than only writing checks.

However, according to Peter Buffett; those in nonprofit sectors would do well to consider whether their role in the ‘charitable-industrial complex’ is making world a better place or merely perpetuating ‘conscience laundering’… According to Antonio Neves; any company can create a culture of philanthropy– it means creating a filter that says; I’m doing the best thing for my employees, for my shareholders and for the community… If you put all of your behaviors through that filter, you’ll make different choices and they won’t necessarily be harder choices.

According to Destiny Bennett; in genuine, unpretentious ways, more businesses are folding philanthropy into the business model in order to use their brand for social good. Implementing philanthropic efforts into business is a great way to boost revenues because it humanizes the business and thus it can better connect with target audiences…

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In the article Strategic Philanthropy To Boost Profits by Paul Lemberg writes: Strategic philanthropy is a unique and powerful way to combine the company’s marketing goals with desire to increase the well-being of society and give back to the community: It’s strategic philanthropy, also referred to as– ‘cause-related marketing’ or ‘community partnering’…

No matter what you call it, strategic philanthropy is a strategic partnership that connects the company with a not-for-profit organization or cause. It’s a mutual beneficial arrangement, whereby the business is working for the common good in the community and the business receives parallel benefits, as well. Some of these benefits might include; public exposure, lead generation, employee retention… and it can be a differentiator– distinguishing the business from competitors; most of which are probably stuck in old ‘business as usual’ paradigms…

In contrast, to traditional ‘normal’ business, authentic strategic philanthropy is based upon the advantages of a more empowering and abundance-filled set of beliefs… For example, businesses can be an important influence-model for the community at large, since they are able to demonstrate the value of such things as– innovation, dedication and responsiveness to customers, risk-taking, process and systems innovations, financial practicalities, and teamwork… Strategic philanthropy can be at the very core of how the business is operated. Engaging in strategic philanthropy can help the business refine its values and purpose, which not only distinguishes it from the competition but also contributes to the bottom line…

In the article Targeted Giving Help Companies Lay Groundwork for Future Success by Doug Conant writes: We often measure the impact of corporate philanthropy by counting the number of individuals who are helped by a particular program. However, philanthropy can also help companies reduce business risk, open new markets, engage employees, build brand, reduce costs, advance technology, and deliver competitive returns…

Corporate philanthropy is usually defined in various ‘shared’ or ‘blended’ approaches to corporate social responsibility, in which companies seek– ‘to do well by doing good’. However, corporate philanthropy can also be defined as a ‘discovery phase’ prior to an investment in social issues. For example; companies can view philanthropic investments as incubators for promising business ideas and a mechanism for understanding both community and corporate needs.

Much like R&D, philanthropy allows companies to make thoughtful investments in sectors where the return profile is typically more speculative. Of course, philanthropy is not the only strategy for business to engage in meaningful corporate-community roles… Business leaders should use every tool in their portfolio to help create economic value that can help address relevant societal issues. From my vantage point, this is clearly the new normal; the new lens through which all corporate activity will be viewed.

As strongly as I advocate the more complete adoption of this approach by the business community, I also challenge companies to take a second look at the opportunity to more fully leverage philanthropic initiatives that can pave the way for future market-based innovations. It’s a great way to learn about communities and their needs, and test new business strategies. The key is bringing good business insight-discipline to the process…

Survey–How U.S.’s Biggest Companies Give--2013 Corporate-Giving: U.S.’s biggest companies expect a third-straight year of modest increases in cash gifts to charities in 2013… Donations grew by 2.7% in 2012, to $5.3 Billion, for 106 companies that provided two years’ worth of data… More than three-quarters of corporate leaders said their giving budgets would be about the same in 2013. About 16% said they will give more and 6% will donate less.

Businesses awarded a median of 0.8% of their 2011 pretax profits to charity in 2012. That’s lower than in any of the previous six years, when the percentage of profits going to charities varied from 1% to 1.4%. Among other findings: Wells Fargo gave the most cash at $315.8 Million, Walmart ranked second in 2012 at $311.6 Million. Fourteen companies gave more than $100 Million. The median cash amount given in 2012 was $25 Million. Donations of products continue to grow much faster than gifts of cash.

Overall corporate giving, when both cash and products are counted, rose by 20.2% in 2012, to $18.6-billion. Pfizer held the top spot for the fourth year in a row, giving $3.1 Billion in cash and products… According to ‘Giving USA’; giving by corporations of all sizes jumped 9.9% after inflation in 2012, to $18.15 Billion. Total cash giving in 2012 was $315.8 Million a change from 2011 by 47.9%; Total U.S. corporations’ pretax profits in 2011 was $23.7 Billion; Total cash giving as percentage of pretax profits was 1.3%…

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In the article Blending Business and Philanthropy by Case Foundation writes: The world of philanthropy and the world around philanthropy are changing. According to Steve Case; to thrive, foundations must reinvigorate their approaches by being more visionary, collaborative, and innovative… Many of those changes are already coming, including a new crop of philanthropists with fresh ideas and approaches…

Connecting with businesses is essential for foundations to function in the changing climate, and to overcome traditional barriers between making money and serving society. The world is increasingly networked, interlinked, and interdependent, where old divides of boundary and belonging are getting blurred… Likewise, we need to expand perceptions of how to engage in philanthropy– to bring in new actors and forge new alliances that leverage our collective abilities…

There’s no logical reason why the private sector and the social sector should operate on separate levels, where one is about making money and the other is about serving society… Today’s executives understand that in order for their enterprises to thrive and grow and attract the very best talent, they need to be able to draw on a healthy, well-educated workforce; offer safe, clean neighborhoods to prospective employees; sell to consumers with high enough levels of income to buy their products; and conduct themselves in a way that is attractive in shareholders’ eyes.

And that means, the business of business– is social engagement… we must create new patterns that reshape the entire system– combining the innovation of the business world, passion and humanity of non-profit world, and inclusive networked culture of the digital world to generate transformative change…

Corporate philanthropy is serious business, which can help establish-enhance critical business-community partnerships and become a very cost-effective way for recognizing opportunities that can benefit both the corporation and community… Expectations for corporate philanthropy are rapidly evolving and officers and directors can no longer treat corporate philanthropy as a peripheral activity or an after-the-fact distribution of profits.

According Matteo Tonello; to make a business case in support of corporate philanthropy, executives should integrate giving with other business activities, institute controls to limit managerial opportunism, and develop procedures to measure-evaluate financial and social outcomes. It’s no longer sufficient for corporate philanthropy to simply ‘do good’. If corporate philanthropy is to succeed in the long run, it must provide a financial return.

Acknowledging the economic benefits of corporate philanthropy does not negate its power to alleviate social problems and enhance communities… According to Paul Brest; strategic philanthropy is ‘the setting of clear goals, developing sound evidence-based strategies for achieving them, measuring progress along the way to achieving them, and determining whether you were actually successful in reaching the goals’... According to Terence Lim; measuring the value-results-effectiveness of corporate philanthropy is one of the great challenges. Social and business benefits are often long-term or intangible, which make systematic measurement complex…

Yet: Corporate strategic philanthropy faces increasing pressures to show that its programs are strategic, cost-effective, and value-enhancing as possible. Corporate philanthropy is vital to business and society, but faces steep pressures to demonstrate that it’s also cost-effective and aligned with corporate needs. Indeed, many corporations cite measurement as primary management challenge. However, according to William Schambra; most approaches for measurement lead to expensive-exhaustive evaluations that are often meaningless. Instead, foundations should listen more to community groups and constituencies they serve to figure out where money is most needed…

In a challenging economic period, when organizations seek to reduce expenses of any kind, it’s particularly important to distinguish good from bad investments and to maintain funding dedicated to ongoing improvement of the most effective philanthropy initiatives… And that requires; giving and getting the best– bang for the buck…

Shifting S-Curve in Business– Sustained Growth thru Reinvent, Transform, Innovate: Shift Your S-Curve– Again, Again, Again…

Shifting your S-curve: Winning in business once is not enough even if you score big you can’t rest on your laurels. You must rack up repeated victories in the market, one right after the other… Otherwise, you become a has-been, just another business that sparkled brightly before flaming out. This has been the fate of many once-successful companies that got to the top but couldn’t stay there. Yet, some organizations do thrive at the top for decades and even longer. They launch one successful business after another, and routinely outperform their rivals…

To make the shift from one market-leading business to the next, successful companies manage growth across multiple fronts… The ability to both climb and shift the S-curve is what separates high performers from those that never manage to translate a brief period of success with a single winning business into a string of business successes… S-curve means the pattern of revenue growth in which a successful business starts small with few customers; grows rapidly as demand for the new offering swells, and eventually peaks and levels off as the market matures.

High performers not only manage to successfully climb the S-curve; as each business performance curve begins to flatten, but more important they quickly shift to the start of the next curve… Making the shift again and again is crucial to sustained business success… The secret to successfully shifting the S-curve is not about what you do at, or near the top of the curve, but what you do to prepare for next shift on the way up… Sustaining a successful business is predicated on understanding and answering two simple questions: Where is your company on current S-curve? Is your company prepared or preparing for the shift to next S-curve?

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In the article Reinvent Your Business by Paul Nunes and Tim Breene write: Companies that successfully reinvent themselves have one trait in common. They tend to broaden their focus beyond the financial S-curve (i.e., revenues) and manage the three much shorter but vitally important hidden S-curves; tracking the basis of competition in their industry, renewing their capabilities, and nurturing a ready supply of talent. In essence, they turn conventional wisdom on its head and learn to focus on fixing what doesn’t yet appear to be broken…

Making a commitment to reinvention before the need is glaringly obvious doesn’t come naturally. Things often look rosiest just before a company heads into decline: Revenues from the current business model are surging, profits are robust, and the company stock commands a hefty premium. But that’s exactly when managers need to take action… In order to position themselves so that they can jump to the next business S-curve, they need to focus on the following: Hidden competition curve. Hidden capabilities curve. Hidden talent curve…

By managing to these hidden curves– as well as keeping focused on the revenue growth S-curve, high performers typically start the reinvention process well before their current businesses begin to slow… To make reinvention possible, companies must supplement their traditional approaches with a parallel strategic process that brings the edges of the market and the edges of the organization to the center. In this ‘edge-centric’ approach, strategy making becomes a permanent activity… An edge-centric strategy allows companies to continually scan the periphery of the market for untapped customer needs or unsolved problems…

Also, high performers recognize that a key to building the capabilities necessary to jump to a new financial S-curve is the early injection of new leadership blood and continual shake-up of top management… Reinvention of a business requires not just nimble top management, but also people who are ready to take on the considerable challenge of getting new businesses off the ground and making them thrive…

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In the article Climbing a Curve: A Big Enough Market Insight by Joost de Haas writes: Companies manage to jump their S-curve not just once but repeatedly, and this requires something we call the ‘big enough market insight’ (BEMI). A BEMI is an insight into the future of a market with enough growth potential to generate substantial revenues– and profit–  for years to come. An insight so powerful that it puts the company way ahead of the competition, at least for a time…

To be a real high performer, it’s not enough to simply win– you must win big… High performance companies are constantly on the lookout for the next BEMI– it could be something entirely new, or it can be a game-changing product or service that totally rewrites the rules of a given market… Hindsight is a wonderful thing, of course, and many BEMIs look startlingly obvious today, for example; who can imagine today’s consumer world without the Apple iPad or the Nintendo Wii? But these products exist solely because their makers saw real demand for products that did not yet exist.

What makes these companies true high-performance businesses is that they are able to predict a world that ‘would be’, as opposed to a world that ‘could be’, or ‘might be’. What now seems obvious to most people was based on real market insight and an early commitment to an S-curve shift… Our research shows repeatedly that high-performance companies are those that are able to identify BEMI opportunities, and are prepared to exploit those trends well before they occur…

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In the article The S-Curve by Harry S. Dent Jr. writes: One of the great concepts I learned in business school was ‘product life cycle’. Products, technologies, industries go through life cycles just as people do, and business strategies have to change at each stage of the life cycle for a business to continue to grow and dominate its markets.

The S-curve allows businesses to predict the rise-fall of new product life cycles within their market-industry. People have distinct bias to predict trends using straight lines, when growth clearly occurs exponentially– until natural limits set in causing it to taper. These limits, in turn, create cycles of growth and decline. A product life cycle consists of; product market introduction, than growth, maturity and finally decline…

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In my experience; products go from initial commercialization at 0.1% market penetration to 1%, then from 1% to 10% in approximately equal time periods. Each period represents a 10-times growth in market penetration, which is clearly not linear… The higher the costs, e.g., market resistance… the longer the S-curve progression takes. The 0.1% to 10% stage– introduction-initial growth– typically engages consumers who are the early adopters and cutting-edge users.

When products penetrate the critical mass of acceptance the product is more visible and proven– at this stage, products becomes popular-mainstream: (Note: At this point the business must be fully prepared for the next new product cycle, i.e., the next S-curve). As more of the market is penetrated, market saturation or competition might be issues that begin to limit the exponential growth. In this phase, there is from 10% to 50% market penetration, the gains are five times– versus the 10 times in the 0.1% to 10% stage.

Then, from 50% to 90% market penetration gains are only 1.9 times– exponential growth slows. Products then enter maturing or slower growth from 90% to 99.9% penetration… Typically, this phase takes about the same time as 10% to 90% acceleration phase. Finally, the product begins to lose customers, sales, market share… in steady trajectory of decline– the decline phase…

Over the entire product life cycle of; invention, innovation, growth, maturity and decline, 80% of market penetration comes in one stage… The message is clear: Business must have a strategy for each stage of the product life cycle. If the product is just beginning to enter the mainstream– introduction phase– you must aggressively gain market share, quickly… If you don’t fill demand, someone else will. However, if the product is already past the 50% market penetration level, your focus must be very different… For example, observe what is happening with cellular phones, personal computers…

Prices are falling to the point that PCs are now cheap commodities and similarly cell phones are now so commoditized that they are often given away free with new contracts. If the product is this stage, your primary focus must be– control costs, maximize revenues, and aggressively prepare for the next S-curve… Likewise, if the product is in the stage of virtually no growth– 90% to 99.9%– you must act quickly and shift to the next S-curve; ASAP– better late than never…

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There are many reasons why businesses fail, stall, decline… According to Paul Nunes and Tim Breene; companies fail to reinvent themselves because they wait much too long before repairing the deteriorating bulwarks of the company Some companies simply don’t see the end coming, preferring to view slowing revenue growth as the result of a bad economy or an industry slowdown, not as a referendum on their own products or services.

Others don’t recognize how slim their chances for late-stage recovery and change really are and thus fail to muster the urgency needed to jump to a new S-curve… High performers see the shift and create the next basis of competition in their industry even as they exploit an existing business that has not yet peaked… In creating the offerings that will enable them to climb the financial S-curve, high performers invariably create new capabilities…

According to mshaikh; know which S-curve you are on, and where on that S-curve you currently reside. Are you trying to move along an S-curve or shift to a new one? The S-curve provides signposts along a path that, while frequently trod, is not always evident… The hypothesis is that those who can successfully navigate, even harness, the successive cycles of the S-curve will thrive in this era of highly competitive disruption…

LinkedIn– Real Value, Tangible Business Benefits– Or, Big Waste of Time: Craft LinkedIn Strategy That Yields Results…

Does LinkedIn provide– ‘real value’, ‘tangible business benefits’… or, is it just a ‘big waste of time’? As of June 2013, LinkedIn reported more than 238 million acquired users in more than 200 countries and territories. The LinkedIn site is available in 20 languages, estimated 65.6 million monthly unique U.S. visitors and 178.4 million globally…

The membership grows by approximately two new members every second. About a third of the members are in the U.S. and 11 million are from Europe. With 20 million users, India has the fastest-growing network of users as of 2013. The Netherlands has the highest adoption rate per capita outside the U.S. at 30%. LinkedIn recently reached 4 million users in UK, 1 million in Spain, and nearly 1 million in Pakistan. In January 2013, countries with most LinkedIn users were: U.S. with 74 million members, India with 20 million members, UK with 11 million members, Brazil with 11 million members, Canada with 7 million members, Australia with 4 million members, UAE with 1.3 million members…

But, is LinkedIn a big waste of time; well maybe… According to Paul Lange; an early adopter of LinkedIn, says LinkedIn has become less relevant… it was a great way of finding people, it was like an online Rolodex but it has gradually become less effective and relevant in the business landscape… According to Jason Alba; don’t waste time on LinkedIn– don’t dabble, tinker, or wait for reward. Get in there, do it right, set up your ‘profile’, be proactive, make networking connections… Use the tool! 

According to Tara Alemany; No, LinkedIn is not a waste of time, when focus on the power parts of it! Although ‘endorsements’ are a joke; people are endorsing me for skills I don’t even have. But, ‘recommendations’ are gold! Also, ‘groups’ can be great if people use them properly, and ‘direct contacts’ when done tactfully are priceless…

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In the article Is LinkedIn a Waste of Time? by Kate Jones writes: Is LinkedIn anything more than a resource for recruiters and job seekers? Is LinkedIn really linking you in? With more than 238 million members, including 4 million in Australia, a ‘profile’ on LinkedIn is like the modern-day equivalent of a business card. But how many of those users have benefited from LinkedIn? A common complaint among LinkedIn members is the proliferation of spam, fake users, and untruthful credentials on profiles…

According to Tudor Marsden-Huggins; it’s becoming increasingly common for people to lie about or exaggerate their skills and experience on their ‘profile’… people are a bit more flexible with the truth… LinkedIn just doesn’t have the rigor… According to Danielle Di-Masi; my estimate is that 95% of Australian LinkedIn members are not using the networking site effectively… there’s a lot of set-and-forget…

There are two different camps of people using LinkedIn: The first group is people who will only connect with people they know, and the other group will connect with anyone, because they want to reach out, expand numbers… According to Tara Commerford; it’s still the best place for business people to build their professional brands, increase online visibility and grow their networks… Top five tips for using LinkedIn: Maximize your ‘profile’. Set up a company page. Grow your network. Find the right people. Be part of the conversation…

In the article Don’t Waste Your Time on LinkedIn by Alison Doyle writes: If you’re not going to do it right, there is no point wasting your time (and everyone else’s) on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is ‘the’ site for professional networking. Everyone, for example; must have a full LinkedIn ‘profile’, must connect with everyone they know, must join LinkedIn ‘groups’, and must use LinkedIn for job searching when they are in the market for a new job…

That said, LinkedIn is not going to work if you don’t identify yourself… I’ve received several invitations to connect, in the last week, from people who didn’t identify themselves (i.e., anonymous)… Now, asking me to connect with someone who has a LinkedIn ‘profile’ with ‘private’ or ‘human resources manager’ instead of their name– isn’t going to work. I have no clue who they are, and I wasn’t going to try to figure it out.

Most people, including; prospective employers, wouldn’t be interested in connecting either. LinkedIn is for ‘real’ people to connect with each other– that’s what makes it so successful and such a terrific networking tool… If confidentiality is a concern simply be careful: Connect with only people you know, well…

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In the article LinkedIn Is a Waste of a Sales Person’s Time! by Lee B. Salz writes: There are many misconceptions about LinkedIn. It’s not just for job searches or networking. It’s a unique lead generation platform… I continue to be amazed at the number of sales people who feel that LinkedIn doesn’t provide any value to them. Yet, these same people spend countless hours on Facebook telling people– what they ate for breakfast, when they are leaving for work…

LinkedIn provides sales people ‘unique’ lead generation opportunities; the operative word is unique, which means the approach must be geared to the business network… For starters, you must be positioned as thought leader in your industry, i.e., an expert that provides real value… So review your LinkedIn ‘profile’ and than ask: What message is being conveyed by your ‘profile’? This is where many sales people get stuck; they try to use the LinkedIn ‘profile’ for multiple purposes, for example; networking with friends, leaving the door open for a job search, business development…

The ‘profile’ has no clear message, and that approach doesn’t work. You must ask yourself: Why are you on LinkedIn and what are you seeking to accomplish? If your plan is to use LinkedIn for lead generation or business development, then your approach must be linear. Your ‘profile’ and ‘recommendations’ should clearly position your role in your industry… Remember, your ‘profile’ serves as the foundation for everything you do on LinkedIn: All roads lead back to this page… With your ‘profile’ developed then next join ‘groups’. Again, the goal is to be linear… Once you are accepted into a ‘group’ there is a number of things you can do. But remember, your mission is to provide real value first and not just seek to get buyers. Resist the temptation to hawk your product, service… Give real value first!

In the article Is Social Media a Complete Waste of Time? by Drew M Edwards writes: It’s no secret that social media has been one of the biggest developments in marketing for business over the past decade. Make no mistake about it if you want to dominate your market, then social media is just one of the tools you need to utilize and master… But if what you’re doing now isn’t generating any leads…then ‘stop’!

Then ask yourself; how do you make it work? The answer is a simple but critical, you must have a shift in mindset: You must ‘stop’ thinking of social media as a place to network and ‘start’ thinking of it as a marketing tool, first and foremost… It’s a subtle distinction but a huge difference… To generate leads from social media you must shift from talking about yourself– to asking and listening on how you can help your customers achieve results… In other words, as with all effective marketing you must focus on ‘benefits’ for the customer, rather than ‘benefits’ for you…

Now, don’t get me wrong– some prospects-customers are interested in what you do in your spare time, and what you’ve done in the past– so adding a human touch gives credibility and makes you more likeable. But, that must be a comparatively small percentage of what you ‘post’. So rather than talking about what you do in your spare time; talk about how you can help your customers get results… Talk about your experience and results that you have already delivered to your other customers…

Many people use LinkedIn the way the Vikings invaded Europe. The Vikings weren’t very interested in networking or building professional relationships. Their main prerogative was to loot-pillage until they got tired and went home. So how is that related? According to Paul Crompton; picture this: a recent graduate is looking for a job and sets up a LinkedIn account with a vague idea that it’ll help. They upload a picture, and copy-paste chunks of their CV into the boxes provided. They write their phone number-email address and wait for the calls to come flooding in. Except, they hardly ever do. Why? Because this approach just doesn’t work…

According to Anna DiTommaso writes: LinkedIn ‘group’ is an excellent tool, in theory. Active involvement with the right ‘group’ has lead to some of my largest and best relationships… However, like many things in theory, it doesn’t take much to ruin what could be a great networking tool. You probably have joined a LinkedIn ‘group’ and you have good reason, for example; you’re looking to connect with like-minded people who share your professional interests. Or, you want an impressive ‘group’ listed on your ‘profile’ for status. Or, you want to find channels for getting new worthwhile information…

However, once you’re in the seemingly promising ‘group’, it appears that other people join the LinkedIn ‘group’ for entirely different reasons, for example; shameless plugging-selling of their own products, services… Or, one more place to spam the world. Or, an impressive ‘group’ that’s listed on their ‘profile’ increases status! (i.e., not so different from you)… According to Mike Morrison; LinkedIn is a waste of time, if you are inconsistent, don’t have a marketing plan, and invest the wrong amount of time and effort…

The top proven strategies for ensuring that LinkedIn adds value to your business are: Relevancy– ad hoc just doesn’t work; relevancy is everything… Consistency– information that’s clear, concise; people know the subject that you are talking about and expect it… Transparency–being honest, if you are promoting your materials say so, and if it’s an affiliate say so… but, just promote things, ideas… which are of value to your group: The ‘wrong strategy’ can hurt you even more than ‘no strategy’.

Remember; if you are attracting people who are not interested in what you are doing, then this is worse than useless– you are just wasting time, energy, effort… not to mention opportunity! ‘Done right’ you can quickly double the effectiveness of your LinkedIn presence; it’s all about– regularity, relevancy, consistency, transparency. But most important, you must develop a well crafted and effective LinkedIn strategy, plan… with timely execution.

Office of the Future– Inside the Deskless, Paperless, Wallless Office Space: Starbucks Doesn’t Really Do It– Alternatives…

Office of the future: The main concept behind the office of the future is to make it as paperless as possible with a heavy reliance on digital technology… Technology is reshaping the workplace, changing how and where we conduct business… As a result, flexibility and adaptability is the sought-after attributes for employees at all levels…

According to Jason Lewis; technology allows companies to be more paperless and work from a single smart communicating-computing device… and with cloud-based systems… work, information is more accessed from anywhere, anytime… and it’s more easily shared– Workers no longer have to be tethered to an office to be productive. According to Stephen Siena; technology is very much at the heart of office transformation, although there is also a change in the business culture going on, as well– the desire for more collaboration…

According to Kay Sargent; to find the best office design, companies need to understand their end goal and what works best for their teams by thinking about the demographics of the majority of their staff, the culture implemented, whether collaboration or focus work is needed, and the power structure at their organizations... According to Edward Danyo; we found that only 35% of work activity… actually takes place in offices and cubes, yet we dedicate 85% of our space to those… It’s about creating environments so people can do their best work, and we’ve seen a 45% increase in the speed of decision-making… The forward-looking office design also saves money by saving space.

In the office of the future cubicles are a thing of the past, it’s an open floor plan with floor-to-ceiling windows and features angled tables and shared workstations for collaboration. There are glass-walled rooms for ad hoc meetings, special no-talking zones and employees get lockers for personal possessions… According to Gareth Jones; business is changing– the way we do business is changing, the structure of the organization is changing, and the way we use office space is changing– we need more fluid space where employees can interact in whichever way suits them best…

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In the article What Is the Office of the Future? by Lana Bortolot  writes; Once upon a time, a person asked to envision the workspace of the future might have detailed the trappings of a space-age utopia: robots, flying pods and out-of-this-world architecture. But ask today’s architects about tomorrow’s office, and the conversation is more likely to include touch-points such as; communication, collaboration, integration…

Instead of being out of this world, the next wave of offices is down to earth, and designed around the employees’ needs and specific company cultures… According to Barry Svigals; office design is a great leveraging tools companies have at their behest– it’s not just furniture… Increasingly, there’s a branding aspect that’s important to innovative companies. It’s not only for the outside world but for them; it reminds them of who they are…

The formalities between customers and companies have relaxed, as have corporate hierarchies– the corner office is isolating, not coveted, cubicles are relics, and walls have come down. Instead of impressive conference room, the must-haves for new offices are communal multi-purpose spaces designed to stimulate conversation, cooperation, inspiration… So what will shape the office of the future? Unanimously, designers say transparency is the No. 1 driver of office design… Open space, experts say, cultivates open minds…

According to Brad Pease; the office is a collaboration room and that extends to the customer spaces such as; reception areas, conference rooms… Whereas they once telegraphed authority, such staid spaces convey detachment and concealment in the now and future office.  A formalized lobby with a reception desk is a space that is not generating any ideas… we consider those  dead spaces– what customers’ value is access to ideas… According to James G. Phillips; employees should not be hidden away behind a reception area… the corporate culture is right there, front and center, and it’s about people more than anything…

Increasingly, the office of the future communicates a company’s culture-values, and taking a page from the hospitality industry– from cafe spaces that host collaboration-conferencing to dedicated respite areas for employees. Everything that’s physical must support the company mission. According to Collins; more than a showcase, the office combines hospitality and branding in a space that displays not just what the company’s team does, but who they are… It’s a customer space, but it connects employees to what their customers are doing and connect to the brand… It’s a light-bulb moment that gives them context…

According to Thomas Bercy; people want two things; complete openness– no more of the ’70s or ’80s kind of office, and they want space for one-on-one meeting... Another clear trend in office design is creating an environment that will appeal to the up-and-coming ‘Gen Y’ work force.

The Pew Research Center describes the Millennial generation as ‘confident, connected and open to change’; companies are designing offices that accommodate this psychographic: Weaned on mobile technology, fluent in social media and networking and immersed in issues such as; climate change and sustainability, Millennials seek work environments that reflect their ideals…

According to Chris Bockstael; the younger generation gives a sense that they want to enjoy the work environment… It doesn’t have to be a stagnant series of rooms where you do one process and then another process, but an environment that promotes collaboration. When an employee walks into a space, they can tell a difference in the places that value people rather than finishes… And that tells you why we’re changing the offices from closed doors to open…

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In the article Office of the Future–2020 by OfficeTeam writes: The future office will be increasingly mobile with technology enabling employees to perform their job from virtually anywhere, anytime… But greater control over where and how people work won’t necessarily translate into more free time. Forty-two percent of executives polled said they believe employees will be working more hours in the next 10 to 15 years…

The trends that were identified are, in fact, a reality today, including; use of multifunctional, wireless technology to conduct business from anyplace at anytime… The OfficeTeam surveyed workers and executives at the nation’s 1,000 largest companies and found the following: Technology will continue to reshape the workplace, changing how and where we conduct business…

In the future office, there will be added pressure to adapt quickly to change, work smarter, increase productivity and perform duties outside of one’s job description… The good news is that emerging technological tools and educational opportunities will better enable professionals to meet these challenges. Among the other findings include:

  • Technology tools to provide even greater flexibility: Miniature wireless devices, WiFi, WiMax and mobile technology will continue to allow a company’s staff to work outside of the office with greater ease. Additionally, virtual environments and web-based conferencing services will provide off-site employees with real-time access to meetings, reducing the need to travel.
  • Telecommuting to rise: Improved wireless connectivity will allow for an increasingly flexible workforce. Eighty-seven percent of executives surveyed believe telecommuting will increase in the next 10 to 15 years. Telecommuting enables employees to work where it’s most convenient, but it also challenges their interpersonal skills. They must build relationships with coworkers while having fewer in-person interactions.
  • Staff to put in more time: Forty-two percent of executives surveyed think that employees will be working more hours in 10 to 15 years. Only 9% said they would be working fewer hours.
  • Workers will stay in touch while on vacation: With the proliferation of wireless technology, staff will be expected to remain in close contact with the office while they’re away. Eighty-six percent of executives surveyed said workers will be more connected to the office while on vacation in the future.
  • Companies/employees take a new view on work/life balance: People may put in more time, but they will do so using tools that provide more control over their schedules and enable them to better balance priorities. There will be an increasingly blurred line between work and other activities; people will need to multitask to meet all of their obligations efficiently.

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In the article Office of the Future by Jennifer LeClaire writes: Office designs can enhance productivity, accommodate collaboration, and help with issues like work-life balance– if they are designed with these objectives in mind… Alternate and adaptable environments are keys for the office of the future. Offices will feel almost club-like in their choice of environments in which employees can spend their day. Offices will be less static in terms of assigned desks– it will be more open, transparent and, of course, media rich, offering; Wi-Fi throughout, ample teleconferencing suites and other immediate access points to remote colleagues and customers around the world…

The office of the future will enhance productivity by fostering employee engagement and connection with brand, company, each other… A more transparent office, by the same token, will enhance productivity by allowing for more collaboration and socialization among employees– seeing is knowing– the better employees know each other the more likely they are to feel comfortable with each other, and work well together…

The office of the future will support a culture of convenience, that is, the office will be designed to foster collaborative experiences in a variety of settings, for example; an expansive and welcoming café style area for lunch, snacks, etc.; seating areas with couches, comfortable chairs-tables scattered throughout the office to encourage and accommodate informal meetings, and conference rooms appropriate for the space. The norm for offices of the future will be collaboration space…

The idea of an ‘extended workplace’ is key to enhancing work-life balance. Creating a workplace that extends employees’ options vis-à-vis time, tools and environment will be critical. What does this mean? The office of the future must include amenities such as; gym, rooms for nursing mothers, on-site cafes offering healthy foods…

Organizations that embrace amenities that give employees options to help them balance their lives will be demonstrating that the health of their workers is a key value. This will become increasingly important when considering rising insurance premiums and proactive health care, as well as, when thinking about employee retention and hiring…

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If you ask 20 different people what the office of the future will look like, you’ll probably get 20 different answers… According to Roger Kahn; technology is providing increased mobility, and increased mobility will result in less of a need for the traditional office. It used to be that you had to go to a bricks-and-sticks office to work– because this is where the files and communications are located, and where we collaborated with colleagues. The virtual office is more compatible with the mobile work style; and the traditional offices are diminishing…

This fundamentally changes the core concept of an office. We no longer will need to ‘go to work’– we just ‘connect to work’– the future is going to be about ‘connected productivity’… According to Adam Stark; I’m not sure that it will look that much different than it does today. Styles and technologies may change, but I believe that people will always be looking for a nice work environment, where they are surrounded by people with whom they interact…

According to Paul Morrell; synchronicity and co-location are being turned on their head by new generations and new technology… People no longer need to be in same place at the same time, every day… We still need the office, but the office will be different as technology and the way we works changes, however, even with hype around social media, cloud… the workplace of tomorrow is likely to be very similar to what it is today…

Power of Large Numbers–Driving Force or Fallacy: Do More–Succeed, Do Even More–SuperStar, Do Even More–Legend…

Law of large numbers; the hundreds of unsolicited emails in your inbox is an example of the law of large numbers… Noted Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli, in early 1700s, described the large numbers this way: In any chance event, when the event happens repeatedly, the actual results will tend to be the calculated, or planned, results…

This law originally applied to matters of science and  math but, along the way, crept into the business and personal development arenas: For example, according to Michael Jordan, the great basketball player; I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots, I’ve lost almost 300 games, twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed, I’ve failed over and over again in my life, and that’s why I succeed…

There are those who advocate the law of large numbers with the mindset of; throw enough stuff against the wall and something is bound to stick… The law of large numbers is a principle of probability and the basic premise that large numbers provide– more accurate predictions, less deviation from the expected, greater credibility in the outcomes…

Casinos have the law of large numbers working in their favor: Management of casinos know that while the outcome of any single game is unpredictable, the outcome of many rounds of that same game is entirely predictable… In other words, in a group of six players, only one, on average, will be a winner. The casinos then structure their payoffs or ‘odds’ slightly in their favor so that the money paid out to any player who wins will be more than offset by the money taken in from the five players who, on average, don’t win.

Note that casinos don’t need to cheat the individual gambler, as long as they keep their doors open, the odds settle in their favor… Insurance companies use similar principles to set premiums. They spend a great deal of effort and resources calculating the odds of certain catastrophes, such as a house fire, then multiply this value by the payoff they would give in such an event.

This amount is how much the company can expect to have to pay, on average, for each person that they cover. They then set their rates at levels that cover this ‘expense’ in addition to providing their profit. The policyholder gets peace of mind because the insurance company has effectively mitigated the risk of potential loss in a given catastrophe. The insurance company gets a flow of regular payments in exchange for a massive payoff in the unlikely event of a big claim…

The law of large numbers is a powerful tool that enables us to say definite things about the real-world results of accumulated instances of unpredictable events… According to wisegeek; simply stated, the law or large numbers is the best explanation for why larger samples are better than smaller ones…

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In the article Work the Law of Large Numbers by Dr. Gary S. Goodman writes: If you don’t try, you can’t win. Try more and more, and even more… and become a performer whose feats are celebrated forever.  Having said this let me temper the law of large numbers with this admonition: It only takes one to succeed! This is a critical corollary to the law of large numbers. Yes, you have to make many attempts, but if you sink that final shot at the buzzer; just that one shot— you’ll come up a game winner.

The key is to stay in contention long enough to be competitive, to spot your opening when it occurs and to seize the chance– these are the things that position you for winning… For example, let’s say that you’re a salesperson and you’re in a slump period. How do you dig your way out? Repeat this phrase: It only takes one! However, finding the one is the challenge.

This involves– the three E’s: Exposure, Encounters, Exclusivity. The law of large numbers gives you ‘exposure’, puts you into those situations where you will be ‘in play’, available to see and be seen… To arrange ‘encounters’, you need to work on your ‘approach skills’, learning to get the attention of the specific people you want to know better, as well as practicing ways to start and sustain conversations… To gain ‘exclusivity’, you must showcase your uniqueness and develop a plan for enticing the people who interest you into spending one-on-one time together…

The law of large numbers, almost without exception, leads to– It takes only one– opportunities… Working together, these two principles create symbiosis and the desired results by combining– quantity and quality… That’s why it’s so important to wed– the law of large numbers with ‘it only takes one’ thinking: The realization that success may be just ‘one’ smile, ‘one’ sale, ‘one’ phone call away…

In the article Law of Large Numbers by Russell Anderson writes: In selling, the law of large numbers is simply a reference to the fact that achieving a targeted sales result requires that enough effort be spent at each stage of the sales process to achieve the desired outcome. From experience, sales people learn the ratios of how many prospects it takes to achieve the results at each successive  stage of the sales process, for example; assuming the sales target is several tens of units of whatever you’re selling, and it may take several thousands of mail pieces to develop a few hundred responses, and from that yield you might be able to close the several tens of units sales target…

In other cases for example, it may require hundreds of thousands of email blasts to develop several thousand prospects… and from those you might yield several hundred of prospects that respond favorably. The point is that you must understand ratios of numbers and their impact on sales at each stage of the process, in order to implement an effective sales program… A large numbers methodology can produce predictable results on a consistent basis. A good rule to walk away with is that, with all variables being equal, the more people you reach, the more products you will sell.

In the article Law of Large Numbers by Brad DeLong writes: Law of large numbers tells us that the sample average you compute will converge to the true value at a frighteningly rapid speed. The standard demonstration of this is to repeatedly flip a coin and count the excess proportion of heads over tails. We know that– with a coin flipped and caught in the air– the population average taking all coins that have ever been flipped of the excess proportion of heads is zero. How many observations do we have to take–how many coin flips– before the sample average converges to this population average of 0% excess heads? Let’s see. Here’s one run of 1,000 flips from Excel’s internal random number generator:

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Here are ten more: You could have a population of 295 million flipped coins. Yet you don’t need to look at hundreds of millions of them to determine what is going on. Looking at 1,000 will do.

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The law of large numbers describes the result of repeating the same experiment multiple times. According to the law of large numbers; the average value of the combined results should be close to the expected value, and the average value will become closer to expected value as more trials are performed. According to John Care; most business problem comes down to a single number. Either that number is too small and needs to be larger, or is too large and needs to be made smaller…

According to Deepak; the law of large numbers does a very good job of helping us predict the seemingly random events in the future and it has a very good reputation of being right most of the time… the random events over a period of time always form a pattern… According to Gary S. Goodman; business people who adopt a large numbers mentality typically take on the ‘toe in the water’ syndrome—and that means they edge up on opportunities– they are very tentative about making commitments… the consequence of being tentative means becoming a follower… but followers don’t win when committed to a large numbers campaign, you must be a leader to be successful…

According to Jason Bloomberg; in our old ‘small number’ world, we were careful what numbers we collected in the first place, because we knew we were using tools that could only deal with so much data. But now, it’s all about large numbers! As the large numbers grow and our tools improve, we must never lose sight of the fact that our ability to understand what the technology tells us is a ‘skill set’ we must continue to improve. Otherwise, not only are the numbers fooling us, but we’re actually fooling ourselves…

According to Calvin Coolidge; nothing in the world can take place of ‘persistence’. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has always solved problems…

Blended Management Styles– Changing, Adapting–Take Best of Each: Create a Hybrid That Works for Your Organization…

Management style is an organization’s philosophy about managing people and resources, which reflects its values, beliefs, culture… Management style is about people and levels of trust, priorities, competitiveness… However in today’s globalize organizations, it’s time to move beyond the traditional thinking of management styles, such as; Theory X, Theory Y…

Choices today are considerably more complex than merely deciding between management philosophies/styles, and instead it more about creating, adapting… hybrid, blended styles of management, for example; taking bits-pieces of different styles and combining them into one methodology that works most effective for your organization.

According to Susan M. Heathfield; management styles reflect the relationship between management and employees and the degree in which management decides to involve employees in decision-making process. The style of management is fundamental in determining the relative competitiveness of the organization and as such, management style repertoires must be continually reviewed and improved so as to create better decision-making and a more successful work environment…

According to Tannenbaum; there’s an evolving continuum between management and employees, and includes– increasing role for employees and decreasing role of management in decision-making process. The continuum incorporates the traditional styles of management, they include: Tellautocratic management style; represents top down–dictatorial decision-making with little employee input…

Sellsell management style; management makes decisions, then tries to persuade the employees that their decision is correct… Consult consultative management style; management solicits input from employees for decision-making, but retains the authority to make the final decision– key for success with consultative style is informing employees up-front that their input is important, but that management will make the final decision…

Joinjoin management style; management invites employees to join in making decisions, and management and employees are equal partners in decision-making process… Delegatedelegate management style; management turns much of the decision-making over to employees, however, management requires critical path feedback for decisions along designated points in the process…

According to Amanda Webster; the ‘right’ management style must meet the needs of customers, employees, stakeholders… The  management style must be fluid and adaptable to change for most given situations… Over the last decade, styles of management have seen an evolution of sorts due to globalization and dynamism of corporations as entities…

Also, the basic mission of management is evolving from focus just on profitability to also include; employee satisfaction, social responsibility… Bottom-line; the perfect blend of any management style must promote– humanity, best practices, innovation, and profitability for an organization…

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In the article How Management Styles are Changing by justinbarclay  writes: The methods used by management to perform organization activities are questions of style,  management styles have evolved. This evolution in style – and the proliferation of additional nuanced styles – is a result of a combination of advances in technology, forms of organizations, as well as shifts in the prevailing workforce demographic…

Technology has changed the way management works… technology is seen as an enabler that links global and diverse organizations and provides tightly linked transparency that furthers management objectives. Those objectives are no longer just driven by a desire to simply control aggregated activity and profit, but also driven by ‘purpose’.

These trends have given way to written works such as: Hamel’s–The Future of Management; Benko & Anderson’s–The Corporate Lattice; Hallowell’s–Shine; as well as, Pascale, Sternin, & Sternin’s–The Power of Positive Deviance; just to name a few. While these texts describe very different facets of organizational life, they share the common thread of management doing all that’s possible to identify; what’s working in organizations, how best practice can be both identified and spread throughout the organization, and places the focus on the potential of the workforce, rather than upon controlling its activities.

Management styles have thus changed from choosing between varying levels of commanding-controlling resources, to instead choosing between varying levels of interaction with the value chain of an organization and resources associated with that value chain. In essence, management style is now most impacted by considerations for epitasis, where the critical question is how management will choose to leverage their unique talents to influence organization’s ecosystem.

Rather than simply asking– what are the organization’s responsibilities? Now instead, management is asking– what are the organization’s ‘knowledge’ and ‘influence networks’? Since knowledge and responsibility are being widely interspersed through-out the organization…

In the article How to Change Your Management Style by Lou Dubois writes: Assessing an organization’s management style and determining that its time for a change is not an easy task… There is no one size fits all style of management that works, as each organization is different– a management style, more or less, defines an approach to managing people… 

According to Jon Picoult; The most effective way to figure out if a change is needed is to solicit feedback from people you’re managing or partnering with and the environment the business is operating in… One of the defining qualities of good management is they have professional knowledge– they have self-knowledge, in other words, they can look inward to examine their own strengths and weaknesses, and they’re also willing and happy to listen to outside input on how they can grow and change for the better… 

A good management style adapts to its environment, and changes when they’re needed… But, the big challenge is actually effectively changing people’s behavior… The key element is being self-aware: If you’ve taken the first step to recognize that there must be  something different–a better way, then that’s a huge first step. But you also must be really objective; step outside yourself and take a candid look at what you’re doing today and understand what you need to differently. So it’s not an easy task, and it requires somebody who is good at making calculated and informed decisions, without an ego. Once you do that, just follow that path…

In making a management style-organization shift; it’s important to take top-down approach with transparency from a leadership perspective. If you are changing your management style, you must first assess and make changes within yourself… According to Heineman; internally–within organization, it’s always been about clarity, alignment, focus… creating team culture, environment where employees are highly incentivized to come up with ideas, try new things, whether they fail or succeed, empower employees to be upwardly mobile… Externally–outside organization, when changing management styles, it’s important to be up-front and candid with customers, partners, stakeholders…

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In the article New International Style of Management by Garry Emmons writes: There is an ever increasingly international style of management… According to John Quelch; the international management style is an amalgam that’s built atop Western models, which have been borrowed freely from others around the world… the Western models can be very ecumenical, flexible, and open to new ideas and people: It learns from best practices in other countries and adapts accordingly… over time this kind of cross-pollination of a global management style will look less like its Western origin and more like something completely multinational...

According to Rohit Deshpandé; more multinationals strive to achieve certain types of management characteristics and best practice, in order to make themselves globally competitive, even if those desired traits are not necessarily found in, or may be contrary to, the native business culture of the company’s home country. Thus, while the average companies in France, Germany, Japan… may all appear to be quite different from each other, all of these countries’ best-performing multinationals look quite similar…

These findings suggest that excellence in global corporate competition demands certain success enabling management characteristics and best practices, which for top multinationals means that the corporate culture may need to trump the national culture… According to Irina Gaida; in a multicultural environment, management must strive to strike a balance between their own national cultural and being open to other value systems, management styles, and decision-making processes… many companies are finding management and employees are willing to adjust their behavior to facilitate teamwork… This mutual adjustment eventually becomes the norm within an organization...

Management style is one of those phrases bandied about in all workplaces, and it’s a catch-all; when we say it, we have to clarify and add more to better convey what we mean. Our management style can be seen in a good light, for example: He’s very compassionate, and fiercely protective of his team… Or, it can be negatively perceived, for example: She’s a micro-manager and just can’t keep her nose out of my work. The good is often said in gratitude, and the not-so-good as grumbled whisper.

So: What’s your management style like? But, more important question: Would your team agree with you, or say something different? Much of what is important in management at a particular moment has less to do with what you do, than what you have done. The culture you’ve created, the training that you’ve given, the motivation you’ve encouraged and the people who you’ve hired have all laid the groundwork to the response of your team at any given time…

To achieve the level of innovation required for competitive advantage today, we must achieve a better balance of power throughout organizations. Employees need to be more fully engaged in making strategic decisions, and in planning and organizing more of their own work.

To break the stranglehold of ‘organization-as-person metaphor’, employees must share in strategic thinking. Such ownership is the only way to achieve deep engagement; and as a result, management must do less telling and more facilitating, which means doing more asking, as in– What do you think?

 

Organizations Dont Fail Leaders Do– Clueless, Visionless, Reckless, Feckless: Where Have All The Great Leaders Gone?

Leaders fail mostly because they are: Clueless–incompetent, ignorant, inexperienced, naive, lacking understanding or knowledge… Reckless–careless, irresponsible, foolhardy, inattentive, mindless, thoughtless… Feckless–ineffective, lacking thought, organization necessary to succeed, careless, lacking purpose… Visionless–lacking intelligent foresight, imagination, uninspired…

According to Mike Myatt; when you strip away all the excuses, explanations, rationalizations and justifications for organization failure, you’ll find only one plausible reason– poor leaders and leadership. When examining the responsibilities of leaders and leadership that are directly attributed to the organization’s failure some of the more common reasons include: Lack of vision, lack of execution, flawed strategy, poor management, toxic culture, no innovation, inability to attract and retain talent… Leading to conclusion and general consensus that ‘organizations don’t fail leaders do’…

According to Ron Ashkenas; leaders of the past almost always seem more effective than those of today– it’s a perceptual bias: We long for what we don’t have, and mythologize what we used to have. But even taking this bias into consideration, many of today’s leaders don’t seem to measure up to our expectations… According to a survey conducted by the Harvard Kennedy School last year, 68% of Americans believe that there is a leadership crisis. Many people speak about leaders of the past decades and how they not only inspired confidence, but also respect, reverence, passion…

Sure these past leaders had their flaws as well, but they were courageous and decisive and could communicate in ways that made it clear what they stood for… According to a study by the search firm Crist Kolder Associates; CEO turnover in Fortune 500 and S&P 500 firms are running at 13%, up from 10% last year. However, the irony is that more money has been spent on leadership development in the last two decades– in both the public and private sectors– than was probably spent in the previous ten decades combined… So why are we not turning out better leaders across the board?

Of course comparing leaders from different generations has no right answer– just like the arguments about who would win an athletic contest between teams from different eras. But if reflecting on the question helps to find ways of improving leaders-leadership effectiveness today, maybe its worth some debate…

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In the article Where Have All The Leaders Gone? by Lee Iacocca writes: A leader is strong and confident, someone who is not deterred by criticism, setbacks. A leader is disciplined, focused, hard-working, unrelenting… Leaders inspire people to believe in themselves… But sadly, as I look at the world stage today, I do not see great leaders– leaders who are willing to make the difficult decisions required to move us out of economic and political crisis… For example; can you think of a single current leader who stands tall alongside the likes of Lincoln, Gandhi, Churchill, Eisenhower, Reagan, Mandela, Thatcher, Gorbachev, Martin Luther King, or Franklin Roosevelt?

Whether we agreed with or even liked these people– and most of them were very controversial during their day– we cannot doubt that they were true leaders in every way. They were strong, inspiring, disciplined, unrelenting, and focused. They had clear articulated visions and believed in ideals, principles… larger than themselves, had goodness in their hearts, and were undeterred by criticism…

However, there is an interesting irony– that even with the assumption that today’s world lacks great leaders the world has, arguably, never been a better place even with all of its faults… As a whole and even with some glaring exceptions, the world is more civilized, better educated, less threatened by wars and disease, better integrated, less discriminatory, better fed and housed, and more democratic and peaceful than just a few centuries or even a few decades ago…

We have come a very long way in a relatively short time, but much remains to be done. We need a new generation of business, education, religious, and political leaders to help us get to an even better place… I don’t know where all the great leaders have gone, but I’ve concluded that a more important question: How do we produce the new great leaders we so desperately need?

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In the article Getting Stuck in Clueless as a Leader by writes: We’ve all been clueless at some point in our life; the place where you ‘don’t know what you don’t know’. But, leaders getting stuck in ‘clueless’ are dangerous. Leaders that hold an underlying leadership belief that ‘ignorance is bliss’ is a sure path to failure. When you hear leaders using the more socially acceptable ‘not having enough time’ or ‘it’s not my job’ explanation for not dealing with people problems or thorny cross department issues… what you are really hearing is their belief in ‘ignorance is bliss’.

Leaders get stuck in clueless because the alternative state, being anxious (where we ‘know that we don’t know’) is too uncomfortable. It’s the place where we have to make a conscious decision to change how we are managing or thinking, or pretend there is no problem, or that a problem doesn’t have anything to do with me… Anxiety serves a critical role for leaders; it can jump-start your curiosity making you most open to learning… It’s when you can acquire the knowledge and skill you need to solve a problem, create a new solution, find a new way…

However, if you don’t capture your anxiety and manage it with thoughtful reflection, you’ll find yourself in one of two places: The activity trap— where you feel compelled to take lots of action or create lots of activity with few results… Or, the dig in your heels trap— where defensiveness takes over and you resist any efforts for change… According to Bob Rosen; healthy leaders possess three features of intellectual health– deep curiosity, adaptive mindset, paradoxical thinking– that will equip them to handle the complexities that beset an organization.

How you think about things creates the framework for how you will respond: If you think feeling anxious is bad, too uncomfortable, then you will most likely postpone dealing with the red flags that pop in the organization– things fester and then you must deal with a crisis… Instead, build a curious brain; take the time to stop– take a breath, reflect, simply ask questions. When you invest in learning, you can actually—‘get to know what you don’t know’…

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In the article When Leaders Don’t Lead: Consequences, Causes, Cures by Bill Cole and Rick Seaman write: There are occasions when leaders are unwilling or unable to lead… The consequences of failure to lead will vary with the severity of the situation. When business conditions are fairly stable and competitive environment is not particularly demanding, leaders failure may not be that damaging and often mitigated… However, when business is going through dramatic change, failure of leaders to actively lead the company through the changes can be catastrophic.

Biggest risk of failed leadership is when the competitive environment is changing rapidly but the corresponding changes in the organization are either too little or too late, such that the organization is unable to satisfy their customers’ needs… and that puts organization’s very survival at stake– often the leader’s actions are too late to do anything about it… Leaders who think inaction is a viable choice delude themselves and they unfortunately believe they can continue with the status quo and the hope that the problems will go away, which is clearly a dangerous delusion…

Leaders fail because they allow themselves to become narrow, while thinking that they are being broad and inclusive. Leaders fail when they are overly focused and listen only to their own intentions rather than being– agile, reflective… they become visionless, clueless, reckless… According to Gary Rushin; inept leaders and leadership causes organization failure… strip away all the excuses, explanations, rationalizations, and justifications for failure and, in the majority of cases, it’s just poor leaders and leadership… 

According to Joel Kurtzman; leaders need to learn from failure, and create an environment where it’s safe to fail, an environment that supports innovative behavior. In an environment where people are tolerant of failure then– there are more new ideas,  more people embark on new paths, start new initiatives, break new ground… According to Gael O’Brien; during crises or challenges, some leaders know how to relate to what employees are feeling, and get them to respond, focus, perform… They are resilient because they understand how to work and collaborate with the team…

According to Sam Palazzolo; most people think of Richard Branson as today’s ‘uber-successful’ billionaire, or as the Queen calls him ‘Sir Richard Branson’. However, did you know that Branson spent much of his business life doing things that could be considered ‘clueless’? For example: He knew nothing about retail, so decided to start a record store–Clueless. He decided to start an airline (again, a risky and complex business that he knew absolutely nothing about)–Clueless. Recently, he’s determined to create the world’s first airline dedicated to outer space flight travel–Clueless…

So, the next time you are approached because of your ‘clueless’ leadership thoughts-positions by your peers, superior-subordinates, or even yourself, you might want to rethink that input… It appears as though Richard Branson is not only exhibiting leadership with a ‘clue’, but also because he seems to be having one heck of a great time doing it!  Then, what’s wrong with being ‘clueless’ if these are the results? So, go forth… Be clueless, or Not!

 

Ambition– Core Driver of Achievement, Power, Fame, Wealth: Ambition Matters– Its the Essential that Gives Purpose to Life…

Ambition is the core driver of success, extraordinary achievements, power, fame, wealth… The power of ambition turns eager desires into reality… According to Steven Pressfield; ambition is the most primal and sacred fundamental of our humanity… Not to act upon that ambition is to turn our backs and ignore ourselves and the reason for our existence. Wikipedia says ambition is the desire for personal achievement…

Webster says ambition is an ardent desire for rank, fame, and power to achieve a particular end… However, some experts say that the word ‘ambition’– when used and defined alone without some other word description– is impossible to define, it requires something more… People have always been ambivalent about ambition: We see it as dangerous and yet essential. We disapprove of those who abuse it, but we dismiss those who lack it. We see too little of it as a failing, too much of it as a sin.

Simply put, ambition is what makes humans go. Almost everyone dreams of doing something special, whether it’s building an Internet company, writing a novel, excelling at your job, raising a family… Whatever the size of your goal, it’s driven by ambition. One of the more inspiring lines in the movies are ‘my ambition far exceeds my talents’… ambition is the most important tool to achieving success, overriding both talent and resources…

An ambitious attitude can lead anyone to triumph, success and satisfaction, regardless of what is put in front of them. To have the will, the dream and the courage to be on top of the world will get you a lot farther in life than any skill you can possibly possess. Having talent means nothing if you have no ambition behind it to make it work… Ambition separates the man on the subway from the man flying in a private jet. Ambition is what gives us a purpose in life…

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In the article The Power of Collective Ambition by Douglas A. Ready and Emily Truelove write: In the past few years, some companies have not just weathered the economic storm: They’ve emerged stronger than ever by defying conventional logic… Instead of pursuing a single ambition, such as profits, management defined a collective ambition. As a result, these organizations deepened their engagement with employees and other stakeholders and became sustaining profitable.

That model is expressed in what we call– collective ambition; a summary of how leaders and employees think about why they exist, what they hope to accomplish, how they will collaborate to achieve their ambition, and how their brand promise aligns with their core values. These companies don’t fall into the trap of pursuing a single ambition, such as profits; instead, the employees collaborate to shape a collective ambition that supersedes individual goals and takes into account key elements required to achieve and sustain excellence…

For decades, organizational scholars have studied what makes for a company that is both sustaining profitable as well as engaged with employees–other stakeholders. However, many organizations tackle their ambitious engagement in one-off fashion or define it too narrowly; rather than creating a compelling story of the company’s ambitions and a collaborative process for building the capabilities to achieve it…

In the article Residue of Leadership: Why Ambition Matters by James Champy writes: One of the important lessons for leaders in the past decade is that nothing great ever happens without a great ambition. To gauge the likelihood of success for any company’s change initiative, stakeholders must ask: What’s the nature of the leader’s ambition? What is the leader’s vision of the organization’s future? Does the leadership team have an appetite for change? Most notably, every great leader begins with a great vision-dream.

Ambitious visions not only require a capacity for meaningful change, but also providing the energy and inspiration to engage others. The task of articulating a dream and rallying others around it is the essence of leadership. The study of leaders in every field tells us that leadership is the residue of ambition. To be sure, ambition needs a better reputation: In recent years, to be ambitious has come to be seen as a character flaw. Yet for leaders to make a difference requires more, not less, ambition.

Great leaders have ambitions that are marked with greater sense of purpose, an urge to create something beyond oneself. Today ambitions and achievements can rise and fall with great speed… and organizations tend to become cautious by nature; large corporations, in particular, tend to develop immunity for innovation, entrepreneurship, ambition… These companies train people in the analysis of risk but focus on avoiding the unknown rather than taking prudent chances.

They tend to look backward rather than forward. If those who assess risk have no ambition, they will see only hazards and never opportunities. Ambition must be a core value of the enterprise and encouraged by leadership. If an enterprise is to be more than a collection of ambitious individuals, its leaders must be able to articulate a shared, compelling purpose, and must engage others in its pursuit…

But further, high achievers must also fight certain impulses that run as deep as ambition itself– hubris and greed… Great achievers must learn to temper their ambition with self-reflection… they must remain true to the highest values, and see the world and themselves clearly… and they must effectively manage the resources that can limit the pursuit of a dream– time, talent, momentum…

Ambitious people show remarkable persistence, preparation, clarity of purpose, optimism. One of the great things an organization can do is to help people dream.

In the article Importance of Ambition by Jennifer Allyn writes: PricewaterhouseCooper  (PwC) recruits 50% women at the associate level and yet women make up just 17% of partners in the firm. This disparity is troubling to PwC and they say; we cannot run our firm without women… women advance through the firm nicely, but then after a few years they leave in larger numbers than their male colleagues…

The challenge is how to keep women in the game long enough to rise to the top, so we can change those numbers?  An essential part of retaining and advancing female executives is to encourage women to be ambitious; a concept many women have a hard time embracing. Ambition simply refers to desire for mastery, and attaining that level of mastery typically takes a long time. To master anything, e.g., the violin, an athletic sport, or anything in your role at work– takes about 10,000 hours, which is why in professional services firms like PwC, the path to partnership tends to be about 10 years.

To sustain the effort required to pursue a goal for that length of time, employees need inspiration, recognition… but for managers to inspire, recognize… their employees, they need to understand the differences between men and women when it comes to ambition. More women must opt-in through a combination of push and pull. Women have to push forward to pursue career goals and demonstrate their ambition-commitment, but at the same time managers must pull them forward with recognition and mentorship…

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Ambition is dangerous and yet essential. The worthiest ambition is the one that goads us to make the best out of whatever talents or conditions life hands us, and sets goals that adds value to a business, to a community, to knowledge, to life itself. According to Nitin Nohria; good ambition demands that wealth be created in way that benefits and inspires others. Ambition asks for creativity, daring, and timing. Neither can it be taught nor is it a birthright, but it can be learned; without ambition, no conquests are made, no lands discovered, no businesses created. It is the root of all achievement… 

According to Ron Kurtus writes: Although being ambitious is a positive personal character trait, being too ambitious can result in negative character traits. Some people may have such a great desire to succeed and are so ambitious to reach the top that they may become ruthless, dishonest or harmful to others… Unfortunately, many ruthless people– those with too much ambition– reach the top.

According to Karen Finlayson; what comes first, ambition or achievement? I believe that it’s only through achieving that we are propelled to go on and achieve more; it’s making achievements that gives us the courage to have ambitions to do even greater things. But there has to be a flicker of ambition in the first instance, not necessarily to change the world, but to do one small thing and by being successful in the small things we recognize that actually we can do so much more!

According to Jay Turo: Ambition is important– but not the garden variety type, for example; those that get good grades, go to a nice college, start a small business… No, the ambition I am talking about is one that burns so deep and hot that it’s dysfunctional. An ambition that usually translates for sure into an insane, other-worldly work ethic, but one that goes beyond that. It’s an ambition that is channeled daily into ongoing personal and professional improvement and learning. An ambition that leads to a goal that is beyond being realistically possible.

This kind of ambition is the unifying force, which demands that everything be done right; strategy, tactics, innovation,  entrepreneurship, execution, management. Find this kind of ambition– channeled to ethical and capitalistic ends… and support it; then, the world will be better for it… A quote by Thomas Jefferson; nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude-ambition from achieving his goal; nothing can help the man with the wrong mental attitude-ambition.

Ambition is what leads to success in your respective industry, but success is found in a life lived not dreamed, one that is propelled by action not a desire to act, a life filled with fears faced, limits pushed, and relationships cultivated. A successful life is filled with experience and action, not wishes. You and your ambition need to be one with each other. You must understand each other and be on the same page so that you can fight the battle together and not torn in separate directions.

Your ambition demands a lot from you, more than you have imagined so being prepared for it puts you in a better position of succeeding. Your ambition wants you to dedicate your life to hard work, perfecting your craft, sleepless nights and sacrifice for sake of having the life you wish to attain. Embrace the passion and  follow the dream, and let ambition be your fuel to become the best you can be: Never, ever settle for mediocrity…