Posts filed under ‘management’

How to wow a venture capitalist in 7 slides.

I spotted this great blog post by Gerry Langeler | Seattle 2.0

We’ve seen all sorts of presentations from startups over the years. But none as succinct, yet as effective as one we saw a few days ago.

The Seattle company in question is one that pitched us a few years ago. At the time, we loved the team, but thought they seemed to be remarkably unfocused. So, rather than have our money burned in a “bumping into trees” exercise, we passed. Now they were back – with laser focus – and it showed.

Before the presentation started, the CEO told us he only brought seven slides. And oh, by the way, they were all in 30 point type! My immediate reaction was, “This guy must have his stuff together!” Rather than death by PowerPoint, he was planning to subject us to a real discussion, where the knowledge of the management team was the foundation, not the slides. And the goal was interaction with potential investors, not to baffle us with BS.

Read more:


July 8, 2010 at 8:47 am 1 comment

What motivates employees to work hard?

The easy answer used to be “money”. Is it still? I invite you to take a look at an April 15th report by Paul Solman on PBS Newshour. If it’s true that today’s employees are looking for something different, how can you incorporate their wants and needs into your strategic plan?

What Drives Motivation in the Modern Workplace? | PBS Newshour

June 29, 2010 at 12:14 pm Leave a comment

Does teamwork stifle innovation?

from “How Group Dynamics May Be Killing Innovation” Knowledge@Wharton

To come up with the next iPad, Amazon or Facebook, the last thing potential innovators need is a group brainstorm session. What the pacesetters of the future really require, according to new Wharton research, is some time alone.

In a paper titled, “Idea Generation and the Quality of the Best Idea (PDF),” Wharton operations and information management professors Christian Terwiesch and Karl Ulrich argue that group dynamics are the enemy of businesses trying to develop one-of-a-kind new products, unique ways to save money or distinctive marketing strategies.

Terwiesch, Ulrich and co-author Karan Girotra, a professor of technology and operations management at INSEAD, found that a hybrid process — in which people are given time to brainstorm on their own before discussing ideas with their peers — resulted in more and better quality ideas than a purely team-oriented process. More importantly for companies striving for innovation, however, the trio says the absolute best idea in a hybrid process topped the Number One suggestion in a traditional model.

Continue reading on Knowledge@Wharton.

May 13, 2010 at 6:44 pm Leave a comment

The marketer’s brave new world.

from the McKinsey Quarterly newsletter.

Marketers used to talk about consumer sovereignty, but in the past their job was actually to create messages for an audience that received them more or less passively; the most active element was the decision to notice or ignore an ad. Now, digital technology helps consumers investigate products, comment on them among themselves, find alternatives, and compare prices—a decision process that requires companies to think differently about how they influence consumer behavior. “A new way to measure word-of-mouth marketing” (with accompanying podcast) and “Four ways to get more value from digital marketing” help guide you through the marketer’s brave new world.

May 5, 2010 at 1:18 pm Leave a comment

Why is change so difficult?

Last week, I facilitated a discussion with a group of CEOs. The topic was technology and how it affects their businesses. They came from a wide range of industries and, as often happens, they identified several areas of shared concern.

One common thread was the need to overcome employee resistance to change when new technologies are introduced to improve productivity or enhance competitive advantage. This morning, I came across the following summary of an article by by Jeffrey D. Ford & Laurie W. Ford in the Harvard Business Review.

When a change initiative falters, the knee-jerk response can be to blame those who won’t get on board. Jeffrey Ford, of the Ohio State University, and Laurie Ford, of Critical Path Consultants, examine why that type of reaction is not only pointless but potentially destructive.

Drawing on their years of research and consulting work, the authors recommend seeing resistance for what it really is — feedback — and propose five ways for leaders to use that feedback to effect change more productively. (more…)

April 18, 2010 at 9:18 pm Leave a comment

Firms focus on cuts, not new products.

Few companies that expect profits to decline this year seem to be planning to remedy the situation by introducing new products or services, according to a McKinsey executive survey. Those weakened companies appear to be focusing more on cutting operating costs. The good news is that most executives see a brighter year ahead: Some 74% of the respondents say they expect their companies’ profits to rise over the next 12 months, up from 46% in December 2009.

from Harvard Business Review | Daily Stat | March 29, 2010

What weakening companies are doing.

This may be what a majority of companies are doing, but have they made the right decision? My sense is no. A death of a thousand cuts is eventually fatal. I encourage you to look at your options and make the right choice. New products and new messages to existing customers and new prospects maybe the only way to keep them buying. — KS

March 30, 2010 at 6:18 pm Leave a comment

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