Monthly Archives: September 2010

Leaders who lead

The word “leader” can have a range of meanings depending on the context. It can mean someone who holds a position of power, and it just defines the position. It can also describe someone who inspires, who points the way, … Continue reading

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SME shock absorbers

All businesses are conflicted, small ones more obviously than larger ones. On one hand, the immediate urgency to do whatever necessary to generate the cash to pay the bills, and on the other, the necessity to build capability, relationships, and … Continue reading

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“Opt in” marketing

  Social media, as I keep saying, has changed the rules completely.  In the pre-digital days of mass marketing, the consumer simply ignored most of the stuff thrown at them, and there was no genuinely effective mechanism to measure the … Continue reading

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Having a goal can be counter-productive.

Continuous improvement initiatives I have seen almost always impose a “finishing line”, correctly believing that focusing on an objective is a key to motivate performance. However,  what they often miss in this approach to improvement is the cultural aspect of … Continue reading

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brand trashing

If you ever needed evidence of the power of social tools on the net to influence your brands, look at what is happening currently to the Wyeth S26 baby formula. Greenpeace did a couple of tests that indicated there may … Continue reading

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Manufacturing capability shortcomings

A while ago I wrote that there seemed to be the beginnings of some thinking amongst the smaller manufacturing operations I interact with about the relative value of manufacturing in high cost Australia, and retaining control of, and having the … Continue reading

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Compliance or Engagement

Much of the typical managers time is spent ensuring and managing compliance, ensuring the rules are followed, the standards and timetables are met. This is all fine, and must happen, but where does the balance between compliance and engagement happen? … Continue reading

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Print or electronic, not really either/or

A Wall Street Journal op-ed by Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google  argues that the demise of printed media, particularly newspapers and magazines is as much a result of their own hubris as it is the advent of new media, and that … Continue reading

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The next billions

In Australia, we are considering  the NBN, and the impact it will have, and argue about the best way to deliver it, cost effectively. A further debate should be the impact of connecting the billions of people in the world … Continue reading

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Innovation at web speed.

“Open source innovation” is rapidly becoming an accepted strategy, an increasing trend as the communication tools on the net make it progressively easier, and people think up new ways to use them. Eric Von Hippel     a professor at MIT wrote … Continue reading

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Sell the problem

Watching The Gruen Transfer a couple of weeks ago, one of the panelists quoted one of the oldest adages in marketing, ‘Sell the problem” as if it was a revelation. Fact is, addressing the problem is often forgotten as marketers … Continue reading

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Mutuality and network development

  Social networks have boomed, tools to enable the networks abound, MySpace, twitter, face book et al being the most  well known, but many more fail than succeed, and they do so based on the degree of mutuality that exists. … Continue reading

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Focus on the process.

Focusing attention holistically on a whole  process, end to end, and the productivity of the process will improve, improving the outcome. When you focus just on the outcome, all you get is the opportunity to improve the efficiency of the … Continue reading

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Value of the human brain Vs Cost of the hands.

In any environment, those on the front lines see ways to complete a task easier, faster, cheaper, better, simply because they are doing it all the time,  it is just that we usually do not listen enough when the front … Continue reading

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Social Capital revisited

It occurred to me that during the recent election campaign, and subsequent “Phony Government” that  both sides over-used the term “Social Capital“, as well as mis-using it. Whilst it was not one of the hollow slogans of the campaign, it … Continue reading

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The web laboratory

Product optimisation is not product discovery, the techniques to get the best results differ, usually markedly, as the challenge to collect data to mitigate risk for entirely new products is substantially more difficult than collecting the same data for what is … Continue reading

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Inventory reduction is an outcome.

It seems almost all improvement programs I see have as a central objective the reduction of inventories. That is pretty easy to achieve, order less, less often, and in smaller quantities, objective achieved. However, when you count customer service, and cycle times … Continue reading

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Lessons from Shakespeare

Many companies face the challenge of commercial sustainability in mature markets, with declining patronage, increasing costs, and often a fatalistic view of the future. Last year, I went with a couple of my kids to a performance of ‘A midsummer … Continue reading

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Instinct Vs analytics

We all find ourselves dealing with ambiguity, preconceptions, vested interests, status quo methods, and often hubris as we set out to consider options in any management situation. In these circumstances, we usually mix quantitative data with what we know, and … Continue reading

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Losing is good practice for winning

Nobody wins all the time, in fact, most lose most of the time, so  something distinguishes the winners from those who just give up, I reckon it is two simple things: Winners learn from losing, what not to do, what … Continue reading

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