• About John

    Formerlife: Jacobs Suchard CEO (Kraft, Nabob), Strategy Consultant. Afterlife: Palgrave Macmillan Author, Business Blogger, Wannabe Novelist

    How to Cut Corporate Complexity and Chaos

    by  • November 2, 2015 • Branding, Human Resources, Leadership, Life, Marketing, Strategy • 0 Comments


    There are plenty of generic strategic choices to drive a business forward. A host of CEOs strive for scale economies by trying to ‘do more with less,’ usually meaning fewer employees. Optimists favor ‘doing more with more,’ in other words, placing bets that higher sales and profits will pay for increased investments in headcount and technology. These […]

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    Leading Without Direct Reports

    by  • October 18, 2015 • Branding, Human Resources, Leadership, Life, Marketing, Strategy • 1 Comment


    Leadership does not begin when you step upon the first rung of the management ladder. One direct report does not make you a leader; nor does ten. Yet, the moment you have direct reports, you are EXPECTED to lead. And when you fail to demonstrate traits critical to successful leadership, the expectations of your colleagues and subordinates are dashed.

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    Knowledge Is Power. Data Isn’t.

    by  • September 8, 2015 • Branding, Human Resources, Leadership, Marketing, Strategy • 0 Comments

    man-65049_640How many times have you heard that “knowledge is power?” I’m guessing that without much thought, you readily nod your head in agreement. In every vocation, from academics to business to politics, the knowledge theorem and its power corollary is seemingly undeniable. 

    Knowledge Theorem:  Information + Knowledge = Better Decision-Making. 

    Power Corollary:  Better Decision-making = Power

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    Stop Trying to Do More and More

    by  • August 5, 2015 • Branding, Human Resources, Leadership, Marketing, Strategy • 0 Comments

    2dPic (3)In Theodore Levitt’s The Marketing Imagination, the renowned marketing professor said there was no such thing as a commodity, only people who think like commodities. Differentiation is still the name of the marketing game. Distinction in service, image and promise allows a brand to occupy a piece of a customer’s busy mind. More importantly, differentiation is the brand’s raison d’être, its reason for being that causes customers to think of it when they are ready to shop. And when they do shop, this is the brand that goes into real and virtual shopping carts.

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    Stubbornness and Strategy: Birds of a Feather

    by  • July 16, 2015 • Branding, Human Resources, Leadership, Marketing, Strategy, Uncategorized • 0 Comments

    canada-geese-348290_640From as far back as my days in brand management, I have held a deep affection for strategy. This might have something to do with the fact that I can be stubborn. Good strategists are also stubborn, even pigheaded. Why is that? Because without strategic stubbornness, the hard barrier lines that contain the strategy will blur. And when a brand or company’s positioning blurs, customers become confused.

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    Culture Doesn’t Trump Strategy

    by  • June 10, 2015 • Human Resources, Leadership, Marketing, Strategy • 0 Comments

    goats-692660_640In the last 40 years of the 20th century, strategy was the champion of business supremacy. As a critical success factor, strategy turned into a lucrative industry for a host of consulting firms such as McKinsey & Company, and the Boston Consulting Group. Smart strategic thought became the conduit for propelling companies to decades of top tier performance.  In the new economy, culture is the poster child of corporate success.

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    Change is Bad

    by  • April 22, 2015 • Branding, Human Resources, Leadership, Marketing, Strategy • 0 Comments

    earth-216833_1280Okay, so I’m going to start by admitting that my heading was a ‘hook’ to get you into this post. Here’s the deal; the notion that “change is bad” is blasphemy in today’s world of business. In fact, change is one of the most proliferated subjects in blogs, books, and social media chats. I understand why, and so do you; change is vital to progress in every field of endeavor. Without change, stagnation sets in. This explains why it is so easy for people to become caught up and desensitized by the “change is good” paradigm. Well, change is not always good. Change can be bad. Very bad.

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    Why Leaders Believe that Tomorrow is a Better Place

    by  • April 13, 2015 • Branding, Human Resources, Leadership, Life, Marketing, Strategy • 1 Comment

    g9600_elonB.inddTo every one of us, the future is important. Maybe it’s because the future is where we are going to spend the rest of our lives. Or could it be something more, something about the human spirit that has us looking ahead to a better future for ourselves, our families, and every living thing on the planet. One thing is for sure; you won’t get to a better future without foresight.

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