• About John

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

    In Praise of Average Joes

    by  • November 13, 2012 • Human Resources, Leadership, Life, Strategy

    MVPThe times have changed, but the business tools that determine success or failure have not. Companies, large and small, cannot survive without great leadership, sound strategy and flawless execution. Those that thrive go a step further; they breathe culture. And what, in a nutshell, is culture? Culture is meaningful work, well done.

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    What Not to Do When Business Sours

    by  • September 3, 2012 • Branding, Human Resources, Leadership, Strategy

    Don'tPanicMost of you have heard the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” or something to that effect. Basically, the idiom advises us not to discard something valuable in our eagerness to get rid of some useless thing associated with it. If you are not careful, this can happen to businesses going through a rough patch.

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    Inspiration from The Daffodil Principle

    by  • August 25, 2012 • Life

    DaffodilToday I received an e-mail of The Daffodil Principle. I’d read it a number of years ago but had forgotton the important message. Spend a couple of minutes reading Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards’ beautiful story. If it inspires you, pass it on and benefit another.

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    Social Media & the Little Guy

    by  • July 23, 2012 • Branding, Leadership, Marketing, Strategy

    Since the heyday of packaged goods marketing in the 60’s, nothing has impacted the art and science of branding more than the social media tsunami. Who would have thought that brand promises broadcasted to the masses would be trumped by conversations between the manufacturer, their brand and the individual consumer. Social media is about connecting people; it is not about planting a problem in the viewer’s mind and jamming the solution down their throat via a 30 second television commercial.

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    Is Business a Combination of Sport and War?

    by  • July 2, 2012 • Human Resources, Leadership, Marketing, Strategy

    619-01168294The notion of business as a combination of sport and war was attributed to Emile Herzog (1885-1967), a French author who used the pen name, Andre Maurois. I’m going to admit at the outset that I was a strong proponent of Herzog’s concept for most of my career. However, now that I look back from the CEO afterlife, I realize that this view need not be pervasive.

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    Sell It or Smell It

    by  • June 25, 2012 • Branding, Leadership, Marketing, Strategy

    TomatoesAfter leaving the C-Suite almost twenty years ago, I pursued a career as a strategy consultant. Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure the world needed another consultant. Seems others weren’t prepared to accept that notion, and I was fortunate to counsel such blue-chippers as Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, InBev, Pfizer, and Campbell Soup. Sure, I encountered bureaucracy at times, but I managed to navigate through the red tape by working within a cultural principal they all shared – the respect for great branding. Last year, I came out of retirement for six months to help a smaller company brand itself. The company is Houweling’s Tomatoes. I know – you’ve never heard of them.

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