• The Difference between Strategists and Strategic Planners

    by  • June 4, 2012

    I’ve met both over my long career as an executive, a consultant, and a board member. Strategists and Strategic Planners may read the same periodicals and have similar destinations in mind, but there is a difference between the two. Strategic Planners, at the outset, are disadvantaged by the definition of their role. They are staffers, not line managers. Strategic Planning positions exist inside companies, and in external consulting businesses.

    Read more →

    The 5 Best Bargains in Business

    by  • May 30, 2012

    If you think I’m going to list of a bunch of product bargains or discount sales, think again. This blog is about the side of business that drives superior performance at no extra cost. For now, I’d like you to forget about throwing heaps of cash at such initiatives as computer systems, advertising, equipment, recruiting – even training. And for a moment, stop worrying about low-cost foreign competition and the sluggish North American economy. The best bargains in business can help you deal with any setback. The good news is that these bargains can be unleashed from your existing overheads. People with the right mindsets create magic.

    Read more →

    Signs of the Spineless Leader

    by  • May 24, 2012

    spinelessDo you have to meet a spineless leader to know one? Not necessarily. Recently, I unveiled a spineless leader upon learning how he handled a single set of circumstances – the orchestrating of an unfair and unjust hiring practice that covertly circumvented the promotion of the best candidate. This is all I needed to visualize the yellow stripe illuminating from the back of his neck to the base of his spine.

    Read more →

    Is Business a Game of Poker or Chess?

    by  • May 21, 2012

    Chess.PokerHave you ever thought about business in the context of a game? Would that game be chess or poker? Had this question been asked during my years in the corner office, I would have curtly responded, “We are strategists. Strategists play chess, not poker – next question.” Twenty-five years later, I’m not nearly as dogmatic or single-minded on the topic. It’s not that I’m going to do a 360 on the value of strategy in business – strategy is part of my DNA; I attribute much of my corporate success to a strategic and creative mindset. The truth of the matter is that a master strategy without agile tactics diminishes the potential of a business.

    Read more →

    The ‘Old Economy’ Needs a Rocket Man

    by  • May 6, 2012

    So much has been written about business innovation this past year. Those walking the talk are on Fast Company’s list of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies. These are the businesses whose products and services are having an impact across their industries and our culture. Ninety percent of these organizations have yet to experience a mid-life crisis; they are still under the age of 40. Are we to deduce that innovation is the domain of new economy and early-stage life cycle businesses? Seems that way – but this isn’t necessarily the case.

    Read more →

    Where (and When) the Magic Happens

    by  • May 1, 2012

    Magic2A picture is worth a thousand words; clichéd but true. This illustration may also become clichéd, but whenever I see it, I grin and nod. Although the Promised Land lies within that magic circle, most of us can’t break out of our comfort zone. Recently, the Apple Corporation has shown the world a glorious example of how big business creates magic. No doubt, many CEOs will try to replicate the principles that catapulted Apple to the most valuable company on the face of the earth. Will they be able to do it?

    Read more →

    Does a Mentor have to Breathe?

    by  • April 28, 2012

    To most of us, mentors are people of experience and knowledge who help the less experienced advance their careers and/or their education. There are plenty of well-known examples throughout the course of history; Aristotle mentored Alexander the Great, Laurence Olivier mentored Anthony Hopkins and Freddy Laker mentored Richard Branson.
    Read more →

    The Gulf Spill: BP Still Doesn’t Get It

    by  • April 26, 2012

    Gulf Spill(First published in Forbes.com, April 20, 2012) Two years have now passed since the explosion at BP’s deep-water rig in the Gulf of Mexico. In the aftershock, the world watched BP and its chief executive, Tony Hayward, make blunder after blunder while their crude continued to gush, literally and figuratively. BP’s talk about caring for the environment was for naught, as its actions failed to match its message. And although the company finally fired Hayward, paid restitution, enhanced its drilling standards, and sponsored several feel-good TV commercials, it has failed to regain the trust it supposedly covets. Why? Because the public still holds the view that BP is dealing with the Gulf disaster’s fallout not because it wants to but because it has to.

    Read more →

    The Power of an Enemy

    by  • April 23, 2012

    IClay’m an extremely competitive person. As a kid in sports, I played my heart out, hated my opponents and cried when I lost. Admonished by my mother and father for unsportsmanlike behavior, I eventually matured and forged a stiff upper lip in defeat. But behind the façade, the agony gnawed my gut – it still does. I have no regrets; In fact, I consider the repugnance of losing a special gift. There is no doubt in my mind that my ferocious competitive spirit is responsible for my success in corporate life.

    Read more →

    Learn to Teach. Teach to Learn

    by  • April 13, 2012

    teachlearnWhen I retired, I thought I was through with business. And I was, until the social network came along and enticed me to blog. Like most bloggers, I write about what I know; that’s strategy, leadership and branding. My motive is nothing more than to share my experience with today’s business community in the hope they might put an old warrior’s advice to good use.

    Read more →